Job: Holistic Life Coach & Founder, Meredith Rawlings Life Coaching
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina
Meredith and I were connected through a mentor of mine and we hit it off right away. Jumping into the corporate world immediately after graduation, Meredith knew she was not on the right path before she even set foot into the Fortune 500 company. She quickly determined she wanted to start her own business and just a few years later, has become a certified Holistic Life Coach after her own experience led her to empower other women. Read her full story here!
Give us a brief overview.
I am from Lexington, Kentucky originally and went to the University of South Carolina for college, where I graduated in 2017 with a degree in Global Supply Chain and Operations Management. With a business degree, I graduated with a job lined up at International Paper, a Fortune 500 company. Unfortunately, I knew as soon as I took the job that I didn’t want it and saw my next step before I even set foot in the first one. I knew that I wanted to start my own business. For me, it was not a matter of if I was going to quit the job, it was a matter of when, and how quickly I could do it. I worked in Wilmington for a year and a half and did well there, but every day was miserable and my health was starting to become affected. I started working on getting my personal training certification on the side just for fun, but then I thought about taking this somewhere and making real money with the certification.
How did you decide on the basis of your company?
When I was in college I really struggled with an eating disorder, body image issues, and my self-worth. Luckily, I managed to work my way through it, but it took me four years and it was hard. I was constantly playing the comparison game being surrounded by girls all the time who were doing the same thing. I struggled with that for a really long time and understand what it's like, so I knew that this could be my way of helping people who have not been able to get away from that mindset. Fitness coaching was my way of doing that, so I invested in the online program in July and was able to quit my job last November. I have been in business now for almost a year full-time.
What product do you provide your clients?
My messaging has pivoted even in the last year. I was initially doing my coaching based on body image, loving your body, taking care of yourself, and helping with either chronic dieting or emotional eating patterns. I kind of realized that by doing that, I was splitting my attention between two things and I'm way better at the mental coaching and emotional coaching than physical coaching. Once I uncovered this, I decided to get my holistic life coaching certification and am solely focused on mental health, specifically, in women who maybe are feeling some anxiety or feeling like they have to be perfect in everything they do. All of that being said, I’m trying not to take things too seriously and just figuring it out as I go.
Good for you for taking a negative experience and turning it into a positive one! Our generation today is faced with so many anxiety-ridden problems.
Yes, especially for young professionals and kids immediately getting out of college. I think people also feel it when they're approaching their 30s because they might feel like they have to accomplish a certain amount by that time or be doing a certain thing and for women, often all of that pressure manifests itself as picking apart their body, overeating, undereating, or through excessive exercising. My goal is to teach people how to love food without using some kind of self-destructive tendency.
Who are your clients and how old are they?
It's interesting because my age was one thing that I was definitely worried about when I first started because I was 23 when I started the business. I was afraid people wouldn't take me seriously and especially now as a life coach, I am not so naïve to think people don’t ask how a 24-year-old can give you life advice when I’ve barely even lived, right? My clients have been between 18 years old and 39 and from all over the country, so it's a wide mix. I think it is important to know that your people will find you if you’re meant to be in their life and it doesn't matter how old you are as long as you're in alignment, you are being authentic, and you're good at what you do. As long as you're in your zone of genius that's really what matters and that's what I've found.
Can you talk about a hardship you’ve experienced since you started your own life coaching company?
I actually started this business in the hardest time in my life. I didn't mean for it to go that way, but last July I invested in my business which was my whole life savings, so I was really scared and nervous. I was super excited and had all these plans and then found out that my parents were getting divorced. They were both my rocks and kind of the center of my identity, which I found through a lot of therapy over the next few months. A few months later, my boyfriend broke up with me. I was working through dealing with my entire family dynamic changing and basically my whole personal life as well, while putting too much pressure on myself to start this business and grow super fast and be perfect at it.
I was pretty depressed, which I had never been before, and to add to everything, I thought my business would launch off quickly and be super successful right away, and that did not happen. I was still so proud of myself for doing what I was doing and thought that at least with all of this other stuff that I was going through, I was following my purpose and helping people. That was really the only life that I could see at this point and I thought to myself that even though this is hard and I'm scared, I am supposed to be doing this. There is some reason why this has been so hard. And sure enough, I just kept going because there's nothing else you can do.
How did you get through it and what did you learn from that experience?
I could not stomach the idea of going back to an office and doing supply chain, so I just kept going and sure enough, I had a really big month in May after getting new clients in April. I had faith and I just kept sticking it out and good things happened. Especially for entrepreneurs, what you have to realize is that you have the choice to quit every single day and this is the same as your job; you have the choice to quit. You can go do something else and you'll know in your gut if you're really being called to do something else or if you're just in a hard time and you need to keep going.
Who inspires you?
This is a hard question for me because I'm inspired by so many people. During my rough time that I shared with you, I was really looking for examples of other women specifically who have gone through something really hard and who have grown a business the way that I wanted to make an impact. I looked for podcasts and articles and things like that but honestly, I look to my clients for examples, as cheesy as that sounds! They are so amazing and have been so resilient and have continued to work on themselves and invest in their future even when it seems impossible. Whenever I get really discouraged, I just go and look at messages they have sent me or testimonials they've given me and it always just makes me feel so much better. If they can get through all these things that they've been battling with, then I have to keep showing up.
What is it like being a young professional in Wilmington?
Well, being a young entrepreneur in Wilmington is really great. I didn’t even think there would be that many young professionals living in a beach town, but I have found so many people who are either starting their own businesses or working remotely for other companies. There are always events and people to meet. It's small enough that chances are, you have friends in common, so it's really easy to make new friends with built networks that way.
Where do you see your company going from here?
As far as my business trajectory goes, I am launching my signature life coaching program in January. Right now, I have a smaller program for intuitive eating and body image and so that's kind of like my starter course. In January, that will be the big launch for life coaching. I also plan on doing an event here in Wilmington for young professional and entrepreneurial women with one of my former clients. In the long-term, I want to have events all over the country. My ultimate goal is to have clients who are so empowered and so fulfilled and happy and excited about what they've learned through my teaching that they go out and teach that as well. Some of my clients are already doing that. In a way, I see this as making my mark to help make a super lasting change so that our kids don't grow up with the same self-doubt and anxieties and the worries about what they look like and who they are that we do with little girls. I think we have so much potential and girls don't realize that being a woman really is awesome. We don't have to be like the boys, and we don't have to look like what the boys want us to look like. We can just be who we are. And that is going to be the most powerful tool that we have.
The YoPro Know's Takeaways:
– People (clients) will find you if you're meant to be in their lives
– If something is hard, there is a reason for it
– Entrepreneurs have the choice to quit every single day
– Take a hardship and turn it into a solution
– Continue to cultivate your message
Check it out: Meredith Rawlings Life Coaching, University of South Carolina, International Paper, Wilmington, North Carolina