eBusiness Institute

Matt and Liz Raad shares their journey to financial independence

How We Achieved Financial Independence Without Sacrificing Our Health, Marriage or Kids

How Matt & Liz Raad went from Zoology to creating a 7-figure online business and teaching others how to do it too…

There was a time when we didn’t have any digital skills.

But today, our digital businesses gives us the time freedom and financial independence we want.

How did we do that for ourselves? … even though we started as Zoologists and knew nothing about technology or business?

More importantly, how did we achieve financial independence without sacrificing our health, our marriage or our kids?

That’s what we want to share with you today so you can do the same.

Tune in to hear:

  • Why we transitioned from being studying animals to studying businesses.
  • How we actually met and the first business we started together.
  • What Matt’s granddad gave him that led to his first business venture.
  • The power of this 9-letter word and how we use it to design & achieve our dream life.
  • How we balance life, marriage and business as a couple for 30 years, even though we are together 24/7.
  • The 2 things Matt learned about becoming rich that you can start doing today.

Matt Raad: Let’s look at a question we get asked all the time: How did we go from zoology to buying and selling online businesses, working in technology, and teaching it? 

Today, I’ve got Liz with me to explore that because it’s something we ask ourselves as well. Sometimes, we pinch ourselves when we think about where we’ve come from.

Liz Raad: Yes, so it is interesting. Many of you might be in this situation where you are in a particular job or have had a specific career. It’s tough to see how that transition happens from something that seems so different from what you were studying. 

We were in zoology, studying animals and, in particular, learning about kangaroos. We worked on big properties in western New South Wales, studying kangaroos, and it was a very different life. We’d both grown up on farms and had quite a lot of freedom in our lives. 

At that time, we certainly didn’t think we would be where we are now. Most people assume that to get somewhere, you must have a specific goal or intention

But in many cases, it is a much more winding journey. That’s probably why people are interested in our journey, from studying red kangaroos to working with computers, being in digital education, and buying and selling online and offline businesses. 

So, how did that happen? We wanted to tell both of our stories because we are very different in that regard. You might relate to one or the other of us differently. Your journey was very different from mine.

Matt & Liz Raad first met at University

…and Matt had NO digital skills back then!

Matt: We know many of you are transitioning out of your careers, and you’re looking at ways to move away from your current roles. And some of you may not see yourself going from being a top-end lawyer or a top-end project manager to working at home in your Jimmy Jams, making as much money from buying and selling websites. It’s a big leap. 

But if we can go from zoology to this and help you do it quicker, that’s great. The other thing is that we have been doing this for quite a while.

Liz: Yes, but it did take us a long time. So, let’s go right back to square one of where we met, which was in class, studying ecological physiology.

Matt: There is a funny story to this, which is particularly relevant; look at what Liz just said. You all know what we do; we buy and sell online businesses and work with tech and everything. 

But guess what? My biggest problem was at university. I didn’t know how to use a computer, and that’s how we met. 

I saw this beautiful girl here in the lab. We had this assignment due, and I panicked because we had to do our table on a Macbook. To this day, I still don’t use Macs, and I have no idea how to use them. 

But I looked around the room and saw Liz rocking it and going crazy. She’s laughing her head off, making heaps of noise and being raw as typical Liz. But what I noticed (besides her beauty!) was that she’d done the table.

Liz: Well, there you go. That’s how we met. Matt asked to copy my assignment! 🙂

Matt: I wasn’t going to admit to that! But yes, I got Liz to help me with computer programming. That was my introduction to how computers work.

Liz: Matt was not technical at all. 

Matt & Liz had different goals when they graduated from uni

Liz: And so, when we went through university, we fell in love. Then, we finished the next stage of life; we finished uni, and I didn’t have high expectations about my life. I just knew my new life was going to be fun. 

Matt: Yes, and I would say that’s what attracted me to Liz.

Liz just wanted to have fun & adventures…

Liz: I didn’t have any real wealth aspirations at that point. I grew up in a tiny town, and I thought people in brick houses were rich. I thought, “Okay, if I have a brick house, I’m doing well. I must be pretty rich.”

I didn’t have a huge wealth mindset, so Matt made the difference there. For me, it was just a game. Whatever the adventure was, I was up for it.

My strategy was to be open to ideas and opportunities. I thought I’d just give it a go. That’s what got me through and meeting the right man. It’s better if you have the right catalyst. So sometimes, you need to meet the right person.

Whereas Matt was focused on building financial independence

Matt: Seriously, meeting the right catalyst in life is essential. I served as an amazing catalyst because I was driven. While it might not have been evident externally, my determination was focused on achieving financial independence. That was my number one goal. 

Matt started his first business at school, flipping toys

Matt: My life story started with my mum. She was a single mum in the seventies, so it was really tough. We lived in the southwestern suburbs of Sydney. And my Mum migrated here with nothing. 

She would live paycheck to paycheck. Financial pressures were hugely stressful for me subconsciously as a young baby, up until I was five or six. Then, as a kid at school, one of the things I used to do was constantly trade toys, and I would trade them up, basically flipping toys

And it was awesome. Because I had no money, I would buy whatever toy I could, go to school, and swap it for something better. That was my first business—Just Toys. 

He traded his granddad’s war medals to start his first business

Matt: This is a wealth mindset lesson. One thing I learned was that my family was working class and lived in the southwestern suburbs of Sydney. And my granddad knew I was obsessed with money, but there was none around for some strange reason. 

Unknown to the rest of the family, he gave me his war medals, and he must have known what I was going to do with those. I’m sure you know where this is going. 

Anyway, Matthew traded the war medals the next day for an awesome toy, which I still remember. It was a matchbox motorbike and a model truck. But it’s funny. That’s how I remember wealth, and it was one of the early lessons I learned. When you look at lessons in wealth, Matthew traded his granddad’s war medals. 

It’s like, “Well, my granddad didn’t care because he didn’t have a good war and didn’t like talking about it.” And he must have known I was going to trade them, which was very interesting, but that’s been my driving force ever since. Financial independence was so important to me that I traded my granddad’s war medals.

What qualities drew Matt & Liz to start their journey together after graduation?

Matt: But for Liz and me, and those reading this, one of the things that made the big difference was Liz saying she was just up for adventure. It wasn’t just that, either.

The two of us live with powerful intentions. So, while my intention was financial independence and to become wealthy and never go back to poverty, Liz’s was freedom of time and freedom of choice. I’ve admired that in her, and it’s what’s always driven us.

Liz is also very driven and very goal-oriented. It’s the same as myself and now the same as our kids. Everyone in our community is very similar in that we’re all very driven. You want to make a change in your life. 

And so, for us, at the end of the day, one of the biggest things was that when Liz and I got together, we realised a kindred spirit and journey. 

We both had an apparent intention about where we wanted to go, how we wanted to live our lives, and what we wanted. 

We weren’t entirely sure how to proceed, and we didn’t have a clear plan. So, essentially, we were just exploring, having adventures, passing the time, and learning zoology until fate brought us together. 

Then we thought, “Now we can really dive into things.” And we did—we had a lot of fun and took plenty of risks. When we were younger, we didn’t have families or responsibilities, so we could take those chances without worrying about having kids.

They were very intentional about the decisions they made in the early part of their journey

Matt: So, looking back on the journey, living with intention is a massive part of it. You can see it from my story as a kid when I swapped toys and stuff. It’s all these intentional steps so that I could get financially free.

Liz: All our decisions were made based on what moved us towards our goals of financial freedom, adventure, and enjoyment of life. We wanted to enjoy the journey because, in those early stages, the thing about us getting into business was that we were so young and had nothing. We were probably a bit naive.

So, when we first get into business, there’s a naivety that we don’t know how hard it is, and we don’t know what we don’t know. So we’d just go in boots and all, saying, “Yep, I’m doing it”. 

And that’s a super important step, the boots and all. You won’t go anywhere unless you have that initial moment of, “That’s it! I’m in, and I’m going for it.”

Matt: I always say, “Doing something is better than doing nothing.

Liz: Yes, so we just had a crack at it. At that stage, we didn’t have a huge amount to lose. Yes, it would have hurt, but we had the ability, and in the beginning, we didn’t have a lot of debt. Later on, there was more at stake.

Matt: Yes, Liz just didn’t realise it. She’s like, “I don’t want to know about the finances. Let’s just grow a business!”

The 2 mindset lessons Matt learned early on in his business journey

1./ Network with high net-worth people

Matt: There’s a bit of a mindset lesson here. When Liz and I first met, I wanted to change my life. I had moved from the country to Sydney, and I realised I had to hang around certain people. 

As a kid, I knew I wanted to have my own business and be wealthy. But I just had no idea how to do it, so I talked to my parents about it. 

When I moved to Sydney, I started hanging around high-net-worth people. I became a personal trainer in the eastern suburbs of Sydney so I could hang around people with high net worth. I trained people who I looked up to and they were very financially wealthy, and that was super cool. 

2./ Read mindset books in the area you want to grow in

Matt: But the other thing I was doing (which all our readers should be doing) was reading a lot of mindset books. I knew I had to change who I was. I wasn’t particularly confident socially, so I worked very hard on that

Again, this idea of living with intention was not cruising in life. I can tell you that while I was growing up, having lots of fun, and exploring myself—I’m in my early twenties here—I was reading all the classic books like Think and Grow Rich, and How to Win Friends and Influence People. These are all excellent books about the magic of thinking big and goal setting. 

How Arnold Schwarzenegger’s story influenced Matt’s personal growth…

Matt: From doing all that, I started to change who I was. I started working out at a gym in Sydney. There used to be a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger on the wall. Now, this is back in the late eighties, so he was just becoming a big famous movie actor. 

When I read his story and started looking into him, I realised, “Oh man, he’s like me. He just started with absolutely nothing. When he went to America, all he had was a gym bag. But he changed his life.” And this is what Arnie said with the power of his mind. 

I was reading all these books, and I was going to do exactly the same thing. I had no resources except for myself, so I’m going to change my life with the power of my mind

Why it’s important to network with people who you aspire to become

Matt: When Liz and I got together, I got her into all this stuff as well, and she was fully on board. She was like, “This sounds awesome!” We knew we could create whatever we wanted. We could literally create the life of our dreams.

Liz: And we could do it with the power of our minds, basically shopping the universe. We were always talking to people, and loved hearing their stories. If we could ever meet someone and learn from them, we did, especially if they were rich and successful

We were super curious. 

A massive part of our change was that we were curious, and we intentionally put ourselves in places to meet successful people.”  – Liz Raad, eBusiness Institute

We were part of manufacturing groups. We attended workshops and seminars to meet people and experience different people’s lives—the best place ever. We looked at how different people created things in their lives. 

Use their stories to learn what you do and don’t want from your own journey…

Liz: One of the biggest lessons we learned was that we don’t have to do it exactly how they did it. We’d see wealthy people who were incredibly wealthy but actually were very lonely, had no relationships, or were divorced. In fact, we saw a lot of divorces in those wealthy people. 

Matt: We saw that in a lot of poor people as well. I’m just thinking about where I grew up…

Liz: I think it was because one partner was so focused on something and the other wasn’t. Anyway, they’d grown apart.

And so, one of my intentions was that we were going to create wealth, but it wasn’t going to be at the expense of our relationship. So, we worked together in ways that meant that. 

How to work together as partners in life and in business

Liz: A question we get asked a lot is, “Well, how the heck do you work? You have been together 24/7 for the last 30 years, building businesses.”

Being in business, just hanging out, travelling, and doing whatever we did, we did it together. And part of that was being intentional about how important our relationship is. We respect each other’s boundaries while still being our own people. And we also love being ourselves around each other

1./ Trust in each other & share responsibilities

Liz: A lot of it is about trusting each other. So people say, how do you work together? A massive part of it is that I absolutely trust that when Matt says, “I’m doing this,” he’s doing it. And then, when I say, “I’m doing this,” I’m doing it. 

So, it’s about following through and ensuring you take responsibility. Each of us takes responsibility for what we are doing.

2./ Understand & work with each other’s strengths

Matt: It’s also about working through each other’s strengths. Over the years, we’ve recognised that you don’t have to be a couple to work on a side hustle or build online businesses. But it is great, and we know many people in our community are doing this as couples. 

I recently interviewed Pete and Renee, who said the same thing while growing their digital agency to 7-figures. They worked to each other’s strengths, which is so important. 

Remember, if you are doing this as a couple, you don’t work this out within a week. This may happen over months or years. When you get into this new online space, each of you will have particular strengths, and we certainly found that.

3./ Share a unified plan & vision for your business

Matt: I want to give a big acknowledgement to Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was a significant influence on us. Reading all his biographies, I realised the importance of planning and having a vision. 

If you’ve been around Matt & Liz Raad for a long time, you’ve probably heard us talk about this at our Digital training events. It’s always the number one thing we start with. Pretty much every bootcamp we ever do is, “Where are you going? What’s your vision?” 

Why should I set Intentions for my life?

Matt: Liz says this a lot: Live with Intention. I’m all about it. I just literally copied what Arnie says. Even the first chapter of his new book is about the importance of a vision. 

When people ask us, “Well, how did you go from zoology to buying and selling online businesses and being financially free?” I’ll tell you, it comes from setting a really clear intention. Even in the early days, we wanted to create change and constantly worked on our vision. 

It wasn’t just about setting a single vision back then. This vision has evolved, and we update it at the beginning and throughout each year.

Here’s how to come up with your own Intentions…

Matt: We meet lots of people and get the best ideas from them. We observe them and think, “Okay, what are we going to sample from this smorgasbord of life?” And that’s how we’ve evolved our own approach to Vision.

Liz: We get feedback from that, too. So, we might try something and go, “Okay, that was awesome, let’s do more of that.” Or we try something else and go, “Oh, darn. Okay, so that didn’t work very well.” 

One of the things we gained from being scientists is the willingness to test things out without taking failure personally. 

It’s interesting because, over the years, we’ve met many successful business people who were also scientists. If something fails, instead of being personally mortified or held back by it, we simply think, “Okay, let’s just try something different.”

How Matt & Liz transitioned from Zoology to owning their own businesses

Their first business was in manufacturing, where they didn’t have to trade time for money…

Liz: In zoology, we had a strong intention to shape our lives a certain way, which required a business that allowed us to work from home and leverage our time. This led us to manufacturing and wholesale distribution, where operations could continue in the background without our constant presence. 

Unlike being a chiropractor or having a typical job, we didn’t have to show up every day. We adopted very early on the idea that we need something where we can put in a heap of effort and then be rewarded for that effort. But we can also have periods where we don’t put in any effort and still be rewarded.

Matt: Yes, we wanted something that would still run if we were only around one or two days a week, or even where we didn’t work for a couple of weeks, etc.

This approach came from our mentors, who were successful in wholesale import businesses and worked only a few days a week. We learned from them and adopted a similar lifestyle. They were making a million dollars a year, and we were like, “That is Nirvana.” 

They then realised the leverage of owning an online business

Matt: When people say, how’d you go from zoology to technology? It was an evolving journey, and has taken a few years. Those of you reading this are lucky. You’re just hearing the awesome part: online businesses. 

During our journey, especially in the early 2000s, we realised that the internet could provide the leverage Liz and I were constantly seeking in various businesses. If we could figure out the tech side, it would help us find the perfect business model. 

Around that time, we also read the influential book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” which I’m sure many of you have read. That was in the late nineties, and it cemented that what we were doing was the right thing. 

We came up with similar ideas. But seriously, Robert Kiyosaki absolutely nailed it. Remember when he used to talk about buying laundromats? We definitely took that to new heights.

We thought car washing businesses were super cool, but we were heavily involved in manufacturing, wholesale, and import businesses. Then we realised that with the internet, we could do online business with much less capital than physical brick-and-mortar businesses

Online businesses operate 24/7 and allow for international reach. We had instant access to America with no borders, no customs, nothing. And we could sell something literally the next day. If we bought a website, we were instantly operating in America. 

They set the Intention of owning 7-figure online businesses

Matt: So, to us, that’s how the journey evolved. It came from this intention setting, though, of looking for the ideal business and online businesses for us. Honestly, remember, they were nirvana. Remember when we got that first one, and we worked on it for two or three hours that day, and we changed the affiliate offers?

And next thing you know, it went from making a thousand dollars a month literally to $3,000 a month. I was like a kid in the candy shop. It reminded me of swapping awesome toys all those years ago. 

I’ve done it. I have always dreamed of making money out of thin air and not having to work nine to five. That was my biggest fear, working nine to five. 

And so it was super cool when we did that, and it was like, “Oh, wait until we tell all our mentors that we’ve found an even better business model than you guys have with the wholesale import businesses!” 

To this day, we still talk to those guys, and they’re always asking us about these online businesses because they are absolutely amazing. But what came out of it was that drive to get that financial freedom and life.

Liz: Yes, it’s super important that you get clear about what you want in life. That should guide all your decisions

Do you need to take big risks to invest in online businesses and create the life you want?

Liz: So now, you’ve hopefully learned from us a vehicle that we know works to create that kind of life. 

What excites us is being able to share the shortcuts we’ve learned over our 30-year journey and guide others directly to the best business model we’ve ever found. It’s incredibly fulfilling to help people in this way. 

And I think for all of you, now that you’re at this stage of setting strong intentions. You may be reflecting on your decades of work and reaching a point where you’re saying, “That’s enough. I don’t want to do that anymore.” 

As we said earlier, when we were starting out in our twenties, we had nothing to lose, so we took big risks. But the cool thing now is that you don’t have to go through all that trouble to create this

You can purchase a $5,000 website, renovate it, and sell it for $7,000 or $10,000, etc. Similarly, with a $10,000 investment in a website, you could potentially sell it for $20,000, etc. There are even opportunities to purchase a $100,000 website that generates monthly income, reducing the need for the high risks we undertook in our youth.

That’s so cool. I’m thinking,” I wish this had been available, or we had known about it when we first started on this journey.” 

So, I think our journey has happened because we had to figure all this out for ourselves. And we did that through a massively strong intention of wanting to live a certain life, have certain experiences, emotions and feelings, have feelings of freedom, adventure and joy, and all those other things we’ve managed to do along the way. 

Matt: It’s certainly been an adventure.

Liz: Our journey has been up and down, just like everyone else’s. But that was how we went from being sweet, innocent zoologists (who had no idea about business) to now being in technology and actually teaching people how to do these strategies.

Matt: And it’s because it fits our model. It gave us the leverage we wanted, whereas a nine-to-five never would have. That’s the bottom line. We set goals and a vision. Thank you, Arnold Schwarzenegger, for that inspiration all those years ago. And we still teach the same sorts of ideas today.

What to focus on next to design your dream life…

Matt: It’s funny. People think everything we teach here is about the technical side of understanding how to make money online. You know what? 90% of success boils down to what Arnie said—all its mindset between your ears. It’s that personal drive because, as Liz said, there have been challenges, but our personal drive has also carried us through those moments. 

Having that vision has also carried us through those moments. That goes for our family, relationships, health, and everything we’ve done. Liz and I also work on three big categories, which are not just about money. For us, success is health, wealth, and happiness

These are our three key things, particularly for those of us who are a bit older. We all know the importance of health, which has been super important for us, but also happiness. 

Family relationships are also important. Raising the kids, friends, and community is also super important, so we work on all those areas. It’s very consciously designed, and we’re constantly refining it, literally every week, but particularly once a year and then every 90 days.

Liz: Yes, so if you’re collaborating with someone like we do every Monday morning, I would suggest getting together and saying, “Hey, what are we doing this week? Where are we heading now? What have our goals changed? Have our intentions changed? Are we on the path? And what do we need to do to keep going on that path?” 

Hopefully, that has given you some insight and ideas about how to create the life you want for yourself.