Elizabeth Saunders is kind of a rockstar here at KillerStartups. She’s a very active member of the Young Entrepreneur Council and has been regularly schooling us all on finding that ever elusive work/life balance through her company Real Life E. This woman has dedicated her life to helping crazy entrepreneurs like you (and others) put down the headphones and step away from the computer screen.
I had the privilege of catching up with Elizabeth recently. We chatted about time management (duh) and how she became an accidental entrepreneur. She also gave me some solid tips on exactly how to get everything done in a 50 hour work week, (Gasp! Could it be true??) which you can check out here.
Thank you so much for your patience with my crazy scheduling.
Not a problem! I’m a time coach.
I know, it’s kind of ironic that I couldn’t manage my time very well for my interview with the time coach.
One of the things that I think I’m blessed to have is that I’m very good at time management but I’m also very understanding, so don’t worry about it.
Alright, let’s jump right in. How did you get started as a time coach?
It actually began with my own personal journey. I became an entrepreneur by accident in 2005. I had a very out of control schedule and about a two years into that I decided enough was enough.
I enjoyed what I did, I was making good money, but I was crazy busy all the time and never felt like I could relax without guilt. That led to me getting in control of my own schedule, really deciding that I wouldn’t work at night and I wouldn’t work on the weekends. That I’d have boundaries.
From there I had a bunch of entrepreneur friends who were like, “Elizabeth! This is amazing! How do you do this? You should teach other people!”
They encouraged me to use the skills I’d developed in my own life – plus I’d done some coaching and leadership training – to start to work with clients around the world. I’ve been doing coaching since 2009 and I just developed this specialty in lasting behavioral change in the area of time investment.
How did you accidentally become an entrepreneur?
Well, I was in a position where I wasn’t happy. I’ll tell you the whole backstory; it’s kind of funny. It all worked out great, but at the time it didn’t seem funny at all.
When I was 14 I decided I was going to be the editor of Better Homes and Gardens and I was on a mission. I studied magazine journalism, interior architecture, and business in college. I had four internships in college, including interning on the Better Homes and Gardens website my freshman year of university.
I got hired at my dream job there my senior year, so I hadn’t even graduated from college yet. I got hired on to a position that was going to be full time a week after I graduated. Anyway, six weeks after I started the job, I got laid off! I ended up having a severance package before I had a college diploma. It was a rude welcome to the professional world.
I took some time off, traveled through Europe, and ended up getting hired back at Meredith Corporation but to a magazine that wasn’t as good a fit to the things I enjoyed and wanted to do. About a year into it I really felt like it was time to move on and apply for other jobs so I had seven interviews and then I took a leap of faith and resigned on my one-year anniversary and I got none of the jobs I interviewed for.
That is how I became an accidental entrepreneur.
Thanks so much for sharing your story, Elizabeth! Those of you who are interested in knowing more should check out Elizabeth’s company, Real Life E.