Last week, we talked about how our careers started and how we have gotten engaged. If you had a blast last week, we’re going to take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions this week!
This chapter’s highlights: our wedding, our career pivots and the worst day of our lives — the catalyst that pushed us closer to a more non-conventional way of living.
We’ve been time-pressed young professionals, then time-pressed married, young professionals, and then time-pressed, working parents… we’ve been there and done that. We know what it’s like and it ain’t pretty. So, we hope that our story will inspire you, show you what is possible, and how you can do it too.
If you enjoyed this week’s chapter, let us know in the comments or better yet, leave us an iTunes review.
We will continue our story again next week!
You can connect with S&J on social media too!
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If you have comments or questions, please be sure to leave them below in the comment section of this post. See y’all next week!
Can’t listen right now? Read the transcript below!
Shane: Welcome to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast where life always comes before work. We’re your hosts, Shane and Jocelyn Sams.
We’re a real family who figured out how to make our entire living online. And now, we help other families do the same. Are you ready to flip your life? Alright. Let’s get started.
What’s up, guys? Welcome back to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast. Super excited to be back with you again today as Jocelyn and I continue our story about our entrepreneurial journey so that we can inspire you and show you what is possible, kind of what happened to us, this whirlwind ride that led to where we are today with the Flipped Lifestyle as compared to our old 9-to-5 jobs.
In our last episode, we talked about how we got married, how we ended up finally getting married, then we got engaged. It was a really, really whirlwind process because I was coaching football. I just got a job at West Virginia as a graduate assistant. Jocelyn was living in Lexington, Kentucky. I was moving to Morgantown, and I basically called Jocelyn one day and we had a nice logical discussion about if we should get married or not.
Jocelyn: Of course we did.
Shane: Of course we did.
Jocelyn: Because that’s how I roll.
Shane: I like to tell Jocelyn I was on one knee on the other end of the phone, she just couldn’t see it at the time.
Jocelyn: Yeah right.
Shane: That is totally not true. We were just seriously having a good conversation. We decided that it would be a good idea that we should get married on July 3. What year did we get married?
Shane: 2004. Okay, that was a total man thing. Not even remembering the year. I do remember the date. It was July 3rd, and because that was the only day we had free before we had to get back to work. Most people have long engagements and all this romance, and they plan all these things. We had a month and a half, maybe two months. We just immediately called all of our family and we were being like, “Hey, you got the third free? Because we’ve got to get married very, very fast.”
Jocelyn: And the bad thing was Shane’s brother, Aaron, he was on a mission trip in Russia. We decided this, and he was going to be gone during this time, but it was the only day that we had. If we didn’t get married on this particular day, it was going to be another year before we had a chance to do it again. Shane had to call Aaron. He was the first person to know, and he was like, “Look, man, I know you are going to Russia, but we need to get this over with.”
Shane: We were just talking about our marriage in the terms of, “We got to get this over with. I mean, I got to marry this guy. I don’t know what is going on. We should get it over with.”
Jocelyn: That is pretty much how romantic this story is. So anyway, we really do love each other, we really do. Anyway, he had to call Aaron and be like, “Hey, man, I know you can’t come, but is that cool with you?”
Shane: And he was like, “Oh yeah, it’s cool, man.” I’m like, “Great! Okay!” So I started calling everybody, and Jocelyn started calling everybody. I’ve got a huge family. There is five of us total brothers, and we all got families and stuff. I’m calling everybody, we don’t even know where we were going to have it, we didn’t know what we were going to do.
But I’m like, “Hey guys, we’re getting married on the third. Hey guys, we’re getting married on the third.” Everybody kept asking, they were like, “Why are you getting married so fast?” And I’m like, “Well, we’ve been dating forever,” and they were like, “No, seriously.” I’m like, “No, man, we got to get married really quick because I’ve got to be at work and–”
Jocelyn: Shane says, “It is a shotgun wedding.”
Shane: I started telling everybody that it’s a shotgun wedding. For those of you who are not from the South, I don’t know why I was saying this, and I don’t know why it just totally didn’t register to me. A shotgun wedding is when you accidentally get someone pregnant, and you have to get married.
Jocelyn: For the record, it was not a shotgun wedding.
Shane: It was not a shotgun wedding. We did not have children for years after this.
Jocelyn: But Shane just thought it meant you got married really fast.
Shane: For some reason, just like, “Yeah, we’re getting married fast it’s like a shotgun wedding.” It just totally didn’t register to me that everyone thought that Jocelyn was knocked up.
Jocelyn: Which was not true.
Shane: Which was not true. I had to go back and tell everybody, “Oh no, that is not what I meant. We were just getting married because we got careers and we’ve got jobs and we want to be together. This was the only time we had free.”
Jocelyn: It was the date we had available in our calendar.
Shane: It was the day that we had available in our calendars. We didn’t really want to have a big wedding. Neither one of us wanted to have to plan anything. We actually got married out in a land between the lakes at a place called Patti’s Settlement, which is mine and Jocelyn’s favorite restaurant in the world.
Jocelyn: If you ever have an opportunity if you are in Western Kentucky, it is really, really good.
Shane: They’ve got these pork chops that are like an inch thick and they’re just–
Jocelyn: Flowerpot, homemade bread, and strawberry butter. It is really good.
Shane: So we were like, hey, the practical people that we are, we’re like, “Hey, if we are going to get married somewhere, let’s get married where we can eat really good food afterwards?” So we got married in the gazebo at Patti’s Settlement which was beautiful. We had a really small ceremony. My dad actually was the person who married us, and I was horrifically nervous that day that we got married because everything was happening so fast.
I was just having the jitters, and everything just got thrown together so quickly. I was just totally nervous. We were doing our vows, and basically my dad said, “Okay, now Shane, get the ring, and say, ‘With this ring, I thee wed.'” And I was so nervous that I said, “With this wing, I thee red.” It was totally on tape and it’s on film, and I’m like, “Great.”
Jocelyn: It was actually on tape because it was still VHS.
Shane: It was actually on tape, we’ve got a VHS tape of this whole ceremony, it’s pretty awesome. I was totally nervous, and that I was the first time that I realized that you could totally screw something up, and it would be okay like your target audience would get over it. She just laughed and had a good time with it. Like if you have the wrong subject line in one of your emails, and you say something that you shouldn’t have said, and then you send it out and then you’re like, “Crap, I just sent that to thousands of people.” And you’ve got to go back and say it again. I did that, I got it right, I corrected myself. Our wedding was hilarious. It was so funny. Jocelyn had hired this harp person.
Jocelyn: Who I had specifically asked not to sing.
Shane: She just wanted harp music during our ceremony. Why were we holding hands? Was it the candle lighting ceremony?
Jocelyn: I guess, I don’t know.
Shane: I don’t remember. I remember we did something, and then we walked back and then we held hands. This beautiful harp music was playing. All of a sudden, this woman was like “Loooooove is a beautiful thiiiiing…” — and that is exactly what it sounded like: it sounded like a dead cat being bludgeoned to death by a bagpipe. That is pretty much how bad this woman was singing. I remember looking at Jocelyn, for everybody who listens to the program, you know that Jocelyn is like, “Things don’t go wrong. That is not how her life works. Everybody follows the plan; everybody is on the plan.”
Jocelyn: And I had a detailed, written plan.
Shane: — That said, “Don’t sing,” on it. I was like, you know me. I’m like, I need to take action. I need to make this right. Jocelyn was looking over my shoulder at this woman, and I was looking at her and I could hear her singing behind me. Our parents and everyone in the crowd were squirming, and there was this awesome clip on our wedding video of Jocelyn’s mom.
As soon as the first word comes out the lady’s mouth, her eyes just rolled back in her head like someone had stun-gunned her basically. I looked at Jocelyn and I whispered and I said, “You want me to say something to her?” I was about to stop the wedding and be like, “Yo, lady, quit singing.”
Jocelyn: No, we just let her finish.
Shane: Jocelyn was like, “No, just keep going. Oh, I’m so furious right now, I’m so mad.”
Jocelyn: Yeah, I was not happy at all. And I ended up writing her a letter later, because people still did that at the time.
Shane: You still do that now. You still write letters.
Jocelyn: Sometimes, yeah. I was just like, “Hey, you weren’t supposed to sing and you pretty much ruined my wedding. You know.”
Shane: Our wedding– it wasn’t ruined.
Jocelyn: It wasn’t ruined. It was fine. Looking back at it now, it is kind of funny, but at the time it was not funny.
Shane: Oh, it was not funny at the time. That’s the angriest I think I’ve ever seen you in my life. Basically, after all this chaos happened– but it was a beautiful day, the wedding was awesome, I got a ton of great pictures, ate a ridiculous amount of food afterwards, and then we basically got in the car and drove to West Virginia. We had this little apartment. It is so funny. When I think back about where we are now.
Jocelyn: It was a studio.
Shane: It was a studio apartment. I had already been there for a month or two. We went to this studio apartment. It was basically as big as a bedroom. I mean, let us be honest. It was a bedroom plus a kitchen.
Jocelyn: It was about as big as the room we are in right now. Like, the whole apartment.
Shane: Yeah, it was ridiculous. All I had was an old twin bed that I was using to sleep on. Me and Jocelyn couldn’t even fit in the same bed. We blew up an air mattress for our first couple months of life together, we slept on an air mattress on the floor of an old college studio apartment. That is how we basically started off our relationship.
Jocelyn: All right, we had to get out of this studio apartment. Our next mission was finding a place to live. We looked at a lot of different options. We looked at renting something, we looked at buying something, and we ended up, landing on buying a townhome. We found a townhome, it was on a golf course in the Cheat Lake area, if anybody of you guys know about anything about West Virginia, and we started moving in. We got everything situated and that was the point where we started going our separate ways. I was still working for my corporate job. Shane was working in college football. He would leave super early in the morning–
Shane: Like 6:45, just to get to the stadium for our first staff meeting, AM, every day.
Jocelyn: Get home —
Shane: 10 or 11?
Jocelyn: Probably, like, yeah bedtime.
Shane: Every minute that I was there was dark when I left, and dark when I got home — 100%.
Jocelyn: Basically, I was still traveling a lot, Shane was gone all the time. We just bought this house, and we pretty much never saw it.
Shane: Or each other. I will always tell Jocelyn, I look back now, I was in that house so infrequently, that I cannot, to this day, remember what the upstairs look like. I could remember walking in and seeing our living room and the laundry room and the kitchen but I didn’t eat there. I ate breakfast and dinner and lunch at the building. I took showers at the football stadium. I don’t even remember what the upstairs looked like. Jocelyn would have to drive back down to the corporate headquarters every once in a while.
Jocelyn: Or I had to drive to Pittsburgh, I had to drive up to the airport in Pittsburgh and fly somewhere. We pretty much just didn’t see each other. There was kind of a joke at my office. People will be like, “Hey, how’s married life?” And I’m like, “It’s great because we never see each other. We don’t have an opportunity to fight.”
Shane: I don’t know what it is like yet, we haven’t gotten to hang out or anything.
Jocelyn: Yeah, and we really didn’t. I don’t even remember really having friends or doing anything on the weekends or anything.
Shane: No, well we couldn’t do anything on the weekends because we were at football games. Our first six months was basically a cycle of, Sunday afternoons, we had off. Sunday was about the only time I had a little bit of time because we had a staff meeting, then we have a little lull. I would still have to go in early, and you were gone like almost every third weekend, probably. You had to go to a trade show or something. Basically we did not get to see each other for the first little bit.
Jocelyn: And during that time, a lot of different things started happening. We realized okay, we first of all we are never seeing each other. Later that year, this was in January or actually in December, we were at the Gator Bowl in December 2004. We had just left. We were driving home from the airport, and my mom called me and was like, “Your Nana –” my grandma, “– Has cancer. She has lung cancer.”
I will never forget that, just driving home, just crying the entire way home because I was just so upset. Anyway, she had surgery in January 2005, and the surgery didn’t go well. They had to remove part of her lung, and she never went home. She died on February 2, and she was 63 years old. This was the first experience with death of someone who was super close to me.
I think that at that point, we just kind of realized, okay. This is not the life that we wanted, never seeing each other, just never seeing our family. This isn’t the life that we wanted.
Shane: We wanted to start a family, we wanted to have kids. We didn’t even have time to make kids. We weren’t together enough to make any kids. All these things started happening. When Jocelyn’s grandmother died, it made me look at our relationship differently. I started looking back. There was a moment in college where, basically, we almost died.
We were coming out of church one Sunday, and we were going to meet some friends at a Fazoli’s at Lexington, KY, I’ll never forget this. We took a wrong turn. I had to get back and come back out on a major highway in Lexington, KY called Man o’War Boulevard, we pulled out, we were driving along, and basically, a guy that was totally drunk at 11 o’clock on a Sunday morning, blew a 0.2 something on the police report. He hit us and nearly killed us. Hit us from behind going about 80 miles an hour, and we were doing about 20.
He just destroyed us, threw us across two lanes of traffic. We hit a big metal light pole that fell down and crushed the car right in between us. I can remember when we were going across the wrong lane of traffic, reaching over, my hand was on Jocelyn and I remember looking at her and there was a car coming right at us. I can remember distinctly thinking at that moment, Jocelyn is dead, I’m about to never see her again.
By the grace of God, we came on through, we crashed. We ended up sideways up on a hill. This is kind of funny, but it is not. I remember looking over at Jocelyn when we crashed, and I was like, “Oh my God, we are alive.” We were hurt so bad, I said, “Jocelyn, get out of the car.” I thought it was going to catch on fire. Jocelyn looked back at me, because Jocelyn never misses any details in life. You’ve got to realize this people. She goes, “Put the car in park.”
Jocelyn: Of all things to say at that moment.
Shane: Of all things to say. I remember we got out, and we both just collapsed, and they put us in ambulances. When I was young, I didn’t recognize the gravity of that situation, I almost lost her, she could have lost me. When we experienced this death, it just brought all that back altogether, all those thoughts. We could not be here tomorrow.
Wouldn’t it suck if we were gone tomorrow, and we didn’t see each other the day before because we were working? We decided that college football and the corporate lifestyle were basically climbing the ladder of success through these big organizations over 20 years was not what we wanted. We had to start looking for alternatives. The first thing we did was I took a job at a much smaller school at Eastern Kentucky University.
Jocelyn: It was just closer to both of our families. We thought, “Hey, we’re closer to family. We can see more the people. My brother lived in Richmond, Kentucky at the time with his wife. It was really cool. We were going to be able to see them in a little bit, and get into a position where we could think about our future more because at that level, you didn’t have quite as much work. It was still 8 AM to 8 PM or 9 PM everyday but it wasn’t quite as intense as the national stage.
We got there, and what we decided was that we would go into education, like high school. I would coach high school football, which was a lot less time intensive. You still get to school early at 7 AM and be there and we will practice until about 6 o’clock. At least we had the evenings. At least we had the weekends, and we can get a little bit more time balance in our lives. That was the first time that I think we realized that we really wanted time freedom more than we wanted money or glory or fame or climbing the corporate ladder.
Jocelyn: While life was a little bit better at Eastern Kentucky, it still really wasn’t what we wanted. We knew we just wanted something different but he Shane was working still at a college program. I was still working the corporate job. We just weren’t very happy. It wasn’t with each other; it’s just weren’t happy with our life circumstance. Shane started looking at maybe trying to do a high school job, a high school football coach.
He already had that degree. He was a certified teacher, so he was just like okay I will try to find a high school job because at least that way, I will be able to manage my own schedule. I was like okay, that sounds good. At that time, I was kind of like, I don’t really know that I want to stay in this corporate job either, but I don’t know what I want to do.
Shane: And we had to pay bills so you had to keep your job.
Jocelyn: He found a job over in my hometown actually in Western Kentucky that just happened to be where the job was. We weren’t really trying to get there necessarily. It was just the way it worked out.
Shane: And I had applied for 13 other schools. I went on so many interviews, and I can’t tell you how many times that they would call me and ask me to be an assistant coach. I was the second guy for the job. It was just because I didn’t have any experience. The bad thing about the school in Jocelyn’s hometown was they were literally the worst program in Kentucky.
They hadn’t won a game ever. I am not kidding. The program was new to the varsity stage; they have never ever won a football game. They had only really played JV for a couple years, and they tried some varsity stuff. We were kind of like, you can only go up right?
Jocelyn: Shane started this job. Again, I had no idea what I wanted to do but I knew that I could be a substitute teacher. I thought, well, I will try this, and just see if it works out. It is better than working in corporate, even though I will make hardly any money, at least I’ll be around.
Shane: You had a lot of turnover at your job. You were really unhappy because all the original people you loved had left.
Jocelyn: All the people in the sales department, most of them had moved on to other positions in other companies. We were owned by another company. A lot of them had gone to positions in different companies that the corporation owned. I was actually considered at one time for a national position. It would have been headquartered in Tampa. I actually interviewed for that during all this. I think it is why we lived in Richmond.
Shane: It was, and we had just decided that I would try to find something to coach down there, if you like got that job because it was really good and it paid well.
Jocelyn: Yeah. I was actually number two for that position. Another person got it with more experience than me. But I think it’s at 25 years old, and I was being considered for what was like the director of marketing for the entire corporation.
Shane: You had some people, like the people you had worked for, were in other places, and you kind of thought, “Man, maybe one of them could give me a job I could work remotely or something like that.”
Jocelyn: And living in Tampa at age 25, it wouldn’t have been the worst thing.
Shane: It would have been pretty good, I think.
Jocelyn: But I got a call not too long after that. I had interviewed at a tradeshow. We were at this big national tradeshow, and I interviewed, and a couple other people interviewed. I got a call couple weeks later, they were like, “Hey, we think you’re great, but we chose this other person. She just has more experience.” That was totally fair. I wasn’t upset in any way. But it kind of made me think. Okay, should I stay in this? The people and the parent corporation, they like me, so maybe I should stick around.
Shane: I think in the end, what we kind of eventually looked at that moment was a sign. All the pieces were falling in place for us to move to Jocelyn’s hometown, to do this coaching stuff. I got that job, Jocelyn got turned down for that position, it was kind of like everything seemed to be pointing that way. I think you quit as soon as we moved back and started applying for sub jobs and aide jobs in schools.
Jocelyn: Yeah, I did, and people in the corporation, they did not understand at all. It’s like when we quit our jobs when we started our online business, people didn’t get it. Why are you quitting? Why are you leaving to be a substitute teacher? That doesn’t make sense. But to us, it did make sense.
Shane: It’s what we valued. Our values were different than theirs.
Jocelyn: The kind of life that we were living in corporate, that wasn’t the kind of life that we wanted to live.
Shane: Basically our plan was, I’ve got my teaching job, I got to coach this football program.
Jocelyn: I started substituting just trying to figure out what do I want to do with my life? At that point, I really didn’t know.
Shane: Before, it was only get a job to pay the bills. I think that’s what like when you come out of college, you’re like, “I just want to make money. I don’t care what happens.” Then you realize, “Oh my gosh, I sold my soul for this. I have no time.”
Jocelyn: Also, I think that you realize that your life, your happiness is largely dependent on what you choose as a job.
Shane: Yeah, for sure. Basically, Jocelyn and I decided, Okay, let’s do education, but let’s get on the same schedule. We wanted to be off at the same time, we wanted to be able to travel at the same time, we wanted to get home about the same time, give or take. Jocelyn was going to be involved in the football program like helping me build this thing. She started subbing.
Jocelyn: So, like and everything else, Shane was the person who headed up the charge of a lot of– what would you call it?
Shane: Building this new life we had drawn on paper, basically.
Jocelyn: Well, I’m talking about even the football program.
Shane: Oh gosh, I had to take over this whole football program from the ground up. I had to start a youth program. I had to help coach the middle school team. I made so many people mad. People tried to fight me in the restaurant one time because I wouldn’t let these guys coach youth football because they were evil to the children, and they didn’t know what they were doing. It was just madness to get this program off the ground.
Jocelyn: He was knocking stuff over, and I was like cleaning up behind. Typically, that is the way it worked. I was really involved in the football program. As I started working in school, I realized, okay, this isn’t terrible. I like the people that I work with, I’m working with the kids, that is okay. I like a lot of different things about the school system. Maybe, let’s just start trying to find a way to work here full-time as a certified person.
Shane: Our goal is to be a teacher, but Jocelyn, I don’t think, is really like the teacher mold as much. She is more of a central-figure kind of person.
Jocelyn: One thing I realized about working in classrooms is that I didn’t want my own classroom.
Shane: Right, she wanted to be like ‘the hub’. So I was like, “Hey, what if you were a librarian?” Because at Western Kentucky University, which is near where we were. They actually had a certified librarian program that you could do online. This was like when online education was really starting to take off. Today, it’s a huge thing, but back then, it was like you could not get a whole degree online everywhere. But you could get an entire degree pretty much online. I think you had to go there a couple times for tests or something. I was like, “Hey, you could be a librarian. What if I was the football coach in the school, and you were the librarian in the school? Everything in the school would revolve around us. We would touch so many people, we would change their lives, and librarians made more money than teachers did because they worked more days. They got a few more extra days in the contract.
Jocelyn: And it made a lot of sense for me. I just loved reading my entire life.
Shane: And technology, it let her work with technology.
Jocelyn: Yeah, it also had a big technology initiative and I’m like, “Hey, this sounds like it might be a good fit for me.” So I started looking into the program. And I’ll tell you that people told me, “Oh, you will never get a librarian job, they are really hard to get.”
Shane: Oh my gosh, so negative. They were so negative about that line of work.
Jocelyn: The people at my school tell me that because my principal at the time, he wanted me to stay there. He did not want me to get a certified position. My school already had a librarian so he knew that he could not keep me if I became a librarian.
Shane: It’s the first time we realized not to listen to what the world says, and whatever you decide to do is what will happen in your life. I just decided I wanted to be a football coach. Within a three-year period, I went from being a college graduate assistant at a top 10 program to another college. I got another job, I got two jobs back to back.
Some people try 10 years and can’t get into a college. I got two. I went and got a head-coaching job, and I didn’t even play in college football. I got a head-coaching job, and Jocelyn just decided, no, I’m going to be a librarian. We didn’t listen to all the haters, and all the naysayers. We did not let other people dictate what was possible in our lives. She just decided she was going to be a librarian, and she would get a job like very quickly.
That is kind of like a lesson learned there. Don’t listen to anybody. What you want to do. It is all up to you when you get it or not, and I think that is what you are talking about here, is people doubted you. You said no, I want to do this because it sounds cool.
Jocelyn: During that time, a lot of things happened. We live there I think three years, and during that time I was working on my Master’s degree while working at school. I was also pregnant. Starting in 2008, I was pregnant with Isaac and during that time, after that school year, Isaac was born in November 2008. That following spring, the high schools decided to consolidate for a variety of reasons.
Shane: There were two high schools in the county, and they decided they were going to consolidate into one school. Here is the problem: If you have two football teams, and the schools combine, how many football teams do you have left? You have one. We did manage to win a couple games while we were there, but we were not great by any means. The other school was better than us. The coach at the school grew up in that county. He was the head coach in that county, and it was a very clear from day one.
They gave me a token interview, but it was very clear that the hometown boy was getting the job. They kind of, sort of were like, “You want to stay on and be an assistant?” There was a really big political problem because they weren’t going to fire anyone when the schools consolidated, but everyone saw the writing on the wall, there were going to be massive layoffs in year two because you just didn’t need all those teachers once the schools consolidated. I saw the writing on the wall, and I told Jocelyn.
Jocelyn was finishing her Master’s degree. She was ready to go look for jobs as a librarian in the next year. I said, let’s try to find some jobs. I actually secured a job in the next county over as a defensive coordinator, and I got them to get Jocelyn to a librarian job. But at the exact same time, about a week or two after that, a job came open right near my hometown. I met this guy at a weightlifting meet, we had kind of heard of each other, we talked, he was taking over a program for the first time.
His first choice for defensive coordinator, a buddy of his did not take the job, took it and went back to his school. I told Jocelyn, and I will never forget this, I was standing out the deck at our house, and I was looking out of the woods, and I was talking to him on my cellphone. Jocelyn was inside. This was the first time I ran into the kitchen and told you something crazy. I was on the deck, she was inside, and he was like, “Hey man, do you want to do this?” And I’m like, “Yeah, let’s do it man!” Accepted the job on the deck, and I just ran inside, and I said, “We’re moving over there.” And she goes, “Okay. Let’s go!” I had to call that other guy come and tell him I was about to quit.
Jocelyn: Yeah, we had to call the next county over and we were like, “Listen, I know that we just accepted these jobs, and that you guys approved us at the last board meeting, but we are not coming.”
Shane: Yeah, and they got really mad. Oh my gosh, they were so mad at us. But you know what? It’s our life, and you have to do what is best for your life but you can’t worry what everybody else thinks.
Jocelyn: And sometimes, you gotta do things that are really hard and calling that school district was not easy.
Shane: Oh it was tough. We pulled so many strings on that job.
Jocelyn: And we didn’t want to do that. But sometimes, making the right choice involves making some hard choices.
Shane: — Breaking a few eggs to get an omelette kind of deal.
Jocelyn: Not bad choices, but hard, hard choices. All right, we moved to West Virginia, we moved to an apartment in West Virginia, we moved to a house in West Virginia, we moved to Richmond.
Shane: We had two apartments there because the first one had bugs.
Jocelyn: Yeah, so we didn’t move in.
Shane: So we immediately moved out and moved into a new place.
Jocelyn: That was the fifth move. We moved here.
Shane: In my hometown into one house.
Jocelyn: This is already six moves.
Shane: Well, we bought another house later on. By the time we get in there, really we are seven moves in, in four years, five years.
Jocelyn: We’ve been married yeah, four or five years.
Shane: Yeah, it’s unbelievable. Our son’s born, we moved back to my hometown, we go into this program, and things are good for a while. We were blessed to turn that program– this is another bad program. They’ve only won three games in three years. We immediately, out of the gate got to 500, we had an amazing streak of winning seasons, started crushing arrival.
It was just a really good football experience. We had an amazing time, I loved the head coach, I loved all the coaches there. That part of the job was a good experience. The school system we were in was a very, very utilitarian. Is that the right word? Corporate? Almost militant in the way it was administered. We had come from a place where everybody knew each other, and there were a lot of great, good, solid people. Loved my principal as old-school before they consolidated.
This place was a lot different. Very businesslike, very structured. You were very much like a cog in the machine, it was like very slave mentality, like they owned you. They would hold things over your head. The work environment that we found ourselves in from an administrative point was not the best. It was a very corporate. Jocelyn had a really good school I’d say her school was little better than mine, the high school I was at. We went about three years.
The school had a pretty good football experience, but the more we were there, the more things just got bad. It was like that miserable 9-to-5 experience where you go to work, you don’t feel valued, you were just a cog in the machine, and the longer we were there, the worse and worse that got.
Jocelyn: Not only do we have this experience. My school is really good as far as people. But Shane was having this negative experience with the people that he worked with. I didn’t like it because we had to drive a long way from our house. It was at least a 20-minute drive for both of us. That is not including taking the kids to daycare. We sort of skipped ahead a little bit, in this scenario. We also had another baby and this time we had an infant and a toddler that we were having to drop off at daycare every day.
Shane: I remember Jocelyn’s mom kept Isaac when he was first born. We had to get a daycare center. I will never forget when we dropped the kids off at daycare for the first time. I remember Jocelyn started crying. It was awful. We went to the daycare center, the sun hadn’t come up yet it was so early when we were dropping the kids off. It was dark. The lady at the time that ran the place, we knew was a good lady. We trusted her. But she took the baby inside, and I remember hugging Jocelyn, and she just stood there and cried for a minute. That was just awful. That was one of the first times really started saying, “Man, maybe even working for other people is a bad idea because we have to put our kids in a daycare center.”
Jocelyn: But at the time, just like a lot of people listening to this podcast, we didn’t know what else to do. Starting a business didn’t even occur to us at this time. We were just thinking, “Okay, this is what we have to do, this is our lot in life, this is what we do.
Shane: So we had these long commutes, they started wearing us. I know a lot of people have lot longer commute than 25, 30 minutes.
Jocelyn: But around here, that’s a long way.
Shane: A really long commute. Both of us were going in separate directions. We weren’t anywhere near each other or near our children at the time.
Jocelyn: One thing I didn’t like about it, too, is that in the first football job that you had, I lived right down the street, and also didn’t have any kids. I was able to be involved with the team a lot, which means meant that we saw each other a lot. At this school, I had to come back after school was over and get the kids. Which meant that I didn’t want to drive all the way from this town back to where we lived, and then drive back to go to practice because I had an infant and a toddler. It just didn’t make sense.
Shane: We were right back in the same boat of not seeing each other.
Jocelyn: I was not involved in the football program at all. I didn’t know any of the players’ names or anything like that. And at the other school, I felt like they were my kids or at least my little brothers or something. I just knew them really well. I just felt like we were going in separate directions again. Instead of going back in the same direction, like what we had intended, we ended up separating ourselves again.
Shane: Literally we drove opposite directions. We ended up about an hour apart every day. Jocelyn was driving one way, and I was driving the other. Also I wasn’t the head coach, so I had no control over what was going on. I had to be at practice when I was told to be at practice. I had to do whatever we did. A lot of people in the school were really negative.
I know a lot of you go to work and you’re like, “Why does this person next to me always have to complain?” It got to the point where people would complain so much about everything in the school being so negative. I would only go in the halls when I was forced to do hall duty and stuff. I wouldn’t eat lunch with anybody. I would stay in my room and just be miserable, but at least I was alone in my misery and I didn’t have to have misery being compounded on me by all these negative coworkers.
They were complaining about their life, about the administration, and about how things sucked. This goes on for two or three years and I started getting really, really frustrated about almost everything but football. I still loved football, and I still of coaching after the thing. But other than that, I was just getting unhappier and unhappier as the years went on.
Basically, what happened then, was probably the moment that changed our life and changed our direction, and really hammered home that we’ve had no control over our lives living the way the world told us to live with the 9-to-5 lifestyle of the job, and all that.
Isaac started changing in has behavior.
Jocelyn: This was in March 2012.
Shane: He really started having a hard time. He was withdrawing from us, he was putting his fist in his mouth, and chewing on his hand and crying sometimes for no reason, we didn’t understand what was going on. He became deathly afraid of bathrooms. Especially bathrooms when the lights were out. We just assumed like it was a kid, and he was having potty training problems and he was scared of the dark, and we didn’t really know what was going on.
Jocelyn: We should say, too, that the daycare had changed ownership during this time. The lady who was watching them to begin with, she retired, and she sold it to someone else.
Shane: Who brought in a bunch of new people.
Jocelyn: And we didn’t know at the time. We didn’t know anything about these people. We just decided, we will give them a try, see how it works out.
Shane: A series of events happened. I started Isaac. He can’t really talk a lot right now. He couldn’t verbalize what was going on or what he was scared of. He was only three years old. Was hard to communicate with him, but he kept getting more and more scared to go to the daycare center. I dropped Isaac off everyday on my way to work. He just freaked out.
He started freaking out by going inside, but then again we saw him again, is this separation anxiety? Is this just a kid? What is going on? It got worse and worse and worse about him going to the daycare. One day, I walked in after school, kind of glanced around, didn’t say anything to anybody when I walked in. They were in the back room with all the kids, and there was one kid sitting in the front like in the corner. I’m like, “Okay, that kid might have gotten in trouble or something. He was being punished.”
I knew who he was, I can’t remember what his name was, but I said, “Hey, where is Isaac at?” He said, “In the bathroom.” I said, “In the bathroom? Is anybody with him?” He said, “No. He’s been in there a long, long, long time.” I will never forget the kid saying this. I go and open the bathroom door, and Isaac was sitting there in the dark in the bathroom. It just hit me like, what’s going on in here?
At this point, I knew something was weird, and I went and asked the worker, “Why is he doing that?” And they’re like, “Oh, he’s not been in there that long, and we just did this so he would use the bathroom faster.” And I’m like, “Okay, that’s ridiculous.” It so weird to look back and say, man, I should have taken him out right then and there. At first, I was like that was poor judgment maybe. Don’t do that. Why would you do that?
It started clicking to me, this might be why he is scared of the bathroom. Well, a little while later, Jocelyn was driving around town, totally unprompted. Isaac, out of nowhere– this is a three-year-old kid saying this– said, “She wipes poop on my nose.” Jocelyn said what?
Jocelyn: This is my three-year-old child who has no reason to be saying this at all.
Shane: And Jocelyn was like, “Who did?”
Jocelyn: He called the person’s name.
Shane: Apparently, they had been trying to stop them from potty training. We would later find out they were doing crazy things. They were locking kids in the bathroom, they were rubbing poop on kids noses, like you would a dog. We heard one kid, they put him in a diaper– he was an older kid– and stood him up on a table, and made kids make fun of him.
Jocelyn: You may be wondering, why didn’t you do something about this? We did. Social services got involved. There were a lot of other things to go along with it this.
Shane: These were all 20/20 hindsight things that we’re talking about here. What happened was, I was taking Isaac to the daycare. There were two buildings and I went to do the daycare. After the poop comment, I was just furious. I went in that morning, and Isaac really flipped out. I kind of confronted them. I told him something was wrong, I confronted the owner. I was just so lost at that moment, I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t leave Isaac with these people. He wouldn’t stay because I didn’t want to leave him with them because I knew something was going on.
There was one lady in the other building who took care of bed babies. She was from the old regime, the old people, and I trusted her. I was so mad, and those of you who know me good, I can get furious. I can go off pretty bad. I kept my cool a little bit, I went over to the little building to get Isaac away from these people. We had nowhere else to go. We had to go to work. We were just like everybody else. We had to make our living. We couldn’t just skip work whenever we wanted to.
This was happening at 7 AM. Everything was in chaos. I went and gave Isaac to her because I trusted her and said, “Do not let him out of your sight. He does not leave this room. I am going to run to work really quick, and tell them that I’ve discovered this thing, and I’m coming back to deal with this.” I got in my car and I drove to work. I thought that decent human beings would understand that I just discovered that my son was being mistreated horribly at a daycare, and I needed to go deal with it.
I tried to do what a good worker was supposed to do, what the world said: you go to work, you put work first, you put your job in line with everything else that is a priority in life because that is how you feed your family. I went to school, went to my classroom, got all my kids checked in, went next door to the teacher that was next door to me, and I said, “Hey, could you watch my class for a minute? I’ve had an emergency, and I’ve got to talk to the principal to see if I can go.”
Jocelyn: And one thing that you have to remember is that we did not miss work. Unless someone was like deathly ill, we were there every single day. Shane hardly ever missed. I think maybe one or two days a year.
Shane: Ever, like ever.
Jocelyn: That is what made this even worse. We were the model employee.
Shane: We were the perfect employees. We worked hard, we sacrificed for the school, we sacrificed for the kids in our school. It was bad. I went downstairs to see my principal. I didn’t get to talk to the main principal. There was an interim assistant principal at the time. She was in her office, and I knocked on the door. She kind of like looked up at me like, “What do you want?”
I explained to her the situation, that I just found this out, and I just literally put the last piece of the puzzle together that morning, and I was literally going back to confront them and to get law enforcement and call social services and do all these things. She listened, and she was quiet and I was like, “I have to go. Can you watch my class or can you call in a sub?” Normally, you have to call a sub before a certain time, before they can get one for you. It was kind of an odd scenario. But this was ridiculous, I had to go deal with this.
I’ll never forget her looking up at me with this really stoic, monotone, I’m-in-charge kind of attitude. She said, “No, Mr. Sams, I can’t do that. I don’t have time to go watch your class. I’m not able to get a sub at this time during the day. You need to go back to your classroom and you can handle this after work. I know that your son needs you right now, but your kids in your classroom need you, too, and I need you, too. Go back to your classroom, and you can deal with it later.”
Oh, it tears me up. I’m actually crying right now thinking about it. I had to stop the recording there for second. I just remembered at that moment realizing how little this place valued us, how little they cared, and how this environment was just toxic and it was not the way that life was supposed to be. This wasn’t how things were going to go. It’s really hard because our son still, to this day, has problems from that incident, five years later. It is just really tough to think back on it.
I’m kind of glad that she said that because when she said that to me, I realized that I was not going to be in this situation for much longer. I was done. We were going to find a way somehow to gain control of our lives because here was this person who was my employer, who thought they had so much control over my life. Just because they gave me a paycheck every two weeks and insurance, that they could dictate when I could be there for my child and when I couldn’t be.
That righteous fury just lit in my heart. At that moment, I said, “No, I’m dealing with this, you can fire me, you can do whatever.” They actually did reprimand me. I got called into the principal’s office later for going and taking care of this issue when I did. I actually got a thing in my file that was like, “We’re going to reprimand you.” My principal actually said to me, “You know, I’m not going to fire you this time.” Like that actually happened he said that to me later on. “I’m not going to fire you this time.”
Well, this time, for not going and helping my kid? What you mean this time? If my kid got in a car wreck or something, I can’t go? I’ve got to wait until the end of the school day? It was just a terrible situation. The good thing about the situation came out of it was we realized at that moment that we have given up our lives. We basically sold ourselves into slavery. We were going to get out of it, and I started doing everything in my power.
I kept telling Jocelyn over and over, I’m going to find some way for us to make a living. Other people have their own jobs, other people make a leaving, other people eat and keep a roof over their head. There is got to be a way that we can make money to pay our bills without relying on someone else and without trading our life for a few dollars. That is what we did. We started having conversations about what we could do. What were you doing? You got a sewing machine or something?
Jocelyn: Yeah, I had bought a sewing machine. I was going to try to sew curtains, which I wasn’t very good at.
Shane: She was going to make them, and we were going to sell them on eBay. And stuff like that. Maybe even fix clothes. We looked at a building one time for a consignment store because Jocelyn loved to buy some consignment clothes now y’all. She loved consignment shops she was like, “Hey, why don’t I open my own consignment shop? Maybe we can make a living like that.” One day, we were driving in the car, and I started saying this saying, and I just got it in my mind relentlessly and I said, “I wonder if we could get a hundred people to give us $50?” Jocelyn was like, “What?”
Jocelyn: He’s like, “That’s all we got to do to replace our income because that is about how much we brought home from teaching, it was about 5,000 a month.”
Shane: Yes. I said it’s really simple when you do the math. It’s 100 people giving us 50 bucks. If we can make 100 people do that every month, then that is $60,000 a year. Jocelyn looked over at me and said, “How are you going to do that?” That is when it all started to change. I started looking at different paths, different alternatives. How can I get 100 people to give me $50? There are 7 billion people on the planet Earth. Surely I can convince a hundred of them every month to give me $50. Maybe I can’t do it here, maybe I can do it elsewhere. I started looking for alternative ways to make money than your traditional, physically do something kind of job, or work-for-someone-else job, and that led me to iTunes one day to find something about Internet business, our online business, or something my business. I discovered a podcast by a guy named Pat Flynn. He taught me how to get 100 people to give us $50.
Next time, on our next show, I’m going to tell you about how we discovered online business. We are going to get into the details about how we started everything, how it all came to be, how we made a first money online, and really the moment that led to us living the Flipped Lifestyle today.
I hope you guys are enjoying this little series we’ve got going, really flushing out our story, and telling everything, how we got here.
I hope that you are getting something out of this, and you realize that you could do this too, and that we are trying to inspire you and trying to help you figure out how you can change your life and flip your life as well.
Thanks for tuning in. We will be back next week to continue our story. We hope that you are getting as much out of this as we are, going back and telling it.
Thanks for listening, we will see you next time right here on the Flipped Lifestyle podcast.