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Ep. 252: How these YouTube creators help connect English speakers to Spanish speaking countries with Jim and May

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In this episode, I speak with Jim and May (pronounced like “my” in English) who are an American and Mexican international couple on a mission to connect English speakers to the Spanish-speaking world.

They produce travel and culture-related videos on their Youtube channel to share different aspects of Spanish-speaking countries to their audience of over 140,000.

They also co-host the weekly Spanish education podcast Learn Spanish and Go, which shares travel and language tips on their blog, and host Spanish immersion retreats in Mexico.

Listen on to find out how Jim and May have been able to create income helping connect cultures together.

Listen Below:

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Transcription:

Debbie:

Hey everyone, thank you so much for being here. I am really excited to speak with my guests today. I’m here with Jim and Mary. Hey, you both. How are you?

Jim:

Yeah, we’re doing really well. Thanks for having us.

May:

Hi.

Debbie:

Thank you so much for being here. I am super excited to speak with both of you and also a bit jealous as we were talking before we recorded. I’m in New York city, it’s freezing here and you’re in Mexico right now and you’re in nice hot weather. So I’m a bit jealous.

So I’m gonna try to live vicariously through you.

Jim:

Yeah, it’s funny, warm here. And I should clarify. It’s “May (my)”.

Debbie:

Oh, it’s May.

Jim:

A lot of people get that mixed up. She gets everything from May to Maya and everything in between.

May:

Yes.

Debbie:

But you have all of these different names and you have to be like, “Okay, I have different personalities with each one too.”

May:

But that actually happens. Like when you speak different languages, you do have a bit of a different personality with each language you speak. So that’s fine.

Debbie:

Yeah. It’s true.

So it’s so funny. Like, when I go to the Philippines, I have a different accent, and because I speak two different dialects, I become super different with one dialect. And then another one I’m like super sassy with this one. Because it’s stronger than the other one, I’m milder. It’s so funny.

May:

Yeah. It’s interesting how that happens, huh?

Debbie:

Yeah. I love it.

So thank you both for being here. Can you tell us about and why you live an offbeat life?

May:

Yes. So my name is Maida. Everybody calls me different things, but “May” is just like the short version of Maida. I am a language teacher from Colima, Mexico. Colima is a very small state on the Pacific side of Mexico.

Some things that we have there in Colima are two beautiful volcanoes. We have the ocean, we have mountains, we have lots of coconuts and limes. And so it’s a very tropical place. I’m very used to this weather. Right now, we are in Playa Del Carmen and it’s just perfect.

What else? Yeah. When I finished university, I decided I wanted to keep practicing my English. I wanted to keep learning things because I knew I was just gonna be working from then on and I wasn’t gonna have the instruction from my teachers.

And so I went to this website looking for some people I could keep practicing my English with. And that’s where I met my now-husband, Jaime.

Jim:

You noticed she called me, Jaime? I have my alter ego in Spanish too. In Spanish, everybody calls me Jaime.

May:

Yes.

Jim:

But I’m Jim. I’m originally from Minnesota and I used to be a recording studio and music producer.

And back in 2010, I decided I wanted to get out more and travel. And having a recording studio really ties you down because it’s really dependent on having lots of instruments and musical equipment recording equipment. And I thought, “Well, what’s one thing I could do that would really help me get out and explore the world more?” And I thought, “Well, I should learn Spanish.”

And so I started going down that path and through a friend’s recommendation, I found a website that was like Facebook back then, but for learning languages. And that’s where I met May. And we can go in a little bit more into the back story if you’d like, but we live an offbeat life now because we’re able to travel everywhere.

Our goal is to visit every Spanish-speaking country and create content around that to help people, especially English speakers who are learning Spanish connect to the culture of different Spanish-speaking countries.

May:

And that’s pretty much how Spanish and Go was born.

Debbie:

That amazing.

I love your whole story, first of all. And also the fact that one of your goals is to visit all the Spanish-speaking countries in the world, right? I’ve never heard anyone have that goal. I’ve heard like, “I wanna visit all the countries in the world,” but you’re very niche. You’re like, “This is it. This is our niche. We love this. We wanna create content for this.”

And Jim, Jaime, like, I do, I wanna learn your backstory with your romance because this is one of the things that a lot of people wanna learn about. Like, how do you meet people from other countries and have like, not just friendship, but also like that love connection?

Jim:

Yeah.

Well, when my friend recommended this website, I wasn’t looking for a girlfriend or anything like that. I was just looking for a language partner that I could practice with. And I met several people on this website, but May really stuck out as someone who was interesting and from a part of the world I had never heard of before, I’d never heard of Colima Mexico. It’s one of the smallest states in Mexico.

And just talking to her about her culture and the differences there was just so intriguing to me. So after chatting as friends for about six months, she invited me down for spring break and she’s always been a teacher. So that was her time off.

And as an entrepreneur, I was able to take that time off and go down to Mexico and meet her. And as I said, we were just friends up until that point. But when we met in person, we really hit it off. We started a real relationship. We fell in love and it was through traveling through Mexico together and having her show me different parts of her country and different aspects of her culture.

We were both really inspired to combine forces and take my background of recording and her background of teaching to make something that would allow us to travel all over the place. And that’s really how Spanish and Go was born.

Early on we wanted to start with a podcast and we eventually moved that into a YouTube channel and then revisited the podcast.

May:

And this was back in 2010 when we met. So we wanted to start a podcast way before, like not a lot of people knew what podcasting was.

Debbie:

Yeah.

May:

Yes.

Jim:

But podcasts were one way that I was able to learn a lot of Spanish quickly as well. So we thought, “Oh, this would be perfect,” but we weren’t so sure we would be able to make it happen. Not too many people were working remotely at that point.

And I was following this blogger, he runs an adventure travel blog and he just so happened to be in Mexico, close to where we were when I was visiting May. So we reached out to him and thought, “Oh, well, maybe we can meet up.”

And so he invited us to where he was at. We met up with him and not only was it game-changing to meet somebody who was making a full-time living from their website or from their online business. But he was also there with six or so other bloggers.

And that’s when it really clicked for us. We thought, “Okay, we can actually do this. It wasn’t just a dream.” You can see being there with all of these other people that it was absolutely possible. And that’s when we really started to make it happen.

Debbie:

Yeah.

And that’s really the beautiful thing about this community. And I think for a lot of people who are not surrounded by creators and people who really are outside-of-the-box thinkers, sometimes you tend to, well, not sometimes most of the time, you are really doubting yourself, right?

Because you probably have never seen anybody in your community do this before, but then when you do meet someone like that blogger, and then a bunch of other bloggers is with him, you’re like, “Oh my gosh, this is not an impossibility. It can actually happen.”

So when you both decided that you wanted to do this, how did you transition into that? Because I know. Jim, you were in the United States, you had a whole business and, May, you had your own teaching that you were doing. How did you transition to this? Was it a spur of the moment thing or was it a planning thing? What was that like?

Jim:

We did a lot of planning.

May:

Yes.

Jim:

And maybe you can speak a little bit more about this, but it was kind of a long transition because not only did we wanna make this happen as soon as possible, but we also had a lot of obstacles in the way

May:

We were broke. The first one.

Jim:

That was one obstacle.

May:

Yeah.

Jim:

The other was immigration.

May:

Yeah.

So when we met, I was in Mexico, Jim was in Minnesota and we would take trips. We were in a like long-distance relationship. And when we realized that things were getting more and more serious, I remember, I feel like we wanted to do the business together way before we even thought about getting married. But it happened, right? Like, it was meant to be, I dunno.

It sounds so cheesy, but yes, like we knew we wanted to be together. We knew we wanted to have this project together. And so we thought, “What’s the way we can make things happen but also be together?” Because when you are from different countries, it’s just difficult, right? Like, a relationship is difficult now at a business.

So we knew we had to do some planning. And so that’s when we decided to get married and we decided to go and work for like a year in the US so we save as much money as possible and then like start the business. So we had the business in mind from like 2011 maybe and it wasn’t until 2016 when we actually like made it happen.

So all of those years we were getting married, going through immigration, saving, and working other jobs in order to make this big change in our lifestyle which was Spanish and Go.

Debbie:

That is pretty incredible.

And I see a lot of people who are unsure about this, right? And you both, like you had mentioned, May, there was a lot of things like having a relationship with someone is hard enough, like you mentioned. But then talking about you, both being from different countries, having long-distance relationships, having to let go of your life in Mexico to come to the US, that’s a lot, right?

‘Cause even as a couple in the United States, if you decide to leave your jobs and do this full time, there’s a lot of uncertainties. Now you put all of these other things together. So that must have been a crazy thing. And I’m like, “That’s a pretty good amount of time to be able to do all of this stuff.” But it seems like your romance though was, was quicker. You both knew once you know, right?

Jim:

Yeah.

May:

Oh, yes.

We were committed. And since we met, I think we’ve really valued communication. We always talk about the future. We always talk about the plans, we always talk about also about the present. I mean, like, “How do you feel about this thing? Should we change some things here? What about this other thing we wanna try? How long are we going to be doing this specific thing? What’s the next step?”

We’re always communicating. So we know we’re always like on the same page and we are always moving towards the same goals.

Debbie:

Yeah, absolutely.

And I think that’s so valuable and really, really important. I mean, for every couple obviously, but especially for the both of you have this really big goal for yourselves and then that whole transition and it’s just a matter of growing together and understanding if this is what’s right for the both of you, which is super crucial, especially when this is a huge decision for the both of you to do this, right? Like, a business is big.

And I feel like what you are doing is so interesting in that sense, because it’s kind of the best of the worlds for the both of you. And I think it’s super interesting. So what made you decide to start this business? Why was this a really big goal for the both of you to work all of this time for so many years just to get to this point where you are right now?

Jim:

Yeah.

Well, I think the start of everything was really just when May was showing me around her country and traveling throughout Mexico and realizing that very few people from the United States get to have that same experience.

Usually, people will come to like Cancun, just north of us right now, where in Playa del Carmen, or Puerto Vallarta for example, and only get a very surface level experience of what Mexico or any Spanish speaking country is like. Because they’re not maybe taking the time to learn the language or to learn about the culture. It’s more about going on vacation.

And so we wanted to help connect other people to that same sort of experience that I was having because not only does it make learning the language easier when you learn about these different cultural aspects, it just makes it a better experience overall.

And we saw a space that we could fill where I think the last time I checked it, something like 42% of people in the US have a passport and only 20% of people in the US can have a conversation in two or more languages. So between those two, we’re really able to create something that caters to helping people connect to other cultures and travel in a much deeper sense to other countries.

From there, it was just a matter of like, “Okay, so what’s the format?” In the beginning, it was a podcast, we thought, “Oh, well that’s a great way to talk at length about different cultural topics, different traditions, and teach Spanish.” But then we, after a while, figured, “Oh, okay, well…”

We went to a couple of conferences and everyone was like, “No, video is the future. You have to create videos because more and more people are searching for that type of thing.” YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world.

And so we thought, “Okay, we’re gonna make videos.” We had recorded a number of podcasts that we’d never released. I don’t know why we never released those podcasts episodes. Maybe we can release them eventually as some sort of bonus to show people how bad my Spanish was back then.

Debbie:

Aw.

Jim:

I’ve gotten a lot better since, but yes.

Debbie:

Well, May helped a lot. I’m sure.

Jim:

Oh, absolutely. Yeah.

So we focused on the YouTube channel for a long time, really just creating evergreen content things like how to order food in Spanish, how to make small talk in Spanish, how to ask for directions, all of these things you really need to know if you’re going to travel to a Spanish speaking country.

And we always did our best to record it in a way that people would get to see that this is an authentic experience as much as we could. For example, we recorded a video at a coffee shop in Querétaro, Mexico in central Mexico.

And we just showed up. We actually did know the coffee shop owners, but there was no script. We’re just like, “Okay, we’re gonna come in. We’re gonna record.” And I just recorded May ordering coffee and going through that process in an authentic way. It’s really not textbook-based. It’s more conversation and phrase-based.

And we found that that has really helped a lot of people. And those videos still get tons of views because YouTube is a search engine. And when you create a quality piece of content, people are going to find that and watch it over and over again.

So we were able to build up our base of the business on YouTube. Now we’re at something like over 140,000 subscribers. I’m not exactly sure, but somewhere in that ballpark. And then we decided, “Okay, how about we take this to the next level and incorporate Spanish immersion retreats, right?” We did the immersion retreats before the podcast.

And so we started inviting people from our audience to Mexico to join us for week-long excursions where they would get to immerse themselves in the Spanish language, get to learn about the culture, and get to really experience Mexico like I did the first time when May and I met.

Get to show ’em around to some of our favorite places and get, ’em really excited about learning Spanish. And that went over really well. A number of our students have returned to Mexico over and over again. It gave them the confidence to be able to navigate Mexico on their own. And we just have so much fun hosting them.

So we had to take a break from that with the pandemic for a while, but now we’re back to doing retreats again in Mexico in three different cities. And then we decided, “Okay, what do we do next?” And we decided to revisit the podcast idea.

May:

During the pandemic.

Jim:

During the pandemic, the best time to launch a podcast, I think.

Debbie:

Yeah.

I’m sure there is a ton of podcasts that were launched during the pandemic ’cause you can’t go anywhere, may as well. And you’re probably talking to yourself anyway if you’re by yourself.

Jim:

Yeah, exactly.

So we launched that almost two years ago, a year and a half ago. We’re on episode 92, that’s a weekly podcast that comes out every Tuesday and we’ve done really well with that. That’s more focused on more intermediate speakers because that’s all in Spanish.

Whereas the YouTube channel is a little bit more travel-focused and that’s mostly in English, but we want to be a resource for people of all levels who want to visit or possibly move to another Spanish-speaking country.

And so everybody’s coming at this from a different level, right? Some people are just starting off and thinking, “Oh, that sounds cool, but I don’t speak a lick of Spanish or I know some Spanish, but I maybe need to fill in some gaps by learning a little bit more about the culture and maybe what are some of the best places to visit, what’s the cost of living like,” things of that nature.

Debbie:

Yeah.

And that’s really helpful in the way you mentioned the way you are teaching is more natural. And I think that’s really how people learn.

I took Spanish in college and I don’t remember anything, but I watched a telenovela and I learned more in like six weeks watching it than ever did in college for like four years. So that just shows you like when you’re entertained and you like what you’re doing, you get to actually learn the language so much more because it’s so much more fun. And I love that you are both doing that. And that’s what you’re doing to really help people out.

Jim:

Absolutely. Yeah.

If learning isn’t fun and it doesn’t pique your interest, you’re not going to progress, right? It’s not fun to be wrong all the time. And that’s what you have to do in a language. So you have to add other elements that keep things interesting, right? You have to feel like you are making progress. You have to be able to learn a few key things to feel like, “Oh wow. Yeah. I just ordered a coffee for myself in Spanish. I’m feeling pretty good about that.”

And those little things that really help keep you going.

Debbie:

So let’s talk about the business aspect and how you actually left the old and then began this and how that transition was like for you and when you actually started to create enough income to do this full time. I know a lot of people are probably interested in this who are interested in starting a YouTube channel or just doing what you do, which is to teach online.

How was that like for you? What was it in the beginning and how did you get to the point where you can actually make a full-time income from this?

May:

It was definitely slower than most people want to, I don’t know, except that it is. Because I have a lot of friends who are like, “Ah, I’m just gonna be a YouTuber.” It sounds just like grabbing your phone and start making money.

We knew we had to first save money to buy the equipment. So that’s the first thing, right? For us, Jim had some things from his recording studio that we were able to use, but you need a good camera. Well, you don’t always need a good camera. You need some kind of camera, you need some microphones. We needed some software I don’t know about just like to edit the videos and stuff.

And so when we got married Jim petitioned me to come into the US. I started working there at a food store, like a co-op and I was saving all the money I could then I found a job actually teaching. So then I was making a little bit more money, but pretty much all of the money we were making had this goal. Like, we wanted to save as much as possible because we had this thing we wanted to create.

And so we would take trips to Mexico to visit my family. And then we record, we would record a video. And so I think that’s like how we started, we record something then we would go back to the US, edit it, and then work a little bit more and go back to Mexico, record a little bit more, go back to the US, edit.

Jim:

Because at the time we had to be in the US at least six months of the year to be on good terms with immigration.

May:

Yes.

So that’s how it started for us. I think it took what, how long until it was like full time? Do you remember?

Jim:

I think it was about two years. We started the channel, but things are off to a really slow start, like May said because we were going back and forth between Mexico and the US. But I think we started monetizing the channel maybe a year and a half after we created it. And that was a slow trickle.

It was exciting just to make any money off of YouTube, but it wasn’t much in the beginning, but I do remember maybe six months or so after we went full time and we decided, “Okay, we’re gonna do this all the time. We’re not gonna do any other gigs. I wasn’t going to do any more studio work,” that we started making enough to cover approximately what rent would be anywhere for us.

And that was exciting ’cause we’re like, “Oh, okay, wow. At least we can cover the biggest expense we had is staying anywhere.” And so, especially when you’re in Mexico, if you’re making $800 off on YouTube, that can go a long way here in Mexico.

And so that was a big turning point for us. But every year after that, the income just kept going up and up. And as we focused on more evergreen content, it seemed like no matter how often we were publishing, we were still making at least a consistent base number, right?

So I don’t know how deep into the numbers you want to go. But in general, on YouTube, we make about 1500 to $2,000 a month, which isn’t a lot, but that’s just one part of the business. Maybe it’s a lot for some people, I don’t know.

Debbie:

Well, if you’re living in Mexico, that is a lot. In a lot of different parts of the world, even the US, hey!

Jim:

Yeah.

And that’s just the YouTube ad sense. It’s not counting sponsorships, it’s not counting what we make off of the podcast. We have a podcast membership, which basically equals what we make on YouTube if not more, we have our immersion retreats.

So all of these different aspects of the business make it a full-time thing for us where we’re able to travel consistently, have all of our expenses covered, and to be able to save on top of that.

Debbie:

Yeah.

So I wanna ask this question to the both of you: comparing your life before what you’re doing now with YouTube, with online teaching, with the retreats that you’re doing. Everybody, I feel like has that turning point in their life where you make that change, whether to stay where you are or to make this huge leap that it’s kind of, well, it is not kind of, it is, it’s the unknown, it’s that risk.

You don’t know that you are going to end up where you both are right now, right? Doing what you both love. But it’s always the safest to stay where you are because you know, you’re gonna make money from it. You’re gonna be okay. It’s not the worst thing, but it’s not the best thing. You’re just, okay.

So think about that moment, that pivotal moment that you both, what do you think would’ve happened and how do you feel like your relationship would be or yourself as a person, how you would be if you took the other route and compare it to today and what you both have?

May:

Well, I’m a positive person. So I like to think that we would be happy no matter what, but it would definitely be a little less adventurous, right? Like, we would probably have a home, like a house in, I don’t know, maybe in Minnesota and we would be cold, maybe we would have children. Like, maybe we would be doing well, but we wouldn’t have all the experiences that we had during the time that we’ve created Spanish and Go.

We’ve grown a lot too. I was really afraid of change. I am still like, I am always the person who is like, “Oh, I don’t know. Things are doing well right now. I don’t know if we need to change anything.” I’m always the one who’s more cautious about the decisions we make in life.

I remember when we started the immersion retreats, I was so scared. It’s a big responsibility to have a group of people with you and want to create this awesome experience and surpass everyone’s expectations and maybe possibly have them come back for another retreat.

And so I was really afraid of making the retreats happen, but it was something that I actually came up with. And so I really wanted just to do it once and see how we felt. So I think it’s important to just do the things that scare you. Like, if you know that you’re not gonna die, that you’re not gonna hurt anybody, just do it, do it maybe just once and see and see if you like it or not and see if you would be up to doing again.

And that’s how we like decided to do the retreats. And I’m glad that we did the same thing with just the whole, like the podcast and the YouTube channel. Yes, there are other things that were simpler that were just easier. Like, I could have stayed in Minnesota and teaching and I love teaching and I love children. And I could have just like a normal, so normal life and it would probably be fine, but it wouldn’t be as exciting as what we get to do now every day.

Jim:

May was having a nervous breakdown before we had our first retreat. It was nerve-wracking. There are a lot of elements that have to come together to make it happen. But now we’ve done… Is it six, five, or six?

May:

Yes.

Jim:

And they’ve gotten so much easier. Every single one is better and easier for us. And so, yeah, exactly what May said. If it’s not going to kill you, it’s just going to make you stronger, right? You’re gonna get better every time. And I always try to remind her too is that the first time doesn’t have to be perfect and there’s no way it can be because you just have to dive in and adapt from there.

But we could have very easily just stayed the path of a somewhat regular, conventional life. I mean, owning a recording studio is maybe a strange profession. I mean, not a lot of people do that, but I love that. And I’m very passionate about music and helping other musicians and just having that creativity every single day that you have to bring to work with you, just to be ready to help other musicians solve problems and help them reach their goals and publish their music.

And I made good money doing that too. And so we easily could have just kept on that path. I was teaching at a dual immersion program in Rochester, and we had good lives there. It’s Minnesota, it’s fairly safe. Rochester, Minnesota’s very safe, it’s very comfortable. But yeah, as you said, May, we wouldn’t have nearly as many stories to share with people as we do now if we just went down that path.

The first few years I couldn’t help but think, “Ah, we were losing out on so much money,” ’cause if we had just kept down the path of what we’re doing before, we were both making a lot more money, but we’re missing out on those experiences.

And so by sticking with it and being able to just say, “No, we’re gonna do better next month. We’re gonna do better next month. We’re gonna start doing this. We’re gonna start doing that. That’s going to increase our income. We’ll eventually get to the point where we’re making as much as we were before, if not a lot more.”

And now we’re finally to that point. And it’s exciting. I’m glad now that we decided to do this ’cause not only are we having those incredible experiences, but financially it turned out it was a good decision after all.

May:

And we’re also helping people, right? Like, we are touching people’s lives. We get so many emails just like the Instagram messages or Facebook messages from people saying like, “I’ve heard all of your podcasts and now I feel like I’m ready to move to Spain.” And it’s just like, “Wow, we get to do that for people. It’s really cool.”

Jim:

Yeah.

That’s such a huge component to know that we’re literally changing people’s lives.

Debbie:

I love that.

And one of the things that you both have said that we could have been okay, we would’ve been fine. And that’s kind of, I think most people’s lives are, “We’re okay. We’re fine.” But you don’t usually hear excitement or adventure and extraordinary.

And that’s what you both decided to do. You decided to take that risk to leave the okay and the fine life to lead this really unconventional yet dream life that you both are leading right now. And it does take a lot of huge risks, right? You have to let go of a lot of money to get to the point where, again, you have to work as hard.

And now I also think about it this way. I’m like, “If you went to college for four years, five years, six years, right? Technically, that’s kind of like what you both did. You kind of went into your college, but life schooling in that sense to get to where you are right now. So it’s not that big of a risk if you could take it.”

May:

Right.

Jim:

I like that. Yeah. That’s very true.

There’s so much to learn. I mean, when you’re an entrepreneur and you’re running a business like we are, you are the editing department and the marketing department and all of these things, content creation.

May:

Yes.

Jim:

You have to figure out finances and everything and it can feel overwhelming. So there’s just so much to learn. You have to learn about SEO and graphics and making thumbnails and titles that are clickable, right? There are just a million different elements.

 

And that’s also exciting. It keeps life interesting. On top of the travels, we also have to learn new skills all the time.

Debbie:

Yeah. That’s so true.

And that’s why you both started with video and then the podcast next. Because you can’t do it all at once, right? And I think a lot of people think you have to do everything all at once. That’s not how you get good at it, you have to start with something, get good at that. And then once you’re good at that, then you do something else. And that’s really how you stop yourself from going crazy.

May:

Yeah.

Jim:

Yeah.

May:

It took us a long time to finally like decide that we really needed help because we were in that mentality too. Like, “Oh, I could spend two hours teaching someone how to create thumbnails but I could do it in 30 minutes probably.” So it was always like, “I can do it. I can do it better. I can do it faster.”

But yeah, it got to a point where it was just not sustainable for us because there’s always something to do when you have your own business. There’s no stopping of like the things that you could be doing, right? But it’s important to know that, “Okay, I’m gonna dedicate, I don’t know, my eight hours of work, nine, 10 hours of work a day if you want.”

But just knowing that you have to stop at some point that you have to rest, that you have to have time with your family, make time to have fun and enjoy your life because what’s the point if you’re not enjoying everything, right? And so, yeah, we hired people two years ago already.

Jim:

Well, I think about two years ago, we started learning what we had to learn in order to be able to hire people because we just weren’t in that mindset of delegating.

May:

Yes.

Jim:

But yeah, about a year ago, maybe a year and a half ago, we started hiring people to help with the content creation process and delegating tasks that we didn’t necessarily have to do ourselves. And that has helped us so much.

It’s enabled us to have a little bit more of that work-life balance knowing that, “Okay, we just have to do these things and then the team will take care of the rest of it.” And that’s been a huge relief, but one of the biggest lessons we’ve had to learn with the business is learning how to delegate, realizing that there are things that maybe we shouldn’t be doing and things that somebody else might be able to do better than we can.

Debbie:

Yeah.

I’m a huge, huge advocate of delegation. I just don’t know how I do anything without my team and it’s really tough. You’re right, you’re both right, in the beginning, you’re kind of like, “Well, I can do this better. Why am I gonna pay somebody? It’s just a headache.” But then once you realize, like once you do that teaching and you’re both teachers, once it’s like set and then you just forget it and then they’re good and then you’re done and you’re like, “Wow, we can have more date nights together.”

Jim:

Right. Exactly.

May:

And it also takes, I don’t know, you have to develop your character because you are gonna find people who work great with you, but there are also people who don’t work great with you or who are not as passionate as you about your project because it’s your project, right?

Not everybody feels the same about travel and adventure and creating. And so it is a skill that you have to practice. Like, we’ve had to hire a few people and then realize that, “Oh, maybe this person is not gonna work.” And it’s so difficult letting people go, but you have to learn the skill of finding the right people and being able to let go of the people who don’t go well with the mission you have.

Jim:

Exactly.

That’s a huge aspect that I wasn’t really anticipating. You read all about delegating and all the things you have to do to make it work and to build a team. But half of it is teaching people how to do the things you’d like them to do to offload some of the work. But the other half is the personal level, right?

Finding people who work well with you, finding people who are self-motivated, finding people who can figure something out if they’re stuck so they’re not always having to turn to you for everything, which would kind of defeat the purpose, right?

It’s like the idea is to empower other people to do some of the work to help the business grow. And so finding the right people has been such a huge aspect, but it can be an emotional one too like May was saying.

Debbie:

Yeah.

I mean, it’s tough, but it’s definitely worth it once you get to that point where you can trust, you can fully trust someone to handle a lot of your business and then to relax. And I think that’s a hard part especially for people who are type A. When you just wanna put all of your hands in everything.

May:

Exactly.

Debbie:

Well, that’s a really hard thing but once you learn that it’s so valuable, like what you’re saying, and there’s so much more time than you could spend together where you’re not creating and just enjoying. Also enjoying what you both have created for yourselves this life that you both have together.

So speaking of that, let’s move forward to about 30 to 40 years from now and you’re looking back in your life, what legacy would you like to leave and what do you both wanna be remembered for?

Jim:

Well, we wanna be remembered for helping people connect to other cultures at a deeper level that most people don’t get to experience. We have our own goals of what we’d like for ourselves in the future but being able to touch as many lives as possible I think is the biggest aspect of that.

The biggest priority is being able to make a real difference in other people’s lives because as long as we’re able to do that, we know that we’ll be happy because you always have people rooting for you when you’re able to help others, right? When you’re able to introduce other people to something new in their lives that might be life-changing.

It could be hugely life improving by just showing them that there’s another way to live, right? That you can do something like what we’re doing, or you could move abroad, learn a new language, and make so many new friends, have so many new experiences, and really see the world through a different lens that most people in the US don’t get to.

Like I said, most people in the US don’t even have a passport. So to get out and to learn a new skill and to see what the rest of the world is like is massive. That’s such a hugely rewarding thing. And to know that we’re able to do that for other people, I think the biggest thing is just to be able to affect as many other lives as we can in the same way that meeting May has changed my life.

In terms of our goals in 30, 40 years, I don’t know, it’s hard to say in terms of Spanish and Go, we both really enjoy doing the retreats and we want to continue that. I don’t know how long into the future, I guess, in terms of Spanish and Go, we don’t usually talk in terms of 30 to 40 years out, but it is exciting to know that the content that we’re creating today is still going to be available 30, 40 years from now.

When you create language content or travel content so much of it stays relevant for a very long time. And so even if we were to stop at some point, which we don’t have any plans to at this point in time but we know that when we do stop, there will be hundreds of videos available to continue to help people well into the future and hundreds of podcast episodes to help people well into the future.

And I think that’s just as good of a legacy as any, to be able to basically share all of these valuable lessons with the rest of the world, indefinitely,

Debbie:

Love that.

Do you wanna add your legacy? Any specific ones, May, that you wanna add too?

May:

Maybe also living life with a little bit of fear? It’s like we were talking about this the other day ’cause I like to journal in the morning and sometimes I have like a quote of the day, you do the same. But my mind was like, “If your dreams don’t scare, they’re too small.” And I think that’s important too.

Like you were saying, Debbie, a lot of people live just like an okay life, like a fine, I don’t wanna say basic life, but just like a normal life that doesn’t really have a lot of like highlights or just a life that’s so like a routine. Like every day is the same, every week is pretty much the same, every month is the same.

But if you have dreams that scare you just a little bit, go for them, see what happens. Maybe there’s something there that’s going to change your life. Maybe you’re gonna find something that’s just going to make everything else in your life be different like Jaime was saying.

Us meeting was just because we wanted to learn a language. I wanted to improve my English, he wanted to learn more Spanish. And that just one little decision to go on this website changed everything for us. Imagine doing that just like on a random day. And so I think that’s, yeah, I get emotional.

Debbie:

Aw…

Well, that’s the thing, right? I think if you don’t take a chance on yourself, you don’t even do that one little thing because you didn’t have to do too much. You just clicked, you just found this place, and look where it led you. And I think there could just be that little fire and look where you both are now.

And I think this is so beautiful. I think one of the most beautiful things that a person can go through is not just having a life that you truly wanna live, but then you find somebody to live it with. And that’s why you’re making me emotional. I’m like, “May, don’t get emotional ’cause you’re making me emotional.” And Jim’s like, “Okay.”

But yeah, I mean, this is a beautiful thing. That’s why, I love seeing couples like you who are able to do this together because another thing guys, that’s also really rare to find somebody who totally clicks with this stuff because sometimes one partner is totally into this and the other partner is a total opposite.

And that’s why it doesn’t match and you have to kind of like twist the other person’s like shoulders or hands, but you’re both so in sync that I think that’s why it also works really well. And that’s why you’ve been doing this successfully together.

And I love the legacy that you’re building now and what you’re continuing to build together. Not just with your business, but your relationship too. And I’m pretty sure a lot of people are looking at you with your own show, with your own website, your YouTube, and like, “Oh my gosh. How do I find a Jim? How do I find a May?”

I’m sure people have asked you that too. You’re like, “I don’t know. We just got lucky I guess.” And sometimes I feel like it’s meant to be. I think it’s faith because who knew this would happen? I love that.

Jim:

Yeah.

We’ve definitely gotten that question before too.

May:

He used to joke about where he found me.

Jim:

Yeah.

People would ask, “Well, how did you two meet?” And I said, MexicanBrides.com.” If you say it with a straight face, they kinda look at me like, “Is this guy serious?”

Debbie:

They’re like, “If you are I will get to that today. If I could find my own May, I will do that.” Love it. Love that.

Well, thank you both so much for being here today. This was so amazing to learn both of you and your dreams and your goals and what you’ve been able to accomplish together is just honestly, it’s so incredible what you’ve done. And you’ve helped so many people and this is such a great journey.

If our listeners wanna know more about you two, where can they find you?

Jim:

Well, thanks so much for having us, Debbie.

May:

Yeah.

Jim:

You can find us at SpanishAndGo.com. We have links to everything there and all of our socials are also @spanishandgo – that’s YouTube. The Learn Spanish and Go podcast can be found everywhere you listen to podcasts. So you can find us there and you can find everything on the website.

May:

Yeah.

Debbie:

Thank you both again. We really appreciate it.

May:

Oh, thank you.

Jim:

Thanks for having us.


Listen to Jim and May’s extended interview where they share how to connect with local culture by learning the language.

What you’ll find:

In this episode, Jim and May will show you the easiest and most effective ways how to connect with local culture by learning the language.


Follow Jim and May:


Show Credits:

Audio Engineer: Ben Smith

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