Q&A with Leading Lady Boss & Entrepreneur, Elaine Rau
I am so excited to have chatted with notable entrepreneur and the original "Lady Boss" Elaine Rau of the LadyBossBlogger.com blog. Here's what she had to say about her entrepreneurial journey.
1) Please tell our readers about your background.
My background is actually in sales. The first job I got out of college was at David’s Bridal where I was a bridal sales consultant. I continued working in the wedding industry and did probably just about every wedding related job possible to then working my way up the corporate ladder to become the National Wedding Sales Manager at one of the largest photo and video companies in the United States.
Even though the money was great and I loved my job, I really wanted a creative outlet from being in sales mode all the time. I had graduated with a degree in art and missed using the right side of my brain. Even though I worked from 10AM-10PM most days, I started looking for creative opportunities to fill up the time I had to spare.
I wanted to work for someone who ran an online magazine so I started looking on LinkedIn for opportunities and found someone who looked like a match! She had started an online magazine to highlight artists and other creatives in Chicago. I loved her concept and wanted to help further her mission, so I reached out to her and inquired about becoming her intern. Soon after, we met up for coffee and I started working for her.
I had an incredible time interning for her; she was always being invited to exclusive events and launch parties and people were always asking her to review their products, and she gladly sent the opportunity off to all of us interns because she couldn’t do it all! I was able to meet Lauren Conrad, had brunch with celebrity stylist Sarah Potempa and reviewed her new product: the Beach Waver, interviewed former Bear Israel Idonije, covered the event when the first Emirates plane landed in Chicago, reviewed the popular Roy’s Lobster and Filet’s new menu, and so much more!!!
It was so much fun, however, I was doing everything without pay and the puzzling part was, so was she! I knew that there was definitely value in creating content for other people, judging by how many people wanted her free press, but I had no clue how to do it or where to even look! After working for her for almost two years, I moved to Central America for my fiancé so I put a pause on my internship since I couldn’t physically attend events.
My move to Honduras was a rocky one. I was completely out of my element and comfort zone. I didn’t understand the culture, I didn’t speak the language, and I had just left all my friends and the home I had lived in for 7 years. On top of that, I had quit my job as the National Wedding Sales Manager, which had also become a huge part of my identity, and I felt completely lost. I regretted my spontaneous decision and the first month was one of the loneliest months I had felt in a long time.
I wasn’t able to find a job I liked in Honduras either, mostly because I needed to be able to speak the language to work the jobs I wanted to, but also the unemployment rate in Honduras is almost at 85% and you really need to know people to get a job here. Luckily, I have the most supportive fiancé ever and he encouraged me daily to take this down time to find myself, rediscover my interests, and find out what truly made me happy even if I wasn’t paid to do it.
Immediately I thought about my internship and how much I loved the world of blogging, so I started my own blog so I could channel my energy, find my purpose again and connect with people online so I didn’t feel so alone. I decided I wanted to write about female entrepreneurs so I could learn from them and how they started their own online businesses. I crafted an interview where I asked very specific and targeted questions that I wanted to learn about. Little did I know at that point that you could actually make money blogging!
2) Why did you start your business?
I needed to start making money somehow and because of the situation I had put myself in, I needed to find a solution to get myself out! I had been creating content for a couple weeks and noticed that I was getting a lot of traction on my interviews (we’re talking like 50-100 shares on each post). So being the salesperson that I am, I created a sales packet to market my blog posts, sent it out to a few leads to see if it would catch on, and it did… like wildfire! That was the day I made my first entrepreneurial dollars and I have continued to hone my blog (and business) since then!
3) What market does your business serve?
My blog, LadyBossBlogger, is about female entrepreneurs for female entrepreneurs! It is for ladies who are navigating the entrepreneurial world and looking for resources and inspiration. There are two sections of the blog, the interview section, and the resource section. The interviews serve as an inspiration and feature ladies from all walks of life and from all industries. I believe that we learn the best information when we read about different perspectives and different ways of doing things. Even if you are a seasoned entrepreneur reading about someone who just started, they can bring to your attention something you may not have thought about in a while and help hone your business.
The resource section was actually inspired by the interview section. Since I have the interview process working like a well-oiled machine, I have started to look for ways to expand. I have a question where I ask about the ladies’ favorite resources and because of their recommendations; I have started using those same resources! This section is designed to elaborate on that question where people not only share their favorite resources but also their experience using it and their review of it.
4) What's the largest challenge you've encountered as a business owner?
People are meaner and cattier over the web than anywhere else. I’ve had people pose as interns, take all my materials, then leave immediately. I’ve had people talk down about my business and devalue my services when they are trying to sell their own. In business, you really need tough skin; I am happy I have had 7 years of sales experience which also means 7 years of learning how to deal with mean people and rejection, which has prepared me for this job!
I have also learned this year that being overly kind never hurts. We all just want to be heard, understood, valued and cared for. Be a person you would personally want to deal with; there is no shortage for kindness in this world. Be the change you want to see!
I’ve been hurt and taken advantage as a business owner, but I also understand that hurt people hurt people, and I have to make the choice to forgive, learn from those experiences and move on. You can’t control what other people do, what you can control is your own actions and how you respond.
5) What's your best piece of business advice?
Take action every single day, even if it is small. Success doesn’t come from thinking about all the ideas you have then doing nothing about them. Success comes from an accumulation of actions done over a period of time. This is how you will hone your craft, you get better at something you do every day, and that is what you can slowly begin calling your skillset or expertise.
6) How do you like to relax?
I like to go to the movies with my fiancé or just watch Netflix at home. I like that movies are both entertaining and a mindless activity for me where I can spend a couple hours away from being hunched over at my computer and enter a different world on the screen.
You can connect with Elaine on any of the following platforms.
Facebook Group www.facebook.com/groups/ladybossblogger