I've always been a believer in working smarter rather than harder, so I'm excited to share today's interview. Like many of us, Alexis Giostra started in the corporate world but was craving something more. Not only did she make a plan to exit her corporate job, but she replaced the income she was making in just 6 months!
In this interview, you'll learn how she got started and how she continues to grow her business.
Let’s dig in!
At what point did you know you wanted to follow this career path? How did you know starting a consulting business was the right direction?
The idea of becoming an entrepreneur was something that I was first introduced to by friends and family when I was in high school and college. I have always been self-motivated and highly creative, essentially a classic example of an overachiever, and I was often told by those close to me that one day I would run my own business.
For years, I almost laughed this off because in my mind I was interested in following a very traditional career path which included getting a college degree and then a job but when I graduated college in 2007 the economy wasn’t doing well and jobs were hard to come by. So I started my first blog because I decided I wanted to be a writer. Well, blogging back then was a far cry from the sustainable career it can be today, so eventually, I found a job working in corporate sales and marketing for a Fortune 50.
The job wasn’t exactly what I expected I’d do after college, but I worked my way up the corporate ladder pretty successfully, but always still blogging and dabbling with social media in my free time as my passion or #sidehustle. Eventually, even my coworkers began to say they thought I should work for myself and start some sort of business online. As I rose up the corporate ladder. I began to see that although I enjoyed my job, it wasn’t what I was passionate about.
I knew from being tested in a corporate environment that I was capable of more than just working for someone else, and I knew I had the right set of skills to at least give an online business a try. So, I made a plan to eject from my 9-5, gave my notice and went full-time for myself in 2014. I replaced my income within six months, never looking back!
What are the biggest struggles you've faced while trying to achieve your dreams?
The biggest struggles I’ve faced while trying to achieve my dreams has been the realization that I can do it. It's easy to look around and see other people doing things successfully, but for some reason, I had a hard time translating that I too could be successful. It took a lot of people acknowledging my skills and talent before I felt like I really could make it happen for myself, but also keeping up my online presence through my #sidehustle of blogging and making youtube videos really gave me proof that I could be successful.
Owning your own business can be tough on the body and mind, between long days, instability and really putting yourself out there to reach your goals. How do you stay healthy? Do you have any rituals that help you stay centered?
I know a lot of entrepreneurs probably say this, but for the first few years working full-time for myself, I really hustled and burned the candle at both ends which helped me find success but did take a toll on me mentally and physically. In the last year or so I have really been focused on self-care and have established morning and evening routines to help me establish normalcy and regularity in my non-typical work day. I also make time to meditate almost daily and I’ve incorporated physical activity regularly as well.
Speaking of putting yourself out there, overcoming rejection is a big part of chasing dreams. How do you bounce back?
You know, I can’t say I faced a lot of rejection in my journey, or at least if I did I didn’t view it as rejection. I’ve spent time and energy creating content and products that haven’t been as successful as I would have liked, but I really do believe that when it comes to running your own business you need to try lots of different things and if you do something and it doesn’t work, it’s on to the next.
and the only way you find it is by trying every path that makes sense to you and if it works, good, and if it doesn’t work, cross that path off the list and start down the next one!
People often use the phrase “it’s not personal, it's business” and although we can take failure personally when it's our own business, it really is true that the failure isn’t you, it was the idea, so you can’t take it personally.
What do you do when you're having an off day—maybe feeling down, struggling with self-doubt, or just unmotivated?
Usually, I take the day off if I’m having an off day because my business and workload is usually very flexible. I’ve found through trial and error that trying to force myself through an off day will just waste time and effort, but if I give myself permission to walk away from my desk, it usually motivates me to get back to work much quicker!
What is one misconception people have about you and/or your profession?
The biggest misconception I think people have about me and my business is that I am a naturally productive person. I know I call myself a productivity guru and my business centers around productivity, but it’s not something that comes naturally to me.
I think of myself as a very lazy person and the reason I love productivity and have made it my business is that I want to find new ways to be productive and work smarter, not harder! It’s almost like I am the guinea pig for my own business because I need productivity tips as much as anyone else!
What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned along the way?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned during my journey of entrepreneurship is that you cannot let other people stop you from doing what you want to do.This applies in so many ways, but I’ve had people who said I could never have a passive income business, but I did it!
There are people out there who doubt my income or say I live off family, and it’s simply not true! I have people who have been “inspired by” my business to try to compete with me, and I have to pay them no mind. Many people will try to stand in your way or stop you from being successful in a multitude of ways, but you literally have to ignore them and do your own thing. Even when doubts are being raised by those close to you that may be hard to ignore, you just have to understand that people are naturally fearful of change and anything different so they don’t know any better than to try to warn you. It doesn’t mean you should listen to them!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow a path similar to what you have?
There is never going to be a right moment to begin your journey, you will never have the exact right tools or the perfect skill set to start, but you will learn along the way. If you are really serious, you need to begin right now!
For those who are serious about creating a business structured similar to mine and are looking for more information and insight, I have a FREE Online Business Training called Entrepreneurship is the New Black that I welcome you to sign up for.
When do you feel the most inspired, alive and the most like YOU?
In the morning when I first wake up. I guess I am a morning person so those first few hours of the day tend to be the best and most productive for me.
What people, books, music, etc. inspire you?
I love learning about other entrepreneurs and online business owners, I find it very inspiring to see other people who are overcoming the impossible and running successful business’ online. People like Pat Flynn, Marie Forleo, and Tony Robbins come to mind.
Some of my favorite books are Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris, Jab-Jab-Jab Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk and Getting Things Done by David Allen.
I have a very eclectic musical taste but I usually only listen to classical music while I’m working to keep me motivated.
Describe your favorite moment or accomplishment in your career so far.
My first five-figure month was a really big deal to me. I had never made that much money in a single month before and it felt like I had seriously leveled up in my business and reaffirmed my work.
What’s the most exciting thing going on in your life right now?
I’m in the middle of seriously shaking up my business to find a new formula for myself as a solopreneur to earn more while working less.
As someone who is obsessed with productivity, I’m always looking for “waste” in my business, so doing this deep dive into what works and what doesn’t is exciting because I feel like it will open up new possibilities for me. It’s also slightly terrifying because changing anything in your business is a jolt to your community and your routine, but in the end, I think I will come out of this process with significant insight and hopefully a more productive business!
About Alexis Giostra a.k.a MissTrenchCoat
Alexis Giostra is an online entrepreneur who designs and sells digital tools to help you Work Smarter, Not Harder. After working in corporate Fortune 50 sales and marketing for five years, Alexis quit her job, started her own online business and replaced her income in just six months!
If you’re ready to get started upping your productivity game and create the life and business of your dreams, feel free to download some of her latest FREE productivity tools over at TheCharmedShop.com!
This interview is part of the Chasing Dreams interview series. I’ve interviewed a variety of entrepreneurs and small business owners who have chosen a different path in life in order to go after his or her dream career. Have an entrepreneur in mind you’d like to learn more about? Let me know.