100% Backed by Science with Catherine Barton, Ph.D.(c)

Catherine Barton is a “Business Scientist,” a Ph.D. candidate, and owner of Future Thinking Consulting – a consulting firm that works with entrepreneurs all the way to large corporations. Her goal is always to increase production numbers, professional skillsets and confidence levels – ethically. Catherine enjoys working with companies that actually want to make money!

Top finalist of an international United Nations challenge, Catherine revealed her ability to develop and devise large scale plans to empower an entire sector of a population…in this case it was the female population.


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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Discover the different types of dissertation support you need to complete your doctoral degree
  • Challenges in getting your doctorate and ways to overcome those challenges
  • How having a doctoral degree can double your business’ income
  • The role of punishments and rewards in achieving goals and meeting deadlines
  • Why Catherine secretly keeps journals on all of her clients
  • How having a doctoral degree can open more opportunities for you and your business
  • That time when a chief diversity officer really put his foot in his mouth
  • What it means to be a “Business Scientist” and the process Catherine has created around this concept in her own business
  • The magnetic power of authenticity in developing a fanbase and growing your business
  • How simplifying your business’ systems reaps tremendous benefits

In this episode…

Catherine Barton’s career began in psychology, but it is her self-styled title of “Business Scientist” that suits her best.

In this episode of An Unconventional Life, Future Dr. Catherine Barton and Dr. Russell Strickland discuss the ups and downs of the doctoral journey. Catherine reveals how she has begun to take advantage of the opportunities her doctoral degree offers, even though she is still ABD. For example, she has led a mastermind of entrepreneurs to increase their collective revenues by more than half a million dollars! Catherine has also found that applying the science she learned during her doctoral classes to consulting engagements with large corporate clients has put her at a tremendous advantage. Catherine and Dr. Strickland also discuss how love-hate relationships are standard operating procedure for entrepreneurs in the expert service space.

This is one of our more “science-y” episodes to date. I loved it, and I’m sure you will, too!

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Dissertation Done, America’s #1 authority in dissertation completion for working professionals.

Founded by Dr. Russell Strickland, Dissertation Done serves people in two ways:

  1. If you’re struggling with your dissertation, getting ready to start your dissertation, or just plain wanting to get your dissertation done as soon as possible, go to www.dissertationdone.com/done and Let’s Get Your Dissertation Done
  2. If you’re busy living your Unconventional Life and have a message that you want to share, maybe you should join our Expand Your Authority Program to become a published author. Go to www.dissertationdone.com/book and let me know that you’d like to talk about Expanding Your Authority.

Visit www.dissertationdone.com to learn more about our other services and leave a message or call them at 888-80-DR-NOW (888-803-7669) to schedule your free 30 to 45-minute phone consultation.

Episode Transcript

Disclaimer: This transcript is here for your reading convenience. It was created by machines and may (a-hem) contain some errors. If you email us about these errors, the machines will undoubtedly find out. I hope they won’t get angry.


Intro [00:00:03]

Welcome to An Unconventional Life, a podcast where we share stories about the crazy one percent out there, who earns their doctoral degrees and then went on to use them in crazy, cool, unique, and unconventional ways. Here’s your host, astrophysicist turned teacher, author, dissertation coach, and more, Dr. Russell Strickland.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:00:28]

Welcome to An Unconventional Life podcast, I’m your host, Dr Russell Strickland, the founder and CEO of Dissertation Done. And today I have with me Dr. Catherine Barton. Dr. Barton, I’m sorry, Future Dr. Catherine Barton. This one’s a little bit different. I almost slipped up there because Dr. Barton or Future Dr. Catherine Barton is well on her way to finishing up her dissertation, but she’s already begun to reap the benefits of that doctoral degree. Just the fact that she’s ABD and has attained that level of distinction has really helped her in her own business. And so I’m super excited to talk to her about that. Those of you who’ve been listening to the podcast for a while know that I’m a bit of a science geek and she looks at herself as a well, she’ll correct me if I’m wrong, but a business scientist or a scientific businessperson, we’ll talk about it. This is going to be a lot of fun. One of the stories she’s going to share with us is how she helped increase her clients incomes by a total of like half a million dollars based on things that she’s learned in her doctoral program, in her stature as having achieved that aBD. So I’m super excited to talk to her about that. Maybe we’ll give her a couple of hints and suggestions along the way to go ahead and get over the hump and finish that doctoral degree. But whatever it is, it’s going to be super exciting. So, Dr. Barton, I can’t wait to talk to you and welcome. Before we get started, I do want to mention to folks again, this episode is brought to you by Dissertation Done. We help adult doctoral students who might be struggling with their dissertation, might be going a little slower than they want to or might just need that proactive help. And what some coaching, you know, that all the best things in life, if you if you get coaching, you get through it a lot quicker. So if you’re interested in that go to DissertationDone.com/done. That’s DissertationDone.com/done. And if by any chance you’re already an expert, you’re out there living your on your unconventional life and you want to share your message with other people so that you can expand your authority and really serve your audience better. Why don’t you consider becoming a published author with our Expand Your Authority program? You can check us out at DissertationDone.com/book. We’re currently recruiting a beta group that we’re going to be taking into the New Year. So I do hope that if that’s something interesting, you’ll you’ll check us out. That’s enough of that. I’m excited to talk with Future Dr. Catherine Barton. Welcome and thank you for joining me.


Catherine Barton [00:02:54]

Hey, I appreciate it. This is going to be a good time.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:02:57]

It’s going to be fun. I will tell you guys, we already we always do a little bit of a chat before we get started. And our little chat ran really long. So let’s stop it. Let’s get this on tape so everybody can can can enjoy the conversation. So I’ll ask you, like I do a lot of folks, what was it that drove you to make the kind of crazy decision to pursue a doctoral degree at this point in your life? Not many people do it. Not many people finish it. But even deciding to do it is it is kind of a weird, wacky thing. So what made you decide to do that?


Catherine Barton [00:03:32]

Well, I’m an entrepreneur and I went to get my doctorate, so I’m completely nuts, Russell. The thing that drove me to it. All right. When I was in high school, I went to my counselor and told her I wanted to be something. And she basically told me I wasn’t smart enough. So how dare?


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:03:52]

You set the bar real high. I want to be something. And she said, no.


Catherine Barton [00:03:54]

I wasn’t rich enough and I wasn’t smart enough. So how dare you? I’ll just prove you wrong. You know, I got my master’s and that was my goal, OK? And then, you know, the college kind of came to me and said, hey, what do you think about your Ph.D.? And I thought, you know, why don’t I just fill out the paperwork? Yeah. And then accept it. And then, you know, a thousand years later you’re still doing things. And so I appreciate learning and I am also the science geek. So we’re we’re friends for the rest of our lives.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:04:33]

Yeah, absolutely. Well, so we don’t hear that one so often. Honestly, we get a lot of folks saying that someone inspired me, but someone ticked me off.


Catherine Barton [00:04:45]

I was going to say, well, take it off. And then it’s a good of what is it?


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:04:53]

I’m sure this was some sort of cultural idiom from somewhere. The other living well is the best revenge, right? Yeah, I can’t remember where that comes from, but I think it’s from somewhere.


Catherine Barton [00:05:01]

You know, I’m I’m happy gal. So, you know, maybe you still take me off of there or so you got it.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:05:13]

You’re busy. You’re doing all all the things right. As an entrepreneur, those of you out there who are entrepreneurs know what a crazy life it is. It’s a wonderful thing. But it is. It is always. Is he so fitting one more thing into the schedule is tough and you start on these doctoral classes. How did that how did that go for you?


Catherine Barton [00:05:34]

Well, when I started, I was motivated and the courses are not easy and I’m an online student. And for me, I did great with people and online was a new challenge. And I think you and I have already discovered maybe I’m not as tech savvy as I need to be because I’ve already had issues today that, um,.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:05:57]

Yeah, we we had a little trouble with getting on to the Zoom call, and I shut all of my communication down when I’m ready to start one of those. And so she’s trying to communicate with me over here…


Catherine Barton [00:06:09]

We survived. Yeah. I mean, it’s tough. People need to tell you getting a Ph.D. is no party. You have to you have to stay rigid with yourself, with your schedule. And that’s what I did.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:06:27]

Yeah, but the nice thing is for most folks, the Ph.D. Classes or doctoral classes, whatever degree program you’re in, they’re very familiar and very similar to what you used to doing. For most people that’s in school, you’re not what you’re used to, so let’s go. But in school, there’s that structure. But for a lot of folks that structure, it’s much harder when you get to the dissertation because that structure is not there anymore. Did you notice that as well?


Catherine Barton [00:06:57]

Yes, I had to do a lot of self talk through this period of my life because. One of the best advice I ever got from a professor was, oh, you’re you’re trying to get your PhD? I’m like, yes. And then he said, no one cares. And I said, OK. And then I realized that this was me doing it, especially the dissertation part. You spoke on coaching being valuable everywhere.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:07:31]



Catherine Barton [00:07:31]

Yes. Yes. Because someone sent someone back there on the back saying, you know, you’re doing it, you’re doing the steps, and you obviously did a great job at doing that. So.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:07:45]

Yeah, yeah. And with the dissertation, there’s two things. Well, there’s several things. One, most folks who are in your situation when you’re completing this degree online, which is most everybody these days. But if that’s the case. You don’t know anyone else who’s doing this for a lot of students, not certainly not anyone that’s doing it right now, that’s very unusual for you to really know someone that’s doing this, working on a dissertation right now. And when you feel all alone, it becomes really hard to decide how should I behave if I’m the only one, how much behave in all of our other social engagements? There’s these normative pressures. I see all these people behaving this way. So I’m going to behave that way. And you don’t see doctoral students, particularly if you’re doing this remotely, you don’t see what they’re doing each day. You don’t see if they get up at five o’clock in the morning or if they’re up until two o’clock at night. You don’t see that. It can be really difficult.


Catherine Barton [00:08:42]

That’s a great point. Yeah, you don’t see it. And if you’re in a world where you are the only one doing it, even things like, hey, you want to go out to lunch? And then I’m like, no, because in my planner I wrote, I have to write x number of words and whatever. It’s just going to let you know it’s a conversation that you and.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:09:05]

Your friends and colleagues don’t understand. I even had I mean, even your close husband, wife, mother, daughter, brother, sister won’t understand if they haven’t been through it. I had a student who contacted me one day and her I think I may have shared this story before. She says she gets along great with her husband. They never argue about anything. But last night she told them to shut the hell up. You don’t know what he’s talking about. And what he said was, hey, you’re smart enough, you can do this. And that’s when she said shut the hell up, you don’t know what you’re talking about it. It’s frustrating and it’s hard, and when someone tells you you got this and they don’t I haven’t been through it, it feels patronizing because they don’t realize how much you’re struggling with it. And particularly when most folks are go into doctoral programs are like Type A, perfectionist, successful at everything. So when you actually run into a bit of a wall and something, that doesn’t mean it gets really tough, really tough.


Catherine Barton [00:10:03]

When I started, I my husband, I sat down at the kitchen table and literally I showed him a schedule and then he was like, OK, we’re we’re we’re both working towards this. I know. Thursday evening after four hours, you know, he doesn’t even, like, text me or whatever, like he lets. So that was a good thing to do.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:10:33]

Absolutely. So one of our students way back when she heard the doctoral dissertation was on the types of support that remote doctoral students need to complete their dissertation. And she found there were three things you needed, what we call operational support, which is knowing what the hell to do, emotional support, which was feeling that you could do it. The motivation, the empathy. I tell folks you need someone to celebrate with and someone to commiserate with. So that’s that’s part of it. And then the third one she found wasn’t crucial, but it was it definitely helped was what she called practical support. And that was things like, in your case, your husband just leaving you alone, not bothering you when when he knew that you were working on this, because like you said, sometimes your friends are like, hey, let’s go to lunch. Like, no, you can’t go to lunch right now.


Catherine Barton [00:11:24]

And he was the best support whenever I was slacking like he would say. You told me Thursday is the dissertation time, right? You’re right. I got I got to get on this. So honestly, that made a great partnership into me getting at.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:11:43]

Yes, that’s cool. Yeah. And then one of the other things that shows up is that practical support is some folks are really lucky. They have family members who will take on some of their responsibilities to allow them more time with the dissertation. So that’s another one of those those things that that is practical support. And so if you’re frustrated as a as a doctoral student, as a dissertation student about how your family supporting, you just know that if they’re doing those little things for you, if they’re leaving you alone, they’re encouraging you to keep going. If they’re taking up the slack and doing some of your chores that you would normally be doing. Yeah, that’s what they can do. They can’t help you write your dissertation. They might not be a great sounding board for your research or, you know, is this the right methodology or any of those sorts of things. They might not be able to do that. But when they’re doing those other things, that’s how they’re showing you how important your goal is to them. Maybe it’s their goal as well. Maybe they really are invested in you getting this degree. But even if not, they’re trying to support you in your decision to move forward.


Catherine Barton [00:12:46]

So so naturally, to try to remember that I’m keeping my man because and I’ve heard some horror stories like what you’re talking about. Yeah. Yeah, good point.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:13:00]

Yeah. But even this one student that I was telling you when she called me up and she said, you know, I told him he didn’t know what the hell he’s talking about, he was being supportive and everything. She called me because she realized, oh, I got a problem. I shouldn’t have been talking to him like that.


Catherine Barton [00:13:15]

But I think we already said that entrepreneurs and people are crazy, so maybe we should just accept it.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:13:23]

So everybody own that right now. We can do so. So you mentioned some of the support you have, which is awesome. That’s that’s wonderful. What kind of challenges have you faced and have you found ways to overcome those because you think you’re still in the battle? You’ve got a perspective that I’m sure a lot of our audience was very interested in, in hearing to be able to commiserate with you about some things that are tough and then maybe to be able to learn from them some ways that you’ve been able to move forward, make some progress.


Catherine Barton [00:13:55]

Well, right away, challenge is allowing myself to be a businesswoman and allowing myself to be a student and then all that other stuff, wife, daughter, child, whatever, but allowing myself to embrace those two things separately. So when I’m a businesswoman, I have to block that visitation out of my head. And then probably even harder is when I’m doing the dissertation to block the business. Yeah, I like to pay bills and building a business is one way, so. It’s almost like it can pop into your head and then your dissertation is some extra fluffy thing that you’re doing, it’s for me and it builds my business, right?


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:14:46]

It’s a it’s a real investment. Whatever whatever you’re going to be doing in the future, it’s a real investment in your future. One of my students who I’m still very close with, he has operated. He was he’s a serial entrepreneur. He’s a little bit older than I am, but he’s been doing this forever. And he had a business that was already fairly mature, that he’d been running as he was going through his doctoral program. And then we worked on his dissertation. He got his dissertation finished so quickly because he was so motivated to get it done. And the year after he finished his dissertation, he attributes it to earning his doctoral degree. His business grew like 30 percent.


Catherine Barton [00:15:28]



Dr. Russell Strickland [00:15:28]

And for a mature business, that’s insane. I mean, for for an early business, those of you are on average, you might remember the days when you had like double digit month over month growth real early on, but that didn’t last long. And then you just hope that you can get double digit year over year growth. But significant 30 percent is just amazing. So it truly is an investment. And even if you’re not in business for yourself, I mean, we routinely get students that are coming back saying my my salary, my income went up 30, 40 thousand dollars a year after I got after I graduated because of other things that they’ve done, they moved up in their current business or they switch tracks a little bit with her, with another company. It’s an investment. It absolutely is.


Catherine Barton [00:16:13]

I already have companies that I’m in communication with that when I get my dissertation finished, then that they want to use the information that I’m talking about because they already know me. They trust me. So if I say A, B, C, D, they trust that more than just Googling information. Right. So yeah. So my, my dissertation and PhD doctor and I love that you can say Dr. Catherine by accident, that will make me money. More money.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:16:53]

Yeah, absolutely. And that’s a wonderful thing. We. When we talk about the dissertation, you mention that some of the work that you were doing, they were at other companies were interested in, if that works for you, great, if you can make that work, great. But I urge folks in general, be cautious about trying to to get double duty out of your dissertation because it can ultimately slow you down if you’re trying to get it to to serve two masters, so to speak, that for most people, speed to graduation is the thing you just want to get graduate because then you get to reap the rewards.


Catherine Barton [00:17:32]



Dr. Russell Strickland [00:17:33]

And if you want to leverage the dissertation, the way to do it is not by writing a dissertation because no one’s going to read it. It’s just not going to happen.


Catherine Barton [00:17:41]

Yeah, right.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:17:42]

But you can write your book and you can get that out there in the popular press, get that on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, whatever. And that’s where your expertise is is acknowledged even more, because not only are you a doctor, but you literally wrote the book on this stuff. So that’s that’s what we’ve been doing lately with some of our former students and other experts. And I’ve been having a blast with that.


Catherine Barton [00:18:04]

I’m sure.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:18:05]

Because the constraints of dissertation committees and dealing with those folks, we don’t have to worry about that in that instance.


Catherine Barton [00:18:13]

My fella doesn’t have the same humor I have, so I don’t entertain him whatsoever.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:18:23]

So. All right. Well, so we talked a little bit about the benefits of graduating. Tell me some more about that, though. I mean, you were mentioned earlier that you have a mastermind group and those guys collectively bumped up their incomes like half a million dollars. And that was all based on this, where you are in your Ph.D. right now.


Catherine Barton [00:18:47]

Right. Because I literally use the stuff I have learned literally. And it’s…


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:18:55]

Funny thing. huh?


Catherine Barton [00:18:58]

Yeah. How amazing I use my education. And so sometimes I actually more than others. So you’ll have an insight into there has been research on everything that people don’t realize. Everything has been researched.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:19:15]

Right. That’s true.


Catherine Barton [00:19:17]

And so when you’re a doctoral student or a doctor, you sometimes have venues to go to to find some excellent research and information. And so, I mean, coming down to I had to prove to the guy once that it’s good to say hello to your staff and it’s going to increase your numbers. So it can be the simple things to people trying to engage their workers and stuff. And they think if they put a pool table in the middle of the break room, that’s going to work. There is there’s a whole science there. So I use all of that and I research for every single client. I do it proudly. I despise the fluff. I despise the little trends where we all take quizzes online to find things out. I want good, meaty information.

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Dr. Russell W. Strickland

RUSSELL STRICKLAND, Ph.D., has been referred to as a “rocket scientist turned management consultant.” In truth, he applies an eclectic body of work from astronomy and nuclear physics to dynamic inventory management to market research to each of his student engagements.