Introduce yourself! Who are you?
Hello! My name is Ekaterina Popova, but I usually go by Kat. I’m an artist, founder of Create! Magazine, podcaster, and writer. I moved to the US with my mom when I was a teen and just fell in love with all things art! After graduating from college, I struggled with multiple day jobs until I finally decided to pursue my passion and become a self-employed entrepreneur. It’s been over three years on this journey, and I’m learning something new every day!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I received is to use the power of visualization to imagine your dream life, business, or to resolve a scary situation. As a self-employed artist, there is a lot of uncertainty around most parts of life, and by imagining an ideal life, it’s easier to be in a positive, hope-filled state of mind.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Trust your intuition. Even if it makes no sense to anyone around you, you have to take action if there is a persistent voice telling you to take a step in business or even personal life.
Do you have a mentor? If so, what did they teach you?
I worked with my mentor Bridgette Mayer when I first became self-employed, which helped me work on my mindset around selling art. Bridgette taught me to pursue my career fearlessly and helped me recover my business. I also love taking online training courses. It’s essential to learn and get support on the entrepreneurial journey. We are not designed to do it alone. It’s possible, but much more difficult.
Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
I lost my first business due to a business partnership that wasn’t working. It was so scary, and I felt like a failure. I had massive anxiety, was worried about what everyone would think. I had to shut down the voices and get down to the root of why I wanted to have that business in the first place. Within months, with the help of my mentor, I rebranded and Create! Magazine was born. It was bigger and better than my first magazine, and I’m so grateful for this experience until this day.
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
There were so many doubters, especially during school. From peers to professors, it was always a struggle to not let others bring me down.
Doubters are harmless, but if their concerns trigger you, then they are just highlighting insecurity or fear we already have. It’s never pleasant, of course, but the more secure you are in what you are doing, the easier it is to ignore outside opinions.
Have you always had confidence in yourself?
Not at all, I would describe myself in my teens, and early 20’s as the most insecure person I know. It took years to unlearn negative beliefs about myself and build confidence. It came from putting myself out there even though I felt scared and insecure. It also was essential to practice the habits that I saw in successful people that I wanted to be like. By doing the positive actions of someone I admire, I eventually realized I could become that person too.
What message do you think every woman should hear?
Now it is our time! Make the most of every career opportunity and don’t apologize for dreaming big and wanting more!
What would you say to 16 years old you?
Stop worrying about the wrong people noticing you! You will find your tribe in just a few years and get that fulfillment you are after.
What motivates you most?
I’m motivated by my community of creatives, especially women. The messages and support I receive on our various platforms keep me showing up as an artist and entrepreneur even on the darkest days.
How do you manage your work-life balance?
I’m getting better at it. I try to do less work on the weekends. I love running (you can’t work and run at the same time), going canoeing or reading books.
If you weren’t doing the job you have now, what would you be doing?
I always joke that if I weren’t an artist, I would be a travel blogger. I’m not even entirely sure what it entails, but I love to romanticize it!
What is something on your bucket list?
To buy a beautiful stone house with a garden, a cozy fireplace, and a massive library!
Where do you find inspiration?
I find it in the still, quiet moments. I find the most inspiration by being open, slowing down and listening, and looking at the world around me.
After immigrating to the US as a teenager, Ekaterina Popova fell in love with all things art. She’s an artist, founder of Create! Magazine, podcaster, and writer.