Welcome to The DollarSprout Podcast! Here’s what to expect.
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Each week we will be interviewing entrepreneurs and experts on the tools, tips, and strategies they've used to build a lean business that supports the life of their dreams.
Want a business that offers consistent income and flexibility without all the hustle and grind? A lifestyle business might just be your answer.
Join us each week where we’ll interview entrepreneurs and experts on the tools, tips, and strategies you need to build a lean business that supports the life of your dreams.
If you’ve ever thought about starting an online business or just want to escape hustle culture and the 9-to-5 grind, this show is for you.
Hello, and welcome to The DollarSprout podcast. My name is Megan Robinson, and I’ll be your host here on the show.
On today’s episode, I want to give you some insight into who I am and who we are over at DollarSprout, what this podcast is all about, and what you can expect for season 1.
Let’s start with what this show is about.
As you already heard in the pre-recorded intro for this episode, this show is about building businesses that are flexible, sustainable, and support the lifestyle you want to live. What we refer to on this podcast as lifestyle businesses.
There are three main elements that we think set a lifestyle business apart from other businesses:
- The most obvious is that it’s lifestyle-focused, as opposed to growth-focused. The purpose isn’t necessarily to make as much money as possible. It’s to make a consistent, sustainable income with a reasonable amount of hours per week so that you can focus on the other things that matter to you in life. The lifestyle this type of business supports can look a thousand different ways. For some people, it’s working 15 hours a week and traveling full time, and for others, it’s working 35 hours a week and spending more time at home with their family. And if you’re like me, it’s buying land outside of town, doing a little homesteading, and spending weekends relaxing on the front porch. That’s not where we’re at now, but that’s where we’re going. So that’s the first element of a lifestyle business – it’s lifestyle-focused, not necessarily “growth” focused.
- The second element is that because these businesses are lifestyle-focused, they tend to be very lean. Typically just 1-2 full-time employees, which are the founder or co-founders. Maybe a team of freelancers depending on the type of business and how much support is needed.
- And the third element of lifestyle businesses is that they’re typically bootstrapped. Unlike startups that can be funded with millions of dollars from investors, lifestyle businesses can be set up fast and with very little start-up capital, from a couple hundred bucks to nothing in some cases.
A few examples of lifestyle businesses and revenue models include:
- Coaches and online course creators
- Freelancers and service-based businesses (like graphic designers, online business managers, podcast producers)
- And e-commerce, which are businesses that sell physical products online.
These are just a few examples, but you’ll see throughout this season that the options extend way beyond this list.
So now that you understand what we mean when we say “lifestyle business,” I want to share with you a little bit about DollarSprout and myself, how I got into the lifestyle business world, and why I care so much about helping you create your own lifestyle business.
First of all, what’s DollarSprout?
DollarSprout.com is Ben Huber and Jeff Proctor’s lifestyle business. It’s a personal finance site that makes money through affiliate marketing, ads, and selling digital products.
I used to work full time for Ben and Jeff at DollarSprout. Now I do some freelance work for them, and I convinced them to let me host this podcast because neither of them like to be in front of an audience. And truthfully, neither do I, but this seemed like fun. So here we are.
I’m not going to tell you how Ben and Jeff got started with DollarSprout, because that’s their story to tell. Maybe sometime I’ll convince them to get on here and share their journey.
But I can tell you my story.
My story starts in May of 2016.
I graduated from college the previous December, and I was just starting to work my first full-time job.
I wasn’t all that jazzed about the 9-to-5 schedule, but I was thrilled to be making real-world money because I lived that super broke college life.
My weekday routine was pretty normal: wake up at 7, get to work by 8, work until 5 or 6pm, go home, eat dinner, go to bed, rinse, repeat.
Now, you might expect me to say something like, “Oh, I hated my job. The people were terrible. I was working 60 and 70-hour weeks.”
But that’s actually not the case.
I really liked the company that I worked for. It was a very small team. The people were amazing. Every day at the office, I laughed with my coworkers and had a genuinely good time. And my hours weren’t bad either. I worked a pretty typical 9-to-5 or 8-to-5 schedule.
But at the end of each day, I was so exhausted that I could barely make dinner for myself, let alone hang out with my friends or do anything productive.
So one night, I’m laying in bed scrolling through Pinterest doing the whole revenge bedtime procrastination as they call it. You know, where you sacrifice sleep for leisure time because you didn’t have any free time for yourself during the day.
So I’m scrolling through Pinterest and I see an article about this girl who made $10,000/month with her blog.
That was like a third of my salary.
I click on it, and I read.
And that article opened my eyes to this entire online business world that I didn’t even know existed. Next thing you know, my Pinterest feed is filled with articles on how to make money proofreading, blogging, managing social media. And the kicker? You could do all of these from home or while traveling the world, yadda yadda.
I was sold.
I mean, who doesn’t want to make money from home in their PJs, as the cliche goes?
So after 7 months at my new job, I put in my notice. And 2 months later, I left. (Originally, my plan was to quit and move across the country, so in case my old bosses ever listen to this, that really was my intention. But it didn’t happen. And that’s a story for another time.)
But anyway, I quit my job with a dream and $8,000 in the bank to support me while I made it happen.
In hindsight, by the way, $8,000 was not enough.
Because, at this point, I still wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to make money. But I’d read so much about blogging and how you could make tons of passive income by writing just a few hours a week. So I thought, “Let’s give this a go.”
I studied personal finance in college, so I thought the thing that made the most sense was to start a personal finance blog.
So that’s what I did.
Fast forward a few months. I’m blogging. I’m writing great content. But I’m still making $0.
And on top of that, I’m running out of money.
So again, one night I’m scrolling through Pinterest, and I find an article about how this person went from $0 blogging one month to $8,000 the next.
I click it, read the article. And then proceed to binge every recent blog income report on the website.
Then I go to their Pinterest profile to see what else I can learn.
So I click on their profile, start looking around, and I notice the location.
And I thought, “Oh my god, I’M IN BLACKSBURG, VA.”
So now in full-on stalker mode, I look up who runs this website, and I find two names: Ben Huber and Jeff Proctor.
I go to LinkedIn, look up their profiles, and I notice Jeff posted a picture recently of a book.
And I could tell by the pattern on the table the book was sitting on that the picture was taken at my favorite local cafe.
So what do I do?
I, no joke, comment on his picture. I looked this up on LinkedIn to make sure I was getting the details right.
I commented on his picture and I said, “Were you at Bollo’s today???” Three question marks.
He did not know me. He did not know who I was. But I commented on his picture basically saying, “Hey, I know where you were today.”
How creepy and socially awkward can you be?
Anyway, it worked. Because Jeff messaged me on LinkedIn saying, “Hey, I’m assuming you’re this girl from this Facebook group. I think I’ve seen you in there.” And then we planned to meet at that same cafe that I basically stalked him at already.
So I met with Jeff and Ben, who if you don’t know or haven’t guessed by now, are the co-founders of DollarSprout and were the owners of the website I found on Pinterest.
And that’s how I met Ben and Jeff, started writing for them, eventually became an editor for the site, and now am doing this podcast.
And in addition to working for Ben and Jeff at DollarSprout, I have my own business under which I’ve done financial coaching, content creation, and most recently online business management.
I’m personally very invested in the lifestyle business concept because I’ve learned that the typical 9-to-5 work structure doesn’t work well for me.
And the more I talk to people about this stuff, the more I realize it doesn’t really work for most of us.
And starting a business isn’t for everyone. But it can provide the freedom and flexibility that so many desperately want or, in some cases, need.
So that’s what this podcast is here for. To help you build a business that offers consistent income and flexibility so you can live life on your terms.
That said, even though I’ve worked for DollarSprout, which is Ben and Jeff’s lifestyle business, and I’ve done work under my own business, I have yet to really figure out the lifestyle business thing for myself.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve taken LOTS of courses on business and marketing, listened to hundreds of hours of podcasts, read books, etc. etc. But I haven’t put the pieces together in a way that’s worked well for me.
So I’ll be learning right along with you on this show.
And maybe at some point, I’ll even share how I’ve implemented tips from our guests in my own business. But for the time being, here’s…
What you can definitely expect from this podcast.
I’ll be interviewing lifestyle business owners about their story, how they got started, and their best tips and lessons learned along the way.
I’ll also be interviewing experts in marketing and online business to give you the strategies and tools you need to build your own lifestyle business.
At the end of each interview, I’ll give you my key takeaways and action items that you can take from the episode and start implementing immediately.
And if we’re really lucky, maybe at some point I can convince Ben and Jeff to hop on the mic and do an episode or two about DollarSprout and the lessons they’ve learned in their business.
But that is all I have for you for now. I’m super excited to bring you this show, and I can’t wait to see what you all think of season one. Thank you so much for being here and for being part of the DollarSprout community. And I’ll see you in the next episode.