HerStory Number 15 - Eli Trier
This week’s HerStory is a bit of a special one for me. Not only is she one of the most wonderful genuine souls, she’s been a huge support in my business journey, a friendly face and strong shoulder for the highs and lows of freelance life. Also, I’m meeting her for the first time at her wedding! Chances are, if you’re reading this around publication date I’ll actually be in her company (how very meta). Watch out for inevitable pictures on my Instagram.
Best get started…Eli, would you introduce yourself and what it is you do.
Hiya! I’m Eli and I am a Community Builder for Quiet Revolutionaries. That means that I help introverts and HSPs to get connected, develop mutually beneficial relationships with their kindred spirits, and build gorgeous, thriving, nourishing communities around their businesses. I specialise in crafting online community projects (which I adore), and teaching people how to focus on love over numbers when it comes to building their audience. One of the hardest things for introverts and HSPs in business is dealing with all the people and the need to be constantly visible – it can be so draining! So, I help my clients to navigate the necessary peopling their business requires in ways which don’t leave them burnt out and exhausted.
Oh, and for context, I am also an introvert (to the point of hermitude), HSP, autistic, have a bouquet of chronic mental and physical health conditions, and used to suffer from crippling social anxiety – so if I can turn myself into a super-connector, anyone can!
I adore the niche that you dominate, and how you prove so gloriously that you don’t need to be an in-your-face alpha business type to have a successful business. What you do now is so unique; how did you get here? What you did before?
I spent most of my career in the catering industry, working my way up through the ranks from lowly pot-wash to marketing manager! I ran my own guest house for a couple of years, and then ended up concentrating on marketing by working in an ad agency (which I hated).
I took the leap into self-employment in 2008, when I realised that I was utterly miserable. I had a ‘good’ job, a lovely husband, and a cottage in the countryside with literal roses around the door, but I felt like I was suffocating. I built a life that didn’t belong to me. Then my mum gave me a book called Making A Living Without A Job by Barbara Winter, and everything changed. I stayed up all night reading the book and making lists of all the things I could potentially get people to pay me money for. It was the catalyst for what happened next: I walked out of my job, left my husband, and moved to a city where I knew no one! I spent the next few months going to every single event I could find where there might be other self-employed people – I had no business idea, just a handful of skills that I figured someone might need.
I eventually caught the attention of the woman who was writing The Financial Times Guide to Business Networking, and she was so impressed by my approach that she put me in the book, as well as introducing me to my first clients. I ended up doing a mish-mash of marketing, copy writing, and communications work for a few years, before that morphed into creativity coaching and illustration (after I wrote and illustrated a book called The Gratitude Project). And then in September 2018 I took everything I’d learned over the years and set up the business I run now, which I am madly in love with. It’s been a rollercoaster journey!
I love the image of that and how it literally flipped your world around. What a journey! What would you say is your proudest moment so far?
So far, I think it has to be being invited onto Tara McMullin’s podcast What Works, and impressing her so much that she immediately hired me to help her and her team run their first community project. But, to be honest, every single one of my clients is an absolute gift, and it’s such an honour to help such incredible women get these powerful, change-making projects out into the world.
I adore following Tara McMullin on Instagram! Completely honest, I love checking out all of the clients you shout about. Their work is incredible, not one thing I’ve read hasn’t lit something up in me. You really do help and nurture so much creative change in the world. I love it!
You’ve been self-employed in some form for a little while now. What advice would you give to anyone else thinking of making the leap?
Start before you’re ready and iterate in public – don’t wait until everything is perfect. Spend some time getting your systems and processes in place before you get busy. Pre-sell whenever you can, make sure people are willing to pay you before sinking a ton of time and energy into creating something. And, of course, talk to as many people as possible about what you’re doing - every single successful business got that way because of the strength of the relationships the owner has cultivated. Concentrate on treating every single person with exquisite care and attention instead of running after a large follower count. Don’t try and do all the things, pick one thing to start with and do it beautifully.
So so so true. I love your point about not chasing big follower numbers. It’s so easy to get caught up in the social media whirlwind. Thinking to small brick and mortar businesses, they all grow because of their place in the community and personal impact the shop has on each customer. It’s so important we don’t forget those values. Doing little things, beautifully is such a good way to phrase it.
Ok, flipping it a little, looking back the start of your journey what do you wish you’d known?
Working with people 1:1 is the fastest, easiest way to make money. E-courses and digital products can come later. Also, don’t waste your time creating a vast library of free resources, get paid first and then create free resources when you’re more established.
Couldn’t agree more. Again, with social media its so easy to get sucked into what everyone else is doing, which right now feels very e-course dominant. Starting small and building up at your own speed without diluting yourself too much is a path I see so many trying to take shortcuts on.
Final one, what’s a song that really gets you fired up for the day for me to add to the HerStory playlist?
Ooh I have several! RuPaul’s Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent, Lizzo’s Juice, Nick Cave’s Rings of Saturn, and Alicia Keyes’ Girl on Fire.
Thank you so much Eli. It has been glorious chatting with you!