Ari Krzyzek of Chykalophia on converting your network into your net worth

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Describe your business in a few words?

Chykalophia (read: see-ka-lo-fia) is a creative and technology agency helping women-led brands in FemTech & DTC fast-forward their business through strategies, design and all things website.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

My fiancé at the time (now my husband and business partner) suggested that I should try freelancing after he found out that I was only paid $250 per month. This is when I was still living in Bali, Indonesia. I followed his advice and started freelancing in 2009. After freelancing for a few months, I realized how I loved the flexibility and the variety of creative projects that I could work on. When I moved to Chicago in 2011, my husband and I decided to incorporate both of our skills into one company, Chykalophia.⁣

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

Selling my expertise to the right audience. In the beginning, I wanted to work with everyone. Took me a while [to get to a place where] I enjoy doing what I love with a very specific target audience. I narrowed down our industry, core services, and the brand personas based on a few clients that I really LOVE working with, that change made a big growth impact on our company.⁣

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

We lost a couple of big proposals that got canceled because of COVID-19. However, because many businesses pivoted and moved their business online, we ended up pretty busy helping them adjust their business to their online platforms.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

Your network is your net worth.⁣ I wish I had taken that advice a lot more seriously in the past. I started to really build my network late in my career and years of building my business. When I started seeing the shift and growth happen for my business, it was all thanks to my network support and referrals.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

I let a lot of my control go and try my best to keep my momentum going, even if it’s small.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

Yes. Be flexible. When it comes to work and life, there’s really little we can control. So be flexible, do the best you can. Pat yourself in the back for doing amazing job at what you do. Adjust to your day-to-day situation that will make you feel good and fulfilled.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I was born and raised in Bali, Indonesia. Growing up, my mother advocate for me and taught me how to advocate for myself around the traditional mindset of ‘girls will only end up in the kitchen’.

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

1. Always start with a morning routine and healthy breakfast. For me it’s 15-20 minutes of exercise and a glass of green smoothie.

2. Get my team check-in meetings early to stay caught up on projects

3. Highlight the top one and top three things I need to get done so I can block time to focus on getting them done as best as I can

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

Being an Entreprenista means always showing up even though sometimes it feels like the world is against you.⁣

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