It takes bravery and practice to allow all the external noise to drift away. I think that most successful entrepreneurs have been able to practice honing in to that voice in all areas of their lives.
Katina is a creator, entrepreneur, writer, and certified coach. She is the founder and creator of the wellness & lifestyle space, On Adulting and ethical brand strategy agency, by humans. Her work has been featured in outlets such as Teen Vogue, Mindbodygreen, Huffpo, Elite Daily and others. Katina started her career at Goldman Sachs, and since then has worked with dozens of organizations in the philanthropy, social impact, branding, communications and organizational strategy spaces. Katina always makes time to sweat at least once per day, and have a piece of chocolate – cause it’s all about balance.
Where did the idea for On Adulting come from?
On Adulting was born the moment that I entered the working world. I was really trying to figure out why I was so happy before I started work and what had changed. I began my career working at a large investment bank in New York City, so “passion” wasn’t often a word that was thrown around in conference rooms. I couldn’t understand why my colleagues would run to the printer or stay at the office late, missing their kids soccer games or friend’s birthday parties. I wouldn’t accept that this was “it” – I hadn’t worked so hard to live a mediocre life. I knew there had to be something better out there.
So, I started On Adulting as a simple way to connect with others who were just as confused about growing up as I was. I began writing blog posts and holding meet ups to explore the ways that we could all navigate adulthood in a mindful and happy way. I was surprised at how many people were aching for this type of real, authentic connection – for a space to figure out how to be their best selves. On Adulting continued to grow from there, and today is a community of nearly 17,000 millennials that support each other on their journey to becoming their best self.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My favorite part about my day (and I’m sure all entrepreneurs say this) is that it’s far from typical. I thrive off of diversity – diversity of projects, people and schedules. So, each day is structured in a different way though they all have a few similar qualities. I will always have time to work out, meet with clients, write a blog post or record a podcast, and potentially attend influencer events. Every day the percentage of time on each of these tasks shifts.
No matter what, I begin my day with the same few activities help me be my best self. After waking up (usually around 6:30 or 7:00am), I do a 30-minute meditation and journaling session followed by a workout. I also make lists with the Stickies App (on Macs) the evening before, laying out every single thing that I need to accomplish in a very specific order. Though I don’t stick to this list exactly, and truthfully, it often changes multiple times per day, I find that it’s helpful for me to visually see all that needs to get done.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I thrive off of brainstorming and taking action on new ideas. I actually formed a new branch of On Adulting called by humans to help female founders do just that. In my work, I found that many female entrepreneurs were able to do the What in their business, and often forgot about the Who when developing a new idea – which I think is an extremely critical aspect.
In my own work, I take a lot of time to reflect on how things are going, and where I want them to head – it’s actually an everyday activity of mine. During that process, I often identify new ideas and spend a few weeks sorting through the legitimacy of them, often holding “brainstorm sessions” with myself. Once I decide that a new idea is worth my time investment, I begin testing it almost immediately with friends, family and trusted advisors. It’s my perspective that testing and iterating provides the greatest return – as long as you’re honest with yourself about the idea’s success at every stage.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Right now, my favorite trend (that I hope is here to stay!) is the idea that Food is Medicine. For so long, I found myself inhaling food as a means to an end without thinking critically about its impact on my overall wellbeing. I have been fascinated by the amount of companies and organizations that are helping us humans see that food truly can be a form of healing if we understand it. Coming from a long lineage of Greek ancestors, my family has used food as a healing modality for ages – it excites me that there are many different ways we can access this ancient information in our modern world.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am naturally quite the opposite of a procrastinator. When I have an idea or something to get done I do it almost immediately – sometimes to a fault. But, I’ve found that as I moved into my role as a founder full-time, this aspect of my personality that once made me bored in a traditional work setting actually allows me to achieve an insane amount in a regular day.
That being said, it’s important for me to take breaks, pause and build in time for reflection into my daily schedule. I – like many entrepreneurs I’m sure – run the risk of burn out easily so I try to be as aware as possible when “productivity” is too high.
What advice would you give your younger self?
At the age of twenty-six, I still feel extremely young! But, I would love to tell my younger self to continue searching for ways to listen to that inner voice. As a young girl, I had a strong intuitive sense of what felt right and wrong. And, as I got older that inner voice, that gut feeling, is something that I turn to in nearly every decision I make as an entrepreneur. It takes bravery and practice to allow all the external noise to drift away. I think that most successful entrepreneurs have been able to practice honing in to that voice in all areas of their lives.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I haven’t necessarily found much resistance to this – but I strongly believe that our mindset controls our life outcomes. I often find that people agree with this concept on a superficial level, but unless they’ve experienced a major life shift because of it – they seem to nod their heads with a faraway look in their eyes.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I think that as an entrepreneur it’s extremely important to have a strong support system around you. It’s a lonely road – and one that can be quite taxing. When I am speaking with people who are thinking of starting their own business, I often recommend attending founder-focused events, or seek out others who are going on similar life paths. I’ve found that my support system – other badass ladies who are thriving in their own businesses have helped me in a multitude of ways.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Surprisingly, I’ve found that creating authentic connections – both online and offline – has been extremely helpful in growing my business. I think that today, we’re all looking for real, deep connections and acknowledgment that we are living, breathing human beings (not robots!). This is how I approach every single piece of content that I put out into the world, and conversations that I have.
I think that often we are trying to keep up with whatever everyone else is doing, so we forget the importance of just being ourselves. When I am connecting with potential clients, I try to always remember that they are looking for authenticity – not sales tactics. I’ve stayed true to my mission – by and for real humans – and found that others I’m meant to work with are attracted to that.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
It’s an interesting question, because I think that there have been many, many stumbling blocks in my path so far. But, when I look back on them I don’t actually see them as “failures” per say – just inflection points that have forced me to shift my thinking and approach. For example, when I first started my podcast – I had no idea what I was doing. I had never recorded an interview and was starting from scratch. I could have looked at my first few interviews as “failures” but I was honest with my interviewees and my audience – that we’re all on this journey together. Being transparent is one of my most important values as an entrepreneur.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Although I’m not a good cook at all, I would love to start a business bringing people together for exclusive, home-cooked meal experiences. Each participant would submit their favorite ingredients based on a pre-selected concept (e.g. “summer”) and the chef would then create a dish based on their suggestions. I come from a big family that loves connecting over a thoughtful meal – and this seems like the perfect opportunity to do it. So, all you chefs go out there and create!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently went to Bali, and spent almost $100 total on a massage for every day that I was there. These were some of the best massages I’ve ever had – and literally helped me decompress mentally and physically.
I am all for real self-care; self-care that actually makes you feel good and doesn’t just look good for a picture. I also believe that when you invest in yourself that investment comes back ten-fold. I try to budget a certain amount on personal “self-care” rituals per month as an investment in my well-being.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I am a huge fan of planning in advance and automating what you can. I use apps like Buffer to schedule Instagram posts for myself and my clients. As I mentioned earlier, I also love using Stickies on my Macbook to plan out my day, activities and even my intentions for the month.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I just finished reading “The Four Agreements” after many recommendations, and I think it should be required reading for all humans. Don Miguel Ruiz does a phenomenal job of explaining basic human truths in an approachable but deep way. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is searching for ways to be a better person – and live with intention.
What is your favorite quote?
I am a quote collector – I actually have a huge list of quotes stored away on the Notes section of my phone. But, if I had to choose this quote from the book The Namesake inspired me to begin taking risks in my life. And, I owe everything I’ve done as an adult to that shift in perspective. I hope that it inspires one of you to take a leap that you’ve known in your gut you should do – but think that it seems too scary or unimaginable.
“You are still young, free…do yourself a favor. Before it’s too late, without thinking too much about it first, pack a pillow and a blanket and see as much of the world as you can. You will not regret it. One day it will be too late.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake
• Practice going with your gut as early in life as you can. It helps prepare you for drowning out the noise when you go off the beaten path later on.
• Build time in your day for reflection and self-care. This isn’t a waste of time – it actually helps you become more productive.
• Test and iterate on ideas as early as possible. Once you have a minimal viable product, go out there and see what works!
• Create authentic connections both online and offline. You never know where it will take you.
• Build a strong support system around you. Being an entrepreneur is a tough job – and it’s important to have people who can bring you up when times get tough.
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Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.