From Teacher to $12,000 a Month: Here's What I've Learned So Far

From Teacher to $12,000 a Month: Here’s What I’ve Learned So Far

I think anyone that has followed my story can probably tell you that this site started off the same way a lot of blogs (and small businesses for that matter) do. It was small, I didn’t have a consistent readership, and generally didn’t really know what I was supposed to be doing.

There’s a pretty big misconception out there about online businesses to be honest. Everyone that I know with a normal job tends to think that I really don’t do anything for a living. One of my good friends and I have a running joke that I just tap around on the computer and money magically shows up in my bank accounts haha.

The reality is that the past two years have been filled with a lot of successes and failures, and definitely learning curves every step of the way. That’s not to say that my job isn’t freaking awesome (because it is), but there are definitely some things I had to figure out.

Here’s what I’ve learned about running an online business (and making more $$$ in general):

It’s slow AF

IΒ always feel like I’m breaking some kind of sales rule when I talk about this, because one of the main parts of my business is showing other people how to start blogs. I could just pretend that blogging is the easiest and fastest way to make money so I could sell more stuff, but holy crap it is not at all haha.

Business, like anything in life, takes more patience than I think humans are supposed to have. I constantly have to remind myself (after my wife reminds me) that I’m doing the right things and this business will continue to grow. You would think that my income reports would be enough to convince me of that, but they aren’t. It’s weird.

Related: December 2016 Online Income Report: $12,581.87

This really translates to anything you are all working on financially or with your career. Don’t be too fast to make changes to what you are doing. Pick a path and stick with it for a really really really long time. Then, if it ultimately doesn’t work – you adjust and try again.

You have to learn how to sell

I always was SO jealous of people I knew who could sell things face to face. It’s such an unbelievable skill if you can convince people to take money out of their pocket and give it to you (and feel good about it).

I’ve never really been too good at it. I think I’m a smart person, but in face to face “sell jobs” that I’ve tried in the past…it really didn’t go well for a few reasons:

1. I have no filter for bluntness. If something sucks, I have no idea how to spin it into a positive.
2. I am way too nice and immediately underprice my services because I feel bad for the other person. So so weird.

Luckily, with M$M I’ve found that online sales is something I’m actually good at. The lesson here is that if you suck at one type of sales, you might be good at another!

I’ve also learned that you need to learn how to sell yourself. A lot of people are too self conscious and tend to downplay how awesome they are. If you want that greatΒ job that you’ve applied for or want people to buy something from you, you’ll need to get over that.

Read also: The Patience Challenge

Making money is about providing value

That’s really the name of the game. The reason that people keep coming back to this site three times a week is that I try as hard as I can to think of things that will help people when I write. Too many millennial entrepreneurs are concerned about making themselves into “a brand” or trying to be an expert at something.

The real way you do any of that is by adding as much value to people’s lives as possible. There’s no way around it in my opinion. I started M$M because I passionately wanted to help people. I NEVER started this site with the thought that it would become my full-time gig.

As important as I feel providing value in business is, it’s ten times more important in life. In this “selfish” generation that wants more work-life balance, there needs to be a bigger focus on going out of our way to make people’s lives better in whatever way we can.

Over the last two years, I’ve found that the key to business and life are pretty similar: be a good person and the rest will take care of itself.

Question for you:

How are you trying to provide value to other people? It doesn’t have to be business related.

 

Live differently. Your bank accounts will thank me later. ~M$M

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30 comments… add one
  • Kyle Feb 1, 2017, 8:03 am

    Good perspective here Bobby. Definitely anything worth doing in life and being successful takes time. Keep up the great work-I’ve enjoyed following πŸ‘Š

  • Financial Samurai Feb 1, 2017, 8:17 am

    Selling is definitely a good school. Congratulations on your financial success. I’ve got an interesting question though because I’m strongly considering the becoming a teacher and have an interview today with an Athletic director for the high school.

    What are the reasons why you left teaching? It is such an admirable profession to help kids learn and become good people. Did you just get sick of it? or is the professional all it seems to be? Perhaps it’s the financial aspect of things? I’ve never been a teacher but it sounds like something worthwhile doing.

    Thx,

    Sam

    • Millennial Money Man Feb 1, 2017, 8:31 am

      Haha that’s awesome on the interview – you must have a lot of time on your hands Sam! I’ve actually thought about getting a conventional job again once this thing really gets going. Isn’t that weird?

      Teaching is an awesome career, but at the time I couldn’t get over the fact that my yearly teaching raise was less than the rate of inflation. I was literally taking a cut in pay every year that I became more experienced.

      Also – I’m just not the best employee. I hated being told what to do, and usually felt like I could figure out a better way of doing things. It made working with my bosses a little difficult, but looking back now I think it was just because I needed to own my own business. Hopefully that makes sense.

      I think aside from the money aspect, teaching is great. There are a lot of things that I miss about it, but I just found that I enjoy doing this even more. I’m not ruling out going back to teach in some capacity later down the road, but probably not full-time.

  • The Financial Tech Feb 1, 2017, 8:20 am

    Great post and great way of seeing things. Most of the time success take a long time before achieving it but it’s possible.

    On my side, I’m trying to provide value to others by sharing my experience, tip, mistake. I think learning from others is one of the best way to learn.

    • Millennial Money Man Feb 1, 2017, 8:24 am

      That’s awesome – and you’re definitely right. Learning by experience is the best way IMO.

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher Feb 1, 2017, 8:50 am

    It’s really hard to be a marketer when you’re blunt! I face that on a daily basis. But at the end of the day I think people appreciate a candid approach to promoting content/products. Work that bluntness. πŸ™‚

    I’d like my blog to be a full-time gig. This past month has been fantastic for growth, so that’s encouraging. I’ve been trying to provide more awesome free downloads and freebies to reward regular readers. I like to think people appreciate it. πŸ™‚

    • Millennial Money Man Feb 1, 2017, 8:58 am

      Hehe yeah I’ve definitely tried to soften it over the past couple of years. Just keep going! So many people quit right before they could potentially blow up!!!!!

  • Twenty first century teacher Feb 1, 2017, 8:54 am

    You have definitely inspired me! I am a teacher who makes money selling curriculum online via Teachers Pay Teachers, and I have a large following on Social Media websites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linked In and Pintrest. Right now, I am trying to learn how to monetize my blogs, and you have been and awesome resource. Keep writing because you are going to help me become financially free.

    • Millennial Money Man Feb 1, 2017, 8:59 am

      Woah that’s such an awesome side hustle! I’ve honestly never heard of TPT, but I’ll check it out. Glad I’ve been able to help πŸ™‚

  • Mad Money Monster Feb 1, 2017, 9:01 am

    I always do my hardest to be the absolute BEST person I can for other people. Whether that means as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, etc. I am the person anyone can call at 2am and I’ll be there as fast as humanly possibly. One of my passions is also personal finance. I tried and tried and tried to “help” people around me and provide different ways of thinking, but try as I might, it mostly fell on deaf ears. That’s when I realized that I can’t change the way someone thinks about their money and future, unless they want to change the way they think about their money and future. I’m also proof that you can have plenty of financial missteps along the way and still come out ahead an retire early (fingers crossed). Hence, a blog was born.

    Great job on your site. It’s inspirational to see how many people you have been able to reach in such a relatively short period of time.

    Mrs. Mad Money Monster

    • Millennial Money Man Feb 1, 2017, 9:09 am

      Thank you! Yes it has been pretty crazy to watch the site grow over the past two years.

      I’ve actually gotten to the point where I won’t offer any financial tips to my friends or family. There’s just no upside in it for me – don’t want to offend anyone haha!

  • The Savvy Couple Feb 1, 2017, 12:06 pm

    Great perspective and we always get something out of your articles.

    We have always believed that if you have value, knowledge, education you should share it with others. I have helped many friends get setup selling things online.

    Brittany taught dance for 6-7 years.
    I coach High School CYO basketball.
    I was a Vollenteer fire fighter for 5 years.

    We love doing our part in the community. There is honestly no better feeling than helping others!

    Through our blog we want to share our financial knowledge with others. Our successes and failures, being completely transparent. I think we have a unique background being high school sweet hearts.

    Knowledge is power. We are trying to find our focus and really run with it. For being 5 months into blogging it has been an awesome ride and we can’t wait to see what the future has.

    Thanks for the advice!

  • Kraken Feb 1, 2017, 2:08 pm

    I like that you said, “Pick a path and stick with it for a really really really long time.” I’ve had the hardest time sticking to one thing, I am constantly enticed by shiny objects and want to try something new. Focusing on one thing and single tasking it is a huge struggle for me. I was thinking about taking the SEO course you mentioned last week but didn’t because I considered it another shiny object taking me away from my primary focus which is my blog.
    In my personal life, I try to add value to people by doing work I don’t mind or even enjoy doing. I love washing dishes, it’s the weirdest thing, but I’ll wash dishes at a friend’s house without being asked, especially if they cook.
    Thanks for another valuable article, Bobby.

    • Millennial Money Man Feb 1, 2017, 3:51 pm

      Blogging is definitely tough because it takes SO MUCH TIME…usually with no results haha. I went a year and a half without really making money from the site. That’s just part of the game.

      And yes, it is weird that you enjoy dishes haha.

  • Gerald Feb 1, 2017, 3:13 pm

    Well, that wasn’t the kind of post I was expecting to find here. And having been blogging, and I hope providing value, for quite a while now, things still are about to get difficult. Again. Which makes the whole “just provide value” and “I make most of my money blogging about how to make money blogging” sound really old. (Which it is.)

    At the same time, I feel inspired. There are just too many things where it’s too easy to think “I can’t provide any value, everyone knows what I do, who’d ever be interested in my silly strange life”… and promptly overlook that things might not be like that at all.

    Also: I’m on my way to finally becoming an outright teacher, have been in education a lot – and find that even my blog(s) is/are educational. Just, not in a school-like way. I hope πŸ˜‰

    Now to see if I can find ways to make a living, after all…

    • Millennial Money Man Feb 1, 2017, 3:49 pm

      Well, I can honestly tell you that most people don’t actually provide value but think they are. If you truly are, then you’ll make money doing this over the long term. Value = trust, which = sales. If you aren’t building up the trust then you may need to change your content strategy. And I don’t actually make most of my money teaching people about blogging, but it is a chunk of my business. I also make money from affiliate sales in other areas, staff writing, and advertising revenue (along with my marketing work for small businesses).

      There are a lot of things to this game, but the overarching strategy is pretty simple in theory. Write stuff that people like reading, and promote products that are actually helpful to them.

  • David Chen Feb 1, 2017, 8:53 pm

    Making a blog is definitely NOT fast money but it has so many benefits! It’s really a release for me and I love sharing my advice and thoughts. And maintaining an online business takes a whole lot of care and maintenance but honestly I love it.

  • Go Finance Yourself! Feb 2, 2017, 7:21 am

    Great post M$M. We live in a value driven world. If you don’t provide value, be it at work, in relationships, or any aspect of life, then you won’t get what you want. I’ve found a way to create value at work by identifying areas of need that will help the company, and setting up plans to accomplish them. I’ve also created value for myself by starting a blog. I’m in the early stages, and it’s slow going at first as are any new businesses, but the process of growing it has been very rewarding and has been a blast so far!

    • Millennial Money Man Feb 2, 2017, 7:55 am

      Thanks! Yes, you’re totally right about value. A lot of people don’t ever fully realize that concept. Just remember that I went basically a year and a half without any success on this site!

  • Julie @ Millennial Boss Feb 2, 2017, 11:11 am

    I like teaching too but have never wanted to dedicate 40+hours a week to it. One thing I did a few years ago was reach out to the local library and ask if I can use their space to teach a gifted and talented program for third graders. For 10 weeks in a row, I taught a classroom of about 10 third graders and had a chance to decide my own curriculum, games, etc. It was awesome. Once I hit early retirement, I’m definitely going to start that up again. It would be too crazy now with the blog and full-time job. Thanks for the inspiration, Bobby!

    • Millennial Money Man Feb 2, 2017, 3:32 pm

      Oh that’s so cool! If you can teach without having to deal with all of the real “teacher stuff” (admin, parents, grades, etc.), then it would be a ton of fun!

      • Julie @ Millennial Boss Feb 4, 2017, 1:32 pm

        Right?! No grades! I got all the bonuses too (the satisfaction of seeing the kids learn and have fun, some sweet Starbucks gift cards around Christmas time from the parents). Although, I had a really misbehaving student who teased the other kids and derailed us all of the time. That was definitely hard. (BTW – just signed up for Lendu affiliate through your link. Looking forward to helping people out and seeing the conversion. Thanks for the tip!)

        • Millennial Money Man Feb 4, 2017, 1:48 pm

          No problem! I like LendEDU a lot, they’re great to work with and I haven’t had any reader complaints about them. I used to get TONS of Starbucks gift cards at Christmas. That’s one of the saddest things about not teaching anymore πŸ™

  • Caitlin Feb 8, 2017, 3:36 pm

    Heck yeah! I’ve loved reading and watching your journey. SUPER inspirational. You are definately still a teacher – look at all the people you are reaching now!

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