For this next installment of the Female Founders series on Union Street Media’s YouTube channel, we’re featuring Erin Bradley. Bradley is a woman of many talents, including author, speaker, and host of the podcast Pursuing Freedom, among others. She champions making her business work for her so she can embrace freedom and encourages others to take a similar chance. Click the video above to watch the full interview. 

After traveling the world for a few years as a young adult, Erin Bradley found herself working for a mortgage company in Denver, Colorado. Bradley wanted more freedom than her schedule allowed so she decided to go full commission after a year. “At the time I looked at the salespeople and thought ‘that is the life for me they look so free,’” Bradley reflects.

It took a while for Bradley to get her first client referral, in part due to Bradley’s fear of sales and lack of planning. She admits now that going to full commission was solely because she wanted the lifestyle and she had no strategy or plan for how to succeed. In fact, it was a year in, when she got that first referral that she hit “financial rock bottom.” “I didn’t have enough money for gas, so I had to ride my bike five miles across Denver in the heat of July,” Bradley recounts, just to have her credit card declined, in front of the would-be client, for a two-dollar cup of coffee. 

She called her dad for advice, hired a coach, started working incredibly hard, and managed to get back on track, getting consistent business for about four years until she realized the job was becoming “very self-serving.” Eventually, Bradley pursued another lifestyle change, for which she credits reading The Go Giver. “It completely revamped the way I was going to grow my business in a way that’s all really valuable,” she says.  

Though extremely successful with a booming business, Bradley still wasn’t happy. She felt like she was just surviving the day-to-day and success wasn’t what it was supposed to be. Now, Bradley is very intentional about what she does and how it impacts her. She stresses the importance of finding the sweet spot between financial freedom and happiness, whatever that means to you. For her, it’s time spent with loved ones. 

In 2016, Bradley published her book, Pursuing Freedom, which details her experiences, including how she grew her business sustainably and in a way that brought her joy. “What I found is the happiest, most successful people are the ones who know themselves well enough to know what they’re good at and know what they enjoy and build a business and build a life around that,” she explains. 

“The motto of Pursuing Freedom is that the goal is to build a life you don’t need a vacation from.” — Erin Bradley

Success for Bradley means that she’s “living in alignment with the true values that I say are my values.” She notes those values are different for everyone. To help others achieve their own version of her success, Bradley coaches them to ask themselves  “am I living in alignment with my values? Am I operating at my truest potential? And if not, am I willing to make a choice today?” 

Bradley acknowledges that fear is a major factor in why a lot of people don’t think they can choose freedom, and whatever that means to them. She explains that “our fear of failure, our fear of letting people down, our fear of what people will think of us” should be unpacked and we should “recognize it for what it is and make choices in spite of it.” Once that happens, Bradley says that “miracles start to happen. Nothing falls apart, everything falls into alignment.”

Another tactic Bradley uses to achieve her goals while maintaining mindfulness is time blocking and embracing structure and schedules. Though she is a self-described free spirit, Bradley notes that it’s the structures she has in place that allow her to fully feel like she has freedom in her life. “Where I might have had a perception of structure suffocating my freedom, I found that structure actually creates my freedom because it’s black and white,” she says. 

Because she’s now able to spend her time enjoying herself and her life, Bradley can fully be present for other people. She and her family literally took to the road during the pandemic, traveling around in and working from an RV they bought. She’s able to be “the best version of me, not the version of me that was either exhausted or maybe anxious or overwhelmed or worried.” Bradley believes we make the best decisions when we’re balanced and reacting when we’re not in a good place will “impact our whole entire day and our whole entire life.”

“Be willing to let your business evolve with you.” — Erin Bradley

For anyone considering starting their own business, Bradley says “choose happy. Choose life. Choose love. Then go with that and let that be your strategy.” “You can organize your business to make sure that it supports you prioritizing life,” Bradley says. Trust her, she’s done it.

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