Hailey Thomas is the founder of Brainspace Optimized- Hailey is a Mindset Coach for Entrepreneurs! She helps small business owners achieve their “one-year-from-now” visions through coaching and planning.
Brainspace Optimized is a business dedicated to bringing your ambitious daydreams into your reality through deep inner work. Hailey helps you understand new challenges, time constraints, and the bigger picture because it isn’t as simple as thinking about it.
I met Hailey one time and knew immediately knew that she was meant to be my coach. I admired everything Hailey built and was grateful to share more about her experience as a founder with all of you!
Were you always interested in starting your own company? What inspired you to create your own business?
“I never thought about starting my own business until I found that the life I wanted didn’t fit inside the corporate structure. When I left my full-time role, my son was about nine months old, and I would stay up all night with him. And then I would go to work all day and then stay up all night with him. And I realized that I wanted more freedom to have my work, serve my life.”
From there, Hailey started to explore how to work in a way that served her and her family.
“I wasn't trying to start a business. I was going to stay in that corporate role as long as possible, but I wanted that freedom.”
Hailey what was the beginning of starting BrainSpace Optimized like? Did you have a hard time getting started, or did the pieces fall into place?
“Before I started the business that I have now, I had another business. I started another business around athletic training and working with athletes since that was the world that I came out of. It failed. I started again with just the skills that I had, and that's how I created a virtual assistant business. Cause I needed to pay my bills.”
Hailey thought my first business didn't work and thought, let’s try again with this business. And so, she started her own virtual assistant business in March of 2017.
Was it scary when you first went out on your own? How did you get started?
“So the part that I had down-packed was the craft. I came out of corporate. I knew I could be a pretty good VA, an excellent virtual assistant. I could do email and calendars. I managed projects. I knew the craft, but what was scary was figuring out how to meet people and tell them what I do in a way that would compel them to hire me. Early on, I took a virtual assistant course. One of the assignments was to make a list of all the people you know that might be connected to the business world and meet with every single one for coffee. That’s what I did in the first 30 days of my business. I met with 15 different people, and I got very comfortable at telling them what I did. Most of them hadn't heard of a virtual assistant. Most of them were not going to become clients. Those conversations went nowhere, and that's okay. I was building my confidence and talking about what I did. And then, one of the very last conversations became my very first paid client.”
I love that line, “I was building my confidence,” it’s nothing like building yourself up to achieve greatness along the line!
What is the biggest failure you've experienced in your business? What did you learn from it?
Hailey, like most founders, made plenty of mistakes with clients as a virtual assistant. The biggest mistake she’s ever made she doesn’t consider as a failure.
“After I transitioned my business from virtual assistant services into coaching, I took a long time to make that transition. It took me almost a full year to transition my services from virtual assistant work to coaching. I kept second-guessing myself, and I kept going back and forth. My message was unclear, and people didn't know how to refer me or hire me.”
“I call it a ”failure” because I didn't trust myself. I wasted a lot of time going back and forth for ten months before deciding I was a coach and then properly transitioned my virtual assistant clients off. "
"What changed for Hailey was that she started with virtual assisting by having many conversations and building my confidence. She did the same thing with coaching in 2017 and decided to have a hundred conversations with people as a coach. And just like declared it to the world in that way.”
What's the best advice you've ever been given, life or business?
“A new piece of advice from entrepreneurs that I mentor; is “being ready is highly overrated.” Waiting to do something till you're ready is completely overrated. When you're an entrepreneur or a business owner, you don't feel ready most of the time. So if you spend all your time waiting until you feel ready, you will be waiting for a long time, and I've experienced that to be true. So being ready is just overrated!”
What's the most recent lesson your business has taught you?
“The most recent lesson my business has taught me is that I am capable of way more than I give myself credit for. My business is constantly growing and expanding, and every time I think I can't do that, I can't possibly do that. Or who am I to try that? It keeps inviting me to continue to grow. And every time I rise to the occasion, it shows me how much more I can expand and how much I'm capable of.”
That’s right! You are capable of way more than you give yourself credit for! You hear that, LADIES!
What advice would you give aspiring female entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurship will challenge you personally a lot, so be ready to be challenged, and it will be hard. And that's okay.
Many female entrepreneurs get tripped up around sales and marketing because it forces you to present yourself and show up more visibly than you probably have ever had to in your life. “Let it be a challenge, and know that you can rise to meet that challenge. It's okay If it feels hard and uncomfortable. It’s just another skill to learn.”
What's your favorite part about being a business owner? What's the most challenging part?
“My favorite part is freedom. I get to shape my workday however I want. For example, two weeks ago, my son had to be home from school, and I could rearrange things. I didn't have to call off work. I didn't have to use PTO time. I liked being able to do what I wanted with my time.”
“The hardest part has been continuing to trust that I know what to do next. Sometimes my brain likes to get squirrely and wants to tell me that I don't know what I’m doing. I need to find someone to tell me what to do next. But when I ask myself and make myself answer the question of what do I do next, or what do I do here? I always have the answers. So the hardest part has been trusting my answers, being willing to fail, trying new stuff, and trusting that I know what I'm doing, and if I don't, I can figure that out.”
What is something you have accomplished that you are most proud of?
“I currently own two businesses in the second business podcast production school. We scaled that business to a hundred thousand dollars in ten months and eight days! I'm proud of that because we had to learn a lot very fast, and that's just something I didn't think I was capable of until we figured it out while we were doing it. And now that I know that I have the power to create things like that. Sky's the limit.”
Cheers to that Hailey!!!
What are the most important skills or traits you've found helpful in entrepreneurship?
“I would say decision-making is a skill that I think many people struggle with because they're afraid they're going to make the wrong choice. But if you can make a high-level decision, even when you're wrong, and you've made a mistake. When you have high-level decision-making skills, you make another decision. Nothing is ever the wrong choice. You keep making choices.”
Are there any traits you've discovered that make it harder to succeed if you don't keep them in check?
“The most poisonous one is first responsibility. That means making yourself responsible for other people's problems and trying to manage other people's emotions. If you end up overextending, and you can't make a lot of growth when you're overextended and all over the place.”
“The second one is disregarding your humanity. I find that many female entrepreneurs are very driven and ambitious, which is great. Still, it also means that they sometimes don't take great care of their bodies or themselves physically. They see their need’s for things like sleep and exercise and rest as hindrances. You can't operate. Long-term like that.”
Say it louder for the women in the back!!
What's your favorite 'game-changer' tool that you can share with everyone? (ie. hellobonsai, airtable, later, etc.).
“My favorite tool is Loom; I loom everything! Loom is a screen capturing software. And I use it to record responses to clients. I use it to walk through edits that I make for things; I use it to record myself for social media. I use it for literally everything.”
Pssst...checkout Loom! It's the bomb.com! I promise you I use it all the time. It’s a lifesaver, and it helps me delegate tasks to my team and give quick feedback whenever I don’t feel like typing something out. It also makes you feel like I’m there with you, which is really handy for working remotely with your teams.
Where can we find you if we'd like to learn more about you?
Podcast: One Year From Now Podcast: subscribe in Itunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or your favorite podcast app.