A former National Wedding Sales Manager, Elaine Rau unfortunately lost her brother-in-law, her job and her home all in one week. Stuck in a developing country with no job opportunities, she had to learn how to make an income ASAP. She took it upon herself and spent her last bit of savings, $12.18 to be exact, and invested in a blog domain: LadyBossBlogger.com.
Since its conception, LadyBossBlogger has garnered a massive audience of 150K in under 2 years. It’s a platform that helps current and aspiring female entrepreneurs learn how to start, grow and scale their own online businesses and blogs.
Get to know Elaine and the story behind LadyBossBlogger in our exclusive interview below!
KN: Thanks for being a part of this series, Elaine! Can you share your story and explain how and when LadyBossBlogger got started?
Elaine Rau: I never wanted to be a blogger. I honestly hated writing, but I needed a creative outlet from my job as a National Wedding Sales Manager, so I signed up to be an intern for an online publication and whenever I wasn’t working, I attended exclusive events as press and wrote about my experience.
I loved my job and the wedding industry, but one day, I got a call from my fiancé at the time that changed everything. He told me that he had just found his brother… he had been murdered. I knew I had to be with my fiancé’s family during that extremely difficult time, so I asked my boss if I could attend the funeral in Hondura. And he said no – because it would affect SALES. I was shocked and appalled by his response and realized I was just a dollar sign for his company, so I quit and moved overseas.
I realized after I moved to Honduras that it was going to be a lot harder than I had anticipated. I was jobless for the first time since high school and my “wedding industry skills” didn’t transfer to a developing country. Additionally, I didn’t speak Spanish so my sales skills were also useless. I didn’t want to just work a job I wasn’t passionate about, but outside of the wedding industry, I had no other passions that I could think of.
So I had to reinvent myself and learn a new skill. I decided to start a blog for a few reasons:
- I was desperate to communicate with people that spoke the same languages as me (English + Chinese) because I found myself getting really lonely with only being able to speak to one person (my husband).
- I was in the dumps emotionally and felt like a complete failure without my job. My job was my life – I was a total workaholic and barely did anything outside of work so without it, I was totally lost. I started a blog focusing on highlighting other women’s success so that I could take the focus off my myself and how miserable I was.
- I equated blogging to a feeling of bliss because it was the creative outlet I chose apart from my job and the only thing that made me feel truly alive.
- I didn’t know anything about entrepreneurship until a year prior to starting my blog when I became friends with a bunch of male entrepreneurs in Chicago. I saw the way they lived and how much money they were making and wondered where all the women entrepreneurs were at because we approach things differently.
- I wanted to learn from women which is why I named my blog LADY BOSS BLOGGER because that is who I wanted to become… and that is exactly what happened! I was my very first student and learned everything I know from my own blog and now I teach it in my courses – courses.ladybossblogger.com.
KN: Wow, good on you! How did you go about building LadyBossBlogger and ensuring what you wanted to do with the business was successful?
ER: I didn’t start LadyBossBlogger initially to make money. I started it as a platform where I could learn. At the time I couldn’t find the resources that I needed, so I decided to create the platform I was looking for instead.
I think because I approached it from this attitude of learning, that is why it blew up so quickly. It was never about making a quick buck, it was about connecting woman to woman and all about collaboration. Plus, my situation forced me to sink or swim, so I learned how to swim.
KN: Totally. After working on LadyBossBloggers the last few years, what do you love most about it?
ER: The impact I get to make on aspiring female entrepreneur’s lives. I would have never imagined that LadyBossBlogger would be the go-to place for so many women who are trying to break out of their 9-5’s for a better life filled with freedom and passion.
I’ve taught thousands of women how to blog correctly to make it a business instead of a hobby. It all boils down to having a solid strategy (which I teach in the courses wink wink).
KN: You’re so right! Who would you say your ideal client is?
ER: Women who are working full-time jobs who want to learn how to blog correctly so that they can supplement their income to leave their jobs. Anyone can start a blog that makes $0, it takes the right steps and strategies in place to monetize your blog. And I’m not just talking about a couple hundred bucks a month, I’m talking about making it an actual online business that is sustainable.
My ideal client is someone who is a self-starter who simply needs to be nudged in the right direction but can work independently based on the course I have outlined for them. This way, they are never wasting their time and every task is done with a purpose and in the right direction.
KN: That’s fantastic. What has been the most rewarding and most challenging part of starting and running your own business?
ER: Having a team of interns has been immensely rewarding. I had interns right from the very start. I really missed being a mentor to younger women. I was a mentor all four years of college and found it so fulfilling, but really lacked it in the working world. Also, I realized after having so many interns go through my programs that delegation is actually a skill that came very easily to me.
The most challenging part of being in business is the ups and downs. You go through times of heavy learning when you’re starting new projects such as going from blogging to launching a course. Currently, I’m starting to tap into e-commerce and that is another huge learning curve. It seems like you’re drowning because you’re learning so much, but the result that comes from all that is not only rewarding but super profitable as well!
KN: So true, I’m always on the hunt for what’s new to learn! Learning always keeps me going. What keeps you motivated?
ER: I have always been self-motivated when it came to things I wanted to do. If I don’t want to do something, I delegate it out to one of my wonderful interns.
KN: Very good! And what would you credit your success to?
ER: Having a collaborative mentality and a learner mindset. Also, a main one is being extremely consistent. I haven’t failed to post a brand-new blog post at 6PM CST for more than two years. This consistency has led people to trust me as an authority because I am someone they can depend on every day for good content.
KN: That’s amazing. Consistency is so key. Can I ask how you handle work/life balance?
ER: Great question! I attend weekly gatherings with several different groups to talk about life and faith to make friends in my community. I have a different group for almost every day of the week. Some groups are just for hanging out, some are for studying a book together, and some are groups that my husband and I attend together with other married couples.
I also make it a point to attend at least a couple events every month in Chicago with my friends. For example, I have a monthly meal with my “brunch girls.” Also, my college girlfriends and I still plan a yearly girl’s trip to exotic places around the globe, which is in addition to celebratory birthday trips and such.
If you notice, everything is quite structured – weekly, monthly, yearly, meetings – this ensures that we get together because we are both looking forward to the next event together and therefore make it happen on both ends.
KN: That’s so great! It can be easy to get caught up in our lives, but it sounds like you and your friends definitely make the effort! Switching gears a bit, who inspires you and why?
ER: Arianna Huffington. She realized the power of online media before it was mainstream and is actively changing our perceptions of work/life balance with her new publication, Thrive Global (which I’ve been featured on twice)!
KN: Congrats!! I’m a big fan of Arianna Huffington too. If you had one piece of advice for women, what would it be?
ER: This quote was actually by Nadine Barrett, a recent interviewee I had on my blog. She said, “Work on your mindset until you believe without a question that you deserve success.”
KN: Lipstick & Ink encourages women to always be making their mark. What does “making your mark” mean to you?
ER: I want to be a voice of change and media influence for the younger generation of girls to grow up in a world where they are confident and take chances. I want to inspire aspiring entrepreneurs towards their own success and be a part of their journey.
KN: I think you are already doing that, girl! Do you have any parting thoughts or advice?
ER: If you’re looking for a blogging, social media, PR, marketing, sales, video or graphic design internship, please apply here: LadyBossBlogger.com/career.
Great, thank you again, Elaine! If you want to get to know Elaine more, you can reach her on the following channels:
- Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Twitter: @ladybossblogger
Kelly Nash is a Chicago-based writer, career coach, speaker and founder of Lipstick & Ink®. She also works full-time in technology as a Success Manager at Salesforce and has over 10 years of digital marketing experience. Kelly has been featured in Thrive Global, Chicago Tribune, International Association of Women, General Assembly, Salesforce, and SheFactor. She’s fueled by black coffee, sunshine, a good ink pen, and a bold lip.