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Ep. 134 How this online entrepreneur travels the world as a Pinterest Marketer with Molly ho

In this week’s episode, I speak with Molly Ho who is a branding and marketing strategist, educator, and designer.

In 2016, she quit her office job and started her online venture into entrepreneurship. In 2019, she traveled to and lived in 7 countries in 7 months while earning passive income online with the power of Pinterest marketing.

Listen on to find out how Molly is able to travel the world as an online Pinterest Marketer.

Listen Below:

 


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RELATED EPISODES: 

Ep.131: How this social media storyteller and strategist travels the world while supporting small business owners with Natasha Samuel

130: How this former factory worker transitioned to remote sales and earns 100x more with Filip Stankovski

129: How this entrepreneur transformed her struggling business to become a leading online advertising agency with Kristen Brown.


Transcription :

Debbie: 

Hey everyone, thank you so much for joining us. I am so excited to be here with Molly. Hey Molly, how are you?

Molly:  

Hi Debbie. I’m doing great. How are you?

Debbie: 

I am wonderful. Thank you so much for being here. Can you tell us a little bit more about you and why you live an offbeat life?

Molly: 

Yes. So, hi everyone. I’m Molly. I am a brand and marketing strategist, and designer. And I live an offbeat life because I decided that traditional life wasn’t for me. I knew at a young age that it wasn’t for me, but I always couldn’t figure out how to do it and for the past three years, I’ve learned how to do it.

Debbie: 

That is awesome. And you have a really interesting story where you were at a really low point in your life and you didn’t know what to do with yourself and you went out there even though you weren’t feeling so good about yourself and you made this brand for yourself. How did you do that? How did you take yourself out of that low point to get to where you are right now?

Molly:  

Yeah, so after I quit my job about three or four years ago now, I was at a low point because it was one of the best jobs I ever had, but it was also one of the most toxic environments I’ve ever been in. And I knew that I had to bring myself out of that place because if I had stayed in that place, I would’ve kept sprawling downward. So, I was like, “Okay, what can I do?” And so, I did a lot of research online and honestly the first two years were a struggle. I always try to tell people that because I think they always doing this thinking that their lives are going to change within three months and that’s not what happens at all. And so, for the next two years I just like try different things. I like try to figure it out. And then, I think the turning point for me at one point was realizing I don’t like this feeling of like not knowing because I was trying so many different things. And I was like, “Okay, it’s time to stick to one thing and go all in.” And that’s what I did. And then, things started to shift and pivot for me.

Debbie:

What about overcoming that fear, right? Because we all have these fears and misconceptions about things and we hear so many people give us advice and expectations of us from whether it’s ourselves, society, our family and friends. How did you get over that?

Molly:

I think I was more afraid of waking up one day and feeling exhausted because I had followed other people’s paths instead of my own. Growing up, I always saw other people living this life of the nine to five or doing the same thing every day and complaining to their friends, just complaining about life in general. It just felt so exhausting to me, even as a child. And I knew I didn’t want to be like that when I grew up but I didn’t know how to change that because that was the only thing I knew. But the fear of that is bigger than my fear of disappointing people because I didn’t go to college or I didn’t get like every old job or a corporate job or something.

 

Debbie: 

I guess the biggest fear is really realizing like you’re saying, waking up one day and doing what everyone else wanted you to do, right? I think that’s also one of my biggest fears as well is not living for yourself and living for everyone else. That’s a really hard pill to take. And I have seen that from so many people and they regret it and they say, “Well, I wish I would have done this five years ago or 10 years ago.” But honestly, if you’re doing it now, that’s the best thing because you actually made that choice to pivot.

Molly:

Right

Debbie: 

Now, what about you? How do you embrace change in life, right? Because there are so many things, whether you transitioned from your nine to five, how do you do that? How do you make that big change and survive it?

Molly: 

So, I’ve actually never had a nine to five before my last job like “let me work whatever hours I wanted.” That’s why it was so hard for me to leave and so scary for me to leave because I had a lot of awesome perks. Like they took me to Hawaii for free, but it was just not worth it at one point anymore.

Debbie:

I think that’s the hardest thing, right? Especially when you’re comfortable and everything is safe and everyone is telling you that that job is perfect. So many people would kill to have this job and meanwhile on the inside you’re literally dying and you just can’t wait to get out. That must’ve been so hard for you to take that leap.

Molly: 

Yeah, it was. I was still saying it was one of the most terrifying decisions of my life. But looking at it, looking back at it now, like three years later, I’m so glad I did.

Debbie:

Now, how did you actually prepare yourself to make that big change and do this business for yourself?

Molly:

After I decided that I wanted to leave, I actually talked to my boss and he was like, “Why don’t you take a two-week vacation and figure out and make sure this is what you actually want?” So, I did that and then, I came back and I knew that I still didn’t want to stay. I ended up hiring a coach to help through the transition. At the time, I was like, after I ended my session with the coach, I can’t believe I did that because maybe I should have stayed in the job. So, it definitely wasn’t a smooth transition for me. But I did save up enough in my bank account where I was like, “Okay, I have X amount of time to try different things to give myself that freedom, that time, and that space. I say it like that, but I did not give myself that time or freedom or space to figure it out. It was like very much my “type A” personality. And so, I was like, “I have to figure out with an X amount of time.” And it wasn’t until I let go of that timeline until I had that space and freedom to actually grow in my business if that makes sense.

Debbie:

Yeah. It’s giving yourself that space, right? Because I feel like a lot of times we want to fill up every single time of the day that we can because we feel like we’re more productive. And when you actually give yourself that space, so many great things will fill it. Things that you would not have had the opportunity to have if you were filled to the brim with just task, just for work sake.

Molly:

Right.

Debbie: 

Well, we all have a “what now?” moment especially after leaving our day job. What was yours like?

Molly: 

Sorry. I’m like trying to think of my “what now?” moment.

Debbie:

No, that’s okay.

Molly:

So, my “what now?” moment was when I quit my job and then I was like “What now?” And then, I went into work mode and workaholic mode. I build my to-do list up to like five miles long. I had so many tasks to do within a day, and I think what I really should have done was I should have focused on the money-making activities first instead of doing all of the things that people think you need to do. Because I would think I was also avoiding the important things that needed to be done like talking to people. Instead, I wanted to do behind the scenes work. And I think what most people often do is because they are still in the employee mindset, they’re like, “I have to do this and I have to do that. But you have to be the visionary and you have to be like, “Okay, this is where we’re going next and this is what’s happening now and this is what’s happening next”.

Molly:

And while I’m doing that, most of the time I was like, “Okay, these are the things that I’m focusing on now.” Because I was still in that employee mindset. And I guess that was my “what now?” moment.

Debbie: 

I love that you talk about changing the mindset because we all had that, we were trained to have the employee mindset to do whatever it is that our bosses want us to do. And when you’re going into this lifestyle and you’re taking that leap, that huge switch, that switch of your brain to say, “Okay, I don’t have to do everything like this – A B, and C. I have to be more creative. I have to be an entrepreneur.” It’s so different. And that is really hard to do, especially in the beginning.

Debbie:

Now, what about your biggest setback that you encountered in the beginning or even now as an entrepreneur and you’re doing this and you’re actually monetizing. What is the biggest one that you’ve encountered and how do you deal with it?

Molly:

I wouldn’t necessarily call this a step back, but I think after coming back from my travels, I had another pivot in my life in business where now I’m trying to scale my business but I’ve been telling myself for the longest time, “Okay, I’m going to hire someone to help me do all of the other things.” And I still haven’t hired anyone to do it because I keep killing myself as time. But if I’m being realistic, I can find time in my schedule. And I think sometimes our biggest step back or my biggest setback is like the things I tell myself and the stories they tell myself. I think that whatever we tell ourselves is what’s going to become true. So if I keep telling myself, “I don’t have time to do X, I’m not going to find time to do X.” Because in my mind I’ve already created the story that I don’t have time. And so I guess my biggest step back from the very beginning is the mindset. And that is something I have to actively work on. Otherwise, I actually go backward.

Debbie:

Yeah. It’s really hard, right? Because most of the time when you’re trying to scale, it’s hard to do that if you’re doing everything yourself. And I am definitely a huge believer of outsourcing and getting people to do the tasks. Honestly, there are so many things that we’re not good at, right? Realizing and knowing what your strengths are and playing up that strength and then, hiring somebody who can do so much better than you with other things that first of all, you probably didn’t enjoy. Second of all, they can do it a hundred times better than you, and it’s another way to really invest in your company that will make it grow bigger and you’re actually going to be monetizing it. And it’s such a completely different way. So I’ve definitely heard that from a lot of people, Molly, and you’re not alone and it’s a hard thing to do, which is really interesting because you’re like, “Yeah, hiring someone.” That’s pretty easy if you’re just looking on the outside. But when you’re actually doing it, it’s hard.

Molly: 

Right. Yeah. Because then you also have to think about training people and bringing them on board and making sure that your brand and company is a good fit for them because it’s not about just making sure that they’re a good fit for you but making sure that like they feel heard and seen in your business.

Debbie: 

Yeah. It’s another layer to it. You have to manage them, you have to make sure that they’re happy, you need to make sure that communication is really good. That’s a huge thing that I really learned, especially in the beginning of that is so crucial to all of this. Especially if you have a remote business. It’s number one.

Debbie: 

What would you say is your secret sauce to making your business successful?

Molly:

I think it’s my willingness to keep going even when things get hard or even so to be completely transparent, there have been a few times in my journey where it’s just like I’m throwing in a towel, but not really because I didn’t have a plan B, I didn’t want to go back to working for someone else. Eventually, I always picked myself back up and I was like, “Okay, we’re going to figure this out and we’re going to try again.” And I think that is what I have seen. When I look at other people who we see as successful, they didn’t give up. And so, I think for me, that’s the same thing too. The first two years were really hard for me, but I didn’t give up. I kept going and I was like, “I’m going to figure this out.” I want to do courses, I want to hire people. But whatever happens, I can’t go back to working for someone else.

Debbie:

I think that’s most of our biggest fears, right? Whatever’s happening now is not as bad as if you have to go back to that day jobs that you have to work your butt off. So, yes, that’s most of our motivating factors when it comes to having our own business, especially if you add this type of personality where you like to be your own boss and you want to create that freedom for yourself. I think the worst fear that we have is, again, going back to that old lifestyle, you don’t want to do that again.

Molly:

Yeah. I think the part I’m most afraid of is I always hear my friends complain about other people, like coworkers, that company culture, the office drama that I’m not a fan of.

Debbie:  

Yeah, it’s true. There’s so many. And also when you’re in that office drama or office culture, it does work with a lot of people because it may motivate them to do it, but there’s also a lot of things that goes along with it. And I always find that when I’m working by myself, I get things done so much quicker. Like before I would work from maybe like nine to five, but now I can literally work from eight to two or eight to 12 and I would get more things done than when I was working longer hours, which is crazy.

Molly:

Yeah, I can totally relate to that.

Debbie:

Yeah. So it’s just being more precise with what you’re doing and there’s no one to distract you to do it. So, which is always good. How much money were you able to save before setting off to do your business and become location independent and how were you able to budget that money to last?

Molly:  

When I quit my job I think I had about 14,000 in my bank account.

Debbie:     

How were you able to budget that money so that it would actually last?

Molly: 

I actually went back to live with my dad during that time. So, I have one money rule and that is if I can’t afford it, then I’m not going to buy it. Like if I can’t pay off the full amount, I’m just not going to buy it. And I have this baseline, like I have to have at least this amount of money in my bank account. I don’t really say that I budget because I don’t buy a lot of things in general. So, I have my basic expenses. I buy clothes a few times a year, I eat food every day. Food in my business expenses are probably my only expenses. And I look at my bank account every other week or every week just to look at the huge numbers. And then, every month it would be like, “Okay, what am I spending money on?” And I personally don’t spend that much money. I don’t really have a budget, to be honest with you.

Debbie: 

So, now, when you were living abroad and you were traveling around ’cause you were in so many different countries during that time when you finally decided to leave, what type of international insurance did you use?

Molly:    

I used World Nomads.

Debbie: 

And were you able to use all of the different aspects of it? Like they gave you all of the different coverages for them?

Molly:   

I actually did not use it once.

Debbie: 

I love that you were prepared because honestly, I hear this a lot from people that they’re not prepared to do it. And it’s just like with anything else, especially in a different country, getting sick on the road really sucks. But the worst thing about that and the worst stuff is like dealing with the insurance claims, especially if they have unreliable customer service who never give you the right info that you need. So that’s always good that you weren’t able to use that, but just in case you are prepared ’cause a lot of people aren’t. And for me honestly, it gives me a lot of stress and that’s why I love the partner that I have – Integra global.

Their house experts and partnerships with some of the world’s leading companies that offer ex-pat assistant programs, security, natural disaster protection and so much more. So if you want to speak with helpful experts who can make your life easier, if you guys want to go there, go to IntegraGobal.com and speak to one of their awesome reps and also World Nomads that you’re using is also great. And it’s great to also really be prepared because you never know, especially if you don’t know the country that can be really, really scary and you did the right thing.

It’s better not to use it than not have it and then regret it later on.

Molly:     

Exactly. Yeah, for sure.

Debbie:

So when you were traveling around and you finally decided to leave, how did you choose the location that you wanted to go to?

Molly:   

My first location was Copenhagen because it’s maybe one of the most expensive cities to live in. And in my mind I was like, “Okay, if I can make it here then I can make it anywhere.” And I think my parents were definitely scared. So, I picked, in their mind, a more safe city. That was how I decided on my first location. And I really liked the hostel that I stayed in. My monthly payment was more than what I paid for a room in Southeast Asia, but I think it was totally worth it.

Debbie: 

It also gave your parents that peace of mind, right? ‘Cause that’s also the thing. It’s like, “Oh my gosh, mom and dad, I’m not gonna die. It’s okay, I’m in a safe place.”

Molly: 

Exactly. Yeah.

Debbie:

Let’s fast forward 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?

Molly:   

What a question? I think I want to help people tell their story of whatever they’ve been through and know that doesn’t have to be there forever story. So growing, up I struggled a lot with depression, anxiety, and body image. And to be able to talk about that now and to be able to like have those conversations and not like have a complete meltdown is meaningful for me. And I think that a lot of people have it, a lot of like things that they want to work on. I think when we share our own stories, we allow other people to share their stories too. We can create the space to do that. So I kind of think that my business is a resource to help me do that. And that’s what like a lot of people know me for on my platform. Yes I do branding, yes I do graphic design, but ultimately helping people tell their stories is what I want to do.

Debbie:

Yeah. And being really vulnerable can help so many people because you don’t know how many of them are going through something similar or even worse and just seeing how you’re dealing with it can be so helpful to them as well. Now let’s talk about mental health, right? Because this is one thing that I don’t think a lot of people discuss when it comes to digital nomads and being location independent. There’s a lot of loneliness when it comes to it. If you’re moving to a new country, you don’t know a lot of people, the language barrier. When you were moving around, how did you make sure that you are mentally healthy throughout this whole journey?

Molly: 

So, in each city or country that I went to, I went on Facebook groups and I find those Facebook groups in that location and I would just meet other people to have some social interaction. I am an introvert, so I like spending a lot of time by myself. To be completely honest with you, I did struggle with loneliness a lot and I talk about it with other people because that was one thing that I wasn’t prepared for. I knew I would be like alone a lot of the times, but I felt like that lack of depth and connection that you have when you’re seeing your friends every week for coffee or something. So, what I did was I hopped on a lot of Zoom calls with my friends or with my international friends and we just talk for every other week or every week and just talked about business and life. And that was how I was able to stay connected while being abroad and living in a different city like every month.

Debbie:   

That’s such a great way to do it and to try to stop the loneliness here and there and obviously meeting new people when you’re on the road could be really helpful as well. So, what are you working on currently that is really exciting to you?

Molly:  

So I am currently working on my Pinterest course it’s called Pinterest for Creatives and it actually took a lot of working through my fears to make this course a real thing. Like Imposter Syndrome and what if people don’t like it and all of those things. So yes, I created this course to make money, but honestly, I think that this course was so much more than that.

Debbie: 

Well, that’s a huge thing that you’re able to do because for most of us creators, there is a lot of Imposter Syndrome and for you to be able to do this, it’s a huge thing. And after the first one, you’re just going to keep going because you build up that confidence.

Debbie:

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

Molly:  

They can find me on Instagram @mollyhostudio. If you search up “Molly Ho Studio”, that’s me everywhere; on Instagram, on Facebook, Pinterest, my website, etc.

Debbie:   

Perfect. And also I’m really excited to share that Molly and I along with so many amazing and incredible businesswomen, co-wrote a book with Blank Room Design. Molly, can you tell us a little bit more about that book and why people should definitely read it?

Molly: 

Yes. So, Blank Room Design reached out to all of us; me, Debbie, and 17 other women. So, there are 20 women in total. And we all gave her best advice on branding. And I think when people think of branding, they can go, “Oh, it’s just a logo.” But branding is so much more than that, it’s how people see you. I always like to use this analogy, but it’s when you’re walking in a mall and you have all of these different store and you think about which store attracts you. And it’s not only the visuals, it’s the customer service, the feelings that you’re getting, the emotions. And so, the book talks about like all of our perspectives and what we’re good at. And I think what’s so great about the book is that you’re getting their best advice from 20 different women, like their best advice on what they’ve learned.

Debbie:

Yes, that is so true. And make sure you pick up a copy. You can find it on Amazon. It’s called branding quickies. Well, thank you so much, Molly, for being here today and for sharing your incredible journey with us.

Molly:  

Thank you so much for having me.

GET THE EXTENDED INTERVIEW WITH MOLLY WHERE SHE SHARES HOW TO CREATE PASSIVE INCOME WITH PINTEREST

 


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Show Credits:

Audio Engineer: Ben Smith


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