In the last two and half years, the professional landscape has changed dramatically and so have the customs and mindsets we’ve collectively carried in those spaces. In the Great Resignation, we saw employees leaving their jobs for something better, whether it was starting their business or simply moving to a place that valued their worth more. And until this day we’re still seeing a common understanding that employees, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between have agreed upon: there is no professional growth without personal development. Meaning, the quality output of your professional work is directly linked to the personal, inner work that all mature adults must continue to do.
Chelsea Krost not only understands this the most, but she’s also one of the few people actually bridging the two gaps together as a mindset, marketing, and branding coach. Her Agenda got to speak to the millennial marketer, and new mom about personal branding, thought leadership, and the key to having it all without losing yourself in the process.
Her Agenda: You always seem to be on the pulse of what’s troubling your generation. You did this with your talk show “Teen Talk Live” and now you’re a millennial expert. How did you find yourself becoming a voice and leader for others? Do you ever doubt yourself?
Chelsea Krost: You hit the nail on the head. In regards to being on the pulse or trend, I think it has to do with luck, timing, and also having my eye on trends for the past 15 years. When I started in 2008, there was no roadmap to follow. There was no such thing as influencers, influencer marketing, or personal branding let alone this digital footprint that could become the extension of you and your business, where you can actually monetize yourself. There was a lot of transformation in the past 15 years but when Covid happened in 2020, there was a lot of room for reflection due to what’s happening in the world. Instead of retreating, I decided to self-reflect and work on my personal development, what is it that I want? Nothing is to be taken for granted and nothing is guaranteed.
In 2020 my Linkedin Personal Branding course hit the top 20 global course list, yet I felt unfulfilled, kind of like I was scrambling in the middle of the ocean trying to find land. I was in this transitionary period where I kept holding on to what I thought I was and what I needed to be due to the last past 15 years where I was constantly building. But at 31, I’m not my 15-year-old self, I’m not even my 25-year-old self! I’m at this chapter in my life where I got pregnant, had a baby, and boom there was this perspective shift on what was important.
Between 2019 to 2021, I was trying to figure out where I was going to evolve next. And since I’m always on the pulse of things or trends, I saw the world craving mental health, mindset reset, reframing, more grounding conversations, and guidance… and so was I.
Do I ever get nervous? Of course, all the time. And if you don’t, you’ve plateaued. You always need to be innovating when you have your own business so about a year ago I said “What do I need to do to uplevel myself and uplevel professionally?” That’s when I started my certification for NLP, neuro-linguistic programming, because I realized all of my clients were coming to me for coaching, branding, marketing, setting themselves up as different from the competition, and monetization. In short, NLP is like learning the language of the mind. But before we could even get to that foundational work, we had to uncover so many of the roadblocks, the negative stories about yourself that everyone has, and these expectations that can also work against us. We need to clear those things first before we get into the blueprint strategy game. Essentially I was mirroring what I was doing with my clients with myself.
Her Agenda: In talking to these entrepreneurs and business owners, what are the most common personal mindset barriers that you’ve found?
Chelsea Krost: There are definitely popular recurring patterns but the ultimate is a state of complete burnout and they need a third party to get them out of the burnt phase. Not only burnt, they’re depleted and over it, but also confused as to where to go from here and how to grow from here personally and professionally. The work starts with those two things so we can get clarity and then can get inspired. Usually, burnout and confusion is fear too and these are the over looming emotions that are causing us stress, anxiety, resistance, and feeling stuck and uninspired.
Her Agenda: In taking your Personal Branding course on LinkedIn, I was surprised to hear you say how everyone should have a personal brand, not just entrepreneurs but employees too. How do folks, like employees like me, manage to find a balance between work, life, and personal branding?
Chelsea Krost: Sometimes I feel like I’m doing it so well and sometimes I feel like holy cow I’m going to scream, this is too much. But here’s the reality, we have access to everyone’s living, breathing resume, which is LinkedIn. For employees, LinkedIn is the best avenue. When you’re an employee, it’s about thought leadership, building your network, and creating internal equity within the company you’re working for. You should be continuously leveling up your skillset so you can be seen as an indispensable asset to the company and position yourself for a promotion or alternative opportunity. So I would say, not everyone needs the strategy for monetization, that’s a whole other ball game. If we’re just speaking to employees, there are six simple steps I lay out in my course for that.
That’s also why I made the element brand bar. For the person that doesn’t have time to create a logo or think of color patterns and fonts, but just needs a template so they can make their posts or website using those elements. This helps create your online brand identity which helps you look more established. I wanted to create a one-stop shop for those who have the brand foundation and just need some extra help to look beautiful.
Her Agenda: I love your “Grab & Go brand elements”, what inspired you?
Chelsea Krost: About four years into my one-on-one coaching, I realized, yes we can create the blueprint and the strategy but now we have to bring it to life! I started working with a graphic designer, my very dear friend, on a brand package for a client and we were going back and forth a million times about a logo, which gave us the idea: let’s simplify this process for anyone in need of a brand identity. After the outpour of positive feedback from my coaching clients, I realized I need to make this a thing, let’s help people customize and make this their own. I’m so inspired by nature so when I’m feeling stuck or burnt out, I take my computer outside and that’s how I started thinking ‘Let’s create brands inspired by the four life elements.’ Just like the four elements are essential to life, your brand identity is essential to your business.
Her Agenda: On your website, you have a beautiful timeline of the things you’ve done. What are you looking forward to next year?
Chelsea Krost: I just completed my NLP course and I’m going to move into hypnotherapy next. I’m deepening my learning to create more of an impact. I’m deepening and up-leveling my skillset personally to also grow professionally. I think that in different stages in our career and our journey, we have to ask ‘Am I at the peak? And if I am, how can I go from here so I don’t plateau?’ In 2023 I plan on rolling out more of the structure services based on NLP and hypnotherapy. I do have a vision for launching retreats, whether they’re day or weekend events where we do the work on our personal selves and then move to the professional self. This way we can release those fears, break through these blocks and also look within and ask ‘What do we want, what’s holding us back?’
I will also be relaunching my podcast. I started in radio and although LinkedIn temporarily took over my life lately, I’m craving those conversations within this deep space. It’ll be a hybrid of mindset, clarity, awareness, and presence, and then bringing those things into the strategy for our professional journey.
But I’ve also become a believer in not rushing anything. I learned this because I had a complete breakdown six months after my son was born. All I saw was black, after maternity leave I went straight to work. I gave myself zero space. I spent two weeks walking around like a zombie, completely shut down, I realized ‘I just have to allow myself the space and the grace to just be.’
I started religiously going outside, sitting on the grass cross-legged and feeling rooted in the earth, not trying to do anything. Finding stillness is key. About three weeks into doing this practice, I realized I needed to be a student in order to be a teacher again.
[Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.]