Every single day that you wake up, you have tons of choices. And if you choose to just stick with the default, that's on you, that's your decision to make. But then don't tell me that you can't do anything else. I feel as if you're lying to me.
Hey, welcome to Lessons From A Quitter where we believe that it is never too late to start over, no matter how much time or energy you've spent getting to where you are, if ultimately you are unfulfilled, then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams.
Hello, my friends. How are you all? I have been better. Uh the reason actually today I'm gonna do a replay of an interview that I did that I'll talk about in a second is because I had my gallbladder removed today. If you follow me on Instagram stories, then you might know but if you don't, I just figured I'd fill you all in. I've been getting very sick over the last couple of months and I feel extremely grateful that they figured out what it was fairly quickly. I didn't have to suffer too long which I know a lot of people do. And it turns out that my gallbladder was giving me a lot of problems and I had to get that bad boy out. And so, as you're listening to this, I'm probably in surgery right now um on Tuesday is when I'm getting my gallbladder removed. And I have to tell you guys, it blows my mind what modern medicine can do. It's just so fascinating. When I went to the surgeon, he was explaining to me how they take it out and it's through a procedure like a laparoscopic procedure. And I don't know if you know what that term means but they basically make four very tiny incisions on different points of my torso like less than an inch wide. And then using a camera, they go in and somehow cut out an organ of mine and bring it out, sew me up and I can go home in like a couple of hours. If that doesn't blow your mind, then I don't know what will like you're not paying attention enough. As I was going through this, I was thinking about how we are just missing miracles around us every single day because it becomes normal, right? And we're so bogged down with our own stress and our own life. And if you really look for it, it's just the most amazing thing to see what humans have created, the ingenuity, the pure like intelligence. Anyways, so this has been blowing my mind that A, I don't need a gallbladder apparently and B, how easy they've made it. The fact that somebody has figured this out, I'm very grateful to be alive during a time like this where I don't have to suffer for much longer. And I figured I’d just pass that note along because even though I was very sick these past couple of months and that can bring up a lot of the negative emotions, it definitely was a trying time. Whenever I'm going through things like this, it just makes me more grateful for other things. It makes me more grateful for the fact that I'm generally healthy. It makes me grateful for the fact that I live at a time that modern medicine can take care of what happened to me. So there's always the 50/50 is really the message from all of my podcasts. And I'm going through that right now. And because of that, I have fallen behind a little bit on recording podcasts for you. And so I wanted to revisit one of my favorite interviews that I did and I did a lot. Back in my day when I started this podcast, I did almost a hundred interviews I think, probably more, but one of the standouts is this one with Leslie Samuel. And you'll see why because his energy is just infectious. He is one of the most energetic, positive, sweet, funny people that I've had the pleasure of meeting through this journey. And his story is so powerful in so many ways. I think he's just really a testament to the fact that we don't have to do things the way they've always been done. Like we're in this new era where there is so many different ways to get into the field or the thing that you want to do. And who knows where that journey will take you. Even since the time of this podcast, which was a couple of years ago, uh Leslie has continued to just grow and shine and become a massive speaker and grow his company and his influence and likely the amount that he makes. And it's just been a joy to watch. So I hope you enjoy this episode and I will be back next week with a new one for you.
You're in for a special treat for this 50th episode because we have Leslie Samuel on the podcast. And as you'll see in a minute, it's almost impossible not to smile while you listen to him talk. He is one of the most vivacious and positive people I've ever met and it is a joy to talk to him so I'm so glad that he is on the show today. And his story is just something that we all can learn a lot from. He started out his journey as a teacher and he had a love for science and biology. And he his goal was to be a university professor but he didn't want to complete his PhD. And he'll talk about why and that usually precludes you from teaching at the university level. And so he started a blog called Interactive Biology where he taught biology the way that he wanted to. And he made these really fun, interactive videos. And he started gaining a huge audience. And that blog actually landed him his dream job as a university professor, teaching people who were getting their PhDs, even though he didn't have his. After a couple of years, he decided to walk away from that dream job to be a full-time blogger because as we'll talk about, his mission is to change the world one blog at a time. And that's exactly what he is doing. He is now the creator of Become A Blogger and the podcast Blogging With Leslie. And he teaches the craft of professional blogging. He is equipping people with how to build blogs that have impact and they can make a living off of. He has just done so many cool things and he has such a wonderful lease on life and how we should all approach our life. So without further ado, let's jump in and talk to Leslie.
Hi, Leslie. Thank you so much for joining me.
Oh, thank you so much for having me. I'm excited.
Oh, I am so excited. I know this is gonna be so helpful and so interesting. Before we get into all the wonderful things that blogging brings, why don't you start by telling us a little bit about your former career and what led you to be a teacher?
Oh man, that is a good question. So when I came to America, I came in ‘97. I came from the beautiful island of St. Martin and I had no idea what I wanted to do but I knew that I did well in, you know, biology and science and those kinds of things. So I figure I'd major in that area. And I remember after being in college for a while and finally coming around to figuring out hey, you know, I need to study and I need to put my all into my classes and so on. I remember getting the opportunity to just work with students and actually it went all the way back to when I was in high school. I remember, even though I wasn't a great student, I remember taking students into the library and helping them to understand biology and chemistry and all those things. And there's something about taking someone from, you know, I have no idea how this thing works, I don't understand what this teacher or this professor is saying to man, this now makes sense. There's something about that transformation process that really excites me. And I remember one day walking into, because um eventually I got the opportunity to be a teacher's assistant and I was supervising labs and even teaching some of the lessons for the professor. I remember walking into the science building one day and someone stopping me and saying you know what, I just feel impressed to let you know that I think you should be a teacher. [Ohhh.] That was a day that I woke up and I was asking what am I gonna do with my life? And when she came to me and said that everything just kind of clicked and it was like you know what, this is what I'm supposed to be doing. I'm supposed to be a teacher. When I think about it, I've been teaching people all my life. [Right.] And it just made sense for me to go in that direction. So I mean, make a long story short, teaching is what I do. Teaching is who I am. Teaching is what excites me. And it's what has led to my career and also what I do today.
Yeah, it's interesting cuz it's funny how teaching you can teach in so many different arenas and we'll get into all of the teaching that you're doing now but did you know that you wanted to be a high school teacher or how did you kind of decide on the teaching career that you were gonna have?
I absolutely did not want to be a high school teacher. What happened was when I was in college and I took this class called Systems Physiology and we started learning about the nervous system and that kind of stuff, it excited me so much that I said you know what, I love the nervous system so much that I wanna go on for a PhD in neurobiology. And I was gonna be a neurobiology professor or a physiology prof-, well, both of them, I wanted to teach all of that stuff. And then I got the opportunity to do my masters in neurobiology and do a ton of research and I realized that I absolutely hated research. So when I finished my master's degree, I was like no, I'm not going off for no PhD to do way more research. You know what, forget this whole professor thing. It's not worth it. I can't be in a lab all day doing all this stuff. And at that time I was getting married to now my wife, then my fiancé and she was invited to apply for a job at a high school, a boarding academy. And when they found out she was getting married and that she was getting married to me, someone that was in the biology field, they were like oh, this is great because our biology teacher is leaving. [Oh.] So it was kind of like a convenient thing where, you know, I knew I love teaching and it was like well, I'm not gonna do the professor thing. I might as well do this high school science and math thing because it's an opportunity that has been placed in my lap.
Right. And which is what happens to a lot of us with our careers is like opportunity shows itself and you just kind of go and that takes you on that path. So how long were you a high school teacher and how did that lead to your first blog?
Yeah, so I started teaching in 2006. After three years in, I just started feeling that itch like man, this is not the stuff that I wanna teach. These are not the people that I wanna teach. Quite frankly, high school students, they have to take biology. Many of them don't want to take biology. And it's that thing where aww man, we just gotta get through this stupid class so that we can, you know, graduate. And that's not what I wanted. I wanted to teach students that were learning advanced stuff because they wanted to be there. [Right.] So I'm like man, I don't have a PhD so I can't teach at a university but I had been learning about blogging and I had a blog and I was teaching people about blogging and all that stuff. And I’m thinking to myself, wait a minute, these things that I'm teaching about blogging, why not apply that to what I wanna teach? Because I don't need a PhD to teach people about the nervous system and physiology and that kind of stuff, not with the internet.
So I decided you know what to kind of scratch that itch, I'm gonna start a blog. And on that blog, I'm gonna teach exactly what I wanted to teach. And I remember the first video was what is the nervous system and then what is a neuron and then what is an action potential. And then I I built out basically the stuff that I would teach if I were teaching in a university but the difference now was that I got to do it exactly how I wanted to do it. If I wanted to stand in my living room and jump across the living room to show how the action potential works, I could do that. And nobody's gonna tell me, you know, hey, you know, come on, keep it professional, you're a professor. [Right.] So, you know, it was great way for me to take what I was passionate about and put that out there to the world.
But did you think like who's gonna watch this or who is my audience? You know, it's one thing to teach in a classroom when you have an audience. It's another thing to think I'm gonna make these science videos and just put it on the internet. Like were you worried about not having anyone watch 'em?
No, I was excited at the possibility because I knew, I understand blogging, you know, I understand, you know, content creation online and how to get it out there and so on. And I did my research beforehand.
You said that you had another blog, so how did you even get into this? How did you learn what content creation and blogging?
Yeah, that's a great question. So in 2008, actually on January 20th, 2008, I stumbled onto a way to make money online. It was called freebie trading. And I don't know if you remember these websites, these websites where you complete offers and you [Oh yeah.] refer friends and you get a free TV or you get a free whatever, iPod back then. I stumbled onto this system where they taught you about, you know, there were these forums online with people that are looking to complete these offers in exchange for money. So I found sites that would pay me to refer people to complete offers. And if the site would pay me, you know, $40 per referral, I would pay the referral $20. [Ohhhh.] And I actually built a business around that. [Oh, interesting.] You know, I was very active in the forums and it was taking so much of my time. And I said you know what, there had to be a better way. And I started looking around and I started learning about blogs and how people were using blogs, creating content and growing an audience and people were coming to them. [Mmmmm.] And I thought I like the idea of people coming to me as opposed to me having to be digging in these forums all day every day which is literally what I was kind of doing. So I started a blog called The Freebie Guy [Mmmm.] to teach people about freebies and that's how I kind of learned about blogging. [Ohhhh.] Then I realized I didn't really care about freebees. I mean, it was nice to make a few extra bucks and, you know, pay bills and travel and that kind of stuff. But I really didn't care about that stuff but I started to get fascinated by just the stuff I was learning about blogging so I kind of evolved and started teaching people about blogging. And then I said you know what, I wanna test out these principles in a different space. And that's when I applied it to biology. And that's when I started to do my research. And that's when I saw that there were a lot of biology sites out there and they were almost all just boring. Boring research articles and long explanations. And I'm like nah, this is not how I wanna learn. So I kind of went in the direct- my tagline was welcome to another ever sort of interactive biology TV where we're making biology fun. And then I just kind of put my all into making biology fun and teaching these really complex things in very simple ways. And I knew that there were a lot of people struggling with this, with understanding their very intelligent professors. And I knew that if I created something like that, it would be relatively easy to get an audience.
Very cool. And so were you was the thought if you get enough eyeballs on it, then you can make money from the blog by like selling ads or were you like selling the content that you were creating? How were were you planning on monetizing it or was it just for fun? What was kind of the idea behind it?
I absolutely planned on turning it into a business. I know I would've sold, I was gonna sell something but I didn't know what that was as yet when I first started. I just knew if I got the audience, I could make money. [Okay.] Because it's an audience that have a problem that they need a solution to and if I could provide them with that solution, I can make some money. Now, eventually I decided okay, you know, I have an audience. People are, you know, consuming my stuff. It's growing every month. It's time to make some money. So that's when I started monetizing it. And for me in the beginning, the first thing I did was just turn on ads. And that actually went pretty well because I had a good number of people watching my stuff. And then I decided to create a study guide for the content that was already on my blog that was free. I just put together a nice PDF study guide. And I started selling that for 35 bucks and that was pretty much it.
Oh, how cool. And first of all, were you doing this while you were still teaching high school? Were you doing this on the side or were you doing this full-time?
I was doing this while teaching high school. [Mmmm.] And this is not just a regular high school. It's a boarding academy. So the students lived there and you're like you work through the week, you work on the weekends, you work at night. Some.. you were their parents basically. [Yeah.] So it was a very, very intense time in my life because if you think about it, I'm working full-time, I'm running this biology blog and I'm also running this other blog on how to blog. Life was crazy.
Right. But I mean, it's a good testament to the fact that a lot of these types of gigs on the internet now, side hustle, they're great things that you can start. I know a lot of people listening are unhappy in their careers and it doesn't always have to be a huge jump. It could be something that you build slowly while you keep your job.
Absolutely. I believe strongly, if you are unhappy about your career, you should be doing something about it. [Right.] Now, that may not be internet, you know, business or blogging [Right.] or whatever. But if you're not actively working on, you know, changing that, [Yes.] man, it's not a way to live. And I see so many people living that way as if they have no choice. [I agree.] But every single day you wake up and now you're gonna get me going on a rant. But every single day that you wake up, you have tons of choices. And if you choose to just stick with the default, that's on you, that's your decision to make. But then don't tell me that you can't do anything else because from the time you tell me can't, I feel as if you're lying to me.
Oh my God, I love that. And regularly go on rants on this show so you're on the perfect podcast because that is…
It's a rant friendly show. Got it.
Yeah, exactly. No because that is a hundred percent true. And I'm seeing it even more now through the podcast when people reach out, whether it be like, you know, oh, I'm in financial debt or I don't know what I would wanna do. And my first question is okay, well what are you doing? And it's always nothing. It's like well it's not gonna just magically go away. You know, you have to start doing something. Get a plan together, try things, you know? But I think I just love what you said because I think that we, a lot of times act like we're the victim in our lives, as opposed to like you have agency. You choose to go to that job that you hate. And if that's your choice, fine. But accept that that's your choice.
I love that. So you're building this up, you have an audience. How long before, when you said you started monetizing, how long had you been building up the blog before you started monetizing?
Ooh, that's a good question. So I started that blog in 2010. And I think between six months to a year is when I started monetizing it. Now that's just me giving a rough guess but it was somewhere around there that I started monetizing it.
And we'll get into this a little later, how you now like help other people blog and teach how to blog, but is there like an average do you see with your students? Like when someone's starting a blog, I'm sure it's all over the place, depending on the audience, but like typically like what would somebody consider the amount of time that they have to put in before they can maybe turn it into a business? Is it usually like a year, three years, six months?
That's like the famous question that everyone keeps asking me. And the answer is that ranges just depending on so many factors. When I started my blog, The Freebie Guy, [Mhmmm.] you know, I had a lot of experience with the stuff that I was teaching before. I mean, I started monetizing it immediately.
I don't see a problem with starting with monetization. I actually encourage you to start thinking about monetization even before you start your blog. [Mmmm.] Does that mean you're gonna make money immediately? No. But it's good to think about the business that you're building. Building a blog is not building a business. Building a business may have a blog as a component of that business. [Right.] But if you're not actually building a business, something that has a product to sell or something that is promoting something, then what's the point? Unless you're just doing it for fun. If you're just doing it for fun, that's all good. So I like to tell people start with a monetization plan and there's absolutely nothing wrong with monetizing from as soon as you start. I don't see a problem with that. But in terms of how long it takes to make money, I mean, for some people they never get make money. The fact is most bloggers aren't successful with their blogs. And that's not something that, you know, a lot of people that teach you about blogging like to say, but that's a reality. It's not easy. It's just like most businesses fail. [Right.] Right? This is a business that you're building. It's about whether you're getting the right training. It's about whether you're taking the right action, whether you're taking enough action, whether you are evaluating what you're doing and, you know, making changes as you see hey, this is not working but let me try this over here. Oh, this is starting to work, let me go more into this. I think you can start monetizing immediately. I know the second month that I launched my blog, I made $3,000 with it. [Wow, yeah.] And that's not normal but it's because I approached it from the perspective of this is a business and yes, I wanna provide a ton of value to the people that are coming to my stuff but part of that is also me building a business.
Right. Now, that's a great way of looking at it. So what happened after, you know, a couple years you're building up this blog, what did that blog lead to?
So that's the fun part. Well, it's all the fun part. No, it's not all the fun part. There's some parts that's just not fun. But I started a blog in 2010, in 2011 there was a position open for an anatomy professor in a Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Now, mind you, the requirements are you have to have a PhD or you have to be a physical therapist. You have to have a DPT, a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, because this is in a doctoral program. I don't have a physical therapy degree. I don't have a PhD. I would be an anatomy professor. I never took anatomy. I had everything working against me. And there were over 27 applicants, very qualified people. And then there was me at the bottom of the pile, literally at the bottom of the pile of applicants. So I went in to meet with the chair of the department to show him what I was doing with my blog [Mmmm.] and he was so blown away with it that he said you know what, you are not even gonna get an interview because your application didn't make sense um but I'm gonna make sure that you at least get an interview and I'm gonna take you around right now to meet all of the people in the committee just so that they can have a face to put to the name. And when he went and took me around to meet all of the people that were on the committee, I feel as if he was boasting about his long lost son and all of the amazing things that he's doing on the internet. And I'm like oh man, this is kind of cool. Make a long story short to answer your question, I got the job as a university professor in a Doctor of Physical Therapy [That’s amazing.] program, teaching anatomy and neuroscience and pathophysiology and embryology, the kind of stuff that ultimately was my dream job. [Mmmm mhmm.] That is what I was able to get, not because I went the traditional route of getting the PhD and all that stuff, but because I went the non-traditional route and as a result of that, I stood out and I got the job.
That's so incredible. But how did you even get yourself to apply for it? Because I think most of us, when you see like oh, you needed the requirements of this job or a PhD and I don't have a PhD like that's where it ends. You know, it's like what was going through your head when you're like I don't have these qualifications but I'm gonna put my name in the hat?
To fully explain that goes into a whole lot of stuff. Part of it being spiritual, part of it being, you know, my certain experiences that I had that led up to, you know, it was kind of like when they are trying to fill a position, [Mhmmm.] they kind of use this scattershot approach where they just email it out everywhere to anyone that graduated within a certain timeframe [Right.] in the sciences and so on. And when I got the letter in the mail, because of what had happened previous to that and that's the spiritual stuff that I'm talking about, when I saw the letter, there was something inside of me that said this is your job. [Wow.] And I'm like man, this doesn't even make sense but I know that this is the case. And I called my wife immediately and I said, because she knew what happened with me before this letter came directly related to physical therapy and teaching and so on, and when I called her I said there's a letter in the mail from the physical therapy program at the university that I attended, invited me to apply to become a professor there. It's about to get interesting. This is literally what I told her on the phone. And I applied for it. What I did was I called my former professor that worked with me when I was doing my masters in neurobiology. And I told him to go in and put in a good word for me. So he went in to meet with the chair of the department and he left and it actually worked against me [Mmmm.] because the chair of the department didn't like him. And my professor called me and said hey, I went in and met with the guy. I would recommend, you know, schedule a time to go and meet with him. And that's what I did [Ohhhh.] because I just felt like this was my job. And literally when I went in for the interview, I told them listen, I'm the least qualified person for this job. And I just want you guys to know that. And I said, well I said a whole lot, but to make a long story short, I said if I do get this job, I'm gonna work the hardest to make sure that I do a good job. And I believe that this is what I'm called to do. And I told them why I believed that this is what I'm called to do. And I left out there kind of like well, you know what, let's see what happens. And they called me within an hour and told me that I had the job.
That's so amazing. I mean, so many amazing things. And it's just a great example of the fact that, you know, a lot of times we are obviously harder on ourselves and we're not quick to take risks but the truth of the matter is is that none of this stuff is set in stone. Like everybody is just kind of, even people that are putting out job descriptions, you know, they're putting out what they think they want. It's not like that that is, you know, the end all be all. And I think to have the courage to just say like I'm gonna try and, you know, might not go anywhere but if you don't try, like you'll then it will definitely not go anywhere. So that's amazing.
That's exactly, I was probably a little more cocky in the situation because I felt that it was for me. So I went to it kind of like alright [Yeah.] so let's talk about my job. That's the approach that I had. Maybe cocky is not the right word because it really wasn't from a place of hey, I'm awesome or anything of that sort but I just knew that this was for me. Everything that had happened just showed me that this is bigger than me. And this is something that I am going for. I was excited about what was going to happen because in my mind it had already happened.
Oh my God, that's amazing. So you become a professor at [Yep.] university without a PhD and you're teaching people that are getting their PhDs and what happens then? How long did you teach for?
I did it for three years exactly. Two years in, my mom took ill and there was a whole lot going on. So one of the requirements was that they would send me to get a PhD and they would pay for it. So to me, it was kind of like oh, awesome. Okay. You pay for a PhD and I could get a PhD in anything so I decided to get a PhD in leadership because it seemed like the easiest PhD that I could get. Because of the program that I joined, it was just very flexible and it could be on anything you wanted it to be. I was like okay, let's do that. That sounds easy enough. So I'm working on this PhD, I'm teaching classes that I never took before and these are advanced classes. I mean, we're dissecting cadavers. I never saw a cadaver before and I'm literally like learning the stuff and then going to teach it that day.
Oh my goodness.
It was ridiculously intense. In addition to that, because when I went for that job, my wife came with me and she stopped working and she went to school. So I was the sole breadwinner. I was doing my job and I was running my biology blog and I was running my other blog on how to blog and everything was just crazy. We had our first son and I was never around and I absolutely hated that. Then my mom took ill and I wanted to go and be with her but I couldn't because I went for a few days and I had to come back while she was going through chemotherapy and all this kind of stuff. And I went to my wife one day and I said something has to change. I either have to leave my business behind or leave my job behind. I love both.
But I also said I don't want to leave my job [Hmm.] but I can't leave my business. Because the impact that that's having, to me, it was like on a completely different level. And I just couldn't see myself leaving that. And she looked at me and she said I think you should leave your job. When she said that, that was it. I mean, I was done. I went in the next day, talked to my boss, I'm like hey, at the end of this school year, I'm gone.
And that was it. So I left that job to just do what I do online full-time.
When you're saying like the impact that you were having, you couldn't imagine walking away, like what kind of impact are you talking about?
Oh man. So, you know, my biology blog got to the point where over a hundred thousand people were using it every month. [Wow.] And that to me was amazing, but what was more amazing was the the thousands of emails that I got from people all over the world letting me know what the site and what my videos, what my content is doing for them. And I remember there was one lady in particular who sent me an email. She was a new teacher impoverished town where all the students were way behind the standards and they didn't even have textbooks and all that stuff. And she said she stumbled onto my videos and my content. And she said she made a statement to me that just kinda blew me away. And she said thank you so much for what you do. You are keeping myself, my family and an impoverished city afloat. [Ohhhh.] And when she sent me that email, and that's just one of many emails that I've gotten from people all over the world, when I see that impact and I compare it to what I'm able to do in a classroom, while, I love what I am able to do in a classroom and the impact that you can have when you're working with a student is amazing, that's just at a different level to me. And I couldn't see walking away from having that kind of impact.
Yeah, I mean, I can understand why that's incredible and what an amazing feeling and how surreal, I think when you do this stuff and you realize people that are, you know, in other parts of the world or [Yeah.] people you'll never meet that you have a connection, that you've touched them in some way is just such a cool feeling.
Yeah. I was at home in my basement with this little pen and tablet thing you can draw on your screen. I'm a terrible artist and I'm drawing these things and I'm saying oh, so here we have a neuron and this is the axon and blah, blah, blah. And then and then sometimes I'm showing certain things in the kitchen and I'm jumping, literally jumping around in my living room just to teach these concepts. You're creating this stuff and you're not seeing the people. Right? [Yeah.] It's just you just when you finish, you have this video with drawings that look bad but that teach something significant and then you put it out there and it's changing lives. That right there, we live in amazing times. And okay, there are so many people that point to the negative that's out there. All the negative things that are happening in the world. But when you think about it, never before have individuals been able to have this kind of impact on lives all over the world without, you know, gatekeepers saying, you know, no, you have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce this. Professionally produce the video series. And we live in a world where little me could draw on a screen [Yeah.] and impact hundreds of thousands of people. That is amazing to me.
You are preaching to the choir. Yes, it is unbelievable and honestly, one of the reasons I wanted to start this podcast is because, you know, when I was a lawyer and I was working and I had my head down and I had the blinders on, it's not like I didn't know. I use the internet all the time. I knew there's people that have blogs. I know but I didn't really understand the amount of opportunity and that it's open for everybody. And there is an audience for everyone. There are people that, you know, we all wanna connect and we all have our own tribes and people that we connect with. And when I started really seeing what people were doing, I mean, I I honestly felt like I wanted to like shake all of my lawyer friends and be like leave the office and see what peop- and see what people are doing. You know? And I feel like that this is my proverbial shake is this podcast is to be like there is this whole world and like you were saying, you know, before I think like in our parents' generation, there wasn’t lot of opportunity to think about starting a business because you had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to [Yeah.] open up a brick and mortar or something and that's not feasible for everyone. But I love your story that on nights, you know, when you're not doing your day job, you can start building a business and do it on the side [Yeah.] and do it early in the morning when your kids are asleep or figure it out. You know, the opportunity is definitely there.
So what happened ultimately with your biology blog and then now, what are you working on now?
Yeah, so ultimately, you know, I was doing Become A Blogger, which is my main blog and then my biology blog and I felt unfocused. [Mhmmm.] I felt like I was being tugged in multiple directions and that if I really wanted to have an impact in either of those directions, I have to let something go. I guess my life has been a life of letting go of all kinds of things, even great things. But I eventually realized that, you know, the impact that I want to have is more than just about a topic like biology. Because while I love biology, what I love even more is helping people realize that they can have an impact on the world. And quite frankly, whether that's through blogging or something else, for me, it’s about hey, you are listening to this podcast right now and you know that you have value to share because you've learned how to do things over your lifetime. And while you may not enjoy your job or you may enjoy your job, I don't know, [Right.] but you've amassed a wealth of knowledge related to something. And that is more than someone else knows. And if you know more than someone else knows, that means you can help them. You can teach them. And if I can empower you to teach others or to help others, for me, that's kind of like the next level. Yes, I can go and have an impact on a thousand people or a hundred thousand people or a million people but if I can empower a thousand people to go and do that, that to me is like next level stuff right there.
So I eventually decided you know what, this aspect of what I do needs my entire focus so I'm gonna leave the biology blog behind. And I ended up selling that blog and that entire business. And now I do Become A Blogger full-time.
I love what you just said about, you know, I know you laughed about about your life as letting things go, even things that you love. But I actually think that's such a strong skill to have. We get so caught in this like sunk cost fallacy that oh, [Mhmm.] I've spent so much time and money and energy, I have to stick with this. And, you know, it may be something that you still love, like you were saying, even the work as a professor, it was something that you enjoyed. But sometimes like it requires letting go of something that even, you know, you may have put in a ton of resources into but it's not serving you or there's and something else bigger for you. And I think we get it's like our scarcity mindset where we're holding on to something so tight. And I always say this like when you're looking at that sunk cost, what you're not looking at is the opportunity cost that you're giving up by not going to the next thing or looking for the next thing. You're still giving up something. But I do think it's a very difficult thing to step away from. So to say that you have that, you know, ability where you have a profitable blog that you've spent a ton of time creating videos like how much energy, you know, creating that audience like it was a success. You've had hundreds of thousands of of people come to your blog. To walk away from that is not an easy decision but clearly, I mean, it was the right one for you and the ripple effects of empowering so many people to spread their message and create their business and change their lives is incredible.
Yeah. You know, for me personally, and I don't know if this is necessarily the best way to look at things, but I don't see anything that I've done as being that important that I can't leave it behind if I'm called to do something else. [Right.] If I feel called to leave this entire business behind tomorrow, well, I'm not just gonna kind of willy-nilly just say, oh yeah, I'm gonna leave this behind. But if I knew that I'm supposed to be going in a different direction that well, that's it, that part of my life is over. Let's move on. [Mmmm.] And I am perfectly okay with that. If I build this business into a multibillion-dollar business, which is not necessarily the plan, but if that were to happen and I felt as if you know what, it's time to move. Sell all of that or give all of that away. And there's something new that is where I'm supposed to be then so be it. I'm okay with that.
That's a very rare skill because I think most people aren't, you know, that's the skill to master is to figure out like how can you be okay with either knowing that, you know, the chapter’s closed on something and it's maybe time to move on cuz it's not serving you in the same way. But especially if something is like quote unquote successful like if it's making a ton of money or it's past prestige or you have a certain amount of power, people have a really hard time walking away because it's what if I'm making a mistake? What if this isn't the right, you know, what if I should be staying? What if I'm giving up a huge opportunity? It's all those what-ifs.
Yeah, I definitely hear where you're coming from. I just refuse to live in the what-if land.
I love that.
I don't wanna make it seem as if I never go back there. Like for last week I was thinking to myself man, you know, this biology blog thing, it's a blog that I hadn't touched for years when I sold it. But it was still occupying a lot of my mental space. And even while I hadn't touched it, when I not touching it, it grew from maybe 40,000 subscribers on YouTube to 150,000. [Mmmm.] And I look at that every so often and I'm like man, if I had that blog, you know, I could easily get it to a million if it's just growing like this [Right.] by itself with nothing. You know, every once in a while you go back there but then it's kind of like yeah, well, you know, I've moved on. So let's move on in that thought right now.
Well, it's a good skill and it's a good reminder that it is. It's just like you have to let it go and move on. I love that. And getting kind of practical for people maybe listening. I know that the number one thing that comes up for people is, and I'm sure you hear this like every day, is it's too late to start a blog. There's there's millions and millions and millions of blogs. Like why would anyone wanna listen to me? So what would you say to someone that has that coming up for them?
First thing I would say is I would acknowledge the fact that yes, it is harder now than it has been in the past. Absolutely. And for that fact it will be harder in the future than it is now. [Right.] That's just a reality of how things go. And I'm not necessarily saying that you have to start a blog but starting a blog might be a great thing for you. And if that's the case, don't let listen, those doubts don't do anything for you. You know what does something for you? Taking action. [Right.] Because when you take action, you learn and when you learn, you can use what you've learned for whatever you're gonna do in the future. So it's a matter of okay, yes, it's gonna be harder now. Absolutely. But that doesn't mean it's not possible. And for me, if somebody else has done it, that means that if I put my mind to it, I can do it as well. And if I know that I have value to offer or maybe I don't even know that I have value to offer but people keep telling me, there are a lot of people that feel as if they don't have value. And like so many of their friends come to them for information related to such and such. If you pay attention, you will see that people are already coming to you for information and having that information in an accessible way on the internet is good. [Right.] So why not take that knowledge that you have and put it out there and try and see what happens and fail and learn and then take what you've learned and tweak a little bit and then, you know, fail again and take what you've learned and tweak a little bit. When I started, it was about freebie trading. I don't care about freebie trading but if I never started [Yes.] learning what freebie trading, I would've never been doing what I'm doing today. Everything you do impacts what you're gonna do in the future. Everything you don't do or everything you think about doing has no impact on nothing. [Right.] So start doing. Just start and let's see where it goes. [I love that.] Let's learn in this process together. Fall and get back up and let's create content because when we create content and put it out there in the world, it can have an impact on people's lives.
I love that. That is wonderful advice. And it's a wonderful way to end. Where can people find you if they do want to start a blog and get some more information?
Absolutely. So they can connect with me at my blog which is BecomeABlogger.com or if they wanna go through like some free training that I have, I have a free course on how to get started, how to go from your idea to a blog. And that's at fromideatoblog.com.
Wonderful. We will have both of those in the show notes. Leslie, I can't thank you enough. You are such a joy to talk to. I really appreciate you coming on the show today.
Well thank you. It was a joy to talk to you as well. Thank you so much for having me.
You are very much welcome.
You guys, how amazing is Leslie? He's seriously one of my favorite people I've ever talked to. Just infectious with good energy. And I loved that episode. Here are my three takeaways: one, you are responsible for your life. If you're not happy, then make a change. It's that simple. Two, you don't have to do things the traditional way. There are back doors to most of the things that we wanna do. We just limit ourselves because we think we'll look stupid or it'll never work. Figure out what that back door is and try. And three, we live in the best time in history. Sure, there are problems but there has never been a time where you can reach and impact so many people. And you can build a business on the side in a couple of hours a week here and there. You have so much to offer. You have to get out of your own way and just start.
Thank you so much for listening. If you like this episode, share it with someone else. I promise you know somebody who also hates their job and wants to quit. So why not share the love? And if you wanna come follow along for more, come join me on Instagram at LessonsFromAQuitter and make sure you say hi. I'll see you next week for another episode.