Hundreds of Ways

How to Make Your Home Abroad w/ Lauren Simonis, Entrepreneurship Coach & Yoga Teacher

July 24, 2020 Season 1 Episode 4
Hundreds of Ways
How to Make Your Home Abroad w/ Lauren Simonis, Entrepreneurship Coach & Yoga Teacher
Chapters
00:00:00
Intro
00:01:00
What Lauren Does
00:01:59
Working With Entrepreneurs in Africa
00:03:42
Wearing Multiple Hats
00:06:15
Transitioning From Employee to Entrepreneur
00:07:58
Crutches & Security Blankets
00:09:08
Navigating the Emotional Challenges
00:12:00
Taking on Coaching
00:12:58
Running a Yoga Studio
00:16:13
Sideloading Your Business v. Starting w/ a Clean Slate
00:17:37
Brick & Mortar Business in the Time of Covid
00:22:42
Designing The Life You Want
00:25:13
Pulling Yourself Out of Darkness
00:28:10
Moving to Portugal
00:31:38
Why Moving Abroad Is Worth It
00:32:55
Resources For Entrepreneurs
00:38:43
Contacting Lauren
00:39:35
Next Week on Hundreds of Ways
Hundreds of Ways
How to Make Your Home Abroad w/ Lauren Simonis, Entrepreneurship Coach & Yoga Teacher
Jul 24, 2020 Season 1 Episode 4

Running a business is tough, but running two takes something special. And launching that second one in the midst of a global pandemic—now that's a challenge of Herculean proportions.

For Lauren Simonis, overcoming such challenges—and coaching others to do the same—is all in a day's work. 

On this week's episode, Lauren shares her experience working as an Entrepreneurship Coach online and starting Cozy Yoga + Community in Porto, including: 

  • How Lauren transitioned from helping African entrepreneurs at a non-profit in Arizona to coaching founders around the world from Porto.
  • How Lauren's experience as a coach helped her in building a physical business, Cozy Yoga + Community.
  • The differences between starting a digital business and a brick & mortar one.
  • The importance of being adaptable in 2020.
  • The benefit of leaning on crutches as you take on new risks.
  • How to navigate the emotional challenges of running a business, especially when things get dark.
  • What was difficult about moving abroad, and why ultimately it was worth it.

You can find out more about Lauren on her site.

And if you're ever in Porto, Portugal, be sure to swing by Cozy Yoga + Community.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Running a business is tough, but running two takes something special. And launching that second one in the midst of a global pandemic—now that's a challenge of Herculean proportions.

For Lauren Simonis, overcoming such challenges—and coaching others to do the same—is all in a day's work. 

On this week's episode, Lauren shares her experience working as an Entrepreneurship Coach online and starting Cozy Yoga + Community in Porto, including: 

  • How Lauren transitioned from helping African entrepreneurs at a non-profit in Arizona to coaching founders around the world from Porto.
  • How Lauren's experience as a coach helped her in building a physical business, Cozy Yoga + Community.
  • The differences between starting a digital business and a brick & mortar one.
  • The importance of being adaptable in 2020.
  • The benefit of leaning on crutches as you take on new risks.
  • How to navigate the emotional challenges of running a business, especially when things get dark.
  • What was difficult about moving abroad, and why ultimately it was worth it.

You can find out more about Lauren on her site.

And if you're ever in Porto, Portugal, be sure to swing by Cozy Yoga + Community.

James Knight :

Welcome to hundreds of ways the podcast that celebrates entrepreneurship and career independence. Today we're joined by the wonderful Lauren Simonis, as she shares her experience running not just one, but two different businesses as an expat in Portugal. So join us as we explore which hundreds of ways belongs to Lauren.

Eliot Raymond :

Hey, James, Good evening.

James Knight :

Good morning, Elliot. How are you doing?

Eliot Raymond :

Great. How about you?

James Knight :

I am also great because today we have a guest, Lauren Simonis. Welcome!

Lauren Simonis :

Hey guys.

James Knight :

We're super excited to have Lauren on today. And not just because it gives our listeners a chance to hear someone other than Ellie and I speak but because Lauren has a fantastic story. Lauren, could you tell us a little bit about what you do?

Lauren Simonis :

Yeah, um, wow. So hard thing to summarize, I guess.

James Knight :

Haha, 10 words that's it. That's all you get. No, let's just start off with where you are and and what you do.

Lauren Simonis :

All right. Well, I am from originally from the US, but I live now in Porto, Portugal. And I have two businesses. One of them is coaching for entrepreneurs. And the second one is running a yoga studio here in Porto.

Eliot Raymond :

It's you've said, you've been living over there for a couple of years. So you've been running those businesses since you lived in Portugal? Gosh, no.

Lauren Simonis :

Yeah. So I, when I first moved here, I was working for a nonprofit and out of Tucson, Arizona, where I lived. And we did work in Maui in southeast Africa. And I was doing some entrepreneurship coaching through there with them, and I really enjoyed it, but just kind of through transitions and life changes and all that. I eventually ended up switching over and it was really only when I got here that that I started getting more interested in teaching yoga as well. So both of those are kind of new to this place and this time in my life.

James Knight :

What sort of work were you doing in Malawi?

Lauren Simonis :

So I work for a nonprofit called the flame tree initiative. And we did entrepreneurship trainings through universities there. So we would invite not just entrepreneurs, but people who had social entrepreneurships, or businesses with some sort of some sort of social direction to them. And yeah, it was great. I got to work with some really inspiring people who were tackling poverty from a business perspective.

James Knight :

Yeah.

Lauren Simonis :

Which, yeah, I don't know. It was a really cool and interesting thing to do. I met a lot of incredible people. They're good friends that I still keep in touch with now.

James Knight :

Very cool. How did you get connected with that? Best seems I mean, so you're in Arizona at the time. And obviously Malawi's a little bit of a distance away. So what's that story?

Lauren Simonis :

Yeah, so I actually got connected through that through my master's degree, which is an international development, my program director for that master's program. This is his nonprofit, and so. Actually was my last semester of that degree program. And I didn't really know what I was going to be doing or where I was going to be working. But I knew I was really interested in what he was doing. So I kind of sat him down. And it was really just him and idea at the time, he'd done a couple of testing programs and things like that. And he was trying to get it off the ground, mostly by himself, really with the team of advisors around him. And so I sat him down one day and I said, Hey, you know, if I can help you get some funding for this organization, would you use that funding funding to hire me? And lo and behold, I worked for him for about four years.

James Knight :

Perfect. Sometimes you have to make your job right.

Lauren Simonis :

Yeah, exactly.

James Knight :

That's so cool.

Eliot Raymond :

That's uh, on your website. It says that you've worn you know, a couple of different hats and I know working in a environment like that, just from my own previous experience, you are often executing on so many different roles. What was your kind of day to day like what what were you doing there on a daily basis? You're based out of Arizona.

Lauren Simonis :

Oh gosh. Yeah, different hats. That's really the one of the places I gained the most of them, I suppose. For most of the time that I was working with the flame tree initiative, it was just me and my boss Wayne. We had another girl who was great who started working there just a few hours a week. And it was nice to have a third person to kind of bounce ideas and throw different tasks around with but for the most part, I was running the administrative side of the organization. So doing all of our social media newsletters, promotion, running payroll, kind of hold that really nitty gritty stuff. And then on top of that, I was running a lot of our programming as well. So I wrote the curriculum for entrepreneurship training program. I executed most of that curriculum, and coordinated all of our teachers that we had coming in to help with that as well. I set up a lot of our our trip planning so anytime here in Milan, I was booking hotels, making sure we had the rooms available for the teaching that we needed and then running our online training too. So, yeah, there was a couple of different things going on. But I love that kind of stuff. I'm really suited to kind of having my hands in a bunch of different parts at once. So

James Knight :

This sounds like it could be one of the perfect examples of like the pros and cons of entrepreneurship, startups, all that stuff where on the one hand, you get to do all this diverse interesting stuff. Some days you're gonna be writing copy some days, you're gonna be traveling to Malloy. But then other days, you have to book hotel rooms and allergies, you have to you know, so it's, it's, there's always a, sometimes you're gonna have to do your own books, and that's part of it. But that's so cool that you've got that experience. So you've been able to do all those different things.

Lauren Simonis :

Yeah, I have to say it's been really helpful and all the stuff that I've done since then, and particularly when it comes to coaching entrepreneurs, you know, just letting people know that there are so many tools out there to help you get this stuff done. It's not like it was 20 years ago without the internet, the internet is full of incredible things to help you, you know, build a website or do your own accounting or whatever, if you need it. It's there. So it takes work, but it's there. You need it. So

Eliot Raymond :

Well, that's a that's a perfect segue. And, I mean, there's so many people who are wanting to start their own business, but aren't sure where to start. So you were at the time working for somebody else. And then when you moved over to Portugal, it sounded like you were still in that role. Is that correct? I was Yeah, for about a year or so. And then that, arguably, experience gave you a lot of the foundational building blocks to launch your own businesses sounds like, can you kind of walk us through that process and what that was like moving over to Portugal and then transitioning from being employed to being the employer more or less?

Lauren Simonis :

Yeah. It's a difficult process. Emotionally, I should say, for me, it was at least and that's a big component of what my coaching services are now is helping people through that kind of emotional jump from being employed to being Yeah, from being employed to being employed by yourself. And I have to say that I always tell my clients that whatever fears you have, just find, find a way to address them find whatever crutch you need, even if it's not real. So for me, my crutch was being afraid, I knew that I had the background to do it. I knew that I had the skills, but I was afraid to put myself on a platform and say, I have these skills. Come see me and me alone.

Eliot Raymond :

So like having that imposter syndrome almost is something that comes up all the time, for me at least is like why am I the one who's qualified even though you know you have the skills, engaging and actually executing can be so challenging?

Lauren Simonis :

Oh my gosh, absolutely. Yeah, yeah, exactly that. So yeah, my my crutch in that situation was harassing My poor husband into putting his name on the business too.

James Knight :

I love that you call them I call it a crutch. I call them safety blankets. And you know, one of the things that you hear a lot in kind of entrepreneurship, literature, community, whatever you want to call it is, oh, you know, you don't need business cards, you don't need a website, you don't need all these things. And I agree, you don't need them. But if having a killer business card is gonna make you feel like you're an entrepreneur. And that's and that's the thing. Go get them. You know, whatever that safety blanket is, if that's the thing that's going to help you make that step. It's, it's great.

Lauren Simonis :

Absolutely, yeah. If your alternative is just staying with a job that you're miserable with and writing that out longer, rather than, you know, giving yourself whatever that sense of security is then, right. Yeah, do that. Do the secure thing.

James Knight :

Yeah, yeah, feel safe is you're gonna feel unsafe a lot in this. So if you can feel safe a bit, that's great.

Eliot Raymond :

So really quick before we dive into what you're actually doing right now and kind of expand on that a little bit more, I think I still want to go back to that that move. You said it was emotionally challenging. There was a lot involved in it. Can you can you expand on that a little bit more and just share like kind of some of the resources that you use to navigate that change both through location and your job? Sure, yeah.

Lauren Simonis :

So I think a big part of the emotional and maybe even logistical component of it was fighting and I really appreciated this about your podcast. You guys talk about the word passion, like it's a bad word. And I love that because that was part of my challenge. It was like, Well, I know the things that I love doing, but one monetizing that is challenging into I don't know that I want to monetize it. Because when you start taking the thing that you love, and you turn it into a business, suddenly it becomes work. And I didn't want to be working at the thing that I really love doing. So and I also had this huge list of things that I was really good at. I shouldn't say he is gigantic list, let me tell you. That, you know, by the time I worked in so many different areas in my life, from you know, like I've done youth leadership training, I worked in nonprofits. I've worked in medical offices, I've done like, so I've done so many different things. So I kind of I knew what I could do. But limiting it down to the things that I actually wanted to do was a whole different set of challenges. And it took a lot of journaling, a lot of self reflection. A lot of trial and error. When I first started out I was offering a lot of things that I would never consider offering now. It's just it's not worth the time or the headache or the energy for me, even though technically Yes, it's something I can make money off of. So yeah, that emotional challenge was one taking that leap on my own, which took a while it took harassing my husband into putting his name on the website at first. And then yeah, it took it took a lot of figuring out kind of whittling down what's good and what's not good. And also, I think, finding the recognition that those things are, are transitory. So, you know, I'm a very different person than I was when I first started doing all of this even just two, three years ago. And so my services have changed a lot since then. And I really sincerely hope that two, three years from now, I'll be doing something just a little bit different as well. I think we change and we grow a lot over time. And so that's another thing I try to bring into my coaching is, you know, building that flexibility and for yourself to to make new decisions and find new paths.

James Knight :

I love that you talked about the trial and error. Was there anything that you didn't think that you could do that you were surprised came out of this kind of experimentation process?

Lauren Simonis :

Yeah, absolutely. I think the thing that surprised me the most is that online coaching for me was no big deal. Because there's no startup cost involved. You literally just have an internet connection and a computer and you find someone who for some reason, wants to listen to your advice, and you get started. But the thing that really surprised me was my willingness to do this. This actually like in person location based yoga studio, where, you know, we signed a lease and had to put all this investment into renovations and furniture and all these like tangible items that I had never thought I would invest in before. So that was definitely a big shock for me. I never saw that coming in a totally different kinds of businesses. Right. Exactly. Wow.

Eliot Raymond :

So Lauren, can you tell me a little bit about what your day to day is like in running the yoga yoga studio. Are you there Monday through Friday nine to five? or What does your schedule look like?

Lauren Simonis :

No, I'm not actually. And that's one of the things I love about it. And part of my kind of journey to understand what I wanted to do with my business was also understanding a lot more about what I wanted my day to day life to look like. I mean, much more so than what I'm doing. I want to know what what my free time allows me to do, what my work time allows me to do and what kind of balance that creates for me emotionally as a person. So the yoga studio is actually a bit less work than I thought it was going to be shockingly. And I think I've gotten quite lucky there. I also have a business partner with good the name of the yoga studio is cozy. So I started cozy with a friend of mine who already owns a fly yoga studio here in the city. And yeah, so between the two of us I'm I'm there to teach classes three days a week. And other than that I do a lot of logistical stuff from home. Because most of my other business, of course, is run from home. So yeah, it's a it's been a little bit less work than I imagined, but it's still it's stuff that I enjoy. And I think that's part of my perspective on it being not a lot of work is that, you know, I enjoy talking to my students that when they contact me with questions or to schedule classes, it doesn't feel like like work, I don't think quite answers your question, but...

Eliot Raymond :

No, it certainly does. And so from my perspective, I'm thinking you started the studio in What 2017?

Lauren Simonis :

No, just this January, actually, right before quarantine.

Eliot Raymond :

Okay, so it's January, January 2020. You're in a foreign country. You're familiar with its home now. You've lived there for quite some time, but you're starting a brand new business. What is the process of just getting the word out and getting new clients in the door? New, you know, students is I guess the word I should use? How does one go about that as being a small business owner in your situation?

Lauren Simonis :

So we lucked out a bit because my business partner with the fly studio, I'd already been teaching like more matte based yoga at her studio. And so a lot of our students from there followed us over which we were really grateful for. And part of that was just keeping the location convenient. So we opened the new place just about two blocks away from where the flight studio is now, so they didn't have to change their lifestyle around too much. Other than that, a big change has been having a front door that faces the street so we have like a big window friend, and it sounds,

Eliot Raymond :

Location, location, location.

Lauren Simonis :

It sounds like like maybe something you could overlook but the other studio is up a flight of stairs and there's not really any opportunity for signage out front. So the number of people we've got just walking past and you know, looking and seeing our website and our social media links on the window. That's really been very helpful. And then, of course, just the usual online social media promotion, things like that.

James Knight :

So this is something that Elliot and I have touched on in other episodes, but one of the things that that can be super helpful that you just talked about when you're starting a new business is figuring out a way to kind of sideload that business from something else that you're doing. So for you guys, you know, you had this connection to the existing studio and you were able to kind of preload those customers and how is that process different then from your coaching business? Did you do something similar there or was that clean slate from day one?

Lauren Simonis :

That was definitely clean slate, but I had a transition period. So I started that coaching business while I was still working for the flame tree initiative, so it kind of it I took whatever free time I had, and of course it was busy for a period of time. But it allowed me to kind of get my feet underneath to the point where, you know, I could write out a budget and say, Okay, this is how much I need to make off this business every month in order to make ends meet. And, and yeah, from there it went pretty smoothly. But there definitely was that probably six month transition period of making sure I still had income coming in. Were you guys in the States at the time when you made that transition? Are you already in Portugal? No, I've been in Portugal for about two years.

Eliot Raymond :

So through the process of opening the business, what was something you didn't expect, and obviously we're recording this on COVID-19. So that would be probably the first thing

James Knight :

any any current events that are?

Eliot Raymond :

more around just like a logistics or process or people or whatever it might be in a Opening the business and getting off the ground. What was something you didn't expect? And maybe what was like a triumph in doing so.

Lauren Simonis :

Um, I think the biggest thing for me has been recognizing that you don't have to have one career, even one career at a time. For me, I've always been, you know, I think a lot of us were raised with this mentality that you, you know, you graduate college, you get a job, you work for the same company, or at least similar companies for your entire career. They give you you know, some nice benefits package, and then you retire and grow old. And so for a long time, I was trying to fit myself into this box. And every two, three years, I get really bored with whatever I was doing, even if it was really interesting at first. Eventually I would get tired and burnt out. And for me just doing the same thing nine to five every day, even if the tasks are varied. It's very trying so It was really a revelation when I realized I could do a lot of very different very small things. And that's given me a lot of freedom, one to have that ability to kind of move between different tasks on a daily or even weekly basis. And then the second thing is, if one thing isn't working, I can drop it and find another way to replace it. And I have those other income streams coming in, and it allows me to do that. So I guess that ability to multitask and play around in different careers at the same time has been really enjoyable, really fun for me. And that adaptability has never been more useful then this year. Right. So so you guys started this studio in January, and then obviously, come March. You have a big challenge hits you. How did you guys handle Khurana? Um, yeah, I mean, thankfully, as you mentioned, I was able to keep the online coaching mostly going Of course, people's lives changed and their income streams changed and coaching is always an extra But I mean, my I still had income my husband still had income coming in. And so the studio, we, because I think of my background and my partner's background, we kind of knew that we had some opportunities here. And our students have since commanded us and noted that we were one of the first studios in the city, at least here to get things up and going online. So we closed on a Thursday, our last class of the week. And by Monday, we had our entire online program launched. So we talked the entire time online, the somewhere ranging between, I think, five and 11 classes a week, depending on demand. And it I mean, it wasn't the same as having our students in class at all by any stretch of the imagination. But I think it kept a lot of us going, students and teachers we we needed that that social connection, we needed that chance to stay connected with our bodies to be doing something physical Even if we were constrained by location so yeah, that was that was a big kind of pivot for us. And like I said, thank goodness I kind of have a range of experience with all these online tools because it was kind of second nature to me to just, you know, pick up zoom launch all the classes and figure out how to distribute them to the students and stay order orderly and organized with all of it. You didn't have a whole new set of skills you had to teach yourself right because you've worn all these hats so you know you have this kind of just ready to go that's that's so fantastic. Yeah, I feel very lucky for that reason very lucky.

James Knight :

Do you think you guys like keep up the online component as you know, things lift up more and more open back up? What do you what are your plans there?

Lauren Simonis :

Yeah, I you know, I don't think we ever saw this being a part of our lives. But I, what the COVID-19 has given us and I think it's important to look at both what it what it's taken away and what it's given. What is given to us is an awareness that we have people all over the world that have been interested in our classes. So we've had students joining, whether they're, you know, my friends and family from the States or students that we used to have that have since moved. So now we have see we have students in the States, Spain, Germany, Brazil, France, just kind of all over and it's been really fun and exciting to keep in touch and reconnect with some of those students that have have since moved on with their lives.

James Knight :

What a great way to connect with people around the world. I mean, sitting in front of the camera and doing yoga together. That's so cool. Exactly. Yeah. And it's so easy. We just set the computer up in the studio and turn everything on and get going.

Eliot Raymond :

Before we transition over to talking about your move, I really wanted to kind of quickly double back to when you talked about that lifestyle design element and you did a lot of conscious thinking about what you wanted that lifestyle to look like. Can you just talk a little bit about what this has enabled for you in terms of lifestyle that it's allowed you to do that. Maybe a traditional nine to five job wouldn't have.

Lauren Simonis :

Yeah. So I think, gosh, I had to have been five or six years ago now. And I started thinking about, you know, what's my next step. In fact, when I got hired on to work at the flame tree initiative, one of the board members sat me down and said, We know this is not going to be the career you you end on. So what do you want to do next? And how can we help you get there? And I have to say that was a really pivotal moment for me was having someone actually asked me that question, as I was starting a new job.

Eliot Raymond :

What a great mentor to have

Lauren Simonis :

really, yeah, yeah, I'll be forever thankful to him. Thanks, john cena. So that kind of kind of kicked me off. And so a few years later, when I was getting first starting to get that itch of like, Where do I want to go next? I just sat down one day in front of Have a journal and asked myself, okay, what do I want my, my workday to look like. And so I wrote it out in perfect detail like I get up at this time I go to this place. These are the kind of people I surround myself with. And really just laying out and of course, it never looked. As I mentioned, it never looked like showing up at an office at 9am taking a 30 minute lunch break, and, you know, and all of those things, and that works for a lot of people, but it wasn't for me. And so it started a lot with that, that kind of ideation. And then I'm actually kind of shocked I was thinking about this the other day that my day actually looks a lot like that Now, a lot like that thing that I first imagined but I think you have to recognize that everything's a process. It's not going to happen overnight. But if you have the patience to kind of sit through it and to sit through the hard times as well because, man, there are hard times I had my hard times. They can get really tough and overwhelming. But if you have that vision to keep pushing forward, then I think it's possible if we can get there, beautifully stated.

Eliot Raymond :

And so important to remember, especially in that entrepreneurial path that there are so many of those challenging times they vary person to person, but you're going to run into some challenges no doubt. So really important to recognize that up front and know what you're getting into.

Lauren Simonis :

Absolutely.

James Knight :

So learn so you offer coaching services yourself, but when you get to one of these tough periods, when when things are stressful and dark, what are the things that you turn to to to pull you through them?

Lauren Simonis :

I've used kind of a mix of things. The the term when times get dark, I'm really glad you use that because for me, I've always struggled with anxiety and depression. So darkness is actually a very literal term. So at times for me that's looked like therapy. At times even looks like medication. And those things really helped me jumpstart my life from a very personal perspective and also helped me get a handle on on a lot of these logistics. The other thing, I stayed really close to his other friends who are entrepreneurs, as well as a coach that I really love and enjoy as well. So she's a person that I know I can always rely on when I have these big questions. She helps me from the perspective that that I'm really looking for and that's always a challenge whether you're talking about therapy or a coach, but finding someone who's whose perspective matches your own is so important. So I'm really grateful to have found her.

James Knight :

I think when you're an entrepreneur that those connections are so crucial and, and that's why we have fantastic people like you who are coaches and I can help people with with things that they might not even know or problems yet. But having just someone in your corner when you are on your own is huge. So

Eliot Raymond :

and I just want to double down on that for a third kind of voice here, I think that was one of my biggest challenges actually getting started was not having a community of entrepreneurs around me. I was, you know, surrounded by a lot of people following quote, the conventional, true traditional path. And it was hard to validate what I was doing, because it always felt like it was going against the stream. It was wrong, whatever, kind of however you want to see that. But once I was introduced to that community through, you know, a variety of different ways and groups and whatnot. That was the first time I saw that what I could be doing was recognized as something that was a value adding thing or was actual, was an actual career path beyond just an interest that I was pursuing. So I'm so glad you brought that up, because it's been really pivotal in my own career.

James Knight :

And for everyone listening at the end of the episode, as well as the liner notes, we we have a way for you to contact Lauren and if you're interested in doing this, and it's starting something new or changing something in your life coaching, especially with someone like Lauren who's so fantastic, can really be the thing that gives you that that push out of the nest. So you know, we highly recommend it. And again, you know, if you want to contact Lauren, we'll talk about at the end of the episode, but it's also down in the liner notes. So one of the most interesting things about you running a yoga studio is that you are running a yoga studio in Porto and you are not Portuguese. I also live in southern Europe and I know that the expatriation process because sometimes filled with interesting stories, so were there any challenges moving from the states to Portugal?

Lauren Simonis :

None at all. It was just paradise. Oh, gosh, moving abroad. Moving abroad is a challenge. I've had a lot of people ask me similar questions about this over the years and I have to say the one thing that you have to do is just commit to the fact that you're doing it. And whatever is going to come your way particularly, I mean, as you mentioned, Southern Europe brings its own challenges. It also brings its own benefits. And a lot of times they're they're two sides of the same coin. So, for instance, for those of you who don't know, Southern Europe is kind of known for a lot of what what we might view as meaningless bureaucracy. So, for instance, when we first applied for our residency here in Portugal, we showed up with all of the paperwork that we had been able to figure out that we could possibly need And by that, I mean that there's no at the time, at least, there was no official website that said, these are the documents you need to bring based on your situation, show up and everything will be fine. It was kind of a guessing game. And so we showed up then they said, Well, why didn't you bring this document? And we said, I didn't even know that document existed, but let me get that for And so it was a lot of headache. But at the same time, they would say, okay, you have 90 business days to bring this to bring us this new piece of paper.

James Knight :

And then you didn't know existed. Exactly, yeah.

Lauren Simonis :

So we would figure out how to get this new piece of paper and then we would bring it in and they would say, Well, what about this other piece of paper? And you would say, Okay, why and so this actually, my residency went a little bit faster. But my husband's took almost a full year and he actually received his Oh, maybe we should celebrate when he first received his residency on the Fourth of July in 2017. And we arrived on August 4 The year before so he had a full 365 days nearly and then another like he had a month break before we had to start going back to more immigration appointments to renew the initial visa. So as I mentioned, the two sides of the same coin while there's a lot of bureaucracy, there also they give you a A lot of time to go through things. So the process and they're very forgiving. You know, it's not you didn't bring this that we're sending you home, as I would imagine it probably is for for people trying to move to the States, for instance. They're very patient and they'll just they'll keep working with you and and I have to say the the government workers here in Portugal are shockingly friendly. Like it we have this idea in the States, you go to the DMV, and everyone there is very grumpy, and rude. You go to, you know, the courthouse and it's kind of the same thing that people don't really seem like they really want to help you with whatever you're coming in, needing help with, but hear everyone's in a good mood. They have these nice, you know, decently paid government jobs, it seems and they're taken care of, and I don't know what exists, what exactly it is. But if you have to be going through a headache, at least you can have lovely, helpful people to interact with.

James Knight :

Sure. So emigrating can be a huge pain and there's always always difficulties and challenges along the way. What made it worth it for you?

Lauren Simonis :

Um, what made it worth it was feeling like I was finally living in a place that matched who I am. When I first went abroad, I was 17 years old. And I was living in a really rural community in Panama for two months as a volunteer. And I remember calling my mom about halfway through the trip and saying, I'm moving here. That's it. I already have my house in this little village. It's going to be great. There's about 100 people that live in this village and we're all going to be neighbors, it's going to be great. And I think ever since that moment, I had been chasing a place that felt more like home and I'm from Tucson, Arizona, and I love Tucson. I think it contributed to a lot of who I am today. But I always knew that living in the States was not where I wanted to be. And then coming to Portugal, it gave me all the excitement and the challenge and the sense of community that I think I've been looking for for a really long time.

Eliot Raymond :

So Lauren, you talked a little bit about toward the beginning of the podcast, some of the resources that are available to freelancers, independent small business owners that just weren't there a decade ago. I mean, with the introduction of the internet, arguably, that's one of the things that allows people to work overseas. So seamlessly. You talked about getting online yoga studio up in the course of a weekend, which is something that would be unfathomable, almost 10 years ago, and James being the technical side of this podcast, he can probably attest to that. But So talk a little bit about some of those resources that you may have learned about from previous roles, or that you learned about starting your own businesses in Portugal, that have been really valuable to you that some of our listeners might be able to benefit from if they wanted to take on a similar venture. Whether that's accounting software or courses that you took or even books that you read, what might be a couple of resources that you'd want to share.

Lauren Simonis :

And I'd say the first thing that comes to mind is a very traditional business oriented book or entrepreneurship oriented book, that I'm sure if you've even thought for a moment about starting your own business you probably heard of, but it's the Lean Startup method. And for me, I my original degree, my bachelor's degree is in English literature. So I'm very, it's very second nature for me to read metaphor into just about everything. I think the Lean Startup method is an excellent way just to approach your life in general. So it helped me with with formulating different business ideas, and it also helped me when it came to moving here. And it helped me it's helped me a lot just in my personal life as well and the primary concept of that that I really dropped is the idea of failing forward. So taking each failure not as you know, this be all end all of You're a terrible person and you've done something terribly wrong, but as just a data point to say, Okay, well, that didn't work, what do I do now? So definitely the the Lean Startup method I highly recommend.

Eliot Raymond :

And on that note really quick, if I can interrupt I think that is, for me, one of the most fun parts of entrepreneurship, obviously, not the failing, but the figuring out what's next. I mean, to me, it's almost like a game you. It's a strategic game where you're, you have this challenge that you need to overcome. And then there are 100 ways to solve it. And you need to figure out what's going to work the best for you and your business. And that can almost be one of the most exciting parts in my experience

Lauren Simonis :

Absolutely, and to have a book a very successful book tell you that your failure is not something you should attach your personal self worth to is that's really a gift. So if you can detach yourself from that and really just invest in that game. Man, you're set.

James Knight :

I'll second that recommendation, especially I work a lot with startup apps, you know, that kind of stuff. And that book provides, I would argue the foundation of what kind of modern startup theory is. So if this is something you're interested in, whether it's a personal business, or a, you know, big name, fancy tech startup, lean startup gives you kind of a framework for figuring out what you know, what you don't know, and how you bridge that gap from the first to the second. So yeah, I can second that recommendation enough. Is there is there anything else you'd recommend?

Lauren Simonis :

Um, so I think I could probably give you a list of about 100. But rather than doing that, I'll just tell you how I found them, which is, finding out really recognizing what you need, which usually in the moment is nothing difficult thing to do, and then just searching the internet for it. So for instance, there's so many free or low price illustrate like illustrating tools that you can use online for social media, like Canva, for instance, and I found Canva, just by googling like free illustration tool, whatever words come to your mind. If you're looking for more organizational stuff, you can Google that that's how I found Trello. There's, you know, just all these different tools and things that are out there. And I think one of our fears when we start a business is looking at all of the the startup costs associated with it. Whether that's, you know, paying for a professional website, or, as you all mentioned, like business cards, things like that. But there are ways to cut those costs down. If you're willing to kind of play around and experiment and be on the internet. When I'm still using today. It's just like a really simple color picker. So when you are like building a website, for instance, which I've had to do for my businesses, you want all the colors to match with your photos? And what's the better way to do that than to take your photo, figure out what the hex codes are for the colors inside the picture and then and then match them up. And it's I mean, it's really just a matter of googling what's out there.

James Knight :

And there's never been a better time for free tools to, I think most of the things you just mentioned are free, Canvas free. trial is free. As for for solo entrepreneurs, or even small teams, you know, one, two, up to five people, a lot of these tools are free. Absolutely. And yeah, if you put a little time and like you said, Google in asking people, you can find really, really, really, really great tools that don't cost you anything. And on that topic, one of the ways that you can find these things is through a fantastic coach like Lauren. So Lauren, for anyone that's interested in working with you or just might have a question about your your story, your experience what's the best way to reach you?

Lauren Simonis :

You can always find me on my website Lauren samonas comm all my contact information is available on there and in case you're ever in Porto, which probably may not be happening anytime soon, but if you do find yourself here at some point, you're always welcome at cozy yoga and community which is cozy yoga, Porto calm.

James Knight :

And we'll drop links to all of that in the liner notes, all of her contact information, her site and whatnot. So if you want to stop by cozy will have a link to that down there to

Eliot Raymond :

I love it. Thank you guys both so much for the time. It's been really fun. And Greg can learn a little bit more about your practice and get to know you, Lauren. So appreciate you coming on today. Thanks for having me.

James Knight :

This has been fun, guys. Fantastic. Well, thank you so much, everybody and to the listeners. Thank you for checking in with us and we'll see you again next week. Speaking of next week, we have the illustrious Justin Poore joining us to chat about how he spent the last three years, immersing himself in the world's cultures one month at a time and sharing his experiences with his 18,000 subscribers on YouTube. Until then, keep walking whichever of the hundreds of ways, belongs to you.

What Lauren Does
Working With Entrepreneurs in Africa
Wearing Multiple Hats
Transitioning From Employee to Entrepreneur
Crutches & Security Blankets
Navigating the Emotional Challenges
Taking on Coaching
Running a Yoga Studio
Sideloading Your Business v. Starting w/ a Clean Slate
Brick & Mortar Business in the Time of Covid
Designing The Life You Want
Pulling Yourself Out of Darkness
Moving to Portugal
Why Moving Abroad Is Worth It
Resources For Entrepreneurs
Contacting Lauren
Next Week on Hundreds of Ways