In this episode of The One-Person Business podcast, we sit down with Renee La Tour, the Business Strategist behind the Ticket To Freedom program, which helps solopreneurs remove themselves from the day-to-day of their business by leveraging AI, automation & delegation.
She's a full-time traveler and part-time entrepreneur, coining the term Fancy Nomad™ to describe her unique, freedom-first lifestyle. She shares her wisdom and insights on how to thrive as a solopreneur while maintaining a balanced life.
In this episode, we discuss:
- Why working around the clock can be detrimental to your business
- How a person can differentiate between normal stress and early signs of burnout in their solopreneur journey
- The differences in various culture's approaches to burnout/work-life balance
- Tips and techniques you use to prevent burnout and get time back in your week
- Common ways people waste time and may not realize it
- How people can regain the passion they once had for their business
- Steps a person can take to delegate or outsource tasks to lighten their workload and reduce the risk of burnout
- Systems solopreneurs can put in place so that their business can run without them being the bottleneck
- What Freedom First Principals is and how solopreneurs can apply it to their business
And so much more!
Connect with Renee La Tour
- Connect with Renee on LinkedIn.
“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again” - Abraham Maslow
"The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek." — Joseph Campbell
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Full Episode Transcript
Renee La Tour (00:00):
When I say freedom versus principles, what I mean is coming at everything that you do in life and business based on freedom first. And when I say freedom first, it's very general because it is, everyone defines it differently. What does freedom mean to you?
Welcome to the One-Person Business podcast, the show for solopreneurs, consultants and contractors who are ready to take charge of their business and reclaim their freedom. Join us as we bring you inspiring stories, invaluable insights and practical strategies from successful solopreneurs and industry experts empowering you to create its flagging business that aligns with your unique goals and allows you to live life on your own terms. Here are your hosts, Joe Rando and Carly Ries.
Carly Ries (00:48):
Welcome to the One-Person Business podcast. I'm one of your hosts, Carly Ries.
Joe Rando (00:51):
And I'm Joe Rando.
Carly Ries (00:53):
And today we're talking about a topic that I have spoken with so many of our community members about and actually people outside of our community, and that is burnout. It is something that I feel like all of us as solopreneurs have experienced. Some of us wear it as a badge of honor, like working the 24 7 shift at their one-person business. But today we're going to talk about why maybe that's not the best thing, and then how to overcome that with our guest today, Renee La Tour. She is the business strategist behind the Ticket to Freedom. Just the name of that company, by the way, makes me happy, which is a program that helps solopreneurs remove themselves from the day-to-day of their business by leveraging AI, automation and delegation. She's a full-time traveler and part-time entrepreneur, and coining the term fancy nomad to describe her unique freedom first lifestyle. Renee, just going through your bio makes me so excited to talk to you today. So welcome to the show.
Renee La Tour (01:53):
Thank you so much. It's so great to be with you, Carly. I love that introduction. Great to see you too, Joe. Great to be here and excited to get a it.
Carly Ries (02:03):
I want to talk about the why first. As I was saying some people kind of wear a badge of honor. I used to be that person that would be like, oh, I can't make it. I have a meeting. Or, oh, I can't do that. I have to take the trash, whatever. And that isn't necessarily the best thing for a person or for their business in the long run. So can you talk about why over-working and all that can be detrimental to a business.
Renee La Tour (02:32):
Yeah, absolutely. And you're spot on. I think that there's a lot of rewiring, retraining and adjustments culturally that need to be made around this whole, "I'm busy" and "oh, look at me, my schedule's jam packed and I'm just such in demand." It's fine for some people. Again, whatever floats your boat. But the reality of it is that, more is not more and less is more. What I practice in my life and what I've come to practice also in business and helping other people and being really an evangelist for freedom, an evangelist for this movement is essentialism and minimalism and really knowing what's important to you. A lot of people get it wrong. They think that when they hear minimalism, they think, oh, less things, less stuff. Yes, that's true superficially. But when you think about, and you really dig into minimalism and essentialism, and we can talk more about dissecting these words specifically, really it comes down to what's important and doing more of what's important, what's a priority and less of what's not.
Even though it might feel a bit satisfying to say, I got to take out the trash, and oh, I have all these meetings and I'm so in demand and I'm so busy and I'm running, running, running, going, going, going, you might feel really important. You might get little hits of dopamine, but in the long run, it isn't advantageous for you, your life, your family, your business. It actually is just running, running, running, running, running, running right into the ground. We see it over and over again and it's something to be of major concern because health of your own personal health, like physical health, mental health, we have a huge mental health crisis that needs to be addressed, health of our families, breaking down a family structure. When I speak to not only mothers but fathers as well, we're seeing this restructure of culture and I'm just going to specifically talk about and to Americans. We can get into it because it is quite fascinating.
And of course being nomadic, you see different cultures and how they interact with work, which is very interesting. We can dig into it. We can go there if you guys want to. But just speaking of Americans and how we've gone about work and now both genders, sexes, whatever, being in the workforce and also managing families and also managing your commitments to your friends and other things you want to do. And hey, maybe you also want to travel. You want to do all of these things and you want to live a very full life, but something's got to give. Being busy and being run, run, run and go, go, go, and on the hamster wheel really doesn't serve you. So in a nutshell, I think if we can unpack any of that, we can go any direction you want to go, but in more reasons than not, no, it's not serving you and it's not going to grow your business. It might work short term, but there isn't sustainability there, especially not as a one-person business if it's built on your back and you doing all of those things. With all of that, I'll open it up to more questions and see where you guys want to go with that.
Joe Rando (06:11):
I just love how you mentioned dopamine because that's such a good way to look at the problem because we sometimes, and I've started a lot of businesses over the years, and we get into these things that we really like to do, that are really fun or interesting. I always talk about making a website, oh, I'm going to make my website, but you haven't even thought through your business yet. You haven't figured out how to communicate it to your target customer. I used to have this memory of we were making a trade show booth for a new company and we hadn't figured out everything yet, and we're trying to make this trade show booth, and it was lots of fun, but when we looked at the result a year later we're like, that was terrible. We're busy doing the things that are fun and not focusing on the things that we really need to do that might be harder and produce less dopamine. So that's a really great point.
Carly Ries (06:57):
Absolutely. And I am curious because you did say, I'm going to speak to Americans specifically, but that made me think that you're learning something when you're overseas or over the border or wherever, that maybe you've learned that we can apply in terms of slowing down, avoiding burnout. What are some things you've learned from your travels that we could apply as Americans since when we're here, we're all kind of falling each other's lead, so I'd love to hear some of these.
Renee La Tour (07:24):
Yeah, why not? I think that I don't talk so much about being a digital nomad. I know in the introduction, I like to say the whole fancy nomad. It's kind of a fun little thing to say because when I first started living Nomadically, I didn't really call myself a digital nomad. I didn't even know that was a thing until I met other people. And I was like, oh, okay, there's a label and there's this whole community around this. I get it now. But then I realized that there are some of us that live the nomadic life a little differently and we travel a little slower. We are a bit more intentional. We really want to be in the culture. This is something that has been very, very important to me. When I travel, I really want to live how the people live, and I go to really touristy places for sure.
I'm in one right now. It's very touristy and I'll be here short term, but I really like to stay long-term in places where people are actually living a normal life so I can kind of really feel into that. So the biggest comparisons and differences that I've noticed are people who are more well-rounded and not driven so much by materialism. Again, it's kind of been interesting because as globalization happens and the onset of smartphones, people are being more and more introduced to western culture. And they are chasing more of the physical, superficial, keeping up with the Jones' mentality. But if you go into cultures that aren't there yet, what you'll see is a slowness that has been incredible for me. Oddly enough, I spent a lot of time in Asia. I was living in Malaysia for a year. I was living in South Africa for a year, but then being in Latin America this last year has really opened my eyes to the slowness that is more of a cultural norm.
The thing about slowness that I want to hone in on, and a message that I've been reminded of is that you really do have to slow down to speed up. I think as Americans, we don't ever think about that. And it might kind of seem strange to hear, but it's very true. And when I see in other cultures, the fact that they're just so relaxed about things makes things easier. When we apply that to business, for example, if something feels difficult, like you bringing up the trade show, and let's do the fun stuff. Let's do this, set up the website and do all the things, get the dopamine hit and all that. We often want to focus on those funner things. And then there's other people who are like, I don't want to sell. I don't want to send any cold dms because yeah, it's not so fun.
You might have to face rejection or whatever. Those things need to happen in your business. You need to do those things. You need to go into those dark caves. And if you just relaxed about it, not really put too much weight on it and kind of just like, man, who caress the person said, no, move on. It would be easier. Some people might say, oh, you think about Europeans, "they take so much time off and they take all of August off" and "oh, look at the Italians. They just go and have three hour lunches and they're having wine". I'm not talking about any of that because that's superficial, I'm talking more about how we feel and think about our work. And when we can slow down there, when we can really take a step back to say, why am I so uptight about this?
Why do I care so much about rejection? Why is it so uncomfortable for me to send a couple cold dms? Let me try it out. Just send a couple dms, see how that feels. Oh, that wasn't so bad. I could send a couple more and just relax about it. That's really what I'm talking about here. When I travel around, it's not so much of what you see on the surface level and oh, people are really enjoying their lives, but it's really when you dig in and you really see, how do they just carry themselves? How do they interact with each other? Latin Americans, for example, are very warm. They're very opening and welcoming, not only with foreigners, but also with each other. How you see them interact with one. So for me, when I think about how can we apply that to our businesses and how we interact with leads and potential clients and potential customers, what if we just relaxed a little bit? What if we just slowed down and we didn't put so much pressure on ourselves?
Carly Ries (12:09):
That's so funny, because Joe and I always say that our best ideas come from when we're on hikes or bike rides. Usually the best things that have happened for this business, and that might be a generalization, but have been when we're not working. They've happened during our off time.
Joe Rando (12:29):
Well, I know that bike ride I did last summer from Amsterdam to Bruges, we came back with a lot from that one. We were on a bike, six, seven hours a day and just listening to what's going on and thinking, and it can really refocus you.
Renee La Tour (12:48):
Carly Ries (12:49):
Renee, let me ask you, because all of this sounds wonderful and slowing down. I think people can maybe start thinking about how they might be able to apply that, but a lot of times people don't know they're burned out. They can't really differentiate between everyday stress, which you're going to have stress in your job, you're going to have stress in life, but how do you differentiate between normal stress and actual burnout?
Renee La Tour (13:13):
This is a good question to unpack, and I would urge everyone to really have their own definitions for themselves because I am not a doctor or anything in the space. I don't play one on the internet, so I'm not trying to give information or insights that you should be getting from a psychologist or a medical professional or anything of that nature. I think it's important to define what does stress actually mean to me? What does stress feel like in my body? What kind of thoughts am I having to make me feel like, "Hey, I feel stressed right now. I feel overwhelmed. I feel like my back is up against a wall". Do I feel constricted in my chest? Do I feel some kind of tightness? Does my body feel tight and tense? Do I have headaches? Those are really the questions that I would urge people to ask themselves to really define how stress feels. I think what happens is folks just kind of adopt someone else's opinion or thoughts or a medical definition without really checking in with themselves.
So I just want to set the baseline to start there. Then as far as being able to make the difference of, well, is this just normal everyday stress? Being a solopreneur, being a one-person business, it's not for everybody and not a lot of people can handle it. A lot of times you're going to feel like you're on an island. A lot of times you're going to feel like you're a freaking nutcase and you're just bat batshit crazy. You have to be okay with that and be like, "Oh, no, I'm good. I got it under control. I'm relaxed." Be able to self-regulate and have tools in your toolbox to handle things that are going to come up that a lot of people aren't going to have to deal with. This is just a reality. As an employee where you have someone telling you what, when, where and how you're not going to have to deal with the things that a solopreneur has to deal with or a one person business or someone who's kind of on their own.
Having said all of that, knowing the difference comes down to am I at a stage of uncharted territories? We've all had situations where we can go back to, "Hey, I dealt with that a year ago," or I dealt with something very similar to that. Maybe the circumstances might look a little different, but at its core it kind of feels the same. Again, going back to how does this feel in my body? How am I feeling? How am I thinking about this? Is this uncharted territories? What tools in my toolbox do I have where I can address this? What things have worked for me in the past or am I at a point where I don't even know I am at a place where I need to get help? And that help could look different to different people.
If you have someone in your trusted circle, whether that be a significant other or a friend or a therapist or someone that you can call to kind of bounce that off with. Bounce how you're feeling or kind of talk it out. That's where you really need to start. I don't want anyone to feel like there's the pressure of I need to know the difference. Do I even know that I'm burnt out? It's such a personal thing that it's really more about just kind of having a point of reflection of how do I feel in my body, what kind of thoughts am I having? Is this different or the same of what I've experienced in my past? Do I have anyone that I can reach out to? We all can help, I am ready to give the number to 1-800 better help or something.
Carly, maybe that feels like it's not answering your question, but my point in saying all of this is, it really comes down to you personally taking personal accountability to say, how am I feeling right now and what do I need and do I have the tools? Because I have tools that I can tap into. I can label it burnout if I need to, but then it's like, alright, what am I going to do about it? So having the tools available to me or making those tools available to me, is the next step. Regardless of whatever you call it, I don't really care.
Carly Ries (17:31):
Okay. So you keep saying tools and tools in the toolbox. Let's dive into that a little bit. What tools can people use to try to prevent burnout? What can they do to get ahead of this and even get time back in their week? I think people get burned out because they're just working around the clock. What are some tools that you would recommend people have to get ahead of it in the first place?
Renee La Tour (17:48):
I didn't want to get on a huge monologue here, but before we get into tools and tooling up your toolbox, I really do believe in this, and I use that verbiage on purpose, is I'm more interested in pre burnout. Because again, like you said early on in the show, people kind of wear this as a badge of honor and people want to talk about their previous burnout, which is great for marketing because then people can relate to that and like, oh, this person's really gone through the storm and it's great, but I really do want to get ahead of that curve because it's unnecessary. It's completely unnecessary to burn yourself out. You'll know that when you just spend a little time with yourself to really dig into what's important to you. What is important to you! Not what your family has told you, not how you were raised or how you were culturally brought up, but what do you want?
What do you want your life to look like? How do you want to interact with your family? How do you want your businesses to support that lifestyle and really sit with that? I think too many times, too many people, the reason why they're running around and they just can't really get a good grasp on things is because they don't have a sense of priorities. They don't have a sense of priorities because they haven't identified what's really important to them. When you start there, and again, I know this is why it is said over and over and over again to a cliche of knowing your why, having a vision, knowing your mission is because the reason why there's all this scattering and clinging and all of this is because people don't know and they haven't given themselves the space and the time to know that.
So when you do, you're like, "all right, I got it. I'm clear. I know my why. I know what I want. I know what my want my business. This is my goal, this is how I want to interact with my family. Alright, done, did it." Moving on, how do I prioritize? And that's when all these things are coming in. We're in the information age of everything and the power of our hands. We can just have access to all the information. Nothing is sacred anymore. It's all there. What do I do with it? There's so many options. I can be on all these different social media platforms. I can grow my business in all these different ways. There's this person telling me I can make $90 million in 90 days. There's this person over here telling me I need to be on TikTok and do all the TikTok things and there are all these options.
So what do I do? That's when prioritizing comes into place and really again, kind of sitting down and saying, what's going to move the needle on where I want to go? What can I commit to? What can I say for the next 90 days? And this is something I preach over and over. If you can do it for the next three months, what in the next 90 days can I do on a consistent basis to see if this will work? You have to experiment. Again, going back to people who are taking the leap into this one person business, into this solopreneurship journey. You are taking the leap to say, "I'm going to experiment and I'm going to try things out and see what works and what doesn't work." Your willingness to be able to do that and grow a business that's going to support the lifestyle you want takes a level of commitment and dedication to say, "alright, I can give myself the next quarter to do this.
I can give myself the next 90 days to see if this is going to work." That's how you really want to prioritize and not try to do everything. You're just going to be doing a handful of things. And when things come into your world, information, opportunities, someone saying, "Hey, be on my podcast", "hey, let's do this collaboration". "Hey, let's do this live." All the things. It's just endless. No, I said I was going to do this thing for 90 days. This is my priority. This is how I'm going to be balanced in my life so that I have time for my kiddos, that I have time for my family, so I have time for my dancing and going to the beach or whatever. All other things I want to be doing. This is how I'm going to keep my priorities in check because I've committed to this experiment, for this sprint of 90 days, and that's what I'm focused on. I'll go back to your toolbox question, but I just wanted to touch on that. It's very important because people are really overcomplicating this whole burnout conversation.
Joe Rando (22:26):
It's pretty easy to overcomplicate it these days though. You pointed it out, it's TikTok and it's Instagram and it's Facebook and it's LinkedIn. It's just on and on, and there are people telling you have to be on all the platforms and do you really?
Renee La Tour (22:42):
No, they're trying to sell you something.
Carly Ries (22:46):
And that's just with social media. That's getting pulled in different directions just with one tiny aspect of marketing, not to mention everything else in your business and everything else in your life.
Renee La Tour (22:58):
That's right. Keeping it simple, simplify. I know it's my answer to everything. I have conversations with my clients and they're like, "yeah, that's really simple." And I say "yeah, you do not need to overcomplicate it." Anyone who's really trying to make it seem some kind of special secret, magical sauce is kind of probably full of crap. I'm not going to say anything bad about anyone, but it really is. It really comes down to us all reminding each other of how simple life can be and how beautiful it can be, and just knowing these are my priorities. This is what I'm going to stick to. I'm going to commit to this because these things are important to me. And just remind yourself of that, every day, in and out. Then you're going to evaluate that every 90 days. Evaluate, how did it go? How did those experiments go? What's the ROi? What happened in the last three months? If you can have that level of commitment and accountability for yourself, you will see the momentum you want to see. You'll move mountains in that way just by keeping it simple, keeping your own focus. Like you were saying, Joe, there are so many different ways you can be pulled if you allow it. You really do have to captain your ship in that way.
Joe Rando (24:22):
I just want to point out or enforce a point that you just made, which is, you do these things. You focus, but you measure. Because if you don't know what worked, then it's hard to know how to make that adjustment going forward. That idea of measuring is so important. We just did one where we tried to increase the nubmer of people who show up for our events versus those who registered, and we want to do it quickly. So we did four different things and it was amazing. We went from 30% attendance to 50%, but we don't really know why, what worked and what didn't. It was worth doing because we can do all those things and just keep it going, but it's important to try to find a way to measure those things or you wind up not really clear on what was good and what was bad.
Renee La Tour (25:13):
You bring up a good point, just starting to measure. Now you know that you had this increase and now you're like, well, I don't know why. What dials were you moving? Were you moving multiple? Again, I really do look at business as experiments. Were you moving multiple dials at once? It can be a little tricky to know what really moved the needle. So, there's one dial that I'm going to turn up and I'm going to have the patience to know I'm running a marathon, not a sprint. I'm going to be like, all right, let's dial that, see if that affected the numbers. It didn't. Now let's move another dial. You are just working in a more calculated way instead of what I see solopreneurs often do. Again, it's difficult. You're not part of this big team of really brainstorming, really hashing things out, so they're quick to scrap everything and just start over again. Or let's just revamp everything and it's like, whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down a little bit and just change one thing. Let's see if that makes a difference. Okay, now we'll change the other thing. But changing 16 things at once, you're not going to be able to measure and continue onward. So yeah, Joe, you brought up a good point.
Joe Rando (26:28):
In our defense, we knew exactly what we were doing wrong, but we did it anyway.
Carly Ries (26:35):
Yes, There's the patience thing, the slowdown thing. So would now be a good time to dive into those tools?
Renee La Tour (26:47):
So tools are everything, right? Thousands and hundreds of tools. Let's talk about something in particular. Kind of going back to defining stress. It could be from you, it could be a client, it could be whatever. Give me some examples. What is someone dealing with? I'm thinking maybe we should talk about a real life example. What's going on and what needs to be addressed and then we can just shoot around some tool ideas that maybe somebody could use in a practical sense.
Joe Rando (27:18):
One of the things stressing me out right now is improving SEO. That's one of the things that's got me, instead of being stressed like excited, I'm stressed like annoyed.
Renee La Tour (27:40):
First let's unpack it a little bit. I think this is a great example. So stressed out about improving SEO, what's the goal here? What's the goal with improving SEO?
Joe Rando (27:52):
The goal is to show up on the first page of Google search, We are doing a lot for solopreneurs. A lot more than many of the pages that are showing up on the top. It's still a mystery to me. As hard as I've worked on it, why we're not getting better results in terms of showing up.
Renee La Tour (28:10):
Okay, so knowing you want to be on the first page of Google so that people can find you when they're searching for solopreneur resources.
Joe Rando (28:25):
Yeah, solopreneurs, solopreneur resources. We are first for solopreneur community.
Renee La Tour (28:30):
Okay, now this is getting good. So you are number one for solopreneur community. I know that the app is for task management for solopreneurs,
Joe Rando (28:43):
But the app isn't released yet, so we're not really trying to rank for that. We're holding back because that is just going into beta
Renee La Tour (28:50):
So you're wanting to rank for other topics outside of solopreneur community.
Carly Ries (28:56):
Basically we're a place where solopreneurs can go to get educated, get the resources they need to grow their business, get the motivation to meet other solopreneurs going through everything. There are blogs, podcasts, courses will be coming up, speaking events. We have guest speakers come once every six weeks, it's a micro event to give presentations. We have all these things for the business aside from the app. The app will be coming hopefully shortly, but we're just a go-to resource for solopreneurs looking to grow their business and while also living the life that they want to live. The SEO thing has been mind boggling because I'm in marketing, so I focus on SEO. Joe has given a lot of time and attention to this, and we have another marketer on our team who's also a contractor who is very well known in the space of marketing and great at what he does for SEO, and yet the needle still isn't moving. It's just a frustration knowing that we have knowledgeable people on the topic and yet it's not moving.
Renee La Tour (30:00):
And people who know SEO and you having this solopreneur hub, if you will, with everything solopreneur, wanting to be the number one in solopreneur community, which you are. Just so I have a little more context, What are some of the other topics you guys are trying to rank for in SEO?
Joe Rando (30:26):
Interestingly I just checked it, and one of the ones we were working on was solopreneur events, and we just made it to number three, which wasn't happening a few weeks ago. So that's cool. I'm less stressed now.
Carly Ries (30:43):
We've been trying to rank for just the work Solopreneur and solopreneur is tough. Obviously that's our ultimate goal. Throug the analogy of HubSpot and Inbound marketing, content marketing back in the early 2000 teens, content marketing wasn't really a term yet. And they helped grow it. It helped coin the term Inbound Marketing and all of that. Solopreneurs is obviously a phrase that people are kind of aware of, but it isn't really mainstream, so we wanted to get it from the beginning so that eventually we are the go to resource for when somebody types in solopreneur. Right now, solopreneur resources, solopreneur tools, how to grow up businesses as solopreneur, things like that.
Renee La Tour (31:22):
Like Joe's saying, you guys are already number three for the other topics, so you guys are on the right track. You're already number one for one keyword. You're already number three on the other that you didn't realize until just right now. Are you really celebrating enough? Are you really saying, Hey, we're doing the work, we're doing the right things, we're figuring it out. I think that has been the biggest thing when it comes to the stress burnout. All this is the pressure. The pressure that we put on ourselves is ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. I think it's important to have people in your corner who are going to call you out on it and remind you and remind yourself. I remind myself every day, that I am figuring it out.
I'm not saying, "I have to figure this out. I have to get this done. I need to be...". I'm figuring it out. I am figuring it out. This is a push process. This is an evolution process. It's not a pressure process. For me, the image I often remind myself is of being in a pressure cooker. You're putting all of this weight on yourself and it's completely unnecessary and completely unhelpful. If you feel like "I'm stressed about this because we got smart people on the team, what is going on?" But going back to our original, the tools are endless for giving yourself space. Let it be meditation.
Joe Rando (33:03):
I just want to say something. I'm going to break the fourth wall here a little bit on the podcast, but all of you solopreneurs out there, listen to what she's saying. If you do, you won't end up with all this gray hair. You will do better. So listen to her.
Renee La Tour (33:31):
So it's like the tools. It's not much more of the tools. Do what feels good to you. Do what fits you. Tools could be for anybody. For me, I'm dancing every morning and that's a way that for me. I can practice just being in my body, just letting loose, letting go of the tension of any kind of stress that I might be carrying around. I just want to dance. I just want to let it go. Let the energy go. It works for me. Would I tell everyone that they need to dance, that needs to be a tool in their toolbox? No, it's not for everybody. It's not necessarily a thing. It's more about catching yourself. "oh, I'm putting a lot of pressure on myself for something that I actually am figuring out. Something that I actually am making movement on." And what happens is people will stop themselves getting their own damn way to think that they're not doing it right, or they should stop doing what they're doing. Or maybe I should fire that marketing expert that I thought was great because things aren't happening fast enough.
It's like you stop. People are stopping right before they get to the finish line. I've been there too. Then I look back and I'm like, "man, if I would've stopped in that darkest before the dawn, I wouldn't even experience what I'm experiencing." It's just knowing that I am figuring this out. I don't have to have it figured out. I'm going to never have it figured out. I feel like the wisest people among us know there will always be something challenging you. There will always be something that will stress you out if you let it. But instead, release that pressure. Don't put yourself in a pressure cooker. It's completely unnecessary. Let that out. Just say, "Hey, I'm figuring it out. I've got this."
Carly Ries (35:38):
Let me ask you. I think another stressor for solopreneurs, and I think this is the stress that I have too sometimes. I know what I need to be doing, but there really just aren't enough hours in the day to get all of it done. I think a lot of people, solopreneur or not, think that's a big thing, just making those priorities. I think a big part of that also, is there are a lot of time wasters that people don't realize they're doing. These handy things are a big part of it for people or social media checking. What are some other ways people can save time so they can get the time back, relax a little bit more. Do you notice a commonality with those?
Renee La Tour (36:17):
Yeah. I'm going to get really extreme. I say this to some people and they kind of roll their eyes, easy for you to say or whatever. But no, I see this time and time again. The more disciplined you can be, the more time freedom you'll have. When it comes to these things, I am a bit of extreme. I haven't had notifications on my phone in years. I practice digital detoxes where I'll take a whole day off of screens just to give my whole system a break. I think that we as adults need to be leading by example on how to manage this technological age that we're in and always being on and setting an expectation of always been on. I don't do any of the wearable stuff. I have a watch that I use sometimes if I want to measure my sleep or whatever, but I try to just not have it on if I don't need it.
If you can turn off as much notifications as possible and remind yourself that it's completely unnecessary, you don't need to get to Slack right away. Very few things are urgent. None of us are working in the er, no one's life is on the line. Anyone who has wife, husband, children, kids in schools, all those things, those can be set up on your phone as exemptions. If you have your phone on Do Not Disturb, if you have everything turned off, you will still get those notifications. So you don't have to worry about it, "oh my God, what about my child? Or what about my husband" or whatever. If I have my phone on Do Not Disturb, which I do all day long, my calls to/from my partner still come in. So you're good. There's a way that you can do this. It sounds really extreme to people, but it's really not.
I go out in public and I'm hearing people's phones pinging, it drives me nuts. It's just like, oh my God, I can't imagine having that pinging, pinging, pinging. It's a constant distraction and our brains aren't wired for that. So if you can have your phone on silent, if you can have your notifications set it up, starting off maybe just eliminating a few notifications. Start with the social media notifications, that kind of thing. It might sound simple, but it's just moving mountains. I would say to answer your question on is there a common theme, myself and people closest to me and people that I work with, the biggest reason why we all have more time than most people is because we don't engage in any of it. I don't have a bunch of notifications going off on my screen right now. I'm here with you guys. You get all my energy right now, and it's the same when I'm with my loved ones. When I'm at dinner, I'm not looking on my phone, I'm with them. It's really about being present. You can decide, do you want to be in control of your life or do you want this thing to control your life?
Joe Rando (39:27):
If anybody wonders whether this is really a good way to get more time back, if you have an iPhone, look at that screen report. At the end of the week, every Sunday I think it comes in. It's astonishing. Take a good look at that. I'm right with you on the notifications. I have a bunch on right now, and actually I'm leaving them because I want to do a blog about deleting all the notifications and measuring what it does to my life, and I just haven't started that one yet, but it is incredibly distracting.
Carly Ries (40:01):
Let me also ask you this. So that removes more distractions, but there are other ways to streamline your business so that you can free up more time and not necessarily be the bottleneck on a lot of things that need to get done. What are your recommendations? Do you have any systems, processes, anything like that to help people get that time back to decrease the burnout risk?
Renee La Tour (40:23):
Absolutely. The one thing that I am cautious of, and again, I want to make sure we give your listeners practical things that they can do. Some people just kind of want, let me start time blocking. Let me start doing productivity hacks and stuff like that. But no! There's really not a one size fits all. Again, it goes back to experiment. Experiment with different things and see what could work for you. You're not going to make time. That doesn't happen. We all have the whole 24 hours in one day. I know I might sound like a broken record at this point. It comes down to your priorities because if you're saying yes to all of these things and all of the things that are coming in, it's going to be impossible to really be present where you want to be present to really move things forward in your business.
So when it comes to your business specifically and being able to remove yourself as a bottleneck, that's the biggest thing I help people with. It is like, "all right, you have this one person business, but if you really want to scale, it needs to be a little bigger than you. It has go from being your baby to being an asset." So the first thing there is just readjusting your reference point and your mindset of building out a machine and getting things out of your head and into the physical practical world. Really that just comes down to standard operating procedures, which are not sexy to anybody else but me. I'm the only person on the planet who geeks out to it and loves it.
Joe Rando (42:01):
That is not true.
Renee La Tour (42:03):
Joe Rando (42:04):
Well, that's what the whole idea behind the app is. Getting it out of your head and into a process.
Renee La Tour (42:10):
There you go. And that's it. Everyone knows all of this. We have to be reminded, this is how simple it is. There's no magic bullet here. It's really just, all right, all this stuff is in my head. I know I'm just running around but once I take a step back, have the space, prioritize so I can open up more time, remove distractions so I can open up even more time! The first thing I'm going to do with that extra time is start building out machines. Start building out the systems. People complicate, "what are the systems"? Systems is just documenting how you do the thing. As simple as it is. Don't make it more complicated than "this is how we do X". For example, this is how we do sales.
This is our sales system. It's now documented so that anyone can look at this and know, oh, this is how Renee does sales. If Renee was to fall off a cliff or whatever, we know the system and now that we have the system documented, it doesn't matter. It could be a loan video, it could be a Google Doc. That does not matter. It's documented. Now we can figure out how to make it better. But you can't figure out how to make that system more efficient and more systemized without first looking at it. I think that's the gap. You need to look at your business. In order to do that, you have to be able to physically have something that you could show another person, that could actually be looked at,
Joe Rando (43:41):
And that's the first step to actually maybe offloading it to a contractor.
Renee La Tour (43:46):
There you go. That is the first step.
Joe Rando (43:47):
Which Is really amazing when somebody else does it, and you don't have to do it anymore. You can focus on something that maybe you're better at or can be making more money doing or like to do more instead of something that you don't necessarily want do.
Renee La Tour (44:03):
Yeah. I'll just say one thing here, otherwise I'll just start talking about SOPs this whole time. Don't feel like you need to have all of these processes, these systems mapped out before you even hire someone else. You don't. It's the perspective shift of, I'm building out an asset, I'm building out a machine, I'm building out systems that someone else can come into and help me so that I can step away. So I can remove myself as the bottleneck, so that I can take some time off, completely off the grid off and still have my business running, generating income, getting money into my bank account without me having to do anything. That is a real possibility. Again, I'm not saying you just click a couple buttons and you're good.
No, you can actually build it out to be that way and to support you in your life in that way and have a real longevity. But it starts with you making the decision and the perception shift of, okay, this is going to be bigger than me. I'm cool with that. I'm comfortable with letting go a little bit. And then if that's inviting someone else in, they can help put together those SOPs. They can help just you getting on a Zoom call, recording the zoom call, and now that's your rough SOP, just teaching them what you're doing. You don't have to make it complicated. It doesn't have to be fancy. You don't have to use all the AI tools. You can just really rough and dirty get started by just bringing someone on board and saying, all right, this is how I'm doing what I'm doing now. We're creating SOPs together.
Carly Ries (45:42):
Love this. I'm curious because you put "freedom first" is in a lot of your verbiage on LinkedIn and everything and how you speak. With all of this, I think people are going to listen to this episode and be like, "wow, I can free up time. I can regain all of this". Was it Freedom First principles? How do those tie into all this and what exactly are they?
Renee La Tour (46:09):
It is funny because, Carly, you know more about marketing than I do. It's Freedom First principles sounds really good. When I say Freedom First Principles, what I mean is coming at everything that you do in life and business based on freedom first. And when I say freedom first, it's very general because it is. Everyone defines it differently. What does freedom mean to you? So once you answer that question, well, what does freedom mean to me? And most people are like, well, I just want autonomy and I want to be able to, when, where, how and what. I want to be able to go on a walk with my daughter, that's freedom to me. Or I want to be able to just buy whatever and not care about the price tag. That's freedom to me. And once you have defined that, then you use those set of principles to run your life.
And that's as simple as it is. It eally comes down to the simplicity of how do I want to live a full and free life and how can I bake that into everything that I do? For me, those freedom first principles is, instead of what we've been culturally adopted as being acceptable, maybe that's, hey, we got to make money, the money first. Or Hey, health is number one. Hey, faith first, family first. You hear all of these sayings that are just freedom first. It's all this first, this first, that first, well, for me, I'm like, why don't you just start with freedom first? If you start with freedom first, knowing what does freedom feel like to me? What does that look like? How do I interact with my life if I lived as a freedom first person? Then that just is the guiding light for how you carry yourself, because that really is your business, especially true for one person, businesses. Your business is just a reflection of how you carry yourself.
Carly Ries (48:14):
Great point. The thing I got from this whole episode is, it doesn't have to be so complicated and get back to the basics. This story is, clear your jets, and let's think through this and get back to the why.
Joe Rando (48:33):
I got the think clearly vibe on the whole thing. Let's focus in on what's really important. Think clearly about what we need to really care about and really put our energy into so we're not overwhelmed. That's where I came from this.
Carly Ries (48:46):
Yeah, it really can be simple. This is just such a good reminder of that. Renee, you have a lot of free time, not free time, that makes it sound like you don't do anything, but a lot of your freedom first time. But when you are working, you spend your time helping people find this freedom. I want to know what is your favorite quote about success?
Renee La Tour (49:10):
It's so funny, Carly. You sent me your questions and I did look them over because to be respectful to you guys, I did look them over, but I specifically don't dig into them because I want an organic conversation. I really want to speak from my heart. Otherwise, I'll get so much in my head and I'll be like, I'm going to show you this exact quote. But it was the one question that I was like, well, I'd better have a quote.
Then now, the quote escapes me. But I have a lot of great quotes that I love one of my favorites, and I don't know that some people might say, well, that has nothing to do with success. It is a Victor Franco's quote, and he says, "you have two choices. At any point, either you can step back into comfort or you can step forward" The back is into safety. I feel safe. I feel comfortable. This is what I know. Or you can step forward into growth. And the growth is scary. It's not always fun. It sometimes feels reckless. It feels really risky. It feels like, I have no idea what I'm doing. I don't know what anybody's going to think about this. This is a mess. This is not fun. But it is where the growth is. And I really do believe that for myself. I believe that with everyone I encounter. If we can keep stepping forward into growth, it'll be a reflection of your life and your business will reflect that growth. If you just keep stepping forward, keep going into those dark caves. Now I'm going into another quote, Joseph Campbell on "the dark cave is where the gold is". It's something along those lines. It's another one of my favorites. These are just things that I remind myself of, but I completely butcher everyone's quotes anyways.
Carly Ries (51:07):
We got the jist of it and nothing we can't Google after to see what the actual quote is. Well, Renee, I have so enjoyed this episode. I definitely needed this as a reminder. I think our listeners will appreciate it as well. Where can people find you if they want to learn more about you and your business?
Renee La Tour (51:26):
I do hang out on LinkedIn. I met you beautiful people there. So really grateful for meeting you all and anyone else who's a one person business solopreneur, I'm here for it. I'm here for the movement. So hanging out on LinkedIn, you can find me there and my dms are open. I'm really happy and eager to have conversations to help people through. Like you guys also, we're all part of this movement of knowing you're not on an island, you can reach out for help, and people are very generous and open more than you think they are.
Carly Ries (51:59):
Absolutely. We will include the LinkedIn link in our show notes. This has been so great. We so appreciate having you on the show. We'd love for you to come back anytime. Listeners, if you enjoyed this, which hopefully you did, be sure to listen to more content like this on upcoming episodes. Or you can listen to previous episodes anywhere you listen to podcasts. Be sure to subscribe either there, wherever it is you listen or on YouTube, and we'll see you next week.
You may be going solo in business, but that doesn't mean you're alone. In fact, millions of people are in your shoes running a one-person business and figuring it out as they go. So why not connect with them and learn from each other's successes and failures? At Lifestarr, we're creating a one-person business community where you can go to meet and get advice from other solopreneurs. Be sure to join in on the conversations at community.lifestarr.com
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