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IAM606- Entrepreneur Elevates Businesses on Social Media

Podcast Interview with Christina Pannone

Christina is the Owner of Knieriem Designs (pronounced Canary-um) and KD Social. At Knieriem Designs she designs and produces women's clothing in her studio in Alexandria, Virginia. At KD Social, she helps small businesses stand out on social media. She's all about supporting local small businesses and is especially passionate about empowering female entrepreneurs.

  • CEO Hack: Holding myself accountable, having goals
  • CEO Nugget: Don't feel limited by the NOs, do it your own way
  • CEO Defined: Authenticity and freedom

Website: https://www.knidesigns.com/

Knieriem Designs – https://www.instagram.com/knidesigns/
Knieriem Designs – https://www.facebook.com/knidesigns/
You can buy Knieriem Designs clothing online at www.knidesigns.com or in-store at Park Story at 3813 Livingston Street NW.

KD Social – https://www.facebook.com/SocialKD
KD Social – https://www.instagram.com/kd.social/


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Transcription

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Intro 0:02

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place, Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of.

This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:29

Hello Hello Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Christina Pannone of Knieriem Designs and KD Social.

Christina it's awesome to have you on the show.

Christina Pannone 0:39

Awesome. Thanks. It's great to be here.

Gresham Harkless 0:42

Yeah, super excited to have you on. What I want to do is just read a little bit more about Christina so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing.

Christina is the only owner of Knieriem Designs, and KD Social at Knieriem Designs, she designs and produces women's clothing in her own studio in Alexandria, Virginia. and at KD Social, she helps small businesses stand out on social media. She's all about supporting local, small businesses and is extremely passionate about empowering female entrepreneurs.

Christina, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

[restrict paid=”true”]

Christina Pannone 1:11

I am, let's go.

Gresham Harkless 1:12

Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I just want to hear a little bit more about how you got started and what they do to start your businesses.

Christina Pannone 1:19

So I've always been really passionate about being creative, and sort of creative pursuits in general. As a kid, my grandmother taught me how to sew and she was always like, sewing beautiful things. That was sort of like, Can I do that? Like, can you teach me, so she did. I'm from a really small town, so there weren't a ton of places to you know, like, you couldn't get your own style, like everybody had the same five brands. And to get anything unique, you had to make it. So I was excited to learn that. Then when it came time to go to college, I was like, I want to do design. So I ended up in fashion design school. That just sort of led to, you know, I wanted to start my own line and do all of that.

Then when I graduated, I needed a way to pay the bills when I started my own line. So I started doing consulting because that was back in the day when social media wasn't as big as it is now. But, you know, businesses were starting to notice, that I need to have a Facebook, I need to like to be out there. So they were like hire the college kid to get us on Facebook. And I didn't really intend for that to become a business, but you know, here I am, several years later, and I realized that I like doing it.

I like helping small businesses be on social media and take advantage of that. So it just kind of grew organically. And here I am.

Gresham Harkless 2:38

Nice. I definitely appreciate that. And a lot of times, you know, I'm not sure if you heard the quote, necessity is the mother of invention. And a lot of times as you said, like being in that small town and saying, Okay, well, we only have you know, these five brands. So if you want something, you have to actually go and create it and be that entrepreneur within yourself. So it's great to hear obviously how that started.

And then like, I think one of the things that we connected a lot on when we first initially connected was, I started a lot of the same ways where I started doing a lot of digital marketing stuff because I saw it as a need. And it wasn't anything that we went into the business to do. So that's why I love your story. And I love how things sometimes organically, you know, present themselves and opportunities.

Christina Pannone 3:16

Yeah, and it was just nice to know, have a passion grow out of that, because it was never something that I set out to like, this is going to be a business. But I was like why aren't more businesses taking advantage of social media and like free advertising that you have total control of? So, Yes.

Gresham Harkless 3:33

Absolutely. And especially like, as we talked about this, how social media wasn't what it is now and has grown, into this beast. And I think a lot of times too, I'm not sure, you know, the Zuckerberg is of the world and those social media giants even thought that it would grow into what it is now, let alone the businesses that are able to leverage it as well.

Christina Pannone 3:50

Right. Yeah. I mean, it's totally grown into a different thing than it was even, you know, 5-10 years ago.

Gresham Harkless 3:57

Absolutely. So I wanted to drill down a little bit deeper, could you tell us a little bit more about your businesses and exactly how you serve the clients you work with?

Christina Pannone 4:04

Sure. So with my clothing company, Knieriem Designs, I focus on simple and elegant designs, I really like seasonless clothing. So it's more that you don't have a this is fall, this is spring, this is summer, this is winter, it's clothing that you can kind of change over time to wear all year round. And that creates less waste. And it also just gives you more bang for your buck. So you're not you know, so many women that I know have closets full of clothing, and it's like I wear this once or twice a year. Or you know, and it just I don't feel like that's, we can do better than that.

So it was important to me to design things differently. And then it was also important to me to support ethical labor and production with clothing. Because one thing that I was always told in school was that, oh, you're gonna have to go to China to produce you're gonna have to use, you know, big factories, there's no way to make money without that. And that just didn't sit well with me. And I was like, I'm gonna see If I can do it myself, so all of our fabrics are made in the USA, and then all of the production is done here in Alexandria, so I just kind of did my own thing.

Gresham Harkless 5:11

Nice. No, I definitely… go ahead.

Christina Pannone 5:14

I was just gonna talk about the other one, but we can.

Gresham Harkless 5:17

No, I was just gonna say I definitely appreciate that from the Knieriem Designs. Because I think, again, you know, if you have something that wants to be created, then you don't wait for somebody to create it, you create yourself. I think so many times, you get told you can't do X, Y, and Z, or A, B, and C, but a lot of times, that's where the entrepreneurial definitely definitely flourishes. I know, you're going to tell us about KD Social as well, too.

Christina Pannone 5:39

Yeah, and with that, I mean, I just, I know, it's hard, especially, you know, being the owner of the clothing company, I know how hard it is to wear all the hats and to know, like, Okay, I gotta get, you know, this production done today. And, you know, this contract or whatever, you know, you're wearing so many hats, that social media can come last.

And it feels like, you know, nobody wants to see my day-to-day or nobody wants to see what I'm doing right now. This is boring, you can easily convince yourself of that. So I want to show other business owners, you might think your day-to-day is boring, but your customers think it's awesome. And reaching out authentically is where it's at, like, that's where the special, you know, the special stuff happens.

Gresham Harkless 6:18

Yeah no, it makes so much sense. And I think that you know, as we talked about the evolution of social media, it's now become a lot more people have become more capable in terms of being able to do it by just flipping open your phone and downloading an app and signing in where you can have that accessibility can tell your story, talk about what it is that you do.

And I love how you said too, that a lot of times we can, I guess I don't know if I want to say put ourselves down. But we think that what we're doing is not as valuable when somebody else would love to be where we are. And sometimes we forget where we were to, and that we want to be able to kind of tell and capture that story.

Christina Pannone 6:55

Yeah, we forget, you know, the things that we're consuming on social media, like so many clients I talked to are, they're like, Oh, well, I don't know what to post about. Because, you know, all I did yesterday was, you know, like, for me, all I did yesterday was so and that's boring. And it's like, but to somebody who doesn't do that, that's pretty cool. Like to see how your clothes are made? Go for it, you know, you kind of get stuck in your own bubble of no one wants to see this. But then when you think about it, they really do.

Gresham Harkless 7:19

Yeah, absolutely. And now again, like there's so much you can find that people can who do want to so I want to so in Alexandria, for example, can merely drill down and search down through and actually find it and see all that content and information.

Christina Pannone 7:33

Exactly.

Gresham Harkless 7:34

Awesome. So I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce. It could be for you or your company as well, but what do you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique?

Christina Pannone 7:43

I think for the clothing company, it's definitely the fact that everything is produced here, you know, by me in my studio. And like I said earlier, I just was I was not okay with the fact that everyone was telling me oh, well, you have to go to China, you have to go to a big factory, you have to, you know, especially after things like the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013, where the factory collapsed, like, I just couldn't be okay with that. And even if I had gone there to visit the factories and stuff, there's still so many concerns.

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And it didn't sit well with me. So I was like, You know what, you're gonna tell me I can't, but I'm gonna try. And if I fail, then I feel like worst case, I fail. All right. So I think, you know, that's really something that I'm proud of. And I feel like sets me apart with the clothing. I also like that, that allows me to customize more to my customers. I do custom orders, but I also do smaller customization. So it's not a total custom order. But it just allows me to be more responsive than a bigger company that would have to say like, oh, well, it's not made that way.

Sorry. And then for KD Social I, it's just, I know what those struggles are, like, I know what it's like to not have enough time or to not have the ideas for the content or, you know, just not feel like you're in a place to put on your marketing hat today and reach out to your customers. But you know, you need to do it. So, you know, being able to put together a plan and like being on both sides of the equation, I think really helps.

Gresham Harkless 9:14

Yeah, exactly. I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And I want to ask you for what I call a CEO. Heck, so that could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have. But what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Christina Pannone 9:26

I think the biggest thing is holding myself accountable. I don't feel like I have like a book or an app. But you know, being a small business owner, you're the only one responsible, like your success or failure is on you. There's no boss breathing down your neck. So for me, things like making myself priority lists and to-do lists and sort of just general planning of, you know, here's my big goal that I want to achieve.

Now, how do I break it down and take the steps to do it? Because once I've got the plan laid out, there's no excuse, you know, I have to just walk the path and do it but if I just sit there and say Oh, it would be great to, you know, do whatever. But I don't have a plan in place, that I won't hold myself accountable. So that's my biggest thing is, you know, turn your dreams into plans and then actually go for it.

Gresham Harkless 10:11

Yeah, no, I love that. And I love that accountability piece because it's so obviously necessary. And I appreciate how you broke down, you talked about the goal aspect because I think so many times we'll gloss over that we'll just get into the nitty-gritty. But I think especially for running a business, as we kind of talked about, like the difficulties, different things that you're you're managing for your clients as well, too. You want to make sure you have that big goal. Because sometimes in the dark days, and even in sunny days, that's gonna be what keeps you going and create that plan and execute on that plan.

Christina Pannone 10:42

Yeah, and you can always change it, you know, there's, it's not set in stone. But if you if you're not aiming for something, what are you doing? Like, you might just feel like you're wasting time. Or you might look back and say, What was I doing for that whole year when you didn't have a specific direction?

Gresham Harkless 10:56

Yeah, absolutely. And I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget, so that could be like a word of wisdom or piece of advice could be around social media or any other aspect. But what would you tell either a client or maybe even your younger business self?

Christina Pannone 11:11

I feel like I've already said this a little bit. But uh, you know, I would tell my younger self not to feel limited by all the ways I've been told no, because I feel like, that's been one of my biggest motivators is, you know, people saying, well, you can't do that, or there's no money in that, or, you know, how are you going to make a living doing that. And those things just like, pushed me to find a way, you know, and to do it in a way that was true to myself, you know, that I didn't have to compromise my values or my ethics to do it. I could do it my own way.

Gresham Harkless 11:42

Yeah, I love that. And I appreciate you for expounding upon that. Because I think there's like this, I don't know if I saw it on Instagram or Facebook. But there was like this, this image of someone saying, you know, your total, you can't do this, you can't do that. And you just shake your head politely and you turn around, and you just say, Watch me, and I'm glad it's it kind of sounds like it comes to what you're saying too.

Because I think that's truly entrepreneurial, where so many people have been told they couldn't do A, B and C, XY and Z. But to be able to have the guts and I guess bravery to be able to try to do that. I think it not only gives you the opportunity to really, you know, be empowered, but it also empowers and reminds others too, that there is a different way. And sometimes we just have to roll up our sleeves and find that way and work to do that.

Christina Pannone 12:26

Yeah, and there's not just one way to do it. I think some people get narrow-minded and think, that this is the way to success. And that's just not how it is, you know, there's a different way to success for everyone. And there's room for everyone. So we don't have to, you know, waste our time competing or tearing other people down or whatever, you can do it in your own way. That is true of you. And that's perfect.

Gresham Harkless 12:52

Absolutely. And it's often they can be like a windy road. But yes, we all have our roads and our lanes and what exactly we want to accomplish, and we don't necessarily have to compete, I always say if you're running your own race, you can't lose. Because we get in trouble. I think we're writing somebody else's race, or we're following somebody else's goal or vision or mission or whatever.

Christina Pannone 13:05

Totally, totally. Yeah. I mean, it's why waste your time trying to compete with someone else, when you can try to be better than you were yesterday? Like, that's where the value is, you know, like use each other. You know, I find such value in talking to other business owners and sharing our struggles and sort of just collaborating. I get so much more from that than I ever do from looking at someone else saying like, well, how can I beat this person? Or how can I like, do better than them? I do way better when I look at myself and think, How can I do better than I did last time?

Gresham Harkless 13:34

Exactly. Yeah, take that competitive mindset and, and push it internally. That's something that I've tried to do a lot more of, because you want to, like I have that competitive mindset. And I've tried to tap into that. And then you want to make sure that you're competing with yourself. I want to be you know, aggression. But yesterday, so when I had that mentality, you have still that cooperation instead of competition amongst other people.

Christina Pannone 13:56

Yeah. Yeah, totally.

Gresham Harkless 13:58

Awesome. Now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, what is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. We're hoping to have different quote and quote CEOs on this show. So Christina, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Christina Pannone 14:09

So I feel like everybody says this, but I feel like it's different for every person. So for me, it's authenticity and freedom. And I feel like everyone says freedom, but it's, you know, freedom from the traditional way of doing things, the, you know, you have to do it this way, you have to follow this path or, you know, successes 12345 You know, straight and narrow.

It's just freedom from that you don't have to do it the way that anyone else says that you have to do it. You can follow your intuition. And yes, you still have to play them and, you know, be smart and all of those things in your decision-making. But you're free to do it in your way and you're free to be authentic to yourself and your brand and your company when you do it.

Gresham Harkless 14:53

Awesome. Yeah, I love that. I love how those are so kind of intact and aligned. Because you're absolutely right, once you have that understanding of who you are, what your values are what you stand for, you want to not hear well, you'll probably hear it, you might hear it, I should say that, Oh, it can't be done that way.

But the idea is that you have the freedom to be able to, like I say, like artists, a lot of times paint the picture in the mural of what you see and what the vision that you have, and have it be true to you rather than true to that manual or that guide, or that person said, you get to do it based off of what you stand for.

Christina Pannone 15:24

Yep, exactly.

Gresham Harkless 15:26

Awesome. Well, Christina, truly appreciate that definition, appreciate your time, even more, what I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional, you want to let our readers and listeners know. Then of course, how best they can get ahold of you and find out about all the awesome things you're working on.

Christina Pannone 15:40

Well, first, I just want to say thanks for giving me space and a platform to learn about other inspiring people because I've been diving into the podcast myself. And you know, I'm just glad to be here. Anyone who wants to follow along can follow me for the cloning company on Instagram at k and i Designs and that's Instagram and Facebook. And then if you want to follow the social company, it's KD dot social on Instagram and Social KD on Facebook.

Gresham Harkless 16:07

Awesome. Well, thank you so much again, Christina. I truly appreciate you know your time. Obviously, all the awesome things that you said today and all the awesome things you're doing out in the world. We will have the links and information in the show notes so that everybody can follow up with you as well. But again, I appreciate you and I hope you have a great rest of the day.

Outro 16:22

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE And leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless.

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Thank you for listening.

Intro 0:02

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups and CEOs without listening to a long, long long interview? If so, you've come to the right place, Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:29

Hello Hello Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Christina Pannone of Knieriem Designs and KD Social. Christina. It's awesome to have you on the show.

Christina Pannone 0:39

Awesome. Thanks. It's great to be here.

Gresham Harkless 0:42

Yeah, super excited to have you on. And what I want to do is just read a little bit more about Christina so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. And Christina is the only owner of Knieriem Designs, and KD Social at Knieriem Designs, she designs and produces women's clothing in her own studio in Alexandria, Virginia. and at KD Social, she helps small businesses stand out on social media. She's all about supporting local, small businesses and is extremely passionate about empowering female entrepreneurs. Christina, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

Christina Pannone 1:11

I am, let's go.

Gresham Harkless 1:12

Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I just want to hear a little bit more about how you got started and what they do start up start your businesses?

Christina Pannone 1:19

So I've always been really passionate about, you know, being creative, and, you know, sort of creative pursuits in general. And as a kid, my grandmother taught me how to sew and she was always like, sewing beautiful thing. And that was sort of like, Can I do that? Like, can you teach me, so she did. And I'm from a really small town, so there weren't a ton of places to you know, like, you couldn't get your own style, like everybody had the same five brands. And so, you know, to get anything unique, you had to make it. So I was excited to learn that. And then when it came time to go to college, I was like, I want to do design. So I ended up in fashion design school. And that just sort of led to, you know, I wanted to start my own line and do all of that. And then when I graduated, I needed a way to pay the bills when I started my own line. So I started doing consulting, because that was back in the day when social media wasn't as big as it is now. But, you know, businesses were starting to notice, I need to have a Facebook, I need to like be out there. So they were like hire the college kid to get us on Facebook. And it just kind of, I didn't really intend for that to become a business. But you know, here I am, several years later, and I realized that I like doing it. And I like helping small businesses be on social media and take advantage of that. So it just kind of grew organically. And here I am.

Gresham Harkless 2:38

Nice. I definitely appreciate that. And a lot of times, you know, I'm not sure if you heard the quote, necessity is the mother of invention. And a lot of times as you said, like being in that small town and saying, Okay, well, we only have you know, these five brands. So if you want something, you have to actually go and create it and be that entrepreneur within yourself. So it's great to hear obviously how that started. And then like, I think one of the things that we connected a lot on when we first initially connected was, I started a lot of the same ways where I started doing a lot of digital marketing stuff, because I saw it as a need. And it wasn't anything that we went into the business to do. So that's why I love your story. And I love how things sometimes organically, you know, present themselves and opportunities.

Christina Pannone 3:16

Yeah, and it was just nice to know, have a passion grow out of that, because it was never something that I set out to like, this is going to be a business. But I was like why aren't more businesses taking advantage of social media and like free advertising that you have total control of? So, Yes.

Gresham Harkless 3:33

Absolutely. And especially like, as we talked about to this, how social media wasn't what it is now has grown, into this beast. And I think a lot of times too, I'm not sure, you know, the Zuckerberg is of the world and those social media giants even thought that it would grow into what it is now, let alone the businesses that are able to leverage it as well.

Christina Pannone 3:50

Right. Yeah. I mean, it's totally grown into a different thing than it was even, you know, 5-10 years ago.

Gresham Harkless 3:57

Absolutely. So I wanted to drill down a little bit deeper, could you tell us a little bit more about your businesses and exactly how you serve the clients you work with?

Christina Pannone 4:04

Sure. So with my clothing company, Knieriem Designs, I focus on simple and elegant designs, I really like seasonless clothing. So it's more that you don't have a this is fall, this is spring, this is summer, this is winter, it's clothing that you can kind of change over time to wear all year round. And that creates less waste. And it also just gives you more bang for your buck. So you're not you know, so many women that I know have closets full of clothing, and it's like I wear this once or twice a year. Or you know, and it just I don't feel like that's, we can do better than that. So it was important to me to design things differently. And then it was also important to me to support ethical labor and production with clothing. Because one thing that I was always told in school was that, oh, you're gonna have to go to China to produce you're gonna have to use, you know, big factories, there's no way to make money without that. And that just didn't sit well with me. And I was like, I'm gonna see If I can do it myself, so all of our fabrics are made in the USA, and then all of the production is done here in Alexandria, so just kind of did my own thing.

Gresham Harkless 5:11

Nice. No, I definetly... go ahead.

Christina Pannone 5:14

I was just gonna talk about the other one, but we can.

Gresham Harkless 5:17

No, I was just gonna say, yeah, definitely, I definitely appreciate that from the Knieriem Designs. Because I think, again, you know, if you have a, you know, have something that wants to be created, then you you don't wait for somebody to create it, you created yourself. And I think so many times, you know, you get told you can't do X, Y, and Z, or A, B, and C, but a lot of times, that's where the entrepreneurial definitely definitely flourishes. And, and I know, you're going to tell us about KD Social as well, too.

Christina Pannone 5:39

Yeah, and with that, I mean, I just, I know, it's hard, especially, you know, being the owner of the clothing company, I know how hard it is to wear all the hats and to know, like, Okay, I gotta get, you know, this production done today. And, you know, this contract or whatever, you know, you're wearing so many hats, that social media can come last. And it feels like, you know, nobody wants to see my day to day or nobody wants to see what I'm doing right now. This is boring, you can like easily convince yourself of that. So I want to show other business owners like, you might think your day to day is boring, but your customers think it's awesome. And reaching out authentically, is where it's at, like, that's where the special, you know, the special stuff happens.

Gresham Harkless 6:18

Ya, no, it makes so much sense. And I think that, you know, as we talked about the evolution of social media, it's now become a lot more people have become more capable in terms of being able to do it by just flipping open your phone and download an app and sign in where you can have that accessibility can tell your story, talk about what it is that you do. And I love how you said too, that a lot of times we can, I guess I don't know if I want to say put ourselves down. But we think that what we're doing that is not as valuable when somebody else would love to be where we are. And sometimes we forget where we were to, and that we want to be able to kind of tell and capture that story.

Christina Pannone 6:55

Yeah, we forget, you know, the things that we're consuming on social media, like so many clients I talked to are, they're like, Oh, well, I don't know what to post about. Because, you know, all I did yesterday was, you know, like, for me, all I did yesterday was so and that's boring. And it's like, but to somebody who doesn't do that, that's pretty cool. Like to see how your clothes are made? Go for it, you know, you kind of get stuck in your own bubble of no one wants to see this. But then when you think about it, they really do.

Gresham Harkless 7:19

Yeah, absolutely. And now again, like there's so much you can find that people can who do want to so i want to so in Alexandria, for example, can merely drill down and search down through and actually find it and see all that content and information.

Christina Pannone 7:33

Exactly.

Gresham Harkless 7:34

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce. And it could be for you or your company as well. What do you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique?

Christina Pannone 7:43

I think for the clothing company, it's definitely the fact that everything is produced here, you know, by me in my studio. And like I said earlier, I just was I was not okay with the fact that everyone was telling me oh, well, you have to go to China, you have to go to a big factory, you have to, you know, especially after things like the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013, where the factory collapsed, like, I just couldn't be okay with that. And even even if I had gone there to visit the factories and stuff, there's still so many concerns. And I just couldn't, it didn't sit well with me. So I was like, You know what, you're gonna tell me I can't, but I'm gonna try. And if I fail, then I feel like worst case, I fail. All right. So I think, you know, that's really something that I'm proud of. And I feel like sets me apart with the clothing. I also like that, that allows me to customize more to my customers. I do custom orders, but I also do, like smaller customization. So it's not a total custom order. But it just allows me to be more responsive than like a bigger company that would have to say like, oh, well, it's not made that way. Sorry. And then for KD Social I, it's just, I know what those struggles are, like, I know what it's like to not have enough time or to not have the ideas for the content or, you know, just not feel like you're in a place to put on your marketing hat today and reach out to your customers. But you know, you need to do it. So, you know, being able to put together a plan and like being on both sides of the equation, I think really helps.

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Gresham Harkless 9:14

Yeah, exactly. I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And I want to ask you for what I call a CEO. Heck, so that could be like an app, a book or a habit that you have. But what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Christina Pannone 9:26

I think the biggest thing is like holding myself accountable. I don't feel like I have like a book or an app. But you know, being a small business owner, you're the only one responsible, like your success or failure is on you. There's no boss breathing down your neck. So for me things like making myself priority lists and to do lists and sort of just general planning of, you know, here's my big goal that I want to achieve. Now, how do I break it down and take the steps to do it? Because once I've got the plan laid out, there's no excuse, you know, I have to just walk the path and do it but if I just sit there and say Oh, it would be great to, you know, do whatever. But I don't have a plan in place, that I won't hold myself accountable. So that's my biggest thing is, you know, turn your dreams into plans and then actually go for it.

Gresham Harkless 10:11

Yeah, no, I love that. And I love that accountability piece because it's so obviously necessary. And I appreciate how you broke down, you talked about the goal aspect because I think so many times we'll gloss over that we'll just get into the nitty gritty. But I think especially for running a business, as we kind of talked about, like the difficulties, different things that you're you're managing for your clients as well, too. You want to make sure you have that big goal. Because sometimes in the in the dark days, and even in sunny days, that's gonna be what keeps you going and create that plan and execute on that plan.

Christina Pannone 10:42

Yeah, and you can always change it, you know, there's, it's not set in stone. But if you if you're not aiming for something, what are you doing? Like, you might just feel like you're wasting time. Or you might look back and say, What was I doing for that whole year, when you didn't have a specific direction?

Gresham Harkless 10:56

Yeah, absolutely. And I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget, so that could be like a word of wisdom or piece of advice could be around social media or any other aspect. But what would you tell either a client or maybe even your younger business self?

Christina Pannone 11:11

I feel like I've already said this a little bit. But uh, you know, I would tell my younger self not to feel limited by all the ways I've been told no, because I feel like, that's been one of my biggest motivators is, you know, people saying, well, you can't do that, or there's no money in that, or, you know, how are you going to make a living doing that. And those things just like, pushed me to find a way, you know, and to do it in a way that was true to myself, you know, that I didn't have to compromise my values or my ethics to do it. I could do it my own way.

Gresham Harkless 11:42

Yeah, I love that. And I appreciate you for expounding upon that. Because I think there's like this, I don't know if I saw it on Instagram or Facebook. But there was like this, this image of someone saying, you know, your total, you can't do this, you can't do that. And you just shake your head politely and you turn around, and you just say, Watch me, and I'm glad it's it kind of sounds like it comes to what you're saying too. Because I think that's truly entrepreneurial, where so many people have been told they couldn't do A, B and C, XY and Z. But to be able to have the guts and I guess bravery to be able to try to do that. I think it not only gives you the opportunity to really, you know, be empowered, it also empowers and reminds others too, that there is a different way. And sometimes we just have to roll up our sleeves and find that way and work to do that.

Christina Pannone 12:26

Yeah, and there's not just one way to do it. I think some people get like narrow minded and thinking, this is the way to success. And that's just not how it is, you know, there's a different way to success for everyone. And there's room for everyone. So we don't have to, you know, waste our time competing or tearing other people down or whatever, you can do it in your own way. That is true to you. And that's perfect.

Gresham Harkless 12:52

Absolutely. And it's often they can be like a windy road. But yes, we all have our roads and our lanes and what exactly we want to accomplish, and we don't necessarily have to compete, I always say if you're running your own race, you can't lose. Because we get in trouble. I think we're writing somebody else's race, or we're following somebody else's goal or vision or mission or whatever.

Christina Pannone 13:05

Totally, totally. Yeah. I mean, it's why waste your time trying to like compete with someone else, when you can try to be better than you were yesterday. Like, that's where the value is, you know, like use each other. You know, I find such value in like talking to other business owners and like sharing our struggles and sort of just collaborating. I get so much more from that than I ever do from looking at someone else saying like, well, how can I beat this person? Or how can I like, do better than them? I do way better when I look at myself and think, How can I do better than I did last time?

Gresham Harkless 13:34

Exactly. Yeah, take that competitive mindset and, and push it internally. That's something that I've tried to do a lot more of, because you want to, like I have that competitive mindset. And I've tried to tap into that. And then you want to make sure that you're competing with yourself. I want to be you know, aggression. But yesterday, so when I have that mentality, you have still that cooperation instead of competition amongst other people.

Christina Pannone 13:56

Yeah. Yeah, totally.

Gresham Harkless 13:58

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, what is the definition of what it means to be a CEO, and we're hoping to have different quote-unquote CEOs on this show. So Christina, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Christina Pannone 14:09

So I feel like everybody says this, but I feel like it's different for every person. So for me, it's authenticity and freedom. And I feel like everyone says freedom, but it's, you know, freedom from the traditional way of doing things, the, you know, you have to do it this way, you have to follow this path or, you know, successes 12345 You know, straight and narrow. It's just freedom from that you don't have to do it the way that anyone else says that you have to do it. You can follow your intuition. And yes, you still have to play them and, you know, be smart and all of those things in your decision making. But you're free to do it in your way and you're free to be authentic to yourself and your brand and your company when you do it.

Gresham Harkless 14:53

Awesome. Yeah, I love that. And I love how those are so kind of intact and aligned. Because you're you're absolutely right. Once you You know, have that understanding of who you are, what your values are what you stand for, you want to not hear well, you'll probably hear it, you might hear it, I should say that, Oh, it can't be done that way. But the idea is that you have the freedom to be able to, like I say, like artists, a lot of times paint the picture in the mural of what you see and what the vision that you have, and have it be true to you rather than true to that manual or that guide, or that person said, you get to do it based off of what you stand for.

Christina Pannone 15:24

Yep, exactly.

Gresham Harkless 15:26

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Well, Christina, truly appreciate that definition. Appreciate your time, even more, what I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional, you want to let our readers and listeners know. And then of course, how best they can get ahold of you and find out about all the awesome things you're working on.

Christina Pannone 15:40

Well, first, I just want to say thanks for giving me a space and platform to learn about other inspiring people because I've been diving into the podcast myself. And you know, I'm just glad to be here. And anyone who wants to follow along can follow me for the cloning company at on Instagram at k and i designs and that's Instagram and Facebook. And then if you want to follow the social company, it's KD dot social on Instagram and Social KD on Facebook.

Gresham Harkless 16:07

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you so much again, Christina. I truly appreciate you know your time. Obviously all the awesome things that you said today and all the awesome things you're doing out in the world. We will have the links and information in the show notes so that everybody can follow up with you as well too. But again, I appreciate you and I hope you have a great rest of the day.

Outro 16:22

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co, I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE And leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless.Thank you for listening.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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