Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Laurel Staples: At The Table with Laurel Staples

At The Table with Laurel Staples of "Life Body Balance" & "The Day I Quit"


Laurel Staples and I both experienced a major life changing event at the beginning of our careers - we both quit our jobs to become entrepreneurs! Even though the circumstance behind Laurel quitting her corporate job were very different from those surrounding my exodus from a previous job, we have a lot in common when it comes to loving entrepreneurship.

Laurel is a Certified Health Coach and the founder of Life Body Balance (www.lifebodybalance.com) which is dedicated to helping women reclaim their bodies and rejuvenate their lives through simple, effective and healthy lifestyle changes. She began her journey to healthy living when she cured her “incurable” thyroid disease through changing her diet and quit her mechanical engineering job to follow her passion. In addition to health coaching, Laurel runs a blog and podcast called The Day I Quit (www.thedayiquit.com) about how to quit your job, follow your true passion and make money while doing it. Growing up with an entrepreneurial spirit, Laurel has designed this blog to be a great source of inspiration, ideas, helpful tools and support to help other people like her take the leap into self-employment.
  

I hope you enjoy my interview with Laurel Staples below:







Dr. April: Laurel, thanks for being here with me today! Tell me where you are originally from?

Laurel Staples: I am from Nashville – born and raised!

Dr. April:  Where did you attend college? Degree?

Laurel Staples: I went to Vanderbilt University and studied Mechanical Engineering which is not at all what I’m doing today, but I really liked it at the time.

Dr. April: Give me an overview of your story……….

Laurel Staples: I graduated with a Mechanical engineering degree and immediately went to work a job at Lexmark which is a printer company. I was designing color laser printers and I did that for 3 years during which time I quickly realized that the corporate world was not for me. I got into it thinking that I was a motivated, intelligent student, but I got into the corporate world and it was a drag for me. I started plotting my way back out after about a year and it took me another two years to actually get back out. I quit my job and came back to Nashville to start a retail clothing boutique. It was an eco-friendly clothing store so I sold men and women's clothing that was organic and sustainable – organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo, etc. I did that the month that the recession started – not a good time to start any business and definitely not any type of retail business! I did that for two years and then decided that it was doing ok, but it wasn't a good fit for me in the long term. It was time to move on at that point . Then I got into health coaching which is what I do today. I do health coaching and I also run a blog called “The Day I Quit” which is about people who quit their job, follow their passion and make money in the process.

Dr. April: Where did you find the confidence to become an entrepreneur?

Laurel Staples: I think I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. As a young girl I was always creating things and also trying to sell them. In 6th grade I had these beads that I was beading and making earrings. I was trying to sell them to people in my class and my mom was telling me “Laurel, you can’t sell those. They are really pretty so just give them to people”. However, I was like, “but I want to make some money LOL!” I’ve always done stuff on my own. In high school I did photography and people would pay me to do photography. In college I ran my own magazine and I was getting ads for that. I was always doing something entrepreneurial. I got the desire to go out on my own because I knew I was self motivated and being an entrepreneur takes a lot of self motivation.

Dr. April: Why did you decide to start your current business and how are you enjoying it?

Laurel Staples: The health coaching career was pretty clear to me when I was at Lexmark. I developed multiple health issues. The first health issue was severe IBS and the 2nd was a thyroid disease. I was suffering a lot. I would wake up sick, go through the day sick, go to bed sick – it was just an awful time. I went to numerous doctors and they all said “well we can’t help you. We don’t know what causes this” and gave me a bunch of prescriptions. I was on a ton of prescriptions, but they didn’t help me feel better. So I started researching on my own and I ended up self-diagnosing myself as being intolerant to gluten and dairy. I gave both of those up and all of my problems went away. Within six weeks, I started feeling better and started feeling like myself again. Within 3 months my endocrinologist took me off of the thyroid drug and I was completely cured. That was the time that I realized there is something to this.  I didn’t really know that health coaching as a career existed, but found out about it through this situation. I then went to school for health coaching.
As far as the blog – The blog is about quitting and moving on to follow your passion. It takes a lot to move on from something that is supposedly “stable”. I’ve done it and it was such a major part of my life.

Dr. April: What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs or those contemplating an entrepreneurial venture?

Laurel Staples: I think that’s a really good question because a lot of people are going that route, especially in our generation and the generations coming up. We’re all so individualized and unique and we want to express our unique gifts. A lot of people in our generation don’t fit into the corporate world environment because it’s not built for us. One of the main things that I’ve learned over the last six years of not working in a corporate structure is to always work on things that are making you money. This is something that I learned the hard way in my retail store. I would go to work and feel like I was having this productive day. I would rearrange the store, check people out sometimes when my employees weren’t there, I’d redecorate and redo the website and re-design the business card. I’d do all this stuff that wasn’t directly making me any money. So, those things weren’t bringing customers in and I wasn’t  promoting myself in any way, shape or form. It was all productive, but it wasn’t doing anything for the business. When you are an entrepreneur, if you just focus constantly on the things that make you money, that will help you build your business from the get-go instead of having that trial and error period like I did.

Dr. April: That is some great advice!! It makes total sense, but it’s a concept you just don’t really think about to much.

Laurel Staples: Thank you!

Dr. April: Do you have any book recommendations for entrepreneurs?

Laurel Staples: That’s another good question. A book that has been helpful to me as I was getting into health coaching is called “Owning Your Niche” by Stephanie Chandler. It talks about how to narrow down your target market and creating a niche market so that you are a big fish in a tiny pond instead of a small fish in a big pond. That book also goes into SEO and how to optimize your website to find your ideal client and customers and have them coming to you.

Dr. April: Lastly, tell me what is next on the horizon for you in terms of the blog and your health coaching business…….

Laurel Staples: Sure! My health coaching practice is called “Life Body Balance.” And I picked that name because it’s about bringing your whole life into balance. It’s not just about dieting and food. It’s about making food and lifestyle changes and bringing your life and body back into a state of balance. My practice has been open for two years now and that is a good mark to get to and is exciting! After I hit the two year mark, more clients started coming to me instead of me having to go out and find them.
For my blog -  Just as Dinner With Nerds is for you, I just want to continue to interview more inspiring people, such as yourself, doing videos and really honing in on what new entrepreneurs need. I want to help give them the confidence to venture out on their own. I try to give a combination of the necessary tools and some inspiration to make those decisions so it’s not just one or the other. It’s an evolving creative project that I’m really excited about and excited to share.

Dr. April: Is there anything else you would like to add for people trying to find what they are passionate about and follow their dreams?

Laurel Staples: Yes. Something that has always been important for me is to surround yourself with people who “get it”. That is so important! Surround yourself with people who understand why you are going out on your own and why you are doing this. A lot of people are not going to get it. Some of your friends, family and people who are already around you are going to think you are crazy! They are going to try to keep you “safe” with your regular job and your steady paycheck because that is what they understand and is what they know. There were people like that in my life and they thought I was crazy. I would get the statement, “ You are so brave to go out on your own” and I’m thinking, “I have to do this. There is something in me that has to do this!” So, seek out people who understand what you are trying to do and who will support you. These are the people who will understand that you may not always have money in the beginning to spend wildly or go out to dinner. Some people may not understand that, but as a budding entrepreneur, you are living different lifestyle physically and mentally because you’re in charge of everything – every client/customer that comes in the door. You may not know where your next paycheck is coming from. I always say it’s like living paycheck to paycheck, but there are no real paychecks! You don’t know where the money is coming from. You have to have faith in your heart that the money is going to be there. 

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You can find Laurel's Day I Quit blog online @ www.thedayiquit.com

and 

her Health Coaching Practice -  Life Body Balance @ www.lifebodybalance.com

--Dr. April

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