Ask for help. Never assume you’re in this alone. Whether you turn to other professionals in your business, your family, or even your own team members, seek help to relieve your workload and mental load.

 

Krystal Hurst is the owner of Dallas’s top parenting resource in the Metroplex that is written for local moms, by local moms. As a mom to (now) 4 young boys, she experienced first-hand how hard it could be to walk through each stage of motherhood alone and wanted to create a local environment for moms in all stages to learn, connect, and support one another. Since taking ownership of what was formally Dallas Moms Blog in 2012, Dallas Moms has grown into a online and in-person community with over 30 contributing writers, 10 neighborhood & community groups, and large-scale quarterly events for moms and families. Dallas Moms also provides a marketing platform for local and national businesses to share trusted, approved services and products. Recognizing the need for a similar resource in the suburbs far north of Dallas, in 2016 Dallas Moms expanded into the McKinney, Frisco, and Allen areas and founded Collin County Moms {formally Collin County Moms Blog}.

Where did the idea for Dallas Moms come from?

Dallas is a huge metroplex, but for moms, it can also feel like the most isolating of places. When I had my first child in 2011, I experienced this first hand. While you can often practically prepare before baby’s arrival, you’re often not given any warning for how drastically your life will change socially and emotionally, so I found it extremely important to provide a resource for parents who are entering into this new stage of life as well as other transitional phases of parenthood. A place to connect with other women, find resources they might need, and hear personal stories by local moms just like them. Thankfully I found a similar mission in City Mom Collective (formally City Moms Blog Network) and working together with other like-minded owners across the county, I’ve been able to grow Dallas Moms & Collin County Moms into the resource it is today.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

As a “work from home” mom with 4 young boys, my days are never typical, so my schedule often revolves around their school schedule and activities; however, I’ve been able to take unpredictable days and make them as productive as possible with the help and support from my executive team and husband. Once I have ushered every out of the home, I can usually get a few solid hours of “work time” in to clear out any overdue or urgent tasks, touch-base with executive team members (who also work remotely), attend planned meetings, and tackle the dreaded inbox. A few times a week, my husband takes over my household duties and sends me off to work in the evenings where I’m able to dive into bigger tasks like planning for our upcoming events, digital and editorial projects, partnership planning with local businesses, and financial forecasting.

How do you bring ideas to life?

It always starts with brainstorming! Our executive team has a Slack channel dedicated to “brainstorming” where we frequently drop ideas that might grow or improve the brand. Sometimes it’s a simple post idea for the season or it could be a new complex editorial series tied into an event that would involve multiple writers and brand partners. Since my time (and my team’s time) is limited and valuable, I find it important to carefully evaluate bigger ideas and projects carefully before we take them on as I always want to make sure our mission and brand are protected. Sometimes an idea may take a full year before it’s actually brought to life.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Authenticity. I believe we’re coming to the end of an era where everyone needs to appear perfect on social media and users and communities are now craving authenticity from brands and influencers. This trend has been so damaging because it leads many teens/women/moms down a path of comparing what they believe their reality should be when the truth is far from what they’re seeing. I believe people (in general) still like a pretty photo, want to see more real-life, raw, authentic moments.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

As a work from home parent, finding a spot that’s free of environmental distractions is key. Depending on the day/evening, it might be at a local coffee shop with my headphones in or getting cozily settled in my bed with the doors locked.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Start those budgeting spreadsheets now! In the early days, I did bare minimum accounting and just saved/spent what I needed to grow the brand. My team was just one or two other people and it was hard for me to see what the growth would look like. Looking back now, I wish I’d set myself up more strategically and had better systems in place at the smaller level. It’s obvious to say that trying to forecast and plan without precise historical data is challenging to say the least.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Personal and professional life balance doesn’t exist. I can’t quote where I’ve heard this before, so I can’t take the credit, but I believe it to be true. You will never be able to balance personal life and professional life, so if that’s something you’re striving to achieve, you’re chasing the holy grail. There will always be one that takes priority over the other, no matter how hard you try. There will be moments when you have to put more into your family and allow your business to coast. There will be times when you have to ask your family to give you grace while you invest in your business. There may even be times when both are going well and you feel like you’ve achieved balance, but then you’re not growing.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Ask for help. Never assume you’re in this alone. Whether you turn to other professionals in your business, your family, or even your own team members, seek help to relieve your workload and mental load.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I apply a lot of what I’ve learned as a parent to my role as a business owner and the one word that consistently makes its way into every decision I make is “grace.” I believe it’s extremely important to have grace when talking to clients, team members, and volunteers. While you always want to have your business’s best interests in mind, you also need to recognize that it’s people that are growing your brand. Recognizing that mistakes can be just that — mistakes, and that confrontations have a human element is important to building trust and growing professionally. I always “sleep on it” before responding to a difficult email or trying to resolve a difficult problem. And even more difficult, I try to apply this mentality to my own needs and failures too.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I think my biggest failure so far has been being complacent in fully understanding legal contracts I’ve entered into. Without going into too much detail, I found myself in a situation where I trustingly (and blindly) followed what I understood to be a non-negotiable directive. Only to realize I’d placed myself in a very difficult legal situation because what I understood was “required” by my contract was only “strongly suggested advice”. All that to say, I now find it important to always budget for legal fees — simply to meet and discuss potential agreements and have someone on my side who will always keep my business’s best interest in mind.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I would encourage every brand/business to host an event for moms that provides them a night out and away from their families. Don’t spend the evening talking about yourself. Provide ways for them to shop, pamper themselves, and enjoy a glass of wine without a “Catch” and you’ll have a guaranteed customer.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I’d say the best $100 recently is on my graphic designer; Kissyfish Designs. Graphic design isn’t something I typically outsource because I feel like I can do it easier, faster, and cheaper, and being a small business in a digital world, it would destroy my budget. But there are just some things I don’t tackle on my own because I know they need that touch I don’t have. Choosing to outsource graphics to our designer for larger projects that can be done quickly and within our branding is a lifesaver. Best part: She’s so great, we can usually get what we need for about $100.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Hand down, it’s Copper – a CRM Tool for G Suite Users. For a small business, it’s annual fee is a little costly, but for our team it’s a lifesaver. Now that’s we’ve set it up and worked out the kinks for how to make it fit within our business model, it helps us manage projects within each other’s own hours and function daily as if we are in our own office space.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Start by Jon Acuff was influential in my early days of launching my business. His practical approach to business and realistic views were so valuable for me; especially hearing from a small business entrepreneur rather than a corporate giant in an industry.

What is your favorite quote?

“Life isn’t safe, remember. But life can be wonderful if you choose adventure rather than fear.”
― Chip Gaines, Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff

Key Learnings:

  • For those who work from home, work where you’re most comfortable and free from distractions. Talk with your spouse about ways to build in significant, routine work time during odd hours to help reduce your stress and your family’s stress.
  • Seek advice and support from others in your industry.
  • Show and have grace in all aspects of your business.
  • Always think growth and longevity for your business by preparing your budget, job roles, and legal documents for the future.