Build relationships, consensus and momentum one step at a time, so you can move towards your bigger goals.
Build relationships, consensus and momentum one step at a time, so you can move towards your bigger goals.
CONNECT WITH CATHERINE & HER WORK
All right, welcome, everybody. Today I have Catherine Cantey on the show thus, and I'm really excited to have her on, she's going to share with us about how she's creating a much bigger impact in the world, but doing it one small one at a time. I know as entrepreneurs, sometimes we get overwhelmed. We try to do so much, we get excited about things.
And in talking with her, she's doing some really, really interesting stuff. And so I'm excited to have her on. So first of all, welcome to the show.
Katherine, thank you for having me. I'm excited to be with you. This is great. Awesome.
My pleasure. So Katherine is a tenacious connector and a recovering banker. She's a leadership coach helping high potential managers turn into senior leaders. Her goal is to partner with individuals and communities to create positive and measurable change. She brings more than 20 years of professional experience in sales, consulting and coaching with a focus on results. She's a wife and a mom who cares about closing the broadband gap in rural communities, and she's just doing so many things. So she sort of surprised me with Obayashi, gave this bio and I could go on of what's on their activities.
A couple of things that we talked in the preinterview. There's a lot more things I'm going to try to get her to open up some of those things, too. But welcome. And first thing just to start out, if you wouldn't mind sharing. What was it that led you a little bit about your story to go from being in what seems like a really, you know, what most people consider strong or powerful, a desirable position in corporate America to deciding to start your own thing?
What led you to do that? And how's that going? So far, so good, so thank you. Thanks again for having me. And if I had to guess what what started this transition?
You know, 20 years ago, I told my husband that I would go and be this steady, consistent provider for the family. And he's very entrepreneurial. And so he had 20 years. And I just joked, I said, OK, you get to do your thing for 20 years. And then at the end I'm going to transition. And so that was just like a running joke. And I think if you say it enough, it's going to happen.
So sure enough, about year 18, I started thinking about, well, what else is there and how else can I contribute to the world? And as I've just studied it and, you know, just kind of embraced it, I started thinking about what are some different things I can start to test while I'm in corporate America and I love my time in corporate America. I worked with some of the most amazing people and was given a lot of opportunities to travel and help others and help them grow their business.
But towards towards the end, I just started to having that itch that it was it was time for more. So about year 18 in corporate, I started working with a coach and she said, what do you want to do? And I said, I don't know, but I just feel like there's more out there. So it was a, you know, a struggle to figure it out. And she said, look, we're going to work together, but it's going to get real messy before it gets better.
So I just embrace the process. And part of working with her helped me transition and figure out what my skills are and how I can transition it out of corporate into entrepreneurism.
So I remember probably 30 days before I turned in my notice, my husband said, you're not really going to do this. Like this is what you're really good at is go into the bank and working with people and and helping them grow their business. I said, yeah, no. And now it's my turn. I'm going to retire. And so this is my version of retirement. So now I'm a recovering banker. I heard that term from someone else and I loved it.
After you've been in banking for 20 years, it's hard to to think about other stuff. So I'm recovering from that. I still have these, you know, banker blips that come up and I'm like, oh, no, we got to go this way. But it's it's been fun. And so I left banking a little over a year ago. And over this time I, I got certified before I left. I got certified with Marshall Goldsmith coaching, which I love because it's all about creating positive, measurable change with leaders.
And so I was able to coach about a 20 people. So far since I've left, they've all created measurable change in their leadership behavior and it's only measured by their peers. And so it doesn't matter what I think or what others are thinking or what they think, it's only what you know, what their peers are saying. So I've combined that leadership coaching with business development. I've helped a startup company in upstate New York, doubled their customers within 90 days in South Carolina.
And then it dawned on me I could keep doing this for them or I could teach somebody else. So I've actually put together a program and they are using it. And then I've also repurposed it to share with other people with courses. And then the last thing is always this invest to sustain the closing the broadband gap.
And so between those three things, that's kind of what's keeping me busy right now. And I have a few other projects like I was sharing with you before we hit records. So it's it's not a boring day any day. It's been fun. That's awesome.
You know, I'm very grateful for the time I got to spend in corporate America. And I find. The people that. Leave with gratitude, I think they got to have closure in some way, if that makes sense, and then move on to something as opposed to running from something or as opposed to. Let's say if they were fired or downsized, sometimes it's a tougher release because there's sort of a resentment over it. And I know so many people that when they've left, it's been a good thing and they really are grateful.
And they realized, you know, that's how they got where they got. And so many entrepreneurs or people that are starting entrepreneurism want to go from zero to entrepreneur and make a lot of money. And that's a really tough road. I mean, that's like literally showing up to school and kindergarten one day and said, OK, I'm ready to take my SATs. I'm ready for the you know, the entrance exam, the college. There's steps in between, and when I first left, I was doing consulting to the same people and some of the same people that I helped as when I was inside the corporation.
And so I think there's this unrealistic expectation about originalism, that it's this bold, daring pioneer. Nobody's ever done it before or that it has to be. I mean, it can be that, but that it has to be that. And if it's not that, that it's either less than or it's not as cool or it's not as amazing. And yet one of the things that it sounds like you've done, which I know at times my mother would challenge me to do, she'd say, look.
When you're in an organization, you might not have as much control, but you have a lot of leverage in the sense that if you can get people who are influential to get behind that idea, that can reach a lot of people. So if impact is one of your measures and of course, you can call it steady income is almost one of the guarantees to a certain degree of release compared to realism, at least that you can get. And so I think it's so great that you've been able to take that and do something with it.
Tell me a little bit or tell us the audience a little bit about what is the broadband gap and what does that mean to you? I think people might have a slight idea of what does it mean to you and what impact has it made and how did you even get started with that? Yes, so for seven and a half years, I worked with a bank called Farm Credit and they are only available to lend to farmers and to rural communities.
So they're there for the good and they're there for the bad. So as we know, there's good times and bad times with commodities.
And yet we all continue to eat every day. And I believe in the mission of farm credit and they take care of the farmers and they take care of these rural communities. And so for seven and a half years, I traveled and got to meet all the local farmers in very small towns. I got to meet their their board of directors and I got to meet with their leadership teams at each one of these associations. So they don't have individual banks, they have associations.
And so I traveled out and I got to meet the most amazing talent. And, you know, my my farming background only includes timber. So, you know, we we raise pine trees in the south, that's all. That's the extent. So anything beyond that, I'm in trouble. So these folks took me in. They taught me about crop. They taught me about livestock.
They taught me about rural life.
And I learned a lot from them. And I also learned there's just so much wonderful talent that's out there. And when I worked for Farm Credit, our funding bank also provided technology. And so the best way to learn is to go get in a pickup truck with a loan officer and see what the real struggling moment is for the people on the front line, because that's how you're going to create measurable change for those people that are supporting the farmers, for the staff that fills the frustration on the front line.
They're like, nobody gets it. How do I get to tell the head of technology that that we don't have Internet out here?
And so it's kind of funny, you know, where where this technology company and funding company that wants to be able to make it easy for the farmers to do business with us. So to do that, we said in South Carolina and design the most beautiful technology platform to take loans and and data, and then we give it to the loan officer. And then I get in the pickup truck with the loan officer and I learn they don't have Internet in the fields.
So even though the metro areas have wonderful amounts of Internet and five Jews coming, there's a lot of people struggling in America, just within South Carolina who cannot get Internet if they wanted it.
So I started learning about this and actually we had a lot to learn at the bank to talk about vertical assets and to talk about closing the broadband gap.
And what I learned as vertical assets are the grain bins, the water towers, anything that goes up into the sky that's considered a vertical asset.
And you can sell real estate off of a vertical asset to help close the broadband gap.
So if we're in rural communities, we just need to have, you know, a clear shot going from one water bin to another or or grain bin to another. And there's a way to leverage existing assets that are in our communities to be able to close broadband gaps.
So that's one way of doing it. You can put fiber in the ground. You can do a number of different things.
But at this lunch and learn I started hearing about this, how do you fix this problem?
And so after the lunch, you learn at the bank. I said, can you can you just take my little community right down the road? And I don't live in a big metro area.
I live outside of a of a larger city. And I said, how do we fix my little county? How do we fix this?
And I said, can you just run a couple of maps? Because this guy was is super talented.
And so he's like, yeah, I've got a few projects, but I'll get back to you. A couple of months later, he gets back to me. He's like, OK, I've run your stats. And here are these here are these polls that are not being served within your community. And I said, oh, this is good. He said, what do we do now? And he said, well, there's a grant that's available through the federal government, through USDA, United States Department of Agriculture.
So if you think about it, USDA covers rural communities and they have farmers with not just they have low needs, but if you've ever been on a farm lately, it is nothing but technology that allows them to feed America. They've got to have it. They've got to have it for the animals. They've got to have it for the crops.
It's really mind blowing what your local farmer is doing in the fields when it comes to technology.
So we we we've identified, you know, a particular county. He said. Do you know about this this grant that's available call reconnect and it's six hundred million dollars going in. To rural communities, and I said, no, tell me more. So long story short, I needed to get my my community provider friendly because the provider had to apply for this grant.
And so I called on my local politician. I called on local school administrators, the medical community, workforce development, the city, the county. So I called all these people and I said, can you come to a meeting at the school district? And so they let me borrow their conference room. I told them a story that that we live in our community, but our school kids, when there's a storm or anything and they have to learn from home, they all have devices.
But we don't have Internet. We don't have reliable broadband. So they're having to go to school busses to go get the Wi-Fi to do their homework.
And if the parents are working, you know, the kids just don't have access to this. So this is starting to hurt our education. Same thing with telemedicine.
So a lot of folks, they just can't get a ride to the doctor to get their medical results. And if we could do a Zune call, but they got to have Internet at their house. So if we do some call with the medical needs, that that helps, you know, people being able to take care of themselves and take care of their health. Same thing with agriculture. There's a huge need for that. And then workforce development. If you work all day and you want to come home and you want to take online courses, you've got to have Internet, especially if you got little kids at the house that are sleeping and you're trying to to do your you know, your degree online.
So we've got these four different verticals that are coming together. There's a need. I brought together the the stakeholders and asked if we could all agree on one thing.
And that one thing is our community needs reliable Internet, reliable broadband.
And they all said yes.
I said, well, the next step now that we can all agree on that is we need to become a provider friendly community. And so to do that, to become a provider friendly community, we needed to do some basic mapping that this contact of mine was able to pull for us.
And the only time in my life I have ever seen government officials crawl over the table and want to give money was when the question came up was who's going to pay for the mapping for the Internet needs?
And they fought over who was going to get to write the check.
So we agreed we'd split it three ways and they all kind of check small amount when you think about what we're able to get out at the end of this. So everybody agreed. We need to close the broadband gap. We need to become a provider friendly community with this mapping. Once the mapping was complete, we reviewed it. We said, yep, that's exactly where the gaps are. But we've got data that can support it. The next step after that was I reached out to our local provider and they were the only providers that were available to respond to this particular grant.
Everybody gets funding different ways. This is a smaller broadband provider in our community. So they were eligible to apply for the money. And what I learned was I just called them and said, hey, I've got a community that's ready and I'd love just a few minutes of your time. And so we met with them, me and the mapping gentleman. He's amazing. And so we met and we explained that we've got everybody coming together in the community and this is what we really want to do.
And I didn't know that they were going through a merger at the time. Of course, that couldn't come out.
But the broadband provider, they had a whole bunch of other stuff going on, but they said nobody else has come to us with a map, with a plan, with people of support that are from all different types of backgrounds and all kinds of different ways of thinking and doing business.
And they said, well, we feel good about this. After many meetings, they said that and we pursued it.
And we were the only group, the only community in South Carolina who received one hundred percent grant money to other applicants, were awarded a grant and loan combination. And earlier this year, in February, we just had the announcement from USDA. They came in and they came in and we were able to have a just a nice meet and greet type thing and brought in all the people that supported this, the farmers, the the education folks, the health care individuals, everybody came in.
It was it was pretty nice.
And so as a result, we are we are receiving in our community twelve point one million dollars of an investment that is going to put down two hundred and fifty six miles of fiber out to the community. And this is going to help close the broadband gap. And it's pretty exciting because you you drive up and down the streets and you see their trucks out there and you're like, oh, that's sweet. Because they're they're here working for us and they're here closing the broadband gap, so it's probably going to take about twenty four months to to get this rolled out.
But it is amazing. They're doing regular update phone calls with the community just to share. This is where we are. We've got another call next week. And it's been extremely collaborative. And I am extremely fortunate to be a part of the team that that worked together to make this happen. Wow, I know that was sorry. Well, that's I that's a I wanted the story and I definitely think the audience will appreciate that. What really stood out for me was just the idea.
You just it sounds like you just kept going to whatever is the next step. I mean, you didn't I mean, correct me if I'm wrong. You didn't know every step you had to take before you did this. I think that's the thing that people miss sometimes is there's this sense that they have to plan everything before they do something. And, of course, there's certain areas you can avoid. But at the same time, I think especially as entrepreneurs.
There's just certain things you can't avoid, there's certain things you have to try and then you fail or you figure it out. One of the authors I listen to calls it life tuition. Tony Robbins once called his MBA in the real world. And, you know, I have a friend who. He does really well as an entrepreneur, but he's made some mistakes, and when one of his friends says, Oh, you messed up, I was like, Yeah, but I also made that other decision that's that's helped me be an entrepreneur for 30 years and make multiples of six figures.
So that one worked out pretty good. Right. So I think that's the thing is that a lot of people miss is No. One, it doesn't have to be this traumatic grand slam home run or nothing thing. I think that's probably the biggest myth about entrepreneurism. It's the biggest myth about being a movie star. It's the biggest myth about being a pro athlete. Any rock star, you're not you don't just go from, oh, I just picked up a guitar and then you go on stage.
It's this long process. And what is so encouraging to me about that is that that lets people know that if they want to do something and you hear people say this all the time, I just decided to do something. And it's persistence. I think of when people ask me, what's the. What's the best thing you've ever done that you feel proud about, and I'd say it's been a pretty good husband, I think pretty good. And get the reviews, I'll let you know how those go and and being a pretty good dad.
And there's no. There's nothing other than the birth itself, which is this immensely exciting, unique, different event every other day after that, there's some ups and downs, but it's still pretty much the same thing after a while. And yet it's that continual choice of the same thing. And it sounds like what you've done is not only did you make that choice, but you've gotten other people you mentioned, you know, you've got them all to agree on this one thing that, yes, we need broadband Internet.
And it's funny because when you first said it, when I first even read your basic broadband Internet, that sounds that's Flavia Berys broadband Internet.
And my first bias was, well, in other first world country problem, you know, OK, I don't have broadband because I'm thinking because I live in an area where we have Internet everywhere. And, you know, the kids will complain when they don't have for five minutes. They've lost signal. Right. Which is very different. And it sounds like in your area it is the new version of infrastructure. It is the road. It is the electricity.
It's the running water. The thing that in other countries are still developing. We can see our country doesn't have water or electricity. That's a big deal. But the Internet, certainly for the education and the whole movement of really pulling the whole world up in the sense of letting everybody connect. And there's this concept called the democratization of education and not so much leveling. Some people see it as leveling the playing field so that the world's more fair. And I don't think it's that is the main thing, because I think it's not going to be that we're just gonna have the same resources that have to share them.
It's not going to do this. It's going to be. Oh, no, they're going to be they're going to come up in a lot of ways. In other words, nothing stopping somebody, let's say, in a poor country. And we don't want to be a poor country somewhere from evolving.
They if they evolve and build their committee, it's not going to hurt my community or your community. It's just there's just more. And so that to me is so exciting when people again run from corporations or corporations or even corporations are made up of people as our churches, institutions, governments, whatever. And there's people that try to do nice things and people that try to do lots of nice things. But I'm not so awesome. You being able to do that.
Share a little bit about how your experience in the work you did, if you don't mind, led to being able to build these small wins. I know I've gotten my share of that in the corporate world, that you really do have to build consensus. And I think a lot of solopreneur especially think, OK, I'm done having to build consensus. I can now do what I want. And I think if you want to exactly when you want to do something great or big, it is going to involve working with people.
How of you have your lessons served you with that? And then how is that translated for you as an entrepreneur?
Yeah, creating influences is always a challenge for me, and I research a lot of it.
I've taken a lot of classes, read a lot of books, and I think creating influence and selling are so similar and people get turned off by that word selling or business development.
But really, if you're trying to drive change, you're trying to sell your idea or you're trying to influence others. And there's some incredible research out there around influence and how decision making groups are getting larger and larger.
And so you've got to be able to build consensus within groups. And the average buying size of groups have have gone from basically five point seven people to now probably seven people to make a decision.
So. This experience that I had in corporate America, I knew I had to get so many different people involved to drive a decision, I had to bring them in earlier. And so I pretty much applied that same idea like, OK, we're going to have a lot of decision makers here. Who do we think they are and how can I start engaging them on the front end?
I learned a big lesson in corporate America, which was a better include procurement on the front end, and I better include legal on the front end. And they're wonderful people, but they can shut you down a project in a heartbeat if you don't have your legal docs in order and if you don't have procurement and in the processes that are involved with that. And they're all there with good reason because mistakes have been made in the past, we're just trying to avoid something like this happening again.
So when I looked at the community, I wanted to also make sure we've got those that are the skeptics in the room. I want to make sure they're still at the table because those can actually turn into your biggest advocates for the project because they thought for sure this is not going to work.
And so you're you know, when you think about decision makers, you're going to have those folks that are just always going to resist the work. But you're also going to have the skeptics. And those skeptics are the ones on the fence that you can persuade one way or the other. They want to start seeing momentum. And then you always have your advocates advocate. You don't have to worry about that. Got your back.
Resisters are are just they're going to resist everything. So just know that they're there. Don't take it personally. But the skeptics, the ones that are like, yeah, I'll get on board if this is going to win, but I'm not going to be a part of your crowd if you're going to go down on this ship. So if we can get small wins and acknowledge them and celebrate these small wins, we can start to create this influence. And with broadband and with any project that I had in corporate America, it was always, let's agree on what our our small goal is.
Our small win is. Let's get there. Let's celebrate it. And now let's get into step two. And there could be two hundred steps. But if we're taking small steps and you're you're gaining another skeptic in each one, they want to be part of a winning team.
And I guess that's how you begin to create these small wins and small opportunities that can create much bigger win when you're willing to create that influence. And I don't really think it's selling. I think it's you're you're trying to do the best you can with what we've got and embraces constraints.
Awesome. And that's something I know somebody who's. Watched a lot of sports and coached sports, there is this concept of the team has to believe that something is possible. Nobody wants to be on the team that's losing. Nobody wants to be the reason the team is losing. And nobody wants to be on a team if they know it's going to lose. Even watch us in professional sports. The contract negotiations.
And it's this interesting. Sort of a dichotomy that. Almost everybody wants to be the hero, but they already want to be a team that's about to win a championship. Well, if you're about to be on the team at school and championship, you're not the hero. And if you're going to be the hero, that's a lot of work and being the savior, the hero or whatever have you, in a word, that it's not always a thankful, you know, sometimes thankless task and very often doesn't work out.
And yet. If you're going to build something great, fundamentals come in, inclusion comes in, including people I know. One of the things that is really, again, struck me as somebody who's I've primarily been a solopreneur, I've been more of the person. Like, I just want to do my own thing and Lifestyle Solopreneur I want to work my four days and to do what I want. But as I'm now getting older in the sense that, you know, the first sort of selfish, if you will, objective was, OK, I want to do the four days my wife's from Peru.
So we moved back and forth to Peru, back and forth, on and off for about eight years. We spent about four years there. So I wanted to do that. And it was like it was almost like, OK, this is all I can handle. I can handle this and provide for the family and moving back and forth. And now our kids are 14, 11. And now my vision of what I feel confident enough I can do and deliver on is becoming bigger.
And so my goals are expanding. But all of a sudden I'm realizing, OK, I can't do this by myself. And even with outsourced talent or freelancers or there comes a point where. You need more help, and I've had employees before and grateful for that and different times, it's worse in times it's not worked. But if you really want to do big things, it really is going to be some sort of team effort. And anybody who's gotten to a high level, whether they'll admit it or not, it's been a team effort because you just don't get there.
And what's so refreshing about what you're doing is. This is that for me, there's a shift that happens, and I only recently learned it and I still haven't fully implemented, but I've watched a couple of people to get this where if you understand it's a 10 step process and you're willing to do the ten steps once you even do step one or won't you get going? You already know it's inevitable, like, OK, I'm going to get there.
And the confidence that comes with that, like you said, that, you know, the skeptics, the skeptics aren't that very different than the resisters the resisters have. They've been hurt or they wanted to stay the same or they just don't want it to change or they just don't like any. Can't even tell. I know. And if you talk to them in general, their best years are behind them. High school was the best years of their life.
And the and everything is about what happened yesterday. They're very past based. It's not a knock. It's an observation. But you're probably not going to change that. And yet, as you said, and that is the futurists, which like I want the newest thing and God doctors and they're they're on board. You almost have to say don't give me a testimonial yet. Let's actually make sure this works, because you're going to bring on some skeptics too early.
It's going to fail and I'm going to lose them. But the skeptics, I love that group, too, because that is really where you prove your mettle. Do you actually have something? And most of them, unless they're I mean, unless you get into, you know, sort of a contest with one of them. They're looking out there looking out for actually they're actually the most committed to what everybody says is the ideal, they really are the most committed because they're saying, look, I'll do it this way.
I think of people who are usually either scientists or mathematicians or people who aren't the whole, you know, the cold, hard proof. You know, they're the people in our government that say, OK, now, if the balanced budget doesn't balance, I mean, how nice would it be to have some more financial skeptics that in our country's, you know, budget planning like, no, if it doesn't can't do it, won't do it, that they set those boundaries that then make you then come back and say, OK, I've got to be a little more creative and usually you can figure it out.
And they're challenging. They're annoying, but they're annoying because they're right very often or at least they're right enough to be like, OK, that could happen. Or other people share that concern. So I think that's I I've learned it took me a long time to learn that in the world. But to realize some of these people would were actually on my side. And I remember one of them once I was on a corporate project and he had said to me, he said, well, I just want you to realize something said two things is, number one, I realized you like to get immediate feedback from people said yes.
Says if you ever want to do really big things, he says, you're going to get used to two things. Number one, people not liking you. And number two, you're not going to have a chance to defend your position everybody, or get feedback from everybody, and you're just going to have to do what you believe is best. And this was a guy who's really talented guy. Some people didn't like him at times. I wasn't a fan of his because he made decisions.
But but he had a code and he had a you know, he could he could at least communicate why he thought his was the way and he was open minded. But it was something I realized, again, this maverick version or this almost James Dean version of entrepreneurism, like, yes, I'm this rebel and I do what I want. And now what are you rebelling against? There's not that much in the world left to rebel against. OK, let's all fight each other.
We're all pretty much aiming for the same things. What I'd like to do, if you don't mind, is go to even a slightly different directions. We've talked a lot of macro stuff now. And there's a couple projects. I'm just going to mention them, if you don't mind, the stuff you've told me you're doing. I'm going to just let you run with these. So flipping houses is a side-hustler linked in sales strategies, creating a university business accelerator like you're doing these different things, helping people with product creation and pricing.
And I'm not trying to overwhelm you were from the audience of pick any one of those. But one of the things that if I think some of the listeners might be thinking, OK, Wade to this person is doing big stuff. But, you know, a lot of my audience is solopreneur or smaller outfits. How are some of those very specific strategies? Of building the small ones, how do they apply to things like flipping houses or how you do sales and LinkedIn or how you, the business, etc.
, how do those things connect so that if somebody's listening, saying, OK, I don't have 20 years in corporate, I didn't build all these connections. And maybe in their mind they're saying now we have Catherine's got these connections and she did these different things. What does that look like on more of a micro level? So part of this is kind of funny, we can talk about flipping, we talk about any of it, I'm available to talk about it.
So the first thing that you mentioned was flipping houses. And when I was in college, I was either going to go get an architectural degree or business degree. I really love doing design work on the inside of a house like where the walls need to be, what's functional, all that good stuff. So Animal Maximizer is part of my personality is I will maximize every piece of square footage that we can use. So like tiny house living is right up my alley, mainly because that's all we can afford in the beginning.
And, you know, it's you just embrace all these different constraints that you have. So part of me was, OK, I'll get a business degree because I met architects that are 20 years into their career and whether I was excited to see where they were 20 years after they got a degree, they kind of looked beat down and run out. And everybody just says no all day long. And then when you think about it, yeah, I probably do, because you designed this and then they say, yeah, I don't like that in your your dreams are a little bit crushed.
So my mother had me go meet with professionals to say, is this really where you want to go? And just, you know, like they do shadowing stuff in high school nowadays. So you can I also thought I wanted to be an accountant, and that was not what I wanted to be there.
So so I spent time out there. So I met architects and then I met people that were in the business world. And I said, well, they got a lot of options over here, like I'm going to have a long career. So I think if I go the business route, I can probably navigate this and be able to make this last little bit longer. And they seem to have a pretty good quality of life. So so I decided to get a business degree and then get a degree and then get married young, which that was crazy.
But we're still married. Not the words that worked out so far.
And so we get married young and he's doing entrepreneurial ism and I'm doing banking and. You know, you watch enough HDTV, how hard can it be to flip a house, right? They do it in 30 minutes. Everybody should be able to do this in 30 minutes. So. So he's working full time. I'm working full time.
And then. We go and look at a house and where he's from, small town, and I'm like, well, it's cute, you know, but I don't know if I want to move to a small town, but I just lowball them and just make them an offer and see if they'll take it. Well, they came back and they took the offer. And then I was like, oh, now we're moving and we're in this house.
And this house hasn't been renovated and I don't know, 20 years, at least 30 years.
It's older home, tiny house. And so we downsize just to a two bedroom, one bath. We were in three bedrooms and like two baths. So that's like comfortable.
Now we're in, you know, just two bedrooms, one bath, and it's old and it's got mold on the walls and the floors need to be redone.
It was a mess.
I mean, not bad, but it was just didn't need to be renovated. So I would make a list of what needed to get done and meet with the contractors. I did all the tiling and we did the painting and all that ourselves. And then we realized it's going to be way more affordable for me to go to work and for me to pay someone to come in and put the tile down, because that was not a good use of time, which if you can learn that early into your career, that's pretty smart.
So, you know, we get into this house, it works out great.
I turn a pantry into a half bath. So at least I got one and a half bath at this point.
But we still have the two bedrooms and it just it's smaller than I mean, it's small and it worked out fine. But we started looking around. We're like, all right, we need at least get back. So we've we've got enough space so we can stay married.
And so we find another house and it's all about embracing constraint. So I did some work with the board earlier this year and we talked about embracing constraints just like the world that we live in, no matter what's going on, we've got to embrace constraints. So for housing, you know, everybody always jokes, how do you make decisions? Like, it's super easy. I can only afford houses of a certain size on certain streets and in a certain town because I'm not flying back and forth to New York.
So I've got a very small pool to choose from and then to make decisions. I only have so much time that I can allow before I got to be able to move in.
So then that means when you go to the store to pick out your choices, you're not special ordering things from Italy. You're going to Lowe's and you're showing a picture of what you do, like from HDTV. And you say give your best two options. And I would only say give me two options. My budget is very small, but I really like this look. And then I turn it over to the lighting people and I turn it over to the tile people and they pull out stuff.
And I'm like, is this the best we can do? And they're like, yeah. Or if you really don't have any money, we can go this route and it still gives you the look.
So housing at flipping houses was all about embracing the constraints because you only have so much time and you only have so much money. And if you can buy it right on the front end, that's how you can be able to sustain it, I think, overall. So that was that was part of it.
And then, you know, I make a list on Monday and be like, all right, I'm leaving, take my suitcase and leave, which is actually a really good thing.
And then I left the list with my husband and whoever the the folks that were coming in to do the work. And they would knock it out. And there were some weird stories that would come through and he said, oh, my, nothing's going to happen this week.
And I would come home and all the cabinets were hung in the house. I mean, that was pretty substantial, I would think. But in his world, he was like, yeah, nothing major happened. I was like, well, darn it, the cabinets are up. And then he called me one night because you don't have power in these houses when you're getting them. He said, did you what color did you pick for the kitchen?
Said, you know, like a blue or whatever, and it is dark purple in here.
And then, you know, I'm three hours away in a Mariotte like, what do you mean? This Dark Purple is like, I don't know. But I got my cell phone light out and this looks dark purple everywhere. But turns out it's the primer that goes under the blue that was about to go on the wall.
So you learn to ask better questions when you're three hours away and you just know that you're going to trust the process, because I was trusting the painter that this was what we're going to get. He's like, oh, yeah, no problem. This is the primer that we put under it.
But all of this, even house flipping, you embrace your constraints. You figure out what can you afford, what's your time frame and what solution are you going for at the end?
And then you break it down the steps, you know, what are we going to start with and and how are we going to get the job done?
And I've also learned take the first offer that comes when it comes because you can fight it out for the next two years hoping for another buyer.
Or you could have taken that offer, gotten that money and rolled on and did another one.
So there's just so much in that the embracing that and so much of it applies to just any business entrepreneurism embracing. Constraints, I look at the first six months to nine months of my career as an entrepreneur, I invest in some courses, did some stuff, long story short, tour through sixty thousand dollars. And this is 20 years ago. So that's one six thousand dollars was worth, let's say, one hundred twenty today or whatever. How are you going to do the future value money and all that stuff is thinking about that.
Yeah. Oh and I'm used to that spending. Yeah.
Well it's one of those things where I, I knew a certain amount, I didn't know certain things. But I got. I kind of got ritzy blood, like, I'm going to get this, I'm going to buy this, not realizing it's the work that does. It's never the doodad. It's never the guy should never 90 something percent of the time. It's not the doodad. It's not the gadget. OK, so somebody sold pet rocks. And other than those things, 99 times out of 100, it's the fundamental it doesn't happen right away.
It takes three to five years. Just anything. A great marriage doesn't take one year. It takes longer than that. Raising a child takes longer, at least as humans are life cycle. Our development cycles take longer than that. And yet I see that in what you did, the patients, the one step at a time, the appreciation, the celebrating, the small wins, that is something that for me is I think is solopreneur is so difficult if you don't do because if you don't acknowledge your accomplishment.
But so some people, you know, take pride in being hard on themselves if you're too hard on yourself. OK, well, actually, to do sports example, you've got to coach. It's hard on you all the time or a boss that's hard on you and never gives you appreciation.
Eventually you just quit. You go somewhere else if you're the boss or if you're the leader and you're hard on yourself and you're never giving yourself credit. I'm not talking about making up stuff, but acknowledging progress. If you don't do that, pretty soon you kind of get ticked off with your boss, which is you, and you start rebelling against yourself or the project that you started. And you know, who is who's the idiot that came up with this idea?
Well, it was me. So you kind of start having these almost in arguments. And then if you are married, you throw in. Gosh, you know, the spouse that says, well, I wasn't sure, and now if you open that conversation, it doesn't mean you should left me. I have done so much better if I involved my wife in so many decisions earlier. And she came from a family where it was kind of like, well, the woman doesn't make as many of the decisions or was kind of the overall that's kind of the era we were still kind of raised in.
And so she said, Wade, you seem to have it. And and looking back, I wish you'd have she because she's a great skeptic. I wish she'd done the skeptical. My mom always did that for me, but my mom stayed out of our business and. When I look at that, though, it's just, again, the patience, the constraints. Oh my gosh, the constraints, embracing, bootstrapping, if you're going to be an entrepreneur and you're going to be creative.
Embrace, yes, that you can figure out a way how to do stuff without spending money, without the paid advertising costs, you just do or paid advertising eight times out of ten, five times out of ten offensive advertising field. Most of the time it doesn't work because either way, it's a pipe dream or B, I think it's about a 50 50 or B, the person doesn't understand what they're doing or they're going in too big, too quickly, or they're not implementing fully or their plates full.
And what was the rush? If it's really going to work out, you'll get there. And if it's not, you won't. And I think I just see, you know, somebody might look to what you're doing and say, oh, well, now she's done this and she's done this and she's this Sandison and oh, she's so lucky. And I so hate when people do that, not just because it's not because it says, oh, it doesn't give Catherine the credit.
No, because that it denies themselves the idea that no, no, this wasn't lock. And of course, some things don't turn out, but this was a choice. Multiple choices, choice after choice after choice. And it seems to me like you've developed that muscle and the maximizer, I guess you're talking strengths finder because I have to maximize the two of you know, you see something and you want to make it better. It's the southern equivalent of I'm going to change him.
And that's not always a good thing if it involves people, but if it involves businesses, it can be a good thing. Once dated a girl who said that about a guy she dated, that was a jerk and she started dating again. So I'm going to change him. I said, well, God bless, Godspeed, hope, hope things work out for you. But exactly. But I think how you're approaching things is so systematic if you're not.
I definitely think in case you haven't realized what you're doing is not normal, how strategically clear you are about what you're doing. And I would imagine a lot of start ups could use that sort of wisdom because, again, these are things a lot of people are following these myths that it's you just jump in or it's just social media.
You just need a certain number of followers on Instagram. So get them to buy some followers. And some person overseas is going to like my page and I'm going get some fake comments. And now I'm an entrepreneur. No, they're not.
I don't think I really have a plan Wade I think it's more of leaning into curiosity is what I've been told is I'm just very curious and I'll experiment with things and things don't work or things do work. And I just dove in a little bit further and we'll see how far this takes and then we'll dove into it a little bit further. Just like the broadband, it's going to potentially put a business accelerator in our rural community.
So I was thinking of a business accelerator when I was trying to just go after and see if the community could agree on that. We need close broadband. It's just this curiosity. Well, where do we go from here? And same thing with LinkedIn. I think a lot of folks, there's an incredible amount of opportunity on LinkedIn to connect with other people and serve other people first before you call them and say, hey, I need a job, don't start with that.
Just say, hey, this is my story, what's your story? And then try to connect with that person and then stay in touch if you want to stay in touch with them. If not, no hard feelings. But, you know, I've met some really amazing people on LinkedIn and it's just basically like cold calling. And you can learn a lot about people who just pick up the phone and have a conversation and they don't have to be long.
This can be fifteen, twenty minute phone calls or you learn a lot about other people and you learn a lot about yourself, helps you redefine what your message is, where you are at your point in life. And yeah, it's it's I guess just keep trying and keep having that curiosity is what's got me here. So who knows where it's going next. That's the thing.
And that's what I've enjoyed as I've gotten into doing podcasts, interviews. I've really enjoyed this. And initially when I started, I thought, OK, everybody I talked to has to work a 4-Day Work Week otherwise, you know, the 4-Day Work Week God are going to punish me for having somebody that wasn't working in 4-Day Work Week or whatever it might be. And ironically, as you mentioned me, that you do actually do that. So I ask you to talk about that in a second.
One of the things, though, I think that you're doing that maybe I'll call it out. I think you already know it or maybe you don't. But it seems like you're making those sound decisions. You're not just flying by the seat of your pants. You're saying, OK, I've got my finances or, you know, I can afford this investment. I can afford this time investment. I can afford this money investment. So I'm going to take the next step.
No different than going on a first date or a second day. We don't have to name our grandkids if we've just met. But at the same time, you can take a step and say, OK. I'll take the step and I might lose the time, I might lose the money, but it seems to me you're taking sequential steps, but you're very curious. You mentioned to me when we talked that you felt you were an introvert. And one of the things I think most people say, how can an introvert meet so many people?
It sounds to me that a lot of it is that you are, like you said, naturally curious. And so you ask people questions and then you listen, which I'm still learning to do. It's some people don't think it's a choice that some people talk a lot. And as somebody who talks a lot, it's not. It's almost a compulsion sometimes in the sense that, well, this other person isn't talking and not the extreme, oh my God, I feel so socially uncomfortable.
But OK, they're talking. They're not talking. I guess I'll say something, maybe a little attention, maybe it'll make them laugh so it's not necessary from this bad, selfish place of all. They have nothing useful to say. So, darn it, I'm just going to talk. But it still ends up with a very similar concept. I finally learned this in coaching kids and in teaching that if you only always call on the kid that raises their hand, the rest of the class, they really miss out.
And I know in the group counseling we do to say, OK, now everybody except for that, those 20 percent that always raise their hand, what do you all have to say? And it might take some some time and some uncomfortable silence, but there's something that happens there. I really like I said, I'm intrigued by what you're doing as far as the listening to people in the curiosity, how does that, if you don't mind, share a little bit the LinkedIn.
So you connect with people and just say, I'd like to know what you're up to and then schedule time to talk with them and see how you can help them, because I guess that's because so many people are doing it wrong and everybody that's listening God if they're on LinkedIn. Harsono Oh my God, I've got like 50 examples of it being done wrong of high. Let's connect. And the next minute, here's my offer.
Here's this. Here's the payment plan. Here's the link. Here's the testimonial. It's like, wow, no, you don't drop a long paid sales letter into a LinkedIn chat. It's meant to be much lighter. How do you do that and and what has come from that and and then how do you know when it's perhaps not worth spending the time with the person who's made? Because I'm sure you're getting people that are connecting with you or attempting to connect with you.
How do you make that distinction and how is that similar to what you've learned just in business in general, not just LinkedIn?
OK, I want to also first share with you on there's power in that quiet. There's a lot of power in that quiet. And if you can get comfortable or I can get comfortable with the quiet, you gain a lot of power in a conversation. It shows confidence that shows that you're being present, that you're being mindful. And when you're creating influence, there is so much that can be gained. When you just allow for the quiet to take place, it allows people to complete their thoughts.
They can raise a concern that nobody had thought about, or better yet, they raise a concern that maybe seems crazy, but it triggers something else and somebody else who now is solving a problem that we didn't anticipate.
And then and selling, you know, they always say that the first person who speaks loses. So, you know, sometimes you just got to put put the quiet out there and be OK with it and let that peace take take place. So a lot of power is in that quiet. And so sometimes I'm good at it and sometimes I just get so excited. I want to talk all day.
Oh, that's true of parenting, too. There's a lot of power in the quiet with the teenagers as opposed to trying to fight them. And because they've got more energy than you just had to throw that on because we're not your 11 year old. I'm still I'm saying it's more of a mantra for myself. Sorry, you got to have. No, you're totally right.
You're totally right. And I'm trying to be quiet with my eight year old because I know he'll tell me stuff, but I just got to be quiet for him to be able to do it.
So anyway, so with LinkedIn and in the process, again, all the stuff that I'm doing is a very calculated risk. These aren't big changes. It's a test things a little bit.
So a few years before I left the bank, I decided that I would reach out to people on LinkedIn and you can do data mining on LinkedIn. That's for free. And you can do searches for certain people and you can find people that you want to work with. So maybe you want to connect with people within your geographical area. Maybe you want to work with H.R. directors, or maybe you want to work with head of sales or you want to work with these people with job titles.
You can do some of these searches on LinkedIn and you can also see on LinkedIn how often people are posting. So if they're active or if they just set up their resume and turned it off, I think the biggest misconception for LinkedIn is people think it's a place for your resume and it's not.
And so while I was still working for the bank and travel, 60 percent of the time, I would come out on the weekends and figure out. I mean, I just have made up my mind. I got to figure out how to connect with other people because that's how I'm learning about new ideas that I can share with people.
And when I lead with value and I lead with insights, that's how people want to come back and talk to me because they're like, well, you're willing to go out there, learn some stuff.
What do you learn now? So then, you know, I'll share it with them.
So I made a bunch of mistakes on LinkedIn, and I've got it down to a process where I would send out invitations to about one hundred people on a Saturday, which was a lot because in the beginning I was tailoring it to say, hey, Wade saw your you know, we're both of the Eastern Time zone and, you know, you left corporate America and I'm thinking about it or whatever it is.
And I would write these very tailored messages and I'd always close with thank you for considering to connect. And I still use that line because they can choose whether or not they want to connect.
And so then what I have track everything is kind of crazy. So I'd send out one hundred invitations within two or three days. I would see that sixty percent accepted the invitation, which was great. So then on the next weekend I'd send out one hundred more invitations and and I'd figure out how to whittle down this message to where it was effective.
And I could use a little bit more broadly and still effectively and then within I don't know, the next five to seven days I would come back and say, you know, would you like to set up a call? I'm always interested in hearing what other people are working on and maybe we can help each other.
And I just left it at that and probably about another twenty percent would take a phone call from me. And the calls, you know, I'd schedule while I was in the car because I'd have twenty minutes, you know, to drive. I have a good hour commute both way so I could schedule early in the morning, late at night, whatever, and just pick it up when you're traveling. There is a lot of freedom and traveling because you're away from the house and the chores and all that stuff so you can knock a lot out.
So I would start taking vocal. And, you know, didn't have anything to offer, but I just said, hey, I work for a bank right now, this is what I'm doing, and this is kind of what I'm learning right now.
One guy I talked to about block chain, I had no idea about watching. It was awesome. Talk to him all the way to Savannah, Georgia, and learned about Block Chain. And I thought, this is phenomenal. More people need to know about it. So I just learned about it. He shared papers with me and books for just someone that is not smart when it comes to watching could learn about.
And then I could start interjecting that at meetings because maybe this is the future of online. Maybe this is the next year wire process. Maybe this is the next Venmo. There's there's a lot of block times, not just money, it's about information transfer and when you start thinking about that, but they think it's going to be money. But it's not money. It's exchanging data in a very secure way. That is going to be really hard to break into.
Not impossible, but a lot harder than some other ways of doing it today. So I learned about that.
And then just staying in touch with people. And, you know, in banking, we talked about the two two, two two days after you bring in a new customer touch base, make sure they have what they need two weeks after they come in, just go back to make sure that everything's going OK. Is there anything we can do better next time when we are more the next client and then two months afterwards, circle back and and follow up and say, OK, we we set you up on X, Y, Z.
Remember, you were a little interested. One, two, three. You're like, oh yeah. Well it's been two months. You want to talk about it. So it's these, you know, leading with insights and just helping somebody before you help yourself. So that's a little bit about the LinkedIn process. And it takes a bunch of time and it does take effort and you do have to go online and do a little research before you meet somebody.
And when you do take that time, oh, my gosh, it is beautiful because they're so excited that somebody took time to learn about them and it's all about them. And you can find out what are you struggling with right now?
And they're like, oh, I'm trying to get into I want to grow my sales team in California like, oh my God, I just talked to someone yesterday. He's looking for a job.
He's in California. I mean, I don't know if you want to connect with them. They're like, yeah, that'd be great. So then I just have a connection introduction and let it be so, you know, just connecting people, listening to people leading within sight. A lot of times when I was at the bank, I sent emails that are about ideas, sharing, and I would just say ideas sharing. I'm not asking for anything.
But here is block chain in three sentences. And if you want to know more, here's the full article, or here's what the future of farming looks like in the Midwest. And here's what it means to you living in the Southeast. So here's three sentences to recap.
Here's the full article if you want more.
Oh, yeah. Yeah. So and I'm using that same process today with my newsletters that I send out. It's whatever it is I'm learning right now about leadership development or business development or influence or the future of where this workplace is going to go because nobody really knows what we're getting into. But you're always going to need leaders. You don't always the managers, but you need leaders and you need to keep growing your business. You've got to keep paying your bills.
So I'm compiling all this research and I just kind of put out a few thoughts, put it in a newsletter, and then I posted on my website. So if you want to know more, it's out there. And but all the stuff is like slow and painful. Wade slow and painful. Every day. I'm doing a little bit. And then as I look back at my website, I'm like, oh, I remember when I just had three articles out there and now I've got twelve and even twelve.
Doesn't sound like much, but if I do a little bit every week, I'm convinced something good is going to happen and I get awesome.
All right. So I have one last question that I think is actually going to tie in a lot of it. You seem to very much trust the process. You've said that different times, you seem to kind of trust. The universe, the world, where does faith play a part in your process without, you know, not necessarily a specific religion, but the faith of, you know, you trusting in or how does that play a part to whatever part you want to share?
Because I know a lot of people sometimes dismiss it or they get caught and well, I'm this denomination or that denomination, and I'm not even looking, you know, not not not a testimony, but just in general, your trust that, you know, it sounds like you trust the good things will happen if you invest in people. You seem to believe that people are worth investing in. What are some of those things? You know, how is the faith play a part in that?
And how is that not only paid off for you in financially, but as far as happiness and contentment with what you do? It's a really good question. I was raised in an Episcopalian church and we went to church every Sunday, but yet we left after communion so we could beat the traffic. So my father was Catholic. So I feel like we still have that in there. So we didn't really get to Sunday school, but we had the consistency of going.
And as I raise, you know, my husband, I raise our son. You know, I didn't have great memories of going to church and I feel bad about that.
But I want my son to be able to have a good experience and understand how faith can be there and support you, because we all find dark times in life and knowing that consistency is there and knowing that that faith was there, it helped me a lot.
It's not something I talk a lot about. I know of a church painting in the background, but this is all nothing but artwork that we do at a local art store. And I just like it.
So, gosh, I believe in karma because I've got plenty of stories of how karma has come and it has gone.
And anyway, karma's big deal.
I think, you know, just leave it up to I believe in God and I think you leave it up to him.
And every single time I think I got a plan, I swear he's laughing and he's like, yeah, that's not gonna happen.
So whenever I do have a plan, it's kind of like if we're going to see if it's going to work. Because what I have learned is I think I'm going to I'm going to go down this path. And at the end, I'm not where I thought I was, but I was better than what I thought I was going to have. But I could never have told you that that's what was going to happen.
So I think I'm definitely a recovering perfectionist and I want everything to be perfect and then a process, blah, blah, blah. And what I'm learning is do the best I can for today. And then tomorrow we're going to figure out, we're going to reassess where do we need to go, what decision can we make that's going to be in a positive direction. And then let's follow that for the day and. Give peace to some of this stuff and let it marinate, because a lot happens when things can just marinate and better options might pop out of it.
But, you know, do the do the best that I can right now and continue to be curious and continue to pick it up the next day and know.
I guess I've been lucky or blessed in the sense that I thought I was going to get X, but I've ended up with Y, didn't know why I was going to happen. But why is so much better than X most days?
And I'm extremely grateful for ending up with where we are right now. That's awesome.
Thank you. All right, so where can people find out about your work or working to connect with you or find out more about you?
So the easiest place you can go to my Web site or you can go to LinkedIn and my website is Catherine Cantey h e r i n e and NCA in t e y dotcom. And as a startup, you know, read enough books and like heck, I could do my own Web site.
So if it's not beautiful marketing, whatever, but I've created my own website, so that's out there. Catherine Cantey dot com LinkedIn is super easy. Just go to LinkedIn and find me at Catherine Cantey and I should go.
Awesome. Thank you so much. I'm looking forward to seeing more of the work you're doing because I think you're doing really fundamentally sound stuff. I'm really excited. I'm starting to see a lot more people that are. Or that haven't experienced that they've been in the brick and mortar world for 10 to 20 years and now coming out to be entrepreneurs or they've come from there because there's a certain level of wisdom that's missing from the Internet, only entrepreneurs. And that's not a knock.
But there's a certain, at least in my experience, there's a certain. Consistency, slowness, snail maleness, if that's a word that you get used to when you work with people in bricks and buildings and then that, you know, it takes a long time to turn a big ship, that that's I mean, in any corporation, you're going to hear that sad or something like that. And knowing that, yeah, that's that's what people are about.
And that's, you know, that's a lot of the stuff that's true. As the technology changes in this day and Snapchat and it's tick tock and whatever else, that there's a lot of that and there's a lot of wisdom that. So thank you for sharing your insights with us. For those of you who are younger and listening, this what you said is true just about I can't think of a thing you said that I would say nope, has not been my experience and I'm old, so you know that it holds if I'm not not quite a boomer for those who use those distinctions.
But anyway, thank you so much. And to those you're listening again, check out our stuff. You'll see if you're listening. There's also on the blog or in the show, notes will be the links as well. And as always, look for helping you help more people make more money and less time. Do what you do best so you can better enjoy your family, your friends in your life. Thanks for listening.
Catherine is a tenacious connector and recovering banker.
She is a leadership coach helping high potential managers turn into senior leaders.
Catherine’s goal is to partner with individuals and communities to create positive and measurable change.
She brings more than 20 years of professional experience in sales, consulting and coaching with focus on results.
Catherine is a wife and mom who about closing the broadband gaps in rural communities.