This is an interview with Elley Mae.
Hey, Elley. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
Heeeey! Firstly, thank you for having me, I’m excited to dive in. And secondly, hey, I’m Elley of ElleyMae.com! I’m a business coach from Australia and I help female entrepreneurs to work less, earn more & book their dream clients with ease.
My greatest passion is seeing the women I work with to stop hustling & start enjoying the freedom that they actually started their businesses for in the first place!
What was your life like before being your own boss, and what made you decide to start a business?
As cliche as it sounds, for years I was overworked & underpaid.
I was working in day jobs that I hated and being paid far less than I deserved (or what I really wanted to be paid at least). I’d pour my heart and soul into everything I did – I always have and always will – despite not really loving what I was doing in any of those day jobs.
For me, starting a business wasn’t a “I’m sick of my day jobs so I’ll just start a business” kind of thing. I actually began my entrepreneurial journey back when I was 15 years old, which seems crazy now looking back.
At the time, I was OBSESSED with portrait photography & so I started a photography business. I worked as a self-employed photographer as my side-hustle whilst in high school and, then after graduating high school, alongside my day jobs in retail, office management & accounts.
From there, my love for business ended up growing stronger each & every day. I ended up finishing my career as a portrait photographer when I was 21 as I’d fallen out of love with it. I’d turned a hobby into a business & in turn, had fallen out of love with something I used to be so passionate about (because I was so run down from managing all the weddings, editing, etc!)
Over time, I tried out blogging & playing around with social media. I started a lifestyle blog, that didn’t go far.
I started a beauty blog & had far more success there. In fact, I actually ended up growing my Instagram following that complimented my blog to over 18,000 followers at one point. I was receiving parcel after parcel of beauty products, working with brands on sponsored content & even going to some of the top events with Australian beauty brands. So much fun!
But, yet again, I fell out of love with it. I knew I was meant for more. I always knew I was meant for more. I just didn’t know what.
It wasn’t until I started to take notice of the questions that people on my Instagram & my blog were asking me that I realised “woah, I’m in the wrong niche”.
I realised that what my audience really wanted from me was tips, tricks & advice on blogging and growing on social media. So I pivoted away from beauty blogging and pursued blogging about… well… blogging (and social media!)
I eventually got to the point where I was ready to turn my blog into a business, hired a business coach & made it happen. I became a social media manager & brand photographer and I went for it.
It took me 4-5 months of hardcore focus, alignment and selling (of course!) to get my income to where it needed to be for me to go full-time in business & then I made that leap. In August 2018 I became my own boss!
From there, my love for business grew even stronger again (I know, is that even possible?!) and I eventually pivoted to become a business coach in January 2019 & will never look back.
How did you know that having a coaching business was the right thing for you?
I’ve always loved to teach & I’ve always loved to support people, so I guess it was just instinct! Wanting to help others and see others thrive is one of my main driving forces in my life, and so it was only natural that it would be one of my main driving forces in my business.
In saying that, going into coaching wasn’t all sunshine & rainbows. I definitely still had imposter syndrome and all of the limiting beliefs coming up at some points during those initial stages (I mean, we all do!)
However because I knew it was the right step, I detached from the outcome of me “having” to book clients & just went for it, I made it happen.
How long did it take you to find your first client?
Hmm, great question! To be honest, I can’t remember the time frame exactly. But I just know that when I first became a social media manager & brand photographer (whilst I was still side-hustling), and when I pivoted to business coaching, that it was pretty quick.
And, if I was to elaborate on that and give you some insight as to why I think that it happened so fast, or at least faster than some people see, it’s because of the work I’d put in before then.
It was all the mindset work I’d done before launching my services. It was all the money I’d invested in my growth, learning & coaches before booking clients.
It was all of the late nights, working during my lunch breaks at day jobs & relentlessness I’d poured into growing my audience and building my personal brand before it happened.
What are some mistakes you’ve made in the early days?
Haha, are you sure you have the time?! Honestly, what mistakes haven’t I made?! But I guess that’s just it.
Entrepreneurship isn’t a straight path (sorry to burst anyone’s bubble!) It’s a crazy rollercoaster of ups & downs, backwards & forwards and crazy highs, along with the crazy lows.
If we were to get specific though, I’ll put it down to a couple of mistakes I made that I learned extremely valuable lessons from.
Mistake #1 – Not identifying my ideal client well enough.
Back then, I thought that knowing who your ideal client was was just a matter of knowing their age, their gender & where they were from, maybe even what hobbies they had. That was it! Ahhh, I still cringe my face thinking back to that time. But it’s all I knew…
And if this is you, if you’re reading this & saying “ugh, since when is knowing your ideal client more than that?!” then hear me out.
If you truly want to book dream clients, the kind that are aligned with your values, who you are as a person, respect your boundaries, enjoy your company, feel like a friend & love working with you, you NEED to know more than the surface level stuff like their demographics & what drink they order at Starbucks.
Read also: How to Go from The ‘Hustle’ Phase to The ‘Alignment’ Phase
Mistake #2 – Thinking I had to talk to EVERYONE
This one kind of goes hand in hand with the previous mistake, but in a different way.
Not only did I not really know who my ideal client was, I was also trying to speak to everyone and please everyone (which is very obviously physically impossible to do!) I’d write content that appealed to everyone with every problem & every kind of mindset and then wonder why I wasn’t growing.
Thankfully I had a conversation with my business coach at the time & we worked through this. Content creation became so much easier and of course, then leading into creating services & starting to sell, that got easier too.
What income streams do you currently have and how have you grown them?
At the time of this interview, I have 4 different income streams or service tiers in my business.
I have my digital products, my low level programs & courses, my group coaching programs & my high-level 1:1 coaching.
Plus I also have affiliate marketing as a source of income, so I guess that counts too!
In terms of growing them, it all comes down to 2 things starting with C: Confidence and Consistency.
Sure, I never actually knew if I was going to be able to sell an offer, have a $50k launch or be fully booked out, but I still went for it. I still had confidence that even if no one bought it, it was still a success.
And of course, as with everything in business (+ life!), we can’t expect to grow, get results or go further than we’ve gone before if we aren’t being consistent.
Read also: How to Make $50,000 Blogging
What strategies helped you get to 6 figures in your first year as a full-time business coach?
Ooh, this is a great question! And also such a juicy and super complex question because there are so many elements that go into creating a successful business (whether that means hitting 6-figures or not!)
If I had to put it down to the most important “strategy”, that’d be investing in my mindset.
A huge part of me being able to hit 6-figures in my first year as a coach was me believing that I could do it. I didn’t know how, I hadn’t the slightest clue how… But I just knew it was going to happen.
I invested in courses that helped me to work on my money mindset. I invested in group coaching programs that got me in the space & energy of other women also scaling to 6-figures.
I invested in coaches who had done what I was wanting to do & could help, guide and support me to that point. I invested in going to seminars, like Unleash The Power Within with Tony Robbins. And I even got my NLP & Time-Line Therapy certification.
But it wasn’t just money that I invested (although I invested a lot of that), it was also my energy, my time & my focus.
I read a brand new book, usually business, spiritual or personal development based, every 2 weeks. And I did that without fail for the entire year – feeding my mind with the words, thoughts & patterns of successful people – rewiring my thinking to that of a successful person.
I still invest in myself, I always will. Whether it’s time, energy, focus or money, I am committed to not only being the best coach that I can be & constantly uplevelling my own skills, so that my clients get next level results and transformations, but I am also committed to being the best me that I can be.
And when my business is a huge part of my life, and I am a huge part of my business, making sure that I’m continually growing is my number one priority.
How do you find the perfect clients for you?
Again, another amazing question but also so complex. There are so many different strategies that work with attracting clients (cause I’m NOT about cold emailing, DM’ing people on Instagram or adding strangers on Facebook!).
I’m passionate about attraction marketing, about drawing & magnetising your dream clients to you.
But, as we touched on earlier, the first step to doing that is actually understanding who your ideal client is. And not just from an “age, gender, location” perspective, but from a human to human, real life PERSON perspective.
- What are they experiencing right now? What are the struggles they’re facing?
- What is the reality that they wish they had? What are their deepest desires?
- What are the thoughts they think on a day to day basis?
- What are their personal values? What do they appreciate most in life?
These are just a few questions to get started with.
And something you can do to really tap into who your ideal client is, is to simply close your eyes, get into a relaxed state & ask yourself “If I were to work with one person every day for the rest of my life, who would that be?”
Now of course, you don’t have to work with that person for the rest of your life, and you likely won’t. But, the point of doing this is to slow your brain down & to listen to your intuition, to follow your gut.
So many people jump straight to Pinterest to find who their ideal client is when really, deep down they already know who that person is. They’re just crowding their mind with what they “should” be doing or who they “should” be working with that they don’t allow themselves the space to listen.
So yes, if we put it down to the first and MOST IMPORTANT thing you need to do, it’s knowing exactly who your ideal client is. Only then can you magnetise that person & attract them through your content & sales strategies!
How are you able to work only 4 days a week and keep growing your business?
It sounds simple, but I simply decided.
I decided that I was done with hustling. I decided that I was sick of working weekends. I decided that I was tired of doing tasks I didn’t love doing. I decided that I wanted more freedom. And so I did it.
So many people go into entrepreneurship with that awful quote of “Entrepreneurship is working 80 hours for yourself to avoid working 40 hours for someone else” in mind.
We are programmed & conditioned as a society to believe that the hours we spend behind our computers directly impacts the amount of success, clients or money we can make. And it’s so backwards.
I went into business for the freedom to work when I want, how I want with who I want. Not to be a slave to my laptop 7 days a week, hustling harder than I ever did in day jobs, just for the sake of being my own boss.
So, after the decision was made, all I had to do was make it work. So I set up my calendar with Fridays booked out & that was it.
No overcomplicating it. No second guessing myself. I simply decided, took action & made it work.
Also, a fun fact for you – Human beings will always take up the most amount of time possible to get a job done. So even though my workload is essentially the same working 4 days a week as it was when I was working 5 days, I still get the same amount done. It’s literally how our brain works! (Which, you can see now, is why that transition was so simple, right?!)
What are the best things you’ve learned from coaching female entrepreneurs?
I have learned so many incredible things from the women I have worked with. Literally so many incredible things. But all in all, I’ve learned that women are powerful. Like really powerful.
A woman who believes in herself & is ambitious enough to chase her dreams relentlessly is a force to be reckoned with.
You know, we all have so much power & so much untapped potential inside of us. But it’s the ones who are daring and driven enough to pursue their dreams, to make their dreams become a reality, that actually see it through.
Is now a good time to become a coach? If so, how can people get started?
Now is always a good time to become a coach. Haha, now is always a good time to start anything in my books! All you have to do is A – Decide (of course!), B – Make a plan & C – Execute the plan.
And, if you are just getting started, don’t do it alone. You don’t have to do it alone. Ask for help. Invest in coaches. Join masterminds. Hang out with other business women.
Because whilst it can seem daunting going into a new field, as long as you have the decision & the plan, you’re halfway there. But if you have a badass team of other female entrepreneurs who can motivate you, call you out on your BS, push you and fire you up to be your best self & actually execute that plan, then you are on the money!
What’s next for you and your business?
Lemme see… Making 7 figures & working 2 days a week? Haha.
Honestly, whilst I have the vision and I have goals, I don’t put pressure on my business and any of that. I want to allow myself to enjoy the present, have gratitude for what I have already created and be in a state of pure joy & excitement with each new opportunity that unfolds.
I just know that no matter what happens next, I’m going to make a big impact and a big income at the same time!