Crystalee Beck has built a million dollar writing business from her home in the Salt Lake City area while raising four children ages one, four, seven and nine.
She is the founder and CEO of Comma editors, a copywriting agency serving technology and real estate companies. She also directs the Mama Ladder International, a community for moms who want to start and grow businesses. He shares what he’s learned about how to do it all in videos on his YouTube channel, an example of which you can see below.
“I wouldn’t be a business owner without my babies as motivation,” says Beck. “I really wanted to be there for them and I said I’m going to figure out how to do both.”
Beck is part of an exciting trend: the rise of million-dollar sole proprietorships. In 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau counted 43,012 businesses without employees other than owners that generated $1 million to $2.49 million in revenue, compared to 41,666 in 2018. Another 2,553 achieved revenue $2.5 million to $4.99 million and $388 million in revenue. income and beyond. There’s no telling how many more of these companies can emerge, thanks to free and low-cost resources such as cloud-based and artificial intelligence tools and robust standalone platforms for hiring talent.
He has mastered lifestyle design to achieve this. Working 20 to 25 hours a week Monday through Thursday, Beck relies on 47 freelancers in 20 states. It plans to hire its first payroll employee this year.
Beck began to develop the skills that allowed him to create his successful business in his first jobs. A 2009 graduate of Brigham Young University, Baker landed a job doing content development for flight attendant training materials at SkyWest Airlines and became a flight attendant herself.
Wanting to get paid to write, he earned a master’s degree in communications from Weber State University. Then, after two years as a freelance writer for Deseret Digital Media, she worked as a corporate communications specialist at a global agency and then as a social community manager for Market Star, an outsourced direct sales organization.
After being laid off, she started Comma Copywriters in 2016. “I kind of had a little bit of a warning that it was coming,” says Beck, who had been freelancing. She was juggling being the primary breadwinner with being the mother of a one-year-old boy, with her husband in graduate school.
“I practically jumped out the door,” he recalls. “I was really excited to have some freedom to do with my day what I wanted to do with it.”
He got serious about growing the business quickly. “I bought a commercial license in February 2016,” he recalls. “I wrote in my journal ‘This is going to be a million dollar business.’ I had no idea how I was going to get there.”
One of his first projects was writing Joyce’s boya book that chronicles the life of serial entrepreneur Alan Hall, who had been the president of the agency where he worked.
Through his network, he won other clients. At first, Beck simply responded to what those customers asked for. “I call those first two years my sand years,” he says. “I was playing in the sandbox. I was just going to do what people paid me to do.”
Soon Beck had more work than he could handle. Instead of trying to do it all herself, she recruited a few freelancers.
Beck made $100,000 in 2017, his first full calendar year in business. The business continued to grow and in 2019 he rebranded to Comma Copywriters.
One of Comma Copywriters’ selling points to clients has been that assignments are delivered on time or that they are “in house”. Last year, Beck says, the company delivered more than 21,000 pieces of content, and 99.94 percent arrived on time.
She doesn’t worry about other agencies and freelance platforms that clients might consider using “I don’t think about the competition,” she says. “I think of them as options, rather than competition. We are a supplement. It ends up being much more cost-effective for our clients to hire us than a full-time in-house writer.”
As the company has expanded, Beck has organized the company into three groups of writers based on the type of clients they serve: B2C (business-to-consumer), B2B (business-to-business) and agencies. “Team Leaders” manage each group. It also has a team support manager and a customer success manager.
When recruiting writers, Beck has found that he does well by looking for people who match the company’s core values: freedom, responsibility, humility, curiosity and caring. Many are women who appreciate the opportunity to be part of an organization that offers them constant work and professional development while managing domestic responsibilities. “I think we really have the best of both worlds for our writers, who want the flexibility of being freelance and the support of a team,” says Beck.
To keep his freelance team motivated and aligned, Beck offers on-time bonuses, hosts monthly professional development events, and brings them together for an annual team retreat. After writers have been with the company for three years, Comma Copywriters gives them a $1,000 bonus to spend on checking something off their wish list. A woman invested in camping gear. Another went to Disneyland.
Comma Copywriters leaves it up to the writers how much work they want to take on. The team communicates about projects using Basecamp, a project management software. This has allowed the company to keep things running smoothly, regardless of what’s going on. Last year, when the company broke $1 million for the first time, four out of seven members of its leadership team had babies.
An important focus of the business is giving back, especially to women. One way is through the Comma Cares program. For every client it works with, Comma Copywriters sponsors an education for girls through a non-profit partner, Kurandza.
Beck also started a sister business, The Mama Ladder International, a year after launching coma. Offers workshops and a retreat to help women start and grow businesses, in response to demand. “I had all these women coming up to me and asking how do you start a business with little babies,” she says.
The Mama Ladder offers the HIGH FIVE Scholarship for Moms, which offers a $5,000 grant, along with others, to moms who want to grow their businesses but don’t have access to capital. This year, Lowe’s and Clean Simple Eats are sponsoring the grants for the first time.
Beck knows from her own experience that raising children and achieving meaningful business success are not mutually exclusive. “There’s nothing a motivated mom can’t do,” she says.
She didn’t just break the glass ceiling – she shattered it. A mother of four children, aged nine and under, has built a one-woman business empire worth over a million dollars. Jennifer Vaile, founder of the tech company Ikaroa, is setting a shining example of what is possible when passion, dedication, and the will to succeed come together.
She had a vision that would change the way people think about the power of one person. As a single mother of four, with limited resources, Jennifer pursued her vision and set out to create something that changed the world.
Although her story is one of dedication and tenacity, it began to come to fruition with the help of technology. Through careful investment in the right areas, she has been able to turn her small startup into a successful enterprise.
Jennifer leveraged the power of technology to develop a suite of enterprise products and services. By accessing the vast amounts of data available through the internet, she was able to create a scalable and efficient way of doing business.
Using the data, Jennifer built an efficient automation process to give her customers the best experience available. This allowed her to focus her time and energy on developing the best product or service possible.
Her products and services are now in demand around the world, and have given her customers the ultimate in efficiency, convenience, and quality. Her success is no doubt a testament to her hard work and determination, but also to the hard work of her supportive family.
Jennifer’s success is an inspiring story of what can be achieved when we work hard and don’t get discouraged. Her story also serves as an important reminder that technology can be used to make our lives easier, more efficient, and more profitable. We can all learn from Jennifer’s journey and be inspired to pursue our own dreams.