We had the good fortune of connecting with Katie Flashner and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Katie, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind the success of my brand, The Girl with the Tree Tattoo, is undoubtedly authenticity. I like to say on the blog that I share the good, the bad and the awkward of my dance journey. I don’t hide the fact that I’m not perfect and I don’t have it all figured out yet. Showing up authentically doesn’t mean I’m sharing every aspect of my entire life, but what I do share is honest and genuine. This approach connects me on a deeper and stronger level with my audience because my brand is about the JOURNEY of becoming a ballroom dancer as an adult, not a final destination. Sharing my real journey instead of a glitz and glamour version lets my audience know that I am in the trenches with them. There is a trust that develops because I understand what they’re going through because I’m going through it too. When I share an insight or a solution to an obstacle that we all encounter, my audience can trust that it came from an authentic place.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a multi-passionate creative, with writing and ballroom dance being my two main passions. The Girl with the Tree Tattoo married these two passions into one brand. I blog and have published several books on the topic of ballroom dance, documenting my journey so that others may find inspiration and encouragement to pursue their own passion, be it for dance or something else. Working toward success in two very different fields while also working a full-time day job has been a challenge over the years, to put it mildly. It’s easy to feel like I’m not doing “enough” because I’m splitting my time. If I’m writing, it means I’m not practicing my dance. If I’m training in the dance studio, it means I’m not working on my next book. I have to regularly remind myself that I am on my own path, not someone else’s. It isn’t fair to compare my progress to someone who dances or writes full time, or even does only one of those things on the side of a day job. Through a lot of trial and error, I’ve learned to take in advice and guidance from business and dance coaches and adapt it to fit my journey, as opposed to trying to force myself to fit the advice. Success is often viewed as the result of complete dedication to one path, at the expense of everything else in a person’s life, i.e. the athlete who lives and breathes their sport or the entrepreneur who spends every waking moment hustling for their business. That vision of success doesn’t fit who I am, and I’ve had to do a lot of inner work to recognize and accept that it’s ok for me to have a vision of success that doesn’t match what is generally accepted in today’s society. It’s ok to follow my own path.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This question is ironic to answer in the middle of a pandemic, but let’s pretend it’s 2019 again. There is so much to see and do in Southern California, and honestly, I haven’t seen or done most of it because I’m a hardcore introvert who loves a quiet evening at home with her fur babies. I will share that I do enjoy a day trip to Temecula for lunch in Old Town and wine tasting at a few wineries. The beaches (any of them) are great on an off-day to just sit, stare at the waves, and ponder life. I’d also recommend taking advantages of the many hiking trails that weave through the hills above many of the cities. It’s surprising how close and yet how far the city can seem from the top of the trail.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I dedicate this shoutout to my dance and business coaches who provided the space and encouragement for me to grow into my true self.
Other: Online Shop: practiceballroomdance.com
Gary Flashner, Irene Fong, Charles Ryder Photography