My mentor gave up on me – and that’s why I’ll NEVER give up on you.


Mea culpa.

I know I haven’t been in touch a ton lately, and I’m sorry. I promised you’d hear from me about easy ways to grow your online business and how to grow an email list.

…and I dropped the ball.

You may have heard me share how I just moved across the continent and I dramatically underestimated how intense that would be. It sucked up every last drop of energy I had. I was totally depleted. I have only been looking after my clients but I may not have been supporting YOU – and for that I’m sorry.

And I’m back, woohoo!


How I 1,000% KNOW you can and will succeed with your online business

You may not know this about me, but I used to dance professionally.

Before that, I trained my butt off. I started when I was 3. By the time I was a teenager I spent more hours at the studio than I did at school.

And still, I had my biggest mentor – the one whom I put on a major pedestal – totally turn her back on me.

Worse yet, I didn’t even realize it and it almost cost me my dance career.

My first love? Ballet. I ate, slept, and breathed ballet. I had a ballet teacher who was so kind to me. I’ll call her Miss Melanie (not her real name).

Unbeknownst to me, the syllabus we were following had two tracks: pre-professional and recreational. One year after returning to classes after summer break, I noticed that I had just one ballet class a week on my schedule, but some others of my friends – girls I had been dancing with for years – now had two classes per week.

I was only 12 years old at the time and I had no idea at all that Miss Melanie, whom I adored like a second mom, had decided for me that I just wasn’t good enough to be in the pre-professional track.

Miss Melanie had given up on helping me realize my dreams of dancing professionally one day and, worst of all, I had absolutely no idea and no say in the matter.

Of course, over the course of the next couple months, I and my friends who had been placed in the rec level figured out what had happened. I was devastated but, as a young girl, I wasn’t mad at my mentor or indignant that she hadn’t communicated with me about this decision.

I just thought, “I’m not good enough. I’ll never been good enough to succeed.”

At 12 years old.


Then, Miss Melanie quit. She was having a baby.

I was so sad! (I loved her, remember?)

Miss Melanie was replaced by a new ballet teacher for me, whom I’ll call Miss Cora.

Miss Cora was the quintessential stereotypical no-nonsense kind of ballet teacher you see in the movies. She was intensely focused on making each of us the best we could be. She never accepted less than our best.

Under her mentorship, I blazed through the recreational levels that Miss Melanie had relegated me to years before… and then, when I was done, there were no more classes left for me to take except the pre-professional ones, so that’s where I went.

Miss Melanie never returned because after she had her baby, she started her own ballet studio in a different part of the city.

Meanwhile, I worked hard. I even paid for extra private lessons with Miss Cora because I had a huge pre-professional ballet exam coming up – one that was very difficult to pass – and Miss Cora felt I could use the extra practice time. I was deadly serious in my commitment – just like I always had been – and Miss Cora continued to show up for me to the exact extent that I was showing up for myself.

Exam time came and I passed – just barely.

I was ecstatic, especially because I was not only the only dancer who passed from my studio but I was also one of only FOUR dancers in my entire city to pass in that round of exams. (We had gotten such a tough examiner that year that that examiner was never again asked back.)

Just a couple weeks later, competition time came around and I actually ran into my old dance teacher, Miss Melanie, at a city-wide competition. We noticed each other and she said hi to me and asked me how I was doing.

I wasted no time in saying, “Well, I just passed the pre-professional exam!”

Remember, this was an exam that was very difficult to pass. It was an exam that she never would have put me up for if I had remained her student.

AND – because she had her own studio at this point – this was an exam she had also submitted students to, and none of her students had passed… so she knew it was an extra, extra tough one.

It’s a moment I’ll never forget.


What does any of my ballet saga have to do with your online business, your entrepreneurial path?

Miss Melanie wasn’t wrong in noticing that I wasn’t as natural a ballerina as some of my peers.

Where she went wrong was when she totally discounted my desire, my determination, and my commitment to making it, despite any odds that may have been against me.

Miss Cora, on the other hand… she didn’t care how good I was or how talented I was.

She simply showed up and did her job, which was not to decide for me (before I was even in my teens!) if I had a shot at success.

Instead, she met me where I was and she matched my effort, my focus, and my commitment. Instead of taking choices off the table for me, she approached it with the attitude of, “If this is what you want, here’s where you are now and here’s what you’ll need to do to get there.”

I have never forgotten Miss Melanie or Miss Cora and the way that each of them made me feel.

One was always sweet and kind of me, but secretly was just placating me and telling me what she thought I’d want to hear because she never believed I would amount to anything.

The other was not always sweet – in fact she was kind of tough a lot of the time! – but she used every second of every class to help me make incremental progress and show me where I could do better.

Most importantly, she never, ever gave up on me. If she had ideas about whether or not I could “make it” (which I’m sure she did), she didn’t let those ideas affect the extent to which she showed up for me.

That’s what a real mentor will do for you.

It’s the kind of mentor I’ve always aspired to be to my entrepreneur clients. It’s how I KNOW you can make it.


The #1 Ingredient to a Successful Online Business

Do you know what it is? You may be able to guess by now.

It’s not being able to invest five or six figures in a fancy coach (my program is low-cost to honor the entrepreneurs who are deadly serious about getting the online business going but don’t yet have enough clients to make a huge investment doable).

It’s not about taking the right course or program.

Heck, it’s not even about being tech savvy or having the right online business step-by-step roadmap (even though that’s what I teach!).


It helps if you have a mentor who embraces this philosophy, too… I learned the hard way that the wrong mentor can lead you down a dark and dead-end path… even if they are all sunshine and roses as they’re doing it.

The right mentor will dramatically reduce the length of time it takes to get your online business going… but even a perfect mentor can’t help you if you stop showing up for yourself.

So show up for yourself! Start now and never stop. It’s the best investment you will ever make. You WILL get there, if only you keep moving.


Epilogue… Did I ever dance professionally?

Yep! In fact, my second professional gig – aboard Carnival Cruise Lines – was where I met my husband, which I think is pretty dang cool. Here are a few pics from my professional dance days:

I really hope you’ve found this post helpful. If you have, please do 2 things for me: (1) leave a comment below and (2) share this post with 1 or 2 people you think would really benefit. Thank you!

I appreciate you,


  1. Alfred Unger

    Thank you for sharing this story. I also didn’t realize you had moved back east. Wish we could have connected for coffee in Calgary. But hopefully we can do a zoom call soon if you’ve got a few minutes.

    • Kathryn Calhoun

      I’m still out west. Thanks for your comment Alfred, nice to see your name! 🙂

  2. Sheryl Ann

    Thank you for sharing your story – I had similar happen in different areas of my childhood/youth. This lets me know also that you will understand my Arts & Entertainment side of me.
    I truly believe that the Holy Spirit led me to you after my 5years of research on the internet and being in that whirlwind you speak of.
    I believe in you and your training and handholding I’ll likely need Kathryn.
    Again, thank you so much for your perseverance and putting something together which will truly help persons like myself to have a successful online business.

  3. Malka

    Wow! What a powerful message. Just goes to show, we can follow our dreams no matter what anyone else has to say.

  4. Deborah ( Debbie) Orman

    Omg that’s an amazing story! I admire you greatly cause I’ve always wanted to be a ballet dancer since I was little. Took a little bit of ballet as a kid. To this day I love to dance and do tai chi, meditation in motion, ( like a dance) I’ve made it into a dance to teach people and incorporate the aerobic and quick dance to motivate people to benefit from it! Today, coincidentally I was offered to be represented for acting and modeling by a top agent after auditioning this weekend so I would get to pursue many awesome opportunities. So excited and haven’t yet decided. This reminds me of the way this transpired. She was strict but nice real, and genuine with her feedback. On audition day I got told no. However today they changed their mind calling me to give me the opportunity. She sees the potential in me due to my passion and acting talent. Yet originally they said no cause my audition was good , not great. In other words, after much thought the scouting agents decided my passion and talent was enough that I could be trainable !!! Yay for me and you! Great timely story! Any advice or comments??

  5. N. G. Abramson

    Kathryn, It’s a powerful post. Brought tears to my eyes.

  6. Maria Monet-Facoory

    Bravo. It takes courage not to ‘hear’ the coach call time.

  7. Linda Ugelow

    Great story and message. Yes, the one ingredient that I use to describe myself as an entrepreneur is “undeterred”. The rest I can learn.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *