Jess Catorc’s story is featured on the Story Therapy Podcast. Jess has helped thousands of entrepreneurs step into the online world to expand their reaches and revenues with their websites.She’s been featured in Forbes, Forbes Under 30, Entrepreneur, the Huffington Post, and has spoken at Google Campus (UK).
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Welcome to the Story Therapy Podcast. So I wanted an excuse to have conversation with and do a dig dive look into the stories of entrepreneurs I respect. And that’s exactly what this Story Therapy Podcast is going to be. It’s time spent discovering and learning about the unique, complex and inspiring stories of many different types of creative and ambitious entrepreneurs, business owners, content creators and more. All focus on making an impact and changing the world in small and big ways.

On podcast today we feature Jess’s story. So Jess and I got connected recently and learning more about her and what she’s up to was really inspiring and so we’ve had the chance to chat a few times and I learn more about her story that has let her to where she is now and to where she’s going in the future and I just love this interview, it’s was so good. The focus on this podcast is not to really talk about the tactics or the strategies or the how to’s around storytelling or content creation, business building, all those things, I think those nuggets can be definitely taken away from this interviews, and these stories but the focus is on learning about these people that we feature, these entrepreneurs on the personal level and how that relates to their business and their ambitions and what they are looking to accomplish in professional reasons and personal reasons and Jess have some really incredible ambitious goals and learning about her background and learning about her insights were just really inspiring for me personally because we connect in really on many levels with their own stories. But just also with where she’s going and where she’s looking to take her brand. And so I’m very excited to share Jess’s story with you and without further ado let’s get into the story interview.

Dallin Nead : With this podcast interview and learning more about your story, I would love to pull a lot of things from your life both personally and professionally, and talked about past Jess before you’ve become this massive star in New York. But you know like just talk about your upbringing a little bit, like what are some of the moments and emotions and little mini stories that led you to where you are now and to where you’re going, so let’s just kind of get into it and we’ll talk about different things and we go through it. So Jess– let’s talk when you’re first young, OK? So tell me about your family dynamic, what you like to do when you’re young?

Jessica Catorc : Yeah so I grew up in East Mountler Town in Northern British Columbia, it’s 12 hour from Vancouver and I was actually born in Paris, France, but I moved with my mom when I was four. And growing up my mom was a single mom, my grandmother had a huge role in my life with my upbringing, and as I was young I had two passions. So my mom is a ballet– she is a professional ballet dancer turned teacher and then my father was a graphic web designer kind of into computers. And I always had an interest in those two things. When it comes to dance, my mom being a teacher and early mom, single mom, going to class and having her as my teacher was one of the best place I get to spend time with her. Because just like any other after-school program, it happens after school. So during the day I’d be away from home and when I came home she’d be teaching. So it was a really great way to spend time with her, and just do something that I love. But as I got to around like 10, 11, 12, technology start to play a bigger role in most of our life and kids were playing with Tamagotchi, there was virtual pet website, and I found myself clinging to this virtual pet website called Neo Pets, you can feed your pet, you can play game with it, but one of the other elements of it, was you could create your pets it’s own page, let’s say. And I didn’t realise it at that time, it was really clever on this website part, but in order to customise the page or change colours or add photos of your pets, you had to add in this type of code. And I didn’t realise it was HTML and I was learning how to at that age, I just thought, “Oh it was just another game.” So I spent so much time learning about how to customise these pages. All the different lines of code that I need to know in order to look in certain way, and that really started to spark my interest into web design in digital media. And I kind of continue to do both dance and digital media all through high school.

Dallin Nead : That’s incredible. And it’s– that was still during the time where the ability to throw up a website, or do any kind of creative thing on the internet was hard. You couldn’t just pull the template in–

Jessica Catorc : No, you definitely can not.

Dallin Nead : –and add in, flip it into your website in seconds, where you literally have to go into the nit and gritty and coding. That’s so cool.

Jessica Catorc : Yeah and I think it was fortunate though because the way that I learned and discover code, I always thought as a game, and even going to school, like in high school I would do computer programming, it was a way to interact with my friends, we’d all bring snacks to the class, our teacher was super cool, she let us do that. So I never had the same association that I think a lot of people maybe try to learn code or just digital media at a later age, it almost feels like a chore, it’s feels overwhelming, whereas for me I have this association that is being fun and something that I enjoy doing.

Dallin Nead : So around this time then or even before, doing digital media, doing dance, those are very creative I guess passions you had, what– if you could boil down all these activities into one kind of singular desire so to speak or something you want to accomplish out of it, what were you looking to get done, accomplish out of doing these things?

Jessica Catorc : It’s a really good question, I honestly think it’s only recently that I’ve come to realize how similar dance and web design and videos because I love making videos– I think it all comes down to a form of self-expression through storytelling. And what I mean by that is when you are in dance, because I do a lot of choreography and I also taught– when you choreographic piece of dance, you’re listening to the music, you’re singing what emotions come up when you listening to it and how can I express that through movement. When I design a website or I’m doing it for someone else, it was like what is their story, their message, their brands and how do we express that visually through images and colors and designs. It’s the same with coding to create that or video. So I think for some reason it all boils down to just being able to tell a story and express whatever that like feeling or emotion is behind it.

Dallin Nead : That’s incredible. That sounds so– I love that. That’s a great answer.

Jessica Catorc : I never realize it. I think it wasn’t– I always think it was a little– we have met in  LA and we started talking about this and I was like, “There was a lot of overlapping this–.” If you don’t realize it until like someone else was like, “What’s the commonality.” And I was like, “Hang on a second, there’s–”

Dallin Nead : And it was so true right? It seems that we have so many different interests, you know, that can be, you know that could be someone who does coding by day but then by night they’re playing, I don’t know– princess doll with their daughter. That’s super random example but you know for you dancing, coding, they’re kind of on the end of the spectrum right? Like dancing is very expressive kind of empowering form, and coding often times is your behind the scenes, you’re not as publicly expressive as dancing would be, so they’re kind of on the end of the spectrum of even for introvert versus an extrovert.

Jessica Catorc : 100%.

Dallin Nead : And so with this then, what about this makes you unique, do you think? Different from anyone else.

Jessica Catorc : I think it’s the way that I’ve been able to, whether consciously or unconsciously, pull different elements of those passions, and help the other one grow. So what I mean by that is– I never realize this until I started making more videos but I would edit videos very much the same with choreographing a dance routine. Whereas I would listen to music, even if it was the corniest stock music you find on the internet, and when I’m reading the script, when I’m storyboarding, I listen to that track, over and over again and I see the full creation in my head with the music very much like if I were choreographing a piece of dance. Or when it comes to, let’s say coding, there’s a lot of problem-solving involved in it, you know it’s not just knowing how to write a line of code and that’s it. Anyone that have tried even a minute to create a website or do even the most basic form code, you’ll find that you’ll do everything right, and you change one thing and you break everything. And it’s having that problem solving, being creative to figure out the solution, very much to if you trying to improve a scale whether that is for my example to dance, clinging a routine, you have to see, “What is the problem? What am I getting stuck on? What’s holding me back to get to the next level?” And I think that mindset, the way you look at problems, can be applied to so many different areas. But a lot of  the times we put our self in this box and we think that “This is the skill set and the skills that I have are reserved for this.” We don’t allow ourselves to be like, “Hang on, I’m really good at painting. And this is the skill that not a lot of people have in this other industry that I can start to take and really help me grow there.” So I think that what makes me unique, I don’t think that there’s anyone else that does this. There’s obviously so many skills, so many industries, but it’s definitely something that I’ve tried applied more.

Dallin Nead : Well and I think that unique that comes to your perspective that you shared for sure, but also your unique experiences right? And around that. Because speaking about these passion or the desire for self-expression, you talked about your mom and your grandma, being a key role in your upbringing and also enabling you to express yourself as much as possible right. Your mom was very involved with helping to get you to those things and have those experiences. Tell me more about your dad, in that process of you being self-expressive and wanting to connect.

Jessica Catorc : Yeah I mean, it’s interesting because I– my dad wasn’t really part of my life growing up. My mom was a single mom, he was living in France, he come every now and then every couple of months, maybe that’s being generous, maybe sometimes be a few years. I mean I haven’t actually seen him in person for, I think like 10 or 11 years now. So it’s something that kind of been a constant in my life. It’s not like it’s a sudden change you know where I wasn’t able to see him anymore. It’s just that was kind of my normal. So I don’t– I think the influence that he’s had was, he was very much into computers and design websites at that time when a lot of people didn’t actually think that it was going to be the next big thing. Or that would be kind of part of everyday life. So I definitely admire my father in that sense where he’s always coming up with different ideas. I learned a lot about follow through though. And that’s when you have an idea, no matter how amazing it is, how passionate you are about it, no matter how much it can help other people, the most important thing that you have to do is follow through and be consistent. And I saw a lot of incredible ideas never really come to light because he didn’t necessarily have that follow through. Or for whatever reason I think we all have that. We all have this believes or these obstacles that we faced that we sometimes accept and we let them hold us back. And I think deep down, my drives comes from not wanting that to happen with my vision, with my dreams. And making it a priority that no matter how far-fetched my ideas may seem, you see that a lot with my outreach approach when I want to connect with people that probably wouldn’t care who I was, like don’t necessarily have the following or the audience size that they would care to interact with me. It’s harsh but it’s true. And it allow me to shift the way I looked at things from, if they’re gonna happen to how. And doing everything I can to follow through on those ideas and just tries many different ways that I can to make them happen. So I think that probably one of the bigger influences that he had. Probably not intentionally but that’s what I got from him.

Dallin Nead : Once again to speak about perspective too you know because I feel like from you wanting to be self-expressive and that desire for connection, you found ways to connect with your father, even if he wasn’t physically around, you know you recognise ways that you could learned and pull great insight from him, that way.

Jessica Catorc : Yeah maybe even venturing into coding and then learning to make website was– I mean I never even thought of that but yeah that probably had a big part in that.

Dallin Nead : So you mentioned about the difficulty you know, of connecting these things or that you never– with your big ambitions and your goals, you never really saw– what if you saw how you created the scenario, you created the opportunity, what were the setbacks though? What are the challenges on your journey to be self-expressive, to connect with people, what do you feel like stop you from accomplishing that?

Jessica Catorc : I think– so when I first started like when I first being public about brand, my business, the platform I was creating, my age feels like it’s a big blocker. And I think that is applicable to everyone at any age, we tend to find reasons why we’re not ready enough, we’re not the right fit. And for me, I started at 23 for this specific web design and helping people to create their own brands and I felt like, “Who is going to take a 23-year-old girl who at the time was wearing a pink dress and love to dance?” Seriously.

Dallin Nead : Yeah.

Jessica Catorc : But I have to give credit to my mom who– she has a very good way of making you see how silly you’re living in believes are, and she was just like, “Well what’s the problem with that? That’s why people are gonna love you. That’s why you should do that, it’s because you are those things.”  So I think starting out my age and the other thing is I never had the fear of failure necessarily. I think the thing that has really held me back has been fear of success, the fear of what happens if I get there when I get there, how do I keep it, will I change, will the people around me change, and it’s such a silly thing to think because of course deep down you want to be successful. But I know definitely there’a lot of fear in that unknown and what does territory look like at each level.

Dallin Nead : I love that. I love that. I think that’s definitely not unfamiliar to a lot of people who are very ambitious, right, where that ambition is usually built around a specific vision or somewhere you want to be or someone you want to become. And when you become that person or you achieve that thing, it feels like– it can feel like you arrived, right. That you reached that goal and so you kind of lost that thing to chase. You kind of lost that purpose in a way, not in a really bad way but the fact that you’ve already arrived, and so for you with the fear of success– I don’t really think I’ve heard people phrase it like that before right, it’s usually the fear of failure but with the fear of success it was like, “Oh have I achieved anything I need to achieve? What else is there?” And I’ve seen a great example of people and I’ve heard from people stories of those who have arrived and they just stopped in their flat toe and they don’t keep progressing, they don’t keep trying to do things and they lose that drive to keep chasing that next thing, whatever it might be. Whether it’s a future version of themselves that they want to see or it’s some kind of accomplishment. So that perspective is so so incredible.

Jessica Catorc : Yeah it’s interesting like– that’s a really great point I think you– you do I think you do have to keep– obviously you have to keep having new goals but it’s that, it has to be that awareness of knowing that– I think it’s also, we set goals that we can achieve but we don’t go even bigger so it’s like you almost need to set those goals where you like, “There’s no way this is gonna happen.” And as soon as you get closer it setting even bigger goals because yeah I think it’s so easy to get to a certain level and be like, “I’ve made it, now what?” And then all of sudden you kind of lose out momentum.

Dallin Nead : So then what is right now– we’re talking about current Jess, what is your big ambitious goal right now?

Jessie Catorc : My big ambitious goal– I mean there’s so many thing like, I literally this past long weekend, I booked a weekend getaway in the middle of nowhere and just wrote down my goals and the things I want to achieve, and there’s a lot but I mean not all has to happen right now, I think the first thing is I’m in book writing mode, I decided that I want to start writing a book and it’s– I found writing another way of self-expression and it’s something that I’m really focused on right now and being able to articulate my thoughts and the things that I’ve learned and being able to put that in words in a book. So that’s the big one right now, and just continuing to grow my platform in the sense of interacting with more people whether that’s in larger group or more one on one interactions, but I’ve learned so much about my business, my vision has changed, my speaking to the people that have been following my work, and I think it’s very easy to lose sight of your overarching goal and what you’re trying to do if you don’t keep in contact with people that not only supporting you but they’re actually learning from what you’re sharing. And it’s just continuing that conversation and listening as much as I can.

Dallin Nead : Well and along these lines too, I do want to revisit real quick the conflict, you know the difficulty of reaching whether the goal is to build your authority right and be an author, a recognize author, and all kind of your pursuit of self-expression, you talked about living in believe. Do you feel like you’ve overcome that fully? Or was there a moment, you know obviously we don’t always overcome those things but was ever like any turning point to be like, “You know what, I don’t need to limit myself with these beliefs and I can move past it.” You kind of became more self-aware around what does limit you with your mind.

Jessica Catorc : Yeah. I mean gosh I wish I have the answer lie, “ I no longer have limit in beliefs, I’m incredible.” No, I think it’s, it’s almost I’ve never seen the Matrix believe it or not I know the enology was it like red pill blue pill?

Dallin Nead : Right

Jessica Catorc : I now know my limit in beliefs are which all makes it harder because you aware you’re stalking yourselves. Whereas when you’re not aware you’re just like, “Oh this didn’t work out, I better try something else.”

Dallin Nead : Being hard on yourselves right? You get more mad because you recognize what it is and you’re like, “Oh I’m doing it again.” And that–

Jessica Catorc : Yeah. And you also know what you’re capable of, not necessarily what you’re achieving but more also the thing you’re telling yourselves that, that self-taught that you give yourself. I think– gosh I don’t know if I’ve– what the moment when I realize I had limiting beliefs. I definitely like I was lucky enough like my aunty gave my mom this secret way back in the day and all like this self-help books you know, no matter where they’re at I’m always interested in growing as a person and how to become more confident and being able to overcome certain hurdles but I think it’s when I started doing things despite limiting beliefs and I was getting results, and I don’t necessarily mean that I achieve my goals even that a lot of the time it was the case but I just did it anyway, but just seeing that you’re capable of so much more and understanding that if you’re doubting yourselves, as long as you take the precautions, you’re calculating your risks, you’re not being silly and betting all of your money on one project, or whatever it is, just knowing that you can do this even though you have that fear. You have your plan B as a back up if it doesn’t work but you’re still moving forward. I think that’s been the biggest thing.

Dallin Nead : You’re so well spoken. Look at this. This is– there something incredible I got you sharing. That’s what I love about storytelling. Like you spoke it that you support storytelling and you did the self-expressive thing to tell your story in different ways and that came through dance, that came through coding, that comes through videos, and matching those things with your ambition to a definitely sound to make a bigger impact you know, and that impact is one on one, it’s in big groups and beyond. And some really cool things I like about you that you’ve done too is you’ve done ways to– you’ve done ambitious things to connect with people right like for your personal brand. You’ve created videos that got a lot of attention to get the– specific attention. And it’s your way to express yourself but it also a way to connect, and it’s all built around your kind of common vision to make your bigger impact and to keep having something to chase and goals I feel like. So along those lines, what do you think it’s next for you? I mean we kind of already talked about it a little bit but– with your goals, but what kind of future Jess that you in vision?

Jessica Catorc : I mean there’s definitely– there’s a list of video pictures that I’m currently working on, with being able to connect with more people, and it’s not necessarily just connecting to them– connecting with them to get them to like my podcast or whatever it is. Part of it also just it’s such a great way you know like every time I create a video and about to post it online, there’s a good 30 minutes where I’m phasing back and forth and I’m like, “I shouldn’t do this.” I’ve probably reached my learning–

Dallin Nead : You’re definitely not the only one.

Jessica Catorc : And so it’s like this personal challenge or like, “Are you gonna do it like this is a pretty outrageous goal that you have, are you sure you’re good enough for this? Are you sure you can take the criticism if there’s any or the support.” Or it’s kind of like it’s one way to connect with people even to just show them how much I appreciate their work but in a way that I think it’s a bit more mean for them just a tweet and be like, “Hey you’re awesome.” Or liking the post. But also just kind of continuing to push myself to never get comfortable, to keep kind of going for those goals and putting myself out there. And then also I really see myself doing a lot more like, it kind of goes back to what I said earlier but whether that’s public speaking, interacting with different groups of people, I really want to like I’ve seen the benefits of not necessarily just having an online business, you know now that I’m a teacher as well and working– literally living and breathing on online courses and online business, basically 7 days week with everything that I do–

Dallin Nead : Yeah.

Jessica Catorc : But there was so much power that people can have and so much control that they can have in their lives when they take ownership of what their message and what their brand is. It doesn’t mean that everyone needs to quit their day job and become an online entrepreneur. It doesn’t mean everyone needs to become a Youtuber, there’s skill for everyone but I really just want you to find a way to reach more people, to show them that they have this power and they don’t need to be this online influencer to make that happen and to really see the impact that they can have.

Dallin Nead : What an incredible message. And it gets me excited hearing you share things like that because to me too that’s kind of the core Story Therapy or really come into terms with your personal story, and recognising, becoming self aware around the failures, the successes, why your experience, whether bad or good, certain stories and experiences in life coming to terms of it and then applying that perspectives to where you want to go and where you want to be, and that’s where storytelling becomes a key, the most important element of what you just talked about. And I just get super excited where you can be taking these momentums that you have and you’re personal story, you’re very unique and continuing to make a great impact. So I’m super super happy to show this things. And there’s so much more to your story that I would love to pull from later. We can have hours upon hours upon hours of information from you. But I’m super glad Jess that we have this conversation, that we met and we’ll have many more.

Jessica Catorc : Likewise. Thank you so much it’s an honor to be here.

Thanks for listening to the podcast today. If you found some inspiration and enjoyed what you experienced from listening to these stories, then will you please leave a friendly review on iTunes, share this with someone who needs it, and continue to follow us here on our storytelling journey.

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