What if you could:
- Take a work trip to Richard Branson’s private island … paid for by your client
- Network with the top players in your industry … and realize your business is doing better than theirs
- Collaborate with and be sponsored by the best brands
That’s what one of my Earnable students, Julia Menez, has been able to do as she’s transitioned from a job as an actuary to running her own travel business, Geobreeze Travel.
I’m excited to share her story with you. First, I want to show you three ways that owning her own business has allowed Julia to live her Rich Life.
A free trip to Richard Branson’s private island
Julia’s trip to Richard Branson’s private island “is probably the epitome of a Rich Life,” she said. “The place where we stayed looks like a yacht on top of a hill. It’s the most luxurious thing I’ve ever experienced.”
Julia promoted Bilt, a credit card program that lets you earn points on your rent, and Bilt noticed. To thank her for driving people to their program, they invited her to a mastermind consulting session on Branson’s island in the British Virgin Islands.
“I got to hang out with points-and-miles celebrities,” Julia said. “And I got invited to be on Bilt’s advisory board going forward, as well as continuing to promote their program.”
“Different collaborations like this would not have been possible if I didn’t build out the business,” Julia said. “And a lot of that is due to the different strategies that I learned through Earnable.”
Building a network and meeting interesting people
“A lot of my Rich Life is being invited to social events and developing friendships,” Julia said.
“Having a business, I get to interact with people for my podcast,” she said. “They’re interesting and have incredible stories about the strategies they use … I get to interact with coaching clients … And I’ve also made a lot of friends through the internet and then meeting up in person.”
She’s been able to speak at multiple conferences, including The New York Times Travel Show, and has been on stage with “huge names in the industry,” she said. “To get to share the stage with them is incredible.”
Julia has a great insight into the concept of a Rich Life: “I think part of a lot of people’s Rich Life is some feeling of being a small-time celebrity.” (Indeed!) “Being kind of a well-known voice or a growing voice in the points-and-miles community, it’s really opened up networking opportunities.”
And it’s also helped her grow her business.
Helping others through travel tips and profit donations
Julia has a well-defined niche for Geobreeze Travel. She’s a first-generation daughter of immigrants, which gives her a perspective that’s not often seen in the points-and-miles travel industry.
I LOVE the example she gives: “Some people are like, ‘I just want to visit my mom in Honduras, and I do not have six hundred dollars.’ I can tell them, ‘Oh, it’s super easy for you. You just need this one card. The sign-up bonus covers your six-hundred-dollar ticket. You can see your family.’”
“I can tell somebody that in 10 seconds,” Julia said, “but it’s almost life-changing to them where they’re like, ‘I haven’t seen my family in years and this just changed everything.’ People can travel back home to Asia, South America, Europe, wherever their family might be, where they haven’t been able to afford visiting their family.”
How awesome is that!
Julia also has a second major way to help people: “I donate all the profits at the end of the year to different charities that are voted on by my Patreon members.” Last year she donated more than $30,000.
Think about these three Rich Life experiences — Julia is able to go on luxurious trips, network with key players in her industry, and help people out with 5-minute tips … or thousands of dollars in donations.
All because of her business.
And she hasn’t been doing this forever — she started last year!
Two of Julia’s secrets? Hard work and Earnable. “I was able to take advantage of these opportunities through what I learned in the course,” she said.
Now, let’s look at how Julia discovered her business idea and niche.
Identifying your niche: genuinely helping people with a profitable business
Becoming an actuary takes thousands of hours of studying for certification exams. Actuarial jobs pay well, and Julia was looking into positions that would allow her to work internationally in Thailand or Hong Kong or Belgium.
So why quit that — and early in her career! — to build her own business from scratch?
After she finished her studies and passed her exams, Julia had a lot of free time and started getting into personal finance and points-and-miles travel. She first set up a travel agency but closed it down during the pandemic.
She started an Instagram account to share how to use credit card points and miles. She didn’t like to write, but she did like to talk with people, so she started a podcast rather than a blog.
Julia wanted to take a collaborative approach, because she found the opposite of that when she was starting out:
“As I was getting more into points and miles and wanting to travel for free, I noticed that pretty much all of the big bloggers were white men of the same demographic. There was nobody who really looked like me. There wasn’t really anybody who shared background stories that I could relate to. I figured there’s probably a lot of other people in the world who feel excluded that way.
“Whenever I tried to ask a question on Reddit, sometimes people were just very rude in their responses. So I really wanted to make a community where we could talk about points and miles, but also from a standpoint of people who don’t normally get featured in points-and-miles media….
“As someone who is quite obviously not a white man, I think my viewpoint of how to approach points and miles is a little bit different. There’s so much content out there for how to get the greatest cents-per-point valuation by transferring your points to Emirates First Class or Singapore First Class, the Etihad Apartments, things like that, which don’t always cater to everyone.”
This is a great illustration of what I mean when I say “Your Rich Life is yours.” “Rich” is not synonymous with “first class.” Not everyone even wants to do those things.
Julia also wanted to “make it easier for people to find somebody who fits their particular style of points-and-miles strategy,” she said. “Because sometimes you want information for solo women travelers, sometimes you want things that are for large families. Sometimes you want something that’s very business-traveler focused. If you’re a consultant or a salesperson who’s traveling all the time, sometimes you want to learn what’s the best way to earn a lot of points … where you can churn a lot of business spend through those credit cards. There are different strategies.”
Julia identified an opportunity in the market: “I felt like it was a very one-size-fits-all or maybe three-sizes-fits-all — with people who like to tinker and basic family blogs, but nothing that catered to women, people of color, first-generation immigrants.”
Julia has been able to speak at multiple conferences on how BIPOC women can use points and miles or how points-and-miles travel applies to families who have several kids but never had a travel budget. “Being able to have those opportunities and help people who just thought ‘Oh that luxury lifestyle is not for me, it’s for people who are already rich. People who look like me just aren’t represented in these channels.’… I love being able to tell them, ‘No, you can travel for free too!’”
“From a business sense,” Julia said, “it’s opened up so many different opportunities because there’s quite a movement on Instagram and the internet at large to make all of the travel and financial industries more digestible for people who generally haven’t had a seat at the table.”
I love this dialed-in perspective on how she can help people while at the same time build a successful business.
Julia found something she liked and was good at, found a hole in the market, and then worked to provide a profitable solution.
Now let’s look at how Julia has worked to build several revenue streams from her ideas.
$60k in her first year in business
Julia has diversified her business’s income streams. Here’s why that’s important.
Last year was Julia’s first year in business with Geobreeze Travel. The business brought in close to $60,000 in revenue.
“This year,” Julia said, “my goal is about $8,000 total revenue each month. So that’ll get me close to $100k in total revenue. If somebody built out a business like this, that’s more than enough to live on for most people.”
When Julia was studying the celebrity points-and-miles travel bloggers a few years ago, she decided to buy Earnable:
“I thought, ‘Well, if they can do it, I bet I can do it too…How are they doing this? Let’s figure out if I’m able to do something similar without having to spend all of my free time writing blog articles, optimizing for SEO, hoping somebody reads it and then clicks some links.’ So I purchased Earnable and came up with a lot of different ideas that don’t just depend on people applying for credit cards through my site.”
Geobreeze Travel has five total revenue streams:
The largest piece of revenue for Geobreeze Travel comes from credit card affiliate sales. “It’s enough to cover rent every month in this New Jersey apartment, where I have a view of Manhattan,” Julia said.
But she doesn’t want to be dependent on one stream. “It’s nice that if I have a low month [in credit card affiliate sales], because it is the most variable, that it’s not completely going to wreck the business,” Julia said.
“Earnable also gave me ideas for how to launch a coaching business and how to automate a lot of things like scheduling,” Julia said. “So you’re not trying to email people back and forth, ‘OK, are you free on Thursday at 7pm?’ You can make an automated calendar so that people can sign up for coaching whenever there’s an open spot.”
Another reason why diversifying is so important is that you never know when Facebook or Instagram or whatever service will change their algorithms and affect your business. That’s why an email list is important.
And it’s something Julia is focusing on.
Here’s what I love about Julia’s way of doing that: As a bonus for signing up for her newsletter, she shares a simple email script that got her $1k of upgrades at the Grand Wailea in Maui!
Yes! I love scripts. (In fact, Earnable is full of word-for-word scripts you can borrow or adapt for your own business.)
The hotel upgrade email template Julia shares is phenomenal. She booked the $500 room at the hotel and asked for an upgrade to the $650 room. The hotel ended up upgrading her to the $900 room in the gated community part of the hotel, with views of multiple Hawaiian islands, a balcony, free breakfast, free dinner with cocktail hour, complimentary champagne and local Hawaiian snacks, and more.
Not bad for a simple email!
Julia now gives out a free 15-minute coaching call each week to the first person who clicks the link in her weekly newsletter. “I think I got that idea out of Earnable too,” she said.
I love that Julia took what she learned from Earnable and applied it to her own unique situation. She found something she liked and was good at, found a hole in the market, and then worked to provide a profitable solution.
The mindset of a successful entrepreneur
Julia’s business has given her multiple Rich Life moments, she developed a niche, and she diversified her business’s income streams.
But now, let’s look at the most important part of being a successful entrepreneur: mindset.
Like many students, Julia binge-watched Earnable when she first signed up and started building her business.
But she’s continued to return to the lessons again and again, especially for “email templates or if I need ideas on how to word something when I’m going to pitch to a brand or pitch on a collaboration,” she said.
Julia sees something in her business that I see often in mine: “A lot of people are hesitant to invest in anything that has a fee associated with it. We see this in the credit card world all the time, where people will say, ‘Oh, there’s a $95 annual fee.’ We say, ‘You’re going to get $2,000 worth of value. Wouldn’t you pay $95 to get this $2,000 vacation for free?’ And people are like, ‘Oh, but is it guaranteed that I’m going to find the award space?’”
But here’s what she tells people who ask about investing so much in a program (whether a credit card or a business program): “Don’t you believe in yourself enough to get that kind of ROI?” I love it.
“It does really light a fire under you, where you say to yourself, ‘OK, I’ve invested in this. I have to actually do the work so that I can recoup that money and build out my business,’” she said.
This is the mindset I’ve seen in my most successful students. They invest in themselves and use that as motivation to invest in their business.
Another common mindset I’ve seen from my students is imposter syndrome and feeling like they’re years behind everyone else and so they shouldn’t even start.
Here’s Julia’s advice:
“I think when people are starting their own business, they just feel the need for everything to be perfect, or they see somebody that they admire in their industry and they’re like, ‘That took 14 years. I don’t have 14 years. I’m never going to catch up to them because there’s some kind of early mover advantage.’ But the world keeps shifting and you don’t need to be at the same level as the top person in your industry. If you can grow a little bit and then grow a little bit more and make those incremental steps, those are really important.
“We tell people the same thing in points and miles when they say, ‘I’m never going to get enough points to go around the world in first class and save $50,000, $200,000.’ I tell them, ‘Do you need to? Would you be happy if I just told you that you get $5,000 of free travel every year? Isn’t that notable?’
“I think people just get caught up in the comparison game with Instagram. It parallels everything else where you’re so afraid to start your business because you see somebody who’s so successful at the thing you want to do, and you think you’re never going to catch up.
“You’d be surprised. Sometimes you do. I have surpassed some people who I thought were way above me, and they were way above me at some point, and I’ve surpassed them as far as Instagram followers, probably revenue as well.
“But also, it’s OK if you don’t, because you’re still making progress, and there’s so much self-efficacy involved when you’re like, ‘I made enough this month to pay rent.’ Rent is covered from a side business! So even if you’re not covering your entire lifestyle and it’s not enough to retire in two months after starting a business, that’s OK. Because if you’re making enough to cover a significant expense, that is life changing and eventually socioeconomically changing if you can keep making those little pieces of progress.”
YES!! This is beautifully stated.
Here’s my challenge to you: If you already have this mindset, join Earnable and start to build your own business. If you struggle with this mindset, join Earnable. In addition to the material that focuses on the nuts and bolts of building your own business, we also include lots of material on mindset — both yours and your customers’.