BLG 84 | Creating A Side Hustle
 
Are you unhappy with your role in the corporate world and looking at ways to leave? You’re in luck because Lydia Lee has done that and has a story to tell. Lydia had a breakdown after working too hard in her corporate role and eventually left after getting professional help. She created a solution to help people to “screw the cubicle” and escape. Today, Lydia joins Paul Higgins to share how she was inspired to find her own community to help people like her. She gives valuable information on how to pick the right business coach and why creating a side hustle is important before you make the ultimate jump.

Listen to the podcast here:

How To Create Your Side Hustle To Kiss The Corporate Cubicle Goodbye For Good with Lydia Lee

Our guest is someone who had a breakdown from working too hard in corporate and realized she needed to care about the work she did. She was inspired then to found her own community to help people like her. She shares valuable information on how to have a side hustle and kiss the cubicle goodbye. What I’ll do is hand you over to Lydia Lee from Screw The Cubicle.

Welcome, Lydia Lee from Screw The Cubicle to the show, brought to you by Build Live Give. It’s great to have you on the show, Lydia. Why don’t we start with something that your family or friends would know about you that our readers wouldn’t?
Thank you so much for having me on the show, Paul. That is the first time I’ve been asked that question on a show. That’s a good opening. What is one thing that my friends and family know about me but other people don’t? It’s maybe my secret love for karaoke. I know that’s Asian and not surprising when I’m an Asian. Also, I’m a huge fan of lip-sync karaoke. If you see what goes on behind the doors of what my friends and I do when we get together at times, whether it’s in Bali or in my other hometown of Vancouver, this is what we do. We are big kids that love music. I don’t think a lot of people get to see that side of me in the public world. That is what I do behind closed doors.
What are some go-to songs for you?
There are so many. There’s always something funny about singing Celine Dion. As a Canadian, she is our golden child. Also, she’s animated in the way that she thumps her chest and has that bravado on stage. It’s always nice to imitate a good old Celine Dion on a karaoke jam.
When I visit my team in the Philippines, the absolute worst singer is the best singer in Australia. I’ve got to the point where I need to duet. One of my team embers traveled internationally as a singer. She sounds like Mariah Carey. She is amazing. I always do a duet with her. It’s not as obvious that I’m such a poor singer.
I’m looking forward to making sure that in the near future, your intro is going to be something around what you’re singing with, you and your team. I would hope.
I’ve got my go-to, but it’s always a duet go-to. Tell us a little bit about your corporate escapee story.
I’ll try to keep it short. It’s been such a long saga. I’m in Vancouver, I haven’t been home for years. I’ve been based in Bali. It reminded me of my starting story. In short, everyone that knows me knows that infamous story that shook my world up, which is having a massive burnout, breakdown moment in Russia while I was on a business trip in my corporate job. I used to work for international education. I worked for the government to promote ESL studies and university programs in Canada. I was working so much that I wasn’t taking a holiday for over two years. I was about to be a partner of the company I was in.
At 26 years old at the time, this was what I thought was the golden ticket to success, six-figure income, bought my first house, etc. Emotionally, I felt more drained, exhausted and more anxious than I ever felt before. I remember thinking, “Is this where it’s all heading to?” One of the big a-ha moments for me, a reality check for me was looking at people that were in my industry for twenty plus years, even looking at my bosses and going, “Do I want to trade lives with them? Is this what I’m working towards?” That’s a good indicator, a great forecast of the future.
That emotional breakdown I had and having to take a sabbatical from work, from that exhaustion of being on the road for six months out of the year, not taking time off. Having absolute zero self-care helped me to realize that I do care about work, but not to work to this point to get to a version of success that may not be my trajectory of success. That allowed me to think a little bit more about what I could do that was outside of that 9:00 to 5:00 environment I knew of. It forced me in a way to think about why work felt draining to me and what did I want to define as a new version of work that I’m good at, that I could make a living from, but also something that I feel good about, which is that first indicator. For me, that was the breakdown story.
What were the key signals that you ignored? What were the things, in reflection, you knew in yourself that you should have taken more attention to but you didn’t?

BLG 84 | Creating A Side Hustle

Creating A Side Hustle: One of the big questions that keep people up at night and prevents them from not leaving is not knowing what way of earning a living they’re going to go into if they were to leave their jobs.


 
One of the things I realized is I’m designed in such a way that I can’t do great work and feel great doing it unless I do care about the thing that I’m doing. That may not be something that I’m passionate about. There are lots of things I’m passionate about. I do have to have a deep interest in whatever it is I’m selling, whatever it is I’m contributing, energy, time and effort into. Ironically, the industry I was in previously, was international education. If you asked me if I believed in traditional education, the answer is no.
I never envisioned myself and my future kids belonging to the traditional education system. That’s a value that I have personally. It was important when I had to sell an idea and sell a dream about education in Canada and not truly being in alignment with it in my highest values. That was what definitely ate at me in my character. I felt a bit like a fraud going to these conferences and selling the stream that I don’t believe in. It can take a toll on someone that is built like me, who needs to care about the work in order to show up for it.
After you had a bit of a break, what did you go and do for the first step after leaving corporate?
What everybody usually does after a breakdown is to try to recognize why that happened. You hire someone called a therapist to help you with that transition. I was lucky to work with someone that asked me good questions that I probably should have been asking myself for a long time and not medicate me in any way. It started to help me define what my version and definition of success was, that wasn’t tied to the identity that my family potentially put on me or the pressures of coming from an immigrant family that gave and sacrificed a lot to give me an education in a place like Canada. 
That was the part that took the longest period of time of discovering who I was. That was beyond things that I thought I had to do versus things that I wanted to do. What was this contribution of purpose and work that I wanted to reinvent my own career in the near future. I didn’t get to a business idea per se, from seeing a therapist. What it did allow me to do was get out of my own way of beliefs and values, potentially I had conditioned myself with that wasn’t any more my own.
From that place, I was much more open to get support. The second professional I hired was a business coach. Similar to what you do as well for your audience is helping me get the skillsets and the knowledge that I needed to be an entrepreneur to start small as a consultant. That nine-month period from when I worked with a business coach to when I quit my job was spent building a side hustle. I was building a brand and a company that I could run on the side that made me some income while I was still in a full-time gig in order for me to feel safe to take that leap nine months later.
What were some of your criteria in picking your coach?
At the time, I was looking for someone that represented work, business and a lifestyle that I respected. There are tons of business coaches I knew at the time from being online and following particular influencers. I also wanted to work with someone that had a digital business. There’s something around location independency and belonging to an industry in the business of helping or service-based business. When I looked at my own business, those were the values that I wanted my business to stand upon as well. I did hire a French-Canadian business coach that I love because she was blunt like me. She looked at contribution the way that I did. She was savvy in the way that she started things intelligently and in small steps, to not overwhelm me. I respected the way she did business. It wasn’t in a smarmy, sleazy way of sales tactics or trapping people in funnels, but producing good work. I wanted to start from that great place of doing that too.
What were some of the key fears that you had when you first took that step?
The fear still exists. It’s a little less scary. The number one fear I’ve always had was about money. The money mindset and my own story about my financial background weren’t good. My family instilled upon me this idea that everything is hard to achieve because it took us so much. We spent so much money to achieve a decent life in Canada. We’ve never had healthy money conversations at home. I had to get good with that. One of the limiting beliefs I had was that I had to make the same amount of salary as I used to make in corporate to have permission to quit until I looked at what the real numbers were and calculated it. I don’t know what the taxes are in Australia for certain income brackets. The truth was that 40% of my income was being gone to the government, taxed every month. If I took that amount I take home, divide that by the real number of hours I worked to get to that position, I was making a lot less than my assistant, except worth way more pressure with that job role. That was a big reality check for me.
I was also someone that when I paid the bills online, I used to put my hand over the total because I would not be responsible for my spending habits. I didn’t want to know where my financial status was because I was afraid of it and that got me into debt, for sure. I had to get some help from financial advisors to face my debt situation, look at what was my break-even point every month to know the real number I should be making to feel comfortable. That felt more real in terms of what I did need to earn in my side hustle in order for me to quit safely and have my financial game more healthy in the bag.
You talked about your therapist, your business coach, and your financial advisor. Who else helped you as you started to grow your own business?
BLG 84 | Creating A Side Hustle

Creating A Side Hustle: One-on-one work is excellent for understanding your clients deeply and understanding the process and the framework of how you coach.


 
I relied a lot on people I knew physically. That was one of the real reasons why I decided to take that trip to Southeast Asia, to find my tribe. Even though Vancouver is an amazing, gorgeous place to live in, at the time I didn’t know people around me that were solopreneurs. They were startup founders, potentially, but no one was around me that I knew I could look up to that wanted to run a business like mine, the model of solopreneur or an infopreneur. I wasn’t inspired to be around regular people because they didn’t get it anymore, about what I was spending my time doing.
I looked upon the digital world to find these mythical creatures called digital nomads that traveled while they work, which utilize the concepts of travel as a way to grow their business. Also, I was interested in lifestyle design. You know Tim Ferriss, who wrote The 4-Hour Workweek. At the time, I probably had to read The 4-Hour Workweek for the fifth time to get it because I always thought location independency and digital nomadism were reserved for techie guys, coders, programmers and so forth. I had to actively look online to find other consultants and service-based skillset, entrepreneurs like me to be inspired that, “I too, can do this. I too, can teach things. I too, can create content.” That helped make that a reality for me by meeting these people virtually first and then meeting them in real life when I travel.
The next section we’ll go into is the build section. When people ask you, “Lydia, what do you do?” How do you answer that?
I hate using the word coach because everyone and their mom is a coach. I tend to go, “I’m the corporate escape sherpa.” I guide but the answers come from you. I don’t want to be the girl with all the answers. I’m here to facilitate experience and space for you to discover the answers on your own. Primarily, I would say that I help professionals repurpose their expertise to start a business. I educate people on how to reinvent their lifestyles, the way that they work, and how they make a living.
There are a lot of people at the moment sitting in corporate and they might be thinking, “Who’s Lydia working with? Who’s her ideal client?” How do you describe, in a little bit more detail, who your ideal client is?
My ideal client is likely the same person of who I was years ago when I was in that lostness and confusion phase of my life. They’re likely in a mid-career stage. They’re not in their early twenties. They know what they’re good at. They’ve proven themselves in some way in the world. They’ve climbed that corporate ladder, maybe they’ve climbed that ladder but the view isn’t what they’re expecting. They’ve got a proven track record of reaching their goals and they are hard workers and they do like to work.
I know it’s misleading sometimes to read the name of my business, Screw The Cubicle. It might mean, “I don’t want to work at all.” It’s the pure opposite. It’s, “I work with people that want to work.” They want to create work. They’re not trying to escape work. That’s a different character that looks at work as a sense of contribution and meaning. Usually, I work with people that are in their late 20s to the late 40s. They’re in mid-career. They’re looking to reinvent their work by utilizing what they already know, the expertise they already come with. There are parts of work they like doing and some they don’t, and they’re looking for someone to help them discover a business idea, start it as a brand new entrepreneur and eradicate that overwhelm of knowing what steps to take to make that happen.
What are some of the biggest challenges that your ideal client faces when they do leave and make that big step to leave the cubicle?
One of the big questions that keep people up at night and prevents them from not leaving is not knowing what way of earning a living they’re going to go into if they were to leave their jobs. That’s a fair question. You should know the answer before you quit and hence why I’m a big advocate of side hustles and working on something while you’re still a full-time employee. It’s a safe place financially to do so and your creativity can blossom from there rather than being financial pressure when you start something new.
One of the biggest hurdles that people have when they first come to me is not knowing the focus of the niche of work they should be doing. Maybe they’re multi-passionate people. They have multiple skillsets and strengths. If they’re like me, their résumé looks like they’re for five people. It’s hard to laser focus on what are the themes and what are those skillsets and strengths you want to bring to the table? What cause am I contributing to and what does it all mean to the right for right now idea that I can pursue?
That’s the other myth as well. People try to think about or wait for the perfect idea to hit them over the head. They don’t make any moves until this Gandhi moment happens. It doesn’t work that way. We have to start somewhere. Some of us may have multiple businesses and that’s okay, too. We need to know what we are great at and be able to understand what problems we can solve with business and start going. That business idea may morph, it might change, it might even expand into something different, but you won’t know until you get started.
Your business model, how do you make revenue in your business?
You can't automate intimacy. Sometimes, in service-based businesses, this is what's missing for a lot of people. Click To Tweet
There are multiple ways I do that but primarily, what I do more is more of the teaching model these days. I started off in more one-on-one work, which I don’t regret starting. One-on-one work is excellent for understanding your clients deeply and understanding the process and the framework of how you coach, which is important for scaling your business. You’re not starting from scratch with every client. There’s a formula. There are concepts. There are foundational things that your work relies upon to get people the results. Framework is greatly discovered from one-on-one clients.
Where Screw The Cubicle primarily focuses on is our academy. It’s called the Academy of Cubicle Crashers. It’s an online school. It’s an intimate school. I call it a boutique school. It’s not hundreds of students. Each intake is sometimes no more than 20 to 25 people. It’s mastermind style and intimate because the questions that we do try to answer for people in this beginning stage of, “What business should I start? How do I develop this?” It’s not a paint by numbers way. It requires a lot of discussions, trial and error, and a lot of feedback. We need smaller groups for that. That’s where I primarily make most of my revenue. Second, I run retreats in Bali about once or twice a year. It is enjoyable and lovely to see people in real life and do it in the tropics. I still continue some of my one-on-one coachings although that’s tapering off as my focus is more towards growing the Academy.
What do people mainly say that is unique about what you do after they’ve gone through your programs?
One of the strongest feedback we get around the Academy and in parts of our framework of teaching is we create these experiences to allow validation and testing. One of the things we believe in is that your confidence grows from not only believing in what you do or saying a couple of mantras to hope that you care and believe in yourself. It’s showing yourself how you help people. We don’t know the value that we can provide in our work until we start doing a version of it. One of the things that we stand behind a lot in what we teach is the idea of beta testing, testing out versions of ideas. Maybe the startup world will call it the MVP. We call it a mini version, especially if you’re a coach or consultant service-based. It’s this mini version of your framework of this journey that you want to take clients on and how do we know it works until you take on some real humans on it. We help people perform a beta lab.
We utilize the Academy and the group that we spend time with almost like a green room. You can talk about your ideas, teach something, and see the feedback that you get from people who don’t know your topic. Test out your facilitation style, how you teach, how you share, and how you coach in the safe environment that likely some of the members there is a representation, potentially, of your ideal client. You’re getting feedback ahead of time before you launch anything so that you know your messaging is intact when you do. You know the words and language that you’re going to use to sell your offers and communicate with your clients. Ultimately, you feel a lot more prepared when you start charging money for your services that have been run through in a test but also been validated by other humans.
What’s the number one source of new business for you? How do you find your customers, your clients?
I’m old school. When we did a bit of research on how people find us, one of our strongest versions is word of mouth. It’s not been our funnels or our snazzy copywriting. It is around the community we’ve built and how much we invest in curating and cultivating our communities. The people have been the loudspeakers of what we do at Screw The Cubicle. We have a high repeated client rate, people that graduate from one program and continue with us for many years or they come back. It’s an ecosystem of how they come back and teach other people that were where they were too. That’s been lovely to work and continue to work with our students in a different capacity and a different role. Word of mouth and referrals are strong for us. Of course, anytime that I’m traveling and sharing my story in a platform like this, people find out more about me and my mission. That’s how they come in as well.
Is there anything you do to cultivate referrals?
We have real conversations with the people we work with. I used to be tempted to follow what digital marketers tell you a lot of the time on how to automate things. What I find works for me in the brand that I’m trying to have and the flavor, ambiance and ingredients we have in our brand is intimacy. You sure can’t automate intimacy. Sometimes in service-based businesses, this is what’s missing for a lot of people. They’re sick of being trapped in funnels. They’re sick of trying to watch another three-part video series without talking to another human. There’s something beautiful about getting on the phone and talking to this person.
I hate using that term conversion rate. To look at it as a statistical level, anytime I’ve ever gotten on a phone with someone that’s been interested in coming to a retreat or being a student at the Academy is over 90% of how they transition into a paid client. Those real conversations are important that some people aren’t doing anymore. They’re relying on technology to do that for them. When you do with high touch, higher-end programs, higher-paid programs, that intimacy card, that old school way of connection still works.
Some people will say that may reduce your growth. You can’t scale it if you’re going for that high touch. How have you overcome that common myth?
There’s a combination that can be designed in the way that you recruit students, for example or more people to your tribe. Where we scale our efforts is more around getting me on the phone with the best leads in the sense of the ideal customers that are coming for the right reasons. This is where potentially funnels, copywriting, and the messages that you share in the technology pieces where there’s email marketing or your homepages and so forth. That can be distinct to invite and welcome the right people and likely shun away the wrong people too. Be distinct about that.
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I have an OBM that I work with, which is an Online Business Manager. She’s amazing. She’s the opposite of me, where she’s all about systems and how things run on the backend. I’m much more of the people person. I don’t touch that part anymore. That part is outsourced to her, who is someone a lot savvier, technology-wise, to deal with that. I still enjoy the process of chatting with clients. They’re not long. Sometimes they’re twenty minutes or so. Sometimes they’re even an hour. How that benefits me is that I then know that whoever is in my programs for sometimes six months at a time, are the right people and contribute as a collective intelligence to that program. That makes my job easier when you have the right people that will contribute, are smart and make that program even more effective for you.
I know that everyone gets along. There’s no bad seed in the house. Everyone is like-minded. Everyone is aligned in the goals that we’re trying to achieve there. I feel good about starting a relationship with them. A six-month program with clients is like you’re about to date them for six months. It’s important that you like them. No robot or messenger bot can filter that for me. As long as I’m still involved in the facilitation of the experience, I want to take on that role and that’s worked out for me.
In your team, you’ve got an online business manager. Who else supports you in the community?
We have some part-time contractors we work with. My online business manager is my only full-time team member in the Screw The Cubicle family. We do have consistent contractors and team members we work with monthly. One of them is our graphics design person and WordPress guru because I get grumpy when I deal with WordPress. It’s not something I want to ever do again. My OBM, Bettina, also finds it frustrating to deal with that part of coding and making things look pretty digitally.
We have a retainer that we pay to an agency in Singapore that helps us to deal with all these techie things like webinars, WordPress design and graphics. They make sure that our brand is consistent across the board. Someone that we hired is a social media strategist that helps us tell better stories in our social world and build our community that way as well. All contractors we hire are alumni of Screw The Cubicle. They’ve done courses, they’ve been with us before and it’s been good to tap into their expertise and hire them in our team.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face running Screw The Cubicle?
To be honest, it’s me. Getting out of my own way and not being the only one with all the answers. One of the things that I’ve been trying to focus on is learning how to create a self-sustaining model of education space. Not only teaching more information but designing a learning experience in a way that allows people to demonstrate what they’ve learned. The old school way of courses and learning that talking has stylists in it, videos, workbooks, and so forth. What I find is that my people, and I’m sure yours are the same, is that they don’t have problems with more information. They know a lot and the internet gives us access to way too much information, but we have trouble executing. We have trouble making imperfect action. It’s scary. We need accountability and support systems to help us do the things we’re afraid to do but want to do. That’s been a good challenge for me because it’s something that I’m not used to.
In the past, I did a lot more one-on-one coaching where I am the asset. I am the source of wisdom and information whereas we’re trying to encourage wisdom and knowledge from individuals that are students of the Academy. For example, we get guest experts to come in and share what they’re good at. I tap out when I go, “That’s not something I enjoy teaching but I know it is valuable to my students.” It’s being honest about where I fit in in the whole model of how we teach at the Academy, know where to bring in better talent, when to tap into that collective intelligence of people, and creating a much more interactive environment to learn rather than absorption of information.
Before we go into the next section, I would like to mention our community which helps corporate escapees like Lydia to build, live, and give. You get direct coaching by myself and access to hundreds of vetted suppliers. Similar to a lot that Lydia has mentioned around her alumni and suppliers, we certainly give the opportunity to tap into our list of great vetted suppliers. You can go to BLGBoost.com to find out more. The next section is the live section. Tell us a couple of your daily habits that help you be successful, Lydia.
One thing is definitely waking up early and not opening up the laptop. As a type-A personality, the way I’ve worked before has always been about getting straight to work and getting lots of hard work done before I start the day. What I’ve found is when I get my state of mind a bit clearer and wake up in a way that I’m not just opening that laptop right away but being mindful about where I choose to spend my time and energy for the day. Setting that attention to where some of my big focuses should help me to not do all the things but eat the frogs that need to be eaten right away before I start to be bombarded by other people’s agendas in my inbox.
I do start every single day with a two-hour gap of time where I read something that has nothing to do with business. It could be a fiction book or I watch something that makes me feel good in the morning, do some stretching. Do something for me and then have a think about, “What do I want this day to look like? What are some of the active projects that I want to work on that specifically is for me? How can I start making some moves and cracking a little bit in small action steps to start the day before I start to do client work or curriculum planning or anything else that’s more beneficial for other people externally?”
How do you keep that routine with all the travel that you’re doing?
BLG 84 | Creating A Side Hustle

Creating A Side Hustle: Don’t look externally for the business you need to start. Ultimately, the answers already lie within you.


 
It’s not easy, to be honest. I wouldn’t say it’s the perfect agenda for me. There have been many times I have skipped that two-hour gap and went straight to work. Awareness is always a good thing when you’re trying to make changes. I try to do that as much as I can by not letting that laptop sit close to the bed. I used to sleep with my phone next to me, using the alarm from the phone. I had the laptop right next to the bookcase by my bed but simply removed it from the vicinity. I’m not having any of those tech pieces when I wake up. It has been a nice discipline to parent myself to not fall into bad habits.
The next section is the give section. What’s a cause or a community that is close to your heart and why?
This is not something I have shared publicly a lot of, but it’s something that I definitely have a place in my heart for. Who I enjoy helping, specifically personal to my own background, is women of color. Also, people that are new immigrants of a new country to go forth and invent the way that they want to live and the way that they integrate into their work lives in a new place. Particularly, all those stories and causes link closely to my own story. In the world that we live in and the issues that we experience, there’s been so much more of a call for people from different cultures, backgrounds, and value systems to come out and shape the way that we look at the world and help differently. Things don’t have to be done because someone rich and Western can do it.
There’s such great talent all around the world, but not always the resources are available to those people. That’s been something that I’ve been trying to do more of by partnering with people. When I travel to Portugal, for example, I’ll partner with a local person there that works with local Portuguese women that want to start a business, but can’t afford Western business coaching all the time. That brings me a lot of joy to contribute back. Not everything has to be big bucks moneymaker things. A lot of it is also about helping and supporting these communities that may not be able to afford things like the Academy or my coaching but can definitely come to a workshop or attend a meetup that I do for them.
The last section is the take action section, where I’m going to ask you some questions and get rapid-fire responses. The first one is, what are your top three productivity tips?
One thing that I do a lot that works brilliantly, maybe because I’ve got such an attention span that goes everywhere and is easily distracted, has been the concept of time blocking. I get overwhelmed when I have to do a project and there are a lot of steps and everything feels like it will never end. First of all, the bite-size steps is one piece of my productivity strategy. It’s chunking things down. It could be 25 steps altogether but it’s a much easier win for me to be able to take things off the list step-by-step and know that a certain amount of time is dedicated to completing one action at a time. Incrementally, that’s done wonders for me.
The second thing is having sprints. I usually do a 25-minute sprint of doing one thing at a time without anything else open and then having a 5 to 10-minute break and then starting that sprint over again. That also allowed me to do things much faster and complete things in one shot and one go instead of doing 25 things at once that doesn’t work for my brain. The last tip I could give is something I mentioned previously about waking up early is the whole concept of eating the frog first.
Do the thing that you resist doing or are challenged to do but is important for a goal that you’re hoping to meet or an achievement that you’re looking forward to achieving. It’s usually the thing that’s been looming in your brain that keeps you up at night, that seems complicated but it takes one move. It’s like pulling a Band-Aid, but you do that first before you start the day. If your whole day goes to heck, you can still know that you’ve completed that one thing that was important to you.
What are some favorite apps or software that you couldn’t live without?
A lot of what we do in the project management of our business at Screw The Cubicle is via Asana. It’s our holy grail of making sure we are on time for things. Also, we use it as a bit of a checklist for all the programs that we run and retreats that we do. There’s an SOP and a step-by-step process for everything. We don’t have to re-begin again every time we launch something new that is something we’ve launched before. Asana has been an excellent tool for us to use.
In terms of distractions and personal accountability, one of my favorite tools to share is the plugin for Chrome called Kill News Feed. I get distracted by social media. I also get emotionally affected by social media, especially with all the Trump news going on out there. Kill News Feed has been amazing. I see a blank new newsfeed. I have no idea what’s going on in the world unless I specifically go and look for it. I get notifications. I still get messages, but I don’t have this endless scrolling effect for when I’m bored. That usually is what I would do by default when I get on the laptop and try to distract myself. Kill News Feed is another great plugin to use if you’re easily distracted.
What are some podcasts that you recommend people listen to?
BLG 84 | Creating A Side Hustle

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich


I have a huge obsession and interest in researching human behavior and relationships because relationships are important in business, not just romantic relationships. One of the biggest things we need in our lives is relationships but also one of the least educated topics we have as humans. We don’t teach that in school as much and we get into the world and hope that we get along with people. One of the influencers that I love following is Esther Perel. Do you know her?
No, I don’t.
She’s a psychotherapist. She specializes in relationships of romantic kinds. She also specializes in affairs and why transgress, which is interesting about human behavior. One of her podcasts that I love listening to is called Where Should We Begin. It is such a great title for being a fly on the wall of her therapy session on all sorts of couples around the world that have issues around their marriages or sex changes. It could be topics you think you don’t relate to but I guarantee you, every episode, you’ll see yourself in each part of the couple. It’s taught me a lot about relationships in general, not just about love relationships. She’s someone to follow and a huge voice in how to build healthier relationships and less codependent relationships in the world.
What’s some parting advice that you’ve got for a corporate escapee whose reading?
There’s so much. The thing that comes to mind, which is one of the biggest struggles a lot of corporate escapees have as an obstacle and we touched upon is, don’t look externally for the business you need to start. That’s one of the misconceptions that people have when they first get started. It’s what I call business pornography. They go out there and they start to see what everyone else is doing. What other people are making money on and how can you conform to that brand or be like this person? It’s great to be inspired by other people.
Ultimately, the right business for you to start and the right contribution that you should be making in your work, the answers already lie within you. It’s embedded in a lot of the history and the stories that you already come within your life experience. Your business ideas may not be anything you’ve been paid to do, but something you’ve solved for yourself. Whatever it is, it’s your experience and your stories that are likely where you should be looking at and where you should be taking inventory off or being a detective on to explore that, rather than, “What’s the next big thing that other people are doing to make an income? How can I jump on board on that?” That is the worst mistake that people can make when discovering an idea.
If you’re reading and in corporate and you’re thinking about, “How should I make the brave leap and maybe have a side hustle like Lydia has spoken about?” Lydia is kindly going to give a couple of fantastic courses for you to go and look. If you go ScrewTheCubicle.com there’s more information that you’ll find out about Lydia. I’ll take both of the courses. Create dream business is the first and then there’s also another fantastic video series that Lydia has got.
If you look at our corporate escapee audience, there are lots of people that are in corporate looking to make the leap where Lydia’s material and education is perfect for. Also, people that have started, you’ve made the leap and you’re thinking, “What should I do next?” A lot of our audience is within the boost and within Titans, our Mastermind, is when people have got a couple of years under the belt. They’ve got the lifestyle but not quite getting the financial benefits. That’s where we start to add value. There are some brilliant synergies between Lydia and Screw The Cubicle and the Build Live Give community. I want to thank you, Lydia, for coming on and sharing your enormous wisdom.
Thank you for having me. I could have gone on with this conversation for such a lot longer. I’m glad that we do have synergy. We talked together and I’m glad to hear that I do a presentation before you. You help people grow that business and be sustainable in it. I’m looking forward to how we can support each other’s work and missions because they’re similar to what we’re trying to do in the world.
Thanks, Lydia.
Thanks, Paul.

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About Lydia Lee

BLG 84 | Creating A Side HustleI’m a certified True Purpose™ Coach and Work Reinvention Strategist who helps passionate individuals, changemakers, and adventurous souls discover the work they’re meant to do, impact the world purposefully and design an inspired life.
Working with everyone from teachers to bankers, I discovered I had a knack for ‘Skills Spotting’, and a gift for helping people reinvent their work in a more meaningful direction.  I started to better understand the struggles that stop people from getting to where they want to go.  The beliefs that lead to fear and decision-making paralysis.  And the old habits that won’t budge.
Creating a meaningful work-life has been possible for me and my clients because we have:

  • Overcome our fear of uncertainty and opened ourselves to new possibilities.
  • Embraced the art of exploration, and challenged our old thinking.
  • Stepped out of our comfort zones to reimagine where we want to invest our time and energy.
  • Redefined our version of success using healthier metrics, that align with our values and priorities.
  • Stopped waiting for the ‘right time’ to start living the life we want.

My mission has touched thousands of lives, with my work featured in Forbes and Huffington Post and retweeted by Sir Richard Branson and shared by Tim Ferriss. I’m also grateful to be able to share my story and inspire people via keynotes and live workshops.

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