Chrysta Bairre – Career Coach, Speaker and Author

Chrysta Bairre, Career Coach and Speaker on the Thriving Solopreneur Podcast with Janine Bolon

To Learn More about Chrysta Bairre, [click here] to view her Media Kit.

Janine Bolon: Hello and welcome to the Thriving Solopreneur Show. I am Janine Bolon and are you so lucky today? Yes, you are. You are a lucky solopreneur. Why? Because today we have Chrysta Bairre with us. What is amazing about Chrysta is she’s not only a career coach and speaker but she helps women create balance. She helps them advocate for themselves and to find happiness in work and life. She also is the founder and CEO of She Goes High — more on that later on in the interview, and that is an introvert-focused women’s leadership organization based in Northern Colorado. The thing that’s so important about that is we hear a lot about networking and how to get together and everything, it really does cater to those who are very extroverted. But for those introverts, this is something that Chrysta has like, “There’s a need for these people to have a safe place to go to.” So thank you so much for joining us today, Chrysta.

Chrysta Bairre: So happy to be here. Thank you for having me, Janine.

Janine: I think we’ll just roll with it. We’re just going to make it happen today. Anyhow, we were talking before we started getting on the show. We’re talking a little bit about the road of becoming a business owner, and the idea, the energy, the excitement, the passion, and then you get into the nuts and bolts and the day-to-day. If you don’t have a routine and systems for yourself, you can crash and burn pretty fast. So talk to us a little bit about what you learned when you first started because you had passion, you had energy, but you wanted to make sure you’re harmonized with the rest of your life so talk to us a little bit about that journey for yourself.

Chrysta: Yes, and you know what? I’d love to go back just a little bit before when I first had the idea to start this business because I knew I wanted to start a business. I intended to start a business. I left my corporate job. I quit my corporate job. I got a part-time job thinking like, “I’m going to do this business. I’m going to go all-in.” So I kind of dabbled, I joined a mastermind, I did a few things. I was already on social media. I was already blogging. I had been blogging for years at this point, and so I kept doing some of those things but I really didn’t get started. It took me about 3 years after actually leaving my corporate job to get started.

I want to share the story because I think there’s a lot of us out there that are either waiting to get started or have just gotten started. I just want you to know that it can be normal to be slow to get going. That’s totally okay. Sometimes that happens. Not always but sometimes that happens. It took me about 3 years to really get started. What actually got me serious about my business wherein I went all in, was when I got fired from the part-time job that I had at that time. I knew the job wasn’t working out before I got fired. I shared some feedback with my boss that she did not appreciate. I was hoping that the feedback would help us improve things, but what it ended up really doing was making her very unhappy and causing a rift in the relationship, and so she fired me. And I thought to myself, “This is great. This is the opportunity I’ve been looking for because you know what? I am not going to go get another part-time job just to bridge the gap. I’m either going to do this business or I’m going to give up this idea.” Guess what I did? I’m doing this business. I’m all in. You know, having that really clear breaking point and getting fired in particular — I mean, I quit my corporate job, right? But I didn’t really quite get going because I had that part-time job as a safety net. I didn’t really know exactly how to get started and what to do, so I just kind of went along without really getting going, and I got fired. That moment I got fired was just like so much clarity. I was like, “I’m doing this. I am all in. It’s been 3 years. I’ve been kind of tiptoeing around this without really doing it.” And I was like, “That’s it, I’m doing it.”

So that was my start. I don’t have any regrets about that at all. As far as if I were to go back now and give advice to myself, I would say take the plunge a little sooner, just really go all in a little sooner. I think sometimes staying in a full-time job or staying in a part-time job becomes like a crutch. Right? It doesn’t actually help support us in getting the business started. It becomes something that keeps us from really going all-in in the business.

Janine: So I like to go back to where you’re like, “I really didn’t get started.” Because I’d like to know and really hammer out those details. For me, I know I’m starting a business when I get my business account. I opened my business checking account. I open up a Venmo account for that business. I have my PayPal together. I get all the money parts together so that — and this is before I have dollar one coming into the business because I want to differentiate it from my personal account. So are you talking about that getting started? What does it mean for you when you say, “I really didn’t get started.”? What does that look like? Help me out here.

Chrysta: Yes, great. Great point of clarity, Janine, because prior to getting fired, I hadn’t set up the business bank accounts. I hadn’t registered the LLC. So I had a website, I had social media accounts. As I said, I’ve been blogging for a while so I already had an existing website, social media accounts, I was doing some activity around that. I was doing some consulting work a little bit, but I wasn’t really all in on it. That was the moment that I really got serious about it, right? I registered the LLC. I opened the business bank accounts. It was like I’m really doing this and I don’t have a crutch job. I’m not just bringing in a little bit of consulting and come here and there randomly under my own name and my social security number, right? Because you can do that as a freelancer or self-employed person. You don’t necessarily have to set up an LLC and get separate business bank accounts. But it’s better and cleaner if you d, and it’s really a commitment to yourself when you take that step. When you get that LLC, you open that business bank account, and you register for an EIN with the IRS so that you don’t have to use your social security number — you can use your business Ein and those things. So I did all of those steps after I got fired.

Janine: Okay, thank you, because that’s one of the things that we have this path in our head of what our ideal is, and then we have what we actually do. One of those things is I always talk to people about the systems in place. You go and get your LLC. It’s very inexpensive especially here in the State of Colorado. You go down to your local bank and they’ll set it up for you. It’s incredible what we do now versus what we used to have to do. Then once you get the money set up, like this is where the money’s going to funnel, and these are the accounts I’m going to use to funnel my money, and sometimes people get so excited about their website or branding themselves and I’m like, “Whoa, back up. Start at the money because if you’re in business, you’re in business to make money.” Now, yes, we want to have a high impact. We want to serve our community but let me tell you one thing. If you don’t stay profitable, you’re not going to stay in business long so you really need to focus on the money.

So if you don’t mind, Chrysta, because you’re really good at tweezing apart these things. Let’s talk about that emotional commitment when women have a passion but they don’t want to make money at it. That is where I see good quality ideas that businesswomen will come up with that just go down in flames. So talk to us a little bit about that.

Chrysta: Absolutely. There’s this shift that happens when we go from being an employee to an entrepreneur. We’re used to thinking of the hourly rate equivalent as what we might have gotten paid by as an employee, but what we don’t always realize is that there are a lot of business expenses that go into employing people when you become an entrepreneur. You have to take that on — self-employment tax, insurance, all of these different things. One of the biggest shifts I see, or one of the biggest mistakes that I see when women go into business for themselves, as in a service-based business, in particular, is if you are making $20 an hour as an employee, the idea of charging $100 an hour seems like, “Oh, my gosh. That’s like this huge pay raise.” But if you’ve actually been in business for a while, you know that charging $100 an hour doesn’t mean you’re actually getting $100 per hour you work because the amount of time you get paid for can be very different from the amount of time you’re actually working on your business.

So kind of the first shift is getting over that hump and not thinking as an employee because you have all these other expenses. You have to do all this other stuff yourself and every hour you get paid, you don’t get paid every hour that you work in most cases. That’s an immediate first shift, I think, is getting over that hump. An advice that I heard when I got fired and I got real about my business, I went to a training conference and I remember two things — my two really big takeaways from that conference teacher was, one, if you’re in a service business you should be charging no less than $100 an hour. I remember it was like, “What? How does that…” But that is kind of a starting point and your mileage may vary. I mean, you may need to be charging a lot more than that, or depending on your business, you might be able to get away with an $80 an hour away but really think about that $100 an hour as a starting point. I really encourage women and service-based businesses to start there.

My other really big takeaway from this training I went to 2 weeks after I got fired, was your $1,000 offer that the teacher kept talking about — what’s your $1,000 offer? It doesn’t mean that you actually have to have an offer that is exactly $1,000. But so many of us, I think, start off by thinking, “Well, it’ll be easier to sell something smaller to more people.” I already had a built-in audience with my blog and my social media, so I would fall into that trap of thinking, “Well, I’ve got this sort of built-in audience already so I can make more money by charging a less amount to more people.” But the truth is — and I experienced this for myself after I heard this advice at this training that was so valuable by the way. It’s actually often easier for people to invest in a little bit higher-priced offering than a lower-priced offering because the less people pay for it, the less they tend to value it, the less they tend to commit to it, the less they tend to really be all in. It’s like, how many courses? How many online courses have you purchased for a low cost and never even opened the course? Or you did one or two of the lessons or modules and never finished it, right? Because if the price point is too low coming in, it’s not even that that course or that individual that you’re working with doesn’t have value, it’s that we don’t tend to make the same commitment. But when it’s at least a little uncomfortable to hand over the credit card, there’s this energetic commitment that happens. The cool part about that is it serves the client. It doesn’t just serve the entrepreneur. The thing is, you want your clients to see results. No matter what kind of work you do with them, you want them to get value out of it. But the truth is they’re not going to get value necessarily by you working really hard. They’re going to get value as much from themselves opting in and committing, and that happens with a higher price tag.

Janine: I agree. So let’s go back to the price point again because the $997 offer — as we say the $1,000 dollar offer. I have a tendency to do 997 on a lot of my offers, but let’s talk a bit about service-based and hourly wages. One of the things, when I’m coaching my people on, is like, “Okay. What is the highest level that you can offer without choking on the number?” And somebody will say, “Okay, $115 dollars an hour.” But you can tell that even that is a struggle. I’ll say, “Alright you need to add 30% to that.” And people freak out. I’m going to go, “Honey, you got to pay taxes now. So whatever you can barely save and kind of choke it out, you realize you got to charge more than that because one-third of what you make goes to the government.” I just wanted to state that when we start talking about prices. You guys can’t see this but Chrysta is sitting here radically nodding her head, “yes”, is because we forget, as you were very beautifully saying, about going from being an employee to a business owner.

Okay. So I think we’ve beaten that beautiful course, enough on that one. But seriously, people, if you’re service-based, you’ve got to take this into account. So, thank you for sharing those two excellent examples of what you learned in that training. But now, talk to us about where you are on your journey. How many years have you been in business now? And some of the lessons that you have really integrated and are working for you. Let’s talk about what really works for you.

Chrysta: Absolutely. I’ve been in business for about 5 and a half years and I survived 2020 in business. Yay! Just barely but it still counts! You know, I’m pivoting because that’s also, I think, something that happens really naturally as entrepreneurs is you pivot to the market. A big mistake that I’ve seen a lot in small businesses in my career — I worked with a lot of small businesses, or in a lot of small businesses, and the ones that I saw fail, honestly, were the ones that had a great idea at the moment that it was a great idea. Then they didn’t have the ability to keep their finger on the pulse of the industry, their audience, what was happening, and adapt. It’s not even just about adapting to the audience in the industry. It’s also to yourself because as you grow as an entrepreneur, you may find your own interest start to shift and change your peak and wane depending on where you’re at.

So I’ve been in business for about 5 and a half years. I started off — career coaching was my primary income source. That’s what I did. I was a career coach. I worked with people one-on-one. I really loved that work but it’s also very difficult to scale one-on-one work. And I found for myself that my ability to serve my clients… I know other coaches, and I know therapists and other people that work one-on-one with clients that can see 10, 15, 20 clients a week. I am not that person. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m an introvert or what the dynamic is but if I see 3 clients in a day, I’m pretty tired at the end of the day. I mean, I love it. I’m exhilarated by the work, but also totally exhausted at the end of the day. Again, I had a scaling problem so what I have done is I’m no longer taking on any one-on-one clients and I have really shifted my business.

So right now, a couple of years ago, I started She Goes High. We talked a little bit about that, right? As an entrepreneur and as a business owner, when I was starting this meetup group, She Goes High, I heard a lot of advice from other people to create a group that was going to support my business. I’ll be completely honest with you, that isn’t the group that I wanted to create. My group overlapped a little bit with my career coaching but it didn’t really funnel into my career coaching. And so I was a little bit of a rebel and I was like I’m going to create the group that I really desire, focus on introverts, focus on getting to know people in community and connection over transactional relationships, over, “Here’s my business card”, over elevator pitches. I hate elevator pitches. So I created the group that I really wanted and what was amazing to me is that in the very first event that we had, prior to the event, I told a friend of mine I will be happy if 5 people show up. I’ll be ecstatic if 10 show up. I did some research on starting a meetup group and it often can be slow to get going. At the first She Goes High event we had, I think there were 21 or 22 women in the room. Less than half of them, I personally knew so it was mostly people who did not know me. The group just really took off and it helped me realize how much that this group that I wanted, that I desired, so many other women were looking for that too.

So She Goes High really took off in a very significant way, and that has become really the primary thing that I’m doing now instead of one-on-one career coaching. It’s supporting and running and growing She Goes High because I feel so passionate about it. I love the work and I can see that there’s so much of a need for it and that the women who show up are so engaged and really looking for that connection as well. That’s been kind of the biggest thing. Sometimes the advice that they give is to do everything to support your business, but I really encourage entrepreneurs to also be in connection and in your intuition with your joy, with your pleasure, and what you really want. As opposed to following really traditional business advice, coming up with a plan that you can see the path forward.

I’m all about having a plan strategically, but sometimes that golden idea is not the idea. You don’t know that you’re stumbling into it until you’ve gone into it, but you have to give yourself some freedom to explore that. It was really the same with my book. I wrote my book, “Beautiful Badass: How To Believe In Yourself Against The Odds”. Again, it’s not a business book. It’s more of a memoir/self-help book around my journey, growing up in poverty, and mental illness in my family, and overcoming those challenges. And a lot of people were like, “Well, how does this relate to your business directly in your career coaching?” And again, there is some overlap but it didn’t directly correlate, and I was like, “You know, this is just the book I’m being called to write.” The book was just another area like She Goes High wherein really following my passion and my purpose opened up a whole new level of my business. It shifted me away from the one-on-one that I did enjoy but wasn’t scalable and wasn’t sustainable for me personally long-term, to She Goes High working in a group and in a community. My book is just really being about the messages that I pull in there — Impostor Syndrome, believing in yourself, overcoming obstacles and odds. I’m so thrilled with where my business is that right now. It’s really taking off in so many ways because I know these messages are resonating with people.

Janine: I think that’s the key. When you’re in business for the first 3 to 5 years, you do need a lot of assistance. There is high-quality advice out there but there comes a point your four or five — it depends on the business. For me, it was definitely your four where I stopped listening to all the advice and I had a heart-to-heart. I went on a business retreat and I secluded myself away from my family, friends, everything. I sat in nature and secluded myself and decided, “Okay. What is it that I really want?” And that is the key. When you get into that level of authenticity, you start doing things your own way and then your community resonates with you on that. And so, I love the fact that you talked about that in every element. You created the meetup group you wanted to have. You created the book you wanted to read. In my case, I created the podcast, so I created the online courses I always wanted people to teach. And I did it my way and I encourage other business owners to do things their way. After you’ve been in business almost four years, really start cranking that aspect of it. After you’ve learned some of the basics, such as, “open your business account”.

Chrysta: It’s that balance. It’s that idea. Do what you love and the money will follow, and that is both true and not true, right?

Janine: Yes. I agree 100%.

Chrysta: if you’re not doing what you love, it’s not sustainable over time in most cases. So do what you love, but the money doesn’t just follow just because you’re doing what you love. You still do need to have a business structure. You need to have business know-how. You need to have solid strategies that you know how to implement, and you need to be doing the implementation work. You need to be taking action daily. I mean, taking action daily to move your goal forward. It’s really that combination of “do what you love”, but also have the know-how behind you, take action consistently, be consistent in your business. That really is sort of the magic formula in my opinion.

Janine: No, it makes sense to me. So we’re going to go ahead and wrap this up, but are there any little nuggets of wisdom? You’ve given us so many wonderful pieces of gold already, but anything else you care to share with us that we haven’t talked about yet?

Chrysta: You know, I want to reiterate this idea that we touched on a little bit. In my one-on-one career coaching, I talked about this a lot with my clients. It’s this idea that… for example when you’re looking at a job seeker, most people will apply for the job they think they can get rather than the job they truly want. And so really being connected knowing where your desire is, knowing what it is that lights you up, knowing what it is that you want is so powerful and important. If there’s something that you want and you just don’t know how to make it happen, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do that. That means get help on the “how”. There are lots of great business coaches, consultants, programs, and things that can help you with the “how” part. But I absolutely invite you and encourage you to really be connected. What is it I truly want? What would really light me up? Even if I don’t know how, or it seems impossible, or I feel a little bit scared of that idea, kind of like increasing the price 30%. It’s already a challenge to think about that, and now you’re asking me to make it bigger? Whatever your dream is, pick that dream that’s a challenge to think about and add 30%, think of making it a little bit bigger because you can get help with the “how”. You can learn the “how” but if you don’t know what you want, it can be a lot of wheel-spinning and doing what you think you should as a business owner without getting a lot of results.

Janine: I will add to that with a little bit of a story, which is when you look at my websites, they’re not sexy. My websites are pretty stripped down and very simplistic. That was because I got tired of paying thousands of dollars for people to design it, so I went out and learned it myself. I learned the “how”. Thank heavens for all those wonderful millennials that were sitting there doing YouTube videos for people just like me struggling to figure that out. I’m not saying that’s for everybody, but I always tell people to be kind when it comes to my websites. There are a million ways I could make these better and look more professional, but I coded them myself. Why? Because I wanted people to be able to find information. So I had this one guy who’s a big website designer and he gave me the best compliment last week. He said, “Janine, your websites are very clean. I very rarely run into websites that are this clean.” And I almost wanted to cry because this guy is such a pro and I’m like, “I did it myself. Thank you.” And that’s what I want for every business owner. You do something yourself and you figure out the “how” yourself so that you can really put the impact where it needs to be — which is in my case, it was in the content and being able to move people to a better place.

So, Chrysta, how can somebody get a hold of you? Maybe they want to find out more about She Goes High or they want to buy your book. What’s the best way for cute little introverts like me to find you?

Chrysta: Absolutely. So, the best one-stop shop is my website, and that’s at So at, you’ll find a link to She Goes High, you’ll find a link to my book, you’ll find out more about me as a keynote speaker, and it will take you to all those places. So, that’s a great place to go. I also encourage people to look me up on LinkedIn and connect with me there.

Janine: Oh, LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn for that. Thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate your being with us. Chrysta Bairre is with us today and I’m Janine Bolon with the Thriving Solopreneur. Remember, keep those feet of yours firmly planted on the ground while you’re reaching for your stars. We’ll chat with you next week.