Crystal Harris was born to be an entrepreneur. At age six, she decided that when she grew up she’d be both an ice cream seller and a dentist. This was a sign she understood the importance of supply and demand at a young age. Her first business was selling coffee-filter crafted angels to neighbors. This showed her that if she was passionate enough, she could find a way to monetize her interests. Not just for potential earnings, but also as a way to help others, or at least make them happy.
On Being Multi-passionate
Unlike many entrepreneurs, Crystal Harris didn’t force herself to stick to just one business. Harris learned how to set strong foundations and scale her businesses, leaving her free to chase after any of her interests. Throughout her career, she’s sold art, pottery, t-shirts, cookies, crystals, and a bra attachment for breast-milk-pumping mothers. Also, she consults in the change management field.
Harris says, “I grew up like the rest of kids being fed this idea that you would find something that you love eventually and ‘passion’ would lead you to want to do it for the rest of your life. Maybe that’s true, but it’s not been true for me. I haven’t found anything that I feel I’ll be particularly passionate about over time. But I figured out that being passionate for a time is more than enough.”
And while being a multi-passionate entrepreneur comes with many perks, such as the ability to pivot or focus on building a business you’re actually excited about, finding the time to work on everything can prove to be quite a feat. For example, it’s tough enough to manage the marketing and messaging for just one business. Handling all the responsibilities for multiple businesses at once is overwhelming. “At this point I’ve accepted that what’s best for me is to work in bursts of energy toward whatever is calling me at the time,” says Crystal Harris. “It’s a really joyful way to build a life. I call it being a hummingbird entrepreneur.”
When an Idea Catches On
When you’re a “hummingbird entrepreneur” as Harris calls herself, it’s important to know how to sustain yourself — or else all that “wing flapping” would wear you out. Beyond working in “bursts of energy,” Crystal Harris learned how to set the groundwork for growth and scaling. If any of her ideas took off, she could meet the demand. And one idea, the Brauxiliary Band, took off in a very unexpected way.
Harris says, “I was actually at Moe’s with my family when my friend sent me a text message with the picture [of Rachel McAdams pumping during a photo shoot for girls. girls. girls. magazine and was like ‘Is this a Brauxiliary Band?’ People send me pictures all the time of moms using the product, so I looked at my phone, did a double take, and was like ‘It absolutely is, and that’s no ordinary mom!”
And just like that, an already successful venture became even more so.
Harris reports, “We sold out on Amazon within the hour and our website was flooded. I was really proud of myself because with any business I start I always think about growth and scaling, so we were ready. That was a giant win for a small business like ours, and I loved that it wasn’t paid PR, that Rachel McAdams went on Amazon and bought our product just like all the other moms we’re thankful for every day.” Are you wondering what Harris’s biggest lesson was from her moment of virality? She says, “It showed me that you never know who’s watching. And you genuinely never know who’s benefiting from you taking a risk and putting your innovation out into the market place.”
Sustaining the Excitement from a Viral Moment
Going viral is thrilling for any business. But, the excitement can die down just as quickly as it came. A smart multi-business owner knows how to sustain energy and channel it into other growth opportunities. Harris says, “I think the biggest thing is always being ready to leverage whatever comes your way. After the viral photo, we had one of our influencer moms recreate it to keep the conversation going. It also got us an opportunity to partner with additional influencers in the mom and baby space that originally didn’t give us the time of day.”
She continues, “And again — we were ready to take on the growth because from the very beginning I thought of this as something that could be really big and made sure I set up my supply chain to scale.”