Krispy Kreative with Chris Pelczynski, Ep #8
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Chris Pelczynski is a seasoned creative director, designer, and illustrator who spent most of his career in leadership at ESPN. Since starting his career as a graphic designer in the 1990s, he’s worked for companies of all sizes. His most notable roles were working with ESPN where he led the creative process for some of the world’s largest broadcast brands, such as Monday Night Football, Sports Center, and Baseball Tonight. He’s won two sports Emmy’s and 9 Promax awards.
But after 17 years at ESPN, Chris decided to walk away from corporate life to launch Krispy Kreative. He now serves a wide variety of clients, including those in the broadcast world, film, music, finance, food service, and sports. He’s also the creative force behind our branding at Capital Investment Advisors and did the graphic design work for this podcast. In this episode of Upthinking Finance™, Chris shares the challenges and joys of moving from the corporate world to entrepreneurship.
You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...
- [5:17] Chris’s experience at ESPN
- [12:18] Why Chris ultimately left ESPN
- [16:04] Chris’s transition to Krispy Kreative
- [25:13] Learning how to run a business
- [36:36] When Chris knew things were going to work
How Chris ended up at ESPN
Chris pursued a degree in graphic design because he wanted to focus his art skills in an area where he could get a job. Many of his projects during his senior year of college were sports-oriented. When he graduated, a friend told him that ESPN was hiring. So Chris threw his application into the mix. Within a couple of months of graduating, he started as a graphic designer at ESPN. Chris really enjoyed working at ESPN and in the beginning, it almost didn’t feel like work.
Chris worked his way into upper management and became the Art Director, eventually landing the role of Creative Director. He believes his ability to communicate and stay organized led to his promotions—over his artistic skills. Why did Chris ultimately leave instead of continuing to climb the corporate ladder?
Why Chris left ESPN to launch Krispy Kreative
The longer Chris was at ESPN, the better the perks were. It wasn’t just raises, benefits, etc. but ESPN also threw lavish parties. He’d get to attend conferences. It seemed like there were unlimited perks. But it started losing its luster when they moved from a sports focus into the social/political realm. Many people who worked there for the sports felt like it wasn’t their network anymore. The shift in politics and corporate culture ultimately led Chris to leave. While it was a hard decision, he emphasizes that you have to believe in yourself enough to know that you can do something else.
Chris’s transition to Krispy Kreative
When Chris left ESPN, he wasn’t ready to fully commit to running his own business. So he took a job in Las Vegas at a news station. The experience was an eye-opener. It became abundantly clear that he wasn’t going to fit in and it was time for him to take a leap of faith. So he launched Krispy Kreative.
Chris spends 90% of his week working on things that are important to him, that he likes doing. In the corporate world, 60% of his job was sitting through meetings. Now, he gets to serve clients. Chris isn’t defined by the work he’s doing, but rather, he gets to define the work he’s doing. That’s the biggest difference he’s found shifting from the corporate world to being an entrepreneur.
Chris’s focus is getting to help others, small businesses that need help. In the corporate world, it’s all about landing the big fish. Now, Chris gets to create full-blown sports packages for tournaments. He’s creating movie titles for a documentary. He gets to do branding for major television shows. It hit him that most people in his field don’t get to work on things that they love. Listen to the whole episode to learn more about Chris’s journey to entrepreneurship and the challenges he’s faced—and overcome—running his own business.
Chris Pelczynski and Krispy Kreative are not affiliated with or endorsed by LPL Financial or Capital Investment Advisers.
Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial. A registered investment advisor. Member FINRA & SIPC.
The financial professionals associated with LPL Financial may discuss and/or transact business only with residents of the states in which they are properly registered or licensed. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident of any other state.
Resources & People Mentioned
Connect With Chris Pelczynski
- Krispy Kreative
- Connect on LinkedIn
Connect with Emerson Fersch
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Audio Production and Show Notes by - PODCAST FAST TRACK