Hi everybody, welcome to the Copy I.D. podcast. Today we're talking to Krista who runs Garrett Music Academy. And this is actually going to be an incredibly interesting episode all about resilience and how you can pivot in disaster. And make sure you're setting your business up for success, which is going to be incredibly applicable to what we're going through right now with a lot of us trying to pivot online or change the way we're doing business online.
So, I'm going to pass it right on over to Krista and let her introduce herself and we're going to dive into this incredibly interesting conversation. How are you, Krista? I'm doing well. How are you? I'm doing great. Okay, go ahead and tell everybody a little bit about you and what you do.
Sure, absolutely. My name is Krista Garrett. I live in a suburb of Washington, DC, and Maryland, about 25 miles south. I am the mother of three, two of which are twin girls. I've been married for about 13 years, and I own a music school called the guarantee Academy.
It's a private music school. And I've also started some Music and mental health initiatives through two organizations that I've created I am philosophy and freedom through music. I have my degrees in psychology from the University of Maryland and from Johns Hopkins University. And I have spent my career looking at development and the impact that music has on both development and helping with mental health. Developing mental health coping strategies in times of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Okay, wow. Which you know, incredibly needed all of the time. But have you seen an uptick in the things that are asked of you or a change in the things that are asked of you in those roles since COVID, and BLM and everything that's been going on lately?
Yes, absolutely. We're seeing a lot of people coming out looking for music therapy. And we do have I have seen quite a few that have been coming out. just wanting to Do one on one sessions on with stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and just really feeling isolated. I think a lot of what's happened with this pandemic and with the BLM movement is that people were first already socially isolating because of shutdowns and needing to with a stay at home orders to be home. But then when we have division among groups, you find people falling further in inward towards themselves and doing some self-analysis.
While that's a great and healthy thing to do, sometimes it can lead to issues where people start to feel bad about themselves start to get depressed about what the world is, is the world around them is like feeling anxious about interactions outside their homes. And what they're going to be encountering as things start to open up. So, we do, particularly with children, we're seeing more of an uptick of people wanting that, that one on one help and even reaching out to communities looking for group and community support as well.
Wow. Okay, so I and I know, I have a full-time job as well. And we have recently all been going right back to work almost as if business as usual. And there are tons of people who I'm working with, including myself, who are very anxious and nervous about that. And looking for coping mechanisms, right, looking for that support from each other without being able to, you know, like, I'm a hugger, and I can't hug anybody, right?
So that kind of support has to change for me. So, what are the things that you're advising or what are the things that you're asking people to do to kind of help take care of themselves and deal with the things as they change when we really don't know? Do you know what tomorrow is going to look like?
What I've been recommending, and I'm doing this for myself as well, is really sitting down and figuring out what your daily non-negotiables need to be for your own mental health, whether that is committing to and wanting to commit to 30 minutes of exercise a day, or it's journaling for 30 minutes meditating for an hour.
Maybe If it's getting in the car and driving for 30 minutes seeing at the top of your lungs, if it's walking the dog, I mean, there's any number of things that if you sit down and really think about what's going to help you feel your emotional, spiritual, physical, mental engine, what's going to fill those tanks up for you.
You'll find that if you create a space for yourself and routine for yourself, that you do every single day, you'll see yourself feel that tension. And that anxiety and that stress start to dissipate because you're expressing it and releasing it in healthy ways that are best for yourself. And only you can really determine that because everybody's different.
I think we spend too much time trying to put people in a box and try to get them to collectively along with one particular idea or strategy. And I have found that that's just not reality. It's really the individual figuring out what is best for them, or seeking out someone that can help them figure out what's best for them and their particular situation.
So, if you were to take my situation, for example, running a business running actually three businesses, being at home with my three children, having a dog that we adopted during the shutdown, having elderly parents, and trying to connect with my husband. Everyone can relate to that we're all in that situation where we're all trying to balance all while being at home together where everybody is collectively in the same boat. And we're all kind of drifting in that boat together and it's sometimes there's just too much togetherness.
Just get sick of each other, and there's no place to hide. There's no place to go. There's no place to have that respite. So, for me, it was sitting down and creating a list of things. Things that for me to get my mental state right to be on as a mother to be on as a business owner to be on as a mentor to be on as a sister, a daughter, a wife, what that looked like, and for me it was committing to doing a journal Have a gratitude journal for 20 minutes every single day, seven days a week, agreeing to do meditation for 20 minutes a day, making sure that I drink at least a gallon of water a day. That hydration also, you know allows your brain it I mean we're made up of electrodes you know electrolytes and, and electrical currents.
Just having that water makes our brains produce more and be more productive and more energetic, walking more I mean that those are those things where I literally sat down and thought, Okay, I'm going to do this and that and then setting myself a timeline and telling everyone in my circle, do not bother me till I complete this timeline in this frame these things in this time frame. And once I have done that, then please engage with me. And I've been firm with that boundary and I am a much happier, much more productive, much more compassionate empathetic person than if I had not taken the time to do something to preserve my own mental health.
I have a similar routine. So, you know, nobody's allowed to bother mom until she's done with her yoga. Mm-hmm. And, and that for me is not just mentally, like it helps me relax and just be like, the world is going to be okay. But sitting all day long, especially I have a day job. And then I run the business with Julio and everything. And then yeah, Mom and wife and everything that we're doing, I end up sitting a lot of the day so that Yoga is almost essential on a daily basis so that I don't have an achy body which an achy body then feels my anxiety levels.
Then I've also been doing that journaling, which I've recently discovered, I've never been a journaler before, and all of a sudden during COVID I have all these thoughts that I need to get down on paper and it's seems like no matter how much I talk about it with Julio, it's not the same as if I get it down on paper. And that's what really kind of like unloads it from my mind and helps me relax and like you said to be on all of the different roles that we have. So how does this all tie back into your business?
Well, I actually stumbled onto this idea. A couple of years ago, when I started working with adolescent girls. I had teenage girls that started to coming in for music lessons. And they weren't. They weren't coming in for music lessons in the traditional sense.
These were young ladies that just wanted a release, just wanted to talk and just wanted someone to understand what they were going through and help them navigate a little bit and I realized in the sessions and these in these lessons with them that these were people these were individuals that were having extreme reactions to stressful situations at school stressful situations at home friends social media, and they get started self-cutting, and I began to get a quite a few young ladies in that were doing self-cutting.
I realized that music, music journaling, and developing non-negotiables were tools that could help these young ladies learn healthy ways of expressing their frustration, their anger, their disappointments, their hurt, in a healthier manner rather than self-inflicted pain. physical self-inflicted pain and mental pain. I'm in the way of getting it up and out. So when you're self-cutter, when you are overwhelmed, in order to deal with the mental pressure cooker that you're creating in your, in your mind, you will inflict a wound on your body then that then turns your attention to the wound, the pain of the wound, the triage of it.
It gives you something that is concrete that you could say you have pain from. It takes away from you having to focus on the mental pain that you're feeling. And I found that by sitting down these young ladies and saying "hey, journal for me when you're feeling really anxious and upset, write or draw how you feel and then come back to me." When we came back in for our session, she had these really profound thoughts on paper, she was very detailed. And she really let all of let her guard down, showed her vulnerability and really put it out on paper.
I said to her one day, hey, what if we were to take this journal that you created, and turn some of these phrases into song lyrics? And write a song. And that way you're, we're taking the music that you're learning and we're applying it to what we're doing to try to help you. And she thought that was a great idea. So, we started working on that. And I found through the process that the more she worked on it, and the more she was able to work through the emotions of the words that she was creating into the song.
It was cathartic for her and she was releasing that pain. And at the end the process I gave her a choice to either burn the lyrics, record the song or just perform it, perform it live somewhere, and she chose to burn it. And watching her reaction, as those words burned was so powerful to see her relax both physically and you could physically see her mentally relaxing. And then that hurt was gone. And from that point forward, she learned that when those things were hurting her she would write them down, and then she would burn them and release them. And I'm not saying that, that she is attempted at times to go back to old patterns. But I can say honestly, she hasn't heard herself in a very long time and She is a very successful, much happier young lady.
That's incredible. That is very powerful. And, I mean, did you go and get these degrees for in psychology and helping people with their mental health before you founded your music academy? Or was that part of the process? I mean, it kind of feels like all these things coalesced, and came out in this like perfect scenario for you to be able to help people.
It it's almost as if I've just been guided through this entire process. I actually was a musician prior to going to college, and I dreamed of being a concert pianist. And that, unfortunately, did not happen for me. The competitive edge just didn't have the tools to make it a career. So, I did go to college and get my degrees in psychology and it was after I got my master's, I was teaching as an adjunct professor at a local college that I met my husband and he had just started this music school. And I was intrigued and again through him, dating him and then marrying him, I was drawn back into music and realized that I'd always had loved it.
I was so grateful to be back involved in it, that I quit my jobs that I was doing at the time and I went to work with him at the school. And it's just evolved from there. It evolved from working with children with autism to working with adults with developmental and cognitive disabilities to work into it with adults that have suffered strokes and mem and traumatic brain injuries and memory loss to doing this work. So, it's just kind of built from there and just, I've just been guided into it by the people that have walked in the door and have asked It's just kind of gone from there.
And I think that's First of all, like one terrific lesson right there is listening to the people who are coming to you already. And I mean, for the particular work that you do, I just can't express enough how amazing I think that is and how necessary I have never heard of anyone dedicating like an entire Music Academy toward, you know, helping people in this way.
So, I feel like this is very novel and necessary. But more on that, as you said, guided based on the people who are walking in the door, so you're offering what is being asked of you and I think that's where a lot of business owners go wrong is they make an assumption on what people need, instead of listening or asking their followers what is it that you're looking for? How can I help you and the people who do listen and then frame the things that they do around? those needs are the most successful and the happiest?
Yes, I agree with that. And I think a lot of that is, I think, unfortunately, with business one on one with those that have mentors, the first thing they'll tell you is to go on to a market survey and see, you know, you tell the people what they need, well, maybe 25 years ago, that was the case. But now, people know what they need, and they know what they want. You need to get it and you need to be there to solve that problem for them.
Sometimes they have a problem, they just don't know what the solution is. And if you listen to that problem, and you can come up with that solution for them. It's an amazing thing. And that's when you find demand and you also feel complete in the things that you're doing when you're helping out your community with something that they truly, truly, truly struggle with.
I think a lot of it is we get caught up in creating businesses and companies that grow and then we take a hands-off approach and if you are small But the most important thing is being there, to talk to your clients to talk to your customers to greet them by name. Letting them know that they're important. Letting them know that you are grateful that they're there. And that you're putting, you're putting out there something that is going to change their lives. And that's what's going to set you apart from the big corporate entities out there that have grown so big and it became impersonal. Because people are going to want to bring their business to you. If they know that you know them by name. You're going to treat them with respect and kindness and compassion and empathy.
Yep. 100%. And we've, we've fallen into that same trap of, we know we're growing very quickly. And so we need to put people in place to take care of all these things. What are we supposed to outsource? What can we step back from? We want to take on that CEO role because we feel like it That's what you do as a business owner, you eventually come to the top and you let other people handle a lot of the other work. But again, and again, we have found the exact same thing.
We just keep coming full circle to know we need to be more present not just for the people who are coming to us because they expect to be working with us. They don't want to be working with, you know, a VA or an outsource copywriter or anything like that, even if they know that we're involved in the process. They want to work with us. But more so the more we try to implement other people to handle the things we should be doing, we felt disconnected.
We feel like this is our business anymore, and things are not happening the way we want. Like our standards as solopreneurs small business owners when we create this, this baby, essentially our business is our baby and a lot of ways. We have such high standards for how things need to be done to make sure our clients are taken care of because, you know, again, like clients are like I'm very protective of each and every one of the people we work with because I want to make sure They come out the other side of the process very happy.
When you do, I think that's an excellent point when you do try to grow too big, too fast and implement all of these strategies that you see corporations doing, which are very different from small business and, and its appeal, the appeal is very different, you do end up kind of like kicking yourself in the backside because things are not going to roll the way you want them to things are not going to end up looking the way they should as a small business, to your clients and for yourself and all of that.
So that kind of brings us to my next question then in you've learned a lot of lessons as you've grown your business with your husband and everything. And I know you've been through several different turning points and pivots yourself. Tell us a little bit about what brought those pivots on and what you learned through that.
I always laugh when I start to tell these stories because it almost sounds like a really bad soap opera. But yeah, so my husband and I got married in 2007. we fast forward to the end of 2010, early 2011. I am now getting pregnant with our twin daughters. And my husband is somewhat off in what he's doing at the business and he's a little off at home.
So, he comes to me one evening and he says to me that we're having some financial difficulties and that he has been struggling with opioid addiction for quite some time that he thinks he's getting it under control by getting help. But that I should know. We have our daughters, and I am seeing a lot and hearing a lot from our business side, that there are some problems. I realized that my husband has now completely gutted our business because of his addiction and it's become a heroin addiction. So, I then have to change the locks of my home. I remove him from the home, and I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do. But we started cleaning it up, and it started to thrive again.
So, he gets back. He's well, but he but at that point, I put a firm boundary that he was not as nice. So, I take it over. And if we fast forward, I have a just absolutely wonderful woman who was a teacher there come to me and say, hey, I've seen you've been shouldering this all by yourself for so long. I think you as much as you can by yourself, I want to help you. I want to take on some of this load. I want to become a partner in the business. And I think we can really excel with both of us working on it. So, we work on developing a partnership and when I say it was right before we signed the paperwork, it was literally the night before we signed the paperwork. She passed away suddenly from a heart attack.
So, I am now devastated because I have lost my best friend, the most wonderful teacher in the world. I'm thinking, Okay, well, I don't know what I'm going to do. I am devastated. But my teaching staff came to me and said, No, you can continue doing this, please don't give up and I grew, strengthen that. So, I thought, okay, I'm just going to keep pushing forward.
So, June of 2016. There's a fire that occurs and 50% of my business is burned. I lose instruments, I lose classrooms, I lose equipment. But I am grateful that we didn't lose people thank God at the end of my business is now underwater because we've had fire hoses going over the top of the other building to try to say that and it floods the basement and we end up down for three months because of the flooding at this point. I think you're trying to tell me to quit.
I think this is me doing anymore and a sick and they gave a donation of equipment. They gave donations of money. We had a church call and say Hey, we've got this parish hall and the sanctuary that we're not using during the week, we'd like for you to use it rent-free until you can get back in your own space. And I took that as the sign that no matter how tough the road had been, I was meant to be doing what I was doing. And I've been doing it ever since.
I mean, it absolutely sounds like a soap opera, it sounds like that. I can't imagine how very difficult that was. And we've had moments nowhere near as, as tragic as difficult as trying where we looked at each other. And we're like, are we doing the right thing? Should is this worth all of the work that it is? And I just how did you deal with that? How did you move each step of the way? I know you said you had support from the people that you worked with. But how did you just keep going every day thinking like what's going to happen next?
You know, sometimes I wonder because there were days where I did not want to even get out of bed, let alone then try to function but I think what got me through it and made move motivated me to keep going and running as if it was my children, it was getting in our space and reading and watching them watch me and my new son at that point and knowing that I depended on me for everything, but they were really watching to see how I was going to handle all this.
Then it was my teachers to make sure they were okay and make sure that they were going to continue on doing what they were passionate about, as well, for instance, that they were making each woman tours there. They're more than just teachers and mentors, their friends there. They love their students. They're there for their students, they attend all the concerts, they, they go to games,, they check in with them, you know, whenever they get awards, some of them are the first ones that the kids will contact or the parents will contact. So, it's, it's, it's knowing that all that intertwines together. Just couldn't give that up.
I think that's incredible. And again, like the amount of resilience that you have, and I think that's another great lesson is when you're doing something that you are that passionate about that, you know, is making a difference in helping people. That being the thing that keeps you moving forward and having that resilience and as entrepreneurs, we have to be resilient because there is no, you know, it no matter what is out there being sold like there is no playbook to being an entrepreneur. Even if you're in the exact same business as somebody else. Like you. You have your own path that goes through it, and things are going to happen in your life that you have to circumnavigate in order to come out the other side and find your own kind of success, which is defined differently for everyone. And I think that's an absolutely incredible story.
You know, and it's funny, being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. You go into it, because the thing is, I think a lot of people give up or end up leaving businesses within the first five years because they don't realize how much work it is or how much perseverance and resilience you need to have, because they find that they make a mistake or things are not working out the way they planned or there's some failure involved, that they're, they're wanting to quit.
But really, you know what you're going to if you go into it knowing you're going to fail and knowing that there are going to be some hiccups and there's going to be mistakes that are made and there's going to be times where there's going to be bumps in the road that are going to be harder to swallow than others, you'll understand the importance of keeping on keeping on you know, it just it's those failures that actually bring out the most brilliance of people. It's those failures that in those mistakes that end up bringing out the best in business owners and end up bringing out the best options for consumers.
So, you got to look at everything as a learning curve and still learn but always know that maybe what do we get? But don't give up. There's always going to be away and there's always a solution. You just have to be willing to put in the stiff upper lip and just push forward through it.
Yeah, I 100% agree because a lot of this is hard and people and people quit when it's hard, right? They're just like, Oh, no, no, no, no, this was supposed to be easy. This was supposed to be my make money while I sleep plan. And all of a sudden, that requires a lot of your attention. And you're having to learn all of these different jobs. Because as an entrepreneur, you wear all the hats. And that's difficult. You lose sleep, you lose family time, you have to sacrifice things. You have to decide, should I quit my day job and be able to devote all this extra time to make this work, even though I don't know how long that's going to take?
Or should I continue splitting my time and yes, probably grow slowly, but have the stability like all of these different decisions and thoughts going through your mind as you're continuing to put in probably years of effort before reading reaching the point where you're like, Okay, I see momentum now. So really quick, I know that I mean, you're the professional at this. And I know that we're all going through difficult times individually and collectively, you wanted to walk everyone through a particular strategy to help us on a day to day basis. So, go ahead and walk us through that.
Okay, so I'll take one scenario. So, I will take you through the journaling process. So what I would recommend for everyone to do on a daily basis, and this is something that should be a non-negotiable every day that will help you tremendously is commit to 20 minutes of a gratitude journal commit to sitting down and whether it's a notebook, whether it's typing in online, whatever is the best way that you can express yourself, put down on paper, at least 10 things that you are grateful for in that day. Whether it's grateful that the sky is blue, that the sun is shining and you can feel the warmth of the sun on your skin. Whether it's you're grateful for the fact that you have hot water, or you can never the sun in your air conditioning when it's 110 outside, but just really looking at what you have now that you are grateful for. Because if you are grateful for what you have now, you're shifting your mindset.
You are shifting how you view your life and, in your perspective, from a negative to a positive. And over time doing that journal, you will see that you will gravitate naturally to the positives of every situation, even the negative ones. You will find that you see even the positives in some of the things that happen to you. You'll find that you are calmer. You will find that you have more peace in your life. And you'll also see more good things come to you. Like it's the law of attraction like, attracts like. If you are grateful for what you have, you will gain more.
If you are not grateful for what you have, you will have less. And as you gravitate to doing that naturally, you'll just see things that are very simple or joyful things that would have never before annoyed you or stressed you out, don't even end up on your radar. You'll see the beauty in everyday life for yourself and you'll see more abundance, prosperity, and peace come to you. So that's what I would suggest is write out that journal and then in the morning, and then in the evening, sit down and read what you wrote and just say mental Thank you at the end of the day for those things and for those experiences. And I think that you'll see a huge shift How you feel about yourself about your loved ones about your situation about your life?
I think that's wonderful. And I have never been a journaling person before in my life, I have never found a more useful way of getting the anxiety out of my brain and off of my shoulders than journaling. So I highly recommend everybody give this a try. Krista, I know you've got something big going on in August. Tell us a little bit about that. I know that you've got a particular discount that you're offering people who are listening to this so that they could take advantage of it.
Sure, absolutely. So we have a few different things going on. We always have occurring enrollments at the knees at the music academy, and we're doing in-person and virtual lessons all over the country. So, if anyone is interested in a music lesson, private music lessons, and we teach all instruments, including boys, I would encourage you to go to our website. It's scary music academy.com and if you just reach out to us, we will get you to schedule with the right teacher with the right chemistry with a good schedule that fits your schedule. I'm also on my other side with the I am blossom and freedom through music. With I am flotsam I'm going to be doing I'm going to be starting a six-week self-retreat, self-care retreat. It's going to be virtual. It's six weeks, it's geared towards moms stressed out moms.
And we're going to take the journaling we're going to learn how to journal we're going to learn how to stretch and release is the tension in our bodies. We are going to do one night or we're going to do wine and wine where we're going to come to our session with an adult beverage. And we're going to talk about things that stress us out but we're going to also sit down and do our journal and we're going to burn it and release those emotions. We're going to do, we're going Do a lot of relaxation and then I do have a painter coming in we're going to do a design night with painting and, and wine virtually.
So, it's a self-care for moms. It's going to be a Friday, Friday night thing for 90 minutes once a week for six weeks. And normally I would be doing that for 599 for the six weeks but because I want to help as many people as possible, I have dropped that down to a to 179 for the six weeks. So, anybody that wants to partake, please jump onto my website. It's I am philosophy.me and then for anyone that's interested after that six weeks we are going to be doing a 12-week program where we're just going to take that and just extend it and give more tools and, and techniques on with stress and anxiety and depression.
And also, I have a book coming out in October it's also its titled authenticity. Do you, be you, love you! It's just talking about what, what impact music has on the soul, on the mind and mentality, but also some of the things I've learned along the way being a mom and an entrepreneur and just how to juggle it and just looking at it from a humorous point of view of what I've learned that no one tells you is part of motherhood and being a business owner at the same time, so that should be coming out in October. So just a lot of stuff brewing right now.
Yeah, you sound busy, but that is awesome. All of these things I'm personally interested in. So, we're going to grab the links for all those and make sure that they are in the show notes so everybody can go and check them out and take advantage. I'm excited especially for that that Friday, 90 minutes for six weeks. That sounds great and I can't, what a great deal for that, by the way. Thank you for making that available to everyone. Okay, we're going to go ahead and wrap things up.
So, Krista is there anything that we haven't covered so far that you want people to know that you want to leave people with, where else can they find and follow you before we sign off.
One thing I will mention when we were talking about the therapy portion of it, I do want to urge people that if they're feeling something intense or overwhelming, I would recommend that they write the situation or the hurt, or whatever is that source of their anger, to write it down on paper, and then either tear it up and throw it away, tear it up, flush it down the toilet, or find somewhere safe that they can put it in that they can, can burn it. Just so that they get that release. You get it out and you let it go.
So, I would urge anybody that's going through any type of struggle that needs just that extra help. Just grab a piece of paper, draw, write, and then burn it. Get it out of your soul, get it out of your head, and let it go. And if it really is difficult for you please seek out a mental health professional to help you. Because they're there, they're many of them out there and they're just waiting for you to ask for help. And always ask for help if you need it. As far as finding me, you can find us again, the website garretacademy.com
We're also on Facebook at The Garrett Music Academy and Instagram, The Garrett Music Academy and if you need if anyone wants to reach out, reach out to me personally and just want me a year or want to do a 30-minute free consultation just email me My email address is KristaIamphilosophy.me
Thank you for offering that I think that's great. Thank you so much for being here. Krista. I think this is an incredibly valuable episode and if anybody is having trouble as we go through just daily life, like not even counting all of the big things that are happening around us, I know people get stressed out and anxious.
I know I do personally. As you're going through everything, please do find some way to coach someone to reach out to Krista to attend the Academy. Everything that you have here is a great resource to start that journey. So, thank you so much, Krista, for being on and for passing those resources to us so that we can pass them to our listeners as well. And this has been the coffee ID podcast. We'll see you in the next episode.
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