Christina Hills is the founder of the Website Creation Workshop. She teaches non techie people how to easily create a website in WordPress in a fun and creative way. She used to work in the film and television industry, but when her baby was born, she quit to become an online entrepreneur.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 033
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Higher Education Webinar – It's the second webinar on the page: https://screwthecommute.com/webinars[01:58] Tom's introduction to Christina Hills [02:36] What a “living” means for Christina [05:26] When Christina decided to leave her fantastic job [07:59] What to do if you want to leave that 9 to 5 [10:37] Tips for people that want to work for themselves [13:40] The mirror never lies [15:17] Getting screwed over with a horrible boss [18:43] The best and worst parts about being an entrepreneur [21:14] What Christina's doing now [22:56] Sponsor message [23:33] A typical day for Christina [26:08] Staying motivated when you're staying home [28:13] Working at home with your spouse [32:28] Parting thoughts for our Screwballs
Higher Education Webinar – It's the second webinar on the page: https://screwthecommute.com/webinars
Screw The Commute – https://screwthecommute.com/
Website Creation Workshop – https://websitecreationworkshop.com/
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
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Episode 033 – Christina Hills
[00:00:08] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.
[00:00:27] Hey everybody it's Tom here with Episode 33 of screw the commute podcast. I've got a really great guest today. Her name is Christina Hills a good friend of mine for couple hundred years. Although she doesn't look it. I do but you'll hear about her in a second now make sure you listen to Episode 32 last episode John Drebinger was there. He's a former professional magician turned safety expert and I'm thinking how it really makes a lot of sense. You know if you're sawing people up all the time you gotta be careful. So he had lots of good insights for screwing the commute for many years like he has on Episode 32. Now today's sponsors is the distance learning school the Internet Marketing Training Center of Virginia don't even think about retraining yourself or sending your kids to college until you check out our Webinar. I don't want you wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars and putting yourself and your kids under crushing debt. Hey you might have nephews nieces and neighbors that need to see this too. So make sure you show it to them. We'll have the link to it in the show notes. But you'll be going to screwthecommute.com for all the show notes for this episode and all the other ones. This is Episode 33 but you can just click on webinars and watch the Higher Education webinar.
[00:01:57] All right let's get to the main event. Christina Hills is the founder of the Website creation workshop. She teaches non techie people how to easily create a Website in Wordpress in a fun and creative way. She used to work in the film and television industry but when her baby was born she quit to become an online entrepreneur.
[00:02:21] Christina are you ready to screw. The commute. I don't want Seamus to come and beat me to a pulp. All right tell everybody what you do.
[00:02:38] So what I do is I teach people how to build their Web sites in WordPress so they can fire that lazy webmaster who is not returning their phone calls. And we've all heard of the story like that if not had it ourselves so they can be in control of their marketing their online presence and anything they need to do to sell or market online.
[00:03:03] This saves them an enormous amount of money and time right.
[00:03:06] Absolutely absolutely. And even Tom I mean there's lots of really nice web designers out there. But still there's that back and forth and did you get an e-mail. No I didn't. And you have to wait and are on vacation. It's much better to be in total control of your online presence.
[00:03:25] Yeah That's just not acceptable. Waiting waiting it takes two weeks to get a typo fixed where you could have had five promotions and thousands of dollars coming in literally. Yeah or they don't get your vision. Oh yeah that's for sure.
[00:03:43] Again and again and again. And it's just much better to be in control of your marketing.
[00:03:49] Don't you have a moniker nickname.
[00:03:53] Well I did start out as the shopping cart queen.
[00:03:56] Oh that's right. Right. Because you were helping people with the shopping cart that I sell. You were teaching people how to use it.
[00:04:06] So but how it morphed Tom is I was teaching people how to get their shopping carts set up and a bottleneck was they then couldn't get the links onto their website. So that's how it kind of morphed into Web site building.
[00:04:22] So you'd be a one stop shop to put together a system that can not only represent them but self stuff. Do You help them with product?
[00:04:35] Not so much right now. Sort of leave that up to them and I helped them get their products for sale on their site.
[00:04:41] I remember when I first started in 1994 it took a year to get my book cover on the website. Because there was no way until 97 when Microsoft front page came out. There was no way a mere mortal could make a website. It was all HTML and you were totally at their mercy. And those geeks would just take their good old time and a whole year to get on the Web site.
[00:05:14] Some old timers will still just sit down and type HTML code.
[00:05:18] Yeah that's great. They enjoy it as a hobby. But we're trying to make money and I'm not getting any younger over here. I know you are but not me. I know the answer to this but tell them about the job you used to have and the moment that you made that decision.
[00:05:36] Well I used to have a fantastic job. But the deal breaker from my fantastic job was I had a baby and I looked at the other women at the company and they were putting their baby in daycare from 8:00 in the morning till six thirty at night. So they never saw their child. So even though I loved it was a good job. It was like ok job or my daughter job or my daughter so my daughter won I have absolutely no regrets so I quit once she was born.
[00:06:11] And what was that transition like that. This was something you were thinking about for months up to the point you had the baby or you just decided one day, boom I'm outta here.
[00:06:21] I was sort of thinking about it. But I didn't know what was going to be next after that. So I quit my job and we immediately left. I was living in the Bay Area in San Francisco and we moved up to Lake Tahoe. So quit my job had the baby quit my job moved to Lake Tahoe so I went from big city to in the woods. And that's how I started my own business. But it was kind of like jumping out of a plane.
[00:06:58] Well hopefully you had a parachute or golden parachute.
[00:07:02] Yeah well you know my husband was working and he had his own business. And actually that's how I found out about you was through my husband.
[00:07:11] That's right I met him first. Did you get any kind of severance from this super job you had.
[00:07:18] No severance just left.
[00:07:21] Well some things are more important.
[00:07:24] It was rough. But people want to leave their jobs. There's two ways to do it. You know one way you just jump into the pool and the other way as you dip your toe in and you ease in on the shallow end.
[00:07:36] Or you could get fired. Well for some people that's how fired or laid off actually. Right. And sometimes that's a blessing.
[00:07:47] I have never heard anybody say it wasn't. After that when they look back of course at that time it's traumatic but when they look back a lot of them say it's the best thing that ever happened.
[00:08:00] What would you tell somebody that was thinking about sitting in that cubicle and saying Oh yeah I'm going to I want to be with my family more. I want to do this or that other than but I'm in this cubicle and I need that paycheck. What would you tell them if they were thinking about starting their own business.
[00:08:17] Well definitely listening to podcasts like this is good and maybe trying to come up with an idea. But there's a danger in that Tom is some people just sort of sit in their job forever and keep saying some day some day some day. So yeah it's good to do a little bit of learning while you still have the job. But at some point it's really better to just jump just jump ship and do it.
[00:08:45] And also maybe they could use your technique. Have a baby. I'm not sure it worked for me.
[00:08:52] You know I've met people who keep saying some day some day and you know sometimes some day never comes. And you won't really test yourself until you're kind of out there on your own. You know when you're in the cowboy hanging up your you know your sign on your storefront. I just want to caution people don't stay too long in the planning stage.
[00:09:22] Because you can talk yourself out of it or other people will talk yourself out of it. Yeah that's the worst part.
[00:09:28] This one yeah. You'll have relatives who will talk you out of it and tell you it's not a good idea. And they can just hold you back. You know they mean well but they'll hold you back.
[00:09:40] Yeah I remember my mother was always telling me No don't don't do this stay with this it's working. Don't leave what you do. I wasn't in a job but she was never one to want to take risks. And I was like hey listen I got nothing to lose. I don't have a couch to repossess no kids no nothing to worry about. So it was a little easier for me but those paychecks could just be like handcuffs right.
[00:10:06] Absolutely. And also with a paycheck you're only going to go so high in your paygrade. But when you start your own business the sky's the limit that you can make way more money.
[00:10:20] That's for sure. You can keep keep way more to because. There's all kinds of legitimate tax deductions when you're in business that you don't get when you're just a W2 employee. So you work that strategy really well and really up your income. So what would be some tips you'd give for people that want to work for themselves.
[00:10:44] Ok. So when you're working for yourself because you're your own boss you don't have any structure built in. You don't have anybody telling you what time to get in or when to take lunch or when to leave. So it's a good idea to create some kind of structure for yourself. And it's going to be different for each person.
[00:11:06] I just take lunch all day. That could be a hazard too when the refrigerator's right there.
[00:11:14] So I mean you know you're probably going to laugh at me but I put on my calendar you know the time I'm going to take lunch and so then I give myself these little goals it's like OK before lunch I want to get this done. And then by the weekend I want to get that done so if you create structure that really helps. The other tip I want to give which I mentioned before is don't spend forever getting ready. Don't just be like I'm getting ready I'm getting ready and you got to start. Because what happens. And you've probably discovered this Tom you start your business you start to get clients and then your clients will tell you what direction to go in.
[00:11:58] That happened a thousand times to me in 40 years. Yeah. That's why I'm kind of against branding for small businesses because they brand themselves into the poorhouse you know they make all these beautiful brochures and everything. They don't even know if anybody wants what they're selling.
[00:12:16] Exactly. They spend a lot of money for fancy logos or they hire a branding consultant. Big big mistake. I'm totally in agreement with you. You want to get started you want to get clients and then your clients will tell you like the market will tell you. I was the shopping cart queen and so many people were saying I need help with my Web site. And I discovered that wow that's a bigger market for me. So I pivoted and there's nothing wrong with pivoting with starting out. You're doing one thing like people listening might want to be a coach. So they say OK I'm a life coach and then they discover Wow they're getting divorced women who are trying to get back on their feet. So then they kind of pivot to become the Let me help you divorced woman get back on your feet or a divorce coach or another example is people who are working in the military and now they're coming back into civilian life. They need coaches to help them or teachers who want to leave teaching and become an entrepreneur or whatever so like you say Don't spend too much time spending a lot of money on branding logos et cetera. You want to get started and then you'll see where it leads you.
[00:13:42] Christina is featured in the documentary that's coming out about my life as an entrepreneur and she's just a beautiful job in it. There was one moment that when you were at the sink in the bathroom you tell me about that.
[00:13:58] Oh yeah. When I first started in business my dad keep harping on me about you know maybe getting a job maybe getting a job and I think maybe it was in the back of my mind but I didn't really pay much attention. And then one day I'm standing at the sink and I look in the mirror and I realize I'm never going back to a job again. And it was scary and exhilarating at the same time. Yeah it's like wow you know I've been doing this for a while and I have customers and I have clients and this is really viable and I don't need to think oh should I go back and get a job. I don't have to do that ever again. And it was this huge aha moment.
[00:14:46] You've had enormous amounts of time to spend with that beautiful daughter of yours is on her way to being an actress. I understand.
[00:14:55] Yeah yeah. She's turning 17 so that means because I spent a year just taking care of her. And not really starting a business. So I've been an online entrepreneur now for 16 years.
[00:15:09] Wow. Screwing the commute for 16 years. I always want to make sure people have a balance and know that there are some dark sides to be in business. Have you ever gotten screwed over from anybody.
[00:15:27] Well I have a story about getting screwed over when I work for somebody else.
[00:15:33] Yeah yeah because that's the reason people want to get the heck out and get their own business.
[00:15:40] So I had this job and I worked for a horrible boss. He was the head of the company was a small company and he was terrible and he wouldn't let us have breaks. You got to work and then you work till lunch. So you got a lunch break and then you worked till it was time to go.
[00:16:02] But there were no breaks in between. So what I did was I drank a lot of water so that I have to go the bathroom because I just needed a break because we weren't even in cubicles. We were mashed together in the small room side by side and sometimes you just need like a rest for two minutes by yourself. So I drink a lot of water and I went to the bathroom all the time. Well my boss thought I had a cocaine addiction. He thought I was going to the bathroom and snorting coke and he told someone else about that. So here he is like damaging my reputation saying I must be a coke addict because I go to the bathroom all the time when the truth is he was such a horrible boss. Only way I could get a break was to go to the bathroom.
[00:16:54] Well it is good to stay hydrated.
[00:16:58] And then I have another story about hiring out. This was before I knew how to do Wordpress and before I was doing it you know myself and before I was teaching people how to do WordPress. I hired a company to build some WordPress sites for me. And I was like Man these guys are slow. Like why is it taking them so long. And Tom one day I'm like let me go look on my server and my web hosting. Well what did I discover. The guy who was supposed to be building sites for me was not only building his own membership site but he was downloading porn onto my server. I'm paying this guy and he's supposed to be building me sites and he's building his own membership site on my dime and downloading porn on my dime onto my servers. So I was like OK forget that I'm learning WordPress I'm doing it myself. And then I started teaching it to other people.
[00:18:15] Yeah that happened to me too. He fell asleep. You know normally if I walk by I guess he changed the screen. He fell asleep snoring in front of the computer and I walked by. He's running not just download porn he's running his own chain of porn sites. On my server. So yeah I get it. So what do you like best about working for yourself and what's the worst part.
[00:18:48] The thing I like best about working for myself is I don't have to ask anybody when I want to go on vacation. So if I want to go on a trip or want to go on vacation I just look on my calendar and say gee when do I want to go. There's none of this shuffling into the boss's office. Gee boss would be really nice if I could get this week off and then him tell you no. And I remember once I was on vacation and I said Yeah let's have lunch tomorrow. And my friend was like oh I can't because I'm working and I can't go have lunch with you. And I was like wow I never have to ask anybody. When I want to take off early or go to lunch whenever. Exactly in fact Tom this is what we do we wait till I get my daughter's schedule of her theater performances and then I plan my classes around that.
[00:19:49] Isn't that nice. I mean it's like it's opposite and you miss stuff and all kinds of things. This is just such a beautiful thing. Everybody out there think about screwing the commute. This is the life that I've lived for 40 plus years. And Christine is now at 16 and it is just one of the most fulfilling things did not have a thumb on you all the time.
[00:20:14] Exactly. Not being scared of being fired. You know I meet people and they're just afraid of getting fired.
[00:20:20] Well I don't know my boss is kind of a jerk sometimes, but I get along with him.
[00:20:27] The other great thing about having being in business for yourself is the personal growth you go through. You don't go through that when you're at a company because you're challenged and you're learning new things and you know you're in control of what's going to happen and I just love the changes I've seen in myself that I wouldn't have gotten being at a job.
[00:20:53] You're kind of a cog in a big wheel that you can't even see where the wheel is going. Most of the time. And that takes I always say it takes two committee meetings to go take a leak.
[00:21:10] Like you don't even have to go to boring meetings.
[00:21:15] So how can people work with you. What have you got going now.
[00:21:19] So I run these classes in the Web site creation workshop to teach people how to build WordPress themselves and whether if people have a site someone else has built for them and they just want to be in control or if they want to start their own website. So I'm running classes all the time and you can find me at my Web site.
[00:21:40] Websitecreationworkshop.com and we'll have that show notes for everybody and are these online or both or what I do.
[00:21:50] Combination of both. Some you can come live if you want but their training videos all online and we have a support group so if coming to a live call is not convenient you don't have to. You can get the trainings all online.
[00:22:06] Oh no what I meant was that they come physically to a workshop.
[00:22:11] We're talking about online businesses here. Tom you can be anywhere.
[00:22:17] They would love to come down to San Diego and probably pay triple just to come down there.
[00:22:28] I don't know about that. But you know you can always check my Web site to see if I have live in person classes but I really like virtual training because you can be in your pajamas and everyone's in the comfort of their own home while they're learning.
[00:22:44] That's for sure. Now we got to take a little break for our sponsor and when we come back we'll see what a typical day is for Christine and what keeps her motivated. We'll be right back.
[00:22:56] Today, almost two billion of you will go online retrieving over 100 billion searches for information, goods and services, and 6 million of you will view a page on the internet before this commercial is over. The world has changed and so is the way we do business. At the Internet Marketing Training Center, you can study online at your pace to fit your schedule, and you can graduate with the skills and knowledge to compete in the global marketplace or start your own home based business. Call us today or go online at IMTCVA.org. Because, it's about time. Yours.
[00:23:27] We are back with the fantastical Christina hills and Christina. Tell us what a typical day is for you.
[00:23:39] So typically I get up early because I'm an early riser and maybe do a little bit of work while it's really quiet. Then when my daughter gets up I stop and I help her get ready for school make sure that I see her off to school then you know have breakfast or maybe go work out and I can work out first and then have breakfast my morning so I like to keep open because sometimes I go swimming or sometimes I go on a power walk and then I'll come to my desk and just see what it is that I want to work on for the day. And usually during the week I'm teaching a live webinar so I might be preparing for my live webinar and I have virtual assistants who work for me and they're remote as well. And I might connect in with them either by chat or e-mail. And I just see where my students are I help them out in the support group then I prepare for my webinar do my webinar live record it get the replay up. This is a typical day I might do an interview like I'm doing here if I want to run out to the market I can go during the day when all the other muggles who are stuck in their cubicles you know I get to avoid traffic and I can shop or do my errands when when people are at work.
[00:25:11] That nobody's mentioned that so far on these episodes. That's a great thing you can go places and do stuff without fighting rush hour.
[00:25:20] Exactly and one night my husband and I went out during rush hour because we totally forgot about rush hour because we work for ourselves. We don't have that long commute that I used to have.
[00:25:38] The longest commute was like 45 minutes in L.A. but right now that would be three hours because times have changed in 16 years.
[00:25:54] So yeah. It's just wonderful like being able to run errands and seeing the other side of the freeway with the commute that I don't have stuck in traffic that I don't have anymore.
[00:26:08] So how do you stay motivated. You're working for yourself. And what keeps you going. What fires you up.
[00:26:16] You know what really fires me up Tom and I'm sure it's the same for you is my clients. I just love seeing the success of my clients. And in fact one of my clients was working for somebody else went through my training and she gained so much confidence she was able to quit her job.
[00:26:35] Oh that's beautiful.
[00:26:36] And go into business by herself because I empowered her I'm like look you can do this look you can build your site look I can teach you how to build an email list. And she was so exhilarated that she was able to quit her job so my students keep me motivated seeing what they do and seeing their successes. I know you have lots of successful students and it's really satisfying so that keeps me motivated. I go to conferences learn new techniques and you know setting deadlines setting goals and deadlines. Like Hey I want to come out with a new course. OK I'm going to announce it to the public that this course is coming out and that helps keep me on track to like actually get all the materials together and it comes back to Tom what I was saying of don't plan forever because you'll stay forever in the someday planning.
[00:27:37] Yeah. Yeah I use that same technique if I announce something I'm too embarrassed not to do it. So you're scratch and crawl so you don't want to look foolish that You're just a dreamer.
[00:27:49] Exactly exactly. So yeah. Make it make a big announcement. I'm going to you know I'm going to go and do this. And be careful like announce it publicly so you can't take it back. Because if you announce it to your family and then they rain on your parade then you might crawl back into your cubicle corner.
[00:28:08] Seamus work out of your house? Yeah. We both do.
[00:28:15] So if you're working at home with your spouse. This was the first thing we did. He helps me and my business I help him in his business. But one of the things we did early on because we're home all day is we don't coordinate lunches together.
[00:28:39] Hey folks this is an important tip. This is why we get the big bucks. Tell us about the perils of trying to coordinate lunch.
[00:28:50] Well the thing is is if you're working at home with your spouse it's like what are you doing what am I doing and you can spend too much time together. So the way we've solved that is you're on your own for lunch. I'm not going to ask you I'm on my own for lunch. But we have dinner together so we plan dinner together. breakfast we're on our and then yeah dinners are together because it's hard when 24/7 you're with your spouse in your home working. So you have to kind of set up a little bit of structure there so you're not just on top of each other all the time. So that's what we started with separate offices.
[00:29:35] How far is your commute.
[00:29:38] Let's see. Maybe 20 paces from the bedroom to my office.
[00:29:45] Do You get dressed up as if you're going to work. Some people do that. Or do you just stay casual.
[00:29:51] I stay casual. I like to be comfy. I'm barefoot. You know I'll change out of my pajamas but I wear really comfy clothes and flip flops and if I'm going out to a marketing event then I'll put makeup on. But most of the time I don't. I know some people find it important to get all dressed up when they're working for themselves so now each person finds what works for them.
[00:30:19] Some people said that's their office. That's all they do is work in there. They don't do anything else there because it makes them feel like OK I'm at work so they get more productive.
[00:30:28] Yeah. Yeah.
[00:30:30] To each his own. That's the thing. Whatever works for you is great.
[00:30:34] It's nice to have an office where you can shut the door. And that's what I have now so I can step away from it and get some space. Just a husband no pets and a daughter. But you know when people start out maybe their office is in their bedroom or the corner of their living room you know you start where you start.
[00:31:02] The guy that taught me Corey Rudel back in 1996 is when I got training from him but he was already full swing making almost five million a year out of his bedroom apartment. So it doesn't really matter where you are with this kind of business. I mean there's people they're selling courses on being the coffee shop millionaire you know. So you really can be anywhere with a laptop or even a tablet.
[00:31:29] And like if I'm flying on a plane I can stay in touch with my customers and my team or I can be out and about on my iPhone and I can check into our support. You know my support group for my classes and see how my students are doing. So it's nice being able to help people at odd hours so that's the great thing about having your own business if you're up at 3:00 in the morning and you want to work you can if you want to sleep until 10:00 a.m. you can.
[00:32:01] I do a lot of automated webinars but I stay available to answer questions when people have them when they're watching the webinar. I was sitting against a tree Deerhuntering answering questions myself. No wonder I'm a lousy hunter I'm there looking at myself in the woods. The deer probably looked at me like what the heck's wrong with that guy he didn't even try to shoot us.
[00:32:25] That flexibility is just great.
[00:32:28] So you have any parting ideas for our screwballs here, parting thoughts.
[00:32:34] Parting thoughts are just get started. You can't see everything from where you are now. And the sooner you get started the sooner you're going to be successful.
[00:32:43] That was another really great thing you did on the documentary was talk about how people want to jump all the way to the end goal. And you had this beautiful illustration can you tell him that without illustrating and it I can't remember the exact. You said they go here and then they see things differently and then they take the next step and say things differently instead of trying to jump all the way to the end. I love that.
[00:33:12] And perfectionists will want to see the end. And there's no way you can see the end. So you just have to take a step and then more doors open and then you pass through a door and there's another step. So there's no way you're going to see the whole thing. There's just no way. Did Steve Jobs see the iPhone when he started initially. No you take it one step at a time and it unfolds before you.
[00:33:41] There you go. Well very well said. So thank you so much Christina for taking the time to talk to our screwballs today and everybody make sure you check out the show notes. didn't you have a freebie for them.
[00:33:55] Yeah I have a freebie. It's a Web site creation checklist.
[00:34:02] Will have the link in the show notes. This is Episode 33 so we'll have a link to the freebie and we'll have a link to her website there. We want to take one of her courses she's really really a wonderful person and very very conscientious. You can't go wrong with this. lady and I just love her to death.
[00:34:27] Yeah check it out. This is Episode 33. Get the freebie that she's got the check list. Check out her courses and the next episode. I'm going to go in depth on one of my training episodes. Which I do about one a week where I'm going to give the behind the scenes tips on e-mail marketing from a guy that sent out millions and millions and millions of e-mails. I have no idea how many over 24 years.
[00:34:59] And it's still where guys like me make all the money by the way all this fancy social media everything we make our money with e-mail marketing still to this day. So you don't want to miss that. All right everybody get you on the next episode.
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