Pivot Profile: Kate Erickson
Kate Erickson is Content Creator and Implementer at Entrepreneur On Fire, an online business dedicated to equipping entrepreneurs through practical resources and the award-winning Entrepreneur on Fire podcast.
Kate, can you give us some backstory to your career?
When I graduated from college, I was lost as ever in terms of what I wanted “to do with my life.” I had an English degree under my belt and was working for a small private bank $18 an hour as a commercial loan processor.
A year went by knowing full well that processing loans wasn’t what I wanted to do long-term, but because it afforded me incredible experiences like traveling with friends and spending nights and weekends with my family, I didn’t think much about changing my situation. I was working a full-time job and “making a living” just like I was supposed to.
One day, I had it. I walked into my boss’s office, and I told him I was quitting – that I didn’t want to be in banking any longer, and that I was off to pursue my dreams.
Was this when you joined Entrepreneur On Fire?
No, actually I moved to Long Beach, CA to pursue my Master’s degree in English to follow my dream of becoming a college professor. While in school, I worked for Wells Fargo part-time in addition to working full-time at an advertising agency.
When I graduated in 2008, I was thrown into an educational system that had been stripped of its funding. Pink slips were flying through the air, and professors who had been teaching for 10+ years were at risk of losing their jobs. I moved back to San Diego with hopes of securing another job in advertising and marketing.
Within two months, I was back at a bank – this time, in the Human Resources department.
Several months passed as I quietly sat in my chair preparing separation packages for the hundreds of layoffs the bank did during the time I was there. I was lucky in a sense to have this twisted sort of job security, but I spent the entire time I was in that position feeling taken advantage of and like I was wasting my time. I held a Master’s degree in English, and there was no sign of any promotion in my near future. Not to mention, I wasn’t even doing what I wanted to be doing: teaching.
I started to realize that I was the only one in charge of my situation, and didn’t have to be a college professor to teach. I started to look for ways I could practice my love for teaching and writing. I launched a business called Kate’s Copy with the goal of utilizing my skills, passions and expertise to write copy and enhance the online marketing, branding and presence of local, small businesses. It was my first entrepreneurial venture, but the business failed.
Within five months I started my next corporate love affair at an advertising agency as an account executive. Landing that position was a huge dream. It was fun, challenging, and blew all my education and previous work experiences out of the water. But I eventually realized (all over again) that corporate America wasn’t for me.
In January 2013 my boyfriend, John Lee Dumas, sent me an email while I was at work. He told me he was going to quit his job in commercial real estate and take his own entrepreneurial leap. When I came home and we chatted about it, he shared his vision and his mission for a podcast he would call Entrepreneur On Fire.
He had asked me in January of 2013 if I would consider joining him and we could be partners. So not loving my job combined with the opportunity to join John and help make a huge impact finally pushed me to quitting in April of that year.
[clickToTweet tweet=”I started to realize that I was the only one in charge of my situation. @KateLErickson” quote=”I started to realize that I was the only one in charge of my situation. @KateLErickson”]
Looking back, what are some mindset shifts that helped you keep going?
That creating the life that I want to live is 100% up to me, and that if I’m not happy with my current situation I’m the one that has to take action and make a change.
It’s a strange feeling to go from having someone else tell you how to spend your time to being in full control of what you do (and more importantly what you don’t) get accomplished in a day. Don’t let the feeling of “I’m not getting enough done or making enough progress” frustrate you to the point of quitting.
Take time to reflect back on your day every single day and be proud of the work you’ve accomplished. Momentum is so powerful, and if you can’t show yourself that you are making steps forward, even small ones, it’s going to be really tough to build that momentum.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Don’t let the ‘I’m not making enough progress’ frustrate you to the point of quitting. @KateLErickson” quote=”Don’t let the ‘I’m not making enough progress’ frustrate you to the point of quitting. @KateLErickson”]
Introducing The Pivot Profiles, a ‘magazine’ featuring 18 real-life pivot success stories, just like Kate’s. It’s yours, absolutely free.
The singular goal of this magazine is to give you a wide array of people, personalities, and pivots for you to identify with. This is a powerhouse group. The folks inside hail from a variety of industries: huge corporations, small business, radio, military, ministry, government, academia; the list goes on. We even have a former park ranger!
Some of them launched into solopreneur ventures; others started companies. One left business to enter the ministry, while others left the ministry to go into business. It’s all here.