Ask Me Anything with Sam Vander Wielen
Have you ever wanted to have your business, legal, or even personal questions answered directly by me? That’s what we’re doing here, where I opened up my Instagram to your burning questions. I was asked about HIPAA, the differences between business entities, how I repurpose my email content, branding tips, and more!
In this episode, you’ll hear…
- Is it legal for a W2 job to say that you can’t open your own practice if you’re offering the same service?
- Do you need HIPAA for a coaching or consulting business?
- What’s the difference between consulting and coaching, and how does that relate to legal or contracts?
- The top 3 differences between the most popular entities
- How I repurpose my email content
- How to make a Ginger Apple Moscow Mule
- Do I ever want to write a book?
- Tips for creating an icon or logo for branding
- What to do if you know a business is operating outside of its scope of practice
- Personal question lightning round – grief, food, and more!
Thank you to Sharon R. for leaving a review for On Your Terms! Sharon wrote: “I am new to Sam. Her work was offered as part of my coaching certification process. I have been binging on content ever since! My shoulders have dropped, I can breathe and feel educated. All that I’ve learned so far has been an absolute gift. This part of building a business is what I resist the most. The calm and clear manner in which Sam shares your “to do” list makes it feel very easy. Like a really good friend holding you accountable! Thank you Sam!”
If you’d like a shoutout (and a chance to win a $20 gift card), just leave a review on Apple Podcasts and send a screenshot of it to me on Instagram via DMs!
What’s the difference between consulting and coaching, and how does that relate to legal or contracts?
How do you know which contracts to use if you’re a coach or consultant?
The biggest difference between coaching and consulting comes down to what you actually do in your business. A consultant is an expert that gets paid to provide an opinion. A coach, on the other hand, is there to collaborate, guide, and give tips, but not tell people what to do. It’s about giving someone the skills to make better decisions themselves. You would want similar types of insurance, but there are specific insurance providers for consultants because you are giving them more specific advice, but your contracts would likely be the same.
What are the top 3 differences between the most popular business entities?
Entities are types of business structures that you choose when registering your business. The most popular are LLCs, sole proprietorships, or corporations. The level of personality liability you are exposed to is one of the big differences. A sole proprietorship leaves you personally responsible for whatever happens in your business, and leaves you financially liable, while an LLC leaves you with limited liability. Another difference is how you can grow your business, such as raising capital or taking on a second owner. And the last difference is the registration process, varying from logistics to cost.
What’s the best way to create a logo or brand icon?
I take branding pretty seriously, but I think most people go about it the wrong way. Some people say not to worry about branding at first, and while it’s true you shouldn’t wait to get everything perfect before you launch your business, you should lean into the opportunity to use branding to show people what your business is all about. You want to think about what kind of feeling you want to denote and what makes the people you want to work with feel welcome, and from there develop your colors and your fonts and logos.
This is just a sampling of some of the answers I give, so make sure you listen to the whole episode to hear it all!
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Listen to the show on your favorite podcast player and be sure to follow, and leave a review to help introduce the show to more online business owners just like you!
Resources Discussed in This Episode
- Get Sam’s Weekly Legal Q&A Emails: samvanderwielen.com/easy-emails
- Ginger Apple Moscow Mule: halfbakedharvest.com/ginger-apple-moscow-mule
- Episode 10. What Your Website Needs to Be Legally Legit
- Episode 65. How to Build an Email List (with & without freebies!)
If you’re ready to legally protect and grow your online business today, save your seat in my free workshop so you can learn how to take the simple legal steps to protect the business you’ve worked so hard to build. Click here to watch the free workshop so you can get legally legit right now!
Sam Vander Wielen: Hey there, and welcome back to On Your Terms podcast. I’m your host, Sam Vander Wielen. I’m an attorney turned entrepreneur who helps online coaches and service providers legally protect and grow their businesses using my DIY legal templates and my Ultimate Bundle program.
On this show, each week I bring you fresh legal tips on how to legally protect your business, and I’d even teach you how to grow that business on your terms. I’m so excited because today we’re doing a little Q&A session. We have some legal questions, some personal, some business, so I’m really excited to dive into all the questions that you submitted. It was so fun reading through them.
Speaking of Q&As by the way, do you get my weekly Q&A series called Sam’s Sidebar yet? So every single Thursday, I email my email list with a reader’s question that’s been submitted, and it’s typically some really good topic that everybody else is like yeah, I was wondering about that too.
Like what kind of stuff do I need to copyright in my business? And what do I need to know about scope of practice if I’m a coach? Or last week, I dove into talking about whether you need business insurance if you have an LLC. So, you can actually sign up for my weekly Q&A series, Sam’s Sidebar, in the link in the show notes. I have an easy sign up link below where you can sign up to get all my emails but not go through a whole ton of marketing emails, so I figured you’d probably like that.
So, before we hop into the first question here, I have to give a listener shout out to Sharon R. who left or review the show on Apple. Sharon said I am new to Sam. Her work was offered as part of my coaching certification process. I’ve been bingeing on her content ever since my shoulders have dropped, I can breathe and I feel educated. All that I’ve learned so far has been an absolute gift. This part of building a business is what I resist the most. The clear and calm manner in which Sam shares your to do list makes it very easy, like a real good friend holding you accountable. Thank you, Sam.
Well, thank you, Sharon for leaving that review. And if you leave a review in Apple podcast of my show On Your Terms, you’ll be entered to win a $20 Starbucks gift card. All you have to do is leave a review. I pick a new winner every single month, so be sure to leave yours now.
So with that, let’s hop into the Q&A. All right. Let’s start with a couple of good legal ones that were submitted through Instagram. So, the first question that was submitted is, is it legal for a W2 job to say that you can’t open your own practice if you’re offering the same service? That is such a good question.
And yes, technically it is legal for your job. So when someone says a W2 job, they mean working for someone else. You’re an employee. You’re receiving a paycheck. So yes, it technically is allowed. It’s just that there are still rules around it, right. So you would have had to have signed a non-compete agreement. That would have had to been proper that the agreement itself would have to be proper.
Oftentimes, it’s a lot of what I used to do as a corporate lawyer, there would be like non-competes that were way too broad or too long of a time period, too far of a distance of miles. So, that’s something to consider. You can always consult with a business attorney near you to see if they could take a look at your employment contract and see if there’s something in it that prohibits you. But they can’t just say it, it would more have to be something that you’ve signed agreeing to that. So yes, it’s perfectly legal to do that, it’s just whether or not they did it correctly and whether they have it in writing.
Okay. We also have Lauren submit a question on Instagram saying, HIPAA, it’s required for my job now, but do I need it for a coaching or consulting business? This is such a good question and it’s when I get a lot of questions in general about HIPAA.
So HIPAA is a privacy law in America and it does apply to certain kinds of entities, right, what they call covered entities. And it’s not clear that health coaches, for example, would fall under what would be considered a covered entity like a doctor or a nurse, maybe an RD, or nutritionist or something might fall under that.
So, the way that I always think about this is first and foremost, you can always seek your own legal advice from a health care attorney near you to see if what you do in your business falls under a covered entity under HIPAA, so that’s one thing. The other thing is that I think if you’re a health coach, then you shouldn’t technically be in possession of personal health information, so PHI is the stuff that’s covered by HIPAA, so lab results, medical exams, those kinds of things.
Since you’re not able to review those and give advice or feedback as I talked about recently in my Scope of Practice episode, which I’ll link to below, but I actually have two Scope of Practice episodes. So you want to check this out too to learn more about what I’m talking about.
But in general, the way that I always think of it is like, well, if you’re not, if it’s not within your scope to have those records, then why even take possession of them. And then if you don’t take possession of them, then HIPAA doesn’t apply because you’re not actually taking in people’s information. Like you’re not taking their documents.
Now, if you’re collecting personal health information from your clients, then that is something where you would need to figure out am I a covered entity under HIPAA? Do I fall under HIPAA of somebody who has to comply with it? And if so, then even like the intake of information would be covered by that, right, and that would require that you have to be compliant with HIPAA.
I tend to find most often whenever I’ve looked into this that people in our industry generally don’t fall under HIPAA. Wide and out, I think it’s the smart thing to do is to keep people’s information safe and secure. And I also think it’s smart to not collect any information that you absolutely don’t need and also not to collect any information that’s not within your scope of practice. You know what I mean?
Okay, cool. We also had questions submitted by Lauren on Instagram that said what’s the difference between consulting versus coaching? Is there anything different for legal or contracts? That’s a really good question, Lauren.
So, on the one hand, I think that there’s a difference between coaching and consulting in like the actual act of doing that of like coaching or consulting. So, I actually talked about this a little bit in the Scope of Practice part two episode which we have the link for below.
But the difference between coaching and consulting in my mind is that a consultant is an expert who gets paid to offer an opinion, to basically offer a quick judgment when given a set of information or because they’re an industry leader and they have a special expertise or something like that and so people can just like call upon them, ask for their quick input, and then move on, right. Or you come in you look at a project, you give advice, and you move on. So, that’s the way that I tend to think of consulting.
When it comes to coaching, I think of a much, much different role. So I think of coaching as a collaborator or somebody who’s supportive, who’s guiding somebody through something, who’s giving educational tips. But the main difference to me between a coach and consultant is that a coach is actually not supposed to tell people what to do, both because it’s a different type of a job but also for scope of practice reasons.
Instead, we’re really helping people to like self-actualize, right. So we’re helping them to learn so that they develop the skills to be able to form better habits, make healthier decisions like whatever it is. So that to me is the biggest difference between a coach and a consultant.
In terms of whether then there is anything different, legally speaking, I would say that probably the type of business insurance you would get, you would probably still have some sort of professional liability, policy of some sort, but you can get specific policies for consultants because the type of information that they’re giving is considered to be more unique, I guess, and could have a higher stake because you’re telling people what to do versus working with people and coaching them through something.
So that would be one area that I would think about it. You would probably use very similar contracts. I can’t see why you would use any different. The main difference I can think of is just that you would refer to yourself differently in the contracts. Instead of you being a coach, you would refer to yourself as a consultant. And you would also want to be clear about what you’re being hired for, right.
So a coach is not being hired to tell people what to do versus the consultant might be being hired to issue a specific opinion about something. So that’s really where I would think about that difference. So I hope that answer was helpful.
Okay. So another great question submitted on Instagram from Your Free Spirit. She asked what are the top three differences between the most popular entities? So entities or types of businesses, so it’s just like the type of business structure that you choose when you register your business. So, an LLC, sole proprietorship, corporation, that kind of stuff, partnership.
So there are many, many differences between these. I would say that the one biggest difference are definitely liability, like the level of liability and personal liability that you’re exposed to. So, if you form a sole proprietorship, for example, you have absolutely no personal liability protection, which means that you’re personally responsible for whatever happens in your business, and you can be financially liable for it to, right.
An LLC gives you what’s called limited personal liability protection which means that as long as you essentially behave yourself and act like an LLC, which I teach people how to do in the Bundle, then the actions of the business don’t become your personal liability or responsibility, right. So, I would say that that like personal liability piece is definitely one of the biggest differences.
Another big difference would be how much you could like grow your business. Like if you wanted to raise capital, for example, and the kind of business that you’re building, you can’t do that with a sole proprietorship. If you wanted to take on another owner, you can’t do that with a sole proprietorship. You can only ever own it by yourself. So there are like a couple of things like that that tend to just make it so that like this business type doesn’t work for you.
And I would just say that the last difference would be the registration process of these different entity types. Like LLCs can sometimes have an additional step. In some states, they’re a little bit more expensive. In some states, a lot bit more expensive. It depends really, but some of the like logistics, I suppose of registering them make them a little different.
But to me, they’re like it’s no brainer that there’s just the biggest difference by far is the fact that sole proprietorships don’t come with any personal liability protection. And so it’s tough to justify like why they even go down that road unless you’re doing a business where you’re not selling anything or offering any services. So that’s that.
I do see that you put in your question submission whether one of the differences was taxes. And I just wanted to clear that up, because sole proprietors and LLCs are actually taxed the same when you initially form them and you don’t elect to be taxed otherwise. So like just by default in America, sole proprietors and single member LLC owners, by default are taxed through a system called pass through taxation, which is essentially where the profits of the business are just reported on your personal income tax return, your 1040.
So if your business has $60,000 in profit, that’s what’s reported on your personal income tax return, regardless of whether you’re a sole proprietor or whether you’re a single member LLC. Because when you are a single member LLC and you don’t do anything otherwise, you are taxed what’s called a disregarded entity. It’s a bunch of legal and tax mumbo jumbo for saying your taxes and individual essentially. So, you’re actually taxed the same way as the sole proprietor unless and until you choose to become an S Corp.
So S Corp is not a type of business entity in this case. What we’re normally talking about here with our kinds of businesses is that people elect to be taxed as an S Corp. So they still have an LLC, your business itself is still an LLC but for taxation purposes, you ask the government both state and federal to tax you as an S Corp.
So it’s a way to save money once you have started generating a lot of profit. And it gets you out of having to pay self-employment taxes, which is like 15, 16 percent on the entirety of your business profits. And instead, you’re only paying that on what you’re paying yourself.
With S Corps, you do have to go on payroll and you have to get like a reasonable salary and there are a bunch of things or some setup costs. I definitely would not ever set up an S Corp taxation by yourself. That is something you should only ever do with CPA assistance. It’s very complicated. There are a lot of like paperwork and all this kind of stuff.
It can be done. Don’t worry about that part. It’s like it’s easy for them. What I mean is that it’s very complicated for us and the states don’t make it, some states don’t really make it easy. And there’s just a couple of little like fees to set up. And when I started this several years ago, it was like I had to get ADP and start paying for payroll and all that kind of stuff. So it’s just something to consider. It’s a conversation for you to have with your CPA as your business grows and definitely as your profits grow.
Total Healing and Wellness submitted a question on Instagram asking if I repurpose my emails. So I wouldn’t say, maybe I wouldn’t say that I do. I guess I was going to say I don’t do it directly, but I guess we kind of do because I take many of our emails, the team takes many of our emails and turns them into blog posts where it makes sense.
So for example, on Thursdays, I write legal Q&A emails to my entire list, where I’m really, the e-mail itself is like super valuable. The email itself is like a blog post. So we’re taking the content from that and we’re turning that into a post. If I have like a more personal one or something, maybe we do, maybe we don’t, but I try to think of content, taking that content, and taking it to like the blog somewhere that SCO will work for me. WSen the content itself kind of lends itself to to doing that, if that makes sense.
The other thing I would say that, I use it for – well, so I’ll tell you what I used to do when I was by myself and then what we do now having a team. So when I was by myself, the way that I kind of thought of this was that the email was essentially the cornerstone piece of content. And then I would take that and I would take little pieces of it and break out into social media post. So I thought that that was like a nice flow.
I think a lof times people will write social media posts and write emails and write a million other things or they write social media posts, then try to turn that into an email. To me, I want like the thing that’s the most important thing that’s going to reach the most people too, because you’re going to reach people more directly through your email list than you will through social in my opinion.
So I like to think of like making that kind of the star of the show, right. I spend the most time kind of figuring out the email and then you take the pieces of that and make it translate for social media. I wish I saw more people kind of doing it that way, whereas I feel like right now what I see is like everybody’s putting all their original content into social media. But I really just think with what’s going on with showing people stuff and like videos and all of that, especially when we’re talking like static posts on Instagram, I think you should be taking your emails and making them post there.
Yeah, now that we have the team, very similar, idea. I think the helpful thing with like the kind of business that I have and maybe this is true for you too, is that I’m writing about legal stuff. And so I still I write all my emails. I write all that kind of stuff. And so I can write all that legal stuff and then people who, my team who aren’t lawyers, can take that information and they can turn that into like really helpful social media posts.
So one thing that could be really cool for your business now and moving forward is that whoever you hire to help you with social media or VA or something, they’re probably not going to have the subject matter knowledge about what you do. And so it’s a cool way to do it where if you’re writing valuable emails, they can then take pieces of those emails and turn them into social posts without having to learn everything about legal or health and wellness or money or whatever. So, that’s a way I would think about it.
Also, I’ll make sure that I link down below to the two email list building episodes that I’ve done lately about how to build your list and what to email them, because with those episodes I do go into like how do I come up with content ideas and what do I email, what do I do from there. So I’ll make sure I drop those below too.
So we had another Instagram question asking me, actually we had several asking me what’s this apple cinnamon drink thing that you’re always sharing. So I’m going to drop the link below, but this is actually a ginger apple spice Moscow mule from Half Baked Harvest, the food Blogger. And I really, really love this Moscow Mule because it uses apple cider and fresh lime juice and ginger beer of course.
I’m really obsessed with Betty Buzz, my friend Rochelle Fresen, who was on the podcast before. She told me about Betty Buzz and so ever since then I order Betty Buzz Ginger beer. It is the best I’ve ever had. It’s really really good, pretty natural too. And so I use that. And then I use like pomegranate arils and like pieces of apple and apple butter. It’s like there are a couple of steps to it.
But I’ve also made this recipe and I’ll link to it so you have the actual one. I’ve also made it like I didn’t have apple butter in the beginning of the season like the first time I made I made it. And I just put a couple of apples into the bottom of my cocktail shaker and I kind of modeled them a little bit so that I have like fresh apple taste and then I used apple cider. I think I muddled maybe some of the pomegranate seeds as well. When you put like a cinnamon stick in it and the whole thing is just awesome.
Even if you don’t drink alcohol at all, this is an awesome drink without it, you don’t need it. Ryan always makes fun of me because I think you’re technically supposed to put like two ounces of vodka in this drink or any Moscow mule and I always put like probably half of an ounce, I put like a splash essentially. I just don’t drink that much. It like I could take it or leave it, so I’m just like whatever. I’d rather have more of the apple cider, to be honest, or the Betty Buzz ginger beer.
The other thing I just have to tell you is if any of you like Moscow mules, you have to make a Moscow mule with fresh grapefruit juice, lime juice and then the Betty Buzz ginger beer. That is crazy good. That’s like my favorite combination. I make that all the time. More so in the summer, but it’s still really good.
All right. A question we had submitted on Facebook was do I ever have an idea to write a book? Yes, I do. I’m actually working on one right now. I’m working on the book proposal, so I am working on it. You can hold me accountable. Please tell me if you’re going to read it when it comes out. It will be about business. It will be about helping you to build a business and doing so on your terms.
But yes, I am going to write one. I’m just going to keep saying because like yes, it’s going to happen. I’m going to have one that comes out. It’s like a huge huge dream of mine, so I hope I make it happen.
Another question was do you have any tips for creating a logo or an icon for branding? That’s a really good question. So I am somebody who takes branding pretty seriously. And it’s funny, like I always see people saying like don’t worry about branding, like forget branding.
And I think like everything, you have to take these pieces of advice with grains of salt, because I think that there’s a balance between people who get a little stuck on branding and kind of try to design all their branding stuff, and like try to get it perfect before they’ll launch their business. And I don’t think we have to do that.
At the same time, I think you really have an opportunity when it comes to branding to give people an idea of really what you’re all about and conote like a certain feel, a vibe. Yeah, I don’t know. I just think it like it creates some sort of experience because the way that I always think about this is like we have online businesses, right.
And if we had a bakery like you could make your bakery sign really cool and like the font could be super cool. And you could like play with texture and use different colors. And you could decorate the window of your bakery and you could make it smell amazing obviously when people walk in. And you can make the inside super cute and the employees, aprons could be really cute. And you would have all these opportunities.
And I think like as an online business owner, I don’t think it’s true that you should just be like who cares about branding, just start sell, sell, sell. It’s like yeah, but people want to work with other people. They want to work with a brand who they can identify with and who makes them feel welcome and like they’re a part of it and like they want to be a part of it.
And so I know that, at least for me, this was very intentional on my part, every selection of every color, every font. Well, super intentional on my part is to like how, what kind of feeling I wanted it to conote to somebody who was coming into my “bakery” for the first time, right.
So I would say the reason I’m saying that is because the logo and icon thing kind of comes from all of that, right. So I think like working on the colors if you have that already, and the fonts have that already, and then deciding what kind of logo you’d like.
For me, I wanted something that was hand drawn that was original and I wanted something that had a couple of different assets mixed into one that kind of gave you a quick flavor of what my brand is all about. So my main logo is like a circle with a contract and a pen, like somebody writing on the contract and a cup of coffee and then it has my name.
So that was very intentional on my part because I wanted first of all to like show the contracts to say like this is what we sell. But the whole idea was that it’s just kind of like comfy called Cozy coffee shop vibe. And that’s where I came up with the idea for having that kind of logo. So that was kind of born out of first conceptualizing some of the deeper branding questions.
I think sometimes people think branding is just like the colors and the fonts, which is true, but that comes from the deeper conversation of like how do I want people to feel? What kind of values do we have? Like all of that kind of stuff. And then I think a logo or an icon could be built from that. One just like icon logo tip that I do have though, is to make sure you have a main logo made and then that you have some sub logos made or one sub logo that’s made in different colors.
So for me, I had like my main logo and then I had a sub logo made for in every branding color. So I have one that’s like black and white, but then I have one in every branding color. Those have been super helpful because I use those unlike freebies and on presentations and on social posts, and like all that kind of stuff. So you can do that.
And then if you have products or services that do end up becoming a little bit popular, I like the idea of creating logos for them too. So I have one for the Ultimate Bundle and I have one for my legal foundations pack, and all that kind of stuff. So that’s something you can consider. And then if you want, if you think it’s important, you could trademark your business’ logo as well. That would be something to consider.
All right. Christina said, what do you do if you know a business is working outside of their scope of practice? The obvious answer is to report them to whatever regulated governing body, right. It seems unethical not to. They could be causing harm. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
That is a really good question, Christina. I mean this I would say is personal preference versus like feeling obligated because you’re not wrong, right. Like there’s no, you’re not wrong about saying if somebody’s outside their scope, you report them to like the right governing body. You’re free to do that, obviously.
So I think it’s more of like a personal choice. I certainly see people acting outside scope all the time. I think if like something, if you saw something was like truly harmful, there’s like one like person in the medical field that I thought of years ago that I was like I really think this person should be reported because they were providing services like procedures, like performing procedures on people that I don’t think – and they were kind of marketing themselves as a doctor, but they’re not a doctor.
Sometimes people will really loosely use that term depending on what program they went to, or they’ll refer to themselves as a physician and they’re not like an MD or DO so it’s interesting. So that was I can think of like one case where I did feel like that because of the kind of like procedure element. Not to say that if they weren’t performing procedures, you couldn’t do it. It’s just that’s kind of the thought process that I went through.
I would say that in general, one thing I thought of when I saw your question was just that as we go forward in our businesses, you’re going to see a lot of people doing things that are outside of scope of practice. You’re going to see people do things that you think are unethical, or you’re going to see people like making grandiose claims like there’s just going to be all kinds of stuff.
And I know for me, I was in that place for a while, but then I felt like I had to just kind of put my blinders on and keep my head down and keep going. And that I didn’t want to give them the energy, so I would rather have the energy to spend in my own business. But you do you, you do whatever you think is best. And if you think someone’s being harmed, obviously go for it, right? Like you do whatever you think you need to do to protect people if that’s what you think is right.
All right. Now we have a lightning round of personal questions that were submitted on Instagram. So what’s helped you the most with grief the last few weeks? Oh boy. Well, so for anyone who’s new here, if you missed it, I lost my dad a few months ago to leukemia. My dad and I were really really close and I was his caregiver while he was sick, so it’s been horrendous I would say to summarize.
And I would say what’s helped me most with grief in the last few weeks has been this like, I don’t know this thing that just kind of came to me suddenly like that I definitely didn’t want to do early on, but the like urged to do things that I would do with him if he was here. So like if I thought, oh, if dad was here today, we would go out to lunch and this is the restaurant we would go to, I go there for lunch and I go and do that.
Or if I’m like, oh man, we would normally be talking on the phone and he would have Seinfeld on like full volume like concert level volume in the background and he’d be telling me about everything that was happening in it even though I could see it on my own TV. So, I would like turn on Seinfeld. I would say that that’s what I’ve been doing.
One other thing I did was a couple of times lately, I’ve like written to him because I spent a lot of time thinking about like where is he, what is he doing, what happens afterwards? Like I don’t know, some of those kind of basic questions just to be perfectly honest, have been floating around in my mind. And so I found it helpful to almost like treat it as if there was some channel of communication and I just wrote to him.
I tend to sit with his little like urn a couple of times a week, I would say. Honestly right now, I just sit and cry. And so I don’t have any like a brilliant advice for that one, but it just, I don’t know, it helps me to like feel more connected to him so I will do that. I have little things out that like kind of remind me of him that’s helpful.
Actually, my massage therapist Jason, who I love, gave me this little book called Healing After Loss, Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief by Martha Whitmore Hickman. And it’s this cute little tiny book that has a different page for every single day and it has like a little blurb that you read every day. And I find that really helpful. It tends to be like the blurb that day tends to speak to me, so that’s been cool.
Well, I’m only mentioning a couple of things because unfortunately I know so many of you are like going through similar things or have gone through similar things, but I would just say that the last thing I will say about this is that like I’ve given myself permission to kind of be like not the best or not my like usual self as a friend, as a partner, as a business owner, as a person who shows up on Instagram. I’m just kind of like, you know what, that’s just not where I’m at right now. Like I just can’t do it.
And so if that means like turning down plans and someone’s disappointed with me, it’s okay for them to be disappointed in me. The truth is that most people are not disappointed. It’s like usually our own stories that we’re making up about this, but like I just find that that’s – I’ve had to relieve that pressure on me, because otherwise I would totally lose my mind.
All right. Someone asked what breed is Hudson and how old is he? So we get a hilarious number of questions. Well, Hudson, in case you don’t know, Hudson is my bernedoodle AKA my son, my best friend. I love him so much. I actually have a song called You’re My Best Friend that I sing to him every single day. And I think he likes it.
And so yeah, I’m a crazy dog lady. I just love him so much. He’s a bernedoodle. He’s two. He still acts two. He still acts like he’s one, but he’s two. He’s a Covid puppy so we got him like September, right. Like the thick of Covid just a couple months after it started. And he like didn’t get to meet a lot of people. Nobody ever came to our house and all that kind of stuff.
So he’s like obsessed with people, obsessed with babies. He like really loves like babies, kids, like anyone who’s like remotely close to his size, he gets really excited. He loves old people. He loves dogs. He loves everyone. He loves everyone and everything. He’s up for anything. He loves the car. He loves the beach. He loves the snow. He’s just like the most easygoing. We take him out to eat. He lays under the table.
But they’re – if in case you’re looking for a dog, I feel like I’m doing like an advertisement for Bernedoodles of America or something, but if you need a dog or want a dog, he is just fantastic because his breed, I mean he is not up for sale, but his breed is fantastic because he’s just like equal parts goofy and like funny and up for anything and like snuggle bug, will lay on the couch with you. So he’s just the most perfect. I just absolutely love him up.
So any who, we had another question asked me how do you make time to cook these amazing meals and still do everything else? Well, first of all I would reject the notion that my meals are amazing. I mean I like to cook a lot and I’ve been cooking since I was a kid. And to me, this is just something – well, first of all, like I don’t have kids, right. So that makes it a little easier, right. But I do have a pretty pretty full time plus job, and I have a couple other things going on in my life and then of course, I have my son Hudson.
But yeah, I tend to prioritize cooking over any other hobby. That’s what I would rather do like all weekend, all day on Sunday, doesn’t matter to me. But I also think that like part of what’s behind this is like I was thinking about this that when I created this business, I didn’t want a business where I had to work a million hours. And I don’t have to work 9:00 to 5:00 everyday in order to make this business thing.
And so first of all, I have a team now, but even when I had nobody working for me, I still wasn’t working eight, nine hours a day. There were periods where I went through that because I was like pushing to create something or to promote something, but that is not every day. So, I very intentionally created a business that sold products in a way that I could end by four, like take a walk, come home and cook dinner.
So that’s what I wanted to do. That, by the way, no one asked this, but that’s that is my favorite like after work routine is like I finish work, I like to take a walk and usually walk Hudson and then I like to take a shower. I just find that like taking shower helps me to transition from like that work to the personal time. And then I put on my favorite PJS and I cook dinner. That’s my like kind of transitional routine, in case anyone’s looking.
I just think whatever it is that you like to do, but I think you need a little something like a little jolt of something that gets you from like business mood and thinking about social media and email to like I’m going to go cook dinner and try to be a human with other humans who don’t care about online business. So that’s that.
Somebody asked, is there anything you regret not doing with your dad or not saying? Well, so one thing that I wish like it’s unfortunate that my dad got sick right before Covid and then Covid happened. So it was a bad double whammy of like he was in treatment every like three weeks, four week. And so it was this exhausting cycle.
He fortunately, because – the upside to getting terminal cancers that they don’t kill you with chemo, right. So it wasn’t like his chemo wasn’t making him super sick. It was making him tired and rundown, but it was like for a few days and then he would be okay.
And so we would have this like three-week cycle, three-week cycle thing. And then Covid happened, it was like he’s in the most vulnerable population. Not only one thing that my dad and I thought about a lot was that he was in the most vulnerable population of people who had cancer and had this like terrible illness in who were so susceptible to any other infection or disease.
And I also, and he would also, think so much about his caregiver, like his doctors, his nurses, the people who worked at the hospital, his other patients who were in the cancer unit with him all the time every day like he was. And we would think about this all the time. We’d be like, oh, we don’t want to go anywhere or do anything because even though my dad was like, he was like Iron Man, he just like kept going and going and he’s the Energizer Bunny and somehow he rode out this cancer for years that wasn’t supposed to take more than a few months.
But we would always say like, that’s good that you can, but like what about the guy that we just saw in the waiting room the other day, and his family whose terrified to death? And what about your doctor, Doctor McCurdy, who I’m obsessed with and like I don’t want to get her sick because then she can’t get sick. If she’s sick, then she can’t take care of her patients.
So it was a really tough couple of years and I kind of just. Like regret the whole situation. Like I was just thinking about this today actually that it just sucks that I feel like the last two years that we had together were spent in that kind of environment. And it is what it is. It’s unfortunate people had a way, way, way, way worse in Covid times, but I just think it sucks that I had a parent who was sick and we were navigating this. And then we had this like big world thing come in and like mess it up even worse.
Like I just remember thinking when Covid started, it was like I didn’t think this situation could get any worse. And then there we go with a worldwide pandemic, where like I was like basically wearing like a beekeepers outfit around my town having to take him to the hospital. And I was in the hospital like every day during Covid. It was just awful. It was awful.
So I just like regret that whole situation to be honest. There’s nothing anybody could do about it. And because of that I felt like we didn’t get to take like some trips that we would have taken, like Ryan and I went back and forth a few times. Like should we take him to Florida? Should we go to California? Should we go somewhere closer? And then every time, we would be like I don’t think it’s worth it, like I don’t want to risk it.
And as his cancer went on and then unfortunately as Covid went on, his mobility really started to become impacted. I mean he put up with his chemo like a champ, like a million rounds, but then eventually it just like got his body. And at that point, there just would have been – it wouldn’t have been fun for him or for us to take him anywhere. And so I just like really regret that whole situation.
In terms of not saying something to him, no, I feel like my dad and I were really really close and I said everything that I wanted to say to him all the time. And I think he very much knew how I felt about him. And I very much knew how he felt about me. And so that was okay.
I feel really badly for how I acted the day that he passed because I was, to put it mildly, a disaster. I was like guttural wailing sounds that I will not repeat. It was awful and I feel like I’m just I’m like wracked with guilt about like did he know, did he hear me, did he like I don’t want to have made him upset. That’s something that I think about but otherwise, I’ll tell you, say whatever you need to say and take trips where you want to take them.
One of my friends the other day took a trip with her dad. She was like, oh, I felt so bad about you seeing it and I was like no, are you kidding. I’m so happy for you to do this because like it actually makes me angrier when I see people not doing stuff with their parents and not like not appreciate it. I’m like you don’t understand. Like this is not a guarantee that you have this forever. So like stop it, don’t take – like get present in your life and go take advantage of it.
So I actually get angry about people don’t take advantage them. People who are like still enjoying it with their parents. I’m happy for them honestly.
All right. Another question we had was why did I decide not to pursue my health coaching business. So I actually have a whole episode dedicated to this. Hopefully, you’ve heard. I have this episode of like the reasons why my health coaching business failed or my first business failed. I’ll link to it below, but I would say that this was not a business thing. So like I know that a lot of people, they’ll start a coaching business and they shift into creating something else really quickly to kind of jump the line.
This wasn’t a business decision as much as it was like a fit. So I was a corporate lawyer, was super miserable and then it was like my dream upon dream is becoming a health coach. And once I become a health coach, everything in my life is going to be better. Like all my problems are going to go away, I’m going to love my job. And because I love my job, then the rest of my life all falls into place and like there you go, we can tie it up in a nice neat bow and everything is good, right.
So I was very surprised to learn when I became a health coach that health coaching actually didn’t really speak to me. I didn’t like the act of coaching. First of all, I didn’t feel like I was very good at the coaching part. I didn’t feel like it was a natural fit for me. And I just have the – I’m just being honest, I have that personality where if I’m not good at something, I don’t like it. And so there was some like initial resistance to that, but it also just like didn’t feel like a natural fit.
And I really wanted to teach people how to cook, but like I didn’t necessarily want to do stuff in person and it was like I also didn’t want to do all this stuff online with having to record everything that I was cooking and I think that that tells you a lot, I was just saying this to a friend the other day, that I take pictures of now of like everything I cook and all my food and all that because I love for myself, right. I don’t actually post most of it.
So I cook constantly. I took pictures of it constantly because I love looking back and like remembering, like what restaurant we wWent to or where we traveled. But when I tried to make it my career and I thought for a little while is going to try to be like a food blogger because foo d blogging was so popular too at the time. It still is but it was so huge. I could not get myself to even think of photographing or styling or setting up all the equipment. I was like I just want to cook. I don’t want to do all this stuff. I don’t want to take pictures of it. I just want to cook, right.
And it’s almost funny like now that the pressure’s removed, I don’t have to, I love it. But I’m also not documenting like every step of what I’m cooking and everything, the way I’m dicing everything. And it was like what I had in my mind for the kind of business that I wanted to have, I didn’t want to put in what was required to do it.
And I think that that’s like a really good sign for you that something might not be exactly what you’re supposed to do if you’re not willing to put in the work to make it happen. And I always say that if someone would just make me a famous food blogger without doing any of the work, I would love that because I would just love my job to be about food. But I don’t want to do any of the things that are necessary to become a famous food blogger. So I think that that’s like just a conversation. We have to be really honest with yourself and that was why I decided not to pursue it because I could tell it wasn’t for me.
Another question was how did I make the decision to leave my corporate job? Oh well, actually I don’t think I’ve ever done an episode about like deciding to leave the law. Or like I’ve been on other people’s podcasts, which I can share below if you want more info about that, specifically from the legal side too.
But I hated being a lawyer from day one. I did one of those things where you’d like race into something that you didn’t really think about racing into. You just kind of stayed focused and did it and then turned around was like oh no, what did I do, right. That’s what happened to me, except I was like had mounding student loan debt from being in law school and on taking the bar and all this kind of stuff.
And I was just like that’s it, I’m like wedded to this, there’s no turning back. There’s nothing I can do. I’ve ruined my life. I was 23 years old when I graduated from law school and got my license. And I was like I’ve ruined my life. It was very dramatic.
So unfortunately, I spent years and years being super miserable and just staying in that place. And it wasn’t until I had this like actually kind of scary life experience where I was on a plane, I thought I was going to die and I’m sure it was totally fine. I just now hate flying. And I just had like a moment where I realized I was in a lot more control of what was going on on the ground than what I was in control of on that plane and how I was so sick of hearing myself complain about being a lawyer and complain from like a very victime place.
It really was just like slap across the face that honestly I needed. I wish it would have happened even earlier. But the good side is that I got over five years as a corporate attorney at some like really great law firms. And I learned a lot and I worked with great people, but it wasn’t for me.
And so logistically, I made plans first so I didn’t like just jump out. I had started a food blog already on my own, just for fun. I enrolled in a health coaching program so I took that program like the whole time I was still full-time employed. I stopped spending so much. I started saving more. I started selling stuff. I started doing a bunch of that kind of logistical stuff. I started taking on some like side stuff.
And they wound down over time. And then I actually dropped a part-time as an attorney for six months. I negotiated basically the same salary that I was getting paid as a full-time attorney at a different firm. So I was able to essentially bring in the same amount for like half the time, and that really gave me a nice solid time period to be able to start my business. And so I got my first clients during that time. Actually a lot of them were lawyers and so I just started like building up my health coaching practice.
And then after the six months, I think it just so happened to coincide with like January 1st, I was completely done at the law firm and went full tilt boogie as a health coach. And the rest is history. Yeah. And now we’re here, like seven, six, seven years later, a long time. Yeah, six years. Yeah, six years later, we’re here.
And I am so so grateful every single day. I tell my team every day I freaking love what I do. Maybe you can tell, maybe you can’t, but I love what I do. I love being here. It’s such an honor and a privilege and I just love talking about this stuff.
And you know what else I love? I love hearing from you when you listen to these episodes. So, I’d love for you to reach out to me on Instagram. Send me a DM @samvanderwielen. Just let me know if you’ve listened, if this episode was helpful, something stuck out to you. If you want me to do another Q&A episode, I think this would be fun to do every once in a great while, so let me know.
And if you have any questions, of course that I can answer for you, just reach out. I’m happy to help. And with that, I can’t wait to chat with you next week. Thank you so much for listening.
Thanks so much for listening to the On Your Terms podcast. Make sure to follow on Apple Podcast, Spotify or wherever you like to listen to podcasts. You can also check out all of our podcast episodes, show notes, links and more at Samvanderwielen.com/podcast. You can learn more about legally protecting your business and take my free legal workshop, Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business at Samvanderwielen.com.
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