083: Live, Work and Thrive in Tokyo w/ Katheryn Gronauer

podcast Jan 11, 2021

On this episode of the Small Business Japan podcast we dive into topics from starting your business in Japan, coaching in Tokyo and dealing with imposter syndrome, and building a network of mentors and support before making the entrepreneurial leap.  

Katheryn Gronauer is a professional trainer and coach who helps foreigners live, work, and thrive in Japan. Her business is called Thrive Tokyo and she serves a wide variety of people including executives at multinational corporations, professionals at startups, and spouses. Katheryn also has a background in health coaching and is a published author of Confessions of a Yo-yo Dieter. 

Katheryn’s mom is Japanese and her dad is American. She was raised between Florida and Tokyo and has spent a lot of time dissecting how different value systems have shaped her identity and how she views the world. 

Eastern holistic health concepts-  She had lost 40lbs (nearly 20kgs) through Japanese health concepts... But she came across a problem: the international people who wanted to learn about health in Japan didn’t know how to shop for groceries! 

So her services pivoted to helping people take the shortcut to knowing how to live their lives on their own terms, to running full orientation programs on day-to-day life in Japan, to helping people decipher the emotional struggles they were facing due to cross-cultural difference in business settings. 

Katheryn also does content writing and marketing strategies for small businesses as well. Website auditing and website copywriting.    

While working at a credit card concierge, she loved the job but after a change in directors she eventually realized that the new director wasn’t going to allow her to move up in any position.  

She saw the foreign glass ceiling and decided to take the leap into starting her own business.  

It’s risky to start your own business but jumping into a new company position is also risky, and possibly a waste of time.  

Imposter Syndrome was the hardest thing to get over in the beginning. She was new to her industry and coaching.  

She tested the waters with lower pricing in the beginning as well as getting her own coach to guide her.  

Make sure people know who you are before starting your own business. Build a persona on social media, offer free services to practice in the beginning. Build your network and spread the word before you go public with your business.  

Relationships take the longest to build so prepare early.  

Her business took off when she learned to ask for help. Finding help from a mentor outside of Japan was a big help for her within Japan.  



Katheryn Gronauer  

Founder | Executive Trainer & Coach 

Thrive Tokyo 




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