For local entrepreneur Heidi Zeller-Crawford, the sky is the limit.
If Heidi Zeller-Crawford could, she’d try to do it all. She’s tough, independent, her own boss and most importantly, has a generous heart. When talking to the impactful, focused businesswoman today, it’s hard to believe that she didn’t have this all planned out from the beginning. In fact, it’s taken a lot of diligence and determination to get her to where she is today as a successful mentor for Mary Kay. Ask Heidi about it, and she won’t beat around the bush: “Work hard, play hard.”
Heidi got into the Mary Kay business like many women do; becoming a consultant meant she could save money on a product she was already using, while making extra cash on the side. That was years ago. Now, she’s an Independent Senior Sales Director who has mentored over 100 women and belongs to a sales unit that includes people from California to Connecticut. If there’s anything she’s learned along the way, it’s that being an entrepreneur sometimes means getting out of your comfort zone. “Too often we wonder and second guess ourselves about should we or shouldn’t we do something, even just starting a new business,” Heidi said. “When in reality, by not deciding you have just made a decision to stay where you are and not take a chance on yourself and improving your life.”
For Heidi, it’s always been more about how the Mary Kay product makes women feel than how it makes them look. “A woman may not always be able to afford a whole new outfit to make her feel good, but it’s amazing what a new lip gloss can do. And when a woman feels good about herself, it is contagious, and it will trickle down into every person she meets,” she said. “You never know when your encouraging words are just what that one person needs to hear at that one moment in time. We need to build people up.”
Doing so extends much further than Mary Kay for Heidi. “To have a great life, you have to have a great community,” she said. “You can always give something back. Sometimes it’s treasure, sometimes it’s time. We are a community that grows and becomes successful because people are willing to step forward and give of their time, talent, and treasure every day.” Heidi serves on the Board of Directors for Dakota Resources, an organization that works with rural communities in South Dakota to stimulate financial and human investment. She’s also on the Safe Harbor Foundation Board and was one of six coaches for Roncalli Elementary School’s inaugural Girls on the Run season.
Her family, which includes her husband, Glen, of 13 years, and their two children Garrett, 11, and Claire, 9, lives on the farm site that has been in Glen’s family for almost a century. In the Crawford household, hard work pays, literally. Daily, monthly, and even yearly goals are logged on the calendar and working toward them is a family affair. “When I tuck Claire into bed at night and she asks, ‘Mom, how much closer to your goal are you?’ or I hear Garrett say, ‘Claire, we don’t work 8 to 5. We are entrepreneurs. We work until the job is done.’ Those are my greatest rewards because I know I am making a difference in their lives and their future, and that’s what I hope for each person that I come in contact with,” Heidi said.
In fact, the entrepreneurial family has no plans to slow down anytime soon. They recently began their own tree belt clearing and restoration company, Brown County Choppers, LLC. “We were trying to decide how we could ever restore our overgrown tree belt, and realized there are many others like us and felt this was a service in real demand, but (with) not a lot of options,” Heidi explained. “I think that is the heart of many entrepreneurs – really wanting to give back, make a difference, and share with others something they see value in.”
Heidi has learned much of what she lives by today from her parents. She remembers in particular one time when her sister didn’t want her dad to coach her soccer team. Her dad replied, “If I don’t do it, who will? So if not me, then who?” It’s stuck with Heidi to this day. “You are where you are in life by the choices you have made, or the choices you have allowed other people to make for you. If you want a different life, make a different choice.” // –Erin Ballard