I am thrilled to introduce you to one of my course graduates! After doing the Website Launchpad course in 2011, Erin O’Brien launched her website and has been working from home in her business.
She is Chief Encouragement Officer at Activate28, helping social entrepreneurs who have a big vision for making a difference but who struggle with all the little steps in making it a reality.
Starting her own business was Erin’s third big life change – the first two were spontaneous pack-up-and-move-overseas adventures (moving from Sydney to live in Tonga and New Zealand). Read on to find out more about Erin’s Good Life Crisis.
What was the catalyst for your Good Life Crisis?
My Good Life Crisis happened when I was teaching at a university and my contract expired. I wondered “What next?”…
Although I’d had a business in the past (more a ‘glorified hobby’ than a serious career), I decided it was finally time to take the plunge and see what self-employment was truly like.
How has this changed your life?
Firstly, working from home has been brilliant! Instead of 1 hour traffic jams, I have a “10 second commute” into my home office. I also get to enjoy the view out my window all day long (although to be honest, it’s easy to take the view for granted when it’s a constant backdrop).
Because I work from home I also get a lot of flexibility in terms of where I meet up with clients. Mostly I work over the internet, but sometimes I meet up with them in a café, at a park or at their home.
The most important change I’ve experienced is that I get to be my own boss and do what I love. I can’t believe I get paid to follow my passion – helping others make a difference in the world.
What is the biggest thing you have learnt as a result of your Good Life Crisis?
I’ve discovered that changing your life requires a leap of faith followed up by LOTS of consistent action. Having a good idea is great, but without the follow-up, it’s just a dream.
I’ve had many ‘teachable moments’ along the way. For example, I probably could’ve gotten a part-time job earlier. For the first 7 months I didn’t have any income apart from my business, and it was really tight!
I really chomped into my savings. I now have a second income stream – a part-time job a few hours a week – and it’s definitely taken the pressure off.
The biggest shock I’ve had so far was when I got a client from the USA ‘out of the blue’. They had found me via a google search for “procrastination webinar”. I hadn’t put any effort into my SEO (search engine optimisation), so I was surprised that people could find me via the web.
I was extra shocked to discover I actually appeared #1 in Google for that search term!
What drives you to keep going and pursuing your passion?
When I hear my clients having breakthroughs, I know that this is the work I’m meant to be doing. It’s so rewarding to see clients shift from feeling overwhelmed or unmotivated, to taking action and moving forward.
For example, one client had a vision to raise a LOT of money for charity but was feeling stuck because it felt too big. We found ways of making it feel less scary – instead of organising one big event to raise a lot of money, she decided that smaller events would be more fun and less stressful.
The major turning-point was when we got into the nitty-gritty: identifying three local charities to call and brainstorming what to say! When I hear from her that she took a leap of courage and made the phonecall, I felt so excited – it drives me to want to do more.
Has your vision changed since you began this journey?
My vision is constantly evolving. One thing I’ve changed is my target market (I started out helping people through a quarterlife crisis … now I’m committed to helping social entrepreneurs).
But my overall goal hasn’t changed – helping people with taking the teeny-tiny actions towards their big vision. Likewise, my original intention of being self-employed through my online business has remained strong and is becoming a reality.
What message would you like people to take away from your story?
To connect to a community of likeminded people! So many of us try to do it alone (myself included!). But it’s so much easier having a community to lean on.
During my first change of life experiences (when I moved to Tonga and to New Zealand), I didn’t have much of a community around me. They were real solo efforts – I didn’t share the decision-making process with anyone, I didn’t ask for support, I just was determined to do it alone.
This time round, I’ve noticed the change was a lot more enjoyable and less stressful, because I’ve had people around me to bounce ideas off.
I belong to two blogging communities (one is run by Serena), and they have been super helpful. I love being able to ask questions, and to help others by sharing my experience.
To be honest, I’m trying not to look too far into the future. I’m enjoying seeing how this is unfolding on its own. All I’m focusing on is taking the ‘next right step’ – for now, that’s getting mentoring so I can best manage the momentum in my business.
Activate28 is about thinking clearly and getting the important things done! Erin helps people to think clearly, show them how time management techniques work and make it easy to take action. Find out more in Erin’s free eBook, “4 Quick Tips for Getting Unstuck“.