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The power of storytelling may be one of the greatest skills an entrepreneur can develop. Mother, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Cathleen Trigg-Jones knows a thing or two about creating a platform that shares relevant perspectives. The Emmy Award Winning journalist is a Producer and Founder of Catscape Productions, an agency that has produced projects for major networks including, NBC, BET, VH1, ESPN, CNN, CNBC, MTV, and more. Bringing diverse voices to the table is at the heart of Trigg-Jones’ vision. She turned her passion for storytelling and inspiring other young women into a solid brand and recently shared insight with me about career transitions, hardships and how to take risks. Here are seven highlights from our conversation to help you start your own business and build your dream career.
Average should not be the norm
Entrepreneurship is one of the few jobs where you are always on call. As Trigg-Jones describes, “every single day I hit the ground running because as an entrepreneur you just don’t have days where you can ever really just let your guard down, let your hair out and relax. Your mind is constantly racing, constantly thinking of new things and new ideas.” A willingness to go the distance is what Trigg-Jones believes separates the average from those who always find a way to win. She affirms, “I don’t actually know what it means to be average but I do know what it means to really be passionate and enjoy this journey.” Remaining at the head of your vision is only possible if it is fueled by relentless pursuit.
Shape your narrative
“I didn’t even know what the word journalist meant but I knew I was a storyteller,” describes Trigg-Jones of her younger self. Content is essential in today’s world regardless of what business you are in. It is more important than ever to understand, craft and share our unique stories with audiences. Trigg-Jones believes this to be especially true for women. “There is a torch that we owe it to our younger generation to pass down through our eyes,” she says. Her talk show, Chic Chat, is a platform that provides a platform for all women. Enabling women to connect with one another, share stories and information, will help create a new narrative that is relatable for other generations of women.
Business vs. hobby
Most businesses are birthed from recognizing that a talent or interest can become a potential revenue stream. Trigg-Jones argues that budding entrepreneurs should first pause to reflect on their intentions when starting out, “it’s important to understand the difference between a business and a hobby.” For Trigg-Jones the equation is simple, “if you’re not making money it’s a hobby, if you’re making money then it’s a business.” Starting out, she had to learn how to leverage her hobbies – a love for telling stories, production, cameras, editing, etc. – to create a profitable and sustainable business model. Knowing that her mission is to employ people, in particular young female creatives who were not getting the majority of opportunities, she knew that passion alone could not sustain the business. She describes, “it probably took me about 10 years to really understand how business works.”
Take the leap
“Until I decided to take that leap, I don’t think I was fully living my life,” Trigg-Jones recognizes, “Once I decided that I wanted to dive all in and go after it regardless of what I was going to find on the other side, I found that the universe started opening up for me.” Committing to her vision helped her navigate the common fears and anxieties that entrepreneurs tend to face. Arming herself with business knowledge and the strength of certainty helped her to continue her pursuit regardless of any missteps along the way.
Have a village but rely on your own voice
The price of pursuing entrepreneurship is steep – there is loneliness, betrayals, depression, sometimes bankruptcy, etc. – so having a close network of supporters is paramount. Trigg-Jones shares, “I have a strong village of family, friends, my husband was extremely supportive, my children I included in the process, my closest girlfriends and even a life coach that I kind of leaned on along the way.” However, entrepreneurship is a deeply personal journey that not everyone will understand. “There were those people, including my husband, who were a little concerned but overall I wasn’t looking for anyone to talk me down from the cliff,” describes Trigg-Jones. The people closest to you can sometimes be your greatest dream killers, not because they do not care but because they may lack the same vision.
Trigg-Jones is proof that you can wear many hats and still succeed, but she recognizes that it is not easy. In the times when she feels most down, she leans into rituals that ground her and bring her peace. “You have to find something within yourself that can keep you grounded. For me, it’s meditation. Every single day I get up and I set my intentions through meditation and through prayer.”
Reach back for others behind you
Given up for adoption as infant and shuffled around between multiple foster homes before before being adopted at age two, Trigg-Jones’ experience propelled her to create an organization for children who may have fallen in the gaps. Trigg House is the bridge to help keep these children afloat, “it is a naturopathic organization that targets those children that didn’t get adopted, who are aging out of the system and provides an opportunity of support so they can get off into life on the right foot.” Looking into her own backyard for problems and solutions, Trigg-Jones believes and encourages business owners to do the same. She recognizes that not everyone can be a foster parent but insists that everyone can make a difference through volunteering and mentorship.
January 8, 2019 at 11:48AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs