In today’s Her Business Story at A League of Her Own we meet Kristin Thomas, the female entrepreneur behind Thrive by Food which launched in August 2016. Kristin is also the founder of a content marketing agency in Boston, MA called KDMedia.
Kristin tell us more about your business Thrive by Food
Thrive by Food is a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition (FDN) and Holistic Health Coaching (HHC) practice specializing in digestive health. I work both 1:1 and run group programs to help clients uncover the hidden stressors that are behind their lingering or worsening symptoms so that they can experience full body healing and get back to their normal, vibrant self.
What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I love being able to operate within my own bounds of creativity, choose my own hours, and select who I work with and what I work on. I was tired of working the 9-5 at a job where I couldn’t exercise any of that. I knew that working for myself and doing what I love would offer so much more day-to-day satisfaction, I could operate in my own creative space, and build a career perfectly suited to me.
How long did it take for you to put your idea for Thrive by Food into action?
The idea to start my first business started about 3 months before I actually did it – so not too long at all! I’m pretty quick at making up my mind and acting on it, which for the most part has served me well, so when the exact moment felt right, I made it happen. I left the comforts of a full time paying job that I felt was more and more draining me of who I really was, to leap into the unknown and build a content marketing agency focused exclusively on what I loved to do and who I wanted to work with. 4.5 years later, it’s more successful than I ever imagined.
But that business idea wasn’t enough. I had always had an interest in health and wellness, so I dipped my toes in becoming a spin instructor and Pilates instructor, and ultimately ended up becoming a health coach and FDN. I absolutely love what I do today and it was worth every risk and worry I took many years ago.
What has been your scariest moment as an entrepreneur?
I think there have actually been two things that scare me most. One is revenue. Unlike a full-time salary job, working for yourself on a project-by-project basis means you’re constantly selling your business and thinking about the next revenue-generating idea. While I love this most of the time, deep inside it is scary!
The other thing that scares me is knowing that both success and failure of a project is on me. Since I don’t have a big team behind me (I do collaborate with other consultants and coaches in both of my businesses), most of my work is done solo. That becomes a bit isolating at times, and I second-guess myself way too often! But I’ve also learned how to trust myself and my gut instincts and I’ve come a long way in improving this mentality.
What has been your proudest moment?
My proudest moment was taking the leap to switch career paths and dive into the health and wellness space when I launched Thrive by Food. While I do still run KDMedia and work with many amazing clients, Thrive by Food is my DREAM and I’m finally living it. Graduating from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and then Functional Diagnostic Nutrition (FDN) where very memorable moments for me, the culmination of a lot of studying and work to learn as much as fast as possible. Seeing the word of mouth and interest for my practice grow by the week has been so humbling and gratifying.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned from founding your own company?
Trust yourself. Being an entrepreneur is a scary job, and I’ve seen many go back to working in-house because they didn’t trust that they could bring in the money, finish a successful project, or continue to sell themselves. It’s certainly not a job cut out for everyone, and it’s been really hard for me on many occasions, but at the end of the day I have an immense sense of trust in myself. I trust money will come in, especially when I need it most. I visualize clients saying ‘yes’ before I even hop on the first intro call with them. And I plan out what my revenue needs to be and meditate on that to make it come to life. This deep level of trust has been more powerful than I ever imagined it to be.
What does success mean to you?
Success to me means being able to wake up feeling excited about the day ahead. Happiness is my ultimate end goal, and I’m so close to feeling that way every single day. I’m very careful about who I work with and how I plan my day so I can live each day in a meaningful, fun, and creative way.
Has a mistake ever led you to success?
Yes, I believe there is a silver lining to every failure – it’s how we learn! When I started Thrive by Food, I was just so excited to begin sharing my knowledge with the world that I forgot to ASK people to pay me for it! I post most actively on Instagram (@thrivebyfood) and for months, I never wrote a single post about how people could work with me. Oops! As soon as I realized this and began posting about it, people started coming in. You have to ask or people won’t know how to take the next step with you.
Which women inspire you?
There are so many women who inspire me! I don’t have one single idol, but rather I like to look for the good and the inspiration in everyone. The people I surround myself and follow online are amazing, whether they’re doing something big or not. I’m the type of person that always looks for inspiration, even in the smallest of actions or gestures, and cumulatively I feel this inspires me so much.
And which men?
Again, same answer as above. I look for inspiration in everyone. Those who are doing good in the world and are genuinely nice people are the biggest inspirations of all. They may not always be household names, but they bring inspiration to me.
What one thing do you wish someone had told you when you first started out?
That entrepreneurship is a journey, not a destination. I quickly got in the mindset (and am still in it a bit today) that I have to get everything done today – or else! But truth is, if I want to do this for the long run, it’s about taking small steps and risks every day that will add up to something big. I have the rest of my life to build this business, which is why it’s so important to enjoy the journey. That is advice I’m hearing more and more these days, probably because I’m open to it, and more people need to realize it, too.
What’s the best piece of business advice someone has ever given you?
Be good to yourself. Being an entrepreneur is not easy, and can be really draining if you don’t take care of yourself. I spend my days healing others, but if I don’t maintain my own health, I can’t be the best coach. So every day, I find at least one thing I can do for myself – whether it’s meditation, taking a yoga class, going to acupuncture, or reading an inspiring article. This helps me to re-focus and re-center every day so I can be the best I can for all of my amazing clients.