How I Got from Small Town, MO to 7 Figure Business Owner

Oct 25, 2018Stories, Video


There's so many ways to get the things that you want in life and in the first step is really to figure out what those are and to understand that they can change.

Hello, hello, it's Monica and I am excited to be doing my very first Facebook live on my Monica Snyder page and I'm a little nervous to be honest with you guys because I'm sharing some stuff I've never shared before but people ask me this all the time and I just thought it would be a good place to start and just give you a little history and background of me and where I come from and how I've managed to get where I am. So, I grew up in a little town of Missouri. It's about 15,000 people called ‘Poplar Bluff'. Great town. It was so much fun. I've made some amazing friends from there and I'm very grateful for that. I had a great childhood, all that good stuff. And I always followed that path that you were taught to go down like do a good job in school and get good grades and go to college and do the things.

And I had inklings along the way but that really wasn't my path, but I kind of ignored them, when I would get in trouble at school for going to do my homework from another hour, in my biology class where I was bored. And so I would always be in trouble for something. There's always trouble somewhere, just like trouble, nothing really major because I was also a straight ‘A' student so I made all ‘A's so it was a little hard to totally keep me in trouble. But it was just always, just little things. I would just get bored honestly. I didn't mean to bug my teachers. I just did. So I don't know if you can relate to that, but if you can let me know. And by the way, if you're young and watching this, it's a clue.

But I was on that path and I wanted to. I had big dreams. Once I got out of my small town, I actually applied for college the last day I could get a scholarship because if you had told me I would do anything but stay in Missouri and marry my high school boyfriend. I would have told you you are insane. However, he dumped me and broke my heart and I thank God he did that so many times. So thank you for that. But just at that moment I was shattered. I mean, it was high school. We shared a locker. I had to see him every day, every hour. So it was like I would go to class and just cry the whole hour then try to get myself together for the three minutes I would see him.

So finally, I was smart enough that I was in all the geeky classes. So my friends, their parents were all like, “You're going to go away to school.” So somebody was like, “Monica, just apply.” So I did. And I went to Missouri State back when it was Southwest Missouri State and I did, I got out of the town. And once that happened, once I got away from him and the environment, I was like, “Oh, look at all this stuff.” And my teacher asked me, it was my freshman year, they made me write a paper on ‘Why did you go to college?' And I was like, “Well, to learn and to do good things in the world” And I got a ‘D', I've never gotten a ‘D', what happened here? I got a ‘D', so I was freaking out and I went to the teacher and I was like, “What?” He's like, “This is a line of crap.” He's like, “Give me the real story and you can rewrite the paper.” So I thought about the real story and what I thought is that I never got asked if I was going to college. I always got asked when I was going to college or where not when, sorry, ‘WHERE' I was going to college was never ‘IF'. The assumption was always that I was going to college. It was just what college was I going to. And so these are the things that along the way, I just never questioned them. I never thought to question them. I didn't have any idea that I needed to.

So I did go to college and I had to choose a major. And at the time I decided, well, I really would like to make a lot of money because I came from, not a poor background. My family definitely provided and I have a great big family and they're amazing, but they were definitely also times where we didn't have a lot of money. My dad is in a business that fluctuates, so sometimes we had money and sometimes we didn't. And I just remember always thinking I never wanted to struggle with money. It's this fear I have of just sort of how I grew up; and like I said nothing ever major. My life was good. I just struggled with that. I always want to have money feeling. And so that's really what drove me to choose my major, which was Information Systems. So, learning computer software and how to code gave me a lot of options for when I graduated. So when I graduated I was like, “Okay, I chose this to make money and travel.”

So I graduated with the highest paid offer out of Missouri State that year and I got to travel because I was working for Ernst and Young. So that's a consulting firm. It's a big consulting firm. They would fly me to all these places and one weekend a month you guys, I got to go to somewhere else. So I took full advantage. I traveled all throughout the United States. I saw some pretty amazing things. I took my friends when I could. I loved it. It was great but I kept doing the same thing that happened to me in high school. I would always be in trouble at work for things that I thought were silly. At one job, one of my clients, actually my very first client with Ernst and Young, I was sitting in the room on the first day and I'm watching the programmer explain the stuff to me and he's saying something and I was like, “Well, what you need is right there.”

I started correcting him for which I got in a little bit of trouble for because it was my very first day and what was I doing correcting the senior developer. In my mind I was right, which by the way I was right. But that happened. And then, my next client, I got in trouble because they're like, “Well, you're always on hotmail.” I'm like, “I'm on hotmail because I'm bored out of my mind. I've asked you every day for the past two weeks for more work.” I would just get really bored and so I'd always get in trouble? So it still hadn't dawned on me that this might not be the right idea for me because, you know, selling grain to go to school, get a job and just, climb up that corporate ladder. My dreams then were like I want to be the CTO, the Chief Technology Officer, some cool corporation.

And so, I have notes here because I'm super nervous and I just need to make sure that I have all the things that I want to say. So I went onto to another corporate job with this amazing group of people that I was not bored at. It was a startup, it was still at startup mentality. I would say it's past the startup stage because it was a So you may know this. It was a retired now, but I was so excited because at that point I think I'd been in like, eight weddings. And now I've been a maid of honor, like six times. And I've been in, I don't know, like 12 or 13 weddings. I mean, honestly, I know this sounds a little obnoxious and forgive me, but I've lost count and now at this point, I know weddings really well. So, I was so excited to work at wedding channel dot com and the stuff that we're doing there, I mean, I was working like crazy and I was so happy about it because I loved it.

I loved the people there and I still, some of my very best friends are from there and I loved that experience. But then we got bought and we got bought by the Also amazing company. I loved them. They were definitely keeping me on my toes. What happened though, is that the Knot, the COO. She was super sharp and one of my favorite mentors, her name was Sandy. She pulled me in under her and she was the COO. So I went from tech to operations and then I was always in trouble because I was too technical, like nevermind the fact that I had built triple a's first auto quoting system online, right? Nevermind the fact that I had built Macy's bridals catalog, where you buy any registry and Bloomingdale's and all these software that I've built over all these clients and all these amazing things that I done. No.No. Monica, you're too technical.

You're not technical enough is what they were saying, not you're too technical. I'd be sitting in these meetings with these people and I'd be like, “That doesn't, no, that doesn't work.” I would always speak up and that was always in trouble, always in trouble. So, those around here, I started thinking like something's got to give right. This has been going on now for, I don't know, a good decade of my life. And I'm like, “Something's wrong. It's me, right? I'm the common denominator.” So I went to look around learning business stuff because the Knot was really at its core, a media company, which is amazing, right? Except that wedding channel was really more of a technology company. And so, I sort of have this inkling that technology, and I believe this for awhile, that technology exists to serve a business.

So if that's true and I know how to build technology, then I need to figure out the business part, so I know it's built. That was my thought process. And so I found this book in all my studies that hit me hard and it was Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. And if you're not familiar, it's a story of how he grew up and he had one rich data one poor dad and the story goes, and I'm going to butcher this so forgive me but the story basically goes, the rich dad looked poor at first because he was building an empire and he was being an entrepreneur and grew all this stuff. But the poor dad actually was in the academic world and had a very steady salary and what happened was, the poor dad was up here and the rich dad was down here as far as money, but slowly, this happened and he went all the way up and is now making all kinds of money and just the different lessons of entrepreneurship versus go to school and get a job.

And that was really the first time that I realized that there's another path. I don't have to go follow this path I've been told my whole life, right? And so I think I was like 27 or 28 at this time. And I was like, “Huh, okay, well how does that work? How do I do that?” And so, I started trying and I started a couple little side hustles, right? Because there's no way I was leaving my six figure salary to go start a business out of the blue. I'm pretty risk averse but I did start a couple side things. And the first one, nothing, right? It was a site called because at that time I was in this party group in Los Angeles, it had a name and a website and we did all these fun things.

It was so much fun. And so I took all those things and turn them into a website and a put other ideas in there and a lot of stuff. And it was basically like fun adult party ideas and I was going to make money by doing affiliates through commission junction. Well, it didn't really work. So then I was like, “Okay, well the concept I'm pretty sure works. I just didn't do it right.” Right? So then I come back to the drawing board and I'm like, “Okay, well what if I try Halloween?” So this was August I think, and I threw together a site, wrote a bunch of content, put a bunch of affiliate links in it. And that made some money, not a lot. I think it was like $1,200 the first year, but like between August and October I made like $1,200. And I was like, “Well, now, that's interesting.”

So I kept building on it, I kept building on it, and the next year I made about $3,000, which was really great because it's hard to run Christmas and I have this huge family and like to fly home from Los Angeles to Missouri, which is where I was living. I moved to Los Angeles for the wedding channel job, but so I had to fly home and do all this stuff and Christmas was pretty expensive for me. So that just help pay for it. I was like, “Well, that's pretty cool.” Things were getting worse and worse for me, and then the leadership changed. And so, I knew I was on my way out. Um, I was either leaving on my own or I was getting asked to leave- one of the two. So I was like, “Okay, you know what, it's time to jump in to this entrepreneurship thing and it's time to figure out how to be a business owner.”

And so I had been talking to one of my really, really, really, very best friends in the whole wide world. She still is. And we decided, well, she had already started this business and it was an ecommerce thing, but she didn't have much ecom background and neither did the business partner; but the business card partner had the contacts and we were going to build products and sites for like b to c level sportspeople that he had contacts with. So I was like, “Well, I know ecom, like I'll come do this.” So, I bought into that business and I had six months get out clause. You'll see that's a trend. But, so I bought in and I got into this business and what happened was, is that the guy that had all the connections, didn't really want to get the contracts in place.

And I was like, well, if these people ever bump up to a level, then you know, we don't have a business anymore. So, I've grown and savvy enough to know I needed a contract in place. So he wouldn't do that, so that business fell apart. So here I am, back in Missouri- I moved back to Missouri to start that business because I knew that I wanted to keep my funds lower and Los Angeles is very expensive and that's where they were. So back to Missouri I moved and I was living with my aunt at the time and and so I was like, “Okay, well here I am, no business, no job in a town that doesn't support software development and remote working wasn't really what it is.” Thankfully that best friend had a Gig that was with a secretary of state and so I did some work for them and with her and so things were okay.

And then I luckily had a great, great friend hooked me up with some other contracts but really, I went from like six figures a year to like $28,000 that year and it was brutal. I couldn't make my truck payments. I drove a great big truck and I love it and I couldn't make the payments and I had stopped paying my aunt rent and I was just so down on myself because I knew that this could work. I just, I couldn't make it work. And so like what was wrong with me, right? This is what I was thinking. Why is this so hard for me? Why can't I do this? Okay, I'm getting teary eyed, but it was such a struggle and so one day I'm sitting in my house, I'm probably listening to Perry Marshall or something because I'd found periods of time and I was a raving fan and I still am and I hear this knock on the door and we live out in the country. So that's, I mean, people don't just knock on the door, right? It just doesn't happen. So I was like, “Huh!” So you know, I'm sitting there and I haven't showered that day and didn't have a bra on anything like, so I run, put some clothes on. And I go to open the door and it's one of my friends from high school and I was like, “hey.” And she's like, “Hey, Monica, um, I'm with the sheriff's department and I have some papers for you.” And so she came to bring me like I hadn't paid my debt papers and I was getting sued and that was not easy.

So, she was very professional and thoughtful and kind and didn't say anything bad or make me feel like a terrible human cause I already did. And because I'm not the kind of person, I always paid my debt. I always did stuff and here I was, not paying my rent, not doing this stuff. And so I was like, “This has got to give. I'm going to go figure this out. I've got to make some money. I've got to, I've got to do this.” Right. So I was like, “Okay, here's what I'm going to do.” Because a little bit before that, my friend called me up said, “Hey, like I have the startup idea, would you want to code it and I'll do the marketing.”

And I was like, “Yeah, sure.” So had been working on that, but obviously it wasn't paying me anything. I was like, “Well, how about I just dive full force into this startup thing?” There's a startup scene in Los Angeles, they'll pay me in Los Angeles. So, I will go there and get a job. So I sent out my resumes with my old roommates address on it. She had moved and we were still friends, so I was like, “Hey, can I use your address?” So she said yes, because she's awesome. And so I sent a batch of resumes out and when I got the interviews- like use my money to get on an airplane to Los Angeles- and I got the job. I started working as a consultant for Disney and their business intelligence group. And the strap was great for me because I knew that, it wasn't super taxing on my mental energy, so I had a lot of time to put back into the startup.

And then I was living in somebody else's house in a room, which was a little uncomfortable. She was a great lady, but her friends like judging my eating habits. Anyway, so it was like not the greatest living situation, but all my extra money was going to the startup. We were putting money into it. And I got involved in the startup scene in Los Angeles and what happened was, is that that startup fail. Yeah, lots of failures going on here. But that startup failed. By that point, I sort of got into the scene and also when I was in Missouri, there was this chiropractor that was learning online marketing and he knew who Jeff Walker was and Perry Marshall, we would geek out and talk. And um, and I had built this little piece of software that would help people build facebook tab pages.

So this is back when facebook pages had tabs and you can put html on them. So I built an easy way for people to do that, but I didn't know how to market it. Like I didn't know how to market anything, any piece of technology that I built, which is really why I was like, “I've got to learn this, right?” This is a key missing thing for me. And so he came along, back in Los Angeles and he said, “Hey, can you build the software?” I was like, “Sure, here's what I need to do it, if you want me full time, this is what it'll take. And so we worked out a deal and that chiropractor is now my business partner. But it's funny because, I came out of Disney, Disney was my last corporate job even though it's consulting, so it wasn't really my last full time job and that one was very different for me because like, I knew I was there just to make money, like I was not trying to climb the corporate ladder. So it was really a different experience for me. It was actually a lot less stressful.

So I built this software with my new partner and we weren't partners like we are now. We were more like joint venture partners. So I was building software and this was the deal. So we built it and launched it and then we needed to have something to sell on it because it was a list building and a payment platform. And so, I've built another piece of software that was another list building, another way to build your email list. When I say list building an email list. And so we sold it through there and it went really well and I was like, “Oh, well that was fun, like there's some real money, several thousand dollars.”

And so he wanted to keep doing this. I didn't really have a startup going so I was making some money from there and I saved up some money. So I was like, “Well, you know what, I'm going to hit on to New Zealand and Australia for a few weeks” Because I really wanted to travel and so I go and he's like, “Well, can you build this?” And I was like, “Yeah, sure.” So I built it up and at this point I sort of had a system for building software because I had built like what, seven I remember at this point. None of them are doing very well, because I can build software all day everyday, except for the one called Connect Reveal. And so the other one he's like, “Can you do this?” I was like, “Sure.” So literally I'm in a hostel in New Zealand and I launched this software and I go bungee jumping. Ben puts it for sale and it did a five figure launch. And I was like, “Oh, that was cool.” Like so cool, right? And I was like, “That's like the life of my dreams.” I'm like bungee jumping and making money at the same time. I don't know what's happening here, but like, “Oh, can we do more of this?” Right. But I still didn't. I thought that, but then I didn't really do it because I don't know, I'm hard headed or something stubborn. Ask anyone. I'm stubborn. So I still went back into the startup phase because I really wanted to build a startup at this point, get funding and do all these crazy things.

And honestly this whole space that Ben was working in, Internet marketing, seemed a little sketchy to me and now I think that's ridiculous. But then it just wasn't what it is today and it's just, it just feels like a little… Is that legit? Are you sure about this? And I remember I went to a TNC in San Francisco and I don't remember what year it was, but I met some really cool people and I was like, “Oh, okay.” And then Ben also, he just kept sending me checks, like he would resell the software and he would just keep sending me checks and I was like, “What's happening here?” And so one of the checks was for $10,000 and I was like, “Okay, like, okay,” Just out of the blue, because he just sold it again. I was maintaining the software and answering any support tickets, but that probably took like one hour a week. It was nothing. And so I took that money. I paid off my truck by the way, because, you know, this whole, I didn't, by the way, I am totally out of debt. Well, except for my house and I'm about to buy another big house. That's a whole another story about how I've done that. But, the linchpin is still the same actually, knock on the door for me, Angie. Like man, brutal moment in my life.

So I got involved in another startup and this one was actually going well, we pivoted and finally found what we really should be doing but we were too late. We're running out of money and so we got acquired and at this point I'm back sort of at square one. I have no job and no money coming in and I don't know what's next. Right.

And this is when Ben comes to me and says, “Hey, Monica, let's just be full partners. You come into my business, I think you've got a lot of business background that I don't have. And I think that, what we're doing right now is not really working well, we just need more.” So I thought about it and I was stressed about it because he had staff already and I was like, “Do I want that and all this stuff.” So, I said, “Well, let's do a six month trial.” So we did do a six month trial and during the six months, Ben gave me this huge lecture in the best possible way, that I had to commit. He was like, “I don't care if it's me, you just need to commit.” Because, you know, I sort of been flaky and I'm just like, floating around from here to there. Like I moved to Missouri and moved back to Los Angeles. I moved back to Missouri. I was moving to Nashville because I want to be closer to my family. And when he asked, I finally was like, “Okay, you're right, I need to commit.” And so I committed to him and to the business and that year grew, we tripled, we tripled our revenue.

And I look in what I really learned in that year was that, there's like a trifecta for online businesses, right? Copywriting is really important. Relationships with your lists and multiple kinds of lists; but relationships are critical and key. And then, using systems, which is where I'm super, super comfortable, right? I got systems all day every day. But the copyrighting and the relationship building, was all kind of new to me. And then I started realizing that relationship building is not new to me. I just don't treat my list like I do my friends because I've had some amazing friends. I mean, like I said, I've been a maid of honor like so many times and that's not to brag, that's just I take my friends and I treat them very well and I realized that. And when I moved to Nashville, I have a little Nashville family here that I got by meeting them and then showing up and showing up and showing up and I committed to building those relationships.

And that's the same thing that happens online with your online family. So I have this Nashville family and now I'm ready to invest in my online family. And I know that may sound a little cheesy. I have definitely some amazing friends I've met through this journey, but you know, there's so many ways to get the things that you want in life and in the first step is really to figure out what those are and to understand that they can change because now I don't want to travel very much because I have a toddler and husband and I want to be around them. What that next goal is and how you can achieve it. And I've learned through the ways that your product, in my case software is important.>/span>

It's definitely important but it's not as important as the marketing because the marketing is what drives that and what drives the decisions. But the marketing really is the relationship and the relationship comes from commitment and showing up and making sure that you're helping, right? I didn't get best friends by just being like, “Oh hey.” And also by being honest, that's the other thing I do. My best friends call me and actually my non best friends call me; like I get calls even from friends that are like, “Haven't talked to you in three years and I hope you don't mind, but I have this problem,” right? Because they know I'll be honest with them. And so that is what I'm committing to you right now. I'm committing to showing up, to being honest into building that relationship. So I'm really excited and I hope that you come have a relationship with me.

So, thanks for listening to my whole crazy story and do you have any questions or concerns? Feel free to ask them. If they're like a little private, send me a message in the inbox. Otherwise just write a comment and I would love to answer them. So thanks for listening. Bye.