Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life Series!
If you’re new here, this is a series where I interview people who have designed their dream life. You can find all the interviews here on the Design Your Dream Life Page.
I’m so happy and excited to have Bobby Hoyt on today!
Here’s a look at what Bobby had to say about designing his dream life…
Finish the sentence “I knew I was living my dream life when…”
I actually remember the exact moment that I realized that I had “made it” with my business. It was October 2018, and my wife and I were taking a much-needed vacation in Italy.
Now…I had been running my business for about three years at that point, and this was NOT my first vacation as a self-employed online business owner.
But I had this moment where it all came together and hit me. I guess I hadn’t realized what I had actually created over the last three years of grinding, worrying, hoping, and putting the time in.
Anyway, back to the exact moment…
We were in Venice, and for some reason I had woken up in the middle of the night and decided to check my phone. All of my social media was removed from my phone (I swore to myself that I would actually try to unplug on this vacation!), but I could still see my Stripe account notifications.
So I opened my phone and saw it: I was selling courses in my sleep.
That wasn’t new at this point in my business, but I guess it was just everything coming together.
I was in Italy on a really nice vacation, hadn’t thought about my business in days, and it was still printing money while I slept.
If that isn’t making it, I don’t know what is haha.
What was your life like before all this that led you to make a change?
I used to be a high school band director, and I hated it.
Now don’t get me wrong – I didn’t hate the kids or the actual work. I just hated the fact that I never felt like I got paid well enough for how hard I worked.
Even from my first days, I remember asking the head band director (AKA my boss) why we didn’t get paid more.
I’ll never forget what he said:
“Oh, don’t start thinking about that. Once you do, you’ll never be happy in this job.”
And that was probably what started this entire journey if we’re being honest. It’s like someone telling you not to imagine an apple. You can’t help it.
But for a long time, I didn’t really know what else to do, you know?
Starting another career sounds cool, but the only thing I had ever wanted to be was a band director. I was doing the thing that everyone told me I probably should do.
So… I had to figure something else out. It took a while, and in the meantime I woke up every single morning and felt dread about having to go to work.
At the time, I was living with my wife at her parent’s house to save money.
I had $40,000 of student loan debt, and I knew that I would be way too scared to make a career change with the loans hanging over my head.
That’s why I was doing everything I possibly could to pay it off quickly.
I drove a crappy car, rented that room from my in-laws for $500/month (my wife and I split it), barely ever did anything fun, and threw literally everything I possibly could at the loans.
After a year and a half of living like that, I finally made the last payment on my student loans!
It was crazy. Even with everything I’ve accomplished now, that moment I clicked the “submit” button on the Sallie Mae website is probably one of the best ones I’ve ever had.
That was really the event that set all of this into motion.
I decided to start blogging about personal finance and landed Millennial Money Man.
Six months later, I was so passionate about it that I walked in and told my boss I was going to resign to run the blog full-time.
I had only made about $3 at the time, but I knew that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing with that site. I wanted to reach as many people as I could that were just like me: Unhappy with my job, financial situation, and wanting more out of life.
Now straight-up – blogging is a slow game. I didn’t really know that when I left my job to run M$M full-time.
I saw all of these bloggers out there with crazy income reports, and I guess I never really stopped to think about the fact that it took all of them years to get to that point.
So in the first few months of not making any money, I had to start doing some digital marketing work to make ends meet. The jeweler that had made my wife’s engagement ring needed some help with their website, and I knew just enough to help them out.
I picked up a few more clients here and there, but stayed mostly focused on M$M. Then, in September 2016, my story was picked up by CNBC and the rest was history.
Fast-forward to now, and I’ve started another business called Laptop Empires, where we teach people to start their own online businesses like I did.
Between LE, M$M, and my marketing business, I was able to generate over $1,000,000 in revenue, and 2019 looks like it’s going to be much better.
What’s your lifestyle like now?
Coral’s starting her own YouTube channel on home decor, and basically getting to do whatever she wants.
I work from home, or a coffee shop, or really wherever I want (my home office is my favorite place to work though).
We also get to travel quite a bit which is nice, but the most important thing for me is that I’m helping a lot of people right now. I have a pretty awesome readership with M$M, and Laptop Empires has a really cool community of online business owners around it as well.
I wake up every morning and legitimately love what I do. It’s a total 180 from waking up and not looking forward to my teaching job.
I’m not going to sit here and say it hasn’t been hard or that there were never times when I really struggled, but it’s all been 100% worth it so far.
How many hours per week do you work?
Haha – I honestly have no idea. I am not type A enough to track my hours, but I’d imagine that it’s in the 60-70 hour range right now.
Most of the time I just work that much because I love it. I’m wired to work, and I get antsy if I’m just sitting around doing nothing.
I used to work an unhealthy amount before the business started churning significant revenue, but now that things are consistently growing I’ve been able to take my foot of the gas a bit and work more “normal” hours.
How do you make money?
Well, it’s gotten a little complicated at this point if we’re being honest. But, here’s the list:
- Product sales from the FB Side Hustle course and FB Ads for Bloggers course
- Recurring membership group revenue
- Affiliate income
- Display ads
- Staff writing
- Marketing work (local SEO, content creation, social media work)
- Helping other bloggers launch their courses
- Swag (people really like our Laptop Empires shirts haha)
It’s a lot, and honestly I’m trying to cut down on some of the things that I do in 2019. It’s really, really hard to stay focused with an online business like mine sometimes, and you end up spreading yourself a little too thin.
I’ve built a lot of my income streams horizontally (more products, more services, etc.), but I’m looking to shed some of those projects so that I can scale vertically and just focus one the things that are bringing in the lion’s share of the revenue.
For me, that’s info courses, membership revenue, and affiliate income.
How did you get started?
It’s funny – I don’t remember the exact moment that I wanted to create Millennial Money Man. I remember sitting down at the kitchen table at my in-laws’ house to pick out the domain name, but I don’t remember what prompted it.
I kinda wish I did because it would be cool to remember, but oh well.
All I know is that I was very excited about paying off my student loans.
Before I had started the site, I actually wrote a post on Medium about what I thought Millennials should be doing with their money. I shared in on my personal Facebook page, and it basically blew up and went mini-viral among all of my friends.
After that, I started researching blogging, and found all of these people that were making money with their blogs! It was crazy. There was this whole subculture of internet people nerding out about money as a business.
Eventually I officially started M$M, and it’s been off to the races since then.
How long did it take for you to make $1k per month?
Several months for sure. Like I mentioned earlier – blogging is not a quick business model. It’s an awesome way to make money over the long-term, but you aren’t going to get rich in the first few months.
That’s why I eventually started doing marketing work for local businesses, which is where I made my first $1,000. There is a lot of money to be had running FB ads for local businesses to generate leads, helping with freelance writing on their blogs, and just tons of other little things.
How long did it take for you to make six figures per year?
By my third year working online, I was making six figures. It’s actually pretty common for online business owners to go a year or two without making much money at all, and then all the sudden just blow up.
I’ve seen it over and over again over the past few years with other bloggers. If you put in the work, run your business strategically, and try new things – you’re going to get traction eventually.
Unfortunately, most people just quit way too early. It kinda sucks, because I’ve seen a ton of people with so much potential quit right before they are about to “make it”.
What do you wish you knew when you were starting out that you know now?
That’s a tough question – there is SO much stuff to learn about starting and growing a business. Even now, I’m learning something new every day.
The reality is that I’ve only been an entrepreneur for about four years now, so I’m still pretty new to all of this! It was not that long ago that I was waving a stick while standing on a podium in front of my band students every day.
But with that said, this is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned:
You need to lean into your strengths
There are a lot of things that I did “wrong” when I was growing M$M. I didn’t focus on the conventional things that everyone says you’re supposed to with a blog, like Search Engine Optimization or Pinterest.
I just kinda wrote the stuff I felt like writing, and really spent a lot of time getting to know my readers.
The personal connection with readers and success stories that I get in my inbox are the things that make me love what I do.
And quite frankly, my real strength in my business is being able to listen to my readers, have empathy for their various situations, and then give them the motivation to take whatever the next step is for them in their lives.
So I leaned in really hard on that, tried my best to focus on what I was good at, and eventually it worked.
Now… please don’t hear me say that you shouldn’t be strategic and learn what other people in your industry are doing to grow their businesses.
It’s good to know what’s out there so that you can possibly implement it into your brand.
But, the core of what you do should probably be the things that you already enjoy and are good at in your business.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting out and wants to design her dream life?
Stop thinking about what you’d like to do, and start taking action instead.
The reality is that a lot of business owners fail. But… it’s not because they aren’t talented enough or smart enough to “make it”.
They usually fail because they’re too afraid to go out and implement their ideas. They’re worried about failure and rejection (which is something all of us are worried about tbh).
Here’s what I’ve learned over the years:
The people I know who are crushing it with high six-figure and seven figure businesses are all in the position they are in because they understand that speed of implementation trumps all.
You have to go get your hands dirty with this whole “entrepreneur” thing. Try stuff. Fail. Pick yourself up. Fail again.
Then, you rinse and repeat that process until you find the things that work in your business.
So please, please please please go out and take a chance on yourself, and never let the fears of what could go wrong keep you from creating the life you really want.
Where can people find you if they want more?
A Final Note!
WOW. All I can say is wow.
Bobby is freaking so inspiring and amazing.
I love what Bobby said about six and seven figure business owners knowing that speed and implementation trumps all.
This is something unique that people don’t emphasize enough. I can’t agree more with Bobby. Massive action is the secret sauce to success.
Bobby is a rockstar and I’m constantly inspired by him!
Are you inspired by Bobby?! Let him know in the comments!
P.s. If you want to start an online business, here are the best resources…