Episode 83

St Pete X features business and civic leaders in St. Petersburg Florida who share their insight, expertise and love of our special city. An initiative of the St. Petersburg Group, St Pete X strives to connect and elevate the city by sharing the voices of its citizens, and to bring awareness to the opportunities offered by the great St. Petersburg renaissance.

04/06/2022 | Episode 83 | 59:17

Ep. 83: Katie Krimitsos - Creator - Women's Meditation Network

Katie Krimitsos started out walking the line that most women walk. On one side, cultural and societal norms, family and even biology. On the other, exploration, self-actualization and going deep into a passion. All genders walk the line in their own ways, and all genders suffer cultural expectations. The numbers show, though, that when it comes to families and the “invisible work” of life admin, it’s women who are more likely to exit beast mode for diapers and laundry.

Krimitsos has been driven and powerful since the beginning. Her family environment was female-empowered, and she was largely shielded from the injustices women faced. Thus it’s no surprise that her early explorations into women’s studies, and what they revealed about the world, made her angry.

As a self-named “angry feminist” she grabbed a hammer and set her sights on the glass ceiling. She started several businesses geared towards elevating people – some specifically for women, some for everyone. Each achieved success. They also took her on an evolutionary path for her own perspectives about being a woman in society. She realized that while we can see the faults in our societal framework, we still need to live in it.  And that there was no one-size-fits-all solution for how to do that successfully.

Thus, she surmised, the only way to walk the line without falling off is to draw your own line – one that takes no additional balance to navigate because it’s already perfectly balanced, for you.

The Women’s Meditation Network helps women draw their line. Katie’s experience and passion, her wise cadence, her earnest caring are all infused in her meditations. She started releasing them on Tuesdays a couple years ago and women started listening … and listening … and listening some more. The WMN just passed 40 million downloads and the monthly download rate is accelerating.

Please enjoy episode 83 of St Pete X – a full hour of Katie Krimitsos wonderfully walking her line.

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INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION

Joe

Joining me on SPx is the founder of the Women’s Meditation Network Katie Krimitsos, welcome. Thank you, I appreciate it. So first, congratulations are in order. You just passed a nice milestone of 40 million downloads for your network of podcasts.

Katie

Yeah. And just shy of four years, about three and a half years. So that’s pretty awesome.

Joe

Even that number, as big as it is, is going to be a trifling number at the rate you’re going, you’re going to be sniffing out 100 million in just what, less than a year probably at you’re current rate.

Katie

Yeah, I like to say I’m just at the start of this.

Joe

That’s great.

Kate

Yeah.

Joe

And so, you’ve had a long history of doing these sorts of things. You’ve moved in from coaching, working with business owners, and sort of playing in this sort of fray. And now with these great new technologies. I mean, podcasting is obviously an old technology, but the reach to that and the popularity of it all, it’s really, you know, your long track record and history is coming to become useful now.

Katie

It’s really interesting. I’m sure that we can all do this. But it’s like in this particular moment, when you start looking back, and you see how all the different experiences that you’ve had, along the way have all sort of like, ended up bending and creating this particular moment that you’re in. And, you know, my first introduction to meditation itself was when I was 18-19 years old, at the very end of a yoga class. And you know, we’re in the Shavasana position. She takes us through a five-minute guided meditation. I just remember being really touched by it, like, “Wow, that was really beautiful.” Fast forward, I was really, you know, like feminist in college, and really took to a lot of women’s focused initiatives and really felt this like, “Okay, I want to do something with this.” And then fast forward college, grad school, that corporate job, that corporate job, you know, going into business with my husband back in 2009, you know, working in the Tampa Bay area, working with Tampa Bay business owners, and getting this really unique viewpoint of like, owning businesses and what that looks like having to start and grow a company. And then in 2014, I started my first podcast, which was Biz Women Rock, helping coach women entrepreneurs. And again, looking back, there’s like, “How did all of that actually come together?” And now I feel with the Women’s Meditation Network, it’s just this beautiful conglomeration of all of those experiences that are now starting to really hit, because I’ve had all of those experiences that are lending itself to it.

Joe

And that’s what makes it interesting, because to be a meditation guide, it’s a place of maturity, right? It’s the place where people are putting their emotional well-being there, and you’re guiding them with that. And that’s something you have to, you know, earn the right to be at that place. And then your journey has led you there. So, you know, let’s step back a little bit. You mentioned feminism, and obviously, women play a big role in the work that you do. So, can we kind of get back to the beginning of when you first, you know, really poignantly felt the condition of being a woman in the world today, or a world back then I guess?

Katie

Yeah. So, I was raised in a family with a very strong mother and a feminist father, with six kids, five girls, one boy. And I would say, we were not given any limits, as far as you know, what we could do in this world. So I didn’t know that there was something that existed out there called the glass ceiling. I didn’t know that there was something that existed out there called wait, there are things you quote unquote, “can’t do” or a looked down upon, because you’re a girl. So I never felt that growing up at all. I was, you know, pretty hardcore athlete, I love the idea of being able to excel at these things. And then once I got into college, I took, you know, Gender and Communication class and Women’s Studies 101. It was very interesting, because they were just these moments of like, opening my eyes to this other kind of greater world that has existed in that moment. And in the past, that just felt like I was connected to it. And I wanted somehow to make other women feel like I had felt growing up, which was like, “You don’t have limits. You don’t have to live by certain rules. You can go and make your own rules. And so, in some weird way that’s driven me my whole life. And I don’t know if I’ve ever really been able to pinpoint that. But I remembered knowing pretty early on in those college years, like, I’m going to do something that impacts women all over the world. And I just don’t know what that is yet.

Joe

But clearly, even as you were growing up, the world had these constraints, right? And so, you know, as you took these classes, that’s an academic exercise. So did that more, open your eyes to constraints that you hadn’t noticed before, or how did that sort of play?

Katie

Definitely, there were definitely like, I mean, just the tiniest little things of, you know, the fact that women weren’t allowed the right to vote until 1920. I believe I’m going to feel like an idiot if I got that particular year wrong. But I mean, it’s not that long ago. And, you know, particular products that were made for women by men that were not good for us. And there were just a lot of things that really brought up in me like this, “God, that sucks! I don’t like that that’s how it is.” And back then I definitely kind of leaned into the very angry feminist kind of a model, right? Like, I was just angry at these things like, how dare they tell us what we can or can’t do? I definitely remember being like, “I’m never getting married. I’m never going to have kids, just because society tells me to.” That was me, you know, “I’m not going to be in a skinny body, because society tells me I have to do it.” So yeah, I’ve matured quite a bit since then. And I’ve definitely transitioned out of my angry feminist stage. And it’s really interesting, because I actually don’t know how much of those beliefs I still hold. I’ve definitely come into a place of more individualistic freedom that, truth be told, I feel like everything that I’m writing and communicating and delivering in these meditations are true for everyone. That’s absolutely true. And anyone can listen and I feel, get the message. The reason I want it, and have really done it in the space of women is because I’ve just always had these kind of rumblings, and because I obviously personally identify as a woman that I could feel that I remember, I know what it feels like to have this like incredible self-doubt, and to be comparing myself to somebody and to have this like, “I’m not good enough,” you know, yuck going on. And if I can create a meditation that can really just zap right to the heart into the subconscious of that woman, and I can be relatable to her, then that’s something I can dissolve and really make a difference from one woman, from one woman and her sense of self and her definition of self, then that one woman can start living a life that she feels is right for her.

Joe

Interesting. And so if we kind of dig into the self-doubt piece a bit, how do you sort of divide that up between, you know, a mismatch with who a woman is, and how the world treats that woman? Or, you know, maybe if we’re comparing to men, having less of that more of just being more sensitive, more empathic or whatever, what do you see the root of that self-doubt? And I know, it’s not one size fits all, but just, you know.

Katie

Yeah, so, I guess, again, I tend, I will absolutely recognize and honor the fact that there are incredible inequalities, right? And my answer to that has been for quite some time, and I think still is and is even stronger now is that it starts at on an individual basis. So in this example, if I can, again, really get into the subconscious of a woman who’s feeling self-doubt, and feels not nearly as confident or not able to do the things that other people are able to do in this world, and I can help her really strengthen that inner voice, that relationship to her inner voice, who tells her, “Hey, this is the life that I want, these are the decisions I want to make. And even though I am fearful, I’m going to have courage to make these decisions.” And I think once we start talking there, it actually doesn’t become about gender at all. And you don’t see those inequalities, because you refuse to believe that they apply to you. Because if you can really step into self and be aligned with who you are, what you’re doing here, even though that’s constantly changing and evolving, you are less likely to pay attention to the quote unquote, ‘rules’ that are happening out there. And you’re more in tune with and more committed to just walk in your path in this world. And when someone who is deeply connected to themselves, aligned with who they are and what they’re doing in this world, and their actions are aligned with that, you know those people, you see those people, all the rules dissolve, nothing matters anymore. So to me, that’s my answer. And that’s really the contribution that I can make.

Joe

Yeah, that’s great. And when we talk about alignment there, you know, and this gets a little bit into dissecting things that, you know, maybe I’m not qualified to talk about but, you know, obviously, all people aren’t all things ever, right? And so, you know, a man or a woman, you know, has aspirations, and they’re always in some degree of falling short of those aspirations. And so, you know, on one hand, my immediate thinking is that gender differences are just what you focus on, whereas maybe boys are taught to just ride the good and just focus on that and kind of ignore the rest and maybe girls are more apt to dwell or be taught to focus on stuff they lack. And so that’s a benefit that maybe the world sets up for boys. Is that fair?

Katie

I mean, there’s something very real called this nurture versus nature, coming into this world, right? And there are very real gender specific rules and things that we do. And we sometimes do them like unconsciously, you know, “My daughter loves pink, so I’ll get her more pink toys,” you know versus, “I want to get her some trucks,” you know. And there’s sort of like things that we do very subconsciously that are already just integrated into our culture. And I don’t want to say that those are wrong by any stretch of the imagination, and that like, all those things need to come crumbling down. This is I think what I really learned in college was, all of these things are worth honoring and recognizing, and therefore you as an individual can choose how you step into the world. So, for example, knowing these things, and having learned these things about like, “Hey, you deliberately steer your kid to be more feminine if you give them pink toys,” and it is, you can look at the toy store right now. And you can see toys for girls and toys for boys. Toys for boys are blow up things, building blocks, all those sorts of things, which, you know, really spark a certain part of the brain, right? For girls, their makeup, they’re taking care of babies, we’re getting ready for nurturing, kitchen stuff. There’s all sorts of home making type stuff. So my younger self would have been very angry about that, and like, “Screw this, and they need to be all over the board,” right. But I think it’s up to us as individuals to just, rather than being angry at all that stuff, it’s a matter of just recognizing it, and being aware of it, and then bringing it home into our lives and saying, “Okay, what works for me and my kids?” for example. So my oldest, I was very aware of this becoming a mother six years ago. And so I definitely deliberately tried to have more gender neutral things, and I want to give you trucks and you know, dolls and sort of stuff. Well, guess what? My girl, my six-year old is a princess. She loves Princess stuff, she loves pink, pink, pink, all the time. The color I avoided for the first couple of years of her life. And so there’s a certain point where I need to say, “Hey, this has actually nothing to do with all of those rules. This has everything to do with my daughter, the individual. And I’m going to nurture what she wants.” So yeah, again, I think it’s a matter of just recognizing and respecting in the sense of like, “Okay, this is what it is, what am I going to choose to do? How am I going to choose to sort of interact with that?”

Joe

And I think that brings up an interesting, it sort of it can be internally contradictory to your point where, you know, the world has – for better or for worse – sort of shaped who we are. And we can constantly shift that framework to a better framework, but we also still, in our point in time in our lives are in that framework. And so you always have to find the balance between, you know, despising the framework, but also not ruining your life, because you despise the framework. And so, enjoying your life while you move the framework. And that’s often a contradictory experience.

Katie

Or you can just go rogue and because we know those people, right, who absolutely refuse to play by the rules of culture, and they are often ostracized, very often ostracized, and a lot of times demonized, that they’re not going along with things, you know, but again, like it’s more about, “Okay, well, now I’m focusing on everything external versus internal, what’s right for me?” So, you know, it’s about being able to find and create your own path every step of the way.

Joe

And I think an important piece of that is, when you get there, you use the word alignment, you know, if you’re aligned with your passion, it’s not that those perceived shortcomings go away, it’s just you don’t care about them anymore, because you’re just living at the edge of your passion. And that’s all you can really hope to do.

Katie

Exactly, I’ll give you actually a really great business example of this. So you know, I’ve been a business woman in some sense of the word since 2009. And I’ve had a lot of like building business type of experience. And over all these years, one thing I’ve come to really recognize is that I have strengths in organization, operations, systems, organizing things, making efficiencies, right? I’m also a creative. That’s why I love writing. These meditations are really my creative outlet for writing, and I’m writing little poems, and I get to kind of package them in a meditation and boom, that’s what it is, right? But I say that because, you know, after all of these years, I had always believed that the more… I’m going to call it the Steve Jobs, right? Like that more visionary, like that type of CEO, that type of business owner is so sexy, like, that’s the one that you know, the flamboyant, like, oh my gosh, all the ideas, the marketing, all the sexy stuff, right? I’ve tried that, like in my biz woman rock business. I tried to be that and it was so hard. It was so hard for me to do that. And so fast forward, not that I can’t do… I’m good at marketing. I’m good at marketing. I’m good at envisioning stuff. I’m actually great at the envisioning stuff. But now fast forward in the Women’s Meditation Network. I was like a year and a half in I think, and I’m going on a walk with my husband, Chris. And this is notable because my husband Chris is a genius marketer, not good, not great, not extraordinary. He is a genius marketer and business strategist, right? But after all these years, I have not really let him in to help me because my ego’s come up and said, “I know how to do this stuff,” right? I have to be all of this kind of a business owner because that’s the sexiest thing. So here we are two years ago and we’re on this walk and I don’t know I just had this moment. I was like, we’re talking about business. I’m like, “What do you think? he’s like, “Do you really want to know?” I was like, “I do, I want to know, I’m totally open, I’ve let go of my ego, tell me what you think.” And he told me he’s like, “Do this, this, this and this, and here’s why.” And I was like, “Okay,” paid attention to him did everything. I’m a doer, like I am implementer extraordinaire. So did it all. And within a month, I saw numbers skyrocket, and I was like, “Okay, okay, I got it.” So now, two years later, I really consider the women’s meditation network, this beautiful family business where it wouldn’t work without either of us, because he is regularly my marketing guy, my strategist, my growth strategist. And what about this, this and this and this and putting some pieces together? Well, I am the implementer, the organizer, the person sort of like making things efficient. So we can do as much as possible with as little time for me as possible, because I want to still have time to be mom. So I say that because it is like this, we don’t have to be all things to all people. And it’s like this, what you think is so sexy, has nothing to do with outside thoughts of what is accepted or what’s not, or what’s good or what’s not. It’s about like, “No, I’m actually my gifts are this. And his gifts are this.” And imagine if I got beyond my own ego or my own limitations and said, “Hey, let’s combine these gifts,” holy cow, how many more women we could reach? And that’s exactly what’s been happening.

Joe

So that’s the big let go personified. And we talked about the Steve Jobs types. And, you know, I like Hunter S. Thompson, he was a favorite, you know, and he was a terrible father. And by all, you know, all means he’s a terrible person too, but you know, he went deep into one thing, and then, you know, it happened to resonate in one way, you know, and Steve Jobs, a lot of that’s true for him as well. He had a very specific skill set, he was crap at a lot of other stuff too, including running companies, and being a father and all those sorts of things. And so it’s always walking that, you know, you almost could use the word going rogue, they’re going as deep into yourself as possible, while also sort of keeping the same life and then being a mom and all that stuff as well. So that seemed like a real breakthrough and getting to let go into the deepest parts of yourself, which is ultimately what’s going to attract people to Women’s Meditation Network, right?

Katie

I like to think so. And then it’s a matter of identifying, and consciously dissolving the limiting beliefs too. In the space of women, what I have found to be very true for like a woman’s standard thing that I’ve been taught is going to happen that I didn’t want to believe, is that, okay well, when you become a mom, you got to, you know, things are going to slow down in your work world, and your work life and your business. Tons of examples of women putting their careers on hold. And again, my former self would have been very angry at that and wanted to back the system and saying, “Oh, just watch me, I’ll show you what a mom you know, and an entrepreneur can do.” Nowadays, it’s more like, let me not even pay attention to that. Let me actually make my own equation. Let me understand that there’s a story out there called when you are a mom who works, you can’t work. Your business can’t really thrive and take off if you’re a mom, if you’re an active mom. If your business thrives and takes off it’s because you’re not being a good mom. Because you’re not obviously spending time with your kids. Because you’re obviously spending too much time working. And I recognized that very early on. And I was like, “No, that story isn’t going to work for me, I’m going to create my own story called I can skyrocket business, I can make impact to millions of people all over the world. And I can be a very active, very present mother.” So that and there is tricky, though, because now it’s a matter of like, okay, well, how? And there are very real tools and skills that have to be implemented in order to walk that path of, “I’m going to be a very active mother, and I’m going to knock the world’s socks off with these meditations.

Joe

Yeah, and maybe even the how isn’t even as relevant. Because once you’ve made the sort of decision to let go and do that, then you figure out the right how for you.

Katie

Yeah. So true.

Joe

So you know, as you dug into that, you know, you put out the belief that you know, you can’t be an impactful business leader, while being a mom, who’s saying that? Why was that such a powerful thing to have to knock down?

Katie

So when I became a mom, I was an entrepreneur before I became a mom. So I considered the business that I had, my baby. And so I was putting in crazy hours, everyone who runs her own business understands that. And I was ignorant with my first daughter. I didn’t even get to set her up with daycare, I was like, “I’m working from home, I own my own business, I can do this whole taking care of the infant and running a company thing.” And I it took me two months to be like, Oh, my gosh, what was I thinking? I need help, right? So, you know, I feel like it exists in a lot of stories out there. And it just sort of is in the fabric, you know, and there’s nothing bad or wrong with it. I want to make sure that you hear that I’m not putting judgment on it. But it’s like, how many women have done that? And that’s not a bad choice, by the way. Like, I have definitely thought about that a couple of times like, “Hey, maybe I want to be stay at home mom, and this is going to be my work right now.” So, I feel like there’s historical evidence, you know, and as we’re growing up, what are we seeing in the people around us? What is the norm there? What is the norm that we’re seeing in business? You know, when I first became a mom, I was very integrated into the online business community. I had an online business. You know, I was selling my coaching and my strategic advice and selling masterminds. And so I was in the workings of all of that. And I’ll tell you what, there weren’t as many women as there are men. I mean, I like to think I’m very exposed to a lot of phenomenal business women. But, you know, like, how much of people, like how much are representative women at this age with young kids? I remember the women who had kids who were also really making statements, with their businesses, it was a big deal. I don’t remember it being a lot, but it was a big deal. I was noticeable. So I just think it sort of seeps in to us.

Joe

Yeah, and I agree. I like digging into that too, because so many things that people will say that they had to work so hard to overcome, and you’re like, you know, “Who put that there that you had to overcome it?” And it is just in tiny, little granules everywhere, right? And the best that I can come up with is that, I trace it back to even our roots as a country. We are founded by a puritanical group of folks. And we sort of break down how those hierarchies work. There was always the leaders were the preachers or whatever. And by definition, they were always the most chaste, the most conservative, the most whatever, because they were the example by which everybody, and everybody just sort of fell off of that, to some extent. And so, by falling out of these roles, and things like that, you were basically, it’s just so easy for the most conservative person to hold the judgment, the judgment in the hierarchy. And I think that that does persist through our world today that this conservative idea, “Well, you’re not going to be a good mom if you do this,” persists. But it almost gets lost, that there may be not anybody else who really thinks that anymore, or anybody who matters.

Katie

I mean, I think it’s really awesome that there are so many, I mean, even countless examples that completely back that nowadays, which I love, and let’s be very real. I’ll speak personally from my experience. I don’t know this to be true for every working mom. But in many ways, I’m a primary parent. I’m in charge of all the little mini details, the gazillions of mini details that happen in order to manage the kids’ lives in the household, right? They call it the invisible work. So if I didn’t have childcare, you learn very quickly, as a working mom that childcare is the number one most important things. So if I did not have childcare, it would get very hairy. There’s definitely like this limit of time. And for the first, there’s actually, I think it’s another podcaster, who has a podcast called Naptime Empires. Because of course, I could make it work. If I were going to get up super early if I were going to work during that two hours of naptime if I were going to work super late. So it’s absolutely possible. But, there’s a lot of us working moms who are managing so many things behind the scenes. And if any one of them go awry, then work gets put on the backburner. If a kid gets sick, if whatever thing happens in school, “Oh, shoot, I forgot there’s no school today.” How many times has that happened? So that’s my experience. It’s not every single working mom’s experience, but there’s just a lot of details there. So, there’s so many examples of women just killing it, according to what’s important to them.

Joe

In 50 years, if the invisible work is still 90% women, is that bullshit or is that?

Katie

I think that every couple and again, I don’t want to make any couple wrong, like every couple figures out, how they’re dancing this thing called parenting and living together and having a life together. And it just so has happened over all these years. My husband and I, this is sort of what we’ve worked out. This is what he does, and this is what I do. I naturally take on a lot of it, because I like being able to have that control. And I like being able to pick up the kids and I like those sorts of things. So the invisible work is very real. And I do think that there is a lot of expectation that it’s naturally the woman is going to do it.

Joe

And that’s what I was getting at, yeah.

Katie

Naturally, yes. There’s a lot of that expectation. And so I think it is up to each of us individually to sort of fight for what we want, in whatever battle that’s going to be or whatever dance that’s going to be and then every couple sort of settles into whatever works for them.

Joe

And I know, Chris is just an animal of an entrepreneur, right? And my wife’s actually an entrepreneur as well, and she’s got a business that’s not similar to what you used to do. But, in our roles, and this wasn’t necessarily discussed, I’ve had more freedom to be the animal than she has. And so I will say that I enjoy that, and I emotionally want to keep it that way, but intellectually I can say there’s bullshit, for our situation. And, if I look at my daughter growing up in the future, I think it’s something to aspire to. And again, then you get deeper. You can get into the whole biology of it all and you know, that everything from breastfeeding and all that sort of stuff to which sort of sets the tone but again, that’s sort of the evolution of a society is to know how much of that you hold on to and how much of that you grow out of, right?

Katie

Exactly 100%. And it’s always so precarious because you can hold on to any one of those details or statistics. And you can let that be and create your reality. And the harder work to do is to say, “Okay, none of these are bad or good. But I’m just going to recognize that these are the stories I’ve been told, this is what I believe to be true.” And I’m actually going to challenge that. I don’t want that to be true. So what am I going to now do in order to create a new reality?

Joe

We talked about this with equity, right? And, right now you see, like I know, some women entrepreneurs locally, who if you ask them to be on a panel for women entrepreneurs, they’ll say, “I’ll be on a panel for entrepreneurs, but I don’t want to be on a panel for women entrepreneurs,” right? And that’s again, that balance you have to walk where right now there’s clearly a need for women’s specific content, while at the same time aspiring to a world where there isn’t, right? Because you just want people to show up and be people and in there isn’t that differentiation. And so do you see that as far as balancing aspirational versus the right now?

Katie

I would actually challenge you to say that I don’t think that that’s the goal. We’re not supposed to be homogenous, we’re supposed to be diverse. I love the niche specific content, and niche specific communities. And yes, is there this desire that we can all hold hands and sing Kumbaya, and accept that all these niches are like in this thing called life together? I would love that. That’s very idealistic, but I don’t want the diversity to go away.

Joe

Well, diversity and equality are two different things. All right, you can be, you know, to me, like if I say, what’s a diverse board, right? People will say, look at the board, how many folks of color do you have? How many women do you have? You know, and to me, the complete utopian and diversity in a board is an engineer, a poet.

Katie

Different backgrounds.

Joe

Yeah, and sort of those different thinking models. You know, when you bring in physical traits, then that’s sort of by definition, defining along the lines of the things you’re pushing against having to be defined by, you know, so that’s more or less…

Katie

Yeah, I think there’s a place to be to transcend a lot of that. And again, I just keep coming back to the idea that it starts with the individual. Because when you have an individual who has become aligned, is doing his or her work in this world, is connecting the way that they know to be connecting, is living perfectly imperfectly, right? Then all of those things just don’t seem to matter as much, because everyone’s on their own path.

Joe

Agreed. Let’s talk about community a little bit. You know, that’s something you and Chris, both are amazing at building, and you’ve made a business out of building community multiple times over now. So let’s start with what are the hallmarks of a good community? What do you want to be present in any community that you build?

Katie

Well, in no particular order, every community really needs a strong leader. I read this book by Jim Collins years and years ago called Good to Great. There’s a whole section in there about how important a leader is, and these five or six qualities to a really good leader. And I don’t remember what those qualities are. But in my opinion, you really need to have somebody who has a vision, whose desire is ultimately community oriented, and not solely self-oriented. And somebody who really wants the community as a whole to constantly evolve and get better. So I think leadership is a really good one. And in order for that leader to be great, I believe that the leader has to be in tune with who they are, and what their gifts are, what their gifts are not. And be ready to share all of that stuff. So very self-actualized. I also think a community needs a good structure so that people know what to do when they virtually or physically show up to their community. So there needs to be some sort of a structure of events or a purpose for people coming together and mingling, even if it’s like quote, unquote, ‘no agenda,’ “Let’s go have a coffee with a bunch of people,” kind of thing. So I think, just having some sort of organization is really good. And then probably not so often talked about thing that I think is incredibly valuable, and almost very necessary is building up leaders inside the community to create mini hives within the community. So it’s not 100% dependent on the leader itself. And every individual who becomes sort of this leader and impassioned, just as impassioned about the community as the leader is, they end up really personalizing the experience of everyone else, which is amazing. So if you as a leader can share the vision with people who you see leadership potential in and who fall in love with what you’re doing, then these are the ambassadors for you. These are the people who are going to sell you before you have a chance to sell you. So, I think those are just a couple of the ideas and ultimately, in my experience with Biz Women Rock, which was definitely incredibly an intimate community of business women. I had a very thriving Facebook group of like 5000 women. I had a Facebook page back then with 25,000 people following. And I was constantly, doing masterminds, giving information, showing up for lives, having open office hours, whatever it was. And in my experience there, it’s this ability to, even though you have a mass of people, whether that’s 10, or whether that’s thousands, understanding that it really comes down to being able to communicate to one individual that they are important, and you appreciate them being there. And that’s not easy to do, but it has to be genuine. I actually think my husband is really phenomenal at that. And it’s incredibly genuine. He runs Podfest, and he has this whole community of thousands of podcasters, all over the globe. And no joke, I hear over and over again, and people will come up to me at his annual event. And they’re like, “Chris is my best friend.” And like, hundreds of people will say this, and he will know every single person’s name. He will remember details about their lives, he will remember their stories, and I think it is incredibly beautiful to watch.

Joe

Yeah, and I agree. And what he does, and I think what you’re talking about is the key element is it unlocks peer to peer connection and communication without you, right? So once you start to build a place where these leaders come in, and they’re having conversations, and then people are having conversations with each other, now you have a thing that has a life of its own that you started, and that’s really powerful.

Katie

Yeah, it’s really beautiful.

Joe

And you know, and one of the things that doesn’t necessarily connect to that is making a living, right? There’s everything you talked about, is in the sense of a traditional community, but then when you bring in, you know, having make a living out of it, that’s a whole new layer. So what’s sort of been your evolution with being comfortable doing that, and knowing how to productize things and grow in your business that way?

Katie

Yeah, that’s a great question. So my first endeavor in doing this was with a company that Chris had started back in 2008. I came on board in 2009. We ran it together through 2016, I believe. And that was Tampa Bay Business Owners. And this was very local, it’s like your chamber of commerce, but for entrepreneurs, and these were your small business owners anywhere from 50,000 in revenue to maybe 5 million in revenue. And so he was CEO, visionary founder, I was the behind the scenes operator, making sure all the things were working. And you’re right, like there was a difference between the vision and those feel good thoughts of let’s bring everyone together to like, how are we paying bills next week? What bill can we be late on? And so you know, that first and foremost has everything to do with the mind. What is your money mindset? What are you going to believe is true about money? We had so many people tell us, there’s no way you can make money on this, you’re going to go under, and we just kept surviving year after year eventually kept thriving. And even with Podfest, Chris’s next iteration of his community building, it just happened to be for podcasters it has been this okay, let me first start with a mindset that I believe is possible with this community. So it is, once you in my experience with Biz Women Rock that was also that too. From Tampa Bay Business Owners, I transferred to Biz Women Rock, which was this online community, very virtual community. And so my job was, “Okay, how am I productizing this? How am I allowing this community to support me so I can support them?” And truthfully, I had a hard time for a couple of years trying to figure that out. And it had everything to do with my mindset, “Oh, my gosh, that’s going to be too much, they’re not going to buy that from me. They’re going to think I’m just taking their money,” like, “Oh, who am I to offer something for that much?” I remember, the very first time I ever did like a 90-minute strategy session that I was actually going to charge for, right? Like, this was stuff I was doing for free for a lot of people, but eventually got to make money, you got to pay some bills. So I charged $197 for it, and literally the very first person, I sort of pitched to it, I almost like choked myself, and thank God, they were a good friend. And she basically, sold herself into. Years later, I was selling a $20,000 annual coaching package. And it took the flexing of that muscle, most importantly, the mind of what’s possible. And as an entrepreneur, you get the equation called, ‘Money comes when I put out value.’ So how much value am I putting out? And how much money do I want coming in, because those things have to be in alignment with each other. So then it’s a matter of creating the logistical look of what that package or what that thing is, so people know, to buy it. And so, in my experience with that, over the years, that was, these coaching packages, these mastermind packages, these one-off, workshops, or whatever, transitioning though, into Women’s Meditation Network. That was incredibly scary because, the very beginnings of the Women’s Meditation Network, I knew that it would be a completely different business model. I wasn’t going to sell $20,000 coaching package. That’s not what I wanted to do. As a matter of fact, I didn’t want to do any coaching at all. I didn’t want to teach people meditation. I just wanted to write, I wanted to do meditation, I wanted a business that could support a lifestyle of freedom, because I was about to have, you know, the story is that, when I got pregnant with Savannah our second, in April of 2018, my Biz Women Rock business was booming. It was on board to triple business that year. And here it was, I just found out I was pregnant and like a wall, I literally was like, “I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m done.” And it just spawned in me this like, “Okay, then what can I do?” So fast forward, I have this idea of the Women’s Meditation Network, see the vision, Chris and I are constantly talking it out, what could be? Oh, my gosh, what’s possible? And it was exhilarating and terrifying. Knowing that it was a completely different business model that instead of a $20,000 coaching package, I was going to sell $7 meditation bundles, or I was going to work in a very traditional media sponsorship and ad model, and that’s terrified me, because that meant that I needed numbers. I needed high download numbers. And I remember being very conscious at the time saying, okay, that’s scary. I’ve never done it before. Because as much effort as I put into growing the listenership of Biz Women Rock, it never got above 5000 downloads a month, which was great for that business, right? That’s actually still really great numbers. But mind you, I knew I needed a whole different scale of numbers. And so instead of saying, “Oh, my God, that’s not possible.” I just was like, “Okay, I’ve never done that before.” I know that this is direction I’m supposed to go. So I’m just going to trust that it’s going to work itself out. And here we are now, instead of 5000 downloads a month, we’re averaging just over 4 million downloads a month across the network, and that I’ve had to completely unlock and open up my mindset so that I could create those numbers.

Joe

That’s great. Well, first, I want to give you kudos. When you said you knew you didn’t want to do it anymore. And even though it was successful by the standards at the time, so many people will just waste so many years, dragging out something because they had some success that they don’t want to give up. And so that’s worth a virtual high five on doing that. And I love the mindset shift there, right? Because I think that is such an important lesson for entrepreneurs. I talk at the Entrepreneurial Academy here, and one of the examples I actually use there fits in line with that is, and we used to have a website business way back in the day. And, I should say, backing up when you talk about the entrepreneurial journey is getting money for value, but the key there is appreciating the value, right? And that’s where the whole idea of what am I worth, and that whole thing comes in. So, we sort of were doing $2,000 websites or whatever. And a friend of ours had the office across the hall. And we said, “We’re going to do a $3,500 website, right?” And she said, “Sure, whatever, right?” And so we started the process, and I had a sales meeting later that day for another $3,500 website. And so we were talking and I said, “How much did you pay for your last website?” And she said, “$18,000.” And it was crap, right?

Katie

You’re like, “My price just tripled right now.

Joe

Right, and I went across back to my office and prepared for that meeting later. And I changed our price. I think I wasn’t quite that bored. I changed it from $3500 to $8000, or something like that. And they just accepted it without batting an eye. And I’m like, “What fundamentally changed in that walk across the hall, right?” Me, it’s just the website’s not twice as hard. And so, even when you talk about, because ultimately, you go on a journey to being comfortable with getting bigger and having more success. And the trick is, how efficiently can you go along that journey, right? And how can you remove the hurdles to just getting right to the place where you may ultimately be? And it sounds like you’re well on your way to doing that?

Katie

Yeah, you point out the idea of like, there’s just all this friction here. I mean, that idea, you know that very famous man. I’m not going to quote this correctly. But, there’s this famous story of whatever, Olympic runner who is told that they could never run the one-mile sprint under four minutes or something like that. And then he tried and he tried and he tried. He finally breaks the record, and then legit, within the next year, like 10 people break the record. It’s all here.

Joe

It’s so funny, yeah.

Katie

It’s all here. And so, and I’m pointing to my head while I’m doing this. It’s all in your mind. Because it’s not just about, “I want to charge more money. “That’s not what it’s about. It’s about, what’s the need, and can I do that in a way that all makes sense and causes the least amount of friction? Although I’m reading David Goggins’ book right now, I just finished his book called, Can’t Hurt Me. And he’s just an amazing human being. The whole thesis of his book is all about mindset, right? All about mindset. It’s all about what you can train your mind to think is possible. And he talks about the idea of callusing your mind. You have to go through friction, growth needs friction, right? The diamond needs to get squeezed and has to have the pressure. Anything that is evolving, is having some sort of pain or friction or suffering. And, you know, the life of us individuals here on earth is no different, but specifically entrepreneurship is absolutely no different. And so, I, over these past three years, or three and a half years of the Women’s Meditation Networks, I can pinpoint some of those really painful friction moments. There’s lots of friction in between, but those really low-down moments, and I can pinpoint that they were decisions I made when I wasn’t in alignment, which means that my ego was making the decision. So one of the most painful examples is, is that I somehow got in my head two years ago that I needed to be exclusive with an advertising agency. Basically, the matchmaker between the advertisers and coming on to my show. And, there are peers in my industry who are exclusive with certain agencies, and that just seems so sexy and awesome. And to make a very long story short, I was in conversation with one company, and I loved them. I was like, yeah, just felt so good every time I talked to them. I had a conversation with another company felt like crap, when I talked to them. I literally was shaking at the very end of the meeting going, “That was not right. They’re not the right company, great people, just not the right fit. Company number one, the further along we get in conversation basically says, “Hey, we want to delay this relationship until we have some time under a belt, feeding you advertisers,” great. I mean, very logical, right? My ego, all my ego heard was, “I’m not good enough for them.” So what do you think I did? I went to the other company, who I already knew was not for me, and basically ended up signing a contract with them, because my ego could feel good enough there. It literally stopped the flow of advertisement for three months. And I’m convinced that the universe stopped the flow of advertisement. I was like, “Well, that was $100,000 mistake made by my ego.” And thankfully, both parties saw that it wasn’t working out. And we were able to happily, and we still work together to this day, just not exclusively. But it’s like those moments of friction that will forever… I will remember that feeling. And I will remember to pay attention to my damn intuition. And if I’m going against my gut, it’s because there’s something inside of me, that is unstable and needs to get worked out. Like there’s that some sense, I don’t know what it is, but I need to figure it out.

Joe

Yeah. That’s powerful. And I see that is strangely as a weird kind of specificity, right? Where you had a certain value prop that was going to suck. And, I think, when so much as talked about with feeling your own space in value, right? But I think it’s also worth talking about, and I don’t know it kind of fits. There’s understanding that receiving value is all over the board, too, right? And so, kind of using the website example, again, I felt like as we advanced as an agency, that it wasn’t so much that I was trying to sell websites, it’s I almost felt like half the time I was looking for people who thought a website should cost what we wanted to sell the website for, right? And it’s just you could talk to somebody and say, “Your website is a grand,” somebody else says 10 grand someone else says…. And the point is, is that’s completely independent from you. And so part of it is working on getting your own tie to value. But then the other challenge is recognizing that in other people, and making sure that you’re not mismatched there.

Katie

Yeah. I mean, that’s exactly why different business groups sort of come together, according to sometimes size of companies, sometimes whether they have employees or not, like there’s, like minds attract each other. And I think that that’s very true for just about any group of people.

Joe

Yeah, I want to talk a little bit about stakes, right? So the stakes have gotten bigger. And you’re also in a subject matter that touches to the core of people. So, everything’s magnified, and how has that been for you? How’s it been to have that responsibility, that level of energy coming back at you? And how’s that felt?

Katie

That’s a great question. So when I began the Women’s Meditation Network, I was pregnant with my daughter. I had a two-and-a-half-year-old kid at the time. And I also was still kind of like scaling down the Biz Women Rock business. So I had a lot of things going on. So, I was creating one meditation a week, so for a month on average, and fast forward, as I had my daughter, and as the Biz Women Rock business really scaled out. And I was done with that. I was able to start scaling things up with an infant and an older toddler now. And so, a big moment in this story is, so December 2019, was my last episode of Biz Women Rock and the goodbye of that business. January 2020, February 2020, March 2020, I’m at Chris’ Podfest event. And we’re just starting to hear the rumblings of Coronavirus. And he mentioned to me, he’s like, he was super stressed about it, because he was putting on this event. And everything was starting to get really real. I’m like, “Babe, you need to calm down.” He’s like, “You need to write me meditation for this anxiety.” So I wrote a meditation called, The Coronavirus Anxiety Meditation. Fast forward, his event happens two days later after the event country shuts down. And so here we are now, quote unquote ‘in quarantine.’ We’re basically with just the four of us, us and the two kids. And instead of sitting back, I was like, “Okay, people are downloading.” I saw my numbers start to skyrocket. I saw like, wow, people are downloading the nighttime anxiety one, that anything stress, stressful moments, all those sorts of things, you need more calm, whatever the titles are. And so my response was, I need to do more. And I’m walking through this story, because basically the scale of energy and not time, but energy and systems has been the biggest shift. And also, the mindset of as far as, because then again, I was like, okay, one meditation a week, you know, when COVID first hit, it was like, “How many can I put out this week with being full time with the kids?” How many can I get out? Sometimes that was one, sometimes that was four for the week. And then it eventually got a little bit more regulated. I launched a second show called Sleep Meditation for Women in July of 2020. So now it was like another show, I was responsible for other logistics, other writing, other coordinating with my producer, all those sorts of things. Fast forward, this is April of 2022, I write 50 to 100, original meditations a month. Some are super simple for like very simplistic five-minute shows. Some are the long form like the sleep meditation. So not only am I writing those, which takes the creative juice. I definitely need more time for the creative juice. But then there’s also the operator in me who wants to make this as efficient and as effective as possible. I’m bringing people on my team to manage all these moving parts. So, on the other side of this coin is the listenership every individual woman who’s listening who’s reaching out to me telling me, “Oh, my God, thank you, I’ve been able to get off my sleeping meds because of you. I listen to you every single morning, I would not have been able to get through this past year without you.” So, how I have dealt with that is in baby steps. And mostly from a place of constantly asking myself the question, “Who do I need to become in order to be the best CEO of this company?” Who do I need to become in order to lead this brand that offers so many doses of non-medicine medicine to people who need it, in the exact moment they need it? Who do I need to become in order to do that? And for me, that crosses both or all parts of my life. Because as I scale up operationally, I don’t want to do it with more time. I am very committed as I possibly can be to not work really over 30 hours a week, because I want to drop off and pick up my kids. And I don’t want to have to work after hours. I don’t want to have to get up at three in the morning in order to do stuff. So the work has been what can I make possible? How can I grow and do that in a way that still stays in alignment with the work I want to do in the world, including with my girls?. And then with the feedback coming, it’s interesting. This is two parts. So one part amazing, so grateful for the listeners, and so grateful for the comments that they share with me that are amazing, right? Just super heartfelt, and those constantly are feeding me. But then there’s this small group of folks who are the haters who can’t believe that I would be so discriminatory to make this just for women. And that really surprised me. I’m somebody who wants to be liked by everyone. I want to explain myself. I want us all to get along and to understand. And so I started doing that in the beginning. Now I do not and, I’m tired of explaining to people it’s called a niche. And that’s what I want to do. It’s actually a very giant niche. It’s not even a niche-niche. So anyway, the dealing with that, again, is really all from the head and the heart together, which is like, “Who do I need to become in order to lead this brand?” And who’s the woman that I need to become in order to live this lifestyle that is very important to me with these values here as a mom as a wife, as somebody who’s healthy as somebody who wants to live as vibrantly as possible.

Joe

Yeah, interesting. And I feel like, this sort of makes me think of sort of two axes; breadth and depth, right? And when you talk about alignment and being a creator, that’s the seed of goodness that this all grew from. But as you know A, more haters come in, more administration comes in, more money comes in and more listeners come in, how do you walk the line between being able to get in there and stay deep with your subject matter and serve your heaviest, most devoted folks, while also serving that whole tranche of people that are just new light users and things like that? Is that a challenge or…?

Katie

I don’t really think about that that often. I just think that I am constantly experimenting with the words that I write. Always hoping, because 90% of them are driven by whatever emotion I am going through at a particular moment. I mean, if you look through my catalogue of meditations, you will be like, “Oh, I could see Katie’s life over the past couple of years,” and or messages that I want to say in response to what’s going on in the world, right? And for example, I just wrote one recently called, More Love Less Hate. And believe me, there’s a gazillion times a day that we see enough news to be able to employ that particular comment, right? But it happened to be a really heavy moment a couple of weeks ago, and I was like, “Oh, my God, this is what I want to be able to say.” So, I say all that because none of that stuff worries me, why should it? I’m going to get haters, I already know that. I’m going to get people who don’t believe in what I do. I already know that I’m going to get people who are like, “You’re not credentialed, how dare you be doing this?” You know, which I’m not. But I have a lot of experience under my belt doing it. And so my response, and my true north is always, what are the numbers telling me? What are my listeners telling me? If they continue coming on, and they continue to listen, I’m obviously doing something right. And that’s going to be my true north. You know, between that and my own sense of intuition about what I want to be doing, because it has to work for both of us, I can’t do this, just for the listeners, I have to do it, because it works for me, and I love it, and it lights me up, and it makes me feel fulfilled. My girls get to see mommy doing meditations. That has to work for all people involved. So I guess I just have maybe even a very ignorant belief that it’s all just going to take care of itself. And whatever, things get knocked around, or whatever stuff gets thrown at me, I’ll deal with it and it’ll be fine.

Joe

That’s very pragmatic. And you still feel through all of that able to comfortably exist with your craft of writing.

Katie

Yeah, it’s interesting that you mentioned that. So I never take it for granted that, “Oh, I’m good at something. So I’m good. I don’t ever need to learn how to be better.” I’m taking songwriting classes right now. Because I believe what I do is actually very, I feel like a musician in a lot of ways. Actually, my producer, Luca is in Serbia. And he and I will talk about like, I’ll write the words I have sort of this vision or this, “Hey, it’s called a walk in the clouds. So this is sort of the feeling that I want it to have.” And then he puts all this beautiful music and sound effects behind it. I was like, “Hey, I feel like we’re like the John and Paul of The Beatles. Like, we’re just creating this beautiful magic and artistry together. So I feel like my job has always been to continue evolving. Definitely, as a creator, that has meant, how am I continuing to make better my actual artistry in a creative sense, but then also in a practical sense? How am I taking my profession as a writer, as a professional? How am I taking it seriously? I think Stephen King is famous for this one beautiful quote, that was like, “Hey, if you show up to write upon inspiration, you know you’re hobbyist but if you show up every day, and that’s when you’re professionalizing your art.” And I feel like that’s my goal is to constantly live in that space of professionalizing my art.

Joe

And is your art the whole business or the meditation?

Katie

That’s a good question. I would say a little bit of both actually. Definitely the writing that then becomes this beautiful entity called this meditation that you get to listen to right. But absolutely, I have evolved from that person who thought that the CEO visionary was the coolest thing to really leaning into this operational person and all of these pieces that I’m able to put together in order to create this. Truly the only one of the biggest reasons that this is at scale, with literally just me right now. And I have contractors who are filling in pieces that I need filled in, the reason it can exist to scale at this level right now is because my systems are so good. And things are so efficient, I batch work. I’m able to manage energy very, very well. I’m constantly working on that. So, I can do a lot within 30 hours that many people might not be able to do in double that time. So, I feel like it is very artistic, what I’m doing and it’s definitely an expression of creativity on like, “How can I manage all these pieces? How can I put them together? How can I launch another show in the most effective way possible and have it be very impactful and blah, blah, blah, all those pieces?

Joe

That’s wonderful. And you talk about evolution, I want to finish up by looking forward. And I feel like from a business standpoint, the next X number of months is kind of right there. You got, like you said you’re growing it there’s so many clear steps you’re going to be taking as far as growing into a staffed business and all that sort of stuff. So let’s focus more on the you side of it. So, what are as you’re getting all these people’s lives intertwined with yours, what do you feel like are your next big evolutionary steps, next big hurdles you have or the next big places of existence you’re aspiring to?

Katie

Yeah, I really believe that. This next year or two is really about the operationalization. Basically, the building of the team, and the systems because I have good systems. I actually have great systems. But in order for this brand to work at the level that I see it being, which is not a small brand. I see it being a very big brand, and more global than what it is now. Then it’s about being able to bring on the team, bring on more people on the team, being able to get me out of the details that way, even more so than I am now. And being able to build a true media business, so that my attention and energy and time is spent on the things that are my highest and biggest calling. So the writing, even just the managing of the team or bringing pieces together, but definitely at a higher level. And all of those little, doing all these little things here and there, like the programming and all that sort of stuff doesn’t really have to be done by me. It can be overseen by me, it can be double checked by me, but it doesn’t need to be done by me. So I really see that growing into the woman who is really that CEO of this brand, the visionary of the brand. The person making sure that at a big level down to like the minutiae is getting done really well. And really, it’s also very important to me. I mentioned this before, just constantly becoming a better writer. I’ve definitely had visions of like, there’s a time in the next couple of years, I don’t know when that is, I would love to extend my writing into a more universal way, like books. And I feel like I’ve created my own weird version of being a writer in this way, which is awesome. But I would love to write differently. I would love to write some more. And I don’t know what that looks like. It’s not the time now I know that. But I could see that being a really cool evolution of the work I’m doing now.

Joe

I mean, you’re enjoying being validated by thousands, tens of thousands of people. And so that just is natural I think to want to expand that. And when you talk about growing the business, and delegating, how much of that is, “I can’t wait, I’ve earned the right to do that,” or how much of that ego is there? Are you ready to ship it over or do you think is going to be let go process?

Katie

I’m a control freak, which is good and bad, right? So I will say my delegation capabilities are 1000 times better than they ever have been. And I definitely need, I know, I’m currently actually looking for my right hand operations manager, producer, manager, all that sort of stuff. So, the business is ready for it, it needs it, I’m ready for it. It’s not going to be prying things out of my hand. But it’s definitely going to be like, “You need to be perfection, you need to be better at me. I’m very good at details. You need to be better at me than details than I am.

Joe

I don’t know about that. Good luck.

Katie

I know. I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful. So yeah, it’s not going to be prying out of my hands. But it’s going to be welcome. But it’s also I like to think I actually do a good job managing the transition. I definitely have a handful of contractors that I’ve worked with over the years who have a significant role in my business. So, I’m very good at like, “Here’s the training, here’s all this, let me onboard,” all that sort of stuff.

Joe

I feel like the same logic will take place where you know, it’s like the alignment place where the bad stuff doesn’t matter. I think you have so many opportunities that tap into the highest and best you said, it’ll be easier to let go of this. And you think, just because it opens you up to do the other stuff.

Katie

I mean, I’ve already got the list, Joe. There’s already so many projects I want to do. And I just don’t have the bandwidth to do right now. And they’re exciting, and they’re definitely the fire in me to get this stuff rolling.

Joe

I know you’re going to be going like black turtlenecks, [58:36] style.

Katie

I don’t think so. I’m the most professional you’re going to see right now. So no, no, not so much.

Joe

I really appreciate you sharing your journey and your insights. It’s amazing what you’ve built. And you know, I love you and Chris as a power couple. It’s just fun to see what you’ve given back to the community and you deserve all the success that you have from all that you put into the communities.

Katie

Thank you, Joe. I really appreciate it.

Joe

Katie Krimitsos, Women’s Meditation Network. We’ll link to all that good stuff in the show notes and we’ll keep rooting for you.

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