David VS Goliath Podcast – S1 – Episode 28 – Krystle DeGraide
Adam DeGraide welcomes a VERY VERY SPECIAL GUEST his wife Krystle DeGraide to the David Vs Goliath Podcast. In this episode Krystle discusses the challenges of being a Co-Founder and CFO alongside her husband Adam and the many of the challenges associated with being a strong woman in this modern world. This is a great interview for anyone who wants to strike a balance with the family or friends they work alongside. Plus Adam and Krystle share some tips and tricks on how to get a company ready for a big sale from the very first day of the business!
Adam DeGraide: Coming up today on David Vs Goliath. I love that name, Krystle Joy. Just every time I say it, I smile. I can’t help myself.
Krystle Joy Deg…: If you have something to do, do it. Don’t get scared because you don’t understand it.
Adam DeGraide: Did you Donald Trump these people?
Krystle Joy Deg…: You’re fired.
Speaker 3: Welcome to today’s episode of David Vs Goliath, a podcast dedicated to helping small businesses leverage technology to not only help them compete against their large competitors, but win. Your host is currently the CEO of Anthem Business Software, a three-time Inc. 500 recipient and a serial entrepreneur with a passion to help small businesses everywhere find, serve, and keep more customers profitably. Please join me in welcoming your host, Adam DeGraide.
Adam DeGraide: Hey, everyone. It’s Adam DeGraide with an extra special with sugar on top episode of the David Vs Goliath Podcast. My wife has been reluctant to do this interview, but I thought it would be such a great thing for my listeners and my watchers to be able to learn a lot about what it’s like to have a husband and wife dynamic running businesses, and Krystle is an amazing co-founder, CFO, owner co-owner in my businesses, and I thought it would be great to bring her on, give that human element, that dynamic of relationships and working together. It should be a lot of fun. It’s going to be great.
Today’s episode is brought to you by Anthem Software, where you can find, serve, and keep more customers profitably with their all-in-one solution built specifically for small businesses to help you find, serve, and keep more customers profitably with their software platform, their marketing platform and their training and consulting platform. Take the 120-second tour today at anthemsoftware.com. Also, my book is out on Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Type in Adam DeGraide, D-E-G-R-A-I-D-E. You can pick up your copy for your kids or your grandkids.
The Adventures of Jackson: The Young Field Mouse, teaching kids, bravery, gratitude, and how to listen. Very, very important. I actually just read it to our kids last night. It was just a precious time. We’re very excited about today. Today’s is going to be amazing. Before we get into it, don’t forget to visit us online at davidvsgoliathpodcast.com. There you can subscribe to receive our email newsletter and you can also apply to be on the podcast. We’re getting many more applications and it’s going to be some great episodes coming up. But with no further ado, this extra special guest, my best friend, my partner, Krystle Joy DeGraide. Krystle, welcome to the David Vs Goliath Podcast.
Krystle Joy Deg…: Thank you for having me.
Adam DeGraide: I’m so excited to have you here. I know that you were a little reluctant to do this. You were like, “Really? I don’t know.” I’m like, “Yeah, I think people are going to love it.” People always love to hear how we met, but if you don’t mind, I’m going to tell a little bit of that story. Hopefully you’re okay with that.
Krystle Joy Deg…: Sure.
Adam DeGraide: But I met Krystle because the time I met Krystle, she was working her family’s insurance agency, which is ISU-ARMAC in the High Desert. They were a client of my business, Astonish. I almost forgot the name of which one it was at the time. Krystle was sharp, she was bright, she was a lot of fun. I hosted an event at the del Coronado in San Diego and gave a speech there. A lot of our clients came in. About 300 of our clients were there, and we met that night and definitely was a interesting story. Why don’t you tell people a little bit about your first impressions of Adam DeGraide over here?
Krystle Joy Deg…: Wow. My first impressions of Adam DeGraide, that pretty much sums it up as wow. When I first saw Adam, he was on stage giving an amazing speech full of passion and energy, and I don’t know how you could have left that speech and not wanting to go and take on the world. It was awesome. It was so awesome that I wrote down every single word that he said, went back to my hotel room during a different conference that happened right after and I recreated his whole presentation and I ended up trying to give the same speech to all of the employees at ISU-ARMAC. You can imagine, it probably didn’t come across as well as Adam did it, but I tried to give the same amount of passion and energy. When it’s a girl talking to girls, they’re all just rolling their eyes. I tried.
Adam DeGraide: That was awesome. I do remember that event. That event was cool. Basically what we did was, at the time trying to help our clients utilize the software, we would fly them all in and we did an event at the del Coronado and we trained for … I think it was a day and a half, and we had some parties and we had some live bands come in. It was a really good time. As I started to get to know Krystle better months and months later, we started spending more time together, and I realized, Krystle, you had a lot of experience in business. At the time I think when we reconnected, you were recently made the CEO of ISU-ARMAC at that time.
I think what would be really neat, because a lot of people don’t know what it takes to end up where you are new now, where you’re a co-founder, a partner of mine, a CFO, and all these things don’t happen, right? They are a progression of everything in our lives. Go back and tell people a little bit about your work history, because I think if you can follow where people start, you can also understand how they end up where we are right now. Krystle, tell them a little bit about your life’s path and work and journey and schooling, which we know you went to school like nobody went to school. You went to more schools than anybody I know. I think it would be very interesting for people to learn your journey.
Krystle Joy Deg…: Oh, my journey starts back in high school where I picked up some part-time work at my father’s insurance agency, and all I did there really was filing, or anything that they needed done that I could possibly do, I did. Back then, we actually had paper files, so we had a full, huge room of just files in it. Someone had to make those files. That’s where I started, and then when I went to college, I got really bored with just school and sorority life and I wanted money and I wanted the ability to have a job.
I walked into Robinson’s [inaudible] in Scottsdale, Arizona, and I had no clue what I was doing because this is the first time I’ve ever tried to find a job. I walked in and I gave them my application and they looked at me and they said, “Well, hold on. Let me see if a manager’s available.” I was like, “Okay.” They brought the manager of the makeup department. Now, the makeup department is actually a department that usually people either have to work their way up to or something miraculous happens, like what happened with me.
I spoke to the manager in the makeup department and he offered me a job at, oh my gosh, Christian Dior cosmetics. That was another position that most people had to work their way into, mainly because of the pay. The pay was just a lot larger than other positions. That was primarily why everyone had to work their way up. I worked there for a while. I had a manager in the Bay that wasn’t the easiest woman to get along with. She thought I was going to take her job, which I had no desire or understanding on how to even do that.
But her and I actually ended up becoming acquaintances and I enjoyed that job a lot. After that I ended up working for Eddie Matney in Scottsdale as a hostess, which was interesting because I had to get used to phone skills, I had to learn how to organize tables, organized servers, and I know if anyone ever gets frustrated with a hostess at the front of a busy restaurant, take a breath because it’s not necessarily that table’s available, why can’t I sit there? There’s a lot going on in the background that you don’t even know about.
Just give them grace. But that was fun. I got to meet some interesting people. The restaurant industry is very interesting, just an industry of on its own, but fun people. Then after that, I jumped from school to school. I started at ASU and then I went to a couple community colleges, and then I decided that I wanted to be an interior designer. Then I went back to California and I went to the Institute of Interior Design in Newport Beach. Loved everything I learned there, but I never ended up … I did start my own business. That was a process of learning, learning how to start your own business.
Adam DeGraide: Did it have a name? I don’t think I’ve ever asked you that. Did it have a name or was it just Krystle Joy’s Interiors, or what was the name of the business [crosstalk]
Krystle Joy Deg…: That’s what it was, Krystle Joy Interiors.
Adam DeGraide: See, it makes sense. I love that name by the way.
Krystle Joy Deg…: I learned the whole trade.
Adam DeGraide: I love that name, Krystle Joy. Just every time I say it, I smile. I can’t help myself because that’s what you do, you bring joy to people.
Krystle Joy Deg…: Yeah. That was my first experience in starting a business. I was probably early 20s. 22 maybe, 23. I had to learn the whole interior design industry to even start a business. I had to create the company, do the DBA, learn QuickBooks. Good Lord. That was fun, trying to learn QuickBooks-
Adam DeGraide: Yeah. But think about that. Think about that, Krystle.
Krystle Joy Deg…: … when you don’t understand accounting.
Adam DeGraide: But think about that.
Krystle Joy Deg…: What?
Adam DeGraide: Think about that because you work in QuickBooks every day of your life, you’ve been the CFO of a few companies, CFO of our family business. All of this stuff, from putting makeup on people and learning how to communicate with them and articulate yourself there in that store, to then greeting people, dealing with hungry … If I walk in and I’m hungry, you know what it’s like to go to a restaurant and meet when I’m hungry. I better be sat-
Krystle Joy Deg…: Yes.
Adam DeGraide: … and I better be sat quick and somebody better put something in my mouth, and it’s-
Krystle Joy Deg…: I’m always reminding you to have grace for the host assist.
Adam DeGraide: Yes, you are, and that’s why we make a good pair. But although, if we waited for your timeline all the time, we probably would never eat. It’s a blend. Everything’s a blend. Then you go from there to your dear college, all these different things, you’re trying to figure it out. Then you start your own business, you have to learn QuickBooks, you learn a little bit about DBA. This is all leading you along the way.
I think for the watchers and listeners, this is great because you might be right now in one of these stepping stones in your life, and they’re all leading you to some place of greatness if you keep following them. From there, having your own business, you started learning QuickBooks, you did interior design. I know one of the things you told me when we were dating is that you like the discounts you’d get on the different furnishings, and that you helped mom and dad furnish the house at a discount. Is that correct?
Krystle Joy Deg…: Yes. I did upcharge of 10% on my discounts as my fee, which is really … Any interior designer listening to this would be like, “Oh my goodness, how dare you only do 10% and how dare you not charge a fee?” Usually, it’s a blend of a fee plus an upcharge. But that’s my mom, I was learning, I was experiencing.
Adam DeGraide: No. No, let’s get a calculator out just for mom and dad, and we’re just going to calculate how much they should have paid you, and then will do a compounding interest over the … What? How many years now? I won’t say many years because I know you may not want to tell people how old you are, and then we’ll just give them a bill and we’ll just say, “Hey, this is our 10th anniversary fund and [crosstalk] and Barbara, we really appreciate it.”
Krystle Joy Deg…: I see where you’re going, but I did make up for that when I ended up working for them in the insurance agency, which came next.
Adam DeGraide: Yeah. Tell the folks-
Krystle Joy Deg…: While I was-
Adam DeGraide: Yeah. Tell the folks about that. That’s a really big step. You went from learning your own … What I like about your story though is you didn’t just stay in the family business. You did get outside and work with challenging people, difficult owners, some owners you like, some peat managers you didn’t like. All those life skills helped you. Then to go starting your own, to going back to the family business. You had a lot of experience that some people that started family businesses and only stay in family businesses don’t get. There’s a lot of benefit to that as well too. At the agency, what did you do there?
Krystle Joy Deg…: I started out as a sales rep. I went and got licensed and I started out in personal lines, and I would say that that’s where I grew a thicker skin because I had days where I had to outside and cry and scream because the people were horrible, horrible to me. Probably because I do have a higher pitch voice and I come across as a ditzy blonde sometimes, but I had to toughen up. I did, and then I became one of the top sales people in the agency. You know what? I wanted to move down to LA because who doesn’t want to live the LA lifestyle? We had a different office down there in Alhambra.
I went and I started working there where it was only two other women that worked there and I started noticing things. Actually, there were three at the time and I started noticing things, and things weren’t actually working the way that they were working at our larger office. A lot of things happened and I had to put on some big girl pants and fill a role that I didn’t even know existed as manager and caring for our family business as an owner. Even though I wasn’t one, it’s still our family. I ended up having to clean out the whole office of our employees and stuff [crosstalk]
Adam DeGraide: Did you Donald Trump these people? Did you Donald Trump-
Krystle Joy Deg…: I Donald Trumped … You’re fired. Now, it wasn’t something that I wanted to do, but they literally laid it out there, so there was no other options. It was employment situations that can’t happen. But there was one girl that stuck with me. She’s a sweetheart, and to this day, she’s still with the agency. I love her dearly, and I think she might even be a … I know she’s a manager now. She might even be a partner, who knows? But she is doing great and I’m grateful that she walked alongside me the whole time.
Adam DeGraide: That’s awesome. That’s awesome.
Krystle Joy Deg…: Yeah, after that, I just started running that office and trying out new things and succeeding, which was awesome.
Adam DeGraide: Now, when you had to clean houses, as you say, and Donald Trump these people, when-
Krystle Joy Deg…: [crosstalk]
Adam DeGraide: I know, thinking back in these moments, you were still relatively young. You had probably not been fired yourself ever. I would imagine you decided your life’s path. At least you’ve never told me you’ve gotten fired, unless there’s something don’t know.
Krystle Joy Deg…: No.
Adam DeGraide: But when you sat down and had that first difficult conversation, were you a little nervous about it?
Krystle Joy Deg…: Oh my goodness. I was shaking. I actually had the flu. I was at home when I got the call from my brother up in our office in Victorville, and he said, “We have a situation. I need you to go to the office and I need you to be there because we’re firing an employee. You need to be there when we fire them and you have to make sure that they don’t take anything and basically be security.” I’m five or four, 100 pounds. I’m just like, “Okay,” and I’m shaking and I’m sick and I have no energy. That was probably the scariest.
Adam DeGraide: I can imagine it. Them asking, “Now, listen, you got to make sure they don’t take anything.” You’re thinking to yourself, “Okay. I’ll do the best I can, block the door.” That’s awesome. Krystle, we do have to take a break from our corporate sponsor at David Vs Goliath, which is a business that you and I own together, and it’s Anthem Software. You’re with David Vs Goliath Podcast with the extra special, sugar on top guest, my beautiful wife, Krystle Joy, and yours truly the handsome host, Adam DeGraide, will be right back.
Speaker 4: Anthem Business Software system is designed to specifically help small businesses just like yours find, serve, and keep more customers profitably. We do this by providing you with the most powerful software automations and marketing services to help your business compete and win in this ever-changing digital world. Take a short video tour at anthemsoftware.com. (singing)
Adam DeGraide: We’re back with the David Vs Goliath Podcast with Krystle Joy DeGraide telling us all of her stories about how she not only had to Donald Trump people at the office, she also became a bodyguard at the exact same time and had no idea. She had to become a police officer as well. There’s a lot of things that people don’t really realize what it takes when you’re running a business or working in a business in a management level.
I know you love people and you care about them, but the funny thing is, my listeners and my viewers, I’m going to show you a picture right now. Krystle’s very sweet, but for some reason, she actually looks … Her spirit animal is this cheetah that her and I found in Carmel, California, in the … I forget, was it Robert Knight? Is that the photographer’s name?
Krystle Joy Deg…: I think so. Yes.
Adam DeGraide: I think it’s Robert Knight. You’re looking at it right now. A fierce, beauty, determination, but she knows something that you don’t know, and that is Krystle. Krystle now, fast forwarding a little bit, when we started to date each other in Astonish, you started working alongside with me, and then when I sold that business and we became husband and wife, which we’re going to talk a little bit about in the last break, but when we sold that business, we decided we needed to start another one.
A couple years after, I remained on as CEO. Little tip for people that are going to sell their business or take on a private equity firm as a partner, know your own type of personality and make sure that you stay only if you like working for other people and people that’ll mess things up. If that’s not your personality, get the heck out of dodge, and that’s what I would’ve done differently on that transaction. They’re lovely people. Don’t get me wrong. But they just have a different way they see the world and it was frustrating.
Then we started Crystal Clear. At Crystal Clear, at the end of it, we worked with 800 providers, and you became involved from the beginning in that business in regards to being our CFO and running the finances. Hence, back to when you started your own interior decorating business, learning QuickBooks, you were like, “I can’t believe I got to do this,” here you are now as an actual CFO of the company that we started together, along with Tim Sawyer and Tom Kucher and Joe Amaral. It was just an awesome journey to be on. Did anything prepare you for that journey that you were about to go on from day one of a new business?
Krystle Joy Deg…: Oh, absolutely. Every step of the way has prepared me for that, and yet, I wasn’t completely prepared. When we started Crystal Clear, my knowledge of you having sold, what? At that point, two other businesses. Knowing that that was the end in mind, that’s how I started everything. Any type of analytic report that I could create, any tracking of any numbers that I could keep up with from the very beginning because I knew if I waited a year, two years, three years and try to go backwards, what a headache that would’ve been.
I started every report I could possibly imagine. Not every report did we ever ended up needing, but we used them in our business to make decisions and to move forward, which was very helpful. Plus I had the information at my fingertips when I needed it, which I needed it all the time. It was helpful knowing what the end was when we first started. But it was a learning journey too, Crystal Clear. With Astonish, I wasn’t involved in the financial side of it, so I had to learn the financial side of it with Crystal Clear.
But that didn’t … That’s not something to scare people. I think that the most beneficial knowledge that I’ve gathered over the years is from jumping in and figuring it out. I don’t necessarily always do it on my own. I’ll call a CPA, I’ll ask for help. I’ll read. I love to read. Anything that can help me learn something new, I’ll do. But the only way you’re actually going to learn it is if you just jump into it and figure it out.
Adam DeGraide: Yeah. It’s amazing because when we started that business, we had a formula that we’ve used in my two previous businesses that were able to come forward. As a CEO, it was always a challenge to get that data, that really critical data and that planning point. It’s almost like if you don’t know where you’re going, it’s very difficult to figure out how you’re going to get there. With Crystal Clear, we literally set up … When I gave the presentation to potential investors at the time, we knew, well, how many clients we’re to get year one, year two, year three, year four?
We estimated what our retention rate would be. We estimated what our revenues would be. We estimated what we would sell the business for in the beginning. The crazy thing about that is from that very first thing that you and I worked on at Crystal Clear, not only did we hit the numbers, we were within $50,000 of the multiple millions of dollars we thought we would end up netting at the end to the tee, and that is amazing. Now, it takes a village, as you know our friend, Hillary-
Krystle Joy Deg…: Yes.
Adam DeGraide: … says, it takes a village. Just joking about that part. But it takes a village to run a business. We had amazing partners that were handling stuff, getting stuff done. Now, one of the interesting thing, dynamics, that you and I have talked about in pillow talk is sometimes how people could see you in the business, and you were always fascinated that some people might have been a little scared of you, and you didn’t really understand why that was the case.
I think this is an important point to stop because this gets a little bit weird and it also gets a little bit relevant to the people that tune in here. When you have a strong woman in a business, it definitely can create some sort of insecurities around certain individuals, and you definitely felt that and I definitely saw that. What did that feel like for you, and you were bewildered by it, right?
Krystle Joy Deg…: Well, I would say this goes all the way back to my ARMAC days. Because when I finally took a management role, obviously I’m the owner’s daughter, so I obviously only got that role because I’m the owner’s daughter, not because I worked for it or because I was smart enough for it or any of other reason other than the fact that I was an owner’s daughter. There was a lot of animosity that I dealt with in that agency.
I would try to do trainings, and being a young girl trying to teach other women that are older and maybe more educated, have a lot more just life experience than I do, was hard enough, and then you put owner’s daughter on top of it. I remember doing a training, and afterwards I thought I did great, I was so excited, but of course no one wants to do anything new or have any change, so everyone was just negative.
But my brother comes up to me and he’s like, “Krystle, you know you say I a lot. You take credit for everything when you speak.” He said, “Maybe you should probably change that to we or our.” That was the beginning where I got punched in the face and I was like, “Oh, so I’m not doing a great job.” Next thing I knew, I was at Barnes and Noble or Borders or whatever the bookstore was at the time, and I was looking up every self-help book on how to communicate more efficiently and incorporate people into the communication as well.
I had to go through a lot of learning. To this day, I still catch myself or I still try to communicate in a better way. But I will tell you, once we got past that and I was involved in Astonish, whatever anyone thought of me there, I don’t know really because I worked at home and I wasn’t in the office, and then Crystal Clear happened and I thought everything was hunky-dory. I was dealing with finances. Of course I was always asking about the numbers. How many new deals are we getting and stuff? Apparently, I-
Adam DeGraide: Yeah.
Krystle Joy Deg…: … [crosstalk] doing so great and I was not motivating people. Instead I was doing the opposite because I was so concerned about out the numbers because that’s all I deal with, is paying bills and collecting money. I’d constantly be asking about, “Well, what about … Our goal is this. We just got a deal,” and my next question would be, “So where are we on getting to our goal?” Everyone was just like, “Krystle, be quiet. Let’s celebrate.” It’s hard because that’s my personality [crosstalk]
Adam DeGraide: Yeah. I think this is a good point to talk about because I’m married to you and I love you and we’ve been best friends for … You’re my best friend in the whole world. You’re so laser focused on the mission that … I think what your brother said is profound, right? It’s like this is … We’re on a mission, we’re on a journey, but we need to stop and have those micro moments where it’s like, “Okay, we might be too short of the goal and it might be one day left in the month, but the guy just brought a deal in. How about attaboy?” You know what I mean?
Krystle Joy Deg…: I [crosstalk]
Adam DeGraide: But I understand by the way, and because I know you so well, it’s not ill intended. But this is important, by the way, for people who are listening and watching this podcast, is that your team needs that positive reinforcement. They need redirection. There’s no doubt about it when there’s things that have to happen, but don’t forget that you’re in it together and don’t forget to smile at them and say, “Great job. By the way, where’s my two other deals? I need those two. If there’s anything I can do to help you, let me know.” I think that that’s really great, and it’s difficult even for me sometimes, right?
We’re in meetings, we’ll be talking to things, you get so focused that you’re missing the human element, and what your brother’s advice that he gave you is great. I’ve always had a principle in business. It’s not I, it’s we. It’s we period, it’s we collective that are doing this journey together. Now, for the watchers and the listeners, they may not be aware of this Krystle. Krystle’s not only the CFO to Anthem Software now, she was the CFO to Crystal Clear, she is the CFO of BamBamTastic Games, just coming out, our family CFO. She’s also involved in our foundation as CFO our foundation. As you said the other day, you are managing billions of accounts. That’s not necessarily true, but it was a nice exact [crosstalk].
Krystle Joy Deg…: It feels like it.
Adam DeGraide: You’re an amazing mother of two of the most beautiful kids in the world, Anthem and Rapsody, two great names. One means epic song and epic poem. As you know, Krystle, I’m an author, but before I was an author, you were an author of The Story of You. This is a story that Krystle wrote and is available on all the same places. Really great illustrations. You had a passion to help children understand the value of when they were created. You do so many things, you’re an amazing woman. Tell the listeners and the watchers a little bit about The Story of You, and then … Because I wouldn’t have written my book, I wouldn’t have done this had my wife not done this and encouraged me to do it. Tell the folks a little bit about The Story of You.
Krystle Joy Deg…: Oh, well, I believe I was … I don’t remember if I was pregnant with Rapsody or if it was after I had Rapsody, but I remember that I had a calling on my heart actually a couple years earlier where I knew God wanted to use me. I just didn’t know where, and so I prayed the scariest prayer. God, where do you want me? Immediately, he basically said he wanted me in the abortion industry and in the pro-life sector, the abortion industry, and I was like, “No. No, no, no, no. That’s not going to work. My brother wants me in politics. My husband might be in politics. I can’t do something political like that.”
Literally, there’s a lot that happened, but a year almost to the day, I ended up being a board member on a local women’s clinic here in Orlando called Choices Women’s Clinic. It’s all God. When it’s laid out there, it’s just … He makes everything happen, you just have to hold on for dear life and hope you don’t fall off. But while I was sitting on that board, I also felt if there’s something else that I could do that might affect, at least even one person, to a child to let them know how precious their life is.
Especially just having two children, that was a whole thing because you learn every stage of baby growing in your belly. I wanted children to understand that in a way that maybe they would remember the story, and if they ever were in a situation of an unplanned pregnancy, they might have just a little bit of a thought of a book that they read when they were a little kid of how the baby forms in the womb and how precious it is. I ended up sitting down and it took me maybe 30 minutes to write the book. Then I looked it up because I’d never written a book.
I looked up how long is a children’s book? It said about 13 pages, and I went through my story and I’m like, “Oh I have 13 pages. What do I do with that?” It’s another experience that you just figure it out. If you have something to do, do it. Don’t get scared because you don’t understand it. Figure it out.
Adam DeGraide: That’s great.
Krystle Joy Deg…: I kept watching Fox News. Sorry, but I did, and they kept … It was weird because this commercial kept coming on for Christian Faith Publishing and I’d never seen a commercial for publisher. I was like, “Okay, well, maybe I should call them.” Then one thing led to another and I published a book.
Adam DeGraide: Yeah, you did. You did publish a book. I don’t know if you know this or not. Last night, Rapsody came in to the office and she saw a copy of it on my desk and she goes, “Daddy, it’s been a while since I’ve read this book,” and she grabbed it and then Anthem went and grabbed my book, and then last night when you were at the board meeting, I read them both of our stories, and it’s awesome. This is what we talk about all the time on David Vs Goliath, which is action is the life. It brings life to the entrepreneur.
Action and doing things brings life. Krystle even said it, sometimes you’re just going to do it. You’re just got to jump in the fire because there’s energy and life behind it. Hesitancy can bring death. Now, Krystle, we’re going to take a break from another sponsor here on DVG. When we come back, I do want to talk a little bit about some of the personal things that we do in our lives and some of the fun things that are coming up in our lives.
Then at the end, I want to rewind and talk about the sale of Crystal Clear and that experience of what it was like going through it as a CFO when the numbers were being scrutinized by Ebenezer Scrooge and how well you did through that process. You’re watching and listening to greatest business podcast in the world. This is the DVG Podcast. Stay tuned. We’ll be right back.
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Adam DeGraide: We’re back for our final segment with the amazing, the beautiful, the talented Mrs. DeGraide. Krystle, it’s been awesome having you on, and thank you so much for coming in this journey. Now, what we’re going to do right now is, Krystle and I, right now at the time of this recording, we’re going down tomorrow to Naples. I’ve been working on a personal project because my wife has encouraged me over the last few years. When we sold Crystal Clear, she said, “What are we doing next?”
I said, “Oh, we don’t take a break?” She’s like, “No, we’re not taking a break. We’re going to get right into it and get the next thing.” [inaudible] task master. Let’s go back to that cheetah picture. Yeah, exactly. That’s exactly what she is. She’s like, “Get to work. Get to work.” The very next day we incorporated and we got rocking and rolling on Anthem, and then all these things just started coming up in our lives. She encouraged me to write the book and I wrote the book.
Then I’ve been playing music for so many years, as you know, and I love playing music for you and the kids and the family. I promoted a lot of other people’s music over the years, but I haven’t really promoted my own. Krystle encouraged me, she’s like, “Why don’t you make an album and do it?” I said, “You know what? I’m going to do it.” I started working on some pieces on the piano, and also acoustic guitar, and I’ve recorded 10 songs, and my cousin, Dave Lachance, is arranged a string quartet that we’re going to see perform the music and record it this Friday, coming up at the time of this recording in Naples.
What I wanted to do right now is I’m going to show a rough version of this song. I’m going to play the entire song, but I’m going to do it to the montage of our honeymoon. Not our honeymoon, our engagement photos and our wedding photos so people can hear the beautiful music. This is a song called You and I. It’s going to be coming out on my album very soon. Enjoy this video. (Silence) There you go, Krystle. I bet you didn’t even know I was going to title that track You and I, did you?
Krystle Joy Deg…: No, I didn’t. Very special.
Adam DeGraide: It is very special. I think about all the people that I’ve met in my life that have helped me. Nobody’s helped me more personally in my life than you, and nobody has helped me more professionally in my life than you. It’s been a great blessing.
Krystle Joy Deg…: Don’t make me cry.
Adam DeGraide: I’m not going to make you cry. I just want you to know this, that you’ve been a great blessing to hundreds of us, employees and partners and family members and people that have come along in vendors because she pays your bills. How about a little thank you, Krystle, for paying my bills on time. But it’s been a lot of fun, and it’s been awesome on this journey with you. Talk to the listeners a little bit about what it’s like to be a partner with your husband.
Krystle Joy Deg…: Well, I don’t think it’s for everyone. As the woman, you have to support your husband. At times you have to respect his choices and know that he’s making the right decision and stand behind him. It’s also hard because coming from a family business, we talked about business 24/7. When you live with someone that you work with, it’s very hard to separate business and family life. I’ve had to work on that as well. I think we do it real well now, not talking business. But sometimes like right before bed I’ll look at him-
Adam DeGraide: I don’t know. We talk business a lot.
Krystle Joy Deg…: We do, but I don’t feel like it monopolizes our conversations where I feel like in my family situation with the insurance agency, every family event, it turned to insurance. I think we have a healthy balance with that. But like I said, sometimes I’ll turn to Adam right before he is about ready to fall asleep and I’ll say something about the business, and he’ll look at me and he’ll say, “Why did you do that? Now I can’t sleep.” I have to learn how to control what I’m thinking about or what I say and when to say it.
Actually, my mom taught me that a long time ago, especially with men. Knowing the perfect time to bring up a subject will be the difference between a yes and a no. That was helpful. Thanks, mom, for that because I’ve used it every day in my life. Then if I don’t, well, I usually get a no. But yeah, I think it’s not completely the easiest thing working with your husband. My husband is very passionate and he also usually knows what people are saying before they even know what they’re saying. He doesn’t have a tendency to listen very long.
Adam DeGraide: Very short.
Krystle Joy Deg…: You have to know your husband’s personality and you need to know how to deal with it. Once you do that, it’s pretty powerful because you have two different human beings in your business that hear different stories from different people that might be more comfortable talking to me versus talking to Adam or vice versa, and you take all of that in and you work together to create the best environment that you possibly can create and the best company you possibly can create.
Adam DeGraide: That’s great. It’s really great advice. It’s important to be mindful of each other, right? Timing is critical in a marriage, in general. Then you add the layers of complexity of managing employees and businesses and good days and bad days and horrible days and great days and more horrible days and more great days and then you travel together, live together. It’s been [crosstalk]
Krystle Joy Deg…: It’s a rollercoaster.
Adam DeGraide: It is a rollercoaster. I’ve sold a few businesses as you know. I’ve sold three, and we’re on our fourth now. I was told by the people who bought our last business that they’ve never seen more organized business of our size, financially data, answers to questions, our transaction. Most times when a company they come in and they say, “Okay,” they sign a letter of intent and they’re going to buy your business in 90 days, 90 days turns into six months, to nine months, to a year, to never. We closed on the exact day that they said they were going to close on and they gave you the credit for it.
Going through that process, Krystle, was stressful, right? Because you’re dealing with the CEO, who’s your husband, you’re listening to me on the phone call, you’re listening to the negotiations, you’re als … When the phone call hangs up, I’m going, “We need this, this, this, this,” and all these bullets are firing at you. I’m firing bullets at you, the buyer’s firing bullets at you. You have managed it unbelievably. Our partners are firing bullets at us, and it was amazing.
Krystle Joy Deg…: Yes.
Adam DeGraide: At the end of the day, we got it done and you did it. What was it like from a CFO’s perspective to have your numbers so scrutinized like that and to come out on the other side smelling like roses?
Krystle Joy Deg…: Well, first of all, one of the things I had to deal with right away was the fact that I’m dealing with people that have many, many, many years of education in the field that they’re in. I was dealing with lawyers, I was dealing with accountants, I was dealing with people that had [crosstalk]
Adam DeGraide: Multiple CPA firms. Multiple CPA firms.
Krystle Joy Deg…: Oh yeah. People that do things with numbers that I don’t even know what the name is that they do with those numbers. All my education’s been on the job, really, when it comes to the financial side of things. I had to get over that and realize that I know the business and they don’t. Whatever they asked for, I had, because like I said, when we started Crystal Clear, I knew we were going to sell it, so I made report after report even on things that I wasn’t sure if it would be useful on the end, but they wanted the reports. I don’t think they ever [crosstalk].
Adam DeGraide: And you had them. And you had them. And you had them.
Krystle Joy Deg…: I had them.
Adam DeGraide: That’s right.
Krystle Joy Deg…: Yep. When we went into the sell, I had 30 days to work with multiple law firms, which don’t typically work very fast, multiple CPAs, which don’t typically work very fast. They sent me, I think it was three different spreadsheets with multiple tabs on each spreadsheet for the whole company. I was making sure that each individual department was also providing reports that they needed that I didn’t create. I was just hoping we had them. But we did, and I thank Joe for that, because Joe, our COO at the time, he knew what the end was too. A lot of those reports helped us run our business, which was [crosstalk]
Adam DeGraide: Joe is our COO of Anthem Software now. By the way-
Krystle Joy Deg…: Yes, yes.
Adam DeGraide: … this business has started off with the exact same structure and roadmap and plan, and we’ve got to hit those numbers. If you’re working at Anthem right now, pay attention because Krystle will be there. She’ll be asking those questions. Krystle, do you have any final advice that you’d give to someone who’s trying to balance work life, family life and fun? Because I think you do that very, very well. A lot of people don’t do that well. You do. Do you have any advice for them?
Krystle Joy Deg…: Oh man. It’s hard. There’s times when I feel completely overwhelmed with the business, and Adam says, “Let’s go out the jet skis.” With my husband, it’s very hard to balance because I-
Adam DeGraide: My favorite thing, guys, is I’m a gamer. It drives her crazy. [crosstalk] I play games at least three hours a day. I have to. That’s what I do. She’ll be working and I’ll be gaming, and she’ll be like, “Hey, I got a question for you,” I’m like, “I’m in the middle of a game right now.” She’s like, “But I’m working.” I’m like, “So am I. I’m working on my kill count.” But anyway, it’s definitely … There are these dynamics that are very human and very real. Anyway, continue on.
Krystle Joy Deg…: Well, I think I had to figure out what my priorities were because I also homeschool. When it comes to my purpose in my life, I had to figure out where is my purpose lies? It lies with God, it lies with my husband, and it lies with my children first and foremost, and then the businesses. I have a scheduled time that I spend with my kids for homeschooling and that gets done. Once that’s done, then I hopefully have time to work out, and it’s hard to make my husband happy because you always have to schedule time to make your husband happy.
Adam DeGraide: Boom.
Krystle Joy Deg…: Or else you won’t be happy.
Adam DeGraide: By the way, as I always say, Krystle, happy wife, happy life. Happy hubby, always chubby. That’s what I just made up on the spot. Are you going to feel it? Our producer’s going to grab that and say, “Happy hubby, happy chubby.” No, we’re not going to do that one, TJ. Just so you know, TJ is our editor and our producer. TJ. let’s not do that. Krystle, this has been so much fun, having you on. What a great journey it has been doing business with you and doing life with you. I just wanted our listeners and our watchers to know the strength behind the DVG Podcast because this podcast would not exist if you didn’t say to me, “Adam, you need to do a podcast and give back to the business community.”
For that, all of the watchers and listeners should give Krystle a little note saying thank you. It’s been amazing. Krystle, I love you. Thank you for being my best friend and my business partner, my wife and mother of my children and the teacher and the CFO and the counselor, and my medic. You just name it. You’re everything. You are amazing, there’s no doubt about it. And so am I. One last thing, Krystle, grab that statue behind you that’s on my desk really quick. Yeah. Let’s show the people the statue. What does it say exactly? Oh, the world’s [crosstalk] greatest husband. With that being said, this is the end of the episode of David Vs Goliath. I’m your host, Adam DeGraide. You’ve been listening to Krystle Joy and myself. Thank you so much for tuning in. We’ll see you next week. Everyone, have a fantastic day.