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This is a story that I bet so many people can relate to because so many times over the past 11 years of owning Crystal Media, there have been meetings, partnerships, and clients that have initially created this feeling of, “Oh, this is it. We made it. This is the tipping point. This is big!” And then things don’t happen.  This is a story about perseverance because even though it doesn’t happen you just keep going and you keep going and you keep going until you find your success.

This is my Drake story.

Let’s dive in:

[01:36] Here is how I got the meeting with Drake’s team and Virginia Black Whiskey. Can we talk about the imposter syndrome?

[02:51] Do clothes really make the woman? And why is it so hard to find the right thing to wear!?!

[04:50] When faced with imposter syndrome, instead of focusing on the nerves, focus on being of service in that moment, maybe teach them something and remind yourself how wonderful you really are.

[05:37] The meeting with Drake’s people. I was hot, sweaty, and uncomfortable…what did I get myself into?

[09:58] The results of the meeting, how it made me feel, and the lessons we learned.

[13:11] How I look at opportunities that don’t always work out the way that we wanted them to. 

Mentioned in this Episode:

Shop: Pilar

Book: The Go-Giver by Bob Burg

Read the episode transcript

And now I’m nervous. Now I’m like, Oh my God, I’m sweating. This is really uncomfortable. I’m really hot. I don’t know what I’m getting myself into. Like are these people very arrogant? Are they mean? Are they like give 10 minutes, pitch us, you know, like what am I getting into? I have no idea.

Are you ready to open up and talk about all things business? I’m Crystal Vilkaitis, a curious entrepreneur who loves talking about business, especially over a glass of wine. I started Crystal Uncorked to share open and honest conversations about my journey and talk to other entrepreneurs about their experiences.

We pull back the curtain and talk about the highs and the lows. Wine isn’t required, but is recommended. This is Crystal Uncorked.

Today’s episode of Crystal Uncorked is a story about perseverance. This is my Drake story. This is a story that I bet so many people can relate to because so many times over the past 11 plus years of owning this business, of owning Crystal Media, there have been so many meetings and partnerships and clients that have initially created this feeling of, and this hopefulness of, “Oh, this is it. We made it. This is the tipping point. This is big!” And then things don’t happen and so that’s why this is a story about perseverance because even though it doesn’t happen you just keep going and you keep going and you keep going. 

But this is a weird story in a way, never did I think that I would be meeting with Drake’s people, but I did. I think the year was 2016ish and one of our clients was friends with Drake’s manager and did some business with them.

And he introduced me to them because Drake has a whiskey called Virginia Black and they were just looking to grow awareness for it. And so obviously social media can be a really great way to do that. I was in contact with the manager and then the other co owner of Virginia Black and reached out.

They responded. I lived in Southern California during this time. And they invited me up to LA to do a sit down meeting. I’m like, Oh my God, this is so crazy. I’m going to go meet with Drake’s people. Like feeling totally out of my element. There’s was so much like imposter syndrome. Why would they work with me?

I’m so small. I’m sure they have a big budget. Like, why wouldn’t they hire a really big ads agency? They’ve got to know people like this is just so crazy, but you know what? Just go just show up. And so I’ll never forget the meeting was on a Friday and I had the hardest time picking out something to wear.

This is like an ongoing problem for me. It’s gotten a lot better since I found my favorite boutique, Pilar, here in Northern Colorado. But I just have always really struggled with getting dressed. And a big part of that in just all transparency is this fear of what people will think of me and, wanting them to like me and wanting them to think that I look great.

And I can lose my own style in dressing for other people and trying to please other people. And so it makes it really challenging to get dressed because you feel like you don’t like any of your clothes and you just don’t know what you’re getting into and you lose yourself. So, I picked this outfit. Now the outfit is important because it is a part of the story. During this time I can’t really remember what month it was because I’m in Southern California. The weather’s always beautiful. It was upper seventies, sunny, like it always is. So I ended up picking like this white tank with tight jeans and brown boots that had a heel and a black cardigan.

And I felt like it just looked good and I felt comfortable in it. But the cardigan was like a long, like Draper kind of cardigan thing. Long sleeve. Okay. I’m driving. I’m headed. It’s a two and a half hour drive and just headed there. I’m like so nervous. And this is a perfect example of doing it afraid.

Because like I said, I had all this imposter syndrome and why would they hire me and why not a bigger agency? And can we even do this? But the flip side of that is go in to the meeting and be curious, ask questions. One thing that I always believe in is teaching and adding value. One of my favorite books is called The Go Giver.

I’ve talked about it on the show before and so, at the very least I’m spending my time and I’m going to show up and if I could teach them something, if I could give them some ideas, if I could be of service, even if they don’t hire me, then I feel good about that because I never want to waste anybody’s time and I always just like helping and adding value through education. And so, you know, I kept just reminding myself of that. Be open minded, be curious, listen, because sometimes you could get in your head and you’re not listening to what people are saying because you’re so nervous. And so I just had to keep reminding myself like, okay, listen, you’ve got this.

You’ve been doing this for many years. Like you’ve got this. I did a ton of research. I went into this, really understanding what ads we would run, our limitations because it’s alcohol, what they’re currently doing, all the opportunities that were available. So that definitely helps ease the nerves, like as much as you can be prepared, I’m meeting with Drake’s people.

So I get to LA and I don’t know LA at all. And I am having the hardest time finding a place to park. And unfortunately, I’m somebody who I don’t leave myself. A lot of time when I’m going places. So I’m like, it’s getting really close to our meeting time. It’s very close to me being late. I don’t want to be late for this meeting.

I never want to be late for any meeting, but that’s adding this added stress. I don’t know where to park. I’m doing loops around the, the neighborhood and finally, I find a library that’s got like a free parking garage. I go up there. It’s second floor. I have to walk all the way through this parking garage.

Go down all the stairs because elevator was taking forever. I’m in these boots. I’m in this cardigan. I’m in these tight pants. I’m carrying my purse and my laptop bag and I am sweating. I am so hot. I have to walk two more blocks in the pure sunshine and then I reach this nightclub on the corner of whatever streets I’m on and that’s where we’re meeting if I remember this correctly, the co owner of Virginia black, he owned this nightclub. And so I go in and it’s like, it’s dark, you know, they’re not open yet. And I’m like, hello? Again, sweating. Like, I’m out of breath. Now I’m nervous. Now I’m like, oh my god. I’m sweating. This is really uncomfortable. I’m really hot. And we sit down. They’re super nice. You know, I don’t know what I’m getting myself into.

Like, Are these people very arrogant? Are they mean? Are they like, you have ten minutes. Pitch us, you know, like, what am I getting into? I have no idea. Super nice. Very welcoming. Didn’t rush at all. I feel like we were there for 45 minutes to an hour. It was good conversation, but it was funny because it was the co owner and then Drake’s manager.

And there would be like these side talks as we were meeting. And there was one side talk about Rihanna and I’m sitting there being like, what is life? Like why? I am in a room with Drake’s manager and business partner and they’re talking about Rihanna and Drake might be my client and then all of a sudden the doubt and then it’s Oh my God, can we do this?

Oh my God. They’re going to see right through you. All the, I can’t tell you all the things that were going through my head. But I do feel like I did a good job of listening. I felt like I added a lot of value. I felt like we connected. That’s another thing that’s really important to me when I’m working with somebody is I want to connect.

I don’t want to say yes to every single business deal. If we’re out of alignment with like how we do business or how we treat people or how we respond to things, it’s not worth it. To me. you know, I just really believe in mutual trust and respect and they were great. I was like, I could totally see us doing this and this would be awesome.

And so I was like, okay, I got all the information. I’ll send you a proposal. And I left and they sent me home with a bottle of Virginia black, which is great. Cause I got to try it. So I drive home two and a half hours home on a Friday and I’m just like feeling really great. Like I talk about these made it moments on crystal uncorked. That kind of felt like a made it moment, you delivered, you connected. This is very possible for you. It’s so easy to like, see what everybody else is doing and sometimes feel like, oh, I’ll never. That’ll never be me. We’ll never be on that level. And at least I’ve thought that way before.

I can’t be alone in thinking that way. And so I had this moment of it could be you, that can be you. This could be a really big turning point for your company. Because if you get Drake as a client, first of all, that’s… It’s pretty big. And then ideally you’re generating really great results and showing we built the brand by this much and brought in this revenue and like just a, you know, a really good partner to them.

And so then you’re in high demand and then it’s easier from there. I felt really good on the drive home, I get home, I open up the bottle with Dustin, we try a sip, and then we are on our way to he had an award show for real estate, he won several awards, and I just remember feeling wow, this was a really great day.

It was stressful, it was hot, but it was a really great day, I got to sit there and watch my babies get some awards and just this feeling of Drake’s going to be my client. I just felt it. I send the proposal, I do some follow up and I’m following up and they seemed pretty ready to go. So I was sort of feeling a little like, Oh, this is kind of delaying.

This isn’t going to happen, but I just kept following up. And then he’s Hey, can you jump on a call? And I was in Vegas for super zoo. And I’m like, Yeah. I’m just in my room doing work. And so we jump on a call and he’s we love the proposal. We want to move forward. This all sounds great.

Like it was so easy. I’m just like, great. I’ll send you what I need to get started. And we’re really looking forward to working with you. And I call Pauline and cause she would be the account manager. And I’m just like, Oh my gosh. This is crazy. So I remember I felt like I can’t just sit in my hotel room after I just got Drake as a client.

So I went downstairs, I was at Mandalay Bay, and I went up to the bar top and got a glass of champagne, and I just remember roaming through the casino just slowly walking, looking around, being like, Drake’s my client. T he. When. What? It was such a weird feeling and it felt really good these guys believe in me, they believe in my team, we have such a big opportunity, it felt really scary too don’t fuck this up, right?

It felt really… Scary, but I’ve heard this so many times do the things that make you afraid, like that pushes you. That’s where growth comes from. So I was feeling like this is definitely the right decision for us to take this client on and to move forward. And so I just was like, in this days I view it back.

Of me just walking like in slo mo, but everything’s going like fast around me, but I’m just slo mo with my champagne. And it was anti climatic, because I’m just by myself having a glass of free champagne in Vegas, being like, Cheers, you just got a Drake. 

Here’s the deal. After that, I didn’t hear from them again. I emailed and I basically was ghosted. I don’t know. Maybe they went a different direction. They found somebody else, but I just did not hear back from them and it was strange and it was like, okay, why? That’s fine. This happens a lot. Trust me, this happens a lot where people say yes, and then they just don’t talk to you, or they’re like, actually, no, I thought about it.

No. And but I was just surprised and then the disappointment came in. And then also there was relief because it was a lot of pressure. It was scary. And then I just did move on. It was just like, okay, that’s not meant to be. And that is something that I feel grateful for, that I have that perspective.

I really do feel like things don’t happen because they’re not meant to be, or it’s not the right time or just not the right, situation. I really do trust… The universe and my gut and, what is going to happen for us. There was a little bit of that letdown and it is a story of the, of perseverance because like I said, at the beginning of this episode, so many times I’ve had that.

Yes. I remember we signed on a partner in 2014 and this partner, I was like doing the math. And how many clients they work with and and how many we could serve and how they’re going to help sell for us. And they had a team of 10 sales people. And I’m just like, this is a no brainer. Like we would, this is a perfect partnership.

And I had the whole spreadsheet of getting us to a million dollars in sales with this one partnership fairly quick, like within a year, easily within a year. And I remember I went upstairs to Dustin’s office and I was like. I just sold a million dollars. I just, I like knew it. I was like, it’s, I did it.

It happened. And I just knew it. No, that partnership maybe generated, it was still a decent partnership, but I don’t even know if it generated a hundred thousand dollars, maybe about 50,000. And I’m grateful for that for sure. But it’s just like one of those situations where you get into it and there’s a lot of like excitement from both ends, but then I always hold up my end, if this is what we’re going to do and we’re going to deliver and we’re going to deliver, we’re going to act on it. And that’s not always the case. You don’t always get that in return. People aren’t as excited or they’re like, oh, it’s harder to implement or, oh, it’s going to take time.

We don’t want to spend the time. Nevermind. Or let’s just do the bare minimum. Sure. We’ll send some emails instead of having the team call these people and like really work it. I’ve been through that so many times and. The feeling of Ooh, hopes up and then no, nevermind. And you just have to stick with it because, I haven’t necessarily had that client or that situation where it has been a tipping point for me.

There has been a lot of you’ll hear of these overnight successes, seven years later, the people that have been hustling and building their business and working and then all of a sudden they’re really big and you feel like it just happened out of nowhere. But they’ve been doing this for seven years.

I haven’t had that moment of Oh my God, now we’re really big. Look at this overnight success. But I’m like, yeah, we’ve been doing this for 11 years. It’s just a slow and steady growth. And the good thing about that is that I’ve built a strong foundation in doing that. We have a really strong reputation.

I’ve had some time. Like to myself, some time freedom and some balance and and I also personally went through a lot. And so, you know, when you’re going through harder things internally, it’s harder to build the business externally to have that tipping point. So everything happens for a reason. I’m grateful for it all, but if I would have gone all in on those moments that didn’t turn out to really be.

Anything. I think that I don’t know if I’d be here now and trust me, sometimes it is hard to get back up. Sometimes it’s hard when you get that email and you’re like, yeah, nothing’s going to come of this. You just have to be like, okay, here we go again. There’s opportunities. We can help.

Let’s deliver. Let’s put it out there. And more times, You get the no, and you just have to keep showing up. And I heard like JK Rowling who wrote, Rawling? Rowling? Who wrote Harry Potter? She got 243 no’s. Something like that. Something crazy like that. Before somebody said, yes, I’ll publish your book.

Or books. I don’t know how many times she had, or how many books were written by that point. But imagine if she was like, oh, okay, by the 200th, I just can’t. Like you just, it’s a, you’ve got to keep going, you have to keep going and not let those moments where you’re like, I think I made it. I think my made it moment.

And then it doesn’t happen. And then don’t let that hold you back from going and trying and showing up. So I never shared that story before because I’m not really one to be like. So badly, I wanted to be like, I’m meeting, you know, on social media, like today, meeting with Drake’s people, we might like, we’ll talk about content, right?

That would be really fun to talk about and share. But for me, it’s gotta be, we’ve got to be working together. We’ve got to see these results and it’s a business transaction versus like something that like a promote. PR, like a press play, right? So, but you know, As I was thinking about content for this show, I think it’s an interesting story that not a lot of people have heard, if any, really, like four people have heard that story.

So I wanted to share it today. And I found a good perseverance quote that I wanted to share. The only guarantee for failure is to stop trying by John C. Maxwell. And I couldn’t agree with this more. You can’t stop trying. You just have to keep going and keep going. And that’s exactly like Pauline and I are flying out to partners on basically less than a week from me recording this.

We have a partnership and we’re going out there to be like, okay, what else can we do together? And there’s another partner that we’re going to go out and see. We’re just investing a little bit more in that partnership and we’ll see. I’m hoping that it can go have legs and really develop and create something amazing.

And it might not, and we’re just going to keep looking at more partnerships and keep going and keep trying and trying because that’s how you see success. I hope that you found some value in this story, my Drake story, my perseverance story. And if you have any questions that you would love for me to answer on Crystal Uncorked about your business, I am always happy to answer and to elaborate and to share.

So you, the best way is you can email me, or you can head on over to Instagram. It’s just my first and last name, Crystal Vilkaitis, type in V as in Victor, I L K. You’ll see a dog, a picture of me and a dog and DM me. I would love to connect. I would love to answer questions or elaborate or anything like that.

So, I hope to see you on the socials and connect with you and I will see you on the next CU. Bye!