by Tsitaliya Mircheva
I am so happy to be featuring a story like Elaine’s this week. She is a successful entrepreneur with a wealth of knowledge to share with our circle of women and I can’t wait for you to hear. She had to make some difficult decisions to take the path less traveled and albeit a little riskier but throughout the journey she found that through challenging herself, she was able to craft, strategize, and build a life and career that was more aligned with what was inside her Wonder Woman Heart.
We chose to feature Elaine in our Wonder Women series because we have so much in common with her: she has moved from one country to another more than once, she is a role model for many women in business, she is an online entrepreneur, she re-invented herself, and she re-branded her image when she was taken out of her comfort zone, her country, and her job for many years.
When you remove all of the things that define you, you are left with the core, which can leave one feeling pretty vulnerable and small. But in actuality, for some, this is an ideal time to stay true and strengthen, rather than conform.
When Elaine could not fit in, she created her own world that attracted many other women just like her to seek her out for advice and support. Elaine Rau founded the Lady Boss Blogger platform to bring into the spotlight female entrepreneurs, share their successes AND struggles all over the world, help them connect, share tips/expertise, and empower each other. Because it is not rocket science, that there is power in numbers.
Reading this honest and heartfelt interview you will see that change in our lives doesn’t happen overnight. It is a result of difficult decisions, hard work, and breaking beyond your beliefs about who you are. People may ask you one day: How did this happen, how did you achieve your success, but what they somehow miss to see is the hard work and hustle, and as Elaine says, she wishes to change that!
Tsitaliya: Elaine what has moving to another country taught you?
Elaine: It has taught me the importance of gentleness. Moving from the bustling heart of Chicago to Honduras was quite a big shift, not only in lifestyle and mindset but also in culture and language. I also left all my friends behind as well as my job I worked so hard to get, which had become a huge part of my identity. I am generally a pretty adaptable person and moved from Taiwan to the US when I was a junior in high school, so I had already done the whole “move to another country thing”. However, this time I didn’t have language on my side, which made me feel extremely isolated and lonely considering that on a scale of 1-10 on the extroversion scale, I am a 10.
Why I said gentleness is because when I am in uncomfortable situations where I feel completely out of control, I tend to lash out against the people I am closest to as a form of my inner turmoil surfacing. One of the reasons I moved was because my fiancé was unable to get a visa to stay in the states so I decided to move to his home country for a year until we could obtain a visa for him to go back. This made him the brunt of my hurtful words and angry episodes for the first month, which was honestly pretty terrible. I not only expressed my dissatisfaction to him, but it started to play out in other situations as well, specifically this one time I was on the phone with a unknowing customer service rep just trying to do their job.
I was on the phone with my bank from the states trying to transfer money and it was just a headache. I was furious when they told me they couldn’t do a simple transfer because of some reason or other and I just lost it. After my fiancé calmed me down, he called them back and in a very pleasing manner was able to get them to do exactly what needed to be done with no trouble at all. I was honestly shocked. That was a huge wakeup call for me and I am glad it happened early on in my move so that I could learn the importance of gentleness, soften my layers, and move towards becoming a nicer person.
“Every month I learned in different ways how to strip off a hard layer and replace it with a soft one. It wasn’t easy, in fact I had to be extremely deliberate in changing my ways”
Fast-forward 9 months later, I feel renewed and refreshed and honestly feel like a different person. You’re probably thinking, “Thank goodness, that poor fiancé!” Yea, that’s what I thought too! I got lucky that the most patient man in the world decided he wanted to be with me. Every month I learned in different ways how to strip off a hard layer and replace it with a soft one. It wasn’t easy, in fact I had to be extremely deliberate in changing my ways. Being in a relaxing and warm environment definitely helped. I didn’t have the pressures from my former big city life where in order to get to the top I had to knock everyone down who stood in my path. I worked in the wedding industry in Chicago where the competition is fierce and will run you over if you don’t keep up.
Tsitaliya: Moving to another country, sometimes another continent and starting a life from scratch has its pros and cons. What are the good, the bad and the inspiring pieces of your story of a New Beginning?
Elaine: Life in Honduras is really chill, or as they say here “tranquilo”. Unlike Chicago where everything is immediate and you can take life by the reigns and ride it how you want, Honduras is a third world country with an extremely poor demographic and the majority of people are unemployed. Not because they don’t want to work, but because of the lack of jobs there are. I was also stuck in that category when I moved. I had spent so much money moving down here, buying a car in cash, and there just seemed to be so many other expenses when you move, that I had depleted my savings and because I didn’t speak the language, I wasn’t able to apply for the jobs I wanted… if there was even a job opening available!
“Now I was jobless AND purposeless, but being without money and without a job really makes you start to think about what is really important in life“
So not only was I miserable due to everything mentioned above, I was also jobless. My job was my life and a huge part of my identity back in Chicago, and even though it burned me out and wore me down, it still gave me a sense of purpose. Now I was jobless AND purposeless, but being without money and without a job really makes you start to think about what is really important in life. I knew I had decided to move to Honduras myself so I stopped blaming my fiancé. I also knew that I had to start making money otherwise I would go crazy.
So I decided to buy a blog to occupy my time and wanted to write about who I wanted to become – a female entrepreneur. And that was how my own entrepreneurial journey began. Ironically, I would never have done anything like that back in the states where I was comfortable and knew how everything was done. It took a ‘new beginning’ for me to learn how to reinvent myself and learn a new skill.
Tsitaliya: What do you wish you knew about running your own business before you became an entrepreneur?
Elaine: I knew that owning a business would come with a bunch of accounting and paperwork, I wish I would have known just how much came with it though! It would have also been nice to have someone there to guide me through how to set up my business legally.
Tsitaliya: What was the hardest part of making your business move forward?
Elaine: Learning how to prioritize the important things. I love to do the daily activities and things that I have already established in my routine since setting my business up, but in order for a business to grow, there needs to be change. I guess with so much change happening around me, I just wanted something routine. We actually just moved from Honduras back to Chicago and once again are going through transition. Now I am looking to scale my business to support us in America and that is the biggest task I have yet to come by in my business! The hardest part right now is honestly getting past my own self limiting beliefs in order to grow the business.
Tsitaliya: What does happiness mean to you?
Elaine: I believe happiness is when you are at peace with yourself and your surroundings. It is when you have found your place and found your mate! It isn’t a destination though, it is a journey, and you can choose to be happy along that journey or you can choose to be miserable. Happiness is a choice.
Tsitaliya: What is the most important thing you want to share with other bloggers and entrepreneurs out there?
Elaine: The media plays a powerful part in how we see ourselves, what we think we can achieve, and what limitations we put on ourselves as well. The more women are properly portrayed, the more women will rise up in leadership and push past their self-limiting beliefs. We need to fill the media with stories about powerful women and change women’s mindsets about themselves. Will you help me do so?
Tsitaliya: Can you share three tips that really work for attracting clients and becoming visible as a business?
- Instagram – learning how to utilize this platform can really benefit your business. The majority of my clients come from Instagram. Whoever follows your account has already proven themselves to be interested in your content, which qualifies them as a potential client and makes them a warm lead!
- Call to action – always guide your audience to do something. If you want to make a sale, you need to ask for it. Check out how to get featured on my hub for female entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial resources. On all my social media channels I tell people to “ASK ME HOW TO GET FEATURED.” And they do!
- Collaborate – connect with like-minded women and businesses and collaborate with them! Do a little research on their audience and check out who they attract, if your target audience aligns and you collaborate with one another, bingo! You both get visibility and you both are helping one another out, a win-win situation
Tsitaliya: Tell us about your life outside of your blog, what inspires you, what makes you wake up in the morning?
Elaine: I honestly like to sleep… a lot! I like waking up at noon to start my day and go to bed around 1am-2am. That is when I operate the best both socially and in business. I am a night owl!
Tsitaliya: At Mums in Heels we love style and fashion, can you share with us what role fashion plays in your life?
Elaine: Fashion has always played a huge role in my life. I really believe that what you choose to wear reflects what is going on inside, at least that is how I dress! Whenever I put on a pencil skirt and blazer or a super cute but professional dress, I feel incredibly powerful. It not only shows through when I talk, but also how I walk and how I hold myself. I love wearing powerful clothing!
Tsitaliya: What empowers you? Do you have a role model, an icon you look up to?
Elaine: Helena Rubinstein – she founded an eponymous cosmetics company in an age when women didn’t found companies at all, and managed to become one of the world’s richest women due to its overwhelming success. She not only broke the ‘rules’ – she created them and because of her bravery has allowed us to continue in her footsteps!
Tsitaliya: You strive to become/be…?
Elaine: I strive to be an inspiration for other women to rise up in leadership and power.
Tsitaliya: Heel or flats? And why?
Elaine: Platforms all day every day haha! I love feeling that I am almost 6 feet tall, but then being able to take my heels off and look at the world on a different plane. When I was in sales I would make so much more money when I wore heels v.s. when I wore flats. It was probably completely a psychological thing, but if it works, then I will keep doing it!