Dr. Z: Thanks so much for coming on the show with us today Sylvie.
Sylvie: Thanks so much for having me, Nick.
Dr. Z: Well really the pleasure is mine, and I think it’s going to be the listeners as well. but one of the things that I want to ask you right off the bat. Is just, explain to our audience what you do.
Sylvie: Yeah, so, that’s a good question because it’s always a hard one to explain when I meet people because I do so many different things. But, basically, in a nutshell, I have a couple different businesses, one where I write health e- books on nerdy health topics like gut health and nutrition. Then another business where I teach entrepreneurs how to create e-books the way I did in my health business. And also, how to outsource as many things as humanly possible. How to kind of promote themselves to CEO and stop being a solo-prefer. Those are my two main gigs
Dr. Z: Alright, we’re going to have to dig into that a little bit, the outsourcing part. But before we get into that, one of the questions I have for you, just because you brought it up, is that you make a lot of e-books that are in the health category. Without like, a degree as a doctor or a high-level health degree, how did you get into that? Because it’s kind of interesting that you writing e-books that Doctors are selling and doctors are consuming the material. And it’s funny because you’re not really a health expert at all, however, you have written incredible books on it.
Sylvie: Yeah, well I mean, I’m a patient more than anything else right? But yea it’s funny because I actually started medical school in Argentina and, I got as far as the first year of medical school and then I had to drop out which is sort of an interesting backstory that I once upon a time was interested in the Doctor route and ended up abandoning that and going in a million other directions. But, basically, when I started writing e-books it definitely didn’t go from 0 to 60 right into the really complicated health topics. I just started blogging about my experience. I had just kind of transitioned to real food, and I had, you know, like an incredible list of diagnoses that I had been dealing with that I had been dealing with for my entire life. And you know a lot of them started reversing just be cleaning out my diet, and so of course, I couldn’t shut up about it. And my friends and family didn’t want to hear about it so I had to take to the internet and start blogging about it. And then I was really really busy, I had a day job in the entertainment industry, so that was my main gig. And I had 3 kids at home and what now, so I definitely knew I couldn’t do a blog as a hobby, so right away I looked into, how can I monetize the blog, and e-books was one of the main ways that I considered. So, my very first e-book was just plain and simple how to transition your family and what not to real food. It was very basic, it was very beginner, and it’s still up and running today. But it wasn’t until my second and third books that I started getting more and more nerdy on it. And the reason why was because these were personal struggles for either me or my kids. So in the case of “Scoliosis e-book” or in the “Gelatin Secret” which was very much inspired by my daughter’s scoliosis struggle. It was a personal struggle and it was written as from a patient to another patient, of like, ‘This is all the things we tried, this is how the experience went in all of these cases”. In the case of the scoliosis one, for example, it’s very much just a mother’s guide to all the different treatment options and how to navigate it really. `
Dr. Z: Well that kind of explains that then. I wasn’t aware that you spent a year in medical school. So that will explain why you focus a lot on the healthcare industry.
Sylvie: Yeah that seems like ages ago! (laughs)
Dr. Z: Right, and the other thing you mentioned too is that you experienced these things and I’ve found through just with myself working with patients, some of the best things or the things that I’m best at, are the things I’ve experienced. The conditions I’ve experienced, because I can really know how to deal with them. And some of the best doctors out there, they have literally experienced the conditions that they are working with. And it makes them very incredible at what they do.
Sylvie: Yeah, and the thing about that too is that sometimes people just want to hear from someone who has actually been in the trenches with something like SIBO, small intestinal Bacterial overgrowth, which is such a hard thing to treat. I mean really, I just wrote it as, you know, kind of all the different treatment options but in each one, kind of my experience and my recommendations on, look, this is how I handled a tube feeding diet for two weeks, here are all of the, I don’t even know what to call it. It’s just sort of like survival guide tips in a way. You know? Of like, look when your family is eating food and you’re sipping this nasty stuff, here’s a couple of things you can do to prevent from going insane. Now that’s not doctor’s advice that’s just a patient’s advice and a lot of the commentary that I’ve gotten from doctors is, ‘Thank you, we only have 15 minutes with our patience, now we can hand them this, and all of their questions that would take hours to explain, they’ve got it from you and we can just focus on their particular lab tests and how we treat their particular condition. And they’ve already come to us with a level one knowledge on in books basically.
Dr. Z: And that’s excellent. That’s what I like doing with my patients as well. But we’re going to have to save this, we’re going to have to do a separate episode, which we already talked about, on this whole topic of some of these different health conditions you cover because I think you do an incredible job with it but we’ll definitely have an episode about some of these down the road.
Sylvie: Sounds great.
Dr. Z: But what I want to ask you, so being a female entrepreneur, did you come from an entrepreneurial family, or did you just start this on your own?
Sylvie: You know, I did not. I did not at all. And I think it took me a very long time to realize that entrepreneurship was the only way for me, not just a way for me, but like, that nothing else was ever going to work. I definitely did a few sort of, attempts along the way. I mean looking back on it now it’s so clear, even as a kid I was trying to sell potpourri in zipping- lock bags that I was just making at home. But no. I mean my family just thought I was sort of nuts, and also especially when I had a family of 5 that I was supporting on my own and I was earning good money in my day job, the idea of quitting it to, you know, really put all my eggs in this entrepreneurial basket was pretty much insane as far as my family was concerned. That’s for sure.
Dr. Z: Oh, absolutely, and you actually started building a business while you were actually still working a full-time day job correct?
Sylvie: Yeah, mhm! One-hundred percent. Yeah, I mean, that was the only way really for me. My husband is a teacher so, when we were working in Los Angeles, and I was working in the entertainment industry, It wasn’t really, you know we had two little kids in addition to a teenager, so him working almost didn’t make sense by the time you pay a nanny and all of that, it just kind of didn’t make sense with the kids at that age. So I was the only one working at the time, and yeah, if I was going to build that business, evenings and weekends were all I had.
Dr. Z: Well, I think that when I offer advice about building a business or starting your own business, that’s one of the things I always push, is that you can’t just drop everything you have and go start your business. Start building your business while you have a job and then you can actually have some money and a little more freedom and not the level of stress to put into your new company, not just drop it. So, I think that what you did was a really good decision on that.
Sylvie: Yeah, I mean it’s also what really fueled the outsourcing right away, even though, you know, when my business only made fifty bucks I was like, ‘I gotta hire someone.’ Because I know if I only had 10 hours a week or so to build it I thought, ‘This is going to take me forever at this rate.”.
Dr. Z: Oh my gosh.
Sylvie: And you know I can’t be doing the ten-dollar-an-hour tasks when at my day job I’m earning so much more than that. It just doesn’t make sense. So, I thought ‘OK, even if I don’t pay myself, for a good while, if I can just reinvest what’s coming in into kind of helping me build this into something bigger, and leverage my time a little bit better, that’s the only way we’re going to make some progress here and get some traction.’. so that’s kind of what really built that entrepreneurial muscle and made it a real business as opposed to you know, just kind of a hobby that brought in a little extra money.
Dr. Z: Yeah I like that, and you mentioned that it was a little bit of a transition trying to go from full- time employed, to full-time entrepreneur. Mentally, it was a pretty big transition for you?
Sylvie: yea, you know it’s sort of a thing. It’s a transition in so many ways. There’s a mindset component to it where you really have to change your mindset from that employee mindset that is so ingrained in you, to now, you’re a business owner and you kind of see everything or should see everything in a different light. You should value your time differently. there’s no longer this need to you know, to have your butt in that seat for a certain amount of time no matter what. If you’re not feeling productive then you know, take the day off or go do something else and then come back when you’re feeling refreshed. And all of these different things, I call it like an employee detox that you need to do. And it’s almost still in progress. I mean, I can still catch myself sometimes having these little habits that are so ingrained myself from decades as an employee where you know, I’m like ‘Oh, I don’t have to do this, this way.’. So, you have to kind of train yourself to think outside the box if most of you life has been as an employee, in order to really step into that entrepreneurship role, you have to make a lot of changes. And mindset is a huge one and it actually going back to kind of your first question in regards to the e-books. I mean, I struggled with that same question with, ‘Who am I to write a book about small intestinal bacterial overgrowth if I’m not an MD? Is anyone going to take this seriously?’.
Dr. Z: Right
Sylvie: And you know, it’s a bit of a mindset hurdle and at the end of the day you go, “Well, screw it. Let’s just do it and see what happens, see if it helps anyone.
Dr. Z: Right well that’s what happens in the entrepreneurial world. You’re, you know. At some point, you’re like ‘Screw it. Let’s go for this and make it happen.”
Sylvie: It’s a strategy. The ‘Screw It’ strategy
Dr. Z: Yeah exactly. Now one of the things that are really unique about you, and one of the reasons that I love having you on the show is that you are a female entrepreneur. You have kids. You have a very successful business. Now, can we talk about the family dynamic a little bit and ask you how this all works out because I know that our women listeners are just dying to hear this. How do you manage a business, manage to have kids and juggle all of that together?
Sylvie: Yeah, well, you know it’s interesting. I think it’s definitely you know, we’re still in the minority. Although I think we’re probably, you know, there’re more and more female net entrepreneurs every day. But I mean you and I met at Mastermind Talks. It’s still very much more male than female of course. But, I think if I had to narrow it down to just one key sort of, what I can owe the success to or the speed to it would be my husband’s support. Because without that, I mean, I’ve heard of many women who don’t have their husband’s support and it’s sort of a constant uphill battle of trying to get enough time in the day or trying to have their ideas validated by someone else etc. And my husband has been my biggest sort of cheerleader in all of this. From day one. So A, believing in me more than I believe in myself most of the time, and then also he’s such a good Dad. Or, I like to say, he’s a better Mom than I am. And so, if feel like, if I’ve got to go on a trip for three or five days, he’s got it. He’ll rally and get everything done, I mean, they’re completely taken care of. And so I probably have it easier than a lot of female entrepreneurs have it. But, you know it’s just a matter of just making sure I guess, if you have a partner, if you have children, if you have a partner, I mean obviously they’ve got to be on board with this whole idea. Because entrepreneurship can be amazing in many ways. I mean, there’s days where I work a half day because you know it with my kids the other half of the day. And there are days where, if we’re in a launch period I feel like I’m working more than I did at day job that week. And so, you know, somebody else has got to pick up the slack obviously on the home front.
Dr. Z: So, are you and your husband that just manage all of it? Or do you have nannies and, you know, people to help you out with that?
Sylvie: We don’t have nannies, we do have housekeeping help. And also, one of my kids is a teenager so she ends up helping us you know a lot if I’m traveling for example. You know. she’ll step in and help with the kids of course. But yeah, the last time we had nannies was when the kids were little and my husband was working for a few months, we had a nanny then. But it was just insanity. I mean, having basically it was three adults working full-time in some capacity. That felt like the craziest time of my life for sure, having two kids under two a full-time nanny and both of us gone all day.
Dr. Z: I got ‘cha. So, one of the things that I know you are really the expert at, you teach people, you teach entrepreneurs, you teach business professionals how to do this. It’s outsourcing, delegating, and managing an online team. So with that family dynamic in that thought still with us, how does this work, utilizing outsourcing and delegating work to help make everything manageable for you?
Sylvie: So, I feel like, everything that I’m not amazing at, everything that I don’t love doing, everything that doesn’t absolutely doesn’t require me, can be outsourced, and in many cases, should be outsourced. So I’m talking specifically on the business front now. Because I mean, obviously yesterday I spent the entire afternoon with one of my daughters. Yes, I could have hired a nanny for 10, 15 dollars an hour, but I obviously do it for other reasons. I mean it’s something I want to do. But on the business front, I feel like there’s no CEO that ever grew a company to any reasonable scale, while still doing any of those 10 and 15 dollar-an-hour tasks themselves. So, I always like to say that, I mean there’s obviously 10 and 15 dollars an hour tasks, there’s also 50 dollar-an-hour tasks 100 dollar-an-hour tasks, I mean you’ve got to decide at what point you should be doing things yourself. And obviously, when you first start out, if your biggest resource is time, you’ve got all the time in the world, but you don’t have a lot of money to invest, then cool, you’re wearing all the hats. That’s totally fine but at some point, if you don’t get yourself out of those 10 and 15 dollar an hour tasks, you know, it’s not going to be a business that’s going to scale and you can’t and shouldn’t be doing everything yourself. So I like to say that those are the tasks that are really on fire. That it’s an emergency for you to outsource. And then, so that’s on one end of the spectrum and then on the other end of the spectrum, you know I don’t have this on my website anywhere this is only word of mouth that I take on very very few clients, but I’m helping very very successful entrepreneurs on a whole different level, to outsource most of their life. I used to work as a celebrity personal assistant for a long time, so I know sort of what it takes to make very successful people tick. And how to kind of optimize their life in a certain way. So I’ve brought that celebrity experience to very successful entrepreneurs as well. And it’s been sort of fascinating because obviously, they’re way past the outsourcing 10 and 15 dollar-an-hour task homework. They’ve got that down, they’ve been doing that for years, but sometimes it’s bringing it into their home life and day to day life of having a little more ease and being able to go through security at the airport in just a few minutes and that kind of thing is what I’m helping them with. So that’s been fascinating as well.
Dr. Z: Now when you talk about outsourcing, though. Can you go into what outsourcing and delegating may look like a little bit? Because I know that there are some guys out there who talk about outsourcing and it’s all about using apps and this and that. I mean, what are we talking about when we say outsourcing and delegating. Can you give some specifics?
Sylvie: Yeah sure, so I mean I guess it depends on where you are. But at the most basic level, I feel like, I like to say automate first and then outsource. So a lot of the times people just go straight to hiring an assistant. They just assume that’s what they need and the truth is that they have very inefficient processes in place, or no process in place, no systems at all. And now they’re just passing along the inefficiency to someone else and wasting money by hiring someone for 10 hours when that task should have been done in 2. So what I mean is, yeah, use all the apps and all the systems that you can in order to make your life a little bit easier, a little bit more automated. And then you know, if you have a calendar scheduler or something like that, I find that a lot more efficient than hiring someone to make appointments for you right? But then you know outsourcing to me, means hiring people whether here or overseas or both. I’ve done both and I’m happy with both. And just getting things off of your place and on to somebody else. So moving things from your to-do list to somebody else’s to-do list, so that you actually have time to focus on all of those things that have been on the back burner for you, which is the whole growing your business. The CEO role right? So allowing yourself to, you know, the classic, work on your business and not in your business. That’s pretty much what outsourcing means to me.
Dr. Z: Ok, I got ‘cha. So, are you hiring somebody to work with you, or do you more of the overseas type of thing?
Sylvie: I do both, so it depends on what I’m doing. So when I very first started, I hired someone overseas. I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to afford her ever. I hired her for very few hours and you know, she paid for herself within the first month. I was asking her to do things like format a blog post. Things that were very replicable that I could show her once and she could do, you know, on an ongoing basis. Add affiliate links to ingredients. We were doing recipe posts. You know, put the title over the image. Stuff like that. So that I could kind of assembly line the process and I was no longer having to do everything. And then nowadays I have people all over the world. I still have people overseas. I have people in the US. I’ve got people in Europe, people in the Philippines. It depends on what kind of task. Obviously, when I need someone with English as a first language, that person is in Wisconsin for me. And she’s also the person who does all my design because that’s just what she happens to be great at. But you know ironically some of my most expensive people are overseas and that’s you know some tech stuff, and using our complicated CRMs and stuff like that.
Dr. Z: Ok, yeah, that’s interesting. I just wanted to know how you do that. And so there are some people who even talk about you know, outsourcing, like where there are apps where you can have somebody pick up your laundry and do those things. Do you do anything like that?
Sylvie: You know I just moved back to the states after two years abroad a few weeks ago. So I feel like I just landed from Mars basically and so a lot of those apps that you know, I literally just landed here and I don’t even know. I just figured out where the heck the grocery store is. So I’m way behind on the home front in terms of outsourcing. But for the most part, it’s just between having a housekeeper and having you know grocery delivered, ninety percent of my life is sorted at home pretty much.
Dr. Z: I got ‘cha. Ok. Let’s move on to the topic of time management. Because this is a big deal for entrepreneurs. It’s a bigger deal for a woman entrepreneur with a family or maybe any entrepreneur with a family. Because I tell ya, I look at a lot of the very successful people that are my age, in the entrepreneurial community, and it’s interesting because it might be a husband and wife without kids, it might just be a single guy, and I’m just like; ‘Man, they’re doing so well but like, they don’t have to worry about time management like I do. They don’t go home with kids and you know have to still raise a family. So can you talk about that from your perspective as a mother and as a business professional?
Sylvie: Yeah, I mean you know I think in a way, my time management sort of skills developed when I was, I mean I had my first child when I was 18. I was a single mom for a long time. You know, had to work my but off and then come home and then come home and be a parent and all of that jazz. You know I had to sort of getting into that classic multi-tasking that female working moms do. I don’t know that that’s exactly ideal time management, but it is what it is. But I think that the first thing, when it comes to time management is you have to value your time. So you have to literally kind of you know stick a value on it, stick a monetary value on it if you want. You can either calculate it and make it as accurate as possible or make it up in terms of what feels good for you. And decide what you’re going to do and what you’re going to stop doing. I mean part of it, especially for women, we have a harder time, in general, broad generalization, saying ‘No’ than men do. So we’re the classic sign up for the PTA this, and volunteer that, and all of these different things, and if we don’t do 100 things then we’re terrible women and terrible mothers. And I think the first step is sort of getting over that hump where it’s like, yeah, you’re not going to please everybody. But you literally cannot do everything. And if you’re running a business and having children, and all of that kind of stuff, you’ve got to figure out what the priorities are. And for me, the two priorities are those two things. It’s time with family, and time spent being a CEO. So you know everything else kind of comes secondary to that. So once I have those two main buckets I can sort of decide where my time is going to be and how I can sort of, cross off things off the list. Before you even outsource, people jump to outsource, but I’m like; ‘OK, but first what can we eliminate entirely, that not only you don’t need to do, but you don’t need to pay anyone else to do either. Because it shouldn’t be done anymore. And then there’s, of course, getting help. And that doesn’t necessarily have to be hiring people but you know you don’t have to be the one doing everything. You know if you’ve got other people at home whether they’re children or a spouse or whatever, somebody else can help you with things. So I think we often get into that role of we have to do all of the domestic stuff, we have to do to you know we’re working, we’re parenting, we’re the main go to parent most of the time. So it’s just a matter of kind of restructuring that a little bit. Changing those habits.
Dr. Z: Ok, now do you have a method that you use when it comes to, you said, time for work related business and time for family. Now one of the things that happen with a lot of people is it crosses over and it just becomes this big mixed up pot where they’re really differentiated at all. And so when they’re with their family they’re not really spending really focused time with their family. And when they’re at work they’re not really spending focused time at work, and really I mean, when they’re with their family, they’re not really there, like mentally they’re not there. Physically they’re there but not mentally. So do you have a method in which you make sure that this is a priority for you, in that you’re very clear on where your time is focused?
Sylvie: Yeah, I mean it’s kind of always evolving. I don’t know that it’s ever perfect or ever defined as the ultimate way that we handle it and with the kid’s ages things change. Obviously, when my kids were babies and toddlers, I mean, they needed me more than you know anything basically. So it depends. But I think that one of the main ways that I make it a priority is I guess a lot of time comes out of what I would have otherwise done. What I did was simply an employee in my twenties. I would just come home and at night, and I’d watch TV. And I don’t even have TV. I don’t even remember the last time I owned one. So I very rarely will watch it. You know where I’ll watch a Netflix show and that’ll be my phase and then I’m over it. But in general, I go to bed early, and I get up early. I do kind of a miracle morning, you know five-minute journal, all of that jazz before my kids are even up. Because the other big part of that is self-care right? You know, as mothers we tend to sort of give you everything and the last possible drop is left for us. And I think I’ve sort of front loaded it. And that was you know, mostly because of reading Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning book. And I find that if I sort of have, even if it is just half an hour in the morning, before my kids get up, to just do my thing, then I’m sort of like: Ok, I’m ready. Now they’re waking up they’re hungry they need breakfast they need all of these things. And I try and build in a schedule of some sort for myself, so you know basically give myself office hours to a degree. So, I batch my calls and interviews and that kind of things on certain days when the kids won’t be around, so I’m not feeling pulled in all kinds of directions. And you now it’s ever evolving basically.
Dr. Z: Very good, and you know I’m not the type of person who gets stuck on any particular schedule either. It’s always revolving and I’ve been part of strategic coach and many different things where they create these schedules for you. And this is how it’s supposed to be done. And this is what it takes to be successful and I’ve just never found myself to be able to stay on a single schedule slash path. I always just find myself evolving as I move forward.
Sylvie: Yeah, it’s like a season I like to call it. It’s just seasons in a way
Dr. Z: Right, of the things you do, with your e-books, is you create a passive income and then also, in probably many other ways. Can you talk about why having passive income is very important as an entrepreneur and just as a regular anybody, I guess out in the world, why passive income can benefit you so much.
Sylvie: Yeah, well I, you know I call it insurance for entrepreneurs. Because I feel like passive income, I mean, some people get really triggered with that term. Where they’re like; ‘Oh, this is such BS. This is you know, basically sipping martinis on the beach and you know not doing any work. I mean passive income is just front loading the work, creating a product and then it sells continually whether you’re working not working, working on something else, sleeping, on vacation or whatever. And the degree to which that sells depends on a million different things, but I feel like, you know when I first started and I was trying to, create my first few dollars of income in my business and also look at that 10-year plan. And I was like, ok, let me see what I can do with this blog, How can I monetize this information? But I knew that I had such limited time. I wanted something that I could work on and it would continue selling without me needing to be present while I worked on the next product. And so forth and so on. So that’s how I landed on doing e-books for that passive income. And you know, the interesting thing is obviously it just depends on your audience size and all kinds of things but some of my students in the Create Passive Income with E-Books course, some of them have just hit their first five figure shit month with e-books and they had kind of nurturing an audience for a while. And then I also have people, like I have an interview with one of my students coming out soon who was making no money, and just made her first few hundred dollars with this e-book. But it’s still selling every single month. She’s making a few hundred dollars every single month as she continues to grow her audience. So, you know it can mean different things to different people. But I feel like it doesn’t have to be your entire source or income or your entire model at all. As a matter of fact, I love diversifying things but I feel like passive income should definitely be one of your revenue streams for sure. Just so that, you know, if you need to take a day off, if things get crazy, or you want to go on vacation if your patients or your clients or whatever, aren’t as frequent as you’d like, you’re still making some money without you being there.
Dr. Z: Right so this could be e-books, this could be really any form of, I would say, online sales. I mean I’m thinking it must have to stay in the online world. to be able to make it passive.
Sylvie: Yeah, it’s got to be able to be, you know like with the e-book for example. It is bought and they receive an email and if this happens at 3 in the morning, even if my entire team is asleep and so am i. I mean they can still get access to this information. They don’t need us at all. And I think the reason why I prioritize e-books over courses or anything like that. When I’m talking about passive income, is because, I make the example in my courses, I don’t necessarily consider it passive income. I mean part of it is passive because of I’ve created the course and it sells without be being there, but I’m very active in that Facebook group, I have some support and all of that. The e-books are passive because that’s it. Once it’s sold, it’s sold. There’s nothing else for me to do so that’s what I consider truly passive income.
Dr. Z: Ok. Well, that’s good enough for me. Yeah, the passive income is real, it’s awesome. I think you’re right on target with that saying that everybody should have some sort of passive income just for whatever reason. You know it benefits people so much.
Dr. Z: Ok well, Sylvie, it was a pleasure having you on this show. And I know that all of the working moms out there are thanking you right now. You’re a rock star, so we appreciate that and you share your wisdom and knowledge with us. So thank you for coming on with us today.
Sylvie: Thank you so much for having me, Nick. It was a pleasure.