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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

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.

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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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