Woman Wednesday: Claira


Q and A with Claira from Helena, MT, living in Missoula, MT

“You deserve to thrive, simply because you are alive.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I am passionate about pro-social living, ethical business, health, food, luxury, freedom, spiritual evolution, my long-term partner (Zac), our animal babies (bearded dragon, Shanti) and (axolotl, Cosmo), and Zac’s kids. I have two businesses founded on ethical principles.

My first business is called Holistic Contentment. It is a caregiving agency in which we offer a sliding fee scale, pay a living wage to everyone on the team, and give 20% of our profits back to the local community. I founded a care model called the Client Liberation Model. You can find out more about that here: https://www.holisticcontentment.com/client-liberation. When I started HoCo, it was on $125 and a dream. I was told that I was too progressive, offered too much for too little, that I looked like I came from a circus, and we would never succeed. The business has grown to 14 times its size in the last 10 months. I’d say that’s proof that those were false and limited beliefs on other people’s parts.

I have also recently started a second business called Claira Kruse Coaching. The premise is teaching bosses to level up their self-care, self-love, and their company culture. My theory is that bosses and workers have been taught to grind, to not take care of themselves, to take on responsibilities that are not their own, to place blame where blame is not due, etc. In that, leaders and teammates get burnt out. Turnover rates are higher. Health declines. This all leads to an overall leak in profits. As a boss, I can empathize with bosses, but as a progressive who came from poverty, I can empathize with workers. I help others in bridging the gap, to make business beneficial for everyone involved. I am here to change the world in serious ways.

I also love food and health. I had a binge eating disorder as a child and gained 130lbs between the ages of 7 and 8 (or 8 and 9, I don’t remember exactly). I went from 70lbs to 200lbs and started wearing my mom’s clothes because mine did not fit. Food was a means of control where I felt I had none. When I was 11, my only two friends decided we could not be friends anymore and I hit a hard spiral, completely losing my appetite and losing 30lbs in one month. After that, I dealt with the “yoyo weight swings” for a while, but I learned about vegetarian, gf, paleo etc. and have found better ways to enjoy food, while also taking care of my body. At this point, I expect to always be curvy, but between style, eating healthy, and daily movement practice, I feel great in my body. My partner and I primarily follow the Eat Right 4 Your Type food protocol.

Luxury and Freedom come after the above. If business isn’t flowing, and balance isn’t found, there is very little space for luxury and freedom. If you don’t have enough money to do what you want, and are not comfortable in your body, it is challenging to fully reach for either. I like the finer things in life. Vacation, travel, nature, fancy pants (literally, I love slacks in bright colors), jewelry, skin care, being able to do what I want, when I want. I love being my own boss and finding ways to implement healing techniques for what I mentioned above in my coaching profession. I am deeply spiritual. I was born and raised pagan and am completely non-denominational. I was sent to Sunday schools on and off as a kid, but it never stuck. My grandparents on my mom‘s side are pagan; my mom is now pagan, and my dad and stepmom are agnostic. I study spirituality, love spiritual podcasts, have a regular spiritual practice, and I am a spiritual channeler. At one point, I was studying to become a priestess, but I left that behind in part because I am not good at following other people’s instruction; I am a bit of a rebel. We are spiritual beings having a human experience, as they who are themselves say.

My direct family is Zac, who I have been with for over 4 years, and he is amazing. He’s so intelligent, funny, cute, and cozy. He also challenges me to be a better person and to always be true to myself and my principles. He’s really passionate about the game Dragon Dice and the community it comes with. It’s a great and diverse game. I love him a ton. We have a 5-year-old bearded dragon, a 1.5-year-old axolotl. Our bearded dragon Shanti loves to snuggle and gets sad if we do not snuggle him. He also loves TV, watching us do stuff, and the sunshine and garden. Cosmo loves to dance, eat, swim around, and be cute. Zac’s kids are 10 and 13, and they are both highly intelligent, creative, and hilarious. I am lucky that they love me.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My younger years were a can of worms. My parents separated when I was 4. My mom was pregnant with my little brother, and I was conditioned to be a disciplinarian to him. This was not healthy for either of us. My mom had a hard time with healthy relationships, but she did her best. My mom has always been playful, free spirited, and wanting to help everyone. My dad was a bit of a rocker, long hair, rock shirts, played in bands etc. My dad is helpful, soulful, and all about personal accountability. My dad and stepmom met when I was 7, and they are together to this day. I have two half sisters: an older sister and a younger one. I have my one full brother. I grew up with my big sister Ana in Oregon, but would visit her typically once a year (because I’m in Montana), and I lived with my little brother full-time until I moved into my dad and stepmom’s house at 14, at which point, I was living with my little sister until I was 18. I started planning ethical businesses at 11, but I was failing school from the time I was 8. I had a serious struggle between “I will change the world” and “I am incapable and no one likes me. I am a freak.” I struggled with self harm, codependency, substance abuse, challenges with gender identity and sexuality, failing grades, and serious anger and depression issues. I got into a lot of abusive friendships and relationships very young. My anger and depression started letting up when I moved into my dads, and my grades went from F’s to A-Cs within six months, but I did not have a genuinely happy year until I was at least 18. I have a belief that every year gets better than the last because I learn more, open up more, and live more as my authentic self. I did love when my mom would take me to Washington and Oregon to meet with her friends. They showed me a lot about being yourself, loving yourself, and loving humanity.


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I would like for others to know that no matter where you start, what conditioning you are given, or beliefs you have about yourself, you can be open to support to heal, you can work on being kind to yourself, and in time, things change. You are capable. You are here for a reason. Find what you are avoiding in yourself, what dream you fear because it is too large, or because you feel unworthy, and go for it. You deserve to thrive, simply because you are alive, and scarcity is a lie meant to keep us small.


Q: What does feminism mean to you

A: To me, feminism means true equality between all genders, female, non-binary and male. It means letting go of gender boxes and allowing people to be who they truly are. Not taking any gender away, but simply being you, and not being bullied or shamed for your true expression. It means Black Lives Matter, POC lives matter, and recognizing where women who are not white have less privilege than those who are historically, and to this day. It also means paying fairly for stereotypically feminine labor. It means supporting families and using pro-social means to allow everyone a fulfilling and supported life.


MORE FROM CLAIRA: I am in a monogamous relationship with my partner, but I continue to identify as a non-binary queer woman. I will always stand up for the rights of others, and I think that the planet is better when we and the planet thrive. Follow me at https://www.instagram.com/claira.kruse.coaching/ and DM to schedule an application call for Liberate to Elevate, my coaching program.

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Woman Wednesday: Kathy


Q and A with Kathy, Katy, Texas

“The world is literally waiting for you to go out and be all you can.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: We all have an amazing counselor ready and willing 24/7 to direct our steps, just ask! I am most passionate about God. I am passionate about many things, including my family and friends. I truly love learning new things, traveling, writing, trivia, reading, beauty, health, having fun, fine dining, and so much more. I am currently extremely passionate about floral designing. In the last two years, I have taught myself through videos, a mentor, and hands-on trial and error. I am the owner of aellasfloral.com, and my Facebook group is Wooden Roses Texas. I always say success follows your last meltdown because as it turns out, this advice is so true. I became frustrated at wearing “all the hats” and contemplated quitting. Just as my frustration grew, I got a message out of the blue from a TV producer that had viewed one of my designs on the internet and invited me to be featured on TV introducing my floral company! Feel free to view my full 10-minute interview here: https://vimeo.com

I have been an entrepreneur for 25 years and have experienced many ups and downs, but I would not change a thing; I love being my own boss and anyone else’s that will let me [she laughs]. My awesome husband of 25 years and I have successfully owned our construction business for over 20 years. However, not all of my many “mini businesses” have been successful and each one has a common reason! Just a few I have started include bath bombs, sport towels, wooden roses, postcards, gift/spa baskets, eBay selling, Avon, Mary Kay, and there were others. Truthfully, I never thought I had any talent whatsoever until the Lord, through amazing mentors, encouraged me and showed me I do have talent…that actually, I’m very talented and always have been. Fear had sold me short over and over again. Please don’t ever let this happen to you; face it, speak to it, and get rid of it!

When I started the gift/spa basket business, I spent literally 6 months straight doing nothing but teaching myself how to write code and design my own website. I ordered hundreds of products, took photos, and set up an amazing website. I had no skills in finding customers, so after I paid for hosting 3 months and never received 1 order, I quit. As it would turn out, a month after I quit, I got an order from (not family or friends that buy because they love you) but a complete stranger, a grandfather looking for a gift for his granddaughter! It was too late for me to go back; I had completely quit! This business could have been wildly successful if I had not given up.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up in East Texas with my grandparents, Dad, and sister. I’m forever grateful my Mammaw had me in church three times a week. It was there I met Jesus and was saved. My sister and I were like most siblings having fights, but we were always close and still are. I was a bit of an entertainer as a child…always seeking attention. I’m told that when I was 5 years old, I brought a water hose in the house and sprayed my grandma’s guest Tupperware so the guests would leave and I would get all of Grandma’s attention back on me! I loved riding motorcycles, horses, and playing in the woods until dark. I moved to the city as a teen to live with my mom and siblings. I got married and pregnant at 16 and remained a stay-at-home mom until my youngest of three left for college. Being an entrepreneur allowed me this choice. One thing I’m very proud of is the fact I was able, with my two girls, to break the teen pregnancy cycle in our family. Both of my girls graduated college. My son, at age 39, has a two-year-old that we adore, and one of my daughters, at 35, has a 6-month-old that we’re proud of.

One of the greatest compliments of my life came when I was giving advice to a friend and she jokingly said, “Okay, Mother Teresa.” And I thought, “Wow…thank you…if only.” I admired her very much and could only hope to be like her! I’ve learned so many valuable lessons in my 56 years; I could write a book and who knows…maybe I will.


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I would say to my children, grandchildren, and all of you that the world is literally waiting for you to go out and be all you can. Go to your great Counselor with any and all concerns. He truly loves you. Never let bitterness grow in your heart, forgive quickly. Know your self-worth and please, please always keep your sense of humor.

Wearing all of the hats is not easy, but the good news is that eventually, you will be able to hire help and do what you love most. It is totally okay to quit for a day or two, but after that, go back to it with a new perspective!


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about ‘ism’ words, but for me personally, feminism means to just do it, feel good about it, and know “it’s my best and it is worthy.” For women around the world, feminism means supporting each other and demanding equal treatment to that of men rather it’s accolades, salary, or anything else. You are a beautiful, smart, talented, and amazing human being. Life is short; enjoy it in increments of pleasurable moments. Go out, smile, and encourage someone today. We are all super stars!


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Woman Wednesday: Shaliah


Q and A with Shaliah from Dolton, Illinois

“I’ve always had a “plan B,” but there are so many others who weren’t prepared for their lives to change in such a way [during the pandemic].”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: One of my biggest passions in life is helping others. I’m a licensed financial advisor. I love what I do simply because I’m able to educate my potential clients on ways to create generational wealth for themselves and their families.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up in a very close-knit family. Education and religion were two things that were at the top list of importance. I’m grateful for all the lessons learned because it helped me to become a better person and who I am today.


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: 2020 was a huge wake-up call for me, and I’m sure for a lot more families as well. I was laid off from my job of 15 years. Luckily for me, I’ve always had a “plan B,” but there are so many others who weren’t prepared for their lives to change in such a way. My advice would be to never solely depend on one stream of income. Keep multiple streams coming in in order to keep your family afloat.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Being a woman, I think, is about being strong. It’s about continuing to move forward in all of life’s endeavors. I definitely have to keep a positive mindset and stay 100% committed to making all my life dreams a reality. I have two daughters that look up to me, and I want them to grow up stronger and better than I am. I love to see my ladies succeed! There was once a time when women were told we couldn’t do certain jobs or we couldn’t make a certain amount of money, but look at us now! Kudos Ladies! Let’s keep it up! God Bless.


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Woman Wednesday: Elizabeth

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.              


Q and A with Elizabeth, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

“Your passion isn’t always obvious.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I’m passionate about so many things, but my main one these days is writing. When I was a young girl around 10 years old, I remember using a child-size blue typewriter and writing a short story. I found it a few years ago, and it wasn’t half bad! I’d like to pick it up and finish it one of these days. While I raised my children, writing fell off to the side as there was no time or energy to do it, but now that they are 12 and 14 years old, I have the time to dedicate myself to it again. As a result, I’ve started three businesses that revolve around writing—a mom lifestyle blog, a handmade business, where I knit and crochet character hats and write children’s books to tell each character’s story, as well as a marketing business, where I specialize in content writing for other businesses, specifically newsletters, blog posts, social media, and WordPress website content writing and SEO.

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My paternal grandmother was an avid reader and life-long-learner and she shared that with me. She also encouraged me to pursue an English degree in university, and I’m so glad that I did because I feel it has helped me be a better communicator. This skill has been used in all my endeavors.
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Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: Something valuable I’ve learned is that your passion isn’t always obvious. It took me quite a while working on my business before I woke up one morning with a lightbulb moment that I love writing.

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: To me, feminism means equal opportunity, respect, compensation for work, and [treatment] as a person in general regardless of gender. 

 

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Mom Lifestyle Blog

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Woman Wednesday: Ashlee

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Ashlee, Boca Raton, Florida

“When you have the strength to ask for help, you will see how far you can go.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: Passion is what makes you persevere through setbacks, unhappiness, and fear of failure to achieve your dreams. It is the core drive of your motivation. There are two things I am passionate about: mediation and yoga. I love practicing yoga because the act of relaxation makes me remember what I value the most in life: happiness and independence. Unfortunately, with so much clutter in today’s society, it is hard to concentrate on your mental health. The reason I enjoy cleaning is that I become less stressed and breathe again. When I clean, I create a welcoming environment every time someone walks into that home. As Marie Kondo says, “The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment.” 

 

My bedroom is my office

 

Currently, I am working on optimizing google analytics for my home cleaning business, Aurora Professional Cleaning Services. I started out naive about online marketing. However, by studying educational courses and reaching out to seasoned veterans, I am becoming more confident knowing I can be a strong business owner. When you have the strength to ask for help, you will see how far you can go.

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My parents, extended family, and friends were very supportive of me and my younger sister growing up. I am grateful for the experiences my parents provided for me. We had Sunday family dinners and neighborhood pizza nights. I would volunteer at church and school events. I would attend local small-town fairs and support local businesses. It is about family. My father was my soccer coach, which grew my love for sports and friendly competition. And my mother was constantly dedicated to her career, which I admired.  

 

Thomas Family

 

I was fortunate to have traveled around the world to learn about different cultures and my own ancestry in Norway and Sweden. After graduating from Kean University with a B.A. in communications/public relations, I backpacked across Scandinavia–couch-hopping at family and friend’s homes, learning about how I became who I am today. It was an eye-opening experience that will forever be imprinted on me. Plus, it was an amazing experience before I started building my career and life in Southern Florida.

 

Hill Top Mandal, Norway overlooing the North Sea

 

Pictured below are some photos from homes that utilized Ashlee’s Aurora Professional Cleaning Services.

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NJ House 17

 

Q: What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know? 

A: There are TWO valuable lessons I have learned through building this cleaning company. One, create homemade products. Keeping it eco-friendly is a safe way to clean and live because you know exactly what you are touching every day. Plus, combining your own ingredients is cost-efficient. Yes, sometimes you need brand name products, but consider DYI first and foremost.

 

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NJ House 4

 

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Two, do NOT sell your services for less than you are worth. There are too many stories, some of my own, that after the service is done, you do not ask for enough money. This is a physical labor service, so take pride in your work and make sure you let the clients know it is about quality. Since each job is different, I have learned to pay yourself by the situation NOT by the hour. The person behind my rise in confidence to become an entrepreneur told me, “Give me 1% of your trust, and I will prove the other 99%.”

 

Ashlee and Thor

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism is about having the opportunity to speak up and have a choice without fear of animosity. Women should hold their heads high with respect for themselves and value the strengths of other women. Feminism means (to me) there are no boundaries, we are all human. One of my favorite songs/quotes is by John Lennon–

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you will join us, and the world will live as one.”

 

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Facebook: www.facebook.com/auroraprocleaning

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Website: www.auroraprocleaning.com

 

 

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