JR: You're listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 72.
JS: We have to do something different. We can't let other people run our lives anymore.
Intro: Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, stories of vibrant women living happy lives. And now, your host, Jen Riday.
JR: Hey friends, Jen Riday here, and welcome to Vibrant Happy Women. I'm so glad you're here; super-duper glad. Well, the Vibrant Happy Women Academy is open for enrollment this week and it will close on July 30th for a few months. We are doing some really amazing things. If you feel like you want to get better at creating a self-care routine and you want to add meditation to that mix, then you'll want to be in with us before we close it. We are starting the ‘calm in the chaos’ meditation challenge. It's a 10 day challenge right there in the Academy and I'm creating the meditations; it's one of my favorite things to do. And those of you who have followed me for a while, I guess you think they're pretty good; which, great, I'm so glad. Meditation is a big part of my life. It's how I stay grounded. It's how I forgive. It's how I let go of self-pity. It's how I think positive thoughts about people. I have to go back to that calm and centered place again and again and I'm going to teach you my strategies in this 10-day ‘calm in the chaos’ guided meditation challenge; I would love to have you join us. And again, that it will be in the Vibrant Happy Women academy, enrollment is closing on July 30th. The Academy is the place for you if you want to get really centered, you want to be more patient and calm and happy and I'm essentially sharing all the things that have helped me with my 6 kids, with the business, with some special challenges in our family, how I've learned to essentially be happy most of the time. Now, don't get me wrong, I have my ups and downs, but my downs are less down and they are way shorter. Those of you who are already in there, I'm so glad you're there. We start the 10-day meditation challenge on Monday and I think it's going to really help you increase the positivity in your life. So feel free to join us if this resonates for you any time before July 30th by going to vibranthappywomenacademy.com.
Let's talk about the podcast. Last week, I had the amazing Tsh Oxenreider and she talked about living a simple life. She lived in Turkey for a while and she felt like people there are more people-focused, while in the US, people tend to be more achievement focused. And she's figured out how to reconcile that now that she lives in Austin. And it was a really great episode. I know you want to listen to that and that would be at jenriday.com/71. Today, I'm talking with Jocelyn Sams from flippedlifestyle.com, and she is the host of The Flipped Lifestyle podcast as well by the way; for those of you who like podcasts. Well, she shares her story of how she and your husband both quit their jobs and figured out how to start an online business. Now, I know many of you are not interested in starting an online business, but Jocelyn does share something that will interest you, and that is how she balances everything in her schedule. She has a freebie for us, it's called the time management challenge, and you get it for free; how to figure out what you're doing in the 168 hours were each given in a week. So listen all the way to the end. And you'll be able to grab that.
Today's guest is Jocelyn Sams, part of the dynamic duo behind flippedlifestyle.com. Jocelyn and her husband, Shane, are former school teachers. After years of bad bosses, job losses and frustration at work, they started an online business. That business made it possible to quit their jobs and spend more time with family and earn millions in passive income online, all while working only 10 to 15 hours per week. (Wow!) Now, they are helping other families do the same by connecting with people through their Flipped Lifestyle podcast website and inside their Flip Your Life community. Here is today's guest, Jocelyn Sams. Welcome to the show.
JS: Hi, Jen, thank you so much for having me today. I'm really excited to be here.
JR: Yeah, I'm excited to have you. And let's start out with your favorite quote and then you can tell us your story.
JS: Okay. My favorite quote, I'm not exactly sure whose quote it is, I believe it is usually attributed to Aristotle, but it says, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” And this quote is applicable really to all parts of my life, but particularly in our business. People are always asking us, “What's the magic pill?” or, “What are the 3 simple steps to achieving success?” but I find that, as the quote says, the little everyday things that we do repeatedly really make more of an impact than deciding occasionally to take some action.
JR: Mm-hmm. So not just dreaming, but doing.
JR: Well, tell us the story of your low point and how you got from being a teacher to only working 10 to 15 hours a week (which sounds amazing).
JS: (Laughs). Yeah. So the low point for me, it was actually a few years ago. It was probably one of the lowest points of my life and it was when I realized that my 3-year-old son was being mistreated in a daycare. And I was still a teacher at the time and we had no choice but to leave our children in a childcare facility because we didn't have anyone else in our lives who were available to keep them for us. And the facility, they had recently changed ownership and our son started to become more and more upset about being left there. So my husband and I, we really didn't know what was going on. We started asking some questions and we ended up getting to the bottom of it, and we learned that some of the workers were using some questionable potty training techniques.
JS: Yeah, this was upsetting a lot of the kids, not just my son, but it was starting to become a problem, we later learned, with a lot of other people. So once we discovered this, I mean, obviously my husband and I were crushed, you know, we just couldn't help but wonder, “What took us so long to realize this? Why were we in this situation? What could we have done to prevent this?” I mean, this is kind of one of your worst nightmares as a parent that someone would be mistreating your child.
JS: So we started basically… you know, I have a 3-year-old so it's a little bit difficult to communicate; you're trying to ask the right questions. And we started basically just putting the pieces together one evening after work and we knew that we had to give our children out of the situation. So my husband, Shane, he's my business partner too, he went into work the next day and he basically told his assistant principal that he needed to leave to deal with an important personal matter. And she basically told him that, unless our son was dying, he needed to stay there with a student.
JS: So… yeah, we were very upset by that; and he, of course, left anyway. But it was at that moment that we knew that we had given too much control of our lives to other people, and Shane especially was determined to do something about that.
JR: So he left work that day, and what happened next?
JS: Yeah. So he did leave and he went to the daycare to pick up the children and we ended up having to drop them off the next morning, even though we really don't want to, we just didn't have a choice because we had to… you know, we learned this late at night, we had to go to work the next day. And so he did leave, we did get the children out of that situation, but basically he just decided that, “We have to do something different. We can't let other people run our lives any more. Like, this just isn't working for us.” So he basically… he started kind of looking around at other options. He thought about maybe mowing people's yards to make extra money. He thought about maybe trying to sell a physical product to make extra money. And then one day, just kind of randomly, he stumbled across online business.
JR: And stumbled across it, where did he learn about…
JR: Well, you know, so who did he learn from and what did you guys create together?
JS: Okay. So basically, not long after we got our kids out of the daycare, you know, he starts listening to podcasts. So we were teachers, we were off during the summer and Shane was mowing the yard one day.
JS: Well, he just goes onto iTunes and is like, “Okay, you know, tired of listening to music, maybe I'll try to listen to something about people making money.” So he just kind of randomly happened across the Smart Passive Income podcast with Pat Flynn.
JR: Oh, yeah, yeah.
JS: This was in the very early days. There were maybe like 30 or 40 podcasts at that time.
JS: And… yeah, so he started listening to Pat and he learned about Pat's architecture products; so the product that he made and sold to people that was basically like a passive income stream. And so Shane, he's a very excitable person, he basically bust in the door and he declares that he has the solution to all our problems.
JS: “We were going to start an online business. We were going to build passive income streams and we were going to quit our jobs.” (Laughs)
JR: Nice, nice!
JS: And, yeah, you know, I thought he was crazy at the time, but little did I know we would do just that.
JR: So how long ago was that?
JS: So that was in the summer of 2012.
JR: Mm-hmm. And there were only….
JS: And about 5 years ago.
JR: …. 40 podcasts back then. Oh my goodness! And now…
JS: Yep, yeah. (Laughs)
JR: … you have a podcast, I have a podcast, (Laughs); that's so funny.
JS: Yes, it is crazy the way everything happened to me. It’s mostly a whirlwind.
JR: So what product did you guys end up creating?
JS: Well, creating a variety of website. So at that time, SEO was still a big thing, not that it's not now but, you know, it's like a really big thing then. And Shane had started some basically like SEO type websites with like Google Adsense stuff like that. Well, I didn't really want to go that route and so I'm a very practical individual. I was an elementary school librarian at the time.
JS: And so I was like, “Well, you know, if I'm going to create something, I'm going to create something that I could use in my everyday life. So that way, if it doesn't work out, then I'll have… you know, have something to show for my efforts. At least I'll be able to use the products in my classroom.” So what I ended up doing is I ended up creating a website called elementarylibrarian.com.
JS: It was in the summer of 2012. And the purpose of it was to provide lesson plans and resources for elementary school librarians.
JR: Oh, that's such a great idea; and it was right up your alley.
JS: Exactly. So it was right in line with what I was already doing in my life. I knew the struggles that elementary librarians face because I was one; I faced the same struggles and basically had to started writing about that. I started creating a product and it was the product that I wanted to use in my own classroom. And lo and behold, it was a huge success. I started selling in, I think, August of that year.
JS: And by September of 2013, we were making enough money to quit our jobs.
JR: Nice, nice, that's so great. And of course then everyone asked you, “How did you do it?” and what happened after that?
JS: (Laughs). Exactly. Yeah, so basically, I just started making product. I did a month at a time so that way, you know, wasn't wasting like hundreds of hours making lesson plans that I didn't know for sure if anybody was going to buy.
JS: So basically what I did is like, in August, I would make the lesson plans for September and I would sell those, and then September, I would make the ones for October. And I pretty much just continued that for the whole year until I had a complete year of lesson plans by the end of the school year.
JR: Oh, cool, cool. Well, fast-forward to today, what are you guys doing now in your business or businesses and what does that look like in your day to day life?
JS: Okay. Well, I'm very happy to report that we've just recently accepted an offer for elementarylibrarian.com. We are supposed to close on that in July. It's just something that I've kind of wanted to do for a while because, you know, I haven't been a librarian for almost 4 years now.
JS: So I was kind of ready to pass the torch on to someone else. And we also have what's called flippedlifestyle.com, that is our business together; Shane and I. And when we started doing this, obviously like you said, a lot of people had questions about, “Okay, how are you doing this? How can I do it too?” and flipped lifestyle is sort of our way to answer those questions for people and to help them be able to start or grow an online business of their own.
JR: Nice. So people could just go to flippedlifestyle.com and find you?
JR: What would they find on the website if they check it out?
JS: Yeah, so most of our content is a podcast. We have a weekly podcast that Shane and I do together. And on our podcast, we talk to members of our Flip Your Life community. And these are people who are… they pay us each month to help in. We have different kinds of trainings. We actually go into our community and we talk to them. And we have a bi-monthly member call that we do. So basically, we just talk to people where they are, we figure out what they need to do next and we help them to figure out how to get to that next level.
JR: Nice. And so if you were to put it into a nutshell maybe for some of our listeners, which happened to be mostly women, everyone has the idea, “Maybe I should start an online business,” what would be 3 simple steps that they could start thinking about?
JS: Yes, so I would say…
JR: Wait, wait. I know you mentioned it doesn't easily boil down into 3 simple steps.
JR: Here I go making you do it, but okay. Sorry. (Laughs)
JS: No, it’s good; no, it's fine. You know, I think that there are definitely things that you can start thinking about. If you're interested in online business, I would say the first thing that you need to do is figure out your customer avatar. And what that means is the person, the ideal customer that you would sell to. Once you've done that, you need to figure out, “What problems do they have? What problems can you solve?” because that's what business really is; it’s about solving.
JS: So I would say those are 2 things to do; your customer avatar or figure out that ideal customer you want to sell to, figure out their problems, and then third, find an easy way to solve their problems. So it might be that you solve one of their problems for free and then you ask them to pay you to solve other problems for them. This is the model that we've used on pretty much every online business that we've had, and it works very well.
JR: Nice. Okay, well, this is amazing and I love what you've created. So if people want to learn more about you, they can just go to fliplifestyle.com or check out your Flip Lifestyle podcasts; so great. What's a habit that contributes to your success?
JS: Okay. One of the habits that I do pretty much daily is that I calendar everything. And when I say everything, I mean I don't get down to, “I go to the restroom at this time,” you know, I don't get quite that crazy, but I do calendar things like spending quality time with my children, driving them to activities, cooking, cleaning up. I find that I'm not very good at multitasking. I think that most people are not good at multitasking; we like to think that we are, but we're really not.
JS: And putting everything on my calendar helps me to really fully concentrate on everything that I need to do.
JR: Do you use a paper calendar or a digital calendar?
JS: At one time, We used to use a paper calendar, but now I use Google Calendar and Shane and I share one.
JR: Oh, that's… and what's your favorite easy meal?
JS: My favorite easy meal that I'm obsessed with right now is a copy-cat P.F. Chang’s lettuce wrap.
JS: They have ground chicken, it has a lot of Asian flavors, has sriracha and, you know, just a soy sauce, a lot of nice stuff like that, and you wrap it up in lettuce; it is super yummy.
JR: Did you make up the recipe?
JS: I did not; found it online, and I'll be happy to send it to you. I don't know the URL right offhand, but I can send that to you if you want to link to it.
JR: Yeah, we'll have a link to that on our show notes page at jenriday.com/72. Okay, so what's your favorite kitchen gadget?
JS: The thing that I use pretty much every single day is a Cuisinart electric tea kettle. So basically, you just put some water in it, you set it on its little base and push the button, and in just a few minutes, you have boiling hot water for tea. I'm not a big coffee drinker, I love my English breakfast tea; so something that I use every day.
JR: You know, that's really clever. We have a regular old tea kettle that we heat up or sometimes we go to the microwave. But I just interviewed Selena weeks ago and she said, “No, it doesn't taste as good in the microwave,” so I think I'm going to get that; Cuisinart electric tea kettle. Okay.
JS: Yes, it's really good. I think it's under $100 and I use it every day.
JR: Awesome. What are your favorite books or your favorite book?
JS: My favorite book that has been the most impactful for us lately is called ‘Profit First’, It's by Mike Michalowicz. And basically it's a system of paying yourself first before you pay other people, before you pay bills, and just organizing your finances in a way that just makes it easier for you to see how much money you're making, how much money you need to make, and what might happen if you allocate different percentages to different places.
JR: So you pay yourself first in the form of like your savings account?
JS: Yeah. So basically what he does is he separates out several different accounts; so you have like a profit account, you have an operating expense account, you have a tax account. So basically, you just funnel a certain percentage of money to each account with the goal of making sure that you're profitable first.
JR: Hmm, that sounds really intriguing.
JS: It really is.
JR: I might need that.
JS: It has changed our business. We started doing it about 2 years ago. And, before, you know, we've always been profitable, but, before, like we… I couldn't really tell you exactly how much money we had; like, we sort of knew. But now, like we know exactly how much profit we have, we know exactly how much we have in our operating expense, we know an exact amount for taxes, and it's just very freeing once you have that information and you don't have to constantly worry or calculate.
JR: Mm-hmm. So we talked a lot about your business and thinking about profit, you know, the money you take home, what do you guys like to do in your free time?
JS: So our favorite thing to do in our free time is basically spend time with our children. That's something… you know, I talked about daycare earlier and we have not always had that opportunity. So now, we like to do just simple things with them and we take them to the grocery store, we go outside and go fishing, we take them on walks, on hikes, we have 2 dogs we like to spend time with them. Next week, we're going on a Disney cruise.
JS: So we just like to do as much as we can, just really pour into our children because now we have that opportunity to do so.
JR: And you can potty train on your terms. (Laughs)
JS: Exactly. Well, my children are older now, so…
JR: Yeah, right, right.
JS: … those days are past.
JS: But that’s right.
JR: How old are your kids?
JS: Right now, they are 8 and 6.
JR: Wow, that's great. Do you have some big plans ahead, you know, now that…
JR: … you have good income, and what kind of goals and dreams do you have?
JS: Well, mostly, we're really excited because, I mentioned earlier, we're selling one of the businesses. That is going to allow us to pay off our current property. I didn't get into this earlier, but when we first started our online business, we actually sold our house and we bought a house that was like half the size and half the mortgage.
JR: (Gasps) Cool!
JR: So you could use the money to start your business?
JR: Oh, clever!
JS: So we actually live… yeah, we lived there for 3 years. And recently, we just purchased a 30 acre property. It has a 10 acre private lake and…
JS: … a house that was basically twice the size of the one that we moved out of to begin with. So one of the things that we're going to do is we're going to pay off this property and we have like one little student loan left. So that will be the end of our personal debt.
JS: So we’re super excited about that. So once that is taken care of, we're just mostly into growing flip lifestyle. You know, we want to help other people to be able to find the same type of freedom that we have; so that's really our plan. Our kids, they're starting to get involved in online business, which is really cool.
JS: Yeah, they have a YouTube channel, it's called Flip Lifestyle Kids. And it's basically just their travel adventures, everyday kind of adventures at home and basically just getting them comfortable with the idea of putting themselves out there for other people.
JR: Do they have a lot of followers?
JS: They're starting to. Yeah, we're starting to get more and more all the time.
JS: It's a pretty new channel.
JR: So I laugh because one of my sons started a YouTube channel, but he wants it to be about gaming. So I think it's cool your kids aren't just doing gaming. (Laughs)
JS: Well, they do some gaming too, yes.
JR: Yeah. (Laughs)
JS: They like those as well.
JR: Flipped Lifestyle Kids gaming channel. (Laughs)
JS: Yeah, we have like gaming, we have vacations, we have… they cut open toys, you know? It's just sort of a…
JS: … a mismatch of, you know, everything they like to do. (Laughs)
JR: And that's kind of… you know, that's kind of clever because some of us get really behind on pictures and videos, and you've got kind of a nice edited version of their life that you can refer back to over time.
JS: Yeah, it's really cool.
JR: That's cool. Well, what's the best advice you've ever received?
JS: I would say the best advice that I've ever received comes from my husband. And basically his mantra is to take action and make things happen. I'm not always good at that. I like to sort of live in my head a lot of the times and talk myself out of doing things.
JR: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
JS: But he's the one who wants to jump out of the plane and, you know, I have to figure out a way to get the parachute. But, yeah, I just wanted to say too, like I always go back to, “If you do what you have always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.”
JS: So it just goes along with that taking action and making things happen.
JR: That's great advice. Well, let's talk about your happiness formula. If you had to create a list of the things that maximize your happiness, what would that include?
JS: Well, I'm happiest when I take control of my own time, when I prioritize the things that are really important in life, and when I'm helping others find the same type of freedom that we have found.
JR: Oh, that's great. And let's have a challenge for our listeners.
JS: Okay. This week, I want to challenge your listeners to put everything on a calendar, starting with their non-negotiables. And non-negotiables are things like work, like sleep, eating dinner, eating lunch, things like that. So once you get those things on there, then you move on to things that you want to do. So maybe it's working on a business, maybe it's spending more time with your children. Whatever it is that you want to do, then calendar that in next after those non-negotiables. And this will help you see where you're really spending time versus where you want to spend your time.
JR: So have you read the book ‘168 hours’?
JS: I have not.
JR: This reminds me of that book. Well, good for you; you could almost write a book then.
JS: Yeah, we have a time management challenge and I wanted to offer it to your listeners.
JR: Oh, yeah.
JS: I'm so glad that you said that, but we call it The 168 Hour Challenge.
JR: Oh, really?
JS: And basically… yeah, when we first started out… I'm definitely going to read that book now that you say that.
JS: But when we first started out, time was a huge issue for us because we had a 3 year old and an 18 month old at the time and we were both working full-time jobs. So, I mean, our time was just hardly anything, you know?
JS: So we decided that one thing we needed to do was to really take control of our time; and that's exactly what we did. We drew out 168 rectangles and we wrote in stuff on every single one.
JR: Wow. So how much sleep did you allow yourselves?
JS: You know, in the earlier days, it was not as much; probably like 6 to 7 hours.
JS: Now we try to sleep at least 8.
JR: Yeah, sounds just like me; 6 to 7, but the ideal is 8. Uh-huh.
JS: (Laughs). Yeah, exactly.
JR: And so where could they find that freebie?
JS: Okay, so if you would like to take our time management course, you can find our 168 our calendar at flippedlifestyle.com/vhw for a Vibrant Happy Women.
JR: vhw. And so is that a paid course, a free course?
JS: It is totally free for your listeners.
JR: Time and management challenge, flippedlifestyle.com/vhw. Well, thank you, that's nice of you.
JR: Alright, I'll remind our listeners, we'll have links to that challenge and everything else Jocelyn talked about on our show notes page at jenriday.com/72. Jocelyn, this has been amazing, you've inspired us, and thank you so much for being on the show.
JS: Yeah, it's been really fun. Thank you so much for having me.
JR: Take care.
Thank you so much for joining us. And be sure to come back next week when I talk with Nisha Moodley all about wholeness, alignment, and sisterhood. By the way, ladies, you out there listening, you are my sisters, I feel such a special closeness with you, even though I don't know many of you personally, I know what you're doing and I know those feelings you have as busy women, busy moms who are doing so many things, and I'm grateful for you. You are rock stars. You are awesome; please know that about yourself. Also, a final reminder that the Vibrant Happy Women Academy closes on July 30th and it won’t open again for several months. This is the place to be if you want to get out of that place of burnout and overwhelm, if you want to be able to consistently get up and establish a morning routine that works for you and to follow that morning routine, if you want to take better care of yourself, to have time to reflect maybe write in a journal, pray or meditate all of those things that fill your cup, most of us have every intention to do those things, but the consistency is difficult. But it gets so much easier when you're surrounded by other women who have figured it out. They say you tend to be like the 5 people you interact with most. So if you feel like you want to shift up to the next level, take better care of yourself, be healthier, be more stable, more patient, a better parent, then join us in the Academy because we are doing all things alignment. Now, what does that mean? Well, you know, those days when you feel like you're on fire with enthusiasm and motivation and peace and contentment and people might say the weirdest or meanest things, but they don't seem to faze you? Well, that's a moment when you're living in alignment. In contrast, some days, you're easily offended and you feel sad and frustrated or afraid and just so negative, things seem dark, now that's what we call living out of alignment. It's my belief that we have these feelings as a signal or a cue from God or the universe or whatever higher power you believe in that show us the way we need to live. We each have a unique gift that will be lost to the world if we don't express it; scary thought, right? I believe that we each have a unique gift and ability and talent that will be lost to the world if we don't express it. Sometimes when we're not using that gift or living the way we were born to live, we feel out of alignment, we feel dark and negative and things can feel hopeless. But sometimes, when we make that shift into living in alignment, we feel on fire with enthusiasm, knowing we're doing what we're born to do, and man, alive; that feels amazing, feels so good. How do we know what we need to do? Well, we've got to start with that morning routine; getting up, having that quiet reflective time where we listen to our feelings. If we feel out of alignment or dark or depressed or frustrated or fearful, we shift it back into alignment through meditation or prayer journaling. We start our day in alignment and then we have more patience, we have more love, we just feel so much better, but we've got to learn together as a group of women what that alignment feels like, how to stay aligned, how to get realigned so that we're in kind of that energetic flow. And that gives us the confidence to live our purpose to share our talents and to use our God-given gifts, our universe given gifts, whatever terms you use. Now if this resonates for you and you feel like you do have something more to do in your life, you want to be a better person, to be that better self you know you can be, then please do join us in the Vibrant Happy Women Academy. We are all making that shift together and it's a beautiful journey, and I love to watch it unfold for each of you. You can enroll at vibranthappywomenacademy.com. I will see you Thursday with a happy bit, and until then, make it a fantastic week.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast at www.jenriday.com.