Consider the Wildflowers

037. Katherine Corden: The importance of Community for Business Growth.

March 23, 2023 Katherine Corden
037. Katherine Corden: The importance of Community for Business Growth.
Consider the Wildflowers
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Consider the Wildflowers
037. Katherine Corden: The importance of Community for Business Growth.
Mar 23, 2023
Katherine Corden

Whether sitting together over coffee or catching up in DMs, community can come in so many forms. Long gone are the days of catching up in the break room. For many of us, our days are spent behind the computer screen with little human interaction. Or maybe, like today’s guest, it looked like spending her days alone painting in her home studio. So much of entrepreneurship can be solitary. 

Yet community, better yet relationships, is the secret weapon behind my own business growth, and the growth of so many of the big name entrepreneurs I’ve worked with. And it was no different for today’s guest, artist Katherine Corden. In our conversation, she shares how seeing other artists on instagram was the initial spark that helped her believe she could actually make a career out of doing art. She goes on to share the impact education and community has had for the continued growth of her company. 

Meet my friend and my student, Katherine Corden. 


Show Notes Transcript

Whether sitting together over coffee or catching up in DMs, community can come in so many forms. Long gone are the days of catching up in the break room. For many of us, our days are spent behind the computer screen with little human interaction. Or maybe, like today’s guest, it looked like spending her days alone painting in her home studio. So much of entrepreneurship can be solitary. 

Yet community, better yet relationships, is the secret weapon behind my own business growth, and the growth of so many of the big name entrepreneurs I’ve worked with. And it was no different for today’s guest, artist Katherine Corden. In our conversation, she shares how seeing other artists on instagram was the initial spark that helped her believe she could actually make a career out of doing art. She goes on to share the impact education and community has had for the continued growth of her company. 

Meet my friend and my student, Katherine Corden. 


Katherine Corden (00:00):

At that point, Instagram was being used more and more I think by people to market themselves and for the first time ever, I started seeing artists on Instagram that were actually making a living and not just artists that were making a living, but they were young women artists that looked like they were my age, which up until that point, the only time I'd seen artists was like in galleries that were older adults that kind of felt unrelatable. Shanna Skidmore (00:33):

You're listening to Consider the Wildflowers the podcast episode 37, whether sitting together over coffee or catching up in dms community can come in so many different forms. Long gone are the days of catching up in the break room. For many of us, our days are spent behind the computer screen with little human interaction or maybe like today's guest, it looks like spending her days alone painting in her home studio. So much of entrepreneurship can be solitary yet community. Better yet, relationships is the secret weapon behind my own business growth and the growth of so many of the big name entrepreneurs I've worked with, and it was no different for today's guest artist Katherine Corden. In our conversation, she shares how seeing other artists on Instagram was the initial spark that helped her believe she could actually make a career out of doing art. She goes on to share the impact education and community has had for the continued growth of her company.
Meet my friend and student Katherine Cordon. If you dig professional bios, here goes Katherine Cordon Bellisario is a fine artist living in Traverse City, Michigan with her husband and two young children. In her work, she is best known for her unique expression of the figure and use of color. She attributes much of her influence to her art teaching mother who started her in early art classes, as well as her background in studying anatomy while pursuing her first career as a physical therapist. Her lifestyle and creative work have blended over the years and much like mixed paint, the two have become inseparable. Katherine's work can now be found in private collections and galleries throughout the country. Okay, formal introductions over, let's dive in. Hey, it's Shanna and this is Consider the Wildflowers, the podcast. For the past 15 plus years, I've had the honor to hear thousands of stories from entrepreneurs around the world.
As a former Fortune 100 financial advisor, turn business consultant, I have a unique opportunity to see the real behind the highlight reel. I'm talking profit and loss statements, unpaid taxes, moments of burnout, and those of utter victory or as my husband says, the content everyone is wondering but not many are talking about. And now I'm bringing these private conversations to you. Hear the untold stories of how industry leaders, founders, and up and coming entrepreneurs got their start, the experiences that shape them and the journey to building the brands they have today. Stories that will inspire and reignite encourage to redefine success and build a life in business on your own terms. Welcome Wildflower. I'm so glad you're here. Hey Catherine, I'm so excited to have you on the show and to catch up because it's been too long. Welcome. Katherine Corden (03:00):

Thank you so much for having me, Shanna. I know we've been trying to do this for a while, so thank you for your patience and I can Shanna Skidmore (03:08):

Toddler life. Katherine Corden (03:09):

I know. Oh my gosh, yeah, we will definitely get into that. I'm excited to know that we're in the same season right now with your little baby at home too. Shanna Skidmore (03:19):

I know so many things. Okay, let's try to rack our brains and figure out, so you took the blueprint model in 2018 Katherine Corden (03:30):

Was Yes, 2018 Shanna Skidmore (03:33):

And you were still working? Katherine Corden (03:35):

I was working as a physical therapist and I was planning my wedding and I was trying to paint commissions and I was taking your course. That's how I remember it was 2018 because I was like just always doing something every single hour of the day. Shanna Skidmore (03:53):

I mean, so much life change was happening or going on. Katherine Corden (03:57):

I know. I was just kind of thinking about back to those years in preparation to talk today and I think I was probably like, I must have been 25. I'm so bad at fast math, so 25 ish at the time, so I had a lot of energy. Shanna Skidmore (04:15):

Exactly. How long had you been working in physical therapy? Katherine Corden (04:19):

So my physical therapy art career is so interesting because I graduated from physical therapy school in 2016, and that was the same year that I started my website and started posting artwork on Instagram. Actually, I was waiting to start my full-time job at the hospital I was working at in Chicago, and I had already taken the physical therapy board exam and I had three months where I had nothing to do, which most people would probably be relaxing, soaking up their summer before working, and I kind of just gravitated towards getting back into artwork again, which had been something that I had been really passionate about my whole life. Yeah, so 2016 I started, it was a side hustle at which I feel like most millennials that time that were post-grad with student loans and had no money. A lot of millennials, I felt like, at least in my life in Chicago, had some sort of side hustle they were working. So yeah, that's when I started 2016. Shanna Skidmore (05:33):

Did you just love art? Has that Al, you said that's always been kind of a part of your life. Did you want it to become a business? Tell me about your thought processes there because clearly you went to school for physical therapy, you pursued that, you got certified and that I'm so interested to see how both of those came along together. Katherine Corden (05:54):

So I have, art has always been a really big part of my life. My mom is an art teacher and my dad also is very creative. His parents actually also owned their own business. His father was a chocolate tier and had his own candy shop and was just a very creative person. He taught my dad how to draw and work with his hands. So I think my dad, when my dad became a parent also really took that into his own life, parenting his own kids. So we grew up, my sister and I in a very creatively supported household. There were always art supplies within reach and it started to become a really big part of my identity when I started going to school. I just loved art class. I took as many art classes as possible and when I was in high school, I mean I was also lucky that we went to a public school system that had great art teachers and a great art program.
So I just really loved that world of escaping to the art class. Well, my junior year of high school, when you're applying to colleges, it was 2008 and I grew up in the Detroit suburbs and Detroit got ri hit. I mean, everywhere got hit hard by the recession, but I think living in the Detroit area in 2008, you were really seeing it firsthand how it was impacting people's lives and a lot of my friends' parents were losing their jobs. My older cousin who was graduating from the University of Michigan couldn't find a job after graduation and people were definitely making decisions In my small world, a lot of people were making decisions I think that were based in fear and I definitely felt that myself. I, up until that point, had always thought I would pursue a creative career in some capacity. Maybe I would go to art school, maybe I would go do something in English or writing or something that was a little bit more creative and then kind of got overcome by fear. And I think the people that were mentoring me at the time, just the adults in my life also were trying to protect me and give me guidance that was going towards something a little bit more stable.
I mean, you can't really blame anybody. I think I've struggled with regretting not going to art school a lot throughout my life, but if you, I try to be compassionate to that person now that 16 year old for pursuing the path that I did anyways and going to physical therapy, going to that route. I mean, I still don't really have regrets. I had a great experience going. I ended up going to the University of Michigan for my undergrad degree and then went straight to physical therapy school from there in Chicago, I went to Northwestern for physical therapy school. And as I'm sure we'll kind of cover in our conversation, I think there were things about the path that I did choose that all sort of led me to where I am today. Shanna Skidmore (09:20):

Yeah. Oh, isn't that so true? I always, looking back, you can see why all those things make sense. I mean, people hear me joke about this. I think I say this in every episode, but it's like I struggled so much with the fact that I have a psychology degree and a finance degree and an art degree, and now it's like, well, that makes sense. Yeah, that's exactly what I do every single day. It's behavioral finance. I think all entrepreneurs and all of us are creative. We were creative to be creative and I just was the term creative entrepreneur. I don't always think people resonate with, but it's so many people, business owners are all creative. So it all makes sense looking back. So while you're getting your degree in physical therapy, you have this love of art and did you think I want to own my own business? I mean, that is so cool that your grandfather was a chocolatier. I'm amazed by this. That makes me so happy. Did you know that you wanted to be a business owner or did you just need that creative outlet? Katherine Corden (10:23):

I think I just needed that creative outlet. I never really owning a business never really crossed my mind. I think looking back mean in addition to going to art school, I have always had this FOMO of I miss this opportunity to just live in the art world and art classroom for four years straight. I also think I would've really enjoyed business, but at the time it definitely is not anything that ever crossed my mind. I actually, in the three months between undergrad and grad school, I lived in northern Michigan and worked at a interior design store with interior designers who were good family friends. And I had a wonderful time that year and it was something I'd always been interested in was design. At the time blogs were starting to come out and I loved looking at Design sponge and looking at all these blogs for inspiration for decorating my dorm or my tiny Chicago apartment.
And I moved to Chicago and obviously had been a student, didn't have any money, was about to go do more school and not have any money. So I would paint to decorate the walls in our apartment. I lived with two other girls and I think, yeah, it was like my paintings and then photos that we had were everything that was on our walls. And then I had used my discount at the design store that summer to get all my furniture, a lot of which I still have. And I started painting at that point and people would start to get interested in it. Some of our friends would come over to our apartment and ask if I would paint them a painting and they would commission me for something, which is not a word that I had ever even heard before. So what is a commission?
They just asked me to paint something for their house or their apartment. And then I started, like I said, that after physical therapy school ended and I wasn't studying anymore, I actually had some free time. And at that point Instagram was being used more and more I think by people to market themselves. And for the first time ever, I started seeing artists on Instagram that we're actually making a living and not just artists that were making a living, but they were young women artists that looked like they were my age, which up until that point, the only time I'd seen artists was in galleries that were older adults that kind of felt unrelatable. Yeah. So it just sorted organically happening. I was working as a physical therapist in Chicago and started selling my paintings, and as opportunities kept coming towards me, I started thinking like, huh, maybe I can actually make money from this.
Or maybe it has some sort of a future. And my days at the hospital I would just think about painting all day, which I would feel I would definitely have a guilt about that because I'd been going to school for this for so long and I couldn't help but those fantasies and of what my business could be and they just would creep in all day long. And I think it's hard to ignore. I don't know whether that's like God or the universe or something was telling me I needed to keep pursuing that journey. And I think I've just continued to follow those little God winks throughout the course of this whole career. Shanna Skidmore (14:20):

Yeah. So one of the biggest pushbacks I would say, or hesitations I hear from entrepreneurs looking to invest particularly in the blueprint model which you have taken, which is my business finance course that am I too early in business. So I would love to hear from you, Catherine, how did we get connected and why did you decide to invest in the blueprint model literally in the beginning days of your business? Katherine Corden (14:54):

Yeah, I think looking back, Shannon, I feel so lucky that I don't even remember how I found you. It might have been through Brit bass because I took your course that specifically was with her the blueprint model with Britt's Shanna Skidmore (15:11):

Bonuses. Yeah, Katherine Corden (15:12):

Bonuses, exactly. And I saved, I think I was only a year into my business at that point. And to be honest, I hadn't even registered my business yet. I was still very early stages, but I had already gone through a tax season and I remember being at the hospital and my accountant called me while I was on my lunch break and was like, Catherine, I need you to tell me I don't understand what your Excel spreadsheet is saying.
And I was like, I'm so sorry. I don't know. I don't really know how to explain it to you. I don't know what system I had used, but from that point on, I was like, I need to figure out if this is even a feasible career option for me because I love this so much, but I have no idea how to make, I know how to paint, but I have no idea how to make a living or just make this sustainable. And then I feel like I just found your course at this really perfect time where I could afford to invest in it because I had my full-time job still. Yeah.
Which was, I mean, such a gift from having this physical therapy career as we'll get to. I'm sure it's been a really slow, safe transition for me, which has been really wonderful, but I have just saved so much time figuring out how to price my work, how to save for taxes, how to budget, and just think about money and think about my future. I think doing it early on saved me so much money and so much time in just problem solving. Yeah. I mean simple things. I remember just learning just simple things. Where should I get shipping supplies from? And Brett had shared where she orders her shipping supplies from, and at the time I was just using old boxes mean who knows where I was getting boxes from. I don't even, probably just old boxes from deliveries that I haven. Shanna Skidmore (17:25):

Yeah. Yeah. It's so helpful to have that information and on the business side and to learn. I mean, isn't it, I think it's so neat now that there's a lot more opportunities to learn when you're just getting started or any stage in your business because people are more so openly sharing that. And I love when you took the blooper model. I remember, Catherine, that you were not planning to leave your physical therapy job because you wanted to maintain your licensing. And I would just love to hear from 2018 over the next few years how your art business grew and how you said you slowly transitioned. I mean, it was nice for you to have that full-time job. I would just love to hear about the growth and then that transition. Katherine Corden (18:14):

Yeah, I think so. I've really, I think initially I was resentful that I hadn't gone to art school and then had chosen physical therapy instead. Because I had mentioned before, I made that decision out of fear, and as it turned out, it became such a gift to have that super stable career to kind of just help launch this other pursuit. For the first two years or two and a half years, I was working full-time at my physical therapy job, and I had already taken your course, and then my husband and I got married and we were moving to Wisconsin just for a year while he pursued a residency in physical therapy. So we also met in physical therapy school. So he always jokes with me. Something good came out of physical therapist.
I mean, truly, I don't know. He's the most supportive husband and I don't know where, I mean, if I didn't go on that path, who knows where I would be right now. But anyways, so we went to Wisconsin for a year and we knew we were not going to stay there long term. So he was taking a pay cut from his job to pursue this residency. And we kind of thought, well, we're not even going to be here for a full year. What if I do a PRN position? Even almost felt like it would be hard to get a job and tell them, yeah, I would like a full-time job here, but I'm also going to be leaving in nine months.
So I got a PRN position, which is one of the, I realize as someone who works in healthcare, that's a nice perk, which PRN means as needed a per diem position. So in Wisconsin, I was lucky that that position, you get paid time and a half for those positions. So I covered for somebody's maternity leave for three months, and then I was working weekends when I wasn't doing the maternity leave throughout that year. But then I had several months on either end of that where I could just kind of pursue my art and figure out I was giving myself a year. We decided to figure out can I make this sustainable? If not, we're going to move somewhere else in a year and I will get a full-time job at that point. So it was a really nice kind of way to test the waters.
And I think this was a year that was really pivotal in just showing myself or proving to myself that I could make this work. So I had joined your blueprint model and I also, when we moved to Wisconsin on a whim, I think there was two hours left in her application period, but I applied to Emily Jeff's mastermind and I got accepted, and I remember getting that email being like, oh my gosh, I, I had submitted it on an application and then forgot about it. And I was like, oh, wow, this is so encouraging that someone like Emily Jeffs believes in my work enough to accept me to her mastermind group. And I said yes to that. Well, that year in itself just kind of introduced me to such a huge community of artists that I really hadn't been around since I was in high school, and these were working artists that were serious about the work that they were doing. And that was huge, huge for me. I mean, I had up until that point, only been with people pursuing the sciences and very traditional structured careers. And having that community just helped me navigate so many of those challenges in the early days of business, answered so many questions and just made me feel supported and not alone in otherwise very solitary career at times. Shanna Skidmore (22:30):

Yeah. What would you say, Catherine, that you saw success early on? Was it pricing well or marketing? Well, I mean, what would you say, other than having incredible community it sounds like, and being with people who were taking themselves and their art to a higher level, what would you say went really well to grow your company? Katherine Corden (23:00):

Yeah, one of the things that came the most naturally to me, I think was marketing. I learned a lot from you about pricing that definitely did not, the financial side of things did not come easily to me, but I think I've always really been able to connect to other people. And I'm a seven on the Enneagram. I know, I remember being at your blueprint summit and everybody was talking about the Enneagram, so I know.
But one of the things that I love about artwork is that it's, for me and the work that I create is it's very much telling a story and it's often inspired by in the first place. And I think I was always trying to, and maybe it's because I was unconsciously searching for those connections of other people in the art world, but I was always looking for how could I work with other people? How can I optimize this? How can I make this even more fun than it already is? And working with other artists has really been one of the best parts, or not even other artists, but just other creative people who love art has been one of the best parts of my job. And several of the series and collections that I've made have been with other artists or including other people telling a story about other people. And people have definitely, I mean, a lot of the feedback I get from the paintings I make is that people see themselves in the work or they resonate with the story that we're telling. And that definitely has been just, I think a common thread that has continued to attract people to what I'm doing, or people want to reach out and do something together, which has been really fun. Shanna Skidmore (25:04):

I love that. And when would you say, Catherine, that you were like, I am taking this art, this is what I'm pursuing, feeling, letting the physical therapy side go, or maybe you still maintain your license? When did you feel like art was your future? Katherine Corden (25:23):

So we were living in Wisconsin and then we moved to Traverse City, Michigan, which is where I'm at right now. And I still was Shannon. I feel like I actually, I just started seeing a therapist, but I should have been seeing a therapist for the past four years because this has just been something that I constantly was struggling with. And my poor husband has just had so many conversations with me about it. But I really, really struggled with trusting myself enough to let go of that physical therapy job. And it didn't. It wasn't because I wasn't financially doing well as an artist. I think it was so much my ego and just having spent this time studying for this career and letting it go has just been a constant battle for me. But when we moved to Traverse City, I started filling in, again, not as a full-time therapist.
I haven't not gotten a full-time job in physical therapy since my first job actually. But I started working PRN again and filling in for maternity leaves and filling in for when they were looking for full-time employees and hadn't found anyone yet. And I did that up until 2020 in March. So when we moved to Traverse City, I actually found a studio here and I was working out of a studio but still working as a physical therapist, pretty much like dividing my time half and half. And then in 20 March of 2020, my clinic told me the clinic was shutting down. So my clinic told me, we don't need you to come in, which was scary to some extent because my husband's also a physical therapist and they were also telling him that he didn't need to come in. But thankfully, I still had my art career and that year was the best year of my art business up until that point, which was wild.
And yeah, I did end up going back into work later that fall as a physical therapist just working I think two days a week. And then even since we had my daughter, I would still work on the weekends just at this point it was more so just to keep my skills up. I don't making anything, I've been making more money from my art business than physical therapy and now am no longer. Now that we have two kids at home, it's been a lot easier for me to let go of physical therapy partly just because I don't have any time. Shanna Skidmore (28:18):

You're right to be Katherine Corden (28:19):

Bring everything. Yeah. Shanna Skidmore (28:21):

Oh, it's so much. I like Katherine, how you brought up though, so many people I hear from say they would feel comfortable leaving their full-time position when they replaced their corporate salary. It's not often we get to hear you were making the money. It wasn't that you weren't making money with your art career, it was that you were struggling to let go of the time. It sounds like that you had invested in pursuing this degree in physical therapy and the time that was in it. And that's such an interesting perspective. I'm so grateful that you shared that. I would love for you to share more about becoming a mom and how that has impacted the growth of your art business and what you kind of foresee going forward now that you have two little ones at home. Katherine Corden (29:13):

Becoming a parent has really kind of just emphasized where I want to spend my time and what's important, and I've definitely kind of reimagined, I think this is the benefit of working for yourself is being able to redesign my business model to accommodate what I need for my life right now. And specifically some things that I've done which have made a difference is I've started working with galleries the past couple years. And as much as I love the marketing aspect of business and doing that storytelling of what my work is about, being able to outsource that essentially to these galleries has given me a lot more time to just be painting when I'm at the studio and giving me more time to paint and also kind of reach a new audience with my work. And I've like, fortunately, this is all part of the kismat, everything that's happened since we've moving to Traverse City, but there's a fine art printer in my studio building and I've built a really great relationship with them and they take care of printing all of my prints and shipping them all out for me.
So without having to hire anybody, I've been able to outsource a huge part of my business. I mean, my print sales in my business are probably half of my art revenue every year. And so that's been a great way as a mom, I can submit those orders from my house when I'm at home with my kids during the day and I don't have to worry about print fulfillment, which is wonderful. And then just figuring out too, knowing that this season, specifically being a mom to two very little kids, and I know you talk a lot about this, Shannon, is defining what your enough number is, specifically how much money do you need to be bringing in? And my husband and I talk about this a lot, and we do have financial goals that we have. We have a really old house that we're trying to make renovations on, but also knowing that this season of life when our kids are this little and not in school is such a short time in our lives. So really getting picky on what I'm saying yes to and what I'm saying no to, since having kids I no longer take on commissions, which has just helped me really focus on the parts in my business that are going to keep moving my business forward and keep helping it grow and then prioritizing when I'm not doing that, then I'm at home with my family. Shanna Skidmore (32:03):

Yeah. Would you say, Catherine, this is totally not a plug for Shannon, but taking the education you have the blueprint model and no focuses on this. I'm sure Emily, Jeffs and her mastermind is so helpful, but being equipped with those financial numbers, what do I need to make? How much am I pricing? So early on in your business almost has enabled you to confidently make these shifts and changes. I just feel this sense of calm almost with you, Kathryn. You have two littles at home focused on the parts of your business that are working for the season. You let go of commissions when it's not working for the season. I just feel, would you say that getting that information early on, knowing your pricing, knowing what you need to make understanding budgeting has given you that kind of just calmness as you've grown and changed and had your babies and everything shifted? Katherine Corden (33:07):

Oh, completely. I mean, I think I know exactly how much money we have in our savings account. I check, I think when I first graduated from school, well, first of all, I went to school for a science career. So we had no training in finance and it's not something I had really learned growing up too much. And so I definitely had an avoidant mindset when it came to finances. And now I check my bank accounts and our savings accounts all the time. My husband and we have a money date, which I talk Shannon, I love calling it a money date. And so many people are like, what's a money date? And I'm like, wait, what do you mean? What's a money date? Money Shanna Skidmore (33:53):

Date? Katherine Corden (33:55):

But even my studio mate, whose studio is next to mine, her and her husband do them now because I told her about it. I love that. But for anybody who doesn't know Shannon's money dates is how you reframe or rebrand your budgeting night with your partner or yourself. Shanna Skidmore (34:12):

Yeah, go your business. Katherine Corden (34:15):

But that has given us so much just space and freedom where we confidently know how much money we're putting into savings each month and how much money I'm making from my business. And looking back, I love looking back each quarter and each year to see what went well, what didn't go well. And having those numbers too, just to compare is, I know one of the most empowering things is every year my business has, I've been able to make more and more money from my business, even with growing a family, which has been, I mean, that's just given me so much confidence too. My husband was saying the other night, he's like, you have a stable career, Catherine. This isn't going to just dissolve overnight. I've diversified my business and there's proof in these numbers for the past seven years that it's is continuing to grow each year.
And I mean, this past year I had our son in August and our daughter just turned two and I was keeping, it's actually a new thing I did this year is in my planner. I think you had taught us to do this, Shanna, but I did it for the first time this year where I clocked in and out so that I could track my hours every day. And then I could compare that to my numbers too, to kind of really get granular and say like, well, how much money am I making per working hour? Yes. Shanna Skidmore (35:49):

Yeah. Katherine Corden (35:49):

I was in my studio working less than 20 hours a week and my business still brought in six figures, which was just, so that was really encouraging to see those numbers and definitely helps me make more confident decisions. Shanna Skidmore (36:08):

Yeah, I love that. Yes. I'm a huge advocate for tracking your time. It gives me so much data and understanding pricing and even revenue. And so I've talked a lot over the years about sometimes we focus so much on growth being a top level kind of revenue number, how much did you make in sales? But if you take a maternity leave or an extended period of time off or make a big change, your revenue could go down. But this actually, it's so interesting you said this because I calculated this number as well this year, which I don't think I had ever done to this detail of looking at how many hours was I working on average each week and then what was my hourly pay per hour. And that was so encouraging to see, and especially in this season because I'm right there with you. I'm averaging around 20 hours or less a week, and you just have to be so strategic and intentional with your time. And so I loved getting to see, okay, I'm going to break this down to my hourly wage and now start gauging growth upon that each year because I'm with you and spending this time with Madeline while she is teeny, and I'm grateful for that privilege. But yeah, just fewer hours to give. Katherine Corden (37:30):

Totally. I think that helps put things in perspective too, because it is easy to look, I mean, I so admire you for not having social media, but it is so hard sometimes to look at what someone else is doing and their business is exploding and they have young kids at home. It's actually helped me though to talk to some other peers of mine and their kids are in daycare all day long, or their kids are older and they're in school. And it's just helped me to focus on myself and what is important for our family right now and where we are. And knowing what that hourly rate is for myself also gives me that just knowledge that if I needed to make more money, I could work more hours a week and we could do that. And someone even told me, I remind this to myself a lot too. I mean, right now we are hitting that enough number for our family, but when we have bigger savings goals and dreams of ours, someone had told me before, you can always make more money, which is that abundance mindset. But yeah, like you said, this is such a short time where we have these little kids at home and they will be in school all day long at some point in Shanna Skidmore (38:55):

Yes. How far apart are your kids? Katherine Corden (38:57):

They are 19 months apart. Shanna Skidmore (39:00):

Okay. That's pretty close. Katherine Corden (39:03):

It is wild right now. Hopefully I'm making sense on this interview because I'm a little sleep deprived at the moment, but you're Shanna Skidmore (39:11):

Doing great, mama. Yes. I don't have Instagram, so I can't, it's very restrictive of what I can see. But I think I saw a post from your website where you said your daughter is your oldest, right? Yes. Doing imaginative, imaginative play. Yes. And how old is she? Katherine Corden (39:31):

She just turned two in January. Shanna Skidmore (39:34):

Okay. Yeah. So Madeline turns two in March and she is getting to where she puts her babies to sleep and she pat, well, she's patted them for a long time and I was just writing my journal how sweet it is to see her imagination, and it's just every night now she has to put all of her babies to bed and it's the cutest thing ever. So I'm want to move into kind of a quick fire round. This has been so fun just to get to catch up with you. And I think I hope encouraging for anyone listening just permission to take journey at your own pace. And I think there's this, I don't know if it's a stigma, that's probably not the right word, even about maintaining your full-time job or keeping that corporate position for a while just to know that's okay and to find entrepreneurship at your own pace. So I think you've given a lot of people encouragement and permission, so thank you for sharing your story. But before I go into a quick part round, I always like to ask, what would you say is the best thing you have learned about money? Katherine Corden (40:40):

I think kind of what I said before, I guess, is you taught me how to define that enough number for you, which I think has really helped in this season of life specifically because it is so easy to just want to make more and more and more and more. And especially I think my personality type two is like I see an opportunity and I want to say yes, and then my brain kind of spins into all these different things that can come of that and really slowing down and knowing this is enough for right now and I'm hitting that number for what our family really needs, and now it's four o'clock and I can go home and I can eat dinner with my family and I don't have to work until 9:00 PM That has been, and it's not something that's easy to do, but it's a constant practice of remembering what that enough is, and that enough number is constantly evolving. So knowing that I can just use that to help guide me how to run my business in whatever season of life that we're in. But it's been really life giving and to just be empowered to have flexibility when we need it has been really great. Shanna Skidmore (42:06):

I love that. I love that. I'm a big fan. Okay, I'm going to put you in the hot seat, not that you haven't been, and ask you some quick fire questions. You ready? Yes. Okay. So the first one, what is one thing you would be embarrassed if people knew? Katherine Corden (42:22):

So when I first started my business, I was offering paintings, but I was also offering calligraphy services. And the name of my business was, which maybe this, I mean, I think it's so cheesy now looking back at it, but it was canvas and calligraphy and they started with a K because my name starts with a K. I was like, how can I do both? This is classic seven personality. Like, oh, I can do calligraphy and I can make from money from it and I can paint and make money from it, and I should just do all the things. Shanna Skidmore (42:59):

And of course, he's a K and a K. Yeah, that makes me so happy. Name your business is hard. I, Katherine Corden (43:09):

It's, it's hard. Shanna Skidmore (43:10):

When I worked in finance as a financial advisor, we technically had our own businesses, but we were supplied a lot of info. It's kind of like a franchise. So we got business cards and you never had to come up with a business name. And it was so funny because then when I actually started my business in 2013 and had to come up with a name and get licensed, I would talk to some of my friends who still worked in finance, and then we were like, yeah, I mean running the business, I'm like, you don't do any of your mat marketing material. You didn't have to come up with your own name, you didn't have to register a visit. So it was just so funny to realize naming on business is harder than you think. So Katherine Corden (43:49):

It is Shanna Skidmore (43:50):

Hard canvas and calligraphy. Katherine Corden (43:52):

Yeah, I know. I'm like, oh, I should have, I mean, it didn't last very long. Shortly after I decided not to do calligraphy anymore because I decided working for brides was not my jam. Shanna Skidmore (44:04):

You got to try it, right? Yes. Okay. I love that. Thanks for sharing. I'm not going to forget it. Okay. Any regrets or wish you could do over moments? Katherine Corden (44:13):

Well, I, I feel like I'm just repeating everything that I said, but for a long time I did struggle with regretting not going to art school. And to be honest, sometimes those regrets still creep in, but I've really come to accept that I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't taken that journey that I did. I think a lot of opportunities came to me because I was living in Chicago and I met my husband there and so many of my best friends and yeah, anyways, no regrets. Shanna Skidmore (44:45):

Yeah. Yeah. No, that's hard. Yeah. Okay. What is a big win or a pinch me moment? Katherine Corden (44:52):

So in short, I have three things this year that have already been pinch me moments that I can't tell you, I can't share them yet because they're stop Shanna Skidmore (45:06):

It. Like collaborations? Katherine Corden (45:08):

Yes, exactly. Three collaborations. Well, one feature and two collaborations. I actually, to be honest with you, so in January, our son James got really sick with R S V and was in the hospital, and it was probably the hardest week that I've ever had in my entire life. And during that time, I did feel like we were, I mean, we already have two little kids and life is just really busy right now. And part of me was like, everything feels impossible right now. I think I'm going to call my galleries and tell them I need to take a year off from sending them new work and I'll just sell work myself and do my prints and stuff. But having responsibilities to other people was starting to feel like suffocating or just not suffocating, but just unattainable. And then after he got home, thankfully he's all better and healthy. And then after he got home, there was two weeks, and again, it's like, I don't know if this is got more God winks, but all of these things happened within a period of two weeks that just were encouraging me like, no, Catherine, you need, you're on the right path. And these just opportunities kept falling in my lap. So anyways, I'm really excited for this year. There's some really exciting things coming up that still feel like feasible to do with my two little kids at home, so, Shanna Skidmore (46:36):

Well, I can't wait. And you got to let me know when they happen because I'm not on the gram, so I Katherine Corden (46:42):

Know I'll email you. Shanna Skidmore (46:44):

Okay, good. Okay. For everybody else, go follow on Instagram and I'm sure you'll hear about these secret projects. Okay. Number four, what is the best advice or just really good advice that you have received? Katherine Corden (46:56):

So this is from a previous podcast guest of yours. I'm friends with Brynn Casey, who I know you've had love. I listened to love her episode with you. She's so great. Her and I chat a lot about mom life and artist's life, and I definitely struggle with, I think a lot of moms struggle with this, but just that mom guilt of when I'm working, I feel guilty that I'm not at home with my kids. And when I'm at home with my kids, I feel guilty that I'm not working. And Brynn shared with me this kind of like a mantra that more so than advice, I suppose, but it's when you're painting, you're still Clara and James's mom, and when you're with Clara and James, you're still an artist. And I wrote it on my wall at the studio just to remind me. It's have to be so binary. Yeah. You can be both things. Shanna Skidmore (47:56):

I love that. I love that so much. Brynn is so wise. Thank you for sharing that. I'm going to take that away as well for my own mama self. That's good. Okay, last quick part question, then we'll send it off. What are you working on now, which kind of already alluded to or one resource you would like to share? Katherine Corden (48:16):

Right now I am working on something that is also a secret, but hopefully I can share about it really, really soon. But I'm so excited. I am. One of the benefits of not taking on commissions is that it leaves me space to take on these special projects. So I will share that I'm taking it with me. I'm going to Los Angeles on Friday for a wedding, and I'm taking some artwork with me, so something in California, but I'm excited about it. Shanna Skidmore (48:45):

Okay. Katherine Corden (48:45):

I'm like, I'm the worst. I don't know so many speakers. Shanna Skidmore (48:48):

You've left us on a massive cliffhanger, but we're pumped and we're in an all fall along. Catherine, you're just the best. Katherine Corden (48:55):

I'll a pump for a while. But Shanna Skidmore (48:57):

Yeah, this has been fun to catch up. And I just want to have you kind of send us off with looking back now at day one. So I would say like 2016, when you're painting and doing physical therapy, not really knowing, or 2018 where you're like, I'm going to do art. People are paying for this. Just kind of looking back, what would you tell yourself on day one? I Katherine Corden (49:22):

Think try, and this is way easier said than done because I still struggle with it, but I'm getting better. But try not to care what other people think and try not to assume what other people are thinking. Making the transition from a job that is so easily understood by people. Physical therapy is such an easy answer when people ask you what you do for work and then telling people that, oh, I'm a artist. That comes with so many questions, and I think I just automatically jump to conclusions about what people are thinking. So yeah, try to care less about what other people are thinking. And just you state through to yourself and nobody really understands your business as well as you do. So. Yeah. And it doesn't really matter what other people think. Shanna Skidmore (50:10):

Yeah, that's good. I know so many needed to hear that. I always need to hear that. Isn't it cool we get to work for ourselves? We pay our bills, we have flexibility and freedom, and we in so many ways have the privilege of living the dream, so yeah. Yeah, Katherine Corden (50:25):

Totally. Shanna Skidmore (50:26):

Katherine, thanks for sharing. This was fun. Katherine Corden (50:29):

Aw, it was so fun. Thank you for having me. I'm glad we could finally chat and catch up a little Shanna Skidmore (50:34):

Bit. I know, I'm so glad, and hopefully it won't be so long before we chat again. Katherine Corden (50:40):

For sure. Shanna Skidmore (50:41):

Hey, wildflower, you just finished another episode of Consider the Wildflowers the podcast. Head over to consider the wildflowers for show notes, resource links, and to learn how you can connect with Katherine. One final thought for today from Bob Goff. Be picky who you give the microphone to in your life. Don't listen to the loudest voice. Listen to the truest one. As always, thank you for listening. I'll see you next time.