Hello, and welcome to the first installment of The Digital Product Show. My name is Jeremy Deighan and I'm so thankful that you're here.
I created this podcast and blog series because, as I've had some success with my online business, people often ask me how it's done. I wanted a place to put down thoughts and ideas to share with others.
Focus: Digital Products
In this series, I’ll be talking about my favorite things: digital products and information that you can sell online. There are different types of online businesses; dropshipping and e-commerce and selling physical products through an online website. But I'm strictly going to be talking about digital assets (digital files or information) that can be sold and downloaded by the consumer. That's what I enjoy, so that's what this series is going to be about.
But before we get into the content, and future installments, I want to start off by giving a little backstory about me and how I got to this point.
About four or five years ago, I was working in a full-time job doing audio and video work, for theaters, bands, and concerts, etc.
I really enjoyed the work for a while, but after 10 or 15 years, I got tired of never increasing the money I was making. I was working long, late hours, typically on nights and weekends. And I would come home and sleep all day. I wasn't seeing my kids. I wasn't seeing my family.
It’s also a very physical job; pulling big chains and motor cables, pushing around big boxes, loading equipment in and out. I began looking around, seeing people who were older than me who were physically in bad shape because the job took a toll on their bodies.
I remember thinking, "Man. I do not want to be in my fifties, sixties... even seventies, still doing this type of work." Not to mention that I’d still be basically making the same money down the line.
I did have an education. I have a degree in computer animation. I had used that degree for a while, but I quit when I started doing the AV work, because it paid more at the time. But, of course, I still had the debt of that student loan.
In short, I didn't have a lot of money, my income wasn’t increasing at the work I was doing, and I had piles of debt. I was breaking my back at a job that I wasn't enjoying anymore. Living paycheck to paycheck, I was unhappy and financially unstable.
By this time in my life, I had a wife and kids (little babies, actually) So I started worrying about my future and my family. How was I going to provide for them? How was I going to feed and clothe them?
It was hard. And really frustrating.
I didn't want to worry about a $100 emergency drastically affecting my life, where a hundred bucks could seriously change the outcome of how I felt, because it was going to be detrimental to supporting my family.
I felt like I had no purpose. Even though I had some great things going for me--a healthy family, wonderful wife, great kids--I felt like I was failing. I was scared that I wouldn't be able to provide for my family. Deep down, I thought, What are my parents thinking about me? And, I hope my wife doesn't leave because I can't take care of us.
I was in a bad place.
I was tired of working for someone else.
I wanted something different.
I wanted to make more money.
I wanted to pay off my debt.
And I wanted freedom.
Financial freedom. Freedom with my time.
Simply put, I wanted more.
The Journey to More
I started out by getting back into computer animation. After all, that's what my degree was in. I found a new animation software called Blender, and started getting back into animation using this program. And it was really fun for a while.
Animation is something I enjoy, but I'm not overly passionate about it. Over time, I got burned out on that, too.
But in the process of creating animations, I started looking up YouTube videos and blogs, looking for guides and shortcuts for the animation software. I came across a website called Blenderguru, by Andrew Price. He offered a free PDF that you could download to get a guide to the shortcut keys. I downloaded it, printed it out, and loved using it. This got me intrigued, so I started watching some of Price’s videos; he was really good at teaching the software, and I enjoyed watching.
Then he started a Blenderguru podcast. and I loved listening to this guy. He's from Australia, and he's fun and entertaining while talking about the animation software.
He probably doesn't know that he affected my life this much. But over time, he started telling his story, and how he made money teaching people to use Blender. He mentioned that the cheat sheet that I downloaded was actually a way to get people onto his email list. Once people got onto his list, he could email them to sell them an online course or training.
I was intrigued. This guy's actually making money?
I mean, this software wasn’t very well known. It was definitely a niche market. And he was making money off of this as a full-time job.
This is amazing.
I listened to his podcast every week. Mostly, he talked about the software. But every now and then he would talk about how he was making money with this stuff.
Eventually, Andrew mentioned another podcast called the Smart Passive Income Podcast with Pat Flynn, and said this is where he had gained a lot of this knowledge.
Out of curiosity, I went over to check out this podcast. And I listened to Pat Flynn talk about online business and making money online.
And it was just...amazing.
I didn't even know this world existed.
I knew people could make money online, but I didn't know how. Everyone at the time was doing eBay and similar stuff. But he was talking about things I'd never heard of before. Informational products and email marketing and sales funnels. He had guests coming on, in these crazy, different markets. One guy was a magician. Another guy sold karate gis. All these different things.
And I thought, "Maybe this is something I can do. I'm pretty technical. I've been around computers my whole life. This could be something that helps me break away from the life I've been living."
I kept listening to the podcasts. I was soaking in information. I went on blogs and Facebook groups and started talking to people.
I realized that I needed something to sell. I came up with some ideas, but I couldn't get anything concrete. I knew that Andrew had been selling PDFs and courses, and I thought maybe I could do something similar. But I didn't know what topic to use. I had passions and hobbies. But was it enough??
I knew that this world was out there, and people were making money. All I needed was to create a couple extra thousand dollars a month, and I could realistically leave the job that I'd been at for 10 or 15 years.
I wanted to develop a plan to make enough to stay home with my children. If I was working full time and had to pay for babysitting, I was actually just working to pay the babysitter. If I could work online, though, I could be home with the kids.
It seemed like a wonderful thing, but I didn't know what to create.
And that's where I hit a roadblock: I didn’t know where to start.
Finding a Mastermind Group
At the time, I didn't know what all this stuff was that people were talking about on the podcasts. I was learning about email marketing, but I didn't know how to do it. I knew how to design web pages, but I didn't know WordPress and all the current things that went into it. What exactly was a sales funnel? What's a lead magnet? I didn't know any of this stuff.
On one of the podcasts, Pat Flynn talked about getting into a mastermind group, a group of like-minded individuals. I wanted to find a group of people who thought like me, had the same ideas, or maybe were ahead of me. I didn’t need thousands of people in a Facebook group, just four or five people I could talk to.
I looked for a couple of weeks, but I couldn’t find one. I got frustrated, so I decided to create my own.
I got on the Smart Passive Income Facebook group and put a simple message out there: “I want to start a mastermind group. If anyone's interested, send me a message."
Three or four people messaged me, and we started meeting on a weekly basis. The group stayed open for a couple of years, and I made some great friends, awesome people doing really cool things.
Some people I met were experienced with online business, and some were in my shoes, without much experience. We were talking one day, and someone's suggested I should try Teespring.
Teespring is a company that allows you to upload graphic design artwork for a t-shirt. They print the shirt and send it out to people. Previously, I’d actually owned a t-shirt design business. I had the screen printer, the inks, the emulsions, the whole nine yards, printing t-shirts out of my little one-bedroom apartment in Florida weather. Burning up with an oven next to me, trying to cure shirts. I closed that down because it was a lot of work, and I had to have a lot of different products and equipment and stuff.
So when I heard you can just upload the design and sell the shirt, I thought, this is really good. I looked up this company, I joined, and I made my first shirt.
I uploaded the design, and I knew I had to get people to it. But at the time, I didn't have an audience, I didn't know anyone. I tried some Facebook ads, ran the design, and nothing.
I made no money; in fact, I lost money on the ads.
I decided to try more designs and more ads. At this point, I felt like all I was doing was spending money. I wasn’t making money.
Then, one day, I looked at my account, and I had sold a couple of shirts. It totally blew my mind. I had made $24.43.
I couldn't believe it. I had made money online. It worked.
Now, I was definitely in the negative, because I'd spent way more on Facebook ads than the money I got back. But it was a proof of concept. And it was the first time I made money online, which totally excited me.
So I started creating designs and designs and designs. I started running ads and ads on Facebook. I made good money. I was able to build up a bit of revenue from these t-shirt designs.
The problem was that I had to keep running Facebook ads, and I wasn't making enough money off the sales to keep it going.
Now had I stuck with it, I probably would have gotten better at the designs, and better at the ads and been able to boost my income. But I as it was, I couldn’t stay afloat.
I started drowning, realizing that even though I was turning over a lot of revenue and income I was spending more money than I was making. . But it wasn't profitable. Even though the numbers were big, I was going down.
So I had to stay with my day job. This experience put me in a weird state, because I knew that something was possible. But I hadn't really unlocked the combination … yet.
My Watershed Moment
Once again, I was talking to my mastermind group, and someone mentioned another website called Udemy. They said, "You know, Jeremy, you like to talk, you're a good speaker, you have a pretty good voice." My friend explained that you upload a video, or multiple videos, teaching something. You can make money off the course, and Udemy will help you sell it.
And I do like to teach. I've actually helped people a lot throughout my life. I love teaching the things that I know.
So I went to check out this site. I saw that you can simply screencast or record some videos, put them up there, fill out some information. And whenever Udemy makes a sale, they'll give you a cut.
But I was confused about some of the technical aspects. I didn't know about cameras and video and lighting, or copywriting and publishing. And it sounded pretty complicated. But I was persistent. And I knew that I could figure it out.
First of all, I needed something to teach. I'd been using a program called Canva, which allows you to make graphic designs easily. I thought, "I'll teach this program. I've been using it, it's a newer software, people love it.”
So I created my first course on Udemy on the program Canva. I uploaded that course, and in the first month, I made $24. It's crazy: I made $24 with the t-shirt thing, and then my first $24 on the Udemy platform. That was in June of 2015, and I thought, "Yes, this worked. This is cool."
Since the platform actually helped sell that course for me, I didn’t have to run ads to it. I didn't have an audience or an email list or any of that. I was excited, but I didn’t know how it was going to go.
A week later, I went on a little trip with my family, and we went to a water park. I remember that morning, we had maybe 20 people in our family, all going to this water park, and I was walking with my wife and our kids. I got a notification on my phone.
I looked down, and it was a sale from Udemy. I thought, "Oh cool, I made another sale." Like I made my $24. But then there was another sale. And another sale, and another.
And they kept coming in.
I thought, "Oh my gosh. What is going on? I'm making money off of this."
I mean, it wasn't crazy money. But I was sitting at a water park with my family, making money in the background for work that I had already put in.
And that's when the light bulb came on..
I'd never heard anyone talk about this before. Even today, if I mentioned this to some of my friends, they still wouldn’t know this world exists. But this was the most amazing thing. I’d put in the work, created this course, and uploaded it. Now I was on vacation with my family, making money.
That is the power of digital products. It's something that you create to sell passively. There are all kinds of different digital products: information, assets, files, templates, photography... so many things you can do.
The power is that you're able to put this stuff online, people who need that information will pay you for it, and you don't have to be there. You don't have to clock in or out, or sit at a certain place making sales. It's all happening automatically online.
That day at the water park, it washed over me that this is what I wanted to do. I've been a member of the Udemy platform ever since, and you can go find some of my courses.
After the initial success, I started branching out. I learned about other things; email lists, marketing platforms, podcasting, diving deep into marketing funnels and email and automation. But I still remember that first time at that water park where it blew me away, that I was able to be there, spending time with my family and making money on the side.
I haven't looked back.
I left my job a couple of years ago, and I haven't returned. I've been doing this full time. Before, I would have to put in 80 hours of AV work to make what I am making on this teaching platform, passively.
Now, I had to put in a lot of work up front to get the ball rolling. But to this day, four years later, I am still making money off that very first course that I published. And that is another powerful aspect of having digital products and an online business: once you put that information up there, people can still find it and buy from you years later.
I still create courses. Over time, these courses add up, making money for me over and over again. I've seen the power of digital products, online information, and online business in general.
Now I don't have to be at a place that I don't like going to every day, I've been able to stay home with my kids, to see them grow up and be there for them. I'm able to be home when my wife comes home. I'm able to make this money and grow it larger than with a regular nine to five job. There's no end to the potential with my own business that I control.
So that's where I've come from. I've gone on to create multiple courses, and I have another podcast called The Online Course Masters, where I'm a co-host with Phil Ebiner, another course creator. We're helping others learn to create courses and be financially independent.
It's been an amazing journey, and I wanted to create this podcast to show people that this is possible. To this day, I have people who ask, "Wait, what are you doing? You haven't been to work in three years, why aren't you working?"
Once I start telling my story and how I got here, they're blown away. I want to spread the word and help others create their own products. I want to help you create your own digital or online product, especially if you've never done it before.
I'm going to have regular episodes and installments on different topics, all centered on creating digital products, digital assets, information or even courses you can use to add to your income. For some, this might be a hobby, a little extra change. Others may be like me, ready to walk away from a day job and replace your income with your own business.
That is what I'm here for, and what this series is all about..
Go ahead and subscribe right now if you haven't done so already. And look out for the next episodes.
Thank you, and take care.