Kristen Townsend, Owner of ICT Lifestyle Management

Tell us what you do and how you help people.

So I am the owner of ICT lifestyle management, and I help busy, overwhelmed business owners outsource any task on their to do list that allows them to then focus on the things that matter most to them.

So how did you get started in all of this?

Years ago in San Antonio, Texas, I owned a professional organizing firm. It was called From Here to Clear. I had the skillset of going into people's physical, tangible spaces and organizing those. And then I was hired by a boutique investment firm to open up their lifestyle management branch. I took that same skillset of tangibly organizing people's things and applied it to their lives. I worked for about 12 client families that were multi-generational with lots of travel and complex schedules. I did calendar management, property management, orchestrating fractional jet and vacation ownership. I was organizing all of that and keeping them sane. I always knew, though, that I wanted to have my own lifestyle management company. So this past March I launched ICT lifestyle management, and what we've found is that female entrepreneurs gravitate toward this model because they're wearing all of the hats and juggling all of the things and kind of get bogged down in the day-to-day tasks. That's who we are primarily working with and I've just really loved the community that is at The Hive.

Can you talk a little bit more about your passion for this work?

You've got to have a passion for organizing in order to keep this going. I always say, "OCD is kind of my superpower." I do have a passion for helping alleviated people from all of the to-do's that bog them down. I think it's so rewarding to watch, especially business owners who begin to shine brighter once all of these to-do's are taken off of their plate. It could be personal tasks that they have, household tasks, or it could be more like a virtual assistant type of business task, but I just love watching them hand over things to us so we can efficiently take care of those things. Then I get to watch them be able to pour their energy and strengths into the reason they started the business in the first place, What their strong suits are.

What have been some of the biggest challenges or struggles that you've had along the way?

In this first year of business, the biggest struggle for me has been recognizing that this business resonates deeply with the right clients. I think there've been a few times where I've tried to force the issue and that never ends up being a great fit. I think just recognizing that when I say what I do and the eyes of whomever I'm talking with just light up and they're like, "Oh my gosh, I need that!" Those are my ideal clients. Just allowing this not to be a fit for some people has been hard for me because I'm like, "Well, I want everyone to have this!" But it's not a fit for everyone and just recognizing that has been a really great lesson for me. Well, and you're much happier too, I think, as a business owner, when you are working with those people who are lit up by your mission and what you're doing and your business. Because whenever, in the past, I've tried to force a connection. It never works out for longevity. I'm never happy with it. They're never happy with it. You know, when you find those people that are lit up by what you do, that's a relationship that you're going to build over time and that you'll be much happier with.

What really makes you unique in your approach?

I think what makes ICT lifestyle unique is that it is fully customizable. We have some clients who hand over household tasks, like meal planning or grocery pickup or home organizing. Then we have other entrepreneurs who we really just work within their businesses with them. And that can change from week to week. One week maybe they're struggling to keep up with something at home versus the next week where, you know, their business feels like they're kind of drowning in it. And so we have hourly plans, but any sort of tasks can be applied to those. And I love that. We truly can touch base with our clients daily and ask, "How can we help you best today?" And it doesn't have to be the same services every day or every week. It's almost like this hybrid between a personal assistant and that virtual assistant. And we can just be on the ground with you. As an entrepreneur, you think about hiring an employee and oftentimes, especially those of us who are starting out, who are kind of new in business, you think, "Oh, I'll just hire an intern level type employee for maybe a lower hourly wage." But typically you're hiring that person and they work just within your business and you're going to spend a lot of time training that person and they may never even be able to make some of these higher-level decisions that will take things off of your plate. I love working in person with my clients too, and just forming those relationships. In fact, I still work for two of those original Texas families. I've gotten to know them and their kind of personal quirks and their likes and their dislikes. That's really kind of my heart and passion behind this is that we would not just earn the business, but learn the different personalities that we're working with.

You have a lot going on and you're managing a lot for a lot of other people. How are you making sure to take care of yourself and have that work-life alignment?

One of my biggest goals in 2022 is creating white space, because I know successful business owners create white space within their schedules. I haven't done a great job of doing that this first year, so that's something I want to work on. A big part of it for me—I'm an Enneagram three—is that it's just important to realize that rest is productive. That is something that I'm working on as well, personally. Also kind of letting go of that expectation that there is a balance because it's kind of this elusive unicorn that I feel like we're all striving to accomplish, but I think what is most important is being present for whatever is right in front of you, whether that's home or business or relationships, whatever it is. One way that I've found to be helpful in kind of gauging that balance in my life is just kind of the health of my relationships. So that could be professional client relationships. Are those healthy and robust and am I doing a good job there? Then also at home with my kids. Are those relationships healthy? That feels like a good compass for me. Because I don't know how else to really measure that. I think there's no such thing as 50/50, it's just a hundred percent, ideally a hundred percent of what's in front of you. 

As a Hive member, how do you feel that community has helped you professionally and personally?

So much, so much. So I love this community of women. One of the first things I did was join The Hive because I knew that there was going to be value in the relationships there. It has allowed me to create just this really robust list of vendors. So when our clients need help with project management or they need a website designed or whatever it is they need, I already feel like I have this group of women who are super talented and creative that I can pass along the information for. So that has been a huge help. And then just personally, attending the lunch and learns and all the professional development that is offered there has been a game-changer for me. And just the abundance mindset that's present there, I just really geek out over. I think the first time I met the bees, I was like, "You guys are my people!" You can read all of the books and listen to all the podcasts, but to have it in the flesh, women that you're around and who are supporting you is huge. I think surrounding yourself with like-minded people, when it comes specifically to something like abundance or growth, you have to have those positive influences around you and models of it.

What insight would you give to somebody at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey?

One of the things that has really changed everything for me was making time for relationships. Another thing I did right away was seek out women who were doing really creative, cool things and then invited a lot of them to coffee, just so I could visit with them and hear what they were doing, but also kind of bounce my ideas off of them too, because I think when you first start a business, it feels so scary. To you and in your mind, you're like, "This is a great idea, and this is going to resonate!" But just to have affirmation from other people in maybe a couple of years ahead of you was really valuable to me and just forming that sort of like mentor relationship. There are a handful of women who started their business last spring, like I did and so we're all kind of all in that same boat of "Oh gosh, we probably should get a CPA. Who do you use?" You know, just kind of the nitty-gritty that we can bounce ideas off of each other is super important.

How can people get in touch with you and do you have anything coming up we need to know about?

You can find all of our info HERE. In this next year, I am growing our team, so if any of this resonated with anyone that is maybe looking for some contract work, I would love to visit with them about joining our team in some capacity. We would like to take on more business and I'm trying to just build that infrastructure right now. They can email me at KRISTEn@ictlifestyle.com.