True Confessions Of A Wife And Her Ex-Con Husband Who Went From Selling Trash To Earning Multiple Six Figures…
… And Why Sometimes Making Money Feels A Lot Like Being In Prison…
“Change your focus from making money to serving more people.”
~ Robert Kiyosaki
On Christmas of 2012, Mike and I were making a CRAPTON of money…
I’m talking 6+ figures. And we were doing it all for clients we had found online.
But here’s something you don’t think about when you decide to start your own online business…
You start it for freedom, but if you have any kind of success at all, you’re going to reach a point where it sucks because you become enslaved to the day-to-day workings of your business.
Here’s how that went for us:
On Christmas of 2012, Mike and I were busy turning our clients into millionaires.
We were doing “done for you” marketing services for our clients. Doing it all. Sales pages, landing pages, funnels, webinars, launches, emails, graphics, you name it.
I imagine that Christmas our clients were skiing on top of the Alps, or escaping the cold weather and enjoying an island vacation, or some cute freakin’ stuff like cuddling up in front of cozy fire with their loved ones without a care in the world…
Meanwhile, on a mountaintop in Michigan, we were literally working our butts off to give our current clients the kind of freedom, fun, and happiness we had been dreaming about from day one of entrepreneurship.
We couldn’t take a real vacation because we had too many client needs to manage over the holidays. Instead, it was a “work-cation” to visit family.
My family lives in a teeny little town in Michigan with population of about 500 (I’m talking a little one blinking traffic light, kind of town).
We were out in the middle of nowhere, on the tippity top of a mountain, and of course, the big surprise when we got there was that there was no Internet.
So we took the long haul up and down this big mountain, driving into town every couple hours to hop on the Internet and take care of business.
It was a long drive, and since we’re Floridians, we have no clue how to drive in the snow, haha. I kid you not, every single time we ended up getting the vehicle stuck in the snow and had to wait for someone to come tow us out. Hours a day wasted with this crap. Some vacation, eh?
That’s when it hit us:
We didn’t own our business anymore. Our business owned us.
We were making craptons of money, but we were constantly strapped for time, burnt out, and completely miserable.
Even one tiny thought about our strong family values or all the “plans” we had to homeschool and be an ever-present influence in our kids lives, made us want to cry. We didn’t see how that junk was going to happen NOW.
We reached “money goals” but the reality of our life was not even close to the vision we had when we started down the road of entrepreneurship.
It was painfully real just how UNscalable our business was. We ROCKED at what we did. We had a waiting list of clients who wanted to work with us, but if we took on one more client, we’d literally implode!
Our business owned us, and we were its prisoners.
Which is funny…
Because our relationship started in prison.
I’m not talking about the one you picture in your mind when you’re stuck on a snowy mountain on Christmas day.
I’m talking about real prison –Orange jumpsuits. Iron bars. You know the place (Okay, maybe you don’t know the place… but you know what I mean).
From Behind Bars To Building Businesses
Let’s rewind to before Mike and I ever got our first taste of success with our done-for-you marketing business (which turned out not to be so “successful” once we started analyzing what success really meant to us that Christmas)…
Mike and I met while he was in prison. I was a DJ on a Christian Hip-Hop radio station, and he was my #1 fan. (aww, I could go on and on about the love story part, but we don’t have all day here, haha, so I’ll stick to the relevant “business” parts of the story)
While in prison, Mike studied everything he could get his hands on. He learned 4 additional languages. He even started his first entrepreneurial journey there.
We learned about business, marketing, and life together. Everything about entrepreneurship (and especially marketing) intrigued us and energized us.
I decided to take the plunge into starting a business of my own while Mike was still in prison in 2004.
By 2006, I was operating my own brick and mortar local biz full-time and earning over 6 figures all by myself.
Unfortunately, by the time 2009 rolled around, the economy was tanking, and my local biz was feeling the pain.
I live where Kennedy Space Center is and when the Space Shuttle Program got shut down, real estate bubble bursting, people were leaving our county in droves. My business at that time was completely dependent on the local economy, and well, that sucked.
Knowing Mike was only a few months from being able to come home, I took a job with a client friend of mine to pay the bills. I figured when Mike got out, he could take over my brick-and-mortar biz and start rebuilding it while I had a little “safety net”.
In September 2009, Mike came home and we got married in October.
3 months later, I got fired from the job “because I married an ex-con.” Crappy, right?
It was like God was saying, “Safety net – Safety SCHMET!”
Soon after we found out we were pregnant!
A lot happened in between there that led to this realization, but Mike and I knew the solution to our current penniless problem…
We wanted real freedom. Freedom to run our biz our way. Freedom to make crazy amounts of money despite the local economy or other people’s prejudices.
Our dream of freedom existed in the digital economy… Going online.
So, we decided to start “funding our dream”…
What Better Way To Fund Your Dream Business
Than Sell Trash On Craigslist?
You can’t just up and start an online business when you’re currently dead broke (I recall we had literally $40 in our bank account at the time), and when you’re jobless, pregnant, and your new husband just got out of prison.
So we started doing something most people wouldn’t dare even dream of…
We started flipping trash for cash profits.
We sold junk on Craigslist, on eBay, we did storage unit auctions, garage sales every weekend – Heck, I even took a crappy telemarketing job for a couple months just to get money in the bank.
We had a goal in sight and we were going to do whatever it took to achieve that goal – even if that meant skulking around dumpsters late at night, digging through the trash to find something someone might pay us for.
You’re probably thinking, “No way, they didn’t really do that…”
But I’m strangely proud yet embarrassed to tell you: Oh yes. We did.
And that’s exactly how we developed…
Our Shameless, Pride-less Hustle Mentality
That Earned Us Our First $100,000 Online
I’m not saying that I recommend you start digging through the trash if you want to start making money. Although, if this is what you need/want to do to fund your dreams, then by all means do what you gotta do!
What I am saying is that hard work pays off. And if you want to achieve your business goals (or any goal in life), you’ve got to be 100% committed. Otherwise, you’re going to crash and burn fast and keep looking for the easy way out until you give up on your freedom dreams.
You need to find out what your goal is. What’s the driving force that’s going to keep you going when you find yourself knee-deep in trash?
Without a goal and a mindset that’s committed to reaching that goal… you’re getting nowhere.
I can honestly say that it was our hustle mentality to do whatever needed doing to get to our goal of building an online business that pushed us forward.
Well, our hustle mentality and the fact that we had no safety net to fall back on…
“Burn The Ships”
You’ve probably heard the old phrase “Burn The Ships.” Feel free to Google the story behind it after you read this. It’s pretty cool.
Anyway, God kept saying this to Mike and I as we continued to hustle toward our goal of starting an online business.
We sat down and had a serious talk about where we were going. One thing was very clear…
If we wanted to get to the next level, we had to burn the ships that were holding us back.
In this case, that was quitting my telemarketing job – our only form of stable income.
For lack of better words, it was scary as crap. But we both knew it would give us both the time to really buckle down and get hardcore with this new online business so we could grow it faster.
And it worked.
From Small Things (Come A Goldmine Of Profits)
In June of 2010, we were finally online with our first $99 website! It wasn’t much, but we used it to start getting our first online clients on Elance.
Soon after, things started getting real…
I don’t know why we didn’t think of this sooner. I really have no excuse. But while we were working with our first clients online (doing basic VA work and admin stuff), I remembered something I had done for a client back when I owned my local brick and mortar biz.
A client had paid me to transcribe a whole bunch of things from some direct response marketing LEGENDS – guys like Dan Kennedy, Rich Schefren, Ron Legrand, and Bill Glazer. I was actually getting PAID to listen to their mastermind meetings, seminars, live events, training programs and more – this was valuable stuff that other people had paid hundreds and tens of thousands of dollars to hear, and I was getting PAID to listen in!
We got our hands on all those recordings as fast as we could and re-studied every word, just like we’d done when we first started our journey into entrepreneurship while Mike was in prison.
But this time we studied it with the context of our online clients’ businesses in mind.
We decided to take those strategies for a test drive with our clients and put them into lots of different scenarios and niches. Turned out, our ideas worked.
We became “idea suggesting machines” for our clients, consulting with them on marketing strategies (even though we had no idea at the time that was what we were actually doing)…
And Our Clients Were Getting Results!
Mike and I had fallen in love with marketing even more. Learning about it was cool. But DOING IT totally got us hooked. The more we shared with clients, the more help they wanted.
We were able to take all the strategies and ideas we first learned from those recordings and start tweaking and customizing them to our client needs to get some incredible results.
Our little online VA biz turned into done-for-you marketing services where we specialized in marketing support for all kinds of clients – from solopreneurs to mega millionaires.
We learned day by day, by digging in to the client work that kept pouring in. Using their money, we tried, tested, measured and proved as many ideas and strategies as we could create… We found out firsthand what actually worked and what “hot new strategy” was a flop.
Within 18 months, we had gone from selling trash to earning over 6 figures and having a waitlist of high value clients!
And that brings us right back to…
The Saddest Christmas Ever
Christmas of 2012. Mike and I were making loads of money. Our online business was a “success” by all financial standards.
But we were miserable. We couldn’t even take the time to step away from our work to enjoy Christmas.
We knew it was time for a change.
A Leveraged & Scalable Solution
When Mike and realized our lifestyle goals didn’t match up with our business goals, we made a few changes…
We fired all our clients.
We burned all our ships.
And we started over. Again.
Was it scary? Absolutely.
Would I do it again? Absolutely.
Because here’s the thing:
If you’re too busy hustling 24/7/365 and trading time for dollars…
Then you’re not going to have any kind of life. And I don’t know about you, but that’s not my idea of “success.”
If you can’t run your business and still have time to spend with your family, to take a vacation, to give back, see the world, and to enjoy every fleeting moment of your life…
Then the money isn’t worth it.
And if your focus is only on making more money, then you can’t focus on the things that really matter like…
Serving More People
Mike and I found this out firsthand, and that’s when we decided to change our business model and make the switch into online coaching, teaching & mentoring – So we could serve more people who wanted to make money online.
Not only could we serve more people – but with our life experiences, we could now serve them in a much cooler way than just helping them make money. We could also mix in all the lessons we learned along the way for those who were struggling to achieve the same balance, who wanted to earn an income without sacrificing their family and time, who wanted to live a lifestyle like we do now.
Here’s what our freedom lifestyle looks like these days…
- We have fully optimized marketing and sales funnels that bring us profits while we spend time hanging out with our kids, going on a date, or vacation.
- We can go to sleep peacefully knowing that we’ll never have to worry about where our next client is going to come from… OR how we’re going to keep up with a mind-boggling to-do list.
- We have a scalable online business model that provides unlimited income potential… and we don’t have to work 80+ hours to operate it. (In fact, I only work 14 hours a week)
- We have financial freedom that takes care of all our needs and allows us to enjoy some finer things in life too… PLUS we have all the time freedom we could ever want to enjoy each moment we’re given in this life!
If that kind of lifestyle sounds like something you’re interested in, I encourage you to reach out to us to find out more about our popular Group Coaching Program or Private 1:1 Coaching so you can learn the same sales and marketing strategies that have provided us with this level of freedom.
I know what you’re thinking – everybody thinks they’re an expert these days. The Internet is flooded with coaches who want to sell you their ideas…
But let me just stop you right there and remind you we’re not one hit wonders. We’re not some jackwagon “gurus” regurgitating something we just heard on another “guru’s” webinar last week… nor did we enter the “online world” with some pre-existing wad-o-cash to pay someone else to make us digitally famous overnight.
We were true bootstrappers.
And let me remind you that we teach the strategies, methods, creative ideas, and solutions we have spent YEARS of our life trying, testing, proving, and retesting… in several niches.
We learned from doing. We know what actually works. We know what won’t. We can spot a hole in your strategy from a mile away.
We learned in the trenches, digging in to our clients’ problems and how we could use marketing to solve them. Using their money, we tried, tested, measured and proved as many ideas and strategies as we could create. We found out firsthand what actually worked and what “hot new strategy” was a flop.
So, if you want to work with some folks who eat, sleep, and breathe the stuff that gives you the true success, abundance, and most importantly, freedom that you want, click below to learn more.
Thanks for taking the time to get to know us, and we can’t wait to hear from you!
P.S. >> If we could make it to over 6 figures, 3 times in a row, with 3 different businesses, IN SPITE of all the crappy circumstances thrown at us… you can too.
P.S.S. >> If we could build the life and biz of our dreams with some good old fashioned hustle, and focused hardcore strategies… you can too.