This is the story of how burnt-out teacher Matt was able to generate $32,000 in his first year of training in digital skills at the eBusiness Institute.
When Matt started training with us, he was so disheartened and mentally worn out from his teaching career that he was already starting to look for work at his local Bunnings warehouse just for a change.
Fast forward to today and he has discovered a new joy and creative skill of building websites for local businesses. And has found that his teaching skills lend themselves to helping local businesses in his community.
And not only that, but he is also already on his way to replacing his income and quitting his old job.
WATCH THE VIDEO or read the transcript below to see how Matt transitioned from his teaching career to an online business working from home
Matt never thought he would have his own business. But using the skills he learned from the Champions program, he now runs his own Digital Agency…
Matt Raad: Hello, everyone. It’s Matt Raad here, CEO and co-founder of eBusiness Institute, where we teach people how to transition out of their full-time careers into earning income online.
One of the interesting things we do is teach various strategies for making money online. And one of these strategies is building websites for local businesses. It can be a very quick way to exit your job or generate a relatively high cash flow reasonably quickly.
Most of our students are complete beginners online. So, today’s special guest is one of our recent graduates from our Champions Program who has just done exactly that.
I’ve invited Matt along to inspire us all because he made over $32,000 in his first year while completely retraining as a teacher. So, whilst learning these digital skills, he’s earned $32,000.
He just said he invoiced for the last financial year, and these results are impressive. Of course, we had to get him along to find out how he did this and what was going on there.
So, Matt, thank you so much for coming along to share your story with our community.
Matt S: Thanks, Matt. It’s great to be here. I watched quite a few of these interviews before joining eBusiness Institute. So, I’m pretty stoked to be on this end of the camera and sharing my story.
Hopefully, this will inspire other people who might be considering a change into the digital world.
Matt earned $32,000 in his first year of training in digital skills
Matt R: At our last Champions Bootcamp, you got up and talked about your experience, what you had been through personally, and the journey to getting there.
I want to look at that because everyone was excited to hear that you learned this new skill and made $32,000. You literally earned while you learned.
But let’s start with your background. What sort of schoolteacher are you?
Matt S: I’m a secondary teacher and have been teaching since 2007, so 15 years in the classroom. I teach science and a bit of IT. And recently, I’ve been a woodwork, graphics and metalwork teacher.
So, it’s as far away from websites as you can get.
Matt R: And as many of us know (especially those of us with kids), we’re all shocked with how hard you teachers work. We’ve got quite a few teachers in our community, and I bet you’ve all swapped a few notes.
Matt has always worked as a teacher and never owned a small business before
Matt R: Can you give us an idea of where you were when you found us? When you started on the Digital Investors program, what was happening for you then as a teacher?
Matt S: So, I’ve been teaching for 15 years. I’ve seen quite a few things in my time as a teacher, and it’s not getting any easier. There is more and more being piled on our plates, and it’s not a career I want to retire in.
So, I was looking for a transition out of teaching to the point where I became quite disenfranchised with the education system. All these additional politics, policies, and curriculum are being placed upon us.
He was burned out and needed to look at his options…
Matt S: Mate, I was ready to work at Bunnings! I really wasn’t too fussed with where I was working. I just needed a break from teaching.
I found the Digital Investors program, and really enjoyed building the websites and doing the web design.
But I was also pretty burnt out, just like, unfortunately, many other people in my industry are.
So, I had to look at my options. I could go back to university and retrain for four years. There are a couple of areas I’d be interested in doing, but you’d be paying $80,000 for an undergraduate degree. And then you’re starting back at the bottom of the pay scale. So, it’s pretty tough when you’ve got a family and a mortgage to deal with.
Matt R: Some pretty brutal options for you there.
How Matt transitioned out of his teaching career within a year
Matt R: I remember when you were talking to us at the Bootcamp, explaining your situation, you said you transitioned to a part-time teacher.
So, when you started studying with us, you decided to go part-time as a teacher. Is that one of the ways you’ve been able to do this?
Matt S: I took long service leave for the first half of the year. I had lots of leave accumulated, so I took the first 20 weeks of the school year at half pay.
And because my strategy was building websites for local businesses, I could earn money at the same time through my digital agency.
Helping those local businesses grow also made me accountable for my learning. So, instead of just doing the course and going, “I’ll get to that next week,” you’ve got someone on the other end (on phone or email) asking you how their website’s going.
So, you are very accountable for learning and need to find ways around your problems quickly. And the support from the Champions community was fantastic for this.
But that was where I was coming from.
He was able to ‘earn while he learn’ and help businesses in the process
Matt R: And what you’ve done is impressive. So, compared to other Champions we’ve interviewed, you haven’t been able to do this full-time yet while you’re learning. But this has been a big learning curve for you, hasn’t it?
Matt S: Absolutely. Look, everything’s a learning curve.
Part of the success I’ve experienced was from looking for a way to transition out of education. I had to give it all I had and hit it really hard.
And I’m being held accountable because I’ve got clients, and that part has worked really well. So being accountable has been my measure of success.
He was a beginner online and didn’t have a technical background
Matt S: I truly don’t believe you need a technical background to do this. I like the design and the technical aspects of website building, but you definitely don’t need it. I think it’s just helped me accelerate the level of websites I’m building. But I would’ve gotten there eventually had I not had that experience as well.
Matt R: We teach a wide range of strategies, as you know, and you learned them all. You followed my advice because you wanted to transition quickly.
As you said, “I’ve got a limited time. I’ve taken long service leave here and want to go for it, Matt.” And I said, “Matt, I recommend you literally earn while you learn.”
Who would’ve thought a year later, we’re both sitting here going, “OMG, you’ve certainly earned while you learned on this one.”?
Matt made $700 from his first website build
Matt R: What was the size of the first website you built and charged a client for?
Matt S: The first website I built was for the dad of one of the boys on my basketball team. It was a bit of an exchange of services, and that was a $700 website.
It took me quite a while to deal with that. But again, it gave me some validation that what I am doing can actually earn money.
You have to start somewhere, whether it’s a freebie or $200 or $700 or whatever it is. But it’s a great way to start. Again, you’ve got someone who’s exchanging money for it. So, you’ve got to be accountable for it and make it work.
He used the skills taught in the WebDev Accelerator program to build his first website
Matt R: And Matt, you built a really good first site.
I remember when you first did the WebDev Accelerator course, you said to me, “Oh, that Accelerate theme you teach on is a bit ugly.” And so, you started tinkering around.
Matt S: Yes, I’m very sorry, Liz!
But, when I first started with you, my strategy was to build a portfolio. I thought a portfolio was the way to go.
Matt R: Yes, buying websites.
Matt S: Absolutely, and building websites.
So, I had to learn to build these websites so I could start my portfolio.
Matt loves being able to help businesses in his local community
Matt S: But I’m also a people person. I like being in the community, and I’ve been here for 15 years. That’s my nature; I like to help. And building websites for local businesses in the Sunshine Coast just fits in beautifully for me.
Matt R: Yes, because you’re a schoolteacher, you love helping people.
And you’re set up in the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, aren’t you?
Matt S: Yes.
Matt R: It’s a nice community up there, and has it been fun for you meeting all the local businesspeople?
Matt S: Yes, there’s been a real shift in relationships.
Often, people will ask you what you do for a job. I know it’s a funny way of saying it, but when you’re teaching, it’s like you’re patting the cat the wrong way all day. It’s just a resentful kind of day.
So, it was such a breath of fresh air to go and talk to a business owner, and they say to me, “So, can you help me?”. And I can say, “Yes, I can!”
It’s nice to have someone on the other end working with you in partnership to achieve a common goal without the resistance I experienced most days in education. It’s just so refreshing and revitalising.
Matt R: Wow.
Matt S: And very energetic. I’ve got a new lease of energy, which has just been great.
Matt R: And you don’t think of that, do you?
From a complete beginner online, Matt now builds beautiful websites for local businesses
Matt R: When you first came on to the program, this is one of the things we’ve noticed. Many of our students (and ourselves included) just love the creativity of building websites.
And I know you absolutely love that too because you build really good websites. That’s why you moved to the Astra Elementor theme (nerdy theme talk here!), and you were pretty excited when Liz started teaching Astra Elementor in the WebDev Accelerator program.
Matt S: I was so excited!
As I said before, I’ve taught design at a senior secondary level. So I have a little bit of theory around user interfaces and things like that.
When Liz was running through the old Accelerate theme, I thought, “Okay, I see why we’re doing that. I can understand the structure and the SEO aspect. But it’s not very pretty.”
Matt R: It doesn’t have to be, Matt 🙂
Matt S: And I understand that.
But I took it upon myself to learn Elementor, which is a graphical page builder. And I was so delighted when you and Liz announced you were shifting everything over to Elementor. It’s been great.
And I know even those students who have been using Divi (and a whole range of other page builders) are loving Elementor now. It’s so good.
Matt R: Yes, it’s easy to use and suits your skillset because you build good sites.
How Matt helped a local conveyancer increase his business and rank page one in Google
Matt R: I want to talk about a recent client website you built. We should give a plug for it here because I’m so impressed with it, and for your mate’s sake, the branding is also brilliant. Can you tell us more about this site?
Matt S: Yes, so the client is Bush to Beach Legal. They’re a conveyancer on the Sunshine Coast.
Initially, Luke and his son built the site on Wix and did a good job. It had good information and content on there. And they had an external SEO provider doing some work for him.
We discussed that Wix was fairly limited with what we could do for SEO, customisation, etc. So, we redesigned the website and Bush to Beach Legal is now on a WordPress website.
Matt R: And presumably, using Astra Elementor?
Matt S: Yes, it’s using Elementor page builder and the Astra theme.
So, it’s looking fantastic. It’s got all the elements and all the visuals that we’re looking for. We have very clear intentions above the fold and key service areas without needing to scroll. We also have Call to Action buttons throughout the site; all that goodness we know converts really well.
Matt R: You’ve learned well, mate. That’s good to hear and music to my ears.
Matt S: And it’s just repetitive. I never doubted you, but it becomes very clear as you do more of this stuff. Everything you say, Matt knows best!
He’s now applying quality SEO practices to help the site rank for a competitive keyword
Matt S: We were lucky enough to pick up Bush to Beach for some SEO work. I’ve been steadily building up content and some links. And from that work, the site is now ranking on page one in Google for conveyancing Sunshine Coast. That’s a pretty decent keyword to be ranking for.
Matt R: Yes, that’s a lucrative keyword. When you think about the next five years, you’ve helped that client enormously. He probably doesn’t even realise it yet.
Matt S: No, but I know his phone’s ringing, and he told me recently that he needs a break. I’m like, “We just got you on the first page. I don’t think we want to be taking a break.”
Matt R: It’s fantastic that you can positively affect the lives of people and friends in your community.
Think about it Matt; a year ago you were burned out, you were Googling jobs at Bunnings just to have a mental break from teaching. And now, here you are, helping these locals in this creative space. I think you’ve found your superpower. And you obviously enjoy it.
See how Matt made $32,000 in his first year of business
Matt R: So, I want to know where your mindsets at. After a year of doing this, what are you happy to charge for building websites and SEO work?
Matt S: One thing you teach is knowing your worth, and I think that comes with confidence.
You can’t go out there and charge for high-end websites until you’ve got a few runs on the board, and that’s fine. I suppose it comes with accountability, but it also comes with a little bit of breathing room.
He now quotes $5,000 plus for website builds…
So, we started small, but I just quoted $5,500 for a website build the other day.
Matt R: Mate, well done!
Matt S: And I’m putting a proposal in for a $9,000 website.
Matt R: Mate, you didn’t tell us that at the Bootcamp! Well done.
Matt S: Well, they just came through BNI this last week.
I recently joined the BNI up here on the sunny coast, and fantastic. Just another fantastic network of people. And it’s another option to get your name out there and what we do.
…and a minimum of $1,000 per month or his SEO services
Matt R: Wow, and what are you charging for recurring SEO monthly?
Matt S: We’re currently starting at $1,000 for recurring SEO.
Matt R: A month?
Matt S: Yes, a month.
Matt R: And you’re a first-year graduate, so that’s good.
Matt S: For me, it’s about building those runs on the board. And having Bush to Beach on the first page has given me a boost of confidence.
We’re charging $1,000 for ongoing SEO but looking to push that up to $2,000 – $3,000.
Matt R: As you saw on the weekend at our recent Bootcamp, we’ve got second-year Champions who do exactly that and it has a dramatic impact on their bottom line of course. Particularly when you’re working from home, that’s a nice recurring income.
Even at $1,000 a month, you just need nine more of those, and there’s a nice recurring income every month.
Matt S: Absolutely, and I suppose that’s what we’re trying to achieve. We want that reoccurring monthly income where we can transition out of one career into another exciting career.
Matt R: So, you’re already on your way to replacing your income. If you get a few more of these $5,000 website builds (or $9,000 website builds), plus get known in the community, this starts to compound.
How the Champions program supported Matt in his new online business
Matt R: I know you had more time in the beginning because you had long service leave. But looking at how far you’ve come – why do you think you hit $32,000 in your first year so quickly?
1./ Matt gained confidence by hearing other Champions success stories
Matt S: First of all, it’s from the support of being in the Champions community. We’re lucky enough to be hearing from other people’s stories and successes.
Before I joined, I thought there might be something to this online world of websites and people making money online.
But then I got to speak to people who are very much like me. They have come from industries and careers with no training in this area. And today, they’re making very good money, multiple six-figures. So, I think, “Okay, well, it can be done. I’ve seen it. I’ve spoken to those people, and it’s not just one; it’s many.”
That gave me the confidence to know that “Hey, this is real, and I can do this.” So, I hit it as hard as I could. I really pushed myself out of that industry of education and into digital marketing.
2./ He was accountable to every webinar and coaching session
Matt S: I think if you go through the course and run through the paces without actually doing the reps and the hard work, and if you’re not accountable to someone or something, your progress is going to be a little bit slower.
But for me, it’s been the desire to shift across the accountability for clients. And having the support from Matt and Liz Raad, and the fantastic coaches. I need to give a big shoutout to Calem, he’s been fantastic.
Matt R: Absolutely.
Matt S: And just the general community. Everyone’s so forthcoming and supportive.
Matt R: Thank you so much for sharing and saying that.
3./ He cares about his clients’ online success
Matt R: And I do want to say, a big congratulations to you obviously with your success, but also now you have just inspired a whole bunch of other people.
You are now someone who people are going to look up to and go, “Wow, okay, Matt set the bar in that first year there,” So, I want to say a big congratulations for that.
You build really good websites. And I know Calem’s helped you as well, and given you lots of ideas for building local business websites.
But this is what we say to a lot of people, you just need to see one person doing it. And what I’m really proud of here is people like yourself so openly sharing their success.
And now we’ve got this community of people with all their success stories. So we all know in our heads, “Okay, this can be done.”
Matt S: Absolutely.
Matt R: I think you’re the perfect example of this.
4./ He had clear determination and drive to succeed
Matt R: When I spoke to you earlier, you said, “Look, my success is just because I’ve seen a whole bunch of your people in your community doing this.”
I want all our readers to understand that Matt had the determination and drive. He really wanted to transition out of his career. So, there was a very strong driver.
I want to make it 100% clear; there’s a lot of mindset here that Matt has embraced particularly well. And he never let up for a minute.
How Matt is making his transition from teaching to online business permanent
Matt R: And Matt, here we are celebrating today, but would you say the journey was like this as well? I don’t want to end on a negative note, but there’s a bit to learn, isn’t there?
Matt S: Well, I think it’s not all rose-coloured glasses. I know that’s how we want to see the world.
But I have skinned my knees so many times, and you’ve just got to get over it. I’ve had regular tantrums where I was ready to throw it in and just go back to teaching.
Matt R: Oh, no.
Matt S: But you’ve just got to remember, it’s hard because it’s new.
Matt R: Yes, good point.
Matt S: There are tasks that I’m doing now from a website and SEO point-of-view that are now simple tasks. They’re simple now because I’ve done the reps.
In the beginning, it took me so long and so much stress to do these things; I was worried about it. But the trick is, you’ve just got to do something, and there’s never been anything that’s ever gone that wrong. So, you’ve just got to do it.
Matt R: That is just awesome. And there are some really good points you’ve mentioned there.
But most importantly, Matt, I think you’ve just inspired a bunch of people to keep pushing on and doing it.
He continues to grow his digital agency
Matt R: So, I want to say a big heartfelt thank you for coming along and sharing today. And mate, you’ve got to give your agency a plug.
Matt S: Yes, we’re Ready Set Digital on the Sunshine Coast. We’re really building up and looking forward to what the future holds.
Matt R: Let me help you out there, Matt! I think you should say you’re the best web designer on the Sunshine Coast.
Matt S: I can be a tad humble, but I’m learning.
Matt R: You are way too humble. And as you heard, you’re also getting amazing SEO results for your clients.
…And is building his portfolio of semi-passive websites part-time around his Digital Agency
Matt R: And I’m presuming, Matt, you’re also still building your portfolio websites and that is the passive websites in the background?
Matt S: Yes, that’s my overall strategy. At the moment, the digital agency is shifting me further away from teaching. But once I can settle into that, building a portfolio is something I’m trying to dedicate a bit of time to. So that’s growing as well.
Matt R: Awesome. Thank you so much for coming along today, and we’ll catch up with you soon. I’m sure we’ll do an update interview with you in a year’s time. Watch this space. We’ll see where Matt’s headed.
Are you looking to transition out of your career into an online business?
Matt R: If any of you are reading this and not on our course, or want to learn what it’s all about, I will encourage you to try our free masterclass. That’s where Matt started. We’ve got three key strategies we teach: buy, build, and sell websites.