The MapleMoney Show » How to Make Money » Business

Silencing the Critics to Create Online, with Jillian Johnsrud

Presented by Wealthsimple

Welcome to The MapleMoney Show, the podcast that helps Canadians improve their finances to create lasting financial freedom. I’m your host, Tom Drake, the founder of MapleMoney, where I’ve been writing about all things related to personal finance since 2009.

More people than ever are making money by starting online businesses. But while it might sound simple, online entrepreneurship comes with its own set of challenges. This week’s guest is here to help you find the courage to build something online and fire the haters.

After becoming financially independent at 32 years old, Jillian turned her personal and professional experience toward a creative life. She is a popular public speaker, teaches online classes, coach, and writer. Her book Fire the Haters: Finding the Courage to Create Online in a Critical World helps creatives and entrepreneurs share their best work with the world.

This week, I sat down with Jillian to discuss a range of topics, including how to tackle imposter syndrome, the importance of setting emotional boundaries, and the constant fight for balance in a busy world.

Jillian came prepared with several nuggets of wisdom, collected from her years as an online entrepreneur and coach. For example, Jillian explains that there are three occasions when imposter syndrome can become overwhelming for people who create – when you’re outside your comfort zone, when you’re doing work that matters to you, and when you’re releasing your work into the world.

She shares some tips on how to recognize and combat imposter syndrome and the criticism that often comes when you step out.

Do you prefer to invest in socially responsible companies? If so, our sponsor Wealthsimple will help you build a portfolio that focuses on low carbon, cleantech, human rights, and the environment. To get started with Socially Responsible Investing, head over to Wealthsimple today!

Episode Summary

  • Jillian explains what inspired her new book
  • Silencing your inner critic
  • Different times you may experience imposter syndrome
  • Comfort only exists inside the comfort zone
  • Three reasons you feel like an imposter
  • Just because you feel discomfort doesn’t mean that you’re wrong
  • The importance of establishing emotional boundaries
  • Jillian gives her take on work/life balance
  • The challenge of escaping what you’ve grown accustomed to.
  • The value of taking a mini-retirement

Read transcript

More people than ever making money by starting online businesses. While it might sound simple, online entrepreneurship comes with its own set of challenges. This week’s guest is here to help you find the courage to build something online and fire the haters. After becoming financially independent at 32 years old, Jillian Johnsrud turned her personal and professional experience towards a creative life. She’s a popular public speaker, teaches online classes and is a coach and writer. Her book, Fire The Haters – Finding the Courage to Create Online in the Critical World, helps creators and entrepreneurs show their best work with the world. I sat down with Jillian this week to discuss a range of topics, including how to tackle the imposter syndrome, the importance of setting emotional boundaries, and the constant fight for balance in a busy world. 


Welcome to the Maple Money Show, the podcast that helps Canadians improve their personal finances to create lasting financial freedom. Do you prefer to invest in socially responsible companies? If so, our sponsor, Wealthsimple, will help you build a portfolio that focuses on low carbon, clean tech, human rights and the environment. To get started with socially responsible investing, head over to today. Now, let’s chat with Jillian… 


Tom: Hi, Jillian. Welcome to the Maple Money Show.


Jillian: Thank you so much for having me. 


Tom: On the podcast, quite a few times we’ve had guests on and I’ve suggested that you can make money online at least as a bit of a side hustle. It’s a great option. There’s the obvious stuff like the blog, YouTube, this podcast. But for someone more creative, maybe it’s something on Etsy or you could be doing things on Upwork and Fiverr. There’s just tons of ways to make money online. You put out a book recently. I think we can learn something more on the mental side of it—how to handle this different lifestyle compared to working in an office and such. Can you just tell us a bit about the book and what caused you to write it? What brought you to that point? 


Jillian: The book is called, Fire the Haters—Finding the Courage to Create Online in a Critical World. It’s really all the lessons I learned from starting creative projects, starting a business, sharing my work online and all the things that got me hung up and stuck. The first section of the book is all about external criticism and having boundaries online. The second section is about the inner critic, and I had an enormous inner critic. And how do we get going? How do we keep going when we’re dealing with imposter syndrome or wondering if we have a perfect plan? Or are we good enough to do this? I find starting something you’re passionate about, something you love, that you feel can make a difference in the world, fits your skill set and compliments you well is such an amazing thing. I know there are so many fears or challenges that get people stuck. I just wanted to gather together all of the wisdom from friends of mine, from my own experiences, from my clients to just give people all the cheat codes, all the little solutions to any problem they might struggle with so they don’t waste so much time trying to get started— just to smooth out the path for people. 


Tom: I want to hop to the inner critic part first because I think this is something I’ve done in the past too. One thing I like about your book is the part about getting a mentor. It’s good to have someone that has done something you’re trying to do. Someone who gets it because when you’re doing stuff online, I’ve found you can talk to friends, family, people you work with in an office and nobody gets it. When I started my blog, the best I could compare it to was a magazine where you’re publishing articles. You get paid for ads. It was the closest comparison I could come up with. Otherwise, people didn’t understand. So it’s nice to get someone that understands that. Part of the inner critic issue I had was the imposter syndrome. And, sometimes, that was actually partially caused by being with mentors that were maybe too far ahead. And nowadays, you can find all these articles about how this person that made a million dollars in their first year or something like that. I fully agree that mentorship and mastermind groups are helpful. But you also need to get them at the right stage in your own process or it almost becomes like a “keeping up with the Joneses” feel where you’re feeling a bit behind. Can we talk a little bit about inner critics in general, around the stuff I was experiencing, as well and what you’ve experienced? 


Jillian: There’s kind of two issues there. I’d love to talk about friends and family because that’s a whole other category of something we’re going to have to reckon with, having people who don’t understand or don’t know how to be supportive. But starting with this idea of the imposter syndrome, it’s kind of that sense of, who am I to be here? What value can I bring when so many people are so far ahead of me? Do I belong in this space? Am I good enough to be in this space? It absolutely strikes when you’re at the beginning of your journey. But I also find people experience it whenever they’re trying to go to that next level where they’re trying to produce work. That’s the next block. They’re trying to create something that’s outside their comfort zone. Or work or collaborate with a group of people or a company they never imagined they would do before. It can be incredibly uncomfortable. By definition, if you’re outside your comfort zone, there is discomfort. Comfort is only inside the comfort zone. I always encourage people when you have all these kind of doubts and feelings, to realize what’s causing those feeling. It’s typically one of three things. One, you’re way outside your comfort zone. Two, you’re doing work that really matters to you. You care. You’re emotionally invested. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t feel the imposter syndrome. Or three, you’re shipping the work into the world where you’re done tinkering, you’re done working behind the scenes. It’s time to share it with an audience. Those three things, while they create discomfort and this imposter syndrome, those three things are absolutely essential to your growth and your success. You have to get outside your comfort zone. You have to do work that you care about and you have to share it with the world. Those are the most three important elements. So if you feel that imposter syndrome, know that you’re doing exactly what you need to do to get where you want to go. 


Tom: What you just said also sounds like this would apply even if someone’s not interested in doing something online. Maybe you’re in a career and looking for that next stage or something totally different. it’s getting past a plateau. You feel stuck somewhere and you’re looking for that next thing. Everything you said totally applies to pretty much anything someone wants to do whether they just need a change or to move to the next step. 


Jillian: Absolutely. I coach a lot of people, one-on-one for negotiations with their nine-to-five employer. Sometimes that’s pay raises, time off, working remote, being able to take a mini retirement, all sorts of things that are really outside the box. And it triggers so much imposter syndrome. I had a client whose company offered him $91 an hour, which was nice, very good. He really wanted $93 so this is what he brought to me. And I said, “Honestly, looking at this, a fair compensation is about $115,” and instantly, he’s so uncomfortable with just the thought of it because it was so far outside his comfort zone of $93. And I said, “If you add this up, that’s not outrageous. That’s a fair compensation.” For him, it was so much imposter syndrome, so much discomfort. But he did his homework and put out a little presentation asking for $115 and he got one $110. You will feel uncomfortable. My biggest encouragement to people is feeling that discomfort doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. In so many areas of life, if you feel discomfort, it’s maybe because you’re on the wrong path. But it’s not the case here. You will feel discomfort. It’s a sign you’re doing something right. 


Tom: It’s always uncomfortable when you’re pushing to do something. If you’re putting something online and feeling vulnerable that way, or you’re pushing for a raise, either way, it’s not easy to just something out with expectations. I was there, where I had to ask for a big raise. I knew some of what other people were getting paid and knew I was behind. So it wasn’t necessarily “imposter syndrome” in that I knew a higher salary was quite deserved. But it’s still not easy to ask for things. And even if you’re a blogger, a YouTuber, or getting published on something, it’s still asking for something, You’re still hoping someone’s actually going to read it, watch it, buy it, or whatever. It constantly feels like you’re asking for something. I see a lot of people online doing things like Patreon and stuff. I could never do it because I just couldn’t directly ask someone to send me money and support me. How do you get past something like that… past the sense that it’s okay to make money? It just seems people almost complain if it looks like you’re making money. It’s as if you should be doing everything for free. 


Jillian: So there are, again, are two issues. I want to tackle both of these. The first one I was just thinking about this morning. In the first section (of the book) I talk about boundaries. One of those ideas are emotional boundaries. One idea I like to dive into is give yourself the gift of being misunderstood. When you think about boundaries, it’s my circle, your circle. It is my job and responsibility to make good decisions the best I can, to understand my decisions, to be honest and forthright and feel confident about what I’m doing. That’s my job. It’s not other people’s job to approve. It’s not their job to agree. It’s not their job to make the decision for you. They have their own life to live and their own little circle that they’re responsible for. It’s really easy to say, “People don’t agree with me,” or “They don’t like this and they’re upset with me.” Your job is to like your choices. Your job is to make the best choices you can. That’s no one else’s job, but yours. This is true with our alliances, our friends, and our family, anywhere you interact, you’re responsible for you. It’s not their job. Just like it’s not your job to approve, like or understand other people’s choices. I trust they’re doing their own job so I get to do my own job. And if someone else feels like it is their responsibility to approve, understand or make their choices for you, they are mistaken. It is not. In my mind I can say, “Sorry for your confusion, but don’t worry, I’ve got it handled. I’m actually taking responsibility for myself. You can focus on other things. I release you from helping micromanage my life.” If other people don’t understand or agree, that’s okay. They get to live their own life. I don’t actually need their input or help making this choice. If I need help making a choice, I intentionally reach out to people to seek their help. I invite their feedback. I had a tweet a while back… This was the first time this had ever happened, I had a viral tweet. And in the retweets, more people disagreed with me, then agreed with me like it was. It was probably something like 70 percent negative retweets. And it was about how I refinanced my home and paid it off. People had very big feelings about this. And 70 percent of people thought I was an idiot, that I was making a horrible mistake. The thing is, it’s not their job to understand. I know all the information. I know my whole life. I know all of my situation. It’s my job to know all of that and to make a good choice. Maybe it’s not a good choice for them, and that’s fine. That’s their job to figure out. Maybe it’s not what they would prefer. That’s fine. That’s their job to know what they would prefer. It would be easy for me to say, “All of these people don’t approve,” but it’s not really up to them. It’s okay if it’s not for them. That’s one side of asking for money online, whether by donation or selling a product. Some people won’t get it. It’s okay though because it’s not their job to get it. I have products. I have services. I’m sure a lot of people look at the price points and don’t like them. They might think they’re too high, too low, or whatever, but it’s not their job to understand every element of my business. It’s not their job to understand all of my costs. It’s not their job to figure all of that out. That’s my responsibility. And I did my job. And, feeling bad about being compensated… I have a chapter in the book called, Why Not You? We all have reasons why we don’t feel worthy, why we don’t feel good enough. Oftentimes, they stretch all the way back into our childhood. Maybe we weren’t smart enough in school. Maybe people made fun of us for our gender, race, religion or upbringing, the side of town we lived on, or our shape, size, speech or 100 other things. All these people told us they didn’t think we were good enough. I’m dyslexic, so I’m an awful speller. I refer to it as being a very creative speller. It’s very creatively put together letters and numbers, and so many people online have told me I don’t deserve to write. I’m wasting their time and ruining the English language. The CEOs of the internet have declared me unworthy of this, and it’s easy to internalize that. But at some point we have to say, are those opinions valid? Do they actually have a vote? Am I living my life by committee? And are these the people that I put on my committee? Can I just do this thing despite what size I was in the third grade? Or if I can spell? Or my family background? Can I just do it anyways? The answer is, you can.  You can do whatever you want to do anyways! 


Tom: There’s a lot there. First of all, I also suck at spelling. I don’t think I’m dyslexic. I’m just a terrible speller. But thankfully, online there are things like Grammarly, nowadays. It can make you a much better writer. in defense of some people that are concerned about how you’re making money, everyone should be a little skeptical. You want to make sure that you trust the person… Us (I hate to use the term) as content creators, have to build trust and be legitimate. Because if someone is coming to you the first time, they may not trust you recommending a certain thing because you have an affiliate link. I often do give people pass and assume they’re just being skeptical and try not to take it too personally. That’s more on the affiliate and ad side. You’re doing a lot of product-based things, courses and such. I found it funny, too, that you have people complaining, not just that the price is too high on some things, but that the price is too low. The first thing I thought there is, you really can’t please everyone. You just have to realize you’re going to attract a certain person. Another thing I wanted to mention was, especially in a niche like ours where we’re talking personal finance topics, you’re not just putting yourself out there as a business, you’re putting yourself out there as a person. You’re sharing  things you’re doing and mistakes you’ve made. I do it a lot on the podcast. I’m constantly telling people about the screw ups I’ve made along the way, and there’s an extra level of vulnerability there is. You’re not just sharing things as a business. You’re not just putting out a T-shirt and wondering what someone’s going to think (which is still enough) but you’re also sharing your personal life. Whether it’s personal finance or you’re a parenting blogger or any of these other topics where your life is intertwined with it, there’s so much more vulnerability there. One thing I wanted to go back to that we skipped (and I know you wanted to cover) was the friends and family side. It might be a good time to do that. With this idea of sharing your own personal life, how do they react to that? How do they react to possibly being mentioned in content you’re putting out there, but also not understanding any of this? 


Jillian: As far as content I put out, I really try to kind of scrub and erase anyone else’s story from what I share because it’s not my story to share, Everything that’s my story, I feel I have the right to talk about and discuss. But other people’s stories, those are theirs and they own that. Unless they give me permission to share something, I don’t feel right stealing that from them without their permission. One of the things I’m kind of proud about is that I share so much of my life online. I’m very open and very transparent. But when I meet people in person, they actually don’t know hardly anything about my extended family or my friends. They could have followed me for the last seven years and not know anything about my siblings. Maybe not even know that I have siblings. It’s not that I don’t love my siblings or  want to talk about my siblings,  it’s not mine to share so I edit that out. It’s kind of like the rule of biographies, everything you say has to be the truth. But nothing can be the whole truth because your life is too big, the story is too big. It would be impossible. Even in my own life, I could write 100 books and it would not be everything. You have to curate what you share because you’re not going to be able to share everything. Everything you share should be the truth but it’s not going to be the whole truth. That’s why people have thoughts, opinion, ideas and won’t understand. And that’s okay because they haven’t shared everything with you. You don’t know the whole picture. The whole picture is complicated. A lot of it is other people’s stories so it’s private. You’re working with limited knowledge. It’s okay that we came to different assumptions or different answers. With family and friends, I always encourage people, saying, you have been given a very specific vision for your life, your work or what you’re capable of or what it could be. This could be in your personal finance, in rentals, in business, in creative work, you have this vision. No one else received the vision you received. There again, emotional boundaries. I’m responsible to understand my vision and to act on it. Other people aren’t responsible to understand it. And the reality is, they probably won’t because they can’t see it. We’ve bought a lot of rentals and done a lot of renovations. When I walk into a place, I have a vision. I can imagine what it’s going to look like. I can see the finished product and it’s my job to act on that. Other people I’ve showed my rentals to cannot see it. They have no idea why we’re buying this place. They have no confidence. And that’s okay. The reality is (for a lot of things in our life) people won’t get on board and won’t see the vision until after it is done. They just won’t. So we have to release them from that responsibility. It might be a couple of years after it’s done that they say, “Hey, actually, it was a pretty good idea. That was a smart move.” So, not having that as an expectation. Give yourself the gift of being misunderstood. Not all of your friends and family have to have the exact same vision for your life, your family, your finances, that you do. But it is good. We talked about mentors and masterminds— it’s good to have people who have similar visions. They might not see exactly what you’re seeing, but they get the fuzzy picture because they’re moving in kind of the same direction. And releasing people. Not everyone in your life has to be everything to you. My mom is not into internet stuff. She is not the person I’m going to go to about email funnels or conversion rates—none of that. Instead, focus on the things we do have in common. Focus on those bridges that we have and that’s our relationship, I have other people in my life that can be my email funnel people. She doesn’t have to be that for me. 


Tom: That’s a good point. Just being well-rounded in anything too. I can’t remember who was talking about this, but someone was looking at not talking to anyone that wasn’t exactly where they were (at that point in the journey). They started to realize from advice that you do want people that only connect with you in one way. Like the difference you just made there between a business mentor and your mom. They don’t have a lot in common, but they are little parts of you. And like the more diverse you keep your circle, the better it makes you, all around. I like that idea that even when it comes to mentors or anyone else that you’re involved with in your online business, the more variety you see there, the better. Maybe you’ve got your email person that you might ask a question of. And someone that’s really good at social media. You’re not necessarily going to find this one perfect role model that you want to be like. So, you’re better off just getting these little bits and kind of putting it together to fit you. 


Jillian: One thing I want to add some friends and family because this is a huge pain point for people when they’re making this big change in their life. It can be anything. It can be paying off debt to starting a business, to trying to lose 100 pounds. They’re making this big change. The friends and family—the people closest to them, are not just neutral. They’re not super supportive. They’re kind of negative and critical. And the perspective that’s been really helpful for me is, thinking about the words that person can’t say. If they could articulate what they’re thinking, it would probably sound like, “I know you’re changing and growing, and I’m scared. I’m scared that we’re not going to have as much in common. I’m scared that we’re not going to have anything to talk about. I’m scared that you’re going to be judging my choices and my life. I’m scared that you’re going to think that you’re better than me. I didn’t opt into this change. I didn’t get a vote, and I just feel us growing apart and that makes me scared.” That’s typically what is happening when people are very unsupportive and very negative. They didn’t get a vote in making this big change in your life. This wasn’t the decision they made for you so it can be really uncomfortable. Even with your family of origin. If they’re very blue collar workers and you pick a very white collar kind of job, you can feel this huge disconnect from your new life and your new work. There again, because I was the one who initiated this change, I’m responsible for it, so I put in more effort to connect and build bridges with the people I care about. I don’t put that on them—to find something in common with me and my new life. That’s my responsibility to kind of reach across the aisle and show them we still have lots in common, “I still love you. You’re still important to me. We still have a relationship.” 


Tom: Yeah, I think that’s it, exactly. Obviously, if your family, your family, but if it’s a more distant family member or friend or something, you don’t have to be this exact thing. Maybe you met someone at work and you’ve got work in common, but now you’re not at work anymore. That can kind of remove one of the things you had in common, but there’s still other things. Maybe you want to go out shopping, go for drinks, whatever it is you guys were doing when you weren’t just working. There’s still something. Even if it’s only that 10 percent in common. That’s what connects you. It doesn’t have to be this, “We have everything in common… we’re exactly the same.” 


Jillian: And with friendships, the saying is, “You have friends for a reason, for a season or for a lifetime.” That used to be really hard for me because I wanted every friend to be a lifetime friend. If you’re not going to be a lifetime friend, I’m not sure I want to be friends with you. It took me a long time to really be grateful and appreciate what each of those types of friends in my life brings, and the value in each. It’s okay if people change. I’ve have lots of clients who are making big changes and they’re nervous of how it’s going to affect their relationships. Returning to the topic of finances, if you come from a social circle in the family that’s in credit card debt and living paycheck-to-paycheck, and you’re on the path to FI, you’re changing a lot. Instead, take the perspective that everything is always changing. You left high school and your relationships changed. You left college and your relationships changed. You got your first job and your relationships changed. You got married or had kids and your relationships changed. You moved and your relationships changed. And same for them. All of those relationships went through their own thing, and it changed. And so appreciating the ones for a reason, appreciating the ones for a season and trusting that despite all of these changes, you’re still going to hold on to those couple of lifetime friends. 


Tom: That’s me, exactly. It seems like every decade I kind of just flip the table and become a new person. I was a skateboarder. I was a D.J.. I was the career guy. I was a parent. Those are all such different things so you don’t stick around with a lot of those friends. A few do. I’ve got those lifetime friends. But yeah, you can make some pretty drastic changes in everything from your hobbies, career, what you do with your money. It’s going to change who you want to be around. I’ve said on this podcast before, I can never get the quote right, but it’s the idea that you’re just the average of the five people you hang out with the most. I find that motivating. The people you spend time with most are kind of going in a similar direction. It doesn’t mean they have to be a blogger and podcaster, like it is in my case. But at least they’ve got a certain level of ambition and not wanting to spend too much. I’ve brought up on the podcast before, I am a spender. I just repress it as much as possible. So, I definitely need to be around people that don’t encourage me to spend. I do like this idea that, yes, you keep certain long term friends, but you also need to evolve and be with people that are going to be best for you. 


Jillian: Yes. I won’t change anything about my life so none of my relationships will change. Everyone around you is still going to be changing. It really isn’t even an option to hit the “freeze” button. You might as well make the changes that you feel compelled to make. 


Tom: You became financially independent early, so maybe this doesn’t affect you as much, but I’m sure it’s affected a lot of people you’ve talked to and helped. It’s about this work-life balance. The part I was thinking doesn’t affect you as much is. I keep saying to at least have a side hustle. It doesn’t have to be this “quit your job and go all in.” How do you get this balance? I remember when I first started, I was working two full time jobs. I did my 40 hours a week at the day job and I spent probably at least 40 hours in the evenings and on weekends with the online business. Then on top of that, I had kids. It always felt like I was juggling these three things, especially being online. The focus of what we’re talking about here is online. It’s really easy to lose the walls. You could be having family time, supposedly, but you’re checking your email. Even someone that hasn’t done the online thing right now, I think everyone’s probably had a taste of this thanks to COVID, where you’re at home and you’re losing those boundaries of when you start and finish work. How do you piece this together and still have boundaries? 


Jillian: It is a challenging, challenging thing for everyone. Even when you know you have a lot of choice and flexibility. I have a course about mini retirements and I coach a lot of people who are planning on taking, six months or a year off to make that transition and structure it. Even in that most ideal situation, you’re going to be off of work for six months or a year where it seems like it would be super easy to have good boundaries. The reality is, whatever you’ve grown accustomed to, whatever is familiar—those  patterns, those emotions, that level of stress, that level of anxiety, the process you’re used to, is so internalized that without tremendous amounts of attention, people will recreate it in the next chapter of their lives. Even if they don’t recreate it, as soon as it knocks on the door, they will invite it, “Hello, old friend. Come on in…” This is true across so many different things. Busyness for one. The idea I never have enough time and I’m always busy. I have friends who are always saying they want to be less busy. Every time we talk, they’ve signed up for a dozen new things. They constantly invite this busyness into their life and they recreate it. My husband used to be in the military. With these people, it’s a very specific, the amount of stress and structure and vibe. It’s a thing. People do 20 years, then retire. But being home is so different than their military life that more often than not, they will go back to work as military contractors to recreate as much as possible that same level of structure and tension—just that same vibe they’re so familiar with. It’s really hard to rewrite these patterns. I think the first step is just to recognize that this is how I operate. Actually, I have a client’s friend who was such a workaholic—almost addicted to work that when she would go on vacation and take time off, she would get migraines because her body was so conditioned to live at this level of stress that if you took it all away, she went through symptoms similar to caffeine withdrawals. Her solution was to just work every day she was on vacation. I don’t know if that’s a fantastic solution to this problem. But yeah, with those boundaries… First, it’s recognizing. Whether it’s social media where you’re on your phone all the time—you’ve created this pattern in your life and you have to know it’s going to take a lot of intention to break that pattern. And it’s going to create that same discomfort. Whenever I find that I’m looking at my phone too often, I put it in our bedroom and charge it because our bedroom is at the opposite end of the house. But I’ll catch myself reaching for my phone— grabbing for my phone. Then I feel this slight the slight discomfort of like, “Oh, I want to just look at something random online and now I have to sit here with my thoughts and feelings! Okay, okay, I can do this.” It’s going to create that discomfort. That’s what it takes to form a new pattern. I always encourage clients, especially, because this is so difficult to do, (especially with the mini retirement) you’re trying to unplug knowing that you’re going to plug back in. But I encourage people, saying, “This is a bridge you’re going to have to cross at some point. At some point you’re going to have to learn a new pattern or else you’re going to be dealing with this issue when you’re 65 or 70.” The statistics are kind of crazy and sad that people’s mortality rate goes way up after they retire. And part of it, I think, is that it’s so much discomfort from radically shifting these patterns. They don’t know how to transition and find peace and comfort in this new pattern. It’s just a hard transition. It’s one of the reasons I’m a big fan of mini retirements. You need a practice run. You need a couple of practice runs before this is the for the rest of your life—until death do you part. You need to try disconnecting from work for small periods of time and building new patterns, new habits, new relationships, new hobbies, giving the rest of your life a little bit of space to thrive and grow so that when you finally disconnect from work forever, you’re not left with this huge, gaping void. 


Tom: I was thinking to myself during what you just said. I like to stay busy in a work sense. Even with the kids, I’m just always going. And I find when I take a vacation, we’re always doing something. We’re seeing the largest whatever, doing all the touristy things. That’s fine because I’m enjoying it. I’m not relaxing, but at least I’m not working on vacation. I certainly stay busy. I also like what you said about unplugging your phone for a bit just to get away from it. One of the things I do—it wasn’t purposeful, but at least I’m aware of it now is, I don’t like doing work-based stuff on the phone. I like my keyboard and my dual monitors. What I realized was it was creating a physical boundary where if I was with the family, I’m doing family activities. I’m not tied to my phone that much in that way. And if I’m sitting at my desk, I’m mostly working. Sometimes I get distracted. But there’s a boundary there where it’s just seems a little bit more purposeful on both sides, where, unfortunately, with those phones, you can blur the lines pretty quick. Are you really spending time with the kids if you’re staring at your phone? And are you really paying attention? Are you really even there if you’re on vacation or just at home with family or whatever and you’re on the phone? Unfortunately, phones are a bit of a problem for that. I like your idea. Mine was less purposeful. But at least I see there’s a way to create those physical boundaries. 


Jillian: One thing I’ve started doing, which is kind of a weird phone tip to help me with this is I don’t charge my phone at night. So, during the day, it does need to be charged. The little 15 percent thing will pop up and I know it’s time for me to go charge it for an hour or so. See you later. But it really helps. We have like really good habits for our kids. They have very dedicated, specific, screen time. And in between, they have no screen time. They can’t use their tablets. They don’t have their phones. They are like little dictators with me about my phone use because that’s not their pattern. It’s not their habit. They do their screens and then they’re done for eight hours. So, if I’m on my phone, they do not tolerate it. They do not appreciate it, and they will call me out all the time if I spend more than three to five minutes on my phone. 


Tom: You know what? That’s good across the board because it shows they’re learning. They’re calling you out and holding you accountable. I’ve got a friend that does “no electronic” Sundays. That’s not just for the kids, it’s for the parents too. Granted, if the kids aren’t looking or once they’ve gone to bed there’s still a chance you can cheat a bit as a parent. But at least when you’re with them, you’re actually with them. They can’t go on their laptops or phones, meanwhile you’re on your wrist. I do like these rules as long as they apply for everybody. Thanks for coming on. I think this is motivational to fill in some of the cracks of what I’ve said in the past about starting an online business. Just to get past some of these mental roadblocks and actually look at it as more than just saying these are the steps you take to start an online business. There are other things people have to consider as well. If they’re already doing it, hopefully, this has given them a bit of encouragement to settle some of the problems they’re having. Can you let people know a little bit more about the book and where they can find you online? 


Jillian: Yeah. So I’m You should be able to find me anywhere online. And if you’re interested in mini retirements, I have a mini retirement (free) PDF. Especially coming out of COVID, a lot of people have been pushing really hard for a long time and are kind of ready for a little bit of a break. And it’s a lot more feasible and possible than a lot of people realize. We were chatting before about how I got back from a three month trip with my kiddos. We traveled all around the western U.S. for three months, and it was amazing. It’s such a good experience. It was so good after two kind of tough years. 


Tom: I think people should check that out because again, thanks to COVID, employers have smartened up a lot. They’re a lot more willing to go along with some of these ideas like sabbatical breaks for a month or two and or working online while you travel around. There is just a lot more flexibility than there was three years ago. 


Jillian: Yeah, for sure. 


Tom: Thanks for being on the show. 


Jillian: Thank you so much for having me. 


Thanks, Jillian, for joining the show and for leaving everyone (myself included) with some great tools we can use in our side hustles and online businesses. You can find the show notes for this episode at If you have a moment, head over to our YouTube channel and subscribe there as we’ll be getting back to releasing never-before-seen content, soon. Search for Maple Money or go to and subscribe today. As always, thanks for listening. I look forward to seeing back here next week.

If you’re outside of your comfort zone, there is discomfort. Comfort is only inside the comfort zone…I always encourage people, when you have all these kinds of doubts and feelings, to realize what’s causing that feeling. - Jillian Johnsrud Click to Tweet