This is how Tomas and Caitlin quit their high paying corporate jobs to start a business that makes them more money, gives them more freedom and provides them the life they want
Leaving a corporate job and a great salary behind can feel daunting, so how do you plan for that and how do you replace that income?
That’s what this amazing couple has achieved that and in this interview, you’ll hear exactly how they did it, including:
- Why they decided to leave their corporate jobs and how they did it
- The main strategy they used to replace their corporate incomes
- Why this strategy allowed them to earn $10,000 per sale
- How they turn almost every sale into $2,000 per month in recurring revenue
And much much more, so watch the interview or read the article below to hear their insights on how to safely and quickly leave corporate for a better life.
Matt Raad: Welcome to the Digital Investor podcast. I’m your host, Matt Raad.
Today we have two very special guests, who are our graduates, Tomas and Caitlin. Their story is interesting because they have successfully quit the corporate rat race. They now work online from home and are building an amazing business together.
I’ve asked them to share their journey because it has some excellent lessons, particularly for readers working long hours in a full-on corporate role. I want you to read how these two were able to quit their jobs and now work from home online with their leading digital agency in South Yarra.
So welcome, guys.
Tomas & Caitlin: Thank you for having us.
Matt: It’s awesome to have you both here.
From working long hours in multinational corporate to working fulltime for themselves…
Matt: Tomas, I’ve been looking at your journey. You’ve been with us for three or four years now. How long ago did you start training with us?
Tomas: I started studying with eBusiness Institute in 2019.
Matt: And what were you doing when you started studying with us? What was your corporate role?
Tomas’ background was in corporate law…
Tomas: I was working in a big multinational firm, Accenture, in the contract management department. I was part of the legal and commercial services.
So, as you can tell, my background is completely different in corporate law. I had been working there for over six years.
Matt: And we must mention the amazing city you both live in.
Matt: All right! And Caitlin, what’s your background?
And Caitlin came from fast moving consumable goods.
Caitlin: I worked in fast-moving consumer goods in the FMCG industry. And I worked for big multinational companies.
Matt: Okay, so the two of you are from trendy Melbourne. It’s one of the top five liveable cities in the world. And it’s obviously the place for big corporate roles like that.
I’m presuming you were both working really long hours?
Tomas & Caitlin: I scaled my hours down in more recent years. But yes, overall, I was working long hours.
Matt: Okay, so long hours.
And you don’t have to say how much you are earning, but I’m presuming in roles like that (corporate lawyer and fast-moving consuming goods marketing), you were both making a good income?
Tomas & Caitlin: Yes, we were doing pretty well!
Building a Digital Agency allowed them to quit their jobs
Matt: So, this is a question I’m sure lots of readers have on their minds. You’ve both quit your corporate jobs and no longer have the security of a highly-paid wage coming in every week. And you’re no longer swapping time for money.
What’s been the main strategy you decided to take based on what you learned from eBusiness Institute?
Tomas: We’re using the local strategy. So, we’re focusing on running a digital agency doing web design and SEO for local businesses.
Matt: Awesome. So, you’re building websites for local businesses. And I know you also look at due diligence and all the fun stuff about SEO with buying portfolio sites. That’s your side hobby.
But the main money-making strategy that you’ve used, based on what we’ve taught you, is building websites for local businesses. That’s what allowed you to quit your jobs pretty quickly.
They build websites for local businesses, charging up to $10,000 per client…
Matt: Let’s explain why that’s worked for you because people reading this may not realise how much money there is. What are you generally charging for a website build for a client?
Caitlin: For new website builds, we are now charging between $4,000 up to about $10,000.
…and from $2,000 for ongoing SEO clients
Matt: Okay, perfect. And then you do ongoing SEO for certain clients, too?
Tomas: Yes, and we’re charging from $2,000 and above.
Matt: Awesome. That gives a great picture of where you are now for our readers to understand.
From zero Digital Skills to building sites for corporates within 3 years…
Matt: Let’s look at your journey because it’s not always been easy.
I’ll start with you, Tomas. When you first started studying your digital skills with us, what was your experience online? Did you know about the sorts of things we teach here?
Tomas: No, zero. I did try a long time ago when I was very young. I’m from Argentina and while I was there, I tried to create a website. I can’t even remember the platform I used back then. But, no, I started with zero technical skills.
Matt: Okay, so you’ve learned your digital skills from scratch, and three years later, you’re doing SEO work for corporates. That journey alone is pretty impressive.
How Tomas transitioned from a corporate role to owning a Digital Agency
Matt: Tomas, you were working long hours as a corporate lawyer. How did you get the time to do this as a side hustle? What were your first steps like? And how did you find Matt and Liz Raad at eBusiness Institute?
Step 1 : He re-skilled in digital
Tomas: Before I started Champions, I first joined the Digital Investors program in 2018. I started playing with that a bit, learning the ropes and the basic digital skills needed to make money online.
I realised I needed to take this to the next level, and I was interested in the Champions program to accelerate my online results. That was quite a life-changing moment for me.
Step 2: He moved to a 4 day work week
Tomas: I would say my first step was to find a way to step back from my corporate job and try to gain a day in the week. This was near the disruption of the pandemic, so I was able to transition to four days a week.
Step 3: He networked to generate new client leads
Tomas: With your support, and a lot of exposure to networking, that allowed me to start generating more business.
So, you studied our course part-time at night. You started to learn these digital skills because you were a total beginner online. And then you negotiated with your work to go to four days a week. What day of the week did you get off?
Tomas: It was Friday.
Matt: Friday is a good networking day!
The moment Tomas decided to move full-time to his Digital Agency
Matt: Did your work know what you were doing on Fridays? Being in a corporate role, was it hard for them to agree to let you work a four-day workweek?
Tomas: Not really, because I think there was a bit more flexibility with the whole pandemic scenario. The company was also quite advanced regarding offering the benefits of remote working and part-time, flexible arrangements. So, in that case, it wasn’t that hard.
But after a while, I had to return to full-time, five days a week. That became quite challenging.
Matt: Okay, you had to go back to five days. And obviously, at some point, you just decided to quit?
He planned ahead to help make the transition away from corporate less stressful
Tomas: Yes, that was the scariest part! But a big benefit of working in a corporate role like that is you can save a lot of money if you organise yourself.
So, after having some coaching calls with you and 12 months of savings behind me, I had a good buffer and peace of mind that if things didn’t ramp up as expected in the first few months, I’d still be okay.
I had a buffer to work with, and that gave me a lot of confidence. I was able to take the leap of faith and went all in.
Matt: That’s awesome.
Tomas’ digital journey started with a life-changing moment for his family
…his first website was a passion project for his mum half way around the world…
Matt: So, let me take you back in time, Tomas. I remember coaching you in that first year of Champions. You were working on a fun site, which really kicked it off for you. It was a personal passion project for you.
Can you share how you started on that site? I remember this was the main site you honed all your digital skills on, and it worked phenomenally well. Tell us about the first site you learnt on.
Tomas: It was actually my mum’s site. She is an English teacher in Argentina. And for me, one of the main drivers that got me into Champions was living so far away here in Australia.
I was motivated to help my mum generate more business and transform her life.
Learning digital skills allowed him to SEO and rank his mums site
Tomas: You and I played a lot with that site. I was learning my digital skills and had no idea about SEO.
Fast forward to today – my mum’s business has completely transformed. She’s generating all these leads from the website, and it’s all because of what you taught me, Matt. I’m not even actively managing the site that much now, but it continues to work because of all the SEO foundations we did all those years ago.
Matt: That’s a seriously impressive result.
Tomas, when you first came onto our program, one of the things you said to me was that you wanted to help your mum. She’s on the other side of the world in another country. And this was going to be your way to help her.
It took 18 months for the site to rank, but now his mum has ongoing leads
Matt: You just wanted to learn these skills to rank an English-speaking language site for your mum. You and I had a lot of fun with that site, but it wasn’t a walk in the park. It was a pretty competitive niche.
Tomas: That’s right. In the beginning, it wasn’t taking off at all. We were doing all the right things, but nothing was happening. But as you say, Matt, SEO takes 12-18 months. And, of course – Matt is always right! It literally took 18 months, and the graph looks like a hockey stick!
We haven’t looked back since. My mum continues to get so many leads to this day, and it keeps growing.
Matt: That’s unreal! This has changed your mum’s life, and it now ranks number one in her niche.
This gave Tomas the confidence to quit his corporate role
Matt: Many people reading this presumably either want a side hustle or want to quit their jobs. What was the determining factor for you? Was it the success you achieved with this site for your mum? Is that one of the things that gave you the confidence to quit your job?
Tomas: Yes, 100%. It gave me the confidence in my skill set that I could replicate it with other clients here in Australia. It was a life-changing moment when I realised I could help a lot of people just by applying these newly acquired digital skills. And I really wanted to give this a go.
The challenges Tomas & Caitlin overcame when working full-time online
Matt: So, you were both working in corporate. Tomas was able to drop back to four days a week for a bit to help free up some time. But really, the two of you started this journey as a side hustle.
How long did it take you to transition from a side hustle to making it full-time?
Caitlin: It took a while. We started this in January 2020 and have been growing since then. I would say it was around 2020-2021 when things started picking up and getting more traction. And then Tomas quit his job in August 2022.
Matt: All right, congratulations!
Tomas: Thank you.
Matt: And did you find those early days the hardest?
Think of someone who might be in a similar corporate role that you were in. We want to help these people mindset-wise. So, what did you find hardest in those early days?
Tomas: Well, I don’t want to sugarcoat it – it was a lot of hard work involved. There were a lot of client meetings, etc., and it was really hard to plan for, especially around my corporate job.
So, in my first year of Champions, I made it my mission to block specific times in my calendar so I knew I could make those meetings. And finding time to do those meetings during work hours was a bit of a challenge. But I found a way to juggle them both.
Matt: And what were some of your challenges for you, Caitlin?
By the way – congratulations, Caitlin, you’ve also just quit your job, woohoo!
Caitlin: Yes, I quit my job two months ago.
My main challenge was ensuring we had enough money to support me while the business was growing. And we weren’t sure how the two of us would go working together as a team. So that was a big unknown when I decided to quit my job.
How a shared vision can accelerate online success…
Matt: We’ve had some fun coaching calls recently, the three of us together. And obviously, Caitlin, you’re a go-getter like Tomas.
I look at the two of you and think, “Wow, these guys are the perfect couple. They’ve got the same vision and are willing to go for it.”
What was it that really cemented into your mind that this could work? I know this has been a scary step for you. But in the last few months, what’s changed for you?
Step 1: Thomas & Caitlin became clear in their online goals
Caitlin: In the last two months, we’ve had a big mindset shift where we mapped out our 90-day goals. We did this following one of the Champions bootcamps, where you guided us to map this out.
So, we became very clear on what we wanted to achieve in this 90-day period. And we’ll be heading off on an overseas trip soon, so we have a window of time to achieve these goals. We’ve set some really high targets for ourselves.
One of the coaching calls we had recently with you helped our mindset. It was able to help us unlock things that we didn’t think were possible at the beginning of 90 days. But just this week, we’ve signed on three new clients, which is great.
Matt: Awesome. And, of course, we’re talking $5,000 to $10,000 clients here. So, you have three of these in the last week. Nice one.
For our readers, it’s important to understand the power of setting intentions and goals. And what I love about you two is there’s been that scary moment of you leaving work. There’s extra pressure, but you’re setting and achieving goals. A lot of people don’t even bother setting significant goals.
Step 2: They continued to refine their digital skills
Not only that, but look at what you’re doing for your clients. You are creating incredible results for them. Tomas, I know it’s easy to look back and go, “Wow, I was a beginner in SEO.” But mate, you’re a legend at it now.
You did all this stuff when you came onto Champions (our high-level coaching program). But you’ve returned this year with Caitlin, and the results are just chalk and cheese.
Your SEO ability blows me away now. Some of the results you’re getting are incredible. You’re ranking very competitive businesses in the Melbourne CBD, which is seriously impressive.
Tomas: Thank you.
…they now rank national business in competitive industries!
Tomas: I remember one of the niches I was working on back then. I didn’t know it then, but when we started having coaching calls with you, I realised how competitive it was. It was the labour-hire niche, and we’ve kept them consistently at number on Australia-wide (Melbourne and Brisbane) for the last 18 months.
Matt: And these are big companies. You’ve really come into the Melbourne corporate vibe.
How Tomas & Caitlin find clients in competitive niches
Matt: What are the main niches you’ve decided to work with?
Caitlin: As of recently, we’re focusing on real estate lawyers and financial advisors.
Matt: Brilliant, because that’s also your background. So, these niches will work well for you in Melbourne.
And what’s your main strategy to get your initial foot in the door? I know many of our readers are probably wondering how you would find lawyers to build websites for. What are you doing to find these types of clients?
Caitlin: There are three avenues we’re using as outreach at the moment.
Strategy 1: Networking in BNI
Caitlin: The first one is BNI, which Tomas has been part of for a year now. BNI has been really helpful for us.
Matt: BNI is a business networking group.
Tomas & Caitlin: That’s right. I’ve just joined the Melbourne chapter of BNI. So now I’m focused on meeting lawyers and connecting with some new people around Melbourne CBD with that.
Strategy 2: Email Outreach
Caitlin: Our second key channel is using email outreach. Tomas has set up a good email outreach program, and we’re having some great success off the back of that.
Strategy 3: Cold Call Challenge
Caitlin: The third method is cold calling. That’s going to be my main focus.
Matt: Go, Caitlin, you’re rising to my mindset challenge, the 100 Call Challenge.
Caitlin: That’s right.
Matt: Good to see.
In our Champions program, we created a challenge to gently push people to stretch themselves mindset-wise. A lot of our students aren’t natural-born salespeople. So, we throw out a challenge to call 100 businesses and have a conversation with them.
The idea is to see if you can help them and educate them about digital marketing and how you can potentially help their business. And that can open doors for later on.
And, Caitlin, you’re finding that’s working because your mindset has shifted significantly over the last three months. It’s been amazing to see.
This is one of the reasons I wanted to do this interview with you because it’s a pivotal moment. I really want to see what you’re going to achieve from here.
Caitlin: We’re starting to get some really good momentum. So, we want to keep it up too.
The power of sales when growing your digital agency
Matt: Caitlin, you obviously know Tomas really well, right? When you look at Tomas and his digital skills, what do you think has been his turning point?
I want to highlight this interview’s theme, which is that you guys are both bold, gutsy, and you quit your full-on, high-paying corporate jobs. What do you think is the turning point of when that happened? I want people to read this and think, “That’s the pivot, that’s the turning point for me.”
Caitlin: I think Tomas has been able to have amazing success with a lot of his clients and get some really good results.
But I think the turning point more recently has been him going out and being confident in marketing to businesses. That’s been the game changer for us more recently.
Over the last few years, he’s proven himself and achieved some great results. So that was never in doubt. But now it’s this new level of confidence. He’s come from a law background and is now a really good salesperson.
They both have the confidence to sell websites in very competitive niches in Melbourne
Tomas: And that’s the funny thing. I laugh about it now. Before meeting Matt and Liz Raad, I had zero sales skills. But I look back now and think, “Wow, I can sell anything in this space.” I have that confidence.
I still remember the first website I built. It was after one of the bootcamps, and I was encouraged to build a site in 10 days. Going through that process gave me the skills and the confidence to go to a stranger and ask them “improving” questions – Do you have a website? Is it working? That was my first sale.
Matt: This is perfect. Five or six years ago, you were at university, and then you worked at your corporate roles in trendy Melbourne. It would have been exciting times.
Fast forward to now, you’ve gone on this journey of learning new digital skills and look at what you’ve both achieved. You’ve completely re-skilled and are now building websites for big corporates. That’s a really cool story, and it’s great to see your journeys.
Like many of our students, I know you started out wanting to buy and sell websites and do due diligence on online businesses. And you’ve got the skills now to do that, too. But this strategy was the quickest way that you could both quit your high-paying corporate roles and build a business together.
How Digital Agency allows Tomas & Caitlin to live the laptop lifestyle
Matt: Caitlin, you mentioned earlier that you’d both be travelling soon. Can you share with everyone what your plans are? This isn’t just a small holiday. Where are you guys going?
Caitlin: Well, now we have this great momentum with our business. So, it’s given us the ability to travel.
Because of the pandemic, Tomas hasn’t been able to see his sisters for about five years. So, we’re having a family reunion with his family in Europe for six weeks.
Matt: Nice one.
And as you’ve said, you’re just hitting your straps with your business. But it is set up now that you can take off to Europe for six weeks. This is very similar to Calem and Jenn, who is also one of your coaches. But Calem and Jenn do the same thing. They’re off travelling all the time. And that’s the beauty of a digital agency and how you guys are setting it up.
We’ve noticed this a lot in our community. All you young people are going more for the laptop lifestyle, where you set it up and then take off for six to eight weeks. You know you can still service your clients while away. You can still look after them well and earn good money online. That’s really exciting to see.
How the Champions program helped Tomas & Caitlin reskill in digital much faster…
Matt: Thank you for sharing your story and for inspiring our readers.
For our readers, if you’re in the corporate world and want to retrain in digital, this is one of the potential outcomes you can get.
So, a big thank you to you both for coming along today to share your story.
Tomas: Thank you so much for having us.
I just wanted to share one final thought with your readers. I remember when I first met Matt and Liz Raad at eBusiness Institute. I was looking to buy and build websites for my portfolio at the time. That’s what attracts a lot of your students. So, I was really focused on the portfolio strategy.
But it’s all about having that focus and literally following the steps that you and Liz break down really easily for us. Leaving a corporate job and a big income behind can feel daunting. How are you going to replace that? But by taking those baby steps, we learn to trust the process. And the results just naturally come.
So, thank you for all the coaching and everything you do for us.
Matt: That’s unreal, Tomas. Thanks so much for sharing that. And I think it’s great advice for our readers. As Tomas said, it’s just small, baby steps. You’ve just got to start learning.
This is one key take-home point that I’ve noticed with a lot of our students over the years.
You just need to start out small on one tiny site. Learn how to fix it up and do SEO.
That’s exactly what Tomas did, and he did it for free for his mum.
And look at where he and Caitlin are today. That’s what we say to everyone we coach. Don’t just go out there and build websites for corporates straight away. You just have to start out small.
Are you ready to retrain in digital skills and earn money online?
Matt: That’s the good news about the online space with websites. You can start out small very easily and help people along the way. You can help a charity, a local school, or your mum. Just build a small website.
And, of course, if you want to learn how to do that, make sure you do our free masterclass. We will show you our strategy for buying, renovating and selling websites.
Also, look around on the eBusiness Institute website at some of the other success stories of our students.
Until next time, get out there and have fun. Thank you so much for coming along today and sharing your story.
Tomas & Caitlin: Thank you for having us.