Kalyn is the creator and chief travel officer of The Citrine Compass, a boutique travel advising company that helps busy, affluent globe travelers arrange genuine travel experiences. She has been an executive recruiter for 13 years and resides in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter. Kalyn’s day in the life of a bootstrapped entrepreneur starts at 5 a.m. with a wake-up to read and write, then a Peloton cycle before her daughter gets up. She spends her time and energy with precision and chooses two or three priorities for the day when she journal in the morning. This is the best and easiest way to increase everyday productivity.
The Citrine Compass is a boutique travel advising company that helps busy, affluent globe travelers arrange genuine travel experiences. Kalyn is the company’s creator and chief travel officer. Her company’s “Tastemakers” are based all over the world and provide clients hyper-current and individualized travel recommendations through consultations and tailored itineraries. Her mission is to help time-pressed professionals travel more effectively and with less planning.
Before making The Citrine Compass her full-time job in late 2022, Kalyn worked as an executive recruiter for thirteen years in the financial services and fashion industries. Together with her fantastic husband and stunning daughter, she resides in Los Angeles.
What goes on in your usual day, and how do you make sure it is productive?
If I were to sum up a day in the life of a bootstrapped entrepreneur, it would start at 5 a.m. with a wake-up to read and write, then a Peloton cycle before my daughter gets up so I can spend time with her in the morning. As soon as my workday starts, I am sourcing, meeting, or onboarding Tastemakers from all over the world, creating guides and curated itineraries for customers, creating content for social media, writing blog entries (or revising old ones for SEO purposes), and having in-person meetings with clients. I also try to allow time in my calendar for networking (typically with other Dreamers & Doers members, a professional network for female CEOs), as well as for coming up with “big ideas” for my company.
I must spend my time and energy with extraordinary precision in order to be effective since there are so many conflicting objectives and possibilities in the organization. Regardless matter how the day develops, I usually choose two or three priorities for the day when I journal in the morning. I then write down in my schedule every activity I want to do that day, including returning emails, taking care of personal errands, following up with customers, etc. This is the best and easiest way I’ve found to increase everyday productivity.
How do you give concepts life?
To observe where my imagination leads me during the brainstorming stage, I love to handwrite my thoughts. As soon as I get a concept, I write it down in Evernote, which is effectively my digital business notebook, so I can develop and improve it later. Then, as a self-made business owner, my husband is the greatest at zooming out and seeing the big picture. I also frequently ask my Dreamers & Doers community, my team of Tastemakers, or anybody else who has an interest in the future of The Citrine Compass for comments.
Which fashion trend most motivates you?
Web3 is required. It has so many exhilarating aspects, including enabling content producers to genuinely own and profit from outstanding material and the development of artificial intelligence with ChatGPT and Auto-GPS. There are SO MANY intriguing things going on in Web3 right now, and I’m thinking of experimenting with The CC.
What is a productive habit, specifically?
The key to my productivity is setting up a routine and sticking to it. My productivity is increased by exercising in the morning since it gets my body and mind ready for the day.
What advice would you give to yourself in the past?
I would tell my younger self to save and invest as much money as you can since it will increase the most over the longest period of time (my spouse is a financial adviser).
On a more personal level, I would tell my younger self that everything that happens to us is setting us up for something else. We may not always realize it, but every challenging, tragic, or unpleasant situation will help or prepare us for something in the future. Although I now firmly believe this, if I had done so earlier, I could have saved myself a tremendous deal of pain and anxiety.
Tell us anything that practically no one seems to agree on.
The best television show ever made is The Bachelor/Bachelorette. I’m embarrassed to admit it because I like to think of myself as a thinker; I enjoy reading insightful, moving novels and seeing bizarre, thought-provoking movies, yet I watch every season of The Bachelor/ette and will keep doing so as long as ABC keeps airing it.
What is one thing you usually do that you also encourage others to do?
I work out every day. My “off days” are spent practicing reformer pilates or power walking in the hills around my home; I seldom ever take a whole day off. I can shift my viewpoint through reading and meditation, but nothing makes me feel better than physical activity. It has strengthened me as a manager, businessperson, wife, mother, and friend.
What do you do when you’re overwhelmed or unable to concentrate?
I’ll stop what I’m doing and engage in a 5- to 10-minute guided meditation if I’m feeling particularly depressed or off for whatever reason. It is my go-to quick cure for starting over, and I can use it whenever I can find a quiet place.
I also cannot stress enough how crucial it is to arrange your day’s itinerary first thing in the morning. This is how I hold myself responsible and see when I’m delaying, spending too much time on one task, or deviating from my daily goals.
What is a tactic that has helped you grow your company or advance your career?
When I first started working on my business plan for The Citrine Compass, I told my business-savvy uncle about my concept. He said, “If everyone acted on their million-dollar ideas, there would be a lot more millionaires in the world.”
Numerous ideas and proverbs refer to this idea. Nothing will happen if nothing is done! Taking action seemed like pushing a giant uphill when I initially started my business. Gaining clarity on pricing and product options, brand messaging, building a website, and starting a social media presence from scratch were all highly difficult tasks. But I kept telling myself that taking action now is better than waiting till tomorrow to be perfect. I keep reminding myself every day that I just need to take SOME action, and the rest will usually follow, even when things are chaotic and annoying (particularly when they are messy and frustrating).
What is the biggest failure you’ve ever had in your career, how did you overcome it, and what did you learn from it?
I try, fail, and pivot every day with The Citrine Compass to figure out what works for our team and our clients. The company is still in its early stages and is undertaking several market research and course adjustments.
I consider my hasty resignation from the agency to be my biggest professional blunder throughout my tenure as an employee of a fashion recruitment firm. They did not seem surprised by my leave, which was friendly, but I regret it still. I put the executive team in a tough situation because I was in charge of a sizable team and had several customer connections to transfer, and I was worried that they wouldn’t take the two weeks’ notice and lose out on that money.
My takeaway was that even if it makes you vulnerable and trusting, you must be good to people who have been kind to you.
Which business idea would you be prepared to impart to our readers?
start a cleaning business for homes. Two people I am aware of have their own cleaning companies; one makes $1.2 million a year and the other makes $2 million a year in NET INCOME. Finding talent might be difficult, but if you can successfully manage your staff, offer your skills, and sell yourself, I think this is a workable company idea.
What applications do you use to increase productivity? What is its use?
I can’t get enough of Calendly. It is used by me for all professional interactions, and by my Tastemakers to arrange meetings with tourists. The back and forth interactions necessary to decide on a meeting’s schedule are entirely eliminated.
What was your best $100 buy recently?
In my professional capacity, I ran an Instagram competition with AWAY travel packing cubes as the prize, and I bought the cubes for the winner personally. When it came to brand alignment, people thought AWAY funded the article, which was fascinating.
I never feel bad about spending money on wine. The best $100 I ever spent was on a bottle of Salta, Argentina’s Cafayate wine (Mendoza’s cool younger brother). Six bottles were bought, and I brought them home in my suitcase. We slept in a wine hotel called Patio de Cafayates, and our favorite wines were those made on the premises under the brand name El Esteco. I’m sincerely unhappy that the wine cooler has run out of torrontes (a crisp white wine) and garnacha (a dark ruby red rosé that is just a hair shy of a light red).
Do you have a favorite book or podcast that has been really valuable to you?
The Female Startup Club podcast intrigues me because it motivates me to hear the experiences of other female founders and serves as a helpful reminder that every successful business started with an idea.
I’ve read a lot of great books on personal growth. While I am now reading Gino Wickman’s Traction and finding it to be enjoyable, I think Brene Brown’s Rising Strong is the finest book. She offers a method in the book to utilize when having really strong responses to anything. You open your trustworthy diary and write a response to the question, “The story I’m telling myself is…” It has aided me in developing my ability to swiftly resolve interpersonal and professional issues without presuming motives.
What movie or TV show have you lately enjoyed, and why?
I recently (re)watched A Bigger Splash and ate it up; the cast and performance are superb, and the island where it was set (Formentera, Spain), is on my bucket list of places to see before I pass away!
Don’t wait for things to be “perfect”; instead, take action every day. If a finished product is 80% of what you consider immaculate, it’s generally good enough.
Be genuine. Being an entrepreneur has the advantage that you are not forced to represent someone person’s brand, so be yourself and have fun.
If you keep helping individuals who need your product or service, there is no way to fail in business.
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