As you may know, the name of this podcast is called the Side Hustle Club podcast. And for the past two months, December 2021 and January 2022, I’ve been in my business full-time. The reason is because I’m taking a seven month break from my PhD to come to Singapore to see my partner and his family, and also to get married.
When this episode is released, we’ll be just a few days away from the wedding. It’s so surreal to think that we decided to get married in early October 2021, and just a few months later, we planned and executed an entire wedding in four months. I am pretty amazed to be honest…
Specifically, we’ll look at:
I feel like I really applied the Cheryl Theory Framework of doing the bare minimum when it came to the wedding because we are literally doing the bare minimum for the wedding.
Our first priority was to get married in the most literal sense. Aka, the legal act of getting married so we can move forward with planning our future together. And it will also be a lot easier for me to relocate to Singapore in the near future.
Our second priority was for our guests to have a good time. This meant we cared a lot about the food and we also negotiated hard to get the corkage fee waived for the event.
Our third and final top priority was the photos for the wedding day. We decided that if a certain detail or aspect of the wedding wasn’t something you can capture in the photos at the actual solemnization or for the lunch afterwards, we didn’t really care much about it.
That’s why things like wedding invitations, having a nice car to transport us from home to the venue, having an emcee for the wedding, or even having some sort of guest signing book at the reception table – those were details that we scrapped entirely because if it’s not something that would be a focal point in our photos, we simply don’t care much for it.
Overall, there were a lot of things that we were okay cutting out entirely, much to the surprise of some of our family and friends. But we knew that in order to minimize our own stress levels and make this as seamless and simple as possible, we’d focus on our top priorities.
I was super impressed with my partner and myself for implementing the Cheryl Theory Framework in real life of doing the bare minimum.
Wedding aside, I really want to share about my first two months as a “full-time” entrepreneur. I was honestly very surprised by the lessons I’ve learned, and I hope this will be helpful to you as well, whether you’re currently side hustling, aspiring to go full-time in your business, or already full-time in your business.
Here are the four major lessons that I learned while being full-time in my business for the first time ever.
As someone who makes good use of my Google Calendar to track my daily activities, I was genuinely surprised to see that even though I’m full time in my business, the amount of time i spent on my business literally did not change.
In fact, there were weeks where I spent less time on my business than I did when I was in my PhD. I first realized this when I saw my weekly Sunday notifications from both my Macbook and iPhone telling me that my screen time was essentially half of what it usually is.
When I first noticed that I’ve been using my laptop and my phone a lot less than usual, that’s’ when I peeked at my calendar and saw that indeed, my time blocks for the business was either literally the same or less than when I was side hustling.
The part that blew my mind even more was that December 2021 and January 2022 were our highest income months EVER in the business. Both months saw nearly 15k USD in sales, which means we created around 30k USD in two months. Which is already more than what I make as a PhD student in an entire year.
By the way, when I was working my 9-5 job as a research assistant during 2019, 2020, and most of 2021, my salary from my 9-5 was also in the same range. It was around 35k USD a year.
When I looked at our business income from these two months, from this perspective, I was truly blown away. Even if you are supposedly full-time in your business, you can still, quite literally, work on your business on part-time hours and create a full-time income (bearing in mind that the definition of full-time income is up to you to define).
The first lesson I wanted to share is, you can 100% build your business on part-time hours, whether you’re in a 9-5 or whether you’re full time in your business. If you want to work on your business according to a part-time schedule, you can.
How I was able to do this both as a side hustler and while being full-time in the business, is really three fold:
First, I’m clear on what my unique thought leadership is and a lot of our content on the podcast and Instagram are reflective of how I think and are able to showcase the quality of my ideas and thoughts, especially as a business coach.
I’ve mastered the skill of creating content that demonstrates my own unique thought leadership and as a result, am increasingly recognized for my ideas and concepts and even my message, story, core values, and so on.
By the way, I’m going to be coining a new term, which is called your Money-Making Theory. This is part of the brand new curriculum I’m currently working on for my private clients, and I’ll be teaching them my brand new signature process of developing your own Money-Making Theory and how to hone in on your unique thought leadership to create amazing value for your audience, attract clients for your business and differentiate yourself as a thought leader in your niche or industry.
Second, my soft launch game is on point. This means that I make offers and sell my program intentionally and strategically. I’m hyper focused on how I position my offer, and I also know how to build demand for my coaching program.
If anyone were to do some sort of analysis on Instagram content, for example, you might see that while I don’t necessarily sell my program every single day, every time I do show up, it’s extremely intentional and creates value for my people.
I also manage my own energy really really well so that when I do make offers and sell, I do it confidently and powerfully and I have full belief in the impact that my coaching program has on our amazing clients.
Speaking of soft launching, as part of the new curriculum, I’m documenting a lot of my own business and am creating case studies for my clients to demonstrate how I apply the concept or strategy of soft launching in my business. This is definitely one of the more time consuming tasks on my agenda, but I’m so, so, so excited to compile everything, annotate it, and share it with our private clients.
Third is continuously managing my thoughts and mindset, as well as strengthening my sense of self and identity. I truly believe that it is this ongoing inner work, combined with thought leadership, your Money-Making Theory and soft launching, that allowed us to create essentially 30k USD in two months, even on part-time hours. Even in a foreign country that’s not my home, even while planning a wedding during the pandemic.
Now, this leads into the second major lesson I learned after two months being a full-time entrepreneur.
I believed this before but now I believe this even more. Which is managing your wellbeing, your energy, and your thoughts, both physically and emotionally and mentally.
This has tremendous influence over how you feel on a day to day basis and it really can influence your business results as well.
Here’s what happened: In December, I was super high on life. I literally just flew to Singapore to be with my partner and we were getting married really soon. Throughout the month of December, I was extremely relaxed and just feeling pure joy and gratitude.
I also continued to work on my mindset, identity and physical wellbeing. For example, I did my self-coaching regularly, I got my own brain coached, I went for runs, and so on.
Because my energy was so high, I was able to create some pretty good content. The way I showed up really reflected the energy I was in throughout the month and also my belief that was strongly rooted in the work I did in my business.
Because my mind was so well managed, I was so grounded in the impact I wanted to make, the messages I wanted to share and stand behind, the core values in which I want to operate from, and so on.
I also created a lot of time to simply create and think about my clients as well, which resulted in both higher quality content for the podcast and Instagram, and also higher quality coaching for my clients.
Overall, our business results in December reflected this energy in which I was operating from.
Then, January was really really interesting. In the first two weeks of the month, I was navigating some personal life events and making some difficult decisions that created a lot of feelings of grief for me. I won’t be sharing the details , but I do want to acknowledge that these two weeks were very difficult for me on an emotional level.
I continued to work on my thoughts and did a lot of identity work to ground myself back into who I am and having my own back when it came to that decision that I was making. Because I continued to manage my thoughts and energy so much, we actually created nearly 15k USD in just these two weeks alone.
However a new set of life events took place during the second two weeks of January, but this time, I chose to allow myself to be disempowered by the events and kept me feeling and also playing small both in business and in life.
Again, I won’t be sharing the details, but I was navigating a new set of emotions in response to the events that transpired during this time period. Rather than stay committed to managing my thoughts, energy, and even my physical well being, I could see a serious dip in how I showed up in life and business, and it really reflected in my business results. Meaning, we made 0 dollars in the latter two weeks. No sales calls, no new DMs or applications, no new clients.
To top it off, I felt awful both in life and in business. I neglected almost all forms of self care, didn’t do my self coaching, avoided getting coached , didn’t exercise, had a lot of emotional eating, stayed in bed a lot, did not create much content, didn’t create much thinking time for my clients, and so on.
Here’s what I learned: comparing the first two weeks of January and the next two weeks, I could clearly see that difficult emotions and difficult life events can co-exist with your business.
Navigating tough stuff in your personal life does not have to come at the expense of your business results. Just because you’re going through some tough things in life doesn’t mean you have to allow it to hold you back from creating your best content for your people, from coaching your clients hard, from taking care of yourself and from managing your mind and energy. These things are not mutually exclusive. You can be navigating stuff in your personal life and still help people massively and make money in your business.
This was not an easy lesson for me to learn. Looking back at the past few weeks, I really didn’t like how I showed up in both business and in life. And now more than ever, I truly believe in the power of our thoughts. I can see how even though the circumstances of my first two weeks of January and latter two weeks of January were pretty similar, it was my thoughts that ultimately affected how I felt, how I showed up, what I did, and ultimately it seriously influenced the results I created.
I learned a hard lesson here. Take care of yourself. Manage your mind. Do your self coaching. Get coached. Be aware of your energy and the thoughts you’re thinking.
Even if things might be tough, you always have agency over the situation and you can always choose thoughts you want to think in response to the situation. Always.
So please, be intentional about how you’re managing your energy and your mind. As an entrepreneur, it really is your responsibility to take care of yourself, your mind, and your energy so that you can continue helping people through your free content, through the way you show up and lead by example, through your coaching with your clients, and so on. This matters.
Your Money-Making Theory also matters. Your unique thought leadership matters. Your story, ideas, opinions, perspectives – all of that matter. Here’s why I’m bringing this up.
In the past two months, since arriving in Singapore, I’ve had the pleasure to meet so many new people in person for the first time. I was able to see a number of my clients for the first time in real life. I met some of my Instagram friends for the first time in real life. I even met some fellow colleagues in the space for the first time.
I was able to connect with someone who’s quite established in the professional speaking and corporate training space. This person is super welcoming, knowledgeable, and definitely reputable especially in his space. Needless to say, I have a lot of respect for this person.
As we were chatting over some wine and cheese, he shared with me a piece of advice. He said, “Cheryl, I see that you’re doing quite well building your business on Instagram. However, I do suggest that instead of using the word “theory”, you could consider using the word framework or success blueprint.”
It was at that exact moment when I realized that this is why my Cheryl Theory matters so much. Because there is such a strong narrative in the online coaching or business or marketing space that says there are “best practices” or “best ways” to do content. To do marketing. To position yourself. Right? And that is exactly what my theory stands up against.
This is exactly why the Cheryl Theory matters. This is why your unique thought leadership matters. This is why marketing and content and social media in a genuine, honest way matters, and why showing up as your genuine, honest self matters.
Because guess what? That alone can make you money. That’s how you can best help your people. By leaning into your unique thought leadership, sharing your story and ideas, and being a genuine and honest version of yourself online. That is of value to your people and that’s how you can best serve your people.
You don’t have to be like someone else or to speak like someone else or to portray yourself in a certain way just to be liked by your followers or to get clients to work with you.
This conversation instilled in me my belief in why I do what I do. It is for this exact reason why I work so much with each of my clients to hone in on their unique thought leadership, because that’s how my clients and I have been able to create amazing results in our businesses such as creating 5k or 10k months, signing their first clients ever, getting speaking opportunities, and are now being recognized for their unique brilliance and message and story.
That’s why one of the main objectives of my coaching program is to help you express yourself, rather than trying to impress strangers on the Internet.
My approach is to help you express your ideas, to show up in the most genuine and honest way possible, to be able to clearly articulate the value of your offer, position your offer intentionally and share why you believe so much in your work and coaching. Rather than trying to fluff up your feathers to get people on the Internet to like you.
The fourth lesson I learned in the past two months of being full-time in my business is… holy crap. I believe so much in the impact of what i do as a coach. I have never so strongly believed that my coaching is able to change not just my life, but it is also able to change other people’s lives.
Specifically, how I learned this lesson was that several people have asked me what my plans are after getting married or in the future. I shared my thoughts about possibly doing my business full-time as a career. And the general sentiment I get in response is: At least Allister (my partner) has an income that’s enough to support both of you.
Let me be super honest here. Initially, I’d mull over every time one of Allister’s friends or family members said something like that to me. It would then lead me to think if my business is really sustainable? Am I really going to be able to sign clients every month? Will I be strained by my finances?
Before I expand on how I worked through this and how I learned this lesson. My mentor literally told me “Fuck the patriarchy, Cheryl”. And you know what? This sentence alone Really helped me put things into perspective.
Specifically, it allowed me to recognize that there definitely is some sort of societal discourse that is common in heterosexual couples, the male partner is supposed to be the one being the main breadwinner.
So of course it makes sense, and bear in mind, none of the individuals who said this to me are entrepreneurs, why that’s their own natural inclination or thoughts about my business and how it relates to my partner’s “stable job”.
Once I had this awareness, it really calmed me down and I realized that their words mean nothing about my business. It’s literally social conditioning.
This led me to think even deeper. What are my thoughts about my business?
At first, I really wanted to cave into my brain and believe that I cannot sign clients anymore. Then I realize that I did not make six figures in 2021 alone out of luck or by chance. I really did that. I thought the thoughts and I took the actions that ultimately created value in this world.
And you know what happens when we create value? We make money. When I look at my business from this perspective, I now deeply believe that my business is a very legitimate source of income. Why? Because I help people. I provide value. And when I help people and provide value, I get paid in exchange for the value I provide. I really believe that.
This is exactly why I firmly believe in the power of my business, not just for myself, but for the world at large as well. Because I trust that when I give my 1000% to creating value, whether it’s value in the form of free content on Instagram or on the podcast or other platforms, or whether it’s in the form of my coaching programs, or anything else in between, I know that not only am I helping people, but I’m also going to get paid for helping people.
That’s also why I believe so much in helping my clients grow their businesses. Because they each have unique skills, gifts, ideas and stories that are of so much value to their people.
Literally, each and every single one of them has so much value to offer to this world, in their own way. That’s why I’m so committed to helping them lean into the unique value that they already hold and harbor inside of them, and help them amplify that into the world. In return, not only does that make a massive impact on their people, but they also get paid.
This is why I believe in the power of your Money-Making Theory and your unique thought leadership. This is why I believe in helping you build your businesses. This is why I care so much about helping you stand so firmly in who you are and in your identity. This is why I coach my clients so much and always emphasize the importance of managing their thoughts.
This is why I believe so much in the impact of my own coaching and the work that I do. Because I know that when we create value by leaning and tapping into who we are, we make both a massive impact and income in this world.
With that, these are the four lessons I’ve learned in the past two months. Just as how these lessons have deeply impacted me and the way I will view myself, my life, and my business moving forward, I hope that these lessons can also help you to keep doing what you do and stay committed to the incredible impact and income you’re meant to make in this world.
Join Us in The Side Hustle Club Hybrid 1:1 + Community Program.
The Side Hustle Club is designed to help coaches and entrepreneurs to sign clients on just 0-2 hours a day and ultimately build a business, life, and career they’re proud of.
Our program and curriculum is centered on 3 core skills to help you do this:
1️⃣ Becoming known for your unique thought leadership
2️⃣ Soft launching to sell your coaching offer
3️⃣ Building a uniquely differentiated brand
Get all the details and apply. We’ll then book a sales call to make sure that the program is the best fit for you, and we can onboard you as early as next week.