Amy Rasdal is truly one of those women who rock! Heck, after this interview, you may feel she is Superwoman. I surely felt like that as I was reading her answers. Honestly, it’s hard to even summarize everything she does in my introduction because all I keep thinking is “when does she sleep?” I truly appreciated her candor and genuineness.
In my emotional intelligence posts, I talk a lot about self-awareness and self-confidence. The healthy definition of confidence is knowing your strengths and weaknesses, not being afraid to talk about either, and knowing how they each affect your life. Amy is the essence of self-confidence. She openly talks about her strengths and her opportunities for improvement. She does not shy away from sharing her journey with all the ups and downs and if you want to learn more about how she does it all, she is more than happy and open to offer more perspective, so definitely feel free to reach out to her.
Tell me about your business: what, why, for how long?
I traded my corporate job for consulting 15 years ago and I love it. It more than replaces my pay as a corporate executive. I work full time (or more than full time). I love it because it gives me the freedom and flexibility to raise my children on my terms, while still providing the full time pay my family needs. I have two companies. The first one, Rasdal Associates, specializes in program and project management for the Internet software and medical device industries. Services include project management, R&D program management, marketing and special projects. We love to complete those critical projects that aren’t getting the focus they need. This business can be found at www.rasdal.com.
Then, 9 years ago, I started Billable at the Beach®. People were always asking me how to start and maintain a successful consulting business. I diligently thought about, “What do I love? What do I hate? What do I wish I would have known?” I started to accumulate a body of material and realized the market was asking for a program on starting your own successful consulting business. Billable at the Beach® is a 1:1 program and I do a lot of speaking on how to start your own successful consulting business. This one can be found at www.BillableAtTheBeach.com
Finally, about a year ago, I started Billable with Baby®. I liberate corporate working mothers. The mission of Billable with Baby® is to help working mothers find the courage to start their own consulting businesses so they can have the freedom and flexibility to raise their children the way they wish. This business can be found at www.BillableWithBaby.com
Tell me about your family
My husband and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in April. We have two kids, a girl who is 14 and is in 9th grade and a boy who is 4 and in preschool. We both work from home, so our kids have no concept of their parents going to the office every day.
How do you balance them?
I am a dancer and I love to water-ski. Balance is very important for both! I have completely abandoned the idea of life balance. I abandoned it a long time ago. I live a very blended life and believe there are seasons to life.
What does your weekly schedule typically look like? How much time per week dedicated to your side business?
I work half my work day during the day and a half at night. I work almost every night from 8 pm until midnight. I work and play every day. I take several professional level dance classes each week and water ski often.
I originally considered Billable with Baby® as my side business but now it is my primary focus. I am spending 40-45 hours a week on Billable with Baby®, 10-15 hours a week on my core consulting business, Rasdal Associates, and about 5 hours a week on Billable at the Beach®.
How many hours do you sleep? Serious question: are you one of those people that can function on 3 hours?
Right now, I’m getting 7 hours a lot of nights. But I have to really stay on it. It’s very easy for me to keep drifting into more work late at night. I get into a groove and don’t want to stop. So, sleep has been a focus. I keep reading more and more about the importance of sleep and I am so careful with diet, exercise, and stress.
I think I function just fine on three hours, but a sleep expert would tell you it’s impossible. I have a long history of pretty extreme sleep abuse including many all-nighters. Plenty of 3-5-hour nights. Often days in a row.
Honestly, if you’re a person who can’t function on 3 hours sleep, that’s good, because you shouldn’t do that.
Describe your start in entrepreneurship.
My Dad was an early semiconductor guy in Silicon Valley, so I am a Silicon Kid. We grew up with entrepreneurship without even realizing it. It was the language of the Valley when we were growing up. As a little kid, I was always charging admission to my little shows along with selling popcorn and Kool-Aid in paper cups for pennies.
As a teen, I did as much babysitting and housecleaning as I could. I paid my way through college selling Velcro wallets and nylon backpacks with my boyfriend. During the summers, we rented a small piece of a busy corner for our stand near the beach. It was a high traffic location and I could make enough in the summer to pay for college the following year. I have always worked.
How did you get your first clients? Describe some of those initial marketing efforts.
My core consulting practice (Rasdal Associates) and Billable with Baby® are very different. It’s surprisingly easy to get first clients as a consultant assuming you work in an area where you have deep experience and target people you know, mostly people you have worked with over the years.
I have a free email course in Billable with Baby® that teaches the method I use which is called 3 Action Steps to Generate Revenue NOW! In brief summary form the steps are 1) Create your value proposition 2) Make a list of people to tell that you are looking for projects (at least 100 people) 3) Tell them.
It is much harder to keep your pipeline full over the long term.
Billable with Baby® is very different. I have built that as an online model so, it’s all the things – visibility, groups, writing articles, figuring out how to get traffic, building relationships, etc.
When did you feel like you’ve made it? Or what’s your definition of success?
My parents gifted us kids with a very healthy self-esteem so I have always felt like a success. I am a textbook overachiever, so I have always been success oriented. I always assume I will succeed and it usually works out. For Billable with Baby®, I will consider it truly successful when I am liberating many working mothers and generating an average of $10,000 a month.
What does it take for someone that starts from scratch to get there ($10K)? What kind of time, personality traits, strategies, and choices? I find that many marketing materials make it look so easy, but I know from many years in the business world that building that kind of income takes a lot of effort and consistency for an extended period of time.
Again, it’s quite different for the two different business models. One of the reasons I started Billable with Baby® is that it’s surprisingly easy to get to $10,000 as a consultant and do it quickly. It’s much harder to keep it there or above consistently for many years. You have to be thinking about your pipeline all the time – lots of marketing networking and business development. Networking is absolutely critical. I have learned to do it, I don’t love it.
I have always put an extremely high value on freedom and flexibility. For me, the hard work is worth it because I get to decide how, when and where I work. I love that. And you’re right that you can never let up on the effort and consistency.
I also see people be more committed to their businesses if they really need to make money. For me, I’m the breadwinner so, I either have to make the money we need in these businesses or go and get a job. No one is going to fill the gaps. It’s hard for people to build successful businesses if they only dabble. I do see people build a side hustle into a full-time business, but I think you have to be extremely driven and committed.
In the online world, I’m not there yet, but I think being consistent and persistent are very important. Show up and show up and show up some more. It’s much slower than I expected and harder, but I think the payoff will be there if I keep tweaking and figure it out.
How did you handle the slow or disappointing times?
Ah, over 15 years I have had plenty of these. Even though overall, it’s been very successful. I always worry during the slow times. Even though it always works out, I still worry. I have decided to embrace and accept the fact that I will worry and have some stress during the tough times. Now, I try to accept rather than fight those feelings. Working on it! And I dancing it out!
Women are multitaskers-the good, the bad, the ugly-your views and coping method on this issue.
I take multi-tasking to new heights. A few years ago, I was sitting outside Space Mountain at Disneyland while my daughter was on the ride, nursing my baby son while on a billable conference call with a client group. As if that’s not bad enough, I have the audacity to brag about it. I do conference calls from Costco, while on the treadmill while doing everything. I know there is some bad news about multitasking, but it appears I am completely ignoring it.
Does your husband match your levels of multitasking? And if he doesn’t, how do you manage that without driving each other crazy? Again, serious question. I know many women in this situation.
My husband NEVER multi-tasks. I think it would be a disaster if both people were like me. And I have to just accept that his capacity for work is much lower or that he puts a higher value on other things. We try to accept the crazy in the other person although, I’m sure at times, there may be some baggage and resentment lurking around.
How do you know you are approaching burnout?
Burn what? I ignore it and plow through. This is probably not good. I attended a very intense graduate program and I’m pretty sure they brainwashed us to eliminate any concept of burnout. Honestly, having complete control over my life makes the idea of burnout so different. No one is making me do what I do. I am my own boss. I think burnout is more of a corporate working issue.
Do you feel you ever get impatient or emotionally unavailable with your kids and your husband when your to-do list is so extensive?
I am sure they would say a resounding YES. And they are right. But I try to manage it. We’re in San Diego so there are so many fun things to do. I have passes to everything (Sea World, Zoo, Lego Land) and the kids and I get out for afternoons quite a bit. It’s good to get out because then we’re focused on fun and each other for those few hours. We don’t do family dinner, but we spend some family time in the morning before everyone starts their day. The fresh start of the day is nice before any annoying things happen. We try not to rush too much in the morning.
Does “wanting to do too much” ever affects another side of your life? Like your relationship, parenting style, social life?
Oh yes, but I am good at saying no. I prioritize carefully and own my choices as much as I can. For example, I would rather take another dance class than have drinks with friends. And I am very aware that my years with my children are limited. In a few years, my daughter will be off to college, so I am soaking her up now. I’m very conscious of that. I love to read for fun, but I haven’t read a fun book since my son was born four years ago. I’ll have many hours to read when the kids are grown.
Share your biggest downfall-something you are working on changing.
Sleep. Hands down. I am very health conscious, but I short-change myself on sleep. I work late and sometimes get into a creative groove and keep working. More and more data keeps coming out about how important sleep is.
Ha, HA, yes, that’s why I was asking about your quality of sleep after reading your first answer
LOL! I am working on it…
What’s your biggest strength, superpower?
The ability to get things done. I am an action taker, a doer. It’s all about prioritizing, breaking things into bite-sized pieces and being willing to make decisions. Most people have trouble saying no. But if you don’t make your decisions, your decisions will make you.
What’s your motivating source, re-charge mechanism: a person, a specific activity, a book, or a quote?
Dance. I love to dance. I don’t feel like me unless I dance. It is a total escape to pure joy. It’s hard work but I love it. I can take a 90-minute dance class and come out feeling like I have just spent a week in Hawaii. Can you imagine? I am so lucky to have this.
Words of wisdom for women who want to do it all: business and family
Take control of your career! Make active decisions about what you want. It is easier than you think to start your own business.
Blend not balance!
Embrace the seasons of your life!
Favorite quote: yours or someone else’s-a quote the re-centers or lifts you up
“You never get the chance to be lucky unless you take risks.” Ross Perot
Where can people find you and learn more about you?
Web site: www.BillableWithBaby.com
Also, check out my free email course:
I liberate corporate working mothers! Don’t Lean In, Walk Out! Stay home with your baby AND earn executive level pay. The best way to get started as a consultant is to dive in. This free email course will walk you through three action steps to generate revenue now. If you start right away, you can be doing billable work as soon as next week. Following these three action steps gives you the best possible chance of landing a consulting project. It works for me and I see it work for others, over and over again. http://www.billablewithbaby.com/free-course-3-action-steps-to-generate-revenue-now/
What do you all think? Pretty amazing woman, right?
ABOUT: Dr. Ruxandra LeMay is a licensed psychologist with experience and interest in family therapy, stress and anxiety management, emotional intelligence and executive coaching. She is the author of My Spouse Wants More Sex Than Me: The 2-Minute Solution For a Happier Marriage and My Spouse is Different Than Me: How to Mediate Irreconcilable Differences and Grow in Your Marriage. Check out her 5-day free email series, From Emotionally Challenged To Emotionally Savvy for people struggling with emotional availability and lacking a sense of connection. For more information, join her at ruxandralemay.com, a website for people who hate therapy, but still need it!