$25,000 A Month Selling Proofreading - With Ben and Caitlin

After graduating The Foundation... and breaking a record... and hitting $50,000 in sales in 2 months... here's how this lovely couple started from nothing.

 

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Podcast transcript:

Starting from Nothing – The Foundation Podcast
Guest Name Interview – Benjamin and Caitlin Pyle
Introduction: Welcome to Starting from Nothing – The Foundation Podcast, the place
where incredible entrepreneur show you how they built their businesses
entirely from scratch before they knew what the heck they were doing.
Dane: In this episode you’re going to hear from a recent graduate of The
Foundation, Benjamin Pyle. Benjamin is partnered with his wife on adventure
wherein they’re making roughly about $25,000 a month, in the proofreading
space just shortly after graduating in The Foundation. I think those results
speak enough for themselves.
This is a longer interview where we go into the depths of the souls of these
two and also the tactical side for how they did it all, how they got started. I’m
so beyond excited for you to hear from their story because it really blew me
away to see how quickly and how fast they were able to get results with this
business. Enjoy.
Welcome to another edition of Starting from Nothing. I am your hopeful host,
Dane Maxwell. Today we are doing a “small wins episode,” however, it is not
very small, it is actually probably one of the bigger small wins that we’ve
done. This is what I would consider quite a quick runaway success for those
of you listening. I can’t wait to get into the story of these two and share with
you what they’ve done in a very short period of time. They are financially free
enough to live life exactly as they desire. Does that sound accurate to you
too?
Benjamin: It does.
Dane: Can you give a little back story? Who am I talking to? Who are you people?
Benjamin: My name is Ben and you are talking to us from Orlando, Florida. I was born
and raised here. Basically where, I guess, came to The Foundation was I was
kind of stuck in a rut, living corporate life. I worked in the private education
sector for profit. A couple of universities and really just found myself stuck in
a rut, wanting to live with more freedom in my life and with more creativity. I
really get sick of the grind every day and so that’s when I started looking for
other things and I found The Foundation. It’s been a great ride so far.
Dane: And before we get into your – she’s your wife currently, correct?
Benjamin: Yep, this is my wife Caitlin.
Dane: I notice that I said currently and I meant forever.
Benjamin: That’s the plan, yes.
Dane: Hi Caitlin.
Caitlin: Hi.
Dane: How are you?
Caitlin: Good. I’m excited.
Dane: Yeah. How was it to hear Ben just share that he was stuck in a rut? What was
that time like for you?
Caitlin: To be honest with you, I was stuck in a rut too, especially … Before The
Foundation came around he was working at Full Sail and I have been
proofreading transcripts for court reporters for, gosh, like four years at that
point. I started in 2009. I didn’t start doing it until 2012 full-time. I guess it
was about two years that I was doing it full time and I was thinking, “Oh,
Ben’s going to climb the corporate ladder and I want to do all these things in
my life. But I just thought he was going to want to keep climbing because
that’s what he had learned and that’s what he wanted to do.” I was like,
“Well, I guess I will be proofreading from the couch for the rest of my life.”
Because I was very mobile and I knew that with this income that I was
earning from proofreading transcripts – I was earning $4000 or $5000 a
month doing it part time like 20, 25 hours a week. I was like, “We could
totally live on this. We could totally do some stuff with this.” But because Ben
wanted to keep working this corporate job at that point I was like, “Well, I’m
in a rut too and this is not the way I really want to live my life.” But then
probably just about the right time Ben started changing his … shifting his
focus, shifting his mindset, and learning more from people in The Foundation,
his mastermind group, and sharing some information with me. I just saw him
completely change.
He started realizing that he was in control of what he wanted to do with his
life and his time and that he wanted me free from working 50 weeks out of
the year and wanted to be able to do things on his own terms from his
computer and not necessarily have to go and drive and spend all those time
driving to make pennies a day. I look back at my old job. I made $94 a day
and that was for 10 hours of my time plus commute time. Just now that I’m
able to make so much more than that and be able to give back in a way – I
can help people find their own financial freedom and I think that’s a really
cool thing to be a part of.
It was weird at first because I was watching The Foundation videos and like,
“This sounds crazy.” I think in his transformation, I’ve transformed too.
Dane: “On his transformation, I’ve transformed too.” You said $94 a day.
Caitlin: Yes. What it came out after taxes and stuff. I was making $2200 a month at a
job I was doing. When I started doing transcripts – I wanted to do personal
training but it just turned out to be like sell, sell, sell, and it’s always
convincing people. But when I worked with court reporters, if you do a really
good job, the transcripts keep coming in because the clients want to keep
using you. It just turned into a much better deal for me. If you work on your
speed and your accuracy, you can really crank out some work and so I just
kept refining my methods and looking for – I use my iPad only now, I don’t
use paper, I don’t use computer, I just use an iPad. I was able to make quite a
bit of money.
Ben started to approach me, he’s like, “Well, you need to be able to share
this with people the way that Foundation shares how to start businesses with
other people.” I could do the same thing. And so I just started putting the
pieces together with some of Ben’s advice and then my own googling skills. I
guess I’m a student of Google University in a way. Just putting together a
sales funnel, figuring out how to write. And I am a pretty experienced content
writer. I write all of the material myself and proofread it 8 million times. I still
miss typos here and there and I get annihilated for it but it’s been a journey.
It’s been an amazing journey and this really does feel surreal.
Dane: I feel like it’s a good time to pause and just let that sit because what you just
said is – I imagine there are many other people that would like to be able to
say what you just said.
Caitlin: I never thought I would be saying it myself.
Dane: Never thought you’d be saying it yourself? What does it feel like to be saying
it yourself?
Caitlin: Also surreal. It’s like, “Am I making all this up?” I know how people feel when
they find my program online and they’re like, “How do I know this isn’t just
fly-by-night scam?” I just tell them, “You can come into my student group and
ask my students and just hear their stories.” I don’t even try to prove it to
them myself. “Just come ask my people. Come and ask my tribe.”
Dane: She said it feels surreal. And then you went on to say – I’m actually curious.
What does surreal feel like? What’s that sensation like for you? Because I
have my definition of surreal but what does it feel like over there?
Caitlin: Just like it’s not really happening. Like a dream. Like are we going to wake up
and be back on the couch proofreading transcripts while Ben’s at work all day
and come home exhausted and not being able to spend the best hours of our
day together and …
Ben: Too good to be true.
Caitlin: Too good to be true, yes.
Dane: And Ben, what does too good to be true feel like for you?
Ben: Too good to be true sometimes makes me think about – that it could be lost.
It’s like this is going so well that it feel like it can slip out of my hands. But
other times it just makes me feel happy and just makes you feel joyous.
Dane: I can relate to the “It could be lost” feeling. It lasted probably four years for
me. I was 22 and I started to get some traction and I was like there is no way
this is working. Holy crap it’s actually working. What’s happening? Someone’s
going to find out that this is a scam, even though it is not.
Caitlin: Yes, that’s exactly how I feel. That’s exactly how I feel. I know that it’s not a
scam and I keep … In my student group I see they always close, “I got a new
client. I found a client on Instagram. This really works. I’m so excited.” I get
interviews with my students going and things like that. It’s obviously … the
evidence is right in front of me that what I’m doing totally works but at the
same time it’s just like, “What if …” I still have the doubts and fears that
they’re subsiding and stuff. It’s just when is it going to snap, I guess, or if it’s
going to stop working at some point. That’s exactly the way I feel.
Dane: I’m curious to see how that feeling will pan out for you. I’ve actually gotten to
a point now where it’s kind of weird. It’s like, “Well, of course it’s going to
work, and of course it’s always going to work.” That’s how I am at this point
but it took a while. I encourage you to stay with those feelings and just kind
of be with them and like kind of to marvel at them like what is – It’s so
fascinating to me.
Anyway, so yeah. Ben, you said it could be lost and then the other times it
just feels happy and joyous.
Benjamin: Yeah. That’s generally how it feels.
Dane: I really enjoy hearing that. You said you’re working at corporate, what were
you doing before, Ben?
Benjamin: For about the last five years – I left my job in January, a few months ago. For
about five or so years before that I was working for two different universities
– for profit universities. I was doing admissions and financial – mostly
financial aid. Students that were enrolling in the university – we had monthly
enrollments. My job was to go over their financial aid, their government
loans and grants, and get as many students to start as possible. It was kind of
a numbers game. At times, especially when things got busy, the systems that
we were using were pretty inefficient so it could be a lot of pressure at times.
A lot of overtime and I’d come home completely exhausted. The
environment, much of the time, was pretty – there’s a lot of pressure and
pretty exhausting.
Dane: Toxic. Toxic on you, Caitlin?
Caitlin: Yes, just because he would come home frustrated and miserable and we
would really never get any quality time to spend. We would have time but it
was very exhausted time. And I would get very frustrated because this
company would put mandatory overtime on him and he would mandatory
have to work two or three Saturdays a month. It would just seem really
unfair. It was probably fair but to me it seemed unfair because it’s my
husband, I should get to have a say. He was the only guy in the office, only
person who’s married even in the office that he was working in and they
made him work on a Friday night. That was also Valentine’s Day and I’m like
how uncool is that? That was just one example.
Dane: Just one example.
Caitlin: Yeah.
Dane: Just one.
Caitlin: Yes, I have many more.
Benjamin: As I look back on the experience now, what I’ve learned is as far as my
relationship to that whole time was – Initially, that was kind of my mindset
was to stick it out. I was raised that way. My parents said they had a long and
successful corporate career, that’s kind of what I saw myself doing. I just got
to pay my dues. I was also noticing that some people in the office seem to
excel and move up quicker and do it with a lot less frustration and ease – or
they did it with more ease than I did and that was frustrating for me. I just
felt like the only way to move up was to just bust my ass continuously
nonstop.
It got really exhausting and I was really at a breaking point. There was some
day when I really just thought I’d just walk up and leave. It really got to a
point where it was so bad that I just told myself I cannot do this for the next
25 years of my life. I said that something had to change. That’s when I started
really just kind of reaching out, listening to different podcasts, and thinking
about different things. Eventually found The Foundation.
Dane: I actually at the present to kind of [tears 00:13:37] … I’m not sure if its grief or
what it is but it’s like – I’m so happy that I have been able to find this world
that exists and introduce it to you too. Now, you’re introducing this world to
others through what you’re doing. I just feel so sad to imagine you, Ben, in
this work environment where you’re crunching numbers. I imagine it was
pretty boring.
Benjamin: Most of the time, yeah.
Dane: Most of the time pretty boring. You’re admitting people for financial aid
which is – this is the whole … In addition to the boredom that I would
imagine, it also seems, like, was it kind of a scarcity-based environment?
Benjamin: Can you explain more what you mean by that?
Dane: People like, “Oh, please, can you give me this money? I don’t have it. Money
is scarce to me. Will you loan it to me?” Was there any of that going on?
Benjamin: Yeah. It’s an interesting – Yeah, the industry is … I’m talking to students every
day and a lot of them – the only way that they could fulfill their dreams was
by going in debt. My job as – I’m employed by the university – I’m just
supposed to explain these things and talk about their repayment plans and
that sort of thing but at the same time, now that I’m an entrepreneur, I’ve
realized, well, it doesn’t have to be that way. Yeah. Scarcity mindset, I
definitely say a lot of people – in my experience with students I spoke with, a
lot of them have that mindset for sure. The only way they can move forward
in life is to go into debt and then it’s not even guaranteed because they’re …
You know how school can be sometimes. It’s a lot of like content getting fed
into you but taking action is the most important thing.
Dane: You don’t say.
Caitlin: I have to explain that to my students too and I’m very careful with how I mark
it. I say I would give you all the tools, I give you all the resources, I give you all
the support, I give you all the practice that you need to do this but I can’t do
it for you. I’ve been really luck with the quality of students but it’s amazing. I
still get some people who are like, “Well, it’s just too much money. Only I can
take the risk.” My class is $400 but people are still paying off hundreds of
thousands of dollars of student loans and they’re like scared to put forth
$400 for something that has changed my life and has changed the lives of
many of my students. But they were just so taken – I guess they’re in the grip
of fear and it’s sad. I have a feeling that you experience a lot of that too.
Dane: Hey, over here too. Me too.
Caitlin: Yeah, [unclear 00:16:36]
Dane: When people are like, “Hey, this is too much money to me,” do you find that
to be discouraging?
Caitlin: Yes and no. At first definitely yes because I’m just like, well, you know, that’s
sad because I already say I want them to succeed but at the same time it’s
just like I know that the right students will find their way and the right
students will see the value in it. I do a really good job in communicating that
value. I do give them some encouragement. Sending the course outline, let
them know really truly how much is involved, and I also invite them to come
into our student group as a guest, ask any questions and just see the
successes that the other students are experiencing and sharing in that group.
A lot of times when that happens, the guest in the group were like, “Wow!
This is really the real deal.” They hear it from so many other people’s mouths.
They can just go through with the Facebook group and to see everything
that’s been posted, and the quality of service, and attention that’s given to all
the students in the group. I mean by graduate students and stuff they are
pretty much sold. So yes and no. I think that answers your question.
Dane: I find it a little discouraging personally. It’s like, “Oh man, bummer.”
Caitlin: Yeah, it is a bummer.
Dane: Ben, did you calculate how much you’re making a day after taxes a year?
Benjamin: Yeah, it was around $32,000 a year.
Dane: Did you have it down to the day though after taxes?
Benjamin: Oh, no I never get that exact.
Caitlin: It was for about $80 because with my $94 a day that was at $16 an hour and I
was a “marketing manager.” I put that in quotes because I was totally a
puppet. If you read my homepage on proofreadanywhere.com you’ll see kind
of the story about what happened at that job. It was a nightmare to say the
least. That was at $16 an hour. So, if he was about $14 or $15 an hour, it
would be less than $94 a day. Pocket change in comparison to what we’ve
been able to do on our own for sure.
Dane: What is it? Caitlin, I want to dive into your mind a little bit because it seems
to be a very interesting place to me. I haven’t ever really spoken to anyone
that’s told me how much they make per day after taxes. I asked Ben and he
hadn’t really done it but you just did it again for him. It’s kind of like your
thing. What had you wanting to calculate what you were making per day
after taxes?
Caitlin: Because, well, this started way before I did proofreadanywhere.com. When I
was learning to proofread transcripts and started to do that more full time
and I just was kind of seeing that progressing, you have to understand that
when I started it really snowballed quickly for me. I started working for an
agency and I think my first month I made $1300 and I’m like, “Holy crap!
That’s more than I could hope to make doing personal training right now,”
because it’s such a competitive and saturated market here in Orlando. Plus
it’s not location dependent so you’re really limited on who you can work
with. [Unclear 00:19:50] take commissions and it was crazy.
I just started doing that and I think the next month I made $2500, the next
month I made over $3000 and within four months I was at $4000 which
[unclear 00:19:59] was double what I made at my office job working full-time
as a marketing manager. I started thinking to myself, “Okay, I made ….” and I
calculated that. I looked at my old paystubs and I looked at how much I made
after taxes and just kind of [unclear 00:20:12] the hours and figured out that
it was $94 a day for the amount of days that I worked in a month and I
thought [unclear 00:20:20]. If I can make at least that, I’d be doing it just so I
did at my old job doing proofreading.
I love to see like okay. So, it took me all freaking day. I would stay all damn
day to get $94 at that place; ten to 12 hours including commute time. I get
paid per page for the transcript. For example if I read 130 pages - did that
once for really kind of easier job, rushed, and it took me under an hour to
read but I made $85 in under an hour. That’s almost my entire day’s wages. I
kind of like doing the math to see like, wow, this is so much better than
sitting and getting paid hourly. You’re responsible 100% for your output so
it’s really motivating to not get distracted, to do the work and get it done.
That way you have more free time.
I teach my students along with the project materials and how to do a
transcript. I teach them how to focus because if you’re distracted, that 130
pages could’ve taken me all day and then I would’ve made $85 in a day
instead of 50 minutes. That was kind of where I go into it. Anything over $94
a day in the beginning for me was just icing on the cake. There were days
where I worked more than an hour and I would work four to five hours a day
and I would make $200-$300 in a day proofreading and that would be a lot of
icing on the cake. That’s kind of where I got into the math aspect.
Dane: That makes pretty good sense.
Benjamin: Dane, just so you know, she’s the one who typically did the taxes in our
household.
Dane: Yeah. I was going to ask is she’s the money manager.
Benjamin: It ended up being that way. I didn’t foresee it happening that way but she
was doing the taxes one day. She actually said, “This is like doing a video
game.” I was like, “Alright, it’s all yours.”
Dane: Man, I could use me one of those myself, Ben.
Caitlin: Well, this year, we’re going to hire an accountant because we’re going to be
going abroad and I want to take advantage of the foreign income exclusions
and stuff like that. We’re going to have rental income so I don’t want to mess
with it. Now I have extra money, I can afford to pay somebody to do it for
me. I’d rather pay somebody. It is fun when it is simple.
Dane: Just listening to you talk, it’s like rental income and foreign exchange, what
are you talking about? This is really fascinating to me.
Caitlin: I’m a huge, huge nerd and I always talk about how now I’m crating a nerd
nation. It’s great. I love it. I feel okay with it. There are times in my life where
I was kind of self-conscious about being a nerd and what I did was
proofreading and I made money proofreading. If you would ask me about
what I do and I would just totally just barf all over them about my job. I used
to be embarrassed by that but now I’m just like, “Hell yeah I’m a proofreader.
And I teach other people how to do it too.” I feel good about it now. I’m
owning it.
Dane: Yes, you are. Feel it. You said you’re planning to travel the world. Before we
get into the story of like getting to the tactical side of how you built all this,
what’s the next year look like for you guys now that you have this freedom?
Let me pause for a second. Caitlin can’t even wipe the smile off her face
[unclear 00:23:36] I even ask the question.
Caitlin: I love smiling. It’s my favorite.
Benjamin: We’ve been planning this trip. It’s really going to be the experience of a
lifetime for us. Right now it’s the first of May and then on July 15th we’re
going to be travelling to South America. We’re going to start in Ecuador and
we’re going to be there travelling to South America, which neither of us have
been to. We’ve lived abroad – both of us – in Europe, but we’ve never been
to South America. We’re going to be staying there for over a year. About a
year and a month or two. We’re going to be seeing lots of countries and it’s
just going to be incredible.
We’re the couple who loves taking vacations. We love to go on cruises. I
would always make use of my 2-week vacation that I got from my jobs. We’d
always go places. And a lot of my co-workers were always jealous. We
enjoyed it but we always said – I remember when I was telling you like how
cool would it be to go somewhere for two months or six months and just
experience the culture and live there? We’re basically going to do that.
There’s a few cities we’re going to stay longer in a couple of months but then
there’s some big things we want to do and so we’re just going to make it
happen.
Dane: So you’re starting in Ecuador. What are you going to be doing in Ecuador?
Benjamin: We’re going to be staying at a place called Cuenca, Ecuador which is really
becoming a hotspot for retirees, not that we’re retiring. It’s just really
inexpensive and a safe city. It’s in the highlands. So it’s 8,500 elevations. The
weather’s 50, 60, 70 the whole year. Those first three months we’re just
going to experience the town. After that we’re going to travel south through
Peru, see Machu Picchu; some other amazing things. In Bolivia, the salt flats
and then we’ll end up going to Mendoza in Argentina and then Santiago,
Chile.
And then we’re planning on taking a cruise that goes down South America -
around the tip of South America and then it will end up in Buenos Aires in
Argentina and then spend some time in Buenos Aires.
Caitlin: That cruise actually leaves on our 5th wedding anniversary so we thought
we’re just going to splurge. It will be fun.
Benjamin: Does it sound like a trip of a life time?
Dane: It does. I feel like wow.
Caitlin: We’re going to be working the whole time. We’re not going to be not doing
anything. We’re going to do a little work, keep our income going at least to
some extent. We also talked about, “Yeah, we kind of have some fears. If we
take some more time for ourselves will the business suffer?” The truth of it is,
we might slow things down a little bit but it’s worth it. It’s not going to go
anywhere.
The people that want to learn from us are not going to go anywhere if they
really want to learn from us. We’re going to provide the best support we can
and train people that help us out along the way if need be. But we’re not
going to just get so involved in our new businesses that it takes over our lives
and we end up right where we started and not be able to do other things that
we truly want to do with this new life.
Benjamin: One thing I want to add is … Really the best part about this trip for me is –
and especially now that we’re getting really close – we’re just about two
months away is I’m noticing a really strong sense of adventure and awe for
the anticipation of this trip that I haven’t felt in – I don’t know. Since I was
maybe a teenager; in a long time. It’s just really incredible that … I guess I
never envisioned back in the corporate world – I never realized how much I
missed that sense of adventure and experience something totally new,
unexpected, and out of your comfort zone. Now that it’s back, it’s like – Yeah,
this is perfect. I feel like I was meant to do this. We were meant to take this
trip because to be connected with the sense of adventure’s … I don’t want to
lose it.
Caitlin: People think we’re crazy but we think they’re crazy for thinking we’re crazy.
Dane: I notice how sad I feel thinking about the people thinking you’re crazy. I
actually think as I was listening to you guys talk. One, I did a three-month trip
around the world a few years ago. I’d love to share with you what happened
to my businesses while I was gone; to give you guys some context for what
might happen for you.
The other thing was I think I may have actually felt unconsciously a little
guilty or a little shame that my life was so good and it’s actually kind of
uncomfortable. It’s like, “Hey, [unclear 00:28:34] it’s you Dane. You could do
anything you want, whenever you want.” It kind of was uncomfortable for
me. I think it may have been one of the catalysts for the creation of The
Foundation but I may just be kind of realizing right now.
It’s like, “No. You guys don’t have to envy me, you can be me. Here, let me
show you how,” and they’re like, “Well, we can’t do it. We’re not smart.”
People think that I’m smart or people think that you need an idea or people
think that – and I’m not saying I’m not smart but I don’t think I’m any smarter
or dumber than the average person. You just need to do these things and this
sequence and then you can have this stuff too.
How is this for you guys to hear?
Caitlin: I can definitely relate to – I told people like I’m not really anything special and
they say you’re actually – I even created, if you go to my FAQ’s page on my
website, you’ll see the article I wrote because I get the question so much.
“How do I know that you’re not the exception? How do I know that you’re
not the only one who can do this?” And I’m like, “I’m not anything special.” I
tell them about my students. You put in the work, you follow the steps.
They’re succeeding because they’re doing what I tell them and they’re
becoming me. I tell them I’m creating monsters; I’m creating myself over and
over and over again.
There is enough work to go around because I don’t think there’s a ton of
people that have what it takes to put in the work and stuff. You are one of
those people. You can make it happen. It’s not easy at all and I tell them
you’re going to have to work and if you don’t want to work it’s not right for
you. If you want to work then it absolutely is 100% possible.
Dane: I have a question I wanted to ask, and you guys can decline or not. I wanted
to kind of just briefly touch on how does being an entrepreneur impact the
intimacy of your relationship/do you have any tips for other couples that may
be thinking about going into business about what may or may not positively
or negatively impact the actual intimate side of marriage?
Benjamin: That’s an interesting question. It’s something I’ve thought about too. There is
some pros and cons. Some of the, I guess, newer challenges that you have to
get used to is that now that I don’t go to an office every day, I’m at home.
Where we live in Orlando there’s not really places to go where you can work
at like a Starbucks. We live in a pretty suburban area. We’re working at home
and so you’re around each other all the time. That’s something that – you’re
spending so much time in the same house that sometimes you actually want
to get away. So, that can put a little bit of strain but you just have to give
each other space to – Sometimes I’ll just go hang out with my friends or she
does something with a friend of hers. So you just got to give each other that
space more because you’re around each other.
Caitlin: I went to New York and you missed me a lot.
Benjamin: And then when somebody leaves and you realize how much you miss them
like when she went to New York.
The other thing that I was thinking about was that the – it is a different
dynamic because you’re married, you’re partners, this is your best friend,
you’re going through these ups and downs. And then you started working on
a business together and a business partnership is a lot different. Because
sometimes you just have different ideas. If I want to go in a creative direction
she might have a different idea of what she wants to do and then it can be
hard to reconcile that. Because you’re married that sometimes can pervade
the whole relationship.
That’s kind of part of the reason why even though we kind of started it
together Proofread Anywhere, business that is doing so great, I’ve kind of
stepped back because of just the kind of work that Proofread Anywhere
needs is not really in my skill sets or in what I want to do. Mainly because I
feel like I’m more of a talker when it comes to being productive rather than a
writer. I’ve kind of pulled back and that’s – that also kind of given us a little
bit more space in between our entrepreneurial, I guess, relationship which I
think has been good because it’s ultimately being good. They’re new
challenges.
Dane: Caitlin, do you have anything to add there before we get into you guys’
tactical story?
Caitlin: I think he pretty much covered it. I liked being away from him for eight days
when I was in New York. I missed him a lot. I think it was probably like – it’s
easier for me being in New York and being actually on vacation, it was harder
for him being at home without me and stuff like that. But around day four,
five, I was like – I think I left and I was kind of annoyed with Ben. It is hard
working at home with him all the time. We’re not in each other’s faces, we
don’t get in each other’s nerves but just like he’s always around and when he
takes a break I’m not necessarily on a break and stuff like that. We kind of
volleyball the – interrupting each other a little bit.
On day four or five on my trip in New York, I stopped thinking of him as being
annoying and I started to think of him as warm and snuggly again. And so it
was nice.
Our air conditioner was broken all while I was gone and it was still going to be
broken when I got home. I’m like, “Honey, we are going to stay in a hotel.” I
am not coming home to an 82 degree house in Orlando, Florida in late spring
where it’s pretty much already summer. We spent the money and stayed in a
hotel like walking distance from our house. It was actually way better to do
that for us because we’re uncomfortable in our first night back together after
we missed each other so much. That was really nice. That was really nice.
Worth the money.
It was nice to be able to spend the money and not feel bad about it because I
still made – I think 18 students enroll while I was in New York just by doing
whatever I want all day. I did work some because I had to answer some
emails and answer student questions and stuff. I love doing that. I’m not
saying, “Oh man, I had to.” I loved it; being able to do it on my own time. The
students were excited that I was in New York and stuff like that. Coming back
and spending that, I think it was like $90 for the hotel room. Just not having
to feel like, “Oh my God! I got to make room in the budget for …” Staying in
the hotel room was really cool.
Dane: How much do you guys make? Have you calculated how much you make per
day now?
Caitlin: No because it’s not predictable. Yesterday we had 10 – no. The day before
yesterday we had 10 students enroll. Something went wrong with my email
yesterday so I thought nobody enrolled but then I happened to look at my
dashboard on Stripe and saw that we had eight people enrolled. That was like
late at night. So I went from thinking we had no sales to we had eight and I
was like, “Oh my God, it’s so cool!”
We just have no way of knowing how many students are going to enroll
because I do a lot of marketing with other websites and I have an affiliate
program and stuff. So it all depends on when new post and stuff goes live,
how they promote and stuff like that.
I just had something go live on dailyworth.com which is not an affiliate post
but people saw that and I had over 500 subscribers in one day. That’s petered
out a little bit. It’s been two days and I think so far I’ve only got like 18 new
people. So it all depends on who’s going through the seven-day free course
and stuff like that, and how busy I am, how many sales we got and stuff like
that.
Dane: You seem really happy to me when you say all that.
Caitlin: Yeah, I’m happy. I really like it. Sometimes it’s really hectic because I do get a
lot of emails but I’ve hired actually a student in my course who worked as a
virtual assistant for probably 20 years before finding my website. She actually
reached out to me and said, “If you ever need any help answering emails …”
It’s almost like she knew it was going to blow up. At that point I didn’t know
but it did and thank God for her because she is helping me a lot. Instead of
waking up to like 50 emails I got like 10 and maybe she needs my help
answering and stuff like that.
The reason I get so many emails is because I ask my students in my seven-day
free course which double – It is a sales funnel but it’s very informative, it over
delivers as a free content course. I ask them to respond. At the end of the
email I ask them specifically their respond and let me know what they
thought of that day’s lesson, what’s going through their head, things like that.
In turn I let them know I’m a human being because I actually respond.
Whether it’s my assistant or whether it’s me, somebody actually gets back to
them, answer their questions. It’s been really cool and I love it. It’s a lot of
fun.
Dane: I’m appreciating how content rich your website is. You seem to be generous
with how you describe things. My guess is that it’s highly effective.
Caitlin: Yes it is. People love it. I definitely – I don’t want to say go overboard because
that’s a negative connotation but I like to over-deliver and I like to go very
detail without giving proprietary information away. If you go to my FAQ
section I’m also very honest. I’ll say things like – One of the FAQ says, “Will
you teach me how to get clients for free?” and I say “No because I don’t want
to have that information out there in the public because then everybody will
be thinking, ‘Oh, proofreadanywhere.com told me how to get clients or
proofreader or court reporters, those clients. I’m not even going to bother
taking that course because she already told me how to get clients.’”
I explain like I’m doing you guys a service because if you go out there thinking
you know how to get clients so I’m going to try it but you have no clue what a
transcript looks like or the thousands of things that can go wrong with them
because you’re too cheap to take the course. I am not afraid to tell that to
people because it’s the truth and I’m doing them a service by not giving them
the “how to get clients” part before I give them the “how to do the work”
part.
Dane: Let’s get into this. I’m looking around your site and I’m seeing you’ve got a
seven-day course, you’ve got success stories, you got an affiliate portal, you
even got a link where I can download the course outline, you’ve got a
frequently asked questions page, you’ve got email capture on the side panel
of every site. It seems to be that you’ve taken some sort of copywriting
course. How did you put together such a comprehensive website? And I
mean comprehensive in the sense that it’s comprehensive to sell something.
Where did you get that skill from?
Benjamin: It’s blood, sweat, and tears.
Caitlin: Blood, sweat, and tears, man. I’ve never taken a copywriting course. I did
work in marketing. It just like I always had an apt for writing. I’ve always been
a proofreader, I’ve always been an editor. Not necessarily been that great at
writing. It takes me a while. I can write it really well but it takes me a while so
that doesn’t necessarily come as naturally as taking something that’s already
been written and making it sound amazing. I’m a lot better at that. So, it
takes me some time to write materials, sit on it for a while, come back, and
then boom! Turn it into something magical, something that will sell. It
definitely takes some time.
Like I said I haven’t had any training but getting the questions from the
students and so buying them to respond, that’s how I created my FAQ
section. I just took the questions that people asked me over and over and
over again and I actually formulated a lot of those FAQ’s post based on
responses to emails, what I actually sent to students. I would just copy and
paste my response in email into a WordPress post and start going to town
and making it into an actual post. That way my assistant can help me more.
When she gets that question she can just send them to the FAQ post and ask
them if that doesn’t cover it then let us know. We can help that way.
Just listening to my students, really, people want to know the same
questions. I’m actually going to probably write because I know people are out
there googling Proofread Anywhere and the word “scam” because they want
to see if anything is out there. I’m going to put something out there and say
“This is not a scam because …” I’m going to put this in a FAQ post. “Is this a
scam?” That’s going to be in my FAQ’s post and I’m going to answer the
question. “This is not a scam and anything that tells you so clearly upfront
how much work … You have to work so hard to make this work. Anything that
tells you so clearly how much work you have to put in, I think, is a sure sign
it’s not a scam.” But I can totally understand at the same time that there are
so many scams out there that people are skeptical. I think I need to address
that head on.
Dane: So you said two years. Ben, you joined The Foundation in August.
Ben: That’s right.
Dane: But you started Proofread Anywhere two years ago?
Caitlin: No, I started Proofread Anywhere. I bought the domain November 1st of
2014. So just about six months ago today actually. No, six, seven months ago.
Today is May 1st, jeez. Wow! I launched an e-book form November 9th. I
really, really hassled to write it a whole week and I launched it in its first
edition form. We sold that to 18 students and we made about $2200 and
then we stopped selling it in January because Ben was telling me, “We need
to launch a course. You need to make this into a course.” We started doing
research.
First, we were going to go with Udemy but we decided against that. We
decided to host it right on proofreadanywhere.com. I bought a plug-in, WP
Courseware. I love it! It was like $80 and I built the whole course using that
and just hammered out the content until it was done. We launched on
February 16th the course has been live, this year.
Dane: What’s happened financially since February 16th?
Caitlin: Oh boy, I can tell you.
I’m just going to tell you that – We earned about $2200 just with the e-book
and that was from November 1st until like mid-January is when we stopped
selling that because it was comprehensive. It was obsolete really by that
point because of the – made evidence by those who questions that we get
from students. I was selling it for about $150 including one practice
transcript, stuff like that. I have since expanded it probably 15 times and I
offer 16 transcripts now. I just really kind of tweaked that. We sent out our
launch newsletter to 220 people. I think we made about 12 or 13 sales that
one week. Right under $4000 in our first week.
Benjamin: We got something at the launch week. The week that we launched the
course in its current form, the first day that we launched the course, we
made more money in one day – we’ve got $1900 – than I’ve made on any
paycheck. Any paycheck. That day was a good day. We’re like, “Hell yeah!
Were doing this.”
Caitlin: Yeah. After we launched and we sold 14 I think, I can’t remember; 14 or 16,
something like that. Then it was just crickets. It was crickets. I was like, “Oh
shit, it’s over.” Ben was like, “No, no, no. You can’t think like that.” [Unclear
00:43:57] was pouring into my brain. I was like, “Wow! Okay. Well, I’m just
going to believe you.” We just kept plugging along. Today our list, last time I
checked this morning, was at 4,430 people. Today is May 1st, the last time – it
was Easter Sunday and we had made $16,998. That was less than four weeks
to go. It will be four weeks on Sunday.
I just looked this morning and our gross income on Stripe is $51,014. Actually,
I looked really quick. That’s just on Stripe. I have taken some PayPal
payments and so it’s actually a little bit more than that. I got about $2500 on
PayPal so that’s about $53,000 our gross, close to that. If I look at my
spreadsheet we’re just under $47,000 net after expenses and that is in two
and a half months. Kind of crazy.
Dane: 25K per month, ish.
Caitlin: On average. There have been sometimes where – especially in that post
launch – and I did launch it at 30% off discount but I’m never going to offer
that again and I made that clear. I’m never going to offer this again, guys.
There were some cricket periods and there have been a few days. I think
there’s only – since we launched minus that cricket period – I don’t know why
I’m calling it that. There’s only been like three or four days when we made
zero sales. We just had, two days ago, our highest sale date yet was 10 sales
in one day. That’s $3500 in one day for us which is more than I’d been making
lately on average doing proofreading.
A big milestone actually this week was – On my site, I’m very clear with how
much money I’ve made in the last two years doing proofreading. 2013 I made
47K in one year, proofreading, part time, in the whole year. That’s gross.
Before taxes and I pay estimated taxes quarterly and stuff like that. We just
crossed that in the 2 ½ month margin. That full amount, $47,000, we made it
in 2 ½ months. That’s mind blowing to me because it took me all year to
make that in 2013. Last year I made 43K in one year and we’ve crossed that.
It was like, whoa. Whoa. I think we’ve enrolled 175 students total since we
launched the e-book and then since February 16th we’ve enrolled 157
students.
Dane: That’s incredibly inspiring.
Caitlin: Loving it. That’s like the tiniest niche on earth like proofreading, transcripts
for court reporter. There’s a lot of lawsuits in this country so you can imagine.
There’s schools dedicated to teaching people how to be court reporters. No
lawsuits without the court reporters. There is work available. It’s just so
largely untapped because it’s – A lot of the methods that I use are new. The
app I use has only been out since 2011 and so that’s a question I get
sometimes is like, “Well, how come more people don’t know about this?” I
was just like because nobody knows how to market it. Nobody knows how to
share it with people. Nobody’s done the leg work yet before me.
Benjamin: Yeah. Let me share with you, Dane – this will definitely be something for the
listeners, especially anybody just starting out, any new students in The
Foundation. Even the Proofread Anywhere is only a few months old she’s
been proofreading for a number of years. You proofread on an iPad, on the
couch basically or wherever you can proofread and that’s how you made
your money for a long time. For a lot of people, especially in an office
environment, that sounds great. Now you’re still trading time for money so,
you know, you’re still having to put the time in and get paid. In that case it’s
not totally hands off.
Every time in the office when people ask me what my wife would do, I’m like,
“Oh yeah, she’s a proofreader. She proofreads from an iPad at home.”
Everybody would be like, “Oh man, that’s wonderful. I would love to do that.”
That’s pretty much what everybody seem to tell me. For a long time, it’s
almost like the opportunity was staring us in the face. It was just like here’s
the opportunity and then eventually I realized it was like, wow, we can
monetize this. People want to know this. They want to be able to do this
because when you’re working in a stressful office environment, working at
home sounds amazing and it basically is. Yeah, it’s really just a matter of
recognizing where the opportunity was.
Caitlin: Honestly I was surprised that so many people would be willing to put in work.
To be honest with you, when Ben said, “You should do this,” I’m like, “It’s so
much work. I think I’m just going to keep proofreading.” But then I finally just
listened to Ben and did the work. It honestly ended up being a lot more work
than I thought it was going to be. Once I got into it I was like I’m just going to
keep doing this, it’s going to be amazing, blah, blah, blah. So I just did it.
But then I was like, you know, we talked about kind of the fears and stuff
earlier. I was thinking what if it doesn’t work? But then when I started seeing
how many people out there that are qualified and willing to put in the work
that it takes to make it happen – that’s really the key ingredient, the people.
Yes, I can provide the tools but there has to be people willing to put in the
work to follow your instructions and do the work. For some reason I don’t
know, that just surprise me because there’s a lot of people out there that
really do. And you can find them – they’re everywhere – that don’t want to
do anything but they want to make money.
It’s been amazing to find so many hard workers that are completely changing
their lives with this information. That’s just been really the key. That’s why I
worked so hard to market to only hardworking people. I had no problem
saying no to somebody who are like, “So, at the end of the program, will you
get me some clients?” I just write back and I’m like, “No, that’s not what I
do.” I have no problem because they make it – With that question quite
obvious that they’re not willing to do it themselves.
Dane: You joined The Foundation and you joined in August.
Benjamin: That’s right.
Dane: Did you want to build a software company when you joined? What did you
join for?
Benjamin: Yeah. I joined because I didn’t know anything about software. I just wanted
to be – I was just turned on to the idea of entrepreneurship. I wanted more
freedom, I wanted to make more money, and I wanted to be happier with
what I was doing in the world.
Yeah, I wanted to build a software or software as a service company, it’s
really just a vehicle. It doesn’t necessarily have to be software. Right now I’m
trying to start a consulting business. Yeah, software is really just kind of a
vehicle to ultimately get me where I wanted to go. I didn’t get those results. I
didn’t come out with a software company and that’s okay. But, yeah, that’s
kind of where I came into The Foundation, that’s where I was.
Dane: Yeah. I want to talk into that a little bit.
So, you joined The Foundation and you learned the skills to build a business
and those skills would be applied to the software vehicle. But what happened
is through you learning these skills it kind of pored over into the creation of
Proofread Anywhere.
Benjamin: Yeah.
Dane: Would Proofread Anywhere have started in the way that it started and had
done without your education in The Foundation?
Caitlin: I don’t think so.
Benjamin: No. It took a lot. Being in The Foundation helped me see the opportunity like
I explained before how people were telling us, “Yeah, teach us how to do
that.” Then the whole frame of mind to give people value, I think that was
also another key point that I learned from The Foundation. We learned to
price our product. I think when we were talking about it, I think you seem to
come up with a lower number typically and I was like, “No, no. Think about
the value that we’re offering to people.” It was a lot of points but that was
just one of them, like learning to price it in the right way. This is not a $50
course that somebody threw together in a weekend, this is a course that’s –
Ultimately, this is a course that’s taken three or four years to build with her
proofreading experience. It wasn’t just the time she actually spent building it.
This is all of her experience proofreading.
Dane: Are you doing it right now? Are you doing the pricing, valuing, anchoring
thing right now to me?
Benjamin: If I am I wasn’t conscious of it.
Dane: It sounds like you are. It sounds like you’re actually trying to – not trying, it
sounds like you are selling me on the price and value of your company and
you just did it automatically.
Benjamin: Okay. Well, that’s good. Then it’s in my subconscious.
Caitlin: Yay!
Dane: This isn’t a $50 product that you put together in a week. This is three years of
proofreading experience condensed down into one course. Yeah. You, my
friend, do know how to sell and know how to price. You go through The
Foundation, you learn these skills of entrepreneurship, and then you start to
see the world a little differently. You start to notice opportunity that you
didn’t notice before, that was staring at you right in front of your face.
Benjamin: Yup.
Dane: So you’re going through The Foundation, you’re going through the process of
trying to learn and start a SaaS and you didn’t get results with that. But the
skills that you built of entrepreneurship through that process enabled you to
coach, educate, help Caitlin start Proofread Anywhere.
Benjamin: For sure, yeah.
Dane: I really enjoy hearing that. I’ve never really cared too much about people
actually building software out of The Foundation. I just use that because
that’s what people want the sexiness of software. What I’m so interested in
for you, Ben, is that you have the skills of entrepreneurship. Because I could
take the business away from you, I could take money away from you. I don’t
know if I could but that could be taken away from you. But the thing that will
never be taken away from you, and can never be taken away from you, are
the skills that you have.
Caitlin: That’s exactly what I tell my students. I tell them they’re always – some of the
ones that are nervous about enrolling they’re like, “What if I go through all
this and it doesn’t work?” I’m like, “It’s all dependent on your actions. By the
time you’re done with it you’re going to have the knowledge. I can’t take that
away from you. You’re not going to ever lose that and you’re going to have
lifetime access to the content too, for one. It’s an education that you’re
investing in, not paying to earn money. So I just really try to tell them you’re
investing in yourself. It’s not something that will ever go away once you’re
done.
Dane: Yeah. It’s very true. You’ve got this proofreading this. You’ve got like an iPad
app that helps you proofread, is that right? I saw it on your site. You buy this
iPad app, what’s it called?
Caitlin: iAnnotate.
Dane: So you have iAnnotate. It’s like $10 on the iPad, then you go off to court
reporters and you say, “Hey, let me proofread your stuff for you.” What’s the
basic sell to a court reporter in a sentence or two?
Caitlin: There’s really not much of a sell. Especially if you follow my methods and one
of my methods is to reach out to agencies that actually contract court
reporters. They take a commission from the court reporters doing the work
and you process your job so it saves a lot of time. If you get your name into
an agency then the agency will do the work for you and hand out your name
because court reporters know that proofreaders make them look better.
Proofreaders catch errors that they would otherwise miss and be really
embarrassed and get in trouble with their clients.
The smartest court reporters – and there are a lot of them – know that a
second set of eyes is invaluable to them. We only earn like 10 to 12 percent
of their page rate, so they get paid a lot more than we do. But they’re not
location dependent, they’re kind of limited. Proofreaders can sometimes
earn more than their own clients because they’re able to take on more work
any time of the day. There’s really not a lot of …
Dane: Can I pause you for a second. Just because time is getting shorter I’m going to
kind of condense your answers down and kind of go more rapid fire if that’s
okay with you.
What’s a court reporter do? Why do they need a proofreader?
Caitlin: They type about a mile a minute, the different types of proceedings,
depositions, trials, whatever.
Dane: They’re sitting there typing while people are talking and then you proofread
it and you say, “This obviously makes no sense.” You annotate it on the thing
and then you send it back to them and they’re able to correct it and make it
look better?
Caitlin: Yup.
Dane: Is this required legally or is this something that just helps them feel better?
Caitlin: It’s not required. Some agencies really ask them to. An agency that I worked
at – they worked for – they required reporters to upload their corrections
otherwise they couldn’t work for that agency so there’s s different rules and
stuff but it’s not legally required, it’s just very much recommended.
Dane: In a court, you’ve got to get judge. You got the attorneys, you’ve got the jury,
and then you’ve got that thing over there, that person that’s typing like crazy,
and that’s the court reporter. You guys are helping them be accurate and
look good.
Caitlin: Yeah. And ultimately they get more work that way if they’re good. The ones
that are in the court room, they’re, a lot of times, official court reporters and
so they’re employed by the state. They don’t make that much money and so
they probably don’t use proofreaders. But the ones that are employed by
independent agencies that law offices call because at their own conference
rooms they’re going to need some pre-trial depositions, pre-trial discovery.
Or when insurance companies want to interview insurance policy holders and
make sure they’re not trying to commit insurance fraud, things like that; any
type of legal proceeding.
Dane: Got it. What’s happening here is – What I’m doing in my mind is I’m kind of
putting together the framework or formula or process that you guys went
through. Ben, you’re doing financial aid for college students, you’re wanting
to learn about entrepreneurship. You get to The Foundation, it transforms
your mind on entrepreneurship, switches you on to the world of
entrepreneurship. You’re actually going through a course at The Foundation
to learn about how to put together a course.
You’re actually able to like, through osmosis, through basically like – You
could basically just bought The Foundation, learned how I put everything
together, not even really consume much of the content, and probably still
through osmosis been able to push your own course together. You find out
that Caitlin has this income – this replicatable income strategy, where she’s
like, “Hey, I’m doing this. There’s more work that can be done.” You realize
that there’s a reproducible system for someone else to do that. You help her
step into that space.
You said you had 18 sales for the e-book. How did you get sales for the ebook
for $2200?
Caitlin: At that point I wasn’t doing a lot of marketing through other websites so it
was a lot harder to sell. So I was just kind of doing my own kind of …
Benjamin: Thinking through my friends.
Caitlin: SEO, friends, things like that. Once I started reaching out to
moneysavingmom.com, real ways to earn money online, I actually Google
and see what would come up when I Google “proofreading work from
home,” and these websites would come up. and so I reached out to them.
They’re bloggers. They make money through affiliate programs. I set up an
affiliate programs and I offer $75 for each student that comes my way
through their affiliate link. That still leaves me with a nice profit. It sells really
well.
I think one of the websites that – She’s had her ad out for me two and a half
weeks or something like that, and I think I paid her over $2000 already. She’s
sent me 22 or 23 people so far. So it really works well because their
audiences are already humongous and their audiences trust the bloggers
already and so I’m kind of just piggybacking on their trust and they trust me,
their audience trusts them and so it’s kind of a partnership and it really
works. It really, really works.
I wasn’t doing that before selling the e-book. Honestly it was just such an
unpolished product. It was a good product but it was not very polished. The
courses and the website looked different and stuff like that. It just didn’t look
as good and so I’m not surprised it didn’t sell. But he also convinced me to
stop selling it because we knew we’re going to make the course. I resisted.
I’m like I want to have something to sell. I don’t want to have nothing to sell.
But he’s like, “No. Take it down. Take it down.” So I did.
Benjamin: Yeah, Dane, you’ll find this hilarious.
When we were building – that we had bought a new theme, we’re building a
new website, and this is the creation of the course as it is today. When you
went to Proofread Anywhere there was no core, you couldn’t buy anything.
And Caitlin was like, “What if they want to buy something? What’s going to
happen? They’re going to go to my site and leave and never come back.” I’m
like, “Don’t worry about it. You got to build anticipation. We have a list. We
can tell these people, yeah, you’re creating this great course.” It was funny.
When we actually launched that week, it ended up going really great.
It was funny to see how from her coming from not technically being in The
Foundation and then being afraid that people are going to want to buy but
there’s not going to be anything there. I was like, “Okay, calm down. You got
to build anticipation. It will be okay.” It’s just an interesting dynamic.
Dane: I really like the place that your mind is in now, Ben. You’re like, “No, it’s cool.
Don’t sweat it.”
Caitlin: Needed that big time. I definitely needed that.
Dane: That’s cool. You don’t need anything yet. Take it down.
You got this book, you write it. How long did it take you to write initially? A
couple of days?
Caitlin: Yeah, a couple of days.
Dane: A couple of days. You went out to some friends which is great, great first
customers. They probably gave you some feedback, they ask questions. Then
you went and found blogs by googling and proofreading. You say, “Hey, I’ve
got this program. I offer you an affiliate commission.” When did you create
the seven-day course and the student success stories page? At what point did
you create that free seven-day course?
Caitlin: That was after launch.
Benjamin: That was actually after we launched. That was my idea. I knew that we had to
create something to introduce the product to people. We had to offer them
something of value and that’s basically – Because you got to picture this,
Dane. There’s a lot of people that are wanting to make money proofreading
online, they’re on oDesk, they’re Craigslist, Elance, and they’re proofreading
for 5 bucks for a thesis or a few dollars here and there just trying to scratch
something together. Most of them had never heard of proofreading for court
reporters. You have to introduce them to you and then introduce them to
why this would be a good idea. So I just envisioned it that way.
It’s like, well, we can just create this seven-day course to teach them how to
make money generally and then talk about – If you want to niche down to
make more money we just so happen to offer this course that we’re experts
in. That was how I envisioned why we needed something like that.
Caitlin: Yeah. We make it interactive, we ask them questions. We also kind of design
it to almost make it feel like it’s their idea by the end. I ask them questions
like “Well, what do you think is better?” is one of the questions of the day.
“Would you rather try everything out first or would you rather get the expert
experience upfront and hit the ground running?” So that’s just the question. I
don’t try to sell them anything on that day’s lesson, I just ask them that
question and more often than not I get a response that says, “I’d like to get
the expertise upfront and hit the ground running.”
I make them like it’s their idea by the end. When I send them the invitation
on Day 7 and I ask, “Would you rather slip it out or you want to learn
everything that I know and start this thing?”
Dane: Phenomenal. You’ve got this book, you’ve got it to your friends, you’ve got an
affiliate program and then you take down the book and reposition it towards
a course and then launch it. What does the launch look like roughly?
Benjamin: Basically, we had a list at that point. I forgot. Maybe 220 people.
Caitlin: Two hundred and twenty people on launch day and I want to say, like, a week
before launch we had 154 people. We did some Facebook ads to try to
generate some hype. It didn’t work out that well. Facebook ads have not
really worked out that well for us but we tried.
Benjamin: We had a list. Launch week, Monday launch, we [unclear 01:06:26] had about
220 people. Really it was just a series of emails. It’s like, “Hey, the course is
here. It’s ready to buy.” We offered a discount. It was a 30% discount. We left
it open a little bit longer than I wanted to. I wanted to close it Friday, she left
it open until Sunday. It ended up being in a pretty good week for us when all
said and done. I don’t know how many emails we sent, maybe like four or
five?
Caitlin: I think three: Monday, Thursday, and then Sunday.
Benjamin: Really not that many emails compared to most launches that I’ve, I don’t
know, I guess read about. We didn’t blast people every day about it. It was
like three or four emails.
Dane: What happened between then and now to get to 50,000 in sales?
Caitlin: A lot of affiliates. A lot of my sales – pretty much like 47% of my traffic is from
somebody that heard about me from somebody else’s website. Not even
being afraid. Some of these blogs are so popular, they’re pretty much
celebrities. They do speaking engagements everywhere. Money Saving Mom
is a big one. I’m on the Penny Hoarder. If you heard of the Penny Hoarder,
he’s really big.
Dane: My mom reads all these books.
Caitlin: Yeah, so they’re like celebrities. Not being afraid, I’m a really good
copywriter, I know I have a good product and so I just I write to them
specifically. I have some apps that show when they open the emails. I see
that they open it and they pretty much respond immediately because it’s so
clear that I have a good product. I tell them I’ve already paid out $4000 in
commissions, it really sells well. They give references to the other blogs that
have earned money. Even some of the smaller blogs that have really made
bank on my product because they’re just marketing it well.
Dane: I’m going to interrupt you for a second. This is phenomenal. Pardon the
interruption. Tell me, if you could. We’re getting down to the end of the
interview, and just how you’re recruiting affiliates. I want to dive into the
snapshot of that because what you just said and the way that you laid out the
email, where did you learn to do that?
Caitlin: I don’t know. I just kind of – I guess I just think to myself. I want people to
know that I’m a real person and so I make it very clear upfront that I’m a real
person. I don’t make it sales-y, I don’t have bullet point list of benefits, I just
say, “This is what I’m offering. This is who’s already an affiliate. This is how
much I’ve paid them.” Even on my homepage I’m like, “Hey, I’m Caitlin. I’m a
human who is put on Earth to make people into amazing proofreaders.” I
really market myself as a human being. I just write really well. I make sure it
sounds good. I proofread and I’m really authentic. I feel like people know that
when they read things from me.
Dane: You don’t seem to have any emotional blocks when you’re reaching out to
these big-wig affiliates.
Caitlin: No. I know that they want to make money. I already know that they’re
affiliate marketers because that’s how they make their money, they market
stuff. I offer a really generous amount. $75 is a lot of money. It doesn’t cost
them anything to market for me. I will write the affiliate interview for them.
They’ll ask me the questions, I’ll answer. All they have to do is post it. I make
it obvious how easy it is. And I give them examples from my press page. I just
tell them go check out the other interviews [unclear 01:09:52] sign up.
Anytime somebody enrolls in the course through your link I’ll send you the
$75 and it’s easy because it works.
Dane: How many days until someone – What’s your fastest success story the person
that signed up? How many days until they started making replacement
income?
Caitlin: Oh, man. I’ve got some hustlers. I’m about to reach out to one of my latest
success stories. I have an interview [unclear 01:10:19]. I have a new one
coming out on Tuesday to the newsletter. It’s already scheduled. I’m going to
send it out. She actually did the e-book and then went through the course
when it went live. Because I had some e-book students that I gave them
access to the new course. You know, for trusting me early on I said, “You guys
are going to be able to get access to the new course for free/ I’m not going to
charge you anymore.” So she went through that. In her first month she made
$1100. That’s a really good one. That’s coming out on Tuesday.
And then I just had a new one. She took about a month to go through the
course. She really hustles, she’s really motivated, and she has gotten four
clients already and it’s been like a week, maybe a week and a half. I know it
works. She’s ecstatic. She’s like, “I know it’s not me who made this possible.”
I’m like, “Wait a second. Yes it was. I gave you all the tools, you did the work
so don’t even say that.” I’m going to interview her next.
Benjamin: This is about a month and a half between starting the course and then getting
their first clients.
Caitlin: Yeah.
Benjamin: So, about a month and a half.
Dane: You guys make a good team it seems.
Caitlin: We do.
Dane: Thank you for the answer, Caitlin, and thank you for the summary, Ben.
I think we’ve covered tactically just about enough for the interview. What I’m
gathering is that it seems to me that you’ve given yourself permission, Caitlin.
You’ve given yourself permission to write Money Saving Mom. I’m like “Man,
she’s really big. I don’t want to bother her. I’m kind of afraid.” Like, “No way,.
She’s awesome. She probably wants to make some money. I’ve got this great
program. I’m going to reach out to her.” You have this enthusiasm about
reaching out to these people where I can imagine myself having a little bit of
hesitancy. It’s really exciting to see the permission you gave yourself. I’m like
“Yeah, I can do that too. I’ve got the permission now to do that too.” I’m
going to reach out to Money Saving Mom.
Caitlin: [unclear 01:12:12], you know? If they say no or it’s not their thing, you know.
I know that I’m paying affiliates thousands of dollars to promote my product.
I know it sells and so if they say no, it’s not my problem. They’re losing out
though.
Benjamin: Yeah. I think she can only say that, and we can only say that – especially you –
because you’re really confident about our product.
Caitlin: I know it works. I know it’s good.
Benjamin: You especially – you have very unique abilities and you know that they’re
unique and that you’re good at it. What I’m just trying to say is that you’re
confident in the product. We’re not trying to scam people. It’s good.
Dane: How would you feel if The Foundation was an affiliate for your program?
Caitlin: I’d be cool with that. I’d be happy with anybody who’s reputable. I don’t want
like people in China that are going to make crappy websites just to get us the
[unclear 01:13:03] traffic and clicks and stuff. I think I’m actually going to
change it to [unclear 01:13:08] interview people to be affiliates because now
the program’s getting bigger and people are excited about it. I have it open
right now but in the future I think I’ll probably close it for that very reason
but I’m cool with that.
Dane: Yeah. It sounds like a great idea to interview people. I’ve been thinking about
putting together like a Foundation Recommends page. This could be like a
possible income replacement in 60 to 90 days, a possible income
replacement if you’re a hustler for this kind of program.
Benjamin: Especially for somebody who’s got the skills. One thing that we want to
clarify is this course is – this course doesn’t teach you how to proofread. It’s
designed to help people who are already good at proofreading and have that
skill. They spot grammatical errors on road signs and like in textbooks and in
novels and stuff like that. If you’re that way, you know who you are. I’m not
one of those, Caitlin is one of those. But if you’re one of those people, then
this course might be great for you as a way to start a side income or replace
whatever income that you’re getting right now.
Caitlin: It’s not really possible to teach people to be good at spotting errors. I’m very
clear about that upfront. If you’re not good at spotting errors, it’s probably
not good for you. Don’t even bother kind of thing. So I’m very upfront.
Because I don’t want people to be like, “Wow, this sounds so easy.” I’m very
clear that it’s not easy. If you don’t have eagle eyes, please don’t enroll
because I don’t want to waste your money. I’m not just about, “Give me your
money. Who cares?” I’m very clear that I don’t want to disappoint you and I
don’t want you to disappoint yourself either.
Dane: Amazing. Ben, what advice do you have for people that are going through
The Foundation or maybe thinking about The Foundation?
Benjamin: If you’re going through The Foundation I would just say take as much action
as you can. Don’t over analyze. I think most of us kind of get stuck in that.
What tools should we use or who should we call or what email should we
send. Just do it and commit to the action. Even now after my six months,
official six months is over, it’s developing that habit. Take the action.
That would be for new students and then if you’re thinking about it I would
just say go for it. That’s all I have to say is just go for it. If this sounds
interesting to you, if you want to be an entrepreneur and you don’t know
where to start, you don’t know exactly what to do during The Foundation, it
will give you those answers. And then you’ll be surrounded with a community
of people who will help you take that action and then you can be yourself
around. Just super valuable.
Dane: What about the fact that you paid for The Foundation and didn’t build a
software? Do you feel like you got your money’s worth?
Benjamin: I did. I did. I didn’t come out with the results that I initially wanted but I don’t
attribute that at all to the content of The Foundation because I felt the
content was great and the support was great. Sometimes I kick myself a little
bit. I’m like, “Man, if I would have pushed a little harder or stuck with one
market …” because I tried quite a few different markets, “then maybe I would
have come out with something.” But I attribute that more towards myself –
my own decisions rather than The Foundation itself.
Dane: I’m super proud to see where you are. This is what I wanted for you. I
couldn’t care less if you had a SaaS, I wanted you free and I wanted you the
skills of entrepreneurship and you have both of those now. I think my buddy,
Brian Kaldenberg, old buddy of mine. Actually we’re not even buddies, I
actually talked to him on the phone once but I would like to call him friend. I
think he owns proofreadingpal.com which some sort of a proofreading
service. The proofreading market is huge anyway.
The site is actually proofreadanywhere.com. If you’re actually interested in
maybe purchasing the program, we would love it if you do that through The
Foundation which we’ll have set up just for you, Caitlin. It’s
proofreading.thefoundation.com and we’ll throw you up on The Foundation
Recommends page as well as both the success story and see if we can send
you guys even more customers while you guys are on your trip. I would love
to see you guys averaging at least one sale a day so while you’re in this
quickie or whatever that place is in Ecuador, what’s it called?
Caitlin: Cuenca.
Dane: Cuenca. Yeah, that Cuenca place and you’re up on this hill and the 60 degree
wind is blowing through your hair. Your phone dings because maybe you
have internet, maybe you don’t. You’re like, “Hey, we just made $400 while
we’re having Eggs Benedict with salmon here overlooking the hill.” That’s
what I’m holding for you is that you guys are making $400 every single day;
especially while you’re on the cruise.
I did a two-week cruise once and I think I averaged somewhere around $1000
or $1200 a day or something. In revenue at least. Maybe I kept half of it, I
can’t remember. I’m on a cruise for two weeks and I’m reading books and I’m
still writing sales copy and I’m like, “I love business.” So I’m just excited. You
said you’re going to be working on your trip a little bit, I’m like, “Well, yes. It’s
fun!”
Caitlin: It is fun. It is so much more fun than, gosh, working in an office. I quit
personal training, I was a personal trainer, and I top fitness classes. I just
taught my last one. Before I went to New York it was my last class. It’s just so
nice to not have to be anywhere at a certain time. I really have all seven days
of my week to myself. It’s nice.
Benjamin: Dane, I should also throw in there as part of my personal story. I’m 32 years
old. For 31 years of my life I never had any intention or thought or desire to
be an entrepreneur because I just had such a – I just thought there people
who grind it out and work 12, 14 hours a day and I didn’t know anybody. My
dad had a rubber stamp business in the 70s which drove him into the ground.
His motto was kind of like, “Oh yeah, work for the corporate guy and you can
always work your way up.” But with that mindset – yeah, it’s really just open
up a whole new world. Now, it’s just like I can’t even imagine working at a
corporate office right now.
Caitlin: You don’t have to be a penny pincher. Part of the whole climb the corporate
ladder thing is like you got to save for later. You got to save [unclear
01:19:45] and that’s all well and good. You don’t have to save every single
penny, you can live your life now, you can do things you want to do now, you
can travel now, you don’t have to wait and see the best years of your life
were over because you’re busy working preparing for a future that may never
come. We’re not guaranteed to get to 65 when we can retire. It’s not a dress
rehearsal. I’m kind of over the whole mindset of preparing for the last 15 or
20 years of my life. I want to live my life now in case that never comes.
Dane: Amen.
Caitlin: It might be crazy to some people but like I said, it’s not crazy to us.
Benjamin: Amen.
Dane: Ben, if you can help me – the mission that I have so near and dear with my
heart with The Foundation is that like breaking that association of
entrepreneurship being what you thought it was and allowing people to see
entrepreneurships actually as badass, totally awesome, in some cases easier
way to live life.
Benjamin: For sure.
Dane: I love that you said like, “Yeah, I have a note written down. I never thought of
entrepreneurship because of the beliefs that I had.”
Benjamin: Yes. Yeah. The association and what I thought it was and I had no examples. If
anybody is on the fence or is unsure about the life you can achieve, it’s totally
possible and within your reach. It’s great.
Dane: Guys, two links for you guys to check out: proofreading.thefoundation.com. If
you’re looking to maybe purchase through our link or it’s
proofreadanywhere.com. Also, if you have any interest in doing what Ben
did, going through the process of The Foundation, building a SaaS if that’s
what you decide you want to do or using the skills to help your wife if you
have a wife who happens to be really good at something, sell that online. You
can do that at thefoundation.com/apply. We’d love to have you be a part of
the program. If you’re vibing with the energy of this call at all, this is very
much what The Foundation is like inside. Would you say that, Ben, or does
that feel different to you?
Benjamin: Oh yeah, for sure. Yeah, definitely. The first week of joining I felt like the
whole first two weeks I felt more relation than I’ve felt in, I think, my whole
life. Except our wedding day, of course.
Dane: I’m going to make a note about that.
I also actually want to mention, I think that there is a business model that
exists. That is probably the simplest, easiest, fastest way to both build your
skills as an entrepreneur, earn financial freedom, improve the world, have
impact, and have fun. That motto is to actually use the skills that you learn in
The Foundation to publish someone else’s expertise. You learn the skills and
your wife is a total baller at a bunch of this stuff. She’s publishing her own
expertise in this case but you kind of catalyzed it.
If you guys are listening and you’re wanting to make fast income, consider
finding somebody who’s really good at something and then marketing,
marketing, wrapping a business around. So you don’t actually become the
creator of the product, you’ve already find the product that already exist and
you publish that product. So, it’s a great, really fast way to make quite a bit of
money pretty quickly. You can get to a six-figure income pretty fast. In your
case you’re almost already halfway there in two months. It’s a very, very
good way. Just so you guys have that in your mind.
Couple of things to wrap this up. If you guys would be interested in possibly
having a couple’s entrepreneurship course, Foundation would consider
creating some sort of program like that – how to start a company as a couple.
Just email dane@thefoundation.com if you have any interest in that. If you
have any interest in learning how to publish expert’s motto, you can also
mention that. If you want to send your thank yous, please do. Find Ben and
Caitlin. Go to their site, send them a message, let them know the impact that
this interview had on you so that they know that the time they spent here
has been useful for the world.
Guys, thank you for your time.
Benjamin: Thank you, Dane.
Closing: Thank you for joining us. We’ve taken this interview and created a custom
action guide so you know exactly what action steps to take to grow your
business. Just head over to thefoundationpodcast.com to download it for
free. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week.

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