In today’s episode, we help Grant make time for his online business.
Jocelyn Sams: Hey y’all. On today’s podcast we help Grant make time for his online business.
Shane Sams: 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 that 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? All right, let’s get started.
Shane Sams: What’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the Flipped Lifestyle Podcast. It is great to be back with you again today. We are super excited to welcome another member of the Flip Your Life community onto the show so that we can help them take their online dream to the next level.
Shane Sams: Our guest today is our good friend Grant Downes. Grant, welcome to the program.
Grant Downes: Hey guys, thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.
Jocelyn Sams: We are very excited to talk to you today. You are coming to us from your vehicle, is that correct?
Grant Downes: That’s true. So, I am securely fastened here in the van in the garage, which hopefully will insulate me from the kid sounds that are upstairs.
Shane Sams: Hey, listen, there is no better acoustics, or there are no better acoustics than inside of your car, inside of your garage. When I first started creating our courses, the very first course I ever created, it was the same thing, it was just chaos, kids running around everywhere. I tried every room in the house, from the basement to our bedroom.
Jocelyn Sams: And then you listen to it back and it’s like oh, kids screaming.
Shane Sams: Oh, just terrible. I can hear kids. So, I went out and locked myself in the garage, got in the car, sat in the back seat in the middle, so I could be as far away from anything as possible, and it sounded great. So, if you’re struggling to find a place to record anything, go to your car.
Jocelyn Sams: And just remember, please do not run it inside your garage.
Shane Sams: Yes, don’t turn it on if it’s cold. We don’t want you to do that.
Grant Downes: Yeah, pro tip.
Shane Sams: And don’t record while you’re driving, that’s, unless you got a lapel mic or something like that on so it’s all good.
Jocelyn Sams: All right, so you are at home. You have a family. Let’s hear a little bit about them and your background.
Grant Downes: Yeah, so I am in eastern Ohio. I live with my wife, Sarah, and my three kids, Charlotte, Henry, and Brenna. I grew up on a tree farm kind of around agriculture, a beautiful 300 acres of rolling farmland here in eastern Ohio, went to school for horticulture, which is basically plant stuff, and then worked kind of a couple different jobs in the plant industry. So, I worked at a nursery for a long time, did a little bit of landscaping, also spent time in agriculture, actually, a feed mill. Now I work as a pesticide and fertilizer inspector for the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
Grant Downes: And then what’s really awesome about that position, actually, is that I am based out of my house. So, I have a nine county territory that I run around in, and I do inspections, and I meet with people, and investigate complaints, and give tests, and all sorts of things. But I come home every day, start at eight AM in my basement, run out and do what I’m doing, come back home, and then I’m done by 4:30 and I’m already home, so it works out pretty well.
Shane Sams: So you’re not actually working in your home a lot, you’re actually out on the road like going to farms. Do you inspect like the plants, or do you inspect like the chemical barrels of chemicals that they’re doing? Like, what do you do?
Grant Downes: Not so much plants, but sometimes products. Usually people in licensing is most of what I deal with, and then typically I spend four days in the field and then Friday is an office day. Although, like yesterday, for example, I was at home writing a report. So, I sat in my basement all day and wrote a report.
Shane Sams: How does one get into horticulture? Is that what it’s called? Agriculture?
Grant Downes: Yeah.
Shane Sams: That’s, like, what makes you obsessed with I want to know everything about plants? Like, that’s my job. What is that?
Grant Downes: You know, it varies. So, agriculture and horticulture are a little bit separate. Horticulture is more like garden plants, and greenhouse plants, and nursery plants, whereas agriculture is more of your corn, beans, animals, livestock, that sort of thing.
Grant Downes: So, I’ve been in a little bit of both. When I grew up on that tree farm, so that was like growing an ornamental product, basically, and so that’s more on the horticulture side of things, but agriculture kind of goes hand in hand. You’re still growing, you’re still formulating a plan of fertilizer, you know, whatever the case is. So, growing is growing, it just depends on what specific direction you go in.
Shane Sams: You know, everybody gets like, all these people get like obsessed with their lawns, and they want everything to grow perfect, they want every blade of grass to be green and every garden plant to look good. I just look outside and I’m like, as long as it doesn’t grow too thick and it all looks kind of green, I’m cool. Like, I’m cool with that. I’m not a big, I don’t have much of a green thumb, and Jocelyn, I’m pretty sure, has killed-
Jocelyn Sams: Oh, my goodness.
Shane Sams: … every living plant we’ve ever owned.
Jocelyn Sams: Yeah. I’m like the worst when it comes to plants. People give me live plants sometimes and it’s very nice, I’m very appreciative, but I cannot keep them alive. Like, I forget to water them, and I don’t know, I’m not very good with plants.
Shane Sams: Plant murderer.
Grant Downes: Yeah.
Shane Sams: Every morning I take my dogs out to let them go out and use the bathroom, all that stuff.
Jocelyn Sams: And kill our landscaping.
Shane Sams: And kill our, they kill our landscaping, which apparently that’s not good for your plants, and I always sit there and look at our landscaping, and I’m like, can I get all fake plants? I look at my lawn and I’m like, can I just turf this like a football field so I never have to.
Grant Downes: You could. That’s an industry. People have artificial lawns.
Shane Sams: Hey Jocelyn, I’ve been telling you about this. This is totally going to work, so-
Jocelyn Sams: It may be worth the investment, you know? It’s very expensive to mow all this grass. So, anyway.
Grant Downes: Yeah, well, just put in some field turf, it will be fine.
Shane Sams: All right, Grant, I’m not going to lie, sounds like you have a pretty sweet set up here with your day job. So, tell us a little bit about why you wanted to start a website, what is your website, and what is the purpose of it?
Grant Downes: Sure. So, I do have a decent set up. I mean, it’s really about as like home office working as you can get. I get to go out and I can meet cool people, and I do nice things, but I’m also working a strict 40 hour a week and then I’m off and already home for my family. I think the online business thing would just be a continuation of that process, except it would even be more of what I want to do, instead of what my department wants me to do.
Grant Downes: And so then, you know, my online business that I have got going on, it’s called SustainableFamilyHome.com, and the whole goal is to provide people, you know, just kind of like us, busy families with young kids, a opportunity to find little ways that are easy in their life to become more sustainable. So, things like doing a little bit of gardening, composting, using reusable water bottles, you know, little, easy, incremental changes that are not hard to make that will help just be more sustainable over time.
Shane Sams: Okay, so what sent you down the journey for SustainableFamilyHome.com? How did you get into online business, were you running around inspecting and licensing listening to podcasts, or did you read a book? Like, what was your first step into the waters of hey, I think there might be another way to make a living than what I’m doing right now?
Grant Downes: Sure. So, actually a couple jobs ago, before I was with this inspector gig, I definitely had a career crisis. I wasn’t super happy in what I was doing. It was a small company and there was no room for advancement, and so I was starting to look outside of what was available in that framework.
Grant Downes: Discovered The 4-Hour Workweek, flipped through that very quickly, it was really fascinating. That kind of led me to Pat Flynn and then eventually to you guys, and just thinking I would love to have, even if it was just a little bit of a side income, something else that could provide for our family, you know, pay for a vacation. And then, sure, if it was successful enough, allow that to build up into what could be a really cool, self determined full-time job.
Shane Sams: So, what did you like about The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss? It’s funny you say that, because I find that’s a common thread between most people that want to go down this path. I read The 4-Hour Workweek, you know, after I discovered there was a thing called online business, of course I saw this book on a shelf that said wait a minute, four-hour workweek? That sounds awesome, right?
Grant Downes: Sure.
Shane Sams: And, but I started reading it and it really does lay the case out, like, hey, the world is different now. You don’t have to do the 40-hour workweek. You don’t have to have an employer. You don’t even have to stay local. You can reach out to anyone in the world and kind of make a living online. So, what was it that sparked that in you? Was it to make more money? To do more of what you wanted to do? Or just basically, hey, I want total control of my time, not just average control of my time?
Grant Downes: Sure. I mean, definitely a couple factors. I am very much an analytical and processes person, so through that story, what if, the book, you know, he really laid out okay, all these processes, it was a lot of outsourcing, it was a lot of okay, setting this up and let it run, and set this up and let it run, and it works together. I love that sort of process system scheme. And so, that was fascinating.
Grant Downes: And then, you know, just the concept as a whole. Like I mentioned, at that time I was not happy with my job, had a manager that was not a manager, and was really just looking for something else, and just think wow, you can really be autonomous, and put these systems in place that can lead to something awesome. So, it was really, I don’t want to say a light switch, but it was definitely an open way of thinking about something different.
Shane Sams: The thing about The 4-Hour Workweek that always gets me is people, the book is actually not saying you’re only going to work four hours a week and make as much money as you want. It’s saying that at most four hours of your week will be spent on stuff you don’t like, right?
Grant Downes: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Shane Sams: Because it does take a lot of work, it does take a lot of hustle, and it does take a lot of guts to even start a website to do your business, or to try to replace your income and do something different.
Shane Sams: I love this quote you put in there from your dad in the … we have this form that everybody fills out when they come on the podcast, and it says, “My dad is a great role model for me, and is the hardest working person I know.” And then you talk about how online business seemed like a dream big dreams. But then later you said, “It reminded me of a quote my dad said growing up, ‘You have champaign tastes and a beer budget.’” Like, what does that mean? Like, why did you put that in here? How does that relate?
Grant Downes: You know, that’s funny, it used to be for sure, I really wanted to buy big things, and even now, like at Christmas time, I don’t want a little bunch of tiny little gifts, I want one nice big gift.
Grant Downes: But regardless, the way it ties in now is with time, and that’s kind of, I think, what we’re going to get into a little bit more here is that I have a lot going on. And so, with my champaign tastes I want to do everything. I really want to be involved in a lot of things. I want to make positive contributions all over the place. I want to experience tons of different things.
Grant Downes: Like, last night I went to do a mountain biking group ride because I never have been mountain biking and I wanted to try to ride some trails. So like, that was just something else I worked in.
Grant Downes: And my beer budget is I only have so many hours in a day, and then that’s something I know you guys have stressed a lot is we need to get control over our hours. And so, okay, I’ve got to fit what I really want to do into my budget of time. And so, I think that’s one of my biggest struggles that I’m still continuing to work on.
Jocelyn Sams: Okay, so you are a dad. You are an employee. You are a business owner. You are an aspiring mountain biker. Did I say that already?
Shane Sams: You’re apparently on the village council as well? So, you’re a politician?
Grant Downes: Yes. Politician is a strong word. We’re pretty apolitical. We just really run the town business and get things done.
Shane Sams: How big is the village? How big is it?
Grant Downes: So, our village, Magnolia, Ohio, is about 1,000 residents.
Shane Sams: Oh, okay, so this is a real village, like straight up village, right?
Grant Downes: Yes.
Shane Sams: But you’re going for mayor, it says, of the village too. So, you’re going-
Grant Downes: That’s true. So, I am going to be on the ballot here this coming November for mayor of Magnolia. Our previous mayor retired, or is retiring, I should say, after four years, and he’s kind of elbowed and nudged, and said, “Hey Grant, I think you should give it a try.” So, after thinking about it for a while I decided to give it a try.
Jocelyn Sams: Okay, so you’re also a coach of a youth soccer league.
Shane Sams: Oh, my gosh. Do you breathe?
Grant Downes: Yeah.
Shane Sams: When do you go to the bathroom, or eat?
Grant Downes: Very seldomly, seldomly.
Shane Sams: Right. I mean, this is, it reminds of like Lord of the Rings where he goes, “I feel like butter spread, too little butter spread thin over a piece of bread, right?” Do you ever feel, it seems like you feel that way right now, like you just have, well, I do this, and I do that, and I’m constantly going from eight AM until midnight, and then I have no time left for anything else.
Jocelyn Sams: Yeah, and so it’s not very surprising that you say you feel like you don’t have a lot of time. I mean, I totally get this. But let me ask you, what’s your vision for your website? Like, what is your plan? What do you plan to sell? What products? What services?
Grant Downes: Well, so far I do have a website up and running. It’s basically 15 different blog posts on various topics, kind of what I mentioned earlier, composting, reusable water bottles, you know, things like that, that are easy to incorporate.
Grant Downes: Each post basically walks somebody, if you had never done anything before on gardening, let’s say, I have a bunch of how tos, exactly what you need to get started, and then embedded in those posts are Amazon affiliate links. So sure, that’s basically my only way to receive money from someone right now is if they did make a purchase through one of my links.
Grant Downes: Ideally, I think what I would like to do is build up to that membership site. So, you know, for people who really want to be on board with getting more sustainable, you know, have the community, have a lot more information that they can utilize as to all right, here’s little tweaks here and there that I can help make my home, my family, my day to day activities just a little bit more sustainable.
Jocelyn Sams: Okay. So, you have that idea. You have that goal of eventually doing a membership style website, which I think is kind of interesting for this product, and you think that your main problem right now is that you just don’t have time to work on it, right?
Grant Downes: Basically.
Shane Sams: Now, wait a minute, you don’t have time or you’re not making time? So, because you chose mountain biking the other day, right? So, is this business a true priority for you, or is it something that you feel like is just another one of the 1,900 things that you slice on your pie every day?
Grant Downes: Yeah, that’s a great question. I would say that it’s probably somewhere in between. I can’t say that it’s a need, because I am employed, right? And my family is okay. It’s definitely a little bit more of a want. I would love to have this, to have more control over my life, my income, things along those lines, and then just trying to balance it in between where everything goes.
Grant Downes: You know, it’s funny, I actually let my wife read the intake form and all of the answers that I wrote down to your questions, and she’s like, you know, don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re taking care of us, you’ve got a lot going on. Yes, it would be cool to have this thing, yes, work on that when you can, but don’t stress yourself out or get too crazy.
Grant Downes: So, I don’t know. It’s definitely, for me, trying to find the balance as to yes, I would love to have this thing, and I would love to help people. Like, that’s the thing, this is something, overall, that is important to me. You know, our planet is in a precarious state, I guess, for lack of a better word, and it would be awesome to help people make a positive influence on the earth and in their lives. So yeah, finding time is that sweet spot.
Jocelyn Sams: Yeah, and I love that. I love what you said about, you know, it’s important to you to help people become aware that we do need to be involved in sustainability, and the longevity of our planet and all of the stuff on it. So, it is something that’s important.
Jocelyn Sams: I think that is important to you, but I don’t know that this is a proper recommendation for a membership site, I wouldn’t say. Would you?
Shane Sams: I’m not for sure about that. And you said something really interesting in your form, “I’m not sure how to translate the urgency I feel into creating urgency for others.” Like, you’re urgently, like, I want to be sustainable. You’ve bought into that style of life, and it’s like trying to translate that to others, but that’s kind of the wrong way to run a business.
Shane Sams: Businesses don’t succeed because you can take your passion and urgency and plant it on someone else. You can inspire someone else, right? Like, that’s possible, but usually a business that’s successful takes something in their customer that they already have an urgency for, right? And you go and give them the solution to that thing they’ve already discovered for themselves is urgent.
Shane Sams: Like, I urgently wanted to quit my job. I had to find a way to get out, because I was in a bad situation with a bad boss, right? So, I was already looking for a solution, all someone had to do was drop the solution in my face. If your house is on fire, and I walk up and hand you a fire extinguisher, I have met your urgent need, right?
Shane Sams: And this gets into the aspirin versus vitamin analogy that we often talk about. If you’re trying to make someone care as much as you, it’s going to be really hard to sell something. And that’s not what you want to do in your business anyway.
Shane Sams: You want to tell people things. You want to teach people things. You want to help them solve their problems and give them the answers that they need right in the moment, and if you’re just constantly thinking oh, man, I can’t make anyone else care as much as me, you see what I’m saying? Like, you’re not going to have motivation. You’re not going to be able to look at your calendar and say let’s see, mountain biking or mission, nah, I don’t really care about my mission as much, you know? So, it does become a harder sell to go and get people.
Shane Sams: So, if you could change the way you think about it a little bit first, of hey, wait a minute, I don’t need to create urgency, I need to find people who are already feeling urgency about this issue, it becomes a lot easier to kind of market the thing, and get involved in the thing.
Jocelyn Sams: Yeah, and I think that there is a market for this, certainly. You know, there’s a market for pretty much everything, but I just wonder if maybe you’re thinking about it the wrong way, because it seems to me like you should create something like a book that maybe you sell on your site, maybe you sell on Amazon. I don’t know, but that would create a little bit of extra income for you guys, and at the same time you’re not tied down to a membership site where you have to be there all the time serving your members, so-
Shane Sams: This almost seems like courses, too. Like, it’s hard to think about it like a membership site right, I’m sure we could get there if we work through it, but it seems like if I was going to be more sustainable, right? What’s one thing I could do, composting? Is that what you said?
Grant Downes: Sure.
Shane Sams: To become more sustainable.
Jocelyn Sams: We’re apparently not very-
Shane Sams: Not very sustainable right here.
Jocelyn Sams: … sustainability minded.
Grant Downes: Yes, start composting today. You can do it.
Shane Sams: We recycle our cardboard, how about that?
Jocelyn Sams: We do recycle cardboard, because-
Shane Sams: That’s right.
Grant Downes: Okay, that’s something.
Jocelyn Sams: … I use a lot of cardboard.
Shane Sams: Because Amazon sends us a lot of boxes. I’m just saying, Jocelyn’s got the little one-click buy option going strong.
Shane Sams: But like, what if you had a course that was like $99, and it was like how to compost, right?
Grant Downes: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Shane Sams: And then you can string together courses in a very similar way to a membership model. It’s called an ascension model, right? So, if I got into composting, what would you tell me is the next thing that I need to do, Grant? Like, what’s the next thing that I need to do?
Grant Downes: Well, if you’re composting, I guess you would probably want a place to use that compost. So, if you’re not already gardening, I might lead you in that direction.
Shane Sams: Okay. So, basically, say someone comes in and they buy your course. Well, the thank you page is not the end of a sales funnel. The thank you page is the start of the next sales funnel. So immediately, on that thank you page, it would say hey, you’re going to need something to do with all that compost, take my gardening course, that’s $97, right? And then two weeks later, if they didn’t buy it, you remind them again, because maybe they got into composting, they see it looks really cool, and they have all this big mound of compost sitting around, right?
Grant Downes: Yes.
Shane Sams: And then what does that string to next? What does that string to next? What would happen after you taught me how to garden? All right, I got my compost bin going, okay, I’ve got my garden growing, I’m like, herbs, sweet, or herbs if you’re across the pond, herbs or herbs. We’ve got some herbs and herbs growing in our compost garden, what happens next? What do I need to do?
Grant Downes: Well, then I would push you, probably, into making sure that you can store all that food from your gardening, so having nice, reusable food storage containers.
Shane Sams: Okay, there we go, so that’s another course, like how to make sustainable food supplies or whatever, you know?
Jocelyn Sams: Okay. Okay, fire hose.
Shane Sams: Sorry. I’m just saying.
Jocelyn Sams: Let’s back the truck up just a little bit.
Shane Sams: Okay. My point is that you can string together courses, which is actually a lot more passive. It does take a lot less time, right?
Grant Downes: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Shane Sams: It’s harder, because when you get a member, a member kind of just gets used to like, I’m a member, I’m a part of this community, I’m going, right?
Shane Sams: This is much more sales driven, because you have to sell the next thing, but the good thing is you create the course, like, composting is composting, right? Like, making compost is going to be the same in two years from now, how you make it, okay? Gardening is kind of gardening, right? Water, sun, plants, dirt, I don’t know what else goes into it, compost apparently.
Shane Sams: But you can make the course once, sell it forever, and you just create, my buddy calls it the funnel of death, just keep stringing together these courses over and over until people hit all the things that they buy. But you make them once, then you go sell it for six months, then you make the next course, then you go sell it for six months. And then you look up, and all of a sudden you’re like whoa, I had 500 course sales this month, or something like that.
Shane Sams: So, maybe that’s the way you could make it more immediate for people is, well, this person wants composting, right? So I need to make just that course for them.
Jocelyn Sams: Okay, I’m just laughing because I feel like this train is three towns down the way. Grant’s just watching it go by.
Grant Downes: No, it’s all good, but I do have a question. So, if we circle back to my existing content, right? So, the blog posts I have now, those are kind of, you know, in theory, designed to walk a person through that. Should I not be giving that content away?
Jocelyn Sams: Definitely not.
Shane Sams: Definitely not, no.
Grant Downes: All right, so then if I take that content away, how do I have blog posts, you know, free content, and then separate that into the paid stuff later on?
Shane Sams: Basically, your free content should only tell them what to do. So, free blog post would say you need to compost. It wouldn’t say here’s how to compost. Does that make sense?
Grant Downes: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Shane Sams: And it would tell them the reasons why they need to compost. Like, give me three reasons why I should compost without telling-
Grant Downes: I mean-
Shane Sams: … me how to do it.
Grant Downes: … you shouldn’t have that food in your trash because it’s going to stink, it’s going to fill up a landfill, and then the benefit is you can use it in your garden and provide nutrients for your garden plants.
Shane Sams: Okay, so that-
Jocelyn Sams: There’s your blog post.
Shane Sams: There’s your blog post. That’s what a blog post should be about, because now you’ve actually created urgency in me, right? Like man, I don’t want my trash to stink. I got to get that trash out of here. And gosh, I don’t want to fill up another landfill. And wait a minute, I need to garden? I don’t know how to garden. If only there was a course on this website that-
Jocelyn Sams: But wait-
Shane Sams: … taught me how to garden, right?
Jocelyn Sams: … here’s a free checklist that you can sign up for if you give me your email.
Shane Sams: Exactly. So, that’s kind of where you probably went off the rails a little bit, or maybe I went off the rails, according to Jocelyn, because I go off-
Jocelyn Sams: Um, yeah.
Shane Sams: I get a business idea and I just go with it.
Jocelyn Sams: I know, but we need to stay at this town.
Shane Sams: Okay, gotcha. Sorry. I was going to the next town. But like, that’s what you have to do is create the why, right? Maybe that’s why you’re not creating urgency is because you’re giving them a steak instead of an appetizer, right? And that’s where all your free time-
Grant Downes: Yeah.
Shane Sams: … is going to. And you also probably feel like, man, I made this thing that shows them how to do it, what do I do next, right?
Jocelyn Sams: Let me ask you a question, Grant. What if I told you that you could spend like a weekend putting together a little book about, say, composting, because that’s what we keep talking about here, and get it for sale on your website, batch up a little bit of content, meaning like a month of content, and you don’t work on it again until next month?
Grant Downes: I mean, that would be cool. That sort of a batching format is definitely where I need to focus, because you know, midweek commitments, soccer practice, all that stuff. Yeah, if I could set aside six hours, eight hours, 12 hours, whatever that weekend timeframe is, crank-
Jocelyn Sams: Exactly.
Grant Downes: Crank a bunch of things out, and then have it be there and just trickle out over time, that would certainly be helpful.
Shane Sams: Yeah, I think that’s probably the way you should go. And you may, eventually, all your customers, you could even, if you wanted to create some kind of community environment you could throw together a quick Facebook group, and everybody that bought an eBook, or everybody that bought a course, you could just throw them in there, they could all talk about sustainability together, and that’s where your fans kind of just hang out, right?
Grant Downes: Sure. Yeah, I have a Facebook group, there’s just no one there, so-
Shane Sams: Right, exactly.
Shane Sams: But your sales can kind of end up there, like, eventually, and that’s-
Grant Downes: Yeah, yeah, oh yeah.
Shane Sams: … you just string these courses together. But you could actually create like what Jocelyn just said, pick one weekend a month to create your content, you have 28 other days to do whatever else you want, like run for village council and ride into the mountains on your bike, right? And then, after that, you know, you don’t have to do anymore, but your goal would be day one, create a new product, right? Like the gardening product.
Jocelyn Sams: Like something to sell.
Shane Sams: Something to sell. Day two would be create a lead magnet for that product and write like three blog posts about it, or maybe one blog post. You know, a lot of people have been asking me lately, wow, I just, I want to be a prolific content creator, and I’m like, no, that’s not what you should do, you should be a consistent content creator, you should be a prolific promoter.
Shane Sams: You could literally make a course on Saturday, or an eBook, that tells them how to do something like gardening, composting, plastics, whatever, you know, and the next day write one epic blog post on why that’s so important, and then create a lead magnet for it, and then just set up an ad to promote it for the rest of the month, let it work for you, right? That’s your whole business model.
Shane Sams: And you just, eventually you’ve got to string these together in an order in your sales funnel that’s like, okay, the first one is composting, the second one is gardening, the third one is food storage, and these kind of sell out over time, right?
Grant Downes: Yes.
Jocelyn Sams: Okay. And so, your goal is to do this in X hours per month, okay? So, maybe you give yourself eight hours to get it done, and that’s how much time you have. So, if you get one blog post done, and one product done, and you send out a couple emails, then that’s your eight hours.
Shane Sams: Are these long blog-
Jocelyn Sams: Then you move on to the next month.
Shane Sams: Are these really long blog posts, the ones you’ve already created? They actually show you how to compost, like literally how to do it?
Grant Downes: Yeah, they vary. Gardening and composting are longer. I mean, I have another one, for example, that’s air drying clothes, pretty short. So, it just depends on the topic, but-
Shane Sams: Okay. So, I would probably pull those down, the big, the two, like the best ones, like the gardening and the composting one, take those off, turn those into products, okay? You might have to flesh them out, right?
Grant Downes: Sure.
Shane Sams: But that will get you a jump start on the first ones. And they can be, these don’t have to be super expensive, they could be $10 eBooks, right? It’s just something people download, and it shows them how to do it. Because if it shows them how to compost and it solves a problem, it doesn’t matter the length or the format. All that matters is if it solves someone’s problem, if someone wanted to learn about that for $19 on a 20-page eBook that’s cool, right?
Shane Sams: So, you could totally sell that, because it solves a problem. Pull those off, use those as your first two eBooks. You already have the products basically done, okay?
Grant Downes: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Shane Sams: And do what Jocelyn said, write a blog post on the why. You just told us why we should compost, so you’ve already got that outlined, and then make some kind of checklist, like the things you need to compost, right? Like, you need X, Y, and Z. And then, of course, that’s for the opt in. And then the opt in goes to the sales page, you start selling your eBooks, and then you write the next one next month. So, 12 months from now you have 12 eBooks selling all over the place. Put them on Amazon, put them on your website, put them everywhere.
Jocelyn Sams: So, I think this solves a lot of problems for you. It helps you to be able to get something done in a short amount of time. It helps you to hopefully make some extra income, and just kind of satisfies that curiosity of can I do this, can I make something work?
Jocelyn Sams: Could you change it in the future to become something bigger, of course? Like, if you start seeing it get some traction, and you’re like, hey, this is really cool, I wonder if I could make something else out of this, well, of course you can. But if you just want to see what’s happening, and just kind of prove a theory to yourself, can I do this, can I make some extra money online, I think this is probably going to be the best way for you to go.
Shane Sams: And another note on recurring revenue, whenever people get into a membership site, or recurring revenue, recurring revenue only just simply means that your existing customers pay you again, and again, and again, okay? So, it’s not like it has to be what we have, this forum of hundreds of people hanging out on Q&As, right? That’s not what a membership has to look like. That’s a good way to do it, but it doesn’t have to look that way.
Shane Sams: Recurring revenue can be I created 100 really cool customers. They really like what I do, so I sell them something else next month and they buy it again, right?
Grant Downes: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Shane Sams: And then they become super fans. And then, 30 days later, I create a new product and they buy it again. So, that’s all what recurring revenue means is you have an existing group of customers that love what you do, want the next thing, you create the next thing and they buy it again, okay? So, you can create that recurring revenue for yourself just based on your customer list.
Grant Downes: Right. Now, I wanted to ask you a little bit about community. So, we talked a little bit about sure, you could have a community group on the side, but I feel like there’s two buckets to put that in, right? So, you could either have, excuse me, you could either have the … like a private Facebook group for your existing customers, or let’s say you could have a free Facebook group, and try to bring people in and lead them to products. Do you guys see an advantage one way or the other?
Shane Sams: I mean, for us, the way our business works in Flipped Lifestyle, we definitely want to put them in a paid community, right? But, for another business that we have, USHistoryTeachers.com, it’s an education company that sells lesson plans to social studies teachers, that one has no paid community, not at all. It has a big Facebook group. It’s actually the largest Facebook group for social studies and US history teachers on Facebook, okay?
Shane Sams: So, that’s a big community, I share memes, everybody, it gets dozens and dozens of shares and likes, and people laugh and have fun. So, I’ve kind of created this free community there, right? But it has no paid component to it. So, it’s more of a what does the business really need, right?
Shane Sams: Our business for Flipped Lifestyle, people need a community. You need to be surrounded by other people. You need to see people succeeding to keep you moving, right? You need to have some accountability, place to go ask questions. US History Teachers, eh, they just want something funny to get them through the day, and they need their lesson plans in the morning.
Jocelyn Sams: And of course there are benefits and drawbacks to each way. I mean, the benefits of a paid community is that you don’t have to babysit them as much because, you know, the people, they’ve paid money, they’re not going to come in there and spam it up, usually. Free groups, sometimes you’ll get people in there who are trying to basically poach your customers, and pitch them stuff, and all that kind of stuff. And so, you’re going to have a little bit more, like, babysitting of that type of community, but the good news is that it can bring potential customers in to your environment.
Shane Sams: I would still think that there’s a coaching component to what he’s doing, don’t you think? Like-
Jocelyn Sams: Yeah, totally. I mean-
Shane Sams: … if I downloaded a composting thing, and my, whatever, maybe my composting pile didn’t compost, or caught on fire, or I don’t know what would happen bad in composting, but let’s say my garden, the plants wouldn’t grow, I would think I would need to ask the dude who wrote the book, you know, hey, why is this herb not growing, you know what I’m saying?
Grant Downes: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Shane Sams: So like, it seems like there is a community element about this that could be paid on the back end of all of your coursework, or bookwork.
Jocelyn Sams: I think that there are a lot of different opportunities that you could pursue, you know, as your schedule freed up, or as you see a need. But for now, if I were you, I would just start kind of with what we’re talking about as far as like the eBook, and possibly get into some courses if you see that that’s catching on. How do you feel about that strategy?
Grant Downes: You know, I do like that a lot. That does break things down a little bit for me in terms of okay, because I, well, a big concern, you know, thinking about membership, has been all right, well, if I’ve got this free content, how do I then create pay content that’s even better. This system, the way we’ve talked through today, definitely helps, okay, separate the why into the free content, and then the good stuff will be paid but still, you know, there and available for everybody.
Grant Downes: And even about the coaching, I remember that was in the training somewhere that you guys mentioned hey, if nothing else, have a button on your website that says, you know, individual coaching, click here.
Shane Sams: Exactly.
Grant Downes: And then that’s always been in the back of my mind as something that, yeah, I’d like to be available as well.
Shane Sams: And just one more thing, circling around to the beginning of this conversation, stop trying to put your passion and urgency on your customers. Go find customers who share your passion and urgency, right? Someone, somewhere, is typing into Google right now, how do I compost, okay? And if you have a thing called how to compost, they will eventually find you, right?
Shane Sams: So, try to jump in front of existing traffic. Don’t try to find some random person, and shake them, and go save the world! Right?
Grant Downes: Right.
Shane Sams: Like, don’t do that. Find the people who are already looking for it, and let your content be kind of the bait that kind of like draws them in.
Jocelyn Sams: Yeah, and on the time, I just wanted to throw this in here too, one of the things that you might have to practice, and this is something that I have to practice too, is saying no, and this is something that can be hard for people, you know? You have your kids involved in stuff. You want to help coach the team. You want to be there for the community meeting. You want to be there for your kids’ back to school stuff and all that kind of thing.
Jocelyn Sams: But there are times that we have to say no to stuff, and I think that that would probably help you, you know, to prioritize and say okay, well, I had this time blocked out to work on my business, I’m not going to be able to attend the mountain biking meeting or whatever, you know?
Grant Downes: Right.
Jocelyn Sams: Like, you’re going to have to figure out, and that’s something that you can only do yourself, what is the most important, and how do I make it a priority?
Shane Sams: And these can be hard decisions. I had a friend the other day who was really, really involved in the church for years, and years, and years, and leadership, and doing all these things, and was really, you know how it is when you volunteer for stuff, you kind of, you know, it’s 80/20 rule, right? Only 20% of the people are ever doing anything.
Shane Sams: So it’s people rely on you, you get really ingrained, and then all of a sudden people start over asking, you’re doing so many different things, you didn’t say no for years and now you’re saying yes to everything. And he had this really big dream that he wanted to start his own business, and do these things, and I actually said to him hey, when we started our online business and it got traction, we had to let go of a couple things.
Shane Sams: One of those things was actually teaching a small group that we taught in school, at like Sunday school or whatever, for like two years, okay? And it was a group of our friends, but we just had to step back from it because there are only so many hours in the day. You’re only awake 16 hours a day, right?
Grant Downes: Right.
Shane Sams: So, we had to say we’re going to give up some things now that we can get back later if we want them, okay? And he stepped down from all of his leadership positions. He started a business, made his first sale the other day, and things are kind of rocking now, you know?
Shane Sams: So, there are things you’re going to have to say no to to be able to get the things that you want, and that’s going to be really hard. You might have to wait to mountain bike, but wouldn’t it be amazing if you could take a month long mountain biking trip later because you didn’t have to go to work, you know?
Grant Downes: Oh yeah, absolutely. And I have gotten better at that in the last few years. My wife and I joke that if I sign up for anything else I will come home and all of my stuff will be in the yard. So-
Shane Sams: Yeah, don’t want that. That’s a bad thing.
Grant Downes: … yeah, we’re getting a balance there. Yeah, it will be okay.
Jocelyn Sams: All right, Grant. It has been really fun talking with you today, and I really look forward to seeing what happens with your sustainable living website.
Jocelyn Sams: Before we go, we always like to ask our guests, what is one thing that you plan to take action on based on what we talked about today?
Grant Downes: I really want to go back to those two big posts, basically the gardening and the composting, and try to format, I need to do that, I’m sure, go through the Flipped Lifestyle training to see what an eBook would look like, and then start to put things in motion to get those going.
Shane Sams: That’s an awesome goal, Grant, but I want to push you a little bit. I want to challenge you a little more here. Grant is coming to Flip Your Life LIVE in just a few weeks, so I kind of want to tie this goal to that. I want to challenge you to have the first product, the first lead magnet, and everything leading to it on your site before you set foot in the door. And I actually want you to like start an ad for it, maybe you just boost a post-
Grant Downes: Oh, yeah.
Shane Sams: … on Facebook, before you come to Flip Your Life.
Shane Sams: Because like, wouldn’t it be amazing if you made that first sale of this first product before you actually got to Lexington, Kentucky. Would that be amazing?
Grant Downes: That would be amazing. It would be really cool to see all this background and work actually translate into some dollars.
Shane Sams: Exactly, so let’s-
Jocelyn Sams: All right.
Shane Sams: … put that on there. I challenge you. I’m going to be there at check in. I’m going to find you. But I’m going have them-
Grant Downes: All right.
Shane Sams: … call me, I’m going to say, is Grant here? Where’s Grant? Has Grant showed up yet? And I’m going to be like, did you put it online? Show it to me. I want to see it. Okay? And if you-
Grant Downes: All right.
Shane Sams: … make your first sale you got to post it in the Flip Your Life LIVE Facebook group, okay?
Grant Downes: Sounds awesome.
Shane Sams: All right, guys, that wraps up another great discussion with one of our Flip Your Life communities. We can’t wait to meet Grant at Flip Your Life LIVE in Lexington, Kentucky, on September 19th through the 21st to see how he is doing on his goals.
Shane Sams: We would love to meet you in Lexington, Kentucky as well, but if you don’t act fast, we won’t get that chance, because we only have a few tickets left before the event, and it is coming up very, very soon. All you have to do to get your ticket to Flip Your Life LIVE is go to FlippedLifestyle.com/Live and you can get one of the few remaining tickets that we have left. As of today, we only have 13 tickets left to the event.
Shane Sams: And please remember, we are not doing Flip Your Life LIVE in 2020. This is your last chance to go. So, if you were putting it off, you were waiting, you are running out of time. The tickets are almost gone, the time is almost running out, and we are not going to be doing this event again next year. So, go to FlippedLifestyle.com/Live and see if any tickets are left today.
Shane Sams: Before we go we’d love to share a Bible verse with you. Jocelyn and I draw a lot of our inspiration and motivation from the Bible. Today’s Bible verse comes from Proverbs 24, verse 27, and it says, “Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house.” So, get your priorities in order. Get your plans set so that you can accomplish the things that you want for your family and in your online business.
Shane Sams: That’s all the time we have for this week, guys. Until next time, get out there, take action, and do whatever it takes to flip your life. See you soon.
Jocelyn Sams: Bye.
Links and resources mentioned on today’s show:
- Grant’s Website
- Flip Your Life LIVE 2019 Tickets & Registration Information
- Flip Your Life community
- PROLIFIC Monthly
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