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Katie’s Remarkable Reinvention: From Corporate Climber To Happy Mompreneur (Interview)

Are you choosing to live a happy, fulfilled life?

That’s right, studies have proven that ninety percent of the factors that make the difference between a happy life and an unhappy life are factors within your control. One life hack proven to help unlock your best life is setting, pursuing, and achieving goals.

Yes, you can choose a happy life, but don’t take my word for it! Here’s an example of how other people – people just like you – are choosing to achieve happiness through their goals.

Are you ready for a dad joke?

I offer you this "dad joke" as a light "amuse-bouche" to entertain your mind before we get serious. My dad joke may be groan-worthy, but it's worth every penny you paid for it, right?

The world's worst limbo player walks into a bar…

Katie’s Remarkable Reinvention: From Corporate Climber To Happy Mompreneur (Interview)

Welcome to this week’s Interview with a Goal-Crusher. In these interviews, I sit down with someone accomplishing big things by setting and achieving their goals to learn their secrets. Then I share those secrets with you. It’s like free mentoring from someone already on the road to success. Who doesn’t want that?!

For this week’s Interview with a Goal-Crusher, I sat down with Katie, a former coworker of mine. Like many coworkers, Katie was a hard worker climbing the corporate ladder. She invested all this effort into achieving her vision.

Suddenly, Katie’s life changed.

Her values evolved, and she discovered that her vision no longer aligned with them. This caused Katie to dig deep and find the courage to reinvent herself.

Today, I am sharing her story with you.

Please introduce yourself and tell my readers about you and what you do.

Hi! My name is Katie Clark, an almost forty-something mom of two girls.

If you had told me ten years ago that I would be homeschooling my kids, rocking out in a band, bartending, coaching, teaching piano, being a janitor and day-trading (gasp), I would have laughed in your face. I was 100% focused on my career, my 401(k) and my career (yes, I said that twice).

I wanted to be a CEO.

I was putting in long hours to make my dream come true, sacrificing time with my family and putting stress on my heart.

What motivated you to reinvent yourself and follow a different path? What was your vision? Can you share your story?

My 2nd daughter was in my belly, and my first was under 2 years old. It was getting tougher and tougher getting home late at night, and I felt like I wasn’t even seeing my child, let alone raising her.

Something needed to change.

Even though their dad was at the beginning of his career and wasn’t making a great salary, it just wasn’t an option for me to continue working full-time and miss my children growing up.

What was the first step you took on your path of reinvention?

First, I had to redo my budget, redefine my attitude toward what “success” means, and create a mindset where having fun was not related to spending money. While doing this, I kept my goal at the forefront of my mind: I want to stay home with my kids.

When I had to cut that entertainment budget way down, I repeated the goal to myself and thought of new low-cost or free things I could do now that I had so much free time during the day.

  • For clothes and housing items, yard sales and “buy nothing” groups on Facebook were the new norm! And it was actually fun now that I had time to peruse neighborhoods with my daughters for good deals! 
  • New, trendy clothes/shoes, makeup, and jewelry aren’t needed when you are out of the cutthroat corporate world, so my clothing budget was next to nothing. 
  • Cutting down on eating out was easy because now I had time to prepare meals at home and meal-plan! 

I fine-tuned every level of my budget and committed to tracking every dollar spent in a spreadsheet. 

After cutting everything I was comfortable with, it was time to find income. I wanted to find something where I could work for myself and have fun doing it. I started by making a list of my talents and hobbies.

After scouring websites, blogs, and Facebook groups and talking with people doing it, I decided to teach English online and piano. It was fun to start my own business and drive the hours that I worked!

I also took on a passion project with the potential to make money – I wrote and self-published a vegan children’s book! This project really kept my mind active and enabled me to have fun while working for myself – it checked all the boxes. You can find it at if you want to take a peek!

As more curveballs were thrown into my life (divorce! job loss! homeschooling!) I went back to that list of hobbies and talents. I had always loved music, singing, and dancing, so I created a duo and band.

At a gig we were playing, I asked the brewery owner (Grizzlybird Brewing Company!) if they had any openings for a bartender. That led to an amazing job there (plus the ability to network); I also found a janitor job that arose purely because I had voiced my need for additional opportunities.

What were your biggest challenges in achieving your goals? How did you overcome them?

I had to reframe how I looked at money.

I used to be a HUGE long-term financial planner. This reframing meant thinking differently about the week and month. Every time I think about spending money, I compare the cost to groceries—for example, “Do I really want to spend $100 on this outfit when $100 could cover my groceries for a week?” Money didn’t come in tidy buckets every two weeks; it came seasonally, daily, or monthly now!

Marketing was also a challenge – you can have the best business ever, but if no one knows about it, it won’t work!

I started out trying everything under the sun to market our band. You name it, I did it. After testing the techniques for a while, I began using the Pareto Principle. It states that 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your marketing. I always ask people how they found out about us when they book our band. I use that information to center my marketing efforts on the ones producing results.

I have also accepted that “free time” will never be what it used to be in my 9-to-5. To ensure I get breaks from work, I prioritize my kids during the homeschool day and avoid doing or thinking about work. This way, I still get a break from my businesses and treasure that time with my children.

After all, that is why I am doing all of this!

What goal success tips and techniques have worked well for you that you would like to share with my readers?

To have a successful business, you have to stand out.

Two primary ways to stand out are to have a unique, in-demand product or sell something for cheaper. 

Our band/duo, The Flame Keepers, is unique. We didn’t want to have the typical acoustic guitar and singer combo you always see. So we do creative covers where we write our own parts and have an acoustic guitar, electric guitar, kick drum, vocals, and tambourine — whew! Once we marketed our product adequately (marketing is EVERYTHING), gigs have come pretty easily. The time and instrument investment has paid off leaps and bounds. 

For my softball/basketball coaching and piano lesson business, I researched the market rate. I charged a lower amount than my competitors. That way, I could still hit my income goals without spending as much money/time on marketing.

Be persistent! I remember my first time doing this was in college. I really wanted to work at a local golf course. I had no experience, but I stopped in, said I was interested in a job, and kept calling and following up until the manager said he had no choice but to hire me because I wouldn’t stop bothering him! He and I remained great friends for years, and that job was probably my favorite job ever. This strategy translates well to marketing my band. I will always continue to follow up until I get a hard no.

Network, network, network! Tell people about your goals and when you are looking for extra work. Tell them what you do for a living and what your skills are. Be assertive! Get to know what other people do for a living. That is where the idea came for my latest goal…

What is one big goal you are pursuing now?

My long-term goal is to solely be a day trader! 97% of people in this profession quit after a year, but “failure” is not in my vocabulary. Plus, it is an excellent fit for my personality. I can work for myself, and it involves things I love (analysis! charts! business!).

When you do something that you love, you will pour your heart and soul into it.

Reading books, studying videos and strategies and listening to podcasts doesn’t feel like work because it is enjoyable. That should be everyone’s goal – to do something you love and get paid for it. I used to think that could never happen to me, but here I am, and I will do everything I can to be successful.

What else would you like my Operation Melt readers to know about you or about goal success in general?

Where you are in a few years might be completely different than where you are now.

Prepare for the unexpected.

Be okay with changing your goals and changing them often.

Most importantly, do what’s best for YOU and forget what everyone else said! Many people have questioned my choices throughout the process, but I knew what I was capable of and that I had the perseverance to make it happen.

I love my life now and wouldn’t change it for anything.

I am also grateful for my daughter’s dad because he supports me homeschooling and is a big reason why I am able to make this dream come true.

How can people learn more about you?

Come check out our band! We would love to meet you!

What a story, right? Katie was climbing that big corporate ladder on her way to becoming CEO. Then, her values evolved when she had kids, and she reinvented herself. How many people would actually pause to reconsider their direction instead of driving to a job they hate every morning?

Stories like Katie’s are rare because they take courage and dedication to being true to yourself.

Let’s examine some examples of how Katie’s journey demonstrated the Project Manage Your Life principles.

  • Set SMART Goals: Katie had a goal that drove all her decisions and kept her motivated, “to stay home with my kids.” This goal provided her a north star as she made decisions, and she reminded herself of it when times got tough. Her goal was particularly relevant (the R in SMART) because it involved her kids.
  • Build a plan that works for you: there is no doubt that Katie’s plan for accomplishing her goal was unique to her and worked for her. She built this plan methodically and used trial and error to determine what it would include.
  • Expect and plan ahead for problems: as Katie said, she needed to prepare for the unexpected. She encountered many complications along the way. She planned for what she could, pivoted when she needed to and always kept focused on her goal. The time she spent fine-tuning her household budget was an excellent example of proactively planning for rough waters ahead.
  • Don’t go it alone: Katie leveraged her network of people and wasn’t afraid to ask for help. Quite the contrary, she kept asking until she received a definitive answer. Here’s an untold secret of life: people want to help. If you ask for help and make it easy for people to help, they probably will do so.
  • Enjoy the journey: Katie started her reinvention with the goal of enjoying her life by spending more time with her kids. Her job search began with cataloging her skills and what she enjoyed doing. While her journey certainly wasn’t easy, her intentional steps ensured it would be enjoyable. She still takes steps to follow her interests and to try new things. A crucial step she took to enjoy her journey was to ignore the critics and nay-sayers along the way. It was her life, not somebody else’s.

Katie is a fantastic role model. Reading her story is vital for anybody chasing their goals. By prioritizing herself and her values and doing hard work along the way, Katie has built a life she loves. She was willing to step far out of her comfort zone, try new things, learn, make course corrections, and be different.

Just like Katie, having the courage to be different and try new things is foundational to building the life of your dreams.

Is there a dream inside you that you’ve been hesitating to pursue? Do you need a partner to help you set that dream free? I am a certified Master Life Coach and would be honored to help you take that first step.

I believe in you; let me help YOU believe in you!

Meet Coach Tony

My name is Coach Tony, and I am a coach, author and project manager on a mission. I am working to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.

I almost allowed one of my biggest life goals to die without ever being attempted for forty years. My goal almost died, not of failure but of loneliness. But, I took a risk and leveraged a simple, logical process that helped me wildly exceed my goal. 

I transformed my life, and you can do the same with the help of Operation Melt. 

Operation Melt provides engaging, practical content and hands-on coaching to inspire, motivate and equip project managers and other left-brained high-achievers to pursue and accomplish their biggest goals. 

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Published inDon't Take My Word For ItInterview with a Goal-Crusher