Balancing it All

Julie Chenell

Productivity Hack: How To Move From Interruption To Search

I had the privilege of attending Russell Brunson’s Traffic Secrets event last year, and it was there that I first heard the phrase “Search vs. Interruption.” It’s Russell’s way of talking about a marketing topic that many of us know as…

Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

Or sometimes called…

Content vs. Direct Response Marketing

People like Gary V. and Neil Patel lead with content. They invite people into their world by creating value and leveraging organic traffic. From there you might level up into their paid offers.

Russell Brunson and Dean Graziosi are industry leaders in outbound or direct response marketing. This is where you’re interrupted with paid ads and drawn into a funnel, even when you weren’t planning on it. You weren’t actively searching.

In one case, the prospect is actively searching for information and runs into your content (which leads to your paid products). In another case, your prospect is scrolling on social media and gets interrupted with ads that lead to a funnel.

This is not going to be a blog post about the differences between the two types of marketing. What it is going to be is (hopefully) a MASSIVE productivity aha! about how this schema in marketing works with productivity too.

First off, at the bottom of this post is an article I read about productivity and your phone. It’s a long article and totally worth the read, and I found myself implementing a bunch of the hacks in it.

However, what I recognized is this…

To become more productive, it’s important to build your daily routine around the concept of search… not interruption.

Most of us don’t do this. We love interruption. We have the typical *bad* interruptions like social media. We also have *productive* interruptions – like… calendar reminders! These are good right? Alarm clocks do the same thing. Interrupt our activity to get us to take action.

So I’m not trying to demonize the idea of interruption… because there are times when it’s necessary.

But if we developed search based routines, we’d avoid a crap ton of interruption.

Here’s the idea…

In the article I mentioned, one of the things he describes is the idea of using folders for your apps, and also removing badges (the little red notifications). That’s because if you open your phone and see a 45 next to your inbox, even if you were opening your phone to turn on some music or use the calculator, you probably had to resist the urge to check your inbox (or maybe you didn’t resist and went down a rabbit hole).

If you put your apps in folders and remove badges, then there’s nothing interrupting you. You will have to SEARCH for updates, notifications, messages, etc. which means, unless you’re actively looking for it, you won’t see it.

Now let’s expand this to think about in other ways.

How many of us use notifications on our computers too? I know I have it on for Facebook, for Slack, for Voxer… heck even for Trello! I am using the notifications to dictate where I look and when, which is interruption based.

What if I restructured all my work to be search based. At first, I’d need reminders yes. But eventually, I would learn how to use all these apps without the buzz of interruption all the time.

What if it started with a simple checklist? That checklist is all the places you check during your prescribed “admin” time. So for example, at 12pm and 5pm EST everyday, you would check…

  1. Your Trello Boards
  2. Your Slack Channels
  3. Your Voxer Messages
  4. Your Email Messages
  5. Your FB Groups

etc. etc.

I know people do this with email, but there are so many other communication channels now – that we have to carry this idea over to them as well.

Another question to ask yourself is this:

What would your day look like you had NO REMINDERS and had to actively search out anything and everything you were going to do?

Think about that for a minute.

  • No calendar reminders. You’d have to open your calendar and actually look.
  • No Facebook notifications. You’d have to pick the groups and places you were going to check for updates for.
  • No Slack messages. Which channels would you go in and read the happenings on?

Then ask yourself this next level question…

If I received NO INBOUND messages at all for one day – no comments, no emails, no Voxers… WHO would I actively reach out to? WHAT would I actually do with my time?

Then… once you’ve answered those two questions honestly, compare it to your actual day. Are you talking to people you would never reach out to? Are you checking and answering things that aren’t something you’d proactively go after?

If there’s a huge disparity between what you’d do “in the wild and left to your own devices” vs. what you’re responding or reacting to on any given day, then that’s a sign that your productivity should become more SEARCH based.

This works for battling shiny object syndrome too. I can’t tell you the amount of times I got sucked into massive amounts of head trash because of something SOMEONE else said, did, wrote, posted, etc. It would derail me for hours.

  1. If you want to JV or do an interview, who are YOU going to choose? Is it the same people that are reaching out to you day in and out for requests for interviews?
  2. If you want to learn from someone, who are YOU going to buy from? Is it the same people that are cluttering up your inbox and your newsfeed now?
  3. Or, what about a slightly off-kilter customer service inquiry on email that then has you re-evaluating your entire business model, value ladder, and material because of a criticism you didn’t even see as an issue?

I’m not saying that these things don’t have their time, place, and value, but if we take our cues from the most successful people on the planet, they have entire teams of people managing ALL the interruptions, and only allow those interruptions to make it to their desk at a prescribed time.

We do need feedback. We need new ideas. We need new people.

But we also get to control how and when and where that information comes into us, and if we ask ourselves… how do I become more search based, vs. interruption based… we’ll go a long way towards better time management and staying on task with the goals that matter to us.

Here’s the article I read —> How to Configure Your iPhone to Work For You. Hat tip to Cathy Olson in our Marketer’s Heart Facebook Group for the find. It’s really good.

Ep. 58 I Hired My First Personal Assistant!

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Full Transcript:

Today I am super excited, I want to take you a little bit behind the scenes in my personal life. I just made a new hire. And it was so funny, because I just did this sort of with me and Alex discussing it, didn’t really talk about it much, and then I went live in my, or I actually just posted in my mastermind group that I hired a house manager, personal assistant, and my group went crazy and they were like, “We want to know all about this.”

And I was like, “Huh, alright well, I’ll tell you.” So I’m going to tell you all about what led me to hiring this position, what I did, all that good stuff.

So first of all, I can’t take any credit for any of this information, it is all information I borrowed from other people. So two people I want to give a shout out to, the first person is Stacy Martino. Stacy Martino, and her husband Paul Martino, they run, they help keep families together and build relationships. And they are the ones that first introduced me to this concept of a house manager, and also gave me a lot of the original wording that I needed when I was looking for this position. Second people I want to give a shout out to are James Friell and Yada Golden, they are my dearest friends, and James is a business partner, and they hired a house manager and told me all about the marvels of this wonderful thing called, having help.

Even though Alex and I have had nannies for the past two years, we had a nanny, her name was Rosie, and then we had another nanny, and her name was Bailey. Both of them lasted about a year, this time we were going to do things a little bit differently. We knew that we needed someone who would be willing to do childcare, but ultimately the thing that I need most is to not be a hot mess. And it’s funny because in business I am not a hot mess. In business I really, I keep it together pretty well. I have a great team, I have an amazing assistant, Emily, and she’s more than just an assistant, she really runs so much in my business. I have, like I said, an amazing team.

But I have it all together, but pretty much in every other area of my life I’m a hot mess. If you guys were ever to come to my house and look at my closet, you would laugh hysterically. If you saw how exhausted I was at the end of the day, or the way my kids leave the house, or anything like that, you’d be like, “Well, clearly the way she does one thing is not the way she does everything.”

It’s funny, I see people say that all the time, “Oh how you do one thing is how you do everything.” And I was like, pretty sure that’s not true, because I am a hot mess in my closet with my clothes, but I am pretty damn organized in business. Anyway, this is a rabbit trail. But the point is when we went, we decided, “Okay, do we need to hire someone?” and at first, when the fall came and the kids went back to school, and William’s getting older, he’s in school 5 days a week now, part of us were like, “I don’t know if we need someone. We kind of got into a rhythm.”

And this is an important lesson right here if you’re a business owner. When things are calm, you sometimes don’t feel like you need to hire. You don’t need an extra team member. And maybe you don’t, maybe you can live without it. I know Alex and I certainly could have lived without it. But the problem is you’re not taking into account opportunity costs when you do that. Because yes, things are calm, yes, you’re able to handle. What we do is we wait usually until there’s a crisis. A crisis in business, a crisis in life, and we are being squeezed really hard and then we’re like, “Okay, I need to do something.” And typically, it’s urgent at that point. It’s urgent and that causes us to make mistakes, because we’re just trying to put out the fire instead of being forward thinking.

So the instinct this fall for Alex and I was to sort of be like, “I don’t know if we really need this?” and that would have been short sighted because number one, we know there are going to be stressful moments in the next year, and those stressful moments have taken a toll on our marriage from time to time, and that’s an understatement. And also, I’m not counting the opportunity costs of what’s going to happen if I buy my bandwidth back. So instead of stressing about the fact that the kids don’t have winter gear, or what am I going to wear on my photo shoot next Saturday, I now have someone who’s going to help me do all those things, which allows me more time to talk to you, to create courses, to build content, to be visible. That is opportunity costs.

So even though you may feel like everything is just kind of going along, you’re not considering the future potential of what would happen if you were to hire. So I hired a house manager, personal assistant. I decided to go that angle versus just a nanny because ultimately, if I could get my time back then I would want to spend more time with my kids, not less. So that’s where I said, “Okay, let’s do the personal assistant.”

So here’s what we did. We posted on, but I know that other people post on other places like Craigslist and Deed, there are agencies out there that will do it as well. And we created a job description that basically said, “You need to be very organized, you need to like cats, you must love kids because there will be a lot of them and they will be around, and supporting two parents as they run this very busy household.” So the job description includes, child care, meal prep, laundry, household, and then a lot of personal stuff. Things like helping book travel, helping pack and unpack, watching the house when we go away, making appointments, managing calendar, managing inbox.

And we decided to go ahead and hire full time, it’s pretty expensive, because you want someone who is committed to your family. And that means you don’t want them having a million other part time jobs, or not feeling like they get paid well, and all that kind of stuff. So we went ahead and said, “Alright, we are going to pay well, and we are going to pay full time, and that way we will find someone who really wants to make this their thing.”

So ultimately, I thought to myself, well if I don’t need it now, when will I need it? You know what I mean? When is the right time to invest in my sanity? And I’m pretty sure it’s worth it when you have 3 teenagers and a toddler, well, preschooler. So we went ahead and did that.

One of the things that I learned directly from Stacy was that if you are going to go on a site like to look for a house manager, nanny, personal assistant, etc, etc, it’s really important that you create a little bit of a barrier because you’ll just get inundated with requests, especially if you pay for like a prime listing. And if you do that, you’ll get 10 to 20 people a day interested in your private message inbox. So we just responded to everyone with the same email, or the same message back. We said, “Awesome, we’re looking forward to getting to know you, and having an interview. Before we do that, we’d like you to just do this one thing, it’ll just take 10 minutes.” We asked them to send us three pictures of various meals or organization or projects they did. We also asked them to email us sort of a description of how their friends would explain their personality, and that sort of thing.

So we did all of that, and what do you know, I would say 85% of the people who inquired about the position never sent us an email. And that’s very, very telling, because if somebody is not willing to send an email, not willing to take a few pictures, and write a little description about themselves, then they are not a good a fit. So we ended up whittling down probably 40 or 50 applications to about 5 interviews. So that was easy. And maybe there’ll be another podcast episode on this. I had someone ask me, “How did you know that the 5th interview was the right one?” I had done 4 other interviews, and it was more about figuring out who is not the right fit.

And there were 4 interviews that I had, and it’s like almost process of elimination, because I didn’t want to hear about someone who was unsure about whether they were committed for the long haul. Because I just don’t want a revolving door of people in my family. I didn’t want someone who wasn’t able to make eye contact with me, who wasn’t able to explain or articulate themselves or their feelings very well. So it was a process of elimination asking myself, if this person were to be around my kids 8 hours a day, even though I’m not hiring as a nanny, would this person make my child better, or keep them the same? Obviously you’d never, ever hire someone who’d make your child worse, but typically you’re not looking at people like that, you’re looking at people who would make your child be the same, keep your child the same, or better.

So when I got to the 5th interview, I had a gut reaction that said, “Yes.” This person cares, I was impressed with her email, with her photos, she was articulate, she was kind, she made eye contact, she definitely had an air of like wanting to do a really good job, that was also very obvious, and I asked her questions about her past, her life, her kids, all that kind of stuff, and that’s not a very official way to make a decision, but ultimately I went with my gut.

So that’s what I did, and I encourage any of you guys, business or personal, if you feel like, “Oh I don’t need to hire yet. Everything’s good.” Maybe it is, but I would encourage you to think about the opportunity costs and the pain involved of getting to that point of squeeze and having to make a rash decision, and how painful that one can be.

So I hope that’s helpful guys, talk to you soon.

Why Donald Trump Should Be Impeached (But Probably Won’t Be)….

Can I Ask You A Question?

Whenever someone reacts violently, angrily, or with rash behavior and words, we usually send funny memes with the word “triggered”. It is a psychological phenomenon that the person with the most to lose, or the most to hide, will often be the one over compensating the most.

“WHO FARTED?!” is usually asked by the person who actually did it.

People who are liars and cheaters? They are usually the ones accusing others of lying and cheating.

Why does this happen?

The simple answer is because it’s in THEIR nature to do it, so they assume it’s in everyone’s nature to do it as well.

I don’t usually write about politics on this blog, but what I’m witnessing in this country is so divisive, so extreme, so outrageous, I’ve determined it’s urgent enough to interrupt my marketing speak to write down some fundamental truths and facts about the political climate in this country.

First, let’s begin with VERIFIABLE UN-EDITORIALIZED facts about the current impeachment inquiry on our president Donald Trump. I’ve done my best to write down facts without any opinions laced in.

  • Donald Trump had a conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine, and asked him (several times) for a favor. That favor included investigating corruption – the specific two incidences he cared about were Burisma and the 2016 election interference conspiracy. Both of these had personal ties to Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.
  • Donald Trump enlisted help from his private attorney Rudy Giuliani.
  • Military aid was withheld for several months after passing in Congress. There were a lot of questions about why the aid was held up in a delay.
  • A meeting at the White House with Zelensky and Trump was also delayed.
  • There are transcripts of texts that strongly suggest these two events (the delay of aid and a meeting) were linked to Trump’s interest in asking Zelensky for a favor, which included in part, a public statement from Ukraine about their commitment to investigate Burisma and the 2016 election.
  • The Democrats opened an Impeachment inquiry upon hearing about this from a Whistleblower.
  • The hearings are happening in a secure room behind closed doors.
  • Republicans stormed the secure room with their cell phones to stop the inquiry. They did this one day after William Taylor (hired and a part of Trump’s team) testified that there was a quid pro quo with Trump and the Ukraine relationship.
  • Any Republican that is already on the committees holding the hearings were ALREADY allowed in the hearing, be it without their devices. There would be no need to storm in with their device as long as they were on the committee to begin with.
  • The house doesn’t need to have a vote to conduct an impeachment hearing.
  • The Benghazi investigation was a closed inquiry. So was Bill Clinton’s impeachment inquiry. Many Republicans are quoted as supporting these closed hearings.
  • When and if an impeachment inquiry gets a vote and moves to the Senate, it’s at that point that it turns more into a trial – since the Senate acts as jurors. Until that point, it doesn’t act as a trial.
  • William Taylor provided a testimony to the committee that Trump was running a shadow policy team in an attempt to withhold aid and a meeting until Ukraine complied with demands to publicly announce investigation into Burisma and the 2016 election conspiracy. He delivered a 15 page opening statement that squarely suggests a quid pro quo and abuse of power from Trump.
  • Donald Trump is regularly tweeting about all of this, using words like Lynching, Civil War, Human Scum, and more.

There are more facts – hundreds more – but those are the highlights.

Now…here comes the editorial.

I have voraciously read the reports from every news outlet I can get my hands on – both right and left leaning. That means I read and watch Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, as well as sites like New York Times, the Associated Press, NPR, and others.

I have also printed out EVERY SINGLE letter, transcript, and hearing document and read them all.

Why have I done this? Simply for this one reason:

The amount of gaslighting, projection, and deflection happening (depending on whether you ask a Republican or Democrat) is so extensive, it feels like you are in a house of mirrors. Like you’re going nuts.

It feels like there are two sides, dealing with two sets of facts. You hear one thing, and then nearly the exact opposite. And God forbid you try to stay on one story – there’s an unending number of rabbit trails and distractions to keep you ever on the hunt for the truth.

In order to get ANY kind of clarity, I had to go RIGHT to the source of the facts. I had to read them for myself, and use my own judgment and discernment as I researched law, rules, precedents, and more.

I don’t know why I’m so fascinated by it all. I think because my psychology background cannot believe what level of gaslighting and projection has befallen our government and our media.

I am looking for the truth. I am regularly going against my own confirmation bias to see if the side I naturally and intuitively disagree with, might just have a point.

I know that the majority of Americans are not doing nearly the same level of investigation or research. They are just listening to random news clips, sound bites, tweets, facebook posts, ads, and whatever else just lands in front of them.

This makes me sad. It makes me sad because I know that anyone (Republican or Democrat) will just listen to that which confirms their bias. And that’s exactly the kind of sleeper behavior that allows gaslighting and projection to continue.

So now, I come to my opinion. My conclusions based on all of this research. The hours I spend reading and listening and watching (just ask Alex who’s lost his Netflix evening partner for the last several weeks).

If you trust my research, trust my intelligence, trust my character, maybe you’ll trust my opinion. Maybe not. It doesn’t matter to me either way. But here it is… (I am a Never-Trumper Moderate Republican by the way)

Aside from politics and policy, Donald Trump’s character is corrupt.

He’s a shrewd businessman, with a long history of unethical dealings. He entered as president, unaware that the presidency is not like running a business. To that end, he’s carried many of his tactics right into the White House, and with his new unmatched power, and incredible amounts of attention from the media who can’t stop reporting his antics, his character is now simply amplified.

He’s amplified name calling. Amplified lying. Amplified gaslighting. Amplified projection. Amplified double speak. Amplified intimidation. Amplified attention getting behavior.

And he’s got a scared, intimidated, psychologically mindf*cked Republican party that’s trying to save itself (and their reputations) by falling down party lines and defending him.

But not all are.

Slowly, quietly, with as little ripple as possible, some are distancing themselves.

You also have SUPER honest (clearly not very politically minded) bureaucrats like Bill Taylor who just take copious notes and tell it all without fearing the consequences or fallout from Trump.

I believe that the escalation of distracting behavior and political stunts from Trump and his closest allies is a desperate attempt to hide the truth – that Donald Trump is abusing his power in office and running the presidency like he does his shady business dealings.

It doesn’t mean that he hasn’t done good things economically for the country.

That’s like me committing a crime and claiming, “But look at how many people I helped in my business!” A right doesn’t overturn a wrong. They are mutually exclusive events.

I spent nearly a year of my life in a psychologically abusive relationship. I went through therapy for a long time to learn the tactics of a narcissist. I could go into great depth about the art and science of gaslighting, and how it’s playing out RIGHT now on a NATIONAL level.

I don’t know if his crimes are impeachable. I haven’t done enough research yet to know that his wrongs are worthy of impeachment, and I tell myself that if it’s not impeachable, the WORST case scenario is we endure this for five more years and then he’s gone.

That’s not very reassuring to me, but I have made my peace with that possibility.

What I do know – I KNOW in my gut and in my heart and in my brain – is that our president displays a corrupt character.

He is a corrupt character and it would be foolish to expect that a corrupt character wouldn’t become MORE corrupt when given a 24 hour news cycle, crazy loyal fans and millions of followers on Twitter, and incredible amounts of power.

And I know that corrupt humans can also do good things. No one person is ALL bad or ALL good. No one. Those good things don’t excuse the bad, no matter how much they may try to say otherwise.

You must take personal responsibility for your behavior in a given situation, irregardless of other “stocked up” good deeds.

Whenever you see an escalation of psychological mind games, where ever you see rising chaos, unrest, division, and confusion – you can reasonably conclude that corruption is at work.

Side note — Did you know that I wrote a blog post (it’s since been deleted) about a year before the election? And in that blog post, I said that the media would (in part) be to blame for Trump becoming president because they refused to ignore his antics? I did. I wrote the whole long thing – it got tons and tons of reads. I deleted it (and the whole blog) one day when I was feeling unusually insecure about my opinions. I knew he’d become president the minute I saw the way he controlled the news cycle like an evil master of ceremonies.

I was correct. And I believe I am correct now.

I do not think that Trump will actually be impeached, even though he is corrupt. I think he’s created such a crazy climate of confusion and gaslighting, that he’s secured his position as President because he’s gained too much control and power over those who are supposed to be his checks and balances.

I hope I’m wrong.

But if I’m not, remember this time in our history. This season of confusion and frenzy. It’s impossible to plant an apple seed and get a peach tree. And it’s impossible to put a corrupt man in incredible power and expect that he won’t produce more of what he is….


The Adventures of Lake Powell + 10 Days Without Internet


It’s taken me four days to even get my sea legs enough to sit down and write.

Today is day four. We’ve been on this crazy amazing lake for four days (five counting the travel day), and the amount of stuff I want to tell you might make this the longest post ever.

Even though this isn’t my first time on an outdoorsy like camping vacation (my craziest camping trip was Kenya Africa) – this is the first time I’ve ever committed to a solid 9 days of real life escape to the high desert climate of Arizona… with our four year old William in tow.

No internet. 18 people. One houseboat.

The first thing I want to tell you is that if you haven’t tried to really unplug from the real world – no internet, no news, no email, no social media – try it. Your brain frees up enormous bandwidth. For me who works online and regularly answers over 100 messages a day, I honestly bought back 90% of my brain’s bandwidth when we rolled up onto the desert-y beach for the week.

This has both amazing consequences and unintended ones.

The amazing ones you probably know – things like resetting your rhythm to the sun, living in the present moment with the people you’re with, more time to think, etc. The unintended consequence of all this brain power?

You have time to really let all those repressed thoughts rise to the surface as you stare at the stars. Hard emotional thoughts you ignored as the busyness of life took hold.

I have this high powered, fast moving brain – in a completely foreign environment. Times that by all the other successful people I’m with? It’s a lot of brain power sitting on a boat in the middle of nowhere. I’m not sure how it was for everyone else, but for me? It brought up a whole lot of stuff I don’t normally pay attention to.

For the first four days, I couldn’t go two hours without trying to figure out what time it was. All the phones are jacked because there is no internet first, but secondly, we’re right on the timezone line between mountain time and pacific time so it’s always a toss up on what time you’d get when you asked. And I got a ton of shit from everyone because it mattered to me what the REAL time was. They were all like, “Why does it matter?!”

Literally..two phones next to each other at dinner one night.

And it was a really good question. Why did it matter so much to me? Everything I do runs by the clock, and without it, I was completely lost.

The thought of trusting my own instincts to guide me (and also to guide me parenting William) felt scary and unknown. For those of you who have children who are monsters when they are tired or out of their routine, you understand why I chose the word “scary”. I pushed through the discomfort and as each day passed, I asked the time less and less. It’s now day four and I no longer need to know what time it is to wake up, go to sleep, or eat meals. I just feel my way through it, for me and William. It may not seem like a big deal, but it is.

Sleeping under the stars will probably go down in history as one of the most incredible things I’ve ever done. Being a New Englander, I haven’t ever been able to sleep outside. It’s either too humid, too buggy, too stormy, or too cold. Here? There are no bugs that bite. No humidity. Just miles and miles of water, red rock, and stars. I feel my body resetting every night I sleep here.

I want you to imagine for a minute, 15 entrepreneurs all on one houseboat together. Every day is like a new reality TV episode. We had Lake Powell Day 4 – the day Nick successfully climbed the steepest rock you’ve ever seem. We all watched from the lake below, as he became the tiniest speck against all the rock. He definitely didn’t bring a walkie talkie, enough sunscreen and water, or even a shirt…but it didn’t stop us from listening to James narrate his descent in true David Attanboro fashion. We all peed our pants laughing, which didn’t matter because peeing in the lake is perfectly acceptable.

Several entrepreneurial endeavors have popped up in our new lakeside economy. Sophie (age 10) has started a floatation rotation service business. She hops in the lake and gets paid every time she tows someone on a floatie back to a prime spot (near the dock, in the shade, etc.). She hustled Brian out of 40 bucks yesterday since she rotated his floatie over 35 times in our afternoon floating session.

The days revolve around floating sessions. Think three or four hours of talking, laughing, and drinking – on the bluest most beautiful lake water (temp 87). It’s the closest thing to heaven I can think of. We drink hard seltzer – called White Claw. So much so it’s become a verb. You yell to whomever’s on the dock and say, “CLAW ME!”

Peppered between float sessions – we do all the water sports. Wake surfing, wake boarding, slalom, paddle boarding, jet skiing, kayaking…

And then, because it’s a bunch of a-level players in the water, it turns into headstands ON the paddle board (really it’s just Brandon who can pull off this incredible feat). Nothing is ever just status quo.

Brandon and Kaelin hosted this trip, and if you’ve never watched them surf…you should. It’s impressive.

It’s funny when you’re in close quarters like this – there’s only a few hours a day of electricity, limited toilet paper, fuel, ice, and of course – throw in some toasty daytime temps of 95+ degrees, the rules change.

Things you’d never normally do – sleep in a wet bathing suit, taking communal outdoor showers, sharing beds and blankets with people, drinking sangria for breakfast (it’s really just a fruit salad with wine)… you find that the rules you live by in your real life, are just arbitrary principles you set up for the life you have.

And if you change your life, you can change the rules.

That’s been a huge aha! for me. If I want to spend more time not caring about the time, or spend more time not worrying about your house being perfectly clean, then change your life so you can create new rules that make that as normal as breathing.

In this environment, it never dawned on me not to sleep in a soaking wet bathing suit. I was hot, it was evening, I was tired, and so that’s what I did. And I woke up ready to swim.

We have a few neighbors here on the lake. Since we’re in the middle of nowhere, every new houseboat that shows up – draws intense interest from us all. There’s a territorial-ness about our little beach on the lake. So much so that James and Kaelin have concocted an elaborate plan to scare off any new visitors. It might involve stacking the long and slender white claw hard seltzer cans into what looks like a bomb, and a giant avocado and sauerkraut slingshot. I can neither confirm nor deny. What happens in Lake Powell stays in Lake Powell.

Our neighbors have attempted to barter with us a few times. Mostly for toilet paper. We did share one roll, but last night – they drew on James last nerve. He walked over there to politely ask them to turn off the flood light on their boat, and accidentally walked into a costume party. They were dressed up like the Kardashians, and even gave James an Oscar for coming as Darth Vader (they were drunk – he simply had on a Star Wars t-shirt).

Everybody has a job on this boat. Jeff is our sheriff. He’s always patrolling the beach, announcing the impending windstorm, chasing after air mattresses that blow off the sundeck into the water.

Yara has two jobs – she’s the featherer of the nest – making everything cozy and comfortable. When she’s not the nest featherer, she is a dangerous fly hunter with a salt gun.

Steve is our resident Stevearita – he can turn ANYTHING into a Margherita. Also…the catcher of one lonely fish. Didn’t stop us all from trying, but he caught only one the first day.

And of course, Kaelin and Brandon are captain and captainette….


Roeme is CAPTAIN!

All of us have distinct personalities that show up and perform well in different circumstances. Just like in business, it’s important you have the right person for the right job. If you asked me to check the water level of the lake to make sure our houseboat is anchored properly, we’d be screwed.

I’m keenly aware of the fact that I can even write all these adventures because Kaelin, Brandon, Steve, Steph, and Jeff are expert adventurers that know all things boats. The amount of logistics are insane. From locating the right beach, rationing electricity and ice and fuel, anchoring down our boat, towing all the extra water toys, and finding this epic location, without them, I wouldn’t get to experience this great grand adventure.

Also, I wouldn’t have had the chance to experience what a desert hurricane is. I can’t remember what day it was – it was the first day I decided to see if William could handle sleeping outside too. He’d been in the boat for the first two nights, and it took some persuading of Alex, but we decided to give it a go with William. We managed to get him to sleep despite the noise and fireworks. And about 10 minutes later, the wind picked up. Like REALLY picked up. So much so that our night plans of a campfire were completely demolished in exchange for all of us holding down our mattresses so they wouldn’t fly away. One still did. Twice. And some of the gusts were so strong and so loud, Alex and I spent our entire evening using a blanket to create a makeshift tent to blunt the wind.

Notice the rope. Our attempt to hold the bedding down. We’ve essentially roped our kid to the boat. LOL

Alex and I just looked at each other as we spent our night tenting William and agreed…this is what it feels like to protect your young. It’s just your family against the elements.

I’ve only taken a few photos. Mostly my phone stays in my room, barely charged. I randomly get text messages in the middle of the night. The best guess is that a satellite flies overhead and beams down messages from the real world. Once in a while I can get one out. Or… we get a service run on our two trips to the Marina.

This post to be continued…

Jeff just drank a Monster with a bee inside, and got stung on the ROOF of his mouth. Off to go find my children’s Benadryl so he can chug half the bottle.


Okay I’m back. It’s now day six. Took me two days to get back to writing. A lot’s happened…the biggest thing is we’ve moved the boat. We’re now at a totally different beach and canyon, re-invigorated by all the new stuff there is to explore. Giant rocks to climb, crystal clear deep water in a private little lagoon, and cave-like taverns of inlets to kayak through. We didn’t intend to move, but by the end of day five, we ran out of drinking water – and had to head back to the marina (about a three hour ride in) with the big boat… so we decided to camp out in a new place.

No one got dehydrated don’t worry. We have enough hard seltzer on board to hydrate the population of Utah.

The wind continues to show us who’s boss at night. It rips up about sunset and flings full length sundeck lounge chairs and heavy mattresses right into the water like it’s nothing. You know, Kaelin and Brandon warned us about the wind. But it’s not until you lose your bed that you quickly learn how to rope your linens in place. Sleeping on a wet mattress is no fun.

I think it was yesterday that we all hit our stride. Everyone now has nicknames. Kaelin is ponytail. I am Lampshade22. Lampshade because of my hat, and 22 just because. Who knows. There is one person here called Canyon Shitter because… well. Pretty sure you can figure that one out. When you put James and Kaelin in the same vicinity, the amount of shit talking is insane. It’s 100% pure entertainment watching the two of them banter back and forth. It’s like a sport. Our nicknames are going to be sealed tonight at the campfire, and then – there is no changing.

William is being stretched, I can tell. I found him in his bed last night – blankets covering his ears, slowing rocking back and forth. I think he was trying to drown out the wind and fireworks. He woke up today pretty tired. My mama heart feels like it’s ripping in two watching him cut his teeth on nature and learning how to face less than ideal circumstances and still thrive. The other part of me knows that he will go back to Connecticut and be so much more resilient. I’m really proud of how few meltdowns we’ve had.

Yesterday I stretched too. Literally. On a tube. On the back of Brandon’s boat. While I hung on for dear life screaming profanities at everyone laughing in the boat, as well as Yara who was next to me on the tube laughing at my wimpyness. I wouldn’t say it was fun being flung around on a tube going a million miles an hour – but I will say I’m glad I did it. For the photo. And even if all I learned is that I really don’t need speed in my life in order to have an adrenaline rush.

It’s so hard to explain how you bond with people when in the wilderness this long. When you see someone peeing off the side of the boat, you just walk on by as if it’s the most normal thing in the world. Because here…it is. So is waking up essentially next to 15 people. We’re all in one big bedroom called the second floor of the boat.

There are three more nights. Kaelin explained that we would hit our stride about halfway, which is partly why the trip is as long as it is. And she’s right. We have hit our stride here on the lake. We’re making memories that will last a lifetime.

To be continued… it appears there is a chainlink floatie parade led by a paddle board, swimming to shore for homemade tostadas, and I will not be last in line for dinner tonight.


Day seven. Last night around the fire, I had the distinct privilege of hearing one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. My sides hurt from laughing. The problem is I can’t share it on this post. There are too many things that must remain in the desert sands of Lake Powell.

William now has a calendar on the wall of his cabin to track the days. He kept asking me how many more sleeps, so I drew a calendar on a piece of paper and taped it to the wall with bandaids (cause I’m scrappy like that). He’s now announcing the date each morning.

Clearly he is just like his mom with her timezone addiction.

Tomorrow, we return to civilization.

There are hundreds more stories I haven’t had time to share. Stories of nature showing us who is boss… people getting stuck in canyons and needing a jetski rescue, me trying to swim unsuccessfully in the waves and wind and needing to be thrown a rope. Stuff that reminds you that we are small and God is big.

Stories about the first ever annual White Claw Pong Tournament.

Stories about firework blisters as big as your palm.

But mostly they are stories about how fast people bond when taken away from the outside world, and only have each other to be with. I’m so grateful I have the family, friends, and team to be able to experience this adventure.

*Important Notes*

All the really good photos are most definitely the work of Brian Burt, our resident photographer, drone flyer, and firework starter. Do not attempt a houseboat Lake Powell vacation unless you have the distinct privilege of hanging out with boss people who know what the hell they are doing.  Remember that whoever you go with, will learn your sleeping face, and most definitely, your peeing in the water face.

This post was written live, in real time – in the wild. It’s missing BIG huge chunks of the vacation for one reason…I was living it. <3

Ep. 46 – The Big Transition

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Full Transcript:

It’s been a while since I published a podcast, I’m so bad. Last time I came to you guys I was talking about how to make a hard decision. I believe it was July 9th. And that was in response to a really big move I’ve made in my business personally, which was to step down as the VP of Marketing for Clickfunnels, and to go back out on my own.

So basically since then, until now, I have been transitioning. Really in a lot of transition, and for someone who doesn’t like transition that’s been a little tough. So this podcast episode today is really just to tell you kind of how the transition has been going. I feel bad sometimes because I know everyone listening to me wants to have really good takeaways for their own business, so I’m going to try to make this as approachable for you guys as it is just me sort of explaining where I’ve been.

Because I know a lot of us go through transition. We have a 9 to 5 and we leave the 9 to 5. We have partnerships, we leave partnerships. We have business ideas, we pivot. It’s funny, I realized that I have left the 9 to 5 twice now. The first time that I did it was in what I would consider great crisis in my life. I was pregnant, I was getting a divorce, 3 kids, baby on the way, not a lot of money, tons of upheaval. So I remember leaving that 9 to 5 and it felt like the scariest decision I ever made in my life. And I actually help a lot of people leave the 9 to 5 through Create Your Laptop Life, Digital Gangsta, other courses that I’ve put out there. And it was 5 years ago, so I think part of me had forgotten just how scary it is, even though I knew it was at the time.

And leaving Clickfunnels was really scary. And I had this epiphany that, even though it was a completely different situation, I was working remotely. I was working from my laptop, so to speak, I was a partner at Clickfunnels, not just an employee. There was a lot of things that were different about it. The biggest difference being that my life is a lot more stable now, my financial situation is entirely different. I realized that it was still scary to leave.

And I say that to you, for any of you listening who either haven’t left your 9 to 5 yet, or you’re in a business model and you’re considering pivoting. The realization that it will never feel good to do that, it will never feel good to pivot, it will never feel good to leave. If you’re waiting for a feeling to drive your decision making, you’re going to wait forever.

And this was no more real to me than when I had to say I was leaving Clickfunnels. Because from an objective point of view, my life situation, my financial situation, my business, everything is fine, I’m not jumping into the great unknown with no money or no business model to lean back on. There was a lot of security really, logically looking at my life. And yet, I still felt afraid.

So you’re going to need courage any time you make a big pivot, you make a big change. The one thing that I realized in this whole process of leaving was that my anticipation of the event is always far greater than the event itself. The amount of anxiety and fear and turmoil that I felt leading up to making the decision to leave, was far more painful than the actual leaving.

So for, especially if you’re a worrier, anticipation is brutal. So just remind yourself when you’re in that swirl and you’re not sure whether or not to make a decision in one way or another, probably the emotional turmoil you’re feeling in that moment, is worse than what it’s actually going to be to actually walk it out.

I remember in church when I was younger, a mentor, youth leader said to me, “Julie, you always only have the grace that you need for the moment that you’re in.” It’s never like grace gets stored up, or strength or courage gets stored up and it’s in reserve for some vat for you later. It always comes at the moment you need it. So worrying and anxiety and anticipation, all that stuff is so useless because it doesn’t build up your vat of courage or strength or grace. It literally just makes it less likely that you will be able to handle the grace and the strength once you get it, to do what you have to do, because you’re so exhausted.

So I hope that speaks to somebody today, listening to this. And you know, I recognize that oftentimes if you are a control freak or if you are a worrier, or someone like that, you wrongly associate your success or the fact that you have what you have, you wrongly associate that the worry or the turmoil is what caused that success, when it really isn’t that at all.

So I have been in transition. I’ve also started an email series for any of you guys who are following me on email, which you should be, and if you’re not I really recommend that you go to, that’s CHENELL, that’s how you spell my last name. And you go and you opt in right on the home page of my website. Because I spend a lot of time writing emails to my followers, and this is probably the most, the clearest way I communicate. So if you’re not on my email list, you should totally get on my email list.

Since the transition, so since July 9 to today, so many things have happened. I’m going to try to catch you up in a few minutes or less. So the first thing is I announced my plans for the Digital Insiders. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is a mastermind and coaching program, designed not for beginners, but people who are growing, who are in the process, they’ve already validated an offer and now they’re trying to grow and scale.

So that program, I brought a new coach, and a new coach that has actually been a friend and a fellow colleague for over a year, and he’s absolutely brilliant, you’ve probably heard me speak about him, his name is James Friell. And he is partnering with me in the Digital Insiders to bring delivery operations, finance, that type of training and coaching into the program, which he is an expert in, whereas I am more an expert in marketing and sales.

So we are actively looking for Digital Insiders, new insiders. The program is entirely capped, it’s not a scalable program, it’s never designed to be more than 100 people. Once 100 people are in, we close the doors, and don’t open it again until someone leaves. So if you are interested, and you’re listening to this and have a business and you hit your first 10k month, you have your first 100 students, or 100 customers, and you’re ready for a mastermind and a coaching program, I would invite you to apply.

So that was the first big announcement I made. Second one, Digital Gangsta is open again. I had a lot of people, in fact, randomly as an aside I Googled my name the other day, and someone is running an ad on Google that said, “Julie’s Digital Gangsta may be closed, but Agency Igniter is open.” I was like, “Whoa, look at that.”

But actually the ad is wrong, the Digital Gangsta is open, it is open for enrollment from now until August 12th. So if you are listening to this and it’s past August 12th, you may want to check in with me. But if it is before, I am doing a big, all day teaching event giving the Digital Gangsta students all kinds of new content. That’s going to be happening August 12th. It’s going to happen live, and you’ll definitely want to be enrolled in the program by then.

So that was the second big announcement. The third is that we are coming up on our one year anniversary of Funnel Gorgeous. This is a brand that Cathy Olson and myself cofounded a year ago. So we’re doing a couple of things, number one, we just finished our first Funnel Gorgeous retreat, which I’m going to be writing and doing a podcast episode on marketing lessons I learned by being at Disney World with my Funnel Gorgeous people, so that was super fun.

We’re also going to be deep diving into what the first year of business looks like for us. All the numbers, what we did right, what we did wrong. And she and I are going to be giving that presentation to anyone who is in either her inner circle, or in my Digital Gangsta program. And that is going to be, I think probably one of the most valuable things that I could give my students, because it goes through step by step, in order, what we did in the first year in our info product online business.

So that was another announcement I made. I’m telling you, there was a lot that’s happened in the last 20 days. And lastly, the next announcement that I made is that Create Your Laptop Life, which is the name of this podcast, which is my membership for beginning entrepreneurs that are trying to leave that 9 to 5 and get into online business. That program is now officially back under my brand. It was tied up in partnership with Clickfunnels, but it is back under my brand, so you can go to and you can join. It’s a dollar trial for two weeks, and then $49 a month.

Inside that program there are job opportunities, there is content, and the most valuable part for most of the members in there, is that I will go live once a week and answer all your questions. So consider it like a safety net for you as you’re building out your business.

So basically that’s what I’ve announced in the last, I don’t know, 20 days or so through my email. So I just wanted to give you guys a catch up here, who are my podcast listeners. Just as a reminder, leaving Clickfunnels reminded me so much of how much it pays to not be afraid to be who you really are. And I was afraid because I thought I was going to let people down at Clickfunnels and the community, and you know my mentor, Russell Brunson. I thought that my students and my followers would feel let down. I was really gripped with a lot of fear.

And when I finally stepped outside of that fear and did what I needed to do for myself and for my family, I found so much support. So if you are not being who you really are, if you’re afraid to be who you really are on social media, if you’re afraid to be who you really are in your marriage, or to your family, or you are sort of kind of changing your personality to make someone happy, I just want to encourage you that most of that fear is completely unfounded. That there are people that will support and cheer you on in your real self.

And also, really the best impact that you can make on this world, on the people that you care about is when you are living authentically as yourself. And that’s not a cliché term, that’s really when the things that you think, and the things that you say, and the things that you do are all in alignment. So that has been a big lesson for me, and I just appreciate all of you who have been following on my journey, and thank you to those who have reached out and just supported my transparency, which has been hard and felt a little bit like a vulnerability hangover, but I know it was the right thing to do.

So I appreciate you all, and I will talk to you soon.

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