How Elaine Rau Learned to Redefine her Career by Defining her Passion
Your one-sentence elevator pitch (what you do, who you are, written in third person)
Tell us about your corporate background. What type of career path were you on?
I worked my way up the wedding industry and sold everything from wedding dresses to venues to planning packages and eventually landed the coveted job as the National Wedding Sales Manager for a global photo and video company.
What did you love about your work?
I love helping people save money so I worked hard to find the best deals for my clients so that I always offered them no-brainer deals. I booked 85% of the appointments that walked in through my door (70% of them I booked on the spot during the first appointment).
"I don't have regrets, just things I wish I did better or knew about earlier."
Tell us about what led you to leave the corporate 9-5 world?
My boyfriend of 5 years called me from Honduras where he was living at the time and delivered horrible news. His brother had been missing for a week and when they finally found his body, they found out he had been murdered. I asked my boss if I could go bury his brother and be with his family and his response stunned me. He said no. And his reasoning was even worse... because it would affect sales. So I quit and moved overseas to be with my boyfriend during this devastating time.
"I had to learn how to redefine myself by finding out what else I was passionate about."
What did you find most challenging about leaving the corporate world?
My "wedding industry skills" didn't apply when living in a developing country and my sales skills didn't transfer either because I didn't speak Spanish! The wedding industry defined me both at work and outside of work. So when I didn't have a wedding job title to claim, I didn't know who I was anymore. I had to learn how to redefine myself by finding out what else I was passionate about. Because I didn't have a job to go to, I had to give myself a purpose to wake up every day which is why I started blogging. Blogging literally saved me.
What event, person or moment encouraged you to finally take the leap for good?
I started making money blogging the first week I started my blog, but when we moved back to the states a year later, it wasn't enough to sustain both my husband and I because he wasn't able to work in the US. So I took a corporate job in the social media space, but after experiencing complete time freedom the year prior, it was really hard to regress back. I finally broke down 6 months later, quit, and started blogging full-time again without worrying about what would happen and it worked out.
Do you have any regrets?
I don't have regrets, just things I wish I did better or knew about earlier. For example, I wish I knew the importance of email list building from day one. I would prefer to have 150,000 email subscribers over 15,000 followers any day, right now it's the other way around!
What do you love most about your current path?
Time freedom and the ability to mentor college girls again. All throughout college, I mentored girls younger than me and I really missed it after graduation. Now through the internship programs that I created, I get to mentor girls again and help transform and equip the younger generation of women rising up into the working world. More information: LadyBossBlogger.com/career.
People seem to think that being an entrepreneur, solopreneur or consultant is all glamour. Set us straight: What is the biggest challenge of running your own business?
Sometimes I have a billion ideas and no time to execute them all, other times I am a dry well, super uninspired and not motivated. It comes in waves which is both good and bad because when I'm at the peak I need to slow down and when I'm in the valley I'm kicking myself to get back into gear. So it's a never ending battle with myself!
What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
You are going to go through unbearable pain, extreme hardship, betrayals you think you'll never be able to get over, but you must know, you are stronger than you think and you will consistently turn your pain into motivation and gain more from this life than you ever even thought was possible... and there is still so much life to live!
What advice would you give anyone frustrated with their corporate job?
Start developing interests and skills outside of your job and DO INTERNSHIPS to learn if you'll actually enjoy them in a work setting. (BTW you're never too old to be an intern, perhaps calling it a volunteer is better). Amidst my busy schedule as the National Wedding Sales Manager, I interned for a blogger as a stress reliever... she wasn't making any money so I didn't even know you could make money blogging, all I knew was that it was something I enjoyed which is why when I was stressed again in Honduras, I started blogging again.
Song title that describes me right at this very moment:
Pharrell Williams - Happy!