How Narrating Audiobooks Helped Me Quit My Job and Fund My Dream Business

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Have you ever been at work and thought to yourself, “How do I get out of here!?!”

I felt that way for years.

I worked at one of those big “fancy” law firms, which was what I always thought I wanted. I imagined the work would be interesting. I thought I’d get to help people solve their problems and yell “I OBJECT,” in court.

But the reality was far from what I had imagined.

Forget being interesting or fulfilling, the job was borderline depressing.

Everyone was constantly worried about getting laid off or fired because each week someone WAS getting laid off or fired.

But things got even worse.

I had just received a call from my doctor that I had thyroid cancer. I was going to need several surgeries and to take some time off work to recover. My employer wasn’t exactly sympathetic. There was work to be done and if I couldn’t do it, there were 50 other hungry, competitive attorneys chomping at the bit to take my place.

Things were pretty bleak. I never imagined that I’d face this type of health issue at such a young age and that it would potentially derail the career that I had worked so hard to build.

I desperately needed a plan.

I never wanted to be in THIS position again. I decided that I was going to create a business or income generating process (call it what you will) that would continue to pay me even if I got sick and couldn’t work for a while.

I needed to know that I could afford to pay for my healthcare even if I lost my job. I wanted to know that my family would be okay financially even if I couldn’t work for a while.

So I started scheming for ideas.

Have you ever heard the saying “if you want to start a business you should find a problem or pain point that needs solved and create a solution for it?”

I tried this and came up with the idea for “audio” law school textbooks. Not the best idea I’ve ever had, but I had to start somewhere.

There was just one problem — I had no idea how to create audiobooks.

On top of that, I wanted to be able to sell my audio textbooks on Audible and iTunes (the two largest audiobook sellers in the world) so that I’d be able to reach the largest number of customers possible.

So I started looking into the steps I would have to take to:

1) record the audiobooks, and

2) get these big sites to sell my book to their customers.

Initially I assumed that I’d have to work with a publisher to make this happen, but what I discovered was that literally anyone can create and sell an audiobook on Audible and iTunes as long as the audio quality is good enough to meet their standards.

I set up a makeshift recording studio in my apartment using a $50 microphone that I bought from Amazon and a free audio recording/editing program called Audacity.

Then, another problem.

I figured out how to record myself, but Audible had all of these technical requirements for audiobook submissions.

Honestly, all of their technical jargon seemed like it was written in a different language. I kept seeing terms like “noise floor,” “bit rate,” and “plosive” but I had no clue what it all meant.

I kept searching for a simple, straight forward guide that would just tell me EXACTLY what I needed to do to get my audiobook into Audible and iTunes, but that book didn’t exist back then.

I spent hours asking questions in audio production forums and looking up terms until I was finally able to put all the pieces together. Luckily, I wrote down how to do every step in the process so that I could save a lot of time once I started recording and editing.

I was finally ready to start recording my audio textbooks…

But I soon realized that it would take years to narrate and edit all those gigantic textbooks. My “Big Idea” just wasn’t practical.

Depression set in.

Maybe I’d never be able to cut it in the world of self-employment? Maybe I’d be stuck at a job I hated (at least until they laid me off). Maybe I’d never have a profitable idea?

These thoughts swirled in my head for days after admitting to myself that that my “big idea” was a flop.

Until…

I checked my email one morning and saw that I had received a message from an author asking if I’d be interested in narrating her book. She couldn’t pay me upfront, but she was willing to split the royalties from all sales 50/50 with me. Out of curiosity, I accepted her offer.

Within a few days I had narrated her short book and it was available for sale on Audible and iTunes.

Each day I woke up and checked the sales stats and saw that we had sold more copies! I couldn’t believe it. I was making a 50% royalty commission on a book that I didn’t write and that only took me a few hours to narrate. I didn’t have to do anything to promote it either (although I promote all of my books now.) People just found the book by browsing on Audible and iTunes.

I was hooked.

Within a couple of months I used the process that I had written down for creating audiobooks to quickly narrate and produce over fifteen audiobooks in my free time while working a full time job.

I took the royalties that I was earning each month from my audiobook sales and used them to bankroll my next venture which involved self publishing my own Kindle book titles, producing audiobooks, and creating online courses.

After a few months I was able to bootstrap this combination of: 1) Kindle books, 2) audiobooks, and 3)online courses into a full fledged online business that was bringing in enough recurring revenue that I was able to leave my day job and go full time in my own business.

Learning how to create audiobooks literally helped me to secure my financial future and gave me the peace of mind that I would be able to take care of myself and my family EVEN IF I lost my job, got sick, or needed to take time off of work.

Want to learn more about creating audiobooks?

There is plenty of work in this field right now so if you’d like to learn how to break into this growing industry, I’d love to help you get started. I went ahead and put together a free course that covers all the basics of audiobook recording. Click the button below to enroll.