Episode 108: Finding fulfilment, starting a business and pivoting during a pandemic – with Erin Gallimore

Erin Gallimore talks about her journey from being an engineer to starting her own coaching and consulting business and shares some advice on the importance of being able to pivot during challenging times.

Today’s guest

Erin Gallimore

Website: Erin Gallimore

Instagram: @eringallimore

Facebook: Erin Gallimore Worldwide

LinkedIn: Erin Gallimore

Email: erin@eringallimore.com

Erin is a changemaker who will challenge you while standing right beside you.  She has lived the struggles, and also the successes and achievements.  From this place, she knows how to help you find the leadership you desire.  Her work isn’t another one-size-fits-all certification.  It’s a lived experience that will guide you, too.  While working as a professional engineer in corporate, she led teams in the office, on the road, and on the night shift (hanging out with wastewater manholes and coyotes – no kidding, ask her about it).  Small teams and large teams, genders, races, education levels, and experience levels – Erin has led them all.  

Her unique blend of honesty and empathetic teaching approach ensure you feel supported and empowered because a good leader needs someone to lead them too.  

As a consultant and coach, Erin has worked with corporate teams and one to one with professionals of all experience and management levels.  She also works with cities, towns and municipalities to provide continuing education to engineers and front-line professionals who work thanklessly behind the scenes to keep our communities safe and secure.  Those who are willing to take the time to enhance their leadership and communication skills understand that they are worth it….and the people they lead are too.

What you’ll learn in this episode

  • [01:19] Erin introduces herself and explains what she does.
  • [02:56] Erin explains what led her to teach.
  • [05:44] Erin discusses what she focuses on when it comes to coaching.
  • [06:40] Seeing opportunities to improve communications within your industry.
  • [08:13] Erin explains the range of people that she typically works with.
  • [09:38] Erin explains what motivated her to move from engineering to becoming a consultant.
  • [10:45] Learning about your interests and building on your strengths.
  • [12:46] Erin talks about how she started developing her skills by helping others.
  • [14:50] Utilising your entrepreneurial skills to forge your own path.
  • [17:21] Erin highlights the moments when she knew she was going to start her own business.
  • [19:23] Transitioning from a full-time job to running your own business.
  • [21:17] How your business plan can change and evolve over time.
  • [24:21] Advice on dealing with reactions from others to making big changes in your career.
  • [27:42] Erin talks about her business and the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • [29:40] Pivoting for success when there is a change of circumstances.
  • [32:38] Erin explains what she is doing currently.
  • [33:40] Erin talks about what she sees next for her business.

Resources mentioned in this episode

Please note that some of these are affiliate links and we may get a small commission in the event that you make a purchase.  This helps us to cover our expenses and is at no additional cost to you.

To see the resources recommended by all our guests, visit the Resources page.

Episode 108: Finding fulfilment, starting a business and pivoting during a pandemic - with Erin Gallimore

Jeremy Cline 0:00
Starting a business is hard enough. And if you're in a well-paid, safe job, taking the decision to leave all that behind, it can be pretty tough. So, what happens if you take the plunge, you make that leap, you start laying down the groundwork to get your clients, and then a global pandemic comes along and all the work dries up? What do you do then? That's what we talk about in this interview. I'm Jeremy Cline, and this is Change Work Life.

Jeremy Cline 0:39
Hello, and welcome to Change Work Life, where we're all about beating the Sunday evening blues and enjoying Mondays again. Now, in most careers, continuing education or continuing professional development, it's a fact of life. You've got to stay on top of current developments in your area. But frankly, it's often all a bit of a chore. Well, my guest this week is looking to change all that. Erin Gallimore leads continuing education workshops in the water and wastewater space. And she's also a leadership coach to professional engineers and land surveyors. Erin, welcome to the podcast.

Erin Gallimore 1:12
Thank you for having me, Jeremy.

Jeremy Cline 1:14
So, can you start by telling us a bit more about who you are and what you do?

Erin Gallimore 1:18
Yeah, sure. So, I think that some of the titles I've heard are a teacher, a consultant, a coach. And really, what I like to focus on is communication. Communication between people at work, communication with yourself. You know, how to better become more effective, more efficient, more productive in the workplace. And so, that's really my focus, whether I'm working one-on-one in corporate, or whether I'm working with teams, or teaching in some of my continuing education classes. And so, that's really my focus, it's all about communication and leading oneself.

Jeremy Cline 1:51
I've got to ask, how did you end up working in water and wastewater? I mean, it doesn't sound on the face of it like the most glamorous of industries?

Erin Gallimore 1:59
Oh, come on! It's totally glamorous.

Jeremy Cline 2:02
I'm sure it's very interesting. I'm sure it's absolutely fascinating. Glamorous, that's not the first word that comes to mind.

Erin Gallimore 2:08
No, no, no, usually people try to run away from me once I tell them that I was once a wastewater engineer, but it's really quite fascinating. I was a schoolteacher for a number of years, right out of college. And I decided to go back, to pursue my master's in engineering. And I knew I wanted to do a thesis project of some sort. And the first professor that I ran into at North Carolina State University was Joel Ducoste, who is one of the professors in the wastewater department. And we just started talking, and he mentioned some projects that he was working on, and I just kind of jumped all in. And that really is what started my fascination with water and wastewater and working in that field.

Jeremy Cline 2:51
How did you end up teaching? And why did you leave that?

Erin Gallimore 2:55
Well, you know, I've always taught. Even when I was in high school, when I was in college, I always found ways to tutor other students, ways to get in front of folks and teach. I just love trying to break down a big concept into bite-sized pieces and be able to share it with other people and to teach. I don't know, it's just I've always been a natural teacher, I've just loved helping other people to figure things out, turning on the light bulb for others. And I was a schoolteacher, a middle school teacher, actually, in science, teaching sixth, seventh and eighth graders for a number of years. And while I loved it, I just felt like there was something more that I wanted in my life and in my career. So, that's really the reason I went back to school, knowing that one day I could return to teaching, but for right now, I just needed to figure out what that something more was. And so, that's really why I left teaching.

Jeremy Cline 3:53
So, going back to wastewater, I mean, lots of industries have a requirement for continued education or CPD of some description. What was it like in your industry? And what were the requirements? Was it sort of annual refreshers, more regularly than that? What was expected of you?

Erin Gallimore 4:10
Right. So, it depends. So, I have my professional engineering licence and also my wastewater operator licence. So, the regulations and annual requirements for each are different. But the common thing among both of them was - BORING! It was just torture to have to pursue those continuing education classes every year. And so, after sitting through them myself for years and years and years, I just knew there had to be a different way to do this. How can we teach these classes and bring people quality information that they can actually use in their day-to-day lives and break it down? Like I was mentioning earlier with teaching. How do we break a concept down into something that people can actually take with them and use today? Not just these big picture ideas. And so, that's why I started focusing on communications and leadership in my continuing education classes for professional engineers, and also for water and wastewater operators, because that's not really a topic that's taught. It's not a focus area. People tend to think that's fluff. And it's not. It's important. I mean, if there's one thing that you're doing every day at work is communicating. And so, it's really important. And so, I wanted to bring that to the continuing education space, because it definitely didn't exist in a format that was impactful in the past.

Jeremy Cline 5:30
So, is your focus more on the leadership and communication? Or do you also do sort of the technical continuing education? So, you know, the stuff that's a hot topic that they need to know.

Erin Gallimore 5:44
Right. So, my focus is certainly on the communications and leadership within the workplace, no matter whether you're an operator at a water/wastewater plant, or if you're a professional engineer, or really any type of professional career, communications and leadership are very important concepts, they're important to learn more about. But I also do technical. I was an engineer, and so, I love math. And so, I've taught a number of math classes, with a technical spin on them, for a number of water and wastewater operator schools, because in order to get your operator certification, you have to go to a school to get certified. And so, I teach it those. And there's a number of other technical classes that I've taught in the past. But my focus is certainly on communications and leadership, because that's what I have a passion for.

Jeremy Cline 6:32
So, you mentioned how continuing education was quite dull. Can you talk me a bit through where you saw the opportunities?

Erin Gallimore 6:40
Oh, goodness. So, well, you know, engineers are known for not being very good communicators. And so, I definitely saw quite a lot of opportunities there to help, because there's a personality type, and I'm completely stereotyping here, Jeremy, but there's a personality type that comes with being an engineer. Usually, someone who's much more reserved, someone much more introverted. And so, communication skills are typically not something that are focused on in school, and certainly not something that is taught. In school, you learn a lot of technical information, you don't learn how to work in a team, you don't learn how to best communicate and advocate for yourself, you don't learn how to step up and lead and negotiate or deal with conflict. And so, those are some of the areas that I focus in, because everyone can benefit from learning more and diving into those difficult topics. Because we all confront those difficult spots, actually, it doesn't really matter whether it's water, wastewater or engineering, this is industry wide, people wide, everyone can benefit from learning a little bit more about communication and learning a little bit more about how to strategically apply some tips and tricks to better communicate, more effectively and efficiently in the workplace.

Jeremy Cline 8:01
So, when you're approached, are you approached by the individuals who are looking to skill up themselves, or is this industry who's actually recognising a gap in the skill sets of their employees?

Erin Gallimore 8:13
Both. Both, usually. I've been approached by a number of engineering firms who have asked me to put together leadership programmes, especially for their newer managers, because those are typically folks that are struggling, because they've become excellent in their role as an engineer, and now they're stepping into a management position where they're going to need to lead others, lead projects. And they don't have the skill set they need. And so, I've been asked by a number of firms to put together those leadership packages for them, maybe a six-month programme, maybe a year-long programme, where I go in and I teach classes, but also provide them with one-on-one coaching and help them learn the skills that they need, and basically set them up for success, give them what they need to succeed. But then, I've also worked with folks one-on-one as well, who've just realised, you know, 'Erin, I just don't have what I need to succeed, I don't know what to do in these situations, I just kind of feel paralysed in this new role that I have.' And they come to me and work with me one-on-one to get where they want to be, so that they feel like they have what it takes to continue to succeed on their career path.

Jeremy Cline 9:25
So, aside from recognising that there was this gap, what motivated you to stop being a wastewater engineer and all that good stuff, and to start doing this sort of thing?

Erin Gallimore 9:38
Yeah, I've always been an entrepreneur at heart. I've always wanted to own my own company and really just figure out how I can use the skills, use the experience, use the things that I've been through to help others. And that's what made me decide to start my own company. I wanted to focus only on the coaching and the consulting and the teaching. And I love engineering, and I love the projects and the challenges that came along with that, but I love the people part more. And so, that's what made me decide to start my own company and really focus on the people part of the professional world and see what impact that could make.

Jeremy Cline 10:24
So, how much did the consulting coaching and teaching part form what you were doing before you've set up your own business?

Erin Gallimore 10:32
I don't know how to answer that.

Jeremy Cline 10:34
Well, in your role before you set up your own business, did you have opportunity as an engineer yourself to do the coaching, the consulting and the teaching?

Erin Gallimore 10:43
Ah, okay. Yeah, so I spent 10 years as an engineer, and throughout that time, I was asked to provide continuing education classes for other engineers and for operators during that time. And I focused on a number of technical topics, because you know, being an engineer, you focus on technical pieces, but then I was also given an opportunity to focus on leadership, to focus on communication. And so, that is where I just loved the back and forth, I loved talking through these concepts with people, taking these big ideas of leadership and communication and breaking it down into bite-sized pieces that they can actually take with them and use that day, rather than these big picture, abstract ideas where you're like, 'That sounds great, but I've no idea how to implement it.' And those opportunities to teach in those classes, that was just, it was so great, I just really enjoyed them. And then, of course, also working with my own teams that I managed, and being able to work with my staff, it was just a great opportunity to take these newer engineers who had just come out of school and help them succeed, help set them up for success, to give them what they need. Because you aren't taught communications and how to talk to people, how to work in a team when you're in school. And so, yeah, I had lots of opportunities to do the things that I do now when I was an engineer. And that's what helped me to decide that this is where I want to be, this is where I want to be full time, not just part of the time.

Jeremy Cline 12:21
Can you talk a bit more about how the opportunity arose to do the leadership coaching when you were still working in industry? So, I can understand how people might go up to you and say, 'Erin, we've got this technical topic, we need someone to deliver the training, we know that you'll be good at it. Can you do that?' But how does that then become, 'Erin, we need someone to teach leadership skills'?

Erin Gallimore 12:46
Yeah. So, while I was an engineer, I had a number of other engineers, you know, at other firms, other companies, come up to me and say, 'Hey, Erin, I need help. I see where you're able to talk in front of groups, you're able to give these presentations with confidence, with ease, and lead these teams and deal with these difficult situations with clients, even inside your own company. I need to figure out how to do that. I want to step into those shoes, I want to be able to do the things that you do.' And so, it really was more of an organic experience, where I had some folks recognising that I was able to do things that they were struggling with. And by the way, Jeremy, I struggled with them, too. I must have looked more confident in my struggles, because everyone struggles with those things. That's really how it happened. You know, folks started coming up to me, and I started working with them one-on-one, on the side, while I was an engineer, just helping other people to step into their own skills and help to reinforce those skills that they needed to be successful.

Jeremy Cline 13:52
This is fascinating, because one of the subjects that comes up quite a lot in the podcast is how, if you're struggling with something, then you find someone who already does what you're trying to do, and you ask them whether they can mentor you or whatever. So, we've had a few people who have been through that process of finding a mentor. In your case, it sounds like you were the mentor, people saw that you could do what they wanted to do, and they were seeking out you.

Erin Gallimore 14:21
Right, right. It was very humbling. It wasn't something that I had anticipated or even thought would happen. It just started happening. And it was an amazing experience, being on that side, because I certainly struggled for years and years and years myself.

Jeremy Cline 14:37
You mentioned how you kind of had these entrepreneurial tendencies and this desire to start your own company. Where did all that come from? Where is this motivation coming from?

Erin Gallimore 14:48
Gosh, I don't know. I think it was just from being a kid and trying to figure out how to go around the neighbourhood and sell soda, so I had some extra spending money. You know, when I was a little girl, I started working when I was very young, and just having that independence and earning my own money and being able to pursue the things I wanted to pursue. And I also ran for student council and did a lot of leadership type things when I was in school, from elementary to middle to high school, and I just really enjoyed getting up and leading, and working with a group and bringing people together for a common cause in order to achieve a goal and make impact. And so, I just knew that one day, I wanted to do that for myself. And I guess that's where it started. I don't know, I've never quite figured out where it all came from. But that was probably a cumulative effect, if you will.

Jeremy Cline 15:47
Okay, so from these beginnings, and then you go to work in corporate, and maybe you've got this in the back of your mind, but when you're starting to think seriously about setting your own company up and setting up your own business, what were you looking for that your position wasn't providing?

Erin Gallimore 16:03
Independence, autonomy, being able to make my own decisions, not having to deal with a red tape, asking for what I needed and it falling on deaf ears. I was ready to make the decisions. I was ready to make things happen. And I knew I could, I had confidence in myself. And it was just time. I was frustrated and I didn't want to continue to go to work every day being frustrated. And I knew there was something more that I could do and achieve. And so, that's really, over time, I guess what they really call it, you know, the itch, I had the itch. I'm like, 'Ah! I just know that I can do something more, I can do something better, I can do this myself.' And so, it was just dealing with that, and kind of turning it over in my head for a number of years trying to figure out what does it look like and how do I do this. And, you know, oh, my gosh, this is scary, because there's no longer going to be a salary. But you know, after struggling with it for years, and realising life is short, life is short, and so, I just had to kind of take the plunge. And I did.

Jeremy Cline 17:12
Can you point to any particular moment that took you from 'this sounds interesting, but I'm too scared' to 'no, I'm going to do this'?

Erin Gallimore 17:22
I think I had moved around within engineering, within a number of consulting positions a number of times. Each time moving, I was stepping up in leadership, I was stepping up in responsibility. And as I continued to step up, I just still wasn't feeling fulfilled. You know, I thought this will be it. This will be the challenge that I seek. This will make me feel like I am making a contribution, I am making a difference, I am doing the things that I was meant to do. And each time I took that next step, while the beginning, the first few weeks, the first few months were exciting, and it was something different, it was something new, and I felt good about this new challenge, it wasn't it. It wasn't giving me what I felt I needed. And this is a hard question to answer, I think it is for a lot of entrepreneurs, you just have this need, you just have this want for something more, but it's hard to actually describe it or put words to it. And so, after that happened time and again, I decided now is the time. Now is the time, I've got to go ahead and do this. Because if I fail, if I don't succeed, if this doesn't end up being what I want it to be, starting my own business that is, then I still am young enough and experienced enough to go back. And my husband was secure in his job. And so, I was like this is the time. I don't want to wait until I'm 50 or 60 years old to say, 'Okay, now I'm ready.' I wanted to do it while I was young, because I don't know, that's just kind of where I was mentally at the time.

Jeremy Cline 19:11
Was there a period between you deciding that you were going to start your own business and you quitting your previous job? So, did you have a period where you were sort of plotting and planning all this, but whilst you were still employed?

Erin Gallimore 19:24
Oh, yes, there was a crossover of about a year, about a year. And I was working hard during the day, and in the evening, and during lunch breaks. And on weekends, I was trying to figure out how in the world do you start your own business from nothing. I knew that I didn't want to join with another company. I wanted to do it myself. Maybe that was foolish looking back, but that's what I had decided at the time that I wanted to do. And so, there was about a year there where I was just trying to figure out, Erin, who are you? How are you going to show up? What does your own company look like? Because in the communications and leadership, coaching or consulting space, it's huge. There's so many options, there's so many things you could do, and I knew I needed to niche down a bit and figure out where do I fit, where will I be successful, where do I want to focus. And so, there was a lot of time spent on just trying to figure out what does that look like, and where do I go, and how do I start, and who do I talk to, and how do I pay for all of this, and how much do I save. Just all the things that come along with trying to figure out how am I going to leave this cosy salary job and move to a position where nothing is guaranteed. And it was very, very exciting and very, very overwhelming at the same time. But the answer to your question, long answer, about a year, about a year is what I spent trying to figure out what it all looked like before I completely jumped.

Jeremy Cline 21:02
And how did you figure all that out? Because you've just described to me these sort of massive questions, which I can imagine going round and round your head like a washing machine. How did you start to pick out the strands and make sense of it all to conclude what you did want to do?

Erin Gallimore 21:18
Yeah, well, I don't know that I've actually come to a conclusion quite yet. It's still in process. I really just started at the beginning with what I wanted. You know, what do I want? What do I want every day to look like? How much do I want to work? Who do I want to work with? What does that look like? And I started from there. And then, I started talking to people about this opportunity. Does this sound like something that makes sense for me? Because for me, at least, when I talk through my ideas with other people, sometimes I recognise and realise things that I didn't know before. Because you know, it's one thing when you sit in silence and think, and it's another thing when you start talking through your ideas and what you're thinking about with other people that you know and love and trust. And so, I just started talking it through. And of course, I was reading a ton of books about starting businesses, and what do you do, and how do you do things, and what does it look like and all the things, but honestly, I'm still just figuring it out. And I think a lot of that has to do with the pandemic. I spent my first year in business just, and this would be one piece of advice I would give for anyone trying to start a business, is recognise that first year is just going to be, assume you're not going to make any money. You probably will make some, but just assume you're not. Because really, that first year is for you to start to build relationships. Because everything in this world is built on relationships. And so, that's really your year to start putting your fingers out there for your business and develop relationships with people, and figure out who you are and how you want to show up and what do things look like, and kind of laying the foundation, laying the groundwork for your business. Because if you're in that first year, and you're hungry to make money, and that's your sole focus, you're probably going to get really frustrated, because it's so important to lay that foundation first. And so, that would be one piece of advice I wish I could have given myself if I had to go back in time. I think I lost track of the question originally, Jeremy, what was I trying to answer?

Jeremy Cline 23:32
That's really fun. That's great stuff, really helpful. When you mentioned having conversations with people, how did you choose who you have those conversations with? Or perhaps to put it another way, who were the people who gave you the most useful input on those conversations? Because, you know, if you're thinking about starting a business, you might talk to everyone, you'll probably talk to your family, you'll talk to your friends, you may or may not talk to work colleagues, depending on what your situation is. But you know, going and telling your mum that you're going to start a business, I mean, she might be 'Yeah, you go, sounds great', without necessarily having a clue what's involved, whereas other people are going to provide much more practical advice. So, where did you find the really useful advice came from in those conversations you had?

Erin Gallimore 24:21
Yeah. So, this is an interesting one, because the reactions that I ended up getting from people were a surprise to me. And I've heard what I'm getting ready to say from a number of other entrepreneurs. So, I think this is also a good piece of advice for folks. It is to recognise that, you know, the people that I care and love the most, my family, they weren't initially supportive. The responses I got from them were, 'Why would you leave this career that you've built in engineering for 10 years? Look at how much schooling you had to go through, look at where you started and where you are now. Look at the salary that you have. Look at the security that you have. You have a young family, Erin.' And that was the response that I got from the majority of my family and friends. I was all excited when I went to them to say, 'Hey! I'm going to start my own business! I'm going to do this, I love this. This is my passion. This is where I feel like I can make an impact in the world.' And they kind of looked at me like I was growing another head. You know, it was like, 'Are you crazy!?' I mean, I actually got that response from folks, 'Are you crazy!?' And that was really, really disheartening. And I have to tell you, Jeremy, that was a struggle, because I was excited and had a plan, but the people that meant the most to me in this world weren't supportive of it.

Jeremy Cline 25:48
What did you do with those reactions? I mean, did you just kind of acknowledge them and ignore them? Did you try and explain to these people? Well, yeah, okay, sunk cost fallacy, it's not working out for me, I need to make a change. Or what did you do? Did you sort of engage, or did you just kind of go, 'Okay, well, you know, they're entitled to have their opinion'?

Erin Gallimore 26:08
Yeah. So, my response to all of them was just kind of, 'Okay, that's the way you feel.' And I kind of had to brush it aside, because I had already made my decision. It wasn't a, 'I'm seeking your permission to do this.' It was, 'I've made this decision, I am an adult, and here I go, I hope you will support me, what do you think?' So, I already made my decision at that point. And so, I really just had to brush their opinions and their thoughts aside, even though it was hurtful, and just keep going. And what was surprising is the people, strangers, you know, other entrepreneurs were the ones who were most supportive of me, all excited for me, completely thrilled that I was making this jump and making this decision. And that's what was so surprising to me. I felt that it would be the other way around. And so, I just had to keep going, even though I didn't have the support of family and friends that I wanted to have.

Jeremy Cline 27:09
I completely understand that. But it doesn't surprise me in the slightest that the reactions would be that way around. And I think that's just because, you know, entrepreneurs know what it's like, they understand the itch, which you described earlier, whereas friends and family certainly have your best interests at heart, but maybe, you know, it's a slightly more traditional way of thinking, I suppose. But you've had all this education, and you've got all this experience, and why would you throw it away? As you mentioned the pandemic, just to set it in context, so we're recording this in May 2021, and how long has your business been going so far?

Erin Gallimore 27:43
So, the pandemic, it started worldwide really, the impact hit back in March, at least in the United States, the impact hit back in March of 2020.

Jeremy Cline 27:53
When was your business started?

Erin Gallimore 27:54
My business started in January 2019.

Jeremy Cline 27:58
Okay.

Erin Gallimore 27:59
So, one year in, now we're in March of 2020 and the pandemic, that's when it really started to affect the United States and businesses shutting down and things. And at that point, I had a number of corporate contracts in the works, remember how I said earlier, it takes a year to really build that foundation, establish those relationships, get in front of people. And so, then at the beginning of 2020, that's when all of those relationships had started to come to fruition for me, where I had contracts that were being negotiated for year long, six-month, year-long contracts in corporate America that we're going to support me and my family for the rest of the year, right, in my business. And, oh, I lost those contracts, because businesses had to make the decision of you know, do we bring in this consultant who's going to help our people with communications and leadership and help to give them what they need to succeed in this capacity, or do we make sure that we actually have the money to pay their salaries. And of course, they had to choose, you know, have the money to pay their salaries. No one knew what the impact of this pandemic was going to be. And so, everyone that I had contracts pending with responded in a more conservative way, understandably. And so, I'm sitting at my house in April of 2020, having lost, at least tentatively, not knowing how long it was going to be, the contracts I have been working on for a year. And looking at almost no income for the year 2020, at least not in backlog at all. And so, I kind of had to look at how am I going to pivot. What am I going to do? How are we going to make the best of the situation that we're in? And that's where I really started to increase my efforts in teaching continuing education classes for professional engineers and for water and wastewater operators. Because I had been doing that, but just a little bit here and there. So, I really started to increase that effort, because regardless of the pandemic, people still had to get those contact hours, those professional development hours for the year. And so, that's where I pivoted for the year 2020.

Jeremy Cline 30:21
And that's great that you had that skill that you could still fall back on. I mean, maybe it wasn't a thing that you were really passionate about in your business, but you had kind of laid the groundwork, setting up that you were going to offer that as well anyway. So, that's tremendous foresight, or possibly very good luck, one of the two.

Erin Gallimore 30:39
It was just luck! It was luck.

Jeremy Cline 30:43
So, is that something that you've managed to keep going, and it has basically filled in at least some of the gap that you experienced from the start of 2020?

Erin Gallimore 30:53
Yeah, yeah, it certainly filled, it was really the only thing that filled in the gap last year. Last year was hard. It was really hard. I have to tell you, it was really hard. But teaching the continuing education classes definitely did fill in the gap. Now, did it fill in the gap and make up for those contracts that I had? No. No, no, no. But it did fill in the gap and keep me busy and keep things going in my business. So, yeah, but there was definitely a pivot that had to happen. It's been an interesting year, Jeremy, interesting year.

Jeremy Cline 31:23
Have there been any times in the past year where you've kind of thought, 'No, this just isn't going to work, dust off the resume, get back into corporate'?

Erin Gallimore 31:33
Yep, there sure has. I've thought about it. But you know, it's funny, I've thought about it, but it's one of those things where the determination to continue moving forward in my business has always been stronger than the need to feel secure, especially financially. If I were to go back and become an engineer again and pursue a corporate job, a salary job, it would be purely financial decision for me. And I thought about it, because last year was hard for so many reasons. And I thought about it, but I knew that I had something special with my business, I knew that I loved what I did when I actually had the opportunity to do it, and that I had to stay the course, no matter how hard it was going to be.

Jeremy Cline 32:19
So, what are things looking like now? I mean, well, who knows what's going on with the pandemic, as I say, it's May 2021, things seem to be getting better in some parts of the world, and not so much in other parts of the world, but where are you in your business, as we speak?

Erin Gallimore 32:36
I'm just trying to hold the line, I guess you would say. I just try to hold the line. I'm still teaching my continuing education classes, which I love, I've turned them into something that I love. And so, I definitely get a lot of fulfilment and teaching those classes. But then also, I've started to reach back out to corporate, and there, things are starting to return to, I won't say normal, because I don't know what that word means anymore, right, but you know, that path or that availability in my business has also started to take off with it again. You know, working in corporate, one-on-one or with corporate teams. And so, things are starting to definitely look better. And that's a great thing. But the pandemic has certainly taught me how to always be ready to pivot in your business, because you never know what's ahead.

Jeremy Cline 33:24
So, going forwards, assuming a return to whatever normality looks like, what do you hope your business is going to look like? Is it still going to be a mixture of the continuing education and leadership? Or do you want to try and go all in on one or the other?

Erin Gallimore 33:42
I think it's always going to be a mix for me. I thrive on challenge. And if I just purely focus in one area, I think I'm going to get bored, to be real honest with you. And so, I would like to continue travelling down the path of teaching continuing education classes, because there's certainly a need, there is definitely a need. And I want to continue to fill that need. But also, I do plan to continue working in corporate as a consultant, working with professionals one on one, but then also in teams and building those programmes within corporate America too, because that's really important. It's something that I wish that I had when I was an engineer, a practising engineer, because I certainly didn't have anyone to go to, to ask those questions, those difficult questions about communication and dealing with people and dealing with clients. I didn't have anyone to go to. And so, there's a need there. But I think I will always work on both sides, if you will, because I think that each side challenges me in a different way. And I think that just continues to make me better.

Jeremy Cline 34:44
You mentioned that you'd read a ton of books when you were looking to start a business. Are there any one or two which stick out as particularly helpful for you?

Erin Gallimore 34:53
Yeah, so I have a ton of books that I read, but there is one, and I actually read this book starting my business, but I read this book years and years and years ago, when I was first in the engineering world, just trying to figure out how to better communicate with people, how to be a better leader, how to show up as a professional and make a difference for myself and for others. And the name of the book is called How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. Again, How to Win Friends and Influence People. And I've read this book about three or four times, there's probably highlights and turn pages and tabs all in that book. But of all books I ever read in my adulthood, that book is a cornerstone book for me, because it gave me tips and tricks and just a viewpoint, if you will, into what it's like to be a human being, right? And the way that Dale puts the book together, it really helps you to understand how to communicate with people, how to show up as the most authentic you can, and how to just be a better friend, how to be a better colleague. And really, it also goes into your personal space, how to show up as a better mom, how to show up as a better spouse, how to show up as a better friend. And so, that book itself is probably my number one book for anybody, for anything, because no matter whether you're working for yourself as an entrepreneur, or whether you're in corporate America, or you're wherever you are, how to be a better person and treat people better is fundamental, no matter where you are. And that's what that book is all about. And funny enough, it was written in the 30s. But the information and the guidance remains true. So, yeah, that would be my book. Lots of other books to suggest too, but I think that one is most important.

Jeremy Cline 36:54
It is a fantastic book. It's been a number of years since I read it and I think I've only read it once, so I think I'm going to have to dust it off and reread it, because I do remember it had just some eye-opening tips and suggestions. It's absolutely fantastic. Well, Erin, thank you so much for coming on the podcast and telling your story. If people want to find you online or get hold of you, where's the best place they go?

Erin Gallimore 37:17
Oh, sure. I have a website. It's eringallimore.com. And they could always send me an email. That's the best way to reach me anytime. And that's just erin@eringallimore.com. So, reach out anytime.

Jeremy Cline 37:32
Brilliant. I'll put links to those in the show notes. Well, Erin, good luck as things return to some kind of normal and thank you again for coming on the show.

Erin Gallimore 37:40
Yeah, thanks for having me, Jeremy. I appreciate it.

Jeremy Cline 37:43
Okay, I hope you enjoyed that interview with Erin Gallimore. One of the things I really appreciated about that conversation was that Erin just did not sugarcoat things. She was very honest about how friends and family hadn't initially been supportive of her idea to leave her well-paid, secure job and start a new business. She made it clear that it's a good assumption to assume that you're just not going to get paid in the first year that you operate. And as she says, the pandemic has made things really tough, but she has been able to pivot. And in doing so, I think she's laid the groundwork for a great future for her business going forward. I also liked her description of how she started to rationalise her thoughts when she was figuring out what she wanted to do and what it looked like. She asked herself, 'What do I want every day to look like?' And that's a great question to ask. And if that's a question that you'd like to try and dig into a little bit deeper, then do go back and check out Episode 77 with Samantha Morris, where that was exactly the question I asked her, and we spent some time trying to figure out what your perfect day looks like. And I will put a link to that episode in the show notes, which you'll find at changeworklife.com/108, and as well as the link to that episode, I will put in the link to where you can get a hold of Erin, and there's the full transcript and summary of everything we talked about. I hadn't realised, as I was talking to Erin, that this episode is actually scheduled to come out during the week of the second birthday of this podcast. It really does not seem that long ago that I was celebrating one year, and two years has come around so quickly. It's been an absolute thrill to interview guests like Erin and all my guests. But this is your podcast. I'm doing it for you. And I need to know what your ideas are. I need to know what help you need. So, please do get in touch, you can go to changeworklife.com/contact, that's changeworklife.com/contact, and send me your ideas for future episodes. I'd love to hear from you. In the meantime, there's more great episodes coming up, so subscribe to the show if you haven't already, and I can't wait to see you next week. Cheers. Bye.

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