We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristi McDonald and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kristi, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk is what makes it fun! You definitely have to be ok with taking a risk, in order to start your own business or to put any idea out there. One of the best pieces of advice, I received very early on and it’s something that I come back to daily. “You have to go to the edge. Do that thing that you’re afraid of doing. Celebrate it. Then, do it again.” The big changes don’t happen inside your comfort zone. It’s terrifying, but it’s also extremely fulfilling, when you make it past your edge and when you make it past your fear. The next time, you go a little farther, and a little farther each time until you’ve made it beyond anywhere you ever imagined that you would be. My career is easy to look at on a timeline and see how I started with the less risky and gradually built up to where I am now. When Sip & Shop Texas first started, we were there to have fun. That’s it. That was our whole mission. We wanted to bring together women in a fun and safe way and to be able to build that community and support local businesses while we were doing it. People thought it was crazy! Nobody thought that would work as a business plan. We posted our first event and we immediately sold out for the next six months. At first people think you’re crazy, then when an idea works, they think you’re genius. Sip & Shop Texas gained so much momentum and so much popularity, so quickly, that very soon after the launch, everyone wanted to be involved. We’ve been very blessed in that aspect. I’ve recently began development of a new app, which is building a community in a different way. I own the E Teacher App design. E Teacher App is going to be a platform designed to connect high quality teachers and tutors for face- to-face in person tutoring or private teaching. It’ll be easy for a student, or family to hop on to the app, search by zip code and find a list of nearest available teachers or tutors to help them. Whether it be in person, elementary school teacher helping a family struggling with online learning – or a college student that needs help from another college student on the same campus – E Teacher App will be able to connect those groups. It’s a platform that is very empowering to both the teachers and to the families. Teachers get to decide how many hours they want to work and how much money they want to make. Parents get to be selective and really personalize the education their students are receiving by hand picking the people delivering the instructors. In the evolution of all of this, you can see how we started for fun. Then we set new goals. We went to the edge. Pushed past the fear. Celebrated it. Then, did it again. Each time, we were able to go a little farther out of our comfort zone until we’re now at this great time and place in humanity to help bring in the change that the education system so desperately needs.

What should our readers know about your business?
I am an educator at heart. I’ve been in the classrooms for the past fifteen years – with ten of those years being an elementary classroom teacher in Texas public schools. I am currently working as a private teacher for several families, since most learning is happening online these days. It makes a big difference to be able to set a time and be able to work with a teacher face to face. This is especially true if you have an elementary aged student trying to learn from home, while you’re trying to work from home. Our group is special because we are truly teachers helping teachers and families navigate through this unprecedented time in our society. It’s always challenging to run your own business, but our program is growing. We have an app in the development stages, but we do have a website where you can go and register your information. I feel like it is important to realize that “the new normal” is not “normal” – and we’re all navigating through this together, but you don’t have to. Connecting through E Teacher App is one way to connect with some of the help that is available. In a classroom, even the best teacher has an aide. There are now private teachers and tutors available as quickly as you can click a button on your screen. E-Teacher App is designed to connect high-quality teachers and tutors for face-to-face tutoring or private teaching. Many families desperately need a teacher to help either in person or through virtual meet-ups. You are not alone. This is uncharted territory for all of us, but help is available. (http://eteacherapp.com)

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love exploring unique boutiques and local vineyards. The Houston area would have so many options to choose from! Clear Creek Vineyard is one that would definitely be at the top of my list. Perissos Vineyard and Winery is also a favorite because features 100% Texas-grown and handcrafted wines at its Burnet property. The owners started growing grapes at their Austin home in 1999. I’m a fan of the back-story and all my Sip & Shop Texas crew love supporting local family owned and operated businesses. One of my best friends does live in the Houston area. When I go to visit her, we drive down to the coast and go kayaking. That’s always the most fun way to spend a day!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The Boss Talks Network! I have never encountered a group of more supportive women. Boss Talks is women entrepreneurs supporting women entrepreneurs and I love everything about it. Michelle MeKosh is the Director of the DFW chapter. I’ve recently joined as the Co-Director. I have loved meeting her and working with her to get things started in DFW. Women business owners face unique challenges that only other women will understand. Taking that leap to entrepreneurship or finding effective ways to grow your business can be daunting and overwhelming. Many organizations for women entrepreneurs lack the interactive learning experience and efforts to connect members with one another in a deeper more meaningful way. Boss Talks is so amazing in that way. You get to connect with real people that have been where you are and know how to get you to the next step. Every time I have gotten off the phone with one of the directors – they always ask “What do you need from me?” – and they’re always so happy to give and connect and direct. It has made a huge difference in my business and in my mindset as an entrepreneur.

Website: https://etxsipandshop.com and https://eteacherapp.com
Instagram: IG @ sipandshoptx
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristi-mcdonald-6840541a0/
Other: https://kristisblog.com/

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutHTX is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.