Christa Gurka is a fitness and wellness business coach and an Orthopedic Physical Therapist specializing in Pilates-based rehabilitation. Christa owns, operates, and teaches at Pilates in the Grove, located in South Florida.

In this episode, Christa joins me to share the details on how she grew her business to seven figures and expanded her team while keeping the freedom and flexibility of a healthy work-life balance. 

Join us in this episode to learn more about the importance of forming your businesses core values and why improving your mindset can make a big difference in the expansion of your business. 

In this episode Christa and I also discuss: 

  • Christa’s mission and how she got started as an entrepreneur 3:11
  • The turning point in her business 10:35
  • How to keep your core values front and center in your business 19:06
  • Finding your non-negotiables 35:01
  • Joining a mastermind program and why it can be a game changer 42:24

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Full Episode Transcript:

Danielle  0:00  

Christa, welcome to entrepreneur money stories. Thank you for being here.

Christa  0:02  

Thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to talk to you and your audience.

Danielle  0:06  

Yeah, we were jamming out, I had to say, let’s press pause and actually get ourselves on air. So I’m really excited for this conversation. But let’s, let’s pause and just tell the audience a little bit, what is your mission in the world today, and a little little bit of backstory of how you got where you are today.

Christa  0:26  

Excellent. So my mission, my most recent mission, to be honest, is to teach more women how to be financially solvent in their business. And how I got into that was I am a physical therapist by degree is what I tell people, I have a master’s in physical therapy. And I was working in a Pilates based physical therapy practice. And I just kind of thought, we have all these people that love Pilates after they get injured. And they’re always asking about what to do afterwards. And we’re sending them to all these studios around the city. And I thought that just seems so silly. We have like all this built in clientele. Why don’t we create, like an offshoot, a studio? And my boss at the time was like, great, why don’t you do it, and I will go in and be a partner with you if you want. And I was like, I don’t understand how to run a business. I literally didn’t know. I thought, you know, that we had, we all put in I mean, this is a crazy amount, like $2,200, I think to start the business, and I thought that we were all equal partners. So I didn’t understand the operating agreement. I didn’t understand anything. And then fast forward 12 years, I am now a multi location, multiple seven figure business owner who at the time I didn’t even think was available. So

Danielle  1:47  

for anyone listening that doesn’t know what this means. So what is physical therapy with a Pilates focus? Like what does that mean?

Christa  1:55  

So basically, most people think of physical therapy as if I got injured, or hurt, I go to see a physical therapist. So what we were using in my physical therapy clinic was Pilates, which is an exercise modality that is very mind body focused. So it’s like you focus on your movements. And we were seeing amazing results with our clients specifically, we were very high back and neck diagnosis. And so we were using that type of modality in the clinic to get people better. And then people were like, Oh, I love this exercise. It feels good to me, it feels good on my joints, I feel safe, I don’t have pain. And so I thought why don’t we just start teaching, having small groups do this. So one on one is expensive for a lot of people. And so if you put it in a you know, I’m sure you talk about like one to one to one to many, right? And so that’s what I said, instead of doing one to one, why don’t we do one too many. And that’s how it started. So we started with a studio that had small group classes, and it’s basically grown from there. So now my business is called Pilates in the grove. It’s in Miami, Florida, and we offer full service Pilates studio services. And we offer a cash base. So concierge physical therapy, recovery, massage services,

Danielle  3:17  

okay, so somebody gets injured, they come in, they can receive physical therapy. And it’s also working now.

Christa  3:25  

Yeah, so we have, it’s like our wellness component, I will say we actually get the majority of people looking for Pilates. And that’s how we filter them into the physical therapy portion of our business. So it used to be the reverse model used to be people coming in for physical therapy. But I was like, you know, I love this Pilates so much. And I feel such a huge impact, I think there can be so much impact, getting more bodies doing Pilates to be able to move better and live better and have active lifestyles that are pain free. And so that’s how and to be honest, I don’t have to deal with licensing and insurance companies and all of that stuff. And so now we get a lot of people coming in and then maybe in a class we’ll say we’ll see them tweak, you know, rub their shoulders or something. I’m like, Hey, do you have your shoulder bothering you? Yeah, you know, I think I might have to take some time off and we’re like, why don’t you see one of our physical therapists and a lot of our instructors are physical therapists so people feel very safe coming to our classes. They’ve had spinal surgery or total knee replacements or scoliosis. So they feel very safe in our classes. And so when you talk in business about what is your unique selling proposition or what are your unique specializations, that is it for us that we employ high level quality qualified instructors that are physical therapists and so you can feel safe coming into our studio that we’re going to be here to take care of you.

Danielle  4:54  

Oh, I love it. I love it. I think you know my first passion is numbers but like a close second. Is is wellness and our abilities to be able to care for ourselves in our bodies. And I love the idea of entrepreneurs making space for themselves to be able to find a movement routine that fits them. Right? Not Not everybody, like I’m a big runner. I love hot yoga. Kind of crazy, crazy the other direction. But I love the idea for us to be able to find a movement pattern that works best for our bodies and in a really safe way. So

Christa  5:29  

Yeah, I totally agree. And I’ll be honest, I’m in fitness. And I don’t love to exercise. You know, it’s like it’s the total opposite for me. I know. It’s crazy. And it’s like, I’m getting out, I’m going for a walk, I’m getting on the reformer or playing tennis or pickleball. And I don’t believe I’m not a business owner. That’s like everyone should do Pilates. Do I believe everyone can benefit from Pilates? Yeah, 100%. But I don’t think that everyone’s my client, certain people are going to love what we have to offer and other people are not. And sometimes knowing who you’re not for is just as powerful as knowing who you are for.

Danielle  6:06  

Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. Couldn’t agree more. Well, let’s talk a little bit about your journey as a teacher, right. So you were teaching classes, you have this physical therapy degree, but now you are running an operating the business as well as coaching other business owners. So walk us through that, that journey. And I might interrupt you as we go. Feel free to add a short story.

Christa  6:31  

It’s not a short story, and I can have the gift of gab sometimes. So feel free to interrupt. So it started. One of the things that I I think that made me a really good physical therapist, and I think made me great as a business owner, when I first started was my attention to detail. So I’m very analytical. If you did any of them, I’m an Enneagram. Three, like if you do any of these personality things. So the whole external validation thing, people pleasing thing is my stick. So I also worked in restaurants growing up. So customer service was a big, big thing for me. So I had an idea in my head that I want to create a space that people will feel comfortable and motivated and not judge. So a judgment free zone where they can come and move and have high quality experience while they’re there. And so I always knew, I also did know from the beginning that I did not want to work 80 hours, I had two small children at the time. And so I very intentionally started bringing on a team right from the beginning. In the beginning, I would say I think it’s because I didn’t know what I didn’t know that it was all. I was there all the time I was teaching the classes, I was answering the phones, I was returning the email. So everything was kind of how I wanted to do it. And I was one doing it all. So there’s not a whole lot of mistakes, right? It wasn’t until I started growing, that I realized what a disservice I had done to myself and my business and my clients and my team by not getting those things out on paper. And it was really when I opened my second location. And I felt like the studio was doing great, the business doing great. I felt like I was on a bullet train. And I was holding on for dear life from behind, like getting dragged through the mud.

Danielle  8:26  

And I think that’s very common, right. So I hear that a lot from our clients. It’s not usually until you expand to that second location or additional employee, right, there’s that marker of growth that suddenly the light switch switches, and it really changes the scenario and what you need in your business.

Christa  8:47  

Yeah, and I think, you know, we do hear this from a lot of people all the time that their personal health starts to suffer. They’re, you know, there. I was a raving lunatic at home. I was, you know, and it was really on my end when I finally put my big girl pants on and recognized that I’m going to put myself at ease and that it’s not everyone else’s fault. It’s not her fault, because she didn’t clean the studio the way that I wanted her to answer the phone. It was my fault because I didn’t tell anybody what to do. I didn’t have a system. I didn’t have a process. It was all in my head. And I just expected people to read my mind. And I had intentionally or unintentionally created a business that revolved completely around me. Like I had to have my thumbprint on everything control freak. Yes. And so and I was also a kid of the 80s like our parents told us like put your head down, be quiet, work hard. Just do it. So that’s I don’t know, that was my I didn’t have entrepreneurship modeled for me as a child. I thought that’s what you did. I don’t know. I thought that’s what you did. And it wasn’t till realized I was like, it was either I want to burn it all to the ground and walk away or

Danielle  9:55  

I hear that all the

Christa  9:57  

time. Or I’m going to put in motion the steps that are going to get me to the place I want to be. And making the decision wasn’t hard. Getting over the bridge to the other side was the hardest part because I had a turn into a different. I don’t wanna say a different person, I had a level up into a different person.

Danielle  10:22  

What action steps did you like at this pivotal time that you identified? What were some action steps that you took either, like, all the way around? Like I’m thinking, what skills did you need to learn? But like, what, what actions did you take?

Christa  10:36  

It was very, very specific. So I started researching more business coaching and business programs. I eventually chose to go through the EOS model, which is the Entrepreneurial Operating system model. Yep, I know you’ve talked about it, as well. Yeah, right on EOS. Of course, I was already overwhelmed. So I got an implementer to run me through the program. So that actually probably cost us $75,000. However, I tell people this all the time, I applied for a grant through my state. And as a woman owned business, I was going to be adding employees and new skills to the business I got 85% paid for. So that was wonderful. So it’s like a year program from that program. And if you know, I think you’ve spoken about it on your podcast, but the book’s traction, if you don’t, you can retract. You can also read Get a grip by Gina Whitman. It talks all about putting your system into an operating system. The E Myth is another process. Strategic Coach is another process. They’re all similar. We operate on EOS. So when I did that, I decided I was going to hire my first non-industry person. Well, actually my first non industry non revenue generating role was a bookkeeper, which I think we talked about when I interviewed you for my podcast, but it was as I decided I wanted to be Chief Operating Officer. So I hired a Chief Operating Officer. And it’s really hard. And it for a number of reasons. One, it’s expensive. So it was my first six figure salary that was non revenue generated, I almost vomited when I had to put the offer in because that’s a lot of money for a small business, you know.

Danielle  12:16  

So I have a few I can hear. I can hear people’s wheels turning. Yeah, the money mindset behind that. Right? Did you still pay yourself while bringing on this individual?

Christa  12:28  

Great, great question. I’m glad you actually asked that. So when I was going through this process, the two people that I had, I had thought, Oh, these are great staff members, let me level them up, promote them to managers. It wasn’t working. Because one, I also believe it’s not great to take your most productive, like service provider and make the manager sometimes because it’s two different skill sets. Nobody was happy. We started having these conversations in our meetings and stuff. And so finally, we all agreed that we were going to hire someone that was an operations manager, they knew operations. And so what I chose to do, I ran the numbers with my bookkeeper and my accountant, and what was that going to look like? And I chose to take a small not a large one, a small salary decrease while I brought him on, but not a lot. So I don’t know, maybe 10%. Because of my expectation of him when and when I interviewed him, he has an MBA. So that’s another thing. So MBAs X, you know, they expect a decent living, but I, I was sure that he could get us across the finish line. I was confident in that. And I also was pretty sure that he wasn’t going to stay around forever. Like I was like, I think he’s going to be here for like two to three years. And then he’s probably going to move on. And interesting.

Danielle  13:59  

Yeah,you were okay with that?

Christa  14:00  

I was, I was okay with that. Because I was like, I’m going to absorb it. So I mean, I was like, I’ve always learned never to be fully 100% Reliant and dependent on anyone in your business except for yourself. Because anything can happen. And if you don’t have ownership, in other words, if I completely abdicated my role as owner to this person, and he left or you know, what if it’s a female and they have gone on maternity leave, and they decide they don’t want to come back? What if somebody has to leave the state what I mean, who knows a variety of reasons what if somebody gets sick and they are no longer able to

Danielle  14:36  

I love your mindset around it, though, to honor the fact that you are going to let this person come in and do their thing and help you create the systems and processes that you needed and absorb what you needed from them without clinging to that and then clean to that role. So that’s that’s

Christa  14:56  

what I would advise anybody, I don’t care what kind of a service provider You are if you, you know, or an accountant, or a Pilates instructor or a salon person, like there’s a difference between delegating and abdicating. And you just never know what could happen. And even though we love people, and in our head, we might go home and be like, Oh my gosh, if this person ever leaves, I’ll be, yeah, it won’t be hard. However, it’s reality. So I did take a small pay and create a pay decrease. But by the time he left, which he eventually did leave, he stayed through COVID, though he left, he got an offer that I was like, Oh, you cannot say no to this, like, you have to go. Not only did I increase my SAT, not only did I make back everything that I had given up, but I increased my salary. And we had all of our systems and processes in place. And I truly believe that he helped keep us financially solvent and COVID. It’s great. So now, when I brought him on, it was hard, the biggest level up I had to do was in myself. So the action steps I took, like you said, I did EOS. I went through our whole core values, giving our company, you know, we do our company meetings every quarter, you know, like our state of the company addresses, I started telling people, like, if you can’t get on the bus, it’s time to get off like all of this stuff. It took a while. So people don’t think that it took overnight, it took probably 12 to 18 months for us people to be able to regurgitate our core values. And I was very intentional that I was not putting them up on the wall until everyone knew what they were, and could talk to me about what they actually meant, and why they were important in our business. And, and I have a great team, but it took like over a year, you know, for them to finally get to time. Yeah. And then I had to learn how to let things go. And I

Danielle  16:55  

Can I pause? I think we hear core values all the time. But what things did you do to help keep it front and center? Like you said, you didn’t put up on the wall until I worked and regurgitated. Well, were you walking around with like, alright, microphone in your face?

Christa  17:10  

Yeah, that’s it? Yeah, well, what we do is, so we, we started doing regular meetings, okay, so we do staff meetings we do once a month. And then we do an all staff like everyone meets in person, once a quarter and I do a state of the company address. And in every single meeting, we go over the core values, and we ask the staff, tell me a core value and tell me who you think on the team exemplifies that core core value in what way. And so we go around, we have six core values, I actually designed them with the help of the team I had in place at the time, we did a full like brainstorm networking session about getting them involved in the core values, because it was something that I said, these are going to be the the living breathing embodiment of how we run our company for ever, like, So 10 years from now, it’s still going to be what we think about when we run our business and and now it’s how I hire, so it really helped me be able to fine tune who I was hiring, get them on board. And I understand that not everyone’s always going to align with the core values, but nobody can be in direct opposition to that, because it won’t work, you know. So that’s what we do. And it’s funny, because now everyone knows about our quarterly, you know, meetings because we go to the L 10 meetings, we follow the same agenda every single time. And so people know. And what was really great this last time was we had two new staff members. And this was their first quarterly meeting. And they both were able to say a core value and said to me that’s just like, it’s happy. Because I didn’t tell my team sometimes like, here’s what I started saying was voicing my frustration. So I’ll give you a perfect example. And this is some that might sound so silly to people. But when the time changes, and I come into the studio, and I haven’t been into the studio for, I don’t know, three or four days, and the time changed, and I look at the clocks and they haven’t changed. I’m like, guys, to me, it’s like saying, fu I don’t give an F about the clock change. Yeah. And so I don’t want it’s a little thing. It’s a little thing to me that I’m like, I know you looked at that clock, every single person in the studio looked at that clock at least 15 times since the time clock, the time has changed, but nobody thought to like, oh, let’s put it back an hour. And so I’m like, Guys, this is what I’m talking about. It might be something little to you, but to me, it’s and they’re like, Oh, we don’t mean I’m like okay, I get that. I know no one’s saying it’s fun but these are the things that we have to get all on board with. Right? And these are my expectations. You know, so we talk about them all the time. We hire Are, we reward, we promote all of our performance reviews based on our core values, we have a rubric and they get a plus minus or plus minus. And if anyone needs help, we kind of give them examples of how they can improve in that capacity. Okay.

Danielle  20:17  

All right, any other action steps that you took during this time, I know that evolution keeps on going.

Christa  20:22  

I mean, eventually, I started personally, I started therapy. And I think I’m very transparent about my journey through therapy, and that has helped me one be way more self aware, and to be significantly less reactive to things. And it’s helped me tremendously not to take things personally, as a business owner, I will if somebody left to go to another job, I would be like, I’m a bad boss, why are you leaving me? Why are you doing this to me, and now I recognize they’re not doing it to me, it’s not about me. And I can be happy, it’s not about me, I can be happy that I had a small part in their career and journey. And so that was really helpful, because you can say all these things, and you can say, I’m going to listen more, and you can say, I’m gonna feel better. But it’s different than feeling it internally. And inherently.

Danielle  21:19  

Let’s talk about skill sets. And the decision that you made as you hired that Chief Operating Officer, how did you decide that that was the right role? Where did you just evaluate? Do I want to continue to teach classes? I want to be the visionary, what was that journey like for you and making that decision?

Christa  21:39  

So when I actually read traction, to be honest, I thought I was an integrator, I thought I would be like, because they talked about in the book, like you maybe not everyone has a visionary. Sometimes it’s a visionary integrator together, but every business needs an integrator, right. And so I thought I was the integrator, because I was operating like that for so long. But I did realize that I wanted the business to grow, I did want it to grow. And I knew that I could not continue to teach 20 hours a week or see 20 clients a week and grow the business, something was going to have to give and what it was looking like was my personal life. And I wasn’t willing to sacrifice that anymore. So what I did is there is actually a process or a training in traction called Elevate, and delegate, or delegate and elevate, I can’t remember which one it is. But I wrote out in my rubric, all the things that I wanted to do, and I thought I was good at and all the things that I didn’t want to do. And that’s how we decided who the role was and who we should bring on. I also knew that I wanted to create a little bit of a buffer between myself and the team. And that’s not to say that I wanted a disconnection from them. But everything was coming through me. And I don’t know if you’ve ever seen these drawings. It’s like, if you have two people on your team, it’s a straight line, right? Communication. If you have three people, it’s a triangle, right? If you have four people, if you have 678. And at the time, I think we had 18 people on our team, and the lines of communication ended up being crazy. They were all reporting to you. And they were all reporting to me. Again, that’s how I had it set up.

Danielle  23:22  

And they were full time, part time. I know we have some studio owners that we work with that they hire part time on purpose, and therefore it still doesn’t make sense. But it makes it more feasible for them to report to one business owner. But I think as they become more full time individuals and more of a career path for them, they need more development and coaching than one person can give 18 people. What was that? Like? Oh, ours

Christa  23:50  

was a it was kind of like a variety. So we had some people that were part time we had some people that were contractors, we had some people that were full time just because they’re you know, there were people that were like, I want to work two days a week and I want to you know, be at home and so but still everyone was reporting to me, marketing, which was me, the plumber, the front desk, people, the bookkeeper, the accountant, all the instructors. So I was doing vacation payroll, bookkeeping, no bookkeeping, I finally outsourced but everything marketing growth, and I don’t know, I’ve just was like, Oh, I feel bad asking them to do that. You know, I had a bet. I was like, I feel bad. And I stopped feeling bad. I was like, This is what we have to do. And I recognized I also wanted someone I started realizing where my strengths were, and where my strengths were not. I call this like the founders paradox. So as founders, we always like to really be and I’m talking like found founders for small businesses, really. So we really want to be connection, we want to be part of the business. But then, as founders, we’re usually thinking five steps ahead. 15 steps ahead, and so sometimes our communication style is not ideal when you’re trying to foster and mentor people, because we’re thinking like 10, we’re thinking growth. And so I recognize that I was like, Pooh poohing ideas or not listening to people or not giving people a time, not because I didn’t care. But because I was like, you know, add like 50,000 things going on. And I recognize that’s not fair to my team. And so by creating a buffer between myself and the team, I felt like I was giving, I could get information from one person, and then therefore, give him information that he could then transpose down to the rest of the team. The other thing as a business owner, I think is, and I don’t know if you feel this way, but I have very, very high expectations for myself. And I started recognizing that I was feeling resentful that other people didn’t have those same expectations. And now, I recognize that I can’t expect myself and other people, thanks to therapy. And so stop having those expectations from other people. And just because they don’t want to live, think and breathe Pilates in the grove doesn’t mean that they’re not as bought in and aligned with what we’re trying to do here. And so he also helped me. He’s, you know, he’d be like, do you care if they go on vacation if we get it covered? And I was like, No, I just hate that they’ve asked for 710 times off. And he’s like, so just let me handle it. If you don’t care, we get it covered. What does it matter to you? And I was like, You’re right. So if I didn’t have to see it, I wouldn’t be irritated by it.

Danielle  26:35  

And ultimately, you want them to do it. Yeah. Right. And ultimately, that’s the time so that they show up even better. Exactly. So you had this path to recognizing your strengths, determining that you want it to be in a visionary seat, creating the positions to allow you to take that seat, any strengths as you took on that visionary seat, that you realized you didn’t have. And you needed to, to seek mentorship or training on

Christa  27:04  

definitely leading. Like, I think being a good leader was something that I really had to learn how to do, and hold people accountable. It was very challenging for me, again, people pleasing, I felt bad, I felt bad. And I was taking on the emotional bandwidth from other people. And someone said to me one time, they said, “Everyone that works for you is responsible for their own emotional reaction. All adults, and you have adults that work for you are responsible for their own emotional reactions, so long as you’re not in a hole, while you’re telling them they’re responsible. It’s their experiences or their beliefs that are going to make something out of whatever they’re interpreting, right. So if you’re clear with your expectations, and someone’s not being accountable, you know, I believe that people don’t like clarity. They don’t love accountability. And if people don’t want accountability, then right now, they don’t belong on my team.

Danielle  28:14  

And a lot of people want clarity. You know, I think I found the exact opposite. As a visionary, I tend to be very vague, all pie in the sky, and I’m like, Okay, we’re gonna go do this project, ready to go. And I think everyone leaves me like, What the hell am I supposed to do to get to that? Project? Like, sounds great. How are we getting there? And I had an employee tell me a few years ago, she’s like, I just want to know, so clearly, like, I’ll do whatever is expected of me. But I need you to give me very, very, very clear guidance. And so now I think I lead with clear is kind, right, yeah, giving very clear directions and very clear expectations with very clear due dates. That is me being kind because if I was vague, that would leave us both in a place where you can’t ever exceed my expectations.

Christa  29:05  

For sure. And I totally agree with you on that. My team said to me one time the same thing, or like, you know, we just feel like you have all of these ideas. And then we’re left to implement them in like 24 hours, like I wanted it done yesterday. And they’re the ones that have to deal with the clients. And they’re the ones that have to deal with the questions and so similar to that, you know, Brene Brown and her book and, and now when we finish a meeting, I always end with like, what does done look like? Right? What does done look like so that they’re on the same page as I am? So when I say we are, this is a perfect example. I just got off of my executive meeting with my team. And so we want to introduce a new service starting in April. So at the end of the survey, I was like, What does done look like to you? And she and she listed everything out. And I was like, great. And let’s make sure to add, we need to get it updated on her offer letter. Right. So versus, oh, let’s just throw up this new service and just, we’ll start on April 1, no, there’s steps that have to happen. There has to be, we have to decide on the pricing, we have to add the pricing to the platform, we have to inform the staff about it, we have to inform the front desk people, we have to inform the practitioners, we have to make sure the schedule fits we have to put up on the website, there’s like a lot of moving parts. And so if I said to someone like, Oh, we’re going to and this is true for goal setting, right? So if you’re like, I’m going to hire a new person, well, does hire mean, they’re hired and onboarded does hire mean, I’m going to have gone through three interviews and get to the final interview process. Just hire me and you’ve made an offer letter. What does ” done look like? So everyone is on the same page.

Danielle  30:58  

I really appreciate you sharing that. I think that’s a lot for people to take in right there, rewind and re-listen to that.

Christa  31:05  

Well, thank Brene thank Brene I wasn’t the one that came up with it. But I do use it in my business and it’s helped a

Danielle  31:10  

a lot. Yeah, sometimes it’s the application, that means just as much as the actual words. So Alright, so let’s keep fast forwarding. I think as business owners, we uncover that we want to be a visionary. We hear all the time work on your business, not in your business, know your numbers, Do this, do that. And that’s all well and great. But a lot of us get pulled back into the business over and over again, whether that be actually running the operations or in your case, teaching the classes and other people’s cases might be serving the clients and being on calls. How are you balancing that? Like, how did you continue to balance that? And then how are you balancing that today?

Christa  31:51  

Listen, as small business owners, I talk about it in like seasons. So that whole thing of like, oh, we have to stop the hustle mindset. Yeah, I do believe we have to stop the hustle mindset. But at some point, we as founders are hustlers. Like, that’s how I got through COVID. That’s how we get through like there’s going to be seasons. What I don’t think is that we should hustle. We shouldn’t be hustling all the time. Even marathons have some points that are downhill, right? So at some point, we should create systems that are streamlined, right? We always work today. I just got a call this morning at 755. And I was like, This is not good that my phone rings or smells like gas, what do we do, but what I do is I have my non-negotiables now. So there are certain non negotiables that I’m like I will not do. The other thing that I’ve done is I don’t have control over my schedule at

Danielle  32:44  

the studio. So I want to share your non negotiables or

Christa  32:47  

my not and you know what I was just I was about to share them. And then I was like oh boat sometimes I do non negotiable about that. But my new negotiables are I really have Mondays and Fridays are my admin days. So I don’t take clients Monday or Friday. Now that being said, I will not take a client. That’s like a permanent client. If someone’s sick, like if someone called in sick today, would I go in tomorrow? And treat those people or teach the classes? Yes, I work because of that we have to cancel, but when I only see patients now on Wednesdays and people are like, Oh, you only see you don’t you can’t do Tuesday, Thursday. And whereas before I’d be like Oh, I could come in I’m like, No, I’m only and I’m only available like nine to one. So it’s not like seven to seven, I’m like nine to one. And if my schedule is full, my schedule is full. Here’s a waitlist. And those are the boundaries. If you’re watching the video, I don’t know if you’ve shared the video anywhere. But behind me on the wall, I have what’s called My Porter on the wall. And so it’s all color coded. And yellow is when I already plan my vacations. My kids are on spring break here. So I know I’m going on vacation. And so I don’t schedule any calls or meetings during this time. Orange is a special day. So we have a couple of birthdays coming up that I want to remember. So if I want to have a light day that day or something to that effect, if I’m in a launch, which are the pink, I usually take those days off, because that means that I want a decompression day. So I look at my schedule, quarters in advance and I even do it for the year. And every month that has five weeks. I take that as a CEO week. So I don’t do I’m not gonna say I don’t work that week. I usually work on visionary stuff that week, but I don’t do patients. I don’t do clients. I don’t do coaching calls and I don’t do meetings. So that’s how I kind of operate. I also have people on my team now that have my back. So my director of studio operations, you know, we just had this person resign and she’s I said, you know, I could pick up that class. It’s okay and she was like,

Danielle  34:57  

No, you’re not going to Do it. So sometimes we need people to do that

Christa  35:02  

100%. And so in my coaching business, so I consult for other female boutique fitness business owners, I recommend that to them. So there’s a couple things that they don’t like about the cancellation policy, that’s really hard sometimes for some people to enforce. And they don’t like saying no. And so I’m like, if you recognize that, that’s one of your traits. And it’s really, really hard for you to put somebody else in charge of that, and they can help you with that boundary. I also do think that enrolling in programs and Masterminds helps you get better at those things. But if that’s not your forte, if you’re not organized, and you don’t, maybe that’s just how you are, hire somebody for that role. And they can help you with that. You don’t have to beat yourself over the head, you know, with it. So that’s how I keep my boundaries. I also really think COVID helped me with it, I was forced not to go in the studio. And so I recognize that people could be accountable for their own things without me starting over their shoulders. And I could actually be productive at home. And so I’m loving my new life. I really am. That’s great.

Danielle  36:14  

That’s great. All right, action steps. I feel everyone’s heads turning like how I get. I’m working 60 hours a week, I have zero boundaries. I’m not in control of my calendar, some small action steps that you use to adjust to your clients to take when you’re working with them.

Speaker 1  36:32  

Perfect. So one of the things and I think that I mean, I don’t know, I’ll ask you, if you agree, one of the things that I would do first is I always look at the numbers. So I’m okay, what are your expenses? What are you bringing in? Are you meeting your expenses? Right? So are you if you’re working 60 hours a week, and you’re not meeting your expenses, we have a different problem. Right? So that’s where we have to look first. So are you meeting your expenses? Are you paying yourself? Okay? If you’re meeting your expenses, if you’re paying yourself, let’s talk about the first boundary that we have to put in? Do you have a Swiss cheese schedule? If you’re a service provider? Right? So do you say yes at 7am? And then Oh, you don’t have a client again until 12? And then you don’t have a client till three? Well, no, let’s start to shorten that gap in there. Right? Do you say I have some clients that are mobile people, they go to people’s homes? Right? So I’m like, what if you say you’re only going to travel to this zip code on this day? You know, and then the Okay, so I already know the wheels, what people are like, well, what if they say no? What if they? What if they tell me no? Well, then it opens up a space for someone to say yes. And if you’re saying yes to them, you’re saying no to yourself. So who is more important to say yes to you or your client? Right? And so we start in small steps. So a lot of things that I tell business owners now, because I get it, I was there, my first coach, I think was like, Oh, we’re gonna meet on this week on every every week at this time, and I almost had a coronary I was like, how am I going to make that happen? Be at the spot every time and not be able to take a client and I was like, nauseous of the fact. But some of that I recognize he did it on purpose, so that I could see that my business still ran without me there.

Danielle  38:20  

Yeah, yeah, I think that’s an important lesson. And I think an important tool for everyone is to belong to some type of mastermind program coaching program, I belong to the EO network entrepreneur organization here in Cleveland. And we met once a month for half a day. And you know, there’s no cell phone policy from noon, to the end of the day, you don’t touch your phone, like you do, literally don’t touch your phone, I have to text my kids, I have email today, like, I’ve been there for six years. So they all know, I’m walking in, don’t try to get a hold of me, you know, call somebody. But it taught me to be away from my business. And then they have learning days, once a quarter. And so you’re gone for the entire day. And it wasn’t like it was six months after I joined that. They said, Yeah, we want you off your phone so that you can be present, right? Because our attention spans. But the real more important reason to be off your phones, it’s just to see that everything’s gonna go on without you. And that you can take that time away, and it teaches your business, it teaches you how to empower other people to make business decisions without you and to continue to operate without you. So I cannot support that while you’re saying enough.

Christa  39:37  

Yeah, it’s totally true. And so when I speak, in big terms like, Oh, I get to take the fifth month, fifth week off and those months. I didn’t start that way. I started by saying, I’m not going to take clients on Friday. That’s how I started. And then I said, I’m not going to take clients on Monday. And then I said I’m going to do one SEO day a quarter Right, like it starts little, and then you can start to grow, right? And then you can say, okay, look, nobody, nobody died in this right. And so, the way I tell people, I mean, if you if you don’t have, I use this excuse, this analogy, and somebody said to me one time well, not everyone has kids, and I recognize that, but I do. And so that’s why it resonates with me, when our kids are little, and they’re learning how to tie their shoes. 90% of the time, all we want to do is be like, let me just do it for you, we gotta get to the park. But like, if you never teach your kid how to tie their shoes, they’re gonna be a 22 year old who doesn’t know how to tie their shoes, and that doesn’t work for them, right? You want your children to be able to go out in the world. And so

Danielle  40:41  

My son has been wearing buckled shoes for a long time. Oh, my God, Velcro is

Christa  40:45  

the best invention ever. But now my kids don’t even untie their shoes, anything, everything can slip on. But if you, you know if for your team, you’re always jumping in and saving them. They’ll never learn how to do it themselves. And so then you keep getting irritated saying, Oh, well, so and so can’t do it? Well, it’s because you don’t let her fail. She has like, let her make the mistake. And even though you’re cringing in the background, like I know this is going to fail. They won’t learn unless they do. Yeah,

Danielle  41:15  

Can you share any stories or tips as you get sucked back in? You know, maybe if you’ve made a good example of you having somebody who just gave notice, and you made an offer to help? Like what happens to a business owner as they keep offering to get back in vote? Like how do they keep themselves from getting sucked back into being practitioner client service mode

Christa  41:39  

all the time? Right? That is a great question. And I think the biggest thing is to think about the future, right? So for me, what really helped was thinking about what I want to be doing three to six months from now. So if I have to make the decision, I mean, I’ll be perfectly honest, when my CEO who we were talking about who I hired, resigned, when he put in his notice, I mean, he was making a signet, he was making like $125,000 a year, which is significant, you know, it’s 10% of a million dollar business. So I was like, oh, you know, for a hot second, I was like, Well, maybe if I could just I’ll absorb that and put it to the bottom line and immediately, like, immediately know, immediately. So I was like, I’m not going to do it. Because I have chosen, could I take that 125,000 and give it to my salary, I could, but I would not have the life that I want. And so I keep thinking to myself, what is more important to me to have the freedom and the flexibility of what I created or to have this one extra class on the schedule. And if I have to get back in like it, for example, if we didn’t find somebody to hire, and I have to say, Okay, I’m going to teach this class for X amount, I have an expiration date on it. So we are actively working to, you know, get someone to teach that 6pm class so that I no longer have to teach it, there is an expiration date on that. And I can be okay saying, Okay, I know that this is short lived. And I’ll do it for eight weeks, and I’m choosing to do it. The other thing is I will sometimes ask other people to step up and do it. So there’s, there’s the other thing and I’ll say, Listen, we have this class, we have to be filled, we’re putting it on your schedule, my people are full time employees. So you know, that’s another beauty of, of the employee model is where like, Hey, this is part of your workday. And so we’re adding this class to your schedule. So I don’t know that was kind of a long winded way of I just can’t I think the most important thing is like your mindset of future pacing versus thinking you’re leaving money on the table, because I would imagine a lot of business owners get sucked back in as practitioners because they think they’re fearful of leaving money on the table.

Danielle  43:59  

Or I can do it better. Or they need me,

Christa  44:03  

Well, I could do better with just ego. So I’ll tell you that I could do better with my ego, okay? The fear of leaving money on the table is a real rational fear. But it also comes from a scarcity mindset of I will not generate that money elsewhere or in the future. So the ego thing of I can do it better is one you don’t want to put in the work to train somebody, you don’t want to hold other people accountable. And it’s just your ego saying that you can do it better than somebody else. So I think for me,

Danielle  44:31  

it’s a little bit of helping alright, you know what I? I just want to help, right? Like, it’s just your natural guide here to my teammates. I’m like, what can I do to help you? And they’re like, no, no, Danielle, I’m helping you. You can’t help me. I’m helping you.

Christa  44:47  

Yeah. Yeah, I do. And that’s why I’m having a good like, person, your right hand or sent because I’m a visionary too, and I have a ton of ideas. And sometimes it takes us people on my team being like, No, you committed to not doing another project this quarter. Right? And so as long as it’s not Oprah calling me to be on her show, I’m gonna say no. And it’s helpful for other people to keep me accountable to that, and to what my initial intention was of having the work life balance that I want.

Danielle  45:23  

All right, I like to end with any tips to keep, like, what strategies are you using right now to keep your money mindset strong as you go into the future? Okay,

Christa  45:34  

so I read a lot and listen to a lot of podcasts. So I will say that I do think putting good information between my two ears and into my brain is very helpful.

Danielle  45:47  

I am a junkie for podcasts and audibly it is all I love. Yes.

Christa  45:54  

So one of the things that one of the podcasts I really loved money mindset wise is I live Denise Duffield Thomas on her chill and prosper podcast. She talks a lot about money mindset. I like you know, I do look at my numbers too. And when I look at my numbers, it’s just a, it’s just, it’s data. So what can I do? And I think in Eos, they talk about it. Everything is just every, you know, thing is just an issue that has a solution. Every issue is a problem that has a solution. So this has a solution. Right? It can be an opportunity. Exactly. Right. And it could be that not everything has to be done yesterday. And so reading podcasts, and I will say, just like you said, I’m in a couple masterminds that keep me grounded. It allows me to be in the room with people that I can instead of seeing it as competition, and oh, I can’t believe that they’re that far along. I look at it as what’s now available to me. And I can get there. It might not be today tomorrow. But it’s an opportunity. And so being in masterminds is really, really helpful to me.

Danielle  46:59  

Thanks for sharing that. Is there anything that I haven’t asked you that you wish I would have?

Christa  47:03  

I don’t think so. I think it was a pretty good conversation. I think the bottom line from business owners is like, listen, there are days that you’re gonna want to burn it to the ground. And there are days that you’re really frustrated, but when I really dig deep to ask if I wanted to stop tomorrow, I love what I do. And I love the impact that I have on people. And I don’t think I mean, if I’m true to myself, I wouldn’t be doing anything else. And so I’m pleased to say that even on the hard days, having such a big reason in your business is important. It makes me realize like I’m making a difference in people’s lives and that that is

Danielle  47:42  

a powerful thing. Where can the audience learn more about you and your coaching and listen to your podcast?

Christa  47:48  

So my podcast is called the female empowered podcast. It’s anywhere you can get your podcast and Danielle will be on there. In a couple of weeks. I interviewed her for my podcast talking about numbers. And you can. I’m most active on Instagram so you can check me out. I’m Krista Gurkha. And then my website is Krista

Danielle  48:08  

Awesome. Thank you so much. Thank you

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