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My Offbeat Journey: Our Biggest Business Pivot That Allowed Us To Reach Freedom

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In this episode, I speak about our biggest business pivot that has allowed us to reach freedom.

Listen on to find out what we did to reach freedom.


LISTEN:


Transcription:

Debbie:

Hey, everyone! Welcome back to my offbeat journey. 

I thought that it would be a really good idea to get back with you because there’s a lot of different things that’s happened. 

A lot of Life Changes, the last few months for me and Aaron. Actually, Aaron is here with us today. Hey!

Aaron:

Hello.

Debbie:

So, we just wanted to kind of give you an update, a life update, because there’s a lot of big things that has happened. So, first of all, if you don’t already know, Aaron officially left his 9 to 5 in December of 2021 and is now working full time with me and our business. 

So, how do you feel about the whole change? 

Aaron:

So, it’s like a lot of things in life, you don’t know exactly where it’s going to lead you. So, it’s definitely a change, but it’s, I mean it is the easiest work I’ve ever done. It’s way easier. Maybe that’s not always a good thing. Maybe it’s a bad thing in a way, but you know, I think as you get older you definitely want to have a job, where it’s easier for you. 

Debbie:

It’s really funny because we talked a lot about this. Every–Kind of like every day, how it doesn’t feel like work because we’re not working a lot. And if you know, my background and Aaron’s background, we both worked as therapists and it was a lot of work. It was a lot of traveling, it was a lot of driving. We worked with kids who had special needs, and it was a lot. It was a lot to deal with and not only were you dealing with the children, you also had to deal with a lot of politics. So it was stressful, most of the time. So now that he’s working on the business with me, it kind of feels weird, like, you feel guilty because it doesn’t feel like it’s actually work. 

Aaron:

It doesn’t feel like work but then, you look and the money’s there. So something’s working, something’s happening. but it’s not very stressful at all really and it’s–I get tired from other things, but not from this. I have plenty of other things in life to make me tired. But the work itself, it’s very easy on you. Compared to what we had to go through, what she was talking about, with the therapy. 

Debbie:

And before that, we had done a lot of other things too, that were also very hard on your body. Aaron used to be a martial arts instructor and he would work 6 days a week, like 10 to 12 hour days. And I was also teaching and I had several businesses, which when I first started The Offbeat Life in this business it was definitely the same as working 10 to 12 hour days, 7 days a week and it was non-stop. But you’re probably wondering how we got to this point and what Aaron is talking about in terms of work that now we actually work less. But honestly, this is the most money we’ve ever made, specifically in the business that I’ve ever made. And individually, we’ve made, together without even working as much. So let’s get back to the beginning and how this actually transpired.

So when Aaron was done with his nine-to-five, we still weren’t in the stage where we were able to replace his income. So we had to both think on our feet and I realized I had to find new streams of income while he was working on getting his coding certification because initially that’s what you wanted to do, right? And that’s what you were working towards. 

Aaron:

Yeah, I mean, I like problem solving, it’s probably what always attracted me to entrepreneurship. So I think the coding was like a good fit until we either figured something else out or it would be just my full lifetime income, you know, from here on out. Because it would be remote, I guess. So in a way it’s not necessarily foreign to this whole concept of remote working, digital nomadism. Those types of things, so it fits with it but it’s just, you know, life takes you on different paths sometimes and it doesn’t mean that I’ve ruled that out. I still work on it from time to time, but right now we got a business to build. 

Debbie:

Exactly! And then at that point, while Aaron had left his job, he was learning coding. I, at that point, was creating income from the podcast, a blog and of course, passive income from my courses. But it was really unsteady but I did at that time also had clients, doing writing assignments for and it was at that moment because we both had to think on our feet that I decided to pivot and start looking for more writing jobs and gigs. And lo and behold 7 months later after Aaron left his job, we are here. 

Now, it’s honestly been the best decision that I’ve ever made and I wouldn’t have made that if you didn’t take the risk of leaving your job and allowing us to kind of think outside of the box because that small pivot not only replaced Aaron’s, nine-to-five salary, but it allowed me to earn more than I’ve ever had before with my business. And in fact, we’re projected to earn our first six figures a year this year. So it’s kind of crazy. And we’re not even working a lot. And it was because of you, taking a risk to leave that job and for me to listen to you because you’ve been saying to me so many times. You were like, “You should really write more, you should really do something with writing. You should include that more in your business.” And honestly, until I had to make that decision until I pivoted, I didn’t think I was good enough. But then I think it was around July of last year of 2021 when I started getting serious with my blog and I started to learn SEO skills and that allowed me to have more confidence in my writing skills, my SEO skills that I was just like, “Okay, screw it. I’m just going to go for it. I’m going to look for clients. I’m going to look for writing gigs.” And it’s kind of crazy because I always felt, in the business, where I was always going uphill and it was always a battle to do anything to get anything to get clients. But as an SEO content writer, as an SEO content strategist, it just feels like it’s– I wouldn’t say easy, but it’s more natural. It’s just so much more natural. 

Aaron:

I mean, I told you so. That was right. I mean I’m right about these things most of the time. But I noticed when I was doing my schooling, that I just struggled with writing and then I would see her working on something else and just [think] “How do you write so fast? How do you come–?” Like the words just appear on the page, like super fast. So she can write, like, one of her essays that she was working on for like half an hour, and it would take me, like, 4 hours, 5 hours to do the same amount of work. And it wasn’t just that she put out the content really fast, it was also that it was really good. I was like, “You need to be a writer. You’re really good at this” and then finally, I guess you did listen to me or at least you figured it out on your own. 

Debbie:

Yeah. So actually this is another story. Because around that time, I wanted to do something with YouTube. So I wanted to help out my audience–and you may have heard me mention the YouTube channel a few times before. But around that time, when Aaron left his job, I wanted to start a channel on YouTube so I can help people actually see what these remote jobs were about, and I haven’t applied for a job since 2012. And since 2012, I’ve already–I always kept a job or I had a business. So I was like, “Okay, this is unfamiliar ground to me. So I’m just going to apply to these different remote jobs.” And in one of these–I applied to a few of them, right?– And one of the remote jobs was for a writing job for a remote work first company, and they hired me after, like the second interview. And then after that, I just started interviewing for other remote jobs and then it was just so easy. I kept getting hired, I kept getting contract work, and everything was just–things that I already knew how to do obviously because I was running my business. I was running my blog for several years, I knew SEO. So, I was getting these contract jobs too. And I think this is the reason why it’s easy because it wasn’t out of desperation. Because I told him if it wasn’t something that will allow me to have freedom with my time, it just wasn’t right for me. And actually one of the companies that I just secured a contract with, they weren’t going to hire me because they weren’t a remote work first company, they came back to me a few days later and was like “Screw the other person that we were going to hire. We want you because we know that your ability is really good.” So it just came really naturally because I knew what I was doing. I’ve been doing this for several years. So all of the hard work, all of the 10, 12-hour days that I had spent the last five years. It’s all coming into fruition. Now, we’re getting these contract jobs. These writing jobs, and they just come easy and yeah, it’s pretty awesome. And sometimes we, well not sometimes, we talk about it every day. Like, is this even real, because it doesn’t feel like work because it’s fun. At least for me. 

Aaron:

Yeah, I mean as long as you’re getting the work done. It’s on your time basically. I mean It’s not something that, you know, you think most people just face it down, you know, work the whole day and then they clock out and you actually used to do that but now it’s a little more flexible where you kind of have a little more control over your schedule. 

Debbie: 

Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. So it definitely takes time to get the skills. You need to get these freelance work. These writing gigs, these contract jobs, because obviously, when a company interviews you so that you can create content for their business, they want to know that, you know what you’re doing. But like I had mentioned, I have been doing this for several years. I just wasn’t confident in my skills until I started actually interviewing for these contract jobs, these writing jobs and I realized that I did have all of the skills. I did have all of this knowledge and I guess it just took a little pivot and also some talking from Aaron, from my husband, to finally have realized that. And now we’re here. which is honestly, probably, we’re in one of the best spots we’ve ever been before, right?

Aaron:

Yeah, it’s a good place to be.

Debbie:

I know you still sometimes think—because last week we went out camping and it was in the middle of the week but there was Wi-Fi and we were still able to work on our camping site. But then we also hiked and did all of these things. Like, I know—did you feel a little guilty? Like you felt like you weren’t really working even though we were. 

Aaron:

I always feel guilty. If I’m not working, I feel guilty sometimes. But you have to not work sometimes. I make it sound like I’m a workaholic and I probably don’t do hardly any work at all, but that wasn’t always the case, all of my jobs are like killing myself. But yes, probably why I feel guilty now, I didn’t feel as guilty before. I still felt guilty. I don’t know if it’s like the American way with, you know, work ethic and everything like that. Like, if you are not killing yourself at work, you know, it’s like there’s something wrong with you. And the New York hustle doesn’t help as well, because everybody’s always rushing doing everything and busy with this and that and slowing down is not bad especially when you get to do other things you enjoy. 

Debbie:

And I think you had to take that out of your mentality, that you have to work your butt off all the time in order for it to count. In order for you to deserve earning how much you earn. and it took a long time to get to this point, obviously, with me with the skills that I learned from the business. But Aaron from the sacrifices that you’ve made, because it wasn’t easy, like the last five and a half years, putting up with everything, that wasn’t easy on you. And you worked a lot, you worked a lot for us. So now we are reaping like the first, because this is not even where, you know, there’s still things that we want to do. So this is like the first step of our freedom lifestyle and we’re reaping the benefits of it because of me learning the skills. You sacrificing all of the time and effort that you put in and also learning the skills that you need to as well with this business because you helped a lot as well with this. So this is just the first step and obviously it’s not all good all the time but when you come out of so many storms and so many obstacles, I think you become so much more grateful for when things actually start to happen. 

Aaron:

Yeah, for sure. You know what it’s it’s more about like having your path like some people feel like if they’re not doing this, that or the other thing, they’re not happy. But for me as long as I’m doing something on a high-level, I always feel accomplished and I enjoy it. And part of that with this type of endeavor is like the business side, like the business development aspect of how we can scale things to make more money. That’s always good. 

We always talked about this kind of thought experiment, “If you hit the lotto what would you do?” And pretty much what I would do? If I hit the lotto is the same thing I’m doing now. Talk to me, 6 months from now. Maybe the vacations and stuff will be more lavish than they are right now, instead of camping, it might be glamping. I don’t know. But you know in terms of my day you know, like to get up, do some exercise, go for a walk, do some work. And then, basically just accomplish a task for the day, do the things I enjoy to do in life. Instead of always having to rush off to work and being stressed out and being tired all the time. I feel like this is—I don’t even feel like it’s a job at all. 

Debbie:

I feel like that’s how life should be. There has to be a balance because we do work, right? And we got to a point where we’re not working as much anymore because we made so many sacrifices. We worked 10, 12-hour days. And when I say 10, 12 hour days, am I exaggerating?

Aaron:

No. It’s like literally from when you get up to almost when you go to bed, the only break you take is to eat, but that was it. Maybe go for a walk every once in a while, but yeah, it’s pretty much being on the computer all day. And with me, it was the job from, I don’t even remember what time I would get there, like, 8 in the morning, get home at like 6 or 7. So the same thing it’s like, you know, 10 or 12 hour days. 

Debbie:

So it definitely took a long time to get here. And when you’re listening to this, I don’t want you to feel like, “Oh my gosh, it’s just so easy,” to get to that point, it’s not. It took a very long time to get here but not just because of the work that we had to learn because if you learn these skills it’s not that long. But figuring out what’s actually right for you takes the longest, because how many businesses did we fail, like 3-4? 

Aaron:

We failed a bunch of different businesses. I think the reason why we failed—like some of them I definitely liked and I did enjoy some of the aspects of it but ultimately I think why they failed is it just didn’t fit what we were trying to accomplish at the time and I think this does. Yeah, like even some things I like I will go back to it, but it’s just you know, this is the one that’s working right now. And that’s what you got to stick with, I think. When something is working, you got to stick with it and, you know, like you fought so long with so many other things—like the other businesses and they weren’t working and they didn’t really make us happy. And I think this makes us happier, not only because of the workload. It’s not as tough in some ways but also It’s not something where you’re not being true to yourself. You’re not doing something that you can’t stand. You know I think a lot of people do in life, especially when you’re young, you should be trying to learn all kinds of different things. Find out what you really enjoy because—it’s cliche, but if you have something that you enjoy, you’re not really working cause I feel like it at least.

Debbie:

We’re living that right now. And it’s kind of crazy how a lot of these cliches, there’s truth to them because it’s truth. If you do something that you would enjoy, it never feels like work. And it took a really, really long time to get here and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. And questioning whether what you’re doing is really right for you. And ironically what we’re doing now, is something that wasn’t even in the radar. It wasn’t even something that we were like all one day, this is what I’m going to do. It definitely aligned with what I was doing in terms of the website. 

And I’m going to talk about that later, because we have all their projects that we are doing and planning on doing aside from the writing, the freelance, contract, full-time writing that we’re doing right now. But we’re also, you know, doing a lot with the website and so much more that we’re going to do with that. Because now, we also have the time to do it. We have—And now there’s two of us that can strategize and I am a content creator. I love to create content but Aaron is very, very good when it comes to business strategizing. He thinks of a lot of things to make things easier. And honestly, this is probably the reason why the business and everything we’ve been doing has really gotten to be really fast. Like I have mentioned were projected to earn our first six-figure year in 2022.

Aaron:

We have done that before, but we were killing ourselves to make that much money. You know, I mean, I don’t know, even remember the numbers but I know I was six figures just about by myself and you were making money too. So as you know, probably over 150. But I think we can easily do a lot more than that without killing ourselves. And a lot of people, they don’t want to put numbers on it. They don’t want to throw things out there. Look at the statistics, it sounds like, “Woah, this guy makes six million dollars a year.” Yeah, but what did he have to do to get there? That’s what a lot of people don’t understand. If you can find things that are kind of like a shortcut for you personally because some people have that hustling and, you know, definitely when you’re young or you find something, you really enjoy liking nobody ever had to, you know, twist my arm to go to the job when it came to martial arts and even to a degree like working with the kids, I loved it. But it just wasn’t, affording the lifestyle that we wanted, you know. Unfortunately. 

Debbie:

We also sat down and really talked about what we wanted in our future and that’s really the basis for what we’re doing now and why we chose what we chose. Was because we want to start a family. We want to be able to spend a lot of time together. You know, we want to educate our children, we can’t do that if we’re working 10, 12-hour days, we can’t do that with Aaron being at the job. We both want to be stay-at-home parents, but we also want to be able to have the freedom to live anywhere, to go anywhere we want because we are very adventurous, we have that kind of nature and we want to be able to share that with our children. And a lot of the decisions that we’re making now, is because of the lifestyle that we want to have for us, us as ourselves, as individuals, as a couple and also when we do have a family. So now it’s really easy to say no to things that actually don’t align to that, right? 

Aaron:

For example, there was some work that I was supposed to be doing and basically getting paid the same as what I was to a degree. It was just a part-time thing. It wasn’t like a full-time thing, but it was—it’s extra money. But then I’m like, I just give, I just gave the person, the price, it didn’t work out. So it doesn’t bother me at all because when you have money coming in and you also have more than anything, even if let’s say you know we lost all the jobs that all the contract work and everything tomorrow, we can just get more. It’s not hard for us to do at this point. 

And the funny thing is, for a lot of people. I feel like certain things are very hard and it’s not that we’re special or anything. It’s just, you have to keep at it. You have to keep trying. The main thing is just, improve your skills, build your value. And once you have the skill-set, don’t make things difficult for yourself. Like one of my mentors said, and he’s a hundred percent right. I think he might have missed a little point that I’ll tell you. At first, it’s going to be hard, it’s going to be really difficult but at a certain point business is supposed to be easy, it’s not supposed to be hard. The reason people do business is not just to get rich but also to have the lifestyle they want. Don’t get me wrong, there’s like, some CEOs of some companies are making, you know, a ton of money, but they’re killing themselves. If you think they’re not working hard, I mean, just look at some of these TV shows where they show what their day is like, or, you know, figure out a way where you can spend some time with one of these people and you’ll see their schedule is packed to the brim. Yeah, I know a couple of them and you know what? I don’t want their life, it’s too much. And it’s because I have a lot of other interests. If I didn’t have other interests, I probably would just want to just do some type of business all day because I’ll be like, “Oh, yeah, I earned x amount of dollars this year,” and that’s a highlight. But you know at a certain point, if it’s not making your life better, the extra money, I don’t think is going to make you happier. Because we go on vacation and stuff and it’s nice but I get antsy. I don’t want to be there after a few days. I want to go do the things I want to do. I like my routines but also the freedom that we have that we can go do something just in the middle of the day or whatever. 

Debbie:

And again, I’m going to keep emphasizing this when you are building a business when you are trying to do something and not just building a business if you want to be remote, location independent. You have to really see what you want your lifestyle to be and see how you can earn that income to fit that lifestyle, right? Because sometimes you think you need to have multiple six figures. Meanwhile, if your lifestyle choice or what you aspire to be is, you know, to just travel around backpacking in Southeast Asia, you don’t even need six figures. You know, that’s not the type of lifestyle that needs a lot of money. You know, if you want to do X, Y and Z. See how much that actually is going to be, before you do certain things that is going to compromise your lifestyle, going to compromise you. And that’s what we really learned. I think that’s the biggest lesson that I learned. 

And also be open to things because these writing opportunities that we’re doing right now and what we’re going to be doing with our website and what we’re going to be starting, actually we’re probably going to be starting one soon. In terms of like more sites, I didn’t think this was going to be like our main thing. I thought this was going to be a supplement to what I was doing and then I started other things. I started coaching,I started courses and it always felt unnatural to me. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t excited to do it. I just felt really weird and not because like, “Oh you weren’t good at it.” I’ve literally been doing everything the last—how many years—8 years that I wasn’t good at. And I wasn’t good at writing either and that’s why I was hesitant to do it where I felt like I wasn’t good at it, but when I really started to listen to what my strengths are and what I enjoyed. It led me there and then I just started doing it. And I was like, “Wow, why didn’t I do this sooner, why didn’t I listen to my husband?” I know he likes it when I say that. But now I just feel so natural. I feel so good. I wake up every day knowing that what I’m doing is something that I actually enjoy.  

Aaron:

And it’s going to generate revenue for you.

Debbie:

And it generates revenue, and it’s really weird for me to say this, but it’s easy money. It doesn’t feel like work and every time I talk to a new potential client, I’m so confident in what I do that we’re easily able to garner more clients. So there’s really not a lot of stress. 

And then I was actually talking to you the other day about how I had a dream and that’s where my stress was coming from, was from the dream. And then you were like it. “You’re probably just creating stress for yourself, because there is none in real life.” 

Aaron:

Yeah, I mean, there’s a few things to say about this, that I think I can elaborate on a couple things. Definitely play to your strengths. Find out what you’re good at and where it takes a little bravery is to admit those things to yourself. Like some people, their dream is to be, I don’t know what, actor or this or that, somebody wants to be a famous author and they’re like, “I can never do that.” But everybody has to fill their role and your role can be something great. 

You should never put limits on yourself. And that’s one thing that I think a lot of people kind of do. It’s tough because some people tell you like, “Oh, well, you’re not good at this” or “You’re not good at that.” Maybe you shouldn’t listen too much to people telling you the things you’re bad at. But you should probably listen–take heed to things that people notice that you’re good at, because if it’s true and they’re not just gassing you up, that could be a potential source of revenue for you. One of the things that I said, I used to tell Debbie like, “Oh you’re really good at writing, you should do that.” I could see how somebody—I didn’t even know about writing jobs. I had no idea what they were about or you know how it worked. I just knew that I could tell that she was talented at it. And that’s something that people should definitely pay more attention to.

Be confident in yourself. And if you’re not confident in yourself, grow it little by little. Do little things, do some free work, build your resume. Because once you build your resume and you start either interviewing or applying for things trying to get contract work, once you start getting the attention that you feel like you should deserve for your skills, it’ll build your confidence. And especially if you can do whatever you do. If the work is there and they see that the work you did is good, it’s going to build your confidence, there’s no way around it. You can’t be really great at something and have zero confidence in yourself. So that’s what my advice to a lot of people would be. 

And as far as the lifestyle thing the other thing I would add is—we talked about things like the lotto thing but, you know, if one of the things we say is if money is no object and that’s one part of the equation, but then the other thing is, what are you going to do with your life? And what I want to do is basically write out like what my perfect day is and then once I kind of have that it doesn’t have to stay that way forever. You can change it as time goes on but I look at that and the more my life resembles that and I notice the happier I am. 

Debbie:

Yeah, I agree with that for sure. And I love the—cause we—so Aaron and I do walks every morning and most of the time we do it at night too and we talk a lot about life and what we want and that is one of the exercises. We ask each other a lot like what would you do if you won the lotto tomorrow? And it’s interesting because every time he asks me that I always say what I’m doing now, like I would still do what I’m doing now. You know, there’s definitely little tweaks here and there, but it’s not going to be a huge complete change because I still love my site. I still love my podcast. I still love to write. I just like what I’m doing so much and I love the lifestyle that we have built together. That allows us to have all of these experiences that we have. Obviously, it’s not perfect and they’re still things that we want. They’re still goals that we want, but in terms of the lifestyle that we’re building, it’s definitely a beginning for us because we have gone through just so much, like, even though just the last few years, even honestly, just the last year, has been really crazy. You know, there’s like a lot of heartbreaking moments that we had gone through and we prayed a lot. You know, we prayed a lot for this moment and just to get clarity. Also, because sometimes when you’re in a thick of things, it’s very hard to see what’s right in front of you. And it seems so crazy that this is right in front of me. I’ve been, you know, learning all of these skills, implementing them I’m seeing, that they are working and now like okay, you could actually make income from that. So yeah, it’s pretty nuts. But this is how our entire life has completely changed in the last seven months and it all started with Aaron not having his job anymore, us having to pivot, having to figure out ways to actually find other ways, to replace his income and within and I think—Yes, 7 months or less than that. We were able to do it. So it’s kind of crazy because also, I do have to say, Aaron was very, very hesitant about leaving his job because obviously, you’re more of a planner. You’re the type of person that thinks ahead and I’m more of the person that thinks like right now. But you took that risk and because of the risk that you took, we’re here.

Aaron:

It’s definitely stressful. Especially for men. A lot of times we want stability, we want to be stable, not just for ourselves but also for our wife or girlfriend, or whatever. We want to be stable and that urge to do that sometimes will actually shoot you in the foot. Which is why I definitely think all this advice probably works better for somebody younger, but it doesn’t really matter, I feel like “Man, I wish I was 20 years younger,” something like that. But in a lot of ways, it doesn’t really matter because to finally get where you want, those will be some of the best experiences of your life, even if it’s just a short little time that you’re going to be, you know, have that type of lifestyle. Some people work their whole lives, literally to retire, and I don’t feel like we’re retired, but I mean, in some ways it does because you know, it’s like, I don’t know. I mean, I’ve always thought about writing little stories and stuff like that here and there, so maybe that’s something I would do even if I was retired, I don’t know. You got to do something other than watch Netflix, I think.

Debbie:

And that’s why we try to do a lot of different things because now, we have a freedom lifestyle that we can actually make a lot of the things that we’ve always wanted to do into a reality which is pretty incredible. So, yeah. So that’s it. Everyone, that’s the huge change that’s been happening in the last five to seven months, with our life. And yeah, we’re pretty happy. You know, obviously there’s a lot of ups and downs, but overall, we’re really grateful with the decision that we made the lifestyle changes that we’ve created for ourselves. 

So if you have any questions, feel free to send me an email or if you want to do a consultation call with me so we can look at the lifestyle changes that could be right for you as well. You can send me an email at [email protected] and let’s see what your perfect freedom lifestyle will be like, and we’ll help you get there. 

Aaron:

It might not be like ours but it will be your own version

Exactly. Well, thank you so much for joining us today. We really appreciate you listening to us listening to my offbeat journey with my husband, Aaron. If you’ve been listening for a while now, you know there’s been a lot of transitions in our lives. When I started this podcast, I was still in my 9-5. I wanted a freedom lifestyle, I wanted to work remote. Little did I know that five years later I would be here doing something that I absolutely love with my life, talking to all of you, having a podcast, having a blog writing and just really living life to my terms and our terms. So, thanks hubby for joining me today. I love you. 

Aaron:

I love you. You’re welcome. 

Debbie:

Bye everyone. 

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