J: My guest today is Tarzan Kay and she's an online business owner and mom of 2 young boys. In her work life, she teaches women and a few good men how to sell bigger and serve bigger in their businesses. At home, she's got the stay-at-home-dad husband most women would dream of (lucky you) and a toddler and a new baby boy. Welcome to the show, Tarzan.
T: Thanks for having me, Jen, I really love what you're doing and I'm super excited to be a guest on your show.
J: Well, I'm super excited because last week, I talked to your mom, Pashana, is that right? Am I saying that right?
T: Yes, that's right.
J: So I had to have you because, you know, she's so unique, you're so unique and it's just fun to meet new people, so welcome.
T: Is this your first time having a mother and a daughter?
J: I have had a mother and daughter duo who came on the same episode.
T: Okay, okay.
J: But not consecutive, so…
J: Yeah. Well, let's jump in with a favorite quote and then hear some of your story.
T: Oh no, a favorite quote, I prepared my favorite motto, can it be that?
J: Perfect, yes.
T: Okay, so I didn't realize this until recently but I've sort of figured out like what I came… like the journey I came into the world to live. And I didn't realize it until recently, but now I know that I've been doing this my whole life. And my personal motto is, “Let it be easy.” And when I'm making a decision in my home life or I notice it the most in my work life, in my home life, it's pretty automatic to let things be easy and take the simplest possible route, rest when I need to and things like that, but I noticed that's also spilled over into my business. So if I'm building something, I'm always trying to make it easier and simpler.
J: Okay, so wow, that quote alone we could talk about throughout the entire interview.
J: But just give us more details so we can get our teeth around this. So what does it mean to let it be easy with a toddler and a newborn? (Laughs)
T: Yeah, okay. So for one thing, my partner, as I said, he's a stay-at-home dad. So that's one way like we've made a conscious choice to be a single income family because it's so much easier for us to have him at home. And man, he has a really hard job but, you know, he's able to take care of so much and do so much and like really fully support us because he's not going out to a job every day.
T: And, you know, like we could do it different ways. Like even our son, he could be in school right now but he's only in… like he goes to a Montessori School 3 days a week and that's one way that we've chosen to let it be easy, because we could have gone all the way and been like, “No, we're just going to keep the kids at home like homeschool them or whatever.” I think homeschooling is great but one of the ways we've chosen to let it be easy is like to have them go to Montessori School, which by the way, another way our life is easy is right next to our house. It is…
J: Oh, yay!
J: So cool!
T: Yeah. And it's so funny because I feel like this ‘let it be easy’ thing like it's now happening like without me even consciously choosing it. Like it's… I don’t know, it's everywhere. Like this… so he started going to this Montessori School, we chose it for him, it's in the next town over, when we chose it for him, next town over like 10 minute drive or something but we just love the woman who runs it. It's a home Montessori school so there's only 5 kids and we just love this place so much. And then we decided shortly after we wanted to move to this neighborhood, searched high and low for our house. And when we finally found our house which is like exactly to spec everything we wanted, right down to the way it's heated and the way the rooms are…
T: Yeah. And of course, it was like right next door to his Montessori School.
J: Oh, that's fantastic!
J: So do you get to be a 1-car family or, you know, that sounds easier than 2 cars, right?
T: Yeah. So for a long time we were a 1-car family and then we picked up a second car which we're not that attached to, it… honestly, it barely gets driven at all, and we thought of even taking it off the road, but it's just a cheap car that has like zero resale value. It's a Honda Element and it's really old and has like 350,000 clicks on it, but we love it so much. And it doesn't cost much to keep it on the road so we just leave it, we like it. But actually, if that car died tomorrow, we would just stick to our minivan.
J: Oh, nice, nice.
J: That's so cool. Okay, “Let it be easy,” wow, that does sound dreamy.
J: Because, I mean, it takes me 20 minutes out of a day just to drop off my daughter…
T: Oh yeah.
J: … plus the other direction, that's a lot of time, so yeah.
T: Oh, it's amazing, we literally walk across the lawn.
J: Ah, so good, so good.
T: Yeah, yeah.
J: Well, what about letting it be easy in your business, what does that look like?
T: Yeah. So I decided like earlier this year my business, I was really going along well tickety-boo, and I decided to stop doing sales calls. So I have liked the way my… my one-on-one client work is structured is they just it's… like they booked me for time so, you know, an hour or a half day or a day. And in the past, I would get on a call with them and I would like tell them what we're going to work on and do all this prep work, and I built up enough credibility that I don't have to do that anymore. And so told my assistant, I said, “Look, I don't want to do sales calls anymore.” I gave her an idea, she knows me really well so she knows basically what I can accomplish in a day. And I said, “You can estimate for the… you know, if we got a new lead, you just estimate how much time it's going to take.” And this is really key, I said to her, “I understand that we're going to lose people, and I'm okay with that because I want it to be easy.” And now just we talked before hitting record, like I also have Monday and Friday, that's just for me just to work on my business, and on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I'm doing client work, and on Thursdays I'm off. That's my day to just hang out with my kids, I don't check email, again, I have my assistant check my email so that I don't show up on Friday to like a hundred emails. I'm always looking for ways to let it be easy but those are probably the biggest ones.
J: Oh, I love that, so juicy and you have time to work on the business not just in the business…
J: … which is where a lot of us get stuck.
J: Well, tell us more about what you do. I'm sure everyone's like, “What, sales, clients, what? What does she even do?”
T: Yes, totally, thank you. So I call myself a launch strategist and copywriter. Most of my clients have businesses like yours where they're doing some sort of content marketing and they also sell online courses or group coaching programs. So sometimes we're working one-on-one and say I might be writing like sales emails or sometimes it's just purely strategy. That's sort of what I'm moving into right now because the strategy is the more high-value thing that I have to offer so people are willing to pay more for it, but also I enjoy it a lot more. So does that answer the question?
J: Yeah, yeah, perfect, thank you. Well, so before we dive into some of your story, let's touch in with, you know, some of the stuff we learned from your mom last week.
T: Oh yeah.
J: She shared the story of, you know, essentially choosing to let go of her religious chains and shame and choosing a new way. And I'd like to hear your version of that story, what it was like when you were younger versus what it became when your mom and dad split, what it is today, you know, just talk about your mom and your growing up years.
T: Oh my gosh, I'm so glad you asked because I love talking about this and I don't get to talk about it very much. I actually wrote a book about it, I don't know if my mom mentioned, but I had a lot to process because, boy, whoo!
J: What's the name of the book?
T: It's called ‘In the Belly of Oz’, it's available on Amazon.
J: ‘The Belly of Oz’, okay, we'll link to that on our show notes.
T: And actually, it also tells a lot of my mom's story too, so if your listeners liked her story, that's in the book as well. So when I was growing up, my dad was like a very, very religious man, like fundamentalist and had some… you know, he just had like some pretty strong ideas like that… for example, we had to like wear dresses instead of pants and the music that we listened to was like, I always sort of… I was really scared of him for most of my life. And not that… like he was never violent, but he would like he would yell a lot if he found something that was like… that he disagreed with her thought was sinful, like he would have these like really huge blow ups. So when I was growing up, I was always sort of dancing around my dad and like sort of listening to music really quiet in case he came in the room, and I was really scared that I was going to be discovered for doing like sinful things.
T: And I think it's probably for that reason that my older brothers and sisters, they all left home really early. Like sometimes… like, I mean, I also did but, you know, my brothers left home at like 17 or 18, and not to go to college, just to leave. My sister left home at 15 and I see now like we were running from that oppressive culture, that like oppressive home, it felt just, I don't know, scary. And also like I don't… you know, we got a lot of Bible knowledge but not a lot of… I don't feel like… I think he was missing part of it was just like the beauty of like loving God and having a like this godly presence in your life and what it means to know God and like ask God for help, I didn't get any of that as a kid; maybe I did, I don't know. What I really did get was not to be afraid of religion and I'm able now to like look at it and really take the good stuff and see the beauty in it, and I think a lot of people are just like, “Ooh, religion, like don't talk to me about God.” Like, so I'm so grateful to my dad for that, but in terms of like the way we were brought up, I don't think that we really got that, except we did get it from my mom.
T: So my mom, like she taught us the real stuff, you know, she was definitely… funny enough, because my dad was trying so hard to be the religious leader in our family, but my mom was the spiritual leader and is today. So…
T: Ah, so beautiful.
J: I love that!
T: Yes, oh yeah.
J: I've never thought of that dichotomy before but, you know…
T: Oh yeah.
J: … the masculine, the religion, the structure, the patriarchy, and then we have the feminine, the spiritual; beautiful.
T: Yes, totally. And my mom was able to break out of like the fundamentalist ideas and structures that were set out for her. And so like she was able to turn it into something that I felt was really useful and she's really been a teacher for us. Like, we're 6 kids and she's really taught us how to trust like what it means to… to be spiritually connected, and she's totally led the way for us. And I don't know too many people get that, like it's… we're lucky if you get a great mom who shows up the way she did. But on top of it, we also were given this incredible spiritual leader to guide us through life.
J: So growing up, your dad was yelling, your mom was spiritually guiding you, when did that schism occur where… where your mom left your dad? Was it after you at all left home, I mean, what did that look like?
T: So most of us were gone, all of my brothers and my sister had left home, it was just me and my mom when my parents split up. And actually, I don't think she stepped into that role of spiritual leader until she had broken with my dad. So I was 15 and I remember when she told me, like she sat me down, I remember it was really quite a beautiful memory. I woke up in the middle of the night and I guess I came downstairs for like a cracker or something or, I don't know, a snack, and my mom, she never slept in those years, she was always awake. And she happened to be in the kitchen and we had this middle of the night talked and she said, “I'm going to separate from your dad.” And I just remember being… like, I don't know if I felt like so happy about it, I definitely didn't feel sad though. I felt like right away, I fully supported her, I completely understood why she wanted to separate. And I think she explained it to me, but I just felt like the house was so oppressive and fearful that we had to get out of there so that we could really grow and go on our path together.
T: And interestingly, like leading up to that, she had started going down some different paths. So she had gone to see this naturopath who was really like almost a shaman, and funny enough, a shaman as well she went started seeing. And the 2 of them, like they started introducing her and she liked larger spiritual concepts that weren't like straight from the Holy Bible and they really opened up her world. And interestingly, she also fully took control of her health, like she completely changed the way she ate and there was a total change in her around that time. And after going through that health transformation, I think it was probably then that she was able to like step into the bigger transformation of like being her own woman and sort of leading us on this different journey.
T: So… yeah, yeah, totally. And I feel really lucky because after they split up, I got to spend 2 years just living with my mom. So I got like all of this wisdom from her and I was on the journey with her. Like, she started reading Wayne Dyer and like Eckhart Tolle and ‘A Course of Miracles’, yeah. So as she was reading all that stuff, like she was sharing it with me and I got to go on that journey with her, which was a real honor. And I got to say to get this on recording, like I never once blamed myself for my parents separation, I never once felt mad about it, I just always felt like it was a great gift to me.
J: Hmm, wow. And to get to be with your mom when she…
J: … transformed. I find it interesting that her health came first…
J: … and then the spiritual and the whole self-transformation. I find that to be true, when I feel crappy physically, I can't feel spiritual.
T: Hmm, totally.
J: Do you find that? Yeah.
T: Ugh, yeah, absolutely.
J: People are probably wondering, “Oh, how did she eat?”
T: Oh yes.
J: “I want this transformation.” (Laughs)
T: Oh my gosh, yeah. It was like very… it was a really big change. So her naturopath, his name is Shimon Levytam, Canadian, he's also an MD and he was… like I think he started his career as an anesthesiologist, funny enough, and then became a naturopathic doctor. And he put her on this program (I think he invented it) that it's called the ‘eubiotic diet’. And basically, the goal of that diet is to completely let all of the… like it's like a reset for your intestinal flora.
T: So you cannot eat anything that will let that flora grow. So that means like anything starch, so no… like no grains, no wheat, nothing of that kind, but also no vinegar, no sugar of any kind. So nothing pickled even, like it was really restrictive. Like, most of what we ate was… and don't forget, like she was cooking for me at this time so I ate very much like she did. Most of what she ate was basically, I don't know, brown rice and vegetables. I think we were allowed beans, but no honey, no like nothing like that, like zero sugar, zero vinegary things. I mean, that sounds like sort of obvious but it was quite a bit more scientific than that, and also, it was before the gluten free everything craze.
J: Right. (Laughs)
T: And she followed it, like she was always his star patient because she did everything he told her to at 100%.
T: And she was supposed to do this eubiotic diet for I think 6 months or something, but she stayed on it for a whole year because she just felt so wonderful.
J: Oh, that’s so great.
J: Eubiotic, that’s so interesting.
J: And what's his name, Shimon Levi…?
T: Shimon Levytam, yeah; I'll send you the name so you can link in the show notes.
T: To be honest though, I sort of wonder if he even has a website, he's like just this sort of brilliant semi hidden gem. Although he does teach at the Naturopathic College, so I'm sure there's something online that we could find about him.
J: Okay, cool. So your mom became, you know, this amazing spiritual person, tell us more, you know, go forward. You're amazing too and we're getting there…
T: Thank you.
J: … but I like seeing how she was a part of that amazingness that you are, you know?
T: Oh yeah, totally. So now, here's something that you don't see is… so the first year after my parents split up, we went crazy. Like, we totally… all of our wildness that had been repressed for all those years, like it all came out.
T: And it came out like not in good ways.
T: Like it was difficult, I think, for us to really support each other because we were just both like so… I mean, I was a teenager, and to be honest, like I was a bitchy like self-centered teenager, I wasn't good. So that's a challenge in itself, right? But add this whole separation into the mix, and she was going through her own journey. Like, she had to like get her business to the level that she could support us, I don't know that it was really there before they split up. And then a bunch of my brothers and my sister, like they came home for brief periods of time to live in the house and just like sort of be together without my dad being around. And we went so crazy, like we… not my mom, but we all were doing drugs and partying and just like being wild and not really doing anything constructive. But I think, I do feel like we sort of needed that year to just like shake out all that stuff. And, I mean, we all have recovered since, like some of us took longer than others but it was a really important year. And my mom and I, we always think about this famous story. So in our family, like when I was a kid, we weren't really allowed to have… like Christmas and Halloween, we didn't get to celebrate them.
T: There was… yeah, I know, like I felt like so hard done by it back then. Like, we didn't do Christmas presents, we didn't have a Christmas tree. My mom always made sure that like she bought some things for us so we didn't feel like we were totally missing out, but we didn't have presents wrapped under the tree or lights on the house or anything like that, it was all forbidden. So when it was just us, of course like we went out and bought this like giant Christmas tree, but we still, unto this day, like I don't really know how to celebrate Christmas, I rely on my husband to lead the charge.
J: (Laughs) That’s so funny.
T: Yeah, it’s so funny. So we had this big Christmas tree and like it was always like falling over and it was decorated so crazy because we didn't know what we were doing and… but we just loved it and we were just owning it. And this one day, my dad came over, maybe he was going to pick me up for music lessons or something, and he said to my mom, he looked at the Christmas tree and he said, “Oh, I see you have your idol.”
J: (Gasps) (Laughs)
T: Yes, and my mom, bless her, this was probably the first time she publicly stood up to him in front of us and she said, “Okay, you can leave now,” and he left.
J: (Gasps) Ooh, yeah.
T: Yeah, I know, that was major. And I… we got to bring this around to my dad coming back into the fold because it's really so beautiful. So we had to have this sort of separation and he lived on his own. And I always had like a nice relationship with my dad because we both are musicians so that was something that we could always connect on. And after I left, went away to college, like I would come back and I would visit him and I would play piano and we had something that we could connect on which my brothers and sister didn't. But interestingly, like there was… you know, there's a long period of time where I only saw him a little bit, but then as he got older, and this is like… so he died about 6 years ago, he was quite a bit older than my mom and he died of natural causes. So toward the end of his life, he was in a nursing home and he lived about like 3 blocks from my mom's house. And it was another… like this is we're talking like I guess over a decade later, yeah, so 15 years later. We had some family members coming back from, you know, being away in different countries and whatever and we've always had a really strong tradition of Sunday dinners together. And so on our Sunday dinners, like one of us would go over to the nursing home and we would like wheel him over in his wheelchair and it was so beautiful because his position at the family table, like he used to be at the head of the table and he would be like reading his Bible and praying before the meal and giving a Bible… we always had a Bible lesson after the meal. But in this case, like he came into my mom's house and he respected her and he would just sit at the table and he would look around and he would just like observing and like admiring his children. And it was just so beautiful how like we made this peace toward the end of his life and I think he saw toward the end how much he had really kind of alienated his children, and I know he felt regret about that, but I feel like he really redeemed himself in the end.
J: Aww. Was that hard for your mom to…? I mean, whose idea was it to start bringing him to the Sunday dinners?
T: Honestly, it was probably my mom's idea.
T: Like that was like her. Like my mom never spoke ill of my dad, like she never blamed things on him. Like, whenever we spoke about him, it felt like an adult conversation, it never felt like it was motivated by her anger ever. So, you know, she always respected him and treated him lovingly and I'm sure she wanted us to heal our relationship with him, so I'm sure it would have been her idea.
J: Oh, that's beautiful.
T: And in fact, she was even there, we were all together with him when he died; me and a couple of my brothers and my sister and my mom. We all… we got the call from the nursing home that it looked like this might be the night and we all went over there and we were all together when he died, it was really, really beautiful.
T: It was also like, I think it was my dad's final… like his greatest… one of his greatest lessons was that he died so peacefully, like he made it look like such an easy transition and what a gift that is.
J: Mm, that's amazing. So do you feel like there was something your mom had to do to be able to forgive him? Did you notice any of that part of the process or your siblings?
T: So that's interesting. I never even con… I ask my mom now how she forgave my dad because, to me, it never seemed like an issue, like I never noticed that there was something to forgive…
T: … because she didn't ever like lash out at him or speak meanly of him or say, “You did this bad thing.” When we talked about the bad things he did, it was more of like an intellectual pursuit like, “Well, why did he do that?” I think though like I'm not sure if my brothers and sister have really forgiven him, some of them have and some of them haven't probably. I don't know, for myself, like I feel… I always felt like I was really special in his eyes. I was the youngest and we always did special things together, like we would go to the candy store on Sundays, we would walk there together. And, you know, we had this music thing in common, and I don't know, I felt like I really healed my relationship and got a lot of closure, but I think I am the exception.
J: Yeah, yeah. So your mom never got angry or lashed out at him, even all those years with him?
T: I don't remember…
T: … at all, no, no.
J: That’s amazing.
T: It is amazing, and it's also something that she's actively working on is like not being a people pleaser and… and being and speaking her mind. Because we were all, like especially her, was really raised in the tradition of like women should like look pretty and be nice. So I think she's recovering from that for sure; I see her doing a lot of work on that. And part of it is definitely just that she's such a beautiful soul and she… her nature is very loving and forgiving, so that's part of it. But the flip side of it is like, yeah, there's a bit of like don't rock the boat, like don't upset people, don't… you know, don't cause a ruckus…
T: … kind of thing.
J: Right, right. Oh, that's so… I loved talking to your mom last week, I just… she's one of the best people I've ever met, and obviously, you're following right in her footsteps; you guys are so cool.
T: That's so cool, I can't wait to listen to her episode.
J: (Laughs) Well, tell us what you're doing these days, where you live, what your mom's doing, you know, how your family interacts now as adults.
T: Oh, man, I feel so fortunate, my family is just awesome. And like we have this Sunday dinner every week which is a really huge part of my life, and it's interesting like the people… so my partner, Jay, he's just been like so fully welcomed into the family and we all really see him and appreciate him. And for him, that's like he's pretty new, like he hasn't been fully seen and appreciated for a lot of his life, and in some cases, by the people closest to him; I mean, other than his mom because she totally sees him. But it's been so cool to bring him into the family and like he brings this whole amazing dynamic, we all just like love him and appreciate him so much. We have really a really good family thing going on. I know I'm probably the exception like, you know, we're getting near the holidays and I know some people are like, “Ugh, I got to do the holiday thing,” for us, like every weekend is a holiday. We take turns hosting and, you know, with all the kids, it's only half… only 3 kids that live in town and then another 3 are spread out. But we get together, and with all the kids, we’re like, I don't know, 15 people, and we also have other families that we've sort of adopted and consider like, you know, auntie's and uncles or even brothers and sisters.
J: Aww, yeah.
T: So it's not uncommon that we’re 20 people just sharing food and it's really beautiful, I'm really proud of us.
J: For the Sunday dinner, everyone just comes?
T: Yeah, everyone come.
J: So is it potluck? Does your mom prepare at all, you know, in case we want to try it? (Laughs)
T: Oh yes, oh no, we make sure. She's really good at cooking for a crowd because she's been cooking for 6 children all her life. And funny enough, when she… like, it took her so long to unlearn cooking for a massive family.
J: (Laughs) Yeah.
T: So we always contribute. Usually, whoever's hosting will do the main dish and then everyone else will bring… will coordinate just by text message and be like, “Okay, I'm bringing a salad, you bring a side dish.” So we've done it so many times though it's kind of understood. We're not big drinkers so there's not usually any wine, sometimes there is, but that feels special.
T: And… but it's actually really easy. So when we were kids, my mom, like we always had a dishwashing schedule and, you know, since we're 6 kids, we did the dishes in pairs; so you had like 2 nights a week that you did dishes. My dad, bless him, he always helped my mom and my sister. My dad was really good at like cleaning up and like he was a really wonderful servant; doesn't sound right, but he was always in service to us. He was always available to make a cup of tea or fix things, like he really set the example for us that way. So whoever's hosting a big Sunday night dinner, like it doesn't mean they're cooking for 15 people and cleaning, we always collaborate.
J: Oh nice, that's so great. And all of your siblings live in the area?
T: No, no, no. So there are 1, 2, 3 of us that live in the area. Actually, there are 4, but he is like sort of… we had to let him go a little bit. He's got… I don't know if we should go into that, but I can tell you about him if you want me to tell you about him; but he lives locally. And then I have another one that lives in Hawaii and another one that lives in Vancouver. So those 2 are like a 6 hour flight away.
J: Hawaii is only 6 hours? Wow.
T: Oh no, oh my gosh, no.
J: Oh, sorry. (Laughs)
T: No, it's like 6 hours to DC, another 6 hours of Hawaii.
J: Gotcha, gotcha.
J: Okay, so you're near Niagara Falls, right, on the Canadian side?
T: Yes, precisely.
J: Okay, gotcha.
J: Cool. Okay, well, so tell us more about your low point in life. I mean, you have such a good attitude about it all, you sound so happy, sounds like this amazing family, what has been hard for you in life so far?
T: Yeah, so far, now that you say, “What's been hard for you in life?” I feel like I have such luxury problems, it's wonderful. But since starting my business, I've been on a really interesting journey with money, and that's really like filtered into everything I teach and all the work that I do professionally. But so a couple… my son now, he's about to turn 4, and before I was pregnant, I never really was able to financially like care for myself. I was, like I didn't have a ton of debt or anything but I also never lived a very lush life, I just kind of like did what I had to do to get by. I never had like a full-time job or savings or… I was financially like pretty disempowered without realizing it. So I meet my husband, this is before we're married… well, actually, we're not married, we just changed our last name, but let's say like when we were in the dating phase. So I met him, about a year later, we decided to have a baby and we moved into a house that he owned, and he owned a duplex and we rented the bottom half, it was really great place, it's like a really good starter home because it paid for itself.
T: The tenants paid the mortgage basically. So when we moved in there, we had an agreement that I was going to pay $500 a month in rent. And when I was like, I guess it was like maybe 3 or 4 months pregnant, I just like… I didn't have the money to pay the rent, and also my work, like I was just freelance copywriting at the time and I didn't really know like how to get more clients. Honestly, I had no idea how to make money and I'd never been really beholden to someone before to like actually pay rent; well, that's not true, I paid rent in my college years. But somehow this felt different, especially because I was pregnant and I wasn't financially prepared to be pregnant. And then I was also like really tired so I didn't have energy to be like chasing after clients and trying to make money. And I just remember like telling him that I didn't have the $500.
T: It wasn't just that moment, like it brought me back to all these other times in life that I had to disappoint someone and not be able to pay, like not be able to pay my way. Like it just, it felt like all of those moments in life were happening all at once. And, ugh, it was just like so icky, but then it didn't last long. So let's say… actually, it lasted quite a while, I was a couple months pregnant, and then I didn't work when I was pregnant barely, and after my son was born, I was home for a year. And then at that 1-year point, we had to decide like what we're going to do, was I going to go back to work, what was he going to do, and we decided that he would be a stay-at-home dad and I would like turn this freelance copywriting business that I had into like a legitimate thing. To be honest, I don't know where he found the… like the trust to let…
J: (Laughs) Yeah, wow.
T: … to think that I could do that. Like, we had $4000 in our savings account which was basically 1 month of living expenses.
T: So I went in and started this business and I did a lot right and the business went really fast. So there were a lot of scary moments along the way like I don't know what's coming in this month and it was a bit rocky that first year, but I think… I guess, it was last year, so let's say 2 years later, 2 years later when we found out that I was pregnant again, this time total surprise baby, and now I'm like running the business and I have people who are working for me. And now I'm like, “I have no idea how this is going to work and I'm even more scared.” But one of the decisions we took at that time was to sell our house and buy another house, and that meant that we had to get approved for a mortgage and we had to let go of this rental income because we also knew, we didn't just want another house, we didn't want to have tenants anymore.
T: So, man, that was a really big moment for me is getting approved for a mortgage, it was a really big deal because I'm self-employed and I have a business that is online and doesn't make sense to the banks, they're like, “Striped payments, what?”
J: Yeah. (Laughs)
T: “Where's your paycheck?” yeah.
J: Right, right.
J: How'd you get approved? I mean, did they just decide to believe you?
T: Oh my gosh. Well, so it was a lot… so for one thing, I got a really good mortgage broker, like he really knew the mortgage market beyond like what the 5 big banks are offering.
T: And he worked really hard for me. We had submitted so much paperwork like also, I made videos of like, “Look at my stripe account, like this is…” I had to show them so many times over how money moves through my business.
T: Because they also like, they would look at these big chunks coming into my bank account, they would be like, “What's this $10,000? Like what's this $12,000?” and they thought… like they get suspicious when they see…
J: (Laughs) You're a money launderer. (Laughs)
T: Yes! Or no, what they think is like maybe you got a loan from your mom or grandma or something.
J: Oh yeah.
T: They think you're faking it. So that was really hard but the mortgage broker was awesome, and man, like I just was went after it like a dog on a bone. Like, if he needed some paperwork, I made sure to find it. And in the end, we ended up working with what's called a B lender and it's like, you know, there are the 5 big banks, they’re like the A lenders, and then there's… there's something in between and then there's the B lenders.
T: So the B lender is like we have a higher interest rate, our mortgage, I think we paid like just under 5%.
T: So that's pretty high. Like, at the time, mortgages were at about 3%, but we locked it in for only 2 years and at like the highest amortization. So now, that's one year ago, so by next year, my business has a lot more history, now I pay myself a paycheck and my husband as well so we have a lot more to show. Next time, it'll be no problem getting approved with an A lender.
J: Oh, nice, nice.
T: But it was a really good exercise because now I know what the banks are looking for and now I know how to like structure my finances so that those like old school and institutions see me as a good investment.
J: There you go; oh, that's cool.
T: Yeah, yeah.
J: So how did you get there? I mean, you create a business, if you had to tell someone else wanting to start a business, “Oh, here's how you become financially successful all of the sudden,” you know, it wasn’t just…
T: Yeah, totally.
J: What was it, mindset work or…?
T: I did that for sure but the biggest game-changer was I started taking courses.
T: Like, prior to that, I had just been trying to do it all myself, I didn't really even know that online courses were a thing. So one of the first things I did when I started my business was I enrolled in B-school which is Marie Forleo's program. It's really for online business owners, not only online businesses but, you know, it's for people who are new in business. I had looked at it many years prior and I was like, “Okay, I'm going to do it this time.” That was really important, it gave me a lot of skills that I didn't have before, but more importantly, it connected me with an online community that I didn't even know existed. Like, I was really working in a silo and I didn't know there were all these other online business owners. I think people they underestimate, and rightly so, like you just have no idea until you're in it, they don't know the value of the community. Like, I'm sure you see this in your program, like people they come into your program and you're giving them these amazing resources but like having that community, like that's what we need to create change, I think.
J: Exactly, change that lasts, for sure.
T: Yeah, absolutely.
J: Oh, and B-school, I'll put a link to that on our show notes page.
T: Mm-hmm, sure.
J: This has been amazing, you're amazing, let's dive into some of your favorite things, Tarzan.
J: I could talk all day but I know you have somewhere else to be. What is your favorite book?
T: Oh my gosh, I have so many favorites. I love to read and that's one of the hard things about having young kids is not having time to read. Are you thinking…? Well, I'll just tell you. I really love anything Jane Austen.
J: Ooh, yeah!
T: I read Jane Austen over and over; oh yeah. Like, I'll go see Jane Austen if it's turned into a play, I'll watch the movie, like I buy fan-fiction. I love learning and seeing how these women who are so constrained in that time period, you know, they couldn't have a career, own property or really do anything, they were so… they had… just had to kind of blow in the wind where the whims of men.
T: And I just love how they empowered themselves and like how they… I love how Jane Austen uses language like because, you know, there was like all these rules of decorum and they would bend them in order to say what they really wanted to say in such an elegant way.
T: I just… I just love that.
J: (Laughs) They’re very… you know, I agree, that's so cool; they were tricky that way.
T: They were tricky, yeah.
J: What's a favorite happiness hack, life hack?
T: So my husband and I took this course together and… which I recommend people taking courses to make their personal lives better. And this woman introduced the concept of radical openness. And I don't know, somehow when she talks about it, it really hit home. And sometimes when we're about to like reveal something that we know the other person maybe is going to be shocked by, we’ll always say like, “Okay, radical openness, like we're practicing radical openness.”
T: And also on the other hand, if we feel like the other person's not being radically open, we’ll remind them like, “Remember how good this works for us to be radically open about how we're feeling and what we really want?”
T: It's been great for our relationship.
J: So who created that course?
T: So this course, there's this woman, her name's Kim Anami and she teaches about sex. So she has courses for like men, courses for women, and she has one course for couples which is what we took and that's where we learned about radical openness.
J: Oh, Kim Anami, okay.
J: Cool, thanks. What does your morning routine look like?
T: This is again like where my partner and I, we really play well together in terms of like covering each other when the other one needs sleep. So because we have a baby, our routines all got like really shot, but we take turns. And depending on what's happened throughout the night, possibly I will get up or possibly he will get up. I love to drink coffee, I drink it black. I used to drink like a lot of… I used to have like a 7 ingredient coffee that was really complicated.
T: And… yes. But now, I've just learned to enjoy the simple pleasure of black coffee which I really love. And that's my hangout time with my kids too, so I try and keep my phone off for the whole morning or until I go up. Like, I usually go up for work at about 9:30, so in the morning, I'm up, having my coffee, not looking at my phone. Sometimes, I actually leave my phone upstairs because it is pretty tempting to look at. So sometimes, I'll leave it… my office is in the second floor of our house and all of our living spaces first floor. So I leave it upstairs, I don't look at it, never bring it into the bedroom ever. So, yeah, I hang out with my kids, walk them across the lawn, get them ready for school, Jay wakes up and takes over.
J: Aaw, that's great. Never ever bring your phone in the bedroom, that's so smart.
T: Never, ever.
J: So, Tarzan, if you were talking to your posterity or all your loved ones or your family and you had to stand up and say, “This is what it means for Tarzan Kay to be a vibrant happy woman,” what would you say?
T: Oh, whoa. Okay…
J: I know, we're talking legacy.
T: Whoa, yeah.
T: Okay, for me to be a vibrant happy woman, I need personal space and lots of it, I need a really great tea drawer with like a good selection, and I also need a lot of creative time. And actually, you would think that the personal space and the creative time might be the same, but no. I need evenings by myself and like frequently, like once a week would be ideal, and 2 would be my dream. And my partner is like he knows that, he knows me really well. He loves to be social so, you know, he'll go out with friends when he knows that I need my personal space. And the creative time… I mean, the tea thing, of course that's a no-brainer, but creative time, I'm really fortunate that my business is very creative. So, I mean, I'm a musician and a writer and those… since having kids and starting a business, I've put those things aside a little bit because I'm so creatively fulfilled with my business. So I get to come here and do this creative work, I'm so fortunate, but I guess those are my happiness secrets.
J: Awesome. Well, let's have a challenge to our listeners and then sadly we'll have to say goodbye.
T: Okay, so a big part of our growth, my partner and I, we always say like when we're on the same page about something, it happens really quickly. If we're trying to make something happen and it's not happening, like let's say, recently, we were trying to sell our vehicle and we were like, “Why isn't this working? No one's biting.” And of course like I eventually realized like I didn't… I wasn't ready to sell it.
T: And as soon as I got on the same page, we sold it and we found exactly the car that we wanted right away. So one thing that really helped is having conversations about money and what we're doing with our finances. So… and something that we used to do, now it's so ingrained that we don't even do this anymore but it's because we're doing it every day. So I want to challenge your listeners to schedule a money date with their spouse and just like look at everything that's going on and look at like what you're comfortable with, what you're not comfortable with, what needs to change, and financially like… so that you can become financially empowered. Even if you are not the primary earner or even if you're not earning at all, it's really easy especially if you're not earning to just be like, “Oh, whatever, my partner's taking care of it.”
T: And I know that Jay would default to that as well. So I've been really careful to make sure that he's involved so that he feels accountable, but more importantly so that he feels financially empowered. And that doesn't happen unless you set the intention, so that's why I think it's really important to schedule it like maybe it's like, “Thursday night, we're going to put the kids to bed, we're going to pour a glass of wine, we're going to sit down and we're going to talk about this. And, yeah, like it's probably going to get emotional, there might be some tears, it's really going to be worth it.”
J: Mm. Ooh, that one scares me. (Laughs)
T: Yes, that’s probably because you need to do it. (Laughs)
J: I don’t know, Tarzan, we could have a whole other interview about my finances. My husband and I split our finances just because we are so different in the way we think.
J: He was raised (without revealing too much) a lot of the time, they didn't even have enough to eat so he's in a very strong scarcity mindset.
J: And I was just tired of trying to help him change.
J: So I accept him as he is and he has his finances and I have mine.
T: I hope you have a podcast episode about that because that sounds fascinating.
J: Oh, it's so scary. I have a lot of bad energy around that, so you're right, that means I need to go there.
T: It needs to be cleared, for sure, yeah.
J: (Laughs) Cool. Well, this has been amazing, and where can people find you if they want to, you know, follow your blog (which I find fascinating) or anything else you’re doing?
T: If you want to watch what I'm doing, go to tarzankay.com and get on my email list. The free stuff available may not be relevant to your listeners, in fact, it's probably not, but I do send regular emails and I practice radical openness, not just with Jay, but also with my email list. And I love sharing like what it really looks like to be running a business like mine and also showing up for my family and having a great life.
J: Hmm, awesome. Well, you know, one more thing, Tarzan, your name…
T: Oh yeah.
J: … where did you get that from?
T: So I don't know if you spoke about this with my mom but she also chose her own name. And she probably chose her own name like maybe 10 years ago and I said… well, I didn't even know but I was like, “Oh, you can do that? Like, okay.” We just all got used to calling her Pashana. And when I was publishing this book that I wrote, ‘In the Belly of Oz’, I just felt I was ready for a new name. I strongly felt like I was done with my old name and it wasn't representing me anymore. And this name, Tarzan, I won't get into the why of it, but I didn't know the why when it came to me, I just was like, “Oh, that's weird but that's my name.”
T: And, yeah, it took a couple years to fully step into it and it took years before I had it legally changed, but that is who I am now and it has changed my life to change my name, as you would expect.
J: Ah, so cool. Well, thank you so much for being on the show, Tarzan. I love your name and I guess you're going to have to write another book and explain that one for us; we'll watch for it. (Laughs)
T: Yeah, no doubt.
T: Thank you so much.
J: Take care.