My goal is to get every woman to invest MORE money. But how do you invest money you don’t always have in the first place? So, I realised I needed to help women make more money first in order to invest. After all, making more money should be the new normal.

I chat with Monika Malan, a wonderfully talented young lady who started my flagship side hustle course. Monika’s dream is to cover her daily expenses so that she doesn’t need to work full day. The gift of flexibility is priceless!

Living a guilt-free life to do what you want is irreplaceable. We discuss her incredible journey as she embarks on making extra money.

Show notes

  • My goal is to get women to invest more money, but I realised that many women didn’t have ‘spare’ money to invest.
  • I invited pioneering women to join my course and walk a journey with me to give me feedback on how to best co-create my side hustle course. One of those women is our podcast guest today – Monika Malan.
  • Monika currently has a day job in I.T and is desperate to have a flexible working lifestyle.
  • Her first iteration of her side hustle was a vision to start a lifestyle blog and encourage her audience to purchase the products she utilises.
  • She soon realised she needed to narrow her offering to a niche market in tailor-making meal plans and individualised shopping lists to meet the needs of her audience.
  • Super powers are often overlooked as being natural for everyone.
  • Simple and accessible is key!
  • In business school, we are taught to create a big business plan, produce test cases and deliver a finished product for mass marketing.
  • But in the real world, we are forced to build a lean start-up if you want to create a sustainable side hustle.
  • There is no such thing as a polished product!
  • Monika’s revelation was the moment she realised that she didn’t want to spend her whole life making someone else rich.
  • What would the future look like if you didn’t start your side hustle?
  • Monika threw out her set ideas in order to be adaptable and agile in building a business in small increments.
  • You are your biggest obstacle!
  • The biggest barrier is the assumption we don’t understand how to start a business and what to do to make it a success.
  • Monika realised that she did indeed have something to offer the world. Why not her!?
  • It takes time to produce content and build knowledge.
  • Monika’s journey has helped her day job too – finding inspiration to focus her productivity.
  • Motivation spills over into all areas of your life.
  • The work is not less but more intentional when you are an entrepreneur.

Learn more about Monika and her wonderful new business

Check out Monika’s website here.

Join my live webinar to learn how to start your side hustle

Register here to sign up!

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Lisa Linfield:                       00:09                     Hello everybody and welcome to today’s episode of Working Women’s Wealth. I’m joined by a special person who has been walking this incredible journey of starting my course to teach women how to make extra money. Hello [Monica Milan 00:00:37] and thank you so much for joining me.

Monica Milan:                   00:41                     Hi Lisa.

Lisa Linfield:                       00:41                     Monica was part of my test group of people who did side hustle. And for those of you who have no idea what side hustle is, I started a journey of wanting to teach women how to make money because as a financial advisor, I ended up wanting people to invest more money, but in actual fact, they had a challenge that they didn’t have spare money to invest. And so I realized that before I teach people to invest money, I’ve got to teach people how to make some extra income in order to invest.

Lisa Linfield:                       01:13                     And so I launched a course, but I asked a whole bunch of really pioneering, amazing woman to walk on the journey with me and tell me what they thought about the course as I went and give me feedback and help me to make it something that really meets the needs of people. And Monica was on that journey with me. So I’m greatly appreciative for that Monica and I wanted for you to just share what your backstory is. How did you come to being in a position where you were doing the course?

Monica Milan:                   01:45                     I currently work in IT as a product owner and it’s pretty much an eight to five. And I just kind of felt I could do more. I needed to spend time with my family. Well, I only have a husband at the moment, but we’re looking to have some kids soon and I want to be able to spend time with them. I don’t want to be two hours away on a train and not being able to fetch them if something happens at school. I want to spend quality time with them. And also I don’t want to be tied to the amount of leave days a full-time corporate job allows you. I want to be able to go where I want, when I want.

Lisa Linfield:                       02:20                     Most people struggle with the idea of what they should be doing, where they should be starting. So what was your idea and what is it now?

Monica Milan:                   02:28                     So I initially wanted kind of like a lifestyle blog, just sharing my experiences on life and my journey as I teach myself how to do photography and cooking. I imagined all these posts going up weekly of all the things I’ve been doing and then encouraging people to buy stuff. For example, if I’m cooking, so I’m using these utensils and you can buy this on Amazon for example. But then it kind of changed and I realized well, that’s too broad to start off with.

Monica Milan:                   02:59                     I will probably have better success if I start off small and find out if there’s a need for what I’m offering and then slowly expand and find out what people respond to and what they don’t rather than trying to launch this one big bang solution and then nobody actually is interested. So I ended up actually offering meal plans and shopping lists. So this spun from my cooking idea and also some interaction with you based on what people would like and what is possibly a gap in the market. It’s very small but I’m hoping to expand as we go along.

Lisa Linfield:                       03:37                     And I think that’s one of the major challenges in life as we all think about doing a side hustle is that question of, what am I going to do? And it really for me has been an interesting thing to watch people and even in myself where you don’t actually realize that something that is so natural to you, being able to cook, putting together a healthy meal plan, putting together a shopping list, is not natural to everybody else. So your superpower is often something that you are unable to recognize because it’s just so natural and you think, well surely everybody knows how to do this.

Monica Milan:                   04:17                     Yes. I have to say that was definitely an epiphany for me. Not to sound funny, but I mean I just assumed people would know. So I think when you pointed that out, I was like, oh, well that’s actually a great idea. And also one of the first things I did when I launched was to ask advice from my friends on what I’m offering. And they were like, oh, but these meals that you’re saying we should make, like I don’t know how to cook and that was another epiphany for me. I’m like, oh my goodness, I didn’t realize people would struggle with something like that. So that already has prompted me to make some changes in my offering to ensure that what I’m doing is accessible for people.

Lisa Linfield:                       04:54                     Absolutely. And I always think that’s one of the big challenges in life. In fact, I did an episode on it is that in corporates and at business school, we’re taught that we must build this whole business plan and specs and requirements and all that kind of stuff. And the assumption is that you know exactly what people want out there, but the reality is once you stop talking about it, you see different opportunities. They all open up for you and in terms of the backstory, I don’t do the shopping in our house and I don’t do the cooking because John does that and I have no idea how to put a meal plan together. And for me it’s a complete revelation that someone can build me a shopping list and build me a meal plan and give me the recipes and all I’ve got to do is literally go out, buy what’s on the shopping list and I’ve got a meal plan that changes every single day.

Monica Milan:                   05:37                     Yeah, that’s it exactly. I have to say I think a book that you recommended, The Lean Startup, also really helped me just to not have a set idea of what I wanted going in. I knew this was going to be a small offering and then adapt. I think it equals [inaudible 00:05:52] pivot. Taste what works and what doesn’t work and then depending on your results, you pivot or you continue on your course and you do that in small increments and then build as you go along, which is really working.

Lisa Linfield:                       06:05                     And it is such a hugely important thing, not only from a mindset perspective that you don’t have to have this perfect thing to launch, but also from an expense perspective because if you build this massive thing and then worked out that actually it wasn’t the right thing, you would have wasted much more money.

Monica Milan:                   06:24                     Exactly.

Lisa Linfield:                       06:25                     What other epiphanies or aha moments did you have in terms of this whole process of starting your side hustle?

Monica Milan:                   06:33                     I found a lot of it was actually personal aha moments. I didn’t realize I was preventing myself from achieving my goals. So I think in the very first lesson, you made us think about what would happen if I did nothing. What would the future look like if I didn’t do this side hustle? And that frightened me. It was like ice cold water in my face. I was … just the thought of being 55 and still being forced to work eight to five and somehow managing to run around between school activities and things like … it frightened me.

Monica Milan:                   07:09                     So that was a real wake-up call for me. And then also the thought of the fact that we work very hard on a daily basis for corporate, for someone else to make money off of your efforts. Why aren’t we prepared to do that for ourselves? That doesn’t seem right. We should be prepared to put in that effort and overcome this lack of motivation almost. It’s so easy to just sit on Facebook, but you should actually just get that motivation and do it for yourself.

Lisa Linfield:                       07:39                     And that’s also as I share with people being one of my biggest lessons from starting my own businesses and doing my own side hustles, is this whole concept that one thinks that the biggest barrier to starting a business is knowing how to launch a website or knowing what to do or the what and the how things. But in actual fact, the biggest journey is a journey with yourself because a lot of these things are easy to do when it’s exciting and novel and new, but it’s a long-term change of mindset and investing in building something for yourself and not for a company that employs you.

Monica Milan:                   08:17                     That’s it exactly.

Lisa Linfield:                       08:19                     What did you struggle with the most?

Monica Milan:                   08:20                     I think you did a podcast on this as well, but accepting the fact that I have something of value to offer. It was very scary putting myself out there and thinking, what if I’m not good enough? But then I just try and remind myself, why not me? Why shouldn’t I be the one to do this? That was a struggle. It’s still a struggle, I have to be honest. I keep on thinking they are other ways that I could promote myself or put my business out there and I’m too scared to do it, but baby steps.

Lisa Linfield:                       08:49                     Absolutely and I mean this journey of yourself self-image and fear of rejection or no one showing up or liking, has also been one of my most difficult journeys. And it is definitely as you say, like layers of an onion where you can take a step that you think is massive and then a couple of months later you realize that actually that’s now become a new normal and then there’s another big step. And I think that’s part of this journey is this journey of the self and that it is the hardest stuff. I called my business and my show Working Women’s Wealth because I didn’t want to call it anything to do with Lisa Linfield because, who’s Lisa Linfield really in the big scheme of things? So it’s completely normal in terms of other struggles. So what was your end result? So we finished the course at the beginning of December. It’s now April. Where are you in terms of what you have produced or delivered?

Monica Milan:                   09:44                     So I launched my website in January, specifically because December is a really bad time to launch anything because everybody’s away on leave and so forth. So I launched in Jan, I’ve got the website that’s up and going. I’ve got social presences on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest and so far I’ve just been building my content, adding blog posts, sending out memes, that type of thing and also running campaigns on Facebook to try and get awareness of the website up and going. No sales yet, but I did go into this knowing that it might take quite a while for someone to actually buy anything, but like I said, baby steps.

Lisa Linfield:                       10:30                     Absolutely. And you know your journey is fantastic and you reminded me in terms of the fact that for many of us, half the challenge is to produce what they call the body of content, that unless you have a physical widget that you sell, something that everybody needs every single day, you have to have this concept of building a body of knowledge and build a body of content. And that takes time because you can only produce one, two, maybe three blog posts a week. I only ever manage one a week and I only manage one podcast a week and it therefore takes time until you’ve got enough content to cover everybody’s needs in terms of, in your case, what they’re eating, meal plans, why it’s important to have balanced meal plans and shopping lists and for you to produce enough content in terms of shopping lists and meal plans and all of that.

Monica Milan:                   11:23                     Exactly. And I’m actually taking it really slowly so I’m not even producing once a week at the moment. I am trying to speed that up again. It’s been a slow start, but I’m comfortable with that and I’ll probably challenge myself a bit again soon.

Lisa Linfield:                       11:39                     Absolutely. And Monica, how old are you?

Monica Milan:                   11:41                     I’m 34.

Lisa Linfield:                       11:43                     So you’ve got more than 30 years of getting a return on this business before you even get into financial freedom at worst. And for most of them, they take three to five years to build. So by the time you hit your forties you’re going to be having this amazing side hustle that would not only help to generate you extra money and freedom and flexibility, but also grow you from a personal perspective.

Monica Milan:                   12:08                     Yeah, that’s a great thought. Thanks for that Lise.

Lisa Linfield:                       12:12                     And has any of this whole journey helped in your day job?

Monica Milan:                   12:16                     Yes. I actually realize looking back at before I started the course, I was very demotivated. I wasn’t in the mood to really do anything. I was just in a bad space. And then when I started the course and I started getting all motivated and engaged and building this new business, it also gave me the energy and the motivation to start focusing at work again. And now I’m actually feeling like I’m having very productive and busy days.

Monica Milan:                   12:45                     Not just busy, busy is one thing, but I’m actually being productive and just having my brain switched on is actually helping me find solutions to problems much faster and being more creative because I’ve been doing this creative work on the side. So it’s actually been very beneficial and I’m doing much better as a person because of it. I even have been exercising three times a week pretty consistently as well because I’m pushing myself to be consistent because consistency at the end of the day is what will make you successful, which is also another one of your wisdoms.

Lisa Linfield:                       13:20                     I just love that because it’s one of the things about motivation, is that motivation is almost like that snowball that grows and grows and grows. Sometimes you need something that gives you hope of a different future and as that happens and that gives you energy and motivation, it then does spill over to many other different areas of your life.

Monica Milan:                   13:41                     Yes, it definitely does. And I have to say it’s great to feel alive again. I’m really enjoying it.

Lisa Linfield:                       13:47                     In la-la land, if this thing was to go well, what is that hope and dream for your future?

Monica Milan:                   13:54                     My dream, which might sound modest but is to cover my daily expenses so that I don’t have to have a full-time job. That for me would be first prize, but in terms of offering

[inaudible 00:14:07]

, there’s actually such a big gap in the South African market because overseas meal planning is a huge thing and there’s so many ways that you can expand your offering. And I’m getting so many ideas and I really want to make this a great product for South Africans because I feel our products and our shops are very different to what’s on offer in the U.S. So you can’t just easily just buy a U.S. meal plan and think you’re going to get away with it. So I’m really hoping to become a big presence in the market, maybe five to 10 years time, integrate with people like Woolworths or Pick n Pay and buy your ingredients in the shopping list online, things like that. So yeah, lots of ways that we can expand.

Lisa Linfield:                       14:49                     And that’s fantastic. You said a modest aspiration of being able to cover your daily expenses so that you can have the flexibility. For me, that isn’t a modest aspiration, that is a life-changing aspiration. Yes, absolutely as you say in la-la land, maybe you become the leading expert in it, but that gift of the flexibility, especially as you say if you are blessed to start a family and things like that, that gift of flexibility has been one of the core factors of my own motivation and my own ability to get so much done is for the first time in my life, I don’t feel guilty to go and watch a swimming gala or a hockey match or something like that.

Lisa Linfield:                       15:32                     And that for me has been transformational. The flexibility to live a guilt free life when it comes to balancing both looking after my kids and doing the work I love doing. And I read somewhere that for entrepreneurs it’s not that the work is less, it’s just the work is flexible. And I find I work more than I did in corporate, but I’m doing work that energizes me and motivates me and that flexibility and lack of guilt has been truly transformational. So it might, as you said, financially be a modest approach rather than some big dream to conquer the world, but from a life perspective, that flexibility is really life-changing.

Monica Milan:                   16:16                     It truly is. That makes me very excited and that’s what keeps me going is that flexibility that you spoke about.

Lisa Linfield:                       16:22                     When someone says to you, why have you got a bounce in your step? How do you answer that?

Monica Milan:                   16:27                     I just tell them that I’m happy. I’m enjoying what I’m doing and I’ve got a positive outlook for the future and that’s what makes me happy from day-to-day.

Lisa Linfield:                       16:39                     That’s fantastic. So Monica, how do people get hold of you? If they want to have these fantastic meal plans and shopping lists all sent to their inbox, how would they get hold of you?

Monica Milan:                   16:52                     So my website is

[ 00:16:55]

and also I’m [Get Good 00:17:00] on Facebook and you can also find me on Pinterest and Instagram as [GetGoodTX 00:17:07] but there are links to the social websites on the website itself.

Lisa Linfield:                       17:11                     That’s wonderful. Well thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it and good luck with that goal of creating that flexibility in your life.

Monica Milan:                   17:20                     Thank you Lisa. I had a wonderful time.

Lisa Linfield:                       17:22                     I’ve had so much interest from people on starting a side hustle that I’m going to be doing a live webinar to teach whoever wants to attend, how to make more money by starting an online business. The three secrets that I’ve learned to ensure that you don’t need to go through the same journey that I went through, where I wasted an enormous amount of money and 18 months of learning. So that free webinar, you can register for it on the show notes for this podcast and if you go to our website, there’s a link on the first page, so definitely sign up. There’ll be four opportunities to listen to me. I’m going to be doing this free series and I’d love to see you there. I’m Lisa Linfield and this is Working Women’s Wealth.