PhD Scientist to Zero Waste Living with Liz McDade | Ep #20

July 27, 2022

PhD Scientist to Zero Waste Living with Liz McDade | Ep #20 Liz McDade earned a PhD in Clinical Psychology and worked as a research psychologist researching for projects in the fields of medicine, STEM, etc. One day, Liz realized she wanted to tap into her creative side a bit more, so she began working […]

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Liz McDade


PhD Scientist to Zero Waste Living with Liz McDade | Ep #20

Liz McDade earned a PhD in Clinical Psychology and worked as a research psychologist researching for projects in the fields of medicine, STEM, etc. One day, Liz realized she wanted to tap into her creative side a bit more, so she began working on a side business designing no-waste products.  Liz eventually took the leap and opened her own business called No Trace. She now designs and sells products and educates others on the importance of living a zero waste lifestyle through in-person and online classes. Liz is living the dream and she’s helping to make the planet a better place one DIY project at a time! Let’s dive into this incredible episode with Liz McDade on the Second Act Success Podcast




CONNECT with Liz McDade:

Website – https://notraceshop.com/

Etsy Shop – https://www.etsy.com/shop/NoTraceShop

Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/c/NoTraceShop

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/no_trace_shop/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/NoTraceShop

Email – contactus@notraceshop.com



Degrees/Certification: BA, Stanford / PHD Clinical Psychology, University of Iowa

Career Milestones: Launching No Trace to educate people on living a zero waste life.

Personal Status: Married with two children

Current Career Status: Founder of No Trace, Zero Waste Living

Future Plans: “I want to offer more in-person offerings and get at least one more online offering up. I want to continue to serve my audience and grow my Facebook community of people who are interested in zero waste, sewing and crafting. I just want to continue to see how I can serve and provide for people.”

Advice: “It’s hard to see everything that might unfold, but as much as you can think ahead to, what is the long term goal here?  Where could you see this going? How is this going to sustain you down the road? Try to think about the big picture if you take this leap. You don’t have to know everything right away, but if you can sort of have a big picture idea of how this could work for you, how this could support you, that’s gonna really help you out to understand going down the road, how this could be a sustainable business for you. If you just take a moment and do some simple math and look at the numbers.”



01:47 – Introduction

02:04 – Education

04:41 – Working in her field as a researcher, but realizing it wasn’t for her

07:39 – Becoming interested in zero waste movement

09:22 – Turning interest into a side hustle business

10:27 – Launching No Trace

15:19 – Teaching people about zero waste living

17:13 – Online presence of the business

20:05 – Using her creative side through the business

20:59 – Why she didn’t go into a creative career originally

23:00 – Flexibility of being a business owner

26:07 – Having her skills as a PhD, she can always go back 

27:31 – Listening to the little voice in your head

32:00 – Importance of living a low to no waste lifestyle

33:37 – Common thread between careers

24:18 – 5 Fast Qs of the Week

36:41 – Connect with Liz


Second Act Success Podcast
Season 1 -Episode #20 - PhD to Zero Waste Living with Liz McDade
Guest: Liz McDade
Transcription (*created by Descript and may not be perfectly accurate)

[00:00:00] Liz McDade: I think you need to feel it in your heart that this is what you were put on this planet to do. And as much as I liked what I was doing, I loved the people that I worked with. I had great like super flexible family friendly work environment, and yet I knew something was missing and, , I only have one life. So now is the time to try to make a shift and see if I can. Get pointed in a different direction. Are you at a crossroads in your career or in life? Well, don't worry because life's next chapter is waiting. This is the Second Act Success Podcast. I am your host Shannon Russell.

[00:00:41] Shannon: I'm a television producer, turned boy mom, turned business owner, podcaster, and career coach. If you are looking to start a new career or begin a fresh chapter in life, then get ready to be inspired with stories of women who have done just that. We will share advice and [00:01:00] offer steps you can take to help figure out what your true calling in life really is.

It is time to shine. So let's turn the page and get started.

Welcome to Second Act Success.

today's guest is Liz McDade. Liz has a PhD in clinical psychology and worked as a scientist for years. One day, she realized it was time to stop playing it safe and start leaning into her creative side. Liz took the leap and opened her own business to help educate others on the importance of living a low waste life. Now through her business, no trace zero waste living. Liz is living the dream. Let's dive in.

[00:01:47] Shannon Russell: hello, Liz, welcome to the podcast. How are you?

[00:01:51] Liz McDade: I'm good. Shannon. Thanks for having me.

[00:01:53] Shannon Russell: so glad to have you here. Let's talk about where your journey began. I know that you went to undergrad at [00:02:00] Stanford. Is that right?

[00:02:02] Liz McDade: yes.

[00:02:02] Shannon Russell: What did you study?

[00:02:04] Liz McDade: I studied Psychology and Feminist Studies. then right after I graduated, I took a few years off to sort of think about what I wanted to do next. And I decided to go back and get a PhD in Clinical Psychology. I went to the University of Iowa for that. They had a, specialty that I was really interested in. So that was my first big career was getting my PhD and working in research and also doing some teaching. I did that for several years. Then at some point I realized. There was something kind of missing from what I was doing. I was enjoying the work, but I also felt like maybe this isn't exactly what I'm supposed to be doing with myself.

[00:02:47] Shannon Russell: what did you think it would be, I guess when you got your PhD, what were you kind of looking forward to at that time?

[00:02:54] Liz McDade: I've always been a very curious person and I really enjoy the scientific [00:03:00] process of sort of trying to uncover and understand how things work, but also trying to make a difference, with that information and with the process of science, so I was working at a research nonprofit as one of the researchers. And when I was actually doing the work, I realized it's a long slow process, the process of scientific discovery. It takes a lot of time, which it should, you don't want to rush to conclusions. and it's really cut out for people who that is their true calling is to dedicate their life, to understanding a question and finding those answers. And I just felt like, I don't know if I have the passion to dedicate my life to, this process. So I think it was just, Before I was doing the work, I, I didn't quite know what it would feel like and how long the sort of journey would be. And when I was finally in there doing the work that I had been wanting to do, I'm not loving this as [00:04:00] much as I thought I would.

[00:04:01] Shannon Russell: You know, I feel like a lot of people do that, right? You, we go to school, we work towards something without really knowing what it's like to be in that career. A lot of people will just choose to stay with it and feel kind of stuck and you're not as fulfilled. I like that you w ere self aware enough to know that this wasn't exactly what you were feeling fulfilled with and that you wanted to go and find something different.

[00:04:25] Liz McDade: Yes, that was definitely part of it. Another piece. So the company I worked for had a blog and I wrote a few blog posts, sort of bringing some of the scientific information to a more broader audience. A lot of my work would be academic papers that get published in these journals that five people will read so part. What I got to do in that position was bring some of that really academic information to a broader audience of teachers and public health educators, public health professionals. I realized [00:05:00] this is so fun. I really like creating content which is different than writing an academic paper and, you know, conducting a scientific study, so that was part of it was realizing, this content creation thing is really fun. The other part of it was like, there was probably a little voice inside of me years ago that was telling me I have more of a creative side. Even though I like the science and I enjoyed, being curious in that way if I had listened to myself when I was like, in my early twenties, I probably would've said like, you know what, there's more of a creative side to me. And, if I just have a little faith, I could probably find a way to make this work. But part of me was afraid. I didn't know what kind of career that could be. I've always liked making things with my hands, working with my hands and writing and creating content. So I sort of went the safer route, which was, you know, go to college, go to graduate school, get a [00:06:00] job in my field. Then when I was in it, I was like, Hmm,

[00:06:04] Shannon Russell: Yeah. What were you researching at the time?

[00:06:07] Liz McDade: At the time I was working on, randomized control trials of a pregnancy prevention program. I was also doing some research, looking at. How do we get a more diverse workforce in science, technology, engineering, and math? What are some of the pathways? Those are two very different projects, but those that was some of the work that was happening. And then my own personal interests and writings were often about the impact of media use on children and teens. Those are kind of like the three different things that I was working on at the time, which were all super fascinating to me.

[00:06:41] Shannon Russell: Really interesting.

[00:06:42] Liz McDade: Yeah. Super interesting. I feel like to be a scientist, it's really a vocation. You have to have that calling. My husband is in academics and I see how he loves staring at spreadsheets and writing code and writing these academic papers.[00:07:00] I think you need to feel it in your heart that this is what you were put on this planet to do. And as much as I liked what I was doing, I loved the people that I worked with. I had great like super flexible family friendly work environment, and yet I knew something was missing and, , I only have one life. So now is the time to try to make a shift and see if I can. Get pointed in a different direction.

[00:07:26] Shannon Russell: If you knew you wanted to stop your work as a scientist and move into content creation or whatever, path you were going to go into at the time, did you know what direction you were going to take?

[00:07:39] Liz McDade: It was interesting because at the same time that I was sort of thinking twice about this path that I was on, I also got really turned onto the zero waste movement I've always been, a very environmentally conscious person. I learned about this sort of extreme version of that, which is, how much trash can you eliminate from your life? And that just really [00:08:00] inspired me to think about and look around at what we were doing in my own family. The main part of the zero waste movement that I've been really focused on is sort of our grocery shopping and also our, our bathroom products and that sort of thing. So I started to look around at like, what are the foods that we're eating and buying and bringing into the house and how much waste are we creating in that process? I realized that I, it would actually be quite simple to start shopping in a different way. If I had a few basic tools like, beeswax kitchen wraps and draw string bags. Those very simple tools were not available in my local stores. So that got me sewing again. That got me working with fabric again, got me working with my hands again. And so at the same time that I was sort of thinking twice about this path that I was on at work. I also started making these things for my family and then I started selling those things. So it sort of was happening at the same time that. You know, sort of questioning what I was doing and then [00:09:00] finding this other w sort of, way to express myself in a way that could also have a, a really positive impact on the earth. That got me, Really focused in this new direction.

[00:09:13] Shannon Russell: Did you think that this could be a profitable change for you? Was that the catalyst to make you leave your job and see what this could become?

[00:09:22] Liz McDade: Yeah. So I was doing this on the side of my other position to sort of test the waters. And I tested the waters for a couple of years and then. The, number of orders that I was getting was exceeding my , capacity. And I realized that there was a lot of potential here and then I saw that it was going to be profitable and I would have a hard time doing both, so after a couple of years of just doing it on the side, I realized this could work. And so I took the leap. And yeah, it's been great. I have pivoted along the way. It hasn't [00:10:00] been like a super straight path. But it has been an amazing path and I have no regrets about it at all.

[00:10:08] Shannon Russell: That's so wonderful. And I think It's really smart that you did start it as a side business and you kind of watched it, grow a little bit to get it to a place where you comfortable to kind of make that decision. Were you selling on Etsy on Amazon? Talk to me about the process of where you were getting these customers buying your products.

[00:10:27] Liz McDade: I started in 2017 on Etsy and with my website, then I slowly added more over time. So I started going to farmer's markets and other like craft fairs. I started selling to stores. So doing whole sale and I started selling on a wholesale directory called fair.com. I stores started reaching out to me. things started to grow over time as I put myself out there more and I was, you know, trying to be active on social media.

[00:10:58] Shannon Russell: So as a [00:11:00] scientist researcher, you are. keeping to yourself, you're doing your research, you're doing your work. And now you are having to go out into the community and go online and really create this more visible version of yourself to build this business. Was that a little tricky for you?

[00:11:17] Liz McDade: Oh, yeah, for sure. And when I first started doing it, I was like, this is crazy. Like, why would somebody with a PhD be selling at the farmer's market? You know, like hauling my tables, setting up this tent, hauling all of my goods out. But yeah, I just knew there was something here that I should be doing. So, yeah, it was definitely awkward.

[00:11:40] Shannon Russell: You're just having to put yourself out there. You're building a website, you are creating an Etsy page. It's all the creativity that you had longed for and you were learning, you're researching how to start a business. So you're using the skills from your first act to really help build your second act in, in a way, is there a need for[00:12:00] How can I create these no trace, good for the environment products that people want. Do they want it? And then you get to the point where, okay, it's out there, there's a need, I'm going to make a go of this.

[00:12:13] Liz McDade: Yeah, exactly.

[00:12:14] Shannon Russell: What's next to really bring it to the next level from a side business to a full time.

[00:12:18] Liz McDade: Along the way I had started getting some help. I had a couple of people who were helping me so I was able to go to reach out to more stores. because I had more capacity to make things with helpers. also I was able to go to more events. And then COVID hit So COVID hit, seven months after I took this full-time leap and that shut down all of my events. I could no longer go to the farmer's market. Some of my retailers were closed, so they were not ordering. that was a little bit terrifying. at the same time as I was doing these larger and larger orders, like I had done my largest order ever, for a [00:13:00] subscription box service, First of all, people do not wanna pay for, for things that are made in the U.S. I mean, I was finding customers, but it felt like a constant struggle to say, no, I wanna pay myself. And the people who work here in my community, a livable wage and. That price is more than what we get when we buy stuff that's made overseas. So that was, that was tricky. And at the same time I was realizing, I think an even more sustainable way to sort of do this would be to help people make their own versions, to sort of empower people, to make their own tools at home, with resources that they already have instead of spending so much time on building a product and marketing and packaging that product.

I mean, there's definitely a market for sustainable products. Absolutely. We cannot make everything ourselves, but at the same time, I started to feel like maybe I should be doing a little bit more of the teaching [00:14:00] and encouraging people to do this on their own and a little bit less of this mass production, I love that I'm making things here in the community and I've got people here in the community helping. but as a customer, people often want the cheapest version of something. That was a little bit of a struggle. This idea of what is the most sustainable way to help people reach sort of a more low waste kitchen, a low waste home, those things combined, that's sort of what pivoted me to where I am now, I'm still making products for stores and I'm still selling products online, but I have started pivoting towards more of a education. focus. So really helping empower other people to learn, to make these things for themselves, for their own family. Last year I was like, all right, let me think through what do I really want my business model to be? And so that's where I've landed and where I feel like this, this feels really good. This feels like where I'm supposed to be.

[00:14:57] Shannon Russell: Interesting twist, you could [00:15:00] be so focused on the product, the product, the product selling and staying in that lane. I love that you started taking the pivot to educate and to bring this to other people because you learned it yourself. You taught yourself how to make these, so why not teach other people? So your company is called No Trace.

[00:15:19] Liz McDade: Yes, No Trace. I have started offering more in person and online workshops. I started by doing in person workshops right before COVID happened. I was teaching people in the community how to make their own beeswax wraps, which was super fun. And then COVID shut everything down. And now that things have opened up again, I have started teaching sewing classes here in my community. I just wrapped up a week of sewing camp, which was super fun with kids with about seven kids. Um, yeah. So then I turned to my beeswax wrap in-person workshop to an online workshop, it's like available anytime for somebody to take it. I've also [00:16:00] created a couple other online workshops that teach people some really simple, zero waste bag designs. You're probably aware the textile, the fashion industry creates a ton of waste. . And so all of the, the products that I make are designed without any waste. I've got two workshops that help teach people how to sew these two different designs of mine without creating any textile waste in the process. And then I've started selling PDF sewing patterns that are also zero waste design bags. That tackle this issue of having a more low waste home at the same time as creating something without any waste and creating something that's designed that can be composted at the very end of its life. Sort of thinking full picture about the products. I mean, That's always been the core of what I've done is what, what are products that can help us fight waste that aren't creating waste in the process of being made and that aren't going to end up as waste when they're completely worn out. That's been my design journey from the beginning. So now [00:17:00] I have online offerings, for those purposes and then in person classes as well.

[00:17:05] Shannon Russell: Are you getting a lot of people online, interested in learning how to create a no waste home and, and use these products, make these products?

[00:17:13] Liz McDade: I forgot to mention, I have a YouTube channel where I do weekly, tutorials as well. and I have a Facebook group too. So yes, the online community is strong. A lot of people are really interested in these topics. Are really interested in this DIY, approach to fighting waste. it's been good. Yeah. It's been growing, and my workshops are selling and the in person is, is so fun. I do have some offerings for all ages, but just getting kids excited, about making things themselves Is so fun. I don't come at the kids with a ton of like zero waste and sustainability, you know, information. I just wanna get them inspired to make things themselves. And also I love having them realize how many steps are involved, for example, and making a simple pair of [00:18:00] shorts, just sort of appreciating, like, it takes a couple hours to do this, when you're learning And then I'm hopeful that as they grow, they'll realize like, wow, maybe I shouldn't get these $4 shorts from Old Navy because probably someone's not making a lot of money off of those, shorts. So, yeah, I feel like I've found a pretty good balance now between some in-person offering. And the online, it is a bit much, cuz I do still have products and I do still have stores who shop from me. At some point I will probably phase out something probably not the online, but probably phase out some of the other pieces of my business. But right now it's a nice balance of sort of income and different activities.

[00:18:42] Shannon Russell: You're really giving back to your community. With your classes with

[00:18:46] Liz McDade: I

[00:18:46] Shannon Russell: yeah. And with, with hiring local people to help you make these, it seems like it's just all encompassing of what your mission is, right? Like giving back teaching the younger kids, teaching adults who, I mean, it sounds [00:19:00] great to. Live a no waste life, but how do you do that? Or how do you create this no waste home? There's probably a lot of people who want that, but don't know where to start. So it sounds like your business really can teach the foundations of that.

[00:19:14] Liz McDade: Absolutely. Yeah. And I have a ton of resources on my website that help people with all the different, questions that you might have if you wanna start shopping package free basically is what we, we try to do. Although, you know, I also encourage people to just do what you can, like we're not perfect. I encourage people to just take the steps that they can. that's the best way to get started is like one small step at a time. But yeah, I have a ton of resources that, that really break it down. I have meal plans on there. Like how do you, shop and how do you feed your family if you're just using bulk bins and loose produce and all that stuff.


[00:19:52] Shannon Russell: Liz. I love that. This whole idea started from you enjoying writing the blogs at your former company. And now you're [00:20:00] creating all of this content, like what's, what's your favorite part of this business of being a business owner?

[00:20:05] Liz McDade: I've always loved writing and I still love writing and I feel like, I am a writer at heart, so I have an email list and I love writing my weekly emails to my email list. I get a blog up every now and then.

[00:20:19] Shannon Russell: well, it's a lot. If you are still making the products and making the courses and teaching the classes.

[00:20:26] Liz McDade: Luckily I'm most of the products I'm not making anymore. So my helpers mostly do that, but I do do all of the shipping, myself and. Just managing all the inventory and, I'm pretty much everything customer service and social media marketing. The main content that I do now is a weekly YouTube video because I feel like video is. Where we are, where people wanna be. And I wanna be where people wanna be, I wanna offer what they want.

[00:20:54] Shannon Russell: Did you ever think you would be a small business owner when you were going for your PhD?

[00:20:59] Liz McDade: [00:21:00] No. I mean, right before I started graduate school, I had this idea of like trying to sell some of my handmade things online, like a brief, you know, fleeting idea. Um, but I don't think I ever really. Pictured myself as a small business owner, it felt so risky. Honestly, when I look at the work I was doing, it was risky too. I was at a nonprofit, we were funded by grants. There was no long term promise of a job. And I think that's the case, wherever you're working, unless you're a tenured professor.

[00:21:36] Shannon Russell: Yep.

[00:21:37] Liz McDade: there is no guarantee that your job is gonna be there for you forever. So now I have that perspective and I almost feel like it's safer because I have, I've got so many of these skills and I feel like if something were to happen and things were to completely fall apart, I kind of have a sense now of how to do this, how to start something, how to, build a community, how [00:22:00] to connect with customers, find out what they want. I feel like all the skills that I've gotten have been super helpful and give me a big sense of, of security. even though it's, you know, still it's still, risky, I suppose, but

[00:22:15] Shannon Russell: but you're in control and, I feel that way too, because I come from the entertainment industry, which, you know, because you had told me, your brother is in the industry, like it's very freelance based. So there is no stability. when I left and I started my own business, It was very scary but then now that it did succeed and now I'm on my second business. I feel like I'm in control if you need to take a week off two weeks off to go on vacation, you can do that because, you know, Hey, I can put my orders on hold. Maybe a YouTube video, doesn't get. or you can do it ahead of time. You're in control of what happens with the business. And there's something so satisfying about having that control when you and I were both used to kind of being in that, wavery kind of world [00:23:00] beforehand.

[00:23:00] Liz McDade: Right, right. Yeah, absolutely. That's been one of the amazing pieces. Working for myself now. even though my last position was like I said, super family friendly, amazing people. Now I have so much control over my schedule. I can run some errands in the middle of the day. I don't need to go guilty about that. I can be with my kids on their, you know, I was a chaperone for my daughter's, class camping trip. So that was really awesome. I just have so much more flexibility and I don't need to feel guilty about prioritizing that family time.

[00:23:32] Shannon Russell: No. And especially as a mom, cuz same with me. I have two little ones and they can come with me to work. And that's just so nice. Do you have a brick and mortar? Do you have a studio that you work out of?

[00:23:43] Liz McDade: Yeah. So I have a studio it's a standalone, garage detached garage that we re basically rebuilt. And that is where everything happens. So it's at my home, which is awesome. Everything used to be in my home, which was bananas so now [00:24:00] it's, it's got its own space and it, holds everything.

[00:24:04] Shannon Russell: So when you're teaching classes, do the kids come there or do you teach?

[00:24:07] Liz McDade: Yeah. So the kids come and we have, it's like a, it's got, a patio and it's, it's got space, so we can kind of spread out and be indoor outdoor. During these COVID times, It's got double doors on two sides. It's very breezy and it's, it's working really well for just feeling like a safer place to be inside.

[00:24:26] Shannon Russell: Do your kids like taking your classes

[00:24:28] Liz McDade: yes they do. Oldest daughter is almost 14 so this is the second summer I've done sewing camp. So first week she gets to participate and the second week she gets to be a helper. And she can make a little money helping me. And my youngest daughter loves sewing. She's constantly making little clothes for her dolls and bags for her water bottle, like little water bottle tool belts, and. Yeah, cute little things like that.

[00:24:54] Shannon Russell: You could just continue and do a ton of workshops for kids to make different things like that. There's [00:25:00] not a lot of that. Where they're making something tangible that they can be proud of. Kids nowadays, you probably know more than me. I just hear from my kids, they care so much about the planet and, we cannot throw something that is recyclable in the regular trash in my house. My kids are on it. They're interested in it. So what you're doing is something that can be such a, of such an interest to them.

[00:25:21] Liz McDade: Right now I love being here at my home. And, but that limits my capacity. I think when my kids are out of the house, I'll probably try to get something bigger where I can be there more often and we can have more offerings for the community but right now I have my hands full and I also wanna be here at the home. I can get my kids to, and from school, no problem. Or I'm here when they get dropped off from school. And it just feels really nice for this stage of my life to be working. Here, even though it sort of limits my what I'm capable of a little bit, but it's totally worth it.

[00:25:58] Shannon Russell: So when you look back, do you [00:26:00] have any regrets from leaving, your work in the research areas to go into business for yourself? No.

[00:26:07] Liz McDade: no. My only regret really is, not seeing the potential that's out there. Sort of not knowing what my, all of my options were. And not kind of leaning into that a bit more, also, at the same time, I don't regret all of that experience that I had. I feel like I learned so much and I met amazing people. I made wonderful friends those are skills that, that work for any kind of work that I'm doing, the things that I learned, in my PhD program. And maybe someday I will go back and just do clinical. Work and just have clients. I did a little bit of that during my, postdoc years, I'm not saying I won't ever come back to that cuz just cuz I know that's another big need. Mental health care is a huge. , but that is not at all on my priority list right now. But I'm glad that I have that too. Could be something that I do in the future if, if things change for me somehow,

[00:26:58] Shannon Russell: and that's why your first act was so [00:27:00] valuable because it gave you those options for down the road. And I always like to say that whatever you came from. You can go back to, you still have your PhD, you can go into clinical, you can go back into research, you have those options and just having more options just leads to a fuller life. So you don't feel like you're stuck in that, that one box.

[00:27:20] Liz McDade: Right. Yeah, for sure.

[00:27:22] Shannon Russell: I feel like you're not alone. Like you get that little feeling in your head that maybe this isn't the right path for you, why do we not listen to that inner voice?

[00:27:31] Liz McDade: Yeah, it's a really good question. For me, I didn't really have any great role models or ideas of what was possible, in terms of the whole creative world that I've gotten into. , that could be part of it. And like I said, it just, it didn't feel safe. There's this whole, um, cliche or stereotype, of a starving artist. People who wanna go into the arts, are never gonna make ends meet. So I think those kinds of things we're bouncing around in my head a [00:28:00] bit. As a parent now, I always trying to encourage my kids. Whatever their interest is that they might mention if that's what they love, there's, they're gonna find a way to make it work. If you have that passion, you can work to figure out how to make it, possible. I don't know why so many of us don't listen to that little voice. Just general fear and also, like I said, I had a safety net and I still have a safety net here. I have a happy marriage and, he works full time, so that's really helpful.

[00:28:31] Shannon Russell: There's a lot that goes into decisions that we make. It's just trying to figure out the right one. And this seems like this was really the perfect fit for you. Now that you're in it. Are you just amazed at what you've built?

[00:28:42] Liz McDade: Yeah. I definitely look back and I'm like, oh wow, this this come a long way. And, Things are clicking and things are growing. And so I, I definitely try to sit back and appreciate that cuz you, I mean, as you know, it's a lot of work. The to-do list never ends when you own your own small [00:29:00] business. There's so much that is on my should So when I start to feel overwhelmed and like, I'm never gonna get through all of this, I remind myself like, it'll happen eventually. I don't have to be running at breakneck speed and comparing myself to other people who don't, you know, they're in different situations. Maybe they don't have families or or they don't wanna spend time with their families. I don't know. I dunno how people were. I mean, I hear some interviews with folks who have families and they're working. Early in the morning. And then after I'm like, when do you have dinner with your children? when do you sleep? I wanna do those things. I wanna sleep. And I wanna spend time with my family. So

[00:29:39] Shannon Russell: hard balance, I used to tell my kids, they actually get really annoyed cause I still sing this song to them, I have two boys. So they would be all over the place and I'm like, okay, one thing at a time. And I would sing this little song, one thing at a time, one thing at a time, to try to focus them. And I find myself singing that to myself in my

[00:29:56] Liz McDade: I love it.

[00:29:56] Shannon Russell: Yeah. Because you know what, it's true. And like those moments, like you [00:30:00] just described where you sit there and you're like incomplete overwhelm and it's just too much. I try to close the computer and just step back and be like, okay. I'm doing one thing at a time. What am I doing at this moment? And it's, it takes a lot of like coaching, coaching ourselves. Don't you

[00:30:16] Liz McDade: totally. Absolutely. I mean, I'm, it's like a daily reminder really to myself that like, . I just gotta do what I can get done. trust that other things are going to happen. I will get to them. And then I also remember that there are stages where, you know, I'm extra busy. I just launched another online workshop. And so that was a really busy stage. And then, there's gonna be stages where it's a little less busy, so I try to remind myself of that.

[00:30:40] Shannon Russell: That's great. So you are based in California.

[00:30:43] Liz McDade: Yeah, I'm in the Santa Cruz area.

[00:30:45] Shannon Russell: So if listeners are in that area, then they can possibly go to some in-person workshops with

[00:30:50] Liz McDade: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. On my website, you can see what's coming up and you could also join my email list and you'll know what's coming up too.

[00:30:58] Shannon Russell: For listeners that are [00:31:00] in other places in the country or in other countries, they can just go to your website and follow you on YouTube and kind of participate on your workshops and follow you on your videos.

[00:31:11] Liz McDade: Go to my website, it's notraceshop.com you can also learn in person with me on YouTube, or you can get one of my workshops and learn online, or one of my sewing patterns and learn online.

[00:31:23] Shannon Russell: What is your favorite project that you've worked on in this stage of your life?

[00:31:29] Liz McDade: I guess these in person classes and workshops are probably my favorite, even though they're the most work but they're so fun just to be there, connecting with kids and adults and, Helping them learn a new skill that hopefully they'll use the rest of their life. And I think about the kids who come I'm like maybe one of these is gonna start making their own wardrobe one day and you know, that part is really awesome.

[00:31:53] Shannon Russell: Why do you think that, living a no waste life and, and leaving no trace behind is so important in [00:32:00] today's world.

[00:32:00] Liz McDade: It's really about a connection. When you think. The waste that you're creating, it's really about trying to feel a stronger connection to caring for the planet in general. So it's not just about, a basket of trash. It's about leaving as small of a footprint as we can on this planet and really being mindful of climate change. That's the largest. Environmental problem facing us. Trash is a part of that. It's probably not the biggest part of fighting climate change, but it helps you stay connected to that issue in your everyday small actions. Remember that we. Fighting to preserve a very precious resource in all of our small actions matter. So that is really, why I think it's important. , I have, I have blog posts on this, but you know, some of the biggest things you can do for the environment are very simple, like voting for people who care about climate change, that's probably the biggest thing anyone can do. I just think it's a nice way to [00:33:00] remember that we're all stewards of this planet and everything we do matters. but also just to take it one small step at a time. And I think when people start to take one small step, they see more and more steps they can take and things start to grow and snowball. So I think it's a really nice way to, become an even stronger environmentalist.

[00:33:20] Shannon Russell: Well said, it's very true. It's like, this is our home on this very big planet. What can we do within these walls to do our part?

[00:33:29] Liz McDade: Right.

[00:33:30] Shannon Russell: I love that. What is the common thread maybe between your first act and your second act?

[00:33:37] Liz McDade: I have always tried to give back in some way to do something that is gonna make the world a better place in my own small way that I can. So the research that I was doing was very much, you know, I mentioned public health issues and, educational access issue. . And now it's more about, [00:34:00] taking care of the planet and our resources and fighting waste in the kitchen, fighting textile waste, on a broader scale. So I think that's really kind of, the thread is trying to do work that matters. That's gonna leave something of a positive impact, even if it's a little one,

[00:34:18] Shannon: alright. It's time for our Five Fast Qs of the Week. Here we go!

[00:34:24] Shannon Russell: Name one thing that these different chapters in your life have taught you.

[00:34:28] Liz McDade: I guess try listening to that inner voice more. That's probably been a big message. I think a lot of the answers to what we should be doing. We know them. We just don't, it's hard to listen. It's hard to hear them. So take, taking time to do that. Like going for a walk without a podcast in my ears.

[00:34:47] Shannon Russell: That's true. I feel like we're always listening to something or there's just talk everywhere. Really good advice. Would you recommend taking a leap into a big life change to your best friend?

[00:34:58] Liz McDade: Absolutely. It's [00:35:00] good to have that safety net and sort of think through what's the worst thing that could happen and be ready for that. And then if you can accept that then absolutely. I'd say to go for it.

[00:35:12] Shannon Russell: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone who's starting their second?

[00:35:16] Liz McDade: That's a great question. I think it's hard to see everything that might unfold, but as much as you can sort of think ahead to like, what is the long term. Goal here. Where could you see this going? How is this gonna sort of sustain you down the road? So sort of trying to think about big picture, if you take this leap. So for example, I have a friend who just opened a studio, a Pilate studio. I was talking with her about that, like, okay, well, thinking through this. How many hours do you wanna be there? How is that gonna financially work? And just sort of taking that time to think through how it's gonna work and you don't have to know everything right away, but if you can sort of have a big picture idea of how [00:36:00] this could work for you, how this could support you, that that's gonna really help you out to understand going down the road, how this could be a sustainable business for you. If you just take a moment and, and, you know, do some simple math and, you know, look at the numbers. That would be my advice.

[00:36:16] Shannon Russell: So what does the next chapter look like for you?

[00:36:18] Liz McDade: I'm gonna be having even more in-person offering. And get at least one more online offering. And then just sort of continue to serve my audience and grow my community. So I have a Facebook community of people who are interested in zero waste, sewing and crafting, and, I just want to continue to see how I can serve them and, and provide.

[00:36:41] Shannon Russell: Where can our audience connect with you?

[00:36:44] Liz McDade: I've got a website, notraceshop.com. If you wanna join my email list, I would go there. I'm also on Instagram. If that's your thing, no trace shop is my handle if you search for no trace on Facebook, I'll pop up. If you search for [00:37:00] Zero Waste Sewing, my community will pop up if you wanna be in the community with me. And I'm on YouTube. So whatever your channel is, I'm probably on there.

[00:37:08] Shannon Russell: Oh, That's fantastic. Oh, Liz, this has been so great. I'm gonna add one more thing to your plate. I think you should start a podcast. You should do a podcast about this. I mean, you're just so well spoken about it and you know, so

[00:37:22] Liz McDade: Aw,

[00:37:23] Shannon Russell: and you're just bringing so much good to the world.


[00:37:25] Liz McDade: you, Shannon. That's so sweet. Yeah, I would, I would actually love to do even more content creation, like a podcast and more writing. If I had the time, if only I had the time,

[00:37:38] Shannon Russell: you've got enough on your plate right now, so I won't hold you to it. But down the road, down the road,

[00:37:44] Liz McDade: Thank you. That would be awesome. I would love that.

[00:37:46] Shannon Russell: Well, thank you for being here and for talking us through your journey and inspiring people to not only start their second act like you did, but to live a no waste life and try to do their little small [00:38:00] part to help the planet as well.

[00:38:01] Liz McDade: thanks, Shannon. Thanks so much for having me. This was a great conversation.

[00:38:05] Shannon: That was so much fun. I learned a lot today from Liz. She has successfully taken her skills as a scientist to launch her own business, teaching others, to care for the planet. Step-by-step. It is just incredible to see Liz using her PhD in a new way to create a life that fits her and her family. So impressive. Don't forget to follow Liz Mcdade at notraceshop.com.

I hope you have enjoyed this month of July with two episodes a week, we will be back to weekly episodes of Second Act Success every week on Tuesdays starting next week. Talk to you then

Thank you for joining us. I hope you found some gems of inspiration and some takeaways to help you on your path to Second Act Success. To view show notes from this episode, recommend to guests with a great story, and learn more about us. Visit secondactsuccess.co. Before you go, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast. [00:39:00] So you don't miss a single episode. Reviews only take a few moments and they really do mean so much. Thank you again for listening. I am Shannon Russell, and this is Second Act Success.



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