Katrina Pfannkuch – StartUp FoCo Podcast

Katrina is a creative catalyst, an empath, and a writer. She’s a creative’s creative and the founder of Creative Katrina.

You can check out Katrina’s Startup Week panel: Find the Root of Creative Blocks and Learn to Break Free on Thursday February 28th, 2:00pm-3:00pm @ The Articulate.

Let’s get to know Katrina!

I’m Katrina Pfannkuch and I’m the owner of Creative Katrina. What I’m passionate about is using my professional writing skills and my coaching skills to help people tap into where they need to grow in their own life so they can be more successful in their business.

I know that sounds kind of nebulous, but in essence I’m really helping support them on their transformational journey. The cool part is that as a professional writer, I can help them with the content part and then as a coach I can help them with the mindset part and the two of them go together really nicely.

Do you find that it’s more useful to get somebody with that sort of creative coaching early on in the business as opposed to later on in the business?

A lot of people, when they’re starting out, feel stuck and that’s a great part of mindset, right? If you can shift that mindset in the beginning and get more clarity, then you’re using your creative energy towards the things that you really want to build rather than deconstructing a lot of stuff at the same time.

When you’re building something, we can work on that. If you need to deconstruct, we can work on that too. But the sooner you get in the game, it becomes clear what you need first.

What would you say to a business that doesn’t necessarily associate themselves with a creative industry? Can they still use your services?

I feel that every entrepreneur needs to be creative in
their own business. Whether it’s how they’re approaching their marketing, the
way they connect with their clients, the way that they want to present their
services, or even just how they create the services they offer. That’s all a
creative element and when you have an entrepreneurial spirit, I know that
sometimes just feels natural for people to get that creative juice going, but I
think that there’s a lot of support in the fact that we can help and really
connect with each other in a way that shines light on where you may be stuck
and to me, that’s a creative solution. I like to think of creativity across the
board as an option in all elements of business.

What’s been your toughest creative challenge so far to tackle?

A lot of creative people come to me and they say,
“What? Am I doing something that actually someone wants? Like, is there a
value in my creativity?” And of course your heart breaks a little bit when
you hear that because you want people to feel really authentic and expressing
themselves on their natural self. But that’s a process for everyone. When we’re
looking at how that looks at the landscape of entrepreneurs across the board,
there’s all an area where they don’t feel that there are enough or they can’t
really authentically express themselves without either having to put on a show
or sort of fall in line with what everyone else is doing. I think that’s a
struggle for a lot of entrepreneurs, me as well. I mean, I think you know that
I could be on social media more, but I’m like, “Eh”, I’m just very
selective about how I do that. Every business is different.

When it comes to creative challenges, who’s just smashing it out of the park in terms of Northern Colorado businesses?

I don’t think there’s really enough eyes on just creative
businesses. I think that you have a lot of agencies and PR places or people that
focus just on marketing. I don’t necessarily see it as many eyes and ears on,
“Okay, who are the really creative, talented people here in the community
that are actually doing a breadth of different stuff?” Like how can a
musician actually influence your business in a different way even though you
don’t have anything to do with music? Well, maybe you need a jingle or maybe
you need just some inspiration. I actually recently met a coach that he works
with people and helps them write little mantras or songs. He plays music and
they make up a little mantra just to help coach them through whatever challenge
they’re working through, which I just thought was an amazing idea.

Unfortunately that’s in Boulder and Fort Collins, but
there’s a lot of creative crossover that I don’t think we’re leveraging as well
as we could and in some essences that’s just the communities that were kind of
put into, it’s like you’re a creative person, you go over here, you’re a
business person, you go over here. Well, that’s not helping creative people
thrive as businesses or as business owners and I’d like to see more crossover
in that.

Beyond cross-collaboration, what do you see as the biggest challenge for small businesses in Northern Colorado?

I would say the networking component. I think a lot of
people are afraid to do that. I think that some of the communities are
isolated. Like for example, you have experience with coworking, that’s how we
kind of got together and we met initially. Well sometimes those communities are
sort of contained and it’s not that other people can’t come to the public
events, but say the creative community, I’m a member of the articulate. Those
are just pretty highly creative folks, even though there’s business owners
there as well. So those are sort of my people. But outside of that, there’s
very few events that I can go to that are a mix of both of those things where
there’s creative people and business people together, and so I would suggest
that if you’re in a position where you’re feeling like, “Hey, I’ve been to
the same old events and that they’re boring”. Why don’t you start a new
event? Create one of your own. Because I do think we need some more diversity
in the way that business owners and people are connecting with the community.

It seems like a lot of creative business owners are multipotential likes or super active across a number of different fields. How do you get a client to settle down and focus?

I think for them specifically, we work on a unique process
that is an approach that works for their lifestyle. So for some people I
suggest like, “Hey, are there certain days of the week that you focus on
certain things? It’s one of the simplest things that you can do right
now”. So usually on Mondays, that’s a day for me to kind of write my own
blog content, work on my own podcast, editing, do all of that kind of stuff for
myself and I don’t take too many client meetings, whereas other days of the
week I schedule and plan for that. So if someone has multi-talents, which means
that they’re meeting with a variety of people and doing lots of different
spaces, first we talk about like, “Okay, well, are all of these viable,
how do they all fit together?” We kind of create that picture, that
clarity first, and then we set up a way for them to actually integrate it in
practical terms.

It must be a little bit draining as a creative yourself to constantly help fuel other creatives creativity. So where do you get your inspiration from to help your clients?

I love yoga, so I do a lot of yoga. I did recently
sprained my ankle and I was out of yoga for like six weeks and it was kind of
making me bonkers. So I do a lot of yoga, walking, nature and animals. I do
feel that the podcast that I create to Flirting With Enlightenment, that
actually fuels me because I feel that it’s a creative expression of mine that I
get to really connect with who I am and what I want to say. Then it’s awesome
when I get to look at the numbers, I’m like, people actually listen to that,
that’s awesome. I think that there’s a certain love in that when you’re
creating something that someone else does love by listening to it.

For your clients, what do you direct them to? Because there’s all these different options and creating content and it’s sometimes overwhelming. Creating a podcast for a lot of people is really a tricky thing because of perception is that there’s so much stuff that goes into it. How do you sort of get past those creative blocks and guide them to a content or a medium that works?

Well, I think it helps a lot that I’m a really good
listener and part of what I do is I listen to what people say, what the words
that are coming out of their mouth. But then I’m also really listening at a
deeper level to what are their facial expressions as they’re talking, what
actually excites them versus how do they look deflated when they’re talking
about having to do something. So some of this is the intuitive work that I’m
doing on my part, but what I try to really let people know is that, “Look,
there are so many tools and options. Let’s help you pick the right ones where
you know that you can shine right now. You don’t have to do everything, but
where do you have a propensity to really get excited about doing something or
really enjoy doing something and let’s work a plan so you can kind of really
connect in that space”.

I think there’s definitely a limitation of what one human
physical can do, one person can do physically, right? So we have to keep that
in mind as well. I think it’s also the human limitation of there’s so many, so
many hours in a day.

What are some of the resources that you like to recommend for creative or small business owners that are just looking to get started or getting more knowledgeable by adding creativity into their processes?

Well, first I would say read my blog because I’ve been
writing about creativity for like four years, four or five years now. But I’m
not trying to promote myself specifically, but I do write about how to overcome
some of those specific obstacles, but there’s a lot of folks that are out on the,
not only just in video, but have a lot of blog content around how to move past
blocks. I just think the interesting thing is that they’re generally kind of
focusing on the one part. Whereas, to me, I see that there’s the creativity
piece that matches directly with your mindset piece and if you aren’t really
tuned into how your mind works and how to get yourself relaxed, it’s really
hard to tap into the creative piece unless you’re in that sort of like late
night manic inspiration mode, which I’m sure you’ve experienced many times.

You’re like, “I’m super inspired. I’m going to do
everything right now”. Well that works sometimes, like you don’t have to
do a lot of work to get there, but if you want that consistency, it definitely
helps to have that, “Okay, I’m going to do a little meditation, I’m going
to listen to some music, how am I going to get to that group for me and build a
little routine about it?” I will say this though, Nick, the tricky thing
that I love, it’s also is tricky about working with creatives is me included, I
don’t like being stuck into a schedule and that’s why crafting a schedule that
you know works for you is so empowering as a creative person because you’re
willingly stepping into this and not feeling resentful of having to do it in
someone else’s way. I am not an advocate of waking up at five in the morning
and all that other BS that people tell you to do, but maybe that works for some
people. I’m not trying to dis it. So there’s a different way all of us can
connect with that. Maybe you’re a night owl, that just depends.

There’s a time and a place for everything that you haven’t gotten to yet and it’s called 4:00 AM.

Yes. I’m generally pretty asleep by then.

In general, what would you say to a small business owner just getting started? What would your number one piece of advice be?

I would say observation and listening, like you already
know in your heart the things that you’re excited about and what you want to
do. So start really kind of getting out into the community and saying, “Okay,
well who else is doing what I’m already interested in doing? How do they talk
about what they do? Who can I connect with it? Is it necessarily doing the
exact same thing but has a support service or has worked with similar
folks?” I want to say in a way it’s not necessarily shadow them but sort
of from a distance and see, “Okay, well if I was going to be them for a
day and do all the things that they do, is that feel good for me? Is this
something that I’m interested in doing?” I feel like that goes a long way
with sort of shadowing someone before you have to actually jump in with both
feet because I know that I’m probably not the only person here that has tried
other things before I came to do what I’m doing now, like we all have to kind
of put our feet … Get our feet wet and figure out some things and observation
and listening is the best way to do that because it helps you get a little bit
farther ahead than just kind of going forward and not really having a lot of
perspective.

The SBDC, the LCBD, the SVA, they all recommend having certain documents. What would you say to a business owner who’s just like, “I don’t like doing it that way. I’m not going to do it that way. I don’t need that document. I don’t have it. I’m just not going to do it”.

Those resources are great because they give you all the
things and then you get to pick what works for you and maybe something that
doesn’t work right now, six months from now you’re ready because you’ve gone
through the process. You’ve gotten straight and clear in your head about like,
“Okay, I’ve tried it my way. Maybe I do need a little extra support”
and honestly, timing really is everything because when we’re fighting
something, there may be a fear underneath that that we don’t realize is there
and that’s what’s creating that pushback for us or a really old pattern that
we’re stuck in our head about that we don’t realize is there and having a
little time with it can certainly support that. But I would absolutely suggest
when it comes to legal documentation and setting up your business, you
definitely want to be right about that. You don’t what to mess around with the
paperwork because they can come back to bite you.

When helping develop creative processes for small business owners, how do you keep them focused on some of the boring tasks?

There are obviously ways that you can outsource some of
that stuff. Like for me, I love my bookkeeper. She’s the best human in my life
because I do not want to do any of that stuff. But at first I had to do it
myself because I didn’t have the funds to support someone to do that. So I
think when you’re in that space and you can look at your budget and say,
“Okay, there are a few things that maybe it would be best that someone
else can help me with or do for a short period of time or just in on-going in
the future, that’s when we’d look at it”. But in reality, I think it’s
really important for all business owners, whether you’re a creative person or
doing like straight up business stuff that you have to really look at having
your fingers in all parts of your own business.

Because let’s say I never checked in with my bookkeeper,
she can be doing all sorts of stuff. Like you can’t be that hands off. You need
a base understanding of how all the pieces of your business work and when I
invite people to look at it that way, it’s like, “Hey, you have
options”. Like we’re all different as business owners, so it’s really
important to identify what that stress is behind that thing and then find a way
to deal with it. It’s just we often just get caught up in the feeling and the
emotion of it and that we don’t even know why we’re blocking it out or
neglecting it.

Who are you paying attention to in the Northern Colorado community in terms of their creative capacity?

I love Franklin Taggart. He’s so lovely and he’s agreed
creative resource I think for not only the community because he works at the
Loveland Business Development Center, but just because he has a lot of really
great perspective and he can support people in that way. I would also say that
Patrick, at the articulate. He’s very multitalented and he’s also trying to
openly create a community where creatives or fellow creatives can be together
and actually just shine and doing what they do and being next to each other
doing it. I think that and of itself like spaces where we can teach and learn
together or be together with other creatives is an expression of the most
creative thing that we can do in this community.

Which leads us right into startup week. So tell us about your panel for startup week.

Well, I submitted a topic on breaking free from those
limitations in our mindset. Like how do we break through those creative blocks?
We don’t always know if they’re from our mindset, if they’re from emotions that
are stuck within our hearts that we don’t see or they’re just a fear there. So
the presentation I’m going to be giving has a little workbook with it and I’m
going to help people sort of change their perspective on how they see where
they’re stuck and why. Because when we get too hung up on our minds about it,
we don’t actually move forward or as if we can kind of embrace and look at the
block in a different way, it might open up in a whole idea and understanding
that we didn’t realize was already there.

What are you most excited about in terms of startup week?

I love the topics this time round. I think that there’s a
lot of really good, more niche related topics, especially when it comes to the
artistic parts of things.

Any last things that you want to tell a small business owner or a creative in our community?

I’m excited for you. If you’re in the space where you’re
ready to learn something and explore more of who you are and share that with
the rest of us, we’re excited to meet you. So come out to startup week, connect
with us, learn, ask questions, and just be part of the community that you want
to learn and grow from.

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