Managing Being an Entrepreneur and Perfectionist with Khara Croswaite Brindle

It is a process finding balance being a workaholic and an entrepreneur. Burnout is a very real thing for small business owners and entrepreneurs, especially when you are a perfectionist.

In this week’s episode, we speak with Khara Croswaite Brindle, author of The Perfectionuer, about finding that balance of being a successful entrepreneur and avoiding burnout. This is a great episode for any business owner who needs help managing their work-life balance.

Khara’s websites:

Katie Brinkley 0:02

Hey there. This is Katie Brinkley and you’re listening to Rocky Mountain marketing. This podcast is all about helping Colorado bass small business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals discover the strategies and systems that take their marketing to all new heights. Let’s dive into today’s episode. Welcome back to the podcast. My guest today is Kara cross wait brindle. Kara is passionate about giving people aha moments that create goosebumps and catalyze powerful action. Kara is honored to serve young adult professionals in her work in mental health with an emphasis on healing trauma and supporting growth through her private practice right here in Denver. She enjoys inspiring innovation and suicide prevention to save lives through her nonprofit cattle lively. In addition to being a therapist, Kara also identifies as a perfectionist, and has recently released a new book, which we will dive into in today’s episode. Kara, thank you so much for coming on the show today.

Khara Croswaite Brindle 0:57

Hey, Katie, thanks so much. I’m excited to chat with you.

Katie Brinkley 1:00

So just tell us a little bit about yourself. Tell us where you grew up and what your life was like growing up?

Khara Croswaite Brindle 1:05

Yeah, I mean, I’m a twin twin. So my sister lives here in Colorado with me now, but we grew up in the Pacific Northwest. So just thinking about all the green and now people associate that with coffee, the, you know, birthplace of Starbucks, but also with Twilight, which is kind of funny. I love going back to visit but actually love Colorado better. So we’ve been here for here into the future. Well, and tell us

Katie Brinkley 1:28

you know a little bit about your upbringing that impacted your eventual career journey in your professional journey.

Khara Croswaite Brindle 1:34

Yeah, I think you know, a lot of people ask that about those of us that choose to be therapists. So just how does that come to be? And most of us, it’s usually from a place of being really good listeners, or maybe we’re a confidant to our friends and family. And then there’s another group of us that have had some significant, maybe a trauma in our life, or an experience that someone like a therapist has helped. And so we want to pay that forward by helping others in the same realm. So I think it’s kind of 5050, or interviewed other colleagues, they’ve either had that significant experience and want to help others or naturally were a listener, and felt like, oh, I can get paid to do this, and to help more people. So it’s kind of a cool combination.

Katie Brinkley 2:10

Now, take us through your career journey, because you you wear a lot of hats here, you’re not just a mental health therapist. So take us through your career journey and where you started out, and how, how you are where you’re at today?

Khara Croswaite Brindle 2:22

Yeah, that’s a good question. I just, I connected with a college friend today. And we were just talking about that how I stayed in my lane by staying in mental health, which is where I got my degree, my master’s degree, and then just recently embraced this new identity of being a perfectionist or a perfectionist entrepreneur, and just seeing how this has shaped my creativity and my businesses. And so I guess, kind of in a nutshell, I started by doing therapy for a living and quickly realized that I couldn’t do that for 40 hours a week, it was not sustainable, it was not good. For me, it was not good for the clients. It’s too much heavy to do for 40 hours a week. And so I think, as most therapists soon discover, they have to find a secondary option, secondary income pivot change to a new business, something of that nature. And so for me, it was like, What can I create that would be, dare I say, passive income, something where I don’t have to work too hard. So that’s where courses have come in and creating, you know, online classes or blogs, things like that. And then two books, one, which just launched last week. So I’m excited to see if that really makes a difference for the community. And if that actually transitions, my position, from full time therapists to more of that entrepreneurial hat that I’ve been wearing lately.

Katie Brinkley 3:32

Yeah. And I think that, you know, you bring up a good point of, you need to kind of have a little bit of a break, especially in your field. Talk to us a little bit about how you created these courses, or for your business, because I think that that is a great way to get that. But obviously, creating a course is a lot of upfront work, takes a lot of time, a lot of energy to create these courses. But then once it’s done, you can kind of set it and forget it and let people take it and have have that be that passive income. Talk to us a little bit about that.

Khara Croswaite Brindle 4:03

That’s the idea. Absolutely. Like I love how you framed it like passive income, let it go off and running. Obviously, you know, if you need to update something that that’s a factor. But for me, I just have always connected with my colleagues. And so the coursework that I’ve created has been specific to mental health professionals. And that’s something I’ve been realizing lately in my journey, is that when I say I stayed in my lane, I was literally stayed in the mental health field, not just with clients, but with my colleagues speaking to them networking with them. And so the courses I’ve created, there’s three of them soon to be four. And the three courses are specific to helping them master their craft or help them improve or learn something that would help their business and private practice. And so it became really easy because it was something I was doing myself every day to then put into a course and say, Well, if this has benefit, I’m hoping it benefit someone else. And it just seemed low risk, relatively easy to say, Oh, I talked to you, because if we’re face to face so can I do this through a course that’s helpful.

Katie Brinkley 4:59

So With your courses, have you set those up to be through a certain platform so that they’re pretty, pretty evergreen?

Khara Croswaite Brindle 5:06

Yes, absolutely. So that was actually one of the most important pieces was researching what platform to choose. There’s so many out there, I think the most well known ones are teachable and Kajabi. And there’s a new one someone was just telling me about, but there’s probably dozens. So I kind of went with my coach. And we went through the ones that were available price points, the different features they had. And I ended up picking Kajabi, which is such a weird name for platform, but probably is pretty clever of them. So it can sort of be remembered kind of like Google has now. A name.

Katie Brinkley 5:36

I’m sure people thought that when they heard the word Twitter, and they heard the word Nike, it didn’t make much sense at the beginning, either, but now they’re household names. Yeah.

Khara Croswaite Brindle 5:44

So Kajabi has been good to me, I think, you know, it’s been relatively easy for people to sign up, I can see how far they’ve gone in each course, they get a certificate of completion, which is something that therapists need for continued education. So it’s got all the right features, and I plan to continue to build other courses into that platform as I go. So I’m grateful I have it. Now,

Katie Brinkley 6:03

I, we’ve met on LinkedIn, and I’m such a fan of number, a number of the blogs that you’ve put out there so well written and they provide so much information. So I’m really excited to hear about your book. Tell us a little bit about the book that just came out.

Khara Croswaite Brindle 6:17

Yeah. So it’s called confectioner from workaholic to well balanced and it’s basically a guide, one therapists guide to get you there. And this was an inspiration for me, it was one of those 4am inspirations where you just wake up wide awake, and your brains kind of exploding with possibility. And at that point in my life, it was five days before my birthday. And so I think that was probably where my brain was like, What are you doing and taking inventory of like, the things I’ve done with my life. And I’d already been doing about a year and a half of my own personal work around being a workaholic. I mean, I tend to wear five to seven hats in a given time, Professor, as well as the coursework that we’ve talked about, as well as public speaking, different things. And then of course, the therapy practice. And so once I had this idea, like I had the outline done in like, 20 minutes, it was just there was so much energy there. And then I wrote the book, and within four months, basically, during this fantastic, that’s incredible. Yeah, and so I think what’s so heartwarming about it is now that it’s out there, there was a lot of vulnerability for me, because it was talking about my story of basically running myself into the ground working really, really hard. And I think that’s something our generation has really heard a lot of like, you have to hustle, and you have to make this all really happen. And oh, self care. That’s the thing you do when you have time. And so I found myself running myself into the ground, and then having a bunch of different things happen in my life. And so this book is a story of that journey. But also the things that worked for me as a perfectionist that weren’t necessarily the easy, recognizable things that people would do in self care. And so I captured those. And I think it’s about 20 different skills that I introduced in the book, to say, here’s what worked for me, here’s what’s going to work for an entrepreneur who doesn’t have a lot of time who can’t justify relaxing for more than three or four hours at a time. And so far, the readers are telling me it resonates that it’s humanizing perfectionism, and it’s not necessarily making it about being negative or overworked. But it’s like, how do you embrace that as a strength?

Katie Brinkley 8:12

Well, and I think that that is something that all entrepreneurs and small business owners really have a hard a hard time with, because there’s so many hats to wear. And like you said, how I’m doing this, I’m doing that I’m speaking, I’m also trying to provide like, you know, therapy, and how do I juggle all that and do it to the best that I possibly can without running myself into the ground. And it’s, it’s incredibly hard to be a perfectionist or want to succeed with your own company, because it’s your own company, and no one cares about more than you. So if you’re, you have to give it your all. And that’s where I think a lot of small businesses and entrepreneurs decide just to throw in the towel, because I just can’t do this anymore. And so I I love that you put a book together to kind of help guide people and embrace some of that into,

Khara Croswaite Brindle 9:04

it’s relevant. Absolutely. And I think you know, I’m sitting here as I’m talking to you, Katie, I’m realizing that even just doing that work that I’ve done for the last two years, specifically around this perfectionist part of myself, it’s drawn more clients my way that identify that way. So I have a lot of young professionals who are like in the medical fields or nurse, pre med, pre nursing, or pre farm or the three of them, I think, you know, just being down the street here from the office, and just sitting here with them and having them work on those same skills that I was working on and continue to work on. Like it’s a process and you have to choose to try and find balance every single day. Because perfection earners are very easily, you know, able to relapse back into the workaholic status where they’re not taking care of themselves, not taking walks, not eating, you know, just the things people recognize as Oh, that’s not good self care, or you’re burning out. So yeah. It’s fun to talk to you about this. I’m just like, oh, yeah, I feel like there’s a lot more people in my orbit who are Yes.

Katie Brinkley 9:58

I think that it’s burnout. is a very real thing. And it’s probably the one of the biggest things as to why a lot of small businesses don’t succeed. What if someone is listening right now, who is an aspiring or new business owner? What is the single biggest piece of advice that you’d want to give him or her?

Khara Croswaite Brindle 10:18

You know, I think for me, it’s about surrounding yourself with like minded people, I think that makes it feel a lot less intimidating and a lot less lonely. I think small business owners, part of that is the isolation that you were starting to allude to right there, which is okay, we’re working on our business, or thinking about our business 24/7. You know, we don’t take breaks on weekends, we don’t take breaks in the evenings, like, we’re constantly trying to think about the health and wellness of our business. And so by surrounding ourselves with like minded entrepreneurs, or people who inspire us, I know that for me, has really rejuvenated my energy when I’ve questioned what I’m doing. Or if I need some creative inspiration, just talking with them having lunch, or in this case, a zoom call, you know, that can make people feel a little more reassured that they’re on the right track, you don’t have to do it alone.

Katie Brinkley 11:00

Now, I want to talk a little bit about how you focused on so the social media and have a very strong presence there. Like I said, I follow you on LinkedIn, and you’re very well written. And I think that it’s it’s great to have a presence on social media, in addition to putting out content like like your blogs, engaging with other therapists, other business owners, having those graphics and photos that align with your messaging. Talk to us a little bit about how you figured out what was working best for you and gaining new traffic.

Khara Croswaite Brindle 11:34

You know, I think it’s a it’s definitely a learning curve. And I’m still working on it. In fact, my newest blog, I’m trying to write about some of the search engine optimization stuff that’s like a foreign language. And there’s so much to learn there. And I guess, through working with coaches and other entrepreneurs, I just started to pick up on this idea that we are in fact, our brand. It’s not necessarily you know, the beautiful colors or the certain fonts, although those start to matter, as you start to build a presence. Like I had to get over the self criticism and the vulnerability of being like, Oh, I’m the face of my brand, whether I want to be or not. And so having professional photos done or having them put on different marketing messages that are out there, getting comfortable having live video or video recordings, and things like that for the online coursework, or through social media. And so just watching some of the other big game changers and watching that they had all these great professional photos, and I didn’t get a sense that they were full of themselves was kind of reassuring to say, Okay, this is a good strategy, that you in fact, are your brand. And if you’re offering a service, it really helps them feel like they get to know you. So that was a learning curve. That wasn’t something I was super comfortable with the front the beginning. But I think now it’s I’m just seeing it more and more in our community. So that’s almost reassuring, and of like, okay, we’re all doing the same thing, we must be doing something, right.

Katie Brinkley 12:49

And that’s one of the things too about social media is that when people decide to do business with your brand, especially if you’re offering a service, like you said, if they know you and are used to seeing you, they’ll feel like they want to do business with you, or refer you for business because they see you as a friend, they feel like they know you, because they’ve seen your pictures, they’ve they’ve heard how you talk, they’ve heard your messaging, they like what you’re writing, and that it’s just going to help boost you for your potential new clients. And it’s a great way, I don’t think it’s self centered or conceited at all, to have branding photos done, it’s just really going to help your audience get to know you better. So tell us a little bit about your model for finding those new clients and customers these days. How are you finding and engaging and selling to your new audience?

Khara Croswaite Brindle 13:36

You know, I think you mentioned LinkedIn. And so I feel like that’s gonna be another big group of people that I’m trying to access because I feel like that’s where a lot of the business like minded folks are found. And so, you know, just familiarizing myself with some of the LinkedIn lives that are now a thing and some of the video content, making sure I’m posting every day, starting to pivot and posting more blogs that are business minded versus therapy minded, because you’ll see a lot more of those are therapeutic in nature originally. And so, you know, something I was just being educated on today is just like ads, what does it look like to invest some money into Facebook ads and make sure that we’re hitting a certain demographic, you know, where’s our ideal audience like to be what social media platforms are they using? And so for me, looking at kind of the young entrepreneur, dare I say, millennial entrepreneur, like, we know, they’re still mostly on Facebook and Instagram. And so those are two platforms, for example, that I’m going to be trying to invest a little more time and energy into, as well as LinkedIn.

Katie Brinkley 14:31

And I think that too, you have to know where your audience is, and investing your time there. And you know, you’re gonna be going after young millennial business owners and that are just starting out that could be the perfectionist just or the professional or, as you so eloquently put it, and I love that it’s a great little, it was a great term. But I think that it’s it’s great to know where your audience is and to try and attract them where they are instead of just Been on every single social media channel because not every social channel is right for your messaging. And right, which one is where your audiences and just going in all in on that is huge.

Khara Croswaite Brindle 15:13

Yeah. And I think also just the time spent, you know, like people who make that their profession. I mean, they have so much they could be doing on social media, you mean you could be constantly posting and being exhausted? And so, you know, I think even just with this ad component I’m about to embark on with the book, you know, we’re, we’re being told, you know, having A versus B version and see which one tests better which one gets more clicks or responses. And so, there definitely is a strategy there that I’m just learning myself. And yeah, like, that’s an education for all of us, like, how do we do this and do it? Well, we’ll see.

Katie Brinkley 15:43

And I think it’s really interesting, too, because you, you know, like you said, if you follow have been following me on LinkedIn for a while now, you’ll see that my messaging has changed from being you know, Therapy Focus to being more business focused. And I think it’s great that you’re sharing your messages and what you’re learning, you know, as you’re, as you’re learning it, like, Oh, I’m gonna write a blog on SEO. And man, this is like a foreign language. And that’s how I feel a lot of small business owners feel they’re like, oh, my gosh, I don’t even I don’t understand any of this. And it’s, it is really hard. How do you feel confident in your research and writing these blogs on these topics, I, like I said, I’ve loved your your blogs that you write you. They’re very well written, and they provide a lot of knowledge. Definitely try and follow your blog, her blogs, because they’re, they’re very well done. So how do you find the right messages and the right research to share with your with your audience?

Khara Croswaite Brindle 16:38

Yeah, I think you know, in that transition from like, Okay, I’m speaking to other therapists. Now, I’m speaking to business owners and entrepreneurs. I think even in the process of writing the book perfection, or and just the steps I’ve taken have made it really easy to say, Okay, I’m working on this this week, is this relevant to other people? Is this as part of my journey, something that other people could then resonate with or value from? And so with that in mind, like the branding question is showing up and just now branding this book, and identifying that this is really a book about my journey, and the vulnerability, and then of course, some, some skills and some self help focus to, like, empower others to not go to rock bottom or drive themselves into the ground. And, and so with that in mind, like, I don’t know, it’s just it’s a process. So the last couple of weeks, I feel like the creative juices have just been flowing. And now that I’ve written two books, I’m really trying to write every week. And so I think that’s really where the blog creation is coming in. But as I think about the latest couple blogs, it’s been conversations with people that someone asked me a question, Hey, how did you learn to do this? How did you work with SEO? And it’s like, well, I don’t pretend to know all those answers, but I can at least give you an overview of how this looks. Yeah. Or here’s a recommendation or here’s a resource in Colorado. And then my husband was an inspiration. Couple weeks ago, he was talking about emotional sunscreen. And I was like, What are you saying, what is emotional sunscreen, but it’s just intriguing enough that I was like, Okay, tell me more. Yeah, he was basically talking about having boundaries, emotional boundaries, like slather yourself in sunscreen, so you don’t burn out. And I was like, Oh, I can write about that. piece that that created a new blog that people seem to like,

Katie Brinkley 18:15

Yeah, that’s awesome. You know, and I think that going back to your book, talk to us a little bit about how it is a real thing to be burnt out with your business. And some of the tips that you would kind of just tell these people that are about to throw in the towel and say, I just don’t think I can do it anymore, because I’m getting two hours of sleep a night. And then at the shop, you know, 18 hours a day, and we’re still not making money, or any number of reasons for them to just be done with it. What what is some of the best advice that you would want to share with them?

Khara Croswaite Brindle 18:52

Yeah, so I think of the like, 20 odd things that I show up in the book, there’s kind of top three that I keep thinking about the most the first of which we kind of started to talk about, which is who’s in your orbit? So ask yourself like, who are the people you surround yourself with? Are they people that energize you? Are they people who encourage you and hold you up? And, you know, inspire you to do the next best thing for your business? Can they help get the creative juices flowing, in contrast to those that exhaust us that make that burnout, all the much more intolerable, that drain us that really just don’t serve? That limited time we have as entrepreneurs, I think, you know, we’re all saying, Oh, we’re so busy. And so thinking about who’s in our orbit who can be control being in our orbit, who do we want to invest energy in, versus maybe we need to let this relationship go or set it to the side? And so that was a piece that really resonated with me and feeling like I was pulled by so many people to do so many things that when I learned to ask myself, who’s in my orbit, who do I want my orbit, it almost gave me permission to then say, here’s the people I want to spend some time with if I have that time. So that’s number one. Number two is remove the badge of busyness. And that actually originally came From Brene Brown, she was talking about this badge of business that Americans love to wear of, how are you so busy? How is life so busy? Right? Like, it’s just something that people almost wear with pride as if it’s a badge on their shirt. And it’s really not helping us have self care or work life balance, like, Oh, we’re just supposed to hustle and hustle and never sleep, never eat, never do anything good for ourselves. And so part of this focus aid, okay, recognize when you’re doing something just to be busy, recognize when you’re doing something just to fill the time because you’re used to going 100 miles an hour. And I’m really good at steamrolling like that that was part of my workaholic, notice, like, oh, I have a gap, my schedule, what can I do with this time? And so helping people slow down and say, Can you recognize this for what it is? Is this intentional? Is this helpful? Are you just trying to fill the time to stay busy? So those are kind of the top two. And then the third one would be this idea of multitasking that we all think we’re so good at. And this idea, like, Okay, you only have so much energy. So where are you putting it and when you have this to do list, how many things are on that list? You know, in the therapeutic community, we say no more than seven things. Because one, you’re not gonna remember more than seven. But two, that’s a lot of things for a day or a week or a month. And so when I was being taught how to streamline my focus, and bring this all back into check, they’re like, Okay, write down all the things you want to accomplish in this next six months. Well, you can imagine that list was pretty long for a perfectionist or professional. But then they said, Okay, I want you to pick your top 10. Okay, so you do that. And then they’re like, Okay, so now that you pick these top 10, that you have told me are your priorities, you could not work on any of the others. You imagine the reaction that most people are going to have, when I say you can only focus on 10 things. There’s resistance, there’s a bunch of maybe some anger, some resentment. And yet when I did it myself, I was so much more productive, and so much more happy. Because I was feeling like I was streamlined, I was focused, I wasn’t being pulled in those 5 million directions. So that’s just a very, you know, quick snippet of like three of the 20 Plus things that are in the book for people to explore and try out and see if that helps them.

Katie Brinkley 22:04

I’d love it, though. Before we finish up. Is there anything else I didn’t ask about during today’s discussion that you think is important to share? I absolutely am in love with, like I said with your writing. And I think that your your book sounds phenomenal. And it’s really resonate with a lot of small business owners, because like I said, there’s so many hats to wear, there’s so there’s always ways to be busy. You’re always multitasking. And it’s so hard to like you said you get 10 things. Yeah, those are the 10 things you get to do. And then you have to, you know, figure it out? It’s, I think it’s one of the things that many entrepreneurs struggle with

Khara Croswaite Brindle 22:42

slowly and then say no to all those things, right? Like, oh, I have this new idea. But I have to say no, until this one of these 10 things is done. Yeah. And suddenly, it’s a lot about distress, tolerance and diligence to get something done. But I found that 10 of those 10, things were going so much faster when I wasn’t getting distracted by something else. So I hope that listeners can be reassured by that, versus the visceral reaction that showed up with like, No, I refuse to only focus on 10 things. It does make us feel more healthy and more focused. So I’m hopeful that they can experience that too. Awesome.

Katie Brinkley 23:11

Well, Kara, I really appreciate you coming on to the show today. This has been such a great conversation. Where can we find out more about you and your business online? And where can we buy your book.

Khara Croswaite Brindle 23:22

So the book is on Amazon. So it’s both Kindle and paperback. So it’s one of those awesome, you pay and they print a custom copy for you. And you get it in the mail two to three days later, depending on what you’ve got going on. And then for the blogs and stuff that’s actually from our website. So it’s crossway, counseling PLLC. And so people can go on there. And there’s probably at least two good, I would say 50 blogs on there now, because it’s been out for a couple years. But I think as you name some of the most recent ones are really going to speak to business owners. So I’m hopeful those will be helpful. But yeah, those are kind of the two main areas. I’m on social media, mostly Facebook, which is I guess, normal for my demographic.

Katie Brinkley 24:01

Awesome. Well, I will make sure to include links to everything on in the description of this episode. And thank you again so much for coming on the show today. Absolutely, Katie, thank you. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You could visit my website at or connect with me on LinkedIn. Just look for Katie Brinkley. Let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights.