DiscoverI Make a Living
I Make a Living

I Make a Living

Author: FreshBooks, Damona Hoffman, Francisco Arizmendi

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What does making a living mean to you? Every entrepreneur answers this question differently, and we want to hear them all. On this show, our host Damona Hoffman talks to today’s most successful entrepreneurs about what it means to carve your own path, define success on your own terms, and build a business that brings you satisfaction. We’re interested in every aspect of being your own boss: The upsides, the downsides, and everything in between.

This season, on top of full-length episodes, we’re nerding out with Thursday Nerdisodes: Not your typical business podcast episode. These mini-episodes focus on the technical aspects of running a business. Listen in for tactical strategies, tips and insights that you can action right away into your own business venture.

58 Episodes
Bryan Clayton, CEO and Founder of GreenPal and small-business mentor, gives his five best ideas for entrepreneurs and small-business owners:Bake in your marketing strategies from the earliest days of your business and plan on getting your solution out to your customers. Spend time experimenting with marketing techniques, from organic SEO to social media channels, and figure out what works best for you. Be honest: are people willing to pay for what you’re doing? Are they coming back for more? Be impressive to potential mentors: show them your hustle and how far you’ve come! Tune into passive mentorships like YouTube channels and (ahem) podcasts for key insights from your favourite thought leaders. Only take advice from folks who have been where you’re going! 
In 1998, Bryan Clayton was one more 18 year old with a lawnmower, keeping his neighbour’s outdoor spaces nice and tidy. His marketing strategy wasn’t much more than a photocopied flyer. But over the next 15 years, his landscaping business—by then called Peach Tree—took on major corporate clients and grew to employ over 150 people and bring in more than $10M annually. But going big meant that they were leaving behind the little guys. Peach Tree was past the point of taking on $30 homeowner jobs, but frequent calls from potential clients proved the demand still existed. Taking inspiration from Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb, his app GreenPal was designed to connect customers with lawn care companies who operate on a smaller scale.GreenPal’s business has doubled every year in the last eight years. His initial value proposition has stayed mostly the same—referring customers to companies—but 300,00 people use the app, and he’s bringing in $20M in revenue each year. By cutting out the legwork of researching company names and reviews, organizing payment, and setting up a lawn care schedule, the app goes way beyond the typical “neighbour kid with a lawnmower” set-up and ties up loose ends for both customers and the companies they work with.  That’s not to say the early days weren’t tough, but never underestimate how far a little naivete can take you. “If I had known how hard it was going to be, I would have gotten scared and never started,” Clayton laughs about the app’s early days. With two co-founders and no one knowing how to code, they put $150K into the first version of GreenPal, and it was...a failure! The next three years were spent supercharging their tech skills and developing a robust customer service feedback loop that continues to this day. When they relaunched, the grass was indeed greener on the other side. It also helped that Clayton’s partners were well-chosen thick-and-thin types, a relationship that he compares to a marriage. One of our listeners, Gabby from Austin, asks about the value of a co-founder, and Clayton recommends careful consideration. “Don’t just go get a co-founder because you think you have to,” he says. Though there is start-up wisdom behind having both the hustler and the hacker on your team, Clayton reminds us that a co-founder partnership may last longer than some marriages (and be messier to dissolve if the day ever comes). They keep themselves default alive, so their profits don't outweigh business expenses, and they keep their burn rate low. Taking a practical, sustainable, slow-and-low approach—which he recommends for nearly all small businesses—meant that they could keep going when things get tough. GreenPal also inadvertently tapped into our society's “contactless” needs during a pandemic, a consumer mode that people now use for everything from clothing to groceries.Clayton credits his personal and business growth with a surprising Super Mario mindset. “Look at your business like a video game,” he says. “You only have to beat level one, throw up the flag, and get through a level at a time.” By focusing on just one or two key things at a time, Clayton says, entrepreneurs can be heroic about setting goals and moving their businesses forward. “I really wanted to make something of myself, and I felt like business was the vehicle for me to do that.” ResourcesTo learn more about our guest, go to: learn more about FreshBooks and take advantage of an offer exclusive to our podcast listeners, go to Follow us on social @freshbooks, and remember to subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as they become available!
For anyone who’s ever Googled a symptom, this episode goes out to you. Crystal Evuleocha, founder and CEO of Kiira, is a kindred spirit, but her self-diagnoses landed her in surgery after she didn’t know when to get help. Her experience led her to develop an app that connects college-age women with doctors they can trust. In a year where telemedicine took another leap forward, Kiira and Crystal were on the cutting edge. In this week’s episode, we talk to Crystal about her experiences as a woman of color in the funding world—Kiira has counts Bumble Fund and Serena Ventures as investors—and her journey through pitch competitions, client acquisition, and how COVID changed (and supercharged) her business: “Our entire corporate strategy is to increase access for underrepresented people.” We also hear from Bumble's Strategy and Social Impact Associate Director Cybil Zhang of Bumble Fund's work funding Black and Latinx female entrepreneurs. Join the conversation on Facebook in our #imakealiving group, where you can chat about challenges, find resources for success, and stay connected with other entrepreneurs!
Get free BTA resources here: know you’re awesome—what entrepreneur isn’t?—but do you know how to transform your awesome skills into a viable business? Danny Kerr is the co-founder of Breakthrough Academy, where he teaches tradespeople to scale up their business. They offer lessons on financial management, setting goals, recruiting and managing staff—all the beautiful administrative work you don’t see during a construction project. A former “lost university child,” Danny got started as a College Pro franchisee, where he learned the basics of small business ownership, and then worked for the company directly. He eventually oversaw a corps of over 400 painters while still in his 20s. He co-founded Breakthrough Academy in 2015 to help contractors bridge the gap between “grassroots” level entrepreneurship and more enterprise-level business management. We talk to Danny about what makes a business partnership like a marriage, how to balance active and passive marketing strategies, why we shouldn’t be afraid to delegate, and the one skill every entrepreneur should be developing in 2021. Check out Breakthrough Academy’s Business in a Box webinars for ideas for growth and sustainability in the new year. Get free BTA resources here: the conversation on Facebook in our #imakealiving group, where you can chat about challenges, find resources for success, and stay connected with other entrepreneurs!Join us next week for our Season Finale in a special collaboration with Bumble Bizz.--
Guest- Julie Nolke“There’s no one path to success, and that’s what's really exciting.” If you’ve ever watched a YouTube video from a dedicated content creator and wondered exactly how they got there, you’re not alone. Julie Nolke is one such creator—a theatre school graduate who hustled at her day job and originally used her YouTube channel as a workshop space. She’s committed six years to her channel, doing everything from the acting and writing to the editing and ad selection. Her journey to viral stardom includes a variety of partnerships, plenty of diverse income streams, and a lot of scrappiness. On this week’s episode, we talk to Julie about why content creators should focus less on fancy gear set-ups and more on emotional resonance, how she partners with outside brands, and why creator-driven platforms like YouTube can help skirt the traditional gatekeepers in creative industries. Nolke, who was named one of YouTube’s Top Breakout Canadian Creators in 2020, has maintained her distinct POV as the view count ticks up.Join the conversation on Facebook in our #imakealiving group, where you can chat about challenges, find resources for success, and stay connected with other entrepreneurs 
“Is your space feeding you? Or is it getting in the way?” These are the kinds of questions Inessa Freya asks her clients. As both a psychotherapist and a feng shui expert, Inessa taps into her knowledge of how our spaces affect our mood and vice versa. In a year when we’re all spending more time than ever in our house, creating nourishing and fulfilling work-from-home environments are an investment in business success and good mental health. We talk to Inessa about the surprising ways our values influence our clutter, why home-edit shows are so huge, and how an open window can change the energy of your space. She also walks us through a quick ritual for dual-use spaces—if you’re working in your bedroom or living room, this one’s for you. Join the conversation on Facebook in our #imakealiving group, where you can chat about challenges, find resources for success, and stay connected with other entrepreneurs!Guest- Inessa Freya- Website
Rafael Espinal knows freelancing. His parents both moonlighted—as a photographer and a baker—and as part of the New York City Council, he helped pass the “Freelance Isn’t Free Act,” which allows NYC-based freelancers to tap into city support in resolving delinquent client payments. He’s also the youngest person to be elected to the New York State Assembly, and a former teacher. Now, as Executive Director of the Freelancers Union, he spends his days helping freelancers get organized, big picture-style.  “I knew that at some point in my life, I wanted to be part of an organization that advocated for creatives and freelance workers,” says Rafael, and the Freelancers Union does exactly that: they got started by offering insurance to workers outside traditional employment set-ups. They’ve since grown to include a networking hub, a popular blog, a directory of Black Freelancers, and service discounts for members. This week, we talk to Rafael about why COVID-19 hits them especially hard, why freelancing is an unexpected youth movement, and why freelancers definitely have power in numbers. Join the conversation on Facebook in our #imakealiving group, where you can chat about challenges, find resources for success, and stay connected with other entrepreneurs!
Join #IMakeALiving alum Elaine Pofeldt for our next webinar “Building A High-Revenue One-Person Business In Challenging Times” on November 19! Elaine and her four expert guests will walk us through fail-proofing your business and scaling revenue. The first 100 attendees will receive a free copy of Elaine’s book “The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business.” Sign up today!Ruth Elnekave knows what stress is. After all, she’s got five different degrees and diplomas, ranging from an MBA to her chef’s papers. Her business Joya combines her far-ranging professional experience (including business and marketing) with her life-long passions (cooking and holistic nutrition); the end result is wellness-oriented products that bridge the gap between soothing stressed-out customers (hello, paging 2020!) and being totally delicious. In this episode, we talk to Ruth about connecting with her grandmother through childhood family feasts, how her personal experience with stress led her to create Joya, and the silver linings of launching a business during a pandemic—turns out it’s pretty good for connecting with customers on social media. We also dive deep into the effects of stress on the body and why food is a “beautiful way to experience other cultures.” Join the conversation on Facebook in our #imakealiving group, where you can chat about challenges, find resources for success, and stay connected with other entrepreneurs!
FreshBooks is proud to be a Baeumler Approved partner. Check out their website  to learn more about joining the program or finding your next contractor through them!Bryan doesn't believe he's put in an honest day's work unless he gets his hands dirty! A natural-born teacher, the Gemini-award winning host has been educating and entertaining viewers across Canada and the US for over seven years on the hit shows House of Bryan, Disaster DIY, and Leave it to Bryan.Learning valuable tricks of the trade from his father, a meticulous aircraft engineer, Bryan spent his childhood summers building his family's cottage from the ground up. His entrepreneurial spirit emerged at the age of 14 when he opened his own handyman business doing odd jobs for neighbors.After earning a dual degree in Political Science and Business, Bryan was headed towards a career of practicing law. Realizing he'd rather be renovating than be chained to a desk, his innate passion for building took over and he traded in his tie for a tool belt and founded his contracting company Baeumler Quality Construction. Bryan has now built the 'Baeumler Brand' to include Baeumler Construction, Baeumler Approved, Baeumler Productions, Baeumler Media, and the newly launched Baeumler Family Foundation for Kids. Each and every one of his companies prides itself on professionalism, respect, and quality workmanship. A few years and several hit TV seasons later, Bryan's tackling even more projects than ever - and loving every moment of it!Join the conversation on Facebook in our #imakealiving group, where you can chat about challenges, find resources for success, and stay connected with other entrepreneurs!Our Guest- Bryan BaeumlerOh and remember, if you are planning your next getaway, consider visiting Bryan's newest project, Caerula Mar in the Bahamas.  In a world of endless stimulation, Caerula Mar Club is a hideaway; grounded by the island’s rhythm. Visit to make your escape! 
When times get tough (like, say, most of 2020), it can be easy to dismiss an accountant or a bookkeeper as a business frill. Let Twyla Verhelst change your mind. She’s the Head of FreshBooks’s Accountant Channel, and while she’s got a numbers background, her greatest strength is bridging the gap between small business owners and the accounting professionals who work with them. She’s a former start-up founder and one of Practice Ignition’s 2018 Top 50 Women in Accounting, and she’s “an entrepreneur at heart.” Only half of all small businesses use accounting professionals, but they’re now more efficient and affordable than ever before. Today, Twyla talks to us about some of their lesser-known benefits, like helping you craft a powerful 90-day forecast, and finding efficiencies when you feel squeezed. We also talk about why your relationship with your accountant should be great (not just good): you should feel like your business would flop without your accounting professionals.Join the conversation on Facebook in our #imakealiving group, where you can chat about challenges, find resources for success, and stay connected with other entrepreneurs!
Join us on October 27th for 'From Firm to Fintech: A Candid Conversation with Twyla Verhelst, FreshBooks & Will Lopez, Gusto' a webinar brought to you by FreshBooks! click HERE to Register!“We’re better together, and we go further together.” This is Kalani Hubbard talking about one of the perks of working with his wife Stefanie at their video production company Galaxy Visuals. Together, Kalani and Stefanie have worked on projects ranging from commercials to training videos; their most recent win was developing View and Chew, their own series with Amazon Prime.On this week's episode, we talk to the Hubbards about how they merge their work-life with their marriage, how Stefanie's former role as a hairstylist still serves her when she's making media and the power of Google Hangouts. We also go high-level: why a big vision doesn't always need a big budget, and how optimism can sometimes mean asking yourself the right questions: how can I make that happen?Join the conversation on Facebook in our #imakealiving group, where you can chat about challenges, find resources for success, and stay connected with other entrepreneurs! Guest- Stefanie and Kalani HubbardGalaxy Visuals
“Your job is to make good decisions. Hopefully great decisions!” Rand Fishkin is one of the best SEO resources currently working: from his early days at Moz to the market research and audience intelligence firm SparkToro, to his popular Whiteboard Friday series, Fishkin knows how to max out marketing. These days, he's putting his considerable energy into helping small businesses thrive, and helping founders avoid the endless IPO chase.Fishkin started as a college dropout who went into business with his mom. From these unconventional roots, he's grown into an SEO expert who has kept on top of the shifting trends and best practices. He shares with us how thoughtful market research helps boost small businesses, how un-creepy audience tracking really is, and how a bowl of bolognese helped him bounce back from losing a $13M deal.Join the conversation on Facebook in our #imakealiving group, where you can chat about challenges, find resources for success, and stay connected with other entrepreneurs!  GUEST-Rand Fishkin- Website--
We’re celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with Farah Sosa and Fred Villanueva, a pair of artists and entrepreneurs who combine their creative passions with a social mission and culturally-driven values. As Sosa, a concert photographer in the midst of a COVID pivot, explains: “I like humans from all over the planet.” Sosa's recent project, portraits of music venues that have been shuttered during COVID, explores the vital energy of live performance spaces.Villaneuva takes a complementary approach to Ash Studio in Dallas, where his work has gradually shifted from corporate gigs to community-based projects. “I look at being an artist in this world as an area that’s full of opportunities.” He's also working towards improved equity and representation in the art world. We talk to Sosa and Villanueva about why their communities are one of their biggest business assets, why cultural representation matters, and how to take a practical approach to admin work and self-care.Join the conversation on Facebook in our #imakealiving group, where you can chat about challenges, find resources for success, and stay connected with other entrepreneurs!Guests-Farah Sosa- Farah Stop WebsiteFred Villanueva - Ash Studios Website
Mimi G doesn't have a typical success story, but you'd never know it from her four million social media followers or her million-dollar businesses (she has two of them!). Mimi is a former teen runaway and homeless single mom who turned her childhood interest in sewing into a thriving website, consulting business, and online learning hub. With Mimi G Style and Sew It! Academy, Mimi supports sewists of all levels in following their own design dreams.In this week's episode, Mimi tells us about how an unshakeable sadness helped her realize her days in film and TV were behind her, and why she still schedules time for her hobbies—including sewing—despite being immersed in the business of it all day. We also talk about her Puerto Rican family's influence on her entrepreneurship, how she keeps tight relationships in business and life, and how offering a free service helped boost her income. Though her path to success might be full of unexpected loops, Mimi says, “it gave me a view of what I needed to do.”Join the conversation on Facebook in our #imakealiving group, where you can chat about challenges, find resources for success, and stay connected with other entrepreneurs!Guest- Mimi G.- WebsiteDIY Mask Video-LINKSew It Academy- Link 
“At the root of our work is education, civic engagement, youth leadership, and wrapping it up with a bow of creative problem-solving.” This is how Antionette D. Carroll explains her work on the Creative Reaction Lab, a nonprofit that trains Black and Latinx youth to redesign their own communities for better health and racial equity. We sit down with her to talk about Black Lives Matter, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, and white supremacy, and how it all relates to entrepreneurship in 2020.Carroll gives us the background on what white supremacy actually is (and why you don't have to be white to perpetuate it), and why companies need to start paying for DEI work in their organizations. We also talk about code-switching, the importance of lived experience, and what makes a good ally. This episode is for all our listeners: we want to unpack the assumptions we make in business and in daily life to help create a more equitable society. As Carroll says, "I am continuing to learn and unlearn, and my discomfort is a good thing."Join the conversation on Facebook in our #imakealiving group, where you can chat about challenges, find resources for success, and stay connected with other entrepreneurs!Guest- Antionette D. Carroll- 
Nicole Gibbons wants to change how we make our homes beautiful. “My aspiration was to be the next Martha Stewart,” she says, and she's on her way. The former PR rep has leveraged years of networking, blogging, media experience, and PR savvy to launch Clare, a direct-to-consumer business selling interior paint.In this week's episode, Gibbons gives us behind-the-scenes access to how she landed an on-air hosting gig soon after leaving her day job (hint: it involves a lot of networking!), and how she used that opportunity to get VC funding and launch Clare as a brand. We also talk about the unexpected visibility of being a Black entrepreneur in 2020, how the pandemic enabled online shopping for unexpected products, and why networking and creating relationships really is that important. Clare is now taking aim on an industry dominated by legacy brands with nine-digit valuations, and Gibbons feels prepared. “A lot of time was put in before it was actually successful,” and she's now ready to go global.Join the conversation on Facebook in our #imakealiving group, where you can chat about challenges, find resources for success, and stay connected with other entrepreneurs!
Welcome back to season three of I Make A Living! We're so excited to bring you another round of inspiring entrepreneurs and kick-butt creatives to help you figure out your path in this new normal. We're starting off with Jack Phan: investor, founder, advisor, and unexpected K-Pop influencer.Phan got his start in medical school, but a detour into telemarketing (that was supposed just for beer money) ended launching a whole new way of marketing home improvements. Phan now mentors entrepreneurs to "find the why" behind what they're working towards. "Look for new ways of doing old things," he advises. For Phan, that includes using his million-follower Twitter account to facilitate meaningful one-on-one connections, and jumping into conversations about tech, AI, and yes, K-Pop. Phan also gives us insight into how the start-up community can—and should—be giving back. His newest project is Dollar For, a foundation that aims to relieve medical debt in the United States. We also talk about the connection between Gen X and Gen Z, what the "former introvert" misses about conferences, and who in his family is a former spy.Join the conversation on Facebook in our #imakealiving group, where you can chat about challenges, find resources for success, and stay connected with other entrepreneurs!
Season 3- Trailer

Season 3- Trailer


In season 3, we are moving past survival mode and onto the future; a better and stronger business on the other side of a global pandemic. Each week you can listen to some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs guide you through the small business solutions of today.
From this episode, here are 3 ACTIONS to make your business more inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity. If we’re looking to make lasting change, we need to continue the conversation around workplace intersectionality all the time - not just in reaction to current events.Encourage use of pronouns - not just for queer employees but for everyoneRevise company policies - act in accordance with the law and your values on everything from workplace dress codes to hiring and firing practices Rethink how you categorize your customers. Should you be making gender binary products or would your customers and business benefit from being more fluid.This isn’t a one and done kind of thing - we’re all learning and growing together and so should our company policies. So keep thinking about diversity and inclusion and how you can be a leader and not a follower in business.GUESTMina Gerges - Website
Guest- Eric Williams The Silver Room 
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