Quitting Your Corporate Job, Hustling, and Optimizing Your Career with Erin Andersen
Your Biggest Vision
Season 3, Ep. 88

Like many millennials, today’s podcast guest faced the unfortunate reality of toxicity and harassment in the workplace. Like the warrior she is, she used this challenging circumstance to turn into her career, find her purpose and help others out of it.

Welcome to the What It Takes series of Your Biggest Vision! In this series, I will be interviewing clients and entrepreneurs, and getting their insight on how their businesses are so successful, and how they did it. In this What It Takes interview, I will be chatting with Erin Andersen. 

Erin Anderson is a LinkedIn strategist, career transition coach, and business owner. She quit her corporate job, and fully devoted her time to her online business, and she now teaches others how to do the same. In this episode, we discuss: 

  • What hustle looked like, and stills looks like, for Erin today, even running a multiple six-figure business

  • How to know the difference between “making it happen” and leading yourself to burn out

  • Erin’s unique but powerful perspective that allows her to constantly learn and therefore, constantly grow her income and business

Learn how you can use LinkedIn to grow your business by following Erin on LinkedIn and Instagram! 

Go behind-the-scenes of my Leah Gervais Methodology, which has allowed me and my clients to excel to new heights time and time again. These journal prompts will walk you through the exact steps. CLICK HERE to download, and head on over to the Your Biggest Vision website and join our weekly newsletter! 

(Click HERE to tune in!) 

Erin Andersen is a LinkedIn strategist and career coach. She quit her corporate job and devoted her life to her online business. Tune in to hear how!

Hear the Episode

Episode Transcription

Leah: Hey, visionaries. Welcome back to the show, Leah here. 

And we are joined by my friend and one of my clients, Erin Anderson. Hi Erin. Hi. Thanks for being here.

Erin: Yeah, thanks for having me.

Leah: I’m excited to have you. So we’re very lucky to listen to Erin today.

 She is, she’s a really incredible story that helped her create the business that she now has, and she’s a really great business woman and entrepreneur. 

And Erin and I, I feel like we have a lot of commonalities in the sense that we have a lot of, we are visionaries, but we’re very practical people as well, and we very much do what it takes to get things done. 

So I wanted to have her on this, what it takes serious so she can pull back the curtain on what it has taken for her to get to a six figure business. 

Um, her business grew quite a lot this year, which was very exciting to see and just an honest conversation about what has gone on. So, Erin, do you wanna tell people a little bit about what you do now and then we’ll go back?

Erin: Sure. Yeah. So I have two sides of my business. The first being career transition for mid to exec, uh, level corporate job employees. 

And the second half being is I work with small medium sized businesses on, um, and now corporations as well on leveling up their LinkedIn strategy.  So how are they getting seen through content and optimized profiles. 

And then I also work on hiring in the LinkedIn space too. So how are we optimizing job postings so that we are encouraged more to delegate and instead of fearing away from it because we’re not gonna find the right applicant or because it takes too much time.

Leah: Wow. So you’re kind of a LinkedIn expert and a career coach and just sort of an expert in delegation and hiring.

Erin: Yeah, and it really comes back to everything centered around LinkedIn in some way, right? If we’re branding ourselves as, um, a career professional or a business owner or a business owner that’s hiring, I do focus everything on LinkedIn. 

So that’s really the central point of, I almost think of it as a web, right? And we’re, and we’re coming out of these different areas. Um, right now it’s uneven.

 Maybe there’s gonna be a fourth, uh, line coming out there. But yeah, it’s really about personal branding and how we’re showing up as a career professional, business owner or future boss that’s hiring for employees. 

And how are we optimizing job postings so that, um, in a market where there’s a lot of new options with culture, how are we getting people to gravitate towards our business and wanting to work for us?

Leah: Do you like LinkedIn?

Erin: Oh, yes.

 Um, I was just having this conversation earlier, um, because I posted on Tuesday and, and there’s so much, um, you know, on other platforms, the algorithm’s always changing, right? And it’s not that LinkedIn doesn’t, but I posted last Tuesday and I still have continuous likes and comments still coming in now six days later, sorry, a week later, um, as of today. 

And so I wouldn’t even be posting this week because my content is still, um, reaching thousands of people at this point. So, yes, it, uh, for me personally, it has been the place where, you know, I, I never post and I don’t get clients. It’s automatic for me. So it’s been the platform that I favor.

Leah: Yeah. And, and for all you listeners, we’ve learned a lot from Erin about our LinkedIn strategy too, so it’s not, I think LinkedIn can feel like it’s very cy and that it’s really just for big businesses, but if you are a business of any shape or size, it has a spot for you, and we have found that to be true for us as well.

 Um, what got you into this? So you, whatever you wanna share about your story, you obviously have not worked for yourself forever. How did you decide to leave and go out on your own?

Erin: Yeah, so as of next month, I’m at exactly two and a half years full time.

 Um, I, I went to business school and while I was there, I, um, you know, you’re, it’s an 11 month accelerated program. You’re just there for grad school and you have to figure out in less than those 11 months because one, those options proposed to you what it is that you wanna do, right? 

You’ve done undergrad and now you’re here for a focus point. So there’s a lot of pressure and well, this has to be it. Um, and I remember there being an entrepreneurial track and thinking I could never do that, and ashamed to say, but I used to very much think of the word entrepreneur separate from small business owner. 

Um, I think I thought of it as a serial entrepreneur and as a male figure most of the time, which obviously is not correct.

Erin: And so, yeah, it took, it took quite a while to realize what it actually, you know, I think, I guess I thought of small business too as my mom always shopping as small business on American Express on that Saturday. Um, and so while I was there, um, I actually got into the financial service, the banking industry, um, and after facing two toxic corporate job work cultures, I permanently left at the end of 2019. 

Um, and being on unemployment, being type A, having ideas, being creative, um, I knew that I needed to do something with some past skills that I had worked on. Um, and so I leveraged those and got extra training. 

Um, and while we were forced in the house for what, at least 14 hour, 14 waking hours a day during the pandemic, um, started my business full time and just kind of thought, Well, nobody’s hiring, where’s it gonna go?

And, um, to, you know, to my surprise, I’m also a big networker and being on calls where entrepreneurs were coming together and crafting a community where how were their businesses gonna survive? 

Mine was thriving mm-hmm. , um, which at certain points was a little awkward in the room, but of course I’ve, I’ve realized that it’s such a sustainable business moving forward because it’s actually in down times that I would excel.

 Um, that’s when people usually are either freaking out and getting prepared or they lost their corporate job, or they’re a business owner that needs extra marketing, um, or, you know, they are seeing what can happen and what can they do to prevent it from happening to them, right?

 So that’s really how I got started. And now, two and a half, half years later, of course, it’s, it’s been a journey as you know. And, um, there’s been a lot of twists and turns and it’s evolved into different types of services and, and different clients that I offer because as we go, we, we figure out who it is that we’d like to serve.

Leah: So you did not have your business up and running and making as much money as you were when you left your corporate job. You kind of left because you could not handle it anymore, or you just couldn’t tolerate it, I guess I should say. And then you started your business.

Erin: Yeah, it’s really interesting. I mean, there’s, there’s so much around, um, you know, don’t leave your, don’t leave your full-time corporate job, right? You absolutely know you can, which I totally agree with. I mean, if I had been a career that I absolutely loved, it’s the best of both worlds, right? You’re able to keep your steady income and make all this extra income on the side. 

However, when it gets to a level of toxicity where you can no longer really complete your full-time corporate job well and not dedicate any time to what you’re side hustle that you’re working on, um, I mean, both of them kind of go down the drain right there. There’s no complain. 

Um, and so I always encourage my clients or friends or family when they’re in that state of, you know, a toxic work culture where they are feeling like they’re drained and they have no energy to come home at night and actually work on their business or whatever they’re working on as a side hustle, um, to leave that and, and figure out, and this is probably where the conversation’s gonna go a little bit too, figure out how do you make it work?

Mm-hmm. not, it’s not going to work, right? There’s so many people that say like, you can’t leave your full-time corporate job. And I don’t know, I think through you and other people, I’ve just learned like there’s always ways to make money. Yes. 

And, and it doesn’t always mean that it’s always from your business in the beginning. I mean, I’ve babysat, I’ve nannied, I’ve organized, I’ve done focus groups. Like there’s millions of things I did in the beginning because I didn’t have the option to stay in my corporate job full time. 

But you make it work. Like there’s always things out there for you to do and to fund your business. 

And, and, you know, I’ve always lived in cities. I’m in New York City now, but I’ve always had a higher cost of living while running the business and was able to do it because they’re, you know, like the saying, there’s, well, there’s a way, like there’s some way that you are able to fund the business and your cost of living.

Leah: Yeah. I always, like, one of the best lessons I’ve learned in this journey, and this really helped me in the beginning, was that at any given time, there’s either an obstacle or an opportunity and you have to train your brain to see the opportunity. 

And that’s hard. It’s hard because we by default will look at the obstacle, and that obstacle we think is informing us to not move forward or not proceed or that we should turn around or that we shouldn’t take the risk. But if you can instead find the opportunity, that’s really what will make you a great entrepreneur, which is what you’ve done. 

And not only have you made it work, I mean, you, you hit six figures before your goal this year and you that you’re not even three years into it on your own.

Erin: Yeah. Yeah. I think, um, something we were talking about previously, right, is there’s this whole mentality around hustle culture and not embracing it, but if you also look at who’s speaking about it, it’s people that are almost forgetting that they had to hustle to get to where they are. And now they’re saying it. 

So that’s great. I mean, you shouldn’t be seven years into your business necessarily hustling as you did in the beginning, but people would be lying to you if they told you they’re as successful as they were. And I mean, unless like a TikTok star or something, right? That overnight they went viral, great. Well mm-hmm. . 

But any business owner, I mean, even at that point, if somebody’s business did grow through, uh, TikTok or another social media platform, they took a lot to build it before they actually got there.

Um, and yeah, there, there’s just this whole mentality around like, go do a small business. And it, it’s not about the hustle and it’s more hustle than working a nine to five or a nine to eight or whatever your hours are. Um, it, it’s just, I think it’s about the grit, um, about a backbone, um, because other people, you know, I mean, people don’t know. 

I don’t share my salary with other people. I don’t, I don’t share that there’s, you know, nights I barely slept to be able to get it to where it is and mm-hmm. , that’s okay with me. I think it’s more about not, you know, not taking down house culture and necessarily embracing it, but figuring out what works for you. 

And I’m a huge podcast listener, but being very careful as to, um, keeping your ideas, your morals, your values separate from other people, but more taking it and figuring out how it can enhance your own instead of, you know, saying, Oh, I’m hustling in my business as I’m getting started, so I must be doing something wrong. Mm-hmm. , maybe you’re doing it right.

And that’s what that person did as well.

Leah: Right. I agree with so many things that you said. There is not, I, uh, you know, Erin, I work with a lot of entrepreneurs and I’ve seen a lot of people go from zero to six figures working with me. Even some go from zero to seven and I, there’s not one of ’em that I have not seen hustle at some point.

Now everyone’s definition of hustle is different. For some people, it might feel so natural to them that it doesn’t actually feel like it’s strenuous. So they might be like, Well, I’m not really hustling cuz it’s not that hard for me. 

But if you look at how consistent they are and how much they’re willing to put themselves out there, that is kind of what makes the difference. And I think that that’s where a lot of people get caught up is that they’re, you know, they, they can’t be consistent or they can’t get out of their own way.

Leah: Um, and the only people out there that are saying that you can do it without hustling at all are probably selling you a program on how to not hustle. is typically what I have found. 

And like no shade to them. Like you said, oftentimes people forget that they hustled in the beginning or, you know, all of this talk about don’t hustle, don’t push yourself too hard. All you need to do is really think about things in the right way or attract things in the right way. Those things are like the foundation for you to take action on it. 

You can’t surpass action, There’s no way around it. So take us into what you would consider the hustle chapter of your business and paint maybe a picture of what an average day looked like or what it had to be like to be very consistent. How did you approach that?

Erin: Yeah, so I think I was at a little bit of an advantage and a disadvantage in the sense that, um, we were stuck inside , right? Um, I mean I started, I heard about, I was interviewing for corporate job positions and, you know, being notified about hiring freezes on St. Patrick’s day of 2020, which is mostly right around when everything shut down. 

Yeah. So, you know, I mean, I was in it straight from the very beginning. 

I started in April, but I would say April to June was like my exploratory phase of figuring out like, is this what I’m doing? And I hired a business coach, like is it mm-hmm. and kind of, um, dabbling with it, which I would probably say was a full work day. Um, and then when I actually decided and I saw the demand, like that was just so motivating to me.

And it didn’t matter how many hours it was because to me, to have your name behind something and at the same time to be helping people, it was the first time I was in a corporate job where, um, the reward of my work, I was seeing firsthand. 

Like I used to work in financial services and banking where I helped companies make more money and never had a direct impact on an individual that needed help at least, or had that interaction. And so I learned really quickly that this is, this is a, this is my thing, I love it. This is what I need. 

Um, I think in every part of my life, I think we’ve had this conversation before, I’m very much like, I need feedback and I need someone to tell me I’m doing it right or wrong. Like even, I mean, that’s across everything, whether it’s a gym or whatever it may be.

And so for me, my clients were my clients and they’re, you know, landing a new corporate job, getting clients for LinkedIn, whatever that is, I really enjoyed that. And so, um, I think when I hit June full-time, I mean, I don’t know, maybe 12, 12 hour days. Yeah, maybe sometimes 14, because we were stuck inside.

 So again, I was at an advantage that I wasn’t taking time away from other people necessarily. Um, I, you know, I’m not gonna lie, there’s probably, there was probably 16,18 hour days. I wouldn’t say those were all the time, right? 

But like the work had to get done. And in the beginning I didn’t have an assistant and it was only me. Um, my other thing is I spent like hours and hours and hours a day networking myself like crazy during the pandemic because again, we were inside.

And so it was a great opportunity to over network. Now, I always recommend people are very strategic about picking which groups they’re in. Um, but that really helped my business take off and have the initial income to get where I am today. 

I think, you know, for me hustling was 12 hour days. Like really nailing it down, figuring out what it is, hiring a business coach right off the bat. Like that’s the biggest thing I would, I would tell anybody, especially going from a standard corporate job setting where you have a boss and multiple levels of management, right? It’s actually difficult. 

As nice as it is, it’s difficult to not be managed . Right? Right. Um, and hold yourself accountable, right? So, um, yeah. And then I mean now like, I don’t know, I was up late last night, like, but

Leah: I was gonna say you still work your butt off. 

Erin: Because I chose to, right? Like I didn’t have to be up as late, but I love what I do, right? So that’s where I think it’s difficult because other people perceive it differently, right? Like they’re like, Oh, you’re working well, cool, I also went to lunch and took an hour walk at lunch and so that’s why I’m working at nine o’clock.

Like, and maybe that’s when I’m creative. 

So I think the hardest thing is not looking at a clock and going, Oh, it’s 9, 10, 11 at night, I’m hustling. It’s like, well maybe the first half of the day I didn’t do anything. 

I went to work a class and got lunch. So, you know, really determining, um, what is hustle to you and, and what are you willing to do to get you to where you wanna be.

Leah: Yeah, I was gonna say exactly that you still work really hard and I want to just normalize that. So do I.

It’s not like this is a cake walk just because I’ve gotten my business to a certain revenue model at all. But, or I guess I should say, and I know you work out every day and I know that you just were in Boston and I know that you were making passive income while you were traveling at a five star hotel. 

Like there’s, it doesn’t need to mean sacrifice, it just needs to mean a willingness, I think, to do what it takes. Yeah. 

And I really love that you, that you had, that you illustrated this because this is the biggest, most important differentiation to me between like those who are in the beginning phase still wondering when it’s gonna take off, and those who start to take off, it’s those who decide that this is that they go all in. 

And so I love that you said there was a dabbling phase and then a decision phase. Could you just tell me and tell the audience a little bit more about the difference in your mindset between when you were dabbling and kind of discovering and learning versus when you were all in? Did you have a lot of fears that you just like no longer had time for anymore?

Erin: Yes. I would say until February of this year. So what, a year and a half and, um, almost two years in, I would say this statement of like, Oh, I, I’m going back when I go back to a corporate job, if I go back to a corporate job. Um, because for me it was security. Like I’ve always set myself up for success, whether I was in college or, or, you know, I didn’t, I never, this is a good point to bring up.

 I never thought I was too good for something. Mm-hmm. , which I think is really important for business owners. Like, I never thought I was too good for babysitting or nannying why I have a full-time corporate job. Um, for me it was easy cash , right? 

And so it was, it was savings that was honestly going into some of the business but not knowing what would come up.

Right? I think that’s really important. I think there’s a lot of people out there that think, Oh, well I’ve graduated college or grad school and I’m in a full-time corporate job. I no longer need to do these things or I’m too good for them. 

And I think that’s where you really need to realize what do you need to do to fund the business. Um, yeah, I I would say that that’s one of the key things to, you know, especially when it comes to hustle, is what are you willing to do and accept to get you to where, um, you wanna be. 

But I think just repeat that question a little bit around dabbling. I wanna make sure I’m answering it correctly.

Leah: No, I mean, I think that that’s all really helpful. But just did you, once you had decided, mentally decided that you were all in and left your corporate job, did you feel some of the initial fears you had gone away because you had really no longer any time for them?

Erin: Yeah, I think again, around that year and a half mark, um, I left the, I’m going, if I go back to my corporate job to I’m not because it’s an option. Um, I and that transitory phase, I think there was also that if I go back to my corporate job, I’m not letting the business go because of the exorbitant amount of money that I put into it.

 And not just money. I mean at this time it’s really more time than money for me, right? It’s just I’ve put everything into it. And so, you know, I went into that, well, if I go back to a corporate job, I’ll find, figure out a way with my assistant and courses to run a passively or to still bring in the extra income. And now it’s, I’m never going back to just seeing success. 

And, and I think the biggest thing for me and why I could never go back to a  corporate job is I could never be capped at an income level again.

Yeah. I can’t even imagine. Like, I don’t, I don’t know how pe I, I don’t know how I personally or other people could be motivated necessarily by that. And of course not everything’s about money, but like I know that is for me, um, in correlation with my work, right? So if I’m gonna work overtime, I might not get paid.

 It just has to get done. Here’s your salary and maybe you’re gonna get a bonus compared to being a business owner where it’s great if I decide to open my laptop at nine o’clock tonight, maybe it’s to draft emails for Black Friday and that’s gonna bring in a couple thousand dollars. Well of course I’m gonna do that. Right. Right.

 So, you know, doing the inner work, shifting your mindset, I mean, I’ve always been a super positive person and it, and it was hard to continue that while I was going through everything in a corporate job and toxic work culture. But, um, I think the mindset around like, it will happen and you can have these things. 

And another thing is putting yourself in those situations. So I like figuring out a way to get it done. Living in New York City, I put myself in situations where I was babysitting children that were in multimillion dollar apartments. Like there’s something to that to leave there and say, I can have that too. That’s really inspiring.

Leah: I totally agree. I think that there is like, but that also speaks to you as a person and like how you take those things because I don’t think that that, that that’s everyone’s default. You know, sometimes they’re like, well this is annoying, or why can’t I have this?

 Or so and so has this easier than me. Yeah. And you know, just kind of back to the question, I think what I’m hearing you say is that in the beginning when you were kind of dabbling and you weren’t, you didn’t have that ownership of like, I’m never going back to my corporate job. It’s very easy when you’re in that phase. That is the hardest phase. 

I want anyone out there listening to hear me say that because if you are with everything you do, second guessing whether or not you’re actually going to do this.

 And if every time something doesn’t work, like you get a rejection or someone writes you a mean email or you didn’t make as much money as you wanted that month, if you then are going to entertain the idea of throwing in the towel, you are going to emotionally exhaust yourself.

And what I’m hearing from you is that once you decided you were never going back to  your corporate job, that doesn’t mean that you didn’t have a hard time still or that like, you know, sometimes you, a sales email didn’t work out the way it planned. 

I was gonna say that sometimes you didn’t reach your monthly income goals, but you kind of crashed your monthly income goals this whole year. It was awesome to see. 

Yeah. So, but anyway, it doesn’t mean those hard times don’t happen. It just means that you take them at face value and just move on. You know, you’re not going into this domino effecting your head or like, Well, does that mean I should close up my business? Does that mean I should go back to a corporate job? 

Because you’ve already decided you’re never gonna do that again. So you just are able to kind of keep going and, and that’s why you had such a good year and made so much money this year because you moved so much faster.

Erin: Yeah. You just figure out how to supplement it too. I, you, you can still have backups, it just doesn’t mean totally your backup is full-time or you can still have other hobbies that bring in money. I think that’s another thing. 

I still, um, I, you know, maybe once a month I go and organize someone’s home. Do I have to? No. Is it for the cash? No. I could sit here making more money, but I really like getting up from my desk and going elsewhere and it’s, it’s always so interesting for me to go into these homes, um, and you know, multimillion dollar condos and, and Brownstone and New York and Brooklyn and for people to hear what I’m doing.

 And one other thing around that is another reason I do that is that you never know who you’re gonna meet. Totally. 

Um, I can’t tell you how many clients, even when I was banking and I was in banking and I was working full time, making good money and I was babysitting on the weekends, like those are the people that I got interviews from and you know, like I was, I was in the, the homes of CEOs and they got me interviews these places and then, you know, I spoke with somebody recently, um, same kind of thing and she’s like the head of HR at this company and I’m like, oh my God.

Like the alignment that you start to see, it’s not, it’s not so much what it is that you’re doing, it’s all really about like connection and how everything’s interconnected.

Leah: Love it. I totally agree. Well you are a great example of going all in, of hustling in your own way, but not having it mean to be like at the cost of your own happiness or your health or anything like that.

I’ve never, ever, in the year that you have worked with me and I’ve seen you hit, I’m trying to think of your highest month over 20 K right’s.

Erin: Um, almost 15.

Leah: Almost 15. Okay. Still you’ve had consistent five figure months all year. Mm-hmm. and I’ve never seen you sacrifice your health or not have time to work out or not have time for yourself or anything like that. So it doesn’t need to be a toxic thing.

 And I think just normalizing that and helping you learn that it does take hard work is really all you need to accept and you will be able to move so much faster when you stop getting, making yourself wrong for working hard. It takes hard work.

Erin: There’s no way it, Yeah. Yeah. I think the second that you stop doing those things or you don’t go to the workout class and it’s just about making time for things.

Like this morning I got up at five, I did work and then I went and worked out at six, like it got done, you can take a nap later. 

Like, you know, defining ways to fit it in, um, is, is key. And not sacrificing things like family, friends, mental health.

Um, my biggest advice is like just book things out in advance. Like that’s what I do with trips, with family, with friends, with workouts. Like my workouts are scheduled a week ahead of time. 

Um, I have plans with friends in a month, so like it’s on the calendar just as if a consultation was on the calendar or a coaching call.

Leah: Right. And you like you’re about to take two weeks completely off at the end of the year. Mm-hmm. and you’ll still still have a five figure month that month.

Erin: Yeah, yeah.

Leah: Yeah, awesome. Well where can people find out more about you and especially for those entrepreneurs listening, where can they learn more about how LinkedIn can help them grow their small business?

Erin: Sure. Um, so at your brand networker on LinkedIn or Instagram, you can also search my name Erin Anderson on LinkedIn, but it is se n at the end of my last name. 

Um, those are the best places to find me. Um, I share a lot of content on LinkedIn rather than Instagram, just cuz that’s my, that’s my place.

Um, but yeah, please reach out, send a message and would love to connect with you.

Leah: Thanks so much for being here, Erin. Congratulations on all your success and I really appreciate you sharing.

Erin: Thanks for having me.

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