Updated: May 11
You may already know, my name is Emma, I'm a wife and mama.
I help action taking entrepreneurs find the clarity and learn the strategies they need so they can 🧲attract their ideal clients and move their business forward ⏩
But you may not know my story, this is the story of how I came to be who I am today and the lessons I've learned along the way.
One Saturday morning in December, like many 17 year olds, I had an argument with my dad and told him I hate him.
I was his baby girl who wanted him to just leave me alone and give me all the freedom I wanted.
He had gone up the back yard, as he often did.
We all heard a loud bang!
Not long after my mum came running back inside and said call the ambulance, daddy's committed suicide!
I literally froze. It was a complete shock!
There was no letter, no explanation, no signs!
My dad taught my younger brothers and I an immense amount growing up, like self discipline, the importance of family, friendships & helping people, but some of my biggest life lessons came after this day.
The first was understanding depression and mental illness, learning the signs, which were there we just couldn't recognise them.
I could have let my life spiral out of control, blame myself, play a victim and just not understand why.
Instead I chose to find the clarity I needed to continue on with life.
The next important lesson I learnt was you truely never know what tomorrow may bring, your life can change in a second.
So live your life, do things that make you happy.
I had already travelled the east coast of Australia, Bali & New Zealand. So I knew travel was my world.
I didn't want to stay in little old Newcastle my whole life and never leave like many people around me were content with doing, which is fine for them, no judgement, but that was not me, so I packed up my bags and left home at 19 to move to a foreign country where I didn't know anyone or the language.
I had met my now husband before leaving even, but that didn't stop me, I needed to do this on my own, to grow into the person I wanted to be.
I had the time of my life travelling all around Europe.
My year was up on my visa so it was time to come home, before I left I had started planning what country I'd move to next.
I squeezed in 2 holidays to keep this travel addict content during the six months before it was time to move to Canada (this time with hubby to be)
Another year and endless adventures exploring the continent of North America, quick stop in central America before moving home again.
Multiple holidays, including 3 months in South East Asia and our engagement it only took 2 years before we were on the move again, this time for our careers in sunny Queensland.
We left all our family, all our friends to start our own adventure in Brisbane.
I got a job at Flight Centre Head office travelling for a living, I literally got paid to take travel agents all around the world to learn about destinations.
Best decision we ever made!
We got married 2 years after becoming engaged, and had 2 honeymoons (Africa & a cruise around the South Pacific) many other holidays again before it was time to start our own little family.
Being on maternity leave from the best job in the world meant my husband could finally accept a rugby contract in France.
I made it to 42 weeks pregnant with my son, we moved interstate at 41 weeks and ended up having him back home in Newcastle. A few days later my husband flew out and waited the 6 weeks for us to join him.
The day my son was born was one of the happiest days of my life, but it was also the start of a mental health challenge.
From a challenging birth to feeling alone without my husband in those early days, to then raising my first child in a foreign country, again where I didn't know the language, no family or friends, not even a mums group or community to ask questions.
With the time difference it was hard to keep in touch with everyone back home, and you know how it is, everyone is so busy in life, I felt like no-one had time to chat with lonely me who had a clingy baby that fed every hour.
It was the most isolated I had ever been, I'm an ambivert, but you could also say I'm an introverted extrovert. I hate being the centre of attention but being around small amounts of people is what recharges me.
Don't get me wrong we met some lovely people and had a ball on our travels around Europe, but there was always too much missing for me.
This was the time I had to apply what I learnt about depression and put to use all of the strategies to pull myself out of quick sand.
I truly believe the key to feeling whole and content is to be truely grateful for everything you do have and not dwell on what you don't.
With that said it is important to have goals and certain things you work towards.
I returned to my job which I loved, so I could have some adult interaction and use my brain again. I was trying so hard to listen to my own advice, but a part of me was still struggling, my darling baby boy, who was attached to me 24/7 for the past 12months, was now one of the first to arrive to daycare and one of the last to be picked up, 5 days a week. All I wanted was to have a balance, I begged at work to drop down 1 day at least, which after a few hard, heart wrenching months I did.
We had now started trying for baby number 2, we knew we wanted to have them close in age. It all happened so quickly and easily the first time, we thought it could be the same, but you just never know.
A few months went on, nothing. I had to cut my boobie obsessed son off from breastfeeding before he was ready. Still nothing.
These months trying and desperately wanting to fall pregnant again were definitely not helping with my mental state. My friendships were dropping like flies.
It was hard, even though I was back in Australia, I had my husband and my son, I still felt alone.
Yes I was still travelling for work.
Fast forward to being about 6 months pregnant. My belly blew up like a perfectly round ball, I was in constant excruciating pain. I was taken to the hospital where they discovered I had a rare condition called a chorioangioma in my placenta, it's essentially a benign tumor of the placenta. This meant due to the increased blood flow it could cause fetal heart failure.
I had 2.5 litres drained out of my stomach to buy my baby more time to grow. Only a few weeks later I was back in hospital needing to have it drained again, at which point they advised they needed to take the baby out urgently.
This was a huge shock, I had no idea this was going to happen. They injected steroids to accelerate my baby's lung maturity so 'it' had a fighting chance, being only 30 weeks gestation. I urgently flew my Mum up from Newcastle so she could look after my 2 year old while my baby was taken out and kept in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit)
The birth was actually far more peaceful than the first so that was a positive, and they announced my baby was a girl! My dreams came true!
NICU days were long and hard. Having to leave each day without my baby girl is indescribable. What got me through was knowing I had my son to snuggle up with at home. My heart ached for those going home to no-one at all.
Gratitude for what I did have at this time was 100% what got me through.
A few months down the track we were living in our newly built home, we got a new family car and I was a stay at home mum of 2! Stressful, but happy days.
I knew one day I wanted to run a business of my own, I just had no idea what that looked like that suited me and the lifestyle I wanted. I tried network marketing, but that wasn't for me, I didn't really want to stock product, I'm not crafty or able to do anything hand made. What I was good at was definitely organisation, but specifically coming up with strategies to increase efficiency & effectiveness.... hmm....
I hadn't worked out what business would work for me, so I returned to work when my daughter was 9 months old so we had a much needed extra income coming in.
I hit the ground running, stepping up in all ways I could in my role. I was ready to now focus on my career. After hitting a few roadblocks, I did some soul searching into the next path I wanted to take. It was training!
Got the first job I applied for! Yippee!!
My first day - NOPE! "sorry due to COVID we are not able to have you continue in this role!"
The job market is impossible! I REALLY needed to use this time to work something out to do my own thing!
I didn't want to get back into the 9-5 grind, the world had just changed as we knew it! I wanted to have an online business! This is where the future was going.
I came up with a Virtual Assistant and launched my business East Coast Virtual Assistance, I'm normally someone who would spend so much time perfecting something that I'd never launch, so I had to fight my instincts and believe imperfect action was better than no action.
I had learnt a lot over my 13 years in the corporate world, particularly at Flight Centre. I understood the importance of personal branding, building a network and the opportunities it could open up for you.
Luckily this rewarded me as I become fully booked in my business after 3 days!
I finally had a really good run, with referrals coming in just as I needed them.
Until one month almost ALL of my clients told me they needed to put my services on hold for their own reasons.
I have learnt by now to NEVER GIVE UP!
I knew I couldn't just sit around waiting for them to be ready, or wonder when the next referral was coming in, I had to be proactive and work out a marketing plan.
This included a Brand Strategy, Social Media Strategy (with a hashtag strategy), Lead Generation strategy and to niche down!
This may sound like a lot, but it is all really important!
When things feel overwhelming we procrastinate and end up wasting a lot of time.
I knew I couldn't do it all on my own, I also knew every successful entrepreneur had a coach, so it was definitely time I invested in a coach, even though I had no money coming in!
My coach pushes me out of my comfort zone, gives valuable insights and knowledge and encourages me on the days I feel like throwing in the towel.
We all have a purpose in life, working out what it is can take what feels like a lifetime, some are lucky and work it out early on.
Knowing how to really dig deep and identify it, is really challenging and often, most of us don't give enough time to.
Growing up i've always loved teaching, I thought I would be a primary school teacher, but to be honest, I was never going to get a high enough UAI.
I love traveling and the fascination it brings. Traveling made me fall in love with learning. Since leaving home at 19 and moving overseas I have not stopped pushing myself to learn new things consistently. This has lead to a bit of confusion with what I want to do.
First I moved to Italy to take care of kids and teach them English, I love kids and I love teaching.
I've always thought educating of some sort was something I'd end up doing in the future.
After I gave birth to my daughter prematurely, life had changed again, so after returning to work, I felt ready for that change, I couldn't travel for work anymore, so I did some soul searching. I worked out I wanted to be a trainer, I love helping and educating people after all. It's always been the core of how I worked in any role. Always being the one to train the newbies and taking on mentor roles.
But the travel industry was all I've ever known, it's my expertise!
So I applied and was successful as a full time trainer at Flight Centre!
Dream job I could teach travel!!!
Then covid hit!
I couldn't go and start any business related to travel, (what I defined my expertise as at the time)
Being a VA meant having versatile work I enjoy and I could implement my skills and expertise, plus learn many new skills to help other business owners.
The plan was to always gain experience and knowledge to pivot into my intended path of coaching down the track.
'Down the track' may have come faster than I anticipated, but I'm on a roll, I'm growing my business, doing what I love and getting real results for people as a coach!
As you grow older you can look back at a younger you with a different lens and identify certain traits about yourself you may not have been able to at the time.
I've never been one to be arrogant, I always knew I have a lot to learn, but with that came a lack of confidence, which in turn silenced my creativity. I was someone who really sought approval for everything I did.
Whilst I still have a lot to learn, I've gained more life experience which gives me the confidence to live an authentic life and let my creativity flow.