The name Ellie McKay and her highly successful podcast, On A Mission, represents resilience, passion, and unwavering ambition to create a difference. Through her podcast, Ellie has made a huge impact on the sector and has risen to the top of the podcast charts with her engaging content as she delves into the unconventional thinking and unique career journeys of the world’s most high-profile entrepreneurs.
Ellie started “On a Mission” in lockdown to engage with her extensive network of over 40,000+ connections on LinkedIn. Already a multi-millionaire through her property business, the self-made entrepreneur the businesswoman didn’t have it handed to her on a plate and faced adversity throughout her life.
This month US Reporter speaks to Ellie McKay about her rise to the top and how her ambition was driven by her own insecurities, mounting debt, and redundancy whilst suffering from postnatal depression.
How did you get into podcasting?
During the lockdown, for the most part, I had a positive experience and really enjoyed being a Mum and spending quality time with the family. However, as time went on, I started to feel like something was missing. While I loved being a Mum, I realized that I also missed being Ellie, the entrepreneur who thrived off the energy of meeting people in person. It felt like an itch that needed to be scratched, a part of my identity that was slipping away.
Around that time, I began exploring meditation as a way to find inner peace and clarity. During one of my meditative sessions, an idea sparked in my mind—why not start a podcast? It would allow me to continue building meaningful relationships with people while sharing valuable insights and positivity with listeners, all without the hassle or expense of traveling to speak at events.
Excited by the idea, I decided to take immediate action. Leveraging my existing network of connections within the entrepreneurial community, which I had built through being part of high-level mastermind groups and building a substantial following on LinkedIn, I reached out to my contacts. To my surprise, the response was overwhelmingly positive, and within just an hour, I had a remarkable list of guests lined up for my Facebook live series (how she started out).
I was genuinely touched by the positive feedback I received and the number of people who tuned in.
Although the numbers were modest compared to today’s standards, it was a lightbulb moment for me, and I finally began to grasp the power of reaching a wide audience.
As the lockdown rules relaxed, I no longer had a captured audience on a Sunday night, so it was time to make a decision. I couldn’t deny the passion and fulfillment it brought me; it was definitely something I wanted to pursue.
After a bit of back and forth, it was settled, the podcast was happening, and it was going to be called “On a Mission.”
To kickstart my podcasting journey, I literally had a budget-friendly microphone from Amazon and an old laptop. I quickly realized that fancy equipment wasn’t necessary; what mattered most was taking action and sharing meaningful conversations with my guests. These simple tools became the foundation for my podcasting venture, fueled by my interest in people and their stories.
Hosting the podcast and engaging in conversations with my guests felt natural to me after I got over the initial terror. Speaking in front of people has never come naturally to me, but I’m a great believer in pushing your comfort zones in order to grow. I’ve always had a genuine curiosity for others, and I love to connect with interesting people. My own journey has been filled with both successes and challenges, and my openness has allowed me to forge deep connections with my guests. Each has its own diverse backstories, values and unique interpretations of success.
To my surprise, “On a Mission” experienced rapid growth within a relatively short period of time. The podcast’s success led to the expansion of my team, with dedicated staff members now filming and producing top-quality video content to complement the audio episodes.
I am humbled by the widespread recognition my podcast has gained within the industry, and I’m honored that it has become a benchmark for other podcasters. A recent milestone was when my podcast was named “Essential Listening” on Apple Podcasts, further validating its significance and impact, and we are regularly in the top ten UK charts alongside some incredible people.
What began as a simple means to occupy my mind and build relationships during the lockdown has transformed into a flourishing podcasting business with multiple sponsors and brand ambassadors. I am humbled by the support and encouragement I have received from my guests and listeners. I believe in the power of meaningful conversations and their ability to inspire, guide, and promote personal growth. My journey with “On a Mission” has been a lesson in humility, and I remain grateful for the opportunities it has provided me to connect with extraordinary individuals and share their stories with the world.
Tell us about your journey from unemployment to entrepreneurship.
In 2018, I lost my job during my second maternity leave, dealing a tough blow. We were still recovering from near bankruptcy a few years earlier when our electrical installation business teetered on collapse. Living a middle-class life with a comfortable home and nice cars, we were paycheck to paycheck.
During that time, postnatal depression compounded my mental health struggles, plunging me into darkness. I hit one of the lowest points in my life, relying on job center benefits.
In the past, I had been passionate about self-development, but life had led me astray, leaving me disillusioned. I fell into the trap of a victim mentality, embracing negativity.
Then, my entrepreneurial husband introduced me to a motivational speaker who quoted Tony Robbins. Their words reignited a dormant spark, reminding me that life held more potential than I had imagined.
Inspired, I dared to dream again, fueled by my determination to escape mediocrity. I invested my entire redundancy package in furthering our education—a bold and risky move. I believed I deserved better and held the power to change my circumstances.
With unwavering commitment, I embarked on a transformative journey, embracing challenges and sacrifices. Settling for an average life became unthinkable. I knew deep within that the catalyst for change resided within me, pushing me to my limits.
With tearful resolve and a mix of fear and hope, I set out to reshape my destiny. Investing in education wasn’t just a financial commitment; it was defiance against the chains that had held me captive for too long. I pursued a life beyond mediocrity, undergoing a profound personal transformation.
Carrying the weight of past failures and fueled by my dreams, I embarked on an arduous yet exhilarating journey of self-discovery. It tested my resilience, confronted my deepest fears, and demanded unwavering faith in my abilities. Through it all, I discovered an unbreakable spirit—a spirit that refused to be defined by setbacks or circumstances.
Now, as I reflect on that pivotal moment when I reclaimed my life, gratitude and pride fill me. Hardships shaped my character, teaching me resilience and perseverance. I take pride in who I’ve become—a person who defied despair, rose above adversity, and carved a path to fulfillment and purpose.
As part of our journey, we started a property investment business. Equipped with knowledge and skills, we took bold action and acquired two properties within four days of completing our training. This solidified our belief in creating a prosperous future for our family.
What motivates you?
I’m motivated to become the best version of myself. Knowing that I’m achieving my potential and demonstrating to my children that we can accomplish anything with the right work ethic and commitment drives me forward. However, motivation can only take us so far. There are times when we lack motivation, which is why discipline is crucial. That’s why I choose to surround myself with positive individuals who excel in their respective fields. Their success constantly reminds me of what is possible.
To maintain good energy, I believe it’s essential to take care of oneself physically and mentally. That’s why I have non-negotiables in my life, such as regular exercise and daily ice baths, to help me on days when motivation eludes me.
I will always come out fighting when my back is against the wall. Overcoming numerous setbacks in life and finding the strength to pick myself back up has instilled in me a deep inner resilience and determination that propels me forward.
My children and husband provide an amazing support system, and I couldn’t do it without them. However, I believe that motivation ultimately comes from within.
What’s your interview style, and do you have any advice for anyone looking to launch a podcast?
My interview style is all about embracing rawness and authenticity, relying on instinct and the natural flow of conversation. I don’t believe in pre-preparing questions; instead, I opt for unscripted and unfiltered.
To enhance the authenticity, I conduct my interviews in person whenever possible. Being face-to-face creates a better rapport and allows for a deeper connection with my guests. It’s in those unguarded moments, the subtle expressions, and the shared energy that the most meaningful conversations unfold.
I put in the work to thoroughly research and prepare for my podcast interviews. But when the time comes, I let go of the reins and let the conversation take its own course. It’s in those uncharted territories, those unexpected tangents, where the real magic happens. It’s where we find the raw, unfiltered truths that make for compelling and captivating content.
What new and exciting things do you have planned?
We have some amazing guests in the pipeline, which will only help us to continue to grow our reach. Additionally, we are looking to get into mini-documentaries and start covering a more diverse range of in-depth topics. Will be launching our subscription site for premium content and a chance to join a community of like-minded people before the end of the year, and there are talks of translating the On a Mission podcast into Spanish to expand our reach further.
Where can readers listen?
On a Mission Podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other major platforms. Follow ellie_mckay_official on Instagram.