Q&A with SisterUp Founders Lindsay Stephenson & Krista Parry

One month ago today, SisterUp was launched! We are so honored and delighted to have you here. It’s the perfect day for a SisterUp Series Q&A with the SisterUp sisters, Krista and Lindsay.

How did you find that idea that started your business? Where were you at in life when you started your business?

KRISTA: Lindsay and I have always wanted to start a business together. We had been throwing around ideas for a few years but we knew that from our experience, we wanted to help women, more specifically moms, find their strengths and turn it into a business!

I was a SVP of Marketing and Partnerships for a global active lifestyle company and I was good at what I did… but my sparkle had been dulled. And who likes a dull sparkle?! I had been saying I was going to quit my corporate job for about 10 years. One day after I had returned from another long week on the road, I was driving with my two little boys (then aged 3 and 5) and my five year old asked the most innocent question, “Mommy, are you my mom?” He was confused whether our nanny or I was his mom. I called Lindsay that day and told her I was going to quit my job. It was time to start our business! 

LINDSAY: I have owned a production company with my husband in Los Angeles for the past decade. We started it when I had my first child, it was a great way for me to leave the corporate world and still use the skills I had acquired in my career but my passion was never in filmmaking (my husband was born for it). A few years ago I had found myself in a rut. Losing myself in motherhood and not really doing something I was passionate about. It was about this time that Krista and I started talking about doing something together.

I really had to analyze what it was that I loved. I remember driving on a road trip with my husband (and three daughters) and I started writing on a piece of paper what I was good at. They weren’t necessarily what I loved but what skills I had. Then I started writing what I loved to do. I discovered I had skills of public relations, marketing and starting and running a business AND I loved encouraging and empowering people to reach their goals. 

How did you know your business idea was something that you were going to make happen?

KRISTA: We both have so many friends who were either in a corporate job that they hated, had left the corporate world, or never started a career, because they wanted to be moms. Yet, when their kids got older and were in school, so many of them wanted to use their strengths, they just had forgotten what their strengths were! We are such believers that when women find their strengths, and use it, the whole world is better!

LINDSAY: Pretty much as Krista said. We started to see this trend with our friends. They all had kids that were now in school and these women were now wondering what to do. May of them had been in the corporate world but left to raise kids. They didn’t want to go back to corporate but wanted to do something. A lot of them didn’t even know what their strength or skills were anymore!

What was the biggest fear you had to overcome to take that first step?

KRISTA: My biggest fear was quitting my job. I had worked in my corporate job for 15 years and had a HUGE salary, bonuses, corporate vehicle, etc. I was the breadwinner in our house. But I have a very supportive husband and he told me to just do it, we would make it work! And we have.

LINDSAY: My biggest fear was that it would fail and that I really wouldn’t know what I was doing. I was definitely suffering from Impostor Syndrome.

What is the biggest fear you are still knocking down every day to keep your business moving forward?

KRISTA: My biggest fear is what should we do next. We have so many ideas and we want to help so many women. It’s a question of how do we do it all.

LINDSAY: I feel such an urgency to reach as many women as possible and empower them to find that thing they love and turn it into a business or side-business.

Who has been your biggest cheerleader?

KRISTA: My husband is my biggest support. We are true partners (although he does all the laundry… I’m allergic to detergent :)). He is always cheering me on. My two little boys love having mommy around and they always ask if we are going to SisterUp. Isn’t that cute! Of course, my longest cheerleader is my sister Lindsay and my other sisters. We are lucky to have five sisters!

LINDSAY: Definitely my husband. We are a team in everything we do so it is nice to have someone cheering you on with the same goal. My daughters are big cheerleaders too. They include SisterUp in all their prayers, it is the sweetest.

Who was your first client?

KRISTA: My brilliant life and business coach, Lyn Christian, taught me to “earn while I learn” what I wanted to do. My first client was Denise Cartwright, a smart, strong female entrepreneur and the founder of CRUDE Personal Care. It’s been awesome to see tangible impact on a company.  

Also, we just had our first SisterUp event and we seriously were in tears seeing the sold-out room full of women! It was a true testament that what we are doing is for the good!

LINDSAY: When I first left the corporate world ten years ago I did some freelance PR to help pay the bills. My first client was a winery that I did PR for. It was a good gig but unfortunately at the time I didn’t drink wine so I wasn’t very good at it;)

What is something you do for self-care?

KRISTA: I am a big believer in exercise! It truly helps my mind. I have ADHD and I have to workout first thing in the morning. It gets my brain kicked into action.

LINDSAY: I am trying to get better at this. I just started meditating and that helps. I find that getting outdoors clears my mind so I walk a lot and hike. Luckily there are great hiking trails just 5 minutes from my house.

How do you balance work with family life?

KRISTA: One of my mentors Lyn Christian told me there is no such thing as balance. She prefers to call it equilibrium. Sometimes our equilibrium has to swing more towards family, and sometimes it’s weighted more towards work. In the end, it all balances out!

LINDSAY: When I first started as an entrepreneur 10 years ago I had no balance. I was stressed in work and personal life. It took me being overwhelmed with work to a period of not working to finally find my balance. I now try and stick with my schedule as much as possible. My kids are at school until 2 everyday so I work until then and then be present with them until bedtime. There are times where I have to sneak work in here and there but overall I schedule out my day and be present in everything I am doing.

What do you hope that others are learning from you?

KRISTA: You are never too old, too secure, or too stuck to change. Sometimes you have to make really BIG changes to get different results. Our mom used to say, ‘It’s like the dog chasing its tail… don’t that a$$ look familiar.” I left a successful career, where I had been for 15 years, to pursue what I love. The happiness and joy that I have, and my sparkle, is so much brighter than it’s ever been!

LINDSAY: That YOU are in charge of your life. If you don’t like the way your life is going you can change it.  It is something I feel like I learned later in life but I now realize that I get to control how I want my life to look.

What advice would you give women just starting out?

KRISTA: Start. Even if it’s one small step. Take it. Every step of action, every flex of the courage muscle, makes you stronger! As you practice taking more steps. As you practice having more courage, it becomes easier and easier!

LINDSAY I agree. Start where you are with what you have. Even if it’s 20 minutes a day researching an idea, after one year that is 122 hours.

What’s next?

KRISTA: We have so many ideas for SisterUp! We can’t wait to see where the universe guides us!

LINDSAY: We are creating an online course for women to help find their strength. This will allow us to reach more women and create a larger community.

What is your go-to singing – top of your lungs, windows – down in a car song?

KRISTA: Seriously. Every song is a chance for me to karaoke… or Car-aoke in the the car. Currently, I love ‘Just Like Fire’ by PINK! And ‘StarBoy’ by The Weeknd. My boys and I jam out to this song. Although, I must admit, I always thought the words were, “I’m in love with a StarBoy”. I recently learned the real words, and let’s just say, they are not what I have been singing! Don’t listen to the unedited version! A classic for me is ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ by Pat Benatar!

LINDSAY: Right now my girls and I are loving “Scars to Your Beautiful” by Alessia Cara. My 6 year old screams the line, “You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are, And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart.”

And of course anything Michael Jackson.

 

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