Women of Wisdom-Kristen

40 under 40

I “met” Kristen about 4 years ago. I put quotation marks around met, because I have never physically been in Kristen’s presence. I first heard about her through her empowerment blog for women called EmpowerMoments. I subscribed to the blog for a few months and when the opportunity for new writers came about I immediately signed up. Her blog was a source of huge of inspiration for me and it was a hub of positivity. It was a wonderful place for me to grow spiritually with women who were doing amazing things. I learned a lot from her and have always respected her. She has now moved onto new things and I just had to get her perspective on a few things.

Without further ado, please meet Kristen…

What inspired you to start your own company? I often tell people that I didn’t start Pizzazzed on purpose. However, for as long as I can remember I have wanted to be an entrepreneur. I sold candy in elementary school. I sold love poems in high school. I sold term papers in college. I’ve owned an online shoe store and a creative design company. So I have always operated in the entrepreneurial vane. Pizzazzed was birthed out of a period of desperation. I had been laid off of from my civil engineering job and I was a new mother to baby girl number 3. It was in that moment that I made a decision to change the course of my life.

What are some things you’ve learned along the way that you wish you would have known when you started? If someone would’ve told me that I was going to have to sacrifice so much to be a successful business owner, I probably would’ve have thought a little longer and harder about my decision to pursue it full time. I cannot say that it would have deterred me from embarking on this journey, but I would have been much better prepared for the losses. Because my time and energy is being poured into building a brand, I have little time for things that I used to.

How did you differentiate yourself from other entrepreneurs? Honestly, I don’t. I think us entrepreneurs are one in the same. We have the same issues and we endure the same trials. Now I do work hard to differentiate my company from other similar companies in my industry by offering a custom, tailor-made experience. I never want a cookie cutter type operation for Pizzazzed. I believe in exclusively unique experiences for all of our clients so you will never receive the exact design that another person has ordered.

How do you prioritize urgent tasks from important tasks? I don’t! I do whatever I am inspired do in that moment. Most times it is the best decision, sometimes not so much. But I have learned that when I am inspired, my creativity flows naturally. I am not forcing something out that I am not ready to work on. For that reason many think that I am a procrastinator, but I just haven’t found the inspiration I need to complete the task. (Everything is still completed on time though.)

Do you think “work-family” balance is possible? How do you find your balance? Yes, I definitely think it is possible and very necessary. I have found that work-family balance works best for me when I set boundaries and I am strict with those boundaries. For example, as much as I can, I try to not work past 9pm so that I can spend quality time with my spouse. Likewise, I seldom accept events on Sundays because that is a family day that I set aside to have fun with the kids. Since I work nearly every Saturday, I have to be very intentional about setting aside time for the people that matter the most to me.

What is one piece of advice you carry with you? Someone once told me, “Don’t make your issue with time everyone else’s issue with you.” I am not the most punctual person so that piece of advice remains tucked away in my mind as I work daily to be timelier.

Has failing at something made it more difficult to try something else new? What is one thing you have learned from a failure? Interestingly enough, failing has always catapulted me into trying something new. I don’t do well with rejection so if I fail at something, my nature won’t let me rest until I find something that works. The one thing that I have learned from failure is that it is inevitable. Because we are not perfect people, our plans are going to sometimes be flawed too. That’s just a part of the process though and we have to use our failures as stepping stones to the next success.

How did you know you were walking in your purpose? I learned several years ago that one of my main purposes on this earth was to empower and inspire women. When I started Pizzazzed just over two years ago, I couldn’t see how that fit into my purpose statement. However, just recently it hit me. My target audience is comprised of women and God has given me several platforms with a following because of my affiliation with Pizzazzed Plus. Thus, my inspiration and empowerment for these women may not come in direct sales of my product, but it is a by-product of my brand. Every day I get to sprinkle a little pizzazz on other women’s lives just by living my dream!

You’re a mother to three girls, what do you hope you inspire them to do? There is one thing and one thing only that I am hoping to inspire my girls to do: Create opportunities for other people. My girls have watched me slave in the kitchen of my home to moving into a brick and mortar location (and still slaving! LOL). They know the nights that I sometimes don’t sleep at all because there is so much that has to be accomplished. So I want them to hang on to all of those memories so that when Pizzazzed has broken off into franchises and they possibly own some in the future, they can go back to the moment and realize that my sacrifices were not in vain. I did what I did to create opportunities for them and in turn they must do the same for someone coming behind them.

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