The Upside

In our continuing series on The Upside members who are redefining the 9-5 and successfully striking it out on their own as consultants, we’re excited to share the stories of two members, Erin Lopez and Ghita Filali, who generously share the highlights and lessons learned of being their own boss.

What did you do in your past life before going out on your own?

Erin: I was a buyer and account manager in the “Prestige Beauty” sector.


Ghita: I was a management consultant at a Big 4 serving Fortune 500 companies. I started my career in Europe and moved to the US in 2007.

What made you decide to go out on your own?

Erin: My soul was empty. I needed positivity, collaboration, and action.


Ghita: I was valued for my project management skills, but I felt something was missing. Three years ago, I was at a particular crossroads in my life and career in the US and I hired a coach to help me figure out what’s next. The more I learned about coaching, the more I knew these were the skills/tools/frameworks I needed to affect lasting change and impact.

How did you land your first client?

Erin: Through a mom network. A friend of mine posted on behalf of me advertising my services. I had six prospects just from that one post.


Ghita: I reached out to my personal network to offer discovery calls and my first client was my broker (also an expat in the city).

What’s your current elevator pitch?

Erin: I’m an inventive eCommerce strategist who will uncover hidden opportunities in your site and email marketing, boosting your online sales!


Ghita: Most expats are smart and successful on the outside, but their lives don’t work. I am an executive coach and I help expats uncover their biggest blindspots and close the gap between the international career and life they dreamed of and the one they actually have.

What do you love most about being out on your own?

Erin: I love being of service to my clients and working alongside them. I am addicted to the daily feeling of accomplishment and pushing myself to learn new things every day.


Ghita: I get to choose my clients and my colleagues/people to partner with. This kind of freedom of choice has been a game-changer for me personally and professionally.

What has been your biggest win as a solopreneur?

Erin: Actually making good money and learning so much more than I ever did in any of my corporate jobs.


Ghita: There are so many wins. Perhaps the biggest win and motivator is the feedback from my clients who tell me that they feel seen and understood like never before in their global life. They move from stress and overwhelm in the face of complex change to feeling alive and trusting themselves and their path.

What was your biggest stumble and what did you learn from it?

Erin: I committed to tasks that were outside my scope of expertise. I learned that unlike working in the full-time corporate world, I now have choices. I can say no to the projects and clients that aren’t right for me.


Ghita: It’s very humbling to start a new career. No matter how successful you were before, you will stumble. I think accepting that and finding a way to keep moving forward and grow when you stumble is a key lesson I learned.

What steps do you think professionals should take when first starting a solopreneurship of their own?

Erin: Talk to as many other solopreneurs as possible! And ask everything they’re willing to answer. Buying them lunch or drinks to show your appreciation definitely helps.


Ghita: Have an idea of your vision (your why) and take the next step or baby step towards that.

What advice would you give someone who’s interested in going out on their own?

Erin: Know that it is a daily hustle but it is a rewarding hustle. You build up your business brick by brick so remember to just do the next right thing. Not all problems have to get solved all at once so take it easy on yourself.


Ghita: Get clear on your motivation and why you want to go on your own. Get support from like-minded people and entrepreneurs who are a few steps ahead of you.

What hack have you learned or created as a solopreneur that you wish the world knew?

Erin: My philosophy is “it works if you work it.” If you put energy into the universe, the universe will answer back and you’ll get results. Don’t get bogged down if there’s a setback. It’s just your higher power setting the stage for something magnificent.


Ghita: Work smarter not harder. The connections to the people who already know you and trust you are very valuable. Your previous colleagues, your family, your friends. Those people want your success and will support you- so ask!

What do you know now that you wish you knew when first taking that leap into solopreneurship?

Erin: That there are more resources out there than you think! (like The Upside!)

Ghita: It is trial and error all the way. Failure is part of success.


Thanks so much Erin and Ghita – you inspire us and so many others who want to build something of their own! Here’s more about our featured Upside members:

Erin Lopez

Erin Lopez is an independent eCommerce growth strategist, committed to creatively getting more sales from her clients’ Shopify stores and owned marketing channels.
She works with consumer goods companies from all industries and all stages of business. Her happy clients say that she is “the ultimate team player who not only tackles her job but also reaches outside scope and contributes whatever it takes to achieve business needs” and that “working with her has been truly fun!”
She is based in Walnut Creek, California.
Learn more about Erin here:

Ghita Filali is an expert in advancing international executives and building high-functioning global teams.
With over a decade of professional experience leading high-performance teams in multinational and global corporations, she commands a matchless repertoire in strategic consulting, program management, change management and coaching, and marries this with her eclectic lived experience.
Ghita sees humanness and potential at the same time, and being in the same room with her is a relentless invitation to claim both.
She is based in New York, NY.
Learn more about Ghita here:

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