HOW I GOT TO WHERE I AM TODAY - AN INTERVIEW WITH KRISTA RAE
Krista is a WordPress developer and blog strategist who helps female creatives elevate their business, increase conversions, and boost engagement through crafting strategic blogs. She uses personalised, goal-driven strategies to set her clients apart from the competition and highlight their unique offerings.
I'm a huge fan of Krista so was thrilled when she wanted to take part in the career series. Hope you enjoy the interview!
DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO GO INTO YOUR CHOSEN CAREER?
Definitely not. I didn’t even know what software or web development was until I was a sophomore in college. My husband was a computer science major and started coming home from class all excited about the things he’d learned. In return, he’d get completely blank stares.
In order to get a better understanding of what he did, I took an introductory class on computer programming. I was in love from day one and ended up getting two degrees in the field.
After a couple years working in software development I transferred to web development. Once I discovered the online space shortly after that, I knew that’s where I wanted to end up.
WHEN DID YOU START TO DEVELOP A PASSION FOR WHAT YOU CURRENTLY DO?
Honestly, the very first time code was explained to me, I was in love. I’ve always enjoyed math and logical thinking and being able to combine that with making something beautiful and functional is perfection to me.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AT SCHOOL? DID YOU ENJOY IT? WHAT WERE YOUR FAVOURITE SUBJECTS?
I was an extremely dedicated student. I didn’t say much and I wasn’t a teacher’s pet, but I enjoyed learning and (usually) loved doing homework assignments - yep, total nerd. My favourite subjects were math and band. In my senior year in college I had one quarter where my classes were Calculus 1, Calculus 2, Advanced Placement Statistics, and band. Yikes.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? DID YOU GO TO UNIVERSITY OR STRAIGHT INTO WORK?
Immediately after high school I went onto college. I started studying chemistry and biology to become a doctor and quickly learned that I hated science. I switched over to math and eventually landed on computer science.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE WITHIN YOUR CHOSEN FIELD?
My first experience with web development was at a full-time job. I was hired as a software developer, but when the web development team started growing I jumped at the chance to claim one of the available spots. It took me a while to catch on, but once I got the hang of HTML and CSS, rather than the programming languages I was used to, I was hooked.
WHAT PATH DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
From the time I knew I wanted to work for myself to the time it happened was about 7 months. I was working full-time and started my current business on the side.
3 months after starting I got my first client and 3 months after that I was booked out for 2 months in advance. I knew that if I wanted to do this that it was time to make my move.
I approached my boss about dropping down to half-time so I could spend more time on my own business. While they made me a couple other offers, the answer was “no”. After a week of feeling sorry for myself, my husband and I agreed that we’d make it work and I put in my notice. A couple weeks later I was fully self-employed.
The path hasn’t been easy, but I haven’t looked back since making that decision.
WHEN DO YOU THINK YOU GOT A BREAKTHROUGH WITH YOUR CAREER?
My real breakthrough came with meeting my friend Kory. She is ultimately responsible for introducing me to the people I partnered with that had me booked out for months in advance. That was exactly what I needed to build a reliable client base, get my name out, and build enough of a runway to leave my job.
WHAT'S BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
My biggest challenge has been trusting that it will all work out and managing my mindset. If I go more than a week without a new client inquiry, even if I’m booked, I really let it get to me and it can be tough. I never realised how important mindset would be in running my own business so that’s something I’m working on each day.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT?
My biggest achievement is building something that allowed me to leave a well-paying job, work for myself, and hire out work to assistant developers. Working for myself has always been in the back of my mind and I’m amazed and proud that I’ve been able to make it happen.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AND YOUR CAREER GOING IN THE FUTURE?
Everything is still moving so fast that this one is hard to think about! I’ve recently built up a team, which I always thought would be years down the road. For now, I’d love to continue building my business and raising prices so I can work on more projects that I really love and hire someone to manage my projects. Less email and more development sounds like a good deal to me :)
FINALLY, IF YOU COULD SHARE THREE OF YOUR BIGGEST LIFE LESSONS WITH ABOH READERS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
- Trust yourself - you’re capable of far more than you think if you really put your head down and dig in.
- You don’t have to do it on your own - I’d still be stuck in a full-time job that I hated if it weren’t for the friendships I’ve made and help I’ve accepted
- Money isn’t THAT important - one of my biggest concerns with working for myself was, at the time, my business was only making about 20% of what I was making at my full-time job. When you find something you love it’s pretty amazing how you can make things work :)