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How Chelsea Austin, Author Speaker and Life Coach, Uses Her Journey To Help Others Discover Their Self-Worth, A Founder’s Story with Chelsea Austin

Chelsea Austin is a writer, speaker, and advocate from Malibu, California. She has created a career out of sharing her experiences as the daughter of two gay men and a young woman navigating the world on her blog, her podcast, through speaking engagements, and her first book, Inexplicably Me, surrounding her life, her beliefs and her wish to bring self-love and joy to as many individuals as possible.


Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?
I would say overall my childhood was really special. I was raised by my two dads, both of whom I am biologically related to in Malibu, California. I felt my unique family was something that I learned to wear as a badge even as a little kid. I am very grateful to have been raised by two incredible dads that were there for me every moment of every day. It was clear from the time I came into my parent’s lives that I was the center of their universe…for better or for worse (I couldn’t get away with anything…I’m pretty sure my dad had ears and eyes everywhere). My dads showed up to every recital and took me to dance classes, voice lessons, and acting classes all over Los Angeles County. I even had a special desk set up for me at my daddy’s office for when he had to work Saturdays during tax season. My dads showed up for me when kids at school were challenging to deal with. I was shown by my parents that anything is possible. So, to say that I knew I was loved would be a huge understatement. Of course, outside of our home, it wasn’t always easy. I had to learn early on that politics have a way of interfering with our private lives and that not everyone was always going to be so open and loving to our family. We were even uninvited to Christmas one year because one of my aunts didn’t know how to tell her kids that my parents would be sleeping in the same room. My childhood had this very interesting dynamic between feeling so accepted and loved and feeling completely misunderstood. I grew up quickly because of that. I had to learn to deal with adversity early on, as many children who are “different” do, but to be honest, I consider that a massive blessing because it taught me resilience and how important it is to be open and loving to those I don’t understand because we’re all going through something, whether or not it’s obvious to the outside world.


How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
The birth of Chelsea Austin was somewhat like a snowball effect. I had been working in real estate for years and knew I needed to start something where I could flex my creative muscle consistently. I grew up a singer/actor/dancer and so that creativity that I was so used to practicing didn’t just somehow disappear and it was itching to come out in a way that my real estate career wasn’t allowing for. I went back to the basics. I sat down with a pen and a blank piece of paper and asked myself, “What brings you joy?” I brainstormed everything I could think of, and when I remembered some of my most joy-filled and exciting times were when I was sharing my story of being the girl with two gay dads before it was in vogue, on behalf of non-profit organizations as an advocate for gay marriage. I didn’t know exactly how to make that into a career, but I knew one thing for sure. I loved sharing my story in the service of others. I love helping individuals find joy. I adore making people smile and laugh. What kind of career does that make? I didn’t know yet and I wasn’t quite ready to walk away from the family business so I started small. I took what I did know and I started writing my book. I also knew that it would be important to have a platform with whom I could share the book so I also began writing a weekly blog in any spare time I could find. Doing these things at night and on the weekends gave a nod to the part of me that was aching to be recognized and it helped relieve the pressure of my everyday work in sales. It’s like I got to be Chelsea for those small parts of the day again. Still, I wasn’t sure where it was all going to lead. As my manuscript was being finished and I was honing my work with an editor I realized for the first time that I could make a brand out of my writing, my love for public speaking, sharing my story, and inspiring people. So, I told the family that I would be leaving in one year. And in that year I just kept focusing on what brought me joy, and the more I continued to focus on those joy-crafting activities the more came my way. I was connected with a coach and she and I started to brainstorm where my career could go. The idea for a podcast came, then creating courses and getting my life coaching certification. It wasn’t a business I necessarily had a plan for, shockingly, since I plan everything, but it was a continual process of listening to what brings me joy and following the breadcrumbs my heart led me to.


What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder?
I have sought to work with only people who are honest and believe as much in my work as I do. I surround myself with people I enjoy working with. I didn’t always go for the highest profile or the biggest name, I went for those that I could tell would back me 100% and will give me honest feedback when I need it. I want to be surrounded by people I get excited by, and who also love what they do. I followed my gut when I would speak to people. If I got a good feeling I would move forward even if maybe they weren’t as well known as someone else in their field. Just because they’re right for tons and tons of people doesn’t mean they are right for you. It’s about creating partnerships and finding the right match for you. We spend way too much time at work to not enjoy those we choose to work with. Oftentimes the people we are working with will also be coming up with ideas that will support our growth and future, so choose people that are willing to dream at least as big, if not bigger, than you. Finding people who will be our checks and balances is vital, being surrounded by people that say yes to everything might feel good, but no one wants to be the singer auditioning for American Idol who thinks they’re amazing and their family has never told them they can’t sing. So find people that will both support you and be honest with you, it’s what’s helped me grow the most while continuously feeling supported and remaining excited about my dreams becoming my reality.
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