Lydia Lee // Ep 81 // Creating Her Own Freedom By Screwing the Cubicle

Welcome to Episode 81 of the Asian Hustle Network Podcast! We are very excited to have Lydia Lee on this week's episode.

We interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asians to pursue their dreams and goals. We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.

Check us out on Anchor, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, TuneIn, Spotify and more. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave us a positive 5-star review. This is our opportunity to use the voices of the Asian community and share these incredible stories with the world. We release a new episode every Wednesday, so stay tuned!

Lydia Lee is the Work Reinvention Coach and Freedom Instigator at Screw The Cubicle.  Since 2013, she’s helped hundreds of people transition out of the golden corporate handcuffs and build meaningful businesses that support them in living the life they want.

Most importantly, she believes in intentionally creating purposeful work with our strengths, values, and personality in mind, so that we’re building a business we love, and want to keep for years to come.

Currently based in Bali, Lydia spends her time coaching and speaking on life and work reinventions, solopreneurship, and lifestyle freedom.

Please check out our Patreon at @asianhustlenetwork. We want AHN to continue to be meaningful and give back to the Asian community. If you enjoy our podcast and would like to contribute to our future, we hope you’ll consider becoming a patron.
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Intro: (00:00:00) Hey guys, welcome to Asian Hustle Network Podcast, My name is Bryan. 

And my name is Maggie 

And we interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asiansto pursue their dreams and goals.

We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.

Maggie: (00:00:23)  Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Asian hustle network podcast. Today, we have a very special guest. Her name is Lydia Lee. Lydia is the work reinvention coach and freedom instigator at screw the cubicle. Since 2013, she’s helped hundreds of people transition out of the golden corporate handcuffs and build meaningful businesses that support them in living the life they want. Right. Most importantly, she believes in an intentionally creating purposeful work with our strengths, values, and personality in mind so that we’re building a business we love and want to keep for years to come currently based in Bali. Lydia spends her time coaching and speaking on life and work reinventions, solo partnership, and lifestyle freedom. Lydia, welcome to the show.


Lydia: (00:01:08) Thank you so much for having me. And I already had a pep talk with all the ducks and roosters outside my garden to shut up while we’re having this interview. So hopefully they’re not there. You won’t see them parading and making, making noise. When we have this, this conversation,  


Bryan: (00:01:25)  let us know where you are right now.


Lydia: (00:01:27) I am in  in Bali. Um, and some people don’t know where it is, but they might, if they saw that eat, pray, love movie. We’re just not encompassing of the entire ambiance. Oh boy. But it did put on the map. So, yeah. So I’ve been based here. I think this is this September will be my eighth year. Wow, uh, which is I think the longest relationship I’ve ever been at. Um, but yeah, so this is one of my home basis. It takes a lot of the boxes of what I need and, you know, community wellness, uh, spaciousness in my life, which I really like. I, um, have gone through such a, such a hustle environment from being in a city that it’s a nice break for me to kind of be in a slower paced life, which is great for I’m a recovering perfectionist. And an anxious person like I am, uh, but every year, you know, I go back to Vancouver in the summer when I can. Um, and then I’ll just tell him Maggie, that I pick a, a wildcard country every year to visit for three to four months. So I’m trying to find different home basis for different parts of the year. That feels like home for me. So, yeah, it’s been a, it’s been a great adventure.


Bryan: (00:02:30)   I love that. What was your previous professional life like?

Lydia: (00:02:33) Well, I was in the international education industry. So I worked with, um, you know, academia in private institutions, uh, and with the embassy of Canada actually promoting education in Canada. So I worked a lot on the road. Um, I always say that my last job was really sexy on paper because I was just setting to really lovely places like France and Switzerland and Italy, and, you know, but. When you’re actually doing the work, it’s, it’s more like you’re away from home six months out of the year, you’re sleeping in strange hotel rooms that aren’t always comfortable. Uh, and it does make it quite hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle when you’re working 60 hours a week. So that was sort of my old corporate job. And, you know, when I left that job, um, it wasn’t something. Sort of, I didn’t have a Gandhi moment, you know, where I woke up and said, I want to be an entrepreneur. It wasn’t as beautiful as that, if you will. Um, it actually was instigated from, um, a massive burnout and a panic attack. I had at a business trip in Russia. Uh, and I actually was. Uh, with a temporary agoraphobia from this panic attack, uh, by myself in the winter in Moscow. And that was sort of the breakdown of a burnout that made me sort of reconsider a lot of the choices I was making in corporate. So when I contemplated leaving corporate, this was actually the time that again, on paper looks really good. You know, it in a six-figure job, I was managing a department at a very young age. I was next in line for. Partnership, which, and I was the youngest person to be offered partnership in that organization. So all the things were sort of green light, you know, to what I was sort of working towards for such a long time. Um, and saying no to that was an interesting shift for me, you know, off. Not, not an easy position. I have to say, you know, and, and definitely coming from an Asian background as well, where, you know, my family immigrated from, uh, Penang in Malaysia. So I, I went to Canada when I was about 10 years old. Um, the, the message instilled upon me, it’s like, we worked really hard and, you know, we were really poor growing up as well. And the fact that you have an opportunity and that you’ve created something for yourself, you better keep climbing that ladder. You know, and the way that I explained that transition is like, I did climb that ladder and I reached the top and th the view wasn’t, wasn’t, wasn’t what I was expecting, you know, it’s really interesting. And, and so that was sort of where I had to recalibrate, you know, what was purposeful for my life, what wasn’t working and be very nonjudgmental about what needs to happen rather than, you know, believe that there was only one true trajectory for success. Um, and so, yeah, so that’s sort of where my background came from and, um, you know, the, the moment that sort of instigated change for my life.

Maggie: (00:05:17) Wow. I think your story resonates with all, a lot of people inside Asian hustle network. And as you know, you know, the community and the network is for entrepreneurs or even aspiring entrepreneurs and yeah. Who are working a nine to five and doing a side hustle, you know? And so they, I think a lot of them also feel like that. And personally, I came from that kind of mentality as well, where I felt like I wasn’t happy, truly happy with where I was at working my nine to five. Have inside the cubicle. Right. And I, you know, it’s, it’s just really interesting hearing you tell the story. And so when you were going through that transition, what was the next step for you?

Lydia: (00:05:53) Well, first I had to, I had to heal myself because as a, as someone who’s been taught that, you know, just keep taking action, right? Cause you know, the way that my immigrant parents taught me to be successful in Canada is, is to work hard. And, and only just to work hard, but to sweat, blood and tears to get somewhere because it, it was sort of, uh, you know, what my parents had to do, you know, like when they moved to Canada, um, none of my parents credentials, you know, schooling, education, Mattered in Canada. It didn’t matter because he didn’t do it there. So you start from the bottom, you know, and that was, it hurt a lot of the ego for my mother, for example, that was in a high position in Malaysia. And so there was this storyline, you know, that was given to me that, um, success feels hard. It’s just what anyone does. Um, and you have to sort of do it that way, you know? And so my own, um, Sense of self really got lost into my, my mother’s story. You know, living my life, according to her lenses, you know, and it wasn’t at all my mother’s fault. It’s what she knew and what happened for her. That was totally correct. Uh, but I had to almost reinvent my own. Version of success, which I think was a important question for me to ask. So the next step actually was, I didn’t think about a business. I wasn’t even thinking about entrepreneurship at the time. I just want it to feel better and I want it to not have this burnout again. And I needed to identify what were the things I was making choices on in my life, whether it’s my career is the way I was spending my time. It was who I was spending my time with, you know? And, and what. Sort of flexibility of, you know, space in my life to allow me to do other things that were meaningful to me. So, uh, the first hire I did was a therapist and I am a big advocate for therapy. Um, I, I still have the same therapist for a decade. Uh, and that has been a game changer for who, who I’m becoming and being a better business owner actually, you know, because, uh, trauma and business is, can go hand in hand and we don’t talk about that enough, you know, uh, but you know, that was a really, um, great. Experience for me to figure out what I wanted, what wasn’t working, what I understood about myself, you know, like knowing thyself in terms of what’s next for me. Um, and then once I sort of started to take more of a break, understand my boundaries at work, really see what I needed to do to improve my work. What I actually first started doing was actually trying to negotiate how to improve my. Position in, in, in, in that organization so that I would be happier. And what’s funny about that conversation is that they had that meeting with me, but, and they apparently listened to all my concerns, but the next meeting, when we were talking about changes, they didn’t. At all talk about what needed to change. And instead just gave me the nice carrot of, Hey, we’re just promoting you and giving you more money as a partner. And that was all your problems. Right? And so in that meeting, I really realized that I needed to be an advocate for my happiness, because sometimes when there’s a misalignment with your employer and, you know, the value set company has right. It doesn’t matter how much you want to change. They need to change to, to adapt to your needs. And if that isn’t working, it’s like a relationship. You just, you know, it’s not personal, it’s just not meant for you. You know? And that’s when I started to go, okay, I’ve tried the changing something to allow some improvements in my work life that didn’t work. So now I’m going to start creating. These opportunities for myself. And so I started a, a boutique agency, uh, on the side while I was working full time in the same industry I belong to because you know, that that was what I call a transition business. Something I already knew a lot about. I had a Rolodex, right. I knew the experience and gaps in that marketplace of what I can do better. Um, and I actually had a pretty successful, um, launch because I was just tapped into the network that I was already. Yeah. Uh, belonging to, you know, and so that was what helped me to transition out of my nine to five. Actually, my employers ended up being my first clients. So I sort of did a, a consultancy gig with them and said, well, you don’t need to lose me completely. We can keep working together in this. Format so that I can be happy. And you can also get some of my work that I’ve worked so hard to do for your business. Right. So that was interesting. Um, and then on the side I was starting a blog called screw the cubicle and screw as a cubicle was never meant to be anything, but. A online diary, you know, to document my identity crisis going from employee to entrepreneur. Um, and really it was a place I sent my mother who was like calling me every week. Like, what are you doing with your life? Are you sure you did the right thing? Are you trying to find another job? You know? And I was just like, read the blog is all there. I don’t want to talk about this anymore, but it was, uh, a great place for me to. Express my journey, you know, and actually look and see what happened and what I’ve progressed on and who I’ve become. Um, and it wasn’t until some people that were reading the blog at one day, asked if I could coach them on career transitions. And that, that, again, set the next seed to be planted on hay. Could I do this work? Is it something that I want to do more than what I think I know. Um, and then that, you know, helped me to start educating myself about coaching, learning, how, what kind of coach I wanted to be, you know, and what were, what was the scope of problems I felt right to solve, you know? And so I’ve been very grateful to have a business. I, I that’s meaningful to me, something I love doing, you know, for the last seven years.   

Maggie: (00:11:14)   Wow, that is incredible. And I really appreciate how you brought up, you know, you kind of going out and looking for therapists, because I think especially in Asian culture, there is the stigma. Um, you know, that if you go to seek a therapist, you there, you know, maybe something wrong with you, which is not the case at all. You know, and I think it shows a lot of strength and courageousness for you to actually go out and seek for help to, to improve yourself. So thank you for sure.

Bryan: (00:11:39) Yeah. Out of curiosity, too, what kind of jobs did you have before? Um, I w I don’t think I caught that earlier.

Lydia: (00:11:48) Oh, um, I wasn’t, so I was a business development director for, uh, in the international education industry. Uh, but also if you look at my resume, it looks like it’s for five people, I was someone that was sort of a multi. Like, I, I, no wonder I should have been an entrepreneur because I just got bored of an industry very quickly, you know, within two years. And I didn’t work well with bureaucracy. I didn’t like red tapes of doing things and having to submit like multiple forums just to do something. Right. Uh, but I was in the publishing industry. I was in tourism. I was in a hospitality and real estate. Like, it really does look like a resume for five different people. Um, but that was the interesting work I had to do. Right. Like when I was transitioning and also even. Thinking about like what that body of work looks like for my next chapter, because sometimes it’s so, you know, we are so attached to titles, you know, so if I’ve been, um, business development or sales or marketing or writer or whatever, we sort of tend to sort of go, well, that’s the only way I can, you know, offer what, what I do. Right. Um, but when I started looking at themes, you know, looking at actually in every position, That I was doing, you know, whether it doesn’t matter the industry, there was a certain way I was doing that job. Well, you know, there was a certain way that, uh, or certain types of work or how I did that work or what environments were more my genius zone that actually did appear in all of the jobs. And that was really important for me to realize, because. Um, I didn’t want to do what I used to do, you know? And so in a way, for me to be able to still take what I, I am about what I’ve learned, my skill sets, my experience and not throw the baby out of the bath water. That was really important for me, you know, to know that I’m actually evolving and expanding rather than starting from scratch, which can feel really scary.


Bryan: (00:13:33) Hmm, that makes a lot of sense. And I like the fact that, you know, you started multiple side hustles. You kind of test the waters first. That’s a great tip for a lot of us too, because a lot of us think that we have to quit our jobs, cold Turkey up into this new industry feel pretty lost. But I think what my perception, what, you know, how the community is an Asian of network cases, a lot of people are trying out different side hustles while having a full-time job. And having that side hustle grow to something much bigger because I feel like they would side hustle is where your true genius comes out. It was when you feel happy, you feel the most fulfilled because we’re not getting those from our corporate job. You know, we’re also in a journey money titled prestigious doesn’t matter as much to us as purpose, fulfillment, excitement. You know, and what you mentioned earlier, I think a lot of us can relate to that. It’s like, you know, we can’t be offered the most expensive and high class, um, golden handcuffs ever, but we just don’t want it anymore. You want purpose? Now? We want there’s more to life.

Maggie: (00:14:32)  Yeah, exactly. I think like having so many entrepreneurs come onto our podcast and talk about how they kind of made that jump.It was, you know, really, because, you know, they had such a high salary at their corporate job, but even with such a high salary, they were never truly happy, you know? With that salary, you know, you would think that money brings happiness, but really that is not the case. And so I know, yeah. I would love to know, you know, during that transition, when did you, was there, like, what was that point in time? Like when you thought, okay, this is like an actual business model where I can help other people who are in the same situation that I was, you know, because for screw the cubicle, it really came from your own, you know, Your own past of like, you know, being unhappy at your nine to five job. And so now the other people were deciding, um, you know, Lydia, you can do this as your career. You can help other people get out of there, their nine to five as well. When did you think, you know, this could be a business model and when did you actually make that jump to leave your corporate job to actually do this full time?   


Lydia: (00:15:33) Yeah. So when I left my corporate job, I, it wasn’t because of Screw the Cubicle. .It was actually my, my, my first, um, boutique agency. I built in the same industry. So that’s why I called it the transition business. It wasn’t like my biggest purpose and my highest contribution to the world. You know, it was just the most easy path. And sometimes that’s good enough actually, you know, cause that allowed me to have. That space, you know, to start things like a blog to try on different things for size. Uh, and, and Brian, I’m so glad you mentioned the whole thing about side hustles, being the pathway to discover what it is we love to do, because you know, even that big P word, right. Purpose, passion, right. Impact. Right. What is the thing you want to do is such a big question and no wonder none of us want to make that jump because we’ve believed that we’d need to get it right the first time. You know, this better be the idea, the first side hustle I launched, but it’d be the thing I die with, you know, better be the thing I’m known for forever. And that is a hard pill to swallow, you know? And so part of what I teach a lot of clients these days are how do we actually create an internship environment? You know, because when you say you want to build a business, like it might be a good idea that might, it might serve a market need. There’s a market demand is a great niche, but what might be missing is like, how do I know want to do that work if I’m just kind of guessing, and the metrics I’m measuring a successful business on is just about market fit, you know, and market demand. It has to also fit my strengths. It has to also fit that I’m feeling proud of the work that I was doing. You know, and that was an interesting metric I had to look at as well, because even though I had a successful first business, you know, in my agency, uh, transitioning out of my corporate job, one piece was missing and that was meaning. And then I never really realized how important that was for me. You know, because I had left my job. I had gotten, I was replacing my income and yet I was feeling a little hard to get up in the morning, you know, a little uninspired about doing more for the Vista. So that was something I had to start questioning. So in that approach, I also sort of went into my second transition, which is less, less actually express myself in a different way through a blog, which like I said, wasn’t meant to be monetized to begin with, but there’s something kind of lovely. About doing something with this unconditional perspective of just giving value and contributing my story and talking about things that mean something to me before I start to think about how do I make money off this. It sort of comes from a more unconditional, authentic place, which that’s why I love blogs. And I love people just starting a YouTube channel just to share their, their voice and see where that leads them, which is in a way, a bit of an internship, you know, of, of what we want to do. Right. Um, and so what sort of sparked the. The realization that coaching could be a pathway for me, uh, was, as I said, a couple of readers just reaching out and going, I love what you’re talking about. This is exactly what I’m going through. I love the tips you’re giving. Um, do you coach people? Right? And immediately I was like, Oh my God, everyone. And their dog is a coach. Like I just. Do I need, I don’t want to, I don’t want to be a therapist either. Cause I’m way too blunt, you know, to be therapeutical. Um, I, you know, I want to be who I am and do I have to kind of listen to people’s problems all day and like just whole space that way? Or is there a more different way of coaching? I didn’t know. I had to Google what a coach was. That was how much I was not in tune with this industry, but I, instead of saying no to it and going, Oh, I don’t think I could do that. I sort of went. Let me give myself three months to give myself this mini internship and find out what I want to coach on what I felt ethical to coach on. Because at that time, because I’m building a business, I wasn’t business coaching because who I, who was I to teach about business when I haven’t yet reached the goals that, you know, I’m looking to reach as a business owner, but what, I didn’t know a lot. Yeah. Was about identity change about career transition, uh, about understanding what work that could come from your experience, because I’ve done so much of that work myself and also in a lot of my own education and reading and research and talking to people I’ve been doing it sort of for free. Right. And now I just have to think about a framework that could help people understand that journey to get from, you know, fuzzy, fuzzy idea to maybe I could do this for a living, right. And it’s still. I took on a Guinea pigs for three months for free. I just sort of went, I don’t want this to be a big thing. I don’t want us to rebrand anything and I’m just going to curate eight people that I find from Facebook groups, from colleagues, from my friends of friends. And I’m just going to go, we’re going to coach biweekly. These are the sort of things I coach on. We’re not quite sure where am I go? But it’s an exchange of an experience. So you get to give me feedback about where you think I should specialize in. I get to experiment with what things are the boundaries about what I want to talk about and what I don’t and how can I contribute value in the highest way, you know? And that had, that was such a, um, a big experience for me, because it helped me to understand who were the best people to work with me who were not in terms of motivation and values. You know, what I felt inspired to talk about and what was beyond my scope. You know, so that I could honor and not do things that didn’t feel ethical. Um, and I also got to try on for size what it is to coach, you know, how I would have that conversation, how to set up that, that, that, that call in session. And that helped me to construct, you know, my first offer my first sort of presentation of a coaching offer that was validated, you know, by real humans and also validated by me to know that I’m willing to do that again.


Maggie: (00:21:11)  Awesome. Well, yeah, that’s really insightful. I love how you kind of just exemplified that you were growing as your business was growing as well. You know, you were learning as you were growing your business as well, and that’s, that’s really important. And so, you know, when people actually reach out to you, um, are most of your demographics, millennials, would you say 


Lydia: (00:21:33) it’s a little bit of a mix? I think, um, I started a lot with mid-career. You know, people that were in their mid thirties to kind of mid forties, you know, but when I look at the sort of, um, array of the audience and the people, you know, cause because when you think about a niche, right, they always tell you like, you better be like this bracket of age to age and you know that you need to know what they ate for breakfast and you know, what they’re wanting to do. But what I actually found out was sort of my soulmate clients. It’s about motivation. It’s about the kind of business they want to build. So it’s not. So even though screw the cubicle, you could imagine that I might work with just anyone that wants to leave the cubicle, which is like everyone these days. Right. And so it doesn’t help me, you know, in terms of doing meaningful work. And so the way that I sort of filter out, right. My messaging in order to attract the right motivation is actually really based on values and based on the why behind why they want to start a business, you know? And so. And even though screw the cubicle could people can mistake it for like, Oh yeah. Going to help me never to work again, never to, you know, be employed anymore. It’s not about that. Screw the cubicle. It’s about creating better work, creating meaningful work so that you are not counting down the clock from nine to five. And that your work allows you to live the life that you want. Right. There’s that, that personal reward. Of lifestyle, freedom, whatever that looks like for you. You know, some people want to stay at home with their children and some people want to, you know, have, have kind of itchy feet like me and like to travel all the time. I think the most important part is about autonomy. Right. Autonomy of choice, autonomy of my time, autonomy about who I work with and what I work on, which is the part of happy job. Right. I have. And you are creating a job in a lot of ways for yourself. Uh, so what I’ve really discovered in the last eight years is that there’s just, I work with millennials that are in their twenties, you know? Um, and, and th that, I also work with people that are near retirement, you know, that are approaching 65, because what they share in common is that they want to contribute. They want to have impact and they want to do something that they care about so that when they grow, um, they’re building a business. They want to keep not just a business that makes profit, but it’s a, a business that makes meaning also.


Bryan: (00:23:46) Yeah, I really liked that you bring up the point of, you know, having control over your life and that’s, that’s the best way to look at it. Really. Because I think there’s some misconception that, you know, retirement is you not doing nothing is you just lay around, lay on a beach. That’s actually one of the worst ways to, to look at life, you know? And then, so I read a couple of articles too, saying that some people kind of dread retirement because they just doing things that enough fulfilled, you know, but essentially this can be compared to retirement in some ways, because now you’re opening up people to the possibility that it is possible. You, and that’s a big realization that most people go through. It’s like, wow, this path that I can potentially choose is viable. And that’s a big, big realization that it helps you look from the outside in to like, when that happens, it’s like, wow, like what does society, what does society talk about? The importance of having precedes, having a strong career, having this and that. But once you break out regardless circle and you look outside in it’s like, what you want is actually really attainable already. You just have to have, someone’s just trying to shed the light on you. She will show you that it’s possible and that you can do it, you know? And with the aging Huston Huston network community, what we realize is that there’s a lot of life coaches in the community or aspiring life coaches as well. So when you’re formulating your business model and pricing model, like did you go to your peers and ask them what the pricing model was? Did you look online? How’d, you know, like that pricing model worked for your demographic and that’s something that they could definitely afford.


Lydia: (00:25:21) That’s a really good question and, you know, pricing, isn’t a black and white thing and neither is packaging. You know, I think, especially if you’re, you’re interested in, in having a, an ethical business, you know, and we have to always think about not just, um, what works for us, you know, we also need to think about how can we serve a community yeah. Without going bankrupt, for sure. Right. But there are sort of different stages of, of buying behavior and differences. Stages of an audience that actually all could be still an ideal client, but people are indifferent. What I call like readiness stage, you know, like, just because someone may not afford me right away on a long-term coaching program, it doesn’t mean that they can’t afford a smaller thing. You know, that kick-starts the journey. And so part of my accountability to my audience is an a, a great practice I’ve loved doing. Every year, even AC eight years later is every year. Take some time to, to survey interview, get on phone calls with different journeys, different readiness journeys of my clients, and actually pick their brains on what they need. What can they afford? Uh, what is valuable because affordability is about value. Also, some people can think they can afford that if they actually haven’t understood the value of what they’re receiving, you know, um, and. And also part of it is just timing. You know, some people are getting out of jobs and being in debt or have family to raise. They’ll have a different buying timing, you know, and we don’t want to disregard these people. And that’s why my nurse, you know, the way that I nurture through emails, through my YouTube channel, through giving and planting seeds, even if people are not ready to buy right now is important because we are sort of educating them to be ready. You know, to buy it. Cause when we always just think about, I just want only want to market to the person that has some money right now, but there’s a whole percentage of people that are, are actually at the tipping point, ready to invest, ready to invest, not just money, but time. Right. And energy into doing that work with you. That just needs to be understood. They just need more seeds to be planted in their head about this as possible. That, that, that you can show and tell what it looks like, you know, on the other side of the rainbow, if you were to look at sort of these other. Perspectives, you know, other viewpoints, um, But I would also say that in the beginning, I was really confused about pricing because there’s so many, so much noise out there that’s about, you should charge the most expensive price. So then you don’t get time-wasters right. Or you should charge, you know, lower price or you get more clients in. And every answer, right, like is right in some way, and also could be wrong in some way. And so how I’ve sort of embraced what’s the right pricing for me is first of all, well actually looking at my, what I need that is enough. That’s a very interesting thing, because we always look at success as six, seven, eight figure businesses. And we say that a lot, right? Get your six figure business in six months. And it’s an excellent Facebook ad, right? And people want to click on that webinar, but we actually really help people to understand what’s an enough number and what’s not enough number to get you to the lifestyle choices you want to have. Right. And it might not actually sometimes cost as much as you realized. I mean, I certainly found that out when I was, um, you know, making, uh, understanding my financial stages. I had a lot of feelings that I had to, you know, make six figures to be successful right away. But actually when I looked at what I was spending money on and where it could be saving money and what I actually brought back in my paycheck after 40% of tax like that six figure paycheck was not actually that good, you know, and yet I was living a pretty good life. So getting clear about those numbers and looking at that lifestyle choice, what does that lifestyle, freedom choice and plan, and then reverse engineer back and sort of go, what do I need on a yearly basis on a quarterly basis, on a monthly basis that helps me to sustain my lifestyle in terms of, uh, investing in my passion or investing in things that I want to do and having savings and, you know, a comfort zone of, uh, of a budget. Right. And how, what does it cost for me to live my life and be able to do the work that I do. Right. And so. When I was able to do that, then I had a much clearer number that’s right. For me, not right for any other coach, not right for a coach that wants to build an empire, a million-dollar business, because I don’t want to do that. I kind of like being a solopreneur. I like having a team that I don’t have to manage. I like being flexible. I like not having to have 25 employees that I pay and worry about in their salary and their health plan. And so my model, I call it the tiny but mighty business. Right. So when it’s tiny, I have more time for my life. And then that’s a currency too. Time is currency with profit. And so what’s that balance for me, that is enough. And then I price according to that. And at times when I’m trying to support, like right now, for example, people are going through a hard time, you know, um, leaving corporate their security, their risk tolerance, right. We’ve suffered such trauma from so many events that have happened in the state. So, so, uh, and a global pandemic, let’s not forget we’re still going through it. Right. So, um, I can understand why people may not drop thousands of dollars to coach with me one-on-one but what can I offer? You know, that is scalable. That is also a little, a little taste of what can support them, you know, and I’ve been doing something called a pay, what you want, you know, and allow people to know what it costs for me to produce this course, for example, you know, If you are in these brackets of, of, of financial right, uh, stages of your business, and what’s available to you. If you can afford it, pay this amount, if you can’t afford it, pay zero. If that doesn’t work for you, but I trust my audience to make an ethical decision. I trust that they’re going to value my time and pay what they from the heart. I call it, pay from the heart rather than pay what you want. And that’s been amazing to get a new audience, to say yes to something without spending thousands of dollars, because I don’t have the capacity to work with so many people anyway, but. Doing little things like that helps me to give some ethical pricing, some fair pricing, and then kind of move them onto more advanced or more prestige or premium experiences with me when they’re ready.


Maggie: (00:31:21)  Yeah, that’s a really good answer. Thank you for that, Lydia. Um, I would love to know for people who are wanting to leave corporate and for your clients, what does that, what is the one biggest problem that you see happen over and over again? And how do you kind of approach it and help them with that problem and help them solve that problem?


Lydia: (00:31:42) Yeah, that’s a good question. And there are sort of multiple problems, but if I was to choose one specifically that. I think, uh, really matters to people is, is the identity attachment to their job titles and to the job, not just in the title, but what it brings them in terms of acknowledgement and belongingness to a community. You know, what’s the first thing we ask everyone when you meet at a dinner party or to meet up, like, what do you do? Right. And so if you no longer able to say I’m a doctor. Pharma lawyer, or I’m a financial whatever, right? Like it’s almost like you’re a left arm to Scott amputated. Right. And, and we haven’t been trained to introduce ourselves to, to say more about who we are in our dreams and our aspirations about what matters to us beyond jobs. Right. Like, I, I don’t want to know that you’re just a lawyer. I want to know. What else do you care about? What are you reading? What are you spending time contributing to? What’s your relationship like with your mother? Right. Like all of these other aspects of who we are are so just encompassed into a job title, which, which is such a pity, because we’re so much more than that, you know, as humans. And so that has been one of the hardest things, you know, and especially working with people of color, people from particular religious and cultural backgrounds that can, that has even more pressure. About that, about that status quo. You know, like when I work with, for example, an Asian client, like where some other white coach is saying, just be brave and share your truth know and just do it. And when she did do that, there was a repercussion. She was kicked out of her family. She was disrespected by her mother. You know, there there’s a repercussion of other things that can happen from different cultural backgrounds that sometimes we’re not accounting for, you know, that I think should be, we should be honest about, you know, not everyone can just be telling their truth out there and everybody will support them. You know, everyone has a different, I guess, different things to navigate. And I think we should just stay true to what these obstacles really are. Right. So how I’ve been sort of helping people reimagine a new identity, which as you can also imagine, it’s not an overnight thing, you know, it’s, it’s actually very tiny actions, not big leaps because that’s what scares the crap out of us for making change in general. Um, especially with identity because. So much of our value is attached to it. So I’m a big believer in micro goals, tiny actions, little internships. Let’s try things on for size and reevaluate and just put things out there and test how we feel right about certain things. And so when we take tiny actions and imperfect actions is not going to feel as good. Indigestible than a big goal. Like I’m going to launch a six figure. Business is so hard. I mean, you may get there in a year, maybe not. Right. And so if your only motivation or the only time you celebrate anything is when you get there, that’s just a recipe for burnout and disappointment and self judgment, you know? So I really support them in going, what’s just the next best thing. What’s just the next best step. What’s just a micro thing that could just improve your life and how you feel about yourself in the smallest way possible. And I think those tiny actions, those tiny habits is what. Accumulated and compound right due time. That’s what builds a new character for ourselves. But if we shove ourselves off a cliff, you know, and hope the parachute opens that most of the time will work for normal people that have a different risk tolerance. I I’m still the same. I take a lot of bold risks, but I’m still a calculated risk person. And that’s what helps me do bigger things and not be scared because I haven’t jumped, you know, push myself off the deep end and instead just challenged myself. Well way to make these changes. And then lo and behold, you know, three, six months, 12 months later, a lot can change in your decisions. If you’ve been conscious about these micro actions.


Maggie: (00:35:28)  Yeah, love that. Thank you so much for sharing. Yeah, I it’s, I definitely agree with you. I think that we tend to think, you know, overnight successes are a real thing, um, but just, you know, able to work on it a little bit every single day will get you those results. 


Bryan: (00:35:43) Consistency. There definitely matters more, you know, just breaking it down to micro steps and these big goals that you always drink. All of it’s actually very comfortable. If you look at things. From LSA lens by just breaking it down, you know, what can I do today? You know, and you’re right. I’m counting words, squat with finance also works well with life.


Lydia: (00:36:03) Yes. I was just going to say that. And also like, you know, there’s such a, a message out there, you know, in the digital marketing world and the online world about hustle. Right. I know even though it’s called the Asian hustle network, it’s like, you know, it’s how you interpret hustle, right? To me, like there’s good hustle and bad hustle, you know, like sometimes when I’m hustling for my business, but if I’m in alignment with my, my genius zone, my strengths, my passion, it doesn’t feel like hustle. Right. Even though, and the outside world, they’re like, well, you’re doing a lot of things, you know, but it doesn’t feel like that to me, you know? And also what’s the point of getting somewhere in speed and so fast when it may not be a destination you even want to go to in the beginning. So evaluating that destination, like really clearly and understanding why you’re doing it. And it’s not because you think you have to, or you’re competing with someone else that’s like that. It has to really feel like a genuine purpose towards that destination.


Bryan: (00:36:55) Yeah, absolutely. So, Lydia, what are your goals for 2021?


Lydia: (00:36:58) Wow. I mean, here’s the interesting, um, con like commitment I’m making this year off someone who is a planner and as we all have experienced planning anything, and the last 12 to 14 months has been, um, adjust also disappointing. Isn’t it? So I’ve had. So many canceled flights and you know, all the things that I’ve preplanned for traveling and, you know, being home with my mom and things like that has not come into fruition. Um, so I’m going to go with a lot more like here, I don’t care what the plan is, cause I’m obviously not in control and I’m going to be needing to evolve my own perfectionism brain to going with the flow and what’s happening. But I am sending I’m setting more intentions rather than a hard and fast goals. Right. So one of the things that I, uh, want to do a lot more this year, uh, is actually focus, uh, on, on creating a spaciousness in my life and in my business, uh, without conforming to doing more. And so I’m embracing this sort of light more is not better. That less is better and what can be, um, better than more. Right. And so I’ve been focusing a lot more on like, just double Downing on like one offer. One thing I can improve and do more in, in, in my business. And just give that. Personal attention and that intimacy, um, and the sort of community and build that community for that program rather than launch five things this year, you know, and that’s felt really good to just laser my energy towards something meaningful. Um, the other thing I’m excited about in my business is just having, um, more human focused activities. You know, like marketing is such a. Daunting thing for most business owners to do to the point where you’re like, why am I doing this? You know, like I’m no a marketer and not a coach, or I’m not a marketer and not a copywriter. Right. And that that’s, uh, you know, can easily go there, right. Cause we have to market. Um, but what I’ve been testing and trying on for size for myself is that instead of focusing on things like the algorithms or the funnel or the whatever quick tricks that people tell you in the digital world, um, It’s really just focusing on human connection. Like, so I do a lot of like quick voicemails on Instagram. I talk to people in real life. I love being on podcasts like this. Like that’s just my thing. And actually that’s been amazing, you know, in, um, meeting new people, getting, uh, you know, what I call it, peanut butter and jelly partnerships, you know, like they’re just a great sandwich, uh, of, you know, a community that, um, kind of sees the world like you do, and you all contribute different value, you know, into supporting the same audience. And that’s felt really good. You know about community and relationships and I’m really, um, yeah, I’m really, I’m really happy to simplify, uh, and also make my own business feel a lot more human and, and meaningful to me. Uh, and then in terms of my personal life, I really hope to be returning to Vancouver soon. Um, that all depends on the vaccination process and you know, all those things, my mom is sort of in an older generation. So I have to be very careful when I see her and, you know, whether or not I’m vaccinated. Uh, but I really look forward to reconnecting. With some of the lost friendships and relationships that has happened, uh, and also allowing myself to grieve through some of the painful things that have happened in the last few years. And so those therapy sessions that I’m still maintaining, right. Allowing myself grief and, um, you know, process, the changes that have happened has been a really important part for me to not just keep actioning and hustling. It’s just to sit with that discomfort is sit with what that’s taught me and yeah, that’s been a big learning, um, learning adventure for me personally.


Maggie: (00:40:27)  Amazing. Well, very excited for all of your 20, 21 goals. And Lydia, we have one last question for you, and that is what one advice could you give to an aspiring entrepreneur?


Lydia: (00:40:40)   I think the one advice I would give, um, You know, we talked about taking imperfect action today, but it’s easier said than done, right? Like we can go, let’s just, just do it for God’s sakes, like stop overthinking it. And we can have that, you know, thought talk to ourselves all the time, but it’s really hard being the person going through uncomfortable things and also like removing yourself from your body and be your own coach. Like it just isn’t gonna work like that. And I think what we’ve learned the most out of going through a pandemic together is how much we need other people, how much we are bigger and better and bolder with community. Um, how much that we don’t need to be the one, uh, to, to solve all their own problems, because we are allowed to ask for help. And that’s going to, you know, an Asian mentality as well. Like my mom used to tell me, like, don’t bother. People with your stuff, you know, like only ask someone when you’re fully figured out your thing. Right? So even for me to be vulnerable enough to ask for help, even though I’m viewed as an expert in, in certain categories, it’s like, well, I can still be allowed to not know certain things I can be allowed to say, I don’t know are and feeling bad. Or I need support at this very moment, emotionally, even if I’m a coach, you know? And so if someone’s having a hard time making a change, making a transition, taking that first imperfect step is remove yourself from the responsibility of, of, of being your own cheerleader and actually go and seek out. Aligned communities of people thinking like, you know, I’m going to tell you that you’re an idiot for thinking these things and are looking, you know, have a similar perspective and how you want to view where you’re heading in your world so that they can fill the gaps of encouragement and inspiration that I think is the feel, you know, we need to do big things and to do different things in our lives.


Maggie: (00:42:20)  Amazing. Thank you, Olivia. And how can our listeners find out more about you online?


Lydia: (00:42:25)    Well, the best place to go is my online home. Screw the cubicle, hopefully pretty easy to remember and write on the website. You know, there’s tons of, um, really cool resources for people going through transition, um, starting a business for the first time and just really wanting to launch a meaningful business. So depending on where you add. Where you’re at in the stages of your journey? Um, I can almost guarantee there there’s a free training or resource somewhere, uh, that is on my website. That’s going to support you. Um, and then if you would like to, you know, where I spend my most energy in terms of planting those seeds and, you know, um, being a service to my community, Through my YouTube channel. So you can find me on screw the cubicle TV. That’s what you can type in is also on the homepage on my website. Um, and I do a corporate escape story interviews with lots of people that have sort of walked in different pathways of life and how they launched a meaningful business that supports the life that they want. And then I also go on and do a lot of teachable content that. Supports people in making these choices, uh, to leave corporate and what to do as a side gig, what to do while you’re maintaining that security with a full-time job and how to keep your eyes on the prize. Um, even when things aren’t working out for you just yet. So yeah, come find me there. I’m on Instagram as well. And unscrew the cubicle. Um, anywhere you can find me very likely you’ll hear my voice. Cause I do love sending voicemails if you follow me. So you’ll hear that.


Maggie: (00:43:44)  Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Lydia. It was awesome having you on the podcast. Thanks for sharing your story with us.


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