Reflecting on the Power of Yes

Real Women, Real Stories, Real InspirationKrystal Hobbs of Reflective Marketing business headshotKrystal Hobbs, owner of Reflective Marketing, views having her own business as a way to rely on herself for employment, rather than relying on someone else. “I always wanted to be in control and make my own success,” says Krystal.

From an early age, Krystal’s parents set the example for her that if you have a vision for what you want your life to be, you work hard, and you take some smart risks, you can always get yourself out of any tough situation.

Her mother had her when she was high school, and Krystal grew up in public housing. “So that time,” says Krystal “was [her parents] getting ahead.” When she was about twelve or thirteen, her parents saved enough that they built their own house.

Krystal’s parents also influenced her entrepreneurial spirit in other ways. Her father owned a restaurant and is still an entrepreneur today as a realtor.

Her mother worked for a small bakery for most of Krystal’s childhood. Krystal would often visit her mom at work, then get to work herself.

“I would pick blueberries in the backyard and give it to the owner of the bakery who would put it on their pies,” says Krystal with a laugh, “and give me free ice cream in exchange.”

So, although Krystal started out working for others, it wasn’t a surprise that the path she took created a smooth transition for her to run her own small business.

During university, Krystal became interested in social media marketing and worked for a small tech company as a social media associate.

While there, she handled all of the company’s online marketing and social media accounts. She was in control of Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and acted as a ghost writer for the company’s blog.

“I just kind of did my own thing” says Krystal. “I really liked that.”

Krystal Hobbs of Reflective Marketing at Marketing eventAlthough her goal of going through a business program was to come out with a full time job, around the time Krystal was nearing graduation, she realized that wasn’t necessarily the job she wanted.

She did, however, feel confident she wanted to do something involved with marketing.

After participating in several marketing competitions, Krystal and a partner made it into the top ten for Canada’s Next Top Ad Exec, a nationwide advertising competition.

She went to Toronto, did her presentation, and through that scored an internship with General Motors in Oshawa, Ontario. At the end of the internship she was offered a job, but that, as well, wasn’t what she really wanted.

While working at General Motors, Krystal worked with five different ad agencies and discovered her real interest lay on the other side of the table.

Rather than be the client approving the creative marketing agencies were coming up with, she wanted to be one of the creators. “That just seemed super cool,” says Krystal.

Krystal Hobbs of Reflective Marketing at Newfoundland HarbourKrystal headed back home to Newfoundland where she found a job with a small agency as the owner’s first employee. “He really mentored me into how to get started,” says Krystal, and when he decided to shut his company’s doors, Krystal saw the perfect opportunity to branch out on her own.

She was even able to keep three clients from the closing business.

“I was in a pretty fortunate situation,” says Krystal of being able to start Reflective Marketing with a few clients, “but the whole running a business thing I kind of figured out as I went along—the hard way.”

Krystal has a business background, a business degree, and studied a lot of marketing, “But,” she says, “I don’t think anything actually prepares you for running a business, and nobody teaches you how to do that …the ins and outs, the everyday operation … the financial side of things.”

“When I started,” says Krystal, “I thought I just need to make enough to replace having a job.” She quickly realized that wasn’t the case.

“To actually have a sustainable company you need a lot more income. It’s not just about covering salary and expenses,” says Krystal. “You need to plan for hard times.”

When Krystal hired her first employee, the act taught her even more. “I don’t think the responsibility of it really set in until it happened,” says Krystal. “I had to learn really quickly to bring in more business.”

She kept working, she learned as she went, and, says Krystal, “if anyone is going to go hungry, it’s me. But I’ve learned how to better manage that.”

Building a team was always a part of Krystal’s vision for her business.

“I think a lot of people like working by themselves but I never really did,” says Krystal. “I wanted to build a team and I still absolutely want to grow and bring on more people.” She thinks five sounds nice.

She also wants to grow her client base and export her services to more international companies. “I love small businesses and I like promoting them and the people behind them,” says Krystal.

“All the clients that we work with have very interesting stories, they’re very passionate about their work … they’re doing really amazing things and making big impacts and helping people one way or another,” says Krystal. “I like the ability to elevate that and get it in front of the right people.”

As in any small business, the effort to grow her client base and do all she can for her clients can be all consuming, but Krystal has a strong focus on making sure she has balance.

“I’ve never wanted work to be everything,” says Krystal.

Being surrounded by entrepreneurs from a young age, she’s seen the way a business can take over someone’s life.

“I’ve always found it important to take the time to separate,” says Krystal. “I definitely work more than the average person or much more than I would if I worked for someone else, but I do definitely take the time to separate [work and life].”

She tries to take a couple of vacations a year and most of her weekends are fairly unplugged. “As a social media consultant I have to be checked in, which is a unique challenge to our line of work,” says Krystal, but, she adds, it helps that her partner hates technology and keeps her in line if she’s on the phone too much.

When she’s not working, Krystal enjoys 8 Limb Muay Thai, a form of marital arts street fighting, spending time outdoors, and hanging out with her six-year-old brother.

Despite the importance of taking time away from the business to focus on her life outside of work, Krystal also sees the way her business has influenced and transformed her personal life.

“Running a business is the greatest personal development journey of all time,” says Krystal. “I’m much more confident and able to have faith in myself and trust my own instincts.”

“I always had very small dreams,” says Krystal. “Too, too small.”

Despite her early interest in entrepreneurship, if she could have guessed where her life would end up, she would have thought she’d be living a “pretty ordinary safe life, probably working for someone else.”

However, the three years since opening the doors of Reflective Marketing have taught her to dream much bigger.

She now believes it’s important to have ultimate faith in yourself and listen to your gut. “I think that’s been probably one of the most challenging things for me, but I do it a little bit more all the time. And nine times out of ten it works out,” says Krystal.

Krystal Hobbs of Reflective Marketing having a fun break from businessShe even has a new motto that lines up with this:

“Say yes.”

“So, for anything that’s scary or uncomfortable, just say yes and figure out the how and the what and the why afterwards,” Krystal pauses and laughs, “provided that it’s scary in a good way.”

Part of what makes saying yes easier is another motto she lives by: “You don’t need to know what you want to do for the rest of your life, you only need to know what you want to do next.”

Right now, what Krystal plans to do next is continue to grow her company, both through expanding her team and her client base, and focus her marketing efforts most strongly on Facebook.

“It’s a lot of fun,” says Krystal, and is what Reflective Marketing is most known for. “Facebook is where all of our clients are seeing success.”

If you want to learn more about Krystal and Reflective Marketing, you can visit the company website or visit her page on Facebook. Also, check out the Connect & Thrive show, which goes live on Facebook every Friday at noon NST.

Have some thoughts on Krystal’s journey or see parallels to your own? Scroll down to “Join the Conversation!” 


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