DiscoverI Make a Living
I Make a Living

I Make a Living

Author: Damona Hoffman, Paco Arizmendi, FreshBooks

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I Make a Living is a podcast for people who work for themselves. Whether you are a freelancer, small business owner or entrepreneur, our mission is to provide a space for insightful and candid conversations about what “making a living” means to you.

The topics and conversations in each episode revolve around the self-employed community—your community. We talk about what it means to carve your own path, define success on your own terms, and build a business that brings you satisfaction. We also talk about mistakes, struggles, and the unglamorous side of working for yourself.

New episodes air every Monday. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as they become available!
53 Episodes
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 
Some of us want to be Lay's Chips—national! popular! instant recognition!—but Terry O'Reilly thinks we could learn a few things from Utz, Baltimore's hometown favorite chip brand that outperforms Lay's by a huge margin. In other words: small can be excellent. Terry O'Reilly is the host of the marketing podcast Under the Influence, and has 30 years of experience directing marketing for brands big and small.In this week's episode, O'Reilly reminds us to put on our marketing hats at least once a week (hey, if it worked for Steve Jobs...) and experiment with boldness. “Does your idea make your hands start to sweat a little bit?” he asks; it's a clue that you're on the right track. He outlines his "Shish Kebab" theory of brand unity that you can start using today, and tells us why small businesses shouldn't get too wrapped up in what their competitors are doing.He also takes questions from our #imakealiving audience about scaling businesses on a shoestring budget, how to use social media for market research, and how protect your business from toxic clients.GuestTerry O'Reilly- WebsiteThe Apostrophe Podcast Company- Website 
While today's bonus episode focuses on the government programs set in the U.S., we believe that the experiences and tips shared by our financial expert guests are relatable to everyone, regardless of where you are located. Thank you to our guests Phylecia an Oona and the 3 entrepreneurs who shared their experiences with us. Find them all below. GUESTS-Phylecia Jones - https://www.keepupwithmrsjones.comOona Rokyta, CEO and Co-Founder, Lance - Kline, Host of Solving Me Too Podcast - https://solvingmetoo.comMeegan Czop, Owner of Great Lakes Yard - https://www.greatlakesyard.comBen Yee, Co-Owner of The Camera Department -
“Artists starving? There’s absolutely no reason for that.” Sonja Rasula is the founder of Unique Markets, a Los Angeles-based pop-up market showcase for artisans and makers. In this week's episode, she talks to us about her hands-on approach to training small business owners in the art of selling their art, why she launched Unique Markets during a recession, and why hitting the pause button now can help businesses recover down the road.Rasula, who got her start in retail and later launched websites like NatGeo and FoodTV, understands the path between creating beautiful products and actually selling them. She ensures that her carefully selected vendors are trained on how to talk to shoppers and use tools like social media and branding to grow. Our conversation with her also includes the power of a drive-time epiphany, why she she's as busy during a shutdown as she was in her launch phase, and how she chose conscious consumerism in the first place.
Allis Markham describes herself as “An artist with a really strong stomach.” She's the founder of Prey Taxidermy, a Los Angeles studio that serves clients ranging from luxury brands like Gucci to natural history museums all over America. We chat about her transition from Director of Social Media Strategy for the Walt Disney Company to running her own shop that's for the birds...and foxes...and armadillos.Markham walked away from a six-figure job "explaining social media to boardrooms full of old white men” to follow her passion: creating beautiful taxidermy. Volunteering at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles netted her both a mentor and a deeper understanding of her craft. She decided to take the plunge into full-time when she realized she could become the go-to taxidermist for the Los Angeles set: people who loved art tinged with luxury. We talk to her about the importance of a business motto, how teaching classes helps her fine-tune her practice, and why YouTube and outsourcing help her say yes to more.Guest-Allis Markham-
"Always have a hustle that’s paying the bills," says Steve Barnes, who knows plenty about hustle. Barnes, who got his start as a radio host and actor, combined his love of travel with a passion for content production to launch Barnes Creative Studios. Now, he travels the world shooting promo videos and VR for brands and destinations that make us want to book that vacation time.In this week's episode, he talks to us about getting ahead of the pack with technology (and how working with camera drones ten years ago has led to an interest in VR), how to talk budget with a potential client without scaring them off, and why honing your listening skills and taking the time to build trust can help answer questions your clients aren't even asking yet. He also shares why driving for Uber (in a Tesla, no less!) isn't off-brand for him.
Feeling a little...unmotivated? You’re not alone. With most of us working from home, we've lost some of our best productivity tools, and we might not even know it. In this week's minisode, Dr. Sahar Yousef of UC Berkeley chats with us about why setting clear cognitive boundaries between "work" and "everything else" makes a difference when all our days feel kind of the same.She shares insights on how we can recreate and reinvent go-mode triggers for the home: setting up rituals that prime our brains to focus, using calendars to hype ourselves up subconsciously, and why we should never work from the couch. She walks us through "focus sprints," her recipe for conquering your to-do list and producing results. She's even got something for the kids: she talks about how homeschoolers need triggers and transitions into schoolwork just as much as their high-achieving parents. It's time to put your phone in a drawer, close all those tabs, and get down to business.Guest- Dr. Sahar Yousef - Website
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