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Life and Work with Katie J. Douglas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katie J. Douglas.

Katie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in Tucson and went to college at Northern Arizona University. After graduation, I got married and began my career as a high school English teacher. I loved teaching so much. It felt like the first thing I’d ever been good at in my whole life. I taught for four years all over Arizona before having my twins in 2009. I made the decision to stay at home with them and soon after, started a small business called Sunny Girl Spray Tan, LLC while living in Sierra Vista. Sunny Girl gave me the opportunity to get out of my house and make some extra money, but the flexibility in my schedule meant I was still able to write creatively as well. I did this totally in private, not telling anyone, although it has always been my dream to publish a novel. I had another baby three years after the twins and continued staying at home with them while running my small business. When my youngest went to preschool, I finally had some extra time on my hands to write more seriously. It was then that I completed my first novel.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My writing journey has not been smooth at all. I tried and failed to write a novel for years and years, always hitting a wall and quitting before I ever finished. I think that’s why I kept it quiet. I knew how hard it was to actually get something down on paper and I didn’t want to suffer the humiliation of telling everyone that I’d failed. I’m so thankful that I did fail though. If I hadn’t failed, I never would have known what it felt like to actually have something of substance. Something that would stick. So, when I did finally finish my first novel, that accomplishment meant more than I can even explain.

Please tell us about your work.
My life right now is pretty exciting because I’m still running my small business, Sunny Girl Spray Tan, which has grown incredibly over the years. I have an amazing business partner, Shannon Walk, who helps hold it all together with me. At the same time, I’m jumping into the indie publishing world and preparing to launch my first book in April 2019. I can’t stress the importance of all I’ve learned starting and operating a company for the last eight years. Because of this, I feel so prepared and ready to market my book. I think it has put me at a HUGE advantage and I’m excited about what’s to come!

There’s a wealth of academic research that suggests that lack of mentors and networking opportunities for women has materially affected the number of women in leadership roles. Smart organizations and industry leaders are working to change this, but in the meantime, do you have any advice for finding a mentor and building a network?
The best advice I can give to anyone is that none of us know it all and we shouldn’t act as we do. We have resources all around us and asking for help and advice is SO IMPORTANT! Anytime I’m around, another entrepreneur I ask them dozens of questions. For me, this has been a huge part of any success I’ve had in business. I don’t have one mentor in particular but I’m very open to input from others. This also goes for the amazing women who work for my business. Their new and fresh ideas are always appreciated.

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Image Credit:
Ashley Elicio Photography, Nayes Makeup

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