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Inspiring Conversations with Katy Oliveira

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katy Oliveira.

Hi Katy, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I’m a Content Creation Coach & Consultant. I’m obsessed with helping others align with their purpose and share their gifts with the world using online content. I help creatives, entrepreneurs, and small business owners identify their content themes and topics, organize them into digestible chunks, and implement streamlined content creation techniques and systems so they can consistently create original online content with ease. I’m originally from a small town just outside of Houston. My family moved there from the northeast when I was five. Although I ended up living in this town for most of my childhood, I ALWAYS felt like an outsider. 

As a teen, I spent much of my time awkwardly splitting the difference between trying to be popular and attempting to be a nonconformist. I knew I always wanted a more interesting life than the standard one I felt compelled to achieve, but I also wanted to make others proud. This impulse led me to both compulsively succeed and obsessively searched for ways to unearth my true self. I often uncomfortably waffled between ticking boxes and finding my own unique way forward. When I headed off to college, like most of us, I had no idea who I was or what I wanted to do with my time on earth. Because I was a high achiever in high school, I was groomed by my teachers to be pre-med. And I went with it because it felt good to impress others with my big dreams. Plus, I didn’t really have a different idea. Once I got to college, I struggled. I not only struggled academically in my math and science courses, but I also struggled to be myself. But because I was so addicted to the oohs and aahs that went along with being pre-med, I waited until half-way through my junior year of college to switch my major. It took fainting not once, not twice, but three times in my human anatomy and physiology class. Plus, my T.A. point-blank told me I wasn’t cut out for medicine and suggested I switch to something new. 

After admitting defeat, I did a 180 and switched my major to history and classics. Those same people who oohed and aahed at my choice to pursue medicine looked at me like I had three heads when I shared that I’d decided to study history because “I wanted to know why things are the way they are”. Some would even say “encouraging” things like “what are you going to do? Teach?” Like teaching was an irresponsible career choice. Because words have an influence on young people, I became hell-bent on not teaching. I was afraid others would look down their noses at me. So…I did what any normal graduating college senior would do, I tried to buy myself more time and signed up for culinary school. It took me realizing at culinary school orientation that I was adding another $40,000 to my college debt for me to determine culinary school was not the next best step. I promptly headed home to Houston to figure out my life. At the time, my decision-making was heavily informed by the common myth that your college major determines your career options. For the record, this is far from true but I didn’t know that at the time. I thought my options were limited to “history major jobs” whatever that means and I started ticking through them. First, I landed work as a junior paralegal at a law firm, then I completed my teaching certification in a local alternative certification program, then, still lost, I decided to go to graduate school to pursue a graduate degree in history in order to buy myself even more time. It was finally in graduate school that I realized that I wasn’t the only person struggling to understand who I am and what I should do with my life. 

As a Teaching Assistant and later an academic advisor, I got to see behind the curtain. I learned that almost everyone struggles with aligning their life with their truth. I soon realized that I wanted to help everyone I could work through this dilemma. I ditched my plan to become a history professor and took a job as an academic advisor. At the time, this was not a glamorous choice. Advising was an underpaid, glorified administrative position that focused on moving students through the bureaucratic system of registering for classes and completing degree plans. But to me, academic advising was the front line of vocational choice. I loved it! Advising gave me a chance to use my strengths to help others. It was an opportunity to both help people clarify who they are, what they want to do with their time and help them navigate a system. I worked as an advisor and academic coach for over a decade, eventually moving up the ladder to an administrative position. But after a while, I started getting antsy. I realized I was spending more time in meetings and in front of spreadsheets than I’d like. It was time to get back to helping and creating. Once again, I took a leap of faith and made everyone I knew nervous. I quit my highly-sought-after job at St. Edward’s University to try my luck at entrepreneurship and content creation. I founded my college success consulting practice Collegehood, LLC. and launched the Collegehood Advice podcast to help college students hone their superpowers and intentionally use the college experience to launch a life they love.

For a little over three years, I provided private college success support, gave talks, and built a podcast audience from zero to thousands. Then COVID hit and it was time to pivot again. The pandemic turned college upside down. Many students put college on hold while they waited for the dust to settle causing universities to make severe cuts across the board. Suddenly my revenue streams dried up and my kids were doing school from home. After struggling to work and school children at home, I decided that this season of my life needed to be spent supporting my kids. So, I put my podcast on hiatus and pivoted once again. This was not an easy decision. I struggled and still struggle with it most days, but it’s what I needed to do at the time. Then an opportunity came knocking. Prior to COVID, I would occasionally help friends and colleagues with their content creation efforts on the side. I’d help them clarify the content topics and themes, understand how their expertise could help others, and why their unique perspective was important. I’d teach them how to navigate the content creation landscape and set up tools and systems to help them share their voice through emails, websites, blogs, podcasts, video, and social media. I never thought much of it, it was fun helping others navigate a world I’d spent so much time learning how to maneuver. It was only after helping an acquaintance of mine with her content on a more long-term basis that I realized that helping people create content from their hearts is very similar to helping students align with their purpose during college. I pivoted again to launch my own content creation consulting firm, Katy Oliveira Consulting.

And I’m currently working with copywriter Phyllis Brasenell on a new podcast to help creatives, entrepreneurs and small business owners learn our favorite tips and tricks for consistently create outstanding content with ease called Radically Simple Content Creation (coming soon). I love helping aspiring and established creatives, entrepreneurs, and small businesses consistently create original content that aligns with their gifts so they can transform the lives of their audiences. Turns out sharing your expertise, lived experience, wisdom, and knowledge on the internet in an effort to help other people solve problems and become better is a very purpose-driven act. Many content creators skip over nailing down who they are as a content creator and/or aren’t sure how to implement systems that allow them to consistently create with ease. Instead, they jump right to content marketing strategies like gaining social media followers, building an email list, creating a lead magnet, and developing online products. While those tactics are very important in online business, the foundation of online business starts with having outstanding free and paid content. If your content isn’t compelling or it’s rushed, it will be difficult to help your audience and clients no matter how many shiny marketing strategies you use. Taking the time to become a strong content creator pays off. I’m here to help any aspiring or established content creators launch their next content project or spruce up existing content creation practices and systems so they are able to consistently create amazing original content that moves their businesses forward.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
When we package our personal histories into nice neat stories, it can seem like everything was smooth sailing, but the reality is it’s never smooth from the inside. Every turn and pivot in my story is motivated by a challenge, setback, or misalignment. In other words, I have to reinvent myself or try something new because whatever I’d been up to wasn’t working anymore. These moments are always accompanied by deep fear and uncertainty. And it’s only after I get a little space from them that I can see how they helped me grow and deepen my own sense of purpose. It’s easy to see life’s forks in the road as failures. And believe me, each time I stroll down a new pathway imposter syndrome and a steep learning curve walk with me. My mantra is “c’est la vie” or this is life. (My mom descends from a French family). Every closed door has always resulted in an unexpected open window. As I’ve aged, I’ve learned to not take redirection personally. Although it sometimes takes me a little while to get there. At the end of the day, even though the uncertainty of it all is terrible while I’m in it, I know that I’ll be better for it on the other side.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
I’m a Content Creation Coach & Consultant whose obsessed with helping others align with their purpose and share their gifts with the world using online content. I help creatives, entrepreneurs, and small business owners clarify their unique content topics and themes, understand how their expertise helps others, and why their unique perspective is important. Plus, I help them set up the tools and systems they need to consistently create original content for multiple online platforms like email, blogs, podcasts, video, and social media with ease. Many content creators skip over nailing down who they are as a content creator and aren’t sure how to implement systems that allow them to consistently create with ease. Instead, they jump right to content marketing strategies like gaining social media followers, building an email list, creating a lead magnet, and developing online products. While those things are very important to online business, the foundation of online business starts with having outstanding free and paid content. If your content isn’t strong, compelling, and original or it’s rushed, last minute, or an afterthought it will be difficult to help your audience and clients no matter how many shiny marketing strategies you use. Taking the time to become a strong content creator pays off. I’m here to help any aspiring or established creatives, entrepreneurs, or small businesses looking to get started with online content creation or interested in realigning or cleaning up their content creation practices. I offer a free 30-minute consult for anyone who’d like to learn more about how working with me can help move your business forward.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
Listen to your internal compass, and when you don’t hear anything don’t do anything. I’ve realized that I struggle to find my way when a.) I listen to the advice and opinions of others who don’t understand me or share my values b.) I get impatient and try to force things to happen on my timeline. Over the years, I’ve enlisted a very small number of trusted advisors who I know get me, respect my values, and only give “take it or leave it” advice and insights. And when I don’t know something, I work with professionals to learn new information or skills. This has been a game-changer. It’s allowed me to break free from the judgment of others who mean well but don’t get it. And allows me to clear out the noise and tune in to what I actually want. Learning to stay patient has also been important. I’m fast-moving and patience is not a strength, but learning to be patient has allowed me to take advantage of opportunities I’d never be able to create for myself.

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Image Credits
Krista Miller Photography

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