When I was a kid, if you asked me the timeless question - What do you want to be when you grow up? - my response was always wild and often unpredictable.
Answers included: Marine Biologist. Pirate. Teacher. Ghostbuster. Actress. Paleontologist. Maple Sugar Shack Operator. Seismologist. Volcanologist. Tornado Chaser. Dolphin Trainer. Writer.
This was all before the age of 13, of course.
It took me a long time to finally figure out what my calling or "dream job" was and to say I eventually figured it out would be a lie. My dream job kind of just happened.
Don’t Find a Career, Fall in Love With One
I found my dream job much like someone finds their soulmate. I had a total moment of “Oh hi - it’s you. I’ve been waiting for you. Let’s go on a life long adventure together.”
It certainly wasn't planned. One day I had a “nine to five” job and the next, I was falling madly in love with the hustle and the grind of the action-packed world of PR. Planned or not, public relations came naturally to me. I often wondered why I'd never thought of it until it happened. And even when others said that one day I’d grow tired of it or change my mind. That one day I’d long for something more like management or VP roles, I disagreed.
People and storytelling were my jam. I was born for this.
And I’ve stayed true to that. Sort of.
Quit Everything and Become a Mermaid
In the summer of 2016, I had this wild idea to rebrand my personal blog to become East Coast Mermaid: a lifestyle and travel blog about my adventures on the East Coast. As a complete afterthought, I had the wild idea to sell tank tops with my logo on them, so I ordered 24 tanks on the pretence that my friends and family would probably buy one and I’d call it a day.
They sold out immediately. That was cool.
So then I ordered 48 more. And they flew off the shelves of my non-existent East Coast Mermaid factory store. And then numerous partnership requests started landing in my inbox.
Next thing I knew, I had a side hustle.
See here’s the thing about turning your love of the ocean and beach into a money generating business. When people actually take you seriously and buy from you, that fire in your heart and in your blood, it grows.
As summer turned to fall and my flip flops were tucked away for another season, I started doing some major soul searching. And I realized that maybe entrepreneurship was in my blood more than I’d originally thought. I loved my job at Onboardly and I loved my team, but suddenly I found myself wondering what life would be like after Onboardly. After all, I’ve always been a fan of the back up plan.
But more importantly, I started to think about what it would be like to work for anyone else other than Onboardly founder & CEO, Renee Warren. Renee has not only taught me a TON in 5 years about marketing, PR and running a company, but she is someone I consider one of my dearest friends, an extended family member, and honestly the best person in the world to ride rollercoasters with at Mall of America.
I soon realized, there was no going back to working for someone else. There was also no going back to the nine to five grind.
Trust the Universe
On New Year’s Day 2017, when I wrote down my 2017 intentions, I wrote something I’d never imagined myself writing.
Within one year, I want to be my own boss.
It wasn’t anything against my current job or Renee. I loved them both dearly. It was just me truly honouring my heart. It was me finally reaching a destination on this journey I call life that I’d never even realized was a pin on the map.
It was me taking complete control of my own destiny.
And because I set my intention for one year out, I totally had all the time in the world to make it happen. Or put it off, as so many of us do time and time again.
Enter the universe. "One year? Pffft. She can do better than that," it said.
Which brings me to today.
Five years of agency life, over a hundred startups + small businesses, and thousands of media wins later. Today I’m announcing my new wildest adventure and let’s be honest - worst kept secret over the last few weeks.
Because today, I’m not writing this as Crystal the blogger, the publicist, or the mermaid.
Today I’m just me.
And me happens to be the President and Owner of Crystal Richard & Company Inc. - a global consulting biz helping startups, entrepreneurs, brands, and small businesses create stories that will attract a tribe of raving fans and get the brand awareness they deserve.
I also now have an official seal and shares in a privately held corporation that I own. This is real life now. Follow your dreams, kids.
Adding Life + Adventure Back Into Life
So why did I launch my own consulting biz? It wasn’t only to have 100% justification to use the hashtag #girlboss. I had two other major driving forces behind my decision.
Reason One - Eliminating Broken Promises:
In my 5 years of agency life, I’ve seen what the PR experience is like for many founders and business owners. For many, it’s fun and exciting, as it should be. But for others, it's stressful and unnecessarily hard. It's long hours, missed dinner dates or family time and built on broken promises.
Yeah, I was never a fan of broken promises, disappointment, or anything less than a good time.
When you create the right stories, you breathe life into your company and add heart to the stories you tell. And when you partner with the right storyteller, your PR journey becomes an exciting adventure again, eliminating the stress, unpleasant surprises and those dreaded broken promises many PR agencies are sadly known for.
I don’t want you to regret a single thing about your PR experience. I want you to never stop talking about it because it was so gosh darn good.
Reason Two - Turning Passion Into Profit:
If selling over 60 mermaid tank tops on a whim taught me anything, it’s that you CAN turn your passion into a business. Just wait until you see how I’m incorporating my childhood obsession with pirates into the business this summer.
I'm a beach bum. I have dreamed of mermaid and pirate adventures since my childhood. I have told stories since I could speak.
I turned ALL of that into a business.
If this adventure thus far has proved anything, it’s that putting your heart into something and turning your imagination into a reality can totally become a legit business. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Discovering Stranger Tides and Braving Rogue Waves
Five years ago, when someone asked me if I’d ever consider entrepreneurship, I said hell no. I was a huge fan of a steady paycheck, benefits, and letting someone else deal with the stress of running a company.
Today, I can’t imagine being anything or anyone else. And for the first time in my life, there's no back up plan and so far, I'm sleeping just fine with that knowledge.
I know it won’t always be easy. I know there will be rogue waves, storms, and that I’ll probably find myself sobbing into a tub of Ben & Jerry’s questioning everything more than once.
But I know it will totally be worth it. Because I did it for me and no one else. And I can’t wait to take you along for the ride.
Because whether you want to call me a PR professional, a blogger, or a siren - there’s one thing I’ll always do and that’s tell stories.
And this story is just beginning.
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