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Meet Krysta Paffrath of Southwest Media Solutions in Mesa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Krysta Paffrath.

Krysta, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My entrepreneurial story started when I was 16 (now 26) and finding ways to make money. I knew from that age that I was meant to do more than sit behind a desk at a 9-5 job. At the time, I had no idea what that looked like or even what I wanted to do, but I did know that I wanted to make my own money and be completely reliant on myself. Which I did, by giving horseback riding lessons in my spare time. I earned enough money to not only put some away in savings but to also afford both of the horses that I owned at the time. Not bad for a 16-year-old!

Fast forward, I graduated from high school and attended college. In these years (2011-2015), I started traveling to different parts of the country to work the summer months between college semesters. The first summer I ended up in Estes Park, Colorado at the number one Summer Camp in the country, then the second summer, I somehow ended up on a working cattle ranch in northern Arizona. The summer following, I traveled to Thermopolis, Wyoming to work on the WYO Quarter Horse Ranch and rode horses for three months. I loved being on the road, but at the end of my last summer, I started to realize that I needed more than a few months in one place and was ready to put my college degree and life skills to use.

Now, you might be wondering what all of this has to do with my journey? Well, the answer is simple and just that, it is my journey and all of these things that I have done and accomplished have given me the life experience to run and manage my own successful business(es). Which is what my next adventure was all about. Rather than hitting the road to the next town, I settled down in Apache Junction, Arizona and started creating the foundation of my business (even though I didn’t know it then).

At that time, I had more than dabbled in social media marketing and knew the in’s and out’s better than most. With those skills, I created a local business group for businesses to post and advertise their business for free. One day when advertising that very group, I met a local real estate agent who invited me to a local networking group. I had no idea what to expect but what happened in the next few months is what caused my business to explode.

Within the first six months, I had five monthly clients that I was managing social media for and my connections continued to grow based on who I met. I always tell people that the rest is history because I’ve been successful ever since. This was back in 2016, in the years since I’ve started other successful businesses, hosted speaking events and workshops and have played a huge role in the success of other businesses.

On top of the two successful businesses I currently own and manage, I also work with Cowboy Lifestyle Network, a company founded on the passion for the western industry. We travel to rodeos across the country and provide marketing assistance to rodeos that are trying to fill their seats and promote the sport of rodeo itself. This truly started as a passion project for me but has turned into something that feeds my soul. I have a passion for the western industry, which is why I am also the head of marketing for the Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo in Apache Junction. When people ask me where social media started for me, volunteering for that committee is what helped me get my start in social media marketing.

Through all of these experiences and “side hustles”, I found myself as an entrepreneur. I found skills that I didn’t even know I had and have been able to work on skills I don’t use that often. At the end of the day, I have a huge passion for helping others succeed and since I didn’t get to where I am today without the help and mentoring of others, I aim to do the same for others just starting out as well. That’s my goal as an entrepreneur, is to give back just as much as I’ve been given, and thankfully, I have a lifetime to do it.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Entrepreneurship is not easy…I don’t care what people say. It is something that you have to wake and decide to do, every. single. day. No joke. And guess what? If you don’t feel like going to work one day, you don’t get paid. Which sounds harsh, but it is. I love the fact that I am in complete control of how much I make. That can be a positive or negative thing for some people.

At the end of the day, you’re either cut out for the business life or you aren’t. You find out really quick if the entrepreneurial lifestyle isn’t for you. Again, I knew right away, from a young age that that is what I wanted. I just didn’t know what it was going to look like or how I was going to get there.

Some of my struggles starting out was not valuing my own work. Because I was “new” in the business scene, I thought I had to charge less to get started, which wasn’t the case at all. I learned too late that my skills were valuable and you’re better off charging you’re actually worth and not what you think you’re worth.

Another struggle is the loneliness of entrepreneurship. Unlike typical company environments, you work from home or at a coffee shop and you are by yourself 95% of the time. This goes right back to the fact that this life isn’t meant for everyone. You have to be mentally and emotionally strong to be able to handle the stress of running your own business. I wish I had paid more attention to this in the beginning because it really takes a toll on you if you aren’t careful.

Southwest Media Solutions – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I have a few businesses and am currently working on a new venture (like I need something else to keep me busy). The first is the company that started it all and is still going strong today, it is Southwest Media Solutions. We manage social media for small businesses, coaches and other entrepreneurs. The bulk of that business is content development, overall social media and marketing strategy and then implementation of said strategy. I didn’t start working with coaches until the last year or so, but it is extremely gratifying to be able to help someone is also helping others. We do other things as well, such as CRM Management, Email Marketing, Graphic Design, and Website Design but I use other members of the team for that work.

The second business, I am currently a co-founder of and currently managing is Zenith Marketing and Sales. A new company we just launched earlier this year. Zenith was founded by myself and three other business owners that I met in a networking group. All of our skills complemented each other and we decided to create an agency, so we did! We have been going strong from the start, managing an average of 2-3 larger clients a month. We offer full-service marketing, Google and Facebook Ads, web design, graphic design, sales coaching and management, process development, coaching, consulting…you name it, we do it! This venture has been extremely humbling and gratifying as working on a team was a huge adjustment. As an entrepreneur, you learn to do everything yourself and it took some time to realize I didn’t have to do everything by myself. My team is great and I wouldn’t trade them for the world!

My latest venture which has completely come to fruition yet is a Women’s Business event that I am hoping to host in March of 2020. I will be working with local women who want to “Go Big” in their business. I will have vendor opportunities, speaking opportunities, and breakout sessions available to women who are already in business, or to women looking to get started. This goes back to my mission of wanting to give back after all the help I have received over the years. Part of the proceeds from this event will be donated to a local women’s nonprofit organization as well.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Actually, the proudest moment of my career was just a few weeks ago. A little backstory though, I have hosted several workshops and speaking events over the years and really enjoy getting up to talk to people about business and marketing. I hosted an event a few weeks ago with my marketing team and I blew myself out of the water.

It was the first time that I actually felt the energy in the room focused on me. I could hear the confidence in my voice and that just propelled my words even further. It wasn’t just the feeling of that event though, it was the feedback I received after. And you have to realize, this wasn’t a motivational talk, I was purely talking about social media strategy. But the feedback I received was along the lines of “That was one of the most powerful talks I have ever heard.” and “I could feel your confidence and energy and it just really pumped me up to get excited about my business again.”

I was shocked. I’ve always received good feedback on my presentations, but nothing like this. There’s nothing quite like knowing that you changed someone’s life. Even if it was just for a few minutes. Again, this falls into my overall goal of giving back to other business owners.

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