#86: Be the Hero of Your Story with Emily Reagan

Be the Hero of Your Story with Emily Reagan

Taking care of and looking out for yourself impacts how you do everything in life. Today’s guest, Emily Reagan, made it her mission to take charge of her life and her career after hitting rock bottom. And now, she runs a successful business helping other women to step into their power.

If you’re looking to ditch your 9 to 5, or you want to ensure that you are financially independent (no matter what turns life takes), or you’re looking to spend more time with your family or doing something that you love, definitely listen in!

You’ll hear about:

  • [03:34] Emily’s career journey and how she hit burn out twice and realized it was time to focus on herself
  • [07:37] The empowerment she felt putting herself and her career first after years making sacrifices as a military spouse
  • [13:12] How she helps other women to feel powerful in their skill sets, talents, and passions
  • [15:32] What a virtual assistant does and how Emily learned that her skills and potential stretched beyond the work she was doing
  • [18:00] How to transition into working in the online space

Mentioned in this episode:


Emily (00:00):
I just thought like I will never stay up late like that and sacrifice myself for someone else's business when I just got paid basically hourly, like I'm getting breadcrumbs from this launch. And it kind of went into a whole big deeper realization that I just helped her make a million dollars and I'm getting the crumbs left over and I'm like, I've got to do this for myself and I have to do it for myself because of where my life was at the moment. I was looking at leaving my husband, I was sitting on a gold mine of skills. I had just had my fourth baby. And it was like all of these light bulbs just like flashing at me saying like, Emily, get it together.
Michelle (00:41):
It's time to stop being the victim of your overscheduled life and become the most powerful version of yourself. Welcome to She's Got Power.
Michelle (00:57):
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Michelle (01:39):
When I started this podcast several years ago, my intention was to talk about health and wellness from the point of view that women deserve to feel powerful and to be powerful. And we can't do that when we're sick and exhausted. And we've covered lots of health issues and nutrition topics along the way. But my favorite episodes are when I get to introduce you to a powerhouse woman who's done amazing things and really shown up for herself and the world. Well, today's one of those days where we get to talk about having the ability to think big, to take strong, decisive action to get it done, whatever it is. We can't do that when we're sick and tired and brain foggy, right? So that's the reason to invest in your health because it impacts how you do everything else. Emily Reagan is a new friend of mine. She's a unicorn really. She is a Jill of all trades when it comes to digital marketing and techy skills. And she found a way to elevate herself, her family, and women around the world all at the same time. I love it. Let's dive in. Hey Emily, thanks for being on the show.
Emily (02:55):
Oh my goodness. Thanks for having me. I'm so excited to have this conversation with you today.
Michelle (02:59):
I'm glad I hit record because I feel like we probably just could just chat offline for like a long time. Like, oh, actually we need to record this. So let me make sure our listeners can hear our conversation. Uh, but we were just, uh, starting to talk about how as a certain certain type of women, I know I am, I feeling you are too. We can work ourselves too hard sometimes we can reach that burnout state. And I thought we could start there. Maybe you could tell us about when you knew that. Uh, boom, there was a bit of a rock bottom being hit.
Emily (03:34):
I had a couple rock bottoms actually, but just to fill everyone in who might not know me, I have been freelancing in this online digital space for years. I'm a military spouse and I gave up my career every time we pcd. And so I found this happy place online and for six years I worked for a really big fish client. I was happiest, can be doing the marketing work behind the scenes, helping her grow her email list. And there was one evening where we closed the doors on one of her launches and she made a million dollars. And I went into panic mode because some of the back ends of her business were not ready. It was a little bit messy. And I stayed up very late and it was the year my husband was deployed. He was deployed for an entire year in the Middle East.
Emily (04:21):
I stayed up till like 3:00 AM trying to fix her stuff. And the next morning I was the grouchies meanest mom. And the client wasn't happy cause she, she could articulate what she really wanted. So I had to undo everything. And I just thought like, I will never stay up late like that and sacrifice myself for someone else's business when I just got paid basically hourly, like I'm getting bread crumbs from this launch. And it kind of went into a whole big deeper realization that I just helped her make a million dollars and I'm getting the crumbs left over and I'm like, I've got to do this for myself and I have to do it for myself because of where my life was at the moment. I was looking at leaving my husband, I was sitting on a gold mine of skills. I had just had my fourth baby. And it was like all of these light bulbs just like flashing at me saying like, Emily, get it together. Get in front of the camera, like push your business. And from there, that happened about three years ago. It was warp speed for me, baby.
Michelle (05:24):
Wow. Yes. You were getting signs from all different areas of life. Like, it's time to go. It's come. It's time to do this thing.
Emily (05:32):
Yes, yes. Stop playing small, stop saying scared. And for years I kind of heard this like little voice that was like, you could do this. I'm like, no, no, no, no. You know, my degree is in broadcast. I wanted to be behind the camera. I wanted to tell people what to do. I didn't need the limelight. And I just was like, I can, I couldn't do that. I couldn't grow this audience. Like why would people even listen to me? And I just kind of like, you know, stomp that voice down and smooshed her down and silenced her. And then when all of these like kind of bad factors were happening, I was like, this is my way out. This voice was giving me the way out the whole time and kind of getting me ready. And I'm a pretty dominant personality. When I see something, I take action. I usually don't take a long time to make a decision. But when it was something big like that, I mean, it's scary to start a business and to separate from something that's working, that's making you money to leave a client that I've been in bed with for so long and I'm, I'm so loyal to, and so to step out on my own and cut off that revenue source. So all types of fear factors going on.
Michelle (06:36):
Oh my gosh, I bet Now I lived in Alexandria, Virginia for a number of years, so I, although I, I actually was born in a military hospital, so I shouldn't say I don't have personal experience, but I've never been a military spouse. But I have known a bunch because of living in Alexandria and you know, seeing them come and go and sometimes they come back after they had left for a while. And some of the friendliest people I have ever met in my entire life, it was quite a shock moving there from Boston. I'm like, why is everyone talking to me? This is so weird, . But it always felt like their husband's career. Although I did meet one or two military, uh, moms, they themselves were the military anyway, for the most part. It were, it was the dads and the wives played second fiddle to that. They packed up the house, they did whatever was required for his career. His career was number one. What was it like for you to, I don't know if you necessarily turned the dynamic, but to step yourself up to the same playing field?
Emily (07:36):
Oh my gosh, it was so empowering. And I mean, I got married so young, I didn't really have a direction of what I wanted to do. I actually tried to do military. I had a four year scholarship for journalism, thank God was looking out for me and was like, this is not gonna be your shtick. Like you're gonna do terrible with any kind of chain of command. Emily. And I was getting, I ended up getting asthma and not doing it, but I had met my husband and you know, so from 22 I'm already like doing separations long distances, following him around. And I can remember we got our first duty station together after a year, our first year of marriage was apart. I get to Germany and I see all these cute little young wives with big, like rocks on their hand working like office jobs.
Emily (08:18):
And I cried. I'm like, this isn't why I went to college. And I, the wing was on a hiring freeze. I got a job at Chili's. We had that opening, I had bartending skills. It was cool, but I am just industrious. I can't explain it. I've always had ambition. I never just sit on the couch. I'm learning more and more about my myself, the older I get. And I need to be doing things like, I like to be productive. And I got lucky every time we've moved, I found a job related to my skillset. I've adapted, I've learned, I've been able to bring things with me. For years I was embarrassed about my resume because it was every 18 months new job and I like used to hide it. But in the online space, it's an advantage, right? It shows that I can adapt and change and I kind evolve, which is really like the number one soft skill that anyone wants to hire for, right?
Emily (09:08):
So it it, it all was all good. Uh, it just, it sucked. Cause I finally got my dream job. I was a PR director at a nonprofit. I had, you know, a beautiful setup. I could get in the newspaper on tv. I had a board, I had a budget. And then we got orders to leave and I just thought like, I can't start over again. I can't learn a new media market. I now had a son. I was the default parent. And so I was kind of, okay, I was just doing too much. So I dialed it down a little bit and that's when I brought my first client with me accidentally as the retainer freelance client. This is all 2009. So I was like OG freelancing and didn't even know. It was like something that could have been very viable and more lucrative if I had been smarter about it.
Emily (09:52):
But it, it, for a while there was fine. Like it was a sacrifice I chose and I loved it. I always like found work and it made me really strong. But it, the only time it didn't become fine was when I was in a situation with my husband where he was struggling with mental depression and anxiety. He started abusing substances and suddenly the, the rug was pulled out from under me. Now I have four children and I'm looking at losing our entire military retirement. Oh, everything I had sacrificed for, we were just a couple years shy and I thought like, oh, f no, like this is not gonna happen. How can I step up and provide for my babies? And like, I don't know if I can count on him. And you know, corporations, government, like they're looking out for themselves. Like they didn't owe him anything.
Emily (10:41):
Luckily they were nice and he had been, he had had a great career. It sucks that what happened happened. And that's like a whole nother story about his decline and things like I did, I saw, but I didn't realize it until years later what was happening. But I mean, the military's gonna look out for themselves and if you're not, you know, operational ready, if you can't deploy, they will. They will drop you. And so that's when I went into warp speed with my business. Cuz I just thought like, I don't know what's gonna happen. I didn't know if I was gonna stay married. I didn't know if he was gonna, you know, be able to stay sober. I didn't know if I could trust him. You know, it's like all this stuff that just happened and suddenly I'm bitter, right? Suddenly I'm mad that I've sacrificed my career because I look at my college roommate who is now this high paying doctor and owns her house and I've got like nothing to show for it. I'm just starting over and over with every new career, starting with low salary, not a lot of vacation days. And so it just suddenly like, there was a huge imbalance, but for a while there I was like blissful and naive and happy.
Michelle (11:45):
. Wow. I love hearing stories. Women just take in the reins. I mean, even for our listeners who are working in corporate jobs, sometimes it just feels like, well the next option is the next step up this corporate ladder. And that's really it. But at some point I, I've talked to so many women that are like, I actually don't want that. And then what am I gonna do? Right? I'll just, you know, what you thought was gonna be your career, what you thought was going to be your path is no longer your path. And so I just love hearing how you were like, this is gonna happen differently. Let's go. How long did it take you from like that thought to comfortably, you know, earning in your new business?
Emily (12:27):
Oh my gosh. Let's see. I went all in with my course. I started teaching women what I do, like the same work I had been doing. I knew so many other underemployed, overeducated, military spouses like me. Yeah. So that was, uh, January, 2019 is when I took dca When it first opened, I was already launching my course, barely made any money with it. But then I just had a six, six-figure launch last month. So it was not overnight. It was not overnight. But that was three solid years of pedal to the metal hustling and like staying true to my why. And I mean, my why is so strong. It's like I I, well I need to be independent. It wasn't just like a mind thing. It was a financial thing too.
Michelle (13:13):
Yes, yes. Oh, I hear that. Wow. I love how, not only did you elevate yourself and what you were doing in your life, but you're doing it for all these other women, starting with the ones that you know best.
Emily (13:24):
Yes. Yeah. I mean there's so many other women in this boat are women who just need options. And I mean, you mentioned this, like we think we have a vision. I think I'm a little different because I never had a vision. I always, always go with the flow as a military spouse. Like I wasn't really allowed to dream. We were always talking about the next place we'd be stationed, but like you can get derailed so quickly. And so my big message to especially women in my course is yeah, you're, you're investing in skills, you're putting yourself in the digital hiring pool when you do that, when you become relevant and dusted off. But it's more about options. It's listening to that voice and preparing because you don't know what's gonna happen. And I don't mean that in a, a scary, like your husband's gonna leave you or whatever, but like you just don't know. And you could get laid off, you could lose your passion, you know? I mean, something bad could happen, but you might need a change for yourself. Like you were talking with your friend, the stylist who just wanted a different life. You know, like you've got to make small steps to be ready so you can say yes to those opportunities.
Michelle (14:28):
Yeah. Wow. And it kind, it gives me chills as you're talking about a lot of this, cuz there was a moment, you know, in my marriage where Ed, my ex-husband was struggling with various issues and it hit me one day, wait my business is paying the mortgage cuz he had been out of work for a long time. And then the light bulb went off. Like I had options. You know, I wasn't stuck. I wasn't stuck anymore a long time. That hadn't been the case for a long time. My business really was second fiddle to his, but it was this opportunity for me to rise the occasion. And, you know, I took advantage of those options was the best thing I ever did, you know, but being, knowing that you, you're not stuck, you know, you can't take, take what you know, what you do well and then support yourself and do whatever you need to do. And maybe you could say a little bit more, cause I, we've, you know, kind of glossed over it, but you were using your skills as an assistant for this other client years ago. And you have, you were working as a maybe tell everybody what a virtual assistant even is. Cause I bet a lot of our listeners have never used one.
Emily (15:31):
Yeah, so there's this umbrella term called VA virtual assistant. And quite honestly, I hate the term, it's such a big job, what is a va? But really it's a word for anyone who is freelancing, getting a 10 99 independent contractor. And you can do any kind of skill or service in this space. Anything you used to do in the office, you can now do online. So in my space, I always struggled with, I didn't do admin, I was doing marketing work, I was doing work that grew an audience that nurtured an audience and sold to an online audience. I was helping businesses move into the online space. So I struggled. I'm like, I'm not just va I have a PR background. I've, you know, done all this journalism and marketing. So I am now coining the term unicorn digital marketing assistant. But it's really that marketing assistant behind the work who's helping with the content.
Emily (16:21):
They email the monetization of different channels. So I did that for years and was very, there's like definitely this matrix moment where I'm in my little happy zone unaware of like how much potential I have. Like I didn't see it until I pretty much was forced to. And I think it's just, I'm kinda a happy person and I was balancing mom world and working and I've always just needed to do something. I don't get satisfaction out of a clean bathroom. I don't, I don't. And I like the journalist in me. I love producing, I love having a byline. I love publishing. And so this marketing space allowed me to have something productive and tangible. And yet when the kids get off the bus, like I'm there, I mean sometimes now that they're older, I still ignore them , but they get off the bus and I'm there like I can take them to dance or soccer. And this is important as a military spouse too, because I can't sometimes mentally but physically count on my husband. I'm the default parent. He comes and goes, he's always training T wise deployment. So I have to be able to function. And I just don't know if I went back to the corporate world how I could do that right now. Especially now that I have four children,
Michelle (17:36):
Especially, gosh, I only have two. But it's the same thing. Who has to go to the doctor's appointment, who has soccer practice, whatever it is always here when they get home off the bus. I love it. I bet there's some women listening that are like, okay, I want in on whatever they're smoking because my job doesn't let me do that and I don't have these options. Who is a good candidate to be a sorry, unicorn digital marketing assistant? Yeah,
Emily (18:00):
Well you need skills, right? That you can transition into the online space. But really this freelancer person has to be someone who's motivated. You do not get told what to do. You don't get your handheld, there's no onboarding and you know, your first day of work, HR isn't holding your hand and like, you know, walking you around the hallways and taking you to lunch. So a freelancer really has to be someone who's motivated self-sufficient. They have to have an initiative in a drive. And what I say is, if you're in, if you're in a corporate job right now, that skill could absolutely be offered as a project or some kind of retainer package. So start dabbling in it now, start creating options for yourself. And you can do that same skill. I mean, make sure you don't have any kind of non-compete. But you know, in my last full-time job, I would write press releases.
Emily (18:49):
So the first thing I did was write press releases for local businesses that were in my area. And again, I was naive about it, I wasn't charging enough. I should have marketed it more, but that's probably the easiest way to change your work situation. And then this freelance space is insane. So I teach marketing assistants, getting their foot in the door, learning the, the ways of online business that you and I know so well. But after that, like there's so many options. Like freelancers can work with one client, even even become an employee. And usually our clients are cool. There are other moms or other people who get it. Or you could do different packages where you work in VIP days or maybe your services are really tailored down to one thing. And so it's like options upon options. And I have such a hard time explaining it to people, but you don't get there unless you just start and put yourself out there
Michelle (19:39):
And it's so needed. You know, working in the online space myself, I've had such a mixed bag of experiences with different assistance and freelancers that when you find someone that does good work, you wanna hold on for dear life and people will say, Michelle, who do you use? And I'm like, I'm not telling you , she's mine.
Emily (19:59):
Yeah. And that's what happened to me for years and I was so booked out, I never had to market myself, but that's because I was sitting on like the great work ethic, I actually care and the skills to do it. And uh, it was that the pr and marketing skills that made me so special, which is why I was like, that's what a unicorn is. They're rare and hard to find. Everybody wants one. I mean, anyone can offer admin. We all have common sense. We can all manage an inbox at this point, but it's that rare extra set of knowing how to do the marketing, which is why I like have this whole unicorn mantra thing. And I'm not even a girly girl. I am sporty spiced over here. But for years people were like, what? Like who are you? And I finally, one day I was like, I'm a unicorn . So I just
Michelle (20:41):
Went with that. That's what we all want. When you buy, even in any line of work, when you find someone who has a brain in their head and they think, and they've come up with ideas and they bring to you and they show you the problem before you show it to them, you're like, you are a keeper. I need you. It's so, so super valuable. So if anyone's listening, I mean, let's do what you did for your other military spouses. Let's do it here. You need to get out of your corporate job. You need a way out of whatever situation you're in. Tell them where they should go. How can they learn more about this potential?
Emily (21:11):
Yeah, so I have so much content out there. I do have my own podcast, but my signature thing is the unicorn digital marketing assistant school. So if you're kind of thinking like, ah, I see people online, I want in, this is the course for you. It will give you all of the foundations. It will be your, your sample or board of everything you can do. I hand job leads over to my students. And so you get the skills, you get the experience the first clients, and then the doors open and you create your own options. And so this school, uh, right now I'm doing a live cohort right now. That's what the doors we just closed, but I have a self-study version. So if you are a business owner and you have a VA that you need to up level, this is open for them. And then I also will be launching this once or twice a year. I, I still gotta figure out my next year when that's gonna be, but yeah, it'll open up live again next year.
Michelle (22:00):
Hey, that's awesome. Okay, where can our listeners go if they want more information about all of that?
Emily (22:04):
Well, I'm having the most fun on Instagram, which is funny because a couple years ago I didn't wanna learn it , I was like overwhelmed, right? But Instagram, Emily Reagan, pr, you can find me over there, connect, send me a dm and I have different resources. If you're a business owner, if you're somebody who wants to work online, you can just start going to my website and figuring that out.
Michelle (22:25):
Hey, that's awesome. Thank you for bringing this idea to us, not only of empowering yourself and elevating what you're doing in the world, but like, hey, this is a really viable career opportunity for a lot of women, especially for moms. Not only for moms, but let me tell you, every mom in my business right now is a single mother. Oh my gosh. Because this works, this works for the schedule, this works for the flexibility and it works for the income too. So I'm really happy to just open anyone's eyes to this idea that you don't necessarily have to do the nine to five thing.
Emily (22:57):
Yeah, thank you for this. And I just feel so passionate about, especially after what I've been through, women just being independent, having their own thing, having our own way to create wealth and not being dependent on any kind of partner or anyone else in our life. And again, not the scare tactic, but it's an empowerment thing. Like if you have the ability to create wealth for yourself, that's such a confidence booster. And even though I was going through hell in my life, I was dropping my kids off at the parking lot at school and one of my friends was like, who, who are you? I thought you were a movie star coming out of the car. And I'm like, I feel up right now. Cause I'm on top of the world. My life is falling apart, but I'm doing the things that I need for my future. And that was like radiating from me. And I, I I felt like that was the most flattering like, comment ever. So I had to share it. But that, I mean, that's the essence of what we want, right?
Michelle (23:51):
Yeah. That spark. Well it definitely shows right here. I'm seeing it. Everybody's hearing it. Emily, thank you for bringing us, uh, your story and your energy.
Emily (23:59):
Thanks for having me. Michelle,
Michelle (24:12):
Have you ever thought about starting your own business? I started working as a help coach 13 years ago and I remember how scary it was. If you are a help coach, by the way, be sure to follow my other podcast. It's the Help Coach Power Community podcast on Apple, Spotify, YouTube, and@healthcoachpower.com. Health coaching became my way to exit the corporate world, to be here for my kids with a very flexible work schedule and support myself as a now single mom. And maybe that's for you or maybe you'd rather be behind the scenes like the women that Emily trains as unicorn and virtual assistants, or maybe you're happy in your career exactly as you are, but please position yourself well. Take care of yourself. Be the hero of your own story.


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