How time flies! It’s amazing how far we’ve come, from being cogs of a machine to creating this life of freedom.
We’re going to continue our story, sharing with you our lowest lows to our highest highs and hope that this inspires you to take action and make YOUR dreams into a reality.
Last week, we talked about the worst day of our life, a truly terrible experience with a daycare center where they were mistreating our son, and that awful experience with a boss at our workplace that made us say, “Hey, this is not the life for us. We are going to do something else. We are going to find something different.”
As much as we wanted to quit our jobs right there and then, we couldn’t until we figure out a way to earn and replace our current income.
We researched, brainstormed and had just so many ideas going on at once.
It was really hard. We knew the goal, but we didn’t know how to get there.
The Bible says in Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
We were asking and seeking. It was only a matter of time before our prayers were answered.
Check out how we discovered online business, the entrepreneurial struggles and our heart-stopping 11￠ moment!
We’re thrilled to share what relentless enthusiasm, decisive action and faith can do to flip your life.
Here are the links to S&J’s Our Story podcast series
- Our Story – Prologue: A Couple of Kids from Kentucky
- Our Story – Chapter 1: Love at First Sight
- Our story – Chapter 2: Welcome to the real world (maybe we should get married?)
- Our story – Chapter 3: The worst day of our lives
- Our Story – Chapter 4: How a lawnmower and 11 cents changed our lives forever
- Our Story – Chapter 5: The Promise Land
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!
Thanks again for listening to the show! If you liked it, make sure you share it with your friends and family! Our goal is to help as many families as possible change their lives through online business. Help us by sharing the show!
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! So excited that you joined us today. We’re getting into another chapter of our journey talking about how we basically went from employees to discovering online business to where we are today, living the Flipped Lifestyle.
And on the last episode, we talked a lot about how we decided that we were going to try to do something different. We had settled in for the long haul, 27 years of teaching on each of us until we could retire. Life events happened that showed us that that was not the life that we wanted to live. We had a terrible experience with our child in a daycare center where they were mistreating him and then an awful experience with a boss at our workplace that basically made us say, “Hey, this is not the life for us. We are going to do something else, we are going to find something different.”
Jocelyn: And if there is one thing about us that you will realize from listening to all these stories and even things that we’ve done since then, we don’t mess around. When we decide to do something, we find a way to get it done.
Shane: That is really where we pick up today is, figuring out what we were going to do. We knew the result that we wanted. We had talked about it, and I think that I wanted this a little more than Jocelyn, a little more passionately this time.
Jocelyn: Well, because my situation wasn’t terrible. Aside from my child having a terrible experience at daycare, we got him out of that situation. He was in a better situation where I knew he was safe. At that point, my school was okay. I had to continue to work because we had to pay our bills. We had bought a house, and the only way we could pay for that is if I had a job.
Shane: At this time, I was so furious, I was kind of like, “To heck with it. Let’s just quit. I’m done. Let’s just quit tomorrow. We will figure it out.” And Jocelyn, ever the pragmatist said, “We have to keep our lights on and buy food.” And I was like, “Oh yeah. That!”
Jocelyn: Yeah, those pesky things.
Shane: Those pesky things that you have to do in life. Jocelyn is very good at channeling my craziness I guess is the best way to say it. There is this awesome meme that Jocelyn sent to me one time it was like two stick, and one of the stick man was throwing up a rainbow on the other stick man’s head. And the next scene, the stick man used the force to stop the rainbow–
Jocelyn: Did some calculations–
Shane: And in the next scene, she was writing math problems on a board. And the next scene, she had a welder’s hat and a hammer and was forging something, and in the next scene, it was like a bucket. It was catching all of the rainbow into this machine she had created and then in the last scene, it was the stick man who was throwing up the rainbow. The other stick person put a hat on that person, and it was a laser beam of a rainbow. Jocelyn and I are like, “That sums up our entire relationship at all times. Puking the rainbow.” Basically, that is what we did here. Jocelyn was like, “Look, I get it. I know where you are coming from. I understand. But basically, you have to figure out a way for us to do this. We have to figure out to do this.”
Jocelyn: We can’t just quit our jobs and hope everything works out.
Shane: Yeah, which is somehow kinda how I live. Basically, Jocelyn is like, “That’s fine. You go research it. You go figure it out. Try to find us something to do.” I had all these insane ideas. I was like, “Man, I will just use my lawnmower, and I will go mow people’s yards.” There were 50 houses in the neighborhood that we were at, and I was like, “Okay, what if I can get half of these people to pay me to mow their yard?” Or something and Jocelyn was like, “Yeah, but yards don’t grow in the winter. What are you going to do in winter?”
Jocelyn: Well, not to mention you know, you’re a football coach. You are busy in the summer, and if you are mowing yards all the time, when you’re not busy, when are we ever going to see you? That kind of puts us back in the same situation.
Shane: Yeah, time for dollars. And I was like, well at least I would control it though. And I’d rather work double for myself then half the time for somebody else and be such a slave to the system, basically. Then, Jocelyn kind of got on board with the idea wagon, and she was like, “Okay, well, what could I do?” We did all kinds of stuff. Jocelyn bought a sewing machine, and she was making these curtains that go on French doors that are hung up with a velcro. Really, she wanted her own and she couldn’t find them.
Jocelyn: I decided to make them and I went to a sewing class up in Lexington. It was a full day. They just taught you how to sew. You bring your project with you, and they would help you work on it. I made these curtains with the help of this person in Lexington. I learned how to do this. I’m like, “Well, you know, maybe I could do that. There is just one problem, I wasn’t very good at it.”
Shane: Yeah, but you did try. We were going to sell them on Etsy and eBay or something just to be able to sell them. We found them online for $200 or $300 bucks and we thought well if we could these and sell them for 300 bucks, and it costs this much to do and it took this many hours, maybe it would be profitable but Jocelyn wasn’t really good enough at sewing to get the scale down good enough or something. That didn’t work out.
Jocelyn: It was taking me forever.
Shane: It just wasn’t worth it. I thought, man, maybe I could do pressure washing. Maybe I could do handyman stuff.
Jocelyn: Yeah, that is going to work out really well.
Shane: Yeah I’m not the handiest person on earth. One of the ideas I originally had was I could go pick up people’s cars while they were at work and I could go wash their cars for them. I could go to a car wash. I would charge them $10 and I would spend five washing their car, and I would do like three an hour. But then I was like, “There’s not enough people that would probably do that to make that work.”
Just all these crazy ideas because we always look around and people go to work. Even self-employed people go to work. There had to be something I could do where we could go to work. We considered opening a consignment store because the Jocelyn loved consignment, and buying clothes.
Jocelyn: And my kids have a lot of clothing because I’m slightly– I don’t say addicted or obsessed. I say that I have a healthy enthusiasm for children’s clothing.
Shane: Which is cover for she’s addicted. Like, Anna Jo barely wears the same thing twice.
Jocelyn: Healthy enthusiasm!
Shane: Healthy enthusiasm. We tried the consignment route, and we were like, “No, this is stupid. We’re going to rent a building, the overhead is ridiculous.” It just got really frustrating because as we got closer and closer– this has been a few months since this horrible experience with Isaac which you can listen to in the last episode, it just got really frustrating because I said, “Man, what can I do?”
Jocelyn: We lived in a really small area.
Shane: There’s not a lot of opportunity.
Jocelyn: There is not a lot of opportunities if you open a local business. There is just not a lot of opportunities. Most of the businesses who open here locally end up closing within about a year just because there is just not enough business.
Shane: I got really frustrated, got into the summer, I still was passionate and obsessed with finding a way to do this. One day, Jocelyn and I were driving around town, just living life, doing our thing. I think we were going to the grocery store or it was either that or we were going over to Jocelyn’s mom and dad’s house, I don’t remember. I just remember being in the passenger’s side and Jocelyn was driving.
I just was looking at the window, kind of bummed, and was like, “This is not going to work out. I’m just going to stuck here for 30 years being part of the machine.” And I said, all of a sudden it hit me. “What do we need to do? We need to replace about $4,000 or $5,000 a month. $5,000 would be my goal. I think we were bringing home about $4,000 together that time.
Basically, I was like, “Wait a minute, how much is $5,000 really? Okay it’s $5,000. What is the math that goes into that?” If you’ve got hundred people to give you $50, you would make $5000 a month, and if you could do that every month, you would make $60,000 a year. You can live on $60,000 a year.
Jocelyn: And Shane was like, “Okay, that is what we’re going to do.”
Shane: Yeah, I looked over at Jocelyn, and I was like, “Jocelyn, what if we could get 100 people to give me $50?”
Jocelyn: That’s the answer.
Shane: That’s the answer. That’s all I have to do.
Jocelyn: And I’m like, “Well, you know, there’s a little bit more into that answer. Exactly how are you going to do that? People aren’t just going to walk up to you and hand you $50.”
Shane: And I was like, “No, but if I had the right thing to offer them, maybe they would just walk up and give me that.” And she’s like, “Are there even enough people around here to do that?” Then it really struck me– they don’t have to be here. There are 7 billion people in the world. I just have to find 100 every month that will give me $50, and then we can make a living. Surely, the odds are ever in my favor. That’s a lot of people, I just got to go find 100 people that would give me $50 a month.
I had no clue how I was going to do this. That was just so foreign thinking at the time because 99.9% of all of us, when we are raised, the world tells us what we’re supposed to do and how we’re supposed to make a living says, “No. You go find one company that will give you your money,” and they now have control over you, but they’re going to make sure that you have money that you need to survive. It was just totally countering what the culture was telling us at the time.
Now, I had a new renewed mission. Go out and figure out how I could get 100 people to give me $50. If I could solve that problem, then I knew that we would have the path to freedom. I just had to figure it out. Instead of coming up with my own ideas, I started reading books. I started looking up stuff online about how to start your own business, and make money on the side and do side hustles and all this stuff. Not even thinking about online business at the time.
One day, I was getting ready to go out and cut my grass, I mowed the yard, Jocelyn was inside, I think you were cooking or something, cooking lunch or something like that for the kids. We were going to hang out that afternoon. We had a mighty above-ground pool at the time. We were going to take a dip after I got done mowing the grass. It took me about an hour and have to mow my grass.
Usually I listen to music because it helps me think. I listen to instrumental music like you find in movies and stuff. I usually listen to music but I was kind of bored with my playlist on my iPod shuffle that I had at the time. I don’t know, do we have iPhones? I think we had iPhones. But I was using my iPod shuffle. I started looking around, I think I typed into Google, “Stuff to listen to besides music.” Or something.
I discovered podcasts. There were these things like radio shows, like talk radio, and I love Talk Radio. Love me some Talk Radio. I said, “Wow, this is like downloading Talk Radio,” and there were all these podcasts about different topics and subjects. And I said, well, I wonder if they make podcasts about starting a business. I typed in, “Start a business,” or something like that and I was looking through the art, didn’t know anything about who these people were, what they were talking about.
I noticed this really funny artwork of this guy. It was just his eyeballs. He was looking up over a wall. Remembered Tim, the toolman, Taylor, what was that show, Home Improvement? What was the guy’s name that lived next door? Wilson? Yeah, Wilson or something like that. Wilson would always look over the fence and you never saw his eyes, and I just remember thinking, “Ha! That’s funny, that’s like Wilson.”
I’ll download this guy’s podcast. Well, it turns out, that this was the Smart Passive Income Podcast by Pat Flynn. Pat Flynn is a really famous entrepreneur, really respected in the online business world but he was only about 20 or 30 episodes in. This was when he had first started. He didn’t have this huge audience.
Jocelyn: Back in 2012.
Shane: Yeah, at the time. He’d only been out for a little while. I downloaded an episode. I thought, hey I’ll listen to this guy. He is talking about online business. Online business? That’s interesting. You can make money online? I get on my lawnmower, I start his podcast, and I’m driving around mowing my grass and listening to this guy tell a story of how he was an architect, and he was trying to pass the licensing exam for architecture and he needed a way to keep better notes.
He decided to start a blog primarily so he could keep up with all of his notes. It turns out that people started coming to his blog. And then hundreds of people, then thousands of people, and then all of a sudden, everyone was trying to be an architect was finding his blog and using it to help them study. He had all this content, and he met somebody, I can’t remember where he discovered the idea, but somebody told him, “Hey, you should turn that into an e-book and you should sell it to all those people who are coming. They will probably buy it if you organize it into like a study guide.”
Pat tells the story about how he formed this study guide, he saved it, as a PDF and he got on to PayPal, and created a button, basically put on his page. “Hey, I’m going to release my study guide for this test.” Lo and behold, people bought it. He sold it I think, for $40-something. Like $49 or whatever. He ended up making $9,000+ on his first time he ever sold this book on his first digital product online.
When I heard him say that, $9,000, and he was selling this thing for around 50 bucks and he got hundreds of people to buy this thing for 50 bucks, I hit the brakes on my lawnmower. I literally fishtailed. I hit the brakes so hard, and slammed it shut. It just, right there in the beating sun, with sweat pouring off of me on my lawnmower, I just took a deep breath, and I said, “This is it. This is how we can get 100 people to give us $50. We could create these information product of things we know, and we could sell them to people that don’t know them online.”
I jumped off the lawnmower, left it right the middle of the grass, and I ran. I literally ran for the deck, up the stairs, I busted in the back door, Jocelyn was– I’ll never forget it. She was standing over by the stove. Her back was to me. She kind of startled and looked around at me like this weird look, but she looks at me weird all the time. I was kind of used to it. I said, “Jocelyn, I figured it out. This is it. I know exactly how are going to get a hundred people to give us $50. I know how we’re going to quit our job. I’ve got it. All we have to do is sell people things on email. What do you think?”
Now, remember. I just heard this whole story, and I summed it down to, “We’re going to sell emails,” to Jocelyn.
Jocelyn: Yeah, it was not very well received.
Shane: It was not very well received. Jocelyn like squinted at me and she was like, “Yeah, go finish the grass. Lunch is almost ready,” basically.
Jocelyn: I’m not buying this. I’m not amused. I just… I’m a very practical individual, this idea sounds a little far-fetched to me. What are these people doing? I didn’t listen to this. I have no idea what he is talking about. I wasn’t listening to it, so I’m like, “Dude, no. This is not going to work.”
Shane: I think Jocelyn was kind of like, “Is this a pyramid scheme?” Jocelyn doesn’t like MLMs and direct sales and stuff like that.
Jocelyn: If you are into that, that’s cool. It’s just not my thing.
Shane: That’s cool, whatever. It’s just not our thing. Jocelyn was like, “Is this some kind of pyramid scheme or is this a direct sale thing? Are you buying into someone else’s opportunity, or you actually trying to sell stuff?” I just kind of told her the story about how he did that, and whatever and she was like, “Yeah, okay, that is great for him but he is probably one in 1 million.”
Online business was in a thing then back in this time. It was kind of catching on, but the only thing we really knew about online business was like eBay or ordering books from Amazon. That was pretty much the only thing we had. I was kind of discouraged, but I’m kind of relentless when I get something in my head and I get obsessed. I went back out, and I finished the grass. I was driving, I was like, “Is this really possible? Jocelyn said it isn’t possible. Is it?” And I listened to that episode again, and I was like, “God, this guy is telling a great story man!”
And I listened to a couple other shows from him. Had had a couple other people who had done it in completely different things, and I was like, “If it can be done once, and it can be repeated, then I can do it. That just has to be the way this works. Then I started to think about any experience I had like this. I remember back around 2004, I just come back from Alabama where I coached for a high school, and the head coach there wanted to sell his playbooks.
He didn’t want to do it through a big company, because he wanted to keep all the money for himself. We had talked about that. He’s like, “Shane, you’re really good at computers. Can you turn this into something where we can burn onto a DVD, and I could sell it to coaches at clinics?” And I was like, “Hey, why don’t we just sell it on eBay? I bet football coaches look for playbooks on eBay.”
Basically, I set up this really simple website that was connected to an eBay page, and I started selling this coach’s playbooks for $39-$50 or something like that. I started selling these playbooks for him on eBay. They sold. We sold a couple hundred dollars’ worth of these playbooks. I thought to myself, what wait a minute I learned a bunch of drills when I was down there coaching football at the school.
I wonder if I could put 20 drills on, and sell linebacker drills on eBay? I burnt another disk, people founded and bought these drills that I drew up on a piece of paper basically.
Jocelyn: It wasn’t dozens of people; it was going to be a few people.
Shane: I think I made a like $500 the first month I did it. When I was listening to these stories, and I thought about that experience, and I was like, “Yes, this is totally possible. You can create a digital file and maybe I am not mailing them a DVD that I am burning in my living room, but maybe I could get it where they could just download it.” That kind of confirmed to me that this was the answer, this is what we had to do. I probably drove Jocelyn insane.
Jocelyn: Probably? Definitely.
Shane: Yeah, definitely. I drove her nuts. I stopped watching TV, I stopped thinking about football, I stopped thinking about anything. I just came home every minute of every day, and researched success stories. I started listening to dozens of podcasts. Anybody I could find, that had made a penny online. I remember one time, we were driving back from, I think, Knoxville, Tennessee or maybe Pigeon Forge, Tennessee back to Kentucky. We got on a detour, and I was so happy that we got off on this detour because I knew it was gonna take me two hours longer to get home list podcast before we got home and I had stuff do.
Jocelyn: And you should know about me. I’m not a naysayer. I’m not a dream killer. It’s not that. It’s just that Shane gets this obsessed with everything in life. So I’m just thinking, Shane is just high on life again. It is not a big deal. It’s going to pass.
Shane: I’ve been obsessed with you for 20 years.
Shane: My love, my beauty, my wife.
Jocelyn: If you listen to are super romantic proposal story, you’ll understand.
Shane: Alright, anyway, I was listening to a podcast where we were driving through this detour. I tell Jocelyn, “Oh my gosh, you’ve got to listen to this, you’ve got to listen to this.” I think I gave her one of the headphones and I made her listen to this podcast on this detour about a guy setting up niche websites and making money on ad clicks.
Jocelyn: This is during the golden years of SEO–
Shane: Where you could totally gain the system basically.
Jocelyn: This is before the big Google smackdown you hear about, if you guys were around back then, you will know what I’m talking about. But this was during the time where backlinks were really important, exact match domains really important, and SEO was still so important but it was really important at this time.
Shane: Anyway, this is what I thought what can I do? I had a bunch of US history worksheets that were saved and I was like here is what I’ll do. I will create a website, and I will wait make one of these worksheets available for free download, and I will spam it up and surround it with these ads.
Jocelyn: And it really was.
Shane: It really was. it was so spammy, it was terrible. I didn’t know that he actually had to type a blog post. I was just like… title, link, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam — ads everywhere with all the Google ads. Anything that would let me put on their affiliate links, whatever, I thought this is it. I started uploading these worksheets, to this website, needless to say it didn’t work out very well. I have this website called UShistoryworksheets.com. Get free US history worksheets!
I thought, I got it. There is an exact match domain. Let us see if I can make some money. Needless to say, I did not make a penny. I wasn’t making any money, I did this for two or three months, trying to get this website to go. Kept listening to podcasts, Jocelyn was getting really frustrated at the time because it was like, I would stay up until all night.
Jocelyn: It was eating into our family time.
Shane: Yes, it was bad, it was totally bad. On summer vacation, we were about to go back to school, football season had already started, and I was just like, “Okay, that is it. I’m not going to be able to do this, I’m not making a dime. I’m just not making any money at this. Jocelyn was kind of not discouraging me but looking at her watch going, it’s time move on. We need to think of something else. This isn’t going to pan out.”
What happened next was, we were really close to going back to school, probably a month away, I think, and nothing was happening. I remember one night, I was really, really down. Those highs and lows of entrepreneurship are really, really high and really, really low. This was the lowest point I had ever experienced at the time.
My obsessions was starting to wane, my energy and my will power were starting to kind of drain. Football is starting back up, it was just like, I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I remember one night, we were lying in bed. Jocelyn was reading a book. I was looking at my computer, I was going through the stats, I was going through the traffic, I was going through my links. I was like, gosh, nothing is happening. Nobody comes to this stupid site. I wasted hours of my life trying to get this thing done.
I really started to think of myself, maybe this was a scam maybe that was one-hit wonder stuff. Maybe it was a fluke. It just didn’t seem possible. I tried so hard and studied so much, for so long, for months, to try to get anyone to give me money for something I had created. These worksheets are in this website and it just wasn’t working. So I pulled up the stats on analytics, right before bed. Zero, nothing, absolutely nothing.
I kind of laid my computer down, looked up at the ceiling, a little frustrated, went to the little bathroom, brushed my teeth. As I was standing there brushing my teeth, I can remember just praying, “God, is this real? Can I just get a sign that all this work has not been in vain? There has got to be something going on here that I am doing wrong, or maybe these people are fake, maybe it’s not real. But, you know, if you could just give me a sign, I don’t care if it is a sign to quit. I just need to know something so that I can move on and move forward.”
I finished brushing my teeth, walked to bed, just real depressed, real dejected, ready to give up. Laid back down in bed, opened my computer, and I thought, you know what, one more time, let’s check here and see what is going on. I hit refresh on the analytics that I was looking at in my Google AdWords account or whatever. When the page reloaded, I lost my breath. It literally stunned me. There had been a zero there before, and when I hit refresh, there was actually money there now. It was $0.11. A dime and a penny.
Jocelyn: Not $11.
Shane: Not $11.
Jocelyn: Not $111.
Shane: No, it was $0.11. Someone had went to that spammy site, and clicked on one of my ads. I had made $0.11. Tears formed in my eyes, and I just kind of freaked out. I jumped out of bed, and threw my computer over to the side and started pumping my fist and running back and forth and screaming like I just won the Super Bowl. Jocelyn looks up from her book, and looks over at me pretty much like I was an idiot, is pretty much what you look like. “What are you doing? What is going on? What is happening over here?”
Jocelyn: Honestly, I’m not super shocked about this because Shane screaming about something is a pretty normal occurrence around here.
Shane: I get really excited about good things that I think are cool.
Jocelyn: High on life. I didn’t really know what had happened so I’m just kind of like, what’s going on?
Shane: I flipped around the computer, and just, as confident as I had said anything else, I said out loud, “There it is. I made $0.11 on the Internet. I created content, and put it out in the world, and somebody sent me money back. What you think about that?” I remember saying it. I thought, that sounded absolutely ridiculous. I just told her I made a dime and a penny. That is not exactly —
Shane: That is not like, “I’m going out hunting, honey,” and I brought back a massive buffalo that I had slayed. It was like going out hunting for buffalo, and then I brought back a berry and a field mouse that I had found that something else had already killed.
But it was, it was real money! I was like, “There it is, what you think?” I remember that moment. Jocelyn’s face softened, and her head tilted. I kind of knew that she might have just believed that it was possible.
Jocelyn: I think at the time, was probably like, “Okay, it’s $0.11, that let’s go to bed.” The wheel started turning in my head. I thought, okay, if this can work, then maybe I can also figure out something that would work.
Shane: Yeah, if we could make $0.11, surely there would be someone out there that would give us $11, or $1,100, or $11,000. Or maybe we could find 100,000 people to send us $0.11. Over the next couple days, we started talking, what can we do to accelerate this? What can we do to make more money and get more people to click on these things that they really need? We started having that conversation again and went to Digital Products.
We knew that it was going to be really hard to get the traffic that we needed for ad clicks, but we started saying, “Hey, what are we expert enough at? What do we know more of that people behind us in their journey would not know? I’d been a teacher for a while now, Jocelyn had been the librarian for a few years now. Surely there were new teachers and new librarians. Or I’ve in a foot a coach for a while now. Surely, there were new football coaches that might need what I knew about football. We started talking about creating Digital Products.
Jocelyn: I kind of decided that I wanted to do something practical because, well, it’s me. I wasn’t going to create something that I would never use, or that if it didn’t make money, then I just wasted all my time. I decided I was going to do something that I needed. It was summer time, I had been looking for something very specific, library lesson plans online. I was just hoping I could maybe buy something, because I just didn’t want to create these lesson plans.
I couldn’t find anything. I thought, okay, that is a problem that I have. If I have that problem, probably other people have it to. What I’m going to do is I’m going to start a website for elementary librarians. I’m going to make a month of lesson plans, put it out there for free, and just see if anybody signs up. That way, if it all falls flat on its face, I still have something to show for my work.
Shane: When we were thinking about what to do, we had made the 11-cent moment, and this and that and the other, actually one night, was three in the morning, looking up domain names. I’m sure nobody has ever done that before, listening to this program. I was buying some domain names, trying to come up with ideas on what we could sell, and what we could do. I just typed in, ‘elementary librarian’. Low and behold, elementarylibrarian.com was available. Somebody had had in the past, but it had gotten released, and was back for sale, and I bought it. I said, “Here, here is your domain. Go!”
Jocelyn creates elementarylibrarian.com, she starts creating content. She starts a podcast. She starts blog posting about things, and then she starts creating these lesson plans. She’s starts to get a following. She starts absolutely going guerrilla warfare towards the end of the stuff. She was going into forums, finding Facebook groups, she would find these things called wikis. It’s like Wikipedia but for a subject where librarians were sharing content, she would start sharing her domain name, and lo and behold, she found a couple hundred librarians that discovered her, and started coming to her site.
She asked them, “If I were to create a full month of the lesson plans, would you buy it?” A lot of them said yes. When Jocelyn first launched her first lesson pack, she was going to sell them month by month, and if people bought them she would create them. She opened this up in August, sent out an e-mail list of 200 people, and bunch of people paid her ahead for something that wasn’t even created yet. She ended up making $2,700 on her first presell of her lesson plan. She was kind of like, “Oh no, now actually have to make this lesson pack.”
Jocelyn: I started writing lesson plans, I made a pack of them, and I put them up for sale. I just thought I would see if anybody would buy them, and to my complete and utter shock, people did buy them.
Shane: She was like, “Okay, well, I’ve got to sell the next pack. And the next pack, we figured out that we had made something that we could literally make thousands of dollars, and were only limited by how many people we could find that wanted that product. These were PDFs. She was literally emailing PDFs to people when they bought her product. We sold it for very little at the time. How much are you selling it for?
Jocelyn: I guess I sold a month for $30. Yeah, exactly. It was 29 bucks, I think or something like that. It was just crazy that we can put that out there. We thought we were loaded. When we made $2,700, that literally was like one of our salaries, what we were bringing home basically a month. We had made it in this one little presell.
Jocelyn: And I thought, “Oh, it is a fluke. You know it is not going to happen again.” But it happened again, and again, and again, and again, and it just kept growing. I’m like, “Okay, well this is pretty cool!”
Shane: That is pretty much how we went from 11 cents to thousands of dollars a month. That is how we figured out that if you take action, and if you put things out there, and yes, there are people who need what you know and are willing to pay for you to send them that information and that is how we decided to build our business, was on information products.
That is pretty much how our online business started. That is how we started making money online. The next year is full of ups and downs, it is very interesting to see how the business grew. How we came up with more ideas of more things that we could sell. But by all means are we ready to quit our jobs yet. We are going to work this entire year next year.
Jocelyn: We were ready, but we weren’t going to do it.
Shane: I probably would have been, “Hey, we made 2,000 bucks. Let’s quit.” Jocelyn was like, “What if we don’t make that next month?” and I’m like, “Good point! Let’s go to work!” So we went back to our jobs, we started growing the business, and in the next episode, we are going to tell you how we really scaled everything. How we started having five-figure months, and even six-figure months.
And how we were able to do some things that were necessary. We made a lot of sacrifices to really make it happen and be able to quit our jobs in about a year. I love this part of our journey because it’s the moment we got to walk in to our bosses, and say, “We quit. We’re done. No more 9-to-5. We’re going to go work for ourselves.” We’re going to tell you that next week, and let you know a little bit about how we did it so you can get some ideas about how you can do it, too.
I know a lot of you listening want to quit your jobs, you want to get this online business thing going. You’re really going to want to tune in next week to hear how we scaled our business from those first 11 cents into our first five-figure month. Also, how we went in and quit our jobs. So thanks for listening to our story, we hope that it’s inspiring you, we hope it’s showing you that you just need to take action and that you can make this happen in your life as well, and we can’t wait to get back with you again here next week. Until then, get out there, and take action, do whatever it takes to flip your life. We’ll see you again next week.