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Ep. 235: How this former nurse quit her job and used Instagram to grow an online business with Attaliah Strubel

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In this episode, I speak with Attaliah who is a Lifestyle blogger, Social Media Manager, Content Creator, and Content Consultant. 

In 2020 while working full-time as a NICU nurse, she learned to use Instagram to create and grow an online business. 

And in 2021 decided to quit her full-time job to start working remotely in Germany. 

Listen on to find out how Attaliah created a sustainable online business using Instagram. 

Listen Below:

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Feel Safe and Secure as a Remote Worker with Integra Global

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Transcription:

Debbie:

Hey everyone. Thank you so much for being here. I am super excited to speak with my guests today. I’m here with Attaliah.

Hey, Attaliah.

Attaliah:

Hello.

Debbie:

Am I saying your name correctly? Because it’s very unique. And I was like, “I don’t want to say her name wrong.”

Attaliah:

No, you’re saying it right? Yeah. Attaliah.

Debbie:

Yay. I feel like I just want something there. It’s the same thing with me and my last name people are like, “How do you say it?”

Attaliah:

At least they attempt.

Debbie:

Right. It’s good.

So I’m really excited to talk to you today because I feel like we’ve been friends on Instagram for such a long time. And I love following your journey because you have a really unique one. So can you tell us more about you and why you live an offbeat life?

Attaliah:

So I live an offbeat life because in 2019 and my husband said, “Okay, I want to move to Germany.” And at that time I was working full time as a NICU nurse, and I had no idea what I was going to do. And I ended up figuring out how to make money on Instagram online.

And I started my blog and now in 2021, I’m making a full-time income from my online business from Germany.

Debbie:

That is pretty incredible. And you actually left a day job that you worked super hard for, and really what most people will consider the American dream. Why did you decide to leave that and go online and do this full time?

Attaliah:

I feel like I loved working in the NICU and I loved working in the hospital and doing things with the babies, but I didn’t feel independent and I didn’t feel freedom. I was making great money. It was very secure, especially right now, but it was just a matter of having that time to be like, “I want to travel here,” or “I want to do this,” or “I want to spend more time with my family.”

I’ve spent the most time with my family this year than I had in years past. And I’m in a different country.

Debbie:

Pretty incredible because I’m just looking at your journey, Attaliah, and it’s really similar to mine because I was a therapist for kids with autism. And it’s the same thing. It’s like, “Why did you leave that? You made such good money. You worked so hard for it.”

But at the end of the day, like you mentioned, it’s really the freedom, right? And something always feels like it’s missing in your life when you don’t have that. And even though certain things are fulfilled, there’s still a lot more that’s missing. Like, there’s a missing puzzle piece that you just don’t know what it is until you find it.

I feel like you and I have that similarity in a sense, ’cause I’m like, “I totally get you. I know where you’re coming from.”

So when you transitioned to, Attaliah, from being a nurse, a full-time nurse, having all of this income to your husband, wanting to leave, and going to Germany, how did you make that transition? Was it really hard? How did you start making a living from Instagram and online?

Attaliah:

So in the beginning, before my husband even said he wanted to move, I had that feeling that you’re talking about, the feeling like there’s something out there more that you should be doing. I was sitting there at this Mexican restaurant with my husband and his friend and we were there and I was like, “You know, I just feel like there’s something else I should be doing.” And I had no idea at that point.

And now looking back, like, this is what I should be doing. And starting off was hard because there’s so many gurus. There are so many people out there that are like, “Oh, here’s the real information. Leave this information. This is more important.” And so you don’t know which way to go. And I was just kind of like, “I’m just going to be myself.”

Attaliah Strubel on painted wall

And I started growing off of being myself learning strategies. And then it was about three months in that I started making a small amount of income, but it’s crazy how $200 when you make it yourself online. It is crazy how $200 feels like a million dollars. You’re like, “I worked hard and I made this $200,” and you go crazy.

So for me, the transition was kind of, there was an education gap per se. And then on top of that, it was more of coming from a nursing background to jumping in, to online and social media. I had never been a person. You won’t believe this. I was a person who did not like posting on Instagram.

So I came from a not liking posting on Instagram too consistently and loving posting on Instagram. So it was just a weird transition. It was really hard at first. It took a lot of time. Well I feel it didn’t take a lot, a lot of time, but for me, it was like takes consistency to make a consistent income.

Debbie:

And that’s the thing. I think what you’re talking about, Attaliah, is that there’s a lot of different experts and gurus out there, but I always find that you end up learning on your own, right? Even if you do go to the gurus and then you realize, “Okay, maybe what they’re doing doesn’t work for me.”

And I always hate it when I find coaches that tell you, “This is the only way. And if you do this, you’re going to succeed.” But then there’s maybe 10% of people or maybe even more that it just doesn’t work for them, right? So I feel like it’s always great to invest in education, but also know that in that investment, you’re also going to learn what doesn’t work for you.

And that’s also a really good part of learning is the failures, because it allows you to actually see what works for you. And I love that you never used to post on Instagram and now it’s your business. It’s like your “it” thing that allows you to create this full-time income.

So, take us to that Attaliah. How did that happen? How did you go from hating it to now loving it? That’s pretty awesome.

Attaliah:

I think before when I was posting on Instagram, I felt this pressure of like, “Oh, I have to post this perfect picture. And along with this perfect picture has to be the perfect caption. And it has to have the perfect hashtags.” But I was at a point where I had no idea what I was doing.

And I was just like, “You know, I’m going to risk it all. Like, I’m going to risk looking stupid. I’m going to risk putting a photo that is not my favorite photo. I’m going to risk saying words off my heart. And people feel offended by them. And because I’m doing this because this is what I need to do.”

So I felt this urge of like, “I need to get this done. This is my purpose, I need to fulfill it.” And so that’s when I started posting and in the very beginning, if you scroll through my feed and see my posts, they’re like selfies. And I was just posting at the moment and it took me a little time and I started doing professional photos and taking photos on my own and learning those things.

Attaliah Strubel on the beach

But the humble beginnings of just posting whatever I thought when I thought it kind of gave me the courage to keep doing that. And although now I have prettier pictures and maybe my captions are more strategic in a way, but I still have that same beginning of saying to myself like, “Just be yourself.”

Those people who want to be a part of your community will be a part of it. And those who don’t want are going to go wherever they want to go. But the thing is, I think we get focused on how many followers and all these metrics. And then it kind of bogs down what our purpose is, it’s post for purpose. And the people who follow you will follow you, who don’t want to follow you and follow you. And the amount of followers you have has nothing to do with your income.

Debbie:

Yeah. I absolutely agree with that.

And also just to say that there’s always going to be people who are offended, it could be anything. You could be talking about you ate eggs today and they’re offended that you’re not being in or whatever it is. Not to say vegans are like that but whatever it is that you have to say, somebody is always going to be offended. So, hey, you may as well just put whatever’s in your heart. That’s out there that’s true to you.

But yeah, it’s so funny ’cause I’ve had my clients come to me and that’s one of the things that they always say, it’s like, “How do I gain more followers?” And I’m like, “That’s not the right question to ask. It’s giving real value to your audience.” And I’ve seen friends who literally had two or 3000 followers, maybe even less, making 20 or more thousand dollars a month because of the service that they’re able to give.

And I’ve seen friends, and these are true by the way, who literally have over a hundred thousand followers and don’t make a penny from their Instagram. So can definitely attest to what Attaliah is saying. It is absolutely true.

And it’s really being strategic and understanding your business and also the value that you’re giving to people and using that in the right way. I am really interested in what you do, Attaliah, because it’s very engaging, your posts, and you obviously reel people in to become your clients. How did you learn how to do that? How did you know that the strategies that you’re making are something that is going to make money and income for you?

Attaliah:

I feel when you first start your business, the quote of the day is “people don’t buy a product, they buy people, people buy people”. So when I was first starting, I just ran with that. I was like, “Okay, people buy people, like, “Let me be myself, show my personality.” And on my Instagram, I’m working on a little bit more of being actually selling to my audience, but I just am myself and then I tell people what it is I do.

So I do social media management. I do creative consulting. I also have affiliate income through, like, LikeToKnowIt or Amazon, those kinds of things. So I have multiple streams of income, but the services I provide are mainly for those who want to prosper in their businesses, on social media.

Debbie:

I love that. I love that you have all of these types of streams of income because that is something that you really need if you want to work for yourself, if you want to work online is not just having one.

And I think with the pandemic happening, people finally realize that what we do and having all of these different streams of income is really valuable, right? And that working online is actually a good thing. And it’s so funny when I first started working online, people were like, “You’re crazy. I can’t believe you’re doing this. This is not a stable income.”

And then when the pandemic happened and people were losing their jobs and the only thing that you can actually do is work online. And then people were like, “How do I do this? How do I do what you do?” So I’m like, it’s so interesting how now what we do, Attaliah, is a good thing when, before it was like, it’s unreliable.

Attaliah:

Yes. Right?

Debbie:

It’s so interesting how the world has turned, but I love that you’re able to do that with your business. And you’re able to create all of these different streams of income for yourself.

Now for you and your whole journey with this whole thing, I know that there’s a lot of ups and downs, what has been some of the biggest humps that you had to kind of overcome to get to the point where you are now, where you’re able to maintain this type of lifestyle?

Attaliah:

I think one of the really big things, in the beginning, was worry. I had to overcome the fear of, I guess, money really is the fear of like, “Okay, I’m going into this. I’ve put all of my eggs in this basket, in this Attaliah basket. And how do I know this Attaliah basket is reliable?”

And over time, I’ve kind of, with affirmations and reading about money and kind of working within myself, found it that money comes easy to me because I’ve put it in the kind of realm of, “Okay, it’s okay to have money. It’s okay that you don’t have a normal job per se because I don’t go into work and make income, have time for income.”

So I feel like one of the things that really was hard in the beginning was the worry.

Debbie:

Yeah. I can definitely relate to that. I think we all worry once we leave our day job and be like, “Oh my gosh.” And I do have to say, because I tell people this all the time like, “Don’t go into this type of lifestyle blind. Have some savings just in case anything happens.” I do know some people that have gone into it would barely do anything and they still came out doing really well. But for me, I don’t know. I guess, I just worry.

So I’m like, “I know what you’re talking about.” So what about you, Attaliah? Did you have any savings or did you have any plans before you left or was it kind of like a spur of the moment thing? And you were just like, “Let’s see what happens.” And you’re one of those people that are more of a rebel – that’s not a bad thing, so.

Attaliah:

Debbie girl, I’m just like you. I had to get a stack of coins. I had to be like, “Okay, let me stack the coins, let me get this money saved.” Originally I was planning on working in 2021 and just flying back and forth. But as we talked about before, just the sacrifice of my freedom in January abruptly, I just was like, “Let me just call and give my two weeks’ notice.” And so I planned, but then at the end, I was a little bit rebel.

Debbie:

It’s a good combination of both, I love that.

So I’m very curious because you and your husband had like a little meet, cute as they say in the movies, and now you are in Europe and you guys are like renovating a house. Let’s tell our audience how you guys met and how you got to like Germany, because I’m interested in how you create income but I think your romance story is also really interesting.

Attaliah:

Right? So my husband and I met in Thailand. We met because I missed a flight and we were staying at the same resort.

And so I was unable to lock our door because, in Thailand, it’s the island, so they don’t have the hotel card keys and they have actual keys. And he ran over, he helped. And then my friend and I went out for the night and then the next day it poured down rain. And so we were unable to go anywhere.

I was outside at the patio, he walked by, he said, “Are you going to be here for a moment?” And then he came back and we sat down and we just talked. My friend came out, we went bar hopping for the day. It stopped raining and he headed off to another island. And my friend and I stayed there and we had other plans.

But from that moment on we exchange Facebooks and then WhatsApps. And then I never stopped talking to him from that day on, which is insane.

So about a week after we met, we got on Skype, that’s how long ago it was, we got on Skype. We had our Skype call. And then from there, we were like, “Okay, we’re going to do this thing long distance.” That was on a Thursday, the following Monday, he bought a flight to come to America

Debbie:

Oh my gosh!

Attaliah:

He was ready. He was like, “That’s the one for me.” And then he came to America and that was in March of 2016. And then from there on, we decided like we’re going to see each other every other month. And then I went to Germany and then we went on a couple’s trip and he proposed to me there and we got married that December.

Debbie:

Oh my gosh. So how many months is that? Six? Seven?

Attaliah:

11 months.

Debbie:

11 months.

Attaliah:

Yes. 11 months from the time we met.

Debbie:

Oh my gosh!

Attaliah:

Yes. I always joke with my friends and my family and I’m like, “I was single and married the same year. ” Yes, I definitely was.

Debbie:

But you know what? Like, I feel like once you find the right person once you know, you know. It doesn’t matter when you get married. It’s just like when you know that person is right for you, that’s it. You just feel it.

Attaliah:

Yes.

Debbie:

And that is such a beautiful love story. And now you guys are in Germany, you’re renovating this amazing house. It’s just a whirlwind for you. I feel like it’s been pretty incredible. Like, that’s awesome.

Attaliah:

Yes, it’s been crazy. The renovations are starting to gear up and I left because when you have a certain life event, you kind of like attached to it. Like, you’re planning a wedding, you’re kind of like, “Okay, this is a very important thing in my life.” And I’ve become a person who dreams about hanging frames.

Debbie:

I know we talked about this like a week or two ago because you and I are, like, in a similar boat, we also have this house that we have and we’re renovating it too. And I’m like, “Yeah, I’ve just been so into just like the whole redecorating everything.” And I know exactly what you’re saying, I’m like, “Yeah, I’m just choosing frames and like pottery. Where is the plant going to go?” Like, that’s really what takes up my whole day right now.

Attaliah:

Pinterest, all the pins, everything. It’s crazy.

Debbie:

I know. Like, “There are so many ideas. How do I do this?” But I love that.

So when you both decided that Germany was going to be the place for you, not the US, how did that go for you? Because I know there’s a lot of things happening right now. It’s hard before, but now with the pandemic, it’s even harder. How long did it take for you to, I guess, is it a visa that you’re getting there, or is it a permanent residency since you’re married to your husband who is a resident there?

Attaliah:

I am officially a permanent resident owner.

Debbie:

Oh, wow. that’s amazing

Attaliah:

Yes, it was a process. I did get stuck in the US for three months this year. I mean, I lost my passport too.

Debbie:

Oh, no.

Attaliah:

For me, at first, it was kind of hard because although we’d been married for five years, it’s so bad, Debbie, I did not learn a lick of German. I mean, I could say like little phrases here and there. So I had to go to German school and now I’m like A1 German certified. And so just learning that and then not being able to go, I couldn’t go anywhere else for months because of the process for the permanent residency.

Debbie:

Oh, wow.

So do they make it a requirement for you to know the language before you can become a permanent resident?

Attaliah:

Only because I’m married to a German person. It’s kind of weird, right?

Debbie:

Yeah. That’s really interesting. So if you married somebody who’s not a German citizen, like how does that, then you don’t have to know German? That’s interesting.

Attaliah:

No, you don’t. So there are quite a few people that I’ve known that have come here and they’re American citizens and they come to Germany and they get a visa and they don’t have to learn German.

Attaliah Strubel in the courtyard

And then when my husband was looking at the rules, he was like, “Yeah, if we were both Americans, then we wouldn’t have to do any of this.” But I think it’s just a way for them to kind of integrate you. And also I have to take integration courses and some other things too.

Debbie:

Oh, wow. That is really interesting and kind of nice, right? Because then you feel like you’re more acclimated, I guess, to the culture and the language when you finally do move there and it’s nice that your husband is from there. So that’s kind of a boost with everything.

So now that you’re there, how does it feel like being in this whole other country and being there with your husband? I know you have him, but it’s still not really the same when you have like your whole family and kind of like your friends. How is that transition have been for you?

Attaliah:

So last fall, so I arrived here in December 2020, and the first four months were horrible. I literally wanted to go home. I was like, “Why did I do this? I need to go home.” As I started saying, like, talking to myself and I’m like, “Okay, you know what, like what kind of things?”

I’m very much an extrovert and the German culture is very different. I can’t just go down to the market and just talk to some random person, right? I feel like in the U S that’s more acceptable. Like, you can be like, “Oh, I met this girl at the grocery store,” and people are like, “Oh cool.” But here, everyone kind of minds their own business.

So I ended up getting some on some apps and I started looking for friends and groups.

And after I came back from the US, I was there for a little bit, I started making friends and I started getting more acclimated. I started going to the farmer’s market consistently and using my German skills. And now it’s really starting to feel like home.

And I think, in the beginning, I was in this fight of my old life, basically, of me being like, “Oh, I can always go back.” But now once I sat and I was like, “You know what? If I really want this, then I have to put in the effort.” And so I think that’s one thing that as traveling people that we, or ex-pats, that we don’t talk about is really the struggle between how you lived your old life and how you’re living now.

Debbie:

Oh, that is so important to learn. You don’t realize how important that old life is until it’s literally taken from you by choice obviously. But you don’t realize how hard it is to let go of that old life until it’s gone. But it’s true too, what you’re talking about, Attaliah, is like, you’re giving yourself a note whenever you’re like, “Well, I can always go back there.”

But now that you guys are putting your roots down in Germany. You have this house, you’re renovating it. You’re like, “Okay, it’s a little harder now and I have to accept.” Then you are placed in new surroundings. And I think once you let go of that, it becomes easier. Like, when you were talking about money before, right?

Attaliah:

Yes.

Debbie:

Like, you always force things. And then when we just let things go, it becomes a lot easier because you’re not fighting anymore. It’s hard to do. That’s hard to do a lot of times.

Attaliah:

Yes, it is. But it’s so worth it. It’s so, so worth it.

Debbie:

Yeah. I completely agree with you on that one. I think not just with moving but life in general, whether it’s a job, new things that you have to handle with your life. I think that’s just life in general. I think the more we fight against something, the more it becomes harder.

And then once we just give in to certain things, because we really can’t control everything. I think a lot of type A people feel like that. But it’s easier once you let things happen too.

So Attaliah, I know we’ve talked about all of these different endeavors that you had, the travels that you’ve had. You’ve been to a lot of different countries, and now you are moving to a different country. So when you were traveling more what type of travel insurance did you use?

Attaliah:

Debbie, this is so bad. I do not have travel insurance or have never used travel insurance.

Debbie:

Well, it’s really funny ’cause I’ve been talking to a lot of my friends who are travelers and it’s not just you and I was the same way too. But I feel like now with everything that’s happening, everyone wants to get travel insurance, right?

Because you just don’t know what’s going to happen when you’re on the road. Like, who knew the pandemic was going to happen. And I know a lot of people got stuck in the country. They couldn’t leave or they got COVID and then all of a sudden, the insurance just won’t pay for it.

So I know that as a remote worker, as digital nomads, it can be a real headache for people to find out what the different requirements are when it comes to health insurance.

Debbie:

That’s why I’m really glad that I’m working with Integra Global and their plans because they have really comprehensive ones. They don’t ask their members to build a plan because how do we know what we need? Like I mentioned this pandemic it’s been super crazy.

Their insurance actually covers it all and everything is built-in. So if you all want to know more about Integral Global, you can go to IntegraGlobal.com and see how they can give you the coverage that you’ll need. And maybe some that you never knew you would because yeah, it’s a crazy time right now. You don’t know what’s going to happen.

Attaliah:

Yes, definitely. I’ll have to look into that ’cause we’re going to start traveling really soon.

Debbie:

I know. And you guys are in a great place. You’re in Europe. So it’s easy for you to go to different countries. Here in the United States, it’s like, we do have different states. Thank goodness, United States’s big, but it’s harder to go from country to country with everything that’s going on.

So that’s going to be really exciting for you, both, right?

Attaliah:

Yes.

Debbie:

There’s a lot of good things happening. I love that.

So for you, Attaliah, let’s fast forward to around 30 to 50 years from now, and you’re looking back at your life, what legacy would you like to leave and what do you want to be remembered for?

Attaliah:

Ooh, this is a tough one. I feel like I want to be remembered for living life to the fullest and helping others do the same.

I think at times, especially right now with the pandemic, it’s like, there are so many people that have waited their whole life to travel or have waited their whole life to start a business or have waited their whole life to chase that dream or build the book or write whatever they wanted to do.

And I think it’s time that we all live our lives to the fullest. I mean, not going crazy with YOLO and quitting your job right away. But just living out your purpose.

Debbie:

Yeah. And you know, this whole thing too, I feel like when things are taken from you, ’cause we take things for granted, right? And then when it’s not there anymore, you really realize how fortunate we are. And it’s kind of sad. Sometimes you think about the things that we take for granted and we don’t really appreciate it until it’s gone or it’s hard for us to get it back. So I love that.

I love that that’s really your purpose because I think that’s a really important one to have and to help people do. So, yeah. Love it.

Attaliah:

Thank you.

Debbie:

So what is the one thing that you want to really accomplish now? I know you’ve accomplished a lot of things. You’ve done a lot of different things with your life. What would you say is the next thing that you want to do?

Attaliah:

The next big thing I want to do is to start a podcast. It feels like that is something that I aspire to do. I love listening to podcasts. I’ve been listening to podcasts all morning. I just feel it’s another way to connect in the radio for me is not enough.

Debbie:

Yeah. I love that.

And we talked about this too, Attaliah, definitely. I’m so excited for you to start that journey because podcasting, I feel like it’s so incredible and it’s just gotten more popular and it’s not just entertaining, it’s also informative. And I love listening when I’m working too. So you get so much information. I feel like it’s multitasking, but it’s not hard multitasking when you do that.

And as a podcaster, it’s very fulfilling. It’s also great because you get to meet really incredible people like you and just to get everyone’s journey and all of that is pretty incredible. I love it.

So yeah, I can’t wait to see where you go with that. Hopefully, you and I can work together, and yeah, that’s a great thing to do next. Love it.

So, Attaliah , if our listeners want to know more about you, where can they find you?

Attaliah:

You can find me @attaliahstrubel on Instagram. You can also find me at www.AttaliahStrubel.com. And sometimes I get on TikTok – @thestrubelfamily

Debbie:

Love that. Yes. And we are going to have links to Attaliah, social media, and website on our site on her episode links there as well. So love it. T.

Thank you so much, Attaliah, for being here with us. We really appreciate you sharing your journey and yeah, I can’t wait to see where you land next.

Attaliah:

Thank you so much for having me, Debbie.


Follow Attaliah:

 


Show Credits:

Audio Engineer: Ben Smith

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