Ep. 205: How this mompreneur built an online coaching business that helps badass women with Cat Del Carmen
In this episode, I speak with Cat Del Carmen who is a wife, mommy, and a business coach to badass women.
After struggling through years of schooling, and working in a Fortune 500 company, Cat realized this was not the life she wanted.
So, instead of working countless hours building someone else’s dream, she left to build her own by helping badass women through her online coaching business.
Listen on to find out how Cat has been about to build an online coaching business to help women thrive.
Ep. 204: How this remote travel and non-fiction writer helps badass women connect to their personal power with Kelly Lewis
Ep. 203: How this former advertiser sold all her belongings to travel and become a full-time remote coach with Pascale Côté
Ep. 202: How this millennial digital nomad has been able to achieve financial independence and retire early with Eric Richard
Hey everyone. Thank you so much for being here. I am here today with Cat.
Hey Cat, how are you?
Hi, I’m so excited to be here. Thank you so much. Debbie:
I’m really excited to talk to you today. Can you tell us more about you, Cat, and why you live an offbeat life?
Yeah. So my name is Cat Del Carmen or Catalina Del Carmen and I am a business coach and the host of the Follow That Fear podcast. My entire journey to entrepreneurship and this life that is just crazy in a wonderful way, started by creating a podcast.
The podcast, for me, became this platform where I could really show up for myself and talk about things that are really important to me. It was empowering my community, the people around me, to really believe that they have what it takes to go forward with whatever is calling them.
I created this podcast and what it turned into was me building my personal brand. It’s kind of a silly word if you’re not familiar with it, but really it’s your reputation. And I started creating this brand online and it revolved around me and what it turned into is a business.
So now I am also a business coach and I helped podcasters and content creators turn their content into an online coaching business and kind of go into a different direction so they can start doing what they love and empowering their community through what they love doing.
It’s really been a blessing.
I tell people all the time that podcasting is a major segue to creating a business from it or even scaling a current business that you have because it’s such a powerful tool and platform that is getting a lot of hype right now, right?
Everywhere you see, so many new content creators are starting a podcast but there is a huge turnover rate. I think right now they’re saying it’s over 50% of people got up to 14 episodes and then it’s gone and then you’re done.
So what do you think has made your show and what you did different from 50%? That’s a huge number of turnover rates. Like 50% of people who are starting podcasts are done after 14 episodes.
Yeah. I think one thing that people don’t realize about podcasting is it seems very glamorous and fun but in all reality, outside of blogging, even blogging is different, podcasting is so different from other long-form content. And when I say long-form content, I mean vlogging or podcasting because there’s some type of production behind it.
But what people don’t realize is that there is zero algorithm that’s going to promote your show. It’s not like social media where if someone likes your show, they can press a button, and then it’ll share it with their community. It doesn’t have that power behind it.
So you really have to get into podcasting because you love the conversations you want to have, you love the topics, the creativity. You have to be really attached to what you’re doing.
I personally think, especially when you start the podcast, you have to have your why like “why”. Like, “Why are you doing this?” ‘Cause that’s what’s going to keep you going because it’s very seldom.
I’m pretty sure it’s never happened, you could tell me if you’ve heard of anything like podcasts do not go viral. That’s not how it works in this world.
For people who started a podcast, have a program called Podcast Marketing Lab and I created it for this reason because marketing is so important to your podcast and that is so easy to forget when you’re starting. You’re just assuming people are going to listen but in all reality, it’s your job to make sure people even know that there’s a show.
And really making sure you understand who your audience is and you’re telling them about it.
Absolutely. I hear this a lot. People want to start a podcast and then they’re like, “Yeah, everyone is starting it. So I’m going to do it on my platform too.” And I always laugh and I’m like, “Well, if you want to do it as a hobby, I think totally go for it. Like, you should definitely do it. But if you want to make something out of it, it has to have something else.”
Like you said, Cat, you need to have a lot of determination, dedication for it like with anything else that you’re going to start because otherwise, it’s not going to go anywhere. It’s a lot of work, everything is a lot of work. So you really need to make sure that it’s something that you want to do.
But, honestly, you could also experiment with that because you never know what’s going to happen.
Yeah. When I started my podcast… I’ll tell you a quick story that really resonates with my audience.
I was a content creator and I was really struggling to be consistent everywhere, honestly. I started a YouTube channel and that didn’t work out, I had a blog and I realized I didn’t like writing. And there came a point where I really had a lot to say and I kind of knew the conversations I wanted to have.
And one day, it was my nine-to-five job, but I went on a Sunday because I had a baby at home and I was like, “Oh my God!” I wanted to record this YouTube video and I couldn’t because the baby was crying.
So I went to my job, I brought all my equipment. I had content written out and in that moment, I started recording and I realized I just hated everything about it. I didn’t like the way it sounded, the way I looked – none of it.
And in that moment, I had been resisting podcasting so much because I was like, “Everyone’s doing it.” In all reality, that was my ego. And something in me was like, “Just start the podcast.” And no kidding, Debbie, I started the podcast that moment.
I created the cover art and signed up for a hosting platform within an hour. Three days later, I recorded three episodes. In the first three episodes, I had zero edits because I didn’t know how to edit and I told myself, “I’m not going to let this be an excuse for me to not publish this.”
And five days after that, I published the podcast. So it all happened within 10 days and I was just going off of my intuition. There was nothing perfect about it. Everything was messy action. I only knew who I wanted to talk to. Like, I really had a message. I really had words I wanted to say.
In the beginning, they’re mainly solo episodes and I took messy action. And what really kept me going was my audience. I really took every single DM. I would market the show but every DM I would get saying, “Oh my God, thank you so much for publishing this episode.”
Trust me, in the beginning, I didn’t get these tons of DMs. Like, I get one DM and that one DM, I would take it very seriously. In my next episode, I will be talking to that person.
That is such a great way of looking into it. Because I think we all think we’re going to be viral and instafamous. And we’re going to be super famous from our podcast from the beginning because we all get into that mindset where we start comparing ourselves to other people.
Unfortunately, everyone, it doesn’t happen like that, but it’s really your mindset in the beginning and what you do with it – just mindset and action.
If you can keep going with that and you really love what you’re doing and you have a purpose with it then it’s going to have longevity because it’s a labor of love right from the beginning unless you already have a huge amount of following and then you just take them to your podcast or whatever other platforms it is that you want to do.
So, I love that. I love your podcasting journey. I started in a similar way too where it was just something that I started because I was curious about being location independent, of starting a remote business.
And lo and behold, a year-and-a-half later, I was able to leave my 9-to-5, do this full-time. I earned my first five-figure from my podcast before I even hit a year from doing it. And now this is what I do for a living.
It’s pretty incredible what this platform can do if you do it the right way and I always see a lot of people after the launch. Like, there’s a lot of the after-the-launch confusion that you see as well. That is why there is a huge turnover because people launch, they get all that excitement and then crickets.
Exactly. And it’s normal.
Absolutely and that’s the thing – you have to keep going. It’s like with anything else, you gotta work hard for this and that’s how you got to do it.
So, when you were just starting out, what was it that you did? Were you a coach or did you do something else completely?
No. So I was working a nine-to-five and I worked at Adobe Systems. I worked in their advertising business unit or product I should say. And I worked in training. So I worked in learning and development and my job was to sell training to our clients. So depending on their needs, I would sell them training.
I had honestly an amazing career and there was a moment where I hit six figures. And I had always wanted six fingers in my career because as a first gen person who was raised by a single mom, so we didn’t have a lot of money, six figures always felt like, “Oh my God.” Like, once you make six figures, it’ll change my life.
And once I hit that in my career, I realized that it’s not all that. I was very comfortable and we had this really comfortable lifestyle. But I realize that it’s not all about the money and I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. But, in all honesty, I never felt like I had a super-specific talent and I also am really disorganized.
I always had these limiting beliefs about my actual capabilities to build it. Although I’m super visionary and I have a lot of ideas, the execution always intimidates me. The thing about my podcast is that it allowed me to build a personal brand.
And what that means, at least for my community, is I started becoming known as not only the person with a podcast but my messaging in my podcast was: take messy action. Do things scared, follow that fear. My podcast is called Follow that Fear.
So I started being known as a person who really talks about fear, a person who goes for it even when she’s scared, the person that takes messy action, the person that will show up regardless of whether she’s ready.
And because my personal brand turned into something of its own, what I started doing is using my podcast to kind of explore opportunities of entrepreneurship. So what does that mean?
What I started doing is putting little promos at the end of my podcasting: “Hey guys, if you like this conversation and you’re interested in some coaching, please reach out to me.” Like, I would put that in my podcast.
I wouldn’t expect anything from it because I thought it was silly. I was like, “I’m not a coach but whatever. I just put it in there, it’s my podcast.” And what that turned into is people starting to reach out wanting to know more.
And then as I had people reach out, I would learn more about like, “Okay, what are people even interested in? Why do they want to work for me?” And it started a lot about learning about podcasts. Like, people wanted to set up their podcast.
So I created this course called Podcast Marketing Lab because for me it wasn’t the podcast building that was hard, it was the marketing and the consistency. Like, that’s what really was difficult. So I created this course because my audience is asking for it.
And then after that, I launched a group coaching program and it was all about building your personal brand. And that was the first time I actually made thousands of dollars in one launch and I was like, “Oh my God. I can actually do something with this.”
And it just evolved so much but I will say, “If I’ve learned anything, it’s that I’m so connected with my audience.” This isn’t like everyone’s approach but for the coaching world, it has been such a beautiful benefit of starting with a podcast because podcasting, what it really does, is to build a lot of trust with your audience.
They can count on you on a regular basis to be there. If you listen to Debbie on a regular basis, you have that trust in her. Like you count on her to be there when you want a new episode and there’s a lot of trust-building that happens.
I didn’t know it when I started my podcast but what I was really doing is warming up this audience to offer something. And now I have such an amazing audience and amazing listeners that are really following their fear and going for it. And I’m seeing new customers that have been listeners.
So that’s kind of how that entrepreneurship journey happened. It really started one foot in front of the other and I wasn’t trying to rush it. I was just trying to do what my audience needed and create different offers for them. And then it turned me into a business coach.
It’s such an incredible journey that you went through because it was all so unexpected for you when you finally realize that this is something that you wanted to do full-time, right?
How did you do any of it? What did you do to prepare?
This is such a good question because I didn’t mention in all of this that I’ve had my podcast for one year. Literally, I just hit my one-year a couple of days ago and I did quit my job, I think, in September. I want to make it super clear that I am in no way making the same money, it wasn’t my job yet.
I had a really great salary and I’m not making that kind of money yet. But what I did decide along this journey is there was a time in my journey at the beginning where something shifted and I really decided to dive in. Like, “Okay, I need to start this online coaching business because people are asking me and I have to take it more seriously.”
And in that moment, I decided to hire a business coach. So that was my first kind of investment that really helped jumpstart my online coaching business. Honestly, a lot of the work to actually leave my 9-to-5 came with talking to my husband.
So in that time, I got my business coach and I really had to sit down with my husband. I don’t hate saying manifest but literally, things just happened because I’ve put them in the air. Honestly, I was praying that I would kind of, this sounds horrible, lose my job in January So I can go all into my podcast.
I didn’t know what coaching was yet but I wanted to do that. And as things evolved, crazy things happened there. My role was eliminated at work due to covid but they were going to keep everyone and hopefully find a different job for them.
And I told myself in that moment like, “I do not want another job. I’m going to be so unhappy in any other job. This is my opportunity to leave this job.” That being said, it’s really hard for it to go to your husband or partner and say, “Hey, I want to leave my six-figure job. That means our entire household is gonna lose six figures.
But here’s the thing, I had been planting seeds about this for a long time. My husband knew exactly what I wanted back in January, February, March. Like, I would say, “I really wish that I could have this opportunity to leave so I can go all in to my business.”
And when the opportunity presented itself, we have to sit down, look at our finances, take some risk, and really figure out if it’s possible. And for us, in our situation and circumstances, it was possible. It was just going to affect our lifestyle. So it was a decision between my husband and myself.
And after that, I also negotiated a severance package with my company which I highly recommend which is funny because so many people are like, “Wait, you can negotiate severance packages when you are leaving a job.?” Yes, you absolutely can. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Anyway, that’s another topic.
So that being said, I negotiated a severance package, talked to my husband, and really figured this out. We also moved during this point from the Bay Area to LA in California and a lot of changes were happening in our life.
And then that’s also when I decided to launch my business. Like, announce it to the world and I will say that from June to September, those are some of the hardest moments of my year in my life. There was just so much transition.
I think walking away from a career that you worked so hard to build, I didn’t know that was going to affect me so much but a lot of the time we wrap up our value on the roles that we carry at work. And walking away from that was really a hit to my ego and definitely affected me emotionally.
That being said, you put one foot in front of the other and I really tried to focus on my audience and build programs that we’re going to help them get results in whatever way I can help them.
And it started moving and shaking. And then as I started to actually see money coming in. Your partner really starts enjoying what you do when they see money coming in. So now it really changed the dynamic for me and my husband ’cause he’s like, “Oh, you’re going to get us rich.”
It’s exciting because now it feels like we’re in it together. I know that’s not the case for everyone to have such a supportive partner, but that was my journey. That’s kind of how I got to leave my job and we’re definitely sacrificing the lifestyle we had before but we’re comfortable and it’s okay.
Can I just give a shout-out to partners out there who deal with this and do it gracefully? I don’t think they get enough credit because this is a lifestyle that most people really can’t handle. And If it’s not something that you choose for yourself and you’re with someone who chose this, it’s a really difficult thing.
And for them to be able to continue to be supportive, contribute, and also celebrate our wins, sometimes more than we do, is a huge, huge thing. So shout out to that.
Absolutely. My husband has been pivotal and I will say for anyone listening who’s like, “Well, my husband is not supportive,” that my husband wasn’t so bad on. Sure, he was like, “Yeah, great. Good luck with everything.”
Here’s the thing and this is a mindset thing, I had to switch it early in my podcast journey, I can’t expect my husband to be bought on to my business idea if I’m not bought on to my business idea.
So I think it’s important to remember that our partner will believe it when we really start showing up as that CEO and when we really start showing up in a different way and we start doing those brave things.
At least for me, there was a switch and in those switch moments, no shifts, that’s when my husband was like, “Oh shoot! She’s really creating something and this isn’t just like a hobby. It really is a business.”
So, Cat, when you were transitioning to this, how did you land your first client?
I did start kind of small. So like my first offering were $150 strategy calls or you could get like four strategy calls for like four hundred bucks. And that’s how I started and I literally landed those by putting a little promo in my podcast.
And here’s the thing, no joke, there are probably only three episodes I put that promo in. I definitely had limiting beliefs like I didn’t want to show up big so I created promos and I put them on 3 episodes. And at that time, I probably had like 40 or something episodes, and I just kind of went about my day and continued with my podcast.
Then I got my first client. What’s so funny, in marketing an ideal customer avatar is basically your dream customer, and my dream customer, I would always call her Jessica, and my first customer was named Jessica. That was my first customer who gave me money and it was just for one call.
And as I grew that business it started changing and I didn’t have this plethora of people. It just happened slowly but surely. I’d say my first high-ticket client came not that long ago, just a couple of months ago, but things are now moving very quickly and I’m like, “Aaaah. A lot to learn.”
That first high-ticket client really came from one TikTok which is wild but she also listens to my podcast. So it’s really the trust-building. A lot of people want to start a business off of their podcast but they don’t realize that, you, showing up for your podcast consistently is the beginning of your business.
So showing up and actually delivering value to your audience – that’s the beginning.
So yeah, that’s how I got my first kind of clients and then I had my digital product that I created and I sold that. Everything I’ve sold is launch style. And when I say launch style, I’m sure your audience has some of my idea of that but launch style, they really were my programs and products that are only open for a limited time.
So I will have open enrollment and then I’ll close the enrollment and that’s the way my business model is right now.
So what are some of the best resources that have helped you start this online coaching business and even make your tasks easier?
In all honesty, I am a very unorganized, messy person and I don’t have a lot of processes. That being said, I am a mom to a toddler and I didn’t mention this earlier but the transition from leaving my job into going all into my business, I was a full-time, stay-at-home mom. That was the hardest part
So I didn’t have the time to work on my business. I literally had to do it through naps and things like that. That being said, I had to learn how to get as much done in very short periods of time. So I’d say the resources or the actions I took that helped me really expedite my productivity is I had to repurpose my content.
So what I started doing was transcribing my podcast and using little quotes from it to create different graphics for my marketing channels, which at that time was Instagram. I do some on TikTok and also go live on Instagram and use those lives on my podcast.
I do want to put a little disclaimer that, for my podcast, I have two episodes every week. I have one episode that’s on Wednesdays, those are my regular episodes. And then I have a segment called Casual Friday and they’re usually like very casual, unedited episodes. I’m kind of just talking about what’s on my mind, what I’m learning, things I’m going through.
And on those Casual Friday episodes, I would repurpose my Instagram lives and literally have a whole new episode. I would always put a disclaimer like to my audience and say, “Hey, this is an Instagram live.” I did the audios a little funky but you’ll take value from it.
I started doing that pretty regularly and it saved me so much time and I was also able to deliver value to my audience in a way that saves me a lot of time. So I think repurposing alone has been amazing.
One more thing on the repurposing front is any caption that I use on my Instagram, especially like the longer ones, those captions would also turn into emails and vice versa. So if I wrote a really good email to my email list, I would take that and then edit it just a little bit for Instagram and I’d put it on my Instagram for a post.
So repurposing has been a game-changer because I’ve been so limited in time. So that’s been huge, huge, huge for me.
I think outside of that in terms of resources, I’d say, these aren’t really resources, they’re just like little hacks that help me, there is a Chrome app called Tabby Cat. Basically, it helps you kind of bookmark but it’s way better ’cause you can organize all of the sites that you visit regularly.
I’m sure everyone’s heard of Canva. It’s what I use for all my graphics and it has been a game-changer. I use it every single day.
And outside of that, I’m really in the middle of putting some processes together because, literally, I’m in this time in my business where things are moving quicker than I can. So I’m in a place where I’m starting to look for a VA and really looking into making my systems more of a process. I also just hired my first podcast producer for next year.
In terms of resources, I’m more of like, “Let’s just take action and save time.”
Yeah. Once you start creating those systems, it becomes so much easier and things just get done on their own. I can’t even tell you. This whole year has been crazy and I’ve taken weeks off and I felt so guilty but things are still getting done because I had people working on the back end and I was like, “Wow! things are still getting done. Okay, great. This is a good system.”
Yeah, girl. I’m learning. It really is amazing.
I mean, that’s what it is to be like a boss, like a CEO. It’s putting things in place and trusting them.
Yeah, we have to. We can’t be everywhere and everything to everyone. So if you don’t do that with your business, you’re going to be rugged and you’re just going to have complete burnout. And that happened to me at the beginning of my business and I was like, “Never again. This is never going to happen again.”
So, delegating and creating systems are the best thing that you can do for yourself and your business, honestly. Thank goodness for that.
So, Cat, let’s fast-forward to 30, to 40 years from now and you’re looking back at your life, what legacy would you like to leave and what do you want to be remembered for?
I love this question. The folks who listen to my podcast know that my heart is really in seeing my community believe in themselves and show up to play bigger.
The reason I started my podcast, there were many reasons, but one specifically, I was sitting at a table with two of my cousins, this is like a year-and-a-half ago, and we were talking about our jobs. And I had recently negotiated a $15,000 raise, this was right before my podcast.
And I was with my cousin, my cousin’s wife and they were saying how amazing that was, how they could never do that, and then one woman was saying how unhappy she was in her job. And then another woman was like, “They would never pay me that much. I could never ask that much. I would have to do all this extra work.”
And I had a moment in that conversation because in my eyes these women are incredible. They’re leaders in their communities, their leaders in their families, their leaders in their church. And in that moment, in my head, I was like, “What is wrong with you? You are such a badass and you don’t need someone’s approval to actually go for it.”
And literally, that was what sparked Follow that Fear. That was the message.
So when I got on my podcast I was almost angry in a good way. I was like, “Girl, you got to do that.” My podcast is very like pep talk, inspirational but it’s because my heart really really wants to see women play bigger. Specifically women of color, specifically underdogs.
I want my legacy to be “Cat believed in me and because of that I did some badass shit and I created this life that I never thought I could and I created generational wealth for the people behind me and my family”.
I just want to help women show up for themselves and do things without permission, take risks, and follow their fears. Really show up for themselves like they never have before.
I love it. I love all of that and the legacy that you want to leave and you’re starting it now and your voice is being heard. So that is incredible.
Now, Cat, if our listeners want to know more about you, where can they find you?
Yeah, I hang out most on Instagram @catdelcarmen and you can also check out my website CatDelCarmen.com. And pretty much CatDelCarmen everywhere but I mostly hang out on Instagram and I’m super friendly on DM. So feel free to DM me if you enjoy this episode or if anything resonated with you.
And then lastly, I do have some freebies. So if you’re interested in some free resources that I’ve created, just go to the link in my bio on Instagram or you can go to my website and find them.
Perfect. Thank you so much, Cat, for all of these incredible tips that you gave us. We really appreciate it.
Thank you so much, Debbie, I had so much fun.
Audio Engineer: Ben Smith