Erin Galloway didn’t start out her career as an entrepreneur. For over 20 years she dedicated her life to child and human development in the education realm. Through her experience in the behavioral sciences, she founded her blog, The Habitized Life, and Habitize Publishing, platforms which help people create habits and strategies to achieve their personal and professional goals. Now, Galloway is building both her business and a multi-generational team. TechOhio sat down with Galloway to talk about what it means to be a habit catalyst, how small choices can make a big impact and how habits can help you start and scale your business.
How would you describe to people what Habitize Publishing is all about?
“I started learning how to create activities and worksheets when my daughter Lily was struggling to engage with the early intervention tools that were being provided for her by her school. That evolved from creating one page and one activity to putting all of them together in book form and providing them to other families. This project became an opportunity and a light bulb realization moment that there are other parents, teachers and coaches out there like me that could use help creating tools and resources for their families, classrooms or clients. Habitize Publishing provides a platform for people who want a way in which to connect and have an impact with their communities, outside of a traditional publisher or just providing PDF handouts of these tools and resources.”
How did your background in childhood development help lead you down the entrepreneurship path?
“I spent 20 plus years in education and higher education, with various responsibilities from internal administration to working in construction and operations of partnership schools on behalf of The Ohio State University and Johns Hopkins University. The scope and responsibility of my roles allowed me to see how individual teachers were managing their classrooms and what parents were looking for when they enrolled their children in new schools. I started to pull my different worlds together and saw that there was a synergy around my experience in early childhood education and development, being a parent and my desire to help people put their ideas into action. The Habitized Life was the launching pad for that to help families and educators with supplementary tools and strategies to ease everyday life. Since then it’s evolved naturally into a platform and social community for parents and educators who were looking for that support.”
You describe yourself as a habit catalyst, can you tell me what that means to you?
“I use the term habit catalyst because I believe that I can be the sounding board and the platform and spark that other people may be looking for in creating their own habits, systems or structures within their family, classrooms or small businesses. I think of myself as a launching pad for people with great ideas to help them puzzle those ideas together and show them simple steps to getting started. Often, that is the momentum that people need in order to keep going independently. So that’s why I refer to myself as a catalyst. My goal is to create the momentum for you to get where you’re trying to go.”
Entrepreneurship can be a lot of hard work, what energizes you to build your business?
“I get excited when there is a teacher or a parent that’s been hard at work behind the scenes and I get to work with them to build them a platform to share their hard work with other people. It can be hard with how big the internet is to feel validated that your idea is worth sharing and I want to be a conduit for getting that work out there. I want to help people be able to impact their target communities and share their voices.”
How did you get into entrepreneurship?
“People often assume that my habits in childhood must be the way in which I became an advocate for habits, but, ironically, we didn’t have a lot of habits in our household growing up. For me, seeing how that impacted my life compared to some of my peers who had more structure and routine, really opened my eyes to the amount of energy you can conserve and the decisions you can make when you have the repetitive-ness of habits. I don’t come from a traditionally entrepreneurial family. I often refer to myself as a first generation entrepreneur because I had to find the support and guidance to build my business myself. This opportunity has been really fun for Lily and I to do together. For her class, we created a series of mood meters, habit charts and checklists, built on Lily’s own ideas. We help modernize the content and make it relatable for Lily’s grade. It’s something we both enjoy and we get to spend time together and engage with other kids, families, teachers and people in our community.”
What do you want the lasting impact of Habitize Publishing and The Habitized Life to be?
“I want to show people different ways to share their skills and passions and talents with people. That to me is the most exciting and rewarding part of this. Recently, I started bringing together people with similar talents, like a children’s book illustrator and a writer, who are both parents and were doing all of this work independently, but didn’t know somebody else could help them create another part of the puzzle. It’s impactful if I can help someone get their children’s book out there that they’ve been dreaming about for 10 years. Recently, there was a dad who approached me with an idea he sketched out since his child was born and his child is now 16. Now, by Christmas, his book will be out and available for people to read.”
What about Ohio keeps drawing you back as an entrepreneur?
“I’ve lived in Baltimore and Philadelphia and there’s two things that keep bringing me back to Ohio. One is, life is just easier here. I was used to a three-plus hour commute as part of my day and now, even though we’re using virtual school this year, I could drive or walk my daughter to school and we have great, affordable education. I would also say I love the connectivity here and the Midwest spirit of helping and working together. The camaraderie and community here is hard to replace. There is an interest in supporting each other here that I haven’t found quite as deeply in other cities and states. It’s really refreshing to find people from a business perspective who you can develop ideas with and find that synergy.”
You have had quite the entrepreneurial journey. What is one piece of advice that you would give to other entrepreneurs based on your experiences?
“Always keep moving forward. Over the past six months I’ve had people ask me what habits I’m working on. And I’d say, first and foremost, that is the habit of taking action. It’s really easy to stay in a place where you keep researching an idea, or scroll through social media to see what you can learn and what classes you can take. But until you’re actually taking the actions and practicing the words and steps to get your business started, you’re just stalling your idea and the impact you could have on others. So I would say keep taking action and moving forward, even if that step forward is small because it will get you to the next one.”