We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristyna “PRKristyna” Torres-Cruz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristyna “PRKristyna”, alright, let’s jump in with a deep one – what’s you’re definition for success?
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson I’ve been asked countless times from mentees and students, how did you get to be where you are? How did you create a successful business and work for yourself? The thing is, it’s not just a simple “this is how you do it” answer. I’ve had the usual rollercoaster that every other business owner has had – and to be honest, I’m still riding it! There is no “secret” to defining success, it’s much to personal to define in a generality. However, this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson has ALWAYS helped me figure things out at the end of the day. When you’re really trying to figure out if you’ve reached success, it isn’t about the numbers. It isn’t even about whether or not you’re paying your bills, have an office full of employees or if your phone is ringing off the hook with potential clientele. Yeah, those things are definitely nice, I agree, but if you’re the CEO that your team can’t stand to work for, are you really that successful when you look back at your journey? Have you left your community a better place? Chances are, they wouldn’t agree. So, rather than evaluating the numbers, I define success as a feeling. If I feel happy. If I feel content. If I feel like I truly have a supportive tribe around me that cares enough to help me when I’m at a low point of that rollercoaster. If I give back and help them. If I’ve spent time in my life helping to ensure people have a better day – even at my own expense – once in awhile. Social media is my daily livelihood. I always tell my students and clients, you can’t be successful on social media unless you’re there to serve your audience; to remove your needs, and replace them with their needs. Success is the same way. What would your community say about you? That’s how I define success.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Ah, yes. The “what EXACTLY is it that you do?” question…some days, I wonder myself! The generalized answer would be “social media”, but I’m not a “generalized” type of person. So, what do I do? I help both nonprofits and for-profits that want to connect to their community find their way to do so through social media. Whether that’s training their team, conducting a workshop (virtual or in-person) or actually taking over their social media channels – I make it happen! I am mostly known for my work with nonprofits but equally, love businesses that want to love in their community and connect to the humans that make up their communities. What sets me apart? First, my clients have access to my amazing colleagues through working with me. When I sit down with them to discuss their social media needs, we also discuss any other needs they may have from website design & branding to photography & videography – and so much more! I contract with colleagues that specialize (keyword alert! Specialize!) in those items and we create a specialized team for that client that serves them in exactly what they need. Rather than selling them a “package” like agencies typically do, they only contract for what they need with people that do ONLY that task all day every day. In other words, my peeps are the best at what they do. Additionally (bonus!), I teach social media marketing courses at the certificate level for local institutions such as the Rice Glasscock School for Continuing Studies. I am proud to be on the team serving their local business owners and nonprofits reaching out to advance their skills, and their connection to community. I’m incredibly proud that this business model works so well for my community. It helps support other entrepreneurs that are incredible in their industry and it gives my clients the best of the best rather than forcing them into accepting the same hired team every time. Anyone that says owning your own business is easy is lying. Thriving businesses don’t happen overnight! I’ve been lucky to meet some amazing people that cheer each other on and support each other like family. When one of us gets sick, goes through something with our families – or decides to have a baby (guilty!) – we have a tribe that can support and step in to help lessen the load. This, aside from my incredible family, is why I’ve gotten to where I am. I like to reference “playing in the sandbox”. I’m only where I am today because others that would typically be my competition are, instead, (GASP!) close friends – there really is enough to go around and when you support your competition you grow so much faster. I know… unheard of! My network has grown exponentially because I keep that mentality. It sounds crazy, but it really makes life so much easier.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Visiting Houston? It’s allllllll about the food. Period. We all know that. However, aside from the amazing places we have at our fingertips to stuff our faces, drink incredible coffee and “cheers!” with the best of them, we have some great places that make the city so much more. Honestly, my favorite parts of Houston are the places that make it seem like you’re not in the city when you’re still in the city. We have incredible parks, expansive green space, and a huge active outdoor community that supports it all. It’s not just a few kids playgrounds – our green spaces are boasting with trails, and culture, and exposure to nature and music and food. From the festivals to the quiet corners of the city, there isn’t a person that can’t find their little corner of the world in this city. One of my favorite parts of my job is doing social media for events, festivals, and restaurants. I’ve been so lucky to experience an incredible amount of culture and flavors right here behind my lens.
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?
I credit my success to my family that supports my work day – and very late nights. I thank my “tribe” in the social media and marketing community that has always been there to lend a hand, a listening ear, or a slap if I needed it! 🙂 I’m extremely fortunate to have had incredible leaders in the past that have given me a chance, helped me advance my skills or taught me hard lessons. Thank you to those that have shaped my journey to success.
Image credits: PRKristyna, Sofia Emm