What It's About
A real estate investor devotes years of effort to her first course—and it pays off.
Words of Wisdom
If you want to achieve similar success, Paula says that you should create a blog or podcast, develop an audience, and pay attention to the questions that you receive. Also, only create a product if you're passionate about it since you have to talk and write about this topic daily. As she put it, "If your heart isn't it in, then discussing it daily will be a drag."
When she started, Paula saved money from her day job and bought a triplex—a building with three units. She moved into one of the units and rented out the other two which essentially allowed her to live for free with zero out-of-pocket housing costs. She kept saving money, reinvesting as much as possible into her fledgling real estate business. Paula bought another house. And another. Then another. And another. Soon, the flywheel started spinning!
Now, Paula has built a business that generates profits while she sleeps.
Notes from Chris
Episode 961Paula Pant got into real estate investing in 2011 when the housing market was just beginning to rebound after a recession. She turned out to be great at it. By the time she turned 34, she and her husband owned eight investment properties. They did this without starting with a lot of capital. She shared a lot of what she learned on her blog and podcast, Afford Anything, becoming a well-respected voice in the worlds of smart money management, self-improvement, and real estate investing. Her email list grew steadily over the years. 1,000. 10,000, 50,000 and more. Readers loved Paula because she had a down-to-earth philosophy behind everything she did: you can afford anything, but not everything, so make your choices with intention and thoughtfulness. I began following her myself at some point and really appreciated her thoughtful and detailed blog. The only downside of her growing community was the many email questions she received—they were endless. She loved empowering people to take control of their finances and lifestyles, but she needed to find a way to offer more expertise in less time. The clear way forward was to create a course, filled with all the things she’d learned over the years, so in 2015, Paula began planning that course called Your First Rental Property. She figured it’d take 6-8 months to create it. Little did she know, her estimate was off by over two years. She had built rapport with her audience over the years with her thoughtful, thorough content. They trusted her to deliver her best, and she knew she’d be able to find people willing to pay to get her course materials as they were released, rather than all at once. So in March of 2016 when she announced on social media that she was currently building a course, she sold all 50 beta seats in just four minutes—at about $500 per seat. In September of 2018, Paula uploaded her final video. The course was almost complete—she just needed a second round of beta testers to go through the course in chronological order, rather than as videos were released. So she opened up another beta round, gaining over 100 new students at $750 each. Between the beta rounds, before a single official launch, Paula earned over $140,000. Over three years after she began working on it, Paula finally opened the Your First Rental Property Course in April of 2019. There was no big sales page, no complex launch strategy. She wrote a single blog post and spent $16,000 in Facebook ads to get the word out to her fans, but that was it. Over 200 people signed up at the course’s full price of $997 per person, bringing in around $200,000 in net income now that development expenses were covered. After one week, Paula closed the doors to her course. She’s investing time into her current students, and also overseeing even more improvements before her next bi-annual launch in September. She’s loved the challenge of creating a course she’s proud of, but it’s not the work itself that’s been the most rewarding part—she says she’s seen students avoid making huge, six-figure mistakes, which is what happens when you buy the wrong rental property. Saving someone from that type of life-altering mistake is incredibly gratifying. There’s no doubt her hard work has been worth it!
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Afford Anything: Learn more about how Paula helps others "afford anything" over on her blog!
- WordPress: Paula used WordPress to set up her site, and here you can learn how to install your own WordPress site in 5 minutes
- Environmentalist Couple Sells Online Courses in Beekeeping: An organic farmer and business owner in rural Maine create a series of online courses in beekeeping, permaculture, and soil building
- Woman on Food Stamps Earns $86,000 Teaching People to Bake Bread: In the face of adversity, a woman creates a series of online courses teaching the art of baking sourdough bread. Stop loafing around! If she can do it, you can too
- Adjunct Professor Puts Course on YouTube for $100k Profit: An adjunct community college professor uploads his final course to YouTube, then converts it to a Udemy course. In just sixteen months, he reaches almost 35,000 students and makes over $100,000 in profits
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