EP 136: Playing Big With A Boutique Music Licensing Company with Catch The Moon Music Founder Cathy Heller

The Nitty Gritty

  • How Cathy and her songwriting agency, Catch the Moon Music, manage music inquiries and how they close deals
  • Hear all the details on Mochas and Music, Cathy’s unique way of putting her music in the hands of music supervisors (hint: it worked!)
  • Why she uses live events to bring together songwriters and music supervisors together in one room, plus why she started a course for songwriters
  • How she turns outreach on its head by approaching clients in a way that’s authentic to her, and equally important, valuable to them

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On this week’s episode, we talked with Cathy Heller, songwriter and President of Catch The Moon Music, a songwriting agency for T.V., ads, and film based out of Los Angeles. In our conversation, she shares where her love of music stems from, how she used closed doors as an opportunity to create her own path, and why she’s now offering courses for other songwriters.

We release new episodes of What Works every week. Subscribe on iTunes so you never miss an episode.

Using “no” as a tool to uncover your strengths

“I believe that if it is right and the world is saying yes, then there’s enough room. But you need the courage to try and you might be told no. If you’re told no enough times, maybe you need to realize that you’re meant to be on the other side. You’re just really great at identifying great music so you should be the one choosing the songs.” — Cathy Heller

When Cathy first pursued her music career, she wanted to be a singer. She didn’t anticipate songwriting as her chosen field — but when she went to Los Angeles and she heard no enough times, she realized that she didn’t need to be the singer. Instead, she could be the one writing the songs.

That moment transformed her career from singer to songwriter and ultimately she founded Catch The Moon Music, a boutique music licensing company. Today, her clients include global corporation like Coca Cola and McDonald’s as well as Netflix, Crate and Barrel, and Disney.

As Cathy mentions, sometimes when you hear no enough, it’s not the wisest choice to keep pushing through to prove a point. Sometimes those no’s are really a window, showing you different opportunities that might suit your talents better.

Radical empathy is the tool for solving other people’s problems

“The difference between a hobby and a business, at its core, is radical amounts of empathy. If anybody wants to make money, somebody else is going to give you that money, so we have to spend a lot of time anticipating other people’s needs.” — Cathy Heller

At the core of Cathy’s work is curiosity. “What else can I create with my two hands that is going to serve my audience,” she asks. Her method includes asking the music supervisors who are choosing music what they need. Not only that but she’s always looking at what they’re already using in their T.V. shows and ad placements, then reverse engineers songs from what she’s learned to anticipate their needs.

Think about your own business: how can you embrace radical empathy and put yourself in your customers shoes? How can you start to anticipate what your clients and customers need?

Finding what is authentically you… and what’s valuable to others

“Every person has their thing and when it’s expressed, it makes the world brighter and better. Every person can find a way to make it a living but it takes some introspection, it takes some exploring, and it takes some start and stops because sometimes we gotta try things to figure out what works and what doesn’t. We have to be willing to put in the quest.”  — Cathy Heller

Even after taking a break from the music world for two years, ultimately Cathy knew that she belonged in the music world — but she had to find where she fit. She searched to find her sweet spot between what people needed and what was authentic to her.

This wasn’t a time to sound like everyone else: it was a time for Cathy to find what make her so unique within the world of music. Because that is why people would choose her. No matter how crowded your niche is, if you’re really good at something, there is room for you. Take it from Cathy.

Want more from Cathy Heller? Listen to this episode of What Works to hear more about using no as a way to carve your own path and what it means to have radical empathy to truly serve your clients in a deep and meaningful way.

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EP 299: How To Design Your Own Sales System

EP 299: How To Design Your Own Sales System

This week, I’ve got 4 more stories to share with you from small business owners who have intentionally done things their own way when it comes to sales and selling. They’ve found what truly works for them–even if it bucks the prevailing wisdom or would make a bro marketing expert role his or her eyes.

These stories come from business coach Ashley Gartland, marketing expert Amy Lippmann, designer Mel Richards, and work reinvention coach Lydia Lee.

Listen for how they incorporated these same considerations into finding their own unique sales systems. They designed their systems with personal values, strong relationships, reduced anxiety, and agency in mind.

EP 298: Creating A Less Harmful Sales System with Wanderwell Founder Kate Strathmann

EP 298: Creating A Less Harmful Sales System with Wanderwell Founder Kate Strathmann

This show is called What Works for a reason.

Sometimes it’s a declaration: this is what worked for this small business. And often, it’s a question, “What works?”

Today’s episode is very much a question, many questions, really:

What works when it comes to selling when you want to avoid manipulative or exploitative practices?

What works when your values conflict with many of the best practices of selling online but you still want people to buy your stuff?

What works when it comes to sales in a business that is actively anti-racist and anti-capitalist?

And even more bluntly: Can you even sell things without causing harm or perpetuating harmful systems?

My friend Kate Strathmann is the founder of Wanderwell, a bookkeeping and consulting firm that grows thriving businesses while investigating new models for being in business.

Recently, Kate took a bit of a detour from how she’s used to building her business, which is 90% referral based and fueled by deep relationship- and community-building. She decided to offer a small group program called the Equitable Business Incubator as a way of exploring anti-capitalist business practices and how they apply to the small businesses we’re building.

To fill the program, Kate need to sell differently.

Which led her to asking the question: Can you even sell things as a anti-capitalist?

While that might not be your specific question, I have a feeling that you too have wondering how you can effectively sell your offers without causing harm, perpetuating harmful systems, or damaging relationships. And that’s why I knew Kate and I needed to explore this topic on the show.

This is a conversation about what a kinder, less harmful sales process could look like—and it probably contains more questions than answers. But I’m confident those questions can help you find the answers that are right for you and the sales system that you want to build to make your business stronger.

We start out by defining what we’re really talking about when we talk about capitalism and anti-capitalism. Then, Kate shares how the Equitable Business Incubator came to be and how she ended up selling it. And then we dig into what makes many of the sales formulas and best practices being taught today problematic—and how to think differently to create your own alternative practices.

Now, let’s take a look at what works for creating less harmful sales systems!

EP 297: Selling A New Program With Proof To Product Founder Katie Hunt

EP 297: Selling A New Program With Proof To Product Founder Katie Hunt

Today’s guest is Katie Hunt—who is a member of the former group and serves the latter group.

Katie is the founder of Proof To Product, which helps creative entrepreneurs run and grow thriving product-based businesses. She works with designers, illustrators, and artists to help them develop in-demand product lines and get them sold in stores all over the world.

Not long after the pandemic threw her business and the industry she serves for a major loop, Katie and her team launched Proof To Product Labs to provide a completely digital, ongoing support opportunity for business owners when they needed it most.

And that launch was a smash.

Katie and I get into all of the nuts and bolts of how she adjusted the offer to meet the moment and how she warmed up her audience before the campaign, as well as the exact mix of emails, podcast ads, and social media content she used to sell the offer when it went live. We also talk about how she sees the sales system evolving in the future and how the offer has been received now that people are using it!

What Works offers in-depth, well-researched content that strips away the hype of the 21st-century economy. Whether you love the podcast, the articles, or the Instagram content, we’d love your support