So often we start a business out of passion or a desire to have more flexibility with our time—and money is a good and often necessary by-product of our hard and fun work. But seeing ourselves as a CEO, for many (myself included), wasn’t a role I fully understood I was signing up for when I first registered for that LLC and launched my website.
This year, after nearly a decade in business, I’m recognizing my own limiting beliefs and working hard to step up to the plate as CEO. That’s why I was beyond thrilled to meet today’s guest!
After building a successful business in the health and wellness industry, surpassing 7-figures of annual revenue and leading more than 10k people, Liz launched the Luminary leadership Company to help other entrepreneurs feel equipped to step into their roles as leaders.
Today we are talking all about why becoming a great leader is so important to a company’s growth, how to integrate life and business well, and the positive impact involving your kids in business can have on their lives.
Elizabeth Hartke has long been in the business of raising entrepreneurs. She and her husband, Michael, created Luminary Leadership Company to help entrepreneurial parents (like themselves!) integrate success in business with their legacy at home. For them, it was a natural business plan, as it’s the way they work in their business and at home with their four children.
“We have the joy of raising our kids alongside our company. We created a business for parents that want to give kids the best shot of success in the world. We’re supporting entrepreneurs as they grow and encouraging them to help their kids grow along with them.”
This unique approach to both business and family isn’t surprising considering the way Elizabeth herself was raised.
“I grew up steeped in entrepreneurship. My mom still runs her business to this day. My dad only recently retired. My grandfather worked up until he passed running his own law firm. My aunts, my uncles, my immediate family—this was just the norm in our family.
In the beginning, Elizabeth thought she wanted a different path.
“For a lot of reasons, I wanted to climb the corporate ladder. I’m competitive. I wanted to make a predictable income. I had all these reasons that the corporate world was for me.”
Just out of college, she took a job in corporate marketing at one of the largest global liquor companies. For Elizabeth, her character helped her stand out in a less-than-savory industry.
“You very quickly see the behind the scenes of the liquor industry isn’t great! I focused on building great rapport with my clients and creating connections with some of the owners. And over time, I started to think I could help them market their businesses on my own.”
Her reasoning? She simply didn’t want to work for anyone else anymore.
“It’s not in my DNA to work for somebody else. I figured that out very quickly in that job, and that’s what motivated me to go out on my own. I wanted to create something for myself and be the person to carry this thing forward. I was hungry for it.”
So, she slowly took on marketing clients on her own. Her biggest obstacle? Pricing!
“I didn’t know how to charge. I would literally ask my clients what they thought they should pay me! Of course, some people took full advantage of that, but it was all I knew. Soon, I realized this was not going to be sustainable.”
If something didn’t change, Elizabeth was going to be forced back on the corporate ladder she’d just left. So, she put together some packages and that helped her build a more sustainable business.
“I was still scraping by but at least I had some boundaries and structure. That helped get the business off the ground.”
hough she was working hard to build a marketing business, Elizabeth didn’t necessarily love the work she was doing. And eventually, that took its toll.
“In 2011, my health started to take a turn for the worse. I had to take my health really seriously in order to get better and stay better.”
She set out on the path of healing, joining an online fitness company that helped her turn her own health around. The impact on her was so great that Elizabeth eventually jumped into marketing in that space, too.
“That job was really more about elevating other leaders than marketing. It was helping people become the person they’re called to be. It wasn’t about selling; it was about teaching them how to lead. And that’s when I became insanely passionate about leadership.”
That passion for growing leaders was born almost seven years ago. And now, it’s evolved into the business she runs today.
“There is so much toxic crap happening in entrepreneurship where people are being sold so many wrong values and messages. I wanted to change all that. I wanted to take the leadership skills I was developing and pour them into entrepreneurs. Because leadership is really the key to success.”
An analytical mind by design, Elizabeth’s husband, Michael, stepped in to help her put a plan in place that would actually create the business she envisioned.
“My husband was the one looking at the numbers. He knew we needed structure. He knew we had to put a plan in place.”
Seven years ago, they put that plan in place. The couple hasn’t looked back since.
“The name, Luminary Leadership, was born about three years ago, but everything I’ve done for the last seven years (and probably even before that!) has naturally woven into the business we have today. Seven years ago, we really just rebranded and refocused to set us up with the plan for the business we wanted.”
Now, the focus for both Elizabeth and her husband is to bring the business home.
“I owe so much to the gift of entrepreneurship given to me as a child through my parents. I totally took for granted so many of the lessons that I learned from them and the wonderful experiences I had because I was along for the ride with my family. They instilled so many values in me that I’ve carried into both my life and my business.”
One of those values? Finding a way to incorporate her family into the business.
“Of course, we have boundaries between work and home, but we also try to bring our kids into the conversation. We talk about challenges in our work around the dinner table. We ask for their opinions. We know it’s raising our kids a little differently than others, but for us, it’s leveraging the tools we have to help develop them as leaders of their own.”
At every juncture in the business, Elizabeth has found a way to incorporate her family. In the curriculum, the podcast, and even Camp Luminary, an event launched last summer for entrepreneurs and their children, she’s creating a family business.
“We’re raising kids in leadership and entrepreneurship. I think that’s pretty cool! It’s part of making it a family business, for our family and for the families we serve.”
Over time, Elizabeth has found success in her field. But for her, the measure of that success isn’t what you may expect.
“I learned early on that I’m not going to find success unless other people are finding it with me. The scales start to tip when you see other people being developed into who they need to be. When you see them becoming the person who can grow that business they’ve dreamed of for so long. To me, that’s success.”
To hear the rest of the story and what Elizabeth is up to now, press play on the player above for the full interview or click here to download the full transcript.
Shanna’s Interview on Liz’s Podcast on building a social media free business
Elizabeth Hartke is an international Business and Leadership Strategist and Founder of the Luminary Leadership Company and podcast. She works to help entrepreneurial parents integrate success in business with legacy at home and believes you can have both without feeling split in two. Through her masterminds, mentorship and signature programs, Elizabeth has shown thousands of entrepreneurs across the globe how to shift from just building a business to creating a legacy. She brings with her ten years of leadership experience and has built two growing and successful businesses. Her expertise has been featured in media outlets including Forbes, Entrepreneur and Fast Company, and on stages throughout the world. Elizabeth and her husband live on their hobby farm with their three children (soon to be four!) in Wisconsin.
December 22, 2022