Denise Wakeman's motto is just say yes. After a life changing trek in the Andes mountains, she embraced her inner adventurer and ditched the black business suits for a knapsack and hiking boots. As long as there's Wi-Fi, Denise is a happy camper. She's an early adopter and active experimenter, and she loves helping authors and online entrepreneurs navigate the journey of growing their business on the web.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 053
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Higher Education Webinar – https://screwthecommute.com/webinars[01:46] Tom's introduction to Denise Wakeman [03:00] What Denise has been doing for the last 20+ years [07:58] Professional JOBs and then going into business [12:51] Tips for the cubicle dweller who wants this lifestyle [15:03] Getting screwed by “cloned” business [17:10] Crazy, funny, bizarre stuff [18:54] The best and worst thing about being your own boss [20:42] What Denise has to offer [22:07] Sponsor message [23:14] What's a typical day at sea level for Denise [29:05] Running half marathons and lots of shoes [31:34] Staying motivated [32:40] Parting thoughts for us Screwballs
Higher Education Webinar – https://screwthecommute.com/webinars
Screw The Commute – https://screwthecommute.com/
The Blog Squad – https://www.facebook.com/AdventuresInVisibility/
Denise's website – https://denisewakeman.com/
Marketing Trailblazers Community – https://www.marketingtrailblazers.co
Denise on Instagram – https://instagram.com/denisewakeman
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
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Episode 053 – Denise Wakeman
[00:00:09] 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.
[00:00:24] Hey everybody it's Tom here with episode 53 of screw the commute podcast. We got a great guest that goes way way back with me. You had a really successful business and we worked together a little bit. She took it to even higher levels and she's been doing it ever since. So you can't wait to hear from Denise Wakeman she'll be here in a moment. Now I hope you didn't miss Episode 52 my Monday training session on affiliate selling. On this episode I told you how you can start getting commissions immediately without developing your own product. So make sure you didn't miss episode 52. Today's sponsor 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 on higher education. I do not want you wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars and putting yourself and your kids under crushing debt. Hey you can even tell your neighbors about it if they're thinking about higher education. We'll have the Webinar in the show notes at screwthecommute.com/53. This is episode 53.
[00:01:47] All right let's get to the main event. Denise Wakeman's motto and I was reading this is just say yes. You've got to watch that today depending on what I ask you. After a life changing trek in the Andes mountains she embraced her inner adventure and ditched the black business suits for a knapsack and hiking boots as long as there's Wi-Fi Denise is a happy camper. She's an early adopter and active experimenter. I'm not sure what that means I'm going to ask what that means and she loves helping authors and online entrepreneurs navigate the journey of growing their business on the web. Denise, Are you ready to screw?
[00:02:41] You got to say yes. You said it right in your introduction. Oh it's so good to talk to you. It's been a it's been a while. Tell us tell us what you've been up to. What are you been doing lately.
[00:03:02] Oh pretty much. You know workwise the same thing that I've been doing for the last 20 plus years. Yes I am a very consistent person. It's just the message and the brand has changed a bit and I'm traveling a lot more. Biking hiking, etc.
[00:03:29] I'll bet you get a good signal at the top of that mountain.
[00:03:35] That's when I'm off the grid.
[00:03:37] No really. Have you ever done any work from some odd weird place like that. Or do you just shut everything off when you're up there.
[00:03:46] Well I always try. I've got a mobile hotspot that I take with me just in case. But because I always liked it. That's the kind of experimenting I like to do. I spent a month in Peru and did a lot of hiking and just living in Cusco Peru for a month and spreading Spanish and doing my work from there. So that's my plan.
[00:04:16] Did you climb a mountain how high are the mountains there.
[00:04:25] Well the mountains in the Andes go up to over 20,000 feet the highest I have gone is over 15,000 feet.
[00:04:34] Now you got to have oxygen for that right?
[00:04:38] Not for 15. Well some people might. But I didn't.
[00:04:42] Yeah. Because I mean you live at sea level too. So it's different shock for you than somebody that lives in a higher altitude.
[00:04:51] You have to acclimate for sure.
[00:04:53] So you're not by yourself are you.
[00:04:58] I go with a guide. Well in Nepal they call them Sherpas and I'm going to Nepal in two months on a two week trek Himalayas to Annapurna base camp where we're going only about 13,000 feet.
[00:05:17] You're really screwing the commute that's for sure except when you take a commute it's Like what 3000 2000 miles or 3000.
[00:05:32] It's like it'll be a 24 hour flight because the time differences so it'll be 24 hours.
[00:05:44] You really built this. When did you start doing this. Because I don't think you were doing that when I knew you.
[00:05:49] I wasn't doing it quite like that. No but I realize that that I've always loved to travel. I've traveled all over the world since I was a child. Our family traveled a lot and it's always been in my DNA. And when I did the first trek in Peru I've been three times to Peru when I took the first one I realized you know what this is what I want to be doing. So I need to I need to work that into how I run my business and what the message of my business is. And so I am even though my formal business name is still The Blog Squad. My brand is Adventures In Visibility.
[00:06:31] I was going to say I mean how are you going to make this tax deductible. Because you know there's a lot of money spent to get to these places and do equipment alone probably would cost more than a car.
[00:06:44] So all you need is hiking pants and hiking poles and a knapsack.
[00:06:49] Yeah but you've got to get there. You've got to hire the Sherpas you know do they charge for the tours. And is there a fee to climb the mountains.
[00:07:00] There is a permit that's required but that's usually wrapped into the cost of the tour.
[00:07:08] Tax deductible right.
[00:07:11] Some of it is proportionate.
[00:07:12] Yeah good because I couldn't live with myself if you were spending money on stuff that wasn't tax deductible as good as you are online.
[00:07:23] I've got I've got that part worked out right now I'm working with a friend who wants to put together a group to go to Machu Picchu and so I'm helping her and so that part of that you know I get paid for that. And I'll go get to go to work that'll be wrapped into you know the cost of the tour.
[00:07:43] Talk about a lifestyle business. This is really taking it literally to the ends of the earth.
[00:07:55] So do it while I still have needs.
[00:07:59] So you know you mentioned in your introduction about the black suit so you must have a job. Tell us when you have a job. What was that all about.
[00:08:14] Well part of my brand with the blog squad when I did meet you was that we wore black suits. So me and my former partner.
[00:08:22] That wasn't the job before that I'm talking about.
[00:08:25] Before that I mean I had jobs until my mid 30s. And so I worked in the arts I worked in museums. I worked in art galleries. So I did the whole professional thing. It was more culture oriented so I could be a little more casual. But still you had to be dressed up.
[00:08:44] So when did you start thinking about going into business for yourself.
[00:08:50] Well it was the mid 90s and my then boyfriend who was Canadian was moving back to Canada. He invited me to go with him and we were going to start a business coaching practice and I had never started a business before. He had a little bit here in there so I said Yes and I went with them. I lived in Canada for six years and we now I really knew nothing. And that's when I learned about the Internet. And it's the early days in 96 and we ended up building a six figure coaching practice within six years. And you know that's that got me hooked. I could not go back to a JOB after that. When I moved back to California. I was just like I can't do. I've got to do my own thing.
[00:09:43] Now at that time did you just give two weeks notice and I'm gone or did you plan for this. How did that transition go.
[00:09:56] Yeah it was called love. It's like oh OK I'm not happy where I am. And let's go and sold almost everything I owned except for my books and my art and took that with me and we moved to Canada to eastern Ontario and no planning. We had less than zero money.
[00:10:25] So I notice you are not in Canada anymore. You are back in Los Angeles. Is he there too. He got lost along the way.
[00:10:51] We married and divorced while we were there and I moved back to Los Angeles in 2002.
[00:10:58] Some other guest said something about getting divorced is good for business. I don't know if it was good for the lawyer's business or for their business.
[00:11:07] Well you know it's interesting point because you know in the business that I had with my former husband it was all about him. He was the front guy he was the one who delivered I was the one that was figuring out all the online marketing because we were in a rural community. There wasn't anything else going on that's when I taught I'd taught myself everything I knew about using the Internet as a promotional vehicle and we ended up with a you know clients all over the world. Because I was just like wow this Internet thing is so cool. So when we split we had did I left the business because you know he was the one delivering the business. And then when I got back to L.A. I was like well wait a minute I built that business. So I can do this for myself. And I can do this for other people and that's what got me started and that was like 2003.
[00:12:05] Kinda reminds me of that. You remember that TV show Remington Steele it was Pierce Brosnan was the figurehead detective because nobody would hire a woman as a detective Stephanie Zimbalist was the brains behind it reminds me what you just said.
[00:12:26] Well that's in the you know it took me a while to realize that but then I did and went oh wait a minute I can do this. You know I don't need him. And you know I've been very successful more successful than I was. We were together at that time.
[00:12:51] So would you suggest the same thing that you did just drop everything to somebody that's in their cubicle listening to this saying Oh yeah I want to drop everything today and climb the mountains.
[00:13:05] No I actually wouldn't do that. It was very stressful. We were in massive debt to every family member practically until we got going but we did end up paying them all back. So that good thing yeah. But no I would say you know that's great. You want to do it before you quit your job. One do you have enough money to live without any income. At least 6 months. Or you know if you do OK well do it. But you know you still need to do all the research first. Is there a market for your idea. Who do you want to work with. You know all that that planning staff. What's your message. And you know if I were starting today I would start because there's so much more so many more tools now than in 1996 you know barely ever had a website then or email but now with so many opportunities on the web that you can start building your presence on the web and talking about your ideas while you're building that foundation because you still need a foundation you still need that email list you need. The Web site the blog you need that the ways that people can learn about you and and you know get to know you and trust you and get things from you. So but you can use social media to start building the awareness.
[00:14:29] Yeah. What's interesting is this is kind of like opposite like in the early days we didn't have many tools or anything to pick from so it was hard. And now there's so many things beginners don't know what to pick from. That's what you And I help people with. Every day there's a new thing coming down the pipe too.
[00:14:53] Yup and that's where my active experimentation comes in. I know that's kind of like lots of mystery and that interaction isn't it.
[00:15:04] So have you ever gotten screwed in business. We follow a screw theme in this podcast.
[00:15:08] Never terribly we did you know in that very first business we did have a moment when a client called and said You know I just found a Web site that looked exactly like yours. But it's got somebody else's name and picture on it. It even had the same testimonial. And so that that was a little that was the moment where. And so early on it was like How did this happen. Some Webmaster just copied the whole thing and just changed the picture and name. So basically you know we get a cease and desist and yeah we're going to sue you. So we want money from you you've got to take this down and that all ended up working out. So because we didn't know how long it had been there what kind of lost potential revenue and all that stuff.
[00:16:05] The same thing happened to me but their picture was better than mine. So I said Oh I'll leave it. It's an upgrade there automatically.
[00:16:18] Didn't you notice that that that the testimonials were people they knew.
[00:16:26] People Will do anything. That's I started that scam brigade to go after scammers people with no scruples out there that that's another thing that's the opposite back in the early days when nobody knew what was going on. But now people know too much what's going on and they take advantage of new people that don't.
[00:16:47] I feel like I've been pretty lucky and you know because I haven't really had any bad terrible things. Either something with a client that doesn't work out that that you know happens to every every business. I didn't really have any bad stuff happen to me yet and I hope I won't.
[00:17:11] So if you had anything funny bizarre happened and all these crazy trips donkey kick you in the head or something during your mountain climb.
[00:17:25] More mostly going back to that that time early on in Canada. When we first got there you know I mentioned that we were kind of in negative territory moneywise and we were driving to my husband's mother's to do our laundry and all of a sudden he veers off the road. And he's like oh there's a there's a buck in the median. I mean I'm like what a buck. No it wasn't a moose and he goes dashing across a major highway and comes back and says OK I got to get it into the van because it's just been hit. We had something to eat for a year.
[00:18:24] You know I think I might do the same thing. Yeah well I heard stories where somebody put that in their car and it woke up it was just stunned their hooves tore the hell out of the interior just busted the windows.
[00:18:47] This one had been eviscerated already.
[00:18:56] So what do you like best about working for yourself and what's the worst thing about working for yourself.
[00:19:01] Well you can probably guess the best freedom to travel. I want to take my business with me.
[00:19:07] How long do you spend on the road.
[00:19:12] Not that much but I go on a big trip. But also travel around the U.S. a lot and I've been running for about ten years so we do a lot with my running partners. I do a lot of like half marathons in other places like I did we did one outside of Grand Canyon last year.
[00:19:35] And what is the worst thing.
[00:19:47] For me I would say it's the isolation. You know even though I'm really self-motivated I don't have trouble getting myself to work. And you know I just sit down. That's what I do. First thing in morning. Yeah I get in my head too much sometimes and I start questioning things so you know I have to make sure I'm connecting with colleagues or friends to make sure that I you know get my social stuff.
[00:20:14] You know it makes total sense to me Denise that somebody that feels isolated climb up to 15,000 feet where there's nothing but you know a few errant eagles or something.
[00:20:35] I do go with a friend I travel with. And there's always a guide so not all by myself.
[00:20:44] So tell everybody how they could reach you see the stuff you have to offer.
[00:20:50] I'm at DeniseWakeman.com and I am active on just about every social network as Denise Wakeman I keep my name. Adventures in visibility goes to my primary Website adventuresinvisibility.com.
[00:21:12] And what do you do you put pictures and stuff of these trips.
[00:21:22] Well it's all my I mean I do things around my trips. I do a lot of that on social on Instagram and Facebook is where I do most of my my you know adventure photos. I use them a lot as metaphors for my business and for how I work with people. So I have lots of pictures of mountains and lakes trails and things like that.
[00:21:48] Okay great. So we've got to take a brief message from our sponsor which is me. And when we come back we're going to ask you about what a typical day look like for you at least at sea level and how do you stay motivated so we'll be right back.
[00:22:08] Hey everybody. Do you know what colleges and universities are doing to you. Well according to gradeinflation.com they're raising grade point averages to make it look like they're doing a better job of teaching when there's a mountain of evidence. And these Machu Picchu evidence that they aren't really teaching the people and I want you to really watch the eye opening higher education webinar at screwthecommute.com/53 this is episode 53. That's also where you'll find all the great stuff about Denise and her sites and all that. But this could potentially save yourself and possibly your loved ones friends and neighbors literally hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt when you go for higher education. So check that out. It's a 90 minute webinar. But 90 minutes is worth it to save hundreds of thousands of dollars.
[00:23:16] All right. Let's get back to that main event. Yes I knew you were ready to screw earlier but are you ready to tell us what a typical day at sea level looks like for you and you could even include that when you're planning for a trip that same thing.
[00:23:33] Ok. Yes I'm ready.
[00:23:36] Tell us what a typical day is like for you in this lifestyle business of yours.
[00:23:41] I am up early and happy. Between 5 and 6 a.m. I'm a morning person. That's when I'm most productive that's when I feel the best. I got the most energy. I go straight for the coffee. That's my thing. I grind the beans I set it up. You know it's just my ritual.
[00:24:02] All right. Feed my cat Louie.
[00:24:10] Wait a minute what happens to the cat would you go these trips.
[00:24:16] My neighbor loves my cat. Oh yes. I have no problem.
[00:24:20] Your cat get mad when you come back and like and try to destroy things.
[00:24:28] He's usually pretty happy to see me when I get back.
[00:24:33] I'm at my desk and I start you know I'm I'm I do what everybody says not to do. And I scan my e-mail first and deal with it. You know my whole business basically is about communicating with people. And it goes 24/7 e-mail. I mean people don't expect me to answer 24/7 but you know there's something from a client or potential client or a colleague or whatever. I'm going to answer it in the morning.
[00:25:07] A lot of people just hide. That's why their business suffers. They know they say I can't stand all these e-mails. Well that's where the money is in this business.
[00:25:16] You bet. You bet. So yeah and then it's like OK what's on my list. What do I need to do to serve my clients today. I do a lot of one on one work working with as I said authors and online business owners I mentor them through that process of building up their online foundation or if they're doing a book launch we'll be working through that. So they're doing it by e-mail or it's doing it on zoom for video meetings. I meet almost exclusively on video now with my clients and students. And so I don't really do. Done for you. But I do. Done with you because I have very deep knowledge of how these things work. If I need to to bring in a V.A. or somebody to do the implementation then cool I'll do that.
[00:26:17] I got to give people warning here. When you see done for you programs it should put red flags up for you because most of them are more like done to you rather than for you because to do all the things that need done to be successful on any particular project would cost a lot of time and manpower woman power to get it done. And when they gave you this cheap price and claim they're going to do all this stuff and claim all these big results that should drive red flags up. It should cost a lot of money if somebody is going to actually do a good job for you.
[00:27:03] I really appreciate that because you know people come to me and they want done for them I'm like OK well how much money do you have. And they don't want to pay what it's going to cost. It's like I'm going to show you I'm going to tell you I'm going to help you make it happen. But I'm not going to do it for you. I will take your hand and walk you through it. You need to know how this works. I will even help you hire someone I will help you manage that person but you need to know how this stuff works.
[00:27:32] That's exactly how we run things here because. Because if even if you did do it for them they'd be stuck forever and ever pay maintenance fees and getting charged a fortune for things that should cost almost nothing because they're clueless. So that doesn't serve them in the long run. I mean if you're filthy rich and don't care. Ok but if most of the people that are trying to start a business and keep their costs down the more knowledge you get the better off you are. You're not eating money or spending money all the rest of your life.
[00:28:07] Exactly and you know I'll answer every question you have. I'll show you what tools to use. I'll show you how to use the tool. So yeah and you know that's probably why we connected so well you know back in November 2005 I think.
[00:28:23] So it can be a lot of it could be a lot of different ways that I'm working with people and I do have community that I've started. That's really for it's for authors and online entrepreneurs who have taken you know so many classes and they've studied with the gurus and all that stuff but they haven't really done it. They don't need more knowledge. They need the support and the accountability to start working on them and get them back on and have someone to do implementation that is huge. And that's and they can get that in the community. So from others and from me.
[00:29:07] All right so what happens if you're not doing client stuff. I mean you just said you ran marathons when you have time.
[00:29:18] Oh usually in the night and on the weekends. I've been meeting with the same group of friends for ten years over ten years now and we almost always without fail some combination of us meet on the weekend to run or hike or walk depending on what kind of injury. I'm moving more from running to hiking.
[00:29:47] So you probably know a lot about shoes. Yeah like running and hiking.
[00:29:56] I own a lot of them. Running shoes I own a lot of them because they wear out pretty quickly you're consistently moving. And also I run trails and run run hard. There's better traction with trail shoes and there's a lot of mountains around me in LA. Contrary to what people may think there's lots of trail running around me and that's I love that and I always go with somebody. I don't do this by myself I'm lazy. I wouldn't do it myself. I do it for the social as well as the exercise. And the challenge. So yeah it's the introvert in me it's like no I don't need to go out of my house. Oh yes you do Denise you have to go out and do something. And hiking boots you know it's finding the right pair for what you're doing. I've I've gone through a couple of pairs that I was not very happy with when I was in the moment of the hike. But for the next one it's like OK I'm trying another pair the next time.
[00:31:18] I hear these people hiking the Appalachian Trail.
[00:31:23] Well you know it's something I'd like to do sometimes.
[00:31:25] Only takes Three or four months. I mean they've got Wi-Fi along the way.
[00:31:33] So what keeps you motivated.
[00:31:38] The constant discovery the constant discovery. I'm very curious about a lot a lot. Whether it's you know travel whether it's books whether it's movies where there's new strategies tactics tools you know something new comes down the line it's like OK I'm going to try this.
[00:32:00] You teach your students because that's part of your value to them.
[00:32:06] Exactly exactly. And so it taps into something I love to do anyway. So and that's where when I start to realize that that's what I was always doing in my life and that are like my business and that the travel is the same curiosity and discovery and experimentation and a different way in my personal. That's when I said these things have to be combined now because it's a much better message for me. You know in terms you know I can be much more congruent in everything that I'm doing.
[00:32:40] So do you have any parting thoughts for all our screwballs out there we call them screwballs.
[00:32:46] I love that. Yeah if you're going to do it commit commit yourself because you know in the end your passion and love or what you're doing does come shining through. But if you're not committed it won't come through and that's that's not attractive to people. So just do it.
[00:33:13] Well you've attracted a lot of great clients over the years. Never heard a bad word about you ever. I don't know. Maybe from your old partners. No I'm just kidding. I'm just kidding. So everybody check out Denise's stuff. She's quite an adventure quite a woman. In our space and our internet marketing space this is not the show is not only about internet marketing but it's a big part of every business now. So you can't ignore this facet of it for sure and she's been in this space for a long long time she's been around the block so to speak and an Internet marketing kind of way. And I guess from a running point she's been around a lot of blocks.
[00:34:01] Been around a lot of those blocks and up a couple of mountains.
[00:34:05] So thanks so much Denise for stopping by and chatting with us. I'm sure everybody is going to want to check out your stuff and hey everybody if you're new to podcasts please subscribe and review. We've got instructions on how to do it at Screwthecommute.com. Make sure you check out Denise's stuff at screwthecommute.com/53. That's this episode. And check out our show notes and also make sure you listen to that higher education webinar or pass it on to somebody you know that needs it because you will really thank me for it because you'll save hundreds of thousands of dollars. All right Denise thank you so much. And everybody we will catch you on to the next the episode.
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