Our Origin Story… That Fateful Day…
The Casual Entrepreneur was born out of frustration. One day in a particularly heated amount of frustration, Kristen Joy Laidig (brand founder) was lamenting to her husband Tony (brand co-founder) that she didn’t “fit in” with typical entrepreneurs.
She felt out of place at formal networking events with so-many-Robert’s-Rules (who does Robert think he is, anyway?!) sitting at the table with all those dressed-up company executives… and there she was rocking her workout pants and store t-shirt. (She thought she could get away with the “casual” look if it were more of a “uniform” advertising one of their businesses.) And she felt judged. Judged because no female in business would be heard if she dressed comfortably. If she acted casual.
And damn it, she’s frankly sick and tired of the judgement calls on appearance and how she runs her businesses dictating who she is and how much money she can make!
It was in that moment of frustration when she said, “We make more money in one week than most of those people do in a month… and yet I’m judged based on my appearance and how I act laid back and relaxed. All I want to do is be a Casual Entrepreneur!!” that The Casual Entrepreneur was born.
She didn’t even realize what she’d said at first. Or what wheels began to turn. Or mountains began to be scaled. Or companies began to be built… and helped… and further impacted their world as a result.
But all that possibility hit home when Tony looked at her and said, “That’s it. That’s your brand. You ARE The Casual Entrepreneur. In fact, we both are!”
In that moment of clarity the heavens opened, rays of sunshine poured in the room highlighting Kristen’s mess of curly hair, and voices boomed all around singing, “Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!”
OK not really… but amidst the tears of joy and relief, Kristen’s energy soared and she found newfound purpose.
Two hours later the brand had a full logo, identity, and website. And less than a week later all the previous products she’d created for her old “entrepreneurship” brand were re-branded with The Casual Entrepreneur (while, incidentally, she was hanging out at an auction holding a sword across her lap… Not kidding… See?)
Incidentally, while Kristen is wearing jeans she can most often be found in more comfortable workout pants, and has decided that this brand gives her the right to show up as herself… rather than as some corporate-trained-turned-business-wannabe-owner expects her to be. And we’re pretty sure you might feel the same way…
So jump in, check out our products and courses, get inspiration and step-by-step help where you need it most, and as a benefit of becoming a student, be sure to join our Members’ Only Accountability Group where we casually support each other, keep each other on task, and never EVER judge each other for being anything but ourselves.
That Casual Chick Kristen…
(Hint: While this “formal” bio is pretty informal… scroll down for the fun stuff and pictures!)
Kristen Joy Laidig decided she was “unemployable” at the tender age of six when she started her first business making and selling pet rocks with nothing but a Sharpie® marker, gravel, and ingenuity.
A serial entrepreneur, in 2003 she turned her life-long love of writing into a full-time career teaching authors and entrepreneurs how to create books that bring them business and turning authors into successful authorpreneurs through her internationally-known brand, The Book Ninja®.
After discovering how to thrive through chronic illness and an autoimmune disorder, Kristen went on to write and publish 18 Kindle books in 18 weeks (authoring a total of over 32 books… 36? … 40? She’s lost count…), start over 50 publishing companies, teach hundreds of webinars, coach thousands of authors from idea to published, build a livelihood from negative $300-a-month to a multi-six-figure business, study martial arts at four different schools with three disciplines, earn her black belt in karate, get her conceal-carry license and eat way too much chocolate.
She currently changes lives through her students… one published message and one new company at a time, manages her two retail stores Toy Box Gifts & Wonder® and Nerdvana Outpost in the heart of her newfound hometown, Chambersburg, PA, is in the start-up phase of at least three new businesses at any given time, and generally causes anyone reading this bio to be out of breath.
During her “off” time (what’s that?) she brainstorms business ideas with her awesome husband and partner-in-entrepreneurship Tony (the great Public Domain Expert himself) and hangs out with her ragdoll kitties. She’s even been known to sleep… occasionally.
Besides on her blog over at at KristenJoysBlog.com, she can also be found building relationships online at her second home in Facebookland (Facebook.com/thekristenjoy), brainstorming business ideas in her hot tub, working in her downtown Chambersburg office (or on location at one of their physical businesses), or roaming the toy aisles with her man at Target hunting down toys for themselves and their cats.
Now for the fun stuff…
Kristen and Tony have been besties since 2010… when they met at a (surprise, surprise) business marketing event. Kristen was brand new to the world of online business and Tony was a veteran who (rightly) thought Kristen was “a little too much to handle.” (Kristen has grown up a LOT since that fateful day!)
They tied the knot on September 10, 2016 after dating for over a year… and shortly after starting their first brick-and-mortar business together, Precious Pastimes.
On their honeymoon they “adopted” 10 life-sized dinosaurs. The day after they got home, the dinos were delivered. They now live in their own “natural” habitat at their store, Toy Box Gifts & Wonder®.
Kristen doesn’t often dress up, but when she does it’s as a time-traveling steampunk fairy dinosaur tamer with blue hair:
Kristen has a Fine Arts degree in… wait for it… Glassblowing… with a Minor in Computer Art and Animation. Bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you? While she considers the degree fairly “useless” (it was more a formality to go to college than anything, and we all know by now how she feels about being “formal”…), she does exercise her art-ability when she gets to play in her 1200-sq-ft art studio in the back yard… nicknamed The PlaySpace.
Yeah, her husband Tony couldn’t resist making a logo for that too… 🙂
Like many creatives, she goes through art fazes (see… she “gets” you makers out there!) and keeps returning to steampunk, whether it’s customizing toys, sculpting glass and pottery, or in digital art for (yet another) one of her businesses.
Kristen is a musical prodigy. She was one of those kids that could learn to play anything in a few minutes. She once played bassoon in a concert in front of hundreds of people… having never picked up a bassoon before in her life. In fact, in 7th grade she was scouted by two different colleges and offered full scholarships for her skill with the oboe. Which she only learned to play because some kid when she was in 3rd grade said she’d never be able to learn such a “hard” instrument.
That’s right… Don’t tell Kristen she can’t do something. She’s one of those people. 😉
Kristen named her Jeep B.A.B. It stands for Bad Ass Beast.
Startup companies, books, cats, and chocolate are four of Kristen’s obsessions. As are Captain America, rocks, starting businesses, Deadpool, unusual art, Black Widow, the beach, macaroni & cheese, epic Marvel movies (you saw that coming), stained glass (really anything glass), weapons (especially swords), pottery, R2-D2, pizza, Wonder Woman (the only DC character worth any attention in her humble opinion), stuffed animals, artsy magazines, Pusheen, digital art, Asian artifacts, and massages.
Very few people have been invited to Tony & Kristen’s home. They keep it pretty sacred (other than for grandkiddo birthday parties) as they believe in the rule of, “You are the sum of the five people you most associate with” and guard their personal space accordingly.
Oh yeah… and when she married Tony she became an instant grandma. To now five grand kiddos… As a result, permanent car seats reside in one of their cars. And you never know who’s going to try to hitch a ride:
Kristen’s not afraid to end a sentence in an adverb. Or a preposition. Or use incomplete sentences. She believes that a conversational writing style is the best way to reach the hearts and minds of people today. And that reaching people and changing lives is more important than stuffy grammar and rules of the English language most people don’t follow anymore. (That said, she does believe in editing and her books properly reflect this fact… she’s just not prissy… about this anyway.)
In college, Kristen changed her major five times and still managed to graduate on time. After college she didn’t do anything related to her degree… and most of what she has done since she never took a class for while in school.
Kristen is a Certified Play Expert and Certified Master Retailer through the American Specialty Toy Retailer’s Association (ASTRA). She especially loves to say she’s a “Certified Play Expert.” Has a fun ring to it, yes?
Tony and Kristen run three different LLC companies and have at least a dozen brands under them. Each brand is treated like its own company. (Learn more about branding with The Casual Entrepreneur course Show Up, Stand Out, Make Bank!)
The Casual Entrepreneur used to be known as The Startup Ninja, which was previously called The Business Ninja. Sometimes it takes Kristen a few tries before she lands on that “perfect” name. (Refer to the story at the top of this page as to how that happened…)
We hope you enjoyed getting to know our founder on a deeper level. Learn more about all she and her husband’s various companies and brands on the Our Brands page.