Sequoia Craig is an SEO consultant and web designer for coaches. As the founder of Sequoia Craig Design, she helps coaches grow through organic growth and growth hacking. Her services include custom websites, a la carte SEO, and blogging/email marketing services that center around nurturing.
After growing up in Tucson, Arizona, Sequoia moved north to the land of salty air and expensive weather: Santa Cruz. She found her passions online and through technology. She has caught the coding “bug” and finds Wikipedia fascinating. In her free time, she enjoys fostering kittens, watching The Office, and playing board games with her partner, Zev.
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Table of Contents
Thank you for joining us today. Please introduce yourself to our readers. They want to know you, some of the background story to bring some context to your interview.
Sequoia Craig: I’m a college dropout. I’m no longer ashamed of it, but it’s not usually something I broadcast. After dropping out of college, I worked a few odd jobs before I started working at a local buy-sell-trade shop in Santa Cruz. I quickly moved up and managed the two shops. Throughout that time I realized that the business side of things was where I had passion. So I decided to look for an internship. I actually googled “Business Consultant Santa Cruz” and found my way to a business coach. I met with him and was offered a full-time job. I worked for him for three years before deciding to take on clients of my own.
While I worked for him I had two amazing mentors. I consider those three years my informal education because I spent so much time immersed in entrepreneurship, business, and marketing.
You are a successful entrepreneur, so we’d like your view point, do you believe entrepreneurs are born or made? Explain.
Sequoia Craig: I believe that entrepreneurs are made. I have some friends who always had an entrepreneurial spirit as kids and others who worked in corporate until a few years ago. There’s a slew of reasons that someone decides to become an entrepreneur, but at the end of the way what makes a “good” entrepreneur is dedication and drive.
If you were asked to describe yourself as an entrepreneur in a few words, what would you say?
Sequoia Craig: I’m a problem solver. I blend the sterile tech world with the warm coaching world.
Tell us about what your company does and how did it change over the years?
Sequoia Craig: It’s still in the young years, but it has already had many pivots. Right now Sequoia Craig Design (SCD) offers three services: web design, a la carte SEO, and ongoing blogging/email marketing support. In the past, I’ve offered social media management, content creation, business coaching, graphic design, and more. I’ve grown and shrunken my team. It really has changed a lot. But adapting is the key to success.
Thank you for all that. Now for the main focus of this interview. With close to 11.000 new businesses registered daily in the US, what must an entrepreneur assume when starting a business?
Sequoia Craig: Everyone says that it’s going to be difficult, but I don’t think it’s very well understood WHY it will be difficult. If you like solving problems, running a business won’t be HARD. The hard part is the tenacity. What do you do when you don’t know what to do? Who do you turn to when someone steals your idea? The hardest part is the uncertainty. So when you start a business, assume that you won’t know what to do all the time. Assume that it will take time. We all want to be an overnight success but in reality, every overnight success (almost always) comes after years and years of trial and error. So assume that you’re going to have to be patient.
Did you make any wrong assumptions before starting a business that you ended up paying dearly for?
Sequoia Craig: I thought that if it wasn’t difficult it wouldn’t ever be difficult. The mindset stuff that comes with entrepreneurship is brutal, and for me, it didn’t hit until I was over a year into my business. I thought that because I didn’t have a fear of failure in the beginning I would never experience that fear. Boy was I wrong! The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that every day is a new day with new challenges. It gets easier to handle change, but entrepreneurship is full of uncomfortable moments.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what advice would you give yourself and why? Explain
Sequoia Craig: I would say: be louder. Being a female entrepreneur it took me a while to gain my voice. It took a lot of courage to just show up on camera. I wish I had overcome those hurdles earlier because when I do honor myself and my confidence it creates waves of success in my business.
What is the worst advice you received regarding running a business and what lesson would you like others to learn from your experience?
Sequoia Craig: “Work 80 hours a week now so that you don’t have to work much later”. This idea is so antiquated. Here’s the bottom line: if you work 80 hours a week growing your business, your business will require you to work 80 hours a week to sustain it. Entrepreneurship is about freedom so this idea that we have to give up our freedom to achieve it is crazy! Growing sustainably usually takes a bit more time but it prevents burnout and encourages long-term growth. Opt for the sustainable option—always.
In your opinion, how has COVID-19 changed what entrepreneurs should assume before starting a business? What hasn’t changed?
Sequoia Craig: In the beginning business owners were trying to pivot quickly. For a lot of businesses, this meant going online. As the pandemic has become more normal though people have started to let this slack again. The internet isn’t going anywhere so stay online. Your online presence is critical for your growth. The thing that hasn’t changed in the pandemic is that entrepreneurship means pivoting. I said this before but it really is all about pivoting and adapting. A pandemic or not, there will always be a reason to change things.
What is a common myth about entrepreneurship that aspiring entrepreneurs and would-be business owners believe in? What advice would you give them?
Sequoia Craig: I briefly touched on this before but the idea of overnight success. I see a desire for astronomical growth in online spaces. Rather than strive for this kind of growth, I encourage you to strive for sustainable growth. Time and time again we see businesses grow rapidly and lose quality only to crash and burn. Grow slowly and sustainably.
What traits, qualities, and assumptions do you believe are most important to have before starting a business?
Sequoia Craig: Tenacity. There’s a lot of bad days, so being able to get back up again is critical
How can aspiring leaders prepare themselves for the future challenges of entrepreneurship? Are there any books, websites, or even movies to learn from?
Sequoia Craig: I often see entrepreneurs dive into other people’s content and brainchildren only to get overwhelmed by all the “shoulds”. So my advice is to actually consume less and listen to yourself more. At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong way to build a business. The thing that sets you apart from your competitors is you so utilize that resource.
That being said, I highly recommend ‘We Should All Be Millionaires’ by Rachel Rodgers.
You have shared quite a bit of your wisdom and our readers thank you for your generosity but would also love to know: If you could choose any job other than being an entrepreneur, what would it be?
Sequoia Craig: I would always be an entrepreneur. There are different fields that I would love to be in, but I have time to explore those and maybe build some more businesses along the way 😉
Thank you so much for your time, I believe I speak for all of our readers when I say that this has been incredibly insightful. We do have one more question: If you could add anyone to Mount Rushmore, but not a politician, who would it be; why?
Sequoia Craig: Me! It sounds conceited, but I think the correct answer to this question should always be “me”. We need to be our biggest cheerleaders. Plus who doesn’t want to see their own nose 84 times in size?
Larry Yatch, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Sequoia Craig for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Sequoia Craig or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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