A few years ago, Shane and Jocelyn Sams were teachers who earned a combined $5,000 a month.
Today, they’re the owners of Flipped Lifestyle, which earns $45,000 to $100,000 a month teaching others to start their own online businesses.
How did they make the leap?
Jeff Rose of Good Financial Cents interviewed the couple, who explained everything from what it’s like to go from making ends meet to having money to spare to how other people can echo their success.
One question he asked them was for their top five tips for people who want to find that same level of success with an online business. Their second was particularly interesting: “Focus on what you know.”
Shane told Rose:
“Don’t necessarily chase your passions. It’s very popular online, and all the gurus say, ‘Do what you love. Follow your dreams.’ What if I love to take naps in a hammock? You’re not going to make a living doing that. Everyone has an expertise. Everyone has something they’re expert enough in, and they can teach people who are not quite at their level. I taught football coaches how to run a particular defence. Jocelyn taught librarians how to organise and teach in their classroom.”
He told Rose that the couple has seen people start online businesses doing everything from teaching others to raise Venus flytraps to selling art in the form of painted gourds. “These people focused on what they were really, really good at and that might’ve lead to their passions,” he said.
His message, that you develop passion following expertise, echoes the advice shared by entrepreneur Ramit Sethi in a podcast interview with James Altucher: “A lot of people wait for the passion to fall down from the heavens,” Sethi told Altucher. “Your passion doesn’t fall down. You find your passion.”
“You get passionate about something when you get good at it,” he continued.
Shane’s explanation of his expertise fits with Sethi’s advice. He told Rose:
“Football was not necessarily my number one passion in life, but I really knew a lot about it. Jocelyn doesn’t get up every morning clapping her hands, going, “Whoo libraries!” She loves the library; she thinks they’re important, but she was an expert in that. She has a master’s degree in Library Media Specialist.
“Basically, focus on what you’re really good at first. It might be something related to your job. It might be something that you really know how to do from a hobby standpoint, but don’t necessarily go straight to your passions. That’s often a recipe for disaster because people want to do what’s fun, and not what makes them money.”