Saturday, June 4, 2016

Why I Love Location Independence

My friend interviewed me this week for her new e-book that she is releasing soon about location independent careers! Here were my responses to the interview about the freedom of location that coaching has given me!


Short Bio:
My name is Aleena Rooyakker and I’m an online health and fitness coach!  I run a relationship marketing business helping people all across the country make healthy lifestyle changes!  I get to chat with others about their fitness goals, match them up with a workout program and meal plan that is best suited for them and what they are looking to accomplish, and then I provide them with the support and accountability they need to be successful!  I also help other women launch and grow their own successful online coaching businesses!  You can learn more me about what coaching is all about at www.aleenarooyakker.com!  


1) What was your main motivation for pursuing location independence?  I chose my path with online health and fitness coaching not only for the freedom of time and money that it could provide for our family, but also for the location independence factor.
My husband and I have immediate family members sprinkled all across the US and three children from Ethiopia, so traveling to spend time with the people we love is a key priority for us.  Within the structure of a traditional job, however, vacation time is limited so I was motivated to create an opportunity for myself where I could travel for any given amount of time throughout the year without requesting time off or losing income!  I’m not tied to a desk or an office, so I can literally work anywhere in the world with a wifi connection...now that’s freedom!  

2) Describe what a typical workday looks like for you.  How many hours a week do you work, on average?I’m a total schedule girl!  If it’s not on my calendar, it’s probably not happening and having a strict daily routine has definitely been crucial to growing my business!  

Monday through Friday my alarm clock rings bright and early at 4:30am and I get dressed and head to my basement to get my workout in first thing in the morning!  I love that exercising is actually a business building activity for me now because it definitely makes me more motivated to make it happen!  Showering and getting ready for the day happens next, but I also pair this time with Personal Development which gives me a good hour to listen to a podcast and feed my mind with great information to kick-start my day!  From 6:30 am to noon is when I work my business and this time is split between conference calls with my coaches, developing team trainings, creating content, posting on my blog and social media, running my online accountability groups, and growing my network.  Depending on the day, I will often spend more time in the afternoon working on additional projects for my business as well, and two nights a week I have an hour blocked off in the evening for team calls.  On average, I’m spending between 5-6 hours per day growing my business.

This is how my business operates today now that coaching is my full-time career!  However, when I was working a full-time day job and side hustling to get my business off the ground, my schedule was obviously quite different than it is now!  In the beginning, I would wake up early and put in an hour and half of work before I left the house for my job, and then I’d work my business during my breaks and lunch hour throughout the day.  When I got home, I was having dinner and spending a little time with my husband and then I would stay up late and grind out another 2-3 hours of work before bed!  It was exhausting, but now that I have the freedom to create my own hours, I can look back on that experience and tell you that every bit of sacrifice was totally worth it!  

3) How long did it take before you earned your first dollar? Before you felt financially stable?  I earned my very first dollar in my business the first week I got started as a coach!  I remember it being so exciting because I was working on my own terms right from home and it was my first glimpse of hope that I could really make this online business work for me!  At that point, being a brand new coach, I had a lot of doubts in myself and what I could accomplish so seeing that immediate paycheck, even though it was so small, was super encouraging!  

It took a solid year before I felt financially stable enough to quit my full-time job and make fitness coaching my only source of income!  In the beginning, I was putting in so much time and effort with such little reward, but I knew if I was consistent and kept with it that it would pay off...and it did! 

4) What's one unexpected thing you've learned while pursuing a location independent lifestyle?I am both totally amazed and equally saddened by how many people want the freedom that this lifestyle brings but they are too afraid of what people will think of them or that they won’t be successful to actually give themselves a chance as an entrepreneur!  Anyone can do this!  I see fear holding people back every single day, and it’s typically disguised as some kind of excuse such as “I just don’t have time for something like that” or “I could never do what they do.”  Everything you want is on the other side fear, so get out there and create the life you dream of!

5) If someone wanted to follow a path similar to yours, what are some of the first steps they could take to get started today?My biggest piece of advice is to just GO FOR IT!  There is no better time to start than right now! Every expert was once a beginner, so don’t question yourself and your abilities--you can do this!  If you have a desire in your heart for something more and a passion to live a healthy lifestyle, online health and fitness coaching is your avenue to success!

One of my greatest passions in the work that I do is helping other women pursue the freedoms that I have found by helping them launch and grow their own online coaching businesses!  If online health and fitness coaching is something that interests you, I urge you to take the leap and chat with me today by filling out this short connection form HERE.  

6) Any final pieces of advice? (optional): As I reflect on how this business has changed my life, I can tell you that being location independent is a total game-changer and absolutely one of the greatest blessings that coaching has given me!  

Just to give you an example, life threw a lot my way at the beginning of this year (death in the family, another family member who was very sick, a couple of vacations, etc), and within just a five month period between January and May I had taken six weeks of “vacation time” away from home!  I live in Wisconsin but during that time I was in Washington State, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Minnesota, Florida, Bahamas, and Jamaica! Never once did I have to stress or worry about having someone cover me at work, or losing income, or asking a boss for more time off!  Being my own boss and being able to work from anywhere allowed me to be there for my family when they needed me most, enjoy some international travel with my spouse, and make a living all at the same time!  

It’s a FREEDOM worth working hard for, I can promise you that!

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Friday, June 3, 2016

Actually...You CAN Afford It!

Over the past year and a half since I started coaching, I have realized just how many people in our country don't take their health seriously.  And honestly, I get it!  It's so easy to think that we are doing just fine until something happens to us, right? It's kind of that "out of sight, out of mind" idea.  We can visually see when we are overweight or obese, but what so many people don't realize (or choose to be oblivious about), is that our health goes so far beyond just what we see in the mirror every day!  


Each one of us, no matter how much we weigh, is sending messages to our body about how to operate with every bite we take and every exercise we choose to do (or not to do!).   


Our choices are information!  


Will you tell your body to store fat, or burn fat?

Will your next meal deliver the message to turn on cancer fighting cells, or turn them off?

Are you going to raise your cholesterol, or lower it?  And how about your blood pressure?!

Are you starting to understand just how powerful our everyday choices are?  


If you're like me, you weren't raised to think like this, so it's going to take some solid effort to retrain your mind about the importance of our fitness and nutrition.  And that's what I help people do!  It's my mission to show you the VALUE of your health so that you can see why it's important for you to invest in it!


When I'm chatting with people who are interested in joining a fitness and nutrition accountability group with me, I learn what they want to accomplish and then I help them choose the best program that can get them to their goals.  All of the programs I support people through include both the fitness and nutrition components, because as we discussed above, both are vital to our overall health.  


Here's where it gets SO hard for me though...people want to make a change, they want to lose weight, they want to find their confidence again, they want to love their body, they want to be a good example for their family, and they want to get healthy. Except the problem is, they don't. All of the tools and the support they need to do that are right in front of them, however when they learn that they have to spend money on this, they run for the hills saying they can't afford it!!


I ran a fun little experiment with you guys yesterday and I asked you to tell me at least one thing that you have spent $140+ on (the same price of a life-changing fitness and nutrition program), and this is just some of the things you told me...




I think this speaks for itself.  If your health is a priority for you, you'll make sacrifices in other areas of your life to afford something like this.  We spend money on what's important to us...simple as that!  It's all a matter of priorities!  


Our fitness and nutrition is not an expense you guys, it's an investment!  You're either going to pay now and live a healthier, happier life OR you are going to pay infinitely more later with all of your medical bills!  


Honestly, you can't afford not to do this!


Join a fitness accountability group with me today and take control of your health!  Apply HERE!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Real Life Marriage

Someone told me the other day that she appreciated how honest I was about marriage and how I'm not afraid to say that the highs also come with the lows.  She asked me, "How do you make your marriage work?"  My answer was simple, we recognize that marriage is not about being happy all the time, but rather it's about commitment and giving 100% even when it feels like your spouse is giving 0%.


Society sets an unrealistic expectation for what marriage is suppose to be and it totally sets us up for failure! Just take a look at the divorce rates these days, it's out of control (yes, there are a handful of rightly justified divorces happening and that's not what I'm talking about here, but for the most part, I believe it's mainly a misunderstanding of what marriage actually is in the first place)! And if we aren't careful, we contribute to this problem rather than being a part of the solution. Let me explain...


We all like to look like we have it all together, don't we?  We don't like when other people see our struggles or our flaws because it makes us feel inferior, and judged, and less-than. Vulnerability is a scary thing!  We want to fit into that perfect mold that society created where our houses are always clean, our marriages are always blissful and romantic, and we always make parenting look fun and easy.


You fight in the car all the way to church and then as soon as you set foot outside you put smiles on your faces and act as though everything is perfect.  Sound familiar? We are guilty of this!  You feel like your marriage is crumbling and yet when your friends ask how you are doing, you tell them that everything is going great!  You post photos on Facebook and Instagram that show nothing but your best moments; your highlights...am I talking to you?!


We cling so tightly to that image (even when we don't realize it) that we end up setting that unrealistic standard for the people around us.  We accentuate the highs and eliminate the lows as we share our lives with others.  And what happens when we do this?  They see our stories and they THINK the grass is greener on the other side.  If they knew the whole story...they'd know better!


I love my husband so much and if I could go back in time, I would choose him all over again. But love is a choice, not a feeling! It's rare that we go a full day without arguing about something!  We are opposites in so many ways--if I say up, he'll say down.  If he says go, I'll say stop.  We are wired very differently! Living together peacefully is hard most days (I'm a difficult person to deal with sometimes!!  ...don't tell Patrick I said that though, I hate to admit when he's right! LOL)! We are both super stubborn and some days we straight up do NOT like each other,  and yet other days we have a ton of fun and we get along great!  I drive him crazy with my messy car and my overly-optimistic outlook on things which, to him, comes across like I don't care and I'm being unrealistic.  He drives me crazy when he puts the dirty dishes in the sink rather than the empty dishwasher and when his realistic approach to life comes across to me as negative and pessimistic. But here's the thing...what we focus on, expands!

Did you get that?!  What we FOCUS ON, EXPANDS!

There are so many things I love about Patrick, but if I choose to stay focused on the negatives, those are the things that will continue to grow in our relationship.  If I'm looking for a fight, I will surely find one.  If I'm looking for love, or grace, or kindness, I will find that as well.  It's my choice!  I am 100% responsible for the quality of my marriage.  If I don't give 100% effort with 0% expectation of any return, then I am setting my relationship up for failure.  And the same goes for you!  Divorce is often split 50-50, but not marriage.  Marriage HAS to be 100-0. YOU are 100% responsible for your life, your relationships, and everything you do!  Marriage isn't about things being "fair" (as much as we wish it were!), it's not about always feeling happy, and it's certainly not about trying to change your spouse into the perfect person!  Marriage is about giving everything you've got...100%!  We have the choice of how we will act, what we will do and not do, and how we will respond to what is done to us!  THIS is what people need to know about marriage!

It's crazy how much relationships morph over time! In the beginning phases, you can't get enough of your significant other and everything they say and do is perfect and loveable and you are constantly HAPPY.  As your relationship grows, you start to notice more and more differences, little things they say or do start to drive you nuts, and arguments start to pop up and disrupt your constant state of bliss.  This is NORMAL!  Dating is often about the feeling of love, marriage is about the commitment of choosing love. Two imperfect people can't make a perfect relationship!

Do I love putting myself out there and sharing with the world what goes on behind the scenes in our home?  Not really...it's much more comfortable to be honest to put up my wall and only show you all of the good stuff that I want you to see.  However, I am called for something more (and so are you!).  I am intentional about sharing REAL life with you because it's not fair that the world sugar-coats marriage and makes us think it should always feel like a fairy tale.  Society tells you that there is something WRONG with your marriage just because it's HARD!  ...I want to deliver a different message!


Marriage is TOUGH!  It can be exhausting sometimes and it's humbling to say the very least.  We have to learn to say "I'm sorry", and mean it, even when we feel like our spouse was more at-fault than we were.  We have to learn genuine forgiveness...the kind that doesn't hold a grudge and pull out past experiences in our daily arguments. We have to extend grace to our partner when we really don't feel like it.  We have to OWN 100% responsibility over the quality of our marriage, regardless of our spouse or our circumstances.

When we learn how do this, we experience the true JOYS of marriage!  It's hard, but it's SO worth it!  A difficult marriage can also be a beautiful, perfectly-imperfect, FUN, joy-filled marriage!!  The love we develop through the hard times and our unending commitment to one another will be deeper and more fulfilling than we can ever imagine it could be!

I challenge you to do 2 things with me today:

1) Take COMPLETE responsibility for your relationship.  Make the mindset shift and start focusing on what YOU can do rather than what you wish your spouse would do!

2) Stop editing your love story!  Be open and real about the highs AND the lows (and don't misunderstand what I'm saying here...this is not permission to start throwing your spouse under the bus and talking poorly about them to your friends, or sharing confidential information about your relationship with the world!  This is your opportunity to to be honest in admitting that your marriage isn't perfect!)  Every single marriage is hard, and no matter how much we think we know about another couple, we only see a fraction of the real relationship, so don't compare your real life situations with the facade that others put up.  Humble yourself in order to share hope with others!  


**And just remember, the grass is not greener on the other side...it's greener where YOU WATER IT!