Deep Dive

Why a company should consider using Notion with Cat Mulvihill

Published on
March 26, 2024
Matthew Gira
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Cat, as you’ll get to find out in this episode, is the definition of a multi-passionate person and entrepreneur.

Cat is someone that I’ve gotten to know a little bit through Notion and meeting her in person at the Craft & Commerce conference by ConvertKit. I admire Cat for a lot of reasons, but one of those reasons is that a lot of multi-passionate innovators can learn a ton from Cat.

She’s someone who has studied and experienced so many different areas and puts them all together in ways that only Cat can. I don’t know any other people who are an expert in Notion, can present incredibly well virtually, and would could up with the idea to knit on Twitch while talking about pop culture??

In this conversation Cat, we talked about her journey as a multi-passionate entrepreneur, why a company should consider using Notion, and why she’s thinking a bit bigger these days.

So, without further ado, here’s my conversation with Cat Mulvihill:

Here are some snippets from my conversation with Cat Mulvihill:

Note: these answers are summaries and are cleaned up to be easier to read. Full answers can be found in the full episode!

You studied a lot of different things in all of your university experiences. Started with Physiology and Psychology, then to Workplace and Adult Learning, then a MBA in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management, and capping off it all off by studying Food & Nutrition. Then here we are to talk about Notion. We’ll dive into some of these experiences because there seems to be a lot of twists and turns in there. Before all of them though, did you have any early influences that set you on this trajectory towards entrepreneurship & innovation?

If we go way back, I thought I might be a doctor like almost every undergrad science student at some point in their life. Then I worked at a hospital and realized, no, this is not for me.

It was actually working at the university over the summer. I was in a program where we welcomed all of the new incoming students. Every week, I would present to the parents of incoming students. It was led by a staff member, but they would always ask questions to the students, and I always loved those presentations.

I remember there was one person in particular who saw me later that afternoon, he complimented how I did when I was presenting in front of the parent program, and then said, “what kind of work do you want to do?”. Genuinely at that time, I was a little bit lost because I now knew I did not want to work in a hospital and I really wasn't sure.

I remember him saying, “well, you know, there are programs and jobs where you can work at a retreat center and you could just run professional development for people.” And I said, “Okay. Hold on. That's a job? I did not know that was a job”. I'll never forget that moment.

I ended up starting in recruiting and working for the university in different ways.

One of the benefits when you work at a university is that you can usually take school for free or at least subsidized. I started studying education and then I thought, you know, I really do love the training aspect and I love teaching people, but I want to get more into that organizational development.

Still to this day, I'm constantly learning and curious (Similar to what Jason Kehrer said in this episode!).

The foray into nutrition was more of a personal thing. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. I started learning more about the impact of what we put in our body, and how it affects our health, especially with autoimmune conditions.

I ended up helping people with nutrition and doing trainings for presenting. I realized that I can't do both very well together. I decided to let go of nutrition and just really focus on running my own business. When I did leave the university and went full time with entrepreneurship, I was focusing on corporate development, small group programs, and it really was personal development.

After everything shut down when COVID hit, I looked at my calendar and saw that I had to lead a half day corporate training on zoom. Immediately, I was like “how can I make it feel like it's not a three hour zoom training?”.

I spent weeks just trying to figure out what are all the things I can do? What are the tools I can use? How do I make this engaging? How do I have people leaving at the end, feeling maybe energized instead of completely drained.

As I did more virtual trainings, the more I did them, the more people would approach me asking questions like, “How did you do that?” or “You had your slides beside you on on your video, and I've never seen that before”

So I just completely switched my business in 2021 towards helping others teach virtually and then that's around the time that I found Notion. I was just such a nerd about Notion that I dove in real deep and then started teaching that part time as well.

I guess I follow my pursuits and I follow my curiosity and the undercurrent is that I love teaching people and presenting in front of groups and trying to make their lives better.

I’ve learned a ton from you when it comes to Notion. My people database in Notion looks so pretty after you posted that you can use profile image links from LinkedIn to be the icons on Notion pages. Who knew?!? There’s a lot of individuals using Notion, but from my experiences, it feels a lot harder to get an entire company to buy into using it across everyone. Why should a company consider using Notion?

I would say at the moment it's still better for smaller and medium sized companies because once you start getting into access management, you do really need to think about who is managing it and who's administering it.

I would also say Notion still likes to move fast and they break things. For some companies, that's just not an option. I still think it's an incredible tool for having multiple things in one place because it can act as a repository for your documents and documentation.

It can make your documents almost more of a living thing. If you have all of your company policies somewhere, you can have a filtered view to say, show me all the policies that haven't been updated in six months and have it more recurring. If people are tagged and they're responsible for it, maybe let's say if we were working on a team and I make some suggested edits to a policy, it could automatically tag you as the person who has to review it and say, “Hey, this just got edited, You need to review this and then you can change the status”.

So it's, it's a way of combining the company's center of truth with the action of it because often those are separate. Your task management and project management often have lives separate from your documentation and the different documents that are necessary for your business to operate in a way.

Notion brings it all together and they can live in one place.

For me as a business owner, I run my entire business in Notion. I love that when I have a project page, I can have all of the tasks, but I can also have all of the documents.

I can build everything out in Notion and I'm not constantly switching from app to app to app to app. There's some really incredible advantages to Notion as a tool, but it's by no means perfect (some similar thoughts here about tools that Gareth Pronovost talked about).

What kind of business do you want to run and why?

It recently dawned on me that I don't see myself as a content creator. I do create content, but as I've been reflecting recently on what kind of business do I want to run, I am actually not interested in a business that is dependent on creating content to get in front of a bigger audience to create sort of traffic towards a digital product.

I actually want to build something a little bit bigger and more important and I don't think that's something that I can do in isolation. I think it's probably going to mean working with other people, collaborating and truly creating something useful. In my mind, that is probably an educational or training product. I just don't know what that is yet because I've only just realized this recently.

I would like to retire one day and look back and have something that I really feel proud of.

YouTube has been around for almost two decades, but we've never had people in the long-term who've made a living off of content creation. We're just starting to see what happens to people who've been on YouTube for 15 years and they're on this sort of content hamster wheel.

What does that do to a person? And so that's actually been one of the things that's made me reflect recently of what's the type of business that I want to run. What can I see myself doing sustainably in 5, 10, 15 years? And I think really building something meaningful that's bigger than me creating content.

I think that's really something that's become very clear to me. Now, I just have to explore what that actually looks like.

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