When it comes to telling a story, everyone has one. And if they don’t believe they do, or don’t know how to tell it, there are people like Ellie Shefi there to help them!
Ellie is the very definition of tenacious and the go-to person to have your story told. Having overcome a lifetime of adversity, including abuse, domestic violence, homelessness, cancer, and a myriad of other health issues that have seen her fight for her life for over two decades, Ellie has mastered mindset, resiliency, and resourcefulness, and she has dedicated her life to the empowerment of others and helping others tell their story. As an award-winning author herself, her popular books “Unlocking Your Superpower: 8 Steps to Turn Your Existing Knowledge into Income”, “Sisters Rising: Stories of Remarkable Women Living Extraordinary Lives” and “The Authorities: Powerful Wisdom from Leaders in the Field”, have helped countless people unlock their own stories… which has created a market for her services!
- How do you so successfully help others find and tell their story?
Practice. I’ve told my own story, through a cultivated perspective of gratitude and resiliency, again and again. I walk the walk and my clients know that I can help them, too. I have 35 years of experience teaching, training, mentoring, speaking, and coaching; 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur, and nearly 20 years as an attorney with the United States Judiciary. But beyond my decades of experience in education, business, and law, I possess a lifetime of practical, real-world experience that I use to powerfully serve others. Having overcome poverty, abuse, domestic violence, rape, homelessness, cancer, and many other challenges, I have learned to find my voice, stand in my power, and define for myself who I am, what I stand for, and what I want my life and legacy to be. It’s my privilege to offer books, coaching programs, workshops, masterminds, and retreats that equip my clients with the tools, resources, and support they need to do the same.
I know from a lifetime of personal experience, as well as decades of experience working with clients, that there is tremendous power in your story—that your voice matters, your message matters, and your story matters. Finding your voice and crafting your story will transform you, but sharing your story will transform the world. I’m honored and grateful to be able to help my clients do so.
- What are some industry trends that you’re seeing?
The knowledge industry is absolutely booming. At an unprecedented pace, everyday people are sharing their knowledge, skills, and passions with others via books, coaching programs, and online courses. I don’t see this trend slowing down any time soon. In fact, I think the knowledge industry will continue to see exponential growth. Zoom has made it easier than ever to hold meetings, workshops, and trainings—all of which can be recorded, transcribed, and released as online courses, books, workbooks, and other ancillary materials.
With respect to books, recent mergers between several of the traditional publishing houses reduced the already highly competitive chances of being traditionally published. Perhaps in response to the mergers and the knowledge industry boom, independent publishing houses are rapidly emerging as an alternative for people who want to become published authors without self-publishing. My teams at Made to Change the World™ Publishing and You Are Not Your Scars® Publishing are publishing books for people as quickly as we can while ensuring impeccable detail, but the demand is astounding! We actually have waiting lists of books for us to publish. I don’t see the independent publishing house trend stopping any time soon.
- What has been your biggest hurdle since starting your company?
In 2019, I survived cancer. While I’ve always been active and on a mission to impact the world, facilitate change, and live my life as a force for good, hearing that word—cancer —ignited a sense of urgency that acted as rocket fuel for my mission. I knew that I had to step out from the shadows—out from being the behind-the-scenes consultant and strategist that quietly advised entrepreneurs and philanthropists—into the light, embracing the leader I was born to be.
What felt like moments after I recovered from the first of what would be three surgeries, I knew it was time for me to go big. It was time for me to live life to the fullest, standing in my power, living my purpose. I got clear on my vision and started planning out my nonprofit, then began envisioning how I could help women who had walked similar paths to mine. I was making connections, building the right network, and creating aligned alliances—all of whom were poised to spring into action when I gave the go-ahead. And, on a personal level, I was constantly on the go—traveling, socializing, speaking; going to concerts, museums, theater performances, and dance shows; exploring the culinary scene, hanging out with friends, etc.
That all came to a screeching halt with the pandemic. As a cancer survivor and a medical miracle, I basically spent the next 15+ months quarantining in isolation at home. Going from a social butterfly to over a year of solitary isolation abruptly and without warning could have been quite challenging; but I learned a long time ago that the fastest way to stay in a positive mental and emotional state is to focus on serving others. So that’s what I did!
During quarantine, I launched three companies and two publishing houses. I also created several programs, including:
- Unlocking Your Superpower, Clarity to Launch, and Bring Your Business to Life—programs that teach entrepreneurs how to launch, pivot, diversify, and scale knowledge- and service-based businesses so they can provide for themselves, their families, their communities, and beyond;
- Get Your Book Done and Amplify Your Story Now—programs that teach authors and speakers how to find their voice, tell their stories, publish their books, and amplify their message so they can scale their impact; and
- You Are Not Your Scars®—a program that teaches women how to shed external labels and expectations, find their voice, step into their power, and decide for themselves who they are, what they stand for, and what they want their life and legacy to be.
Beyond creating my companies and programs, I used the time during quarantine to write and release three books:
- Unlocking Your Superpower: 8 Steps to Turn Your Existing Knowledge into Income was written as my response to watching my friends lose their jobs and businesses as a result of the stay-at-home orders and industry restrictions. It is a powerful step-by-step playbook that teaches readers how to start, pivot, diversify, or scale a knowledge- or service-based business. It’s clear, direct, and designed for readers to implement what they’re learning along the way.
- The Authorities: Powerful Wisdom from Leaders in the Field, which I co-authored with multiple New York Times #1 best-selling authors Les Brown, Bob Proctor, Marci Shimoff, and other industry thought leaders, takes a broader macro view. It discusses business, real estate, retirement, estate planning, mindset, and more.
- Sisters Rising™: Stories of Remarkable Women Living Extraordinary Lives is the book series I created that is by women, for women, to celebrate and showcase women. The first volume features a diverse group of nine incredible female entrepreneurs whose businesses were being affected by the pandemic. Sisters Rising is designed to drive awareness of, and traffic to, their businesses.
And I launched the nonprofit that I’d been crafting since before the pandemic, The Made 2 Change the World™ Foundation (made2change.org), to equip youth in underserved areas with the knowledge, skills, training, and mentorship they need to become tomorrow’s leaders who can create the communities, and the world, they envision.
As you can see, I was busy! I took the obstacle of isolation and used it as an opportunity to serve!
- What advice would you give others who don’t know where to start when it comes to telling their story or writing a book?
First, get clear on exactly what message or story you want to share; what knowledge, skills, or resources you want to share; and what transformation you want to evoke. Then, get clear on who needs to hear your message, and why you want to share it. Once you are clear on the message or story you want to deliver, who it can help, and how it can help them, you’ll be able to identify pathways to telling your story to the appropriate audiences.
Second, understand exactly where you want the reader to be at the end of the book. This allows you to reverse-engineer the journey and create a clear pathway to guide them to your desired outcome and increase the efficacy of your message.
Third, be authentic! Writing in your real, raw, authentic voice facilitates a deeper connection with your readers, which in turn, leads to greater success.
Finally, and most importantly, just start! You have knowledge that only you can share—a story that someone in the world is waiting to hear. So embrace progress over perfection and get your book out into the world! If you get stuck, seek support at ellieshefi.com. I’d love to help!
- What’s next in your personal story?
So much! I’ve co-authored two books that are being released in the next few months: Women Who Shine, which I co-authored with international #1 best-selling author, Kate Butler, and a group of incredibly resilient and remarkable women; and SuccessONomics, which I co-authored with New York Times #1 best-selling author, Jack Canfield, and other industry experts.
Through a busy schedule of speaking, trainings, workshops, masterminds, retreats, and other events, plus a growing list of consulting clients, I will continue helping entrepreneurs bring their businesses to life; women step into their full power and become the architects of their lives and legacy; and aspiring authors and speakers find their voice, tell their story, and amplify their impact.
I’m on a mission to empower transformation and facilitate change on a global scale! For as long as I can remember, I’ve been driven to change the world—to give a voice to the voiceless; to fight for justice, equality, and opportunity; to teach, mentor, and empower. It’s my nature, my calling, and my purpose. I envision a world where all are seen, heard, and valued—a world where people have access to clean water, clean food, shelter, medical care, education, and economic opportunity—a world where authenticity is welcome and differences are celebrated. I’ll never stop living my life as a catalyst for change.