Holly Haynes: “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s end”

If you don’t love most of what you do, you probably should pivot. I remember going through the motions in my business during the first couple of years, thinking that if I just keep doing all the things, I would eventually see progress. But that isn’t always true. You can’t always trade time for money. […]

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If you don’t love most of what you do, you probably should pivot. I remember going through the motions in my business during the first couple of years, thinking that if I just keep doing all the things, I would eventually see progress. But that isn’t always true. You can’t always trade time for money. And if you don’t enjoy what you are doing, you definitely don’t want to waste your time.


The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.

As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Holly Haynes.

Holly Haynes helps female entrepreneurs take back control of their time with proven productivity techniques, systems and structure to create a strategy that scales long term. She is an industry expert with a 20 year consulting background and runs her strategic coaching business while raising her twin daughters with her husband in addition to working for a non-profit in Columbus, Ohio.https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/d1816a398c96751ca5d60aaeca39137a


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I grew up in an Air Force town in Ohio. On paper we were the typical midwestern family, took the one family vacation a year and both my parents worked. I graduated college from Ohio University (still in Ohio at this point) and went on to take on a consulting job with Accenture. I was determined to see more than the midwest. At the age of 19 my father was diagnosed with skin cancer, which in the 90’s was not widely talked about. He passed away when I was 24. I was just old enough to tell him about my first big consulting job and my new house, but that is as far as I got. From that point on I have been focused on living a life with no regrets. I am now married with twin daughters whom he never met. I own my own business which he never saw. I have traveled the world which he wanted to see. He gave up so much for me to get to college and create my own journey that I will forever be fueled by his example to leave a legacy for my daughters. I don’t need to be famous or recognized but I am determined to make an impact.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Self care if giving the world what is the best of you instead of what is left.” So often as women, as moms, as business owners we treat “busy” as a badge of honor. But it leads to burnout, exhaustion and eventually many of us giving up on following our passions and what we truly love to do. I try to lead by example both to my girls, my family and my clients and share that putting your own needs first truly allows you to serve others better.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

One of my business mentors gifted me, “There’s No Plan B for your A-Game” by Bo Eason. It is all about aligning your daily actions and practices to be the best at what you do. It reminded me that it isn’t that monthly, or quarterly goal that matters. It’s showing up consistently everyday working towards the much bigger dream. There are always bad days, or months or even years but what matters is how you show up each day. I reference this book almost everyday and have a quote on my bulletin board that says “win the day”. Being a mom, a wife, a business owner etc. is a lot. But I work really hard to show up with intention and make the most of my time.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?

Prior to the pandemic I was working full time for a non-profit (and still do) and was dabbling in starting my own strategic coaching business. I also had a wellness accountability business I was running, but it wasn’t 100% in alignment with my long term goals. (I was “working” on a lot of things, but wasn’t focused). I knew I wanted to pivot but wasn’t sure how, or when the right time would be. I needed to niche down. And make sure that when I as working on my business, I was working on the right things.

What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?

Without knowing the pandemic was going to be as intense as it is now, in January of 2020 I decided my next step would be to start a podcast geared towards women running a business who were also working full time. I love to teach and had the background to be able to help a lot of women with their business strategy. This was my step to streamline my businesses and niche down my focus. Ironically my very first podcast episode came out the 2nd week of March, the week almost all of the US shut down due to Covid-19. To say I was panicked was an understatement. I am an Enneagram 3 and like things to be perfect and to please people. This was not ideal, not to mention getting on social media to chat about a new podcast called “Crush the Rush” (how to run a business without it running you) just seemed insensitive when most people were losing their jobs or being laid off.

I continued to quietly grow the podcast and realized that a lot of people were looking to start their online businesses because they had been laid off. Even though it wasn’t at the scale I had planned, I kept going. What happened, that I didn’t expect, was more women started reaching out asking me how I was running my business. So I used my podcast as a platform to teach. Every episode my focus was, how can I help more? I answered the questions they were asking, listening to my audience. I found guests that could bring in expertise. And all of a sudden, I had a podcast that was not only growing, but helping women build their “side hustle” as I call it, in the middle of a pandemic.

My podcast gave me the credibility I needed in a time of uncertainty for people to trust me which in turn allowed my to scale my business very quickly.

Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?

There are a lot of podcast and strategy experts out there. My biggest aha moments still come today when the one thing everyone always asks is how to balance (insert something about virtual school, twins, working full time) with running a business. It reminded me that sometimes women want to hear from other women that are 1–2 steps ahead of them. It is more relatable. On social media you see my kids while I am creating my courses. On my podcast I tell you I am recording in my basement at 6am because that is when it is quiet. It is real life. And that is what peopled craved and are still craving. I could do that. And can do that. I could be real. And inspiring. And teach some strategy along the way. What you hear and see is real life.

How are things going with this new initiative?

I have managed to create a completely new stream of income during a pandemic because of this pivot. I obviously launched the “Crush the Rush” podcast but it has become a full blow brand. I have created a signature strategy course for my clients and have several other coaching initiatives in progress. My goal is to create a community for women to use for support and strategy. I dabbled in business for 5 years before this. When I combined what I was passionate about to being able to serve more and listen to what people were asking for, well it has been magic. Magic in a year that has been so dark. This has brought light to me and so many others.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I would be remiss if I didn’t call out my husband Scott for his support. When everyone else was slowing down and figuring out what Neflix show to watch for the week, I was heads down creating, building, networking, recording. I try hard to not work on weekends or late nights all the time, but a side hustle is a hustle. And he has been the glue that keeps everything together! I probably own him a few 100 bed time swaps (i.e. he gets bedtime duty with the twins 9 times out of 10). I won’t even try to pretend I can do everything.

I also worked closely with a business coach, Elizabeth Hartke starting in March, I hired her to help me visualize where my business could go and without her insight and direction, I would never be where I am now.

It truly does take a village. And I hope to be that village for other women going forward.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?

When I first started my entrepreneurial journey almost 6 years ago, I was very focused on the short term. How much income this month? How many new clients? I couldn’t see past the next short term goal. Whether it be the length or intensity of the pandemic, the podcast pivot or the addition of a business coach (most likely all of them combined) I am not only so much more aligned with my big picture but it has been pivotal in my teaching and coaching.

What has come from being more aligned with my values is an amazing community of support. So many of us spend hours online each day either running a business or working full time. Because I allowed myself to be open to possibilities, I now have a tight knit group that I can lean on for questions, advice and support that I never had before.

Just the 60+ podcast guests alone that I have interviewed have had a tremendous impact on my everyday life and business. In the midst of all the uncertainty it has reminded me that there are a lot of amazing smart people out there that are dedicated to serving. That is the example I hope to set.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

VIDEO LINK — https://youtu.be/bP1kJTKFoTw

1) If you don’t love most of what you do, you probably should pivot. I remember going through the motions in my business during the first couple of years, thinking that if I just keep doing all the things, I would eventually see progress. But that isn’t always true. You can’t always trade time for money. And if you don’t enjoy what you are doing, you definitely don’t want to waste your time.

2) Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s end. So often we get trapped in the comparison game. Especially on social media. Sometimes what you see is not what you get. When you look at some of these big social media accounts and businesses they have entire teams helping them. I am a a team of one (growing to a team of two). Most of my clients are a team of one. Your wins will look different and that is OK. Lean on your community and focus on serving that people that are watching. It just takes helping one person to make a difference.

3) Sometimes you have to slow down to speed up. I remember when my twins were little, my day literally was packed and then I would find myself scrolling the internet at night pretending I was “working” but really just feeling lost. Create down time so that when you do have “work time” you are able to do more. Slow down and really appreciate your current state. And when you do speed up you will have the energy and drive to keep going.

4) Do one thing and do it great. If you can’t tell I am big into planning and productivity. I am a huge believer in time blocking and planning your day. Everyday when I wake up my goal is to focus on ONE thing that I want to accomplish. It takes the pressure and anxiety off trying to do everything. Imagine if you were consistent on accomplishing one big thing for your business each day, where you would be in a month?

5) There is never an end, so you better enjoy the journey. Burnout it not a lifestyle. A funny thing happens when you start to hit a few goals. You create new ones. So often we say “oh when I just get to [insert goal] everything will be great”, but the truth is you create new goals. And new milestones. A good question to ask yourself is, can you keep the pace you are currently out for the next 3–5 years? If you can’t, it might be time to pivot. Create a system, a strategy, a routine, that is going to support you and your business for the long term.

So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?

As I mentioned above, avoiding burnout and managing stress and self-care are two of the biggest pillars I speak about. As a family we have dinner every night without the TV on. (Except for Friday’s where we have been ordering take out watching Disney Documentaries!)

I turn my phone off most nights by 8pm and also take most weekends off social media. As in I uninstall the apps on my phone. If I don’t take the entire weekend off social media, I will at minimum take at least 24 full hours. Ironically that day is usually my favorite day of the week. So much of our time and thoughts are consumed but what others create. Disconnecting does wonders.

Finally I am an avid morning routine follower. I go to bed early and am up at 5am most weekdays. I always do some sort of workout or yoga, journal, read and then work on my business before every one else is up. It allows me to take care of myself first and also my goals. I can’t imagine my day without this routine. I literally would not have a business today without it.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I truly believe if each one of us could help one person each day the world would be a better place. Maybe it is teaching a client something they have been struggling with, or answering a question without the expectation of a sale. Or maybe it’s as simple as telling your children a story about giving back, opening the door for someone at the grocery or leaving a little extra tip for that delivery. I try to do something everyday that helps at least one person. Even small gestures can make a big difference, especially with the current climate of uncertainty.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

I am obsessed with the Home Edit ladies. We have color coded every bookshelf in our house, have redone multiple closets and currently working on our pantry! It has created a bright rainbow in every room during a dark time.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can find me at hollymariehaynes.com

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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