Behind the Business: Caterina Balzano
What do you do for work?
I’m a journalist and a content creator, which I guess go hand in hand. I left my job as a TV host in Miami in February 2018, to move to London and pursue my dream, journalism and running my company from here. So I own a multimedia content creation agency, called Cata Balzano Inc, and within it I handle various smaller companies centred around niches such as travel, entertainment and fashion. I also do digital media consulting and work with brands, startups or up and coming celebrities to help them build their digital footprint and create a recognisable and engaging image online and on social media.
When did you find the work you love?
When I lived in New York City (2010-2012) I started writing and blogging. I developed a blog about self acceptance and fashion for all body types called Lolita Seraphina, that evolved into Cata Balzano Inc. In 2011 I discovered Instagram and completely loved the concept of sharing and storytelling through pictures. When it became a tool for brands to develop and monetise I truly dove into studying it, it’s programs and the way in which I could market myself as a brand, my company as a brand and therefore other companies could pay me to do the same thing for them. That was how I landed my TV job, most of my journalism jobs and that has been how I have been able to acquire clients in the U.K. as well.
How did you get to where you are now? What was your journey?
My journey was really rocky, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I moved around a lot - I’ve lived in 6 different cities, each for 5 years or less - pursuing everything that made me happy. I studied high school in Colombia. Then I did my first two years of college in New York, where I studied theatre and got my first internship as multimedia correspondent for an online tourism website. Then I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in broadcast media in 2017 from Florida International University.
By then I was hosting a TV show, was writing for 8 different media outlets locally and nationally and had been running Cata Balzano Inc for a year. I’m a big dreamer and super ambitious, and that ambition is was drives me to pursue everything that I’ve always wanted. Sometimes life happens and obstacles such as having no money or a place to live have gotten in the way...but I’ve persevered. I think that’s how I’ve gotten to this point. I’ve never given up no matter how much I’ve had to work and sacrifice and let go of some things that I love. I know that in life we must sacrifice in order to progress, and I’m ok with that.
Looking back, what advice would you give yourself when you were starting out?
People’s opinions don’t matter! They’ll never matter. What they say won’t pay your bills so don’t worry about it. Also: SAVE YOUR MONEY! When starting a business I wanted to buy and have so many beautiful things, when in reality I really didn’t need them yet. When you’re starting off, you can do with the basics. The question “do I really need that?” is SO relevant, and I think everyone who wants to start a business should know that they only need what is strictly necessary. The rest they will be able to acquire with time. A final piece of advice would be PATIENCE! I still tell myself, “don’t rush it. It’ll come. Stop, look around, strategise and move slowly!”
How do you stay feeling creative and inspired?
I stay creative through other creatives. I love museums and looking through books and magazines, as well as feeds online. Inspiration comes from myself...from what I want to pursue and my ultimate goals. I also love to read stories from strong women who have persevered: Oprah, Michelle Obama, Ellen Degeneres, Giuliana Rancic, Frida Kahlo all inspire me.
What does a good work-life balance look like for you? And how do you maintain it?
I’m horrible at this...because I’m a workaholic, and I have serious attention deficit disorder which makes it difficult for me to focus sometimes, so I take a lot of notes on everything I need to do throughout the day, and completing the list sometimes means 16 hours of work, but I think taking at least 1 hour a day for myself is important. I’ve been doing that and using it for meditating, reading and doing yoga. It truly centres me and helps me evaluate everything in a place of calmness. But this is definitely a question that’s hard for me because I struggle with it. How does being a woman affect your work?
It’s tough to talk about this because I like to pretend like I don’t notice but I feel that I’m quite underestimated at times. Because I’m so goofy or bubbly and I confuse my words often since I speak 4 languages, some people think I’m dumb or silly and I can tell by the way they talk to me. They’ll make comments as if they were teaching me something that they think I don’t know, but that is truly very simple and obvious that I should know. Or I’m treated like I’m young and naive and perhaps a bit ignorant. Or I’ve had people call me “honey” or “sweetie,” in a sympathetic way, and if I were a man none of that would happen. But I also don’t spend time thinking about it...I let people think what they want. I have so many cool things going on.
How do you stay motivated when work and life get tough?
Prayer helps me. Also, talking to my mom and perhaps a few good friends helps. I’m quite open when I’m not ok, but I am very careful who I let in to know what is going on. But I also love to read books about self fulfilment and understanding our purpose, and knowing that everything I go through has a lesson and a reason really helps me stay appreciative and embrace the challenges. We all have challenges after all.
How do you ensure you practise self care?
I care a lot for my skin and hair. I invest in quality products that nurture me and help me feel good. I’ve also just taken time to exercise more, get good sleep and (I struggle hard with this but) drink more water.
What does money mean to you?
It’s undeniably a part of life and part of our world, and because of it, the world suffers greatly...but though I believe it is something fundamental to our lives, you don’t need a lot of it to be happy. You just need enough of it to live comfortably, and the rest truly is just luxury.
What one piece of money advice would you give to your younger self?
Like I said before, SAVE IT! Do you need that? Nope, no you don’t. Put it down...walk out of the store.
What’s next for you?
I’m HUGE when it comes to not sharing much of my plans and letting my actions and moments speak for themselves, but I will say that a new and improved version of my company’s website is coming, and more writing is coming...so much more writing — articles, books, blog posts and a few more things I have planned. Times are exciting, and I appreciate anyone who takes the time to mind my thoughts, my posts, or my words!