If you’re feeling called to pivot in business but you’re afraid to make the leap because you have an established personal brand, today’s episode is for you.
Elaine had been featured in Forbes, the Huffington Post, and over 500+ media sites, and had 300,000+ followers across her social media channels when she pivoted her business, and today, she’s sharing her secrets about pivoting in business and personal rebranding.
Finding your purpose is something money can’t buy, and today, Elaine is going to show you how to pivot your business and have a successful personal rebrand or an easy way to pivot in business… even when everyone is watching.
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You’re Listening to the Systems Made Simple™ podcast, Episode # 54, which is all about pivoting in business and personal rebranding! My guest today is here to talk about the best way to pivot your brand when you feel pulled in a different direction. So if you’re feeling called to do something different and you’re afraid to make the leap, then today’s episode is for you. Stay tuned.
One of the lessons I’ve learned in business is to speak my truth, follow my heart, and stop waiting for permission to do the things I say I want to do. And that’s brought me a lot of joy for sure. But what about when you’re in that moment when you feel called in a different direction, but you’re afraid to step out and pursue it? Maybe you’re afraid because it’s something you’ve never done before. Maybe it’s because you’ve already built something that’s successful, and you’re that by pivoting in business you’ll lose what you’ve built, our guest here on the show today.
But there comes a point in just about every entrepreneurs’ journey when a new idea takes hold. And you have a choice. To follow where that idea is leading you, or to stay where you are, and not starting pivoting in business or pursuing a personal rebranding.
And yea, I get that it feels safe to stay on this side of the unknown. After all, it’s what you’re good at. But what are you missing out on, by not taking the leap to pivoting in business and personal rebranding.
Liz Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love, said that the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner. Meaning, that ideas need YOU - the human, to bring them to life. When an idea thinks it has found somebody — you — who might be able to bring it into the world, the idea will pay you a visit. It will try to get your attention. But usually you’re so distracted by your own anxieties, insecurities, and duties that you aren’t receptive to inspiration. The idea will try to wave you down (maybe for a few days, or for a few months, maybe it’s a few years) but when it finally realizes that you’re oblivious to its message, it will move on to someone else.
And that’s the downside of ideas.
So: in a quiet moment, when an idea asks you, “Do you want to work with me?” you have two options for how to respond.
You can say “no”. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, maybe it truly isn’t the right moment, or you’re already engaged in a different project. Mostly, people say “no”.
Most of their lives, most people just walk around, day after day, saying no, no, no, no, no. Then again, some day you just might say “yes”. When you do, your job becomes both simple and difficult. You have officially entered into a contract with inspiration, and you must try to see it through, all the way to it's impossible-to-predict outcome.
And that, my friend, is the magic of the pivot in business or doing a personal rebranding.
Leaning into the YES when an idea that’s meant for you, beckons.
That’s exactly what Elaine Rau did, my guest here on the show today. In a moment you’re going to hear her tell the story of what it looked to pivot from corporate into entrepreneurship, and then pivot again after she recognized that when she was the most “successful” on the outside, she was the emptiest on the inside. Elaine had been in business for four years, had been featured on Forbes, the Huffington Post, and over 500+ other media sites, and had 300,00+ followers across her social media channels when she realized something was missing. Something that money couldn’t buy… PURPOSE. The reason behind why you do what you do.
And today, she’s here to show you how to get it back and pivot… even when everyone is watching. Let’s roll the tape on that interview.
Courtney Elmer 0:02
Elaine, welcome to the Systems Made Simple™ podcast, I can't wait to hear your story. Why don’t we start by having you introduce yourself. Tell us a little bit about what you do, and then paint the picture for us of what led you to this personal rebranding and pivot in your business.
Elaine Rau 0:35
Thank you so much, Courtney. This is such a pleasure to be on your podcast, and I'm honored for all the listeners listening out there. My name is Elaine Rau. I'm an award winning blogging expert, and I've taught on stages all over the world, compiling my blogging and Instagram knowledge into courses that have been featured in over 500 magazines, books, and publications, including Forbes, Huffington Post, and Thrive Global.
I call myself an accidental or circumstantial entrepreneur. I was working in the wedding industry and rose through the ranks and became the national wedding sales manager. It was my dream job, but one day my boyfriend called me from overseas telling me his brother had just been murdered. I asked my boss if I could go be with him and attend the funeral. His response shocked me because he said no. The reason he gave was because it would affect sales. I had to make a decision between my relationship or career. I chose my relationship.
So I quit my job and moved to Honduras, but the transition was harder than I ever anticipated. At the time, I was blogging on the side when working in the wedding industry, and blogging was something that gave me a feeling of bliss, of power, and of happiness. So, on a whim I started my blog, Lady Boss Blogger, because I wanted to learn how to be a lady boss, and a blogger, whatever that meant.
I interviewed women, which was a great way for me to feel connected to women I could talk to online. I monetized it a week later, and within a year I was being interviewed by Huffington Post asking how in the world I scaled my blog so fast.
Courtney Elmer 5:15
Wow. Let’s first of all back up for a second to that moment when your boss told you no, because of sales. I think many listeners who come from that corporate background can relate to the fast-paced lifestyle, and it is so unfortunately so common. It’s unfortunate you had that experience yet fortunate at the same time because look what doors open for you.
Elaine Rau 6:04
Once I left, I realized that it was a very verbally abusive environment that I didn't even see when I was in it. But I was still scared to leave because I felt I had reached the peak of my career and what would be better than that? There’s a whole backstory, but I had to hire a lawyer to quit. But I’m glad I chose my relationship over my career. I’d sacrificed everything for my career, but now in my own business, I realize it has to be the other way around. Relationships have to come first. Business is always second.
Courtney Elmer 6:59
I can relate to that feeling of being scared so much. I'm sure those listening can too. We all face those moments of fear. But also when you’ve reached the pinnacle in your business, it’s not the fear of doing something new… it’s the fear of leaving something good behind for something unknown. I always say it’s the fear of leaving something good for something great, but in the moment, there’s that unknown that’s not guaranteed. Those listening know my cancer story and how that woke me up to the fact that I needed to reprioritize. Had I not had that shakeup, even though we say our priorities are our relationships, our family, our health, you have to take a look at your life and ask: what are the things I’m actually putting first?
For me, it was always work. I’d cancel anything personal to meet with a client. Yet when we’re forced to come to terms with what’s important in life, it lends a new perspective and we can build a career and have the success we want around the life we want, too. It sounds like you’ve done that.
Elaine Rau 7:39
I’d say it’s like a circle; like an upward spiral. You learn, then you go back to bad habits, you readjust and reprioritize, and repeat. Our natural habit as workaholics as overachievers is to always put career first. The pinnacle of success is not, “I’ve found the perfect balance.” It’s “I’m learning the perfect balance.” In 2020, I had a huge pivoting in business and did a complete personal rebranding. It was God working in my life. It hit me that even though I was the most successful I’d ever been, making more money than I’d ever made, I felt purposeless. I felt so empty. So I had to reevaluate and reorient. I didn’t know why my motivation had disappeared, but then I realized that I was acting like the CEO of my own life, and if that’s your end goal and you reach it, then where else are you supposed to go?
Courtney Elmer 8:58
I'm glad you bring that up, because I do think that there is this tendency, especially in our culture here in the Western world to find the perfect balance. It’s this perfect, utopian, ideal lifestyle that we kill ourselves in the process to achieve. And even when we do have the recognition, the financial success, the validation, we can still feel unfulfilled. So I'm curious to hear more about this pivoting business. Would you share a little bit more about that with what specifically do you think was missing that was causing you to feel unfulfilled? Were you thinking about pivoting in business or personal rebranding?
Elaine Rau 9:30
If you’re at the peak, the only place to go is down unless there’s something else out there beyond yourself. It feels so prideful to say I was at the top, but that’s how I felt and it’s what brought me down. I’d turned money into my idol, and made it my ultimate purpose. With money, you can never have enough no matter what your paycheck says. Everyone wants more money. So it was a never-ending cycle I was pursuing that would never be fulfilling, but I didn’t realize it at first. Money would only give me fleeting success and happiness, and only ever lasting success and happiness can actually only be found in God.
I felt there was a part of me that I wasn’t sharing with the world, and I felt the disconnect. And with my pivoting in business and personal rebranding, I feel like my business is whole because I’m being who I am. I want to talk about God, and about what He’s doing in my life, but in my mind the only way to do that was to connect my business to Christianity. So the new mission that God gave me was helping Christian bloggers and Christian content creators to monetize their content so that we can see more uplifting Christian content in the media, because the media is what changes the world. If we can fill up the online space with uplifting messages, then we can actually start to see a real change. So that’s the new mission, instead of blogging for content’s sake.
Courtney Elmer 11:16
I love that so much. That deep awareness that you have to even recognize this is beautiful, because there are tons of people out there who’ve achieved success. They’ve got the money, they’ve got anything they could possibly want, and yet they feel empty. And because they don’t know where to go from there, they start to backslide. The image that came to mind for me as you were sharing was this idea of greatness. We all aspire to it, but unless we have something greater than ourselves pulling us upward and onward you need to be, because that’s what’s going to continue helping you grow beyond where you are now.
Elaine Rau 14:02
I'm tired of stuff. I want to find meaning. God knows us all and He knows how we operate. He knows how we learn. This is the only way He could have truly opened my eyes in terms of realizing everything you’ve ever wanted is here. So for me, and for most overachievers and workaholics out there, it does have to come to that point where you realize everything you're searching for will never be enough. It’s hard, but I knew this was my path forward.
Courtney Elmer 14:17
Two things that jumped out at me as you were sharing. First is how your past always informs your present, which informs your future. What I mean by that is, you would have never had this awakening or even recognized this evolution in your mission had you not gone down the journey and path these past four years. Even the blogging experience that you've had and the experience of growing your platforms and courses, in some way has shaped and led you to being open and ready to take on this new mission.
I hear you share with such passion and enthusiasm, I can hear it in your voice, the way that God is at work in your life, and how He is right there, authoring your story and how you get to be the co-author of that, and bring it out into the world. The feeling of not being able to show up as fully you is very common for entrepreneurs, where they feel as though they’ve built an identity or persona, this thing people know them for, that they can’t change it. Or that there’s too much risk to do so. But on the flip side, when we disconnect from our businesses in that way and when we’re not sharing all of us, it actually causes our audience to disconnect from us. So I have two questions here? Number one: did you have fears about bringing this other aspect of your life into your business, and number two, did you sense a disconnect with your audience during the time that you yourself felt disconnected from your business? Were you thinking about pivoting in business or a personal rebranding?
Elaine Rau 18:37
Definitely, I felt a disconnect starting with my audience, and which is why I started kind of introspecting. I stopped noticing my audience, and that’s when there’s a problem. My fear was less about me showing up fully who I am, but more about confusing people. I'm currently working behind the scenes personal rebranding everything, making everything nice and neat and tidy so that when people do arrive on my site, they know exactly what’s going on. I changed my tagline to how to launch, grow and monetize a Christian blog.
But then it was confusing because people were saying, so you say you help Christians but I see nothing about Christianity on your site. So there was an incongruence there. But there’s no fear anymore because I know this is exactly what God wants me to do. He revealed my five year plan for me in the shower. I was praying the same prayer for five months, asking God to give me a new purpose. I kid you not, when the download came it was like Tetris in my brain. All the parts started clicking together. I ran downstairs, grabbed a notepad, and started writing pages and pages of notes. Thoughts kept coming through the week.
My creativity had dried up five months before, until that moment. So now that I’m clear, I want to do the best job that I can so it’s not confusing to people. I’m coming out of the closet. I felt like Christians were weak, and that if you said you’re a Christian you’d be taken advantage of and people won’t pay you. I don’t know where that thought came from, but it’s what I thought.
Courtney Elmer 19:48
Wow isn't it interesting these stories that we tell ourselves to keep us safe, such as people will treat me as a charity case When you do become aware of the mind chatter, the voices in your head that’s not of God, and that actually isn’t true, you can get good at questioning that voice and noticing if the thoughts you keep having are actually true. Is this the perspective that God holds for me?
A lot of students we work with struggle with detaching their self worth from the amount of work they’re doing. They mistakenly think “the more I work, the more worthy I am.” That story gets wrapped up in their identity. But when they can learn to separate their work from their worth, and start asking themselves these questions, like: What is the story that I'm telling myself that I'm not enough? Enough for who or what? Enough compared to what? Enough according to whom? Is it time for pivoting in business and personal rebranding?
We realize how the stories we’re operating by can drive us in a direction we don’t want to go. I love that you had these divine downloads in the shower. I have that all the time. I’ve talked to so many entrepreneurs who say the same thing. Water is a conduit of energy, which is interesting to think on and ponder a bit. And my personal theory is that when you're in the shower, your body is in motion, but your mind is still. So often in our lives, it's the opposite. Our minds are in motion, we're working, we're communicating, we're talking, we're hammering out projects and doing things. But our bodies are often still: we’re sitting at a desk, we're sitting on our couch, we're sitting in our bed or wherever. But when your mind is at rest, it’s prime time for ideas and inspiration to flow.
Elaine Rau 24:52
Yeah, and if you're looking to scale your business, the first thing you need to ask is “do I actually pray?” It seems countercultural, most people start researching or whatever. But God is the God of marketing as well. He came and marketed his son. It’s weird to think that the Bible is still the number one book in the world. So He’s a master marketer, He’s the one you should be learning from. If you’re unsure of what to do, ask Him what you should do.
Courtney Elmer 26:01
I'm curious: during that season when you felt unmotivated, and confused, talk us through your process of introspection so that maybe someone listening right now can find some key takeaways to implement into their life if they are looking to pivoting in business or do a personal rebranding.
Elaine Rau 31:26
It was ironic because it wasn’t until the end of five months that I started being ok with being. We prioritize busy-ness because it gives us a high, and a feeling of productivity. But really the most productive thing you can do is allow your mind to rest. Just like your body needs rest, your mind does too. So while it looked like I was chilling out on the patio, in reality I was getting stuff done: I was getting myself back to a point where I could actually be functional.
For the first few months I thought, “I Hate this. This is dumb. I’m just trash.” I was saying that to myself! But God said, “No, this is all I’m asking you to do. I have a mission for you, but more than anything I want a relationship with you.” God was always my 911 call before. So getting your life back on track might not necessarily look like a practical marketing map or whatever. As He said, everything that you desire, if it aligns with His will, then it will be complete and it will come to fruition. But first you need to get to know hHm in order to get to know His will in order to do it. We think of it backwards, saying, “oh, this is my will God, how are you going to help me with my will?” That wa sme. But then I had this shift and started asking God, what are your plans, and How can I do them for you?
Courtney Elmer 35:11
Yes, yes, so good. There's so much to be said for that when we can learn to still ourselves long enough. To the point where it almost gets comfortable, which takes a while because it is so uncomfortable at first. But when we can practice incorporating that stillness into our life, how much more we're able to grow because of how much more we're listening, how much more we're tuning in, and how much more we're seeking not to solve problems outside of us, until we first take a look at what's going on inside of us.
You're right, it is completely countercultural. It's not sexy to sit there and say, “Okay, I'm doing nothing. I'm twiddling my thumbs. Where's the action here?” But that IS where the action takes place.
Courtney Elmer 35:56
I could seriously sit here and talk with you all day about pivoting in business and personal rebranding. I have enjoyed every moment of our conversation. And I'm curious to hear now too, especially at this point where we've just talked about being still, finding that quiet space. and listening, what does it mean to you to live an EffortLESS Life®?
Elaine Rau: 36:18
For me, it’s when you learn how to rely on God and allow Him to be the CEO. You’re his CMO. He’s got a plan, you just execute--whether it’s pivoting in business or personal rebranding. But on a practical worldly note, I’d say learn how to automate to free up your time, so you can focus on doing things that will have a longer lasting impact. Use technology for your benefit. Another thing is email marketing, and setting up sales sequences, that and making little tweaks that work. And so instead of us sitting there, and scratching your brain thinking about what's the next email you should send it is you already have a sales sequence in place.
And every single time someone signs up, they go through certain steps. And, and you set it up on the back end so that you're not doing the grunt work. So use the tools available in business in order to automate as much as possible, and delegate as much as possible. If you have interns, if you have co-workers, teammates, whatever it is, the less they have to look to you to provide the ultimate answer, the better. Let them do the work. Let them do what they're good at, or empower them to do that.S o I would say those are the top four things that I would say to how to live an EffortLESS Life.
Courtney Elmer 37:01
Awesome, an EffortLESS Life® and business. That is what we are all about. Elaine, thank you so much for your time today. Thank you for your witness in the world, and for being here to share your wisdom and expertise with us on pivoting in business and personal rebranding.
Elaine Rau 37:09
Thank you so much. This was an absolute pleasure to discuss both pivoting in business and personal rebranding.
What a powerful story, wasn’t it? I hope you feel inspired to own your truth, speak your message, and lean into the ideas that make their way to you. They’re there for a reason. It’s up to YOU to bring them to life.
If you’re looking for guidance on how pivoting in business and personal rebranding, then join me for my next live virtual workshop where I’ll show you step by step how to own your power and step fully into your role of Visionary Leader your business needs to generate more sales and revenue. I’m going to help you get the structure and systems in place in your business that you need to get out of overwhelm, and step away from all the behind the scenes busy-work so you can experience more freedom in your life and in your business. I’d love to have you join me live for this workshop. It’ll be by invite only, so you’ll need to add yourself to the waitlist to get notified via email as soon as my team puts together the dates and times for the training. You can do that right now at theeffortlesslife.co
And! If you’ve ever got a question you'd like to ask me about pivoting in business or personal rebranding, come follow me on Instagram @theeffortlesslife.co and get the helpful tools we share every week that will help you simplify your workflows and get the right systems and support in place to step fully into your role as the Visionary Leader your business needs to succeed.
Now coming up next week on the show I’m going to spill the beans and share with you the $23,000 dollar mistake I made, and the three most valuable lessons I learned from it. So make sure you hit subscribe as soon as that episode drops, and join us back here next week. Until then, go live YOUR EffortLESS Life® — I’ll see you next time here on the Systems Made Simple™ podcast.