People can often place bloggers into this very narrow view of the online media world. People tend to think of fashion, beauty and shopping - often associating them with the frivolous. Yet, there are a slew of bloggers whose focus is on empowerment, business, inspiration and changing the world. They are writing about topics that have substance and meaning. They are sharing their thoughts, vision and highlighting how people all over the world are changing the very communities they are a part of through their work in business, art, activism and so much more. One of our very own Halfstackers: Elaine Rau, has created her very own space of empowerment on the inter webs, dubbed: Ladybossblogger.com. After transitioning and moving to Honduras, Elaine decided to make some changes and make her destiny work for her.
Over the last couple of years writing for us and other outlets, Elaine kept on meeting male entrepreneurs and wondered where all the females were at! So, she started ladybossblogger to find and connect them and give them a platform to be seen and be heard. Her desire is to connect ladies from all around the world, build strong relationships, and create a network of sharing insight and expertise. She is sharing the vision of #womensupportingwomen! She took some time to talk with me about this latest launch and what her journey has been like. Check out the full interview below.
1. Elaine, can you share a bit about yourself, your background/career and what led you to pursuing launching your blog?
Right after college I jumped around from job to job, finding out what I liked and disliked at each one. Once the cons outweighed the pros I would find another job immediately. Because of this, I started developing a reputation among my friends where they would call me the “job collector” - you know how some people collect shells, well I collected jobs. I always worked for 2-3 different companies at once and would change them out every few months to find something better and more in line with what I wanted.
Through my experiences I quickly discovered that my interests and skills aligned well with the wedding industry, so I dove in headfirst and worked harder than ever toward my new and focused goal. Two years and three promotions later, I had worked my way up to being the National Wedding Sales Manager of an award winning photo and video company in Chicago. However in the back of my mind I still wanted more. I wanted more freedom, more time but most of all - I wanted more creativity! I graduated as an art studio major with my concentration in ceramics and I really missed the arts and being able to express myself through design instead of being so focused on sales, numbers, and dollar signs. At this point I was working 10am-10pm, basically from when I opened my eyes to when I closed them for three reasons
1) I really did love my job 2) The money was soooo good! 3) I kind of am a workaholic lol… However, I knew that something needed to change despite all the pro’s, I was under an extreme amount of stress daily and didn’t have time to do ANYTHING else but work. I was barely eating because I didn't have time to do so or eating at really odd hours, which was not beneficial for my health. Additionally, a year ago my fiancé’s visa had expired and we were in a long distance relationship. I was getting extremely discouraged and tired of that. So I decided to quit, pack up my life in two suitcases, and move to Honduras where he lived (and is from). It wasn’t the smoothest of transitions having barely planned anything prior to leaving wasn’t the smartest move either.
I didn’t realize how much it would cost me upfront to move and ended up spending half my savings within the first few weeks I was there. I didn’t speak Spanish, didn’t have a job lined up, and considering that Honduras has an unemployment rate of 85% - I knew had to get creative. So one day as I was sitting at home thinking about what skills I had to offer (and how no one wanted them here) and how I could make the most of a sad jobless situation, I thought back to my previous experiences in Chicago and came up with a plan of action. I was going to start a blog and write about the people that I wanted to be myself, a female entrepreneur.
2. Can you touch on your writing career and new blog and what the focus is on?
My writing journey began when I was trying to break into the world of online magazines and came across Jennifer Lezan’s profile on LinkedIn, Founder and CEO of Halfstack Magazine. I read through her profile and was so impressed and inspired by her achievements by age 28 that I just HAD to meet her. So I reach out to her via LinkedIn messenger, we met up shortly thereafter, and I started writing and designing for her publication. Through Halfstack I got the opportunity to meet famous celebrity hair stylists and fashion stylists, famous football players, famous celebrities, amazing chefs and eateries all over Chicago, tried out med spas, went to exclusive events and so much more… I loved it so much! I loved being on the press team, covering events and entering with our exclusive badges or back stage passes and receiving freebies. However, once I moved to Honduras I had to say goodbye to all of that and having language barriers and safety issues in Honduras, events in general were out of the picture entirely.
I really wanted to get that feeling back somehow but also needed a job too, so as I was trying to figure out how to combine the two, I knew I had to just start blogging again. I also knew if I thought about it too long before I acted, I would never do it, so I bought my domain name and worked on the website immediately and in one day I had learned most of what I needed to know about WordPress and the basic structure of the website was complete. I wanted my blog to focus on ladies that I wanted to become and learn from and I wanted others who read it to get value from their insight and expertise. I also started a Facebook Networking Group where I will be posting videos that the ladies have made of themselves sharing their expert tips with everyone else.
3. Where do you draw your inspiration for the work you create – how do you go about exploring new and different things to write about?
I draw inspiration from every single woman I interview on my blog. I only do one thing on my blog as of now, and that is interview and feature lady businesses from all over the world. Each interview is different and unique because the women have started all sorts of businesses in all fields and have a different perspective on life and business according to their various life experiences.
4. What are you hoping to do with your blog and career in the next 5 years in terms of growth and outreach?
My goal is to grow my blog immensely and for it to ultimately be as big and well-known as the Huffington Post! I want it to be a widely recognized blog where women from all over the world email me to get their businesses featured because of the traction and publicity they get on their sites when they do. I also want it to be a place where women go to find a community of other female entrepreneurs whom they can learn from and share their own expertise with.
5. What has been your proudest moment on this journey so far?
The two happiest moments so far was when I got my first subscriber to my email list and when I made my first dollar!
6. Have you faced obstacles on this journey and if so, how did you overcome?
Yes, plenty. A month in I really wanted to give up and completely change what I was doing and focus on the wedding industry because that is what I knew and was comfortable with, but at the end of the day I remember making a very clear and distinct decision to STICK WITH IT. I have always been very spontaneous and like to jump from one thing to the next, but I realized my old habits were getting in the way of building anything substantial. The first paid feature I did was on Joelle Tremblay, who features celebrity failures on her blog to bring realness back into the world of social media. I thought that was quite remarkable because it aligned so well with what I was going through at the time. I was ready to give up because I was jobless and not motivated and this whole blog thing wasn’t working either, but she gave me the exact boost I needed and allowed me to take a step back, count my blessings and push forward.
7. What kind of advice would you give a person who is interested in pursuing a career in the blogging world?
Just start. You will figure it all out along the way. You don’t have to be ready, nor will you feel ready and that is ok. If you just take one action that moves you forward to where you want to be, you are already on the path towards success. Also try to post new content EVERY SINGLE DAY if possible. Push yourself to constantly be creating and making your blog relevant. The more content you create, the more traction you will have, the more followers you get, the more money opportunities will follow.
8. Are there any mentors that have had a huge impact on you and your career?
I never had a mentor for my career, growing up in a family of professors; it didn’t even cross my mind that I could have the opportunity to be my own boss. Actually another reason that I started the blog was that I couldn’t afford a mentor but still wanted to learn from ladypreneurs who had gone before me, and that was the foundation to the structure of the blog. But I would say the closest thing to being my mentor was my very first boss outside of college, Jenny Nagle.
She was never officially my mentor, nor was her career choice the path that I wanted to pursue, but I learned a lot of other values just from being in her presence. She showed me the ropes to the job but gave me creative freedom to use my judgment, which showed me that she trusted me and that I was reliable to her. She taught me about character and about how who you are inside and outside of your home should match. She also knew that I was an international student and my parents lived overseas so every Thanksgiving she would invite me and my boyfriend at the time over to her place so I would have a home to go to. Overall she just taught me how to be a better human being and to this day we are still in contact!
9. What are your thoughts on women’s rights, their impact on the careers they pursue and how women worldwide are fighting to make a change for equality?
One of the reasons I chose to work only with women is because I wanted to highlight the people that the general media breezes over. I also wanted to elevate the business aspect of women instead of diminishing their accomplishments by talking about their makeup or fashion or what beauty products they like to use, unless that is what their business is about, but I wanted to focus solely on business. There is a time and place for other aspects like that, and I am not saying that it isn’t noteworthy; it just isn’t the focus of my blog. I believe women, in general, choose their jobs or to be in specific fields around their interests, job security, or money first, but once they have a family, their priorities shift.
I believe the rise of women pursing entrepreneurship can be related to them wanting to spend more time with their families and due to how the current work world is structured, most companies either don’t have maternal leaves, don’t value it, or hire men because they are ‘less of a hassle’ and won’t disrupt the companies work flow because they can’t get pregnant. I am super excited about the shift that is happening and really believe with more women in the work space as well as starting their own businesses, the world will become a better place.
10. Finally, where can we learn more about you, your site, and services?
Firstly, if you are interested or have a lady friend you would like to recommend to be featured, please email me at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Secondly, please check my website and subscribe to our email list to stay up to date with the other ladies we feature.
Facebook Network Group: www.facebook.com/groups/ladybossblogger