I had the pleasure of interviewing Natalia Crawford, a 27-year-old Latina who is known as a Business & Online Marketing Expert after having sold her first online business, built a second 6-figure online business in under one year and now coaches and mentors other women to build profitable online businesses.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
My story starts when I started working at the age of 13 years old. My mother, who is an immigrant to the United States from Mexico, and father, who is the son of a Mexican immigrant, opened up a restaurant. Having a family restaurant meant I was given the opportunity to work on weekends for my parents in return for payment. I enjoyed it so much I ended up working a few other small jobs and once I turned 18 years old as I got my first official job as a hostess for a chain restaurant. I worked hard and got along with management which eventually landed me a huge promotion to work as a field marketer for the corporate office. That job introduced me to marketing and I fell in love with it! I was given the goal of bringing in a certain amount of clients into the restaurant every week. I made it my mission to exceed the goal by doubling it and I did every single week! This resulted in management having me oversee 4 more of their restaurant locations and train other field marketers as well.
I wanted to continue growing and expanding my skills so I left the restaurant world and start working more traditional marketing jobs. I held positions at companies in various industries including telecommunications, data quality, and SaaS solution providers through which I acquired skills in lead generation.
While I loved the marketing part of my job, I did not fit into the corporate culture. I was not a fan of being told how m, much time I was allowed to take off for vacation or having such a strict schedule. The moment I knew things had to change was when I looked at those who were above me and realized I didn’t want any of their positions. Their lives were stressful and revolved around their job, and that life just wasn’t for me.
That’s when I knew I had to pursue a different path. I loved to work and help businesses grow, but I wanted to do it in a way that worked for my lifestyle. So in
2013 I started a blog. I was a newlywed trying to navigate the new role of being a wife and managing a home while working full-time and in all reality, I had no idea what I was doing. So I decided to document what I was learning as I figured it out. I took my marketing and lead generation knowledge and applied it to my blog and the online world. That blog grew and eventually turned into a published magazine reaching women around the world.
After a few years of running the magazine while still working full-time, I realized I could no longer continue doing both and maintain a healthy and balanced life. This led to me quitting my corporate job and started a creative agency with my husband to replace my income. I started offering online marketing services and booked up with clients almost instantly! I ended up hiring my first employee after 3 months and we hit six-figures in the first year.
I ran both of these businesses for 3 years before stepping into business coaching and consulting. While running these businesses I had mentored groups of women on how to start businesses and truly enjoyed it. I realized I wanted to transition and officially focus on coaching and mentoring women but after leaving a stressful environment I knew I didn’t want to run 3 businesses. That’s when I decided to sell the magazine and stop taking clients in the creative agency.
By the age of 26, I sold my first online business, built a 6-figure business in under one year and transitioned into coaching and mentoring women on how to start successful online businesses.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company
The most interesting part about starting my coaching business is the fact that I had to build a personal brand. As an introvert, I always hated the idea of building a business around ME. I truly was mortified at the idea of putting my face and name out there! The first two businesses I created were built around a brand and I was able to hide behind it. However, I knew that if I truly wanted this business to work I was going to have to put myself out there and let others connect with me. So I overcame my fear and put myself out there. I’m so glad I did because I get to do the most fulfilling work day in and day out! I learned not to let fears hold me back from my dreams!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Being an online business owner instantly puts me in a saturated market. Standing out as a coach and consultant has been my mission from day one and I’ve been able to accomplish it in two ways. First, with my experience. I didn’t just wake up one day and decide I was going to teach others how to build successful businesses. I did it myself first, multiple times, and learned through practical application. I don’t have a certification (I might get one one day) but I have the knowledge and expertise. Secondly, through the results my clients obtain. I believe that speaks higher than what I have accomplished. My clients see results within a few months of working with me and it’s because I know how to bypass all of the noise of the online space and help them focus on what produces results.
For example, I have two clients who went from working 60+ hours per week on their business and struggling to get clients to working 28 hours per week on their business while consistently enrolling clients after working with me for only 3 months. I’m all about results!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Building a successful business takes a lot of sacrifices. My husband and I have both had to sacrifice a lot of things in order to get to where we are today. One of the biggest sacrifices we made was moving in with my parents after one year of marriage. We made this decision so that we could quit our jobs and start our business without getting into debt. We spent a few months living in my old bedroom (talk about humbling) and they were able to move out once my husband was making enough money (I kept working corporate marketing jobs) and then eventually I quit and joined him. I’m grateful to my parents for allowing us the opportunity to stay with them while we worked on our dream. I’m also grateful to my husband for always supporting me in my business ventures and ideas and being the best partner in pursuing our dreams.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Always! I created a program called the Shepreneur Business Academy which is designed to help women build a profitable online business in 12 weeks! I’ve taken all of my knowledge and expertise after building multiple businesses and created a training program that covers the foundational and proven strategies businesses need to succeed online. My mission is to help women have freedom and flexibility in their life and with their passions so that they can step into positions of influence and leadership. I believe that when women are in positions of power great things happen!
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
As the daughter and granddaughter of immigrants, my focus is to give back to that community. I’ve held in-person business workshops for undocumented Spanish speakers and immigrants and plan to continue helping that community with starting and growing successful businesses. They tend to run the smaller businesses and not have much experience with the online space due to language barriers and my goal is to expand into the Spanish speaking market to offer business resources to that community so they can succeed in business.
Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
I have two! One is Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg and You Can Have it All by Mary Kay Ash. I used to struggle with the idea of how to balance being an entrepreneur, wife, and mom (in the future) and seeing other women trailblazers is inspirational and shows me that I can do all of the things I want to do without having to sacrifice the other. I believe that many times women feel like they have to pick one or the other in order but I believe that pursuing our dreams makes us better for ourselves and those we love.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why?
The 5 things I wish somebody would have told me before I started my company are:
The hardest part is getting started and the key is to start before you are “ready”. Too many people are waiting until they are “ready” but there is no such thing. The sooner you start the sooner you will be ready.
Start with something to sell
I started my first business in the wrong way. I created all of the things I thought I needed but was lacking in having something to actually sell my audience. I made that mistake for far too long and the reality is that if you don’t have anything to sell you are not a business. Figure out what you want to sell first, put it out there and then learn from it and let it evolve.
Continually work towards business growth
I’ve learned that business can only go in two directions: forward and backward. There is no such thing as staying stagnant. The moment you stop moving forward your business starts to move backwards. In order to be moving forward, you have to be growing by evolving and improving to market better, sell better, and create constantly.
Continually work toward personal growth
I believe that a business can only grow as much as the CEO grows. You determine the level of success your business achieves by how much room you allow for your growth. Always look for ways to grow yourself and you will find ways to grow your business.
Be willing to invest
This is the biggest set-back I see with new entrepreneurs. They want to wait until they make money in order to invest money. That’s not the way it works. It took me two years to get my first business to succeed and the second only 3 months. The difference? I invested in my second business. I hired a coach and it paid off. Be willing to invest in your business if you want others to invest in it too.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
I would love to have breakfast with Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. I absolutely love her story, her personality and admire what she has built and accomplished! Her go-getter and down to earth personality are something I admire and I love the positive influence she has as a woman entrepreneur.