A Conversation With Behavior Analyst Kristin Frigelj

Frigelj is founder and owner of KORA Analysis, which provides in-home services to individuals on the Autism spectrum, and Frigelj Coaching, offering behavior-based life coaching for mothers with young children

by CoVaBizMag

By Beth Hester
Photography By David Uhrin

Kristin Frigelj is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). She’s founder and owner of KORA Analysis, a group that provides in-home services to individuals on the Autism spectrum. Her new, sister company, Kristin Frigelj Coaching offers behavior-based life coaching focused on mothers with young children.

Frigelj’s passion for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) began when working as an in-home ABA therapist while attending George Mason University and grew as she continued her education in the field. She holds a master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Florida Institute of Technology and became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2007. In 2012 Kristin was a BCBA representative for the Virginia Board of Medicine’s ABA Work Group, whose goal was to recommend regulations for the Behavior Analyst state license.

In a recent interview, we asked Frigelj about her entrepreneurial experiences, behavior-based coaching, and fictional dinner party guests.

CoVa BIZ: How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance as a business owner, and what strategies do you use to minimize burnout?

Kristin Frigelj: I’m lucky to have built a business in a field that has only increased in demand over the years. This has led to adjacent growth opportunities and has enabled me to step back from years of managing a full caseload and transition to developing and managing new projects. Avoiding burnout is a big topic in behavior analysis circles as it’s very common among our service providers, and it’s a focus of my behavior change practice as well. Offering new services to a different audience—mothers of young children—has helped me sidestep that particular stress.

Can you share a time when you took a significant risk in your business, and what lessons did you learn from that experience?

When I began to offer behavior change coaching services to a new population I knew it was a risk, but more of a low-cost risk. I dove into a new area of online marketing and had to develop a few new skills that I had not needed to utilize previously. I went from providing a service that was extremely in-demand and which needed very little active marketing to having to actively sell myself and my practice.

Are there any unconventional or non-traditional approaches or strategies you’ve implemented in your business that have yielded unexpected positive results?

If there were a conventional way to operate as a life coach, I’d say I run in the opposite direction! When I started my company in 2011 my goal was to remain as transparent and open as possible with the staff members I brought on board. It was important to build trust from the very beginning and that approach has led to some long-standing, and amazing professional relationships.

Are there any unique sources of inspiration or insights that you regularly tap into to stay ahead in your industry or niche?

I wouldn’t say that this makes me stay ahead of my industry, but I think that my 20 years of experience in behavior analysis is what differentiates me from other life coaches. I don’t guide clients based upon just my own life experiences or a cookie cutter coaching course. The science behind behavior change is something that I’ve studied throughout my professional career. It’s important to provide services that are grounded in evidence-based practices. Of course, bringing my ‘mom’ experience to the table doesn’t hurt either.

Can you share an example of a failure or setback in your business journey that ultimately led to a valuable lesson or unexpected opportunity?

The use of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is the backbone of my coaching practice and it’s not just something I deploy in my professional life, it’s a mindful approach to life that I practice personally. I wouldn’t label a specific setback as teaching me any particular lesson, but the ongoing implementation of ‘practicing what I preach’ is a constant reminder of how the science of behavior analysis works.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs looking to start a business?

Virginia is an excellent state in which to start a business. While it’s simple to create a business, it’s crucial to put together an advisory board for yourself, however informal. Find an accountant you trust and seek out legal expertise specific to your field. When I created my first business I was lucky to do it alongside friends who were in a similar position so we were able to lean on each other, act as sounding boards, and cheer each other on; that experience was priceless.

What is the most unusual or unexpected item on your office desk, and is there a story behind it?

It’s not something on my desk per se, but the wall behind my chair in my office at The IncuHub is adorned with my children’s artwork. When I first moved in I encountered a big blank wall which is a pretty boring backdrop for all of the virtual meetings I was a part of each day. Creating the gallery wall solved the common parent problem of what to do with all the great crafts my children bring home from school, and their artwork makes for a good conversation starter in meetings as well.

If your business had a theme song, what would it be, and how does it capture the essence of your company?

Let’s go with Lean on Me by Bill Withers. I’ve always loved it and I want people to feel they can depend on me, trust me, and use me as a guide to create a future they love.

If you could invite any three fictional characters to a dinner party with you and your team, who would you choose and why?

• Anne of Green Gables: She is a childhood favorite and I’m sure would make for interesting conversation.
• Ted Lasso: Obviously the most positive guy around and I can’t get enough of his puns.
• Meredith Grey: I’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy since Episode 1; even though I find the show quite annoying these days I must see it through to the very end!

What is your favorite productivity tool?

I am obsessed with the app Canva. I know it’s not a typical productivity tool, however, I’d still classify it as one thanks to the ease with which it helps creates beautiful content, imagery, tracking sheets, presentations, logos, etc. You name an area of business, I’ve used Canva to create something for it.

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