84. Kelsey Krueger: From Software Sales to Soul Centered Birth Worker

An interview with my friend, Kelsey Krueger, on how she left behind a thriving sales career at Salesforce to travel the world before realizing in a dream that she was meant to be a doula.

Unknown Speaker 0:01
Salary is a drug they give you when they want you to forget about your dreams.

Alessia Citro 0:06
Welcome to the corporate dropout podcast. I'm your host Alessia Citro. If you're sick of the corporate hamster wheel and looking to feel inspired and empowered to live a high vibe life as your own boss, you're in the right place, dare to drop out in 321. Before we start the show, I want to tell you about the business I'm launching. Do you have a business idea but you don't know where to start? Or maybe you've started your own business, but you know, there are boxes you need to check when it comes to taxes, finance, legal protection, marketing, and more. Same. That's why I founded theia collective named for the Greek Goddess of Light Thea was created to light the path for entrepreneurs. We have the community courses and connections that will help every entrepreneur quantum leap and avoid costly mistakes. Learn from experts across professions and get the blueprint you need for your business. Text biz, that's BIZ to 949-577-8709 or head to theia dash collective.com to learn more.

Alessia Citro 1:10
Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing my friend Kelsey Krueger, you'll hear how she went from having a successful career at Salesforce and in the tech world, to figuring out her life's calling in a dream that she was meant to be a birth worker and how she scaled that business successfully in less than a year. Hello friends. So today I have the great pleasure of interviewing my friend Kelsey Krueger. Kelsey is a corporate sales drop out turned solo world traveler, which ultimately brought her to her purpose, which is changing the way doulas show up and the birth world. She is an entrepreneur of her own thriving birth and postpartum doula business here in Orange County. And alongside her business partner, she serves families and mentors up and coming doulas as she paves the way for better birth and postpartum outcomes. Kelsey, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Kelsey Krueger 2:00
Thanks so much for having me. So good to be here.

Alessia Citro 2:03
Yes, it's a true pleasure. And I want to give a little bit of background for the listeners, we're actually recording this together in person in my office. So if there's, like feedback in the background, that's what's going on. But Kelsey and I actually reconnected pretty serendipitously, we had worked together at Salesforce, but didn't really know each other. And then Kelsey, you DM me a few months back after listening to the show, I think it was my background episode. And you realize we had so much in common. So you reached out now we became fast friends. And it's very full circle having you on here as a guest.

Kelsey Krueger 2:34
Totally. Yeah, it's definitely alignment. I really believe in my connections being people who are meant to be in my life. And I very vividly remember I was on a plane, which was so funny because of your plane story. on a plane, and I was on LinkedIn, I just saw that you announced corporate dropout. And I was like, something about alessia When I was at Salesforce told me we were meant to be connected. And that was the sign listen to the episode. And I think I immediately shared how much we had in common. I was like, Yeah, we have to reconnect.

Alessia Citro 3:05
Well, and the crazy thing about that, too, you were on a plane to Chicago, which any of you have listened to the background episode of like, you know that I lived there for a while. So yeah, so many synchronicities. Yeah, it's pretty wild. So let's start from the beginning when it comes to this interview. So aside from working at Salesforce, which we now shared, tell us more about what you were doing professionally before you became a birth worker.

Kelsey Krueger 3:27
So I studied, my degree was in business, emphasis in marketing. So similar to you thought like, corner office suite in Chicago. That was my goal. I grew up in Wisconsin, and I was like, I got to get out. I want to move to the city and work my way up the ladder, quickly found my way in sales. And that's where I started and stayed for probably six years. And as most people, you know, find themselves at some point in life. Maybe like my quarter life crisis, I decided to make a plan to quit my job and go travel the world. So that was on a solo trip in Thailand. That was a two week vacation, and I got on the vacation. I was like, Yeah, this is the life I need to live. So I made a plan for quitting my job six months later,

Alessia Citro 4:14
worth noting Kelsey quit her job before it was cool. When what when was this?

Kelsey Krueger 4:19
Oh, July of 2019.

Alessia Citro 4:24
Oh, yeah. So you were like a year or two ahead of the curve? Well, so the other thing I think that's interesting about you leaving a really good corporate job, is that a Salesforce right? To go travel the world like, did people think that you were nuts like I had so many people well, meaning people be like, What are you doing? You have an amazing career. Like why would you ever walk away? Did you have a lot of I don't want to say pushback, but a lot of people giving you unsolicited advice around that.

Kelsey Krueger 4:52
Yes. So um, because I'm worth noting. So like you mentioned I live in Chicago for a while myself. almost six years, I worked really hard to get a promotion with Salesforce relocated to Southern California. I was only in that role for a year on path to be promoted again, when I remade had my mind made up. So when I put my notice in my co workers, for the most part, were just like, if she's leaving, like then it like the question mark start to pop in their head if she's leaving, like, Hmm, should I be leaving? You're so successful? Why would you leave? You seem so happy? Why would you leave this? And I think, you know, my mentality in life is always Yeah, I'm gonna chase. You know, like, the bigger better thing what makes me happy, but I'm not leaving something because I'm complacent or in a bad place. I'm leaving well before that, right? Because I'm, I'm finding the alignment that's ahead of me in my life path, that it's not about, like getting to the bottom of the hole and then being like, oh, shit probably should have left,

Alessia Citro 5:56
which is what happened to me. Yeah, you were smart. Okay, was there like an aha moment? While you were traveling? When you were like, Yep, this is what I need to do. I'm going to be jobless for a year and travel the world like was there a lightbulb moment there of you needing to do that?

Unknown Speaker 6:12
On that first trip to Thailand. And so that was after a q4 went on a two week vacation. And if for anyone who's been to Thailand and you're traveling on vacation, you're probably running into backpackers who are on a six month minimum, maybe gap year, and that's who I was living with. I was in hostels bounced around Thailand, and within the first day, I'm like the weirdo. They're like, you're only here for two weeks. What are you doing? And I was like, if they're all doing it, yeah, most of them are European, or like Ozzy's, but I was like they're doing it. Why can't I do it? So that was, that was like the aha was just like, This is so normal outside of the US, like, why aren't people doing this?

Alessia Citro 6:56
Okay, I'm a follow up question to this. So anyone listening who has worked at Salesforce or works there now, or probably most tech companies, the end of the fiscal year is in saying, like, it's also really exciting, though. Like, you're grinding, you're crushing your quota. You're making more money than you make all year. But coming off of q4 ending and then going on a vacation was that like juxtaposition of like grind to relaxing and exploring another thing that kind of, like, teed you up to leave?

Kelsey Krueger 7:22
Yeah, absolutely. It was, it was a no brainer, because at that point, I yeah, I was happy in my career, but it wasn't fulfilling a purpose for me, like I was successful making money. But being in Thailand, having this freedom and really being the boss of my own life, which is kind of now the dialogue of the rest of my life. It just was like, Absolutely, I would do this. I almost felt stupid not to do it, because I got the messaging. And it was so clear. Like, if I didn't go for that, I would have always had the like, what, you know, what if? Yeah,

Alessia Citro 7:57
yeah, nothing worse than whatever. I'm not a fan of that either. Okay, so tell us like, what did you learn about yourself and what you wanted in a career as you traveled Latin America and Southeast Asia?

Kelsey Krueger 8:06
Yeah, so um, you know, now I'm on a what was supposed to be a year long backpacking trip, and sky's the limit. I gave myself a $20,000 budget for the year, and really had no agenda other than a few like bucket list things Machu Picchu, yoga, teacher training, and Tokyo Olympics, which didn't happen that year. Trip was cut short, like to seven months because of COVID. But I had a lot of clear messaging come through. Mostly that being boss in my own life , like this type of freedom. I knew I wasn't going to travel forever and be a nomad. But boss, my own life was going to be something that I wanted to integrate into me coming back to the states that whatever part that would be, and I didn't, I didn't know what entrepreneurship life would look like. Yeah, cuz I actually had no idea what my purpose was yet, but I I knew I did not want to work for anyone after

Alessia Citro 9:03
that. Yeah, no, I feel you on that. Alright, so the first time we hung out in person, we were at lunch, and you told me how you figured out what you were meant to do. And so you shared with me that you had a really vivid dream that showed you you were meant to be a doula. So tell us about that. Your friend who connected the dots and how you ultimately uncovered your purpose.

Kelsey Krueger 9:26
Yes. So I did come back to the States earlier than expected after some months COVID sent me home and I was like, Okay, what now? Because I'm not ready. Like, I was like, I had five more months to figure out what life was going to look like on the other side of traveling. And I ended up taking a nanny job I love kids and so that just seemed like okay, I'll do this temporarily until I travel again. That's what I thought was gonna be happening, quickly realized covered wasn't going away. And so I kind of was like begging the universe like what is my purpose. I know I meant for more. And had always gotten messaging from peers. And just from experience I knew working with women was going to be like one of the cornerstones, and then like, connecting, like deep connection. And so I was like, Okay, I have that information. And then I'm pretty spiritual. And I have an energy healer, who continued to tell me that I'm a healer. And I would be like, what does that mean? Tell me more, give me answers. He's like, I can't tell you more like you have to figure this out. You're a healer. So once I surrendered to the universe, and kind of put that out there. It was just trust. And probably a few months later, maybe like three months later, I had a vivid dream. And I woke up at 3am. And it just said to me, you are a doula. And I love to journal, I journal, all my thoughts. And so I immediately open my journal and was like, sobbing tears, because it was just a download of I'm a doula and I were just writing that over and over. And it was like, I'm empowering women. I meant to hold space for women, and then immediately hop on Google. And I'm like, what is the doula because I related it? No. So then I'm like, Okay, so I'm a doula. And I'm googling this for probably, I don't know, three hours and my boyfriend comes over and I like, make him sit down. And I'm like, Hey, and we only been dating like four months at this point, but I was like, I'm making you breakfast. I have really important news sit down, and he's like, really nervous. He's like, what's happening? Like, sit down. I have important news. And he's like, okay, so I say, I'm a doula and he immediately is like, do what like what is that and I've gotten that reaction from so many people, you know, in my experience now, but I was like, I'm not completely sure what I'm figuring out I just know that this is the thing that I'm meant to be as as why I'm on this earth. And I come to find out talking to another doula friend only like a month after that, that women in Guatemala the Indigenous women who are called The Birth work get called through a dream. So when she told me that it was like full body chills, okay, this is Divine Alignment. And from then on, I just dove right in and figured out what to do let does then pave the path.

Alessia Citro 12:17
I love that you didn't even know like what the word meant. Like that just goes to show it really was like divinely. I don't know. incepted I guess like into your mind. Like, that's just so amazing. I had a doula to with Mila. And I had somebody they'll be like, what's a doula and why are you paying them? Like the best ever if ladies if you were expecting or want to and yeah, you need you need to get a doula I won't need on your shirt on you. But I invite you to look at getting a doula. Okay. So so for those who don't know, what is a doula and why do you think you were drawn to the work?

Kelsey Krueger 12:53
Yes. Okay. So a doula which I know the word itself is funny. It means servant. So I'm my role is to serve women at its simplest form, expecting and postpartum women, I'm as base holder for them, supporting them physically, emotionally and mentally, even spiritually, throughout their pregnancy, their birth and postpartum. In no matter the setting, there's a lot of stereotypes that were like total hippies, which I mean, I'm, I'm a hippie, but I don't only serve homebirth. I do all settings, home births, hospital and birth centers. In an environment like a hospital, I'm also a women's advocate. And that's a really big important role. For a lot of expecting moms.

Alessia Citro 13:41
We were talking about this before recording, actually, we had lunch and yeah, you need to be your advocate in the hospital or your partner needs to be and a lot of people who maybe haven't found their voice or don't know all the ins and outs, like having someone like you there i think is really, really critical.

Kelsey Krueger 13:56
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I through experience more and more, I find that a lot of women on there, maybe second third child, it's a lot of I wish I would have known I wish I had this my first so for me a big driving factor in like my purpose is getting the word out there and letting women know their options and they have access to to someone like a doula to support them in a really vulnerable time.

Alessia Citro 14:25
I think too, aside from at one point, having like four people rubbing me down, like the doula Jeff, my mom and the midwife in the hospital, like it was amazing. Oh, yeah, it was the dream team. But one of the most valuable things was the postpartum period, like having them come over. And, you know, we had issues with breastfeeding and all that and they troubleshot and solved all that for us. So yeah, I think it's like one of the best investments you can make if you're welcoming a little one into the world. Yeah, I'd have to agree. Alright, so tell us now about the segue into business. So you actually started your own company. as well as a partnership with another doula. So how does your business and sales experience translate into the doula business today?

Kelsey Krueger 15:09
Yeah, it's everything. I am very, very fortunate I, I believe that all of my experience led me to here I kind of think of it as like all of these puzzle pieces I've been collecting throughout my professional and personal experience. And it's this beautiful picture and it all fits together so perfectly. And many doulas are not fortunate enough to have the background I had. And they struggle because as a doula, most likely you're going to be an entrepreneur. Most doulas work independently if they don't work for an agency. So you essentially have to do it that way. And if you don't have the business experience, I don't know how you can succeed when it comes to marketing yourself, your branding, your contracting everything. And also just knowing your worth. I mean, I'm selling myself all day every day, and it's my favorite thing to sell. Sounds egotistical. But honestly, I'm so passionate about the service that I'm providing that it's it's a no brainer. When I'm selling it's if the client is in alignment with me, and I'm a firm believer in energetic alignment. There's not really selling it speaks for itself. But I know my worth and I'm competent. I have a lot of conviction that comes from my sales experience.

Alessia Citro 16:28
Oh, yeah, because we've heard know, many, many, many times. We've been ghosted many times, it's like there's really nothing that you can throw at us that that scares the next salesperson, right? Yeah.

Kelsey Krueger 16:37
Absolutely. And in the business mentality, the money mentality, I find this might be a segue into the other facet of my business of mentoring, other doulas, but I find that many doulas don't know their own worth, and they undersell themselves under cut themselves all day long. And it really sets them up for failure because they're not even making enough money to support themselves or their family. So they, they have burnout, they end up having to leave doula work, even if that is their passion and their calling and what they're put on this earth to do. If you don't have the money in business mindset, you could only you know, do that for so long, right?

Alessia Citro 17:15
Yeah, exactly. It's really, really key. So tell us to how are you able to build this business up to be profitable and sustainable in less than a year? Because, you know, the statistics are that most companies are at a loss for three years, and I think it's something like 90% of businesses fail in your one. So how did you do this and beat the odds?

Kelsey Krueger 17:36
Um, I think a few factors play into it. The first being not afraid to get uncomfortable, which, when you asked about like learning lessons in Latin America and Southeast Asia on my travels, I'm a person that chases the uncomfortable I thrive in the uncomfortable and so as an entrepreneur, I think I think we all kind of have that in us, right? You have to if you don't, you're never gonna like leave the office, you're just not going to get out there. So I it was not about perfection. It was more about just getting out there. And I am and he says all time recovering perfectionist, I am that as well. But action Trumps perfection all day every day. Right? So that was key. And the other was, I got really fortunate. I'm so grateful and blessed and I I journal in my my like manifestation and gratitude journal every day about my partner who I became aligned with, again, energetic alignment, when you put it out there. The universe really serves you with the right people. So, three days after that dream, that awakening, I went to a doula meetup, putting myself out there. I just started messaging. Every single doula in Orange County, didn't even know I didn't even know what I was doing. At the time. I was like, Hey, I think I'm a doula. I was called to this. I'm a I'm a doula. I just started saying it. And I asked them for coffee meeting up, you know, just like a salesperson would do networking, right. So I got invited serendipitously to a doula meetup, where my business partner Rory happened to be and I think there were five of us there and instantly her and I knew, like there was something there and we were meant to work together. So between getting scrappy meeting the right people and networking, and not being afraid to get uncomfortable, it just set me soaring very, very quickly.

Alessia Citro 19:22
And I have to say, like having met Rory and seeing you guys interact in person like you really you can tell you guys probably have like a karmic like, past life connection. Like it's a very, I don't even know what the word is like, you can just tell that you're energetically like entwined and aligned. It's really cool to see

Kelsey Krueger 19:38
Yeah, yeah, like gives me chills actually, because, um, you know, if I had any advice for any other doulas out there it would be to get yourself a partner. This work is hard. We are on call. So having an on call lifestyle is not for the faint of heart. It's not for everyone. But if you have a partner, not only only does it make it sustainable, but it makes it fun. After a 24 hour birth, you need someone to call and vent to like this, this work is very challenging. And often we're taking on a lot of emotional mental. I don't want to say baggage, but we absorb that for the families, right? So having someone I can call because I can't go home to my boyfriend and talk about this stuff every day, like he doesn't want to hear it. So we we absolutely were meant to find each other. You know, in terms of like our business partnership, we have a lot of similar underlying values, which is really important when finding a business partner. I think we'll talk more about that later, is same values vision, but we're ying and yang, we really mesh well together. I'm very type A she's the free spirit creative. And it balances out so well when it comes to running our business.

Alessia Citro 20:54
Yeah, I think that that is so key, I'm trying to remember the exact terminology they use. But I was interviewing business partners a few weeks ago, and they said, for there to be a successful partnership, one has to be the visionary and one has to be like, I don't think that this was the word they use, like the person who does the executing. So yeah, you have to have that balance for sure. Let me ask you something else, too. So tell us a little bit about the importance that you have found in diversifying your business offerings?

Kelsey Krueger 21:21
Yes. So um, service based offering? And I think, to answer earlier about, like how I was so profitable, it's a service, right? Like, we're not a commodity. So my upfront costs really weren't that much. And that's to me, then, like, I'm so grateful, because, honestly, I spent a lot of my money traveling and then coming back, I was like, I can't sit here and just invest all my money in my business. I'm fortunate that most of my money went to my trainings. And that's really it right. But in terms of diversifying my business offerings, obviously doulas, the service, I have birth and postpartum services, but those require my time, we're doing pre consults, prenatal visits, being at a birth, which can be you know, eight hours, it can be 24 hours, postpartum visits, and then we do Postpartum Support for families as well. All those involving lots of time, right? So me with the business mindset immediate was like, immediately had the thought of, I need cash flow that isn't requiring me to be, you know, at the birth or providing my time with my services. So I was really inspired and actually talked to a really reputable midwife early on, in my experience, just asking her, you know, kind of picking her brain asking for advice and immediately when she heard of my experience, she's like, Kelsey, what you have is so unique and special. Most tools do not have this. You need to be mentoring other doulas. I already see it for you like, and she planted that seed and I was like, I've only been a doula for six months. Now. I'm starting to think about mentoring, other doulas. And here I am, almost to the day just over a year in from that dream a year into being a doula and I mentoring other doulas. And that's been an amazing facet of the business. Not only am I you know, profiting from the mentorship, but I'm building up really successful doulas who I can then expand my team with. So when when this work is so abundant, I'm an abundance mindset type person and there's there's no room for scarcity mindset. You know, in any industry, but especially here with babies coming off of COVID. Like there's an abundance of what I'm doing and people are waking up. They're seeking out holistic support and tools, like doulas are becoming more common, at least here in Orange County where we are back home in Wisconsin. There's not many doulas, but hey, we're getting there. And so, yeah, it's it's the abundance mindset and being able to, to really offer an abundance of services to my clients too.

Alessia Citro 24:05
I love that. Alright, so final question for you. So you have a beautiful butterfly tattoo done by Matt Vaught who has been a guest on the show and who did my tattoo because you introduced us and seeing as butterflies are a symbol of change. What are your theories on human metamorphosis and energy that pulls us into our highest selves? I

Kelsey Krueger 24:27
love that question. I love that you brought in the butterfly, which is very indicative. I got the butterfly, like six months into being a doula. What I was finding was there was a lot of things I was kind of losing in my life. I'm like, Man, I just bought all my Doula equipment. had it in my back in my car. I always my back my car is hilarious. It's like a suitcase for all my clothes because you don't hold on you're gonna get a birth toiletries, a doula bag with like we call it like our Mary Poppins bag. Have goodies and tools for moms. And then food and everything. Well, I had all my stuff stolen, just after I bought all my Doula stuff, then I started to lose some friends. And you know, as I'm, I'm evolving and being called to this higher self and version of myself. I'm, you know, not the person I was a couple years ago, and I'm so grateful for that I don't want to be that person anymore. I'm, you know, moving into my higher self. So, you know, I have the loss of friends, the things stolen, and I'm like, Man, this is tough. Like, I felt like I was hitting a low and I go to my Doula mentor, it just so happened, I went, I was meant to see her that weekend. And I tell her the story, and she's like, callous, like, you know, she's empathizing with me. And she's like, you know, I feel free, this is hard, but I could have told you this was going to happen, because if you were meant for this work, you have to move up and you, you have to kind of lose some baggage. Specifically, she said, you know, this work is calling you hire these people, you know, your friends, or, you know, maybe they they were your friends at one point in life, they're gonna start to feel that energetic pole as you move up, they might be made for it, they might not be and they're just naturally going to fall away. So looking back that actually opened up a lot of space in my life for where I am now. And, you know, I, I wish everyone well in my life. But I have the hindsight now to see there was bigger things for me, right. So it really is full circle. Yeah. And the butterfly, I look at that, and it's my reminder, so it's pretty cool.

Alessia Citro 26:35
I love that so much. And you know, I've talked about that a lot on the show, too, like pruning is so necessary. Not everyone is meant to go with you all the way. You know, people will come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime knowing who is who and yeah, just kind of relinquishing our control and seeing what's in stores sort of the key to manifesting that life that we all want, you know,

Kelsey Krueger 26:55
yeah, yeah. And thinking about like timing. It was right after that, that you and I connected. So that was pretty serendipitous.

Alessia Citro 27:03
Won't even you know, today, we hadn't seen each other and what like probably two months because things have just been crazy. And I think we've only hung out what like four times in person total. And I feel like we've known each other for like years and years. It's pretty cool. Yeah, I love it. Well, this was so wonderful. So okay, for everyone listening, come back. Tomorrow, we're going to have a mini mini episode business tip on how to create a thriving partnership. Before that, though, before we sign off, Kelsey, where can people find and connect with you? And if they're expecting, how can they work with you if they're local? Yes.

Kelsey Krueger 27:32
Thank you. So my brand is wombs in bloom OC, and you can find me on Instagram. My website is exactly that wombs in bloom oc.com And then my partnership brand is Soulshine birth. So feel free to connect with my partner there. We take inquiries via you can DM us, you can text us go to the website, we make ourselves really available.

Alessia Citro 27:55
Thank you so much. This was amazing. And I'm excited to record our business tip after this. Thank you for coming on.

Kelsey Krueger 28:01
Thanks so much lace Yeah,

Alessia Citro 28:02
this episode was brought to you by Thea collective the learning community I found it for entrepreneurs text biz, that's BIZ 29495778709 or head to Theia dash collective dot com. That's THEIA dash collective.com to learn more. Thanks for listening to the show. If you enjoyed today's episode, please help me get the word out about the corporate drop out by screenshotting and sharing this on social. I would appreciate it so much if you would subscribe and leave a five star rating and review as well. And I do this show for you and I want to hear from you. So tell me what is it that you want more of text me at 949-541-0951 or slide into the DMS at corporate dropout official or Alessia Citro with two underscores until next time