Certain situations that have happened in the past I believe would not have happened if I had more confidence in dealing with people in certain situations and not being afraid of being upfront or saying what I think. Considering I started my businesses at a young age, it was easy for people to take advantage. Now I am older and have grown so much to where I can put my foot down when needed.
As part of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Erin Williams.
Erin Williams is the founder of both INFLUENCED and Modern Day Living Magazine. As a 30-year-old Australian businesswoman who has owned and operated her own businesses since the age of 20, Erin navigates through her journey of highs and lows. She has grown to know what strength is and what it takes to run a successful business and company.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have been a business owner since I was 20 years old, so it has been a long journey for me with many highs and lows. Before I started this journey I actually owned my own childcare business, which gave me the idea of creating my first publication, The Modern Day Living Magazine. I live in Australia and noticed there was a lack of modern, fun magazines just for mothers that showcase everything they wanted to read without it being to ‘mumsy’.
It’s not a publication where they read on how to be a mother or the best mothering tips out there. It’s a publication where they can enjoy articles on health, wellness, lifestyle, beauty, fashion and interviews with some of the biggest celebrities around the world.
We have also made a conscious effort to design the magazine more like a coffee table book, rather than your throw-out magazine.
Through Covid-19, like many of us around the world, I got worried that my other business, a PR agency located in Australia, was going to be very slow and I needed to keep creating and keep myself busy. I decided to start my second publication, INFLUENCED Magazine, risky I know! A completely new publication in the middle of a global pandemic. But again, I noticed a lack in the market of focus on Influencers and the digital world today. I began that process and we launched our first issue right all with a lot of stress and excitement at the same time. Perhaps being at home on in the middle of the pandemic inspired me to launch INFLUENCED Magazine.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
Gosh, there have really been so many hard times. There is so much that people do not tell you about business in general, and I have had to learn a lot along the way and learned a lot through the hard way a majority of the time. As new publications, always making sure that we are staying ahead of the game, staying creative and ensuring we have the best people on the covers, is a difficult job. I think some of the biggest and hardest times for me have been staff and building the right team, a team I can trust. Building my businesses from the ground up with very little funds, making the right choices or getting myself out of ones that weren’t right has also been hard. The everyday grind to succeed and want to be successful is what fuels me, but some days it’s easy to just want to throw the towel and go work for someone else. I started my first business at 20 and I am now 30, so I have definitely grown and learnt a lot over the years. Each day is different and I am still learning.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
I mostly fuel my own drive to succeed and get through the hard times. I don’t ever want to disappoint myself on my goals that I have set out for myself, and sometimes when they don’t happen the way I want them to, I have to take a deep breath and start the next day fresh. Work out better ways to get me through the hard times. I am also a self-motivated person, so I don’t really find it too hard to pull myself together when things get difficult.
I am inspired by family members and close friends that have their own businesses as well, and I learn a lot from them daily as I watch them get through the hard times. One thing I have learned and still learning is that I am not the only one that experiences tough times, everyone does and it’s ok. It’s just about getting through them, moving forward and believing in yourself and what you are accomplishing.
So, how are things going today? How did grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?
Things are going great. I mean, I still have those days where I think “what have I done?” or “why hasn’t this worked the way I wanted it too?”, “why didn’t we get that person on the cover or how do we grow faster?” etc, but I have learnt to just take each day as it comes, and I really feel like, over the last year especially, that I have grown so much and learnt a lot more. I have such a great team right now as well, and that helps a lot.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Oh gosh, there are probably a few haha! But I have learned a lot over the years and have made a lot of mistakes. So I probably can’t pinpoint one haha.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
What makes our company stand out is that we are so different from what is around at the moment, and I am so involved with people and brands. Even though we are on the other side of the world, I have managed to connect with some of the best people and biggest companies around the globe due to communication and just being confident in introducing myself and sharing my story. I connect with people easily, and I think that shows in all of my businesses.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Work hard but try to have a balance. Which is not easy, and I still struggle to do so myself. Not everything is about work, work, work- you have to enjoy what you are doing, be confident and believe in yourself and your business. If you don’t believe in yourself and believe in what you are promoting then why would anyone else?
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Oh gosh of course. I am a big believer that you succeed in life because of the people and support around you.
I am grateful for my Dad, who will probably be reading this now laughing. There have been many, many times where I have had to call him in a fit of stress needing to either borrow money to get me through the next month or just venting on what a client or staff member has said to me. I have done a lot on my own but as many people in business know, cash flow is HARD and sometimes you do need a little help to get you through.
I am also grateful for my brother who has his own business. He has taught me a lot along the way. He is also my biggest critic haha! But he is smart. We are very different. He understands numbers, and things that I don’t, he can handle himself well in pretty much any situation with any client no matter how big or small they are and that is something I am still learning. People can be hard and demanding and he is always reminding me to make sure that people don’t walk all over me.
The next person that I am so grateful for is my fiance. He pushes me everyday, supports me daily and helps me in every single way when things are tough no matter what. I can be a highly strung person and fairly stressed at times but he manages to help me stay calm and remember to always push forward and continue to believe in what I am doing and creating. I am really grateful for his constant support and believing in me when times get tough, not only for myself but for him personally as well. He has always encouraged me to continue to push forward.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I feel as though my magazines, especially through covid-19, brought a little bit of light and happiness to people’s lives in a way where they could also still afford something special for themselves and read publications that are both positive & uplifting.
They provide good entertainment, inspiration and my main purpose is to continue to make them powerful, honest, authentic and real.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Be Confident- I feel like if I had more confidence in the beginning, I would be a little more ahead now. Confidence is so important. It plays such a big role in running a business and dealing with people. Certain situations that have happened in the past I believe would not have happened if I had more confidence in dealing with people in certain situations and not being afraid of being upfront or saying what I think. Considering I started my businesses at a young age, it was easy for people to take advantage. Now I am older and have grown so much to where I can put my foot down when needed.
- Cash flow- I feel that cash flow is literally the hardest thing in your business. It has been so hard over the years to make sure that the business can continue to run smoothly and still pay staff members, but always continue to update equipment and software as well.
- Staff members- To make sure that you have a solid team from day one- A team that wants to see the business grow, succeed and do well.
- Accounts- I wish more people had told me from day one to stay on top of the back end of the business. If you stay on top of that from the beginning, it makes life A LOT easier.
- Take Risks, and not be afraid to make mistakes. Grow and try different avenues when things don’t work the first time. It’s ok to make mistakes and continue to learn from them.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Gosh, this is a hard one!! I feel like I have so many deep down but I would love to start a Foundation one day for women in business definitely.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can follow myself and businesses via social media
@moderndaycommunciations which is my PR agency located in Australia
@influenced_magazine INFLUENCED Magazine
@themoderndaylivingmagazine The Modern Day Living Magazine
And my personal account @erin_kwilliams
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.