610. She Brings Good Things to Life
Katie never saw herself as an entrepreneur. But when the real estate bubble burst, right after she finished her MBA, she learned from personal experience how to spot a need and fill it. And she learned how to live out her values with each new successful venture.
Katie Cline began her career at Lockheed Martin Aerospace, where she worked in both communications and business development before moving to project management. She oversaw the development of projects with budgets of $15 million and more. Later, she worked with Scott Turner to create Green Building Education Services, the first online training and exam prep for the LEED exam (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). More recently, Katie worked with a friend to create the National Registry for Adoption (NRFA) and is an embryo donor herself.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
“The blessing of living in a small town is that you can do whatever you want in high school, because there is not that many other people trying out. So, I did band, show choir, drama and was on the cross-country team.” Growing up, she also tried her hand at lots of jobs. “I was a waitress, because I loved to make cash. I sold newspaper advertising at the college. I definitely think these different types of work were great!” She recommends to others to take the time to try all different kinds of things and learn what you like and what you do not.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
Returning to school to earn an MBA in commercial real estate construction, Katie re-entered the job market–just as the real estate bubble burst. Never having thought of herself as an entrepreneur—although she married one—she soon saw a need she could fill. Fearful of losing their jobs, many people in her field were rushing to earn certifications to add to their resumes. At $500 a pop, the exams were expensive, and when Katie took one and failed, she and her husband created a $49.95 online practice course to help others pass the exam. They sold three on their website the first day. In seven years, the service grew to the point where she decided to sell it. But she learned how to spot a need and fill it. She drew on her own experiences with fertility treatments and unused embryos to create a service to match adoptive parents with parents like herself, who had embryos. “We like to call ourselves the Match.com of the embryo donation and adoption field.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“My husband and I learned how to be entrepreneurs, working together from home doing a LEED exam prep business for green building certification. Then, we turned those talents into something we see as a greater good, drawing from our own life experiences. Now we’re helping people start families, helping babies be born. Becoming an entrepreneur and working hard on something you value can give you financial freedom to do what you really want.”
Steps to Success from Katie Cline
1. Look for a need you can fill and fill it.
2. Find ways to simplify things, to make challenges easier for people.
3. Find or create work and services that honor and express your values.
4. Cut your living costs and simplify your life so you can be free to start something new.
Connecting With Katie Cline
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