How I Went From Boring Corporate Job To Blissful Boss In Less Than 1 Year

Or, how I quit my corporate job in 2015 at the age of 27 with $7,000 in my bank account, NO clue how to start an online business or make money online and had only 3 months to figure it out until I’d run out of savings.

And figure it out, I did. Read on…

To tell you my whole story, I’d probably have to go back a few years.

It started in college when I studied abroad in Seoul, South Korea. I took a few technology entrepreneurship and international management classes. Inspired by one of my professors, I started a blog.

My goal was to interview entrepreneurs. It quickly turned into a lifestyle blog. I was never able to really figure out how to monetize my efforts though.

So, it was more of a hobby. Regardless, it was back then, when my softly blossoming entrepreneur buds started to originate from.

Fast forward a few years and I found myself in a corporate job as an operations manager at an international corporation.

Okay, it wasn’t my awesome peeps that I worked alongside with that made my corporate job miserable.

Cornelia and fellow AON employees, 2015

Instead, it was the sheer monotony of it.

The fact that I did not use anything at all that I studied and was passionate in (diplomacy and sociology) or, my other creative talents.

You see, I grew up playing the violin professionally all throughout high school.

Cornelia Pauline, 2010

Not only that, I graduated from a special Arts high school before moving to the U.S. to study.

I always thought that there was more to life.

I did not want to get stuck in a corporate job, pretty much having the same routine day in, day out.

I did not want someone else to be in control over my own time.

To me, being the boss of your own time means freedom.

Life is life, though. Plans don’t always work out.

There comes a time when it’s not just about those plans. It’s about your future and it’s about what purpose you decide your life will have (and has).

In other words, how do you want to spend your time?

For me, I knew I wanted to build a legacy.

I wanted to inspire people and wanted to help them break through form the constraints they impose upon themselves and live a life on their terms.

In other words and the only way you can do that is by figuring out what SKILLS and SKILL-SETS you already have (or that you’d love to develop), what innate talents/strengths and figure out how to package them in a way that they become valuable to the overall economy.

Understanding that and figuring that out for yourself will result in – you’ve guessed it, income.

Which, in turn, means you will never have to send out that resume again – hoping someone else will choose you and turn your life around.

No!

Make the choice today to turn your life around.

It all comes down to that, a choice. And that is what I did.

I decided.

So, I started scouting out freelancer websites upon a friend’s recommendation.

My favorite site that I used to experiment with the kind of value I could add to the economy and other businesses was Fiverr.

From when I first used it, it has changed and developed quite a lot.

However, throughout the next six months, I was able to replace the monthly income of my corporate job completely with the kind of money I earned from doing gigs on Fiverr.

First success, right?!

Side note: Yes, I do have a course on Fiverr and even wrote a book on the hacks I used to get those kinds of results. You can find out more about that here: https://fiverrwithfocus.com/welcomefwf

Now, once you get to a certain point, you quickly realize that you need to leave the mothership. It truly felt like that.

Though, I had hit a wall.

I realized that if I really wanted to start growing a successful business (and not only be a freelancer, which is totally fine if this is what you want. it all depends on what you want), I needed to start to figure out how to position myself outside of Fiverr.

So, that’s what I did next.

Once you start branding yourself and positioning yourself correctly, it is pretty straight-forward how to get new business.

And after a ton of trial and error throughout the next few months, I developed a system for this as well.

Hence, I wanted to share it with other aspiring or beginning business owners and entrepreneurs that still struggled with that stage ;). Born was CONNECT, Facebook Networking For Entrepreneurs.

Throughout the beginning and even nowadays, I get about 90% of my clients from being active on Facebook, without spending any money on paid advertising.

The next success!

Don’t get me wrong.

There was a LOT of trial and error involved. There still is. That never stops.

I had people tell me that I was, for example, crazy for ever offering services on Fiverr.

Though the thing is that if you have never before made real money online before to where you can imagine it completely replacing your regular ‘job income’, it’s hard to find the inner attitude and mentality to get and close new clients.

All in all, you have to figure out what works for you.

Though,most beginning business owners and entrepreneurs are either (or both):

(1) Sabotaging themselves because they do not think they have what it takes to live the laptop lifestyle so to speak.

I was the same.

Not only that, I did not know what to sell. Fiverr helped me figure this out without, for example, hiring an online business coach that would have charged me (rightly so) a few thousand dollars a month.

At that point, I was not ready to make that kind of investment.

Maybe I would have achieved my diverse small successes much faster if I had invested in a coach or program though.

What can I say? I can be a bit stubborn at times and want to figure things out on my own.

Nowadays, I’ve realized to not hold on and let go of my stubbornness much sooner. Thanks goodness ;).

(2) Overthinking things. 

You can figure everything out.

Just take it one new information at a time.

Relax.

No one has it all figured out at any given step in their journey.

That’s part of the mystery of life ;).

(3) Too slow when it comes to pivoting.

Yes, there is a difference between following every hottest new shiny object AND pivoting if something is truly not working.

I believe that every single person out there (and if you’re reading this you are certainly one of them), can create the life for themselves and their families that they always dreamed of.

You just got to take a chance on yourself.

Try something.

If it does not feel right after you gave it your best shot, pivot and try something else.

Eventually, you’ll get there.

And some things which might be not right for you anymore tomorrow, are important and true and right in this very moment for you.

It is all an experience you have to go through to grow.

Don’t be afraid of trying.

Don’t be afraid of putting yourself out there.

After all, what do you have to loose?

You can always go get another job.

If you have a job right now, you can skip going out with friends for Happy Hour and dedicate some hours during the week to start taking action towards your dreams.

Life can change A LOT in one year.

Heck, you CAN change your entire life in just 12 months!

Think about that.

When I first started, I still worked from a cubicle in an office doing the same thing every day.

12 months later, I developed into a business owner, traveled around the world with my husband and two dogs while loving the work I do for my students and awesome clients and intentionally, building my online empire.

 

Surprise yourself.

You’ve got this!

Oh and don’t forget to spread the love and share this article on your social media if you’ve liked it <3.

Let’s do this!

~ Cornelia Pauline

P.s. For daily hands-on online business and digital marketing tips, be sure to join my free Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/socialmediafunnelhacks/

P.s.s. You might also enjoy this related article of mine: https://corneliapauline.com/2017/12/03/can-realistically-make-100k-online-12-months/

True behind-the-scenes look of making a $20,000 revenue/month.

The past few months, my team and I have been fluctuating with our monthly revenue around the $12,000/month mark.

However, we’ve put several things in place these past three months which catapulted our revenue up by $7,000 so that we have reached a new break-through.

Every new revenue goal that you set for yourself and that you pass, it is like a learning lessons in and off itself.

The most important part though is that you now know,

“Ah! I’ve achieved this. I can do this. Now, what’s next?”

It’s almost as if you are a mountain climber and you have just climbed a little hill, only to be looking at a steeper one right now.

Guess what?

You can not think about the end of the trail that is still tens of miles aways.

Instead, you have learned that you need to be focusing on the next step and the next step.

If you at least take one more step,

Well, than you know that you will eventually also climb the next, steeper hill.

Feel free to sit down at times if you feel exhausted and need a moment to breathe and to rejuvenate yourself ;).

It does not matter if you race to the mountain or walk in leisurely pace.

It is your business, your life, your decision.

Without further ado, here is what you can expect to pocket away from a $20,000 revenue month.

One, my team and I have just hit in case I have not mentioned it thus far.

Side note: I lead a small team of talented people that provide funnel and content marketing to established businesses. We work with them to take their digital strategy to the next level to increase: exposure, visibility, client and lead flow, brand awareness, engagement as well as revenue.

Our focus is on unique story-telling because I truly believe that if people can connect with a business or entrepreneur in a unique way, competition becomes extinct – even, in a possibly crowded market.

If done the right way, digital storytelling is innovative in and of itself.

Moving on.

Here’s the quick breakdown of our income.

Service Based Income (Client work):

$18,000 – this includes things like Sales Funnel build outs, Facebook ads, content marketing, and coaching.

Sales Based Income (Digital Courses):

$1,300 – this includes any digital course sales for the month of any one of my online programs. You can find a full list of my current programs here: https://corneliapauline.com/shop/

Sooo much room to grow though!

Sometimes we just get so busy helping our clients, we don’t invest enough time in our own products.  

Of course, client work comes first ;).

Affiliate Based Income (Getting paid to refer other peoples products or services):

$728 – this is pretty passive income since we don’t really actively advertise affiliate products as much as we could.

How is it passive?

Well, take for instance this blog post and me pointing out to you that you can check an entire breakdown of the companies, softwares and products we work with in the ‘RESOURCES‘ tab of this blog. I include the link here and a percentage of you will go check it out.

An even smaller percentage will decide to try out a trial of one of these recommended products. I am than getting a cut from the company for referring you after you have continued to stay on even after the trial expired or you bought the product flat out.

Total income = $20,028

Now on the surface this number looks nice.

I am also sure that I will have the entire amount in my pocket one of these next few months ;).

However and for those of you that are already running a business, there are several things that are naturally taken out from this revenue to get to the actual PROFIT number.

By the way, if you have not read Profit First by Mike Michelowitz yet, I can only highly recommend it! That book changed my business’s accounting and the overall HEALTH of my company.

Expenses:

Diverse Online Softwares: $640

Wonderful Contractors: $2,200 (yes, my business partner and I still do a ton in house and are slowly getting better at trying to not do everything ourselves)

Facebook Ads: $238 (most of the client deals currently come through organic marketing on Facebook – see CONNECT)

Merchant transaction fees: $579

Taxes (oh hello, my dear friend <3): $2,780

Net (Not counting all the other expenses like health insurance…) $13,591

Note: I reside in California and my business is registered here. Hence, the Californian tax regulations apply to us.

 

If you are an aspiring entrepreneur or business owner (or are currently maybe struggling a bit at setting your goals for the next year because you do not know what your deductions are going to be), I hope that this article was helpful to you.

Feel free to leave comment down below should you have any questions whatsoever. I always reply.

Let’s do this!

More to Life.

I was sitting in my school’s church and the song textbook slipped out of my fingers.

It fell to the ground with a loud bang in a moment where everything else was silent.

And that’s when it happened.

My heart started racing.

I couldn’t breath.

All the blood felt like it was first rushing to my head.

Then, drained out of my body.

My body felt wobbly.

Above all else, I had this urgent powerful desperate need to get out.

To leave.

Though it seemed as if I could not escape.

I mean, how can you escape day-to-day life?

 

Most of my life I felt numb inside.

It was as if I was living and having all these experiences but I never felt them.

I tried to analyze my feelings to their core and it was never enough.

Joy, didn’t feel like real joy.

Happiness was not there either.

And also sadness and pain didn’t feel real.

After all, what was I supposed to be sad about?

I had quite the normal life.

Sure my parents divorced but that is not out of the ordinary in our day and age.

Still, I started having panic attacks when I was ten years old.

I remember them so well.

 

I learned how to deal with them.

Without any type of medication or drugs.

I learned how to control them.

How to push through and thrive.

How to utilize the power of my mind.

Another thing that was like an escape to me, was to play the violin.

I could loose myself in one of Shostakovich’s melodies; while painting a copy of Monet’s Water Lilies; reading Agatha Christie or writing the next international bestseller (okay, this one has yet to happen 😉 ).

 

From all those things though, it was writing which offered me a resemblance of sanity.

Particularly writing about things I knew there was no immediate answer for.

Or maybe there was but I would not find it.

Not in a million years.

 

It took me a few more years – seven to be precise – to accept this.

To tell myself that it was okay to not know.

To instead, have faith in whatever was out there that determines our lives.

 

It took me a few more years to realize that that was not enough.

That you had to have faith in yourself.

Sometimes – and because I want to be honest here – I still struggle with that.

I struggle to not feel dull inside – to feel alive instead.

I still long to experience and explore life to its fullest – whatever that means.

I don’t want my life to be mediocre.

 

That is one of the reason the entrepreneurial heart beats so strongly inside my chest.

And I don’t believe what most people say that life is supposed to be.

I mean, how do they know?

No one knows me better than I do myself.

I know what I need and want.

Most of the time at least :).

 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always easy to go for that.

You have to go against social stigmas, deal with the occasional troll and feelings of feeling like an outsider.

People are always scared of things or people they don’t understand.

People that are different.

I guess it makes them question their own lives.

But I can’t stop and probably never can in my search for ‘there has to be more to life than we know‘.

Who knows what kind of answers I will find on my journey?

But no worries :).

I’ll keep you posted.

And who knows, one day you might decide to follow my journey of discovery?

38.

38.

38 times we’ve moved over the course of the past 10 years together.

38 times of packing our lives up into rather small and constrained boxes.

38 times of lifting and heaving those boxes from an old home to a new home.

38 times of starting fresh.

38 times of spreading our love again in that new home.

I remember in year 8 when I lost my wedding ring during one of those moves,

I was SO devastated.

It was the ring you had bought me when we were still 2 young poor college students.

It was the ring you gave to me on that summer night,

A nervous smile on your face, teeth showing a little and a vein popping on the left side of your neck.

It was the first ring I ever accepted from you, from anyone.

And I had lost it.

Unexpectedly.

Surprisingly.

Than again.

That is when loss often happens.

It’s like an unwelcome guest that is forcing his way into your life.

All you can do, is accept its presence.

Deal with it.

And move on.

That’s what I did.

We did not have any money to replace it.

And for almost an entire year – 365 days – I was a wife without a ring.

My hand felt naked every time my gaze fell onto my ring finger.

Oh, how I’ve missed the soft weight of my ring!

Funny what you get used to at times and what you miss.

2 years later, almost for our 10 year anniversary, you presented me with another ring.

A ring SO beautiful and SO rare…just like you.

I remember how I fell in love with it from the first moment I saw it.

IMG-20171124-WA0000

How I was drawn to its boldness – a deep red ruby as its centerpiece, surrounded by diamonds.

A ruby as rare as you.

This is my love letter to you, honey.

To a love as old as time itself.

Thank you for coming into my life.

Thank you for staying.

Thank you for being you.

I love you.

cornelia and ben

 

 

1000 Times Goodbye – The sacrifices of an expat

I’m just about to hug my dad for the second time after he dropped my husband and myself off at the airport together with our two little dogs.

The final farewell is fast approaching.

That bittersweet time when we hug each other for the last time and have to say goodbye to each other…until the next time we are going to see each other again – if everything goes well.

1000 times I have said bittersweet goodbyes already to my family and friends throughout the past 9 years while living abroad.

That’s 10000 or so tears we have shared together.

And, furthermore, 1000000 or so social media messages and/or emails we have exchanged with each other.

Everyone talks about how awesome it is to live abroad. What an adventure it is supposed to be!

It is true.

I would not want my life to be any other way and am even planning on living in even further countries and places around the world as I dearly love to explore new cultures and meet new people.

Though, rarely, it is talked about the ‘dark side’ of being an expat, the bittersweet farewells you have to go through on a regular basis.

Each farewell breaking your heart just a little bit, one goodbye at a time whenever you visit your family and friends in your home country.

Furthermore, you start becoming different when living in a new country as you adapt to it and most likely, start changing some of your habits and characteristics.

Though I urge you to see this as an advantage as you can bring new perspectives to occurrences – like political, economical, personal, or otherwise – in your home country.

There are more and more expats due to globalization and a more diverse work force nowadays than ever before.

Social media and the internet has luckily made it easier and easier to stay in touch with your loved ones and to stay connected through various medias on an even daily basis.

Though, one thing that I am always reminded of when I visit my family back in Europe is that no social media, no technological communication advancement can ever substitute the kiss of a mother or, the hug of a father or the laughs that you share with your siblings.

This is something that will unfortunately never change and just needs to be accepted when choosing the life of an expat.

If you are like me, already an expat, you are most likely aware of all of this.

To you, I just want to say – be grateful!

Gratitude and love are so important and are the only things that will help sustain your heart throughout all of these 1000s of goodbyes.

Cherish the friends and connections you start making in your new country and stay connected with your friends in your native one.

All of these global relationships form you into who you are and who you will become – an expat: a blend of cultures, mindsets and colors, a product of globalization, a pizza with all sorts of ingredients on it, simply truly unique.

Which TYPE of marketing or sales funnel is right for my business?

The great thing about sales funnels is that every business needs leads and/or sales so they can be of help to every business.

It’s just a matter of finding the right strategy and implementing it…

As we all very well know already at this point, there are several types of funnels you can use to potentially send a prospect on a discovery and ultimately sales journey of your brand/business.

Some of these types of funnels are:

+ Webinar sales funnel (can be live or automated or a combination of both)

+ Tripwire (= low cost offering) funnel

+ Free + Shipping funnel

+ Traditional sales funnel with an up-sell and/or down-sell

+ Opt in funnel

+ Client acquisition funnel

+ High ticket sales funnel

+ Etc.

These are only a few examples of types of funnels you can use in your own business to get the desired result.

Which brings me to the first thing you want to make sure to get clear on before even thinking of a ‘type of funnel’:

(1) WHAT is your primary objective? 

WHAT do you hope to achieve with this funnel?

WHY do you want to even generate leads?

Is it…

Sell an online course?

Grow an email list?

Get prospects on a phone call?

Fill up a live event?

Etc.

Now, once you get clear on this goal, you essentially start REVERSE-ENGINEERING.

(2) WHAT are you selling?

a) Digital product?

i) Consider the following strategies:

Tripwire (low cost products)

Webinar (high cost products)

Opt-in funnel (as an intro funnel for both low and high cost)

b) Physical product?

i) Consider the following strategies:

Free + Shipping (low cost products)

Tripwire funnel (high cost products with a low cost intro offer)

Optin funnel (as an intro for both low and high cost)

c) Services

i) Consider the following strategies:

Client acquisition funnel

Irresistible Offer funnel (Optin funnel – good for brick and mortar)

Webinar funnel

The next step is to get clear on exactly what it is that we want to sell.

If you are struggling with this, than this means essentially that you have to do more market research to validate your product or sales idea.

If you’ve done enough of it, you’ll know without a shred of doubt.

(3) WHO are you selling – whatever it is you are selling – to? WHAT medium can you use to best sell it to them?

Target market, ideal customer/client,…you want to be clear about those things.

Also, where are they hanging out at?

What form of medium do they seem to prefer?

I.e.: If you are a copywriter and want to get more copywriting clients, they want to most likely see more of your writing craft.

As a result, having a video bait element might defeat the purpose.

I.e.: If you are a coach, you want to show your prospects your persona and what you’re all about – hence, a video bait/freebie might be a perfect fit.

(4) HOW much does your product cost (if anything)?

I.e.: Is it a low cost product, you might want to be using a tripwire sales funnel because a webinar would be too much work in essence and not worth investing your time in.

Are you selling a high ticket item (like a course for $997 or more), you probably want to be using a live webinar funnel to make sure you get those conversions you want to get.

(5) Do you plan on closing sales on the phone?

Now you want to make sure to add a ‘client intake form’ to your client acquisition funnel in order to get the phone number and all the other information you potentially need from your prospect in order to call them.

(6) Do you have CONTENT ready you can use as a freebie/bait element?

If so, start out with an OPT IN PAGE and go from there.

(7) Analyze and see what it is that your competitors are doing.

One of the fastest way to build a funnel that converts is learn from what it is your competitors are already doing.

Not copy!

But learn from the flow of their funnel that they are using and put your own spin on it.

There might be a reason why they use a certain type of funnel with their target market and if you are in the same industry and have a similar or even the same target market, you want to use the SAME TYPE of funnel.

Finally – please remember – you do not know what you do not know.

When it comes to the funnel world, the best thing you can do is to:

[A] Do your research.

[B] Implement fast.

[C] Analyze the numbers and data.

[D] Pivot if necessary.

[E] Test again until you find a winner.

[F] Optimize and scale.

If you’re about to create (or have been creating) a funnel for yourself but still aren’t sure yet if you chose the correct ‘type’ and want continuous guided mentorship while becoming part of an awesome community, be sure to check out Funnel PRO Academy (https://funnelproacademy.com/welcome-2017).

P.s.: You might also enjoy this article: https://corneliapauline.com/2017/11/25/10-golden-rules-creating-ridiculously-good-content-online/

How one plane ride to Hawaii changed my entire life

My hands were clammy.

I brushed them off against the fabric of my washed-out denim for the like millionth time.

I was nervous.

Not because I was stepping into the airplane to start my thirty-five-hour journey to Hawaii, but because I was leaving the place I was born in.

I was moving away.

Across the world.

By myself.

Some of my friends kept telling me I was crazy.

Why did I need to move 7,700 miles way, almost half across the world, to study something they couldn’t even quite pronounce ‘Anthropologie and Film Studies’ (truthfully, they knew film studies of course).
My father thought I was crazy too.

I was way too young with eighteen years old, he stated.

And, above that, a girl.

This statement as a self-confessed feminist always made me cringe.

He was old-school, my father.

Growing up during a time of poverty and hardship after the Second World War.

It had defined him and he did not trust new modern notions of how the world was supposed to work.

My mother was more supportive. Although, I could tell that it would break her heart – me moving away that is.

But there are certain times in your life where you just have to do what you have to do.

That time in my life, nine years ago, was certainly one of those times.

Sure, I could have made all sorts of different decisions and there were plenty of options for me.

However, something inside of me urged me on.

And it continued to urge me on until I could think of nothing else than my vision for my life for the next few years.

Whenever you reach a time in your life where you get this kind of conviction about something that you just need to do, some action that you need to take, don’t wait.

Don’t analyze it and try to figure out the why, or continue to doubt yourself.

Just go for it!

See what it is that you need to experience when taking that action and committing yourself to what your heart is telling you to do.
Every decision you make in your life, ever action you take and every reaction of yours is interconnected with each other.

They are there to bring you to a certain point in your life.

The here and now.

This moment.
The future?

Well, that is up to you.

But remember to always listen to yourself.

It won’t be easy.

If it would be then there is nothing for you left to learn or experience.

If you don’t feel challenged you won’t become stronger, nor wiser.

For me, that moment when I stepped into the plane was one of the most significant episodes of my life.

One anxiety attack after the other rushed through my young body, while I continued telling myself that I must be crazy for doing what I was doing.

Nobody else from my past environment had ever taken action to do what I was about to do (at least not at that point).

But that was exactly the reason why it was so important for me.

I felt that I needed to break out from what was comfortable to me.

I knew I needed to leave to be able to find myself.

And finally – even if I got the listening-to-myself-part down – I knew that I needed to learn to believe in myself too, in order to reach that vision I had for myself and my life.

I am still on a journey to get there.

And I believe, so might be you.

We all are.

But I am excited abut my life with all its ups and downs.

And so I wish, you are too.

Cornelia_Paulinejpg