How Did They Do It?: Christa Myers of Books With Christa

how did they do it? Aug 18, 2022

Welcome to our 'How Did They Do It?' series, where we tell the stories, and dive deep into the journeys, of strong, successful, and inspiring equestrian businesswomen, entrepreneurs, professionals, and movers and shakers in the equestrian industry. Forget the highlight reels – this is real talk, the ups and downs, the lessons learned, and the strategies used. You'll take away inspiration, motivation, templates for success, and critical lessons and rules to live by for business and for life.

Christa Myers of Books With Christa discusses her business journey, her passion for healing the money wounds and burnout woes of fellow equestrians, and her tips for building a sustainable and stable business in this installment of our 'How Did They Do It?' series. 

Name: Christa Myers

Age: 26

Location: Ontario, Canada

Occupation: Equestrian Bookkeeper and Business Consultant

On Course Equestrian: For anyone who might not know you yet, introduce yourself!

Christa Myers: I would describe myself as a dreamer and do-er. Much like every horse girl, I fell in love at horse camp and my parents were stuck with a horse-crazed kid that always needed a ride to the barn. I’ve always been driven to learn more and do better in horses. When I wasn’t at school or work, you’d find me in the barn doing chores or helping in lessons.

My parents bought me my first $500 horse at age fifteen, an unbroke four-year-old chestnut appendix. She’d grow to be my best friend and biggest teacher. (It’s always been a joke that my dad finally said yes so that I wouldn’t date in high school!)  However, Ashira often made excuses for me to get out of school (thank you ma’am.) The only time I received honors in high school was the year I did co-op at my barn. Turns out, I am 100% that horse girl.

I competed on the IHSA team for Brock University and competed in the Central West zone of Trillium in Ontario. My 21st year was filled with a lot of heartache and trauma which led me to walking away from the horses. I spent a couple years pretending they didn’t exist until I began my business journey, helping my recently graduated friend build her equine chiropractic business. 

The end of the broke horse girl era is a core value of mine. The horse industry raised me, built me, broke me, and re-built me. If I can prevent one horse girl from burning out, struggling, and losing passion, then I can say I made my vision come true. And outside of horses and building businesses, I enjoy hanging out with horse girls, hiking, drinking coffee, and blaming things on the moon cycle. 

How would you describe what you currently do for work?

Often I joke that I am a paid stalker! When I am bookkeeping for my clients or guiding them to build their business to a place of profit and stability, I learn their spending habits and build their business story through their financial transactions. This allows me to know when they are facing challenges — often before they even notice. 

I also find myself acting as a therapist for my clients as they work on their relationship to money and their buisness.  I genuinely enjoy listening to people, and this allows me to analyze what we need to work on together to create habits and routines that support their business. A lot of equestrians have money wounds and as equestrian entrepreneurs, we can’t let those wounds hinder our business.

What’s the structure of your business? 

I'm currently expanding to bring on new team members and outsource some tasks, but until now it’s been a one-woman show. Some days can be 12+ hours in front of my computer, while other days I am able to scoot off for a horse girl weekend in another country. The most difficult piece for me is the alone time. Building a business isn’t comfortable, it will ask more of you every single day. Horse girls were built for business.

How did your professional path develop? 

After university, I entered the supply chain field — handling inventory, logistics, shipping, purchasing, accounting, and building out business processes.  I went back to college after learning about business analysis and my enjoyment of reducing inefficiencies and money loss.

How do you manage wearing multiple hats? Is there anything you delegate?

Wearing all of the hats in my business forces me to prioritize my time and budget it. Time, just like money, needs to be budgeted. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself exhausted with a list of things to do that never get done. 

How did you build your business in the beginning?

My business started when I was at rock bottom. I needed purpose. I began offering bookkeeping and business consulting to anyone, and quickly realized 95% of my clients were horse girls, so I focused on that niche. I listened to my business and the data I had. 

Every equestrian entrepreneur I began to work with made me feel even more driven to follow that path for myself. I was still working at my comfortable office job as a purchaser for an automotive manufacturer, I made decent money and the work wasn’t hard, and I was still taking online college courses (#covid). 

I graduated from my program and within 9 months of starting my business, I quit my office job. During that time I helped 30+ equestrian entrepreneurs begin their journey of bookkeeping and gaining a profit-focused business mindset.

There continue to be challenges, but that is a sign of growth. Revenue continues to rise as I just experienced my first $11,000 month. I’ve also launched Equestrian Entrepreneur, a place for horse girls to find support and other professionals to make their dreams happen.

What are your big picture goals with your career? Where are you headed?

I want to continue to build myself and business so I can make a difference. I want to be able to reach the grassroots to help lesson barns break out of a cycle of struggle. I want to help entrepreneurs build profitable, stable businesses while having balanced lives — if our industry continues to burn out even the toughest professionals and break our bodies and bank accounts, our horses will suffer and the next generation of horse girls won’t experience what we have. 

What is the why behind your career? What fuels you, specifically, to do what you do?

Money was the largest barrier in my riding career. I felt like it kept me from riding more and reaching my goals. It required me to work for a lot of my lessons and board, and meant hours of work outside of the barn for a cheque. 

The fuel for me is helping others create a better relationship with money inside and outside of their business.

What does success mean to you?

My definition of success is a breath of relief from my client. When my client stops feeling weighed down by their bookkeeping. Hitting a monthly money goal they doubted, and then they do it again. When they get to spend time in the barn because the system is doing its job.

Success to me is not only a monetary value, it is the impact and impression I leave on this world. 

What is the most rewarding thing about your career?

Watching equestrian entrepreneurs love their business again. Maybe they gave their all and they nearly lost their passion... by re-aligning and sustainably building, they are able to create a business that they love and profit from.

 What is the most challenging thing about your career?

I don’t enjoy not being able to help. Sometimes I can see people struggling and unless they approach, I can’t help them.  I also can’t want to fix/grow/build your business more than you do. It is so disheartening advising equestrian entrepreneurs who don’t listen, won’t put suggestions into action, or aren’t ready to be the person their business needs them to be.

What are the most important skills you’ve learned along the way?

Keep the outside noise to a minimum. A community is fantastic, but it shouldn’t be involved in every decision. Some decisions need you to make yourself, with your intuition and intention.  When making decisions, try to ask yourself what needs to be done. Before I ask others, I ask myself and I analyze the data I have. Only after that will I bring in the outside noise, and that is normally selective.  Imposter syndrome can grow really loud with outside noise. Be confident in your own decision-making. 

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Photos by Gold Horse Photography, Dorrit Shank, and Farm and Fir Co.