We had the good fortune of connecting with Katy Chen Mazzara and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Katy, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I am a poker player, so I would consider myself a risk taker. There’s a saying in poker, that “it’s not about the cards you’re dealt. It’s how you play your hand.” I find this true in poker, as well as in life, and I love people who can turn nothing into something. I’m also a financial coach, so part of what I do is understand a client’s base risk tolerance and see if it’s coming from a true place or if it’s just coming from fear. When I think about risk, I am not thinking about jumping from a plane. Instead, I think of it as putting myself out there, asking for what I want, and applying for the internships, jobs, and opportunities that I may not always be 100% qualified. My dad is someone who doesn’t tolerate a lot of risks. He wanted me to go to a state school and study engineering or something to do with computers, like he did. However, I knew that the path he thought was “safe” and “secure” did not instill passion and motivation in me. So, I traveled across the country, to study Journalism, Documentary Filmmaking (and subsequently Art History) at New York University, and it was bliss. Everyday, I took risks, and they paid off. I created a life for myself that I really wanted, and every day, I felt the most ME I had ever felt in my 18-22 years of life. Those four years helped me to achieve award-winning careers in Journalism, TV producing, and now I’ve embarked on my 3rd career change, as an entrepreneur! None of it would’ve happened if I had played it safe, in the first place. Everyday, I take risks in my business. Entrepreneurship is all about taking risks, and if you fail, to learn from it quickly. Sometimes I think what other people may perceive as a risk, I may just consider it divine intervention. When I first started, I designed my own website. I could’ve worked on it forever, tweaking to make everything “perfect.” One Friday, in one of my Facebook groups, a woman had posted, “Does anyone work with a financial consultant who understands production $$$ that they would recommend? I would love help refining a plan for savings, investments, retirement, etc. in a freelance context.” I saw it as a sign that she was speaking directly to ME because who else really understands what it’s like working freelance in television production AND understands financial planning? So, I did a final polish, sent her the website link, and she became one of my first clients, who wasn’t a friend or someone I knew.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I’m a financial coach who helps creative, freedom seekers make more, worry less and create true financial freedom, so you can live the life of your dreams! I work with creative types and those with inconsistent incomes because I am a creative type and freedom seeker! I was a freelance TV producer for 15 years and so I really understand what it’s like to go through those so-called “feast or famine” cycles. I’ve also known 3 women in my life who stayed in abusive relationships because they didn’t have their own money and they had small children to take care of, so my mission in my business is to empower everyone to be able to make decisions NOT based on money, in order to have the choice to live the life they’ve always wanted. I combine spiritual practices and practical tools because I believe in a holistic look at your finances, rather than just looking at the numbers, so that once you’ve paid off debts, they stay paid off, and you’re creating wealth from your core values, not just from needing or wanting money. It’s a much more sustainable, easy and graceful way of figuring out your finances. I got to where I am today business-wise by really listening to my intuition, opening my eyes to the possibilities and with a lot of divine guidance. Many times, opportunities show up without me asking for it, and I can only attribute it to how much this work feels like I’m in my purpose. Is it always easy? Of course not. In the beginning, I needed help, and like most entrepreneurs in the beginning of their business, I couldn’t quite afford as much help as I needed, so I did everything on my own. I still work a lot, but to me, it’s pure joy to know I’m working for myself! Because I was always a hard worker, and I would put in all that hard work and not really get too much appreciation back. Now, I know that my hard work brings me closer and closer to what I’ve always dreamed of! Someday, everyone is going to know the Financial Freedom for Creatives Club I’ve created. It’s a place where you can find resources, training, coaching and get your questions answered by myself and other experts. It’s also a membership where you can find accountability partners and other creatives to collaborate, cheer you on and/or hold you accountable.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
(I’m sure I don’t need to mention this, but this is all pre-Covid.) After picking up my friend from LAX on a Friday afternoon, I would take them to Shutters on the Beach. Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner, I love Coast for its laid-back and yet elegant decor, views of the ocean and delicious Southern California cuisine. After our late lunch, we’ll take a long, leisurely walk to either the Pier or the Venice Boardwalk to people watch, get a psychic reading or dance to a drum circle. Then, we could get a drink at Casa Del Mar, the Fairmont or The Viceroy and either stay for dinner or go to Fritto Misto, a homey, Italian cafe that’s very un-L.A. No pretensions or servers, “waiting” for their next audition. The next morning, we would wake up early to either go to a yoga class at Yoga House in Pasadena, or we’ll go hiking. One of my favorites is the hike down to Sturtevant Falls. (I’m a sucker for waterfalls, creeks, or even a babbling brook.) After working up an appetite hiking to the Falls, we head over to Arcadia for either dim sum at Capital Seafood or Taiwanese dumplings and veggies at Din Tai Fung inside the Westfield Mall. If it’s still early, and there’s a race, the Santa Anita Racetrack is a fun way to spend an afternoon, especially if you’re invited into the Chandelier Room, The Suites, Winner’s Terrace, Director’s Room, etc. If you do get to go to the Chandelier Room, there’s a secret “speakeasy” in there. Afterwards, have dinner at Vege Paradise, the BEST vegan Chinese restaurant anywhere. Order their hot & sour soup (again, the BEST anywhere), cabbage rolls, 3 cup “chicken,” Singapore rice noodles, and the fried basil and mushrooms dish. Amazing! Finally, we would end the night either getting Hong Kong style dessert and hanging out at Phoenix or singing Karoake in probably a strip-mall joint. Sunday is brunch day, of course! And if I was sticking close to home, I’d go to Milly’s Cafe. However, if I want to take my friend to Downtown, so we’re going to brunch at either Nickel Diner, Bottega Louie or head to Grand Central Station, where we each can pick what we want to eat. Plus, it’s just so hipster-y cool there. (ha!) Then, we’ll go see the Bradbury Building, of course, because all of friends must love “Bladerunner!” Afterwards, we’ll go to Little Tokyo, wander the shops and get some red bean buns, then to MOCA or the Broad to get our cultural fix. Then, in the evening, I would suggest drinks first upstairs at the Ace, Rooftop at The Standard or PerchLA. And if we’re dressed for it, we could go to dinner and dancing at Cicada Sunday Supper Club, where my husband and I got married! If you still have a few more days to explore Los Angeles, you should definitely go to a beach – El Matador in Malibu is one of my favs. I also like to people watch down in Manhattan or Laguna. If you love to shop, of course visit Rodeo Drive, Robertson Boulevard, Melrose Ave (and Place), as well as The Grove & Americana on Brand. If you prefer malls, South Coast has all of the high end stores and Westfield Century City has its own Eataly (the famed Italian marketplace that’s now a chain). For music, you must visit the Hollywood Bowl, The Greek, Disney Concert Hall for Classical or for dinner and jazz – check out the lineup at Vibrato. And while Los Angeles isn’t generally known for its bookstores, like New York or Seattle may, you’ll be surprised at The Last Bookstore! It may beat any bookstore you’ve seen.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have sooo many people and organizations I would like to shout out! First, I’d like to shoutout my husband, Michael Mazzara, a talented TV producer, former actor and grade school teacher. He’s the most supportive partner in life, an amazing home cook, and always the funniest guy in the room. Next, I’d like to shoutout my amazingly creative friends working in television – Trifari & Hashim Williams, Melinda Cea and Autumn Doerr, my mastermind sisters, Cori Ochoa, Melissa Fino, Jennifer Varino, Dorian Antonina, Tilita Lutterloh, Elise Arsenault, Sarah Skaer, and Lauren Litt. They know what it’s like to own a business, and they’re always there to listen, support and celebrate! I would like to also shoutout coaches and spiritual teachers I’ve worked with or still work with – Christine Hassler, Dallas Travers, Tilita Lutterloh, Malika Amandi, Sophia Parra, Kiran Ram, Claudia Consolati, Tara Bradford, Liz Forman, Michael Beckwith, Jim Kwik, Gabby Bernstein, and Marie Forleo. Finally, I’m a financial wellness mentor and on a task force at ImagineLA, a not-for-profit organization working to end the cycle of family poverty and homelessness. Their mission is to transform lives by building relationships, well-being, and economic mobility.
Joanna Shapiro Jess Onesto @cheersbabephoto