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Utah Business

Savannah Beth Withers Taylor and Crystalee Beck | Photo by Jeff Allred

5 business lessons from Comma Copywriters founder Crystalee Beck

This story appears in the July issue of Utah Business. Subscribe

Once a month, Utah Business hosts Founder Friday, a free event sponsored by BONCO, Kiln and KaJae that showcases the wisdom of Utah-based founders. In June, Kiln hosted the conversation between Utah Business Assistant Editor Savannah Beth Withers Taylor and Comma Copywriters founder Crystalee Beck. Here’s what you missed.

1. Put life first, but be accountable.

When Beck was pregnant with her second child, she decided to leave the corporate ladder for good and create her own — one that would allow her to achieve her professional goals and be there for her family. Today, Beck runs Comma Copywriters with a “life-first” philosophy and allows her employees to build work schedules around their busy lives without being bound to strict office hours or location requirements. 

“If they’re willing to put in their time, energy and talent, I want to do all I can to support them in their life and what matters to them and give them as much freedom as possible,” Beck says.

Accountability is key to achieving this. Beck says the Comma Copywriters team prioritizes showing up and owning their work. Maintaining a “life-first” work culture is a two-way street.

2. Not all money is worth it.

Beck says her perception of money changed when she read the book “Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence” by Joseph R. Dominguez and Vicki Robin. In it, the authors claim that money is something you trade your life energy for.

“What are we willing to trade our life energy for? Not all money is worth it. Some money is too expensive,” Beck says. In practice, this means not overcommitting and saying no to projects that don’t excite her. It also means Comma Copywriters doesn’t “work with jerks.”

Jeanette Bennett, the founder of Bennett Communications, taught me that when you’re saying yes to one thing, you’re saying no to something else,” Beck continues. “We have to take care of ourselves. That means being selective about where we put our time and energy.”

Founder Friday attendees | Photo by Jeff Allred
Founder Friday attendees | Photo by Jeff Allred

“I don’t know that there’s another company in the world that can say four out of seven members of their leadership team had babies in a six-month span.”

3. Clear is kind.

Being a business owner comes with its fair share of difficult conversations. Through these, Beck has learned that clear communication is the most compassionate.

“Sometimes, ‘kind’ is taking care of it. ‘Kind’ is being brave enough to have the conversation,” she continues. “It’s so much better to just have the conversation than to build resentment and let it fester. … Have the conversation even though your heart is pounding, you’re scared, and it’s uncomfortable mostly because you don’t want to hurt someone else. It’s worse if you wait.”

4. A determined woman can’t be stopped.

In 2022, Comma Copywriters became a “two-comma” (million-dollar) company. That same year, four out of seven women on Comma’s leadership team had babies in six months.

“I don’t know that there’s another company in the world that can say four out of seven members of their leadership team had babies in a six-month span,” Beck says. “It was a very special and unique year. I was very proud of passing the million-dollar mark, but if I have to choose, I was more proud of the babies and proud of how we got there and how we worked together.”

To coordinate a game plan, Beck planned a meeting with her leadership team where each member discussed their responsibilities. They planned to cover for each other during overlapping maternity leaves, allowing each other space to heal and enjoy their babies — all in the same year that Comma Copywriters hit the million-dollar mark for the first time.

5. Enjoy the grand experiment.

Beck says one of the biggest lessons she’s learned is to make decisions more quickly that propel her toward her dreams.

“Everything is an experiment. Business is an experiment. Motherhood is an experiment,” she says. “All we can do is keep testing and adjusting. No one can see the future. That’s one of the biggest changes that’s come from me being an entrepreneur: I’m much more comfortable with the unknown. … I’ve fallen down a lot of times, but if you keep showing up, you’ll eventually look around and realize you’re where you always wanted to be.”

Savannah Beth Withers Taylor and Crystalee Beck | Photo by Jeff Allred
Savannah Beth Withers Taylor and Crystalee Beck | Photo by Jeff Allred

Mekenna is the editor of Utah Business magazine and a graduate of the print journalism program at Utah State University. She has written about business, music and culture for publications like Business Insider, Time Out, SLUG Magazine, Visit Salt Lake and the Standard-Examiner. She loves hiking, thrifting, reading and going on camping trips with her partner in their 1986 Land Cruiser.