I am writing this almost five years to the day that I shared the first ever episode of the Tandem Nomads podcast.
The five years since then have been a huge journey and as I celebrate this milestone, I’ve taken a moment to reflect and share some of the big lessons I have learned along the way.
But before I share those learnings with you, I want to say a huge thank you to you! Tandem Nomads only exists because of your support – because you spend your precious time reading this blog, listening to the episodes or following me on social media. You are why I started Tandem Nomads and what motivates me to keep going.
And now I am going to give you a little glimpse behind the scenes at my journey over the last five years.
This blog article is a summary of the related podcast episode.
A note from the past
As I was preparing to celebrate this anniversary, I was going through some old work documents and I found something that really struck a chord with me. I honestly don’t know how long ago I wrote this! I quite often write notes for my future self to find as reminders of things that I’ve learned.
The list I found is four of the big lessons I’ve learned on my Tandem Nomads journey.
Lesson 1: Accept the change
I had to change so much about myself to make Tandem Nomads happen. I don’t mean that I had to change who I am but rather my perception of myself and some of my habits. I’ve had to push myself out of my comfort zone. And I also have had to learn something that I share all the time with my clients – our businesses are not set in stone. We need to accept that our businesses will need to grow and change and we must be able to adapt!
Lesson 2: Build your controllables
There are so many things you cannot control in your entrepreneurial journey. You cannot control whether people will buy from you. You cannot control other people’s minds and attitudes. But you can control how you show up for yourself and your business.
One of the things that I quickly learned I could control, and that I needed to look at, was my daily routine, including what I do when I wake up.
Being mindful and intentional about your daily habits can really make a difference to how you show up for yourself, your business and your customers.
If this is something that you want to look at for yourself, then check out this book:
I have also learned that while I cannot control everything that happens, I can control how I handle it. Not being overwhelmed by everything going on around me and letting external factors control my thoughts is still one of the most difficult things for me. I’ve made huge progress over the last five years and I will continue to work on it. Being able to focus your own thoughts and attention on your business even in challenging times is so important.
The other thing I had to work on controlling was my calendar, my time and my attitude. I have had to build habits, boundaries and resources to help me be really effective and allow me to show up authentically for myself and for you.
Lesson 3: Experiment and adjust
This is something that I have to remind myself about all the time and it has been a huge part of my journey over the last five years. I love to share proven strategies with you, and to provide templates that you can use to make building your business easier. However, you need to always have your eyes and ears open to adjust your business and adapt to changing situations and needs. What has happened in 2020 with the global pandemic is a great example of this in practice. I know that I have had to completely change my plans and adapt my business model this year.
While it is great to surround ourselves with the best possible resources, proven ways of working and research and to implement those things in our business, we also need to leave room to try new things and to be responsive.
And yes, you need to be consistent but not at the expense of not innovating and adapting when you need to!
If you want to learn more about finding the balance between wanting to implement everything perfectly and leaving room for experimenting, check out this episode:
Lesson 4: Experience and enjoy
This is something that I need to continue to work on. I am not always good at just being in the moment and enjoying it. I’m always thinking about the next thing and planning for the future. I am grateful for opportunities like this anniversary that help me focus on what it means to have been going for five years!
Being an entrepreneur is hard work. Therefore, it is so important to actually be present in these important moments and to have fun, which is one of my values. If you follow me on social media or have taken an online course with me, you know I love to have a dance party!
Make sure you take the time to celebrate yourself and your achievements and to enjoy the great moments that also come from being on this journey.
Lesson 5: Put yourself out there
This last lesson wasn’t on my note to my future self but it has been a huge lesson for me over the last five years. And it is probably the one thing that I wish someone had told me at the start – you’ve got to let go of your fear and get out there.
When I started Tandem Nomads, I was so scared. I had to not only put my voice out there in the podcast, I had to share photos and videos on social media. I had to become more open to be able to show up authentically. Without doing that I could not expect people to trust me and want to work with me.
So here is my big tip. No matter how you feel about how you look, how you sound or what people will think of you, get out there. And I will tell you truthfully, for every podcast, every video, I just do one take. I just jump in and do it. No more hiding.
But I have not always felt this way and I was far too slow to really put myself out there. It took me two years from my first podcast to actually commit to making Tandem Nomads a real business.
The reason it took me so long was because I was hesitating about putting myself out there because I was afraid of what people would think about me. I am a diplomatic spouse and that means that there is a lot of pressure to make sure that you are doing the right thing, showing up the right way, dressing the right way, saying things the right way and following the protocols. And I agree that these things are important but it can create a mindset that is too focussed on what other people think. I am sure that this is a feeling that will resonate with many of you, no matter what your experiences are.
It is time to stop caring about what other people think. If you keep thinking that way, you will never, ever, ever do what you are meant to do in this world.
“You will care less of what people think of you when you realize how little they do.”
I was also worried about other people’s opinions. Firstly, I was worried about my colleagues in the corporate world. I spent so much time hiding that I was an expert spouse, so that my peers and colleagues would see me for who I was and my business expertise. Starting a podcast about expat spouses and dual career issues put the spotlight on the part of my identity that I’d tried to hide! So that was a big issue.
Secondly, I worried about what my husband’s colleagues in the diplomatic community would think. was the colleagues of my husband. Would they think I was seeking attention or being egotistical for putting myself out there? I was talking about some things that are not often talked about – visas, work permits, money. We are better today about being open about these issues but these topics are still a challenge.
Finally, and I still need to work on this one, I was concerned about what my family would think of me. I have a huge family back in Algeria who live a completely different life. And I’m so worried that they might think that I’m somehow not the person they think I am. somebody.
All of these worries are very real and very hard to overcome – these are all people I care about and whose opinions matter to me. But I cannot let anybody’s opinion decide how I live my life and run my business. This has been a big fight for me, but it was only when I started to face it, that things started shifting for me.
If your worries of what other people might think about you are holding you back and you can’t overcome them on your own, then I urge you to get the help you need to move past them. There are so many coaches out there and I will help you if I can. But please, please address this, and stop hiding.
Please stop hiding and put yourself out there. Share your special gift with the world because we need it. We need you, Nomad Nation!
What keeps me motivated
I grew up as a Third Culture Kid so I knew what it was to live on the move, and as an adult, I was ready to settle down and stay in one place. I had already built a great corporate career in advertising. Then I met my husband, Michael, and he convinced me to move with his career as a diplomat. When I married him, I knew that I would not be able to have a traditional career.
So I started a marketing consultancy business but I had to figure out how to make that work on my own – there were no resources, no coaches or support. I had some big challenges like living in Iraq where the internet service was very unreliable at that time. Six years down the line, I started to figure out what it took to make a business portable.
But one thing about this journey made me angry. For years, I was an angry woman until I decided to do something to empower women in our community. This is the 21st century, and there’s still women who feel stuck and don’t feel free to make their own choices because they’re financially dependent on their partners. I’ve seen this have a huge impact on people’s marriages and their wellbeing, and their ability to lead the life they want because of their inability to earn their own money. And while things are very slowly changing, most of the time, the accompanying partner in these situations is a woman.
For me, it was important to do something. And this is why I said to myself, “Okay, I don’t know what to do about it, but I’ll just start a podcast and start sharing inspiring stories to tell to other women that it is possible and that you don’t have to give up on your journey. You don’t then have to give up on your special talent. You can create your own career on the move. It is possible.
This is a big thing for me that I still continue to work on. I’m so happy to see immense progress in the past five years. There’s not been enough progress and so I will continue to fight for more.
The other thing that I struggled with before I started Tandem Nomads was the sense of community. I felt like it was very difficult to find a community of like-minded people, who wanted so badly to keep their career, professional and self-development journey going. Through the podcast, I have found my community and I’m so grateful.
Finally the big message that I wanted to share through the Tandem Nomads podcast was not about marketing, but about the mindset of entrepreneurship and how entrepreneurship for me is more just than about running a business.
It’s about turning the challenges we see in the world into great opportunities. Helping you do this is my big ‘why’ and what drives me. I want to help expat partners to turn those challenges into opportunities by creating a successful portable business.
My passion for this is what drove me to finally make Tandem Nomads a proper business, and not just a podcast.
For the first two years, Tandem Nomads was only the podcast. Finally I felt that I had proof that the concept worked but I was so scared to take the step to committing to it as my only business and career! I had to close my existing consulting business and I remember going to a meeting with a dream client to tell them that I was walking away.
However, it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I didn’t anticipate the personal growth that I would experience while growing this business. For example, one of the challenges was to actually call myself a coach. I’m so grateful to my first clients who gave me a chance to get started and who allowed me to help them. From there, I have been able to develop my online course, the Business Idea Accelerator™, and right now I am beta testing a new online course, the Portable Business Accelerator™. I’ve also been able to work with corporate companies and international organizations such as the Belgian Department of Foreign Affairs.
If you want to feel supported and have guidance on your journey and how you can grow your profitable business, then please reach out to me by email email@example.com. I’ll be happy to offer you a discovery session so that I can guide you with your questions and let you know about all the different ways, we can work together again.
Thank you for being part of the Tandem Nomads community and I look forward to continuing this adventure together for many long years ahead!