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Meet Trailblazer Ellen Coule

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ellen Coule.

Ellen, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Back in July 2015, I quit my corporate day job to start my own business as a marketing strategist and copywriter. I started out super motivated and driven, but after months of working odd hours on my laptop – usually while sitting on my couch with my two kitties – I started to feel depressed and disconnected from my community. A lot of my girlfriends were also business owners, and I wanted to connect them to each other, so I began hosting LadyBoss Meetups at my house in January 2016. It was the perfect way to create my own tight-knit community and get the connection we all desperately needed more of.

While the original LadyBoss Meetups focused on topics related to business and entrepreneurship, I knew that we all needed a break from talking about the hustle. So, in March 2016, I began to host LadyBoss Clothing Swap events to gather my entrepreneurial girlfriends in a fun way that would also benefit charity. These events were a fabulous way to connect and commune, but they had another huge advantage: Each event generated a full carload of leftover clothing, which we donated to my favorite local cause – a community resource center that collects and redistributes clothing and supplies to local homeless and veterans as well as women and children fleeing domestic violence.

So many women reached out to me asking if they could be invited to the next LadyBoss Clothing Swap Party, and I wanted to open these events to the public. That’s when I decided to make it official!

I launched LadyBoss Social Club on November 22, 2017, with a goal to reach a global audience with our message of empowerment through community connection, collaboration, and charity. Today, we are proud to continue this mission and promote the value behind the idea: That everyone can make a positive difference.

Since we launched, we’ve grown our audience of female entrepreneurs and dreamers using social media and word of mouth. It’s been a dream to connect with women online and offline, and it feels like we’re really making an impact by helping women connect with each other, too. I’ve seen so many friendships made at our events, and my favorite thing has been watching them all cheer each other on and collaborate with each other.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Is anything in life smooth?? Haha! It’s been an incredible year of learning lessons. No matter what kind of goal you’re embarking on, you’ll never be able to foresee all of the possible challenges. You just have to learn to adapt – and to seek support when you need it.

The biggest challenge I’ve had to navigate with LadyBoss Social Club was figuring out how to achieve my big goals in a way that felt aligned with my resources. I often had a very limited amount of time and energy because I was helping care for sick family members and was continuing my client work for my other business, Coule Company. Whenever we heap too much on our plate, it’s a recipe for burnout. So, I had to learn how to be smart about my time management so I could balance all of my work projects and still have time to spend with family and friends, too.

But it’s always a balancing act! We’ll never be able to do it perfectly, and I’ve learned to give myself and others a lot of grace. We can be so hard on ourselves and think we’re not doing enough. When that happens, it’s helpful to talk through it with friends so they can remind you that you’re awesome and you’re doing great. Good friends are priceless. 🙂

If I could send a message to myself back in 2015, I would say: Prioritize your health, wellness, and self-care above all else. No matter what is going on in your life or business, make sure you’re taking care of yourself first. You can’t pour from an empty vessel.

And for any women on the entrepreneurial journey, I would say:
1. Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone is on their journey, and you have no clue what battles other people are facing… even if their life looks perfect on the outside.
2. We all get by with help from our friends! Stay involved your community, ask for support when you need it, and help others when you can – without overextending yourself, of course.
3. When making investments for your business, stick to profit-generating activities and make sure you always have a solid plan to get a return on your investment. A lot of people spend their limited budget on a logo and branding before they even validate their product and nail their niche messaging. The smaller your budget, the more diligent you need to be about only choosing expenses that directly generate a profit.

We’d love to hear more about LadyBoss Social Club and Coule Company.
Right now, I split my time between my two businesses:

Half of the time I’m working with clients in my first business, Coule Company, consulting on content marketing and business strategy. Those are my left-brained days when I get to be more strategic and analytical. My background is in creating positively memorable user experiences through content, strategy, and events. So, I use this business as my way to help other businesses create more sales and more impact in a way that also enhances their customers’ experience of their brand.

I’m really proud that 90% of my clients have come as referrals from clients, colleagues, and friends. I love that everyone I work with is part of my community network. I’d say what sets me apart is my attention to detail and my dedication to my clients’ goals. My clients always thank me for caring as much about their brand as they do.

The other half of the time I’m working on LadyBoss Social Club, creating online and offline events for female entrepreneurs and dreamers to connect, collaborate, and change the world. Those are my right-brained days when I get to be super creative and do things more from a place of curiosity and experimentation. Because of my background in events, it’s such a natural way to combine my professional skills with my passion for getting my community engaged in making a positive difference in the world.

The thing that lights me up the most about this work is that I get to make it easier for people to make a difference in a way that feels fun. People want to make a difference, but they often don’t know where to start or they feel like they don’t have time. I like to create events that fill that gap – making it easier for people to give back while getting the social benefit of doing it with like-minded locals.

We’re interested to hear your thoughts on female leadership – in particular, what do you feel are the biggest barriers or obstacles?
Guidance, support, and accountability. A lot of people think they need money to start a business or make a difference, and that’s not true at all. Now, more than ever, we have free resources and innovative technologies at our disposal. So, from a logistics standpoint, we have everything we need to succeed.

The biggest barriers I see are that women often lack great mentors to guide them, support them, provide accountability, and even connect them with other people who can help them on their path. In my experience, women often have the mindset that they have to do it all by themselves and that no one else really cares to support them through their challenges. In reality, it’s quite the opposite! By simply asking for help and guidance when we need it, we open ourselves up to a world of people who do truly want to see us succeed. And so often, if we don’t know the right person, someone we know does! But we have to take responsibility to ask for the help we need.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Shanna Morgaine of Peppermint Wind Photography

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