“Turn something you love into a business.” With Dr. William Seeds & Krysta Monet

When turning something you love to do into a business, you have to understand that it goes from fun to work. You must be willing to adjust to the switch. Some people are open to embracing that type of change while others enjoy what they do as an escape from their everyday lives. Once you […]

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When turning something you love to do into a business, you have to understand that it goes from fun to work. You must be willing to adjust to the switch. Some people are open to embracing that type of change while others enjoy what they do as an escape from their everyday lives. Once you take your small hobby and turn it into a full business, what was once your escape now becomes your everyday life.

As a part of our series about entrepreneurs who transformed something they did for fun into a full-time career, I had the pleasure of interviewing Krysta Monet. Krysta left her hometown of Richmond, VA with $400 and a dream of one day making something of herself she could be proud of. With a Cinderella story of her own she now spends her days protecting, expanding, and pitching the stories of her clients as the founder and CEO of Nine and North full service public relations. This is something Krysta says has always come natural to her from an early age.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?

At an early age I knew that I was a little different from other kids. I was a creative child with an extremely wild and detailed imagination. I can remember building cities for my Barbies, and I would have entire lives planned out for them; from their appearance, to their careers, their individual personalities, even down to the way I wanted their “Barbie society” to view them. As I got older, the playtime stories I had created for my toys transformed into fictional characters that I was writing into books. During high school I wrote a novel titled, “Queen of Queens”. The book went viral before going viral was even considered a thing. I worked so hard on developing the characters for the novel, that my peers fell in love with them. I remember some of them even crying during lunch, after reading the chapter I wrote ending one of the characters’ lives. It was the first time I experienced my power to make other people feel emotions from something I created. The feeling was intoxicating, to say the least.

What was the catalyst from transforming your hobby or something you love into a business? Can you share the story of your “ah-ha” moment with us?

As I grew older my father began referring to me as a “King Maker”. I would see potential in something or someone and had the desire to help mold or turn them into something bigger using my vision. I could see things on a much larger scale, especially when it came to a person’s goals for them self. This worked very well in business but not so well in my personal life. Convincing a small business owner to trust the vision you have on the potential success of their project, was a lot easier than convincing someone you’re dating to do the same with their goals and future. There was a thin line with this gift of mine, and the more I learned this, the more I began directing the thing I was good at, into the right people and projects.

Before I knew it, I had three years of experience in successfully helping small business owners build their brand. It was at that point that I was approached by an individual who asked if I could “rebrand” a pro athlete. Not only was my knowledge of sports very slim, but I had past experiences trying to brand “people” that didn’t work out, and I was happy rebranding and branding small businesses for fun. I had no idea that branding public figures was even a thing. However, the man didn’t allow me to say no. He told me that he saw something in me, and respected the passionate way I spoke about my craft. He told me that I was exactly what his image and business needed, so the least I could do was give it a try.

To my surprise he gave me full control of his entire platform, which was not really a blank canvas but bare enough for me to be able to create. He believed in the vision I had for his career wholeheartedly; more than anyone has ever believed in my views before. I couldn’t believe someone with his platform was now paying me to do something I had been doing mostly as a hobby. That was my “ah ha” moment!

There is no shortage of good ideas out there, but people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. How did you overcome this challenge?

I think my story plays out a little differently, whereas the good idea found me. I never thought of what I was doing as a “business idea”. I knew what I was doing for people was cool, but I never thought I could actually profit from it. I still have moments when I sit back and think about how crazy it is that people are paying me to do something that I find this exciting, and something I feel comes natural to me.

What advice would you give someone who has a hobby or pastime that they absolutely love but is reluctant to do it for a living?

When turning something you love to do into a business, you have to understand that it goes from fun to work. You must be willing to adjust to the switch. Some people are open to embracing that type of change while others enjoy what they do as an escape from their everyday lives. Once you take your small hobby and turn it into a full business, what was once your escape now becomes your everyday life.

Switching from hobby to full on business is an individual decision that you must be ready for.

It’s said that the quickest way to take the fun out of doing something is to do it for a living. How do you keep from changing something you love into something you dread? How do you keep it fresh and enjoyable?

Early on in my career I use to work with any and everyone who offered me money for my services. That was the worst thing I could’ve ever done for myself and my business. I took on clients who products and brands I didn’t believe in just for a check. I’ve done public relation services for public figures who I would never consider having a conversation with outside of work because their personalities were horrible. My job was beginning to feel like an actual job, and I hated it.

Now I only work with people I not only believe in but enjoy working with. The first hint of a red flag within a potential client I will not bring them on. This has not only begun to protect my peace but allow me to fall in love with the growth process all over again.

I now only work closely with the clients I see growth and positivity in, and this has completely turned my business back around. As of today, there isn’t one client signed to me I don’t consider my friend first. PR is truly a team effort and my clients are all apart of my team.

What is it that you enjoy most about running your own business? What are the downsides of running your own business? Can you share what you did to overcome these drawbacks?

Running my own business has always been about the freedom to me. The freedom to come and go as you please, have a sick day and not feel guilty about it, and work the hours that are best for your motivational peak. I know for sure my peak hours of motivation are from 11am until 7pm. The 9 to 5 schedule doesn’t fit too well with a not so morning person like me.

A downside to this to the “freedom” of running your own business goes with the saying, “You don’t work you don’t eat.” Also, there’s no such thing as paid time off or retirement, you have to work those logistics out yourself. I can recall times I’d sit on the clock at a corporate job and pretend to work, for the same paycheck week after week. Try pulling that same trick off as your own boss for too many days in a row, will have you wondering how you’re going to keep a roof over your head.

That’s why I always say you must have a passion for your business and always keep in mind your reason. Your passion and reason combined will always remind you that no matter how tough some days get (and there will be tough ones), you’re still living out your dream.

Can you share what was the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?

I’m a huge Sex and the City fan, and first time I’d ever heard of anyone working in public relations was with the fabulous Samantha Jones. She would attend fancy parties, afford luxury apartments in New York City, and even had time to shop and play in the city with her closest girlfriends. Needless to say, the actual job entails so much more to even get close to a taste of that type of luxury. Unlike Samantha, I spend most of my life in sweatpants communicating with media outlets via Wi-Fi and hitting deadlines. When I do leave my home office, it’s usually to hop on a plane in order to physically be on the site of an event for a client; an event not addressed to me on the invitation.

Don’t get me wrong, I do get invited to a few awesome events here and there, but I don’t usually have the time for a social life of my own, as I’m busy managing the social life of others.

Has there ever been a moment when you thought to yourself “I can’t take it anymore, I’m going to get a “real” job? If so, how did you overcome it?

To be honest, this happens at least twice a month; when things aren’t going your way, or a client is in the media discussing something you don’t want them to discuss, or a magazine editor decides to pull your client’s piece at the last minute, causing your client to completely flip out on you as if you are the one responsible. When you’re working with clients at this level, there’s always going to be something that makes you question if you’ve done the right thing by choosing the freedom of being your own boss over the traditional nine to five. Then, something amazing happens! It can be a big story hit, reading your client’s words in a major magazine that you helped place them in, or even something as small as a “I appreciate you.”, or a “No one can do what you do.” text message from your biggest headache of a client that makes the never-ending cycle worth it.

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 had a client whose last name wasn’t the easiest to pronounce let alone spell. When pitching him for a radio interview, the radio DJ asked me to repeat my client’s name four times to be sure he would pronounce it correctly on the air. Apparently, I’d been pronouncing my client’s name incorrectly the entire time, and he was not pleased with the radio station for mispronouncing the name I taught them how to mispronounce. The interview quickly redirected from the topic it was supposed to be on, to an entire segment of the correcting of his name.

Let’s just say everyone was laughing, everyone except for my client. Moral of the story, always, and I mean always make sure you communicate and clarify any personal information about the people you’re working with, especially their names!

Who has inspired or continues to inspire you to be a great leader? Why?

I will forever be inspired by the story of my very first pro athlete client, Justin Gatlin. No matter what life throws at this guy, he doesn’t stop. He never let the struggles he faced in his career define him. He eats, sleeps, and breathes his craft with passion and puts 110% into anything he does; literally nothing keeps this man down. I’ve watched him use losses as fuel to come back even harder the next time. He taught me that there is no such thing as failure, only lessons to life. Justin is truly an everyday inspiration, not only to me, but the world. His discipline and dedication are unmatched.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

I love working with people who acknowledge, respect, and give back to the ones who helped pave the way for their careers. Whether it be their fans or people in their community, I love getting creative in finding ways to help my clients say “thank you” to those. Giving back to those who have and continue to support you, doesn’t always come in the form of material things. People today often underestimate the power of paying it forward with your actions. Something as small as surprising kids at a youth game to sign autographs or mentoring foster children on the power of chasing a dream, can create a ripple effect in a community, and around the world.

I’ve been blessed to work with people who hold large platforms and use these opportunities to touch many lives. My team and I use our platforms to their full advantage by continuously spreading love as much as we possibly can, especially in these times when it’s needed the most.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. It’s not going to be as easy as it looks. People often forget what goes into the word “brand”. A brand is not a logo, as many seem to believe. In fact, it is everything surrounding the logo.
  2. Don’t negotiate your prices. I’ve learned that the clients who want to bargain on the worth of your services already don’t understand the value you bring.
  3. You will be alone…a lot. You never realize how much you miss the coworker gossip and the lunchroom drama until you trade it all in for your dream. My email and phone are now my best friends.
  4. Don’t wait until the last minute to do your taxes. Simple response to this… it was a mess. Numbers aren’t really my thing outside of invoice payments.
  5. PR is a luxury service. Not everyone who wants your services can afford your services. Refer back to number two (please, and thank you).

What person wouldn’t want to work doing something they absolutely love. You are an incredible inspiration to a great many people. 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.

I’ve always stood strongly against bullying. In my field you see bullying from all angles; television, social media, and blogs. Celebrities and pro athletes are people who live under a microscope, spending their daily lives constantly being judged by the world. So much so that the world forgets that these public figures are still real people, with real feelings, and real lives.

Bullying on all levels has become a huge issue, and with the lack of control we now in a world that is dominated by social media, I’m not sure how this monster can be stopped. However, I would love to inspire a movement that continuously works on ways to change and address the issue and begin to help heal our society.

Start planting the seed of mental health recovery in our school classrooms, speaking more on the importance of mental health, and how it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Normalizing mental health recovery and educating our children on the importance of healing yourself from hurt. More importantly showing everyone battling mental health issues that there is light at the end of every tunnel and ways to make it there.

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

“Focus on growth rather than perfection.”

I’m not quite sure who was the genius behind that, but it stuck with me. I’ve spent so many years planning the perfect life, the perfect location, the perfect career, the perfect mate, the perfect wedding, and the perfect family. I’ve done everything society told me to do in the timeframe society told me to get it done. It certainly did not turn out the way it was “perfectly” meant to be for reasons at the time I couldn’t understand. Now, I look at my imperfect life which introduced me to an unplanned career, that has grown into something that brings me the most joy out of life.

Life taught me that if you spend the same amount of time living life as you do planning it, it will all work itself out in the end.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

Having the opportunity to share a meal with Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter would literally be rubbing shoulders with greatness. Jay-Z is the example of staying true to yourself and trusting the journey. Using his platform to shine light on so many hidden society issues for change. Taking his brand from New York hip hop rap artist to worldwide business billionaire, this man is literally unstoppable. It would be an honor to be in his presence of success.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

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