For my inaugural blog post, I’ll be honest – I wanted to interview someone I trust and admire and know pretty well. I’m pleased to introduce you to Ellie Bender, a fellow women business owner who is also a good friend. We met at an amazing cooperative preschool for our kiddos and have cheered for each other on our respective journeys over the years.
Ellie is a life coach who focuses on helping overwhelmed working moms. She has a peaceful and loving presence and I encourage you to check her out. You can find her on her website at https://www.elliebender.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/elliebendercoaching/ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/elliebendercoaching/.
When did you start your business, and why did you create it?
I started my coaching business in 2020, just as the pandemic was taking off. I had been thinking about moving into coaching for a while but had to get over some “who am I to coach other people?” thoughts before I could make that jump. I was drawn to coaching after getting coached myself and being amazed at how much of a difference talking things through with a coach made in my life. I wanted to do something that made a difference for people.
What do you feel makes your audience special?
My audience is working moms who are trying to balance work, kids, home, big dreams, and taking care of themselves. They want more time, more fun, less guilt and a lot less stress. It can be hard for moms to make time for themselves. Everyone else gets what they need first. But the moms I work with don’t just want the leftovers. They know that everyone wins when they win, and that taking care of themselves not only sets a good example for their kids but makes it easier for them to kick ass in all realms of their life.
If you could magically give all of your community members one thing in this world, what would it be, and why?
Hard to choose! Things that come to mind are: more time, a house that cleans itself, or guilt-free rest. The thing I’d really like to give them is the assurance that they can trust themselves. Moms get so much pressure to do things perfectly. No matter how you do things, people will be second-guessing you and telling you you’re not doing it right, and you’re not good enough. Being able to find your own anchor in the middle of the noise means you can spend your energy on things you’re passionate about, instead of worrying about what other people think. If I could magically cut out the criticism surrounding moms, I think they could move mountains.
Has anything surprised you about starting a website?
How hard it is to come up with the right words! My website has gone through dozens of iterations just in the short time I’ve been in business. I have had such a hard time communicating exactly who I work with and what I offer without sounding like a robot or a huckster. Why is it so hard to just sound like me?
The other surprising thing is how easy it is to get sucked into the minute details. Should I use this picture or that one? What colors? Should the image go on this side of the page or the other side? After a while, I’ve looked at it so much I can’t see it anymore!
Did you create your own website or hire it out? Do you use WordPress?
I created my own website using Squarespace.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting their own business?
Don’t go it alone. One of the most valuable things I have been a part of is a small group of other women running online businesses. We have calls once or twice a month and cheer each other on, problem-solve, and learn from each other. Keep your eyes out for a good mentor, because learning from other people is helpful, but be discerning. Some people will have a lot of ideas about what you “should” do, but if they don’t fully understand your vision, you may find yourself in conflict and resentful. Trust your instincts.
If you could go back in time and do something differently, what would you do and why?
I would start sooner. I didn’t need as much mental preparation as I thought. Much of the learning comes when the rubber hits the road and you are in the real world doing it.
Do you have an email list? If so, did you start it when you launched?
I am just starting an email list.
Is this your only job? Did you launch your business while working another job?
This is not my only job. I also run a landscape pruning business, and am the primary parent supervising my kids in remote school (which occasionally feels like a full time job itself).
How do you promote your site?
Instagram is my main platform for promotion. I’ve been on there a while, but I feel like I am just now getting the hang of it.
Who are your favorite bloggers or podcasts right now?
I love Brene Brown’s podcast, Unlocking Us. Most of what I listen to is coaching podcasts and NPR.