Ep. 248: How this entrepreneur gained freedom as a language teacher and online business coach with Anahyse France
In this episode, I speak with Anahyse who has been a digital entrepreneur since 2013.
She splits her time between running her own business, Language Confidence academy, and working as a freelance business coach for a French company.
She’s also a podcast host and author of a self-coaching newsletter for freedom entrepreneurs.
Listen on to find out how Anahyse has been able to become a digital entrepreneur as a language teacher and freelance business coach.
Ep. 247: How this mother of 4 gained freedom as an online travel expert with Amanda Keeley-Thurman
Ep. 246: How this expat travels the world as an English Language Teacher with Nicole Brewer
Ep. 245: How this offbeat traveller turned a sabbatical into a permanent world adventure with Marek Bron
Hey everyone, thank you so much for being here. I am really excited to speak with my guest today.
I’m here with Anahyse. Hey, Anahyse, how are you?
Hey, Debbie. I’m good. How are you?
I am wonderful. Thank you so much for being here with us today. Can you tell us about you and why you live an offbeat life?
So first of all, thank you so much for having me. Like I told you, I listened to your podcast and it was one of the first ones I discovered when I started being interested in this digital nomad, remote life subject. So I’m super honored.
So I would say there are two reasons: one, I haven’t lived in my own country for the last 20 plus years. I’m originally from Madagascar and I’ve been living in France for well, since 2004. And before that, I lived in Switzerland for three years. So I’ve been an expat or an immigrant for quite some time.
And then the other reason is that I started being a digital entrepreneur in 2013 because I wanted to create my own job. And more specifically I wanted to create a job that didn’t depend on a location because my husband, for his job, has to relocate every four to five years and I didn’t want to be dependent on him.
I love that. And you’re always on the go, even before you started working remotely and your husband has this really interesting job where you all are able to travel so much.
So when you decided to take that leap, to start working online, to get, I guess, your own type of life, right? ‘Cause I could definitely understand how you would feel like you’re living in a shadow of your husband if you are just at home, especially if you’re moving constantly. it’s kind of hard to have that job that’s stable.
So that is another reason why some people would go into the remote life type of work. And because of that type of lifestyle, your partner has that job that they’re always traveling. So what did you decide to do, Anahyse, to kind of go into this, to be a remote worker? What did you end up doing?
So I’ve been teaching English for plus 20 years. So what happened was my husband got his first job and he did that job for the first five years where we’re staying in one place. And then he said, “Okay, I have this opportunity to relocate to another city in France. And I was super excited. I was like, “Yay, great.”
But we moved. And then I was like, “Okay, so everything I’ve built and all my contacts and everything, it doesn’t exist anymore. And I have to start everything from scratch.” So the first thing I did was to find a way to teach English online.
So at first, I was just teaching English online, putting some ads on the French equivalent of Craiglist, I guess. And I was just teaching one on one classes online and it was a way for me to replace my former job. But then after a while, I was like, “Okay.” But I’m still trading time for money because basically if I’m sick, I can’t teach so I’m not making money. If we go on holiday, I can teach and I’m not making money.
So I started thinking, “How can I make this thing more passive and still sustainable?” And this is how I started to build online courses. And I didn’t know what I was doing at first. So I watched a lot of videos to learn how to do that. And then I decided to take a course and then I got started. And I think it was after the first six months, I started to make recurrent income. Not much but enough to make me think that it was a viable idea.
Yeah. And that’s the thing, right?
I think, especially if you’re just starting out, you can kind of don’t understand the differences between a freelancer, having a full-time position, and then going off on your own and starting a business and then making it into passive income.
So what you were essentially doing at first, Anahyse, is being a freelancer, meaning you don’t really have an employer you’re working for yourself. And that’s really what we all want, right? To have that type of lifestyle where you’re working for yourself, but there are downsides to that.
And you mentioned a few of them; is that you don’t have that stability of an income if you are sick, or if you go on vacation, you can’t really earn that income. So especially if you’re just starting out, it’s still really unstable. That’s why if you really do need that stability, you can still work remotely, but you may have to work for an employer and then they’ll give you all the benefits that any nine to five does. But the biggest perk is you can work from anywhere.
And then instead of doing that, you decided to do the passive income route, which I personally love. That’s what I’m doing with my business as well. But it does take a little bit of time, sometimes a lot bit of time for that to continue to work.
So can you go through that and how you were able to kind of transition into further detail into more of a passive income route for your business?
So when I started the business, the first thing I did was to create a YouTube channel and my idea was that, because I saw a lot of other teachers who had this huge following on YouTube, like language teachers, English teachers. And so I thought, “Okay, this is how I’m going to get people to know me.” So I created the YouTube channel and I made some videos on YouTube.
And the first thing I did was to actually try to create something like a kind of freebie or something that I gave to people. Yeah. So this was the way for me to be like, “Hey, this is what I do. This is the way I do it. So if you’re interested and you want to go further you can sign up here and work with me.”
And also, during the first month, I was continuing to teach one on one because I needed the money, but I kind of make this sacrifice of instead of teaching full time, because as you can imagine, there was a time when I was teaching up to 30 hours a week, one on one, which was just crazy. I couldn’t do that anymore.
And so I decided to just reduce the number of hours. I was teaching one on one, but still, have a minimum number of hours. And then the rest of the time I was trying to work on the business. So I was learning and I was doing at the same time.
So, when I learned, for example, like, how to make a YouTube channel, I watched a few videos. I was like, “Oh, okay. So you need to do SEO, whatever.” And then I tried to do that.
The first month, it was really like working and at the same time, trying to build step by step the different things that I needed to do. And it was a bit difficult because it was the first time ever. Before that, I didn’t even know that people were doing that, this whole online course thing, this whole passive income thing.
I also discovered affiliate marketing, recommending some products to your audience. And I was like, “Oh, people do that and they make money?” So yeah, at first it was, like, before I can replace my income with completely passively, I still need to continue to teach one on one, which was also a great way to know my audience cause I was spending so much time with them and they told me their pain points, what they needed, et cetera.
And then I used that and that experience to build my online products.
I love that idea. And you’re pretty much doing research for your business while you’re getting paid to do it as well. And that is also a really great idea to take all of the pain points that they have and create content for that. So that is a really brilliant thing that you did, Anahyse.
And also the fact that you have a market there, right? You doing one-on-ones 30 hours a week. That means there is a market for you there and for you to take advantage of. And now you could just transition that into more of a passive income by creating your videos online.
As well now, instead of just reaching one person or several people a week now you can reach thousands, hundreds of thousands, even millions of people with the content that you’re doing online which is really awesome.
Once you did that, how did it keep going? Are you still doing your one-on-ones now or is it mostly through videos online?
So it was an interesting evolution because at first, I was doing, I would say, half one-on-one and half online for different sources of income. So at first, there were the online courses. Then I started doing affiliate marketing and this was pretty much the balance: half one-on-one and half just the other stuff.
And then the second year, most of my income was from passive stuff. I still sometimes did some kind of masterclasses and things like that. But what happened was I had a crazy year, I think it was 2019. So it was like my best year, like the most income I’ve ever made, but I also got very overwhelmed.
It was still a solo business. I was doing that on my own and I kind of had, I wouldn’t say like a burnout, but almost. I was like, “Oh, I don’t even know if I like this anymore,” and so on.
And so, I had this phase where I really slowed down. I slowed everything down. So I wasn’t focusing really on growing the business. I was more like, “Okay, I’m making a certain sustainable income. I can just sleep on my ROAS for a while and maybe develop new projects and do other stuff.”
And so I still had my business, but then I started developing new things on the side. For example, I created this podcast called The AntiSnooze Mindset where I interview entrepreneurs and I’m planning, for example, to launch a journaling community because I love journaling. So this is my big project for 2022.
And so I had this transition phase where I was like, “Okay, what do I really want to do with my life? Do I want to continue to teach English forever? Or do I want to do something else? And during the time I was just thinking about it, I was continuing to run the business.
And now I’m like, “Actually, I don’t know.” I kind of get my shit together and I was like, “Okay, 2022, I’m getting back on track. I have so many ideas for my English company, but I also have so many ideas for my other company. So I’m going to try to build a team so I can be able to work on both projects because I’m equally passionate about both projects.”
So that’s kind of the plan. But I think when you’re an entrepreneur, it’s never a straight path. Sometimes it’s working, you’re making money and you realize that maybe that’s not exactly what’s fulfilling you. And I think it’s important to be able to just step back, reflect, think about what’s your real mission in life. And by doing that, I found out that it doesn’t really matter the way I do it. What I like doing is helping people.
And so there are so many different ways that I can help people and I don’t have to choose one away, but I just need to figure out a way to balance the things that I want to do. So that’s kind of where I am right now.
I think we all come to that crossroad, right? Because in the beginning, we’re just trying to figure out how to make things work, how to create income from this. And then once you do start creating income from this, then you begin to question, “Is this even really what I wanted? Is this really where I see my future?”
And that completely happened to me, especially in the last year. And that’s one of the things that I’ve been talking about with my audience when I do my solo episodes, it’s like, “I came to the crossroad, I was making the money, but I was not happy with it. And then I looked at myself, I’m like, ‘Okay, 10 years from now, is this where I keep seeing myself? Is this where my life should be leading?'” And it was a no.
And once you reevaluate that, it’s kind of like going back to square one, maybe restarting over again, and being a beginner at something.
And that can be something really scary, right? That could be a really scary feeling, but also it feels really liberating. And also once you find that thing that really makes you happy and then it also makes you money, then there’s really nothing better than that.
So I think you’re at that crossroad too, Anahyse. And I think that it’s really scary but a beautiful process because I do believe that it is. Like you mentioned before, it’s not a one-road type thing. There’s a lot of different things that happen that you question, and then you wanna change. And you may feel like you want this now, and then you go into it and it’s not right for you.
So for those of you listening who are at this type of crossroad, don’t feel bad. We all go through that process.
It’s not perfect, right? It’s never a straightforward thing. And if it was, it would be great then we wouldn’t question anything and life would be a lot easier, I think.
Yeah, that’s the thing.
But if you choose to take that road of working for yourself, you also have to be ready for the fact that nothing is clear all the time. And that’s why I think it’s important to get into the habit of reflecting regularly.
And this is how I got into journaling and all these things because I don’t know if you’re like me and I’m sure you are, but as a creative person, I constantly have all these crazy ideas and it’s very easy to get distracted by shiny object syndrome as they call it.
So if you don’t have a clear direction and the direction has to be clear, but sometimes the path to go there doesn’t have to be super straight. And you might deviate sometimes, but you need to know where you’re going.
And for me, in order to know where I’m going, I need to have this habit of my journal, where do I want to be in five years? All those kinds of deep questions. And this what allowed me to actually get back on track because when you’re at the crossroad you were talking about sometimes you feel lost. You’re like, “Oh my God!”
And the question I asked myself was like, “Did I do all this for nothing?” I’ve worked on this business all these years and it has become successful and now I’m questioning it like, “What’s happening. Did I just do this for nothing?”
So, so yeah, I needed to just reflect and be like, “No,” it’s just that you need to do it differently or maybe you need to let other, some other passions get also in the way or something. And yeah, this is how I got to that conclusion that I needed to do both but I needed to find a way to do both in a nonoverwhelming way.
And that’s a tough thing. And a lot of those questions are really good to ask yourself because otherwise you’re just gonna keep going and then it’s gonna become even more overwhelming. And it’s gonna make you really unhappy with your decisions later on.
And I love that question where you ask yourself, “Did I do this for nothing?” I have asked myself that with several things because I’ve started so many different things in my life. I feel like I’ve done so many, like a hundred things in my life, and every time I ended, I always ask that question.
And it’s so interesting that where I am now, I feel like everything that I have done has culminated to this point in my life because I learned that I didn’t wanna do those things. So then I could X that out of my life. And also all of the lessons that you learn from it, the skills that you actually learn from it allows you to do something better for the next project that you’re gonna do.
So, in that process and that time being, it does feel like a failure. It does feel like you wasted your time, but once you start using certain skills that you learned from those projects, it doesn’t seem so bad anymore. So it was worth it, all the suffering.
And I think a lot of people are scared to start a business or anything because they have this mindset of, “What if I start and I fail,” but the thing is you will never know whether you’re going to succeed or fail if you don’t start, first of all.
And if you start, you will necessarily learn something because this is also for, you were talking about, starting over before. And I feel like since I’ve put all my energy into starting and growing this first business, I don’t have to go through the process of learning again. I just need to apply what I’ve learned.
And yes, it’s a new niche and it’s a new type of activity, but I’m still using the same tools, I’m using digital marketing. I know how to grow an audience, even if it’s from scratch. And I know it takes time. And so I don’t have all this burden of, “Oh my God, I don’t know what I’m doing.”
And I have to both learn and work. Now I just have to work because I already know the skills I need and what I need to do and how to communicate and use social media and all these things.
It’s definitely worth it. It takes a lot of time and effort. And that’s the thing, there’s really no shortcuts to many things. I think the only time you do get a shortcut is once you learn all the skills you need and now need to learn something new, you can just go to your expertise and then work on that.
I feel like in the world that we’re living in now, there’s a lot of instant gratification because social media just shows you a lot of what happens after you already succeed. But I think we have to emphasize that it does take a lot of time and a lot of effort for you to actually succeed.
And for people who were able to succeed in a shorter amount of time, it’s because they learned so much, right? They struggled for a really long time before they got to that point, at least for the most part. I mean, there’s obviously, some people who, who are always the exception to the rule, but that’s not the hundred percent. That’s like maybe the one or 5% in the world.
And I’m not even sure.
Yeah, exactly. We’re not even sure about that.
But the thing is it’s not sexy to talk about, “I failed here. I did this, it didn’t work. And before I made 1 million or 10 million or a hundred million, I hustled for several years or several months.” It’s not very sexy but I think if you’re honest with people, you have to say that it took time.
Sometimes people ask me like, “Oh. So you did this thing. And it’s so cool that it worked. And how long is it going to take if I do the same thing?” And I always say like, “This is the worst question you can ever ask.” Like, if you start something and you ask yourself how long it’s going to take, whether it’s a diet or starting to exercise or a business, if you ask yourself how long it’s going to take, this is not the right question to ask, and this is not the right mindset.
What you need to ask yourself is, “How much am I going to commit to doing this?” And you also need to be ready to commit for the next 10 years mutually.
Because if you create anything, a blog, a podcast, or anything, the question is not how many episodes do I need to do to finally get successful and have sponsors, but it’s really like, “How many episodes am I committed to producing and publishing without thinking about the kind of outcome that I can get of that? Because maybe after three years I will have a thing or maybe I’ll get lucky and have the right guests and the right connections and it’ll work,” but you never know.
And again, it’s all about the results, we’re always result-driven. And I think the most important thing is what you’re talking about, Anahyse, is the process, right? You have to really love, you have to enjoy that process to keep going.
And also another thing I wanna talk about is if you actually like it, and there’s a passion for it because, at the end of the day, when things are not going right, and it’s taking you longer than you thought, the only thing that’s gonna drive you to keep going is that passion, is the love for the process and not exactly the result of it because you never know.
And I think that’s what I also wanna talk about is like, you never know what your result is going to be. You could be working on this for the next 10 years, and it just falls apart. Maybe you have some success here and there, but it’s never continuous, right?
So it has to be a process to it. You have to understand if this is where you wanna keep going, if you wanna end it at a certain point, and those are the questions that you need to ask yourself as well. And I do wanna talk about failure.
And you mentioned this, Anahyse, about it’s not sexy to talk about failing. And I think there’s also another thing that at least for me is, I don’t know if you feel this way, but in the Asian community, there’s like a sense of shame when you admit to failure.
And that’s one thing that I’ve seen people do. It’s like, “I don’t wanna share this because I’m ashamed of failing. Like, “It’s shameful for me, for my family. I don’t wanna admit that.” And that, I think I really had to rethink that myself too, because now I’m like, “Great. I failed. It’s just another way for me to learn.”
And I think owning up to that and really embracing that makes it so much better for you. And also it makes you so much more relatable because you don’t wanna see someone who’s just perfect all the time. You wanna root for the underdog who failed so many times, and then even through all the failures, they ended up winning. And I think that’s what we can really relate to as well.
Yeah, you’re right.
And I think there is a big problem with that mentality. And I think it’s the same in a lot of cultures because it’s definitely the same in my culture too. But the problem with that mentality is that you’re perpetuating this myth of either you are a success and because that’s what we see, or if you are a failure, you are a failure forever. Like, there’s no way to change history or something like that.
And I think it’s kind of dangerous to perpetuate this state of mind, because when we start reading books, entrepreneurs, we read books, right? We all read the same books. We all know the same business and biographies and personal development books like Steve Jobs and whatever.
And when we read these books, we can see that these people they’re actually normal people and they had some ideas and 99% of their ideas didn’t work. And then there was this 1% that worked. And it’s good to read this because, like you said, it makes it super relatable.
But the problem is that the early-stage entrepreneurs who are not yet in this phase of, “I want to really educate myself and I want to, and I realize that my personal development is as important for me as growing the business.”
So the early-stage entrepreneur, they have this image of it’s like the legal castle that you need to build, and they see the finished legal castle, but they don’t want to go through all the phases of actually building the castle piece by piece.
And I don’t think it’s a good thing to show that image of, “Yeah, this guy, he’s successful, he’s making millions,” and making people actually believe that this person never failed or never made mistakes or anything.
Yeah. I completely agree with that.
And I think that’s what we need to show more of and not to say, like, it’s just all negative and all of that stuff, because it’s not. And what really where I want to kind of turn this into is like seeing it as a positive, right? Seeing it as a learning experience and growing from that, rather than it’s a negative thing, and we don’t want that to happen to us.
Because we’ve seen it time and time and again. There are so many entrepreneurs out there who are leaders at the top of the world who continuously failed. And I think the difference between those types of people and the people that really never make it is they’re just willing to fail so many times, right?
That there’s just really no other way through it. ‘Cause it’s like if you’ve failed a thousand times, like you’re bound to get one winner at some point, right?
You can’t win if you don’t play, first of all.
Yeah, I agree.
I told that to my kids last time because they were like, “Oh, there’s this contest at school, but I don’t wanna participate because I’m not sure I have my chances.” And I was like, “It doesn’t really matter if you win or not. If you want to participate, you just participate for the sake of trying and all the experience you’re going to gain and overcoming your fears and all these things. And if you win, it’s a bonus and if you don’t, it’s not a failure, it’s just a learning experience.”
And if I apply that to entrepreneurship, I would say the same thing. If you wanna try something, try it and see what happens and if it works, it’s great. It’s a bonus. And if it doesn’t, see what you can learn from it and see how you can improve next time or maybe change or tweak a few things, but really do the thing.
Also, it’s something I told you when I interviewed you because I did interview you in my podcast, Debbie. There’s also this thing that I say all the time, which is when you start doing things, things happen. And so it’s really just about putting yourself out there.
And like you said before, focusing on the process and not the outcome. And in the process, things are going to happen because people will notice you, you’ll get opportunities. And if you’re afraid to say some stupid stuff, one thing that is also super reassuring is that people forget very quickly.
So you can post something and realize that, “Oh my God, this was ridiculous. And people hate me now.” It’s okay because maybe there will hate you today. Tomorrow they will hate someone else because they will have forgotten.
So you really shouldn’t be scared to put yourself out there because either people will be inspired by what you do and you will gain community and opportunities from that. Or they will not care or not like what you do, but they will just forget the next day. They will move on and you can move on. So either way, there’s no losing. There’s only winning. That’s what I think.
And I also find that most of the time people tend to forget these things. And we’re usually the ones that never forget something. It’s like, “Oh, we’re so harder on ourselves. Oh my God, I did this wrong.” And then meanwhile, like the other person who you thought like you didn’t do well with, they don’t even remember what you did.
So we’re always our harshest critics in that sense but that’s most of us, I guess, especially when you’re an entrepreneur, you’re always wanting to do your best and be perfect, but it’s okay. It’s okay to be imperfect. And I think that’s what makes all of us unique.
It would be really boring if we were all perfect, I think, and we probably wouldn’t have gotten some really good stuff because we were perfect. ‘Cause there are certain things that were discovered because we didn’t do it right.
And I really think that perfectionism is not equality. I don’t know why people think that saying you’re a perfectionist is quality because it’s not, it sucks actually. I mean, it’s draining all your energy and all your motivation and you’re wasting time because you’re going to redo the thing 1000 times. Like, “Come on, just publish the damn thing or do the damn thing and it’s okay. And if it’s not perfect this time, it will get better next time. So it’s okay.”
And even now when I look at my videos, for example, on YouTube, one thing that I like doing is when I feel like I have my doubts, what I do is I go to YouTube and I watch the first videos that some people that I follow made. So I go back to their archives and usually, there are people who’ve been doing this for a while and I look at their first videos and I’m so happy because I’m like, “Oh yeah, it sucked actually five years ago.”
So yeah, it’s a weird way to kind of reassure myself. But I do that because I want to remind myself that even the people that I admire, because I think, “Oh, what they’re doing is amazing and awesome,” they didn’t start off doing incredible things, right?
And so if you think you’re going to do something imperfectly, go and see what’s your favorite influencers did three, five years ago or whenever they started and just realize how much it sucked and you will feel better. That’s my little strategy.
It’s really true because everybody starts somewhere. You don’t start out perfect. And I think that’s the thing unless you are in a huge network or something and they’re doing everything for you and most of us are not in that.
We wish, that that would be great, but it’s not the way life work, but it’s good. It’s good in that way ’cause that means you learn more.
So, Anahyse, let’s fast forward to about 30 to 40 years from now and you’re looking back at your life, what legacy would you like to leave and what do you wanna be remembered for?
I think the best thing that people could say about me and I thought about that for a while is that I inspired them. So, I want to be remembered for inspiring other people to do something that they thought was impossible. And one great compliment that I like receiving is when I post something and somebody says, “Oh, I needed to hear this.”
So in a few years, or in 30 years, I’d like to be remembered as the person who may be said something or posted something at a moment where somebody else needed it. Or I wanna be this person that is remembered for inspiring other people to just do the thing, whatever it is, but just like do the thing,
And I think that’s a legacy that is really true and what you are already doing right now, right? You’re inspiring people, you are putting yourself out there and your content. I can see your children being inspired by you as well. And them seeing that these things can be done. So I love that.
Thank you so much, Anahyse, for all of your perspectives, thank you for being a listener. I always love having listeners on the show because I can see how it inspired them and also how it allows them to start working or continue to work remotely. And I really appreciate you for that.
Well, thank you so much for having me. And it was a real pleasure talking about all these topics. I could talk about that forever and I know you would too, but everything has to come to an end, right?
Absolutely. I know.
I’m like, “We gotta meet one day. We gotta meet.” And I’m like, “Yeah.” Like, every person I talk to on the show, I’m like, “We would definitely just keep talking our ears off at this point.”
Thank you, Anahyse, for sharing with us your journey. We really appreciate you.
Thank you, Debbie.
Listen to Anahyse’s extended interview where she shares how to build sales funnels using YouTube.
What you’ll find:
In this episode, Anahyse will help you build the foundations when building sales funnel using YouTube.