Name: Katie Christy

Business Name/Occupation: Activate Your Talent

Website: www.activateyourtalent.com

Tell us about your business! Activate Your Talent seeks to be a catalyst for positive change in clients’ physical fitness, professional careers, and financial lives. We provide Strengths-based Solutions (interactive group sessions, dynamic 1:1 coaching sessions, and online programs) that help our clients discover, understand and leverage their natural talents to become more effective and efficient in their personal and professional lives. Translated, the motto “Fit Via Vi” means, “strength is the way” or “strength leads the way” and is exactly what Activate Your Talent believes. We focus heavily on leveraging Gallup’s StrengthFinder assessment to help clients develop their physical, mental, and financial strength in order to live their best life!

Why did you choose entrepreneurship? I chose entrepreneurship because I was tired of having to reinvent myself at each new duty station. Every time we moved I felt like I had to give up another part of my professional dream and take whatever was available (which usually meant taking a position that I was extremely overqualified for). After attending a V-Wise conference, I realized that I could take control of my own professional destiny and design a career that would be not only fulfilling, but flexible. I am a mom of two very active boys and I didn't want to sacrifice the ability to attend their soccer games and classroom parties to maintain my professional identity. In short, I wanted my cake AND I wanted to eat it! I mean, why else would you have cake in the first place?!? Finally, I became an entrepreneur in order to leverage my wide variety of talents and experience to help others become better versions of themselves!

Why do military spouses make great entrepreneurs? Military spouses make great entrepreneurs for many reasons! Their unique lifestyles have, and will continue to, hone their skills in ways they may not be aware of. When leveraged, these skills can be used to start their own business. I believe there are four main reasons: 

  1. Creativity (the ability to quickly solve problems with limited resources) As military spouses, we possess the creativity required to solve the daily problems of entrepreneurship and survive in today’s chaotic marketplace. 
  2. Flexibility (the ability to adapt to the ever-changing environment) Our chameleon-like ability to adapt to new environments translates well to entrepreneurism, were you must rapidly respond to changes in the marketplace. 
  3. Thrive-ability (ability to not only go through a crucible, but to come out of the other side stronger) Deployments, and other periods of extended spouse absence, are crucible experiences that stretch Military spouses outside of their comfort zone to not only survive, but to thrive. This willingness to go headfirst into the fire is a necessary trait for entrepreneurs. 
  4. Natural Networkers (ability to quickly make new connections and maintain existing relationships) The nomadic Military lifestyle has many benefits- our networks stretch across the globe and we are able to quickly make new friends. Whether it is finding strategic partnerships or cultivating future clients, entrepreneurs need to be able to cultivate a robust network in order to grow a successful business.

What is a "blocker" for you in business. What holds you back? The only thing holding me back is time! I'm at the point where I am at my max operating capacity as a solopreneur and need to choose between continuing to grow my business by adding team members or holding steady at the current pace.

How has being a military spouse changed your for the better?  Being a military spouse has changed me for the better in every way imaginable. I have learned the values of: patience, patience, and more patience. Ha! Seriously though, I have learned the value of flexibility, selfless service, and perseverance. I continue to learn new lessons everyday I am on this unique journey. Being surrounded by such a supportive, diverse and dynamic group of fellow Military spouses has caused me to push myself harder and farther than I would have ever thought possible!

What strengths do you possess, that you did not know you had, until you became an entrepreneur? Being a Strengths Coach, my Top Five Strengths are: 
Achiever: I work hard, possess a great deal of stamina and take immense satisfaction in being busy and productive. I use this to trudge through some of the less glamorous parts of entrepreneurship (accounting, database management, etc). 
Activator: I can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. I rely heavily upon this Strength to launch new programs and take the risks necessary for success. 
Futuristic- I am inspired by the future and what could be; I energize others with my visions of the future. I would be lost without the ability to envision the life I want for myself and the possibilities for my clients!
Input- I have an almost insatiable craving to know more and I use this to fuel all of my other Strengths by building a strong base of knowledge, experience and contacts.
Focus- I can take a direction, follow through, and make the corrections necessary to stay on track. It is key that as an entrepreneur, I don't get distracted with all of the peripheral emails and phone calls.

What would you tell a milspo entrepreneur who is feeling discouraged? I would tell them to spend time reflecting on what they loved doing as a child. What did they do that brought them immense joy and could lose all track of time doing? I would then inquire about how they can bring this same talent to bear in their business. I would strongly encourage anyone who is feeling discouraged to spend more time on the things that they are good at doing and less time focusing on trying to fix what is "wrong" with them. There are so many great resources to help with those areas that discourage us, why waste your precious time on getting marginally better at unimportant tasks?

What are your five favorite things that you can not live without as a milspo entrepreneur?

  1. iPhone (because 60% of my business is done on the go)
  2. MacBook (beacuse it works as hard as I do)
  3. StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath (for information and inspiration)
  4. Word Press (allows me the freedom to create and manage my own website)
  5. My Vitamix (to keep me fueled during those crazy days)

What is the most amazing thing you have experienced in your business thus far? The most amazing thing I have experienced in my business thus far is being able to experience life through my clients' eyes. Seeing them bring out their inner talents and turn them into useful Strengths is incredible rewarding! Be able to help someone understand that they should focus on the things that have always loved to do and are naturally good at doing is an absolute game-changer. I have seen grown men, PhD's, and computer programmers moved to tears when they finally understand why some relationships are so frustrating and learn how to alleviate this friction.

How do you want to be remembered? I want to be remembered as someone who incites action, offers constant encouragement, and provides actionable plans to meet Big, Hairy Audacious Goals.

Twitter: activ8urtalent

Instagram: @activateyourtalent

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/activateyourtalentllc/