23 minutes | Nov 13, 2019

Episode 60: Confident Decision Making — Katie Bouton

This week on The EnTRUEpreneurship Podcast, Wes interviews Katie Bouton, Founder & CEO of Koya Leadership Partners. Katie’s company is an executive search and strategic advising firm that matches top talent to mission-driven organizations, such as nonprofits. Bouton compares the growth of her company over the past 6 years to a rocketship, and the comparison is not a bad one. Koya is projected to rake in $20M in revenue this year, has been featured on the Inc. 5000 list, and has recently been identified as one of the 50 fastest-growing women-owned companies in the US. For Bouton, the choice to experience rapid growth required a newfound trust in herself. For too long, Katie waited for others to make decisions for her, until finally she realized no one really knows what the “right choice” is — that, most times, you just have to pick a path and go for it. On the podcast, Katie relives her company’s incredible journey from $50,000 to $20M in revenue and shares some inspiring advice for entrepreneurs about the importance of confident decision making.   The EnTRUEpreneurship Takeaway: “Stop looking for the right answer. Just pick one. Try it. If it doesn’t work, do something else." “When I decided to really go for it, I just woke up one day and realized, ’Nobody has any idea what they’re doing. We’re all guessing. And we’re all failing fast and getting comfortable with risk.’ When I made that switch in my mind, everything really took off from there." “I realized within the first few years that I could take a bunch of projects that would make payroll, but they actually took up a lot of time and were distracting from the thing I wanted to get really good at." “I had no seed funding. I just had an idea." “There came a moment where the business got big enough where I could no longer do the work myself or be very close to the actual product. That is a moment where every entrepreneur has to decide, ‘Am I running a consulting business, or am I running a business?’" “If you’re an entrepreneur, one of the things you realize pretty quickly is that you will make a lot of mistakes. In the early years, I made the mistake of trying to do everything myself." “The pressure of payroll and wanting to grow — it’s sort of a vicious cycle where you need money to grow and you need resources to grow. It can be a trap to keep taking the work that you know you shouldn’t take."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:08: Katie explains how she grew up around entrepreneurship, even though she wasn’t aware of it at the time. 4:16: Katie discusses how her focus shifted from PR and journalism to organizational development and the turning point when she decided to start her own business. 6:43: Katie retells the earliest days of the business, including her first goals, and describes how she landed her first client. 11:49: Bouton shares how her business gradually transitioned from end-to-end human resources to executive search and speaks on the importance of narrowing your business focus. 14:12: Bouton mentions some mistakes made as an early entrepreneur, including living under the pressure that she had to do everything herself. 15:36: Katie describes the external factors that drove her to hire her first employees. 17:07: Bouton explains how her company went from steady growth to explosive growth and the types of challenges and adjustments that had to be made in response to that growth. 18:55: Katie discusses the mental change that took place when she decided that Koya was going to be a fast-growing company. 20:14: Katie describes Koya in its current state and opportunities for future growth. 21:22: Katie shares some advice around making decisions fast and being willing to take risks.   Bulleted List of Resources — Katie Bouton -     LinkedIn   Koya Leadership Partners -      Company Website -      Twitter -      Facebook
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