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How many times in your life have you been stung by a bee? Two, maybe three? Despite donning the finest protective gear, your typical beekeeper gets stung 5-10 times per year. That’s a lot, especially added up over the span of a career.
“Well, then they must be paid really well.” Not exactly. Annual salaries start around 25K USD — or roughly the minimum wage in many western counties, and they top out at 44K on average.
Sounds like a rough deal. Unless you ask a beekeeper because they’ll quickly boast about how they have one of the highest job satisfaction rates. Their career happiness consistently lands them in the top 12% alongside much more lucrative, dangerous, and stressful professions like firefighters, surgeons, and pilots.
So what’s their deal? Keeping bees lights them up. But apart from a business they’re passionate about, it offers beekeepers the lifestyle flexibility to sustainably balance their other day-to-day demands. Because sometimes, working less and living more is the right answer.
It’s my absolute honor to welcome back my friend, colleague, and fellow seasoned expat, Amel Derragui. A business and marketing coach, speaker, and podcast host of Tandem Nomads, Amel’s THE QUEEN of portable business, and a master at making those in her life feel deeply loved from afar.
This week, Amel joins us to share her secrets — zero of which involve Zoom — to go beyond just maintaining connections with your people. (Plus, you’ll hear the mushy story about what Amel pulled off for my birthday that blew my heart to smithereens from the love I felt through the distance.)
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- Photos as a tool for gratitude
- Turning a quick message into a mass celebration
- From 30 people to 2.6K: Celebrating Expats on Purpose
- Story logs, postcards, and other hacks to feel close
- Extending the happiness you felt in the moment
Listen to the Full Episode
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Featured on the Show:
September must be around the corner because this only happens once a year. The 5-Day Purpose Challenge is the springboard you need right now to stop adapting reluctantly to whatever life throws at you and start living with intention. Free, fun, and online, sign up right here and amaze yourself at the difference just one week of focus can provoke.
- Join the Expats on Fire right here.
- Join the Purpose Challenge here.
- Sundae’s Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC
- Sundae’s Facebook Group – Expats on Purpose
- Tandem Nomads
- Expats on Purpose Manifesto
- Story Worth
- Chat books
- Portable Business Accelerator
Catch These Podcasts / Articles:
We’re delighted by our nomination to the global Top 25 Expat Podcasts!
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Full Episode Transcript:
Hello. It is 10:00 am in New York, 4:00 pm in Johannesburg, and 9:00 pm in Bangkok. Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour. This is Sundae Schneider-Bean from www.sundaebean.com. I am a solution-orientated coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations. I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition.
Who is going to join me in celebrating? Today, I am celebrating because this episode goes live on the 3rd birthday of my online community Expats on Purpose. It all started three years ago with about 30 people I begged to join the group and now we’ve grown to over 2.6 thousand people in the last three years.
Today. I want to focus on purpose and we’re going to tap into some of the things that we use in Expats on Purpose, called the Expats on Purpose Manifesto. Because for me personally, as you know, this is what I’m all about. I’m all about helping more people find purpose and meaning. I’m all about for myself, really living with purpose and meaning, and that’s where the manifesto comes from.
So the manifesto is, I won’t go into all of it today, you can read more about it or listen to it in episode 134: Purpose Hunting, if you want to dive deep into it. I’ll just give you a sample right now for those who are new to it. In the manifesto we say “no” to ignoring your priorities. We say “yes” to claiming your priorities. We say “no” to sacrificing your needs for others. We say “yes” to meeting your needs along with others. We say “no” to relinquishing your dreams. We say “yes”to creating your dreams. And on, and on, and on.
The manifesto is a compilation of what I have seen in the last decade when working with those who are living complex globally mobile lives. The things that we need to put down, the things we need to say “no” to and the things we want to say, “yes,” to to live abroad without regret, to live our lives without regret.
And one of those is to move from living without direction, to living on purpose. It is to stop craving connection and start creating connection. It is to stop living in the past, or the future, and start living in the now, with intention for the future. It is to stop adapting reluctantly and start transitioning with intention. There’s more, but these are the core ideas behind the manifesto.
And for us to really dive in and have ideas on how we can do that, I cannot think of a better person than our guest today because she doesn’t just talk about living with intention, she models it. It is my heartfelt honor to welcome back to Expat Happy Hour, Amel Derragui. You might know Amel as a business and marketing coach. She’s a speaker. And probably most well-known for her podcast: Tandem Nomads.
What she does professionally is help global entrepreneurs start and grow a successful portable business that’s aligned their lifestyle and she, and I have worked together on projects. I am proud to call her, not only a business partner, but also a friend. She speaks to organizations, like IMF and the World Bank to provide guidance on how to use entrepreneurship as a solution for dual career challenges and how to make a business truly portable. But the thing is, this woman is amazing. And I don’t even have the words for it.
While she’s doing all of this, what you don’t know in the background is she is loving on her people. She lives with intention and because I’ve had the privilege to be by her side in business opportunities and have had the pleasure to connect with her in personal ways, I see what others don’t always get to see. And it’s even more amazing than what you see if that’s possible, than what you see professionally. And she’s been so kind to offer her time together today to share behind the scenes on how she is living on purpose. How she is transitioning between a life in New York City to moving to Austria as we speak, with purpose and intention.
So it is my heartfelt honor to welcome you today to Expat Happy Hour, Amel.
Sundae: All right, so I was so excited to have you back on Expat Happy Hour, Amel.
Amel: Thank you. I’m so excited too.
Sundae: So listen, as I mentioned my intro, you are like the poster child for Expats on Purpose right now in terms of really living with purpose, with intention. I’ve been watching you do it through this transition that you’re going through right now. And some of the things that I’m watching happen that are in alignment with Expats on Purpose Manifesto is saying “yes” to claiming your priorities, saying “yes” to meeting your needs along with others. I know that you’re doing amazing things for your partner, for your friends, for your clients, but also taking care of yourself. I know that you’re advancing towards your goals, right? You definitely are taking a leading role in your own life.
So, there’s just so many parts of the manifesto that I’ve watched you live anyway before this transition. But living that in transition, I think is next-level, right? So, I’m really, really excited that you have agreed to come and chat with me today. Because one of the things about the manifesto is also about creating connection and all these other things. So thank you for being willing to, you and I talked about before, this is not like a podcast. This is like you and I just talking about this and letting people listen in. So tell me, why don’t we just start by diving into why we’re on this call today. What is it that’s been going on for you that you think is important to share with other people?
Amel: First of all, Sundae, I think that the work you’re doing for our community is just so important because we do lives in our community, lives that are extraordinary in every way possible. But it also comes with extraordinary challenges as well. And there’s not a lot of resources out there to live this life mindfully, and with purpose. And I think I’ve been listening to your episode as well and it’s been really resonating with me. And the reason we decided to talk together is because I know that and I think that’s how I found you, Sundae. I’ve actually been living my whole life on the move and when I came to New York, seven years ago, so today is four days before I take off and move from New York to Austria, time has been flying. And I’ve never lived as long anywhere in my whole Life, like seven years, this is like a lifetime for me. But when I moved to New York, this was the first time where I set foot here, and I was like, I was already saying, “I want to leave well.”
I always felt like it was rushed. So, by saying, “I want to leave well,” it actually meant, I want to live my time here with purpose and being present. Be it by leaving the people. I might leave creating deep connections, while living here, but as well as my biggest concern, was to make sure to continue to nurture all the love and relationship, family, friends that are left behind because I was just simply tired of connecting, disconnecting, connecting, disconnecting. I just wanted to feel like I’ve never moved in terms of those relationships that matter to me, including my parents and my family.
Sundae: So you had that clarity seven years ago, when you landed in New York?
Amel: That was a conversation I had the first week with my husband. I asked him to sit down and said, “Hey, this is something important. I want to talk to you. I want to make sure that we are mindful with how we live our life here.” Not that we weren’t before, but I just felt like, when I lived in Iran, I lived in Iran then moved to Austria and came here. We had an amazing life. No regrets, but I just felt like it was always rushed like all this happiness. We talk about happiness, right? We live happy moments, but Never get the chance to digest them. Yeah, everything is so quick and connecting is quick, but also disconnecting is quick.
So yeah, I know that I had that intention the first day I arrived here. I was like, “Everything I’ll do from now on will be with an intention to leave well.”
Sundae: Hmm. How do you think that impacted your time?
Amel: Actually, talking about that. That’s something I want to talk about, “time.” And actually that’s an exciting question. Because time is the reason why we don’t have the energy to connect and be mindful. And think of leaving notes to our families, sending letters, sending emails responding to messages. It can get so, so overwhelming. And all I wanted was for people that are loved to know that they felt loved for instance, among other things. I also talked about career. All these things are also part of things that I’ve considered when I arrived here.
But technology is, funny enough, what has helped me find the time to be able to create those connections. Yeah, and we can talk, maybe we want to dive into those. Some of the tools I’ve used, that have helped me stay connected with the people left behind in and actually leave New York, but already telling to the new friends I made here, how much they mean to me.
Sundae: So you are using what you’ve just said, is what I say less eloquently is how do you love the crap out of your people?
Amel: I love when you say that. I love it!
Sundae: But that’s what you just told me like, you were like, I want to love the crap out of my people. I want them to know. And I come from — I grew up so different from you, you know that Amel. And I grew up in a hometown where if someone passed away everybody in town went to the funeral, right? And someone made a lasagna and they brought it to the house. Or if you were in a dance recital, you would be on the front page and neighbors would come by with clippings and say, “Just in case you didn’t get a clipping, here it is.” I grew up were loving the crap out of people is physical, in person. So this is a huge thing I think for people who come from that background. We don’t have tools to do that right away, automatically, right? And what I’m hearing — and technology feels like a crappy alternative.
But what I know is you’ve found a way to leverage technology to love the crap out of your people. And I know that personally. I know that you’ve done that in my own life. So I’ve experienced that, personally. I don’t want to give away all the secrets of how that has happened. *laughter* We have to have some dignity here.
Amel: Uh! What dignity? I think that’s long gone for me. *laughter*
Sundae: But the other thing is, when I hear technology and loving the crap out of your people, people are thinking, “Oh, just Zoom call,” and everybody’s so freaking sick of it, right? So what are some of your secrets? What have you been doing behind the scenes? Which says so much about you? What have you been doing behind-the-scenes to love the crap out of your people through technology?
Amel: So Zoom was not included, for sure. I know that everybody discovered Zoom as part of, you know, during the pandemic, but for me, it was just that I spend my whole time on Zoom because of my business. For me Zoom is a work tool. It was not a way for me to connect and love the crap out of my people. I love this expression. So I just want to recommend a couple tips, a couple tools that I found that are not Zoom that can actually make a difference and actually make it easier, not overwhelming.
The first one, I’m going to start with things that help connect with our people back home, for instance, or family, or loved ones. And I have the first example, which is my father-in-law. I have a great relationship with my father-in-law. I really love him and, and, he’s 85 turning 86. And I really wanted to keep that connection with him, and he’s such an interesting person and has amazing stories. And I just wanted to capture all those stories and I couldn’t figure out, like, we don’t have time to type. I don’t have time to write. I don’t have time to make him record. And then I started doing some research and I found this tool called Story Worth. And I really recommend it, it is basically a system, an app, where you have a bunch of questions. They suggest one question per week for one year.
You can adapt the questions to your liking or you can just have it automated being sent to the person you choose automatically. So my father-in-law receives the question by email. He doesn’t even touch the app and every week, every Monday, he just answers to that email and that text is populated into the app and then turned into a book, you can add pictures to it and things like that. So one year later, he will get, actually a few months for his birthday, he will get this book with the story of his life. And all the questions, we wanted to remember about him, about what makes him special, his passions and things like that.
So on top of that meaningful gift. It’s also a way for us to stay connected because, sometimes with older people, it’s hard to actually talk about something else other than the weather, and I’m like, after the tenth time, I’m like, “Can we talk about something else?” And I know we can talk about other things so it also triggers conversations, like, “Oh my God, I did not notice about you. I read your email last week. It was so good.” And so even if we don’t answer to the email, even when we talk on the phone, it really creates and it helps memorize all of this. Like keep this as a heritage and it’s just so, so powerful. This is one example, for instance.
Sundae: So, how did he react when you suggested this idea?
Amel: At first, he was perplexed, like, “What? What is this thing?” And he’s so anti-technology. And even, although it’s very simple. It’s funny how you resist technology. But at the end, we did have a couple of glitches, but we figured it out. But at the end, I think he loves it and he does it religiously like every week, we get his story. Right? And we adapt the question.
Some of the first questions were easy, there are automated, but then we started adapting it to him and it’s been amazing. So I think he loves it now and I can’t wait to see in a couple months his reaction when he has the printed version of his book.
Sundae: And it’s also a really great way to have a direct relationship with him, not through your husband and you have direct access to him. Speaking of time. How much time did it take you to do this?
Amel: Nothing, maybe half an hour between if I count the time I researched, checked if it was what I wanted. Setting it up takes two minutes and it’s done.
Sundae: It’s crazy. Right? So now that is amazing. That is fantastic. So we’re going to put that in the show notes so people can test it out. Do you think that there was any sort of emotional hurdle you had to get through? Were you feeling nervous to ask him or cultural barriers?
Amel: There were. But I decided to just go for it. I was like, “Ah, how is he going to react?” And he was a bit like, “What is this thing?” Right? But at the end I just said, “Hey, this is what it is. If you don’t want it, we don’t do it.” But I also told him why we are doing this. I wanted him to know how meaningful it was to us to have his stories, and I said, “You always have such amazing stories and it might take a little bit of time for you, but you don’t have to make it very long. You can make it as short as two sentences, as one page, whatever you want, but we just want to keep a trace of all your great stories.”
Sundae: That’s amazing. Okay, so that’s one. That’s already, I think, worth everything right now because think about the impact that’s had on your family and that legacy you can help leave as a result of that. So what else have you done? I know you have more up your sleeve.
Amel: I have another one. That’s called, Chatbooks and for me, that’s more about my happiness. So my feeling of being grounded and enjoying. So we have a life especially in New York, but in general we live at 100 miles an hour. It’s always the next thing. The next thing, the next thing. Here’s a conference there, here is an event there, here’s a party, here is a birthday there, and it was like, I never get to just sit and just digest what happened.
FIGT conference, for example, we go there, I get to meet Sundae. I have the best time ever with Sundae and then I have to come back and deal with that. And then I’m the mess because I’m like, “I don’t even have the time to digest all of that. What just happened to me.” *laughter*
Sundae: Yeah, you’re not alone, darling. *laughter*
Amel: So yeah, so I was like, I need something tangible to remember all of that. Obviously, we take a lot of pictures but those pictures are still in the computer and I don’t want to stay on the screen to keep watching those pictures. So Chatbooks is an app that actually populates the pictures from your phone. You just have to click on those that you choose and every month they send you a mini book with the top 30 pictures of the month so that you can have something printed and it’s automated. It’s a membership and it’s pretty cheap. You receive that in your mail, and that’s it. Right?
And originally the target audience was moms that have kids and never get to print their pictures. And obviously that niche has had a lot of success and it’s actually something that anybody can use to and it really helped me just during the endemic. It was so great to have like this paper and look through, “Oh my God, we did that. Oh my God.” And then with Michael, we have this routine every Sunday where we are actually in bed, we have breakfast in bed. And we talked about our past week and plan the next one, and having those pictures was as well a way to remember.
And then, that’s one thing that I was talking with you Sundae. I had a big aha moment. This sense of happiness. We always think that happiness is about experiencing that moment in the present, but I realized that it’s not just that and that fear of missing out. And always, I don’t know, for example, when I go visit my family and I know it’s going to end in two days, going to end in one day. Oh my God. Today is the end and it is just heartbreak. Right? Because I’m like, “Ugh, this is it.” But actually, I can extend that happiness, that joy that I felt by actually living the moment, post the moment. After that moment, by having those pictures, by having those memories, or maybe it’s journaling. It could be as well, something like that, it doesn’t have to. But for me time was a problem as I said and this is my technology helped me do that. So, Chatbooks was a way to just have that moment.
Sundae: Well what I know from the psychological research is having photos of your life and have them remind you of what you’ve done is a really great way of practicing gratitude.
Sundae: Because you forget all these other amazing things that have happened and whether it’s like a picture of a flower or an event, right? Just being like, “Oh, yeah. That was something precious I got to experience in my life.” Because as you said we’re going forward so fast, it’s really a practical tool for gratitude.
Amel: Right. And I do see it as a gratitude practice, like as a practice of mindfulness, including the Sundays, where we looked at the pictures. And that’s a way to be grateful, because you can’t be happy if you’re not grateful. But it’s also about extending that happiness and joy, and sometimes remembering after brings even more joy than we’re living the moment, right?
Sundae: Yes! Because maybe in the moment, you were exhausted. Or maybe in the moment, you were preoccupied about the departure. And now that that layer has been healed or is gone. You can be present in a different way.
Amel: Right? Exactly. Yeah.
Sundae: That’s gorgeous. Wow. Those are already amazing. Anything else that you’ve been using with intentionality?
Amel: One of my favorites is what used to be called Vid hug, and actually, they got renamed. It’s called Momento. And for me, one of my biggest things about connecting with people that I love that are far was to live the moments, important moments of their life. Like missing the birthdays, the weddings, all the important things. I have my cousin who recently graduated and, unfortunately, we prepared everything but with the pandemic, it’s been so challenging that she can’t have a party, right? Because everybody is locked down and she’s so sad. She studied her whole life to become an architect.
So, what I’ve discovered is this tool called Memento. That’s called Momento and it’s basically so simple talking about time. You collect videos from every person, it’s an app, you send the link to all the friends and then all they have to do is upload the video from their phone to the app and it’s again, they don’t have to download anything. They just follow the link, upload the video and that’s it.
And automatically the app will bring all the videos together and all you need is five minutes at the end to add two sentences at the beginning and two sentences at the end and choose the music, and you export the video and you send it to the person you want to feel loved. And yeah.
Sundae: Okay. So now *laughter* our eyes are watering right now and because that is what you did for my birthday. And you say it so simply like, “You send it and so simple. You do this thing and then they feel love.” But what happens on the other side of that is a snotty mess.
Amel: I love the video your husband sent to me. It was so good.
Sundae: So I’m still now and speak about my experience being on the receiving end of this. So Amel made me a video for my birthday and birthdays are really important to me and I get up early in the morning, and we had our normal thing and then my husband’s like, “Okay, now we’re going to this other thing.” I’m like, “What’s going on?” And we put down the screen because we have a projector and we put down the screen because we don’t have a TV. And all of a sudden, I see you with, like, a party hat on and my favorite glasses and little thumbnails of some of the most important people in my entire life, and I was not expecting that.
And I don’t even have the words to say what it means to me and I tried to tell you afterwards and I think it was just a snotty mess in the video. But what… I don’t know how to say it. But it’s hard to accept love. I don’t know why it’s so hard to just — I was sitting there and I was watching all of these amazing people from my professional life, from my personal life, from my family, friends, people I’ve known for decades or people that I’ve only known for two years, but feel like I’ve known them for centuries. And that gesture that you did, I will remember for the rest of my life.
Amel: Oh, this means so much. You deserve it, lady.
Sundae: No, but for real, for the rest of my life, and even when I’m talking about now, my throat’s, like, there’s clenching up. And you saw how I reacted. I could not take it in. I didn’t know how to take it in. I don’t know if we know how to take in that kind of love and thoughtfulness and that is a beautiful problem to have.
Amel: It is beautiful, you are loved, my dear. And it was so fun because I asked– that’s another tip. If you use Memento for those of you listening, I actually asked people in the family, the accomplices to take a video of the person while watching it, because I think the other, the sender side is also great to see the reaction, right? And that creates the moment and it was so fun to see you say, “No, no. Oh, no, no, no, no.” *laughter*
So when you say, “I can’t take it,” I guess that’s what you meant. It’s like, “Uh uh, uh uh, no, no, no.” It was so fun.
Sundae: I couldn’t. It was like, my dad was on there sharing childhood stuff and it was this moment of all of my worlds coming together at one time.
Amel: Right? It rarely happens. Right? Actually. It’s a point that I wanted to make, that happened to me as well, to the other friends who I’ve shared that with as well. My mom was so happy. My mom was crying like crazy when she saw this video and what happens and expat life is that we have so many different communities. And one of the things I suffered most with is struggling to bring this together. I have friends here, friends there, I always wanted to bring people together around my community and this video actually did that. I don’t know if it was the case for you if you saw it, but you can send that final video to everybody who contributed and it was so good to say, “Oh my God. I didn’t know that you had this friend and we get to know more about you.” I love seeing the message from your dad and your mom. I won’t say which little name he used, but
I just feel everybody felt more connected to you after seeing that video. I’m pretty sure. So, yeah, so this is an amazing tool and again, time. It does not take any time. The only thing you need is people playing the game and spreading it because I didn’t have the time to be honest. That was a very stressful moment. I don’t know what was happening in my life when I did that video, but I actually counted on the help of your husband and, Cath Brew, shout out to her. So I said, “You need to help me to spread it,” and all we had to do was to say, “Hey, upload your video here.” That’s it. And yeah.
Sundae: Oh God, but I just keep saying it says so much about you, Amel. The thoughtfulness and the intentionality where you were like, “Hey, this is how I want to love on my people. And this is how I want to show up.” And finding technology that will help create experiences. And I don’t think I’ve had that many people together in one room since my wedding from all areas of my life. And that is so special to create that with technology.
Now, I feel like any other thing that you mentioned is going to not pale in comparison to the one that I got to experience. Are there other things that you’ve done?
Amel: Actually, the more I moved forward, the more I was thinking, okay, I’ve reached a place in my life in New York, where I’ve made just amazing friendships. And I wanted to leave well. Somehow leaving well was something I planned seven years ago. And that included people who did not live in New York, but now that I’m leaving in a couple days, I really wanted to make the time to be present with my friends and everything. So there’s what I’ve done in my business that we can talk about it later, to be able to do that. But also just to stay in the theme of tools. I’ve discovered this great tool. Honestly, there’s so many of them. This one is an easy one. I don’t have the name to be honest with you, but it’s easy to find.
This is to actually print, how I told you about pictures to make sure that you know that you print your pictures to live the moment. What I also done in these seven years I’ve done it always, was to download my pictures on a regular basis. That’s something just to make sure that I don’t lose them and that they’re organized in timelines, right? So before leaving, I just went through the pictures. It was also a moment of happiness. I’ve actually went through the list of my friends in New York and try to find the highlights of my moments with them.
So that one took a bit of time. That took like an hour, but it actually brought me so much joy to look at all for each person, how much fun stuff we’ve done. And we didn’t even take pictures of everything but just a few pictures we found, it was amazing. So I printed them on a postcard and actually for my farewells gave them each their postcard with a picture, some of the highlights and message for them to really tell them how much I have appreciated that they helped me make New York home because it wasn’t it wouldn’t have been home without these people. The only reason it feels home is because of them.
So yeah, it was very moving and touching and now they have something tangible, right? They have a paper, they have handwriting to remember that and actually plan to– you can actually print a bit more of that and send them later on. As a reminder, right?
Sundae: It’s beautiful. It’s a great way to process your own transition to write like to revisit.
Amel: That’s therapy.
Sundae: Completely. Revisit that because we get so overwhelmed with the immediacy of the transition, you’re sitting in your bedroom instead of your office because you don’t have an office anymore. Right? You get overwhelmed, you’re already thinking about the next destination, but it’s a great way to actually — It’s also part of grieving, right? Like closing that chapter and moving forward. That’s amazing.
Tell us a little bit about all that you’ve done because you are the queen of portable business. And what I’ve watched this whole time is you keep your business running. Keep your clients happy, stay present on social media. While you also were spending time with your partner, doing social things on vacation, etc. etc. What did it take for you to do all of this in this massive transition?
Amel: Okay, so here it’s all about having solid foundations to your business. I think that’s what it is. It’s one thing to have a portable business that you can do anywhere, but what I’m all about is not just the portability of your business, but the sustainability of your business through life. That’s the challenge when you’re an employee. You can maybe take a sick leave. When you have your own business, that’s a bit more difficult to do and this is where it’s important from the get-go, I think to build the right foundations so that we can make the choices of when to pause if we need to. But we can also make the choice like I did to not pause, but still make sure actually this year is the year that I’ve worked the least and I still have my business running and clients coming in.
So I don’t think it’s the whole point of the episode today. But at committing in building consistency in your business and some of the tips that are very quick about that for me is like, batching. I’ve been batching my content like three months ahead. And I’ve also been simplifying. Simplifying things. You know me Sundae, I’m not the queen of simplification. I had to work hard in simplifying and simplifying, batching my content and having a team. These are the three things that I’ve done on top of having digital products, developing, I’ve been selling my digital products behind the scenes and loving the crap out of your people as well as your audience.
When you love the crap out of your audience, they’re there with you. They are actually following the journey with me and they know what it is. So, I think by serving my audience constantly, I think I have a bit of a slack. When, like, if I have to change an appointment, if something like that, I think it’s more flexible because they know I would do anything for them. When I need my clients to adapt a little bit to my schedule, it didn’t happen yet, but I know that if I need, I can tell them, “Hey, can we shift that appointment,” because I still don’t have a place to live by the way, you know, Sundae. So I am moving to Austria and I don’t have a place to live.
Sundae: So if anybody has an apartment.
Amel: Yeah, so that’s really important, being consistent with our content strategy. For me, is the key. Having a great content strategy, and being able to batch and then over time, building a team to delegate things you don’t need to do, is what helped me not only continue my business, bring in clients, but still work less and be present in the moment.
Sundae: Yeah, that’s again, it goes back to the intentionality. Right? I mean in a very different way but with your business. All right. Wow, so I think you already have some huge game changers here for people. If they start practicing, just one of these things. Is there anything you wanted to leave our listeners with? Sort of a last bit of advice or encouragement when they’re thinking, “Well, it’s great that I Amel did that, but I don’t know if I can do that.”
Amel: This is such a good question. I just want to add something so that it makes a long answer for short question. But there’s one thing that you asked me about portable business that I want to share. I was holding myself because it makes me very vulnerable. But the hardest thing this year for me was to be present to my parents because my father is very sick, and I needed to be present in it. As soon as I was vaccinated, I had to go to Korea where my parents were at the time. They’re also moving all the time to be able to have three, four weeks with my parents and actually sat down next to my dad for three weeks, not doing anything. We were just sitting down because he’s had a gap and can’t do anything. So we were just sitting down and being in the moment, right?
And, that means so much to me that I could do it. If I didn’t have a business that could sustain that, where I could have my clients and continue to grow. It would be difficult. But also there’s a lot of people who have nine-to-five jobs that can’t do that. So this is why for me having your own business and making it a priority is actually not just, often we say, being too ambitious. It makes you actually take away time from your loved ones. And what I want to say here is actually the opposite.
Being intentional can be part of your ambitions, is part of your ambitions. And my ambitions to grow my business is actually because I want to have quality time with my family. Otherwise, I’ll have to take a nine-to-five job and to be able to sustain my goals and my financial goals. So I just want to change their mindset. Do you see what I mean? About what we usually hear is like, “Oh, I can’t have my own business because I want to be present for my loved ones.” No, it’s because you have your portable business that you can be present for your loved ones. And let’s just start with moms. Let’s start with all those moms who want to have their own sense of purpose and fulfillment. But think that they have to give it up to be able to do another important priority for them, which is their kids.
And I just feel like I’ve heard too many times, you have to pause, you have to stop to focus on your priorities and it’s okay. I just want to say that it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s okay to stop if you want to, but that’s not the only solution out there for you to build your own financial freedom while being present.
Sundae: And you’ve also shared in other episodes about how actually staying with something that’s meaningful and purposeful for you, like, your own business can help you through the tough times, right? I am so grateful because my husband has a fixed assignment and I have the flexible job. That is the only way I can actually be present for my kids because when someone gets sick and I’ve got a window in my calendar. I’m the one who picks up my child from the school and we don’t have to fight over who has to leave work, and that sort of thing.
But there are massive benefits that can be directly related to family and connection.
Sundae: But I think what it is is whatever is important to you, right? If you’re focused on what your values are, what’s important to you and your intentional, you can get creative just like you get creative with technology.
Amel: Right, and you can automate so many things nowadays.
Sundae: Hmm. It’s so good.
Amel: So it’s just like intention, that’s the message I want to say. Technology tends to be presented as something that does not help connect in a deep level and I just wanted to share that. Look at how many tools I’ve shared today that actually helped create those meaningful moments. So, yeah, maybe not dismissing, especially, not on lifestyle, how technology can really help us either with building purpose in our life, in our careers, or creating those little moments that are important to feel happy and fulfilled.
Sundae: But like on the other side of that are lifelong memories, right? That’s what I’m saying from my perspective, having been on the receiving end of that, it will forever stay with me. So, that’s amazing. Thank you so much for coming. I can’t believe you are in the middle of a move. You have your office is already in boxes. And here, you are hanging out on Expat Happy Hour with me.
Amel: I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. And I just want to share one more thing. One thing that I’ve done as well, talking about being intentional. A year ago, I knew I was going to move and I’ve decided as well, too be intentional, but what is my goal? How did I want to end this last year? And the goal was, I want to continue to grow my business while being intentional, working less. And one of the things I’ve done is to actually talk to you. And say, “I want to work with youm Sundae, because I want to reach this goal.”
And I really want to thank you as well for having been my partner on this, to have somebody by my side to not lose sight of that goal. So thank you for that and investing in your help, it’s really important. That’s another thing. If you’re listening. If you feel like you can’t do it on your own, get the help you need because I’ve been surrounding myself with, I didn’t talk about therapy, about all these things to be able to live a full, full life and meaningful life. So yeah, I really appreciated having you part of this journey.
Sundae: Oh, thank you, but you’re right. Living an Olympic-level life. Just like Olympic stars. They don’t do it alone. Right? And It’s important to not give up on what you really want. But rather find a way to make it happen. You are just amazing, Amel. I’m just floored by you today. So tell us what are you working on? What’s coming up for you when you land in Austria, personally, but also professionally, what’s the next thing for you?
Amel: Oh my God, I actually, I am going to have my last session tomorrow and my client. And then next week we’ll pick up again, like nothing happened. So this is the one thing about. What’s the next plan is like, the plan is to not change anything besides location, and maybe finding an apartment would be good. But the first thing is really to arrive well, actually I’m thinking of that as well, like, arriving well and excited to go to Austria. The good thing is, I already know Austria, I have my friends there so I’m looking forward to that.
My biggest concern, to be honest with you and we’re just going to be honest, is the fact that my father is still very sick, and I just don’t know how — that’s like the one big question mark, but I’m planning everything so that I can pick up my stuff and go no matter what. However, I also, talking about keeping the business running, I also I’m actually opening the launch of my online course called the Portable Business Accelerator in September 2021. I’m Really looking forward to that. I’ve been working with my beta founders, and the results are amazing. I just actually just finished an interview with a student who within one year just started with no business, within two years, no business idea to actually having a business idea and now having a bunch of clients, thanks to the portable business accelerator.
So I can’t wait to see more people have that transformation in their lives. And then yeah, I’ll be launching a couple of things in the fall while moving apartments. So, let’s see how that goes.
Sundae: Well, if this year has been a sign of anything, I know it’s going to go really well. Thank you so much for sharing the behind-the-scenes of what’s been going on. Also, personally with you and if anybody can do that, like when I look at the demands on your time and energy and heart and you’ve done that this year, I know it’s possible for so many more. So thank you so much.
Amel: It is possible and just one thing, I’m not a supernatural. It was not all pink and roses all the time. That’s maybe one thing we should tell to everybody before we say goodbye. It’s not pink and roses all the time. But as long as you know what matters to you and surround yourself with the right people, then you can do it for sure.
Sundae: That’s right.
Amel: Thank you, Sundae.
So that was amazing having Amel join us. I had a sense of awe throughout our entire interview at who Amel is and how she is showing up for her people. And what I’ve loved about this interview, is she just made it seem so easy like, “Yeah, just 30 minutes. Check it out and get started.” And I really, really respect the intention behind that. Her commitment to love the crap out of her people even during a very busy global life and a pandemic in a transition across the ocean, she paused and said, “Hey, what is important to me? How can I show up on purpose,” not only in her business, but for her loved ones.
And I’m so honored to be one of the people who have been touched by her, in such a deep way. So huge shout-out to Amel for joining us today as she is living among boxes and probably landing on the other side of the world as this episode goes live. I’m inspired and for me this episode, I want to bring new energy into our community Expats on Purpose. And if you’re not part of it already, please join us on Facebook. It’s a free online community. Where you can live the manifesto of living more and purpose and creating connection and working on creating your dreams and the relationships that mean the most to you.
And a heads up inside, Expats on Purpose, we will be running the Purpose Challenge again this year. So make sure that you sign up because that will be going down inside the group in September. We’ll make sure that we put the link in the show notes.
You’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour with Sundae Schneider-Bean. Thank you for listening. I’ll leave you with the words of David Wilkerson: “Love is not only something you feel, it’s something you do.”
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[…] EP242: Loving & Leaving Well with Amel Derragui […]