photo by Mindaugas Petrutis

Start a Side Hustle — Travel the World

It was Sunday night and Serena was preparing for the busy week ahead. Serena was good at her job. Some days she was great at it. She enjoyed the people and mostly she was happy with work. She didn’t see herself in the same position for the next 8 years until she retired, but it was clear she wasn’t going to go much further with this company. The idea of trying to find another job at this point exhausted her.

Retirement is a whole other thing she’d rather not think about. Especially when she sees all her friends with their early retirement packages and their amazing trips. She is envious and hates that about herself. But she always wanted to travel.

She won’t be eating cat food, but she might not be staying at 5 star hotels when she travels. Besides what will she do with her time? Long days of sipping coffee, reading that pile of books beside her bed and lunching with friends is appealing, but, every day?

How will she keep her mind sharp? Even in volunteer work, she seems to have hit a ceiling.

She picked up Cheryl’s card and thought back to Wednesday when she ran into her friend. They used to be on a Board together and had been at the same level in different companies. Cheryl took a package and hasn’t looked back. Her Instagram is full of travel and she does stay at 5 star resorts.

They hugged and turned into the cafe without thinking about it. They found a seat outside at a table in the shade.

Serena blurted out, “How are you doing it? Did you win the lottery?”

Cheryl smiled and they gave their order to the waiter.

“A friend called me, you remember Yvonne? She wanted to know if I could help her sort out her finances after her divorce. It was complicated, but not impossible even though it felt that way to her. Together we came up with a plan for her. She was so happy she told everyone who would listen. Before I knew it, women were calling me for help.”

“ How does helping women with their money turn into fabulous travel?”

Cheryl stirred her tea. “I realized I was clearly onto something, so I wrote some articles answering the most common situations. I posted them on a couple of websites and got even more questions. I wrote more articles answering those questions.”

“It still sounds like you helping women, which is fantastic, but I’m not seeing how that turns into travel.” Serena felt she was missing something.

“I pulled together my most popular articles and turned them into an ebook, which I gave away in exchange for email addresses. I continued to write articles and I made tools and resources for the women on my email list.”

“ Alright. You had a ready made market to sell into.” Now, Serena felt like she had it figured out.

Cheryl corrected her, “I had a community of women who cared about what I had to say and they were asking me for more.”

“What did you do then?”

“Then, I had to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I like writing, so that part was easy. I loved helping Yvonne, but it took time and share of my mind. I didn’t feel like I could charge what I would want to make for that amount of time and attention and I’m retired, I don’t want to work that hard.”

“Is that when you wrote your book? Can you travel like that on royalties?” Serena was still looking for the easy answer.

“No, I would have to sell many, many more books than I do to fund my travel.

Cheryl continued, “First I decided I would do group retreats and only in places i wanted to go. This isn’t hard, but it takes a change in thinking. Sure, there is knowledge and that’s pretty easy to get across. The harder part is changing the way women look at money and how they use it. It takes more than knowing what to do. As Derek Sivers says, ‘if all it took were knowledge we would all be billionaires with perfect abs’ “

“Are you saying you put on workshops in fancy hotels and get to write off your travel?”

“It’s a lot more than that. These aren’t workshops. They are experiential learning events and the locations are part of the experience. It’s a virtuous cycle. These events get great results, so I can charge an amount that lets us hold them in amazing places so that they get great results.”

“Let me get this straight. You charge women to come to exotic places where you work with them to help them get their financial lives in order? Brilliant! I wish I could do that.” Now Serena got it, but she didn’t see herself doing it, too.

“Why couldn’t you? I mean not about women’s finance, of course, you don’t have the banking background I do. You are great at many things.”

“I don’t know, The one time I was asked to give a workshop at work, I failed miserably. I stumbled over my words and I sounded like an idiot. I never want to do that again.” Serena shuddered.

Cheryl smiled, “You don’t have to give workshops. You can write, make videos, consult, mentor. You get to choose how you want to interact with people.”

“I don’t know. I can’t imagine what anyone would pay me for.”

“Serena, you are an intelligent, creative woman who is great at many things. If you want to do this, you can. The only thing stopping you is you. I have to run now. When you are ready, give me a call and I will help you.”

“Thank you, Cheryl. I will.”. After Cheryl left, Serena said to herself, “I have to. No, I want to.”

Serena shook herself and came back to Sunday evening. She picked up her phone texted Cheryl.

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