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From Classroom to Business: How One Teacher Turned Her Teaching Passion into a Thriving Education Venture For Children | Ep#129

April 15, 2024

From Classroom to Business: How One Teacher Turned Her Teaching Passion into a Thriving Education Venture For Children | Ep#129 Listen in to hear the second act success story of a teacher’s inspiring journey from educator to successful entrepreneur with her venture, Raising Sunshine. Host and Career Transition Coach Shannon Russell, interviews Erin Haney about […]

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The Second Act Success Career Blog features articles to help inspire you as you navigate your career journey. Plus, you'll find show notes from podcast guests who have shared second act success stories. My hope is that these quick reads will offer advice and comfort knowing you are not alone on your path towards second act success. xo - Shannon


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From Classroom to Business: How One Teacher Turned Her Teaching Passion into a Thriving Education Venture For Children | Ep#129

Listen in to hear the second act success story of a teacher’s inspiring journey from educator to successful entrepreneur with her venture, Raising Sunshine. Host and Career Transition Coach Shannon Russell, interviews Erin Haney about her shift from teaching in public schools to launching her own business focused on providing inclusive and engaging educational experiences for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Discover the challenges Erin faced, the pivotal moments that led her to take the leap into entrepreneurship, and the strategies she employed to grow her business from a small startup to a thriving community hub.

From Classroom to Business: How One Teacher Turned Her Teaching Passion into a Thriving Education Venture For Children | Ep#129

Erin Haney, Founder of Raising Sunshine


Key Takeaways:

  1. Transitioning from a traditional teaching career to entrepreneurship: Learn how Erin navigated the shift from classroom educator to business owner, including the challenges and rewards along the way.
  2. Building an inclusive educational environment: Explore how Raising Sunshine prioritizes inclusivity and supports children of all abilities through sensory play and early literacy programs.
  3. Overcoming obstacles: Hear how Erin persevered through setbacks and uncertainty, finding resilience and determination in pursuit of her passion for early childhood education.
  4. Lessons in growth and self-discovery: Discover the personal and professional growth journey Erin embarked on, from filing for an LLC to expanding her business across multiple locations.

Connect with Erin Haney:


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Second Act Success Career Podcast
Season 1 - From Classroom to Business: How One Teacher Turned Her Teaching Passion into a Thriving Education Venture For Children
Episode - #129
Host: Shannon Russell
Guest: Erin Haney
Transcription (*created by Descript and may not be perfectly accurate)

[00:00:00] Erin Haney: I can't just quit and do something. but April 2021, was like a mental breaking point moment. I filed for an LLC one day at like four o'clock in the morning, I woke up and I'd been thinking about a name and talking with some friends I don't know what I want to do, but like, I'm just going to like do my own thing over here.

And there was no conversation with my family, I just 4am one day filed for an LLC and was like, well, I have till June to figure it out.

[00:00:23] Shannon Russell: Hey, you, are you feeling stuck, desperate for a career change or thinking of starting a business, but you're just not sure how to make your first move? I'm television producer turned career coach, Shannon Russell, and this is the second act success career podcast. This is where you will not only get the career advice you've been craving, but you'll get tips from career and business experts.

along with inspiration from others who have made a career transition to find second act success. Let's get started.

hey there. Welcome back to the podcast. I talk a lot [00:01:00] here on the show about the thread that kind of links you from your first act to your second act and how, if you can pinpoint that thread. And pull it as you go from where you are now to where you want to be. I assure you, you will find success and fulfillment today. I am speaking with one of my coaching clients. Her name is Erin Haney and she is the founder of Raising Sunshine, LLC.

[00:01:27] Shannon Russell: Erin has a long history and a background in education. She decided that she wanted to get out of the classroom and really take everything that she's learned and create a business for herself.

And guess what? Erin has done just that. And it's been only a couple of years. I am thrilled to introduce you to Erin Haney and have her explain how she took her education and teaching background. And now she teaches toddlers and preschoolers in her own [00:02:00] business. Here is my conversation with Erin Haney of Raising Sunshine to talk about her second act success story.

[00:02:07] Shannon Russell: Erin, welcome to Second Act Success.

I'm so happy to have you on here. Thank you so much for having me. We've known each other for quite some time, both being small business owners in our area here in New Jersey, and your story is really incredible and just is continuing to evolve. So let's take it back to the beginning. Tell me where your career began.

You have a background in education.

[00:02:32] Erin Haney: Yeah, so I got hired before I was even a student teacher in college. I was hired by a local school district, that I had subject and connected with throughout my whole college career. So I was very blessed to have a job during a really rough time in the teaching market.

and I taught public preschool, kindergarten and first grade. I rotated between the grades for about 10 years. Then I had my son, and I did not want to do that anymore. love teaching, love children. I was having [00:03:00] some challenges with my local public school, and just some values and new, legislation about early learning that didn't feel quite in alignment with what I believe with children, and families.

so that was part of the driving decision to not go back to work when he was born. I took an extended maternity leave that we did not plan. It just kind of happened. but we were always a two income household and needed to be. So I wound up working for our state early intervention for a couple of years.

and, We didn't have good child care options at the time. So I worked nights and weekends opposite of my husband, who also works in a school district. and we made it work and it was not a dream job, but was fine. I got to work and support kids and families. and then COVID happened and it took me about a year to get my caseload.

And then in March, 2020, I lost. a whole thing. I think I had one client that stayed on and I was going to do teletherapy with a one year old in their family with my one year old like banging on the door to come in and it was, not for me. so I actually went back to teaching [00:04:00] in public school in September, 2020, which was never planned.

I didn't think I was ever going to go back and then to go back in like peak pandemic and like full multi layers of PPE like we looked like surgeons like with all our shields and masks and plexiglass like I taught 15 three year olds all separated by individual plexiglass and it was

[00:04:20] Shannon Russell: it was an

[00:04:20] Erin Haney: experience that's for sure.

was your son in school at the same time? How did you juggle that?

[00:04:25] Erin Haney: So we had him in home daycare the year before, from September 2019. I was working at that point. My early intervention caseload was growing a little bit. So we put him in like two half days.

we called her our bonus grandma. It was like the certified in home. They played in her playroom in her backyard. Ms. Patti was super sweet, a part of our family. so then, September 2020. He went there full time. we had five families that like part of our like COVID circle and it was all educator families like we dropped off the kids and then we worked in our five different schools.

[00:04:55] Shannon Russell: when you knew you didn't want to be in the classroom and you needed to go [00:05:00] back into the classroom and the schools needed you. So how was that adjustment?

[00:05:04] Erin Haney: It was not an ideal situation to go back into. I actually was offered three jobs in the same week, because that's how, poor the teaching situation was at that time.

and I had said yes to a job, actually my husband's school. And then, hour later, I got a call from my old school that I worked at, who knew I was looking for a job because they were my reference the day before. and one of their teachers just left. dad was getting like an organ transplant or something and she decided she was just gonna like go be at home in their bubble together and take care of him.

So then I politely declined the job I had just accepted, with my husband's, like, direct boss. It was super awkward. She was, like, trying to, like, negotiate with me, it was so uncomfortable. , but also I was grateful that within the chaos there was choice.

So I chose what I knew. So I knew the challenges, I knew the pros and the cons, but it was familiar. So I went with familiar chaos to unknown chaos. There was plenty of unknown [00:06:00] chaos in general at that time. it definitely helped our family's financial situation that I finally had a salary again for the first time in almost three years at that point.

But my mental health, man, I had 13 kids in person with me all day, every day that like anytime someone coughed, like they had to go home and get a COVID test. We had to take their temperatures three times a day.

There was so little playing and learning and just the things that I fell in love with education, that all had to go. And we bleached toys all day long, , I love the school that I was at, and it was great, but it was just a crazy time.

so by the end of winter, My family was asking me to leave. My mental health therapist was like, do you quit now? Like when do you say like I'm out? And I was like in June, like obviously in June, I don't know what anyone's talking about. my physical therapist at the time had actually left her hospital job to start her own private practice.

And every week at PT, she'd be like, Erin, just do your own thing. just quit and just do it. And I'd be like, Emily, you don't get it. you're a PT. So like now you just are a PT over here. But like. What does a teacher do? the library has free story time. [00:07:00] what do you want me to go do?

I am a great teacher, but teachers work at schools. Or they stay home. I can't just quit and do something. but April 2021, was like a mental breaking point moment. I filed for an LLC one day at like four o'clock in the morning, I woke up and I'd been thinking about a name and talking with some friends of like, I don't know what I want to do, but like, I'm just going to like do my own thing over here.

And there was no conversation with my family, I just 4am one day filed for an LLC and was like, well, I have till June to figure it out. And, I had a reputation in early intervention for doing sensory play with families. I always told them I should have been an OT or a speech therapist, but we're too far gone to restart that schooling process.

So I was like selling sensory bins, on the side, I had all these spreadsheets of just crafty, like creative things that I was going to do that I didn't do at the time because COVID teaching full time plus being a mom to a toddler, like that was more than enough on my plate for one year.

but I had all these ideas and I'd been thinking about it. [00:08:00] So I filed in April. I bought a logo. I, talked to a web designer on the phone on my lunch break. Every day I had a 20 minute break and I would go to my car and, make a plan. my exit plan usually through tears during my lunch break.

I'm like, figure it out or you have to come back. And I didn't want to.I started teaching sensory play classes right around 4th of July that year, and there was like 10 families over three classes throughout the week. I can still name all 10 of them. I can like vividly remember the first 10, always a special place in my heart, for supporting me back then.

now we see 100 to 150 families every week, over 10 locations, a team of six teachers, and it's been not even three years, growing, which is wild. So yeah.

[00:08:47] Shannon Russell: So let's go back. So you file the LLC at four in the morning, and then you're using your lunch breaks. And I love that because so many times people say, oh, I don't have the time.

I don't have the time. You truly did not have the time, but you had [00:09:00] those 20 minutes. And you use those 20 minutes to your advantage because you were looking at what would happen if you didn't take those steps. And what could happen if you just try to utilize that time. And that's just such a smart investment decision.

in your time and in yourself.

[00:09:19] Erin Haney: I mean, I was beyond naive. I like remember doing a spreadsheet of like, okay, I'll do kindergarten readiness, teaching, reading. I'm great. I'm certified in handwriting, all the things that I love. And I remember having a spreadsheet of like, okay, I'll charge this much.

So 10 kids. I'm like, this math is great. I can make my salary in no time had no concept of liability insurance and rent, like, Nothing, it was just me, street profit, and the numbers all worked out, and full enrollment, off the bat, and I'm glad I was so naive, because if I had any idea what I was getting into, I don't know if I would have jumped, I honestly don't think I would have, my son was starting half day preschool in September, Monday through Friday, like 9 to 12, I think he went.[00:10:00]

And I was like, I'll casually work a little bit, 9 to 12, Monday through Friday. That's it. Like, hard limits. I'm not going to work later in the day when I'm with him, which is so far from anybody who's an entrepreneur knows that that's, especially to start now. Now I work seven days a week, working on that, but I'm in a very hustle grow phase right now.

I frequently work seven days a week, even if it's an hour here and there, So I'm honestly grateful that I had no idea that becoming an entrepreneur would be such a personal journey too. I was like, The self growth and discipline and things that it took to change and shift and grow.

I'm honestly super grateful that I had not a clue. But I knew that my family needed me to have an income. And that was like the driving force of there was no option to fail. We actually bought a house that August. I had to get off the mortgage because I was unemployed and technically self employed, but like zero income to show for it.

Yeah. Like no actual business to like be like, look, we do great things. and we were just, starting. so the stakes were high and the pressure was high. and it, took a good amount of months to figure it out [00:11:00] and grateful my family was patient with me as I figured it out,

One of my friends was talking with me the other day and I was I don't know if complaining is the right word, but just saying how hard things have been lately and how much hard work that it's taken. and some hurdles that I wasn't expecting recently. And she was like, yeah, but you just sound happy when I talk to you and I know you work more than you ever have, but you used to sound miserable when you talked about work.

And now she's like, I can just tell, you're so happy and fulfilled. And I really put it on perspective that I've never worked harder. And it's never felt more worthwhile. For me personally, and for my family, the confidence and where we're going and the impact that that'll have on my son.

, so super grateful I was that naive. I think have a loose plan, take the jump and then just trust that you'll figure it out.

[00:11:47] Shannon Russell: It like makes me want to tear up just hearing you say that, that you were happy working these crazy hours and working because it was something that you wanted to do and you weren't put into this box of what, a company [00:12:00] wanted you to do or school wanted you to do.

And it was on your own terms. from that April until that June, you were building kind of the idea of what a business of your own. Would look like. And then in June, when you left the classroom, you knew there was , no turning back. You weren't coming back in September.

I had to tell them, I think it was the end of May that we get our renewal notices and you check the box.

[00:12:24] Erin Haney: I'm coming back in September. I'm working summer camp or see you another time. And I stalled until the last day . My director at the time, I'm pretty sure, knew it was coming. And we were house hunting, and we were not house hunting super close to where it was. So there were a lot of factors that went into that.

But also that would have meant like applying to a new public school or driving over an hour. And 20 minutes from where I used to teach is where we live now. So I can't imagine adding that onto like what we were already doing in just the long hours. and I wanted to be available for my son, as a mom and a teacher mom, I never want to miss a Mother's Day muffins like at [00:13:00] school.

And I never want to miss the Halloween parade because I'm doing a Halloween parade. it's flexible in that whenever there is an event at school, I'm there.

I haven't missed anything, and I make my schedule around. What's most important.

[00:13:13] Shannon Russell: Yes. And that's the same with me not being a stay at home parent, but owning your own business gives you that flexibility to say, I'm blocking off my schedule for the Halloween parade or the school concert, or you need to meet with the teacher, not a problem.

You can do it. So that is The best of both worlds in a way of being a home parent, being there, but also having your own thing and growing something that you love and, your business, it's called Raising Sunshine. tell us a little bit more about it. You wanted to host classes.

You basically wanted to take what you were doing in the classroom and replicate it in your own business out in the community. But how did it kind of evolve and grow as you were, Putting this together. And I'd love to know how you got the word out, you're a teacher. How did you decide to let people know you were doing this class on a [00:14:00] Monday morning?

[00:14:01] Erin Haney: A big driving factor in, designing the programming and exactly what I wanted to offer was a lot of the families that I had been working with in early intervention really felt like there was a gap in the toddler preschool programs that were available in our area, in terms of inclusivity. not that they weren't welcome, but in a music class per se, with all typically developing children.

They didn't always feel welcome or included, not for lack of teachers. There's a lot of great programs, but it was just different. There wasn't a place or a program designed at the time for children with speech delays, other developmental delays, and just that community really needed some more support.

So from day one, that has always been our, mission and our value statement that everybody is welcome. parents know their kids better than us. So we love to have conversations so that we can best meet everyone's needs, but everyone's welcome and we're happy to adapt and accommodate. We enjoy, Creating a space where everybody feels safe and welcome to [00:15:00] just be we start every class we say come as you are and like toddlers have meltdowns on the floors mom's cry sometimes I'm like, it's fine. we've all had those moments too. So grateful that they all feel safe to really come as they are.

So sensory play was what I really decided that I'm passionate about early literacy. but again, like I said before, the library does free story time. There's lots of free story times around, so that's not a career to make. but sensory play, there were no sensory play classes in our area.

think we called it story time and sensory bins first, just like very flat out. Like, this is what it is. We read a book and then it was still like pretty peak COVID time in our area. So we would sit six feet apart. Every family got like a play mat and they sat and stayed in their space.

[00:15:43] Erin Haney: So we were like,

[00:15:44] Shannon Russell: outside locations.

[00:15:46] Erin Haney: We are mostly outside. One was a dance studio. that had three families. and then the rest were all outside, one at a park and one at a local farm, that was just, like, a family's backyard that I rented, I actually looked around to see, like, where other kid [00:16:00] businesses, music and soccer, like, where they held classes and rented from, and then reached out to some of the same townships and parks, to get my own permits.

And we started with that. I made an Instagram account. I had a super small personal social media following, on purpose. I've always been pretty private on social media. and really for the first year, I'd say like word of mouth was everything that like the first 10 families that came, There's a book, Superfans, that just talks about, like, your, most loyal. So I'd say everybody that came the first summer was a superfan, and they told everybody that they came in contact with. Anytime I was on Facebook, I'd see my business page tagged or mentioned, and they really got the ball rolling for me.

And I'd post in local town Facebook groups, I don't even think I knew how to do, like, Instagram ads yet. So I don't think that was ever. A thing that for summer, I had some old school like flyers. I would like drive around and try to hang up places.

[00:16:53] Shannon Russell: the grassroots, you were really just, yeah, this is where I'll be. You're welcome to come. This is what we'll be [00:17:00] doing. And then word of mouth.

[00:17:01] Erin Haney: We had like a Google form sign up. We went through so many different registration softwares before we like invested in like the really good one that we have now.

[00:17:10] Shannon Russell: But I think it was just like a Google form of like, check a box and tell me what day. And sometimes I'd fill out half of it and be like, I don't know who's going to show up. I like my dog, a lot of pasta. So here we are. You were the teacher teaching all of these classes for quite some time.

I'm sure.

[00:17:27] Erin Haney: Yeah. For the first. I did a everything. like every piece of the whole business and then summer 2022. a little over a year since we started classes. I just posted on Instagram like, Hey, does like anybody want to like do one of these? because it was getting a lot.

There was like a lot of. Request for weekend classes and in my head, I'd love to offer things like that, but I wanted to be home with my kid too. I didn't want to work all the hours almost everybody who teaches was a class family first [00:18:00] for a good several months.

So, Angela was our first teacher to come on. She'd been coming with her daughter for a while. I guess she was maybe pregnant with her son when she started teaching.

it was so nice to just have somebody to chat with that like was also now in it with me and my family listens and my friends listen, but it wasn't the same. It was nice to have a colleague that was in it and could help make some program decisions and, have a vested interest in our growth and what we were going to do next.

[00:18:26] Shannon Russell: Yeah, because this was really picking up and it was really growing at that time and, You know, we talk about, okay, you're out there doing classes, but there's so much of that back end business owner, kind of admin stuff that you're doing. Getting the insurance and having the website running and what happens if someone calls out and just the emails and all of that.

you had to learn all of that while you were doing social media, while you were hiring, while you were. Teaching and working on your curriculum, because this is all your programs that you're developing.

[00:18:59] Erin Haney: Making it up [00:19:00] as we go. now we have like a year of lesson plans and things built and, a year or so into it, we switched from like individual kids playing to like group stations and really gotten a social piece going and Then we added in a baby class the next summer at a local coffee shop, which that really took off, and was just a great casual place for new families to meet each other.

we've done preschool, social, emotional focused classes, creating connections, really supporting parents with how to advocate. I decided to go back to grad school, like the minute that I started this too, which was like not, I remember my husband being like, what are you doing? you gave up your income.

We bought a house and now you're casually going to school. Like what's the plan here? And I was like, I don't know. I just really think I need to do this right now. So what was that for?

[00:19:46] Shannon Russell: what drove you to that? was it more of like, I need this for my confidence.

I need this. To offer more to my customers.

[00:19:53] Erin Haney: It was a graduate program in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, and since becoming a parent, I had a strong [00:20:00] interest in maternal mental health and our systems or lack thereof, in the United States, and just going through a rough postpartum experience, like the lack of family, child, community support, was really eye opening between my experience and then working in early intervention and seeing especially for families of children with special needs, There's a lot of room for growth in those areas.

So I had, seen this program before, and done trainings through this group at Montclair State when I was teaching. They have a whole center there that does a lot of great trainings around the state, public school teachers, all kinds of things. And I had been eyeing it honestly for a couple of years and it just logistically, I can never get there every Saturday, but this was the first time I was going to be virtual.

So I was like, Oh, maybe I could like it's from my bedroom. And I don't know, something just felt like I just wanted to, I wanted the information that they were sharing. And after the first meeting, I just knew I was meant to be in a room with those people who ranged from a couple years younger than me to over double my age.

[00:21:00] and I'm in the last year of the program now, we're almost done. And we, at all of our reflective meetings, say how the curriculum is great and we've learned so much from the program, but I've learned just as much from the other people. and it was a group of educators, occupational therapists, a lactation consultant, social workers, it's a multidisciplinary group.

So the nurses, psychiatric nurses, early intervention nurses, so the life experience. is drastically different for all of us. And , it's such a powerful experience.

Our project was to do like a visionary project of like, what do you want for kids and families, and there's no budget constraints, there's no legal constraints, just use your imagination, what do you wish could happen?

[00:21:44] Erin Haney: And we all did our little presentations and I mean, I have children's they had to stand up and they said, look around the room. These are the people that are changing the world for kids and families and our community and beyond. and , they're doing it. And the program started four or five years [00:22:00] ago.

And some of them have like brought their vision to life, like their project that they wrote that was just a dream, like make up a dream as big and crazy as you can think. And my project from that day is, like, actively in the works too, , well, I remember writing it, like, the day before on my note card.

Make the wish list. And, never at that time, like a year and a half ago, imagined that it would come anything close to real life. And now we're, actively working on making an early childhood community center. And all of the gaps in all of the services for families and kids and parents, Finding them and not creating all of them because they're out there, but really being a I always say it's about so much more than the rice.

The toddlers come for like the dyed rice there's this one toddler that every Monday morning like chants I hear him open the door and down the hallway like, Rice! Rice! And he's so ready to play.and we love that and like that is very much myself. And it's so much more than that.

It's about the friendships for the kids, for the caregivers, for the community, and really connecting people. My phone rings every day of people like, do you know anybody who does [00:23:00] this? Do you know this? Like, yep, here's a public floor PT. Here's a therapist. Here's a great accountant. Here's

What do you need? And If I don't know it, somebody in our network of trusted people does and will help you connect. there's so much isolation in raising children. So that's really our goal to provide high quality educational programming, inclusive programming, but also we're starting cooking classes next month because there were none around here for kids.

And I'm a mom of a kid with a food allergy and we can never go to any of like the Easter cookie decorating or any of the things because there is nothing inclusive of kids with food allergies with food. So now there is. When we see a need and we hear a need, then who can we partner with to make it happen?

And I have some really talented chefs on our team, some good moms in the kitchen. So we made a menu and we made a program and wrote a curriculum for food play and picky eaters and we started two weeks and the aprons come tomorrow, which is just wild.

[00:23:59] Shannon Russell: [00:24:00] I get chills thinking about you giving your presentation in that graduate program and I have a feeling that that was mostly about this center and everything that literally like knock on wood is about to happen. So I want to ask you a little bit about actually taking your, business, Raising Sunshine from being this, mobile based business where you go to different locations in the community.

And now you're thinking about and working towards having your own. Community brick and mortar center. So this is a really big deal and you kind of glossed over it like Oh, we're gonna have a place where everybody comes. No, you're finding this you're creating this center, this community location, and that's a huge undertaking and just a way to really grow your brand and serve the community even better.

And I know this just from working with you through coaching, but tell everyone about really how this, community center will be.

[00:24:54] Erin Haney: So honestly, you're the inspiration for a lot of it. I remember before a mutual friend introduced [00:25:00] us, she was like, Oh, you have talked to my friend Shannon, because she used to like do this Lego thing out of her car.

Now she's got this whole thing. And I'm like, well, I've got the race in the car. So like, that sounds great I mean, a big driving factor is just, like, wanting to leave my car in my house. I really just want a building where you have a child, zero to five ish, anything and everything you could need community support wise is in this building or can be connected in this building.

[00:25:23] Erin Haney: And there's a place to just let your kids play and make a mess somewhere else while you have a coffee and conversation with a friend or, you know, you're new to the area. There's tons of military families in our area that, as they get restation, I'm sure it's very difficult to connect, especially when you have a young kid.

And I think a big challenge in implementing some of the more community service give back parts of what we've been dreaming about has been logistics with space that can't offer a free support group if I'm paying 100 an hour for rent. But if we have a building and we have a space and we have profitable programs, then we can do so much more to give back because we [00:26:00] have teachers with time and.

We'll have the space and the resources to have all kinds of support groups, language delay support groups. transitioning from really intervention to public school support groups or just like what even is the process because the one page document that you got at some point and somebody told you a lot of information while you were stressed one time that didn't even answer like all the details of like the day to day like we can provide all of that or connect with other community partners that are offering that.

I think that's been a really big shift that when I started in my head, I was going to do it all like me, myself and I was going to do 30 different things. and I've since learned that's silly and there's lots of talented people. and building the team of the speech therapist that can give honest assessments, the maternal mental health therapist that can have an office, and we can provide child care while a new mom gets her postpartum therapy, and feeding support groups, and classes for big kids while babies have a safe place to play, I really think [00:27:00] it will evolve based on the community, and I don't think any two years will look the same, and it will really depend on the needs of who we're serving at the time, which is how it's always gone, and as long as we're listening to that, all the shifts have been really positive ones.

[00:27:15] Shannon Russell: I love the fact that you, obviously have a children's business, but you're really taking into concern the adults and the caregivers and making it a space for them too. And I think that's what you don't find a lot in communities. You don't find that with other children's programs. And I can say that as an owner of a children's program, like we serve the children, not the parents, but you're taking it all into account and you're really caring about.

The mental health and the physical wellbeing and just the overall wellness for both the kids and the caregivers. And that's like such a legacy that I think you're going to leave with this business. And if you make it a franchise down the road, if you grow it to bigger and better things, , it's just an incredible resource and it's going to be an [00:28:00] absolutely incredible place.

And I can't wait to see it and share in it with you. it's so incredible what you built.

[00:28:06] Erin Haney: Thank you. And it feels surreal.

[00:28:09] Shannon Russell: It's surreal. Yeah. but you did it. It's an inspiration for people who are listening, who say, I don't have the time or that's a crazy idea. And just the fact that your physical therapist said, just start something and you went, Oh, maybe I can.

And you just started down that path. And what's the worst that can happen? You could have started it. It could have fallen apart in the first month and you would have went back to teaching or you would have figured something else out. So it's just knowing that you might as well try so you don't have those regrets down the road.

[00:28:40] Erin Haney: Yeah.

[00:28:40] Shannon Russell: And I

[00:28:41] Erin Haney: did, I applied to substitute my first winter. Things were so slow when we had to go inside because it was winter, but like it was still a really rough six season. Not many people were coming out inside with their young kids. , so it was hard and I, did, I babysat for two local families, I feel like failure was just never an option.

There have been many hard months, [00:29:00] even this winter, this winter, I think I'm just learning like our slow season and April is going to be wild. so learning enough time in business to have patterns like that. but yeah, failure wasn't a choice.

So whether it's babysitting on Friday nights because the car bill is due or taking a sub job because Tuesdays and Thursdays, I don't have any place to rent. So I'm going to sub those days, but it's so scary to take a leap and do all the things, but I've always just had this like, peace, too, In confidence, which I hope doesn't come across as arrogant, but just like it's going to work out, it's going to work out how it's supposed to. And there'll be hurdles and lessons. And I've invested a lot into coaching, with you and a previous coach before that. And that's been tremendously valuable and just like speeding up the figuring out how to own a business part.

And there's so much support out there. We need website help. There's web designers, like, I take marketing courses, mindset courses. I did this manifestation course, and I'm like, this is wild. we just, dream the things, and we put in some hard work, and they

[00:29:57] Shannon Russell: [00:30:00] And it's confidence. It's not arrogant at all. It's knowing that this is where you're supposed to be, and you're taking everything from your first act, all of the caring for children, and all of your education, and pouring it into this business that fills you up and your family at the same time.

So you're just serving everyone, and it's beautiful to see. And I'd love to end our conversation with just getting your advice. So if someone else is sitting here ready, is kind of on the fence, ready to maybe start their own small business and just get out of the classroom or just make that transition, what kind of advice would you have for them?

[00:30:39] Erin Haney: Find a coach and jump and just do it. and I think to not be afraid to invest in yourself and invest in your business because anything I've invested in myself and personal development or the business has come back tenfold. I think there's always so many people to learn from. There's tons of podcasts like this one. I've never been a book reader until the last two [00:31:00] years and I've read so many books and there's so many people who share and social media is such a great way too to learn.

There's so many masterclasses. Everybody has masterclasses that give a little sample of what it's like to work with them. but just learn what you can and if you're determined, just Take the leap.

[00:31:16] Shannon Russell: I love that. Where can listeners find you and connect with you if they want to DM you and say, Hey, Erin, I want to learn more about your company.

Where can they find you?

[00:31:27] Erin Haney: On Instagram? We're @raisingsunshinellc. and my email is info@raisingsunshinellc.Com.

[00:31:35] Shannon Russell: Perfect. I'm going to link to everything in the show notes and I just want to thank you for sharing your story. It's such an honor to work with you and to be your friend and support you and just watch you grow this business over the few years that I've known you and I'm just so proud of you.

[00:31:52] Erin Haney: Thank you so much. You've been a tremendous help in us getting to this point.

[00:31:57] Shannon Russell: Thank you.

Thank you for joining us. [00:32:00] 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, visit Before you go, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast 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'm Shannon Russell and this is Second Act Success.


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