Tasha Cochran had no idea how she was going to afford college, so she joined the US Marine Corps. She became a mother as a teenager, and, while serving as a full-time Marine, took night classes at a community college, then attended Yale Law School. She got a great job, but also found herself posting YouTube videos about hair and personal finance, which led her to realize that she needed to sell products and services to grow her side business.
Now, at One Big Happy Life, Tasha helps people create lives they love while building wealth for their best financial future. She helps her clients take control of their lives and their money once and for all in a busy world with jobs, kids, money, and health demanding their attention.
Today, Tasha joins the podcast to share her journey from aspiring attorney to membership owner, how it felt to cross that precipice, and what it means to give people the empowerment and hope they need to live the lives they’ve always wanted.
- How the Google search “How to become a lawyer” ultimately helped Tasha become a Yale Law graduate despite the red tape and setbacks she faced along the way.
- How Tasha built a following and grew a side business posting YouTube videos despite her initial aversion to social media.
- How the membership model freed Tasha from the traditional corporate environment.
- Tasha’s favorite piece of advice she got from a client.
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“Whatever you want to do, you can figure out a way to make it happen. There’s always a path. There’s always someone who does it first.” – Tasha Cochran
TranscriptRead The Transcript
Shelli Varela: From the daughter of two immigrants to join the Marine Corps to becoming a Yale-educated lawyer, today’s guest is both a lawyer and a financial expert who’s going to show you how to create hope and financial abundance.
Stu McLaren: There is a big trend brewing that’s revolutionizing the way business is being done. Big companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Apple are jumping on this too but so are thousands of others in all kinds of markets like photography and calligraphy, fitness, finance, meal planning, lesson planning, dog training, and so many more, and they’re doing it by shifting to a recurring revenue model. Hi. My name is Stu McLaren and for more than a decade I’ve been helping tens of thousands of entrepreneurs generate recurring revenue through membership sites. Join our host, Shelli Varela, as she takes you behind-the-scenes to see how these companies are building a thriving tribe that spends with them every single month. Now, let’s get to today’s episode.
Shelli Varela: Tasha Cochran, welcome to the It’s a TRIBE Thing Podcast. I am stoked about this one. How are you?
Tasha Cochran: I am so good. Thank you so much for inviting me to be here. I cannot wait to talk all things memberships.
Shelli Varela: I’m thrilled. This is one of those pre-interviews, pre-interview chats we had where I could have talked to you for an hour. Your story is incredible. And I’m so grateful that you stopped by to share it. I would be so grateful if you would start by telling all the people who you are and who you serve, and then we’ll go back to who were you before you were this person.
Tasha Cochran: My name is Tasha Cochran and I am the founder of One Big Happy Life where I help people create lives that they love, while also building wealth for their best financial future.
Shelli Varela: Incredible. So, your story is incredibly inspiring and super impactful. Will you take us back to the beginning and let us know how you ended up being this person and what your journey looked like as you were on the way?
Tasha Cochran: Sure. So, I am actually not a native of the United States. I was born in Guyana, South America and I came here when I was two years old. And why that matters is that neither one of my parents had college degrees. So, when the time came for me to go to college, I had absolutely no idea how to afford college or how to even get into college. So, I ended up joining the US Marine Corps as an active duty marine to get money for college. Well, nine months into my career as a Marine, I ended up getting pregnant and becoming a single teen mom to a beautiful baby girl, Alexis, and I had no family support because I lived many states away from my family. And again, I was a single mom, so I didn’t have anyone to help me or support me. All I knew was that I wanted to give my daughter an amazing life and I was committed to doing that somehow, even though everyone thought my life was over. So, what I did was I started to take classes at night because I’m still working as a full-time marine. So, I took Community College classes at night and I was able to put myself through college. Along the way, I later got married and then I went to law school, Yale Law School, and I ended up becoming…
Shelli Varela: Let me just pause you for one second. I just want to point out how casually you say, “Oh, I was in the Marines and then taking night school,” like that’s incredible at such a young age to be accomplishing all of these things.
Tasha Cochran: Well, thank you. I just knew what was possible for me and I knew that I had a vision for what I wanted my life to look like and even if no one else saw that vision or knew how it would be possible, all I knew was that I wanted this and I was going to figure out a way to make it happen.
Shelli Varela: Just a side question. Do you think you mentioned at the beginning that you came from immigrant parents who didn’t have sort of the pre-conditioned vision that a lot of people do with respect to college and what that all looks like? Was there a piece of that that even though it was difficult, gave you that extra piece of drive? Because as we hear through the rest of your story, this is a common theme for you that you are just such a go-getter.
Tasha Cochran: So, it’s funny. The thing I think that makes me very successful in life is the fact that I don’t listen to what anyone else tells me is possible. So, that actually made for a very troubled childhood when you grow up with authoritarian parents. But the one thing that my parents did actually always instill in me is the importance of going out, getting a good job, actually getting a college degree, and becoming educated. They just didn’t know how it was possible but they definitely instilled in me that a doctor or a lawyer, I could be one of those two things, and those are the only two acceptable careers.
Shelli Varela: So, on you went to night school, and originally you thought about being a doctor. But then what happened?
Tasha Cochran: Well, because I had a daughter to support and I love being a mom, I loved being with my daughter. And so, I could not imagine taking on a career where I wouldn’t be able to spend a lot of time with her, particularly those years of med school and residency. So, I wanted a career that wasn’t going to be quite as demanding. And so, like I said, my parents gave me two options for acceptable careers, doctor or lawyer, and so I ended up choosing the lawyer, partly because, well, that was that indoctrination but also because of my own struggles as a single mom trying to navigate this world that we live in that is really structured by these laws that most of us have no idea how they work. And so, for me, law school felt like a way for me to even continue to empower myself as a woman and as a mom to be able to fully navigate the world and take control of my life.
Shelli Varela: I am so impacted by your ability, especially at this point in the story. You’re a relatively young person still to be able to have the point of view and the perspective to be able to look at what you don’t understand and then ask yourself, not only how can I figure it out but how can I figure it out so it makes sense to other people also?
Tasha Cochran: Yeah. I wish I knew where that came from. My daughter is now 18 and I look at her and I cannot imagine 18-year-old her having a baby. But either way, I believe in her and I would support her. And I have always told her, “Whatever you want to do, we can figure out a way to make it happen. There’s always a path. There’s always someone who does it first.”
Shelli Varela: Wow. What an example. I can’t even wrap my brain around all of the things at this point in your story that you’ve accomplished. So, you’re trying to figure out the legal system, you’re looking at housing and mortgages as you move along, and in our pre-chat, you were talking about promissory notes and all of the red tape and all of the obstacles that that created for you. So, you decided that you want to be a lawyer and find a way to simplify this for you and others. What happens next on your journey?
Tasha Cochran: Well, once I decided to become a lawyer, I had no idea how to actually become a lawyer. I didn’t know any lawyers. So, I turned to Google and I googled, “How to become a lawyer?” and that’s when I discovered how to get into law school and that the law school that you go to directly impacts your employment options after you graduate. So, I decided, “Well, I might as well aim high,” because I did have a great GPA. So, I felt like all right, good foundations. So, I decided to aim for the top law schools in the country and I actually did get into just about all of them and I ended up going to Yale, which is the top law school in the country.
Shelli Varela: So, what came next? Because I’m dying to dive into a transition that you made from this to membership sites but I just want to lay the foundation for everybody who’s listening and also point this one fact out. Oftentimes, we get people who listen to this podcast or who are members of the TRIBE community or people who are starting in their entrepreneurial journey, and a lot of the times we’ll hear people say things like, “Well, I’m not sure how to do this or I don’t have a skill in that.” You literally became a Yale-educated lawyer by googling “how to become a lawyer”. And I love the way you just gloss over that but I just wanted to circle back because your track record is so incredible and so inspirational and also so impressive but oftentimes when we trace the route back, for all of those people listening for those things that you are thinking that you might want to pursue or that business or that membership site or whatever it is for you, oftentimes, it really just comes down to asking a resource, whoever that resource be, how do I X, Y, and Z?
Tasha Cochran: Yes, absolutely. So, after law school, I’m like, “Great. I’ve got this great law degree. Things are looking awesome,” and then I get divorced. So, now I’m back to being a single mom, but I do now have a career that I love. I was working in public interest, working for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in their Office of Fair Housing, and doing a lot of fair lending cases. And so, that is how I stumbled across what would become my career as a banking and finance attorney. And so, while I was at HUD, I ended up meeting up my partner, Joseph, and for the next three years, we struggled to conceive. And I finally did conceive and so I decided to take a job that was supposed to be a more laid back job, one that would allow me to again, be home or with my family, nurture this baby that I had struggled for three years to conceive and it turned out to be the job from hell, horrible boss, tons of travel, and I was miserable. And so, Joseph told me that I needed to find some kind of passion project.
And so, I said right around that time I got a random $100 check from YouTube because three years before I had cut off my hair so that I could go natural and support my daughter with her curly hair with my own curly hair. Three years that video sat on YouTube and it happened to hit the payment threshold right when I needed something else to focus my attention on. And so, I started making YouTube videos.
Stu McLaren: So many people in all kinds of niche markets are leveraging their existing knowledge and influence and they’re transforming it into passive monthly income. This isn’t luck. This is a repeatable formula for producing a growing subscription income and if thousands of others can do it, you can too. To find out what type of membership site would be right for your business, visit GetTRIBEGuide.com. Go to GetTRIBEGuide.com and download it today. You’re awesome!
Shelli Varela: That’s crazy. It’s crazy the timing of things and how some things are meant to be like we can always look for what we should be doing or what we ought to be doing and then sometimes a gift will just land in our lap and causing us to pay attention to something that we were not paying attention to before.
Tasha Cochran: Yes, absolutely. And it turned out that I loved making YouTube videos. But here’s the thing, I was a lawyer. I didn’t know anything about YouTube. In fact, I was almost anti-social media at that time in my life. I had no Instagram, no Twitter, I just had my basic personal Facebook page where I only had friends that I knew that I had met in person over the course of my life. So, a couple of hundred people. So, the fact that I started posting videos on social is kind of far-fetched, but that’s exactly what happened because I was at a low point in my life, and it was just fun. It was something I really enjoyed doing so much so that even though within the first couple of weeks I actually landed my dream job working as a policy attorney for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which regulates the biggest banks here in the United States, I still kept making videos and I actually had to get permission from them to keep making videos because it’s like this outside activity and I’m technically like a government representative, but I loved it. And so, that’s how my business grew from there.
Shelli Varela: But you started out making videos about your hair to support your daughter who found that she wasn’t seeing her beautiful curly hair as something that was beautiful and just support her in that. What did your YouTube videos look like going forward?
Tasha Cochran: So, I made a few hair videos. I also made some job-hunting vlogs because while I was searching for a new job, I would totally post videos about how much I didn’t like my current job and I would also make personal finance videos because I was a banking and finance attorney and so I knew about that stuff. It was something that I was passionate about and so I started making videos around that too. And I, over time, stopped making videos about my hair because I actually wasn’t particularly interested in talking about my hair all the time and it turned out that that original audience came with me on the journey to talk to you about personal finance and lifestyle design and creating a life that you love.
Shelli Varela: What was the point when you realize this might actually be my thing? I guess the part that I’m extra interested in is for myself, so many of our listeners, stepping into the entrepreneurial realm, a lot of people are coming from a job and so, for you, you have in some ways the job of all jobs, you are a lawyer, you have this incredible track record. And to be able to step out of that into something different that is maybe less stable or less industrialized, predictable sort of income and pension and benefits or whatever that looks like, when did you know that that was going to be your thing? And what was the clue that led you to believe that?
Tasha Cochran: So, it’s funny. At first, I just thought it was a passion project. I was making literally $5 a whole month from what I was doing on YouTube, and I just knew that I enjoyed it. In my mind, I’m like, “Okay. If in five years, I get this to the point where it’s making $2,000 a month and can pay for my daughter’s tuition, that is success,” is what I initially told myself. And then I started to learn more about the world of online business. I didn’t even know that it existed. So, it’s a perfect case about of not knowing what I didn’t know and not knowing what was possible. And soon as I started to learn more about the online space, in the meantime, my business is growing but it is entirely the influencer style model, which is based on ad revenue and the occasional brand partnership. And that was way too unpredictable for me and what I knew I needed, the kind of lifestyle I wanted to live, my savings goals, and my goal to put my daughter through college. So, I realized that I needed to take full control over my business’s revenue, which meant that I needed to create my own products and services in the form of digital courses.
Shelli Varela: What was the moment you stepped up across the precipice? I’m interested to know. So, you go to school and it’s a very structured curriculum. There are certain things you have to learn in certain ways. What did it feel like when you went from following a path that was perhaps pre-laid out for you in your previous life to a situation where you’re actually now creating your own path?
Tasha Cochran: It felt incredibly liberating. I had always felt stifled by the traditional corporate environment. That’s why I chose not to go to a law firm after law school because I never felt like I could be fully myself at any of those fancy law firms where, yes, I would have made multiple six figures a year but I would have had to hide essential parts of myself. Like, for example, I have a tattoo on my chest from when I was 17 years old, I snuck out of the house, I went to the village in Manhattan and I got a tattoo in a place that a 17-year-old would get a tattoo but I love my tattoo now at 38 years old and at the law firms I never felt like I could show it. I always felt like I had to wear something that was high up, hide my tattoo. And so, just being in a place where I could be entirely who I wanted to be, and people would accept me and flock to me and love exactly who I was and I could make an amazing living doing it and changing the world too it’s like, “Why weren’t we taught this in school?”
Shelli Varela: Exactly. Right? So, talk about how you support the people that are now in your membership site.
Tasha Cochran: Sure. So, every month we have a brand new money masterclass where we do a deep dive into specific financial topics. Plus, we have a life coach that does live coaching in our membership every single month because what we want to teach people how to do is to think about money in a new and different way. So, much of us were taught about money from a place of scarcity where we have to live below our means and stick to your pay grade and we want to teach people about abundance and what does their ideal life looks like. What do they even want their life to look like? And then how can we help them earn up and create that balance in their finances so that they can thrive today while also building wealth? So, the mindset coaching is so important. It’s such an important part of that. Plus, we also do live Q&As and accountability sessions to help people stay motivated and stay on track.
Shelli Varela: I love how your personal story lends itself so perfectly to this because as I’m listening to your backstory, and just figuring things out and just following that, yes, inside you where you’re like, “I don’t know how to be a lawyer. I’m just going to google how to be a lawyer,” and then go and do that. I think it’s absolutely genius that when it comes to giving people money advice, you’re also providing them with something that will get them unstuck in the areas that perhaps is part of the reason they don’t have money in the first place. Disney has this term called Imagineering and as I’m listening to you talk, it reminds me sort of you. And Imagineering, of course, is the combination of imagination and engineering. And I just love that you’re sort of a hybrid between left brain, right brain, sort of hope and possibility, where it meets practical tactical tools and skills and all of that kind of stuff like what a gift that must be. Can you talk about your favorite piece of feedback that you’ve received from one of your members?
Tasha Cochran: So, my favorite is probably Leanna. So, Leanna is actually a single mom. So, single moms have a special place in my heart for obvious reasons and she talked about how just two months in she had already gotten one month ahead on her bills. So, she broke that paycheck-to-paycheck cycle in just two months and she already knew exactly when she would have her debt paid off and she knew exactly when she would have enough money saved for a down payment on a house so that her and her daughter could move out of their one-bedroom apartment. And that was just magical to me because she was basically me almost 20 years ago. And so, the fact that I could pay it forward to her and just give her that amount of empowerment where she could plan for the life that she wanted, where she could see what her money could do for her when she learned how to look at it differently and plan for the life that she wanted was just incredible. And I know it didn’t just change her life. It changed her daughter’s life too.
Shelli Varela: You know, that was the thing that I was going to jump in on as well. The ripple effect of what you’re doing is so profound because you’re giving people the hope, the inspiration, and also the how-to, so that like what we learn, we teach and so the next generation has so many more opportunities who will not be burdened by the limiting belief of what abundance is or is not. If people are looking for you online, we are so grateful for your time and for your story and I know that there’s going to be many people are going to want to reach out to you and take advantage of exactly what it is you do, what is the best place they can find you online?
Tasha Cochran: They can find me at One Big Happy Life everywhere, Instagram, YouTube, and OneBigHappyLife.com and I would love to welcome them because my goal is to make a million millionaires over the course of my lifetime. So, let’s do it.
Shelli Varela: Dang, girl. If anybody can, it’s going to be you. Tasha, we so appreciate you. Thank you for stopping by and thank you for the dose of inspiration. I’m personally super grateful.
Tasha Cochran: Thank you so much for having me. This has been such an amazing conversation.
Stu McLaren: I hope you love that story. It’s amazing, right? That’s what It’s a TRIBE Thing is all about. So, many people in all kinds of niche markets are leveraging their existing knowledge and influence and they’re transforming it into passive monthly income. Listen, this isn’t luck. There’s a repeatable formula for producing a growing subscription income and each week we’re going behind the scenes to show you exactly how they did it. Get the latest stories and actionable ideas from each episode at www.ItsaTRIBEThing.com and if you know one other person who could benefit from this, tell them to subscribe. Tell them to go to ItsaTRIBEThing.com.
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