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Crystal Goliday of CG Consulting: “One monkey doesn’t stop the show”

The third words of advice came about when I was talking with a business accountability partner Luz Plasencia. We were both hitting a rough patch in our respective businesses. We sat down to write a list of all the things that we accomplished and realized that we both went through much worse than what we […]

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The third words of advice came about when I was talking with a business accountability partner Luz Plasencia. We were both hitting a rough patch in our respective businesses. We sat down to write a list of all the things that we accomplished and realized that we both went through much worse than what we were going through at that time. Reminding ourselves that we are the $hit. Now we are both thriving, and I tend to reflect on this moment we had at a conference together. It not only lifts me up when I get challenged, it helps me to push through and go beyond what I originally envisioned.


As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Crystal Goliday.

Crystal Goliday is “The Fund Finder For Education’’ who equips scholars with skills to attend their dream university debt free, complete college, and thrive after graduation. Crystal utilizes her wealth of knowledge she acquired while earning THREE degrees FREE. Crystal Goliday is a hidden gem in her industry because she can identify resources BEYOND SCHOLARSHIPS AND LOANS to pay for college tuition, housing, fees, books and professional conferences. You can learn more about her at https://www.crystalgoliday.com.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I grew up an inner-city girl in love with the “Math and Science World”! A native of New York City and known as a “Cool Nerd,” I frequented empowerment programs such as YAC (Youth Activities Committee), TNT (Today’s New Talent), Project Esteem, National Honors Society, Future Business Leaders Of America, and other “brainiac” clubs. But my academic path was not always straight A’s. My Daddy helped to groom my love for Math with real world examples, but I struggled with literacy.

An honor roll student in high school, I learned the secret sauce to earning my Bachelor of Science (BS), Master of Science (MS), and Master of Business Administration (MBA) via a full-ride scholarship to a prestigious university plus more funding sources. This was a result of me realizing the unequal dispersant of information in communities that I experienced firsthand, with a lack of information shared in black and brown communities.

In college, my activities did not stop at joining the Gamma Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. I was also active in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Bicultural Inter Greek Council (BIG-C), and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) serving as the Pre-College Initiative (PCI) Chair. While hosting a shadowing weekend for high school students to learn about college firsthand for the weekend, I shared my journey plus my aspirations to have a leadership and learning development center. The high school scholars were intrigued by what I shared. They also encouraged me to move forward with my dreams, plus to document my journey so others could glean from it. However, I decided to take the path my parents engrained in me.

So, I was off into the corporate world. After graduating with my BS, I was recruited and relocated by a Fortune 500 company. After a few years I was recruited by another Fortune 500 company and worked my way up the corporate ladder. Still working for them and coming up on my 15th work anniversary this summer. After having a national role that paired my life passion with what I was getting paid for in my 9–5 job, giving birth to my Prince, plus my second parent dying in front of me in the intensive care unit (ICU), I realized that I need to stop putting my goals on the “back burner”.

While on the bedside of my Mommy in ICU, I started writing to document my journey and I started a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, called Never Underestimate Knowledge (NUK) which is dedicated to providing inner-city youth and domestic violence survivors with educational, financial, and social resources to thrive in life and fulfill their goals. Where NUK supports youth in their academic endeavors and empowers domestic violence survivors to leave abusive relationships and begin a new life and path to success.

Month later I added the title of “Author” to my resume of accomplishments to help numerous generations to not only expand their education but free up their finances to excel in other areas in their lives. My book “How To Get a College Degree For Free” documents my journey on how I was able to get my THREE degrees for FREE with various funding sources, plus provides tips and resources so my readers could do the same. Following that came numerous speaking engagements and the requests to empower my readers with finding funding for college. As a result, I became known as “The Fund Finder For Education” and CG Consulting LLC was born, where I equip scholars and parents with tools and strategies to attend their dream university debt free, plus expand their network with individuals and organizations along their journey. Furthermore, I am a hidden gem in my industry because she can identify other resources beyond scholarships and loans to pay for college tuition, housing, fees, books, and professional conferences.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work youre doing thats disruptive?

My work is disruptive because I have a powerful network where I learned about funding sources beyond scholarships and loans. I am about empowering the scholars and parents that I work with to learn the strategies I leveraged to get not one, not two, but three degrees for FREE plus so many other things during my collegiate years. I’m talking about tuition, books, fees, housing, and even attending professional conferences for FREE. The main thing that is pushed to fund college is the funding source of loans. I help demystify how to get other funding sources to pay for college, not only for high schoolers but also ways for those younger than high school age to receive funding for college. My “King of Kindergarten,” yes, my Prince already has funds for college from diversified funding sources. I prove that it is never too young or too late to obtain funding for college. Plus, you do not always have to go the traditional route, which is another avenue I help my clients explore.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I have two mistakes I made when first starting that I want to highlight. One was when I setup my nonprofit, Never Underestimate Knowledge (NUK) and the other is when I started my for-profit business, CG Consulting LLC.

When starting my nonprofit, I went off a referral for someone to help me set it up. Mind you, I wanted it done as soon as possible because I did not want to waste any more time and I was dealing with my Mommy dying in front of my eyes in ICU. The person set it up properly, but when I had questions the person was not accessible. When it came time for the first financial filing, I called the IRS to ask my questions and the representative walked me through the process, which seemed so easy. Just like starting a nonprofit, it is a matter of learning what needs to be done and making the time to do it. I also realize that in life there are going to be times when I just won’t have the time to do everything, but with remembering that I could do anything I put my mind to, I need to at least do the preliminary research before outsourcing, discuss the process in detail, and have a contract that both parties can refer to at any time.

As for my for-profit business, I had so many ideas for it. After all, coming up in the corporate world I learned how to do many things. It was like my goal was to be the “Jane of All Trades”. However, over time I realized you must be known for something to get to the top level. I don’t know why I did not initially apply that to my business. I wanted to serve everyone at all levels. Well, get this, I had so many options and paths to work with me that I did NOT receive the return on my investment initially and my lowest tier service received the least amount of clients. Over time I learned that my price point was too low for what I am offering. Now that my prices have been adjusted, the response rate to my offerings has increased. I’m not always hearing “that’s all it costs” when I discuss the price of my services with prospective clients because they see the value of my higher ticket price, plus I over deliver anyway.

In life, you live, and you learn. I’ve learned that you have to start somewhere, even if it is not perfect. From there you continually improve until you get it to where it is a solid process and product/service. This is what I did in the corporate world for years, so it’s only right that I adopt this thought process into my own business and document my standard operating procedures (SOPs) so that I do not have to do everything myself.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I’ve had a village of mentors along my journey called life. There is a ton I could name, but I will highlight four at this time. Two were in my life from the beginning (my Mommy and my Aunt, who is my Mommy’s oldest sister, both deceased) and two came later in my life (my business mentor and my writing mentor).

My Mommy taught me about being a woman of my word. If Roberta said she was going to do something, be it chaperone on a trip or loan someone money, she did it! I admire that about her and when I was younger, I did not quite understand it, but as an adult I realized that your word is your bond. It’s like the saying, “Actions speak louder than words,” but my Mommy not only said it she also followed up with the associated action for it. To a point that she was recognized for her efforts by being on numerous boards for organizations and being the “go to” person in our family for several things (from typing up resumes or reports to helping people out of tough situations). Her heart was made of gold and I pray that she is smiling up in heaven because she lives on through me. I am Roberta’s daughter!

My Aunt is my Mommy’s oldest sister, and she was known as The Madame because she was indeed knowledgeable about many things. She was a spokesperson for many, well known in the community, and very resourceful. After I decided on taking my education further to attend college and pursuing engineering because math was my favorite subject and I had a love for science, she was made aware of resources I should check out. And guess what! The funding source that paid for my full tuition and housing for my undergraduate experience when I earned my BS in Computer Engineering started from my Aunt Laura telling me about it. This is a true example of your network helping your net worth. Though our work, her finding out about it and me going through the extensive application process to obtain it, my net worth increased exponentially from Crystal in high school to Crystal after each of the THREE DEGREES I obtained for FREE.

My business mentor and book mentor were introduced to me around the same time. I was supposed to attend a women’s conference, but it was cancelled so I had the urge to learn, and I was informed about another conference that I had no idea about called “The Big Ask”. The name sounded intriguing plus it came from a reliable source, which was one of my sister friend’s that I grew up with, so I decided to go for it. From Washington, DC back home to New York City my preschooler at the time and I took the train for a day trip so that I could attend this conference and see my Mommy who was battling cancer at that time and not able to take her frequent trips to see us in DC anymore. So, it was an opportunity that I could not miss, and I MADE IT HAPPEN. To this day I am thankful for Tiffany Robertson, who told me about “The Big Ask” and Toya Carter, owner of Carters Day Care LLC who watched my Prince while I attended this conference.

At this conference I met the mastermind behind it, Lucinda Cross, and her emcee Robin Devonish, who is much more than an emcee. I was moved by everything I heard and the people I met at “The Big Ask” conference that I purchased the book and signed up for Lucinda’s mastermind course. In that mastermind I stepped all the way out of my comfort zone. Mind you, my Mommy was in ICU while I was in this mastermind group, but unlike many people that would retreat and go into “hiding mode” I kept showing up. During this mastermind I also got a chance to learn more about Robin Devonish and what she has to offer. Both Lucinda and Robin steered me away from thinking about publishing a mommy journal to documenting my journey of how I was able to get all THREE of my DEGREES for FREE. To me it’s just a part of my journey, so I forget how mind-blowing that is for others to hear that I did that. Yes, I DID THAT and now I empower others to do it as well through my products and services.

I must add that the proceeds of my products and services are donated back to Never Underestimate Knowledge (NUK), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit I founded and serve as the Executive Director, where resources are being poured into two communities I am a part of which are inner city youth (remember, I grew up in New York City…the Bronx in Co-op City Section 5 to be exact) and domestic violence survivors (I survived a prior tumultuous relationship that I am happy I could speak about it today to help others). Learning from Lucinda Cross’ journey and the multiple entities she leads, I was able to get the blueprint of my current enterprise. Plus, my writing journey is just beginning. With my first book, “How To Get A College Degree For Free” now available in several languages, I completed my writing for my second book, and who knows there may be more books to come. Robin showed me that it is possible to be an Author. She is the author of several books in various genres. Additionally, she educated authors on how to publish their books.

I appreciate the women I mentioned for their contributions in my life. And to think, these are just a few of the amazing people I have in my POWERful network that I learn from and utilize to empower others along their journey.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has withstood the test of time? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is not so positive? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Disrupting is when what is considered the “norm” is challenged.

My first thought of disrupting is when someone makes a scene, like entering a classroom late. Yes, my mind goes to education and the classroom.

But when I think about disruption an industry it is a positive thought for me. I look at disrupting an industry to be when you resolve an issue a group has, but they do not know how to resolve it. In my situation, it is those who want to attend college and they think the loans being offered to them is the way to go. Going into debt for college has become the norm, so much that according to Forbes, “There are 45 million borrowers who collectively owe nearly $1.6 trillion in student loan debt in the US Student loan debt.

Yes, scholars may even know about scholarships, but I disrupt their thinking and the whole fact of having to pay for college because I demystify the funding process and introduce other funding sources so that scholars at any age could attend their dream college or university debt free.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice youve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

The three best words of advice I’ve gotten along my journey are:

One monkey doesn’t stop the show

FEAR stands for Face Everything And Rise

You’ve been through much worse

My Daddy was my inspiration to love math and he taught me that, “One monkey doesn’t stop the show.” As a teenager I use to get upset when my friends didn’t want to do some of the things I wanted to do, so with him saying, “One monkey don’t stop the show” he taught me that I should go ahead with what I want to do (aka “the show”) because that is what I want to do and do it even if I have to do it by myself. So, in my twenties I would go to events, the movies, and out to eat by myself. Yes, some people looked at me side-ways, thinking it was weird, but it was so liberating. I even travelled out of the country by myself. Now talk about game changer!

The next words of advice I repeat quite often and even had it on my Prince’s wall when he was a baby was the acronym of FEAR and I wrote it like this.

Face

Everything

And

Rise

With being a first time Mom and my Prince being in this world for the first time, it was scary at time. Plus, raising an African American Prince that will one day be a King in this crazy world we live in adds a whole new layer of things to worry about. But I chose to have FAITH that we will get through this journey of life together by facing everything and rising to whatever situation presents itself. Like the saying, “Faith Over Fear.” I even took it a step further to purchase a backpack from Blended Designs that says, “I Could Do Anything” to remind my Prince in Pre-Kindergarten that he can do any and everything his mind dreams of. At times he randomly says, “I could do anything I put my mind to” and that warms my heart. And I have to say that my Prince amazes me with all the things that he has accomplished with being on this earth for less than a decade. He knows multiple languages and was the translator for a family trip when he was three years old. Yes, my Prince was fluent enough in French to speak with the natives on our trip to have a full conversation with them. It was mind blowing to me and to others I share this experience with. I expect to have more amazing experience to share about what my Prince accomplishes in life.

The third words of advice came about when I was talking with a business accountability partner Luz Plasencia. We were both hitting a rough patch in our respective businesses. We sat down to write a list of all the things that we accomplished and realized that we both went through much worse than what we were going through at that time. Reminding ourselves that we are the $hit. Now we are both thriving, and I tend to reflect on this moment we had at a conference together. It not only lifts me up when I get challenged, it helps me to push through and go beyond what I originally envisioned.

We are sure you arent done. How are you going to shake things up next?

My journey is just getting started. To shake things up next, I am going to listen to my scholars, their parents, and do more research from the perspective of educational institutions to see what I should do next. I’m a creative, so stay connected with me at https://www.crystalgoliday.com and on social media to see what I deliver to the world next. I share daily on Instagram plus host rooms weekly on Clubhouse. On both those platforms you could find me by my first and last name. Remember, my last name is just like holiday (with only one L), but it starts with a G. You would be surprised how many people mess it up!

Two of my events I want to highlight are “Creating Legacies Today,” which is a virtual event that takes place annually in November and it is scheduled for November 13, 2021, and “Cruise For Education,” which is scheduled for May 21, 2022. Got to my website at https://www.crystalgoliday.com/events to obtain more information about them. Through these events more funding sources will be made available for inner city youth to further their education.

Stay connected with me so you could tune in firsthand to see how I shake things up next by delivering something impactful to the world.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk thats had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

A book that has a deep impact on my thinking is Lucinda Cross’ book titled “The Big Ask”. She is one of the mentors I highlighted because her journey plus what she is doing now with her products and services inspires me to get comfortable being uncomfortable. I know that the change I want in my life is going to come when I step outside of my comfort zone and ask for what I want. This is evident in my journey of writing my book “How To Get A College Degree For Free” plus starting my nonprofit Never Underestimate Knowledge (NUK) then my business CG Consulting LLC at a time when my Mommy was dying through my initial grieving stage.

Just think, it started with me attending “The Big Ask” conference, learning about the book then reading it, joining Lucinda’s mastermind group, obtaining mentorship from Lucinda, and now we are friends. Growing up I was really shy, so much that I did not speak up for myself. There were things I did because it pleased other people, but it was at the expense of my happiness. It wasn’t until in my thirties that I really gained my voice. Now I am getting what I want because I am asking for it. From speaking engagements to sponsorships for my events (“Creating Legacies Today” in 2020, the inaugural year, had several sponsors and my nonprofit’s “Women In STEM” event being sponsored by Amazon), I am going to continue to ask for what I want. After all, the worse thing someone could say is no and I look at a no as no, not right now. Keeping in mind that what is meant for me will be in due time.

I will continue to remind myself to ask for what I want because no one is a mind reader.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

It is hard to narrow it down to just one “Life Lesson Quote”: so here are what comes to my mind (below and on YouTube) :

  • One day or day one, you decide” — One day could be any day or no day, so I prefer for today to be day one and I continually build upon it so that I could reach my goal. This is relevant to me in my life because I have been a victim of analysis paralysis where I was overthinking things so much that I did not do it and the moment passed for me to act on my thought. This happens no more! I’d rather start something, and it doesn’t work out instead of living with regrets. I am so happy that I founded my nonprofit organization Never Underestimate Knowledge (NUK), wrote my first book “How To Get A College Degree For Free” and started my own business CG Consulting LLC. I am continually building upon the foundation that I started along these paths.
  • Do your best and forget the rest” — Far too often we are comparing ourselves. After all, it is super easy to do it when we get out our computer or pick up our phone. Social media shows the highlight reels for everyone, where people post what they want others to see. I also get caught up in aimlessly scrolling something. But one thing I learned is that my journey is my journey, and it requires work behind the scenes, where at https://www.instagram.com/CrystalGoliday/ you see the picture-perfect view on my wall, but in my stories, you see some of the behind-the-scenes footage. I “water my grass” so that is why it looks greener to others. Many want the greener grass but don’t want to do the grooming it takes to make it that way.
  • Done is better than perfect” — The perfectionist in me would like to push it until the deadline to get a product or service as perfect as possible, but that has bit me in the butt before where I learned that it is best to get the first draft completed then get some feedback so that the final product could be as close to perfect as possible.
  • Fail forward” — The word fail has a bad connotation to it. But in business and embarking in several forms of personal development I learned that failing is good. The key is to learn from it. When I fail, which I have (I even failed physics my freshman year of college but know that I did not fail another course after that) I think about the lesson I learned when I fail, then I apply it if I see the signs of it happening again. That helps me to alter the outcome next time to be more favorable for me.
  • Take It Easy” — My Daddy was a man of few words, so at the end of our phone conversations he would say, “take it easy”. He was laid back and I learned that Sunday was his favorite day of the week because it was the day to rest. My Daddy was also a hard worker and that is something I take after him. He would work the night shift and I seem to work all hours of the day, but I’m working on limiting that. So, ever since he passed away, I must remind myself to “take it easy” because I have burnt the candle at both ends so much that I ended up in the Emergency Room (ER) a few days after I saw my Daddy take his last breath because I was doing too much and not taking care of myself. Now I make my best effort to take care of me first and make Sunday a non-negotiable day, where I play it by ear. It could be a Sunday Funday or simply a lazy Sunday. Whatever I choose!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

With me being a person of great influence, I inspire others. So, if I could inspire a movement that would bring the most good to the most amount of people, it would be changing the “crabs in a barrel” mentality where people keep opportunities to themselves because they want to “make it first” then share later. I want us to share as we go through experiences because we could inspire others and an opportunity that is not meant for one of us may be meant for someone else. We ALL could WIN. There is enough room at the table and if there isn’t then we could build our own. We are STRONGER TOGETHER, so we must remember that COLLABORATION over COMPETITION is the way to go. Keeping in mind that your tribe is your tribe.

So, I will continue to SHARE because I CARE. Plus, you will see me collaborating with others. I even have a monthly talk show where I highlight experts in my community. Feel free to check out my YouTube channel (you could find me @CrystalGoliday) and subscribe to it, plus go on my website, https://www.crystalgoliday.com to learn more about it and get the link to several social media outlets you could connect with me, including YouTube.

I encourage us all to support one another and share the great things another person has to offer. You never know who you could help with a simple share. You could start by sharing this article with everyone is your community and network.

How can our readers follow you online?

Readers can follow me online by first going to my website, https://www.crystalgoliday.com where most of my social media websites are located. I highly recommend following me on Instagram and Clubhouse @CrystalGoliday, plus subscribe to my YouTube channel. On those three channels you will get to know me more beyond this article and learn from me on a frequent basis.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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