Build A Business And a Family At The Same Time | Ep #110
Is it possible to build a business while also adding on to your family at the same time? Yes! Erin Woodruff joins host Shannon Russell to explain how she left her job in Human Resources at a University to follow her inner voice by taking a leap into entrepreneurship. Erin began her business at the same time she found out she was pregnant, so her business and her baby have grown up together. Erin shares how this has been the best decision for her as she creates a life where she is in control.
Erin created her own business as a Communications Coach helping extroverted women who have an introverted partner make the most of their relationship by opening up and being clear on what they want. She is also the host of the Time For You Podcast. Take a listen to Episode #110 of the Second Act Success Career Podcast with Shannon Russell to hear Erin’s story.
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Second Act Success Career Podcast
Season 1 - Build A Business And a Family At The Same Time | Ep #110
Episode - #110
Host: Shannon Russell
Guest: Erin Woodruff
Transcription (*created by Descript and may not be perfectly accurate)
[00:00:00] Erin Woodruff: For years and years, I've just hid that little quiet voice of like, grow your own business, start your own business. So I think the longer we hush those inner desires, the harder it is to act on 'em. And sometimes they'll just go away. They'll stop bothering us I think no one knows what they're doing. Yeah. When they start a business, Nope. Nobody, I didn't have a clue what I was doing. I still don't really feel like I have a clue, and every day is just a shot in the dark in a lot of ways, but it's way more exciting because I'm the one leading. So Sometimes you just have to walk into the dark and the light will come on and. You just figure it out slowly. . [00:01:00]
Hello, my friend. Welcome back to second act success on today's episode. I am joined by Erin Woodruff.
Aaron is the host of the time for you podcast. She's also a communications coach .
We're going to talk about how she decided to leave a pretty steady job in human resources at a university. She also used to work human resources and recruiting for Sherwin-Williams. So she really has a lot of HR experience. But she didn't want to go that path. She wanted to switch and be her own boss.
She was listening to that voice inside her that told her to start her own business. And you know what, as soon as she started the business, she got [00:02:00] pregnant and now her toddler and her business are growing up together. And now Aaron has the business that she wanted, the family that she always wanted and the balance that she really, really desired.
so there's lots of fun stuff that we'll be discussing. I want to jump right in here is my interview with Erin Woodruff.
[00:02:19] Shannon Russell: All right, Erin Woodruff, welcome to Second Act Success. I'm so excited to chat
[00:02:24] Erin Woodruff: with you. Thank you so much for having me, Shannon. It's so fun to be here. I'm way excited. Yay.
[00:02:30] Shannon Russell: So Erin and I met,
I was a guest on her podcast and we got along so well that I had to have her on. Here with Second Act Success. So it's just fun for us to be able to chat again. Let's dive into it. So let's start from the beginning so all of our listeners can hear.
Where did your career begin?
[00:02:48] Erin Woodruff: That's a great question. So I got, My degree in strategic communications. So I had a job in hr. I had a job in the [00:03:00] healthcare field in front office management and those were all jobs that I had while I was in school. But then when I graduated, I got a job as an administrative assistant at a Loco University where I graduated actually in, I.
A leadership center for students for experiential learning. So it was really fun. I had a few different opportunities to work in small business in a corporate business, and then in a university, which is state university, which is a corporate business in a different kind of way. And it was really fun and I really enjoyed it.
But eventually, I decided I really don't like working for other people, and I've always known that. So I feel like all of my jobs were similar-ish, then, you know, COVID kind of upheaved everything for everyone. And it was that realization of if I'm gonna work remote anyway. Because at the time my university job went full online [00:04:00] and I was like, why am I waiting to start my own business?
Why do I keep putting this off? Why am I waiting for, and so I eventually just took the plunge and. Started me building my own business while I was still working at the university, doing double duty for a minute. And then I ultimately, when I started my business, I got pregnant with my toddler now.
Mm-hmm. And, I was like, okay, I have this job. I have my business. I'm growing a baby, and all of that kind of at the same time. So eventually I dropped the university job, which was really hard to say goodbye, but it was very rewarding also to move on to something greater, which is for me, motherhood, and then continuing to grow my baby business.
So I have a toddler and a baby business that in my mind, it's Very like significant that they're the same age because I'm growing them together so it's been about two years and it's just kind of crazy [00:05:00] to see both the things grow in completely different ways.
Obviously one's a business and one's a child and yeah, it's very different, but it's, it's been fun to hold the role of mom and c e o and create the type of business I want around motherhood as well. So I'm a full-time mom also.
[00:05:17] Shannon Russell: Right. 'cause she's a toddler. She's home with you and you're able to juggle it all so well.
You're able to figure out the time that works when she's asleep or, you know. Mm-hmm. You just, you have that flexibility, which is great that you might not have had if you were still at the university.
[00:05:32] Erin Woodruff: Oh, definitely. The best part about being a business owner is you get to make your business work for you rather than you working for your business. And it's always kind of a tug of war there, but it's ultimately you do get to choose and that's really kind of cool.
[00:05:46] Shannon Russell: And just the experience you had from the university and your other positions were all kind of administration. Mm-hmm. So it's, you kind of learn those skills to launch a business. Mm-hmm.
[00:05:57] Erin Woodruff: In a lot of ways.
I had a [00:06:00] lot of opportunities, administrative wise, even learning how to. Handle myself over email or scheduling things, and from all jobs, I think we've learned things that we will do and never do. And so for a lot of things in my own business, I'm like, wow, I'll never do it that way. As the owner of my business, I hope I can set up my processes so, It doesn't ever come to that or things like that.
So the administrative part of it was very natural for me. And I love that you bring that in. 'cause I think I take a lot of that for granted. Hmm. Because it has been so easy for me. And I worked in my corporate job, I worked in hr, so I was a recruiter and for the whole district I covered, I worked for Sherwin Williams.
I covered 37 stores in the area. I worked on hiring for all of those stores and so it was a really good opportunity for me to learn how to interview people, how to conduct myself as the, [00:07:00] the person hiring and even learning how to like write resumes because I read so many resumes and learning how to pitch myself because I read so many cover letters and it was a really good opportunity for me to.
Move into a business where you have to pitch yourself a lot. Mm-hmm. In so many different ways. And yeah, I think a lot of the skills are transferable. So if you're feeling like. Your, any of your listeners, if you're feeling like you're nervous because you're about pivoting, that your skills won't transfer, they definitely will.
[00:07:33] Shannon Russell: I was scared of that when I was transitioning to my second act is that I. How am I going to take skills from being a television producer into running a business? But when you give yourself a moment to really sit down with yourself and make that list of what you have done, what you want to keep doing, like you said, those things that you know you never want to have to do again, and the things that you're really good at that you do want to bring with you into your transition,[00:08:00] then you start to really see that so many things can overlap.
Mm-hmm. So I think that's wonderful and you really. Had those learning experiences in your first act. Yeah. Now tell us about your business. how did you even learn How to set forth and open your own business?
[00:08:15] Erin Woodruff: My dad runs his own business, so I've always known what entrepreneurship was. And when I was about 10 years old, I knew I was gonna run my own business. But it was one of those things that kind of intimidated me as a 10 year old and even growing up just like a, I don't know if I can really do it.
And then when I was 19, someone that knows me well told me I should be a life coach. I was like, what is that? Yeah. And I didn't really think anything of it. And I went to school, got a degree, I went through all of my other jobs, but that was the first seed that was planted and her name's Nikki.
I love her to death still. And she knows this. And I'm like so much further. Before when I started my business, the seed was planted there and she was the [00:09:00] one who did it. And it grew for years and years. And then I started learning more about self-help and the self-development world, personal development, you know, leadership, all the things, and learning what life coaching is.
And I realized, wow, yeah, she's right. I would be really good at this. This is really cool. So, As I went through school, I, it was one of those desires that kept growing and like I said, eventually I got to the point where I realized like, I don't like working for other people. So, I'm gonna start my own business and it's gonna be a coaching business. So now I am a communications coach and I help people learn how to communicate. A lot of the things that I teach are practical, just application type stuff. And then also I really focus on the mindset piece of. What are you actually thinking and telling yourself?
How are you communicating with yourself and how that affects the way you're gonna show up in your relationships? And at the end of the day, everything comes back to you. And being [00:10:00] able to walk into that personal ownership, that radical accountability is really hard. But as soon as you can, then it's amazing what changes.
So that's what I do now in my business and I help my clients just move forward to become. The hero of their story and playing off of your second act success and just realizing that everything really is within their control. I love that.
[00:10:25] Shannon Russell: So you're really coaching them to know their story and be able to communicate that, whether it's for a new job or with their partner or mm-hmm.
However they choose to show up in the world.
[00:10:36] Erin Woodruff: Yeah. And my niche specifically, I work with. Extroverted, high achieving women married to introverts, and that's incredible and there's a need for it. That's who I am. And realizing that introverts and extroverts communicate differently and men and women communicate differently, and then being able to figure [00:11:00] out.
How can you take care of yourself and your needs while still communicating it and having an open relationship with a partner that maybe doesn't wanna talk as much as you do? Yeah.
[00:11:11] Shannon Russell: Well, I was chuckling to myself on your website because you are very open in telling your story about your husband. I just ask, how does he feel about you using your story about him being such an introvert on a public website?
[00:11:26] Erin Woodruff: wanna know. He doesn't, he does not care. Yeah, we have talked about it extensively because especially when I was like, this is where I wanna like lean into business-wise. We talked about it and I don't say anything publicly that I haven't cleared with him or that he wouldn't feel comfortable with me sharing.
And even though I'm an extrovert, I'm a pretty private person. Mm-hmm. And we both kind of are. So I feel like. He has full confidence that I'm going to be respectful of him. But I do think it's also one of those things that we can all laugh at. When I tell people what I do, they [00:12:00] all kind of laugh because I think it's one of those like sore spots.
Yeah. You know that. We realized, no, it's actually hard to be married to an introvert. Mm-hmm. And you
[00:12:10] Shannon Russell: might not know that they're an introvert until you really get into the marriage. And you, that was me. Yeah. Because life changes, you're not out like partying like you might've been when you were single.
Now you have a family and things change and mm-hmm. After the pandemic too, you've probably seen this more than me. I, I feel like I've become more of an introvert, and that's not me. Mm-hmm. We were forced to stay home. Now I really like staying home. Mm-hmm.
I'm sure there's a lot of struggle with people in relationships just coming outta the pandemic as
[00:12:38] Erin Woodruff: well. Mm-hmm. Oh, definitely. On so many levels. But also I think for a lot of introverts that maybe didn't realize they were so introverted, they're more comfortable than ever. And so it's the disruption in their relationships where their partners are feeling like, well, you used to come out with me, or You used [00:13:00] to go party with me, or We used to do this.
And so being able to acknowledge that people and the type of relationship we had in the past, it's okay to let it go and to move forward into something that's actually gonna serve us better rather than continually comparing it to what we used to have.
[00:13:19] Shannon Russell: That takes a lot of mindset work.
I bet it
[00:13:22] Erin Woodruff: does. Which is, ,
[00:13:23] Shannon Russell: is it more common for women to be the high achiever, extroverts and the man to be the introvert?
[00:13:30] Erin Woodruff: The people that find me, yes.
But not necessarily. ' a lot of people who aren't my clients but are in my life, they're extroverted men, married to introverted women. Hmm. And so I think just naturally opposites attract. And that's not to say any romantic relationship is gonna have an extrovert and an introvert, because I've also worked with an introvert, married to an introvert.
Hmm. So, It varies so broadly, but [00:14:00] who I'm speaking to is women married to men who are introverts, just because that's my own experience. But I have found that a lot of other people still resonate with the things that I'm talking about and teaching. So, yeah.
[00:14:13] Shannon Russell: So what are some tips that you might want to share that.
People at home, if they're listening, going, oh gosh, I could really use some tips on how to communicate better with my partner because we are opposites in that way.
[00:14:26] Erin Woodruff: Oh, for sure. The number one, I feel like that changed my life initially, and I always put in this plug, if you feel like you are an introvert and you're feeling misunderstood or you feel like you're an extrovert, married to an introvert, Regardless of what you identify as on the social spectrum, I would recommend you read Susan Kane's book
it's called Quiet, the Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. it was the book that actually changed my life and helped me realize, wow, I can still make this marriage work and be [00:15:00] completely happy and. Give him his own space and his own identity, and I don't have to become an introvert because I was miserable trying to pretend to be an introvert.
Yeah, and so that's the number one thing, like read, educate yourself about social spectrum stuff because if you feel like this is a problem, that's a great place to start. But then aside from that, the easiest like thing you can put into practice today is to start. priming, whoever you're talking to, especially your partner, your spouse.
Before you start a conversation, tell them what you are looking for out of the conversation. If you can say something like, I had something happen at work today, I would really like your feedback on this. Then you know what you're looking for and they know what you're looking for before you start into the problem.
Because too often we say, well, this and this, and this happened at work today. What do you think I should do? And then they feel caught off guard, especially in the [00:16:00] introvert realm. Introverts typically like more time to process information and they process internally, so when they speak, they want their thoughts to be thought through.
Extroverts are not that way. It's easy for extroverts to just take in information and spit information out. And then a lot of the times things that extroverts say, we don't actually mean, or we have to talk, our whole thought process has to come out of our mouth. Mm-hmm. Before we come to a conclusion. So when you can say to somebody, I want feedback.
They know what you're looking for and it's so much easier for them to give you feedback when you're done telling the story. But it also goes for, if you just want to vent, if you want to elaborate on a problem, if you need feedback, if you feel like you want them to talk more or whatever it is, if you know what you're looking to get out of it, it's gonna help you take care of yourself better, just naturally.
Mm-hmm. But it also helps them to communicate with you in a better way.[00:17:00] That's
[00:17:00] Shannon Russell: fantastic. 'cause how many times do you vent about something that happened and your partner just sits there and is like, okay, yeah. You're like, but no, I want a reaction. But they don't know what kind of reaction to give you.
Yeah. So, wow, that's so clearly put to just say, I would love to know what you think about this, and then get into it. Mm-hmm.
[00:17:20] Erin Woodruff: It just helps to prep them and, because I don't think anybody likes to get caught off guard, even in small ways. So when you can just prime them a little bit, it helps them to be much more present with your story.
Especially if you end a phrase with like, can you even believe they did that? And then they're like, how am I supposed to react? Right. Right. You know,
[00:17:41] Shannon Russell: I can see a lot of these tips can work in an office place as well.
Oh, totally. Or with friendship.
[00:17:46] Erin Woodruff: They're all transferrable to any relationship that you have
[00:17:50] Shannon Russell: You have a really cool course too. That is how to stay happily married to an introvert. Yes. Such a cool idea, I think you need to write a book about this as well if [00:18:00] you haven't started it yet.
'cause it's so interesting and could help so many people. Tell me a little bit about the course.
[00:18:06] Erin Woodruff: It's really awesome. I just cover things that I've already kind of mentioned here about learning how to rewrite the story of your relationship, of identifying what is actually the problem in your relationship.
And it's not anything that's probably happening. It's a story that you're telling yourself of things like. It should be different than it is, or it used to be like this when we were dating, things changed when we got married or started living together. And to be able to recognize that what's currently happening isn't the problem, and it's actually just what you're telling yourself.
So how do you wanna rewrite the story moving forward, which can sound like. Things are different now. So I want to show up as a different version of myself, or things are different now, so I need to take care of myself in a different way than I have before. Mm-hmm. And it allows you to push yourself into a [00:19:00] new realm of growth for you and for them.
It's gonna happen for both of you if you start working on yourself. And then I talk about. Being able to create boundaries in a relationship, things that are important to you. Boundaries are just preferences that we have in our life.
And being able to understand, I have preferences that just align with my social needs, that I don't wanna stay home every night and sit on the couch and watch tv. But an introvert might want to. So how can I take care of my extroverted needs? And I use the word boundary because that is a boundary I have.
I go crazy if that's my life. Hmm. And so I'm the one who creates the social outlets for myself of how are we going to. Have a hybrid that works well for us in our life. And so I talk about boundaries and unconditional love, being able to love yourself and love your partner unconditionally in a relationship, and being able to reconnect with yourself so you can actually show up as the version that you want to.
[00:19:59] Shannon Russell: Mm-hmm. That [00:20:00] communication piece of communicating with yourself is really important because when you think communication, it's talking to everyone else. But how about Uhhuh? Asking yourself what you
[00:20:08] Erin Woodruff: want. It's the internal dialogue and more than anything I love teaching the actual like hard skills of communication, learning how to communicate with other people, but.
It's the soft skills that I love of rewriting the internal dialogue within yourself, rewiring those neurons in your brain. The neuroplasticity is so cool that we can actually change the way that we're thinking and the habits that we have, and that's what's really cool and that's what allows you to have the best life that you wanna live.
[00:20:41] Shannon Russell: And you share a lot of these ideas and these tips and this advice in your podcast as well. Do you wanna chat about your podcast?
[00:20:48] Erin Woodruff: Yeah, so I have a podcast. It's called Time For You, and I really talk about creating the time for you in your life and whatever that looks like for you, if it's [00:21:00] being able to communicate with yourself so you can identify what you need.
If it's being able to create the time for you because , you feel just burned out as a wife or a mom, or you feel like you're just draining yourself in your 60 hour work weeks, and then being able to identify and then work towards creating the time for you, that's actually going to fuel your soul so you can actually enjoy the other things that we do need to do in our lives.
[00:21:24] Shannon Russell: that's so important, especially for moms of young kids where, so much of our day is based on other people, right? Mm-hmm. We don't take that time for us. And your show is really a nice reminder of taking that time for you. And then that leads right back into the communications piece and.
It just all comes together so perfectly. Yeah. In your business, in your world. Well, thank you. Yeah. So just thinking back to your first act, talk to me about the difference between your first acted now.
[00:21:55] Erin Woodruff: That's a great question. I think if I had stayed at the [00:22:00] university, I would've had different opportunities. I think it's easy to have the opportunity scarcity, and I also think I also would've been very discouraged. Hmm. Because.
For years and years, I've just like hid that little quiet voice of like, grow your own business, start your own business. And so I think the longer we hush those inner desires, the harder it is to act on 'em. And then the harder, sometimes they'll just go away. They'll stop bothering us. And so I think I would have other opportunities at the university.
I loved all of my coworkers. It was really. A great environment. I loved the mission of the center, and I think I would've really enjoyed engaging with the students, creating experiential learning opportunities for them, participating in the classes and growing the vision of others, creating that real world, real life experience.
But[00:23:00] I do think. I would've been really frustrated and discouraged, continually feeling like when am I actually gonna start my own thing? And just diving in to that was so scary. And I just realized you did ask me at the beginning. How did I start my business?
I think no one knows what they're doing. Yeah. When they start a business, Nope. Nobody, I didn't have a clue what I was doing. I still don't really feel like I have a clue, and every day is just a shot in the dark in a lot of ways, but it's way more exciting because I'm the one leading. Yeah. So I don't know.
Sometimes you just have to walk into the dark and the light will come on and. You just figure it out slowly. Right.
[00:23:44] Shannon Russell: And you have that entrepreneurship in your blood. If your dad was a business owner as well. Mm-hmm. When you decided to take the sleep and open your own business, what were his thoughts?
[00:23:54] Erin Woodruff: He was like, don't do it. Really. He was very supportive, but his [00:24:00] initial reaction was like, why do you wanna do that? Because he does know how hard it is. And he's been an entrepreneur for. Almost 40 years and his business is successful, but it's a day in, day out kind of grind. And it's different. And he asked me, why do you wanna do this?
And I just told him everything and he was like, I understand because he has that entrepreneurial spirit too. And he was like, I get it. It will be better for you. You will be happier. And I was like, I really will. And so he's been extremely supportive. In so many ways, but also just the realistic side of like, do you actually know what you're getting into because it is so hard.
[00:24:42] Shannon Russell: It's funny, I worked for a family friends business many summers, like throughout high school and college, and my dad would always say, I don't know why they'd want to own their own business. I don't know why anyone would want to own their own business because it's 24 7. And I always remember that in the back of my head, [00:25:00] but it just came to me. I never thought I would do it either. Mm-hmm. But the fact that it allows you that freedom, That you don't have otherwise when you have children is just the force, I think, to push you over that edge and say, I'm going to go with it because this is better than the alternative.
Because if you were at the university as much as you liked it, or if I was still back in television as much as I liked it, we would be beholden to someone else. Yeah. And our kids would be in daycare longer and they're just, mm-hmm. There's so many different elements to it, so it's almost that pick your poison
[00:25:33] Erin Woodruff: kind of thing. Yeah, exactly. it's all hard and you hear that all the time, like managing your finances is hard and having no money is hard and working on a business is hard, but working for someone else is hard and you just have to choose your hard, and it is. no matter what you do, you're gonna have obstacles and so do what you want to do.
Mm-hmm. And then just embrace the obstacles that come with that part of it.
I realized, wow, I [00:26:00] just kept waiting to start my own business until this, until this, until I got married, until I graduated from college, until I had a baby, until I was a stay-at-home mom and wanted a side hustle, all the things. And I realized, no, like why am I waiting? And so I decided to start my business.
I like opened L L C and all the things, and I got pregnant soon after. And. Right there. It was that defining moment of like, I'm doing the right thing and I'm taking care of myself. And going back to the time for you, I realized then years ago that was the time for me so I can actually be a better mom.
I'm putting myself first. Because if I didn't have any other outlets, I know I would go crazy and I might resent my toddler for the lack of opportunities. And all the things. I think we all have a little bit of that in our minds, right. That we'll miss out on something [00:27:00] and I realized if I can take care of myself first, I will figure out how to do it.
Being a mompreneur and have a kid and doing it all, it is so hard. Going back to the Choose your hard. Yeah. Managing all of it. While I'm recording this podcast, I'll. And I might've mentioned it to Shannon before, but I ran my toddler across the street for one of my neighbors for a few minutes because she's not sleeping right now.
Mm-hmm. And you just have to have a village around you. You have to ask for help and it's a totally different type of hard and it's okay, but when you look at those moments and you realize, I deliberately chose this, it's easier to work through the hard.
[00:27:40] Shannon Russell: So brilliant. Yeah. And so well said, Erin. Really you're really juggling it all. And at the end of the day, it's your day, right? You got to be with your daughter, you got to clean the house if you wanted to. You got to talk to your clients. You got to be on a podcast. You are holding the reins of what your day [00:28:00] and your life looks like. And yeah, there's something so satisfying in that.
[00:28:04] Erin Woodruff: Yeah, it really is. At any point I can say, Nope, I did it. I'm done. And I will feel fully fulfilled. Like I did everything I wanted to. And I'm sure there will be another desire that comes up that I'll move towards because I am saying goodbye to this and I think I love what you do, Shannon.
Just like the second act success. 'cause I don't think there's even two acts or three acts. I think there's so many. And at any point we can choose to pivot we're creating the life that's best for us at the time, and that's what's the coolest part about, yeah, living, I think.
[00:28:37] Shannon Russell: So what is one piece of advice that you can give to someone who's about to start their second act?
[00:28:42] Erin Woodruff: That's a great question. One piece of advice I would give. Is be willing to let go of the past because no matter what, even if you feel like things are gonna change too much, but then you never [00:29:00] change your circumstances, things are still gonna change. Mm-hmm. And so, I think too often we have fear of making big life changes for ourselves because we don't wanna disrupt the system of what's currently there.
But then it turns out it changes anyways. And so be willing to let go of it. And when you let go and move forward, that's where your life is really gonna start unfolding into something amazing.
[00:29:26] Shannon Russell: Love that. So where can my audience connect with you?
[00:29:29] Erin Woodruff: On my website, erinwoodruffcoaching.com. I have a few quizzes. Are you married to an introvert?
And I have a quiz. Where do you fall on the introvert extrovert spectrum? If you're like, I don't really know where I fall, it's a great place to start. The quizzes are free and you can also learn more about my course there as well. And then on social media, I'm @erinwoodruffcoaching on all of those platforms.
[00:29:54] Shannon Russell: I'm gonna link to it all in the show notes. Perfect. And it was so fun catching up with you and hearing all about [00:30:00] your journey this time, Erin. So thank you so much
[00:30:02] Erin Woodruff: for being here. Thank you so much for having me. This was so much fun.