With an impactful mission to give listeners the permission to explore whatever it is that lights them up inside and brings them joy, Cathy Heller launched Don’t Keep Your Day Job. Through the podcast, she strives to recognize value and ignite courage in everyone through practical tips and inspiring guests. Today, the tables are turned as we interview her! Read on for her awesome story, and then go give DKYDJ a listen—you’ll no doubt leave both the post and the pod feeling empowered.
What is Don’t Keep Your Day Job podcast all about?
Don’t Keep Your Day Job is about how you can get in alignment with your purpose and turn that into a beautiful living where you get paid to do what you love. We feature honest conversations with successful creative entrepreneurs and best-selling authors about the hands-on, practical steps to make a career doing what lights you up, and build a life that you can’t wait to wake up to every single day. I believe each and every soul has so much to contribute and this is the podcast that’ll fire you up to make it happen.
What inspired you to start a podcast? When did it launch?
I have to give a shoutout to my friend Amy Loftus. It was 2016. She was in one of my songwriting courses and she said, “You are so good at inspiring people to go pursue what they love. I think this message would be important to anyone, not just musicians. Why don’t you start a podcast? I know someone who works in that industry who could probably give you some advice.”
I had just given birth to my third daughter a few days before that conversation, and I thought, “Oh gosh, do I really have the time and energy for a podcast?” (Not to mention I was already running my music licensing business, teaching online courses, and had two other daughters both under 5 years old at the time). But something inside of me said, “Let’s do this.”
So I said yes. Amy kindly connected me with Maddy, who has sold ads for our show from the very beginning. Maddy introduced me to the team who helped me get clear on my ideas for the show and its message. We started recording episodes in November 2016, launched in January 2017, and Apple Podcasts was so generous to feature us within the first couple weeks of our debut. We climbed the charts on Apple (#2 in Business and #18 in all podcasts on Apple!) it’s been an unbelievable ride ever since.
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What do you hope your guests take away from Don’t Keep Your Day Job?
I want them to know that they matter, that what they have inside of them is needed by someone else in this world. I want them to give themselves the permission to explore whatever it is that lights them up inside and brings them joy, and they can be messy, make mediocre things – and that’s perfectly okay!
We also share lots of important, practical tips about how to get clear on your calling, and find your tribe so you can turn that side hustle into a full time career. I think building the audience is such an important component that needs to happen if anyone wants to scale their business.
Who have been some key figures you’ve interviewed? Is there one or two that really sticks out as a favorite?
There are so many! Some super awesome ones have been entrepreneur / blogger Seth Godin, You Are A Badass author Jen Sincero, The Office actress Jenna Fischer, Oprah’s life coach Martha Beck, entrepreneur and author Danielle LaPorte, and former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. I have to admit, I was so intimidated right before interviewing them. I remember trying to pour myself a cup of coffee but my hands were shaking from the nerves. Each of them turned out to be so wise and kind. It’s truly an honor to be in their presence and share their message.
What do you get out of podcasting?
This podcast has given me immense purpose and clarity on what I’m meant to do in this world. I’ve innately had a way of making space for someone else to feel seen, and feel like they have something special to share with the world. I used to think that my music was the channel that would lift up people’s spirits, but now I realize I can impact so many other lives with this podcast. This message isn’t just reaching musicians and artists, but all types of entrepreneurs and souls who just want to be fulfilled, do what they love, and get paid for it.
It’s such a blessing to have this intimate connection with the people who need to be reminded of what they deserve, and I feel on top of the world when find out that my work has changed their lives! I get messages from listeners who say this podcast has inspired them and given them hope to actually turn their passion into a career, no matter how “impractical” it once seemed. We have this amazing community of entrepreneurs and artists who are now giving themselves permission to find their purpose and using the tools from the show to turn that calling into a living.
When did you realize you were an entrepreneur?
When my music got featured in more ads and TV shows, the money began to pour in, and the singer-songwriting career really took off, I got featured in big publications like Billboard Magazine, LA Weekly, and Variety. But instead of getting tons of phone calls from music supervisors and those industry gatekeepers, I was getting contacted by other indie singer-songwriters. They would say, “Hey I heard about your story. I’d love to do what you’re doing. Can you help me license my music?” My ego would reject the idea, telling me, “Oh, I can’t do that. I’m an artist. If I took your money to help you, I’d be such a sellout.”
But the artists kept coming, and eventually I couldn’t ignore the sign that this was something the world needed from me. So I started a music licensing company called Catch the Moon Music, which I still run today. It’s branched out from representation to online courses and live events, which have also been incredibly successful.
What has been the most rewarding thing of being an entrepreneur?
I love being multi-hyphenated and having the freedom to add whatever work I want to my plate (which admittedly, can also be dangerous because I tend to be a major workaholic). But I’m always thinking of more ways to serve my audience and give them what they need, and being my own boss allows me to experiment and try different things. I admit things don’t always work out, and I’ll let myself get upset when I’m disappointed. But I’ll remind myself that it’s a learning experience, and this is part of the thrill. It’s like a big game of seeing what I can do to help people the most.
You also wrote a book, which is available for presale! What was the process of writing the book like?
I did! (As a C+ student, it’s insane that I can now call myself an author) It’s called Don’t Keep Your Day Job. Boy, has it been a trek. I started writing it in January 2017 because the first week after the podcast launched, a lit agent from Macmillan contacted me and said, “You need to turn this podcast into a book.”
It’s been through about three full rewrites because I was so unsure of the themes and structure that would do it the most justice. I’m almost glad it took this long to complete though, because I think now I’m finally finding my voice and true message. But I’m still begging my publishing team about making last minute changes. I just want to make it amazing!
What can people expect from the Don’t Keep Your Day Job book?
The book is very special. It is every single thing I wanted to say to anyone who’s ever felt like they had a dream but held back from chasing it. I wrote this book as a love letter to my audience. I hope it’ll be like a best friend that just sits besides them and reminds them of the things that they need to hear. Like the type of book where you just open to a page and go, “Yes, that’s what I needed to be reminded of today.” I also solidify what I think are the most important things to help people build their side hustle, to help them find more purpose, to help them serve the world in the way that only they can.
Lately I’ve been having these coaching calls, which have been so much fun and incredibly fulfilling. I think that might be a new thing I want to lean into more. It’s so rewarding to talk to these people 1-on-1 and see the light bulbs turn on, and help them break out of these limiting mindsets that have been engrained for too long.
I’m also open to the idea of putting this on screen, whether it’s a TV show or online series. I’ve already had a few meetings to brainstorm what it could look like.
I’ve always told my good friend comedian Wayne Federman that he would be such an awesome co-host. We just get along so well, and everything he says just cracks me up. He’s also very insightful and has a great story of his own about turning his love of comedy into a career.
If you love podcasts as much as we do, check out 10 podcasts to listen to this summer!