Truth be told, I didn’t start out wanting to build an online business. When I set out on this journey, my goal was to plug some very real gaps. The cost of living was going up right before my eyes. I had a ton of debt holding me back from living the lifestyle I really wanted and from fully enjoying my career.
When I realized chasing promotions wasn’t going to cut it, I started thinking about ways to make money on the side. I found opportunity... and you will too.
Two years ago, I’d never have imagined partnering with business owners across 6 industries, from 8 cities in 3 continents… all while sitting at my dinner table. Since 2015, I’ve logged over 1,000 hours of coaching, consulting, and freelancing experience—exceeding my wildest expectations.
The tipping point
Hard work and new horizons have never scared me. I was the first person in my family to go to college. I’d built a decade-long career in sales and digital marketing at some of the most influential companies in the world. Even so, I was shy about closing my first client.
I had no clue what to charge, no template for anything, and I’d never taken someone through that kind of transformation 1-on-1. Heck, I didn’t even know what to call myself and what I was doing.
Credibility counts. I knew it was essential to get some client testimonials under my belt. So, I put in a lot of hours, helped my client see results like interviews and offers, and at the end I just asked them to pay what they felt was fair.
I made my first $200. Win for me. The client saw a 30% increase in salary. Win for them.
In retrospect, I could have charged a whole lot more, but there is just nothing like the rush of validation that your first sale sparks. Naturally, I wanted to experience it again and again.
The intern trap
I loved my new side hustle—it energized me and nourished a sense of accomplishment. Soon, though, my side hustle would become my lifeline. I’d taken a job that ultimately made me unhappy, and I knew it was time to walk, but I didn’t have a plan or another job lined up. So, I grew my business by taking on more career coaching clients and expanding my services to include sales and marketing consulting.
My goal was to be everyone’s champion while they hustled. After all, I loved my side hustle, so how much more awesome would it be as a full-time gig? Factor in new and real stakes: the anxiety of keeping a roof over my head while I figured out my next career led me to a trap. I became a “yes” man and, without realizing it, I went from being the boss to being the intern of my own business.
Long hours, lists of demands, and no days off made for a grumpy Luis.
That’s when I started to research the whole online business and automation thing. I knew how to help other businesses grow online. I’d done it for Fortune 500 companies for a decade, but I’d never tried building an online business from the ground up myself. Turns out I had a lot to learn.
Feedback is my friend
Careful listening is an invaluable tool in business. While talking to one of the students who went through my program, I got an illuminating piece of feedback.
“Luis, the material is really good and it helped me a lot, but after hearing your story, I cared less about finding a new job. I want to learn how to start my own business so I won’t need one.”
Failing at launching an online career course completely opened my eyes — it wasn’t that I couldn’t do this, I’d just built the wrong business. My passion wasn’t offering career advice and interview prep, and it showed in the outcome, in the missteps and skipped steps.
My heart is in helping people see big results, while being creative and telling captivating stories. This student could see it, and I knew it inside. This feedback precipitated a tectonic shift in my world. I realized I had shied away from doing what I really enjoy because I fell for two mind traps: “it’s already been done” and “I have to be innovative to be profitable."