408: Restructuring My Business, Launching Podcast Moguls 2.0, and Mastering Self Talk

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408: Restructuring My Business, Launching Podcast Moguls 2.0, and Mastering Self Talk

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This week I’m back for a solo episode, with my 2024 updates! As we wrap up Q2, I’m thinking about the impacts on my business from social platforms expanding and changing constantly, raising two littles, and making sure I honor my bandwidth. We’ll also dive into how I’m revamping and expanding my podcast coaching course, Podcast Moguls. 

 In this episode I’m sharing:

  • My key habits to staying balanced in my work, motherhood, and self-care
  • Mastering self-talk and how I filter out the negativity
  • How I’m growing my brand awareness and focusing on solo content 

Highlights Include:

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 03:12 Shifting from validation to impact
  • 06:50 Eliminating negative self-talk
  • 15:00 Balancing mom-mode and CEO-mode
  • 19:13 The interview process as a podcaster
  • 27:24 The changing podcast industry 
  • 30:05 The importance of multiple streams of income
  • 33:34 Grow your brand awareness
  • 36:20 Expanding my training course Podcast Moguls
  • 45:11 Allowing myself to stay within my bandwidth

Check out episode 408 of Side Hustle Pro podcast out now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube

Links mentioned in this episode

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Side Hustle Pro – @sidehustlepro


Nicaila Matthews Okome 0:02

You're listening to side hustle Pro, the podcast that teaches you to build and grow your side hustle from passion project to profitable business. And I'm your host Nicaila Matthews Okome. So let's get started

Hey, friends. Hey, welcome. Welcome back to the show. Today in the guest here we have Helena Faustin, also known as that nurse can cook. Helena is a registered nurse and content creator from New York City, who shares her love and passion for cooking with her audience on a daily basis. As a mother of three Halina inspires millennials to get comfortable in the kitchen and cook delicious meals for their families. The success of her massively popular food blog that nurse can cook has delighted millions of viewers around the world. Let's write ups in publications and established various partnerships and collaborations. Halina also competed in Food Network's out shift, where she battled against a celebrity chef and restaurant tour and was crowned the winner in a home cooked versus Top Chef showed out. Each of Halina is recipe showcases the vibrant and robust flavors of Caribbean cuisine. And it is clear that Halina boasts a talent of healing souls one meal at a time, you can find helenus delicious recipes in her first ever physical cookbook, the soul of scotchy out now, I loved our conversation, and I hope you do too. So let's get right into it.

So hello, Lena, welcome to the guest chair. Thank you for being here.

Helena Faustin 1:49

Thank you for having me.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 1:51

I'm so glad we're able to do this and have this conversation. You inspire me a lot. And you might not know, you know, you never know who's watching. Yeah, you're right. You're Jamaican mom. And also, my mom was a NICU nurse for her entire career. You know why? Yeah, it's

Helena Faustin 2:11


Nicaila Matthews Okome 2:12

So I have a special place in my heart for NICU nurses. And I just love that you are balancing these two, your passion and you know, your professional job. So, before I go any further, let's take it back a little bit. So when did you even begin to think about what you would be when you grew up?

Helena Faustin 2:33

You know, I'm sure that you can relate to this, but Jamaican parents, they go for safety girl, they're just like, when you grow up, you're not getting into any foolishness. Make sure you choose a career that will keep you paid and working. So it had to be the medical field. It had to be law, engineering, accounting, something that comes with a 401 K. Plan. And if you're really good opportunities for overtime.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 3:15

I know how to make it not just working three jobs.

Helena Faustin 3:21

Where's your first job? And where's your second job?

Nicaila Matthews Okome 3:24

Just the other day, my mom was like, oh, yeah, I used to work at the hospital. I was like, okay.

Helena Faustin 3:33

So I've always known that I was going to pick a career that was safe. I was never a risk taker in for my child. I was the look before you leap type of kid. And I was just always fascinated by the human body. Like whenever I was in my science classes, when we got to plants, I would tune out, we start talking about the human body. And all of a sudden, I'm like acing the exams. Like I was so intrigued about how the human body performs its duty on a daily basis without us even having to think about it. So I always knew I was getting into the medical field. And when it came time to choose a college, I was just like, I'm going for the nursing. My mom was just like, do nursing. You know, you always have a job. It's a well paying bachelor. You didn't have abilities. You were lazy.

Helena Faustin 4:32

Yes. So it's been a child that like, listened. I had my moments. Don't get me wrong. I have my moments. But when it came to advice on life, I took my mom's advice because she was always like, you know, I want you to do better than me. I came here and it's a struggle when you don't have a career. Yes, you can find a job and you can still be successful, but it's a lot harder for you, and I don't want you to struggle. Oh, I don't want you to depend on anyone to survive. So make sure you do the right thing. And I listened. Yeah,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 5:06

because they didn't bring us cancer struggle, right? Like they sacrifice for that. So you start your career you go to school. Was it easy to get into your career once you graduated? Or did you have a little bit of a hard time? It was hard.

Helena Faustin 5:20

It was hard. You know, at the time that I graduated from nursing school, St. Vincent's Hospital had just closed. And what happened was, there was this because this was I graduated from Long Island University, the Brooklyn campus. Yes. And St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan. They were located, I think, around 14th Street. In Manhattan, they closed and it was a massive hospital that employed like 1000s of nurses. So what happened was they inundated the job market. And I was competing as a new grad with experienced nurses. And every hospital that I applied to was just like, listen, we're allocating our new positions to the nurses that were just displaced from the closing of St. Vincent. And we're only taking nurses that have experience. And if you came from St. Vincent, you're at the top priority for a job. So I had to figure it out. I was pounding the pavement, old school style.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 6:31

Here is what Yeah,

Helena Faustin 6:35

I dressed up, I put my suit on one of my close classmates, we decided we're going to make a list of like five or six hospitals, print out our resumes, put our suits on and walk into the hospital and physically deliver resumes, because at that time, the Internet was it was around. I don't want to sound like a dinosaur. But this was like in 2010. Okay. And the internet was around.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 7:10

Social media at least. Yeah, I know what you mean. Yeah.

Helena Faustin 7:16

So they would say go online, but we'd be like, checking.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 7:23

Like, people weren't putting jobs online in the same way that they like they would do it. But they were still like, you know, referrals, people moving within the job. So I know what it's like you're applying to a black box, because it's like people would forget to check, they just put it there for sure. They

Helena Faustin 7:40

just put a different shot. And there was no way that you could really guarantee that your resume or your application would fall into the hands of the right person. So we figured the best way to ensure that someone actually got our resume was to physically go in there and hand it in and we went to nearly all of the hospitals. In the five boroughs with the exception of the Bronx, I think I said I didn't want to travel.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 8:08

Like always, I wouldn't even say yeah, my husband from Brooklyn, but it's like a long distance relationship. Okay, so I get it. Yes.

Helena Faustin 8:15

The only thing is that I wasn't I didn't have a vehicle at the time. So I needed to also narrow hospitals, down to a point where I could get to work on time, right? Because that makes a difference. Like you want to show up to work. And you want to have an

Nicaila Matthews Okome 8:30

easy commute and you're gonna be working long hours, night shifts, all these kinds of things. Exactly. So

Helena Faustin 8:35

just in case I had to work odd hours, I didn't want to have a long commute. So I ended up getting offered a position at Kings brook in Brooklyn. They're right on Rutland road and Utica in that area. And I was working on the long term care side of the hospital wasn't even I'm a unit. And I worked in long term care for about six to eight months at first. And my mindset at the time was take something, it might not be what you want. But this might be an excellent way to get your foot in the door. Stay there, do this position. Make sure you make good connections do an excellent job and maybe what you really want may come along and you will be an internal hire. Yeah, so that was my thought that was my thought process.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 9:37

Is that what ended up happening to like your transitions? Oh, it

Helena Faustin 9:40

didn't happen that way. What happened was one of my former clinical professors happened to be head of HR at Bellevue Hospital. And we have always stayed in touch. And she reached out to me via email and she was like, hey, they make us hiring they want like 1010 nurses Hear me a resume, lovely black woman shout out to Professor Hayes because shout out my life.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 10:09

And I went, yeah,

Helena Faustin 10:11

yes, I went in there beautiful black woman, she was always like, pushing for black nurses to take up space in, you know, these traditional areas that weren't always diverse. Because these highly specialized units, there's not a lot of racial diversity on those units. It's been very hard to get into in the past. So she really pushed for us. And I went in for my interview, and I got hired. And that

Nicaila Matthews Okome 10:41

was all she wrote. That's all. So at this point, you're thinking like, Okay, I have my career, you've done what you're supposed to do you get a specialized nursing unit. So at what point did you start side hustling? Did that come a few years later?

Helena Faustin 10:55

I came a lot of years later. I started. I started my position at Bellevue Hospital in May of 2011. And I was young, no kids, no, no else, no nothing. So life was great. But then I got with my husband and the kids started coming.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 11:26

Okay, well, as an outlet, even at that point, it was just like life in and nursing.

Helena Faustin 11:32

It was like life thing and nursing and just trying to get by. And what happened was, I ended up having Aria, and I went out on maternity leave. And while I was on maternity leave, I was just like, You know what, I think it's time for me to do a pivot in my career. And I ended up leaving Bellevue and I went to New York Presbyterian, on the cardiac NICU. And it was the then that I really started saying, you know, I kind of like cooking. I always loved cooking. But it was then when I got on that unit, I was like looking for I found myself gravitating more towards finding a creative outlet. And one of my friends said to me, that, you know, you're always showing videos of your cooking. And I used to do this on my private personal page that I just have with family and friends. So she was like, why don't you start a different page where you show nothing but your cooking? And that was 2018 show?

Nicaila Matthews Okome 12:38

That friend? Really? It was 2008? Yeah, it was 2008. Wow, that seems so recent. Now, I want to go back to you moving to the cardiac NICU, because first of all, I didn't realize there was a separate cardiac NICU. That's heavy. That sounds heavy. Is that why you need an outlet?

Helena Faustin 12:58

Yes. Okay. Listen, I've seen some wild. Okay. I've seen some things that weren't How do

Nicaila Matthews Okome 13:09

you turn that off at the end of the day, and I wasn't

Helena Faustin 13:13

having a good work life balance. There was no separation between me and the job. I was bringing work home, I was spending my days off thinking about what happened at work the day before. Sometimes I really loved it. Don't get me wrong, like, what helped was management. I loved management at the time. We had a great support team. I work with some awesome nurses, New York Presbyterian was just a great place to work. They seemed like they cared about their employees, they put the effort forward. So I was happy. Yeah, I was happy there. So it didn't really have anything to do with the institution itself. But the specialty can be very emotionally and mentally draining can imagine and I think in stick instinctively I started grad gravitating towards cooking as that outlet to help me take my mind off of everything that was going on at work. And the highs were really highs, the lows were really lows and as a mother, the work hits different. Yep. Like you care about your patients, especially when you're working in the NICU. You care about your patients, of course. But when you become a mother, those patients start to be you start to personalize them. You're like, this could be my baby. Like think about your own children. Yeah. You think about your children. The way

Nicaila Matthews Okome 14:36

you could imagine how you do it, like I see babies at the airport. And I'm like, if I'm traveling alone, and I'm sitting next to a baby like I'm like, oh my god, like I have children overall differently. Like I immediately see my children in them. I'm cooling them. I'm talking to them. Like, you just they feel it feels different.

So now here you are seeing them at on their worst day. And then you need this outlet. So when you begin this different page for the cooking, how does it start out? Like do you start dabbling in just purely content? Or at that part? Do you immediately start thinking about cookbook and monetization?

Helena Faustin 15:25

You know, I initially, my first thought wasn't a monetization. My that was not my first thought. But I was very intentional about what I was doing. I was journaling, what worked, what didn't work, I was journaling, what type of strategies I was implementing, I wrote down my thoughts, my feelings about my growth and how my life was changing, and how, you know, this content creation thing was taking over my life. So I was very intentional from the beginning. And I feel like it's just like, me, like, if I'm gonna do something, I do it with intention. And I'd become incredibly disciplined, and I become laser focused. So I was always laser focused about what I wanted to do. And once I started to see how things were picking up and I started growing an audience, then I was just like, wait a minute, something here. Yes.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 16:32

And when you first started posting, did the audience come just out of pure discovery in the feed? Or were you doing additional things to get in front of people and build audience,

Helena Faustin 16:45

my audience purely came from discovery from everybody who liked shared, commented, the Instagram page, proud Jamaicans they were always a major support, I love to Yad, they, I love them. And they would share my work sometimes. And just from them sharing my work, I was able to build an authentic relationship with my followers, because they were like, Okay, this food was good. Let me check out now let me see what this person has going on. And so that's how it slowly started to build. And here we are today, when you

Nicaila Matthews Okome 17:23

were writing down, I love that, that you were really tracking what you're doing. Because so many of us, we start out. And then when it gets big, we're like, Well, what did I do? What was I doing? Exactly? What happened between this month and this month? So when you actually track and you can start tracking at any time, you can actually see and measure what had impact on growth. So for you, as you started doing that, what kind of trends were you seeing with what had impact in addition to people and other accounts sharing?

Helena Faustin 17:55

I started to see people really responding to storytelling, and being relatable. And I think that to some degree, most of us want to see ourselves, we have like this ego, this small ego part.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 18:14

Right, right. Yeah, helpless human nature. Right,

Helena Faustin 18:18

we have this need to want to see ourselves in something. So when I was journaling, I was like, Yeah, my audience is really responding to the relatability factor. I think it's important to maintain your integrity by being relatable. I think most people want to come to a space where they feel welcomed, where they feel seen, where they feel like, Hey, I'm not alone. Yeah,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 18:44

yep, I totally get it. And you know, what I love about you and your content is it does feel relatable in the sense that it doesn't feel like you are some super untouchable person who was just born with these cooking skills like you show us how you know, you met your husband, and you started to learn and study in getting recipes from his mom and practice and get better and, and even with your own family, you'll say I went and I took notes with my grandma and I wrote it down. It shows you the attainability. Like this is not just like, oh, this is someone who's perfect at cooking and just was just born this way. Yeah, she has learned and studied her craft.

Helena Faustin 19:23

Right. And I just want to touch on an A very important part because I think your listeners could benefit from this. I do want to say that it's very difficult to maintain your relatability when you would exist in a space where everyone is feeling forced to have it all together or even look like they have it all together. Each social media is very predicated on aspirational content. You got to have a perfect house you have to have the perfect spouse they have perfect chilled everything. Same perfect. No one ever has a bad day. Are you? Like away? Are you a

Nicaila Matthews Okome 20:07

less messy?

Helena Faustin 20:08

Exactly like, Listen, this has been looking a mess some days. I pushed the mess to the side and I set my camera up. And I go with

Nicaila Matthews Okome 20:18

what exactly, because I don't want to be distracted. But that doesn't mean it's not there. Yeah,

Helena Faustin 20:23

exactly. I'm going through everyday struggles just like everyone else, just like every other mom, just like every other wife trying to balance everything. And I, some people are like, Oh my god, like, how do you balance it all? And you know what, I've really come to the conclusion that I don't really think that there's ever a such thing as true balance.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 20:44

No, no. And I'm so glad you're speaking to this because you actually speak into my heart. And you know, we kicked off the pre show you guys just talking about the fact that before today, I had to cancel Halina because my son had an ear infection. We were in the ER on Mother's Day. Today, my daughter's home from daycare, sick, and you know, hobbies holding her down. And it's just like, what you mentioned about social media makes us feel like we have to be perfect. Sometimes I don't even realize that's what's happening. But it totally is like the psychological factors that are at play that are working on us. We don't even realize it. Because we're not supposed to. It's designed in a way where you're not supposed to realize how it's impacting your brain. But you're right. And so that also stops me some time from making content because I'm like, I don't look perfect enough today. And the house isn't perfect enough. I don't I don't have a perfect script in my head yet for how I want to promote this thing.

Helena Faustin 21:40

Girl, it's true. And you know what? That's all you Yes. Sometimes you got to pick up your bags and go

that telling you like that. And I did see some I did see something somewhere on social media and it was like your, your perfectionism is killing you. It's killing.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 22:13

It's a constant cycle. Because as you mentioned, for those of us who grew up in certain traditions, it was a part of our upbringing. So you can't just unlearn that in one day or one week, or maybe even ever, completely. I don't think I ever can completely because it's who I've been for so long, but I can realize when it's happening, and address it, you know, and fight against it. So thank you for raising that. Because that is part of what makes you so likable. And I just love the fact of just showing up.

Helena Faustin 22:50

Because again, it's took days to have to fight again. Yes, I am so intentional about not creating content that furthers harmful narratives. Yeah. And there are certain I don't, you know, I support everyone's ability to do whatever it is that they want. But I do believe that certain content, if you're not careful, it will play into a harmful narratives that like you have to have it all together. Or you have to make sure that everything you do is you started from here, and then you got to show exactly how now it's too much. And it's placing too much pressure on us. It's unrealistic. Like sometimes we just want to grab our things and go. That might be the

Nicaila Matthews Okome 23:45

it's so hard with content creation, because just the act of turning on a camera is planned, right, you're planning this out. And you would be lying if you said that if you plan when you're going to press play, if something inside of you doesn't make you want to just do something that you wouldn't normally do in your real life, whether that's straightening up whether that's by you know, putting on some lip gloss, whatever it is, something shifts from your regular life to your camera life. It doesn't mean you have to be fake, but we have to acknowledge that right? At the same time we have to be aware of what am I putting out there? And at the same time I try not to overthink this all it can be a little bit too much pressure too when you're trying to think about how do I not be fake but how do I not create harmful narrative and all of this stuff, right? They no they only can do is just show up and be us make the content. Because you gotta keep it moving. You got a family to take care of

Helena Faustin 24:41

fear. Like I feel like in order for you to not lose, like your sense of self and not lose your touch with reality. You have to continue to create content that's rooted in your reality. Like I'm if your shirt is dirty and I'm about to turn the camera on I'm gonna be like, don't you think you want to change your shirt like, me show up? Like, like you care? Yeah. Like, so I'll do that, at least. But it has to be rooted in reality. And I'll tell you that sometimes. Sometimes a lot of the things I post really just are random moments with my camera. So that's why sometimes, my kids here might not be exactly perfect, because I just whipped out my camera. And like, it's spur of the moment. I wasn't thinking of creating a moment. But sometimes even when you see, people when I consume I don't I try not to consume too much content. But even of the people that I do follow, like, when I see something, I'm very detail oriented. So when I see something like, oh, look, there's a paper on the floor. Like, you know what I mean? Or they're someone's hair is not exactly perfect. Like, to me, it puts in a real relatability

Nicaila Matthews Okome 25:55

the like, oh, okay, they live their life a perfect TV, even though we know

Helena Faustin 25:59

no one time, it's nice to see what I have to tell you this. I have to tell you this before I lose my train of thought. But someone said, I have filmed a video that was completely off the cuff like it was not scripted. Like I don't, we don't do scripted content. But it was just one of those moments where I was like, Oh, let me pull up the camera. And someone commented on my page, and they were like, You got your paper towels on the floor and a broom in the corner just me.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 26:31

That's what you

Helena Faustin 26:34

Yes. But like, it spoke to a bigger theme, like people are so used to seeing overly curated content that was simple, yet as a pipe, but we all got the water on the floor. We all have some time

Nicaila Matthews Okome 26:53

at one time. My son when he was younger, you can hear him crying the back of an episode and someone reached out to me like, oh my god, that made me feel so good to know that you in the back of your recording. And I was like yeah, yes, we got to keep it pushing right.

I love that we're having this conversation I don't want to lose sight of I want to know a little bit more about how you went from the beginning, journaling tracking, to strategically making this a profitable side hustle, right, and we make good money. Now we're launching. We got partnerships. So when did those aspects come into your business? It

Helena Faustin 27:42

started, I think, I think I maybe have like 50,000 followers at the time. And I was like, I heard they been paying money. It was literally just like that. You know, it's time for me to like really figure out a way to get monetized. And the first brand that ever even gave me a chance at you know, collaborating was Grace. Grace, love. That's a great grief is such Yes, they've been such a staple in our community. And in our homes for generate everybody

Nicaila Matthews Okome 28:25

knows great.

Helena Faustin 28:28

Yes, yes, yes. So they were the first ones that actually reached out to me to do a collaboration. And I was just like, and at the time, I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what to charge. I didn't know anything. So I was just like, I think it's worth this, like, you know, so we all have to start somewhere. You know what I mean? And taking things like that really helped me learn how to integrate products into my content. And from there, I started doing a lot of research, how are content creators and influencers? Managing to make a profit? Yes, YouTube was one. All right, let me start a YouTube channel. Let me make sure I set my YouTube channel up for success so that I can be monetized. So I started YouTube, like very early, because I knew you could get ad revenue from there. So I started that out. Then I started working with brands. And then I also had a website. And I was like, Yes, I can definitely get ad revenue and figure out how to get ads on my website so that I could get paid for my traffic and journaling and writing down what worked, what didn't work and even some of my biggest dreams like what are your hopes and dreams for your future? And you'd be surprised how just writing it down. You start to instinctively work towards those things that you write down and I've had a lot of viral videos. So a lot of brands have reached out to me, I've been very, very fortunate to have a lot of inbound requests. And as my platform grew, all of the streams of income started to grow as well. And then the work started to grow. Like, going out there, my work life balance was because I

Nicaila Matthews Okome 30:23

was because our field, right.

Helena Faustin 30:27

And then the side hustle now, it's starting to become a monstrosity. And it's taking on a life of its own. And it's like seeping into other areas of my life. Like, I used to get up early and arrive at the parking lot for my job, 45 minutes before my shift, and edit content in the car. And wow, a lot of people don't really understand or appreciate just how hard you have to work at your side hustle if you are really having an intention to grow it into a thriving business, and eventually scale back the hours at your nine to five. But I really sacrificed a lot to get here.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 31:18

Which revenue streams started growing the most? Was it the YouTube AdSense revenue, the brand partnerships, the website, ad revenue, brand

Helena Faustin 31:28

partnerships is the most lucrative stream of income that I have right now. And I want to say that because these brands are paying you a lot of money to promote their products, or to increase their awareness for their brand. And it's become the fastest way for me to get to a point where I can say, okay, I can scale back my hours. And it got me to a point where I said, Alright, now that I've set this up, and these inquiries are coming, you get x amount of inquiries per week, or whatever. Now you can say, I have a thriving stream of income here, I have another thriving stream of income here and put it all together. And now you're like, you're running a full fledged business.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 32:20

Have you hired a team or contractors to start taking things like editing off your plate, for example,

Helena Faustin 32:26

I am still working. I'll tell people like I editing is my most despised, like, I will feel caught film content all day telling me to edit videos, and I'm just like, I'll just have it sitting in the queue like girls get up, like, you film the content, like just just edit it, like go and edit it, like I do. And um, and then you get to a point where you're so particular, you kind of become a little controlling that handed over to anybody else. But I do have a management team that works on my brand partnerships, okay, and that way, like, I have a barrier in between like myself and the brand, I can outsource some of the thinking because it takes up a lot of mental space. Okay, and especially when it comes to negotiating contracts, reading contracts, making sure that the partnership is mutually beneficial. I have someone who's watching my back, so that I can focus some of my energy towards creating and coming up with merchandise ideas, or working on my hopes and dreams, and stuff like that. So I do want to say like, hiring out is very important. And I hire out photography. Like I don't take photos myself, like I hire for

Nicaila Matthews Okome 33:49

work. Every time you need to cook like how does it but

Helena Faustin 33:52

I fill my own cooking videos. But when it comes to photo shoots, then I outsource that to a photographer. You can take your own photos as a creator, many creators take their own photos. But I am just a little bit more realistic about what I have on my plate and what I'm capable of. And for me, it's worth it for me to just hire a photographer and pay their fee have them do all the editing, retouching. They have their own equipment, their own studio, I show up with the concept, the wardrobe, the theme and all that take care of the rest. Yeah, and deliver my photos when they're ready.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 34:33

That makes sense, especially for the brand there's so many aspects of content creation, right like you think. Yeah, yes, iPhone, I could do my reels. But will the quality of your lighting really do justice for this brand campaign like you really have to think about? Yes, that's why McDonald's has people come shoot those cheeseburgers, and the big man never looks like that in person. But

Helena Faustin 34:58

they hire food they have Either they have a producer, they got a food stylist, they have a whole team that helps. Mr. McDonald is not in there. Like making the burgers and making sure the sesame seeds on top of the buns are strategically aligned. Like they hire stylists who are smarter than them in that aspect. Yes. So

Nicaila Matthews Okome 35:22

it's important to know when to hire out. And you, obviously when you started, we're doing this on your own styling the food, taking your photos, taking your videos, but at some point, and maybe it was when you added you had your second child or your third child, I don't know, you're like, you know what, I'm gonna need some help.

So, you know, a lot of people lose money as they're starting up their side hustles. And you mentioned scaling back. So I assume you're talking about your full time role. So we're able to match your income through your side hustle income, or was it more like scaling back hours in hopes of getting it there?

Helena Faustin 36:09

I wasn't going to, I'll tell you this right now for full transparency. I don't want to say that I operate from a like a scarcity mindset. But I feel like a lot of us, especially those of us who have Caribbean backgrounds, we tend to become hyper focus on stability, and you no matter what it is, you crave that stability, I was not reducing hours, at my guaranteed bi weekly paycheck. Unless I could either maintain or supersede the lifestyle that I've already created. For myself. Yes. And when it started to get to the point where I was putting in a lot less sweat equity and like doubling or tripling a biweekly paycheck, it just stopped making sense for me to be still go into the hospital full time. Yes, all the time that I'm dedicated at the hospital, I could take that time and energy and put it towards my own brand. And thereby increasing my ability to make income because if you have more time you have everything. And not only that, your mental health, working full time as a hospital plus working full time at the business kind of felt that kinda it did feel like working two full time jobs. At the same time. You're like, I'm on my lunch break, answering emails, I'm arriving to the parking lot. 45 minutes before my shift starts either answering emails editing conflict, like this. Exactly. It's like around the clock before I go to bed, like making sure I check in. I was just like, no, like, scale it back. So I scaled back my hours to part time. Okay. But I had to make sure that not only that I could sustain my lifestyle that number one, I had adequate savings and we have adequate savings. I also have the benefit of having a partner who works like yes, we can't leave that out because we can't leave. Yeah, some people are legit doing this on their own, whether they're single parents, or they just are working alone, I have a spouse that has a full time job that has benefits. So I'm able to benefit from that. And we can't leave that out. Because that's important. We need health insurance. Yes, you need to think about those types of things before you say I'm going to leave my job and take my entrepreneurship seriously. So because of my spouse's work, I was able to scale back my hours to part time and relinquish my benefits. So I started doing part time hours, and the business continued to thrive. And I also had to prove to myself that I could withstand a drought. Because you have your times where the requests are coming like the work is coming. You had a great month, like you got a lot of traffic this month to your blog, like your income is really high this month. You have the dry season.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 39:19

Talk about it the dries. Yeah, I never thought it would come like 2019. I don't know about you, I'm gonna get a lot of content creators, past guests talk about 2019 20 It was a good year for a lot of us. And then, you know, things to Qatar, things to consider to be able to withstand those seasons.

Helena Faustin 39:39

Right. And sometimes a lot of those seasons are beyond your control. Yeah, like I've heard a lot of people who operate websites that there was a Google update some time last year, and that Google update affected their ranking in the search results and because their ranking got affected, it really took a put a dent in their income. So I feel like in order for you to say, Alright, I'm going to take this full time or I'm going to take this seriously, you got to prove to yourself that you can handle a dry season. And how long can you withstand that dry season? And I think, a cushion, that cushion you have. So you have a soft landing, that's really important, and diversifying your streams of income. So in case of one stream of income is not performing so well. For sometimes it's a month, sometimes it's several months, right? You have something else that you can rely on in that season without feeling like you're gonna lose your mind.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 40:46

Yeah, like, when is the next check coming? Because I think with the thing, the pros and the cons of brand partnerships is when it's great, it's great, right? But when they just all of a sudden say, All right, we're pulling budget from that fan, you have to be able to pivot or say, Okay, I'm not overly reliant on inbound brand deals going on, I have this happening, I have a book that I'm launching or other things. So tell us a little bit more about your revenue streams today.

Helena Faustin 41:13

So I my revenue streams include ad revenue from YouTube. And to be honest, like, I haven't even really posted on my YouTube channel. So that's like the power of YouTube that you can continue to make money from your YouTube, even if you're not necessarily content regular. Yeah, so don't ever abandon like evergreen content, because that will keep you paid in your sleep. Even when you're not even working on my website, I get ad revenue from my website, which is also evergreen content. And you can always rank I mean, if you're searching for a Christmas recipe, sometimes the article that comes up first is an article from two or three years ago. So that's another stream of income brand partnerships are another stream of income of mine, I get money from working with brands. And then I also have cookbooks, I have ebooks that I've put out. And then I just put out my first physical, hardcover, congrats, thank you. So you know, I've been able to diversify them. But I do also want to stress that each stream of income that you set up, requires you to show up.

So you can say, Yeah, I want several streams of income, and you have to be willing to show up in several places. So a lot of people think that they should set up as many stream of streams of income as possible. And the truth is, that's not sustainable. Because Youtube, I gotta show up to you. Even if I've been neglecting it a little bit, you got to show up there, your website where you're earning revenue from ads, you have to show up there too. When you're making money from brand partnerships, you have to show up there too. You're making money from your cookbooks, or your product, whether it be whatever you decide to put out, you have to show up there too. So I just want to tell anyone who thinking about doing something like that to be mindful of how many places you can realistically show up at once, right?

Nicaila Matthews Okome 43:26

It's a step by step process. Because often, when one gets to a good place, it's because you really just leaned into that revenue stream for a while and got it to a good place. And then moved on to, you know, nurturing a new revenue stream. Tell us a little bit about writing this book. So what made you decide to do a physical book? What was the process? Did you self publish or work with a publisher?

Helena Faustin 43:49

I worked with a publisher. And it's a journey. Yeah, so let me go back a little bit. I came up with this concept for a cookbook at the end of 2020. Because I started working, I started releasing ebooks first, as a full time employee, for an organization plus a mother with a family. I think that digital products is the best way for you to earn a side hustle because it doesn't require you to store any merchandise. It's easy to do customer service requests. If someone says they didn't get a link, it can just easily go into your Shopify account and resend the link. It's just like it's just the most sustainable way to earn income. And I think after a while a lot of people were like, We love these ebooks. I wish you had a hardcover version. But I wasn't going to move on a physical product until I was sure that I could show up for it. You know what I mean? Because the moment you decide to offer a physical whole product, you have to figure out the logistics. Do I have place to store this who's going to manage packaging? Shipping, who's going to manage the customer service? People inquiring about where's my package, received my product, blah, blah, blah, manufacture the product itself. Exactly. So I wasn't going to move on a physical product until I was sure that I could dedicate the time and energy. So I used my digital products to carry me through. And I started working on the recipes in the background while all of this craziness was going on. And it was difficult because I had to create content to stay consistent on my page, but I also had to create content in the background that I knew I was going to use for my hardcover cookbook. And I started thinking like, what can I do to kind of disrupt that area? How can I offer something that's a little bit different than what everyone is accustomed to? So I said that, you know, we're moving into a very interactive digital space. And I said, How about just make the cookbook be as interactive as possible? And I decided that I was going to put stories in there. So it's not just a cookbook, you can actually like, sit down and read. Yeah. Yeah. And also, I wanted to make it interactive by putting QR codes in the book. That way, if you got stuck on a recipe, or if a recipe was particularly challenging, we know that all recipes are not created equal. Some recipes are really easy. You get something like x tail, they might take you a little bit longer, you might feel a little bit intimidated. So and also rice recipes. Yep. So I put QR codes in there. And if you scan it, a surprise video will come up. Some of them are secret videos that are having that not been published. Oh, wow. You too. Yeah. Yes. So there's like a little bit of that internet connection with the reader. It'll help you? Yes. So it's like for the oxtail recipe. There's a QR code there. My son actually used it. A couple of days ago, I said, You think you can cook? Like I can do it? Sounds like alright, now show me how you use the QR codes. And he scan the QR code, the video came up surprise, you unlocked another video. Like if you're having trouble with your oxtail like, this is what I recommend. And it's kind of like having me there without me there. Yeah. And you know, your kids have them cooking out is part of the magic of your page, too. I

Nicaila Matthews Okome 47:48

just love seeing them prep and fooling with it at their age, too. It's just so impressive.

Before we get into the lightning round, I'm curious, your advice for people who are juggling content creation, maybe they have found a niche, and something that's doing really well and growing. But at the same time, they have a full time job. So how do you juggle building your content creation business into a real business? How do you set that foundation as your side hustling?

Helena Faustin 48:26

I would say that you need to master discipline. You don't always have to be motivated. Because trust me, there's many days where I'm just not motivated. But the discipline is what makes me show up. It's going to continue your it's going to make you show up for your audience. And that is how I maintain consistency. Because a lot of people it's so hard and take a break. Yeah, if this is getting to be too much for you. Take a break. Don't take take a break. Yeah, take a break and regroup, take a break to regroup. I would say work smarter, not harder. Don't put your head in the sand and think that your talent is going to be enough to get you seen. You have to be strategic. You have to implement best practices, you have to see what are your peers doing in your niche that's working and how can you integrate them into your own story so that you maintain your own unique space in the Creator realm because we're really, if I'm being honest, the market is quite saturated. A lot of people are creating content. So you have to figure out what's special to you. And what makes you stand out and be patient. Nothing happens overnight. Sometimes you might see somebody and you think that they're an overnight success. Oh, this person got X amount of followers, like three short months like Don't look at someone else and what they're doing and get frustrated and say like, Well, why isn't it happening to me really gotta focus on your own plate.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 50:09

It's always so fun to me to when it feels that way, when I see someone who is like, Oh, wow, they grew really quickly. And then I really investigate. And I'm like, Oh, they've been making videos, since they were in high school. It's just their videos about nothing. But that muscle has been in practice for over a decade now. So you just really have to look beneath the surface. And I love that you mentioned patients. And then finally, something that's come up a few times that you've said is this word storytelling. And storytelling can be done both with words and visually. But I think it's the key actually, I know, it's the key behind all content that's doing really well, all content creators who are doing really well, are storytelling. So we all have to like dig deep, and figure out what stories do we have to tell? And how do we want to tell them? You can't just post your picture of recipes, and keep it moving? Yeah. We wish we all wish we could write we can a lot of people can make these dishes. But what is your secret sauce? What's the spin that you've put on it? But also the story that you tell, again, visually, or with words, is really where the magic is, especially for you that's can cook.

Helena Faustin 51:24

Thank you. But you know what, a lot of people and I just want to tell your listeners that some people feel like oh, there's nothing special about me, you're there is something special about it. Because your story is unique to you. Nobody else can tell your story. We don't all have the same experiences. So tell your story. And that's what is going to be what separates you from others. Exactly.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 51:50

And even if I can't relate directly, it will be the catalyst for another memory that causes me to relate to you. I was telling this to maybe another guest or a client recently, a great piece of advice that I heard the other day was when you tell your story. People aren't actually hearing your stories. They're hearing their story. Like when you tell a really good story. That's what it does. It makes you start to think about, you know, oh, when I was growing up, this is what happened. Or if you tell a story about what happened at work, they're thinking about what happened at their job, right. Yeah. So we could talk all day, but let's jump into the slide. So, number one, what's the resource that has really helped you grow? The that nurse can cook brand that you can share with the side hustle pro audience,

Helena Faustin 52:46

I want to say, You know what? Cap cut? Oh, okay.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 52:51

That's the video editor. Cap

Helena Faustin 52:52

cut is a video editor. It's an awesome tool and an awesome resource. They have multiple features in there that you could use. I recently discovered they have a teleprompter feature in the app and I use it to help me do ad reads. Okay, I love that. That's a good guess. And also tick tock is a great resource. I laid on gatekeeper on tick tock and yes, you want to learn like go over to tick tock Jas. How to create. Yes.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 53:25

Tic Tac now. Okay, don't be mad at me. But everything because they get to the point like I'm sorry, but I need y'all to get to the point in 10 seconds or less. I don't want to log in. So thank you. Yeah. And tick tock tick tock number two, who is a black woman entrepreneur who you would want to trade places with for a day just to kind of pick their brain. See what they do in their business. non-celebrity panky call Pinky. Oh, yeah, she's been coming up a lot lately. I gotta get her the chair. She's amazing. And why why would you want to trade places?

Helena Faustin 53:58

I see a lot of myself in her. And I feel like our stories. We have stories that parallel each other events and she's amazing and inspiring. And I may have different goals than her. But I admire what she's been able to achieve so much that I just What are you thinking about when you wake up this morning?

Speaker 1 54:20

Yes. Having all the children like I'm just like, Wait, how are we doing this? Okay, number three, what's a non negotiable part of your day these days? Being able to eat a meal uninterrupted. And how do you do that?

Helena Faustin 54:38

Baby, get your brother put on this thing right here. Any 15 minutes and I just want to eat a sandwich on interrupted

Nicaila Matthews Okome 54:48

Yes. I love that too. That is such peace to me. So we PS s I love that we are liking that

Helena Faustin 54:56

one meal uninterrupted.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 55:00

Before what is a personal trait that has helped you significantly in business?

Helena Faustin 55:05

Determination? I might slow down, but I'm not going to quit.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 55:10

I love that. And then finally, what is your parting advice for fellow Black Women Entrepreneurs side hustlers, who want to be their own boss, but are nervous to lose that steady paycheck or scale back that steady paycheck,

Helena Faustin 55:26

take control of your inner voice, your inner voice can become like a toddler running around unchecked. And that inner voice is really what's going to what stops a lot of us. Because we get into this imposter syndrome. We start doubting ourselves, we start saying, Oh, I'm not like so and so maybe if I was more this, maybe if I was more like this, take control of that inner voice and train it to speak positivity into you. Because every single cell in your body can hear and feel that inner voice. You want to train that inner voice to be positive. And be kind to yourself, stop being so hard on yourself. I was too hard on me. And that's the only regret that I would say I would have in my journey. I was too hard on me. When you're doing something that has never been done before. You will go through some things that people have never gone through before. So be patient if you don't have all the answers. Don't start kicking yourself because you made one mistake reframe those failures and say, Okay, I made a mistake, but what did I learn and how can I use what I learned to make myself better and go forward? Wow,

Nicaila Matthews Okome 56:40

I'm tearing up this journey is that good advice. Manual voice you gotta enter boy, boy, you have got to sound like that's my focus all year. So when I tell you that hit me, that hit me deep. So I thank you for that. That was the perfect note. So where can people connect with you? And buy your book after this episode?

Helena Faustin 57:08

You can find me on Instagram at that nurse can cook also on Tik Tok also on YouTube. Be patient with me on YouTube. A girl had a baby and listen, it's been a rough out here but I'm getting back to it. All right, I'm getting a exactly. I have a website that nurse cooks.com There's tons of free recipes there. Follow my journey on Instagram. You can see how I'm just juggling everything entrepreneurship, motherhood, White could sisterhood and all that type of jazz.

Nicaila Matthews Okome 57:44

Alright guys, there you have it Halina. It's been an absolute pleasure to have you in the guest chair. This has been a wonderful conversation. I've enjoyed it. I hope you guys enjoyed listening, and I will talk to you next week. Hey guys, thanks for listening to side hustle Pro. If you like the show, be sure to subscribe rate and review on Apple podcasts. It helps other side hustlers just like you to find the show. And if you want to hear more from me, you can follow me on Instagram at side hustle Pro. Plus sign up for my six bullet Saturday newsletter at side hustle Pro, that CO slash newsletter. When you sign up, you will receive weekly nuggets from me, including what I'm up to personal lessons and my business tip of the week. Again that side hustle pro.co/newsletter to sign up. Talk to you soon.

Meet the host:

Nicaila Matthews-Okome

Hi! I’m Nicaila, the Creator and Host of the Side Hustle Pro Podcast. I started Side Hustle Pro when I was a side hustler myself. I was a digital marketer at NPR by day, side hustler by night. Through the powerful stories shared on this show and the courage to launch my own initiatives, I was able to quit my own job and go full time with Side Hustle Pro.

201: I QUIT my Job! (REWIND)


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