I want to share with you a little bit about what my life was like before I started working in online marketing.
As you may know, my husband and I are missionaries in Puebla, Mexico. We live here with our seven kids and our dog in our dream home. My husband is the pastor of our church and we also have a small Christian school where we teach kids the Bible, English, and entrepreneurship. On top of that, we also run a college that offers night classes for people who want to become pastors, go into the ministry, or become Christian school teachers in Mexico. And on top of that, we have an online Bible college. We also have a website for our church that has around 60,000 unique visitors every single month. Of course, it’s taken almost a decade to achieve all of this — it certainly wasn’t where we started!
My husband and I got married in 1999 and immediately moved to a small town in Guerrero, called, “Iguala, Guerrero”. It’s a very small town. Back then, the town didn’t even have a grocery store. The roads were all dirt and it would get very, very hot.
A lot of people had dirt floors in their homes, cement floors if they were lucky. It was a very poor town. And did I mention how hot it would get? It’s hard to believe, but my hair was so long it was past my knees. I used to always have to wear my hair up in a bun. I came from California where I always dressed nice and wore makeup. But, here, it was so hot that my makeup would literally melt off my face.
So there I was, my hair piled on top of my head, no makeup, and sweaty. We lived in a small apartment and we didn’t have any money at all. We’d gotten some money from our wedding and were able to buy a refrigerator and a small stove (we still have both in our church!) and a mattress that we had on the floor because we couldn’t afford a bed frame. Even though it was SO HOT, we did splurge on a new air conditioner.
Our income was just a couple hundred dollars a month. The rent for our apartment was $70 a month, and car insurance cost $25 a month, which meant there wasn’t a lot left after we paid our bills. It was hard for me because I was so used to working and being able to give to others, and all of a sudden I wasn’t able to do that.
If there was someone who had a need, I wasn’t able to help them. If someone was hungry, I wasn’t able to buy them a sandwich because we didn’t even have money for ourselves. I hated feeling helpless, and knew I needed to figure out a way to generate a little bit of revenue. But, back then there weren’t a lot of opportunities. So, I did the one thing that I was able to do, which was teaching English.
I started teaching at a small Christian school where they paid me $1.00 an hour, which meant I was making about $30 a week. I was teaching second graders which was fun for me because I was still learning Spanish. I would tell the kids, “Speak slowly and enunciate your words or your teacher will not understand you!”
The school didn’t have the money for proper school supplies, which made learning basic things, like handwriting and math, even more difficult for the kids. They came to school with holes in their shoes and pants, I wanted to be able to do more for them than I was able to.
But again, at the time we did not have any extra money; we were barely scraping by ourselves. So, I decided to offer English classes after school. I charged five pesos for a lesson, which back then was about fifty cents, and I would teach two to five students. That’s about $2.50 extra I was making each day after school. But if a student did not come and I only had four students, I only made $2.00. If only three students showed up, I’d make only $1.50. Every day after I finished teaching, I would take the little money I’d made and go to the little market store to buy our food for the day, we could only afford the very basics, eggs, tortillas, and, of course, coffee.
And even though I was only earning fifty cents an hour teaching English, it was the best time of my life. It was fun and exciting. I was working with kids and helping them and teaching them many different things.
So that is where I started from. Fast forward about a decade to 2009 and I was charging $500 an hour for a marketing consultation, helping people create a strategic marketing plan for their business.
What’s your origin story? Where did you start? I’m going to bet that you have more resources than I did back in 1999 in that tiny Mexican village.
Today, if you want to learn something you can pay to learn it faster. You can pay for a coach. You can pay for a mentor. You can pay a consultant, or you can just go on YouTube and learn it for free. There is enough free information out there to help you to grow and scale your business. Of course you have to sort through it to figure it out and put all the pieces together yourself, but you absolutely can do that. If you are wondering if you can make money online, I don’t think it’s going to take you ten years to scale like it did for me. Wherever you are today, you have something to offer others, whether that’s a product or a service.
If you can figure out how you can provide value to someone else, then you can start an online business and you can be successful. You can fulfill your dream, whether that means giving back to your family or your community — or both.
When I first started my business back in 2002, I wanted to achieve two things. I wanted to go to Starbucks every now and then for coffee, and I wanted a little extra money to buy a new dress every once in a while. I thought if I could make an extra $200 a month to contribute to my family and to treat myself every now and then, that would be absolutely amazing.
Maybe your desire is to pay your child’s (or children’s) tuition for a great private school. Maybe your goal is to pay your mortgage payments each month or to pay off your house completely. Maybe your goal is to save up money for that dream vacation. Or give your family a great Christmas.
Whatever your goal is, it is possible. And it makes no difference where you’re starting from today.