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Life & Work with Krista Podstawa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Krista Podstawa.

Hi Krista, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
After completing the MBA program at Southern Illinois University over a decade ago, I found my dream job (in project management) at a large corporation in the St. Louis area. I found an entire group of people who thought just like me! While I was super happy with my career and felt at home with the people I got to work with, something was missing. I didn’t have a way to express myself creatively. I started a small photography business back in 2012 focusing mainly on family photography. This morphed into a passion for newborn photography. I loved sharing the first moments of life with new parents. From there, I started mentoring other photographers (and even new parents) on newborn posing and post-processing. After having my 4th child in 2016, I found having a business was more than I could handle so I closed up shop. I still shot for friends and family, but not at the scale I was before. I also found that I needed to find a better way to stay on top of things than simply relying on my digital calendar. Not only had I become a mom of four, but we also had four dogs and a cat to wrangle. In 2018 we added chickens and bees to the mix, which certainly adds a bit of fun. Planning and organizing such a diverse set of responsibilities can be a challenge, so I’m always on the lookout for products and services that can help me. I’ve learned a lot throughout the years and sharing my wins & failures/tips & tricks with both the planning and parenting community via my social media brand.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Life’s always changing and it’s been very important to adapt my goals and priorities to align with those changes. Starting a small business was hard, but not as hard as I had thoughts. Since it wasn’t our main source of income there was low risk. That said, it’s always a struggle to face the possibility of failure. The photography business had become very saturated at that point and had I wanted to pursue it as my main career, I’m pretty sure I would have failed. There were loads of relatively inexpensive resources available online to help with branding and marketing. Between those resources and word-of-mouth referrals, I made enough income to keep the proverbial lights on. The decision to close that business was rough. I wasn’t quite ready to start telling people ‘no’ when they reached out for a session. I think that was the hardest part. Then, trying to grow a social media presence as a micro-influencer was rough. I started out by simply sharing the things I’d learned while planning with a paper planner versus a digital planner. Finding my audience was rough, but now I have a tight-knit group of friends that I engage and a few companies I partner with to gain affiliate income. Last year we adopted two English Bulldogs that also have a social media presence. Their reach doubles mine – everyone seems to like dogs and their adventures. We’ve recently started partnering with a few companies as affiliates through that account as well. Creating content that other people might find interesting and targeting the right set of people is rough and mostly trial-and-error, but we continue to learn as we go.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I leverage some of the goal-setting and planning practices I’ve picked up through my education and professional career to create content on Instagram, my blog, and YouTube that might be helpful for other people in the planning community. I use several planners to help me be as productive as possible. I hate wasting time – it’s one of the most valuable commodities a person has. I use an hourly planner for work, a monthly calendar to plan social media content, a pocket planner for gratitude, and a weekly planner for memory keeping. I also use a shared family digital calendar that helps keep my family on the same page with who will be where and when. I have kind of a quirky personality and find myself laughing at my mistakes. I think my people-centric approach to content creation might be refreshing. I don’t showcase products that I don’t fully stand behind, and quite a bit of what I share is purchased my myself or my husband. I really like hearing from people about what they like and dislike about things and look for ways to leverage their feedback in my life, as well as look for ways to help others successfully navigate things they’re going through.

What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
As technology changes, I feel like the Planning industry will have to adapt as well. I see the way we set goals, budget, and plan changing to keep up with that technology. While many of us prefer paper planners to relying solely on digital planning, that could very easily change as technology emerges that could simplify what we do. One of my favorite digital planners only works on Apple devices. I suspect as Android and Windows technology catches up, I’d like to create digital content (stickers, flags, backgrounds, etc.) for people to use. We’re not quite there yet, but I’m sure that tech is coming soon.

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Krista Podstawa

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