Meet My Boyfriend Ragz Thompson & Our Top Tips as Independent Entrepreneurs – Podcast Ep.6

Excited to bring on our first guest! Meet my other half, Ragz Thompson, Owner of Creative Agency Fern Colab. We met in Bali and have been traveling full-time together for the past year. Tune in to hear our story, how he made the leap from side hustle to full-time online business owner, as well as our top 3 tips traveling together!

Audio Transcript

The Wanderlover Podcast was created with a mission to enable travel and freedom through entrepreneurship. I’m your host, Danielle Hu: business mentor, content, creator, and founder of The Wanderlover. Tune in every week for episodes about travel, online business, social media, and mindset that will inspire you to take massive action towards living the life of your dreams. Hello everyone! And welcome back to The Wanderlover Podcast. I am so excited for this week’s episode because I’m bringing on my first guest and he is of course, a very important person in my life.

Please meet my boyfriend, Ragz Thompson, the founder of Fern CoLab. Hi guys. Thank you so much for being on the show. I am so happy to have you here, and we are going to start with, I guess, what a lot of you guys may be wondering: where he’s from and how we met. Yeah, so I’m from England down in Cornwall and I met Dani in Bali almost two years ago. I was on a surf trip with a friend of mine from Australia and we met in Chengdu before I went to another island and yeah, the rest is history, I guess.

(1m 39s):
Yeah. So what were you doing last year or so? Ragz – we travel full time together now, but it wasn’t like that when we first met. Nope, Nope. I was a working in construction in England and roofing. It was a long way from that now. Yeah. But he had his creative agency Fern CoLab as a side hustle, would you say? Yeah, it was a side hustle, almost full time job as well, I guess. Cause I was working the nine to five job in construction then coming home and working on my business and we’ve been doing that since 2015. So it was quite, it was happening for a long time.

(2m 21s):
It just wasn’t like that. My primary focus at that point. Yeah. Tell us a little more about Fern CoLab, how it started, and what you guys do. Yeah. So in 2015, I was living and working in Morocco. I’d been there for like a year and a half at this point. And we were working on a job with Billabong, a shooting for a swimming catalog. And I was a manager of a surf camp. So I kind of was in charge of the logistics of getting people around and locations for shoots and stuff. And Paul was there as a photographer’s assistant for some lady from Vogue, I think.

(3m 5s):
Like so Billabong brought out the kind of like big gun photographers and videographers and yeah, we just kind of, we hung out for a week on this project and then at the end of it, Paul went on to stay in Morocco for a while longer and so I just said to him, he could stay at our house and we just hung out and surfed and yeah, kind of have just got to know each other a little bit. And they kind of, you know, we started talking about what each other, what we do in like our kind of professions. And at that point I was, I was working on a completely different project and I was building a website with WordPress and it was pretty good. Like it was, it did everything it should.

(3m 45s):
And I showed Paul and Paul had been doing some websites as well, but mine were better than his. And then I was like, well, I kind of went in photography and his photography was a lot better than mine and it just kind of, we just started, ended up, we just started sharing jobs really. And yeah, Paul is an amazing photographer and videographer. So how did you guys decide to, I guess, combine forces? He just, he kind of gave me a job one day and he said, I’ve got this website to make um just for this clothing company in Australia. And it never went anywhere, but they’d paid and we made this website and nothing ever happened of it, but that was kind of like a first collaboration really.

(4m 26s):
And I was like, Oh yeah, I can make money out – online – you know, it was so good. And it was, I was working in Morocco and then that, but yeah, it just kind of stemmed from there. Really, it just one job turned in to the next and I don’t know we just kind of just saw… I was like, we could probably grow. And like, he kind of had the name Fern CoLab from a side hustle that he was doing and we just decided to kind of expand on it really. And that was pretty early, right. In like 2015. Yeah. It was like a small thing for a long time, like random little things and yeah, it’s not until the last two years that I really started pushing it out a lot more.

(5m 8s):
And until the last year now that we’ve really grown in our, like our client base is – Yeah, skyrocketed. So what do you think where some mindset shifts that you experienced going from like full time traveling back to your nine to five in England back to, I guess, the full time job again? Yeah. And I, I, I think I ended up, like, I went back to England mostly because of pressure from my parents and as the whole, what are you going to do as a career and how are you going to make money? How are you going to buy a house? How are you going to make, save up in your pension or anything like that?

(5m 50s):
So it was kind of, yeah. Anyways, part of it, I guess, was to go back and kind of do what I was being told. Yeah. It kind of was almost like a natural process that put me back there at the time and it just kind of ended up in a lot longer than I thought, because I started working and then I was good at my job and my job liked me and like I was doing really well. And so it just kind of like kept progressing. My, my pay kept going up and it was kind of like hard to walk away from it, you know? Like there’s all these, the promises of like company vehicles and management and less physical work and more money.

(6m 30s):
And, you know, it was quite nice having that weekly paycheck and having a voice – Climbing the corporate ladder, moving up the nine to five ladder. Yeah. Well I think it was like mostly like the Friday night paychecks, you know, like every week, every weekend you got the money and it showed up in your account and you’re like, great. I can go to the pub and – Yeah. Ragz loves beer. He’s from England, all those points. Yeah. I love it. But yeah. So I guess it was kind of like the mindset shift. That was the question – wasn’t about a mindset it’s like, there’s more coming to the understanding of that.

(7m 10s):
You know, we’ve got, I had this business with Paul and we were doing work and I think it was mostly just putting trust in the fact that we could make it work, you know? Like that was, that was my mind to be made and it would grow but just needed more time than to give it up at that point. You know? So I had to, I had to free up the time and just put faith in the fact that it would work, I guess. So when did you officially quit your roofing job? I think it was the 19th of December and then the 23rd of December, we flew to South America. So it was a pretty quick – Well, yeah, that’s crazy.

(7m 55s):
And so were you fearful because I feel like a lot of people, they are in this job, right? And they have side hustles. Like what made you realize that you could do it? Or what gave you that courage? I think at that point I kind of lined up a couple of jobs and I knew I had some money coming in over the next couple of months. So it was like, if I did just like the basic math and kind of my cost of living, like I knew I could sustain myself for like six months, even if I didn’t make any new clients and in my head, I was kind of like, well, you know, if I’ve, I’ve got the, I’ve got an extra, like 40 hours a week to spend on my business to find people and new projects and, you know, work on them, like it’s only ever going to grow.

(8m 48s):
So once I kind of thought about that side of the things, it just got a lot easier. Yeah, definitely, and your business definitely has skyrocketed the past few months. So what do you think, like – were there any things that you weren’t expecting from full time travel and online entrepreneurship – have you found any things difficult? I think the, the most difficult thing is managing your own time, just to like, you know, not getting wasted on the weekday when you’re supposed to work or not surfing too much. I think maybe, but in the grand scheme of it, no, like, because I traveled a lot before I worked in travel, so I kind of understand.

(9m 36s):
It’s not like I was 18 and finished college or in England, whatever it is. Yeah. A secondary school kind of age. And so it wasn’t, I wasn’t the kind of young and dumb sort of a thing on your left, but yeah. No, nothing difficult. It just kind of just, you just got to work hard and push to like manage yourself. Yeah. Yeah. I think time management is definitely – especially when it’s like tropical-warm all day, every day. So I don’t know if I mentioned in the beginning, but this is our first podcast episode in Mexico. We are currently in Puerto Escondido.

(10m 16s):
We got here a few days ago and just getting settled in and it’s so nice, right? Everything is well, it’s really hot. I think like we both got burnt after our first surf and now we’re already like very, very dark. Awesome. So do you want to tell everyone what you do in your business, how it operates and what you’re currently working on? I can try. That’s one of those questions that we find really hard to explain, I guess, but in essence, Fern CoLab is a creative studio.

(10m 56s):
We kind of brand ourselves as web design, branding, photography and film production. My sort of side of things is the web design and aspects of web. So performance and SEOs sort of things. Yeah. Ragz designed The Wanderlover website. So if you guys want to check it out, it’s so beautiful. But yeah, so yeah, lots of design and branding for me, Paul’s expertise is in film and photography. He started in photography and he kind of progressed into filmmaking and now he is, yeah, he does absolutely amazing work and goes on like really big clients with our film side of things.

(11m 41s):
But we kind of started as a bit of an umbrella company in a way, like, so we have some different people that work with us on certain projects and Fern CoLab kind of started out as like a hub or like a source of work more than an agency that was doing the work, if that makes sense. Like, so we were kind of attributing work to it and people like bigger brands were hiring agencies rather than individuals. So that’s how it kind of was born. But then from there just kind of focusing more on, you know, fulfilling the work kind of through it rather than like just sourcing.

(12m 22s):
Like, and yeah, so now it’s kind of a bit of everything. Like we, like we are kind of, our motto is you’ve got a story and we want to tell it and we do so through those different, like those elements, I guess. So whether it’s like building your brand story, putting a visual element to your kind of ideas in brands, like providing the web resources to get online and get the website, get your emails, you know, all those sorts of things and how to then push and grow that through SEO and you know, some of the things like good hosting and all that sort of stuff. So it’s a bit of everything.

(13m 5s):
Yeah. And I feel like you guys are so international. So Paul is based in Sydney, right? He is Australian and they met in Morocco and Ragz was able to work from the UK and Bali, and now in South and Central America. And so it’s great that you’re able to basically operate and work with clients around the world. Yeah with our kind of business, like, the hardest part is Paul’s stuff for the film and photography. Obviously you’ve got to, you’ve got to be there. You can’t remotely do a photo shoot, but for my side of things online, like my clients are from Slovenia Australia and America.

(13m 48s):
Like, you know, like they just are from all parts the world. So – And like all different niches. Yeah. Very much so. Yeah. From a, we have people like producing like helmets, backpacks and then we’ve got speech therapists, we’ve got the new South Wales government for some projects and you know, NRMA and of course The Wanderlover as well. So we kind of got a bit of everything. Yeah super creative and super talented. If you want to learn the exact ways I financially scale The Wanderlover from the beginning and how you can do it, too, including questions to ask yourself about your brand, your business, and business goals all in a principle PDF – I have a completely free workbook that you can download.

(14m 35s):
Just go to or DM me on Instagram @TheWanderlover that’s T H E W A N D E R L O V E R. Okay. So before we started recording Ragz and I wrote down our top three tips traveling full time together as an entrepreneur couple with our own separate businesses. And before we dive into our free tips, I wanted to share how it’s kind of crazy that I’m able to be at this point where we’re like discussing what our tips are.

(15m 18s):
Because when I first moved to Bali, I specifically remember having a conversation with my mom where she basically sat me down and was like, Danielle, you need to settle down because how are you ever going to find someone who basically loves traveling as much as you do, who likes flying around to different parts of the world? Like, how would you ever make that work? And I just remember saying, it’s going to happen. It’s on my vision board. Or as you guys know, it was all my passion planner. And I just knew that I could manifest someone like Ragz. And so we are, I know he thinks I’m so cheesy, but he secretly loves it, don’t you?

(16m 3s):
Yeah, of course. Okay. So let’s dive in to our top three tips. The first we decided is to have a project to work on together. And I’ve mentioned in previous episodes that Ragz and I started Wanderlover by Fern CoLab and so this is a combination of both of our skill sets and what we offer in our businesses. And it’s specifically luxury travel media production. Yeah. I think it’s, it’s helpful to have that because then you’ve got like forced mutual interests, you know, like you have, when you have a project where you’re working on it together, like you’ve obviously both wanted to make it a work and you have your ideas and your goals and, you know.

(16m 51s):
You’ll, you’ll do things together then to make that happen. And like, when it gets good to both of you then, and now you can, you can share, and it’s kind of like that whole experience is then shared. It’s not one or the other – kind of winning or losing. And so it’s just working to (inaudible) something. Definitely. So we have basically spent the entire quarantine together, but I was going to say that like for love languages, right? Like spending quality time together, that is something that’s so important for both of us and having this shared project, you’re also kind of just forced to work on it together.

(17m 33s):
Yeah. Well, it’s not…it’s less forced, but mmm yeah you didn’t force me to work on it. Yeah. It shouldn’t be too much forced, but yeah. You know, like you have got, you know, you have to – it’s not forceful. You’re not under duress, but you know, like you’ve got, you’ve got that similar goal that shared interests. Yes. So let’s move on to number two: support each other in each other’s businesses. And so what I think is unique to us since we both have basically our own separate entities – and what we do well, in my opinion, is helping each other, even if it has basically nothing to do with what our own businesses do.

(18m 31s):
Right? Yeah. So like supporting each other is so important, because you can, you know, you obviously want both people to do well and you have your expertise. So my expertise is in web and SEO sort of things, whereas Dani’s is into the business side of it and the mindsets and how to get like those – reach those targets – and smash those goals. So it’s like when you can share that information and pass it between each other and you know like, by me helping The Wanderlover business grow in return, like, my business grows, like, you know, we just, we share.

(19m 15s):
And like that support and the support network is really important and you can use each other as networks and, you know, it’s just, there’s so much value into it. – and get on each other’s Podcast. So by the way, you guys, Ragz is a little shy behind the microphone. Is that what you say? I’m not sure, but he’s doing such a great job on this episode. Being shy. It’s just that I hate listening back to my own voice and I feel sorry for anyone else who has to listen to it. So yeah…No, I love your voice. Everyone will love your voice. Okay. So our last tip is to be open to new ideas from the other person.

(19m 59s):
And I can say, I personally, it took me sometime to accept other people’s opinions, especially from my own boyfriend because I’m a little bit stubborn. But a little, but after a while, you know, like just being open to not only what the other person has to say, but just new ways of doing things, new ways of seeing things, it really helps. Yeah. Yeah. We’re both, both guilty of it as well. Being stubborn people… Like it’s hard. Yeah. It’s very hard to take someone’s opinion on your business and your kind of baby in a way, isn’t it, you know, like it’s what you have created and what you put together.

(20m 45s):
And when someone criticizes it and she says that you should be doing something and you go, well, screw you. Like you have not been doing it. Like, I, this is my way of doing things. And you know, you have to step back and consider like, Oh, why, why someone would say that? Because like, it’s very easy to be stuck on your direction. And most of the time it does take that external opinion for you to then go like actually that does make sense. You know, we get…To you, it makes – it’s completely clear. Like your branding might make total sense to you, but you know, like that’s because you have made it. And you know, when someone says, well, what do you do? And you go, what do you mean? What do I do? Like, it’s kind of, you know, like when people ask us, like, what do we do?

(21m 27s):
Like, it’s quite hard to explain, but you know, it’s taken years of people telling us, like what we’re good at, to figure out, you know, what we actually do in a way as though it’s important. Well, we both came to our senses like after a period of time. So when we do ever have like disagreements with certain things after a while, we’ll be like, actually that does make sense. Let’s move forward with that new idea. Yeah. And sometimes it takes time, isn’t it. Like to get my idea it might not happen overnight. And it might be a week down the line or a month. And then suddenly you realize, and you have to learn how to implement it, or – Yeah, but it’s always learning, always just finding new ideas and new directions and trying new things in our businesses.

(22m 13s):
And I feel like that’s what I personally value so much about our relationship. We are constantly just leveling up and trying new things and we grow not only our businesses, but as people, right? I feel like in the past few years that we’ve known each other, I’ve gone through so many different chapters and you have, too, and it’s just always a new adventure and it’s so exciting. Yeah. I think it’s very important to grow and take these lessons and put them into your business in a, in essence isn’t it. Cause like for you, you stay stuck on old ways, then you just do old things.

(22m 56s):
And those habits will never go. And like you have to use your experiences and those challenges and implement them and put them into what you do in the future and use that to grow your repertoire of like experiences in a way. Isn’t it? And stepping outside your comfort zone, doing things you’re not comfortable with. Like with this Podcast, I’m sweating here. I hate it. No! You’re doing so great! Well, I think that is it. I bet the audience will have so many questions. So depending on whether or not Ragz would like to be featured again, we may make this like a quarterly thing, but we will see.

(23m 40s):
Thank you so so much for being on this episode. If you guys have any questions at all, you know my DMs are always open and we will see you on the next episode. Thanks so much for listening guys.


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