Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dina Cataldo, Founder of Dina Cataldo International, LLC, located in Sacramento, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm a Master Certified Coach for Lawyers. I help mainly female attorneys who have their own law practice or are partners in the law firm.
Tell us about yourself
At 29, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time, I was a trial attorney and wasn't giving myself any attention work was my life, and I was an afterthought. When chemo felt like a vacation, I realized something needed to change. It took me years and several business ventures to discover coaching. Coaching was the tool I used to manage my mind, my time and love my legal career again. But coaching called to me. I started a coaching business, helping lawyers manage their stress and build their businesses. In 2022 I decided to leave the law and coach lawyers full-time.
As lawyers -- and entrepreneurs -- we're taught we need to work hard to create success. What we're NOT taught is that hard work can lead to burnout if we're not managing our minds around the self-doubt that comes up while growing our businesses. We tend to over-work to overcome self-doubt. When we stop doing that, we focus on the most important tasks to grow our business, and life becomes easier. Watching my clients overcome self-doubt and problem-solve in building their businesses lights me up. When they grow, they grow the ability to serve more people and serve them at an even higher level. I truly believe coaching helps improve the world one person at a time.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Feeling scared to leave my six-figure legal career and finding the courage to do it anyway. It took a lot of mind management and taking practical steps to create safety for myself to leave. Totally worth it.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Self-doubt. For women, self-doubt is socialized. We're trained to look outside ourselves for validation, and that can be crippling for a business owner. I experienced this acutely when I started my first business, and I started making videos to promote it. I almost didn't do it because I feared being judged not only for how much I knew but my appearance. At the time, I didn't know why I was so scared and told myself I needed to "suck it up." Knowing what I know now, I have mental tools to help me any time I'm scared, so I'm not pushing through to get things done, which will lead to burnout.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Plan your week in advance. Put the money-making activities on your calendar first. Expect that when you look at your calendar that you won't want to do what's on it. It takes practice to follow through on the calendar. Don't give up on it. Treat it like an experiment, and don't judge yourself if it's not done "perfectly." You'll get more done having a calendar whether you do everything on it or not.
- Solve your clients' true problems, and talk about that solution in your marketing materials. Be specific too. For example, you might think you solve the problem of creating an estate plan, but you're actually solving the problem of having the creepy son-in-law getting the family estate.
- When we're stressed out, we're focused on ourselves. Focusing on our clients and their problems takes us out of thinking about our problems. When we do it, we feel better, we help more people, and we'll make more money. It's a win-win-win situation.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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