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posted: 6/18/2012 6:30 AM

Small business Q & A with with Holly Katko, owner of U-Connect Inc. in Lisle

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  • Holly Katko

    Holly Katko


Q: Describe your business. What do you do?

A; U-Connect offers professional business training and consulting to individuals, small business and corporations in four core areas: customer service, sales training, management, and life skills. We help people and companies reach the next level through training and consulting that capitalize on awareness, real life application, and follow-through. For entrepreneurs, I provide counsel on all aspects of starting a business and have authored "Entrepreneur You." The book has earned great reviews for helping people turn their vision into thriving businesses.

Q: What made you start your business?

A: My years growing up on an Iowa farm set the tone for entrepreneurship as we worked from dawn until dusk. The work was hard, but I realized that owning my own business was the only way to make my own money, have full ownership of my life, and create opportunities based upon my ideals and perspectives. Throughout the more than 20 years working in corporate America, searching for new and different ways to make a product or service work, I always sensed I would someday open my own business. For a long, long while, I was afraid to go out on my own. In 2000, everything changed. I felt a jolt, like lightening going through me. It was one of the most important moments of my life. I knew I was going to be an entrepreneur, and even more than that, I was going to help other people fulfill their own dreams of becoming entrepreneurs too.

Q: What has been the most difficult obstacle in running or starting a small business?

A: The most difficult part in starting my own business was starting my own business! Many times we are our own worst enemies. It's easy for people to put up barriers to their own success. I had plenty to choose from: I only had $10,000 in the bank; I was a single mom; I didn't have a lot of extra time. But I also knew that I would not feel fulfilled with my life if it meant working for someone else and depending on them to tell me if I had a job the next day. So, my biggest obstacle was myself. Once I understood the importance of "just doing it" and that I could start an inch at a time, I gained the self-confidence I needed and overcame the fear of potential failure. I realized I am the one in charge and I am the one who chooses my own path -- no one else does this for me

Q: What do you enjoy most about operating your business?

A: The autonomy and ability to make my own decisions. The freedom of building products and services and implementing them without having to get approval from others. Going out and taking on the challenge of a new product, a new customer, and learning from all the wonderful people I come into contact with. It is fulfilling to know that with each step I take, I am helping someone else get to the next level in their lives.

Q: Is this what you pictured yourself doing when you were young? When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A: This is a question I pose in my book and my workshops. I ask people to go back in time and understand what their passion was when they were little. I want them to make sure those dreams don't die. An example: when I was little, I always wanted to be a famous actor, to be on stage, and to perform in front of millions. I never took acting classes. I performed in a play here or there and joined a few choirs over time but nothing serious. So you might say, I did not fulfill this dream, but I did because now I do public speaking for a living. I'm on the stage in front of crowds two to three times weekly. Yes -- I have and still continue to grow and expand my dream from when I was young -- the picture just looks a little different now, but it did come true.

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