Happy Thursday friends! I’m excited to bring you this interview today 🙂
You may know that my sister Krystle is a successful small business owner. My friends + family have asked before, why don’t you have Krystle on the blog? I tell them I have been TRYING! I thought the family connection would get me an easy yes, but she is a busy gal + she doesn’t enjoy writing. I finally took matters into my own hands and interviewed her in person on Tuesday. All the answers are hers, I just typed them.
I was able to see Empower Movement’s new(ish) studio for the first time on Tuesday. First and foremost, let me just say how proud I am of my sister. She is a go-getter and all of her hard work is paying off! She is doing something she absolutely loves and that always shines through when she talks about her business. The space is beautiful + her business has a constant wait list.
I’m excited for you guys to meet her and I will let her tell you more.
Ames: Introduce yourself.
Krystle: I’m Krystle Howald. I’m 31 years old. I’m a new mommy and a wife. I also own a physical therapy business.
Ames: Tell us more about this business of yours.
Krystle: Empower Movement is a private practice physical therapy business that I opened in May 2014. In the beginning I was packing up my treatment table and tools and treating people in their homes. I transitioned into my first studio in August 2014. This December we moved into our new space.
As a business, Empower Movement’s vision is to improve people’s health and well-being, including their quality of life. Can you live with your back pain? Of course. But, if it negatively impacts your work and you are hesitant to pick up your child because of it…it should be fixed! A: Read Krystle’s patient testimonials here.
Ames: What is your favorite thing about owning your own business?
Krystle: My very favorite thing is getting to treat people the way that I want to treat them. I get to treat people for an entire hour and I can really make a difference in their health.
I honestly never intended to own my own business. As I started practicing in the clinical setting I felt it was too controlled by the insurance companies and consequently the businesses I was working for. I was required by the company to accomplish a certain level of productivity and then I had pressure and even flags that popped up to make sure I was billing patients a certain way/the most they could be billed. When I worked in that setting I would only get to see my patients for a short amount of time and then I had to hand them off to an aid.
With my own business, I have a lot more control of my patient’s treatment plan, more time with them, and this ultimately allows me to get them better a lot faster. I also get to create the atmosphere. At Empower Movement there is a pretty lighthearted atmosphere and patients enjoy coming to see us.
Finally, I don’t have to ask someone to take a vacation!
Ames: What is the most challenging about owning your own business?
Krystle: Having work/life balance and saying no to people. I always want to help my patients, so it gets really challenging when the wait list is 3 weeks long and people are trying to get in or when one of my clients calls in a lot of pain. A: Krystle + I talk about this all the time! I’m a huge believer in work/life balance, so I speak up when I see my sister shifting too much to the work side. She made a really good point the other week though, telling me that Empower Momvement was her first baby. It is her business + it is so important to her to operate Empower Movement at a high level.
Ames: What have you learned from being a business owner + what advice do you have for others taking the plunge?
Krystle: One thing I’ve learned is to stick to the things that you’re good at. I’ve tried to do well in social media and actually tried to start a blog, but those are just not my strengths. I hate writing (hence why you are typing all my answers for me right now). Instead, I invest my time into improving my treatments and making sure my patient’s needs come first. My business has became successful because of referrals, not because of social media.
Also, delegate! If it isn’t worth my time I need to hire someone to do it. For example, instead of painting the whole new office myself it made sense to save my time for other things that only I can do and contract that task out.
I’m also really good at prioritizing now. Before I just checked things off my to-do list that were easy to do, instead of the most important things. Now I have a system that allows me to better prioritize. A: I love what she said there.
Lastly, I used to worry a lot about hiring other people. When I hired Natalie (the person that covered my maternity leave) I was worried because I wouldn’t be able to treat people myself. My business was my first baby and so with the birth of my daughter I wanted to insure that the countless hours and effort that went into building it didn’t go by the wayside during my time off. The only way to keep momentum going was to hire a rock star physical therapist. Natalie was an amazing addition. Her skills as a therapist speak for themselves, but the personality and spark she brings to the clinic are not trainable. I will never to be able to repay her for the freedom I was able to have as a small business owner and taking an amazing 15 weeks off with my new bundle of joy. She has done such a tremendous job + has truly been a blessing to the business. From Natalie, I learned that if you hire talented people that jive with the mission of your practice or company, put your trust into them + get out of their way 🙂
Ames: You might remember Natalie from her interview on BalancedAmes, which you can read here. Natalie and I became friends through our church group. I connected Natalie + Krystle because it sounded to me like they had very similar practice of physical therapy AND I knew they would get along great. Krystle + Natalie both speak so highly of each other and the 3 of us plan to be lifelong friends. I secretly asked Natalie to write about what is has been like working for Krystle.
Natalie: Krystle is literally one of the BEST people you will ever meet. How many people actually say that about their boss (and mean it!)? I actually don’t necessarily consider Krystle to be my boss…she is more of a friend and colleague and someone who I really care about. I thank God for her every.single.day. I’m so inspired by Krystle as a business woman, PT, and new mom. I have never met a more fun, energetic, loving, caring, and passionate woman. I have so much respect for her and am motivated to run her business and treat her patients with the same passion and heart that she does. But, let me tell you, I’ve had some big shoes to fill while she’s been out on maternity leave! I’m so blessed to have met Krystle and to work with her at Empower Movement PT. Thanks Ames for connecting us…your matchmaking skills are spot on! 😉 A: A huge thanks to Natalie for helping my sister be able to make a smoother transition into being an amazing new mommy. Also for always encouraging me in my blog + life 🙂 As you can tell the 3 of us have cultivated strong friendships, love, + respect for each other.
Ames: Brooke is practically 3 months now! The time sure has flown and every single time I see her she looks bigger + has checked off more milestones. Take us back to your pregnancy, how was it?
Krystle: I was that annoying pregnant person that loved being pregnant. I didn’t have any morning sickness at all. I absolutely loved when Brooke played and kicked and moved in me. I loved the excitement of not knowing the gender, we were constantly thinking about if the baby was a boy or a girl. I missed my bump when Brooke was born, but of course I was excited for her to be here.
The worst thing for me was pubic symphysis pubis dysfunction (the ligaments that normally keep our pelvis aligned become too relaxed and stretched during pregnancy). I couldn’t do any unilateral movement (lunges, running) without my pubic bone becoming sore for an entire week. I also had sharper, acute pains. At times it prevented me from treating patients because I wasn’t able to get into the positions I needed to.
Ames: You even felt great in the 3rd trimester?!? This is giving me high hopes 🙂
Krystle: It was really just the last week or two that I became uncomfortable. I had my C-section at 39 weeks (Brooke was in a breech position and we had a failed external cephalic version).
The worst part of the pregnancy was learning that Brooke was breech. I really wanted to have a natural birth, so it just wasn’t in my plans to deliver her via C-section.
Ames: How has the recovery from the C-section gone? Are you back to activity?
Krystle: It was amazing how fast my body recovered. The first couple weeks after Brooke was born, it was hard to get off the couch, roll over in bed, or laugh (and it was around Christmas…a Jolly time!). I returned to exercise at the 6 week mark, which was just slightly before the recommend 8 weeks. I took it very slow though and just did the elliptical at first. The other day I ran for 60 minutes! Things are starting to get back to normal!
Ames: What is the most surprising thing about being a new mom?
Krystle: How much time I spend talking and playing with Brooke. They need a lot of love + attention, but sometimes I can’t help but think she won’t even remember a single moment of this. The hardest thing for me has been that I’m usually such a productive person and that came to a complete halt. There are days I don’t get a thing done, but Brooke is well cared for.
Ames: How has Tom adjusted to being a new dad?
Krystle: He is great! He really loves the time that he gets with Brooke. We divide and conquer things, we’ve figured out a system because she is a ton of work.
This past Sunday he let me sleep in and woke up with Brooke at 5am. He ran a ton of errands with Brooke that same day too, so that I could get to the gym. Now that we’re training her to take a bottle, it will be easier for him to perform all the daddy duties.
Ames: How do you feel about going back to work?
Krystle: It is definitely bittersweet. I do miss work because I love what I do, but I know I will miss Brooke when I’m there. I think going back to work will be really healthy for my relationship with my husband because I’ll be interacting with other adults again. A few times that he has come home from work late, it’s been challenging. Staying at home can be lonely. I’ve found breastfeeding can also be isolating because up until very recently, I was the only one that could feed her.
On the very positive side, I am excited to demonstrate for Brooke what being a working momma that also balances working out and time with our family looks like. A: Sounds like some great perspective here Kryst.
Ames: What do you do for workouts?
Krystle: Right now, I’m trying to get back into it. I’ve been working out 4-5x a week. I’m aiming for 3 strength days and 3 days of cardio training.
Ames: What does your diet look like?
Krystle: Crap! When I delivered Brooke, it was right around Christmas. I felt like I could indulge and kind of have whatever I wanted. Now that the holidays are long over, I typically eat well during the day but at night I cannot help but have something sweet.
I’m starting to get back into my old routine, so I’m looking to improve. Tom + I are trying to eat better together. A: I was really surprised when Krystle gave this answer! I said “Krystle!!!!!” when she said she ate like crap. One thing I love about her is her honesty. She told me that I should consider deleting this question, but I think it is great for people to read that getting your eating habits back on track can be super challenging! I know she can do it.
A huge thanks to Krystle for finally ( 😉 ) coming on the blog! Excited to see where the business goes + grows. It has been a true blessing in my life to have her as an older sister and watch her go through life’s events with positivity and enthusiasm.
If you are interested, you can ‘like’ Empower Movement’s Facebook Page here. And give them a call if you are in the Lake Country area and are in need of some physical therapy: 262-844-1547.
When we got together on Tuesday we also made 2 new recipes that I’ll be bringing to the blog next week. One was 4 ingredient energy balls + the other was stuffed peppers.
Have a great Thursday + weekend! -Ames