Earning National Media Acclaim but Wishing It Would End With Katie Richardson

Katie Richardson founded Puj, an internationally successful multimillion-dollar company with distribution across thousands of stores and numerous countries. Her innovative work has graced popular shows like The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the Today Show, and the Rachael Ray Show and has landed her on the cover of Entrepreneur magazine. As an executive business coach, Katie empowers founders and CEOs by teaching essential mindsets, skills, and tools for robust business operations and purposeful living. A highly creative individual, she shares tactics for business growth, effective branding, and the importance of personal development for comprehensive success.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [00:20] How product design can be transformative for both consumers and creators
  • [02:20] Katie Richardson’s journey of building a product from concept to commercial success
  • [06:43] Tips on getting your brand featured on major platforms: focus on human connection
  • [10:15] How to engage customers emotionally through thoughtful product packaging
  • [21:51] Recognizing when it's time to pivot in your entrepreneurial journey
  • [27:27] The powerful shift from focusing solely on a business model to including personal development
  • [32:46] Why implementing simple changes to your morning routine can lead to significant personal growth
  • [42:10] How life experiences allow you to reflect on personal growth
  • [55:27] Embracing the creative and empowering aspects of beliefs and visions in business

In this episode…

Have you ever tried to fulfill your potential while being pulled in different directions? You can turn this dilemma into a compelling brand narrative that connects with people worldwide. Today’s guest’s story demonstrates how balancing life's dimensions with strategic thinking opens doors to unexpected opportunities. So how did she pull this off?

After her company experienced explosive growth and became featured in national television shows, design and leadership expert Katie Richardson struggled to be all things to all people. To solve her multifaceted entrepreneurial dilemma and meet customers’ needs, she created products that resonated with consumers emotionally. She maintains that infusing human values into every aspect of your company personalizes your brand, fosters customer loyalty, and leads to organic PR opportunities. Additionally, Katie says to shift your business model to prioritize personal development and wellness, ensuring you can sustain the demands of entrepreneurship.

In this episode of the Up Arrow Podcast, William Harris talks with Katie Richardson, the Founder of Puj, about weaving resilience and savvy branding into business growth. Katie illustrates the profound impact of storytelling through product experiences, the courage needed to reinvent oneself, and the empowering shift from a single-goal focus to a multifaceted approach to life and business.

Resources mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode

This episode is brought to you by Elumynt. Elumynt is a performance-driven e-commerce marketing agency focused on finding the best opportunities for you to grow and scale your business.

Our paid search, social, and programmatic services have proven to increase traffic and ROAS, allowing you to make more money efficiently.

To learn more, visit www.elumynt.com.

Episode Transcript

Intro  0:03  

Welcome to the Up Arrow Podcast with William Harris, featuring top business leaders sharing strategies and resources to get to the next level. Now, let's get started with the show.

William Harris  0:15  

Hey, everyone, I'm William Harris. I'm the founder and CEO of Elumynt. And the host of the Up Arrow Podcast where I feature the best minds in e-commerce help you scale from 10 million to 100 million and beyond, as well as help you up arrow, your business and your personal life. The guests that I have today is Katie Richardson. Katie is on a mission to create powerful leaders. With a background in design, Katie built a multimillion-dollar international company with distribution in 2000 stores in the US in 26 countries. Her work has been featured on Ellen DeGeneres, the Today Show and Rachael Ray. She has also been featured on the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine. Today as an executive business coach Katie teaches founders and CEOs, the mindsets, skill sets and tool sets. They need to operate powerfully in business in life, so that you can live with purpose and do what you were born to do. Katie, I'm very excited to have you on the show today,

Katie Richardson  1:08  

William Harris, I'm super excited. And I would suspect that we're gonna uncover some really tactical tools that will help people on their mission.

William Harris  1:17  

tactical tools, personal stuff, it gets good we've been we were going through this in the in the pre show here. And it's fun, boy, and what's fun about this, too, is I was on your show. So there's like already, like this connection that I have with you where it's like, we've gotten into some good stuff together.

Katie Richardson  1:34  

Yeah, you like feel like a brother.

William Harris  1:38  

That's good. I like that. Um, I am excited to get into the good stuff. Before we dig into that I want to announce our sponsor. This episode is brought to you by Elumynt. Elumynt is an award winning advertising agency, optimizing e-commerce campaigns around profit. In fact, we've helped 13 of our customers get acquired with the largest one selling for nearly 800,000,001 That IPO recently. You can learn more on our website@elumynt.com which is spelled elumynt.com. That's enough of the boring stuff onto the good stuff. Katie, the backstory? How did you end up where you are? So you founded this company today? Take me through like the beginning days? And what kind of brought you to where you are?

Katie Richardson  2:20  

Well, you mentioned I was on the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine. And the title of that article was the unexpected entrepreneur. And I think it's actually a really good description of my journey. I wasn't, I mean, I did have lemonade stands when I was a kid. So I can't say that. But like, I wasn't the kid who is out there, just like what do we have to do to make money that, listen, I like making money. But that wasn't ever my drive. And I don't even think it's necessarily a bad drive. That just wasn't me, I'm not your typical entrepreneur. My story starts with somebody who's just really curious about the world, and how it works. And I really love solving problems for people in a maybe unique and profound way. And fortunately, I develop the skill set of product design. And similarly, when I was in university, I just had to go somewhere that just really lit me up. And I was starting to pursue other majors that my older siblings had pursued, which were kind of English and journalism. And I really liked making things William, like, really liked making things. And as a kid, we had a garage, and like a pile of wood, and all kinds of power tools. And I would watch my mom use power tools. And I was, and my dad taught me how to use power tools. So from a young age, I was making things getting my hands dirty. And so when I was in college at a major university at Brigham Young University, which is very intellectual, and I feel like I got into the University kind of by the skin of my teeth, which we don't have to go into that, but like, I was there nonetheless. And I was about two years into the university. And I was like, What am I doing here? I'm such a misfit like I, I think I need to go to a trade school. And I was considering leaving, and somebody pointed me in the direction of industrial design, which is a really strange name, by the way. It's like designing factories. You're no thanks, not interested in until I figured out that, you know, the Johnny Ives of the world are product designers, Dieter, rams, and I was like, whoa, wait, what? And I was like, It's this. It's this beautiful combination of art and engineering. And, you know, from a really young age, I noticed that I would look at objects in my house. And in my mind, I was trying to figure out what are all the parts and pieces and how do they go together? And, you know, I would take things apart or I would put things together. And so that's kind of the history of Katie. And, you know, how did I get to where I am today is I ended Taking that skill set and building a multimillion-dollar international company, like I started to figure out that I really liked helping people and I want to do it on a global scale.

William Harris  5:10  

Yeah, I love it. I think that's something that a lot of us can relate to, at least, who are entrepreneurs is there's this intrinsic desire to help people. If money is the money is a powerful motivator, but if that's the only motivator, it just it fizzles out, people fizzle out and that real quick because it's a lot harder than people realize. And so, but the desire to help it transcends that, and so I can relate to that personally as well. And feeling like a misfit, I feel like that's another interesting thing is sometimes feeling like you're like, I don't know, if I fit in here, or here or here. That's another, I feel like a good characteristic of somebody that's likely going to end up being an entrepreneur someday. Artist, yeah, we're both an entrepreneur

Katie Richardson  5:52  

artists. And I'll go a little deeper, deeper here and kind of reveal my childhood trauma, which is I am the fourth of six kids. When I was three, my mom had twins, she was overwhelmed. And so who became the invisible child, that was me. So if I wanted to be seen, aka felt valued, I had to do something of value, right. And so from a young age, I got good at solving problems, because I wanted to be seen.

William Harris  6:18  

Yeah, that's the value thing is something we're gonna come back to in a little bit, too, because I liked something you said about that later. I want to ask you, though, it's something that I feel like a lot of people who are running e-commerce businesses right now that are trying to figure out as well, how did you get on Ellen? And Rachael Ray in the cover of an Entrepreneur Magazine? Like how did you make this happen? Did you reach out to them? Or what's this process like?

Katie Richardson  6:43  

So here's where people are probably expecting me to talk about some special email or a video or a package that I sent these people to get them to respond. But it actually starts way earlier than you might expect. Long story short, the answer is they reached out to me, but there's a reason that they all reached out to my company, my brand. And it's because when I was creating this company, I saw how I could create something that was pretty unique and cool. But that to me wasn't reason enough for somebody to spend money and buy my object. To me, it the fact that it's beautiful as like that's a requirement to play the game. But it doesn't necessarily, it can't be your only differentiator. And so I actually lead with genuinely solving problems for people, and it needs to be elegant and beautiful. And so we built a brand and developed products that actually solves problems, and in a really profound way, and did it very eloquently. And using a lot of design thinking and both the brand development and the physical products. And what's the end result of that, William, you know, we live in a really noisy, busy, chaotic world. And what do people crave more than anything, is real human connection. And when you take human values, and you infuse them into all the touch points in your company, whether it's interacting with your vendors, your customers, Amazon, when you are really human in those interactions, and you infuse those human values, people feel it. And I, you know, a really good illustration of this is I was speaking at an event, a woman came up to me, she said, You don't know me, we've never met before, and I'd never heard of you. Somebody gifted me your product. I pulled it out of the box. And it felt like I could feel your soul. And it just put this big smile on my face. Because like I get emotional thinking about it. Because I was like, I put that in the box for you. And you felt that. And that's like that's special that and so at the end of the day, yes, they all reached out to us. Now I will say the brand, the products they were all infused with this really thoughtful, intentional human element like simple things, William, like the packaging on what my brand is called Pudge. And we make children's products. And so well, these are products for a baby, but they're being purchased by the parents, you have to think about all those things. And so one of the products is an infantile, like we went to great lengths to make this towel amazing. And like the parents can very easily put it around their neck and while they're bathing their baby and then they swoop the baby up naturally, like they would and it becomes this swaddle really intuitively, it's kind of hard to demonstrate in words, but like if you saw the video, you're okay, that's awesome. But like one of the ways that the packaging was is there was a window at the front of the box so you could feel how soft it was like that's cool. Yes. And when you pull the towel out There's now like a frame to the back of the box. And I was like, well, let's use this frame intentionally. And so when you pulled the towel out what was behind it printed on the inside of the box? It said, give your baby a hug for me heart, Katie.

William Harris  10:15

That's good. I got goosebumps. I like that, though. Yeah, that's exactly the kind of touch that you're talking about where, you know, you take a bit of your soul and pour that into that, where normally it's just a box. But now it's, it's something that creates this visceral emotional reaction from the person who just opened that up and they go, yes,

Katie Richardson  10:37  

yes. And too often, we try to solve problems logically. And if you have to solve the problem, logically, you that's a given as well, like it has to logically solve the problem. But what is the emotional reason why someone's going to purchase your product, and if you can, think about that emotional reason, and really be intentional about infusing that emotion into the product, then people feel something special. So that's where it has to be built on. And you start there. And then to more tactically answer your question, how do we get this attention and PR, um, really early on, we were living on food storage, we were just being really scrappy with any money that we had coming in. And before we paid ourselves, we paid a PR rep. And it was our strategy. And it was just like, we're going to invest in PR. And my husband had been an intern at ojio as a design student, and he had developed a relationship with the CEO of ojio. And he saw how much they leveraged PR. And he was like, we'll just do the same thing. And so we did. And we got all kinds of attention. And what's interesting is our PR rep did a good job of like getting us into kind of regional publications. And what happens is, if you can prove yourself on a smaller scale, the national media will then reach out to you. And so that's kind of it would snowball into things. And like, actually, the Ellen Show, they reached out to us, they had seen our product in a like, hi, fancy la boutique, and all of the celebrities were buying our product. So when you are intentional, and you put these beautiful human values into the touchpoints of your products, and you're really intentional about the brand that you're building, people experience it, whether it's reading a regional magazine, or seeing a product on a shelf in a boutique.

William Harris  12:33  

I love it. Because a lot of people would think that it's like, okay, great, I made this really amazing thing. And now, Ellen's gonna just call me up, and then it's gonna be amazing. It doesn't happen that way, though, to your point is that you have to have the amazing product that still has to be there, you have to create these emotional responses from people. That's a given. And I think a lot of people even miss that part. But let's say move beyond that. There hasn't been any thought about how do you go from here to Ellen, there's like this, there's no steps in between. But to you, there was a step that immediately took place right away, which was even investing in PR, even if it's smaller PR than what you'd admit initially hope forwards like Well, yeah, the goal is Elon, but building yourself up building up putting in the reps, if you would, right of like getting into these other exposures, craft your story and re crafting your story, to the point where they do get seen, it reminds me of a tactic that we've done for businesses that are trying to get into Target or something like that, for instance. Maybe you're not initially going to get into Target or whatever brand you're trying to get into. But we'll run ads to people who work within like the corporate headquarters of target. And we'll just make sure that we show every little publication that you have that's going on there. But it's like, okay, great. You know, you are in this and you're in in this and there's this person saying about this about you and this person saying this about you. And that whole campaign might cost $500. Because there's just not that many people that work at Target corporate headquarters within Facebook that can, but they just saw your brand 15 times and they're like now when you reach out to them, they're like, hey, yeah, I've been seeing some publicity about you. I'm interested, have a conversation. But it starts with that small step. Yes.

Katie Richardson  14:09  

And I love that you're pointing this out? Yes, you you have to kind of get scrappy and use these creative ideas, like you just illustrated. And it's both right. And we have this meaningful story and brand. I have another story that I can share that shows kind of both of these components. I got a phone call from a unexpected person one day, he said I write articles for entrepreneur, and he named like Ink Magazine and a couple others and he said, I'm looking for a very specific story. Can you tell me your story? And I found out later the whole reason he was even found me and was calling me is because he goes running in the mornings and he actually was running past my warehouse. He saw the logo on the warehouse. So it was like this massive 10 foot sign and it just said p uj. was huge. And he was He said he would run under it and he would feel something, which there it is, again, like it's not an accident. So anyways, he he reads an article about me and he reaches out to me, he asked me to tell him my story telling my story. And he says, Thank you. That's a really cool story. It's actually unfortunately, not the story I'm looking for. So I'll let you know if there's another opportunity he was about to hop off. And I think this is the key. I said, Hold on a second, John, you know, now that we know it's not a fit, why don't you at least tell me what it is that you were looking for? So I kept him on the phone. And I got curious about him. And I started asking him some questions. What are you looking for? And he tells me, he's looking for the story of the accidental entrepreneur. And I said, Oh, interesting. I just told you the story, that it seems like everybody wants me to tell. But I just need to go back a year before that, and tell you that story. Because that's the story of the accidental entrepreneur, I tell him that story. And that's ultimately what led us to being an Entrepreneur Magazine and on the cover.

William Harris  16:02  

Well, and I think, to your point that I really appreciate is ask questions. So if you're not getting the press that you want, maybe you have a great story, but maybe you're just not telling the story that press is looking for ask those questions. And you might be able to find a better way to craft the story to reach the people that you're trying to reach. Yeah,

Katie Richardson  16:21  

can I add one last thing to this, like, you know, sometimes we can become really needy and desperate of press in media, and we're approaching people almost like, I need you to do me a favor, when the reality is, they have a business, and they need to sell stories. So you're like, they need you. And if you can let go of your fear and your neediness and realize that you have something of value aka an incredible story, then then it's not that wrestle and nobody likes to be in that wrestle of like, I need you to do me a favor, nobody wants to do that. So it's it's a very disempowered way to approach somebody. So flip it, like realize that you have something of value for them.

William Harris  17:05

And that's the key, right is realizing that you have something of value and what that value is, it's not like an influencer, there's another way that you can get a lot of exposure, which is influencer marketing, where you literally just say, I'm going to pay you to do this. And it's a transactional thing. And it's totally fine. And that's a great way to get exposure. But that's very different than a media perspective where they have a need, they have a need to tell a really great story to reach an audience, right? And if you can figure out well, how do I meet their need, they're excited for, but they're not in a transactional thing, where they're saying, hey, great, yep, I want to just put you on there that they're not just going to hock your product or whatever, they have a completely different need that maybe your company can solve, if you understand what their need is.

Katie Richardson  17:46  

Yes. Love it.

William Harris  17:49  

So let's, I liked the brand PR angle. But I want to get into also, there was something that you mentioned about you were telling me about this moment for you that I think a lot of entrepreneurs realize and reach and get to as well, where things changed. And maybe the business became harder than it used to be. There was this moment where you kind of transitioned into what you're doing now, and why leadership is such a big deal. Tell me about this moment, though, where things started to change for you.

Katie Richardson  18:25  

Um, it actually kind of started a little bit gradual at first, I just had this low grade angst that something needed to change, and it wasn't really specific. And so I was actually pursuing potential shifts in the business model. You know, my business had been built on retail, and when you're mass producing products, retail at the time was a really great way to do that, because you just had instant distribution. And, you know, direct marketing, specifically, digital direct marketing was starting to come online. And so we were starting to educate ourselves on that, and trying to learn this model and kind of, we were kind of straddling both. And, you know, I was, I was afraid to even talk to my husband about this anxiety that it was feeling I remember specifically flights that I would be on where this is the best time to journal and brainstorm and just clear my mind. And so I would go to trade shows or business meetings and on the flight home, I would just sit and just dump my brain onto a journal and I would start exploring what's the next move. And as we were talking with potential investors, somebody we talked to said I love it. I've watched you guys come into the industry and dominate I want this brand and I'm gonna make you this offer and it was just a way bigger offer than we were expecting and so even though we had designed and therefore had patents and trademarks, and enterprise value in the brand, even though it wasn't kind of planning on exiting right, then we actually will regret Ready to do it if we chose to do it. And so we ended up making the decision to sell the company. And I, it was like, kind of a bit of a surprise. And there was a little bit of whiplash. And it was, like, exciting, but weird. And then all of a sudden, you go from feeling like you have this identity associated with this brand that people really respect. And it opens a lot of doors to like, who am I without this thing, and it's kind of exciting and terrifying at the same time. And, and so I make this shift. And I'm like, What am I going to do with myself, I could start another brand and another company, and I really felt called in a new direction. And it was terrifying. William, like, I had proven myself on a global scale, that I was a good, successful, valid designer, right? Like, I went to school, even General Motors gave me a scholarship. And they were like Katie's a good designer. And then, and then the world said the same thing. And so it was like really comfortable place for me. So to think about stepping outside of that was really terrifying. And what I didn't expect is all of a sudden, I was having to face my fears and my insecurities every morning. And it was terrifying. And it was just kind of like my mind would attack me. And it would say things like, Who do you think you are? Sure, you are able to do X, Y, and Z in your business. But who says you can show it, somebody else had to do that in their business? And they don't know about XY and Z failure, by the way, and that you're not as successful as they all think you are. And my mind was just attacking me attacking me. And I would just have these days where I'm like, I don't I don't know if I can do this. So I don't know if that's the change that you're looking for. But like that came up, like you

William Harris  21:51  

said, you well, it's perfect, because like you said there was it's gradual, there's usually not like a one thing that happens. There's this gradual change where you started to feel like your heart was moving in a different direction. Yeah. One of the things you had told me before, when we talked was that, you know, in the initial phase of building a business, oftentimes money can be a good motivator. It's not the sole motivator, but it's like, I've got this revenue goal that I'm trying to hit. And I think that we especially see that oftentimes that element, because we're running ads to drive revenue. And so the goal that we're most likely tied to for businesses is a revenue goal is or a profit goal. And so there is that's a really good motivator. But there's this, this this moment when you start to realize that maybe the business plan is missing something. Because yes,

Katie Richardson  22:41  

yes, yes. Yes. This plan, miss, okay, okay. Okay. Okay. I'm gonna I want to start with this one. When so really early on, I was a nobody, right? Nobody had ever heard of my brand. They didn't know Katie, the product designer, I hadn't proven myself really, except for like a couple of stores in Portland, when I say a couple of I mean, like all the boutiques, which is about 20. They all they all purchase my product, I would just walk in and they all placed orders. And then there were repeat orders on the backside of that. And so it was, you know, in the beginning, I was grinding wheat, making four loaves of bread, feeding the family putting everything in, it starts to take off WM and it's like exploding. And I even hit in the first year, pretty much at wholesale, we hit a million dollars revenue, which is 2 million retail value, right? And we had been nobody's like, there was zero brand recognition previously. And so it was quite the feat. And that was in 2010 2010. Like, weird high school kids were using Facebook, that was it. Like, you didn't have social media as your ally. And so you know, the business is taking off. And specifically, I remember a million dollars being this really big target and it's like, Oh, I gotta have my head down. And we're grinding right now. And I'm not getting a whole lot of sleep. I'm not taking care of myself. I'm really short with the kids. It's a lot of tension in the marriage. But once we get to a million dollars, then magically life starts to work out and I'm no longer magically the bottleneck. Yes, yes, surprise, guess what, if you build it that way, it will stay that way. So anyways, it was actually a really terrifying moment because life was more chaotic, and noisy and stressful than it ever had been previously because it turns out with big business comes big obstacles. And that's what I was, I was in the middle of and so all of a sudden, like previously I'd had all this hope that hit a million dollars revenue, then things will calm down and, and and I couldn't I had to face the reality that that was not true. And it was terrifying. And I was like, well, now what because this is not sustainable. Like I knew it wasn't sustainable, but it just felt like get to a million dollars then You can start doing the sustainable stuff. And you know, I had this moment, there was a moment, and it was the kids were asleep, we'd already had dinner, my husband's reading, and, and I'm sweeping up the kitchen floor. And I'm like, in a battle with God, and I'm like, Listen, man, I pursued this because you encouraged me to I trusted you, I built this thing it is taking off and I'm torn up inside, I feel like there's a war inside of me. And when I'm at work, I feel like I need to be at home with my kids. And when I'm at home with my kids, I feel like I need to be at work, I'm always behind. And I'm not responding to those emails. And I forgot about this person, and this person wasn't happening happy. And so it's just like you were being pulled in a million different directions. And in that moment, you know, I learned a really beautiful lesson. And God spoke to me. And it was basically, you know, Katie, you've been looking for the proof, the model of how to manage all of these things, right? You want, I wanted proof that it all worked out, I just felt like the road I was walking down was not sustainable. And there would come a very specific time in my life where I would look back and really regret that it kept walking down that road. And that terrified me, I was like, I don't want to divorce. Like, I love my kids. And I want to keep having a relationship with them. I want them to take better care of me myself, and I can't right now. And so you know, as I walked that forward, and I felt that potential regret, and I'm basically telling God, listen, I've walked it out, and it doesn't work out. So I gave it my best. Like, I'm in the middle of that conversation. And that's where it was like, Katie, you're looking for the model, but you don't need her. You don't need that, because I've taught you design, you know, creation. So while you might not see the woman who's multi dimensional and capable of navigating this complexity, you can go create her. And what was interesting, William, as previously, I was focused on the business model. But what was missing from the business model was me. And I realized this really powerful shift was that if I could create myself to be the parent, the wife, the founder, Owner, creator, distributor, all of those things, if I could create that woman, then I can meet all of these needs of the multi dimensional entrepreneur.

William Harris  27:27  

Yeah, I've heard it said before. I don't remember who said this. So I can't give them credit, although I wish I could. But something along the lines of if you, you know, for instance, die, then it's like what happens? As a result? What happens to the business? How successful is the business immediately thereafter? For most entrepreneurs, it's not that well, right? Like the business likely collapses as well, or it's certainly has a lot of a lot of trouble trying to replace you immediately. The family, you know, doesn't crumble, but the family goes through a significant amount of issues as well, right? Like, it's going to be significant. And so when you think about it, from that perspective, no matter how important that email is, or how important whatever else is going on, not focusing on your health, mental, physical, spiritual, financial health, whatever area of health that you need to get into, by not focusing on that you are putting all of those things at risk, you are putting the business at risk. You're putting your family at risk, you're putting your relationship with friends, with God with whatever, you're putting all of those things at risk, unnecessarily by not focusing on being able to maintain that health that you need there as well. Yeah,

Katie Richardson  28:40  

yeah. So what happened after that realization was previously I had this one big goal and objective that I was going after. And I was saying, I'm going to sacrifice everything else until I hit that goal, and then we'll pick those things back up. But sometimes damage is irreversible. And that was the realization that I was having, right. And so rather than having one golden objective, and by the way, then only kind of doing one thing in my day, I had to actually get really disciplined with my daily routine. And that's when that started to happen. Yeah, because I will tell you the day my son would wake up with his milk bottle that he'd gone to bed with the night before he wakes me up in the morning and say, more milk, mommy more milk, and I would slip out of bed and fill it up. And I was just immediately reacting to the day and I could see how my patience was gone by 10am. And I was like, I've got to stop reacting and I need to proactively be getting out of bed in the morning.

William Harris  29:36  

Well, let's talk about that. Now then. So normally, I transition into like the who is Katie Richardson section, but I think that this is a good time to get into this because it makes sense. One of the things I talked about up arrow here, which I don't know if we've talked about like the meaning of a barrel, others who have listened I've heard the meaning of up arrow is there's a mathematical notation called Knuth up arrows. When you use exponents, they help you to get really big numbers. But there's a limit to them as well do we need to make numbers that are even bigger, you use these up arrows, which allows for just unbelievably large numbers. And I believe the largest number that has a name, which would be Graham's number that may have changed in the meantime, but massively big numbers. And so I like the idea of up arrow where it's like, let's up arrow, business revenue, profit, but let's up arrow every area of your life. And so let's talk about up arrow in your daily routine, what is something that you did you start fixing your daily routine to up arrow that and make it better? Okay.

Katie Richardson  30:38

Here's where I think so many people get it wrong, which is oh, okay, I'm gonna, this isn't working, I'm going to make a change. So I need to cut XY and Z out of my diet, I need to eat more fruits and veggies, I need to exercise at the gym, I need to hydrate and not drink soda, right. And we create this list. It's so far from where we are, we are setting ourselves up for failure. You want to know I started to do William. I, the next morning, I woke up in my hat hadn't had my toddler hit my head with his empty milk bottle yet. And I was like I'm getting out of here. There was zero strategy behind it. I'm getting out of here, my husband's home, he can figure this out. I gotta get out of here. So I slipped out of the house. And I was like, What am I going to do now? It's like, I'm going for a run. And I started a run. And it just was so wonky. And it felt weird. I hadn't run since high school. And I was like, I am not a runner. And I just had to admit that I'm not even a runner. And I walked around the block. And that was it. They weren't I walked around the block. And then the next day, I walked again. And then the next day I walked again. And then pretty soon I was doing two laps around the block. And then Winter came and I was like, I guess I'm gonna get a gym membership. And my first day at the gym membership, I felt so awkward and uncomfortable because I hadn't lifted weights since I was a young kid in gymnastics. And so I'm there trying to figure out the machines. My head's like, telling me how stupid I look. And I convinced myself nobody's paying attention to you, Katie just just work out. And soon after that, like a 70 year old, sweet old woman came and said, You look like you could use a little. And I was like, Are you kidding me. But we just, I just kept going. I just kept going. And over time I have developed a morning routine. That includes things like prayer and scripture study, and includes weightlifting, it includes walking, I journal I meditate. So those are important things for me, and I call it my daily power creation. We don't have energy, William, like if you're hoping to have energy, good luck. That was my strategy previously. And I had to shift over into this place of creating energy. And you do it through practices and routines like this.

William Harris  32:46  

I like that. There's a story that I've heard about a man who went to the gym five minutes a day. That's what he did start his habit. And then eventually, because it was just about just getting in the habit of basically driving there putting his shoes on driving back home. But that became a habit. And then that turns into seven minutes a day, 10 minutes a day, 20 minutes today, but the habit can get better there. And similar to what we just talked about with getting on Ellen DeGeneres, that's not going to happen overnight. There's milestones that you need to work towards before you get to that stage. And the same thing is true for any habit that you're going to start a lot of times to your point, we make it 15 habits at where to start and we make it the most impossible habit possible to keep. Why don't make it bite sized? Yes, it was something small and say I'm going to do this. I'm just gonna walk around the block. Okay, I'm gonna walk around the block again. Yes, yes,

Katie Richardson  33:36  

yes. I had a client who he confessed to me that he was drinking five Pepsi's a day and he was like, I know, I know. I know. You're gonna tell me you need to cut out all these Pepsi's and I was like, no, just replace one of them with sparkling water. And he was like, what? And I was like, Yeah, I want you to succeed. Start with one. And then when you can replace a second one, then bump it up to two. He was like, I can do the hell of the

William Harris  34:00  

I love that. Okay, so you've got a couple of things that you're doing for your morning routine. And there's your power, I forget what it was called pattern creation. Yeah. Which I liked that, by the way to power creation. You've you've mentioned that you're a believer here. And so I'll go on with this one. Somebody in my Bible school when I was in high school said the uncreated creative Creator created me to be creative. And I liked that. I feel like that fits very well with you because you're a creative type personality and well, but this idea of like creating space, creating things, creating the business plan that also includes you. What are some of the other things that are in your daily power creation?

Katie Richardson  34:42

Actually have a list. That's the other thing. Like if you just have a list in your head, well, good luck. So I'm actually going to read the list that I have right now. Exercise prayer, meditation scripture, breakfast with the kids getting ready for my day. That might sound silly, but it's true. Like I You gotta get ready for the day. Yeah, make my bed meet with my husband, we have meetings, check my calendar I I used to be so super them I'm super spontaneous. And so I had to I had to learn how to put things on my calendar. But then I actually even had to train myself to look at my calendar. Again, that's kind of embarrassing, but it's true, I would just space things just because I wasn't in the habit of looking at my calendar, and then check the team agenda.

William Harris  35:32  

I like that you write it down. I also have mine. I don't know if people can see this app that well, but it's like I have, I have my app that I use. And I think it's just called habit. This isn't a sponsored post for them. It's a free app. So. But the thing that I like about it, because I've got there as well, my, my my daily things that I'm trying to accomplish each day as well. There's just like a tiny little dopamine hit that I get from just swiping and crossing it off. But it's like, that's all it is. It's just it's here, I swipe it off that I did it right. So read Bible Bible, done, read daily, stoic, done, worship God and song done, workout done Cold Shower done, right? Like I just go through the list each day. And it's just this little thing, but it's there. And it helps to kind of keep me accountable to it. If it's not written down to your point, it's probably not going to happen.

Katie Richardson  36:19  

Yeah, and maybe I'll share a couple examples of one that I struggled with for a lot of my life. I grew up Christian, I'm actively Christian today. And you know, scripture study is always something that's encouraged when you're a Christian. And yet, I always struggled with it. And something that I discovered as a really busy entrepreneurs, how much I need the scriptures in my life. And, and so just reframing that, like, previously, I was saying, I don't have time to study the Scriptures. And I shifted it to I don't have time to not study my scriptures. So that reframe was really helpful. And then, you know, I found this really cool place in my morning, where I was separate from the world. And I could like really be present. And listen, as I was reading, and it was, it turns out, it was in the driveway, in my car, in between working out. And before I went into the house, because the moment I stepped into the house, I would get bombarded with the kids and their needs. And so I would just take 10 minutes hanging out in the car a little bit longer. And I would pull out the Scriptures. And I would read. And some days, William like I would even listen, because I was like, didn't fit in today. But I can listen.

William Harris  37:30  

I liked that you found ways to eliminate the distractions as well. That's something that I had to do for myself for working out where it's like, you know, for me, I work out in the barn that we have just outside here. And it's insulated barn. So you say barn and it's like, wait, what kind of a barn, right? There's no cows there. But that would be cool if there were, but it's just this idea where it's like that I don't have to drive anywhere. So I don't have that excuse. I don't have time to go drive there. The weights are all right there. It's all set up. All I have to do is go in there and do it. And so there's, there's no excuse, right? Like, I can't say there's not a really good excuse. And so as eliminated any potential things that I have to excuse myself from that, and I like that you did that for reading scripture where you say, Okay, well, I can do it right here in my car. There's no excuse, right? Okay,

Katie Richardson  38:15  

I have another trick for working out because I, you know, people talk about your inner child, well, I have an inner teenager, and she's, you know, angry all the time. And she doesn't want to do what you're telling her she needs to do. And specifically, I noticed this happening when it was time to lift weights. It was like this subconscious battle that was going on. It was like, No, I don't want to do that. And you're not going to make me. It's so this trick that I started to figure out was if I play the music that she listened to, which for me is like Led Zeppelin, I'll put on Led Zeppelin. And she just falls into line. She's like, Okay, let's do this thing. Let's we're gonna we're gonna deadlift today, right? Yeah, music is I love

William Harris  39:02  

You're motivating. It's very powerful. Yeah, you're outsmarting your brain. And I think that's so good. Because there are these tiny little hacks that you can do to just shift your brain to do what you ultimately still want to do. But sometimes, like you said, these different personas of your you're who you are, kind of get in the way of that. I want to get into your most embarrassing story. That's a really rare transition. But there was something that you told me about that it was really fun that I want to talk about to traveling Europe. What was this most embarrassing story? Okay,

Katie Richardson  39:35  

I grew up the fourth of six kids. And dinner was 630 Every night, and you were expected to be at the table and you know, my dad would come home from work. Dinner was at 630. And he was usually out of the door at seven he usually had meetings at the church. And so and I just was like a wild crazy kid and was always standing up and I would just Oh Please make a mess, right? Anyways, fast forward to me. I'm in college, I'm a junior in college, I've just gotten engaged, and my family, meaning me and my two younger siblings and my parents, we had already planned to do a trip in Europe together. And so I'm in Europe with my parents. I'm in my third year of college. And it doesn't take me long to notice that my dad is treating me like, I'm 12 year old Katie. And he's like, if we're in a museum, and I go into the next room, he's like, What are you doing? And I'm like, Listen, I'm a mature woman. I'm engaged, like, let me be in the next room, man. And so I'm constantly being irritated that I feel like he's not treating me like an adult. And I keep having to remind him that I can take care of myself. We're at dinner one night, and my dad takes like two hours to find the restaurant that he wants to eat at. And sometimes he would even make us get on a train and go to the next town because he's like, I don't like any of those menus. So we were super hungry. We finally find a restaurant is this Indian restaurant was tiny, and there was barely enough room for us. And we're all huddling around this table, we're waiting forever. And the restaurant was so small that they were even sending us the meal on one of those dumb waiters where the kitchen is above you, and then they're sending it on the little, I think that's what's called a dumbwaiter. It's don't wait anyways, the food finally gets there. We're super hungry. It's like the second town that we've looked at for food. They fill the table and my dad always fills his plate first. So he fills his plate full of food. And even for a little bit of reference, my dad actually grew up in the Middle East, his father worked for Gulf oil, and my dad lived in Kuwait. So he loves Indian food. So he's like, piling up his plate full of this Indian food, all these different flavors, all these different aromas. And I go to reach for something, and I knocked over my glass of water, it spilled all over his freshly piled Indian food all over his lap, and he jumps out. And all of a sudden, it's like, young Katie was just anxious. It knocked over my water all the time when I was a kid. And it was just so embarrassing, slash frustrating.

William Harris  42:10  

That's funny. It's funny to laugh about it now. Probably not as funny then. But that's good. We all have those stories, right? Where it's like, I feel like I'm stuck in like this previous version of who I am and trying to get people to think of you see you in a different light. And then sure enough, you just go and show them you actually still kind of that same person. Yeah, yeah. I do like Indian food. I am with your dad. 100%. On that, yes. Probably at the very top of my favorite flavors. So yeah, same, um, what about quotes that you live by, I find that oftentimes, people who are successful, have some type of a quote, or quotes that they live by that helped motivate them on a daily basis. And it doesn't necessarily have to be about success, but it's just they have that in their mind that there are things that they just adhere to, are there any quotes that you live by?

Katie Richardson  43:01  

Yeah. You know, really early on, I had a lot of doubt, and actually low self esteem when I started pursuing. And in the beginning, there was always this fear of failure. What if it doesn't work? And when I started to understand how I could flip that and be like, well, what if it did work? I don't know that that's a quote. But that's definitely a kind of like a new perspective, a new new frame of mind that rather than showing up, filled with fear, it engages my curiosity, and it lights me up, because that's super exciting. But I would say as far as quotes, like I mentioned, I read the scriptures, and I really like experiencing God speaking to me through the scriptures through the Word. And one scripture that has really helped me a lot in my life is Psalms 4610 said it, they get the right one.

William Harris  43:58  

You tell me, your your your quote that you live by, it's a short one

Katie Richardson  44:03  

and it's Be still and know that I am God. And the reason I like that one is it is there's power in the present moment in the now when I feel anxious, I'm fearing anticipating something into the future. Or if I'm feeling like guilt and shame, a lot of times that's baggage from the past and if I can let go of those feelings, and be in the present moment in the now that's where I find God, that's where I find my power. And so be still and know that I am God. And it's just it's this it brings this reassurance to me that I'm not playing this game alone, that I have the creator on my side and that I can go co create this thing with him.

William Harris  44:47  

Yeah, I like that verse. Especially because of the be still part. Because whenever we do feel anxious, what do we do this, this this, this, this this right? We go back and forth. We're doing this and this and this and we're getting apps certainly nowhere and the key is oftentimes still just sit right where you are. And then the obviously I'm with you on the rest of that which is and know that I am God know that there is somebody talked about the multi dimensions of Katie, God's got significantly more dimensions he's outside of the other dimensions that we have and he can see my future he could see my past he knows everything that's going on there. He knows that the roadblock that I'm coming up against that I can't see past is actually for my benefit, because there's something else on the other side. That's even better for me. We still know that. I love it. So good. Okay, what about something else that was important to you that I think is up and coming among a lot of entrepreneurs that I think would be fun to talk about we haven't talked about yet on here's homeschooling.

Katie Richardson  45:48  

You homeschool? We do. Yeah, there's some key elements that I would say have helped us to be, quote, successful. I think any homeschooling parent would say you don't ever fully feel successful. And before we even talk about homeschooling, I should make sure it's very clear that my husband is exceptional. And he has shouldered a lot of the responsibility of their education. For years, we had talked about homeschooling, and it just felt like it wasn't the right time. And both of our lives were pretty busy and full. And so before we actually started fully homeschooling, I really feel like we were supplementing. And so that meant dinnertime was a conversation. And we didn't have our phones, we didn't have distractions. And another thing that I think we did before we fully homeschooled, I think was really beneficial is we made sure we tucked our kids in every night and just keeping that communication open with your kids. So maybe homeschooling isn't the season that you're in, and they're in public school, but you can supplement and you can always make sure that you're checking in with your kids and have that consistent check in with your kids. But when COVID hit anyone who has parents who who has kids that were in high school, no, it was so complex. William, I had three high schoolers at the time. And I would get like 12 emails a day. And it would say, your student needs to do X and I'm like, which one? It is was k I suppose my kindergarten was supposed to go on Zoom calls. I'm like, No, thank you. She the last thing she needs is more screen time. So what my husband did is he was like, I think I'm going to do this. And so he set up a school in our basement and had like a 10 foot whiteboard and like made sure we had a library of books and sketchbooks and but what he did, and I think this is so awesome, and it's just so Ben Richardson. He went to them and said, I'm considering homeschooling you. Would you like to homeschool? My high schoolers said no thanks, dad. But the kindergartner said yes. And so she said yes, he made it amazing. So amazing. In fact that within like five days, the junior high and two high school kids were like, can we homeschool. So that's another thing is it wasn't forced on them. We gave them space to choose it. And then today, we live in Puerto Rico. The nice thing about homeschooling is if the waves are really good at 11am, they can go surfing and 11am. Right. And so they're able to get their work done and do the other things that are important to them. Like go to the gym, go spearfishing go golfing, and they found some balance. The other really cool thing about homeschooling is my kids have been able to really develop skill sets that maybe might even be reserved for people in college. So for example, my high school son, I made sure that when he was at the appropriate age and made sure he had the tools that he needed to use some of the initial skills, I was noticing him. And so I always made sure he had a good iPhone, so he could have a good camera because I could tell he was he had a really artistic eye, and was great with photos and video. And so from a young age, he started to develop this ability to tell stories in video. And what's so cool about this William is we're living in Puerto Rico, he's homeschooling, I'm talking with my neighbor who happens to be a very famous Youtuber, and he mentions that the guy who used to follow him around on island and shoot video is no longer available. And it's so hard to find reliable people and I said, look, keep searching. But Walker's really good. Maybe he can fill in the gaps for you. And it turns out, he's really good. And now my neighbor works with my 19 year old and they shoot video together all the time. And that then opened other doors. He works with a guy who does yachting and he's teaching him the yachting industry. So he's doing videos there. Plus he's learning the yachting industry. My 17 year old he's an incredible creative and through some networks, he developed an opportunity to do a logo design for a startup software company. And it's been really cool to guide him. So I was kind of the senior director, art director in the project. But he carried most of the work. And so part of his homeschool curriculum was to put together presentations, and then actually pitch the next phase of designs and ideas to the client. And William, it was so funny to sit down with him before these meetings, because in the beginning, it was just so giggly and he was like that feels so strange. Because what I was teaching him is you have to show them the story behind each of these ideas. And he was like, but that's not what I was thinking when I drew that. And it was like, you have to understand, like, these are the client's needs. This is the story she needs to tell with the logo. So you have to show her how this logo illustrates that. And so over four or five different iterations and different presentations, by the fifth one, he was giving these presentations for himself, he's 17, he's interfacing with clients. He just learned how to invoice them. And like, these are really valuable skills.

William Harris  51:10  

I love it. We did the homeschool for a little bit during COVID as well. And I say we I actually just mean my wife. She's incredible. And so she's the one who was kind of like, Ben, it sounds like where she did. I just I mean, everything we had like the school clock and everything, and you know, the banner and just did an amazing job of the kids all really enjoyed it as well. They are back in school now. But definitely took that break during that. But I like what you said where it's like, look, even if they are in school, there are ways that you can make sure that you're supplementing their education, because there's a lot of things that school isn't teaching them that are very real life skills. For instance, can they make dinner? My wife and I were just talking about this actually maybe an hour ago where it's like, you know, making sure that like, what are the skills that we want our kids to be able to do when they leave us eventually? Yes. Can they can they have a conversation with an adult? Kind of like to your point where you can actually do that and have maintain eye contact? And yeah, and think like kids are really good at that. But we run into a lot who it's like they just can't? Do they do they know how to truly schedule and organize a week? A day, for a week? That's a that's a difficult thing. And maybe they're doing it for homework, but it's like do they know how to schedule and organize their whole week? Yeah, there's all these different skills that I think are very important. And like you said, you can almost kind of come up with a list of skills that you want your kids to be able to have. And then regardless of whether they're in public school, private school, homeschool, make sure that they're going towards achieving just life skills.

Katie Richardson  52:41  

Yes. And the other thing that also remember, I love that. The other thing to remember is that it doesn't all have to come from you. You know, before we were homeschooling, one of the ways that we supplemented is a subscription to masterclass and my son when he was like 13, or 14 was learning gourmet cooking from Gordon Ramsay, like, that's crazy. Cool. That's an exceptional cook today. And you know, I shared this with one of my clients who's a CEO, and he ended up hiring some his wife was just really didn't feel comfortable with it. But she agreed that it would be beneficial for the kids, they ended up hiring it out, you can totally hire it out. Or maybe you can find multiple kids in the neighborhood. And then together, you pull together to have an actual tutor, show up and teach the kids I know people who do that even have a family member who, for a while her son was doing part time and he could actually take the bus to school in the morning. And then even as a third grader, he'd get on the bus and come home, and then he would homeschool the second half of the day. So you know, there's pros and cons to both. And it's about really finding ways to educate your kids prepare them for the real world, the New World by the way, you know, in the best way possible.

William Harris  53:55

Hello, Katie, we have managed to talk about so many fun topics today. We've narrowed everything from childhood education, to even going back into business from PR. If there's one more piece of advice or something that you would give specifically to entrepreneurs who are building and growing their business, what would it be?

Katie Richardson  54:21

You know, it's really incredible what we can do when we believe in our vision, and believe in ourselves to be able to complete that vision. And unfortunately, there are going to be moments, critical moments on our journey where we can't access that belief when we're really believing the doubts in our head. And I hope that today's conversation, I shared some of those weak moments for myself, moments of doubt, moments of vulnerability, moments of fear. So that anybody who's listening to this when you face those moments and you're not able to access belief in yourself In the moment, I want you to know that I, Katie Richardson, builder of an e-commerce brand and company, coach to high performing entrepreneurs, mother to four kids, woman of God, I believe in you. And so maybe you can't access your belief in that moment. But I just genuinely believe if this woman can figure it out, so can you.

William Harris  55:26

If people wanted to reach out, follow you, what's the best way for them to get in touch stay in touch.

Katie Richardson  55:32  

I have a podcast called What's Working Now. And I really like to focus on principles, and then really understand the application of those true principles. Because the marketing business is always shifting and changing. But if you can understand those core principles, then you know how to play the game. And then I'm also really active on Instagram. It's @Katie.live. And I love hearing from people William, I'm not just saying that I don't know if you could tell but I'm just a people person. I actually do one on one coaching VIP coaching people get significant results with that in a very short amount of time. And I just love that one on one interaction. So send me a message because I would love to point you in the right direction or help you in any way that I can.

William Harris  56:15  

I love it. Katie has been absolutely wonderful listening to you learning from you talking with you here today. Appreciate you sharing your knowledge, sharing your time sharing your your wisdom with us.

Katie Richardson  56:27  

Thank you, thank you. Thank you. This is it's been an honor. Really it has. So thank you, William. I really, really appreciate it.

William Harris  56:35  

Hope you have a good rest of your day. And thank you everyone for tuning in listening. Have a great day.

Outro 56:40  

Thanks for listening to the Up Arrow Podcast with William Harris. We'll see you again next time and be sure to click Subscribe to get future episodes.

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