The Wise Why

Episode #78

Episode #078

EP | 78 Crystal Gregory Empowering Female Business Owners

by | 8 Mar,2024

About This Episode

Crystal Gregory talks with host Kirsty van den Bulk on The Wise Why podcast about growing your business successfully online and how embracing change will empower you to succeed.

Crystal is an online business strategy expert focusing on empowering women to build courses and communities. Originally from Wales, she shares her journey from teaching to entrepreneurship and offers insights into how women entrepreneurs can elevate their businesses through strategic online presence.

The discussion covers several key points, including an introduction to Crystal and her expertise, her work in assisting women to create impactful online content, insights on identifying unique strengths, overcoming fears and mindset issues when scaling a business, and her CLEAR Method strategy framework for focused impact. Crystal also offers time management tips for maintaining balance, explains the importance of vision boards in visualising business goals, and shares her perspective on balancing motherhood with entrepreneurship.

The conversation also touches on how to pivot a business during the pandemic, the benefits of offering free advice, and the role of AI in online businesses. Crystal emphasises the importance of human connection and authenticity and encourages listeners to connect with her for further assistance in amplifying their online businesses. At the end of the episode, Crystal invites listeners to virtual coffee chats for strategy advice and summarises the listener takeaways, which include understanding niches, aligning values, embracing change, and building relationships.

Episode #78 : Full Transcription
Kirsty van den Bulk
Hello and welcome to The Wise Why. This morning I am joined by Crystal Gregory, a lady that I met online and actually we met because we. Were both speaking at the same event and I really find her fascinating. But as usual, the wise why it’s? Really not about me. It is about my guests, so straight over to you. Crystal, please introduce yourself.

Crystal Gregory
Oh, hello. I’m crystal and I like to help online businesses owners build courses and communities. And when I’m not doing that, I really enjoy living in small town Wales and enjoy a good cup of coffee and wandering around outside.

Kirsty van den Bulk
And I love that. And you’ve got one of the things that I’ve seen since we’ve met is how active and supportive you are online. You know, you’re always there posting out, you know, do you want to launch course? Do you want to launch a podcast? And of course, I’ve done that. But I love what you’re doing with empowering others, other women. And of course, we. Who better to have on the show on this particular day? The news? So I wonder if you could explain a little bit about how you help female women really, really, you know, raise that business and go to market and raise that online presence.

Crystal Gregory
Sure, a lot of women start their online business to be around family or to kind of fit in around their other commitments. And what I do is I work with them when they’ve reached a certain point, when they have kind of their framework, they call it their secret sauce or their thing that they can work on really well that you know, if you’re a coach or consultant, is that thing that you do. All the time, those questions that you answer, that sort of core piece of knowledge and what we do is we first identify it and then I help my female clients to really understand how then it can. Activate them in their business to be able to help more people, whether it’s a course or a podcast or an app or something like that. And then they find after they’ve done it, it can be a challenging process because oftentimes they’re overcoming a lot of mindset issues and sort of fears that their service will go down. The quality of what they do. But oftentimes the opposite happens. They find that they can help more people and that the quality of their in-depth work really helps is much deeper and more impactful.

Kirsty van den Bulk
Brilliant, because I know that when I first started finding that core message of what you do and what your what, everyone keeps going and going on about know your niche, know your niche and actually it’s a little bit overwhelming when everyone’s shouting at you know your wife, know your knees and you’re as as a person who’s trying to manage the school run, launch your business, manage the school collection. Do the after school clubs and this is what people you know, a lot of us, including myself, who’ve launched a business and and mostly online are doing. You know we are we’re doing it to work around our kids because that’s the life we’ve. You know we’ve. We we’ve chosen to do so. I want. If you could. Is there a way that you can streamline? I know there isn’t, but is there a a nugget that you can give to somebody that could help them find that niche quickly and succinctly? Or is it something called a you know work through as a process?

Crystal Gregory
And yes, it’s two things actually that you don’t have to be married to the niche and that you don’t. It doesn’t have to be like I I work with app developers from India to communicate more effectively with remote teams around the world. It doesn’t have to be like that. It can be as simple as solving a problem for different kinds of people in different kinds of ways. And it can also be like a process based niche and I think that’s something that we don’t talk. About a lot and. Where it’s solving a problem and it’s a process and it can work across different sectors and help many different types of people.

Kirsty van den Bulk
So one of the things that you know, I know we both do, we both empower people to actually succinctly say what? They do, so I wondered, trying to think what, how to how to ask this question. It’s kind of it’s really weird, but I will be honest. It’s really. Weird cause we’re. So similar in what we do it’s it’s like ohh how will you do this when it’s almost like talking to? Because you know, if I think about the process that I do with my clients and it can sometimes feel really overwhelming, particularly the identifying your key messages, of course it’s. Like this whole process they go through. And then at the. End it. They go. Ah, uh-huh. That’s what I. Do so I wonder if you could talk about maybe the AHA moments that your clients. Enough.

Crystal Gregory
Sure. And and it often happens after about month one or month 2 after we’ve sort of identified what they think is sort of their core message and we begin the course or the app project or whatever the main project is that we’re building and then they go out to test it with their current clients or they do some listening interviews with people who. Might benefit from the service. And they write things down. And then I have this one exercise. I call it the legacy exercise, which I’m not sure about you, but like yourself. Like, I build my business around my family and around relationships and around community because that’s really important. And I wake up each day, and I envision, am I living the life that I want other people to Remember Me by? Because life is short. And you know, at the end of the day moneys, money matters. But more than that, it matters the kind of impact that we. So I have my clients go through that and that is often a very aha moment for them because oftentimes I think that many times it is aligned to their core framework and run to their core message. But oftentimes it’s not. And so then sometimes we do have to go back and reinvent the wheel to where they really want to be or. Where their course or their programme needs to sit, and alternatively we also look at adding in some purpose based stuff into what they’re doing so.

Kirsty van den Bulk
Yeah. And and I do my, my whole ethos is so that I I mean look at the the wise why I only present the wise why during term time I deliberately keep as much of that time and not my little ones only seven and I everything I do is to try and be with her and I lost something that I know that. I’m guilty of it’s sometimes the in the afternoons there’s more work that I need to do and I need to, and I need to do it. And I sometimes forget to switch off the computer. Have you got any advice for anyone that can suddenly feel like the work’s taken over and they’re losing sight of the family life, which is the whole reason of why we do what? Date.

Crystal Gregory
Yeah, that’s OK. I think three things. So my clients, one of the things that we do when we start out is we do something called a time of it and time blocking. And so because oftentimes my clients feel really stretched kind of between home and family and business and other commitments. And so we actually write down what it is that they’re doing just as the observer not to be judgmental. That just to look and see. And then that is really key because oftentimes they think and I can be guilty of this too. When I sit down to do work, it’s not actually the most productive work. It’s what I enjoy or might be procrastinating or, but it’s not actually impacting the business. And so then we go ahead and we look at sort of their activities and we see what can be automated, what can be delegated. That can be taken out and then I am a big fan of something called time blocking where it’s just putting in a regular rhythm into the week of, you know, where you’re fitting and marketing time, client time and other operations and things so. When work might take over, you can sort of come back to that centre not as like a big I’m not a huge like Pomodoro. What’s that one really strict technique like the Pomodoro method and some of the other. But just to be more gentle around it as well. But to have that.

Kirsty van den Bulk
I love. Sorry for interrupting, I do. I love the fact that you want people to be it’s it’s a softer version because sometime I tried the Commodore about six months ago and I lasted, I remember just going click and just turning it off because I wanted to finish my task. And and so it didn’t work for me. There was. So I block a a day or a group to focus on something because that works better for me and I think the way you’re talking. Have you got any advice for someone like? Me that can.

Crystal Gregory
Get a little bit obsessed and to take time off as well, and to also the other key thing that. I do with a lot of my clients as we create a business Vision board and we put it up behind where they’re working and I do this to this day. So the big goals that I’ve worked towards in my business in the last four years, I create like some kind of visual representation of it. I’m not a big woo person, but I am a huge believer in kind of having focus. Being directed with your energy and with your time, and so then if you have that big goal that can kind of help you to understand and to push through some of the activities that you might not enjoy so much or might not be so powerful. But that being said, I think also to kind of step back from that and to envision the big picture as well. And so I have a. Young families that one of the other things I do as well is I always look at. What is it like on the day that they graduate from high school, and what is it like on the day that you know, if they would choose to get married or not, or what are some of those bigger family events when they’re an adult? And so I want to be able to kind of look through things through different lenses as well.

Kirsty van den Bulk
I I think that’s brilliant. I remember the first time, the second time. Actually I I actually designed a vision kind of poster for myself and I had a picture of me and my husband standing there on the side of the road looking like old people and. Our daughter was just striding on her head as a strong, independent woman with the whole world ahead of her, and it was like that’s, I mean, that’s why I do everything I do is it’s for our daughter. I want her to know because she had a bit of a rough start when she first. Yeah, came into the world. And I want her to know that it doesn’t matter if one. If you’re dyslexic and dyspraxic like me, it doesn’t matter what life is thrown at you. You can succeed and succeeding. And I I don’t know if how you feel about this, but for me, success it’s I think you mentioned earlier, success isn’t.

Kirsty van den Bulk
It is about what you. Leave behind and I think you touched on this slightly earlier about it’s not about money, it’s about the. Impact you leave.

Crystal Gregory
Yeah, totally. Yeah. So success is money because as one of my mentors says on a regular basis, he always reminds me that you do need money to be able to be an impact in the community and in yourself and for. Family. But at the end of the day, the money isn’t the most important thing. It is also purpose. It is leaving that legacy because I know plenty of people who have really big houses. They have lots of money, but they’re miserable all and at the same case, I know people who don’t have much, and they’re also equally miserable. So a lot of what we choose to do is how we. Choose to live. With what we have and. To make that impact.

Kirsty van den Bulk
I love that you just mentioned mentors there because everyone always assumes that because you’re a coach or consultant, you don’t need somebody to turn to and you don’t need another voice of reason. Now I’ve got my whole network of people who keep me accountable. Yeah, I could name them and they’re very important to me because they do pull me up. They do question what I’m doing. And they keep me on a really strong path. Could you expand a little bit more about your?

Crystal Gregory
Tools. Yeah. So I’ve been able to have a good network being in. I launched my business actually doing lockdown during in rural Wales when I had a very small, I was living in a tiny village as a single parent. So it was really crucial for me to find a good network of people to connect with and to. Who help hold me accountable and to help me to grow as well. And I really enjoy that. And it’s been quite a big.

Kirsty van den Bulk
Privilege. So. So if you launched your business at the same time as I did in lockdown, what were you doing beforehand?

Crystal Gregory
Well, I had been a teacher in my first career and then I moved to the UK and I talked for a couple of years and then as I say and the UK became a mum and that mother, her journey has been a very big one for personal development and for growth for myself, but also to be able to figure out what to do. During a pandemic as well, and to fit life around a young child. So that’s why I started the business.

Kirsty van den Bulk
And I I think my mother had changed me, I remember. The the day our daughter arrived and I remember thinking, I didn’t know what I was missing. I was quite an old mum, you know. I was in like 45 and it was that thing going. I didn’t know what I was missing and I wasn’t missing anything. And yet I was missing everything. And that sounds really the most bizarre thing to try and explain, but. Our daughter completely and utterly changed my focus, my life. I went back to work and when? This is. For me, this isn’t where I want to be. I don’t know if you can expand a bit on your own personal changes about how motherhood really drove you forwards.

Crystal Gregory
Yeah. I think for me it’s the biggest question of leaving that legacy for a young life and for a young daughter and thinking what kind of woman I want her to be and what kind of choices I want her to be. To have and. So for me it’s the question of being a mother and being a stay at home Mom is a good choice for lots of people, but I’m a firm believer in the power of choice and the power of personal freedom as well. And so for me, the journey into entrepreneurship has been really that empowerment as well, and not just for myself. But for others too, and so it’s been really beautiful to be able to work with one of my early clients. And one of my favourite ones was a bookkeeping agency from the States and they worked exclusively with stay at home moms to find work during the pandemic and then beyond. And so we worked together to grow their agency and to be able to. Provide more employment and provide more opportunities, but around. Family as well.

Kirsty van den Bulk
What’s your favourite part of your? I mean, there’s a question that. We don’t normally. Ask, but what’s? Your favourite part? Or do you? Have you got quite a few different areas that you just love doing and helping people.

Crystal Gregory
I think for me. It’s the strategy and the operation side, but it’s also the I have a method that intertwines whether it’s a course, whether it’s a podcast, whether it’s a book that we’re working on. And I call it the clear method, so it’s where we get clarity and then we talk about leadership mindset. That’s where we do like the Vision board and the time blocking and some other self-awareness things. And then it’s setting the strategy and creating the repeats income for the business. And I just love the impact that that makes for people personally. But then also within their local. Communities. As well.

Kirsty van den Bulk
And I love that because we all launched the business and I remember when I launched this, I didn’t what I. Didn’t couldn’t see. Was the repeat income I was like I launched the pandemic and of course my whole plan was to launch a marketing strategy agency that was focused on sales because I was a sales trainer. Your back man in sales and it’s like, Yep, I get it. But I wanna go slightly softer approach. Then the pandemic hit. And I remember I had to do a complete pivot and look at my strengths and go well. I can coach public speaking on camera. And we’re all having to do public speaking cameras. So I had to complete 360 and then at the end of the pandemic, I had to do another 360. So yeah. And and now I’m back. Talk about the marketing content and the strategy and and the high end stuff and then back to doing what I wanted to do. I wonder if you’ve got any advice for somebody who may be a bit like me, launch the business slightly backwards. And and needs to adjust and pivot and and overcome those kind of struggles.

Crystal Gregory
Yeah, I would say two things. The first one is to be the thoughtful observer and to just take a look at the business for a week or two at the activities that you’re doing and at your clients, at your feedback at your energy, not like in a again, not like in a way, but like in a kind of emotional way in a financial way in sort of your own body and yourself. And then look at that and then Fast forward like 5 or 10 years and see if you can envision yourself in the same space or or not. And it’s OK if not because I think so many of us like I launched my business, you know being moving from being on benefits to self-employed and. So that journey was in itself a a different journey, and now, even as I’m looking at pivoting the business and growing in a different direction, it’s from a different point and from a different standpoint and a different. And I think to release sort of the old and to embrace the new and to realise that it’s OK and giving yourself permission. I’m not sure if you like Renee Brown, but she’s one of my favourite authors and I love one of her ideas and. I think it’s. Either daring greatly or rising strong, she talks about the idea of giving yourself permission. To and to change and to share and to do. And I think oftentimes as business owners, especially as women, we get caught up. The shouts of everyday life and the shouts of where we think we’ve been with our marketing and our branding and our our space. And then it’s all right to move into a different space and to be able to acknowledge that and to move forward.

Kirsty van den Bulk
I love it. I read a book by the Barefoot Doctor Who has unfortunately passed away. Well, and it was called Twisted Fables for Twisted Minds. And it was all about giving yourself permission. And I would write honestly, if it’s, I don’t know if it’s still in print. I know when I see it and in any shop I buy it and I give it away because it was life changing for me. So I would urge everyone to have a look at that because it’s it. It talks a bit more way, but it also twists the way. And it’s very clever in the way that it twists it and it’s it just gives yourself permission. And I do that all the time. I give myself permission to fail. Can I just say well done to launch a. Yeah. Self self-employed from benefits and do that arch. That is incredible. I just wanna take a moment to go like that. Yeah. What a brave, powerful woman you are. Yeah, I love it. I really do. And I love what you do. I really do. I love the fact that I can get to see how you empower women. So if there’s somebody. Hugh is a little bit lost right now. Who’s listening to this podcast? First, how would you? What would you say would be the first step for them? To come and work with you.

Crystal Gregory
And the first step is to book in a coffee chat. So I have a virtual coffee chat for about 15 minutes and where we connect, hear about their business, hear about where they’re at. And I always promise to have at least one point of strategy or action to move forward. So it’s not a waste of time. And then from there, and if they’re a good fit to work with me, then we go ahead and talk about what it looks like to do some consulting or to do some one-on-one sort of done for you product development whether it’s a. Course or podcast?

Kirsty van den Bulk
And I love the fact that you say you’re gonna walk away with one bit of strategy. You’re gonna give them something. So many people are scared to give something away for free. I’ve had this conversation this week. Where so. Well, if I give it away for free. What? What? What do? They’ll they’ll have. Everything and I’m like, have you seen how much content I give for free? You know, and and I wondered if we could just touch on that a minute about overcoming the fear of giving something away for free? Sure.

Crystal Gregory
I did at the beginning. I I remember in 2020 when I launched my business in that December and January 2021, my mentor said just get on the phone with as many people as. You can and then it comes back to your paper thank you’s getting paid and in a way that’s how the universe does. That’s one of the operational roles I know. It’s not very woo to so you get paper. Thank you. But in a way I haven’t had to do paid advertising, but I get referrals from people who aren’t on social media in other countries. So it works. It really does work. So you just connect with people at the, but at the same time you need to make sure that you are charging for your services. Than you are getting paid in the business too. So there is a fine balance in that. But I think sometimes we can put up too many barriers and payment walls and payment gateways for things. But and because oftentimes if people think that they’re getting that much for free, how much are you getting then when you work on one so.

Kirsty van den Bulk
Yeah, that’s that’s great advice. And you know, if I look at it and the most and and this is something I I love you touched on it most of my referrals come from people. I know people who have met me, they may have met me online, but they’ve met me. They’ve spoken to me, they understand what I do and how I can change someone’s thought process for how they’re going to go to market. Very rarely, very rarely do I get a cold call through a social media channel, and I have a great social media presence, but it’s there as my shop front, so I’m really pleased. You know, do you do you talked about the referrals they’re getting out there and I think it’s really important that we we dress that because everyone seems to think you can launch business. Line which you can you really, really can, but you’ve also got to get out there and see if. Money.

Crystal Gregory
Yeah, you do. And this is the conversation I’m having actually within my own business. And then with a few other businesses is what does the hybrid business look like now? And because, like you, I set up my business to be entirely remote and virtual, and that’s worked really well. And but I I’m finding that there’s almost a hunger now for in person. Events and face to face and things like that too. So and yes, you can launch your business online, but you need to be very intentional and strategic and focused. And that’s the biggest mistake. I see lots of people making is thinking that they need to be on every channel or they need to be sort of following what the best next bright shiny object thing is. And just photocopying that instead of making it. Aligned to who they are and who their message is.

Kirsty van den Bulk
That’s brilliant advice because it is that isn’t it? It’s like be true to your core, be you? I I don’t like the word authentic. I it really kind of sits uncomfortably on me. Unfortunately, there isn’t another word. Sums it up better and so it’s kind of become this buzzword about be authentically you be you, be see and we will. But it it is about that. It is about showing your vulnerability, not showing your underbelly. It’s not about, you know, showing everything about yourself. But there is that moment of how much just just being being you. But trying to do it without authentic got any advice on a different word there.

Crystal Gregory
Yeah, so I try, I say to just be a professional use. So I’m not sure about you, but in your in my last career, I I didn’t tell my students everything about my life and the same thing with social media and the same thing with my shop fronts, with my clients, even though it is virtual, it still is a professional space and I think. I think there’s been some self correction towards that, but there’s a lot of power in being your authentic professional self, but not over sharing and also not, I don’t know, being overly dramatic because we all have a. Story we all have a. A space and I think that’s good. It’s good to share. It’s good to have that authenticity. But there’s also the danger on the other side of trying to make something go viral and not be not be real, if that makes.

Kirsty van den Bulk
Sense talking to the converted there, I love what you just said. That’s probably the best bit of advice I think. I’ve heard in a long time. So yeah, absolutely everyone listen to that because I 100% believe and agree with you on that. This is where the tables turn and I know that you’ve got a meeting at 10:00. So this where the tables turn and you get to throw a question at. Me. Because I’ve put you in. The hot seat. For a while. So yeah, off you go.
Crystal Gregory
Where do you think online business will go with AI? It’s one thing that I’ve been talking a lot about with people.
Kirsty van den Bulk
So I think AI is a really important tool. I use AI, but I think there is a moment where even with the online space, if we’re not, if you’re not being seen, if it’s not you. So where I would say AI is going to have has its limitations rather than where it’s, you know, online business is going. Go is. You’ve gotta have the human element in whoever you are, whatever you’re doing, and AI can’t, no matter how much they can create a new API version of you. I was reading an article yesterday about her a model, and she can go out to work because they’re gonna use the AI version of her and that’s brilliant. But an AI bot. Will not be authentic back to that awful buzzword, but it won’t be you. It won’t get you. In fact, I don’t think you can ever replicate the human you. And so I think there will always be this blending of AI. Now, I might be wrong. This might come bite me on the on the backside at some point. But I think AI is very important and you need to embrace it 100%. Embrace it. For me, AI is the most powerful tool. Because I’m dyslexic and dyspraxic and so AI has speeded up my work process. And but if I have don’t check the AI’s grammar. So this is something that I’ve really liked. I use AI all the time for the grammar. If I don’t check it, sometimes it can be absolute gobbledygook and that’s the best way I can come up with it is twiddle. It is. Oh my goodness, it does not make any sense whatsoever. And yet it’s telling me it’s grammatically correct. And I’m like, yeah, that’s not how. Somebody would say it. And So what I would say. Is use AI. It’s going to push your business forward. It’s going to streamline things. It’s going to be amazing for you, but just make sure you’re still being you and human. So that’s where I think there’ll be a blending I. Don’t know about your opinion on it.
Crystal Gregory
That’s very close to mine, actually. I think the power of AI comes when you use it a little bit, but you also use the human element and the human strategy. And I think we’re going to see and we’re starting to see it now, almost a backlash against overly automated businesses and and personal businesses and like the whole. Facebook Faceless Instagram account saying where people want to be seen. They want to know a human and they want to know that. They’re talking to.
Kirsty van den Bulk
One. So yeah, I think that’s pretty well. Leave it there. Thank you so much for your time.
Crystal Gregory
Cell. I really appreciate it as well for the opportunity. Thank you.

00:16 Welcome to The Wise Why
00:34 Crystal Gregory
01:48 Empowering Women
03:40 Married to a Niche
05:56 Work, Life, Balance
09:05 Big Goals
10:24 What is Success
13:30 Legacy and Impact
15:35 Thoughtful Observer
17:45 Barefoot Doctor
19:40 Calls for Success
21:28 Hybrid Business
22:47 Your Professional You
24:51 AI and Business
26:13 Close

Connect with Crystal:

CleverX.com

Mentioned in this Episode:

Digial Women

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