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Everyone goes through career rough patches… and for Elley Mae, that was when she was let go after working for 10 years in typical 9-to-5 jobs.
She didn’t let losing her job get her down, and used this experience to transition into working for herself as a full-time business owner and real rebel boss lady.
On Rebel Boss Ladies episode 015, we’re talking to Elley Mae, who is the of ElleyMae.com and the Becoming Boss Society, where she helps ladies who want to quit their desk jobs or 9-to-5s to become full-time entrepreneurs online.
Her story is incredibly inspiring, so whether you’ve been let go or you’re just considering transitioning to working full-time online, Elley has some excellent advice about how to become an online business owner.
Before she transitioned into owning her own business, Elley had always worked for other people. “I have always worked in full-time and part-time jobs in administration, desk jobs, all those sorts of fun things.”
But when she saw other people creating their own blogs and being Instagram influencers, she knew she wanted in.
Elleymae.com, the blog she created in 2016 that is still her blog today, was a beauty blog. She was making some money and having fun with it, but she knew it wasn’t what she wanted long-term.
“I fell out of love with writing about beauty. It wasn’t fulfilling me. I always felt like I had a bigger purpose than just writing about a foundation and how it compares to another one.”
While she was building her blog, she was also working full-time. That is, until she was made redundant.
“It was the biggest shock to the system… That was the hardest time in my life. Like the next few months was insane for me all because of that 10-minute conversation.”
Elley had no idea what she wanted to do after she was let go from her job, and adapting to being unemployed was one of the worst times of her life. She became depressed and anxious, and is very open about her mental health when she shares her story.
“My mental health just plummeted hard core that I couldn't even see that part of me. I couldn't, I didn't even think about getting another job.”
One of the hardest parts of being made redundant was how much Elley tied her job to her self-worth. She had always poured her heart and soul into her work, and it was disappointing to be let go anyways. “I think that's what really hurt me when I was made redundant is I wasn't fired. I did nothing wrong but I also felt like I wasn't appreciated I wasn't respected and that really hit me hard.”
It was a difficult time in her life, but a few months later Elley got accepted to work at another job. “That was like the biggest turnaround for me. I was so excited and that was going to obviously be another job, which ended up being my last job.”
But her time out of work showed Elley that working for someone else wasn’t exactly what she wanted. Even though she loved her new job, she started adapting her own business so she could transition into working on it full-time.
Elley saw a gap in what her audience needed and decided to build a business around filling it. “I shifted my business away from the beauty and away from the influencing and I started to see a bit of a gap in the market with people giving Instagram advice which obviously is very common nowadays. But back then no one was coaching other people about Instagram and giving them tips and everything.”
Elley transitioned her business to helping others with social media, and within a few months Elley’s online income doubled. And then tripled. Once she was making enough money to pay for all of her bills and expenses, she realized that it was time to go full time. This was in mid-2018.
“Because I had prepared and I had my game plan I was like yes let's just do it. My original plan wasn't actually to quit until December 2018. So. That's just crazy that I did it like four or five months earlier.”
Elley emphasizes that being redundant is a lot different than getting fired. “You aren't being fired for work that you've done wrong… they just don't need you so the company no longer needs that position.”
If you’re going through the same thing, Elley says the most important thing to remember is it’s not your fault. “You know you haven't done anything wrong and that you are a great worker and you did do great work for them and you know you shouldn't tie your self-worth to one job.”
It’s easy to be angry about getting laid off, but like Elley, it’s important to use this opportunity to pivot. “Really be grateful for the time that you had there, all the great memories you had, and then think ‘right, well, this obviously wasn't the right path for me. That's obviously a better path out there for me and that's why I'm moving on to.’”
Elley also says that it’s important to remember that everything happens for a reason. She sees this in her own experiences, “if I hadn't been made redundant and gone through all those emotions, I probably wouldn't be helping other ladies quit their 9-to-5s and go full-time. I could be doing something completely different.”
For Elley, quitting her new job to go full-time was a liberating experience. She did a lot to plan for the transition. For her, the most important thing wasn’t making money, but being fulfilled in her job.
“All of 2018 I had been working so hard to get my business really off the ground and to really fulfill me. Not only just make money but to really fulfill me and make me feel like I had that purpose.”
Elley made a lot of sacrifices while she was waiting for her business to generate enough income so that she could quit her day job. She cut a lot of expenses in both her business and personal life while she was transitioning to being a full-time business owner.
Her advice for cutting expenses: do more research about what you’re spending your money on. “There were tools that I was using that might have cost me 50 to 60 dollars a month when I like actually researched it. There were tools that I could use that were free or twelve dollars a month.”
One example of this is the platform Teachable, which Elley was using to deliver her tripwire digital products. “When I looked into SendOwl which was another program and it was $12 and I was like, “wow that's going to do the exact same thing for like forty dollars less” so immediately that was $40 per month.”
Elley also realized she was spending around $50 a month for a deadline funnel when someone recommended the Free WordPress Evergreen Countdown Timer. “I was like ‘wow this is free, like why aren’t I just using this? And saving myself $50 a month again.’”
Elley says it’s equally important to make sure you’re spending wisely in your private life, as well as for business expenses. When Elley was trying to save money, she stopped going on online shopping sprees and making spontaneous purchases.
“I started to think about my business more as a business owner and not as a like a hobbyist.” This shift in perspective really helped Elley to stay motivated and focus on the most important parts of her business.
After her low period when she was out of work, Elley says improving her mental health was an uphill battle.
“I shifted my business and I shifted my day job which was great, but it did take a long time and I still did go to counseling and I started to get into personal development.” Books and motivational speakers like Tony Robbins can really help change your mindset and build positivity.
She emphasizes that who you are as a person and who you are as a business owner is directly linked. Elley says that focusing on personal development “really helped me to change the way that I thought about myself as a person, which then obviously helped me as a business owner, because when you're a business owner that obviously directly affects you as a person and who you are as a person directly affects your business.”
After thinking about the “big picture” of her business, Elley realized she wanted to move away from selling services, and work towards the freedom that comes with selling digital products. She had started her business selling services because they bring in a lot of income, but services can sometimes require a lot more work than selling digital products.
Elley also loved that she could reach a wider audience and help more people with digital products.
“Digital products was like an outlet for me to be able to do that because services, obviously, is you come to me and you want one thing. I provide that to you and you only. Whereas with digital products I could have a big impact and I could help people do the same thing but it might be one hundred people instead of just one.”
Elley says that feedback from other entrepreneurs and friends was essential in helping her create good digital products. When she was building her online business, she consulted her coach and other online business owners to help her think through where she wanted her business to go. “Having feedback from others in the industry definitely really helped.”
Elley also emphasizes that its really important to focus on what your audience needs when you’re creating a digital product.
“I think I'd seen so many e-books come out about, about someone's story or about things that weren't offering a solution to the audience's problems and I was just seeing them flop. And I went ‘Oh my god I don't want that, if I'm going to be pouring hours of work into something I want to be seen as an authority in my nation.’”
She spent a lot of time thinking about her audience's needs and how they were struggling to build a product that would really be helpful. She compiled a list of the common questions that she was asked and used that to look at themes and common problems to work into her product.
When she saw a lot of her audience was struggling with Instagram captions and call to actions, she decided to create a quick swap file of captions that they could use. “I launched them and they went nuts and still everyday people buy them every single day. And that's because I listened to what my audience wanted.”
Elley’s Instagram Caption Collection was her first big digital product launch. She mainly used Instagram Stories to promote her product.
“In the few weeks leading up to it I'd post behind-the-scenes me working on them, a few polls asking people what would your niche be… And that helped me to shape the different categories of captions collection.” Using this strategy she was able to both get some feedback from her audience and promote the product itself before it launched.
“In my Instagram captions I was doing user generated content so it's more just focusing on giving them value about Instagram captions before I even released it.”
Elley was able to launch her product without sending emails or promoting a big launch event. She had generated so much interest from her audience for her product that she was receiving multiple DMs a day from people asking when the product would be ready.
Elley’s Instagram Captions Collections were successful from the moment she launched them. “The second that I finished it I just said on Instagram Stories: Yep it's live. Go buy it.” She made about $400 in the first 24 hours, and still has regular sales every day.
Her product generated so much interest, she has to do very little to promote it. A majority of her sales now come from Pinterest. “I love Pinterest and a majority of my passive income sales do come from there. It's such a powerful tool.”
Elley had no problem selling with cold traffic coming from her pins, but her authority and credibility in her online space also helped convince her audience to buy her product. She had a ton of info on her blog and Instagram already about writing captions, so anyone that came across her site knew her material would be good.
“I think because I already had such a warm audience that you know when the collection came out people were kind of expecting it. It wasn't like I just came out with some random product that people had no idea what it was. So even if someone landed on my website from Pinterest they'd see 100 other things talking all about Instagram so they would get that idea, she knows what she's talking about.”
At the moment, Elley is in a transition phase of her business. She loves working with Instagram and Pinterest strategies, but wants to do more to help other ladies find their own business success.
“Where I'm most fueled, where I'm most passionate and I feel like my soul is really lit on fire is when I'm talking about my story and when I'm sharing my story and I'm talking to ladies who are going through the same transition as me and they're wanting to go full time but they don't know how to do it.”
Because Elley’s already gone through it, she knows how to get in the right mindset to start your own business. She knows you don’t need a ton of money coming in to switch to being full-time.
Elley wants to help other women who are going through the same thing that she went through, and help them transition into being their own bosses. She wants “to help them come out the other side and to help them see how incredible being in business and being your own boss can be because it's so empowering.”
//LINKS IN THE SHOW//
Check out Elley’s website here – www.elleymae.com
Elley is a full-time entrepreneur & founder of The Becoming Boss Society, where she helps female side-hustlers to take their dream of being a full-time boss & turn that into a reality.