OMG we’ve just gone over the $100k mark‘ I shouted to anyone who would listen in the foyer of the hotel I was in.
I was at a marketing event in London a few days after I had just launched my ’Social Networking Academy’ and had been watching the sales climb during the week.
By the time the launch ended, I had generated $117,000 in 7 days.
I couldn’t believe it. All the doubts I had about myself and this business model melted away as I realized all the hard work and months of frustration and fear were worth it. It worked.
Four years later I topped $600k in course launches and a year after that $1million in physical product sales.
All of that from $1000, 3 suitcases and a 4 year old under my arm!
How it all Began
Ok it wasn’t that bad, I don’t have a super dramatic rags to riches story, but it all started when my partner & I decided we wanted to escape the drudgery of the UK and start a new life traveling the world.
We had a good friend who seemed to be living the life we wanted doing this thing called ‘Internet Marketing’ and we wanted in.
Ever the risk takers, we sold everything we owned in the house we were renting at the time, packed up 3 suitcases, and with the $1000 we’d made from selling our worldly goods and our 4 year old under our arm, jumped on a plane to housesit for our IM friend in Cyprus.
We really had no idea what we were doing or were going to do and had limited savings and a couple of credit cards, which we calculated might get us through 3 or 4 months without any income.
Nothing like burning your boats and giving yourself a deadline to encourage some massive action taking!
The Road to Millions!
I had joined a program called ‘Chris Mentor Me’ shortly before we left created by the lovely Chris Farrell and was learning how to build an ‘optin’ page and start generating email addresses. Plus I was doing some webinar training with the super funny Steven Essa (where are you now Steve?) and had made some great friends along the way all on their own journeys towards making money online.
My challenge at the time however was that I really didn’t know what niche I wanted to make money in!
I really had no concept that this was a business like any other and the internet was merely a tool to help you reach a much wider audience.
Back in 2010, all the online gurus were touting ‘make money fast’, ‘make a million with a click of a button’, ‘download this program and get rich quick’!
In my naivety I was convinced with my work ethic, I’d be a millionaire with a few months!
How wrong I was.
But rather than sit about and do nothing I just started experimenting with everything I was learning about.
I started a forum called ’The Entreprenette’ with a free training course called ‘Start Your Own Business in 21 Days‘ and built a list of 500 people (mainly from the Chris Mentor Me forum).
(Unfortunately the only image I have left)
I created my first product showing people how to build a landing page without a website or domain (using awebers built in short urls) which sold for $4. I made my first $27 online!
I played with webinars, blogs, article writing, JV (joint venture) giveaways, PLR (private label rights) products. Basically anything that looked like it might generate leads or income.
I was getting pretty frustrated when…
Facebook Fan Pages
In the August of that year, sitting on our balcony in Cyprus, I logged on to a webinar with the lovely Chris & a guy who was selling Facebook landing pages.
Back then Facebook business pages were a much bigger deal than they are now and most businesses didn’t understand how they worked and so this guy was touting a business model in which he would build you an optin page within a facebook page and you could start to generate leads from this super popular social network.
At the time I wasn’t a huge FB user and was intrigued by this potential business opportunity.
Over the following weeks I immersed myself in facebook business pages learning everything there was to know about how to grow a business using facebook.
I discovered some code on a blog that would help you build a landing page inside of a facebook page and paid a guy in the US $100 to develop it into an easy to use template and launched my new facebook fan page – Free Facebook Fan Pages.
Through Chris’s program I had learned how to create an email funnel and began uploading free videos into Facebook teaching others how to use fan pages to generate leads.
These were the days when organic reach on facebook was huge and so I quickly built up a decent sized audience.
I also created an optin, using the templates that helped you build your own landing page as my giveaway and began to build my email list.
Sometime in October/November of that year I launched a video based course called 2000 fans in 27 Days for about $47. I honestly cannot remember the specific numbers but I think we sold around 300 copies which was handy as the credit card bills were starting to pile up.
My confidence in this as a business model was on the up and with some coaching from my good friend Chris Farrell I began work on a membership site.
By this time we were living in Australia in my partners folks basement, which when you have your own child is never ideal.
Even though my video course had sold it barely paid off the debts at the time and we were fast running out of cash.
My partner was working on his own projects but they were more long-term and weren’t generating any income so we were relying on this business working or we’d have to pack up our travel dreams, head back to the UK and get jobs.
I remember going for a walk in the local neighborhood and listening to Tony Robbins on my iPod, seriously contemplating giving up.
By the time I got home I was so fired up, I created, organized, and held a webinar called something like ‘The Three Steps to Success’. Hasten to add the whole thing was about tenacity and not giving up and it received such a positive response, I knew I had to keep going and make this dream a reality.
By the following April, I’d built a substantial email list, my membership site was ready and back in the UK in my Mum’s living room I launched The Social Networking Academy, and as I said at the start of the post generated $117k in seven days. The rest they say is history. We haven’t looked back since.
How I Generated $117k in 7 Days
- I found a hungry niche. Every man and his dog wanted to know how to use FB to grow their business. I tapped into that niche and became the go-to person for total beginners.
- I offered a massive amount of value. I made videos, jumped on Skype calls, responded to emails, and went out of my way to help as many people as possible understand how to use Facebook for their business.
- I created a high-converting lead generator. My free fan page templates went like gangbusters. They only cost me $100 to set up, but meant that people had a very easy solution to the complex problem of adding code into their FB page (back in the day my friend, back in the day!). Within 6 – 8 months I built an email list of around 18,000 people.
- I put a lot of time and energy into ensuring The SNA would be a high-quality product that I could sell with energy, enthusiasm, and absolute conviction.
- I had a lot of help. From Chris’s program to chats on the phone with friends and colleagues to people helping me build pages and graphics etc, to working with some awesome people to actually build and sell the site, etc. Without all the help I had I probably wouldn’t be living the life I am now.
From Zero to Six to Seven Figures
After my initial success, I continued to sell The SNA as a monthly membership site for around 12 – 18 months and it was our main source of income for a while.
I then went on to create some very valuable social media list builders and courses which whilst being hugely effective in generating leads and sales, were painful to maintain as the social media sites change their platform like my daughter changes her mind.
I played with affiliate marketing and made a cool $65k in a few months. I did a bit of coaching and tried lots of different things still on a journey to find the one thing I wanted to hang my hat on.
Brand wise I went from Free Fan Page Templates to The Social Networking Academy to Online Marketing Addicts to Jo Barnes Online.
I’d figured out the business model, but as of yet hadn’t worked out what I wanted my business to be!
In 2014 a mentor of mine convinced me to start an Amazon business and in my usual method of teaching as I learn, I sold limited access to an ‘over the shoulder’ course on building a business on Amazon.
My partner’s business venture hadn’t worked so he stepped in to help with getting the Amazon business off the ground and I focused on the training.
It grew so fast that within a year, we had generated 7 figures in Amazon and I’d sold 100’s of thousands of dollars worth of training.
It was without a doubt our most financially successful year yet, but instead of celebrating, by the end of 2015, I was burnt out.
The entire year had just been launch after launch for the training program, I’d worked myself into the ground and never wanted to do another launch as long as I lived!
For me, it was time to slow down, take a backseat in the business and reassess the direction I wanted to go in.
Your Lifestyle Business
And here we are!
After some time away, a lot of soul searching, and asking myself the right questions I realized over the years of social media marketing, email marketing, building and selling courses, launches, affiliate marketing, creating software, Amazon, building a store on Shopify, audience building, etc, and traveling all the while I had simply been building a Lifestyle Business!
A business that was funding our lifestyle.
A business that allowed us to live in and visit;
Your Lifestyle First
Your Lifestyle Business reflects everything I think about the world.
We have become a race of consumers, restricted by our desire to have the latest, greatest ’thing’.
We work in jobs that don’t fulfill us just to earn enough money to buy these things because we’ve been so cleverly marketed too we believe we need them to feel good, to feel happy, to feel accepted!
And yet, there are more suicides and unhappiness in our world now than ever before.
It’s time to take back control of your destiny. To spend your days doing something you love, from wherever in the world you want to do it.
It’s time to put your Lifestyle first. To spend time with the ones you love, doing the things you love. To explore and experience new places, new cultures, new ways of living.
Your Lifestyle Business is about generating an income that funds your lifestyle.
It’s about turning your passions into profits and spending the rest of your days on this planet loving what you do and the impact it has on the people around you and the world in general.
My plan for the Your Lifestyle Business brand is a very long-term strategy. I love what I do so much, that this is a 20-year vision for me!
My goal is to turn this blog into a hive of information for solopreneurs and digital nomads who want to learn how to build a business to fund their ideal lifestyle!
With that being said, be sure to read my signature posts here;
Thanks for taking the time to read my story. I hope it inspires you to action and please know if I can do it anyone can.
I’m not a 25-year-old super tech who works 24/7. I’m just a Wife & Mother who wanted to see the world!