Ep. 131: How Damona Hoffman Went From TV Executive To Building Her Own Brand

    You’ve spent so much time and energy getting to where you are. You’ve acquired some incredible skills. It seems like such a waste to walk away from it all. But what if you didn’t have to? What if you used your skills in a new way? The problem is that most of us only think inside the box we’ve always been in. You do it how it has always been done. 
    But, with the internet, that no longer has to be your reality. There are so many ways to use your skills. So many ways to make money. It just requires you to think outside of the box. To figure out how you can take those skills and use them in new ways. Ways that serve you better. That’s exactly what we’re talking about (plus a lot more) on the podcast this week with Damona Hoffman. 
    Damona spent her career climbing the corporate ladder in Hollywood, holding several creative executive positions at studios like CBS, NBC Universal, and Paramount. But, like many mothers, after she had a child, she realized that the intense hours of her career were no longer what she wanted. After a decade of creating a notable career behind the camera as a TV producer and executive, Damona walked away. As she jumped into her own entrepreneurial journey, Damona used her skills from casting to production in her own business. 
    She not only became a certified dating and relationship coach but she made herself into an on-air personality. She is a regular contributor on The Drew Barrymore Show, CNN Headline News, The Washington Post, and more. She has an advice column in the LA Times. She’s been featured on various series on the A&E Network. 
    She also parlayed her skills into becoming a professional podcaster (meaning she gets paid to host a podcast for other people). She is now the host of the I Make A Living podcast for Freshbooks where she interviews people who work for themselves. The podcast provides a space to have candid conversations about what it is really like to make your own living. Damona is the perfect example that walking away doesn’t mean throwing it all away. It means building it on your own terms.
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    Show Transcript:
    Goli: Friends. Welcome to another episode of Lessons From a Quitter, I should say. Welcome to the first episode of 2021. That's still weird to say, but I hope you guys all had a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year. I think we're all just thankful to be out of 2020. Hopefully, this year has a lot more goodness in store for all of us. I am so excited to jump in this year and bring you so much more inspiration as well as tips and tricks that you need in order to have a more fulfilled career and also a more fulfilled life. And we're going to start it off with a bang today. I'm so excited that we have Damona Hoffman on the show. Damona started out like a lot of us climbing that corporate ladder, but her corporate ladder was in a much sexier field. She worked in Hollywood as a seasoned TV producer and network executive at places such as NBC and CBS.
    And we'll talk about that. What the catalyst was for her leaving that career, that she had worked so hard to build spoiler alert. It has to do with motherhood. And I love that section of the interview where we really talk about the unbearable standards that are put on mothers or that we put on ourselves. And also talk about how she decided to jump into entrepreneurship and how she built her current business. She is a certified dating and relationship coach. She is a TV personality. She is regularly featured on networks, such as the Ainu network, as well as the drew Barrymore show. She is a regular contributor for places like the LA Times, the Washington Post and CNN headline news. And she's also the host of the, I make a living podcast that is powered by fresh books. That podcast is going to be right up all of our alleys because she interviews people about how they make their living as the, whether they're a freelancer or a small business owner or an, and she provides a space for insightful and candid conversations about how people have built their livings. And I think a lot of us are very interested in seeing how other people make their livings to see what is possible. And so I would definitely recommend checking it out. But even beyond that, we'll talk about how she got that gig and how she is now. Basically gaining paid to be a podcaster, which is pretty freaking cool. So I will stop blabbing and we will jump in and get all the wisdom from Damona.
    Hi, Damona thank you so much for joining me today.
    Damona: Thank you for having me.
    Goli: Oh, I am so excited to have you and to learn all about your journey. We typically start kind of back at the beginning and you've had a very interesting career in what seems kind of like glamorous Hollywood. So why don't you let us know, like, what your career looked like before you made the jump into entrepreneurship?
    Damona: Yes, I've had several transitions and many that people said were impossible, but I moved to LA actually after studying theater at Northwestern university outside of Chicago, I saw that I did not want the lifestyle of an actor, even though everyone around me was moving to LA with stars in their eyes. I was like, I don't want to be in a situation where I have no control over my career. And I just saw that that was the lifestyle I'd be signing up for. So I was like, what could I do where I would be close to actors and close to that creative process, but not have to be one. And I ended up getting a job pretty quickly after college at CBS television working in their casting department. And it was, it was actually apparent to me very quickly that I was in part doing that because I didn't really see roles for people like me on television and being a person of color.
    And I also - I'm multi-racial, I don't really fit neatly into a box. And so I thought there really should be more people who look like me, but I could have a role in shaping that. So I started on casting but saw that really, there was more of an opportunity after I moved in. I moved into casting at paramount, but I really wanted to also work on diversity and inclusion. So I ended up taking a job at NBC starting their talent diversity program from scratch, which was its own challenge. Then moved into a creative executive position, also within the company at the SciFi channel. And then after I had my daughter now 10 years ago, I looked at this job that I had. I thought I loved that this career I'd built for myself and I just realized it didn't make me happy anymore. It wasn't the path that I thought it was going to be once my family life had changed. So that's when I kind of reevaluated everything and started my own company.
    Goli: There's so much to unpack there because I think so many women and men have that realization. Once they have children that, you know, your priorities shift and maybe something that worked, or, you know, the schedule that worked before isn't going to work, or maybe you're you realize that there's just more that you want to experience or a different type of life. And so a lot of people have those thoughts, but then like immediately comes the rushing of fear. Right. But like, this is all I know, and this is what my experiences, and this is where I've made connections. And so it would be crazy to kind of leave this. And I know you worked, you know, in that industry kind of between what you were saying, NBC and paramount and these other companies for at that point, probably the what, like 10 years. And so how do you make the decision then? Like, what was the thought process where it was like, okay, I am unhappy, but how do I make that jump to working for myself or figuring out the thing that I want to do?
    Damona: Those were two separate decisions. So initially I thought this is crazy. Like I was a high achieving mom, too. I was like, I need to breastfeed as long as possible. I need to make my own baby food and go to the, go to the farmer's market every Sunday and puree all day. And now I'm like, that was crazy. Like if I had maybe just given myself a little bit of a break on motherhood, maybe I would have still been there, but I'm so grateful that I made the switch. And I can't imagine what my life would have been like now, now that I have a second child living in that lifestyle. And I was the last person that I ever thought would be, well, first of all, mommy tracked. I really feel like, you know, you said women and men, but I do feel like motherhood.
    Well, I, I, it's not even just, I feel like the stats are clear that motherhood impacts women's careers much more than men, but I, I had seen it happen to other women in my company. And like, they were super type a high achieving, like golden, golden executive at the company. And then they had a child and then suddenly it was like, Oh, well, she's got to leave at six 45. That was the time that, that we had to leave to get to our company daycare before they closed at 7:00 PM. And now that I think about that from this vantage point, I'm like, that is absolutely crazy that I had a two-and-a-half-month-old baby that I would drop off for like 10 hours a day into the arms of somebody else. And then I'd work through lunch. I would pump through meetings.
    My company did, NBC had a really, really generous program for nursing mothers. So they gave us a hospital-grade pump. They would pay a portion of our childcare. If we had to travel for work, they would ship our milk. And so they did everything that they could, I think, to make it an environment that could allow a working mother to be successful, but it was just a super demanding job. It was 60 hours a week. And, you know, I would be the first one to leave my office every day at six 45 and the last one to get to daycare, I would take my work home with me. And then as soon as I got my daughter to sleep for the night, I would then go back on the computer and work more. And it was just killing me. And I was sitting in front of Oprah's life, glass, and I was watching her talk about like those decision points in life. When you realize, you realize you're on the wrong path and you have to make a change and you just can't take it anymore. And I was balling, I was sitting there on the floor of my living room bawling because she was speaking directly to me. And I was like, I don't know what I'm going to do next, but I can't do this. So I just went in and quit without a plan.
    Goli: I am so glad that you are bringing this up. I mean, we talk about this a lot. And part of the reason I honestly do even this podcast is because I want us to realize the insane standards that we are holding ourselves to that are just really made up by society. But I think, especially for women and what you were saying, you know, as a high-achieving mom, that I think so many of us, again, because we are made to feel like we have to do everything. Like we have to balance it all, and we have to be this, you know, super organic mom that does, you know, breastfeeds and does all this stuff and makes their own food. But also this, you know, high-achieving worker who breaks glass ceilings and climbing the corporate ladder. And so much of it not only is insane. And when you are outside of it, you look back and you're like, that is crazy to run ourselves into the ground.
    But the real sad part of it for me is that so many people are in that and then feeling guilt and shame that they can't keep up. Right. Like, there's something wrong with me that I can't be okay with like picking my child up at seven o'clock at night and barely seeing them and then putting them in bed and then hopping back on. It's like, we're not robots. Right. And we need rest. You have children for the purpose of seeing them at some point. And like, of course, when you don't, it's going to affect you emotionally. And I think it's just so important to talk about this because I think so many of us are holding ourselves up to this impossible standard, both at work and at home, and then feeling like we're constantly failing and feeling like there's just something wrong with me that I can't balance. And maybe if I, you know, figure something like there's just some magic key and that a lot of it is just impossible. And you sometimes just have to step off of that hamster wheel.
    Damona: Yeah. And that realization that you're living your life for you, you only get to do this once. Like I remember even before I left, I was I'm pretty into yoga. And I was doing this yoga immersion every day before work might, my teacher had moved out of town and he was just in town for this one week. And it was like six to nine every morning. And entertainment, people start very late. Like, so most people get in at like 10. So I was like, okay, I can do the six to nine every day and then go into the office. And I remember I was like, so tired by Thursday. It was only one week, but I was so tired by Thursday. And my coworker was like, you should, you should stop doing this. If it's interfering with your life. And I looked at him like, what the heck are you talking about?
    I'm like, this is my life. What are you talking about? Like to him, the, the business, the job, the role that, the title that was his life. And to me, it was like, no, it's all of this stuff. It's it's, this is the job. But everything is the life that was kind of the beginning of like the crack in the armor of realizing that you don't have to do this job perfectly. And you need to look at all of the pieces of this puzzle and build the life that you want. So that was really the catalyst for me to say, I, I don't want to get up and do this job anymore. And I really didn't know what I was going to do, but I thought that the problem was my particular job in my particular company. So I thought, well, I'll just leave. I'll just leave and get a job at a production company or another network.
    That's not so crazy hours and everything will be okay. And then, then now we're getting to the second part of my, of my decision-making and my journey, which was, what am I going to do? I was interviewing, I thought that I was going to get one of two jobs. I got to the very end. And I was one of the last two people that they were considering. And I didn't get either of those two jobs. And so I was like, okay, no problem. Like those weren't the right things. I'll just keep going out there and interviewing. And I interviewed for a total of 17 jobs where I got to like the last phase and in all of those jobs, like they want to demonstrate, I'm sure this is like this in a lot of industries, like, I'd have to-do notes. I'd have to, I'd have to meet three people up the chain. And I kept getting to the last step where they're like, you're good, but you're not the right one for us. And I was like, this is a flashing red sign that I am not headed in the right direction. So then I had to look at everything else in my life and figure out, well, if I'm not doing that, and if I've been defined by that career path, my entire life, what could I do now?
    Goli: Yeah. And I think that's the question that so many people are facing. And I would love to know, like in that moment though, so many people take that as such a hit to their confidence. And actually, I think a lot of people end up staying stuck, like trying to prove themselves in that field and thinking like, well, you know, taking it as an opportunity to just beat themselves up or feel like they're not good enough, but still kind of keep running into that wall as opposed to realizing like, okay, this isn't working and I need to figure something else out. And so I would love to know like how you kind of got to that point of realizing like the thought process of like, what else can I do? And then how did you decide what else you were?
    Damona: I was certainly in that, in that place. I started to take it personally. I went so far as to like, I look, I look younger than my age and I have curly hair and I'm Brown. So I was like, could it be that I'm Brown? Could it be that my curly hair makes me look too young? Maybe I should straighten my hair. And then I'll, I'll be able to assimilate more as a person of color. I mean, I don't know that I was thinking all of these things, but in hindsight, all of these factors, I was like, I'll straighten my hair. And then maybe people will take me more seriously and still nothing happened. And I was like, something is wrong. And I, I, it was so different from the rest of my career that I, I saw that there was a flashing sign, flashing red sign that was trying to send me a signal, but I couldn't interpret it.
    So I actually hired a life coach at that point, because I could not sort through all of the messages that I was getting. And I started, I started, her name is Veronica. Alwis, she's still a life coach and career coach. And she's fantastic and works with a lot of high-level executives on transitions like this, and even on like navigating their own business life. But I needed her to pose the question to me, if you were not defined by that role, if that role is not you and you are you. And if you could do something else, anything else in the world, what would you do? And I just needed the permission to dream a little bit and explore. And so the entire time I was going up the chain in the TV industry, I was also writing dating profiles on the side.
    Goli: How did that come about?
    Damona: Working in casting, I would teach classes for actors on marketing, how to have headshots that really stood out and told their story and would, would get someone like me to notice them. And I was online dating at the same time. And you can obviously see the similarity between a dating profile photo and an actors that shot. Right. So I ended up meeting my husband online after doing of the things that I would tell actors about, about polishing their photos and the packets that they would send in to casting directors and how I had to like package myself on a dating dating site, not even dating app at the time. And then people were coming to me for help just initially friends and family. And so many people were having success. They would refer me to other people. So it was like the side hustle that I had unintentionally for years, for years, I even launched a blog while I was still a TV executive. And so I was like, I can't see how this would be a career, but what if, yeah. What if I did that? And what if I, like, I don't know. I worked behind the scenes and TV for so long. What if I did like dating advice on TV? And it just started with that question and that like Veronica talks about 50, 50% believability. She let me dream to the point where it was like, it seems kind of crazy, but just what if it could be true?
    Goli: I love that so much. I love the, I mean, obviously I harp always about coaching on here and the help, how much it's helped me in a lot of times, it's just like, you don't see when you're on blocks or blind spots. And it's so much easier when like you were saying, somebody just gives you the opportunity to dream and let down that guard and all that fear. And like, what if, just, what if and it's amazing how much wisdom and insight we already have, but we're sort of too scared to kind of face it. And so I love that you did that. And it's so similar to my own journey and I have the same thing, whereas like, it's just like a small seed that's planted. Like, what if I could do this? I could this be a career, you know? And I think that there's a million pieces of evidence of like, why it can't and that's where we normally go. But it's just so exciting when there's just that one little thing that's holding on. Cause you know, like that's the thing you want to do, but you're like, can I really make this work?
    Damona: Yeah. And it was, it was the permission to even, to even believe that that was possible. I think there was also like you talked about, you know, stigma and like what would other people think? And it just killed me. There were some people that, because I left with, with no fanfare thinking that I was going to land at a different production company or network soon. And because it coincided with the birth of my daughter and I came back to work for about a year, but there were people that were like, I think it's so awesome that you left your job so that you could be a mom and stay at home. And I was like, no, that is not why I left. That is not what was going on here. Like that to me as, as someone who had devoted, like you said, over 10 years to this career was actually, I took it as an insult I now, but, but I saw it as an insult to, to just everything that I had built.
    And so I was really motivated to find another career that people would take seriously. And it has taken so long. I honestly, sometimes only feel like in the last year that like some people have even realized what I've built and what I'm doing. And they're like, Oh, you're you write for the LA times? Oh yeah, you host this podcast. Oh, you were actually like, I, even my financial advisor who I, who I adore who's really helped us navigate a lot of challenging times. He, at one point was like, well, Damona, if it's not making money, it's really more of a hobby. And I was like, that is just daggers in the heart of any kind of right. And any entrepreneur. Cause it takes time to, it takes time to build that vision.
    Goli: You're like hitting on every topic that I love talking about on this podcast. And I think, you know, that that's what is that quote, like we underestimate what we can do in a decade and we overestimate what we can do in a year or something like that. And I think so many of us jump and think, cause you see all this marketing online and it's like make six figures in six months and all this other BS. Right. But it's amazing to think like if you aren't in a rush to get there, if you're not putting this made up pressure on yourself that like, it has to be a huge hit within a year or it wasn't worth it. And you kind of give yourself time, like, I'm sure you, you know, you were saying like it's taken a long time, but then when you look at back at the decade and look at like where you were to where you are now and how much your life has probably changed, you know, it's like so much changes if you allow for the building, like if you give yourself the space and you don't let the thoughts of everybody else, like, Oh, that's cute that you have this hobby.
    Oh like, Oh, you're a podcaster. That's fun. You know? And it's like, yeah, okay. Just like now I take it. I have the same exact thoughts. And for so long I felt like I had to prove myself and I had to like explain and I wanted to like let them know. And now I'm just like, I want you to underestimate me. That's fun. Let's see what happens. You know what I mean? Like I want you to see where this can go. And I think it takes kind of the shift in mentality, but I love that. You're just being on that because it does take time to build, but it can build in like, I mean, now let's talk about what you've built is it's incredible. And it's not that much time. It may seem like it. But I'm just saying like, if you look back at the last, what decade, I mean, you're doing a million things. You're a dating coach or an entrepreneur you've been featured everywhere. You've been on like any network TV series hashtag black love and a question of love. You're a contributor for the LA times, Washington post CNN headline news that you're on the drew Barrymore show a contributor now. And then we're going to talk about your podcast and how you're making a living kind of as a professional podcast. I mean, that's a lot of stuff, right. It doesn't just pop up in a year.
    Damona: Yeah, you're right. And also like you were talking about, you know, giving yourself sort of the permission to, to, to build something. Even for me, because I was kind of going into a career path that had some, some framework of what it was like coaching. I did this coaching program cause I was like, even though I've been writing, dating profiles and co I've actually been coaching people for 10 years, like I need to get a certification. Right. I'm sure you're talking about this a lot on the show. Like I need to have someone take this seriously. So I did this life coaching program, which was a fantastic program and I learned a ton from it, but they were like, okay, this is how you build your business. You're going to have two clients. And then you're going to make two clients, four clients, and they're going to refer you to eight clients.
    And then you're going to have 12 clients and then 16 clients and the 24. And I was like, I like raise my hand, like, like this Pollyanna. I'm like, what if you don't want any four clients? And they were like, huh, you don't understand. This is how you do it. We're telling you, this is the system. This is how you build your business. And I was like, that's not what I want to do though. Like, I'm a coach, but I don't want to do, I don't want to do one one-on-one coaching and have 24 clients and have sessions all day long. Like I come from content creation. I was a producer. I would like to create content that informs and educates people and helps them, helps them figure out their path. And specifically in dating too, there were like no dating coaches when I was doing, they were like two of us.
    And so there was life coaching, but dating coaching was like, huh, now there's so many dating coaches, but, but you know, you have, you have to move forward with, with conviction and confidence that if you enjoy what you're doing and feel that there's a market for it, that you can build it. But I kind of got sidetracked a few times in building the business because I was doing it the way that other people had done it or the way that other people were telling me, like, that's just how it's done. And it's taken me a long time. I think about, I don't know, two or three years ago, I said, okay, this is my vision. I need to, first of all, level up the media that I'm working with, I was doing a lot of media all through the last, I guess I've been doing this full-time for about nine years.
    I was writing a lot. I was blogging on my own blog. I was doing local TV segments. I was driving down to San Diego, which is about two hours from two and a half hours from my house, putting myself up in a hotel, overnight paying for my own hair and makeup just to get tape so that I could then build to the level of being able to be on CNN and the drew Barrymore show. But I said, intentionally, I need to up-level the media that I'm working on. And once I, once I had that intention, I was able to manifest it. And then again, like a year and a half ago, I was like, really? I'm a content creator. Yes, I'm a coach. But really what I do is I make content and, and I was like, I don't even know that it needs to be limited that I actually, CNN kind of helped me see this because initially I was being called in for dating and relationship stories.
    And then they were like, well, could you do a story about motherhood? And I was like, well, I'm not an expert on motherhood, but I was like, well, I've lived it. And I, I could research this and I could make a statement on this. That could be valuable. And it was just that crack of possibility that made me say, Oh, I am a lifestyle content creator. And from that, I was able to move into creating different kinds of content that were maybe dating adjacent, maybe not, but we're about creating the lifestyle that you want to lead. And then that led me to also meet with the people at FreshBooks who were doing a podcast about entrepreneurship, but it was about the lifestyle of the entrepreneur. And I could see, Oh, that fits under my banner of lifestyle content. And it's in spite of what people might say, like, but you're a dating coach. Why are you doing that show? Because I'm an entrepreneur I can relate to other entrepreneurs and we can talk about what that lifestyle of entrepreneurship is on the, I make a living.
    Goli: Absolutely. And we're going to jump into that because I definitely want to talk more about that podcast, but a couple of things that you just said that I think like, you know, we should touch on, I think for everyone on this journey or any journey that you're on. I think we have this mistaken belief that I don't know, we should have it figured out or we should know. And like I should have the whole plan and what you were just saying earlier about like, you spent a lot of years doing it kind of the way everybody had been telling you to do it until you figured out, like, I can do it a different way and I can do it my way. And I feel like that is the, the journey, right. Is learning a bunch of ways trying them and not working and then figuring out your own and figuring out like, Oh, can I pivot to this?
    Or can I start talking about this other thing? And it, in my mind, like, it's not as though something has gone wrong or like I should have known cause how, how does anybody know? No, one's like born knowing how to run a business or start a business, or even to know like what that path is because every one of our paths, like, I'm sure as we'll talk about it on the podcast that you talk to, every person who was making a living as an entrepreneur is doing it in a different way. Like, I feel like we're sometimes we're looking for this like, easy way, right? Like I just want, I need to figure out the path. And it's like, the hard way is the easy way. Like you just have to do it, fail a bunch, try doing what other people are doing. Like that's the way of learning and realizing, Oh, that doesn't work for me.
    I'm going to it this way. And then all of a sudden things align. And so I think a lot of times just rethinking about like, this was the journey for me to get here and how cool now that you can be this example for so many people that you don't ever have to just be a dating coach, you know, like somebody else that looks at you now can speed up their journey by saying, I don't have to just talk about this. I can talk about entrepreneurship and I can talk about motherhood because I have a million different things that I do. And so I love that, but I do want to touch on, I think a lot of people listening might be thinking, Oh, well she was in this world, she'd done content creation. So like, she, it was like a natural switch for her to then be in front of the camera. And I just want to know, like, did you have a lot of the thoughts? I think a lot of people have when they're starting an Instagram account or putting themselves on tape for whatever reason, or having to make a YouTube channel of like, who wants to listen to me or I look ridiculous or I shouldn't do this. Or my ex coworkers are going to look at me and make fun of me. Like, did you ever have those thoughts or was your background in Hollywood kind of helpful in overcoming that fear?
    Damona: I want to speak, honestly, because I think my background did, did give me a bit of a leg up, both being an executive and a producer, and also even going all the way back to my theater degree at Northwestern. Because even though I'm not acting now and have no interest in doing so, but I, I, I learned technical things. I learned how to, how to breathe and how to use my voice. I learned how to have presence on camera. So the, I would say that that part of it has been an easier path for me, but that doesn't mean that just because this is, this was easy for me that, or because I, you know, may look or sound professional doing it, that because you haven't had that training, that you shouldn't try it. I think you do have to begin somewhere.
    And like, that was the thing when I started my, my other podcasts dates and mates, I started it as a calling card and as a sort of testing ground for me, because I've always, I always had a talk show idea in mind, but I was like, I started eight years ago. I was like, okay, well I'm not ready. Like, I can't jump into the drew Barrymore show right there didn't exist. Then I had to get myself ready. So even though I had some of the training and some of the aptitude to do it, I had to take myself out of the process and like take my ego away. And I looked at all of those TV segments that I talked about going down to San Diego to do driving to Palm Springs. I would get up at five in the morning to do Sirius XM radio.
    I would go back to each of those segments and I would listen back to it and critique it as if I was a producer. And I would be like, okay, that part wasn't, I didn't like how that sounded or like, why, like I'm remembering the first, the first segment I got, like, they didn't even know me. I had no tape. So I was doing a segment with two other people. Cause they were like, well maybe we'll put her on a panel. And I just looked. So I looked so uncomfortable. I was talking kind of quietly. I, I really like now look at it and I I'm so critical of it, but I'm grateful for that opportunity and that place to start, you have to start somewhere, but then you have to be willing to, to do the work, to improve. And I'm constantly still, even now I go back and look at my drew segments and I usually take a day. I need some, for some reason I need a day of distance to be able to look at it. Like as, as the producer me versus like, that's actually me on camera, but I go back and I'm like, okay, how could I, how could I do that better next time? How could I say that more in a more succinct way? I've said, I'm saying that as I'm like thinking I'm probably talking too long and I'll shut up now, but it's all a process of, of learning for me all along the way.
    Goli: I love that. Okay. And so now talking about this podcast, we've mentioned a couple of times, but you are the host of a podcast called I make a living and it is powered by fresh books. And so tell us a little bit, because I know you were saying, so you started kind of venturing into other topics and this is obviously about entrepreneurship. So tell us a little bit about what the podcast is about and how that sort of came about for you.
    Damona: So I make a living was actually born out of fresh books, live events. They used to do these live. They wanted to get to know their, their users and FreshBooks for those who don't know, it's a cloud accounting solution. So you have kind of like, you know, whatever accounting software that you're using, but they have a lot of all their bells and whistles, but it's designed for people like me who actually I'm like, it's funny, cause I am not great with finances. I hate spreadsheets. I hate managing all of that stuff, but I know the importance of it. And if you're going to make a living as a podcast or a coach or in any, any form of entrepreneurship, you have to understand the bottom line. So they make it really easy to actually be able to, to know what your money is doing in your business.
    And they were doing these live events and dinners with users because they wanted to see, they wanted to hear the user stories and they wanted to create relationships because they knew in entrepreneurship, it can be really lonely. And by building a network that they could help their customers be more successful in business. So it started with small, small dinners. And then from the small dinners, it became large events. And from the large events, they were like, we should really do a podcast so that we can expand this community from just local events to anyone in the world. So I had the good fortune at a podcasting conference to get invited to one of these dinners with my now producer at, at FreshBooks. You know, initially I was like accounting cloud accounting software. No, no, no. I would not be the right person host up podcasts.
    But as I talked to Pocco, his name is Pocco. As I talked to Pocco and understood that it really was more about the experience of entrepreneurship and this idea of community building and remembering that you're not alone as an entrepreneur, even though you might work in an isolated setting, especially in the era of COVID. But at the time I just, I just wanted to tell more stories. And, and as I was hearing what they were looking for, somebody that is not an expert in entrepreneurship, but somebody that is learning along the way and can, can connect to these different entrepreneurs and hearing about their story much like you do on this show. It just, it got me really excited and I was like, I, I love people. And I love hearing stories. And the fortunate by-product of that is that I've also learned so much along the way.
    Like we had the, the founder of teachable on Karnak Paul on last season. And I was like, wait a minute, your service sounds really good. And I'm running all of these programs through my own platform. So like I moved all of my stuff to teachable and we had the founder of Herro help a reporter out. And he was talking about how he got the idea for Herro and Herro was really what put me on the map as a, as a media personality and being able to find reporters and, you know, find journalists that needed my expertise. So it's really been an, been an interesting journey for me as an entrepreneur, just to take a little tidbit from all of these people that I've spoken to and then actually be able to implement it, to grow my business over the time that I've been doing the show.
    Goli: I love that. And I think it's such a important show for a lot of reasons. Part of what I try to do with this podcast and bringing on different people is I think a lot of times when you're stuck in a traditional job where a lot of people are like in corporate America or, you know, have just been doing the same thing, maybe whatever their degree is in, it's really hard to know how many different types of either gigs or businesses are out there. I know when I left, I talk about this, like I always thought the only way to have a business is to kind of be like shark tank style. Like you have a product that you have to go to the shark tank. And I honestly didn't know anything about the world of online business. I didn't know anything about coaching. I didn't know anything about any of this. And one of the reasons when I got into podcasting and I would listen to, you know, like, I know you had Pat Flynn on your show and he did, he's the host of smart, passive income. I would listen to him and some other podcasts I really felt like, Oh My God, do people know how other people are making livings?
    Like there's so many ways to make a living. And I think it's so important just as a, like you were just talking about, you know, that believability like believing is there another way that I can support myself and actually do what I love and what are those ways, how are people making livings as coaches or entrepreneurs or, you know, whatever freelancer is. And so I love that that it's that topic, because I think that even if you're not an entrepreneur, it really helps open your eyes that if there's something you love enough, you can likely find a way to make a living from it.
    Damona: And even if you're not making a living from it, if there are other things that you get from it, it's still a worthwhile endeavor. And, you know, we've talked about the winding career path that I've been on. I visualize, I do a lot of visualization, manifestation planning, but I only can visualize out like a year, maybe two accurate with any kind of accuracy. And then I think you have to be, you have to be willing to go along for the ride a little bit and just see what might come up along the journey. Like I, even when I was thinking, Oh, I'll move into more lifestyle content. It was kind of coincidental that I happen to be going to that podcasting conference. And I happened to go to this dinner with this company, fresh books. And that I happened to sit next to the producer of the podcast, you know, like I wasn't necessarily going out and seeking out this opportunity, but it was kind of meant to be how, how it all unfolded.
    And it's just a process of planning enough so that you have a path way, but then also staying open and versatile enough that when you see an opportunity, that looks interesting to you. That's really the question. I always ask myself if, if something comes up and I'm like, well, I don't know, should I go this direction? Should I try out this strategy? I'm like, does that excite me? Does that sound interesting enough for me to devote that time to it? And that has really helped me make a lot of the right decisions and keep myself from going down more frustrating and miserable learning curves that don't end up enhancing your life. I love, it's really more about the experience, right? Of like what I make a living it's about the life you're living. And, you know, you are choosing to spend that time and who you're choosing to spend it with is really valuable.
    It's really important. So you have to ask yourself those questions and make sure that even like, even when it's tough, like even when I've been working so crazy throughout COVID, but even so I'm always happy to get up and do this job. And that's how I know that that I've made the right choices. And I can you keep choosing that I continue to make the right choice. And if it gets to a point where it's no longer fun, or I don't want to coach people on dating anymore, I don't want to make content. Then I just have to be honest with myself. And, and at that point, I'll figure out what the new path might be.
    Goli: Oh my God, I love that so much. And I think that that's really what all of our journeys are, is just like keep choosing and keep being intentional with the thing that is true for you. And it, you know, usually will won't steer you wrong, but that's a great place to end. I think that was just phenomenal advice. But I wonder if you have just one more piece of advice when we wrap it out, like for somebody that was where you were, when you were still at NBC, when you were, you know, you had the newborn or the one year old and you're trying to juggle it all and you don't know what that first step is. You don't know what the path is. You haven't figured out, but you just know that this isn't it. Do you have any advice for people that feel stuck in that position? And like maybe one thing they can think about.
    Damona: I would say making sure that you're living the life that you want to be living and reminding yourself that you, you only have one chance at life. You only get to do this once. So just remember that when you're slogging away going to the office and thinking I don't, I don't have a choice. And the other thing I would say is that you don't have to have it all planned out. You don't have to know exactly what the steps are going to be. And I think that plan keeps a lot of people in a state of inaction. It's always a leap of faith and sometimes you have to leap before the other side would appear. But I think it's also important that the one thing I just, anyone that's like at that quitting point, I want you to also take stock of what you've built and what, what your value is.
    Remember your value. Because I kind of got to the point where I just ran. I just was like, I can't do this. And I just ran out the door and I ended up actually running away from a lot of the things that I had built that really I should have taken ownership of. I should've had a legacy or a stake in, and I think it's especially important to tell women, to take with you what you have earned. So like, if I could do it again, I would have negotiated my exit. I would have maintained a producer credit on some of the things that I built. And I would have, I would have strategized my exit more than trying to strategize what was coming next.
    Goli: Thank you so much, Damona. This has been extremely helpful. I know it's going to help a lot of people and I'm so glad that I got to hear more of your story. Where can people find you where's the best place for them to come and follow along?
    Damona: If they're interested in hearing more about entrepreneurship and that journey, I do that every week on the, I make a living podcast. If they're looking for dating and relationship advice, I have the dates and mates podcast, and then I'm on all of the socials at Damona Hoffman. So I love to connect with people and we'd love to hear everyone's stories that listen to this fantastic podcast as well.
    Goli: Wonderful. Well, I will list all those in the show notes if case people can't write it down. Thank you again, Damona.
    Damona: Thank you again for having me.
    Goli: Thank you so much for listening. I can't tell you how much it means to me. If you liked the podcast, please rate and review us on iTunes. It'll help other people find the show. If you want to connect or reach out, follow along on Instagram and Facebook at lessons from a quitter and on Twitter at quitter podcast, I would love to hear from you guys and I'll see you on the next episode.