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Overcomer Series with Katherine Barrett Ryan

What do you do?

I am a mother, a wife, a creator, a writer, a wanna-be chef, an entrepreneur and a lover of wines. I own Katherine Ley, a boutique writing and SEO studio for restaurants, bakeries, food bloggers and anyone who considers themselves a food artisan! I’m also a proud Brand Strategist for Oh Yes Communications.

Growing up, did you always dream that you would be doing what you’re doing now?

Not at all! I knew that deep down inside my soul, there was a writer patiently waiting for me to wake up. I wrote on the side a lot but I was so scared to share my work. My fear of people criticizing my writing would stop me from pursuing my dream. I had so much pride! Finally, after putting my ego on a shelf, I was able to overcome my fears and build my dream.

What made you decide to “go for it” in terms of your career

It took a lot of confidence and trust in myself to quit my career and jump start an unknown chapter of my life. I was also inspired by other women who were scared and anxious but took the leap! I wasn’t alone! I saw that the difference between those who started their dream and those who didn’t was believing in yourself. My husband, Kreg, believed in me so strongly that I couldn’t help but smile, close my eyes, hold his hand, and jump! And that made all the difference.

Did you face adversity? How did you overcome that?

I lost my son, Gregory Magnus, to a miscarriage. I was devastated. I still am. The pain, the loss, the grief, the agony – it’s unbearable at times. Right before the miscarriage, though, I was struggling with my competitive analysis business idea. But something wasn’t right. I couldn’t get my branding right; I couldn’t figure out my packages and pricing; I didn’t know who my ideal clients were – it was all so – confusing. What was going on? Why couldn’t I make decisions? Something was bothering me that went beyond the logistical side of business.

After I had lost my son, I felt that God shook me. It was as if He was right in front of me and shook my shoulders and told me to LIVE. It took a while, and sometimes I still struggle with this adversity, but I:

  • Became grateful for what I have. God shows his kindness in so many ways in my life. I just couldn’t see it behind my sadness.
  • Channeled my anger, my negativity, and my heartache towards serving others. I volunteered and still am volunteering. I love it! I also started reading with a vengeance.
  • Spent more time with my family.
  • Leaned into faith and leaned into places of love.
  • Pivoted my business to reflect my true self.

Before losing Gregory, I was commanding my life and business to be something it wasn’t. I was unfaithfully wandering away from my calling. So I pivoted my business: I renamed and re-branded it. It felt SO right. In less than a month, I was able to hone in what I truly wanted my business to be – writing. It all came naturally. All those questions I had about my initial business idea I did not have with my current one: Katherine Ley. Who knows – maybe I’ll come back to competitive analysis at some point. I’m such a data-loving girl! But the lesson learned was to hand over your fear and sadness to God, lean into faith, and don’t be afraid to be who you are. In one crucial and fateful moment filled with darkness and despair, I found hope and peace.

A lot of women have these big goals & big ideas that they’d like to bring to life, what advice would you give them in terms of how they can make that happen?

Write them down.

Cultivate your goals using Lara Casey’s Powersheets. They changed my life, I swear by them!

Know that patience will win. Meaning, don’t think you have to do every single goal and task and idea all in one month. Give yourself time to think, to organize and to strategize. Don’t wait too long, though! Your gut, your passion, and your business sense will guide you towards your next steps. If something doesn’t feel right or feels forced, call it out. Bring the goal/idea under a detective light and find out what’s bothering you.

What’s the biggest regret you have when it comes to your blog/shop/business?

My biggest regret is not starting sooner! I gave my dream the cold-shoulder because all I could think of was ‘Who would read my writing,’ ‘What if nobody likes it’, ‘What if no one hires me’, and on and on. I realize now that I didn’t give myself enough credit. The best thing I could have done was bet on myself. I eventually did! I CAN do this. I WILL do this.

What’s been your proudest moment so far?

Sticking with a niche and being faithful towards it. It has really helped me find my ideal client and land writing jobs. I love writing about food! On the rare occasion, I’ll bring on a client that is not in the food industry but wants my services. But I make sure that we have a great relationship and I make sure to keep these types of clients to a minimum to make sure I am serving the food industry.

And, just because we like our coffee around here, how do you take yours?

My family traditionally brews coffee on the stove – talk about old-school! – which makes the coffee a touch more powerful than your average cup of joe. In keeping with tradition, I take my coffee black and add a dash of nutmeg to give it an elegant and spicy kick!

I believe in the story of the overcomer. That has been my story and I believe that is your story too. We want your journey here on the blog to help encourage others just like you and me. If you’d like to share that with us, please come over and share your story with us!


Was this story an encouragement to you?  Share it with others!

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  1. Wow Katherine!!!!
    I\\\’m so glad you followed your instinct.
    I am so proud of you.
    You are amazing.

  2. It’s so hard to make the jump from employee to entrepreneur, but once you do, its even harder to look back. Thanks for being such an inspiration!

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