Interview with Amy Porterfield
Quit Your 9-5 & Build a Business You Love with Amy Porterfield
Today, I’m really excited to talk with Amy Porterfield, who teaches people how to create digital courses and make money online. Her business has earned more than $82 million in revenue, she has served more than 50,000 students through her online courses, and her podcast, Online Marketing Made Easy, receives over 1 million downloads every month.
She’s helped hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs turn in their two weeks’ notice and trade burnout for freedom, income, and impact.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
✅ Strategies for turning your knowledge and expertise into multiple revenue streams.
✅ Amy’s incredible story of leaving a toxic business partnership to scale her company–and how this decision allowed her to grow from $5M to $16M in only 18 months!
✅ How to gain the courage to quit your 9-5 and build a business that buys back your time and allows you to live life on your terms!
Featured on This Episode: Amy Porterfield
✅ What she does: Amy Porterfield is an online marketing expert and hosts the top-ranked podcast Online Marketing Made Easy. She’s worked with mega-brands like Harley-Davidson and Peak Performance Coach Tony Robbins, where she oversaw the content team and collaborated on ground-breaking online marketing campaigns. Through her best-selling courses and top-ranked marketing podcast Online Marketing Made Easy, Amy has helped hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs turn in their two weeks’ notice and trade burnout for freedom, income, and impact. Amy’s action-by-action teaching style provides aspiring business owners with the tools they need to bypass the overwhelm and build a business they love.
💬 Words of wisdom: “In order to leave a comfortable regular paycheck job and go out into the unknown, you have to value something more than you value security. And that’s a really hard thing to do.” – Amy Porterfield
Key Takeaways with Amy Porterfield
- Moving to Nashville and saving BIG on taxes
- Creating freedom as an entrepreneur
- Working with Tony Robbins
- How to avoid building a business you hate
- Two Weeks Notice by Amy Porterfield
- Gaining courage to quit your 9-5 job
- Celebrating employees who go out on their own
- Scaling a multi-million dollar company
- How to avoid painful business breakups
- Learn by emulating the success of others
- The future of online education in an AI-driven world
Amy Porterfield on Leaving 9 to 5 to Create Your Own Success
Free Strategy Session
The Lifestyle Investor Insider
Amy Porterfield Tweetables
- Amy Porterfield
- Amy Porterfield on Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | YouTube | Facebook
- Online Marketing Made Easy
- Two Weeks Notice: Find the Courage to Quit Your Job, Make More Money, Work Where You Want, and Change the World by Amy Porterfield
- Michael Hyatt
- Ojai Valley Inn
- Tom Patterson
- Tony Robbins
- Frank Kern
- Jeff Walker
- Eben Pagan
- Brendon Burchard
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Read the Full Transcript with Amy Porterfield
Justin Donald: Well, hey Amy, welcome to the show.
Amy Porterfield: Thanks so much for having me. I’ve been looking forward to this.
Justin Donald: Well, I have to because I have heard an endless barrage from Michael Hyatt about how amazing you are and how just incredibly caring and kind you are, how successful you’ve been in the business place. And I’m excited to kind of dive into your story and learn some of the cool stuff you’re up to.
Amy Porterfield: Well, I absolutely love Michael Hyatt. So, any friend of his is a friend of mine. So, Justin, thanks again for having me.
Justin Donald: Yeah. Okay, you’re in Nashville, where it’s kind of like the new Mecca where a lot of people are moving to. And so, that’s really exciting. So, you’re in Nashville, which it seems like everyone’s either moving to Austin or Nashville right now. And what’s that like living there with the boom of entrepreneurs and the boom of investors and just really cool people coming into town?
Amy Porterfield: It has been incredible. So, I am born and raised in Southern California, went to school in Santa Barbara, so I haven’t ventured too far from where I was raised until two and a half years ago, when my husband, kind of like everyone else during COVID, had the idea of let’s make a big change. So, I said yes. He moved me here in the dead of winter, and I thought, what have I gotten myself into?
But over the last two and a half years, I have fallen in love with it. The creativity here is incredible. The entrepreneurial minds is my favorite. I’m way more social here than I was in California, which is kind of weird because California is a great place for entrepreneurs. But secretly, and you will understand this as an investor, I really was wanting to move here partly, because of the tax freedom that I have here versus in California. That changed everything for me. I wasn’t just chasing the dollar, but it did make a really big difference for our lifestyle and the amount of time I invest in my work. And so, that was also one of the reasons why we were really thinking this might work.
Justin Donald: Well, the one thing that we were talking about off air that I’d love to just capture for our audience here is how your husband is a fireman. He retired from being a fireman. By the way, awesome that he is doing great things in the world, helping protect people. But in the taxes, like the tax savings alone, they were enough to retire your husband, right?
Amy Porterfield: Yes. I mean, the sad thing is, I’m an online entrepreneur and I teach people how to create digital courses and make money online. I make a whole lot more money than my sweet husband, who saves lives every single day and puts his life in danger. It doesn’t add up. It’s very wonky, for sure, but it’s reality.
And so, if you look at just one year of tax savings based on what I make, it would probably cover 10 years of his salary. And so, when we looked at that and we wanted to spend more time together, a firefighter is gone every 24 hours, the quality of life has improved just by him being home. It’s my most favorite thing. So, it really has been beneficial all the way around.
Justin Donald: Well, it’s incredible that you can buy back his time that way with one simple move, with some unique tax strategy. I mean, it’s funny that you’re talking about this because this is what we do in the Lifestyle Investor Mastermind. We talk tax strategy. Today, we did some estate planning. Last week, we did some tax strategy. And the goal here is a lot of people are always focused on, hey, I want to do this investment. I want to make money, I want to do these things. But what most people don’t realize is the largest return you’re ever going to make is on getting your tax strategy in order because you can save way more money on taxes the right way and being proactive, not reactive than virtually any single investment you’re ever going to make over the course of your lifetime.
Amy Porterfield: I think that’s incredible. What you do, it’s like you’re speaking my language. I’ve got to look into what you do because I want more of that. But just being smart on that tax strategy right there could save you so much money. I’m proof of that. So, diving into it even more and learning what you know, I want some of that. So, I’m sold.
Justin Donald: I love it. I love it. We’ll have to talk more about it for sure. So, this is really funny. You went to school in Santa Barbara. I’m literally leaving tomorrow morning for a trip to Santa Barbara. I’m spending the day tomorrow in Santa Barbara, and then I’m going to Ojai at the Ojai Valley Inn for the weekend.
Amy Porterfield: Okay, so you’re living the life. Everything about Santa Barbara, Ojai, Montecito, it’s just beautiful and relaxing. You’re going to love it. But yeah, I didn’t go too far from Southern California to go to college, but it’s a beautiful place.
Justin Donald: Oh, I love it. Well, I’m hanging out with a bunch of my entrepreneurial friends. Tomorrow, I’m hanging out with Tom Patterson, who started the company Tommy John’s, underwear and T-shirt company. So, we’re going to be getting some time, having some fine wine, some good food in Santa Barbara, and then heading over for some world-class spa treatment at the Ojai Valley Inn.
Amy Porterfield: That’s the beautiful thing about being an entrepreneur. So, let’s see, today, the day we’re recording it is Tuesday. So, on a Wednesday, you’re taking this time, you’re going to a spa, you’re enjoying time with your entrepreneurial friends. That’s the kind of stuff you need to make time for because I got into entrepreneurship for the freedom. I literally left my last corporate job because I wanted to work when I wanted, where I wanted, how I wanted, and I didn’t want to be on someone else’s time or someone else’s dime. And just your example right there, you don’t do that every week, you don’t do it all the time, but you make time for that. And I believe that there’s no use in being an entrepreneur if you don’t make time for the things outside of work that bring you joy.
Justin Donald: Yeah, I could not agree more. Total amen to that. And I want to get into your story, and this is why I’m so excited to have you on the show, Amy, because we’re speaking the same language. My goal is to help people buy their time back, and I think most people have a hard time making that pivot, making that move when the financial piece isn’t taken care of because it’s scary to leave the nest of what you know, the safety, the comfort, the security of like, you know that you do X output produces Y income, right? You have this level of comfort. There’s this level of comfort in doing, like knowing that you are good at or at least know what the responsibilities are and what you need to do each day and each week. And so, it’s scary to leave.
So, I always tell people it’s way easier if you can buy an asset that produces income that covers part of it or many assets that produce enough income that you cover all of it, then it becomes a no-brainer. But you don’t have to wait till you own these assets. You can just make a clean dash for it like you did, and I’d love to hear your story.
Amy Porterfield: So, I always say I’m an ex-corporate girl turned accidental entrepreneur. I didn’t grow up thinking I wanted to be my own boss. We didn’t use the word entrepreneur in my household. My dad was a firefighter, funny enough, and my mom was a hairstylist, blue-collar family to the bone. And so, growing up, I just always thought I’d climb that corporate ladder and I realized I was really good at it. I liked getting that paycheck every other week with health insurance. I liked doing a good job and getting rewarded for it and climbing the ladder. And all of that worked for me.
And then I found myself working for Tony Robbins. And so, for almost seven years, I worked on the content that Tony does on stage, Unleash the Power Within, Date with Destiny. I got to travel the world with the team. I got to pitch and catch with Tony on content. It was an incredible job and it paid well and I was taken care of.
And I found myself one day in a meeting where Tony had brought in a bunch of online business owners. They were all men. They sat around this big oak table and Tony was getting more into the online space selling his own digital courses. So, he wanted to learn from the best of the best, which is what I love about Tony. He finds someone who’s done it well and he asks them, “Break it down for me, how did you do this?” So, that was that kind of meeting.
I was humbly called into the meeting to take notes. I didn’t even get invited to the main table. I was at a side table and I was taking notes. And that meeting, I probably took the worst notes of my life because Tony went around and said, “Tell me about your business.” And as each of these gentlemen went around talking about their business, and if you’re in the online space, you’ll know some of the people, Frank Kern, Jeff Walker, Eben Pagan, Brendon Burchard, big, big names.
And I didn’t know any of these men, but they went around and they talked about their businesses. And what I heard more than anything is freedom. They talked about spending time with their family, the time off, how they were creative, how they built their businesses. They talked about the money they made. And I thought, I don’t know what these guys are doing, but I want a piece of this.
And so, it was in that moment, for the first time in my life, I realized I’m not free, I’ve never been free, I’ve always had a boss, and it’s time for me to figure out how to do this. I was in my late 20s at the time and I wanted it bad. And so, it took me a good year from that date to figure out how I might go out and do my own thing.
So, about a year from that fateful meeting, I went out, quit my job, and started my own business. And essentially, I was doing social media for small businesses. I had dabbled with social media. I knew enough. I started to take clients. And I realized I hate taking clients. I didn’t like working one on one and I had built a business I hated and I thought, I’m going to have to go back and grovel for my 9 to 5 job because this is miserable.
And around the two-year mark, I realized I got to choose a different business model or this is never going to work. So, that’s when I started to dabble with digital courses, creating digital courses and teaching marketing through courses and learning how to launch them. Fast forward 14 years and that has become my bread and butter. I did it so well that people started saying, “Teach me how you’re doing this. How are you making this work?”
So, now, what I do, the way I make money is I teach people how to take their knowledge, knowhow, and skill set and turn that into a digital course. And with that comes list building, audience building, email marketing, social media. A lot of that is tied into it, but at the end of the day, I help people create more freedom because when you have a digital course, you’re not tied to doing it a certain way every single day.
Justin Donald: Well, that is just a brilliant story and a brilliant pivot that you were able to make and talk about a defining moment at the table of a boardroom meeting that you kind of weren’t supposed to be at but were privy to. You’re a fly on a wall. This is, by the way, why I love podcasting is because I love these conversations. I love you and I getting the chance to get to know each other. But I think it’s so fun for others to kind of tune in. I love being a fly on the wall of so many other people’s podcasts, and you just get to learn so much. You glean this wisdom from people that have done it so you don’t have to trial and error it. You can just kind of copy people that have a model or a program that works.
But I’ve got to commend you because you left the 9 to 5. And yes, it took you a year, but most people, they never do it. And you did it, but you did it without a parachute. I mean, it was, you got to make it work or you’re going back to the 9 to 5. And then you did make it work, but you didn’t like it. And instead of continuing to do it, like most people do, and hating it and shifting from owning a business to a business owning you, you said, “No, I’m going to just do this differently. I need to get into a different business. This isn’t working for me.” So, I just want to honor you in that because most people never take the first step. You took the first step, then you took the second step, and then you scaled what is one of the most successful businesses and brands in the online content building space.
Amy Porterfield: Well, thank you for that. It’s definitely been a crazy, wild ride. I’ve made so many mistakes along the way. And recently, back in February, I launched my very first book. It’s called Two Weeks Notice, and I wrote the book. It’s all about how to quit your job, make more money, work where you want, and change the world. And the whole point was, I did this because I wanted something different.
And a lot of people, what you exactly just said, most people won’t do it. They’ll get too scared. It’s too risky. What will people think of me if I leave behind this secure job and venture out on my own when I have no proof that it will work? And the book is to help people have a runway of how to do this step by step. And then once you’re out on your own, how do you make that work? So, it was so scary for me and so rocky in the beginning that I thought I’d love to take some of that away from people those challenges and make it a little bit of a smoother ride. Yeah, so that’s why I wrote the book.
Justin Donald: Well, I’d love to get into some of these steps, especially just even like step one, because I’ve been guilty of this and I know a lot of my friends have been guilty of this, where you become a slave to the business you’ve built, you become a slave to the money you make or the lifestyle that you’ve become accustomed to or to the comfort of like that you’re in the know of what a job entails and who your coworkers are and who your boss is and how you need to show up. You have this safety that you can become a slave too of, like, well, I worked this hard. I went to college for this degree, so I have to use it, or I’ve been at this company for 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, I have to stay, I have to get my pension, I have to get this promotion. I mean, there’s so many hooks, golden handcuffs that chain people to what they’re doing, even though most people don’t love what they do.
Amy Porterfield: Yes. It’s so true.
Justin Donald: It’s crazy. And I found, by the way, when people have passive income, and this is why I’m such a big fan of it, when people have passive income, it makes it very clear. Do I want to keep doing what I’m doing? I mean, it’s like I’m staying, but I’m only working half the hours I was working because I actually love it. I thought I didn’t love it, but I actually love it if I’m working just 20 hours a week. Or I’m getting the heck out of here because I know what I’m built to do, or I want to explore and figure out what it is that I’m built to do.
Amy Porterfield: It’s so true. And you hit it on the head when you said that we become a slave to what we know and what is comfortable to us that we’re too scared to step outside of that because what if it doesn’t work? And the first step that I teach my students is you have to get really clear on what you want. And in order to leave a comfortable regular paycheck job and go out into the unknown, you have to value something more than you value security. And that’s a really hard thing to do.
Coming from a girl who grew up with two blue-collar parents, security was everything. Hustling to make it count, make the dollar work, that was all I knew. So, security was everything to me. But then in that meeting, something just a light bulb turned on and I realized there’s a whole other world out there that I had no idea. And so, in that moment and through the next year, I started to value freedom more than I valued security.
And it didn’t happen overnight. I read the books, I took the courses, I listened to the podcasts, I surrounded myself with people who had done it. So, it was a shift that I made over the next year to get the courage, not confidence. Courage comes first. Confidence is when you have a track record. I got the courage to actually leave that job and start something new. So, the first step is to get clear on what you want and why you want it, and you have to value something important to you over the security of your job.
But the second thing I teach my students is you’ve got to choose an exit date, schedule it to make it real. That’s something that I learned when I work for Tony Robbins. Schedule it to make it real. So, I chose an exit date. At that time, it was about six months till I was ready to do it, and it was in June. So, from that day till June, it was going to be six months. I put the date on a Post-it note, put it on a mirror where I saw it every single day. And I ask myself, “What do I need to do today to move me closer to that date? Because come hell or high water, I am leaving on that date and I got to figure this out.”
So, let me give you an example. One of the things I did is I was watching people online, people doing things and building businesses like I wanted. And there was this one woman who had digital courses. She had a blog. Podcasts weren’t even that big of a thing at the time. So, she had a blog and she had clients and she had this beautiful website, and I thought, I want to have a business like that.
So, I sent her an email and I said, “I know you don’t know me, nor do you offer this, but can I pay you for an hour of your time to just talk to you about how you built your business?” And she said yes. So, at my lunch hour, the walls were thin at Tony Robbins so I crawled underneath my desk. I didn’t even have a cell phone. I got a landline. I took the cord under the desk and I asked her all the questions. How did you create your first digital course? What did it look like? Where did you get the money to then go into this? And how did you create a website?
I was clueless, but she was generous with her time, plus I was paying her, so I was putting something up front and I got so much value. To this day, she’s still my friend. And it was just a great experience. But again, I look at that date every day and I said, “What do I need to do today to move me closer to that date?” And I had to get courageous. I had to ask for things I wasn’t comfortable asking for. I had to do things that I wanted to do.
And another thing that I teach my students is I was careful who I told, Don’t share your dreams with everybody because not everybody will understand. So, that nosy coworker and you tell them, “I want to quit my job and start my own business,” they’ll tell you all the reasons you shouldn’t do it, even though they’ve never done it. So, I was careful who I told because I was impressionable. And if I told one person that told me not to do it, I probably would have believed them. And so, I told my husband, my best friend, and my mom who thinks I could land on the moon at any time. So, people that truly believed in me. Everyone else didn’t get to know until weeks before I actually did it.
Justin Donald: Wow. What a great story. And you’re so articulate. So, what I love is, and by the way, I’m a huge Tony Robbins’ fan. I would say that I owe, like, I have such a debt of gratitude to him because I went through all of his programs, I went through the leadership program, I went through leadership training. And I really do believe that I would not be where I am in life today had I not learned what he talked about and actually implemented it. But the cool part is and it’s funny, like, I don’t know if he could be mad at this or if he should be happy and honored, but you used his own stuff against him, which is brilliant. I love it. It’s like, “Hey, Tony, you told me it’s not real till I scheduled it, so I scheduled it.”
Amy Porterfield: It’s so true. And I have to take my own medicine because I have a team of 20 full-time employees all across the US. We’re all virtual. And I know that I will lose some employees to go out and do their own thing. I wrote a book about becoming an entrepreneur, quitting your job and becoming an entrepreneur. I teach it every single day.
And so, when I lose an employee, and I think I’ve probably lost one essentially to this, but when I lose more, I have to give them a big virtual hug, wish them well, and send them on their way because I did the exact same thing at Tony Robbins. And so, I just have to be ready for that. And it’s not easy for sure. And I will say Tony was incredibly supportive when I left.
Justin Donald: Well, and that’s the way you should do it. So, when I had a company, so I basically started a company under the banner of another organization, and when it was my time to move on, it was so painful because they made it so difficult. They tried to just kind of sabotage, or the best way to say it, it was one of the worst experiences and one of the most painful transitions or exits because they’re so focused on what they’re losing and so afraid of what they don’t have.
And it never made sense to me because any time I’ve ever had someone in one of my organizations, like, yeah, I hope you stay with me for as long as I’m in business, but I also am talking about financial freedom and going and living on your terms. So, at whatever point in time you’re ready to do that, I want to honor you in doing that. And even more so than that, I would like to invest in your business. Let me be your first investor and let me help you build it, and then we can both celebrate that success.
And I think more people, more companies, more corporate oversight, like that’s what should be happening. Think about the success that can happen on both sides of the equation. Both parties are winning when that’s the strategy. And it’s not a scarcity mindset of I’m losing this person. Oh, they may recruit these people away, but rather, how can I support them? How can I help them build their business? How can I have a piece of equity in this thing and partner with them and do stuff together and funnel traffic back and forth and maybe even funnel great executives or employees back and forth?
Amy Porterfield: I feel as though that’s just the only way you can do it. Number one is great karma. And number two, imagine how someone would feel if that’s how they transitioned out and how they would do that for other people. And so, it’s a real disappointment when I hear people quitting and getting the worst experience or having the worst experience. It’s really unfortunate because it doesn’t have to be that way.
Justin Donald: Yeah, no doubt. Absolutely no doubt. Well, it’s always an adventure when you go and start your own business. And so, you’ve given us a couple of tips on what are the next steps. And I’ll ask a question at the end of our audience here today on what some of their next steps are going to be. That’s actually how I end every podcast episode.
Amy Porterfield: I love that.
Justin Donald: But what I’d love to learn is like, walk us through what’s going on with your business. You had the one business you had to pivot, so you started this other one. It has turned out to be massively successful. I mean, nothing’s an overnight success, but was that pretty quick or did it take time? Whatever you’re willing to share, I’d be curious, like, what was the growth from one year to the next? And was this small revenue to big revenue? Was this one year to the next? Totally night and day different businesses?
Amy Porterfield: I love this question. So, I went out on my own in that first year, really struggled to figure out if this is what I wanted to do. But I made just enough to cover my salary for my last year at Tony Robbins, and I thought I was winning. I think it was like $160,000. I’m like, I did this. So, I felt really good about that.
The second year, I was really struggling because I didn’t want to do the one-on-one work, and I started to not work with clients and I tried my first digital course, it was a huge failure. I made $267 when I thought I was going to make $100,000. You look online, it looks like everyone’s doing great. And so, I didn’t know what I was doing.
And I cried for an entire week. I thought I’d have to go grovel back for my job. It was a rough time. But I made less money my second year in business than I did my first. And that really scared me. And that’s when I started to say, “I’ve got to figure out this digital course thing.” I know this is what I want to do, and started to change the business model.
So, by year four, I had hit a million dollars, and so, a million dollars in revenue by year four. And that’s when I realized, okay, this is starting to work. So, the first two years were pretty rough. This third year, I started to do really well. Actually, I made $950,000, so I didn’t quite hit that million-dollar mark, which is often a big goal of entrepreneurs in the online space, but I was close enough.
Justin Donald: But a million dollars, that’s going to be life-changing money because even with a horrible profit margin, you’re still making more than you are making at Tony Robbins.
Amy Porterfield: Yes, exactly. It’s so very true. And in the online space, when you create digital courses, your profit margin should be really strong. For years and years, mine has been 45%, sometimes a little higher. I’ve started to experiment and take more risks and build a bigger team. So, it’s come down a little bit. But still, I always want to be 35%, 45%, or better is usually my goal. So, my profit margin, I really care about that.
Also, I don’t want to be teaching something that I can’t do and I don’t want to be teaching something where I’m like, “Don’t worry about the expenses.” It’s a big conversation we have in my community. And so, if you fast forward, so it took about four years to almost hit that million-dollar mark. By year five, we are multimillion and it did really well. I took a business partner. I talk about this in my book. It’s something I don’t want anybody to know, but I had to tell the story.
I took a business partner around, I think, it was year four into year five. And long story short, someone came to me and said, a friend of mine said, “Hey, I think I could really help you do X, Y, Z.” We were in a mastermind together. He was doing incredible things in his own business. And I’d like to tell you, it took months for me to decide, is this something I want to do? Is this a good decision? But this man believed in me. I was still very insecure in my business, and it took me one sleep to decide, yes, I’ll let you have 50% of my business. It was wild. It was wild how it all happened.
And the very next day, we started working together and my business blew up. We became a multimillion-dollar business. We were doing incredible things. I was on the map. I was known for the person to help you create digital courses. And it was going great until it wasn’t. I mean, you’ve been in business long enough to know that partnerships are great until they’re not. And a lot of times, they end up not doing well, meaning someone wants out and it kind of breaks up. And I wanted out and it felt like a business divorce and it was really, really rough. We didn’t agree on how to get out. We didn’t have a great operating agreement. So, it was a hard, hard time in my life.
However, when I finally got out of it, I found my voice. I’d kind of lost myself in that partnership. I kind of let him call the shots. He became the boss, not his fault. It was all my fault in that sense, but I just was a shell of a human being by the end. So, I got out of the partnership. I paid him out and it was fair and I felt good about it. Finally, it was really hard to get there.
And I went from $5 million to, in 18 months, $16 million. And the reason why it was such a huge growth in that 18 months is because I finally said, “I believe in myself. I’m going to make this work. Watch out, world, here I come.” And it took me many years to start believing in myself and get to that point. But when I did, everything started to explode.
And so, fast forward to today, the business is very healthy. And I’m unique in the sense that I don’t do one-on-one consulting at all. I don’t do group coaching or one-on-one coaching. I don’t consult. I sell digital courses. I have two digital courses, one about list building, one about digital course creation and launching. And I have a membership. And so, those are the three main ways I make money.
And then I’m an affiliate for a few programs that I believe in and that I’ve used, but I will never create on my own, such as people ask me all the time, “How do you have so much success with your membership?” I don’t want to create a course on memberships. I’m known for digital courses. I like to stay in my lane, but I promote somebody else’s course that does that and it does really well for us.
And so, I do some affiliate marketing, but that’s all. I don’t get paid to speak on stage. I don’t really love doing that and I don’t have a lot of other ways to make money. I just know what works for me. I’m like a dog with a bone. I do well in a few areas and I just go deep.
Justin Donald: Well, that’s the way to do it, become a specialist in the areas, find the niche, become a specialist. But for those who are listening, I think this is such valuable information here, and this is why I love podcasts because you can learn this lesson without going through a business breakup. So, I also have had business breakups and the statistics are, I mean, it’s darn near 100% of business partnerships breakup.
Amy Porterfield: Okay. I’m so glad you said that. And like, it has to be high.
Justin Donald: It is incredibly high. So, they almost always fail at some point, right? So, it’s not 100%. There are some anomalies out there, but it almost always ends. I mean, you could say 100% of them fail because at some point, everyone dies, right? But in all seriousness, most of them break up. And so, I have a very wise attorney that, and I think it’s always smart to have your primary attorney, be a bankruptcy attorney, because they pay attention to how things end up at the end so they can craft it the right way at the beginning.
And so, if you know that there’s going to be a breakup or the odds are really good there’s going to be a breakup, then you can create amicable solutions and situations right at the beginning that everyone can agree to, it’s fair. And then, often in that breakup, it’s not as contentious. And so, hopefully, you can salvage the friendship because most of the time, it’s friends getting together, partnering, it doesn’t work, and then the friendship is just ruined.
Amy Porterfield: Yeah, and that’s what happened to us. We are not friends. I don’t speak poorly about him, and he doesn’t speak poorly about me. But it was too rough. It was a whole year of just battling it out because we couldn’t agree and it was just hard to be friends afterwards. I think we were just like, “Let’s give each other the space.” And that breaks my heart because at one time, we were amazing together.
And so, you’re right, if you have the end in mind before you start a partnership and have someone really good in place, I had no guidance, have someone in place to work out all the agreements to make sure it’s very clear, if we end this, we know exactly how it ends, that is a beautiful thing. But I did not have any of that. So, lesson learned. And here’s the crazy thing, Justin, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. If you told me you could take that partnership away and never have it, I would say, no, I have to go through that. It made me the person I am today. But saying that was hard.
Justin Donald: Oh, yeah. I’ve had a couple, one primarily that was pretty rough, and it has made me so much wiser, so much better, so much more skilled and versed on operating agreements. You just learn so much. And by the way, another thing that everyone should consider, if you’re going to bring on a partner to your own business, which sometimes that makes sense, like sometimes you want a capital partner or sometimes they have a strategic gift that is just great for the business, they’re an expert in something, and this is where you can have that magic of one plus one equals five, right? And sometimes it is worth it. But have a vesting schedule, have a very common vesting schedule where they get 25% of whatever the amount of equity is over four years. And so, they never go straight to 50/50.
And then something else I learned the hard way, like you did, but I’m glad that I learned it, I’m glad I went through it, is that you don’t want to give up control. So, even if their equity is split in a way, like to me, I’m less concerned about who owns what percent, that doesn’t matter. What I care about is who has control in the operating agreement because I want to have the ability to make the decisions that I think are best for the businesses that I own or that I have primarily owned or that I’m taking a really big risk on, but I have the expertise to run it, scale it, pivot it, so on and so forth.
Amy Porterfield: Oh, so smart. Where were you when I was getting into all of this?
Justin Donald: Oh, man, well, sometimes you get to learn these lessons on your own, and sometimes you get to learn them vicariously through others. And I’m glad that I learned this one on my own, but I’m also glad that I’m way better at learning them vicariously through others today.
Amy Porterfield: Same, same.
Justin Donald: Oh, that’s so good. So, you just talked about this, but just for clarity sake, what would you say your best in class at so that our audience can seek you out for these things?
Amy Porterfield: So, definitely, how to take your knowledge, your knowhow, your skill set, and turn that into a profitable digital course. But to get a little bit more specific, I have a unique teaching style. I am step by step by step, and I’m patient with what I teach because, although you might be an expert, for example, one of my students, she’s a psychologist, she is smarter than me, she’s more educated than I am, she has a thriving business working with patients, but she wanted to create a digital course. And she doesn’t know about webinar conversions or how to go from teaching content to selling content like that in a webinar. She doesn’t know about email conversion rates and how to sell on a sales page. That was not part of her profession.
And so, I always teach from a place of, I don’t expect you to know this, so let me explain it to you and let me virtually hold your hand. And I think that’s very refreshing to a lot of people that when this world is new to them. And so, I not only teach you how to create a course, I teach you how to teach what you know, that’s something that doesn’t come easy to all of us, and then how to market it, how to do webinars, how to do email marketing, how to sell online. And so, that’s my specialty. I think if someone said, “What is Amy best known for?” I’d say webinars. I do webinars well, I’ve done thousands of them, and I know how to teach them. And so, that’s one of my extra special things.
Justin Donald: So, webinars, but you also help build out an online course, right?
Amy Porterfield: Yes.
Justin Donald: And I think that’s useful because most people don’t realize the goal that they hold in their mind that if you could just extrapolate it from your mind, like people will pay for this information. For me, I love the how-to guide. There are a lot of people that are visionaries and they can talk high level. And we need those in the business place. But when you’re about to embark on a new journey, I want a step-by-step road map of exactly what to do to create some certainty, to take the scary uncertainty out of it. And especially, if you’ve never built a course before, what a great way to do it.
So, anytime I do something new, my goal is to find a blueprint. Who’s done it before? Who’s done it with the highest level of success who can teach me to do it, like, who can I model? And don’t innovate until I’ve got a proven thing in front of me that someone else has done. And I love that.
Amy Porterfield: I learned that initially from Tony Robbins, where he said, “Never think you have to reinvent the wheel. Those are the slow entrepreneurs that tend to give up because it gets too hard when you’re always starting from scratch.” Just like what you said, find someone who’s done it, find someone who’s willing to show you exactly how they’ve done it and take you behind the scenes and model what they’ve done. That’s why someone recently said, “Amy, do you think digital courses are going to go away now that AI is taking over? We can type in how to create a digital course and AI will spit out a list of how to do it.”
What you’re missing, and I think AI is really valuable in terms of taking a course and then using AI to fast track. So, let me give you an example. In one of my modules, I teach how to outline a course from start to finish, how to outline it, how to prune it, how to figure out where you’re adding too much or where you’re not adding enough, how to really dial it in. And I teach that, and then I say, “Okay, if you want to use AI to do this, here’s the prompt to get it done faster.”
But what AI won’t tell you and what’s a guide will tell you is here’s where I messed up, here’s the roadblocks that I came up against and how I lost money doing this and here’s exactly how I overcame it. And the mindset shift you need to make when that happens is this. The nitty-gritty getting in there, the gritty stuff that you just won’t learn without a human sharing their experiences with you, that’s the priceless stuff. So, using AI with a guide and expert, that’s where we’re going to see fast tracking some of the things that used to be hard for people that now they can get it done a lot quicker.
Justin Donald: Oh, I love it. This is fantastic. And even just the idea of using AI (a) to create, (b) to simplify, (c) to outsource, I mean, the list goes on and on. And it’s funny, I mean, AI is the new craze right now, and it really is because I’ve got a friend of a friend that just sold his business for the largest valuation I’ve ever heard of in my entire life. This was so fun. I was running a Lifestyle Investor Mastermind event and I said, “All right, everyone, guess what the multiple was of this company selling.” And I said, “I’m telling you straight up, it’s the biggest I’ve ever heard and it’s based off of revenue.” So, I’m giving all the hints, right? So, this is a technology play, which most of the time is based off of revenue. So, Amy, just out of curiosity, what do you think is a massive valuation that this could have gone for?
Amy Porterfield: Well, I mean, the largest I’ve ever heard from someone I actually know is 10 times. And I thought that was huge. And they made hundreds of millions of dollars. So, was it more than 10 times?
Justin Donald: Oh, yeah, so…
Amy Porterfield: What? That’s unheard of.
Justin Donald: Yeah. You’ve got a bunch of industries that, like marketplaces tend to be pretty big on the MRR, kind of like your current run rate. But you kind of take what are you at that month and draw it out for the year and then that’s your multiple on revenue. Service businesses are going to be on EBITDA or some variation of profit, but you have some, like marketplaces sometimes will sell in that like 15 to 20, maybe even 25x revenue. You’ve got other SaaS companies, depending on what the technology is, that could get up there.
You’ve got franchisors, so on the -sor side, not on the franchisee side, where you own enough volume and then you can get to that higher number. RIA roll-ups, anytime you get enough of a profitable business that private equity likes, I mean, we’re talking about pretty big numbers, but those are based on EBITDA. But again, portfolio effect can get these things big. So, anyway, it’s funny because then I’ve had friends that have sold their business for 50 times revenue, 75 times revenue.
Amy Porterfield: What? I’m very clueless on selling businesses. I had no idea it can get that high.
Justin Donald: Oh, yeah. So, this business was an AI business and he sold it this year, you know it’s been hard to raise money this year, for 300 times revenue.
Amy Porterfield: I have never heard of such a thing. I’m here stuck in 10 times thinking that’s a lot. What are you talking about? Wow.
Justin Donald: It’s just incredible. So, we just had another guy join our mastermind who had a nine-figure exit with a crazy multiple. So, for the right business, you can have some pretty amazing valuations, multiples, even in this economic season. But most companies are having a hard time, lots of down rounds. The economy is not doing great. I mean, it still kind of looks like it’s doing great, but I think there’s a lot on the horizon. But I bring that up because AI is this new crazy, popular thing that it’s like it never existed before. And then all of a sudden, it just existed like a year ago. But this has been the technology of the future. I’ve been investing in this for five or seven years.
So, it’s like the goal is, and by the way, yes, now is still a good time to get into it. But what’s the next thing that is AI that you can get in on early, and we’re still early on AI, but what’s the next thing, like the trends, right? We’re about to have the largest wealth transfer in the history of humanity with somewhere in the vicinity of $100 trillion transferring from baby boomers to millennials. So, how do millennials like to shop? What do they spend their money on? What are their buying habits? So, what’s the next thing?
And by the way, probably a lot of your market is millennials. You probably have a lot of millennial customers. You probably have a lot of data that you can look into as to how they spend time and what they value. And so, I do think, as I talk about important things to meet criteria in evaluating deals, it’s figuring out what’s the next big thing before it’s big, trend spotting, invisible deals.
Amy Porterfield: Absolutely. That’s incredible. I love that story.
Justin Donald: So, very fun. Well, here’s the deal. I have had so much fun talking to you. I feel like we could talk for hours and hours and hours. I want to make sure that I’m respecting your time. But this has been just a great crash course on how to step away from something that you potentially don’t love and move into the direction of something that you will love, you could love, you’ll probably love much more than whatever it is that you’re doing now if you’re not feeling fulfilled and satisfied.
And life is short. And I just really believe it makes a lot of sense to buy your time back as soon as you can to spend it with those you love the most and to spend the time doing the things that really fill you up and give you some sense of passion or fulfillment. And so, you’re guiding people on this path and I appreciate that so much.
Amy Porterfield: Well, thank you.
Justin Donald: Yeah. Where’s the best place for people to find you?
Amy Porterfield: Well, if you love podcasts, like you love this one, I have a podcast called Online Marketing Made Easy, and it’s a top marketing podcast. I’ve had it for many years. I have 600 episodes coming up. So, if you’re looking for advice on email list building, on entrepreneurship, and digital course creation, all of that kind of stuff, I cover it all.
Justin Donald: Well, that’s fine. And by the way, we should talk more because I’m building out another digital course so maybe there’s something that we could do together.
Amy Porterfield: Yes.
Justin Donald: I’ve built a few. In fact, those of you that are tuning in, let me know what you think about this, but I’m planning to build a tax strategy course and I’m planning to build a due diligence course. How do you diligence a deal to make sure you’re getting into good deals? So, those are the next two. So, yeah, maybe we need to collaborate.
Amy Porterfield: I know, definitely. And I just need to get in your world. I love everything you teach. You’re speaking my language, friend, so I’m really excited to explore what you have to offer.
Justin Donald: Well, wonderful. Well, thanks so much for coming on the show. And I love ending every episode, we do with a simple question that is geared to you, the listener, or you who are watching, and that’s this, what’s one step that you can take today to move towards financial freedom and move towards living a life that you truly desire, one that’s on your terms, not someone else’s, it’s not by default, but rather by design? And what’s one thing that you learned from Amy today that you can take to implement into your life and take that first step towards financial freedom? Thanks. And we’ll catch you next week.