Surfer, artist and health nut. These are just a few words that Katie McLean would use to describe herself.
Growing up among bohemian warehouses, surfboard shapers and craftsmen by the sea in Santa Barbara, California, Katie knew that creativity would always be an integral part of her life.
At heart and in practice, she’s a designer. Whether that’s illustrating, sign painting, graphic design, video editing, or curating art shows and events, Katie does it all.
Whether it's illustrating, teaching kickboxing or curating an art show, Katie does it all
But out of habit, she’s a health nut and athlete. “I've worked at a yoga studio, have a Pilates certification and teach kickboxing," she says.
As such, deciding what she wanted to do has been a long and winding journey.
“Honestly, it’s been one of my biggest challenges for the last four years," Katie says. “I've debated between various passions, questioned what is the smartest pursuit, and which makes me happiest."
Katie’s latest project though is her biggest business pursuit so far. She’s about to launch her own surf fitness line, called Psychedelic Honey.
We speak to Katie to find out her advice when it comes to starting your own business...
Believe It Is Yours For The Taking
The first piece of advice I’d give to someone who wants to start their own business is to know yourself and envision the lifestyle of achieving your career goal.
Believing in yourself is crucial. Your skills and talent mean nothing if you hold yourself back with self-doubt.
Having a positive mindset goes hand in hand with this, but this takes much more practice, determination and focus than people let on. It’s about conditioning yourself for success like an athlete.
Always Aim To Improve Yourself
I'm always working to condition myself for success, which is why I try to keep learning.
I’m one class away from finishing my textile design course, one day away from finishing a vision-action-courage yoga workshop, one day into an online female entrepreneurs association, and slowly absorbing the book 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women.
I listen to books on tape when I hike or run, and write in my journal a lot. And I always nourish myself with healthy food.
Spend Your Time Wisely
My current goal is to spend three days working to keep a small income while I build a business.
I work two days as a demo specialist and sales rep, and one day a week I freelance creating media content for yoga teachers.
Then I take one day off for play, leaving three days to work on my business.
Money will be tight
When it comes to managing your finances properly, I’d recommend simple living.
Have a low overhead, and stop buying pricey items like kombucha tea! But it's not always easy.
I’m 25 and I live between my father's warehouse and a 1948 school bus home at Rincon with my boyfriend
Know Your Weaknesses
Quite honestly, I suck at time management, so I work really hard at it.
I make lists and schedule my day almost down to the minute. I carry my brain (a journal) and pen everywhere with me.
If it leaves my eyesight for too long, I'll completely stray off course.
Fashion columnist Diana Vreeland once said: “There's only one very good life and that's the life you know you want and you make it yourself."
The biggest advantage to having your own business is the ability to create your own fulfillment, and plan your own hours.
For me, those are preferably around the tides so I can do plenty of surf trips.
Keep inspiring yourself by travelling and giving yourself a break, or by returning to the thing that first sparked your love for what you do.
It is okay to be scared
Starting your own business is scary, as you’re putting yourself out there.
Self-doubt can be paralysing, and then there's the fear of not fulfilling your potential.
Take your dream down from the pedestal you’ve put it on, and make it feel more playful. Believe in yourself and enjoy the journey.
Become an expert when it comes to Instagram and contribute to like-minded publications.
I've written for surf magazines, blogged and Instagrammed for various wellbeing brands.
It's good to connect to like-minded audiences. My ambassador roles for various surf and health brands have also helped further my career.
I work hard to establish myself as “an expert in my field" by learning, doing, and then sharing my knowledge and personal stories.
It doesn’t feel like work – that’s truly my favourite part of it all.
Find Your Target Audience
Being a visible part of your community is important. Go through side doors to find your target audience.
What else do they do for fun and where else do they go? Provide them with something fun or of value.
In the past, I have hosted surf art shows, music events, and non-profit benefits at my gallery to build a community.
Lean On Your Nearest And Dearest
Friends and family are hugely important to staying positive. They ground you, lift you up when you’re low and are your biggest cheerleaders.