Join Mike Cavaggioni with his guests, Carrie Bohlig and Craig Clickner, on the 69th episode of the Average Joe Finances Podcast as they talk about venturing into the world of side-hustling. Carrie and Craig met as singles while building their businesses. Living a modest life, Carrie began her business while studying sociology and Women's Studies. Meanwhile, Craig first considered creating his own business while working as a banking risk analyst in 2003. And while their paths to entrepreneurship were different, the two bonded over side-hustling, building each other up and creating the life they wanted together as a family. Today, Carrie and Craig share their experiences to inspire people worldwide to do the same.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
● The value of building good relationships with business owners in affiliate marketing.
● How much of our success results from the people and media we associate with.
● The advantage of honing your communications skills to better connect with people.
● How to grow ourselves as products to monetize our knowledge and skills over time.
● Why vetting our referrals is vital in maintaining our credibility as an affiliate marketer.
● And much more!
About Carrie Bohlig and Craig Clickner:
Carrie Bohlig and Crag Clickner are a Midwestern husband and wife duo who wanted to build an exceptional life and create the autonomy they desired. And so, they knew they had to do more than the mainstream “go to school and get a good job” adage. But, like many, Carrie and Craig were not hardcore enough to quit their jobs and gut out a startup, so instead, they ventured into the world of moderate entrepreneurship, also known as “side hustling.”
The willingness to embrace the side hustling adventure has revolutionized the way they live, allowing them to step away from their traditional careers, becoming full-time parents and entrepreneurs. Having helped others acquire similar results, they now have the privilege of speaking to thousands annually. The couple also shares their foundational success concepts such as implementing the proper “Life set,” elevating the right WHO, and developing a Life Vision in their book, So You Want To Start A Side Hustle.
Unfortunately, Carrie and Craig see too many people starting side hustles but very few who know how to finish them. As such, they look forward to being a resource to support your journey to diversify not only your income but also your skills sets, and most importantly, elevate your quality of life.
Find Carrie Bohlig and Craig Clickner on:
Carrie’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carriebohlig/
Craig’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/craig-clickner/
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Hey, how's it going everybody. So today's guests are Craig Clickner, and Carrie Bollig. I'm really excited to have them. Hey guys, thank you for joining me today.Craig Clickner:
Hey, thanks for having us on man. Anything finances? We love to talk about it. So especially Craig gets overly excited, so yeah, I'm already to dork out, man, whatever we gotta do.Average Joe Finances:
Awesome. Hey, so I want to talk a little bit about your background, right? The two of them met a singles while building their own businesses. But their paths to entrepreneurship were very different. Craig first began to consider creating his own business while working as a banking risk analyst in 2003, Carrie began her business while studying sociology and women's. At the university of Wisconsin, living a modest student lifestyle, she was open to hearing about any opportunity that could earn her extra income. They met a few years later, right? And Craig and Carrie appreciate the flexibility that their business affords them. It's also allowed them to focus on philanthropy as parents. They appreciate creating something meaningful that will outlive them while inspiring and empowering people around. I absolutely love your background guys. The fact that just in that alone, the, it just shows how much you want to give back, and I'm really excited to share your story. And I think thanks a lot for having us on man. Yeah, absolutely. I gave a little bit about your background and, the way I like to typically start things off is to know a little bit more. So yeah, if you could share us share with us a little bit about yourself, your story, how did you guys get.Craig Clickner:
Yeah, absolutely. My background was finance and econ got the big, hot shot banking job and worked in Deutsche bank and then commercial finance for GE capital. I was doing well getting some raises, but realized I just didn't want to work for someone else forever. That just came with a set of limitations. And we talk about this a lot, but most of us are more dynamic than our jobs. So stop trying to get a job. That's going to complete you cause it's not going to happen. It's like having a spouse that tries to fulfill our role. So here I was frustrated. I'm like what am I going to do? So I did what everyone did in 2000, the early 2000 mid two thousands. I bought my first piece of real estate. I started investing in the stock room. And I went to MBA school, right? Those what else do you do? You work hard and you do those things. So here I am. But the challenge was with real estate, is it wasn't scalable without a lot of capital or risk. And then same with investing. And then MBA school was. A waste of time. For me, at least it was just more of the same and how to climb up in the corporate ladder, which I knew I didn't really want to do. So I was in a space of just feeling a little frustrated and, trying to run all these plays and then ended up meeting some people who'd built and leveraged building online committee. I'm driving revenue that way. And they used a direct sales system and then some affiliate marketing in a way that, I was like, okay this is something that I can get into at a low cost at 24 years old and like scale and at least learn some things. And so I started to engage with that and started to create a little progress. And then through that, I actually met. The woman sitting here to my left and fell deeply in love. And that's where a side hustle story turns, love story. But as we tell people on a podcast like this, we'll save the love story for a different podcast. We'll spare you. So let me kick it over to carry it, and then she can talk. And then we'll just talk a little bit about Joe, if this is helpful, maybe what or sorry, like what we do now, and then that'll allow us to have a conversation about wherever you want to take it. Sure.Carrie Bohlig:
Yeah. And so my background is pretty different as you mentioned, my. Very liberal studies background. I really hardly even at a resume when I asserted to start side hustling. And for me, it was just this idea of. The claustrophobic claustrophobia of going into the job world and knowing like I can't travel more than a week or two a year. And just the limitations of my lifestyle, having a teacher salary, that was the field I went into. So just being pretty candid about what my options were, which were not a lot, because I didn't really have capital, I didn't have experience. I didn't really have a lot of professional skillsets coming from my background. So it was again, how do I access? People's. Who can support me and help me, people that maybe had more of the lifestyle that I wanted to create and just get in their back pocket and fight really hard to be in their inner circle and in their association. So I could learn by association. I also have a very athletic background growing up. So there's this piece of my experience, getting into a job where it's man, if I show up earlier, I love my kids that I'm teaching more. I work harder. There's no position. It there's no performance based. Compensation. And so I think for me, once I discovered entrepreneurship, especially more of a moderate way of approaching it, like we say, there's more of a spectrum. Like most people are not the mark Zuckerbergs or the Elon Musks. Most people, especially in this day and age also, aren't looking to work for someone else into their sixties or seventies. It's like this Craig calls that the ambiverts of entrepreneurship, most people have that moderate approach. And so for me leveraging that competitive nature. It was a neat option to just take some evenings and weekends, and really slowly incrementally built something out. And by the time I was in my mid twenties we'd scaled our first business to about a million in revenue. So that actually helped me make the transition. Several years later, a number of. And then we started to add an educational company, started to dabble with more affiliate marketing. But at that point we were able to then help Craig scale out of his commercial banking career. And for a number of years, we actually just banked all our business income. And we're able to say 110% of our income. We banked, which. Finance guy.Craig Clickner:
So 110% of my job income, we banked. Yes. So the whole idea was how do we build something up substantial cashflow and not have this like binary, like I'm all in or I'm all out. Like I'm going to be a business owner or nothing. And it was like, for us, no, let's create like another source of revenue. And here's maybe our biggest theme. We can give people today because if you're into real estate or investing, that's great. But you can only do so much if you make 60, 70, 80, a hundred grand a year. You got to have more than one way to make money. Like it's the 21st century stop thinking, like in a like very tunnel vision type way. So now the question just becomes what? So in our case, we built in those industries scaled, some businesses started educating, started public speaking. That led way to some more investing where we got into the real estate. Some, a little Airbnb we have now like a lake house and then some commercial real estate. And then we do a fair amount of affiliate marketing because we have great relationships with other folks. And then now we have a podcast and the chance to chase our passion projects, like writing the book, we just. Wrote, which we're lucky McGraw-Hill was willing to take a chance on us. And that the non-profit, which is a tandem giving, which supports kids in needs, but kids in need. But our main thought process was like, how do we customize and create the life that we want? How do we use entrepreneurship as a tool? I like build a great life. And I think that's where a lot of people get mixed up and, or they invest over invest when they have no experience in business ownership and a lot of different problematic areas we can start to dive into wherever you think will be most helpful for you and your audience.Average Joe Finances:
Yeah, absolutely. So I want rewind back because he was said at the beginning of. How, you can't have a job that completes you. And that kind of just really spoke to me a bit because, a lot of people feel like they're going to get this job satisfaction or this gratification out of going into a certain career field. And then they get into it and realize, man, this is not what I expected it to be. It's either a little more difficult or I'm not getting the monetary return that I thought I was going to get, in different things like. Whereas your, if you're building something yourself from the ground up, you have that pride that, that pride of ownership, exactly. So I want to touch on the fact that, so you guys both started this off as side hustles, right? So you still remained in your nine to five corporate job and your teaching job, right? Carrie and you guys did that. Building this up, right? So you started doing affiliate marketing and teaching even up to public speaking. And being able to build your network that way. So by doing this while you were still working your nine to five, you weren't putting yourselves in a spot where, your finances would be affected, you were still going to live the lifestyle for the most part. Because you were taking now a lot of your free time and putting that into your side. Yeah. Which is something similar to what I'm doing right now, as I'm finishing up my career in the Navy. I do a lot of this stuff on the side, my podcast, I'm also a real estate agent. I do that on the side and, I take a lot of my free time. I don't have that much free time right now. But the way I look at it is I'll soon retire from the Navy and be a full-time entrepreneur. And the stuff that I've built leading up to that is going to give me that head start that I need. I just wanted to touch on that, the fact that you guys continue to do, your everyday job and started these side hustles and not a lot of people have that drive or that motivation. So I just want to say congratulations for what you guys have done. That's absolutely amazing. So I'd like to talk a little bit about, what you guys do with affiliate marketing, right? And you just recently wrote a book, you said. Yep. Awesome. Congratulations. That's amazing. So can we talk about that because I do a little bit of a affiliate marketing, but probably not to the level that you all do. Can you maybe talk about like how you got started or what drove you to do a specific I guess a specific way of doing your affiliate marketing? Was there a specific niche that you guys targeted and LOC. Yeah.Craig Clickner:
So let's, we probably do it a different way than a lot of the classic might. You might say online type stuff that's being done on. So our thing was that over time we created good relationships with other business owners. And we started to be get good at referring people. And I remember I was bad at referring people initially, cause I would just be like, oh, needs a job. And this person is hiring, go talk to them, and then six months later, something there would be some issue. And so we started to become very I guess particular and vet our referrals so that when we do refer someone to another organization or someone else's business or say, even a podcast, there is a lot of gravity behind it. And people know that those folks are going to be a good fit. And so what we actually have is a lot of ad hoc relationships with different business owners that will pay us to refer people to them. But we're only referring if we actually think like they're going to get the value and it's going to be a good win for both parties.Carrie Bohlig:
And we've used the service or product. Yeah.Craig Clickner:
We've used the service or product. Yeah. We have a relationship. And so there's a lot of different examples you can give of that. But like podcasting is an example, right? If someone's on your show and you say, somehow you'd monetize your podcast in a big way, you can say, yeah, I'll give you a referral or affiliate marketing, being an affiliate for us. So there's a lot of different things that you can do, in terms of the online stuff we've set it up a little bit different where we've actually synergized with like direct sales and or network marketing, where they actually have affiliate relationships. So we can drive traffic online and get paid that way. But it's very low touch. Like extremely low touch, low margin, but low touch, but then we've created a lot of revenue that way. Going into the technical aspects might not be as helpful for people unless they really want to go that direction. But those are just some ways that we've done it. And I think most people know other small business owners and most small business owners love good referrals. And I would say. A small business owner now consider giving people affiliate type programs. So we're, co-founding a tech company right now. And we have it set up that if we have a group of affiliates, if they refer people in, we'll give them ongoing revenue for that referral. But they're just a contractor. They don't have to have this big business. Now it's a side hustle for them. One more way to make income to their streams. And everybody wins and we don't pay them anything. Unless the referral actually comes and a client pays. So it, I, there was a little section in our book, like one little part and I'm like, we could probably write an entire book just on affiliate marketing from that perspective, but that might be a little different than maybe the, some of the classic stuff that's happening online.Average Joe Finances:
Yeah, for sure. Just so you know, like I also do that to myself, so I have So the podcast editing team that I hired, they've been absolutely phenomenal and I fully onboarded them and now offer that service to other podcasters. And I actually have an affiliation link that I send out that for folks that in, that liked the service and want to bring other people in, they can get an affiliate link and then they can get paid a commission for each person that they bring in that use of the service, which is pretty awesome. So far. Yeah, that's definitely something that works, especially as you build your network, which is one of the things that, that the two of you have been doing, building these relationships, like you said, you built these relationships with these businesses and. That's one of the things that I've loved so much about what I'm doing with this podcast right now is that I get to talk to amazing guests like yourselves. And I stay in touch with all my guests after the show. Like after we stopped recording, I stay in touch because I genuinely enjoy the conversations that we have. It's not just a ploy to get people, to listen to the show. I absolutely love. Having these conversations and it's been, you can see I've been taking notes while you're talking to me, this is my little black book of knowledge. So each guest that comes on, I get these little tidbits of fantastic information. And I've already got almost a whole page from what the two of you have said. So yeah, I'm writing some notes about what you're saying, but I'm also writing notes on like different things that you're saying, Hey, this is good and everything. Absolutely. Awesome. So you guys are, building your business around building your network and building relationships, which is huge. But on top of that, you're also giving back, we talked a little bit about in your background about the philanthropy, and you had mentioned that you guys give back, was it, you said it was a children's something.Carrie Bohlig:
Yeah, so we have our nonprofit tandem giving and we've got one of the arms of that actually helps older children in the adaption process. And actually on an international level and Columbia and Eastern Europe most people, if they're looking to adapt, tend to adapt younger infants, toddlers, so older children have about a 1% chance of getting adopted. And once they age out of the system, they're honestly just out on the streets and very susceptible to the sex traffic industry, drug trade, all of that. So with some of the grants and monies that we're able to help support families who are looking to. Adapt. It actually increases the chances of about 70% for some of these children. So it's been a really neat organization to feed into. And our goal is as we build up the funds to be able to have some of that actually go towards more of an endowment fund where the interest on the money will actually create more perpetual giving. So we like to talk about ongoing income, but perpetual giving ongoing giving is also really the vision.Average Joe Finances:
Yeah. So it's almost like a compound interest effect on what you're giving back to do them. So that's awesome. So it's called tandem. I definitely want to have a tidbit of that in my show notes for anybody that wants to check it out and maybe help give a little bit to that. Cause that's amazing because, and I know this is like off topic a bit, when it comes to, children's so I have two daughters right there. They mean the world to me and. When it comes to I think about the age that they're at right now, they're a little bit older now and it's, if they were in a situation like that and, having to be stuck in foster homes or, and, different things where they're not getting the opportunity to have a loving family, there's so many children that are in their pre-teens early teens that don't get that opportunity. And that really is a shame. Programs like that kind of speak to my heart. So I just want to say that's amazing guys. Thank you for doing what you do with that. Yeah.Carrie Bohlig:
We're just getting warmed up. The vision is pretty big and like you talked about. Association for children. If people don't have a family association, so much of our success is a function of the people that we've associated with. So when children don't even have like families that have a healthy base, it's just, it's an important thing to address and try to work towards change and progress.Average Joe Finances:
Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so I'm going to try to drive it back on top of a little bit. But yeah, that is definitely that's something that we could probably have a whole other podcast episode about not necessarily on this podcast, but you guys got a lot of things you could talk about. There's probably a couple of moments podcasts you can go on and all that we were talking about that yesterday. Yeah. I want to bring it back a little bit. So what, how did you guys get started into public speaking? Like what was like your first engagement? And how did that go?Craig Clickner:
Yeah. So I think what's nice about, direct sales or the network marketing industry is you have to slowly build up and you have to start to work on your communication skills and be able to communicate effectively and answer questions and in a one-on-one setting. And so many people are very afraid of public speaking, myself included. I had a professor come up to me in college after I freaked out during a college speech and literally said, Hey, don't worry about it. Public speaking is not your thing. And now here we are like 15 years later, we speak to 20,000 people a year, in non COVID times, obviously. And it's like fun. It's no big deal. It's a strength. But the challenge for most people is they never get into an environment where they have to do it regularly. And so then they never developed the confidence. It's if you only had to drive once a year, like all day, the whole week before you're going like, oh my gosh, I got to drive tomorrow. But when you drive daily, it just becomes like this habit. And so I think a big part of public speaking is getting into an environment. And there's a lot of different small groups or networking groups, everything from be an, I don't know if they have that in Hawaii to like something less formalized to Toastmasters, to other types of organizations that you can be a part of where you just get a feel for it. And there's maybe not this high risk performance, like in a job where now you have to do this big presentation. You're nervous. It's very corporate and there's all these PowerPoints and You can't really relax. I think that's really where we got to go and then doing it over and over and over again, starts to work out the nerves. Cause most people are so freaked out that they can't actually be themselves. So you have to do it enough. You get through the nerves, then you can focus on content and not only covering. But how you deliver a message, especially in the public speaking game is just as important as the content itself. Because if you can't hold people's attention then you lose folks. So we tried to dial in, I think, pretty early on in people who were good at it and people who sucked at it and wow, Like, why do I zone out what some professors or whoever, like you can't follow them for five minutes, like why? And then other people they start talking and you're just dialed in. You could hear every word for an hour. It's like why, when you can answer those questions and start to replicate it through practice, I think a lot more people could be brilliant public speakers and oratories if they have again, if they have the environment right. And good examplesCarrie Bohlig:
and willing to put the work in. And one thing that's been really cool is We haven't really leveraged social media to build our businesses. The first decade, it was all hand to hand networking and kind of old school style grassroots, but the last two and a half. We've gotten on social media and just done a lot of video content creation. And I can say that even though I'd been speaking for many years prior to that, just like one minute clips on social media have actually helped me elevate my public speaking game in a very fun, exciting way. Maybe somebody doesn't live in a city with a speaker's bureau or like a good networking group to help them with those skills, jump on social media and start to consistently put some content out because that in itself is a really good feedback loop to just see a video clip of yourself and home the scale. And as you do that, then you can scale up. Maybe you work to do some free speaking gigs. Maybe then over time, you start to charge more. And for Craig and I, we were actually one of our most fun speaking trips was actually an invitation to Australia. Where we spoke to probably a couple thousand entrepreneurs for a weekend. But what was neat is that we were halfway across the world, really across the world. We brought our kids, all our siblings, both sets of our parents, and we don't have traditional jobs. So we said, let's take the rest of the month. It was February. Winter and Wisconsin said, let's just travel around Australia, do up New Zealand. And for me as a teacher, that was like the ultimate lifestyle I envisioned like at 22, when I was missing happy hours, I wasn't going on every camping trip weekend with my buddies. It's I want to work so hard in my twenties and build something so strong and build me but I can monetize what I know and get paid to go live out my dream and travel with my family and see beautiful places around the world. And a lot of people are thinking like widgets and products, but think about growing yourself as a product. So you can productize your knowledge over time.Average Joe Finances:
I like that. Yeah. You think of yourself as a product, and monetize your skillset. That's phenomenal. Going back to what you were talking about to Craig, watching, good public speakers and some not so good ones, you realize that you can learn something from both of them. You learn what not to do from the ones that suck at it. It's the same thing. I go through this at work as well. So being in the military, excuse me, being in the military, I often am, dealing with some. Fantastic. Phenomenal leaders and someones that are not so great. And I found that I've learned more and was able to hone my leadership style based off of the, not so good ones than the good ones. It's easy to pick apart and take successful skillsets and try to attain them as your own and use it. It's not as easy to look at what people are doing wrong and say, okay, I'm going to force myself to not be that or not. I still have trouble. Like when I'm speaking of not having these auditory pauses in there, like with my ums and AHS, and saying and and things like that, I try to be mindful of it, but I try not to let it get in the back of my mind, because if I think about it too much it'll pause me up and I'll, it'll mess me up. Going into all that, communication skills, like you said, it's super important, right? No, no matter what. No matter what field you're going into, what you're trying to do. You need to be able to communicate whether you're gonna public speak or not, whatever you're going to do as an entrepreneur, you need to be able to speak and I guess sell yourself right.Carrie Bohlig:
And even if you're like an engineer and you know how to public speak, man yourself, Increased or you're an accountant who also knows how to public speak. You can then develop into different roles that pay more. You just become so much more dynamic. Yeah.Average Joe Finances:
You're going to be the person that they go to that, that they say, Hey, we have an event coming up and we need somebody that can speak spark smartly on, on this topic. Can you help us out? And it's just another opportunity for you to showcase your. And like you said, like you guys started this off as a side gig before it became your full time job. And this is just one of the things that you guys are doing. And being able to go out and speak publicly. It's one of the things I enjoy about this podcast as well, is being able to talk to this audience, and be able to get the message out there and be able to share a message like yours. This is another opportunity, like you said, you do those little clips online and you watch yourself and you can critique yourself. I listen to all my podcasts episodes after they're recorded, even after my editing team has edited it and sent it back to me, I'll sit there and listen to it and say, this is probably something I could do better next time or, I do, I criticize myself and I take notes on myself as well, because the goal is to always get yourself a little bit better every day, because if you're doing that, you're going to be unstoppable. Okay. This is fantastic stuff. You guys, and, There's so many things I want to ask you based off of what we just talked about. Creating relationships, so I want to talk about that a little bit. So you got into public speaking, when you're talking about the network that you built, you created these relationships with these different business partners. What was it, or what drove you to be able to reach out to somebody and say, Hey, I want to work with your business. Or, I'd like to. Market your business for you and or whatever way it is that you guys do it. What is it that drove you to reach out to these folks? Because you don't just wake up one morning and say, Hey, I want to try to do some affiliate marketing and, do this with the business. There had to be some type of plan or TAC plan going into it. So what was that for you?Craig Clickner:
Yeah. So this is a pretty easy one to answer. And again, it wasn't like a, Hey, we want to do affiliate marketing. So let's go reach out to these people. What we've done is used people's services. And if the services are good, we promote the services because that's what you do when you like something. I don't care if it's a movie or a restaurant or anything, you promote it. And then when you believe in something enough, I I've gone to people. I have people who we help and it's I can sell you better than you can sell you because I love your services. And I know how to communicate because we've harnessed these other skills on the other end, we've been on the customer as the consumer. And we like have had practice communicating or business development or sales or whatever. Man, if I kick you whatever, can you share in the revenues? And we normally, we don't even approach them. They'll a lot of times approach us about it because they know we have influence and they know we're only gonna kick over. That are going to be qualified and vetted and are going to be easy for them to close and good people that they're going to be excited to work with and vice versa. But if you're just like the affiliate marketing person, who's like always sending random people, then now all of a sudden your brand drops your credibility. Isn't the same. So if I refer someone to somebody that usually there's some gravity to it in a sense that I know that person is going to follow through 80 to 90% of the time it's going to be.Average Joe Finances:
Yeah, I wrote that down. That's definitely important. Is your credibility, and something that you just said to Carrie was diluted, right? You don't want to dilute yourself by just over-saturating somebody with a whole bunch of leads that are going to amount to nothing. See the same thing in the real estate world. So for when you give referrals to other agents and nothing happens with it and you keep sending them referrals and then the person's not serious and they don't want to buy the, the next. You send a referral, that agent they're going to be like I'll pass this time, and who knows, it could be like the boy who cried Wolf, like that was going to be the one, you keep sending like these duds and that's what's going to happen. SoCraig Clickner:
the speed, you just be one thing I think we've gotten good at is just being really transparent. So I can say, Hey, here's where they're at in their journey. Like buying homes is a great example because we know someone who has a good real estate agency. We've given Marotta referrals. It's here's where they're at. Here's their prices. Here's like what you're probably working with. Here's some challenges and here's why they could be a good fit or not. You decide, or it's dude, this person's looking for the million dollar home. They've got the cash, like here's the setup. I think qualifying it, or being clear as is helpful toAverage Joe Finances:
you. Awesome. Okay. I want to cause we kinda beaten up on that a bit. I want to actually ask you guys about, when you started. Your side hustle, right? To when you got to the point where you knew you were bringing enough income in that you can leave your nine to five. So when was that for you? So I know you started in banking back in 2003 and Carrie, when did you start as a, as a. 2006. So in 2006, how longCarrie Bohlig:
did it take you guys? Seven. I traveled around, I did a little traveling before I officially settled down into the job. You gotAverage Joe Finances:
to get a good taste for what you wanted your future to be like anyway. So what, so during that time, period, how long did it take you to get to where you're at now to where you were able to leave your nine to five and be full-time entrepre?Carrie Bohlig:
For me, it took a handful of years and really Craig just had his five-year anniversary, not working. I'm not working July 1st. So that was pretty exciting. And our son happened to be born the next year on the same day. So unfortunately his retirement date gets overshadowed by the star wars, birthday parties. But. Yeah. It's been five years since I saw that. And we had a lot of Yoda stuff at my house on Friday. Yeah, it's been five years and our son has never seen Craig go to a traditional job, which is pretty remarkable. So we've been what we call like a free family in a sense. And it's not like we don't sit around and do anything. Now we get to really pick and choose like what passion projects are most important to us. When Craig transitioned, what was interesting is he could have done it sooner. But for us, he is more of a conservative banker type. Didn't want to do anything crazy, risky, but we wanted to not have to dip our lifestyle. And I think there's people who are maybe further along on the entrepreneurial spectrum that would have jumped ship from the job earlier. And that's awesome. I commend that. I think that's super cool, but it doesn't have to be immediate either. If you want to build up the security a little bit, strengthen your business or your income stream so that when you do pay. Or make that transition your lifestyle can actually increase with it, which is what happened to us. So he actually walked out of his six-figure banking career the same day. We actually closed on our dream home. So it was a pretty epic 24 hour window.Average Joe Finances:
Yeah, that soundsCraig Clickner:
amazing. Yeah, we closed on the house and in there, the bankers man, I hope you don't lose your job. This is a pretty, pretty good sized house. And we're like, both didn't even look up. Cause I was like leaving my jobAverage Joe Finances:
the next day. Yeah, a bit close on the house first, then leave your job. Don't yeah, weCraig Clickner:
took the we took the credibility of the salary for the loan, of course. But yeah, no, it was all, it was. So I think that there's a lot, we could unpack there, especially with the finances call and, having a background. I studied concentration, financial planning, did several internships in it. Like I know that space really well. And we wrote a book and we call it life set or a chapter in the book. And it's about if mindset is your way of thinking and your opinions than life set is your way of living and your choices. And so a lot of people can listen to a great podcast like this, but then they don't, what gets lost in translation is how do I apply these things? Because I'm like, okay, I need a side hustle. And then they start a lemonade stand, but it's not scalable or whatever. Or they go take out a second mortgage on their home. Cause I'm like, I'm going to be an entrepreneur and quit their job. And it's dude, can you have a sale first? So it's, sometimes it's hard to take the Gary Vaynerchuks of the world and then convert it to your lifestyle, which is one reason we say the right who and a mentor is so valuable. But in terms of life set, there's so many things you can do to set yourself up well, to succeed outside. Like in your case, you have the regular day job, you're going to probably stop at the 20 year. Mark. Is that kind of the plan with the military?Average Joe Finances:
I'm actually at 19 now and I am transferring to my final duty station next month. Yes. Now I'm either going to go there for a year and punch out or I'm going to do the full three years cause I'm up for promotion. So it just, it depends. On the inside, I want to retire next year. I just don't know if I'll be allowed to, if I only, maybe if I decline my promotion, I can, but the fact that I accepted these three-year orders, I might be forced to stay because it can deny me and say, Nope, you accepted orders. You got to fulfill your obligation. So right now I say one to three.Craig Clickner:
Perfect. So you have a plan though, right? And in doing that, you're also have your side hustles, plural that you're building up. And hopefully you have some people that are guiding you on that. If not, that would be one of our first recommendations, but the idea then is that you can start to build up these revenue streams. If you make smart financial decisions, do the 401k, do the Roth, but then stop spending money on stupid shit. If it's okay that I dropped the S H word, right? Is that stop spending money on stupid stuff or shirt, as they say in some funny shows now and don't spend money on cable. Don't buy the big screen TV, like stopped going to the big sports games. Don't have fancy vacations, put that money into running a business or real estate or whatever else. And then over time after 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 years. Something beautiful and nice. That gives you that much more security. And so we talk about making really smart financial decisions, and we can go into that at nauseum in detail, but over detail. But one of the best things you can do is just keep your lifestyle modest, because if you keep it modest, it's easier to replace your income and have financial peace of mind. Not just more. And I think a lot of people miss the boat on that and they buy the big house and especially cars are very dangerous. And we were fortunate, Booklist did a review of our book and they said that our chapter about life set and savings and buying cars should be in every high school curriculum, because we're just huge proponents of not over spending in those areas.Average Joe Finances:
There's a lot that should be part of a high school curriculum, especially when it comes to personal finances. It's actually mind boggling that you can graduate high school and you're considered to be an adult and go out and live life. When they haven't taught you any basic life skills. You don't even know how to write a check out of high school. It's absolutely insane. So there's a lot to unpack there, the first thing I want to talk about is, it's very important to have a mentor, like you said, I have several mentors that I use coaches that I've used. It's super important because it's people that help you write your path or you're on the track and they help you stay on that track. And going into it, when it comes to light, like you said, I do, I have multiple side hustles and it's all for good reason because I want to have multiple streams of income that if something fails that there's still something else there. So I've gotten myself to a point where my podcast is self-sustainable I'm not paying for anything out of pocket anymore. The thing with like businesses is yes, I have my investment accounts, I have my set amount of money that I put into my investment accounts. Every month. I have my set amount of money that I put to the side for real estate every month. But I also have a set amount of money that I invest into my own personal businesses as well. And it's gotten to the point where that's, it's, self-sustaining now where I'm not taking money. From my W2 job and putting it into the business anymore. That's it's a pretty exciting transition time for me right now, because now I know that it's going to be self-sustainable when I get out of the Navy and it's something that will be there that it's. almost a hundred percent passive at this point where I could just set it and forget it. And it makes me money in my sleep. And that's what I like about it. But it took work. It took effort. It wasn't just something that, I was able to put together and call it, call it done. It was, this past year of me just grinding and grinding. To get it to where it's at and a lot of sweat equity was put into this. And I think people don't appreciate, what we call sweat equity as much, because it's about the effort that you put into it. Sure. You're gonna have to put some money into it, but if you don't put the effort, it doesn't matter how much money you put into something. It's not, it's never going to happen if you don't put your effort and have the right mindset behind it. I want to get your book and I definitely wanna read it because that chapter about life set. Probably something that is going to be life-changing for a lot of people because sure. Having great mindset's one thing, how you apply, that is a whole other thing. And you know what you're talking about with your life set? I really liked that. I wrote that down. That's one of the things that's gonna be highlighted in my notes here as something that's super important to come back to. So yeah absolutely phenomenal. And the other thing, like you said too, is you want to build your security. And that's what I'm doing right now with my businesses too. I'm building this security, the safety net that I'm going to have, no matter what happens in the future, I've got this other safety net going on for me. And A lot of people, they'll just say, okay, I started a business. It's generating me some income and they'll leave it at that. Right now, I take all the income from my businesses and I reinvest it into the business to scale it higher and higher. I don't take any profits from any of my business right now. Try to live off of my income from the military. Plus whatever I'm putting to the side. So I try to live off of, like 60% of my income and, it's super important to, be able to do that because now I'm going to be at a point where, you know, sure. I made some decent money while I was in the military, but at the same time, when I retire, I'll be making more than I did while I was in. And that's just something that, it'll be a whole lifestyle change. So I'm pretty excited about.Carrie Bohlig:
I love it. Congrats. Congrats on that. And thanks for your service also.Average Joe Finances:
Yeah, thank you. I appreciate that. But, thank you for what you guys are doing because you guys are on your own journey, but on top of that you're giving back and, I always love when I have a guest on that isn't talking about just themselves and they're talking about giving back. You guys going on different podcasts and sharing your story. That's also giving back because you're giving other people an opportunity to check out what you're doing and learn from you, so that they can maybe do something that changes their life. that's one of the other things that I'm all about. Like I'm in the lifestyle, change your life business. And, that's the whole point of this show and many other podcasts out there similar to this that, they bring awesome people on that can help shape and change people's lives. And you guys are definitely doing. Again, we appreciate all that you do. But I want to ask you now, too, because now we've got like the whole story about how you got started, and how you transitioned from your nine to five jobs to being full-time entrepreneurs. What do you enjoy the most about, about that? That you don't have to go to a nine to five anymore and that you're, fully self-served. So like what is it that you enjoy the most about.Carrie Bohlig:
I mean for me, I think just not getting that pit in my stomach Sunday nights, or, like every day is a Friday, basically every day's a Saturday. I love Mondays. And it's interesting. So many people hate Mondays and that's like a seventh of your life. That's a big time. So just like being willing to create the life you want. A lot of people have big frustrations while focus on big solutions and get busy and build sweat equity, put hard work and build your well before you need it. Hearing your story, Mike it's like you had a sense of urgency, even though you make good money in the military. You don't need the income yet. Clearly your lifestyle is sufficient with what you make from your plan A but anyone on the listening end of this, have a sense of urgency and what we did in our twenties completely set up our thirties and our lifestyle, our whole life really well. Let's set up our whole life. I just haven't experienced my forties yet, but.Average Joe Finances:
Yeah, you got, you guys definitely started much younger than me and you're definitely in a good spot, but one thing you just said that I want to point out, which I thought was huge, is focused on big solutions, right? Yeah. Absolutely. Cause if if you're not planning your life five to 10 years in advance, then what are you doing? Are you just waking up and living every day and saying, okay, we'll see what tomorrow brings. You need to plan, you need to have big solutions or this picture of grander that your future, like what your life is going to be in the future. If you don't have some type of foundation like that, you're not gonna, you're not going to push yourself. You need to set dates.Carrie Bohlig:
Yeah, absolutely. And then the other thing I would say is just having fluidity in terms of the roles. There's a lot of stay-at-home parents, there's a lot of working parents. There's like a great divide. But I think it's neat to have fluidity of being able to be a full-time parent, but also be an entrepreneur, get on a zoom call and talk to a bunch of entrepreneurs and train them in and empower them and then go read books to my kids and put them to bed, or, just have that option every day on how I want to carve and create. My role, I think is just a real blessing and an honor, and I'm grateful that I've been able to create that in my life because I think it's hard to be like very fixed in terms of our role.Craig Clickner:
Yeah. The best way I can describe it. It's if do you ever, when you were a kid, those of us in the Midwest or north Midwest would have this, but you can relate maybe on a holiday where you wake up and you get ready to go to work or you get ready to go to school. And then you realize, oh man, it's labor day. I don't have to go to school today. And you're just like, or like we had snow days, it was like, you'd go to bed and be like, oh, I hope it's a snow day. And then there'd just be, all this snow in school would be canceled. It's like that feeling of man, I can do whatever I want with my day. And I think that is the feeling that you can have every day. If you've customized and built a life and set yourself up to, to be able to actually authentically create it. And there's a lot of things worth fighting for, I think that buying back your life is a worthy and a noble cause. And I think the world is a better place. If more people wake up and get to do what they love doesn't mean you retire from life. You just retire from having to work for someone else to need the money. And we highly recommend pursuing that for most people. And it's it's been such a great and rewarding experience for us, for sure.Average Joe Finances:
You're claiming your time back, you're getting that freedom and the way I look at it is I don't plan to like, I'm going to retire from the Navy, and even when I fully retire, it's not that I'm going to, I'm never going to consider myself. Retired, I'm going to consider myself financially independent and living how I want to live. I get to wake up and choose what I want to do with my life. And that, that's the whole part of financial freedom, right? Is the actual freedom part, the freedom to be able to do what you want to do. And, sometimes I'll take a couple, days off work or I'll take a week or two off work and I'll just live the life that I know I'm going to live outside of the military. And I'm like, okay. So I build out my plan for the week, like what I'm going to do with my business, with them and deal with real estate who I'm going to call, what follow-ups I need to do and just picture what it's going to be like. And I'm like I didn't have to get up at four 30 or five o'clock in the morning today. I was able to get up a little bit later. I was able to get some coffee and go work out before I even started my day. That is fantastic. I can't wait for this to be reality. So it's little things like that motivate me and keep pushing me towards, this goal. And going back to what you said to Carrie about fluidity, that's super important because We homeschool our kids, right? So we need to have fluidity because things change on a dime like that. And the wonderful part about being able to homeschool our kids, especially with my current career in the military. That when I get the opportunity to take time off, I don't have to worry about whether or not my kids can have off of school. Oh yeah. You can have off school. We're your teachers done, but we do year round schooling. We, they don't get like a summer vacation and it's easy to do in Hawaii because we live in endless summer. Right now, going back to what you're saying about being from the Midwest, I grew up in long island, New York. So I know what it's like to have that snow day and wake up and look outside and be like, yes, until you, watch the news at all, the schools are closed except for yours. that was always a disappointment, but there was days where did close and and there was something very liberating about that, that, even from your childhood that you could bring into adulthood, if you set yourself up correctly and you set these goals and you have your goal oriented and you have the right mindset, you can set yourself up to where that freedom becomes reality for the rest of your life. And, you don't need to look at the traditional, I'm going to retire at 65 any more, it, you don't even have to even worry about that word retirement. You should just focus on freedom and being financially independent. That's the gist I'm getting out of this conversation with you guys. And I absolutely love it. I love your mindset. I love where you guys are at and everything that you're doing. So I want to ask you. One more important question. All right. So this is for the audience right now. This is for somebody who's listening and they just got themselves out of debt and they're working at a nine to five that they don't really like, and they want to start a side hustle and maybe start building their business so that they could eventually leave that nine to five job. Are there any tips or tricks that the two of you would recommend,for them to start looking at the very beginning.Craig Clickner:
Yes. The first goal should be, what do you want your side hustle to accomplish? So we say there's an epidemic of people starting side hustles, but there's a epidemic of people not finishing them. And we want to teach you, but how to finish, the only way you can finish is when you know what finishing looks like. So does that mean you want to create $2,000 in extra income a month? You need $50,000 in passive income, or do you want to build something up? Like the tent company we're playing around with? I like to say like the goal is to build that to $50 million business and flip it in five or six years. So those are like all different goals. And so if you don't know what kind of life you want to live. So this is an important question because a lot of people, so what do I do? What do I do? What do I do? No. Take a step back and be like, how do I want to live? Who do I want to be? Be like, what kind of person do I want to be? Start to map that out. We call it a life vision, and we have a downloadable of how to put that together on our website. And then now take a step back and be like, okay, what, how does my side hustle fit into that? Then I can identify the right vehicle and the right side hustle and the right people who have the lifestyle that I want to manifest. And so if you take a little bit more of a global perspective first and then drill down into what does the site us all need to do that allows you way more ability to actually succeed in, finish it, versus just start it. And one of the things that we like to teach people how to do is how to evaluate businesses because most people are stuck being trained, how to evaluate them. We've been trained how to evaluate products. Very few people have been trained how to evaluate a business system or a model. And again, we have in the book, like some spots where you can actually start to rack and stack different business options. Do I want to be an agent? Do I want to do buy and hold or do I want to do commercial real estate? So these are like just within real estate, several different options. So I think people need to start thinking about what capital do I have? Where do I want to go? What do I want to accomplish? What am I willing to risk? And then that starts to give you a little bit more parameters around that. And then I don't know if you want to add anything of course, to your top recommendation for someone.Carrie Bohlig:
Yeah. We talked about sweat equity, Mike. I think it's also figuring out what is the right work and where should the bulk of your time be going? Because a lot of times, side hustlers, they're excited about the fun, easy stuff and stuff they like, right? Yeah. There's stuff that comes naturally and that's easy. It doesn't have a lot of resistance. Mentally emotionally or physically for them. So it's maybe like getting the business card set up or getting the website, things that kind of feed their self image and make them puff out their chest. Yeah, I am legit. I'm a business owner now, but what actually helps you is like getting your first sale, focusing on networking, learning the skills to network. There's all these things that like might just. Tougher climb for people, but really makes the biggest difference in creating revenue and over time net profit. And so I urge people as we talk about coaching, like having someone who has a Bleacher seat on their life vision to Craig's point, as well as their current set of skills. And what is the gap analysis on areas they're going to need to grow and really find point areas that are going to need the most amount of their investment to create, to yield the most. And actually create the wins and the end game for. And then just changing the mindset too often, people put way more emphasis on the short term. I think social media exacerbates it because we see the sexy highlight reels. Entrepreneurship is glorified, but the actual day-to-day of business ownership, isn't always easy. It's a grind and so many ways. So being willing to prime your mindset around doing work for long enough, And long enough, so you can actually reap the rewards of what you built. A lot of people do enough work in the early stages, but they don't stay around long enough to capture the winds because they just go chase another business. Cause it looks easier or shinier or greener on the other side. So being willing to like anchor yourself in something. And that's why I think as Craig was talking about that deeper upfront analysis of what is the right, what will help you make a good decision on choosing a business environment versus just dabbling in a bunch of things, but then chronically be happening from one business to the next and not actually being patient enough to do the work for long enough.Average Joe Finances:
Absolutely. That was like a fantastic last tidbit, and I just, I want to touch on that a little bit because, and I normally don't elaborate on that last question, but I want to for this, because There was something you said carry too. It was about like the grass. Isn't always greener. And a lot of people think, okay, I'm going to start my business. Everything's great. I got my website up. It's like all these little things that kind of feed your ego and you feel like things going great. And then you start looking at your website, then you start looking at the status. Why am I getting no traffic? How come nobody, I have an awesome product, or I have this and I have that. Why does nobody want any of this? Because what are you doing to attract people to you? What kind of work and sweat equity are you putting into it? If you're just building it and you think that this is like the field of dreams where you could build it and they will come, that's not how it works in real life. So you have to put in that effort and. I that's why I really appreciate how you guys really finish that off, because that is super important that, the grass is not always greener. And like you said, entrepreneurship is very glorified and it's a lot of times over-exaggerated. Cause I know. With my self on social media, when I post certain things, like I will over-exaggerate things, but, it's, to me, it's important because it's building that brand and building that image. But at the same time, I talk about all the work that goes into it and you see a lot of people don't do that. They'll just be like, oh yeah, look, I did this. I've got this much in sales. I got this, I got that. But you don't see the behind the scenes, you don't see all the effort and all the sweat and, breaking back that they're doing to get there. And that's super important that people understand that you can't just, create something overnight unless you create some type of product that is amazing. And it goes viral. Hey, if you do awesome, congratulations, but not everybody can do that. You have to build from the bottom. And take steps and take baby steps. And so you get to the point where you're walking, you go from crawling walking to running to sprinting, to completing a marathon.Carrie Bohlig:
there are exceptions, but don't bank on being the exception.Average Joe Finances:
Absolutely. Because if you do, it'll never happen for you now, it may happen. That's great. But if not, if you keep grinding and you keep putting the effort, eventually it's going to pay out. And if you realize that you're doing something and you're putting in all this effort and it's not paying out, you need to reevaluate, see what you need to change, or maybe you just need to get out of that altogether. All right. Craig and Carrie, this has been absolutely phenomenal. I really enjoyed this conversation so much. Now there's going to be people that want to know more about you guys and what you're all about and what you're doing. So where can people find more information about you? Do you have a website you can share with us social media. I know you guys have a podcast. I'd love to hear about that. Please share away with everything that you've got.Carrie Bohlig:
Yeah, take it away. Yeah. Our website is tandemconsulting.co. We've got a lot of those links and freebies like the evaluator or the life vision doc, if people want to leverage that in any way that also has links to our book on all the major platforms and feeds it's called. So you want to start a side hustle? That's the title of the book? We're pretty active on LinkedIn. I do a lot of weekly content Craig's on there. Putting out a lot of good stuff and then we've got Instagram @tandem.consulting. So we're around we're on all the major channels. So if we can be of any support or help to people that's our vision and our overall goal and podcast is tandem talks and it's all about entrepreneurship and cool things. Interesting ideas, important mindsets to help people, especially from people who have legitimately scaled, large businesses.Average Joe Finances:
Awesome. Hey Craig and Carrie. I just want to say thank you again so much for taking time to chat with me today. I'm going to make sure I have all those links in the show notes. So for everybody that's listening, you can either click it, or if you're driving, take the mental note of what they just said of where to go and how to check it out and maybe pull it up later and go check it out. This has been phenomenal. You guys are both a wealth of knowledge and I really genuinely enjoyed this conversation.Craig Clickner:
Thanks, Mike. Appreciate it. And congrats on all your success and everything you've done. And also from my side, appreciate the service. So keep it rolling, man. We're looking forward to seeing you do some big things.Average Joe Finances:
Thank you so much, guys. Aloha.