Award Winning Entrepreneur, Fun Mommy, Chihuahua Lover, Inspiring Blogger & Speaker, Pretty Awesome Friend (I would definitely testify to that!), #dtlv and #VegasTech Cheerleader, these are just a few things that sum up and describe my dear friend, Krista Whitley!
I feel beyond blessed and honored to know and be friends with this lovely lady! When you have a friendship with someone on social media and then you get to meet them in person, it’s an amazing thing! The day I met Krista I just knew our friendship would continue to grow and I am happy to be able to call her one of my best friends. She’s sweet, funny, fun, a wonderful friend, mother and much more! Don’t take my word for it… introduce yourself!
I promise you, you won’t regret it. Say hi to Krista now!
Connect with her on Instagram here!
How did you get your start?
Oh Lord. Loaded question. I have always been a social person- born outgoing in a tiny rural town in Washington state- I loved connecting with people and getting to know their stories. I love people. I love their weirdness. I love their why. I love hearing how they came to be how they are today. It was 2006 and I had dated every loser in Las Vegas, so I did a search of bald, white men in Canada (thanks to my life long love of James Taylor and Canadians seemed like friendly folk) on MySpace, within a week I met Prince Charming. Within a month we were engaged and within six months we were married and I was leaving sunny Las Vegas for frigid Alberta, Canada. The start of my social media addiction had begun. Relocating to a foreign country where you know no one is the perfect time to start a business, right? So, I decided to create a luxury dog boutique. Within the first 24 months of my business I was pregnant 18 of those months with my two baby girls. Imagine: there I am, breast feeding my baby girl with one arm in the dog grooming salon bathroom while booking an appointment for a client with the other arm- all while a wet Old English Sheepdog who was too big for a kennel watches. It was the least graceful period of time in my life. Social media helped me to connect and network with moms, entrepreneurs, and other women who were facing the same struggles that I was. My company grew to become the #9 fastest growing company in Canada thanks to my determination to grow it through social media. After my first hand experience I knew I had to help other business owners and leaders to master this powerful tool.
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
No teacher is as powerful or compelling as real life experience. My social media expertise has come as a result of my own tried and true strategies. I don’t do the bullshit warm fuzzy social media strategy. I like results. I like straight talking authenticity. I like candor. I embrace weird. It isn’t for everybody, but for my clients they love it and it works.
How do you define success as a business owner?
(I’m not an owner of Smith Durant) As the Chief Social Media strategist for Smith Durant, the Chief Unicorn at Keepin Up With Krista, and a frequent public speaker, I define success as what percentage of my day am I smiling. I appreciate a challenge, I love sharing my passion with other people, and I do a happy dance when I try something new and it exceeds my expectations. I wake up looking forward to my calendar. Success is joy. By that standard I am crazy successful.
If you were to design the perfect team of 4 people to help you run this company, what characteristics would those four people have?
1. OPERATIONS: Logistics, strategy, goal setting- I need someone grounded to help me keep my head in the clouds. At Smith Durant I am really lucky to be able to learn from business advisor, coach, and master strategist Nate Smith, who has taught me how to focus on the execution over the idea. His goal setting systems have been game changing for me.
2. CREATIVITY: Dreamer, visionary, innovator- As a fellow creative it helps me to have someone to bounce my insane ideas off of. Without a fellow creative I find that I can get stuck in my own head without pushing my creative limits. Having another creative mind helps me to stay energized and constantly grow creative ideas. Right now on my team this is branding expert Michael Durant, who has tremendous depth of creative experience.
3. REALIST: Grounded in reality, the glass is neither half full or half empty, but the glass exists and here are the parameters measured without emotion- Again, I am a dreaming creative, so having both a ground operations execution rockstar and a realist around helps to make sure my dreams are within the realm of possibility. Today this is Summer Shields, my accountant who makes sure I don’t spend like Donald Trump.
4. CHALLENGER: It takes a tough cookie to challenge a strong lady like me and Creative Director Lee Constantine as yet to ever back down. Always asking why, ever questioning the results, and driven by the bottom line over the emotions of a project, Lee ensures I am on the right track for the right reasons.
Whom do you seek advice from for your business?
I have been blessed throughout my entrepreneurial career to have had so many mentors, leaders, and peers who turned into life long friends. In social media I reach out to my friend and fellow strategist Ryan Shewchuk to brainstorm ideas and get feedback. In business I already reach out to Nate and Michael daily.
(I personally know Nate and Michael and they are both fabulous men)
Fun In Austin, Texas With Yours Truly!
Her Girls! Bella & Mia