Phillipa: Hi, everyone. It’s Phillipa O Wirangi here and we have another episode of Meet the Community. Today I have with me the beautiful Willow Shanks, who lives in the beautiful, sunny, bright Western Australia/WA. And Willow is a mom to two beautiful children. She’s a wife, her husband is amazing as well. I’ve met them both before. And Willow has been a traditional business owner for such a long time and has also stepped into the online business world.
So welcome Willow, so awesome to have you here. I’d love to start off with just sharing little bit about you being a traditional business owner, what was the thought in your head where you decided maybe there’s something else I could be doing as well and you stepped into online?
Willow: Yeah. Thank you, Phillipa. It’s really great to be here.
Yes. So I’ve been a traditional business owner actually, since I was quite young. So I actually started in business when I was 21 and I’m actually in the fitness industry. So for those of you that know the fitness industry, it’s a lot of hours and it’s very much something that you do out of passion and a love for people. So my dream has always been to help people, but then I thought, “Wow, maybe there’s a real opportunity in that, that I could also help people and turn it into a career as well.” Not just something that I was passionate about, but something that I could really set up for my future.
Why I guess kind of looked towards online business in the end as well, is that I realized when I got to my mid thirties, that I had created an entire business and future for myself that I decided when I was very young. And when I was 21 and I was a single girl and I had no kids and I didn’t have my partner and I had all that time and freedom in the world, I built this amazing, incredible business, but then when I was a mum and I was mid thirties and I had my partner and my home and a baby and a four year old and all this stuff, I realized that I was significantly restricted in my time and my finances and what I could actually do with it. So I started to realize that I’d built myself something that I was incredibly passionate about in business, but also quite a beautiful prison. Like I was quite trapped by the constraints of what I had created.
So I just started looking out there. What else could there be that I could be really passionate about and what new skillset could I learn such that I could spend more time with my kids, but also make the type of income and money that I wanted to?
Phillipa: Yeah. Yeah. Beautiful. And I know so many of us, we have such a heart for helping people, which as you just said, but for you, who are those people that your heart beats the loudest for, that you see them and you really want to help them the most?
Willow: Oh, well, look, there’s many. There’s many. I lost my father when I was a young adolescent. So I lost my father to an illness that was probably quite preventable. So for me, that was always something that really hits home is, how can I help people with illnesses or ailments that can be treated or can be worked through through health and good lifestyle and things like that? That was when I was in my traditional business, which I still do own, I still do run my gym. I just have it managed out by other people.
In the business that I’m on now, in the online space utilizing the Freedom Era in what we do, I’m really passionate about helping mums. I look at women maybe that were like myself, but maybe didn’t enter into business before they had kids. I had this one problem where I created this thing that I loved and then had a family and went, “Oh my God, I can’t make it all work at one time.” But I really feel for the mums that maybe had children early and had all these dreams and visions and things that they had to put on hold because they never got to start creating it. These women that maybe get to 35, 40, 45 and are starting there. Those are the people that I really want to help now.
Phillipa: That’s so, so good. Yes, love it. And so for you, getting started into the Freedom Era into the community, how long has it been for you since you’ve been part of the community and also what were some of the key reasons why you jumped all in and said, “Yes.”
Willow: Yeah, well I started back in late 2018, so it’s not been quite two years yet. I looked at when I originally started out, I put my business hat on and I looked at it and went, “You know what? People can make incredible money a particular way.” And I was like, “How is that even possible?” I had really learned that I had to trade my time for money. I had to go to work. I had to be at the gym at 8:00, 9:00 in the morning. I had to work till 9:00, 10:00 at night and that that was how I made my money. And then when I started looking into the Freedom room, sorry, the Freedom Era, and what was possible from people leveraging the online space, I started to go, “Hang on a minute. I could do things in the pockets of time that suited me at home, around my kids.” I didn’t actually have to physically go to a job. I could do it in my own home.
I also looked at the compensation, how we get paid online, things like that. And I started to go, it seemed a little, just a lot easier. To be fair I was like, I’m used to working, working, working for the paycheck, and then that’s kind of capped, your limitation on what you can earn kind of stops somewhere. Whereas, if you’re working online, you get to create your hours. You get to show up how much you want to show up. You get to earn, I guess, the capacity of what you want to put out there. So I really looked at it from that. It was really around time and potential earnings.
And then the surprising benefit was the community. I tell people about this all the time when they ask me, they’re like, “What do you love most about the freedom Era?” It is 100% the community, the supportive vibe, the people that I work with, the people that we show up and mentor one another on a daily basis, new people getting started that inspire me with their passion, their enthusiasm, and their drive for life. There’s just something about this space, that’s almost indescribable. I know I just described it and I hope I did it well. And everyone that enters raves about the same thing. I hear it over and over and over again. So I started for the money and time, and not only did I get that, but then I got the benefit of really finding my new best friends online.
Phillipa: That’s definitely been the theme across all of the Meet the Community interviews that I’ve done so far is, community always comes up and people come in thinking, “Oh, I’m going to be in this because I want to make money.” And then they’re like, “Whoa, this community thing is so much more powerful.” And you can really feel that within you.
You’ve been to a few events now within the community.
Phillipa: Let us know what your experience has been at those events as well and really being able to see people in person and to learn new skills as well.
Willow: So I am a massive, massive advocate and fan of going to live events. And there’s just something about it. Any of you that have gone to a live concert versus watching it on TV or a live sporting match. You might not even be interested in football or cricket or rugby. I don’t know, you’re sitting in the stands and all of a sudden you’re this raving mad fan. There’s just something that infuses you from being at live events. Every time that I’ve been to one of the events that has been run by this community, I have been left with the experience of expanded times 10. I just know myself as bigger and my knowledge of what we do expands. And I always describe it as it’s the perfect combination of personal development and business with a little bit of spirit and heart kind of all rolled into one.
It really is true about when you go to these events, you will meet such like minded individuals that are just like you, that it will be hard to describe to your friends and family, because I think we feel like we grow up in one area or one community and that, that should be your best friends and your family for life. But often we have those friends because we went to that school or we lived in that one location. But suddenly you step into the Freedom Era and you find a bunch of really driven, passionate, committed individuals that are so much like either you now or the you that you want to be, that it literally becomes everything that you’ve been looking for. I love it. And not saying anything about my current friends, they’re fantastic, but they can really see that I’m now part of a community that is inspiring me to be bigger and better. And they love that too.
Phillipa: Yes. 100%. And what’s your favorite book to read that is personal development, business growth type book, and why?
Willow: Woah! There are so many. I’m looking at my bookshelf. There’s all the classics. I think everyone starts out with things like the Four Hour Work Week and Rich Dad, Poor Dad. There’s a lot of love for books like The Magic, which is all about gratitude and things like that. I think, honestly, I couldn’t put it down to one. One that I’m looking forward to reading is one that I’ve resisted reading for a long time, The 5 AM Club. Because, fitness industry, I’ve always been able to start late and work late. So I’m not really much of an early riser. So I’m scared to read that book because I feel like it’s going to make me be one of those people that sets my alarm for 4:45 in the morning and I just don’t want to be her yet. I’m still committed to doing things on my terms. And that’s a 7:00 AM alarm, even with kids.
Phillipa: Yeah. Yeah. That’s so funny. Yeah. It’s so funny how we know that there’s more growth to happen, but then we refuse to go there because we’re just like, “I don’t want to go there yet. I’m happy.”
Willow: I’m not ready for 5:00 AM starts. I recommend the classics. Honestly, I just really believe there are a lot of fundamental books. If you’re reading books around gratitude, you’re reading books around understanding business and investing, a lot of people rave about the Barefoot Investor. Rich Dad, Poor Dad is actually really cool. He’s kind of like the original, I reckon, that sort of started us on that entrepreneurial trend. But I follow some great people, but they’re people that we’ve all heard of, like Brene Brown, Tony Robbins. I think if you surround yourself with positive, great mentors, which is why I love the Freedom Era community as well, because you can first be watching vlogs, you can be reading blogs, you can be watching and listening to podcasts and videos and recordings and live trainings.
And when you surround yourself with that much positivity and visualization, it just infuses you.
Phillipa: Yeah, yeah. 100%. And so speaking of visualization, what is your vision for yourself, for your business, for your family, for your future?
Willow: Wow, there’s so much. We live in a really, not remote, but we live quite regional in Western Australia. And I moved here specifically for my business. So we don’t have any family locally where we are. We’re about a six hour drive from the nearest family member. So my vision and dream is to really get closer to family. My partner is from the UK. So he’s also a long way from family. But our dream lifestyle, we were thinking about in the next year, hoping to travel all around Australia and just really get on the road with our boys and do homeschooling and do that type of thing.
COVID’s closed those plans down a little bit for the time being, but it’s still on our vision board. But just moving to a location that’s much closer to family and being able to continue with the lifestyle that we’re already most of the way there to doing it, like really living life on our terms, working our own hours and just being surrounded by family and friends. I love a mixture of like, it’s hard, I’m so coastal. My father was a skipper of boats, so I’m so coastal, but I love inland and I love modern, but I love old wooden style houses. So a combination of having all those things tied in together. Maybe I need a home in both locations.
Phillipa: Yeah mazing. And so for anyone that is watching this that may be a traditional business owner and wanting to step into something online and they’ve been holding themselves back because of whatever reason there is, what would your advice be to them in terms of just taking the plunge and getting started?
Willow: Yeah, I think it’s not limiting yourself to what you’ve always known. So one of the biggest concerns for me was, I’d been in this industry of fitness since I was 15. So by the time I had decided to take the leap, it had been 20 years in one industry and I was like, “Okay, but that’s what I’ve always done. So that’s what I should do because that’s what I’m good at.” But I think just trusting that you can learn a new skill set, no matter what your age, no matter what your career and it’s okay to grant yourself permission to take on and do something new. Like someone once said to me, “It’s been a good innings, Willow. You’re allowed to do what you want with your life. You don’t have to always do what you’ve always done, just because you’ve always done it.”
And knowing that you can have it all. You don’t have to let go of your traditional business, just because you’re taking on learning a new skill set and a new income stream. That’s the goal, isn’t it, for all of us is not to go too fast, but if you’ve already been creating one income stream and you’re doing it well, why can’t you add another. It’s really about expanding your horizons and setting up your future for what you want it to look like, which is ultimately not having to work in your business all day long. Being able to have that automation, being able to have that time freedom.
Phillipa: Yeah. Amazing. Really, really good advice. Thank you so much, Willow, for being on here with me today. And if you are watching this, please let us know in the comments, what is something that you have received from this conversation with Willow? What’s maybe something that you’re going to try out or a book that she mentioned that you would like to read, let us know down in the comments.