How is it possible to juggle TWO successful businesses and still be a great mom to an adorable toddler? Krista Miller spills the beans in this episode!
Erin Flynn: Welcome back to the Successfully Simple Show. I’m your host, Erin Flynn, and I’m here today with my friend, Krista Miller. Krista is a WordPress developer for designers. She’s a co-host of the Get Back To Design Podcast, host of the Summit Host Hangout Podcast and owner of Summit in a Box. In her development business, Krista specializes in collaborating with designers to take care of the development, allowing them to simplify their businesses and spend more time doing what they love, which is designed.
Erin Flynn: At Summit in a Box, she teaches business owners how to skyrocket their revenue, grow their email lists, increase visibility and connect with industry experts through connection and value-focused online summits. She is also the mom to a spunky one-year-old and is always working to find the perfect balance between being a mom and running two businesses.
Erin Flynn: Krista, you do it all. How? The first question, how?
Krista Miller: You know what? I don’t really know. It’s something that I’m always trying to figure out, and there are some times when it’s all going really well and other times when I feel like the world’s on fire, so, like right now is one of those better times, and I feel like it comes down to working a consistent schedule, weekly sprints and time blocking, literally, discipline. I don’t have time to make excuses and say I don’t feel like taking action. No, it’s taking action, or you’re in trouble, an incredible team and a husband who helps a whole lot, and I’m sure we’ll dive into some of those things, but that is basically how the juggle happens.
Erin Flynn: That is awesome. I always am looking at what you’re doing, and I’m like, “How is Krista doing all of this, because I don’t even have a kid?” I do have two businesses, but I don’t have a kid, but it just seems like you’re always so consistent with everything that you put out, and you say that that’s the discipline thing that’s forcing yourself to do that.
Krista Miller: Yeah. It drives me crazy when I hear someone say that they want to do something and then it comes with a but. If you want to do it, just do the thing, and I know that’s probably like… That’s just my personality type where, if I say I’m going to do something, I do it, and it’s a habit I’ve created, and if there’s something I want to do, I break it down into tasks. I set due dates, and I hit the due dates. I don’t make excuses. I don’t push stuff off till later. I do it, and so I know a lot of it comes down to discipline, for sure.
Erin Flynn: I think I’m very much the same way because it also really… I get frustrated when I see people who say, “Oh, I don’t have time for this,” and I’m like, “You’re not prioritizing it. You’re not making that thing a priority. You’re putting something else above it,” and, sometimes, you certainly should have other priorities than your business. Your family always comes first and then your business, but if scrolling through Instagram is what’s coming in front of you making a great income, then that’s just nonsense.
Krista Miller: Yeah, that would be your problem.
Erin Flynn: All right, so you mentioned your husband, but do you have a team? Do you do daycare? How do you work all of that?
Krista Miller: Yes, I have all the things, so I have an absolutely incredible team, small, but mighty. I have two virtual assistants and a design assistant, and my VAs do pretty much everything. I do my client work. I do things that require me to show up like podcasts interviews or videos, but everything else my VAs do. They’re getting all my blog posts and podcasts episodes ready to schedule. They are doing client onboarding. They’re managing my inbox. They’re doing my bookkeeping. Everything that does not require me, they are doing, and then my design assistant is the reason that the things I do look pretty, because if it was me, it would just be a trainwreck.
Krista Miller: They help me so much. I couldn’t do everything I do without them. In addition to them, I also do have daycare. My daughter goes to daycare for four hours each morning. She still takes one nap a day, so she gets home from daycare, we play a little bit, she goes down for a nap, and then I get to work again, so that gives me about, oh, five and a half hours of work per day, and then if I really need to, if I’m feeling really inspired and want to or if I’m feeling behind on something, my husband is really great, if he can see that I’m stressed about work, he’ll take her out of the house. They’ll go to the park. They’ll go visit a family member during an evening or on a weekend so I can get a little extra work in, which definitely helps. We try to keep that to a minimum because I do want to… They’re more important to me than anything. I’ve got a million business, but it’s nice to have a little flexibility when it’s needed, for sure.
Erin Flynn: That’s awesome, so two VAs, daycare, and a fantastic spouse. That sounds like a dream.
Krista Miller: It works.
Erin Flynn: When you were figuring out, I mean, obviously, like when you were pregnant, you had a while to figure out what you wanted to do. Did you have VAs before or was that something that you brought in once you had your daughter? How did you sort that?
Krista Miller: Yeah, so, before my daughter came along, I have one VA and my designer for much fewer hours than I have them now, but it was nice to already have that foundation in place. I very recently brought on a second VA because I had my other one maxed out with her availability, but having my daughter helped me figure out what I really have to be doing and what I don’t have to be doing, whether that means outsourcing or just stopping altogether and getting rid of my business.
Krista Miller: The daycare part wasn’t something I planned on. I always said, “I’d want to be that mom who is home all the time with their kid and maybe working a little during nap time and in the evening,” but, oh, no, I need my free time. I love daycare, hallelujah, no qualms with that now, so that’s something that I adjusted when she was born, when she was I think 10 months old. 10? Somewhere in there. Around 10 months old is when she started going to daycare for four hours a day, and that’s definitely been a game changer, but it’s nice to have the freedom that we do with these kinds of businesses to make those adjustments when we need to, otherwise, hiring more help, more or less daycare, getting creative with ways we can make more time to do what we need to do.
Erin Flynn: Yes, and I think that’s something that we are so, since we run our own businesses, we’re so fortunate that we can set how we want that to be because, for you, daycare is excellent. For somebody else, maybe they want full-time daycare all day long. Maybe they want no daycare, but they can make those decisions because they’re running their business and they’re in charge of not just their business, but their life in a way that, in a traditional nine-to-five, we just can’t be, so that’s one of the huge perks of running your own business or two businesses.
Krista Miller: Right. Yeah, it is great to have that freedom, for sure.
Erin Flynn: Awesome. Obviously, with a young daughter and daycare, you’re organizing things around her. How do you do that? How many hours do you work each week or do you divide things? You mentioned she takes a nap and then you go back to work. What does your typical day look like then?
Krista Miller: Yeah, so I’m really set with my schedule. I do weekly themes and then daily time blocking. I usually figure four weeks in a month, even though sometimes a little fifth one sneaks in there, but, generally, two of those weeks are dedicated to my custom development work. I have one week dedicated to my podcast and then one week dedicated to my membership for Summit in a Box, and that just helps me get things done much more quickly, and I don’t feel scattered, because I do have so many things going on with two businesses plus an extra podcast that doesn’t really fit in with either one of the two businesses that it got to a point where it was just too much for me to handle, but the weekly themes have seriously saved my sanity, and then, within those themes, I do time blocking.
Krista Miller: Even if it’s not a development week for me, I’d still have retainer clients, development retainer clients, so I do two hours of development retainer work every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and then, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, I do have little marketing blocks in the morning, and then the afternoons I set aside for whatever that weekly theme is, and, of course, I’d check my email two afternoons a week, so that sneaks in, and there might be other things that pop up here and there, but I’m really focused on whatever that week’s theme is, and I don’t want myself usually move on to other random tasks until I feel like I’ve accomplished what I need to for that day, if that makes sense. Does that make sense?
Erin Flynn: Yeah, that makes total sense, and I absolutely love the weekly themes. I love blocking time where you’re like, “This is when I’m doing podcasting,” or, “This is when I’m doing client work.” I think that, for our brains, that just works so much better than trying to switch in between different things even in a given day. I know we can chunk time in days, too, and that works for some people, but I also really think that if you can have a week dedicated to just getting something done, you’re going to get it done in that week because you’re not going to be pulled in so many different directions.
Krista Miller: Yeah, that’s something I just started doing over the past about month and a half, and, seriously, the, I don’t know, level I’m able to think that, even… The way my brain feels after a day of work is just so much different. I don’t feel like I’m trying to walk through Jell-O by thinking anymore just because I haven’t been having to switch between tasks all day long, I was focused on one thing and then feel good about the progress I made. Instead of getting on with work and being like, “What did I even do today?” because it was a whole bunch of little tiny tasks, I had this big chunk that I was able to say, “I got done for one project,” and it’s incredible.
Erin Flynn: I love that, and I’m also that person who loves to check things off the list and when you can have one focus for a day or a week and you can just make a big cross to it. Best feeling ever.
Krista Miller: It really is.
Erin Flynn: Now, earlier, you mentioned working with your team and things that you could delegate to them, but also things that you could stop doing, so did you find that there were some things that were just time-wasters in your business or who were… or that were not great return on investment for your time, and how did you stop doing those things?
Krista Miller: Yeah. This happened because I found out I was pregnant and I was like, “Oh, how am I going to keep doing everything I’m doing and have a baby?” and my answer was, “I’m not. I literally cannot,” so I had to go through and I did a super nerdy audit of everything I was doing, and I came up with a terrifying list of things I needed to stop doing.
Krista Miller: I had been publishing weekly YouTube videos for six months. I was constantly posting on Twitter like 10, 20 times a day. I was posting in all kinds of Facebook groups. My Facebook page was active. I was doing all of my own Pinterest. I was doing everything that an expert said you needed to do. I was doing those things. I was doing weekly blog posts on three different websites because at that time I had a different second business, and basically all of those things stopped. I stopped doing YouTube, which was the scariest part. I stopped using Twitter and Facebook as marketing methods. I outsourced my Pinterest. I dropped my blog posts for all three blogs down to every other week, and I just recently dropped it down, my development business blog, to once a month, I have newsletters along with that, and that saves such an incredible amount of time, and I’m not going to say it wasn’t terrifying, because it was.
Krista Miller: I was pretty sure my business was going to fall apart even though I could say, “Okay, these things that I’m keeping,” which for me was Instagram. That was the biggest thing, and keeping my email as well, I was like, “These are where I’m getting clients and leads and income.” If I keep doing this, it’s okay. It was still terrifying to get rid of all those other big things that people were saying you had to be doing, so, really, I did just… I just stopped. It was a decision I had to make. I had to face my fear, but I’m so glad I did.
Krista Miller: I was actually able to do the math. I wanted to do it for a newsletter I sent to my list, and I saved $10,000 the first year by stopping those things, so not only did I save myself a ton of time and probably make more money because I could focus more on the income-generating things, but I saved $10,000 on expenses related to those things that weren’t doing anything for me, as I later found out, when nothing exploded when I stopped doing them.
Erin Flynn: I think that’s one of the things that we all get so caught up in is doing all of the things, feeling like we have to be on every social platform and putting out this content all of the time, when, really, probably there is one social platform or there’s one marketing method that is bringing in most of our clients, which is resulting in most of our income and probably is one that we enjoy more than the others anyhow. Did you find out that was the case?
Krista Miller: Oh, my gosh, yes. I was real glad to let go of YouTube, that’s for sure.
Erin Flynn: Yeah, people may have noticed my YouTube is slowly dying a very painful death. I keep trying to revive it once in a while, and it’s just not going to make it.
Krista Miller: Yep, let it go.
Erin Flynn: After doing that audit, I love super geeky audits like that, I do that in my own business on a regular basis, what did you find were the most profitable activities to actually focus on for you, which, of course, will be different for other people, but what did you find were yours?
Krista Miller: Yeah, so, for my development business, it was literally just making more time for actual client work, which sounds really obvious, but I was spending so much time doing other things, I was having to take fewer projects. When I opened up my time, I could take more projects.
Krista Miller: Obviously, that means more people paying me, and for my Summit in a Box business, it has turned out to be getting in front of new audiences because that audience is still pretty small. It’s relatively new business, so, every time I can get in front of a new audience, whether it’s a podcast interview, speaking at a summit, doing some kind of collaboration, that is so worth my time, and since those are all passive income, I’m saying in air quotes, passive income products, the audience is what I need for that, so they’re very different for both businesses, but, hopefully, that gives a good example for people to go off of as well.
Erin Flynn: Yeah, that’s great. I absolutely love that, so anybody listening can think about their business and maybe where they might want to focus, too, but, also, they should do their own super nerdy audit.
Krista Miller: They should. They should. It’s fine.
Erin Flynn: Now, what would you say is the biggest thing that has allowed you to create, you’ve done in your business, in your life that has allowed you to create not one, but two actually profitable businesses while having a one-year-old daughter and a husband and family and all of these things? What was the biggest change or thing that you’ve done?
Krista Miller: Yeah, it was definitely getting out of the mindset that I needed to listen to everyone else and do everything and just getting really intentional about where I was focusing, focusing on the things that were making me money and moving my business forward and, literally, eliminating everything else.
Krista Miller: If something is not benefiting my business directly, I’m not going to do it, and I know that probably sounds really simple, but I bet, if you sit down and look at all the actions you’re taking in your business, maybe track your time for a week or two, sit down and look at those things, and if you can’t draw a line from that to money or that to the goal, the main goal you have for your business, get rid of it, and you’ll be really surprised at how many of those things are.
Erin Flynn: Oh, there are so many and it’s, again, a terrifying thing to do, but also the most freeing experience. When I finally let my YouTube die, I’m sure it will just be like this weight lifted off my shoulder.
Krista Miller: It will. You should do it right now.
Erin Flynn: I’m doing it now. If you are listening to this, and I still am putting out YouTube videos, not my podcast on YouTube because that will be the thing, but YouTube videos of me talking to you, I want you to leave me a comment and tell me to stop.
Krista Miller: I can help with that.
Erin Flynn: All right, this was fantastic. Thank you so much, Krista. I love this. Where can we find you online? I know you have multiple websites that we can go check out.
Erin Flynn: Awesome. We will link those in the show notes. Thank you again, Krista, so much for joining us and giving us insights into your business and how you simplified it, and we will see you all in the next episode.
Erin Flynn: Thank you so much for tuning in. Any links mentioned in this episode will be included in the show notes. Now, if you enjoyed this episode, please do me a favor and subscribe on whatever platform you like to listen to podcasts on, and if you really enjoy the show, please leave me a review because it helps me out a ton. Thank you so much. Now, go take action.