Debt and The Income Ceiling

By Jeremy Deighan

Hello, and welcome to The Digital Product Show. We're talking about digital products and how you can sell them online to make a living. We're going to dive deep into the different types of digital products and learn about online business and online marketing. 

I wanted to use these first couple installments to give a bit of my backstory and explain where I was, and how I got to where I am. 

Now, I talked about this in the first episode and gave a kind of overview. But I have a feeling that you might be in the same position that I was. 

And if you are someone who might have some debt: maybe student loans or credit cards or other kinds of debt; or maybe you're living paycheck to paycheck. And each paycheck, you're trying to figure out whether it is going to be enough money to pay your bills and do the things you want to do. Or maybe a thousand-dollar emergency hits you: would that really set you back? Because that is the place I was in a couple of years ago. 

It was really hard. It's very draining. Because it makes you think about where your life is headed and what you're doing. When you are always worrying about money and where it’s coming from, you really can't enjoy life. You can't be happy. You can't grow. 

When you are always worrying about money and where it's coming from, you really can't enjoy life.

I mean, you can be happy. But I always had in the back of my mind that I had this debt hanging over me. If I had to take off a couple of days from work because I was sick, I didn't get paid. My next paycheck wouldn’t be very big, and it was going to hurt my family. 

So I want to talk about that today because it really weighed heavily on me. Even to this day, I'm not completely out of debt yet. But I have a plan and direction. Doing this online business has really helped. I want to explain why that is. 

Debt and Budgeting

First of all, I went to school and had accumulated school debt. I had some credit cards and bank loans. At the time, a lot of my money was going to paying off debt. It seemed like whatever money I got, went right back into servicing debt, and there was never any extra money available. 

I took this class called Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey, who is a well known financial guru. 

Financial Peace University
Financial Peace University

Just by chance, I ended up in this class. I was going to my church to audition to play bass guitar. They weren't playing that night, and the pastor stopped me and asked if I had joined this class. I told him I’d never heard of it before. He enrolled me in the class, and I went through it with my wife. It really changed our perspective on money. 

It helped us think about things like not being in a constant state of debt. It's not until you can get out of debt that you can really start to grow. Once you cut ties to your debt, all the income that comes in is wealth you're able to accumulate. Not only can you accumulate wealth, but you can also start helping other people. 

You see this all the time: people who become very successful are the people who help the most because they have more freedom and money to give back. 

Now, in our eyes, sometimes we look at it and feel like they're not doing enough because they are successful and have so much money. But they can do a lot more with their money than I ever could being in debt. 

I couldn't even help myself, so how could I help out a friend in need, or my mom or dad or siblings, if they needed something? I'm not in a position to do that when I already have debts looming over me. 

So I went through this class, and it made me realize, "Okay, I need to start chipping away at this debt. I need to stop racking up the credit cards. I need to stop buying things that I don't really have the money for, and stop being in a constant place of paying for all this debt." 

My debts were accumulating interest, and the companies and banks were making money off of me being in debt. That's how they gain their wealth: they give you the credit so that they can keep you in that zone and keep charging you interest that builds over time.

We ended up getting a house, and eventually, I wanted to get to a place where we can own our house 100% and get out from under the mortgage. I need to get rid of the student loans that we have and have been paying on for ten-plus years. Start getting rid of some of this stuff, so that we can begin to grow. 

One phrase that Dave Ramsey always said is, “you have a bigger hole than a shovel, and you can't get out if you keep creating a bigger hole for yourself.” 

So we started changing our plans to start getting rid of debt and stop spending money we didn't have buying things we couldn't afford. We started a budget. We got really good at budgeting over time. In the beginning, it was really difficult. But we’ve kind of got it down now, because we've practiced a lot. 

Beyond Budgeting: Limits on Earning

So, we budget our money. But we still felt stuck. We still felt we were in a place where we kept working and grinding at our jobs. But even though the debt was going down, we never had any extra. And we still struggled. 

I mean, there were days we didn't have money for groceries. We would go grocery shopping the week we got paid, spend a couple of hundred bucks for the next couple weeks. And we didn't know what we were going to do after that, because we had no more money coming in the week after that. And the week after that, how were we going to keep buying food? 

So we were eating rice and beans and ramen noodles and things like that and trying to figure out how we're going to feed the kids and ourselves. We found ourselves in this state constantly. 

So, when I first learned about online business and making money with digital products, I thought it was a really cool idea. It struck me that you could take these digital products and online assets, put them out there, and keep growing the business. 

Once I started looking at myself as a business: where I could have multiple streams of income, multiple products that could generate more and more revenue, it changed my world. I'll explain what I mean.

When you're working a job, there's always going to be a limit on the potential income that you can make. 

Sitting at the Top of the Stairs
Sitting at the Top of the Stairs

Now, depending on your job and your career, you can go up the corporate ladder, and of course, make more money. You can get more degrees and you become more experienced, and work yourself up there. 

But as long as you're working for another company, or someone else, there will always be a cap on what you can earn.

I think back to the days when I worked at an office supply store. When I first started, I was just a regular associate; I stocked shelves. I had a cap on how much money I made. I don't know what it was at the time--let's just say for the sake of it was $10 an hour. 

Over time, as my experience grew, I learned how to run the cash register, and how to sell computers, how to work in the copy and print center. As I became more experienced over time, they would give me raises. 

But they were small, incremental raises. 

And there would always be a cap on where that raise would take me. I would never make more than $12 or $13 an hour. 

The next step would be to become an Assistant Manager. I never did this, but if I became an Assistant Manager, I would be offered a salary, but there would still be a cap. I would have to take the next rung on the ladder to Manager. Then I could progress to you know, Regional Manager and so forth. And I could keep going up those rungs. 

Who knows how far up I could go in this company? I could become Vice President or President of the company. But if it's not my company or my business, there will always be a cap. 

That really made me feel trapped. 

I was working in an industry for like 15 years and was still making the same hourly rate more or less, that I was making 10 years before that. The only way that I could make more money was to put in more hours. 

If I wanted to make more, I would need to do overtime. I would need to work on weekends. I might even have to pick up another job. And in that job, I would again have a cap. 

I was using time to make money. And that is an awful place to be. 

When you trade your time for dollars, for you to make more money, you have to work more hours. That takes a toll on your body and physical well being. 

If you're working two jobs trying to support your family, and you aren't getting enough rest, eating healthy or exercising properly, and you don't have time to hang out with your family or what you want, it weighs on you. And it's because you're trading your time for dollars. You have to work more hours to make more money.

Creating Income Streams

When I learned about digital products and online business, I realized that you don't have to trade your time for dollars. 

Now, there is time involved in creating the business. You will always have to put the time in. I'm always learning, always growing, always testing things. I'm always working on the business trying to find people I can hire or working on this and that. 

You always put in time. But in your own business, the time you put in can have more power than when you're working at a job or for someone else. 

When I became a sole proprietor, I started working for myself. I realized that I could make digital products and put the effort into creating them; and when I put them online, they would sell over and over and over again. 

That is amazing to me because even some of the stuff that I made in the beginning still makes me money to this day. I made the first thing (an online course), and it made some money. Then I made the second course and put it up there. And that made money. It became a snowball effect: as I created more products and put them online, I had a lot more growth. Over time I've created about 20 courses, individually and working with other people. These courses have built up a rolling income for me. 

To this day, I'm home and I'm not necessarily working as if I were at a job. Whereas before, I might have been selling office supplies or setting up a lighting system or audio for a concert. I'm now at home doing this podcast and working on my business. 

If I go to eat lunch, I don't have to clock out. 

If I'm sick tomorrow, I don't have to take a day off. 

Because I've already put in the work upfront, those courses are still making money in the background. As I'm recording this podcast (and writing this blog), I'm still making sales right now, through my courses. 

That's a powerful thing once you understand it. 

There is no longer a ceiling for the amount of income that you can make for yourself. Because you can keep creating these products, they can keep growing and snowballing. Over time, they keep making money for you. 

Now, of course, if you stop making products, and you stop marketing and promoting them, that income will fall off. But there is no limit to the amount of money that you can make because you’re not beholden to someone giving you a raise. You only have to put in more work and effort to grow your business, which could become very large. 

We've seen it with all kinds of people. Jeff Bezos started Amazon in a small cubicle office and grew it to what it is today. Steve Jobs and Wozniak started in their garage and look at what Apple is today. 

So, you can grow your own business and have multiple income streams, multiple products, multiple services, which can grow more and more. When I learned this, it really blew me away. It changed the way that I think about things today. Now my mind is always thinking about what I can do to generate new revenue, and grow my business. 

So, if you're in a place where you're living paycheck to paycheck, and you feel like you're working and working and not getting anywhere, this might be something to think about. 

Would you like to have some extra income, with no ceiling except your own effort? 

Sitting at the Top of the Summit
Sitting at the Top of the Summit

There are people who do this on the side at the beginning. They keep their jobs, and I did this for a while. I kept my job but started doing this on the side until I was able to leave my job. 

You can start out small and add another income stream to your life. Maybe you're working full time, but you start working on something else, and it starts bringing in a little bit of money. Then you can keep adding to that or keep making different products. These little revenue streams build into a big river. All making you money in the background. 

Right now I have five or six different revenue streams that I get paid for each month. All of those things right now are...I wouldn't say they're small. They're significant. But they all add up to something much, much greater. It's allowed me to walk away from a job that I wasn't overly passionate about doing all the time. Now I can focus on building out the streams of revenue. 

Is that something you'd like to do? Let me know.

Get in Touch 

This is how: you can leave me a voice message on the app that I  record this podcast on, called Anchor. Go to, and it will redirect you to my podcast. 

Open the podcast on the Anchor app on your phone, (you'll have download the app), you can leave me a voice message. I would love to hear what you think about today's topic. And if you have ideas of something you would like to hear in the future, tell me about that too. I'll be sure to listen to those and use them in future episodes. 

So hopefully you enjoyed this installment, and it gives you some ideas about adding extra income to your life. We'll continue with a couple more episodes about these fundamental ideas, and then we'll get into more about actual digital products, and the different things that you can create online. 

Until then, take care and I'll see you next time.


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