#597 When I was at Social Media Marketing World earlier this year, I heard something that just blew me away. It was the story of a 10-year-old who started his first business and sold it for $15,000 three months later. Today on the show, we get the complete story and a heavy dose of inspiration from Ryland Dixon himself. Ryland is now twelve years old, and he joins me on the show to give us a wonderful inside look at his membership site, Bible Builds. You’ll get to hear how Ryland came up with his business idea, and we talk about the challenges and lessons learned along the way. That’s not all, though. We also get a first look at Ryland’s new venture, Kid Business Club. He already has something else in the works, and the way he’s thinking about promoting this new business is insanely creative. Ryland is a super smart kid and this is an inspiring interview for us all! Show notes and more at SmartPassiveIncome.com/session597.
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SPI 597: How This 12-Year-Old Built and Sold His First Business
The Smart Passive Income Online Business and Blogging Podcast
Pat Flynn from The Smart Passive Income Blog reveals all of his online business and blogging strategies, income sources and killer marketing tips and tricks so you can be ahead of the curve with your online business or blog. Discover how you can create multiple passive income streams that work for you so that you can have the time and freedom to do what you love, whether it's traveling the world, or just living comfortably at home. Since 2008, he's been supporting his family with his many online businesses, and he's been openly sharing his wins, his losses, and all the lessons in between with the community of energetic but humble entrepreneurs who follow him. Self-proclaimed "crash test dummy of online business", you'll learn about building authority online, email marketing, building a team and outsourcing, content marketing, podcasting, search engine optimization, niche sites, social media strategies, how to get more traffic, creating online courses, affiliate marketing, and productivity tips so that you create something amazing without burning yourself out. It's a mix of interviews, special co-hosts and solo shows from Pat you're not going to want to miss. Hit subscribe, and get ready to change your life.
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This guy, Jeff Becky, you heard about Bible builds and he was interested in it.
And so he was like, this is a really good idea.
He reached out to my dad and he said, hey, can I be your partner or something?
Like, can I buy this business from you?
And I was super excited because it was my first business I had made.
And someone's already asking to be a partner in like eight weeks.
And he seemed pretty cool. So I said, yeah, and he gave me like $15,000, I think.
I was so excited.
So I was an event earlier this year, social media marketing world in San Diego.
And a friend of mine, Brian Dixon came up to me.
He hadn't seen him in years because of COVID and the pandemic.
And, you know, we just hadn't crossed paths in a while.
And he came up to me and he says, Pat, I have to tell you something really cool.
And I was like, what Brian?
And he said that his son, who is 12 now,
but at the age of 10, was able to build and sell his first business.
And I was like, what is this?
Like, is it what kind of lemonade stand is this?
And he was like, it's funny.
You mentioned that because we were thinking of doing that.
And then he told me the story.
And I was blown away.
And I was like, all right, I got to invite this kid onto the podcast to inspire us to tell us
how he did it and to just get in his mind a little bit.
So you're not actually going to hear from Brian today.
You're going to hear from his son, Ryland.
Ryland Dixon, who is now 12 years old.
He's going to tell us the story about how he created Biblebuilds.com and sold it.
And his next business venture, just super smart kid.
I love everything he has to say.
So I hope you enjoy this episode.
This is session 597 of this smart passive income podcast.
And if you have kids or have anybody who you know who might get inspired by this,
please share it with him. This will be a fun one.
So here he is, Ryland Dixon.
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Rylan, welcome to the smartpassiving.com podcast.
Thanks for being here. Hi.
Rylan, for everybody listening, can you tell us how old you are?
Because I think that's going to make this really special.
I am 12 years old today.
Today, today's your birthday.
No way. Yo, happy birthday to you.
I had no clue that that was the case, which is really cool.
But also, you're here on a business podcast to talk about business.
What experience have you had with business, Rylan?
I have started and sold my own business.
And I have an idea to make a new one with my dad and probably my sister.
Nice. Okay. 12 years old, you've already started a business.
Many people listening to this are much older and have not even started yet.
So I'd love to learn about how you got started.
And you've sold your business.
And, you know, I sold a couple, but not very big ones.
And that's like a dream for some people.
How were you able to, okay, we need to start at the beginning.
What was this business?
The one that you sold, like, how did it start?
I need to know. Okay.
So, COVID happened.
And I could not hang out with my friends because
I'd school was canceled.
And they all went pretty far away from my house, right?
And so my friend's mom and my mom have an idea to create like this group chat thing
where we have like this Lego contest.
We all send in these, there's like, you have to build a certain kind of Lego build.
And then we all send it in.
We vote on each others.
And then whoever the winner is gets to pick what the next challenges.
Yeah, I like that.
So that summer, I was talking with my dad about like starting lemonade stand or something.
And he was like, well, that could work.
But like, online websites are way better.
And so he showed me how to make a website with
called a jobbie. So I made a website and I was like, hey,
what if I use the Lego contest idea as like a membership site?
So we incorporated the Bible too.
So basically, the membership site is that I tell a Bible story every week.
And then all the members, they get to build a Lego build
that is based on the story.
Then they all vote on each others.
And the winner got like an Amazon Lego target gift card or something.
So yeah, that's so cool.
What was the name of that business when you created the website?
It's called Bible Builds.
That is fantastic.
Did you come up with that name?
Yeah, it was originally going to be called Bible Builders.
But that was already taken.
So you built the website and you used Kajabi, which is great.
Was that hard?
Like, you had never done it before.
What was maybe the most challenging part about it for you?
I think it was like, go the links and stuff.
I thought that was kind of confusing.
Like, were the one page went to the other page?
Like, when you clicked the button, it goes to the sign up page.
And you clicked the button and it goes, yeah, that was kind of confusing.
Yeah, it can definitely be confusing.
How about the logo?
How did that get created?
At first it was just like this green Lego brick.
We don't really have a logo.
It's kind of just the word Bible Builds.
And then like three wines, I guess, yellow, blue,
and a different shade of blue.
As of now, we don't really have a logo.
Yeah, I mean, that's okay because, you know, I think of places like Target, right?
Target just has like a bull's eye and then the word target.
And vans and rouse, which are like grocery stores,
they, it's just like the word, that's okay.
How did you end up getting members into this thing?
Right? It's one thing to build the website.
Many people build websites.
But it's another thing to have people find out about them.
How did you get people to find out about Bible Builds?
So my dad posted about it on like Facebook and Instagram and stuff.
When I created it, I was 10 years old.
And so everyone's like, whoa, a 10 year old is creating their own membership site.
That sounds cool. And it was mostly like homeschool moms that we were like
reaching out to.
They were like, hey, my kids would like this.
And so you got like two or three members,
maybe like a week after we created it.
And so that was exciting and they joined.
So social media played a role in, you know, getting found, which is cool.
But you had mentioned that this happened like during COVID, right?
So I think that when I think about this particular business,
I mean, everybody's at home,
everybody's looking for things to do.
Parents are going crazy because their kids are always at home.
And they want to keep them occupied.
But don't want to just like put them in front of an iPad or something, right?
So what a perfect opportunity and a perfect way to sort of support parents.
And also give something fun for kids.
And it's not just like, here go build this thing.
There's like a competition part of it too, which is really neat.
So okay, that's pretty awesome.
Did you charge people to become a member or was this like a free thing?
Yes, at first it was just $15 a month.
So it was weekly videos.
So you got about four videos for $15.
And when we got further into it, we made a one week free trial.
So how did you deal with like all the technical things that were required
to like run the contest and collect the images and like run the voting and stuff?
Like tell me about that.
So we actually use Google forms and it works.
Okay, but the first time we did it, one of our members figured out how to cheat the system.
And so we got all his relatives to go on to the same Google form.
Oh no, by copying the link and they all voted for him.
And he got like 40 votes when they were only 10 members.
So we had to like make the form private.
And we had to say you could only have one vote and stuff.
Yeah, so I mean, you didn't get it right the first time.
But that's okay, right?
You kind of figure things out as you go along.
You think they'd be a little bit more clever and maybe just do a few votes but not all 40.
But I'm glad that that happened so that you could solve that problem.
So how many members were you able to build this thing up to?
So the highest we got to before I got a partner was 30 something members.
But when things started opening back up and like people stopped worrying about COVID a little bit,
people started going to like soccer practice and stuff.
So they started canceling it.
And so we got down to like eight members and people just stopped voting.
So only like two people used it and I actually put in my own fake builds.
So that it seemed like there were a lot of people using it.
So at the highest point, 30 members, that's awesome because when you think about it,
it's like $15 per month you said that's like $450 a month coming in.
And for a 12 year old, that's I mean, you just found riches.
That's that's crazy.
But then so tell me what your mindset was.
What is your thought process when the membership started to dwindle down?
Because I think a lot of people in that case would just go up.
It's not going to work anymore and give up.
Others might try to find a way to fix it.
Like what was going through your mind?
We started telling more people about it, hoping that we'd get more members.
Also, we kind of updated the website a little bit to like make a cooler for people like.
And then at the peak time that you were doing this, how many hours a week was it taking?
Because I think it's important to consider not just like how much money you're making,
but how much time are you putting into this at that point?
So basically like Sundays when I came home from church,
it maybe took like one hour, I guess.
Maybe like 30 minutes.
I went in the Bible and I read the story.
And then I rewrote it so that five year olds would understand it.
And then basically like another 30 minutes to like film it and edit it and stuff.
And then we posted the video the same Friday of that week.
So not too much time actually.
So forward to six hours per month.
That's a pretty good billing rate there as far as you know that's that's concern.
So that's that's great.
Now you had mentioned that like a partner came on board at some point like tell me that story
and because of ultimately you know you sold some or all or I don't know the full story.
You tell me what happened.
So on Instagram or Facebook is guy Jeff Becky.
He heard about Bible builds and he was interested in it because he has like three kids of his own.
And he's really passionate about the Bible.
And so he was like this is a really good idea.
Instead of making his kids members, he reached out to my dad and he said,
hey can I be your partner or something?
Like can I buy this business for me?
And I was super excited because it was my first business I had made.
And someone's already asking to be a partner in like eight weeks.
And I was like super excited.
And so I kind of got to know him and he seemed pretty cool.
So I said yeah and eventually we settled for you got 80%.
So and I get 20%.
So he's doing most of the videos now.
I still do some and he gave me like $15,000 I think.
Yeah, I was so excited.
I'm curious on how yall landed at that number.
Have you ever seen Shark Tank?
Yeah, I really like Shark Tank.
And you know when they go in there and they're talking about valuations and all that kind of stuff.
Like it's important to know what the value of the company is before you sell it or share a
part of it.
And so you know there's a lot of factors right?
A lot of people will take the annual revenue and then multiply it by three or five.
And then that's the price or you know there's a lot of things.
Many companies that actually are not even profitable have a huge valuation because of what they
think the company is going to do in the future.
So tell me a little bit about how this person, if you know, like how they landed on that number.
They gave us a couple of offers.
Basically we had some offers in that some offers.
Basically we just compromise.
Okay, so a lot of communication, a lot of back and forth.
How many meetings do you say you would have or did you have before like a final decision after that initial one?
A bunch of phone calls.
We didn't meet in person because he lives in Hawaii and we live in North Carolina.
So literally opposite part of the world.
Okay, so that's cool.
Now you had also mentioned that you didn't say yes right away, right?
What were you like making sure in these conversations about this person like for you?
I mean this is your business.
It's a lot of people have a hard time thinking about selling their business because their business is like
Like what was going through your head as far as you know letting another person in on this
where you ever doubtful of that or fearful of anything related to that?
Kind of took a while to figure out because I didn't know what it would be like because that was like
every Sunday afternoon for me.
I don't really do like 20% of it.
And so yeah, I had to think about what it would be like.
We ever like because you know sometimes people buy businesses because they want to do maybe not.
So great things with them like how did you ensure that this was like the right partner for you?
You kind of explained what he was going to do like he was going to add an annual membership
and like update the site and stuff and I was like yeah that's how's cool and so you kind of
explained what he was going to do and he did other cool stuff too.
Nice and so how long have you been partnered with him like how long ago did the business sell?
Yeah like a year and a half yeah.
Oh so this was all in 2020 that this was happening.
Okay so first of all you cash out amazing that's incredible.
What do you do after that like what do you just like go to Disneyland or something and celebrate
or like what did you do to celebrate?
I remember that I got an Apple watch that was super exciting because I always wanted to watch
I always wanted a phone and that's like a mix of them.
Nice. I think it's definitely important to reward yourself for a lot of the hard work that you do.
But also you know be smart with that money. I'm sure you guys have talked about how to
invest it and like do other things and it sounds like there might be a second business coming.
Tell me about your idea if you're whatever you're comfortable sharing.
Okay so it's called Kid Business Club and it's for like kids probably like third grade to maybe
fifth or sixth grade and it explains to them that starting a business is way easier than they might
think it is and it shows them how to do it, how to make a website, how to get the word out,
all that stuff. That's really cool. Well the school that my kids go to they talk about business
a lot too and actually the entire third and fourth grade classes spend the whole year.
I mean they're always learning about the things you should learn at school but some
some of their projects involve them actually creating a business. So let me know what you think of this
because maybe there's some cool partnership or some way that you can influence others in your
area since you have already sold the business. So what happens is everybody they group together
and they come up with a business idea and then they have to present that idea to a panel of
sharks just like Shark Tank, right? So you go in there and you make your pitch and I remember because
I was a judge for that a couple times and what's really interesting and what I love about this
is they only let a certain number of groups continue forward and that's how real life is,
right? Sometimes you get selected, sometimes you don't for the teams that don't get selected,
they now have a job fair. So the businesses that do get through, they hire the other kids as
employees and now they can all work together to at the end of the year, which is actually happening
about a week from today, they're going to sell their products. These are all physical products
because they can like work on them together. You have like the digital experience which is awesome,
but at the end of the year the parents and the community they all come together and the kids are
out there stand selling their slime or their fidget spinners or whatever they ended up making.
There's a lot of 3D printing happening these days. It seems, but a website and something
digital is really unique. I definitely think that this kid business club is something worth
going into. So where are you at with that? I'm curious. So far we have the domain. We haven't
made any videos yet, but it's going to be a membership site so they're going to be like videos,
just like Bible builds. And we're also thinking about making like these novels that you can
by separately about the fictional kid business club and they're like all these characters and it's
like how they make their business and what problems they have. Kind of like babysitter's club
or something like that. It's like for the kid so it's going to be like they're going to want to
keep reading it, but then also they're going to learn stuff about how to be successful with your
business. I love that. So that could be like a way that you could capture their attention first
just like through these books and stories and then you know it sells into the membership
after that, which I think is really genius. Tell me about the book where are you going to
put the book so it gets found? Like how are you going to get it out there? Well probably put it
on the website. So like there's the website where it has like the link for getting the subscription
to the videos. Then you might put it on like Amazon but then it could have a link to that.
So probably on the same website that has the offer for the membership. Yeah you can put it in
both spots. I think Amazon's great because Amazon has millions of people who look for books,
Amazon has like an a search engine. It has an algorithm. It has like people who bought this book
also bought this book. Like there are multiple ways to get found on that. There's even a book
advertising agent or sort of platform on there. So you can actually get your book in front of
other people who are I mean there's a lot of kids books out there. Not you know specifically
just like yours but I know there's a lot of books like gosh there there was one book about like
what do you do with an idea and some other books like that that you could pop your book in front of
with an ad to capture their attention. And the cool thing happens with ads is if you know how much
you're spending but you know that you need this many clicks of that ad to then get this many
memberships then you can get to a point where it's essentially like imagine a vending machine
where you put in a quarter and then it gives you a dollar off the bottom and then you just take
some of those quarters that that dollar can make and you put it back in the machine and just you know
the ad start paying for more memberships with start paying for more ads which start paying for more
memberships that could be a really fun sort of machine that you could build down the road but
you know it all starts with solving a problem like like you said which I think is is great
amazing job well done what tips would you have for both kids and adults who are listing right
now who want to get started with their business and eventually get to the point where they could
sell it off have a huge payday but then move on to the next best thing that they're interested in
what would be like your pieces of advice for for those starting out.
Probably that you have to work to get results and not to give up so like if you're not
getting any results then it probably means you're not putting in as much energy and time as you
could be and when you're not don't give up just keep going because to get something you got to
give something that's right absolutely and persistence and consistency is really key and never
giving up for sure because even if you don't get it right the first time you can get back up and
try again until you do get it right and as often say true failure is when you fail and then you
don't get up again and give it another shot so well done Rylan I'm just super proud of you and
everything that you and your dad and your family are doing I think it's going to help a lot of people
and I just want to wish you the best of luck man I appreciate you coming on and if there's anything
you ever need for me happy to help out if you ever need like some coaching or something just let me
know happy to help guide you along the way because I love what you're doing. Hey great. Hi man
thanks so much and one more time where can people go to see you could send everybody listening to
this to one place to come in like follow your work or you know website or something where
where would you recommend they go right now it would be Biblebuilds.com but coming soon we'll be
kid businessclub.com. I like that and I will feed more in that than Bible builds. I like that
ask for one you gave me too and that's awesome I love it and you did it in a very genuine way too
right. And thank you so much a big shout out to your dad Brian and he stopped me when we were together
at social media marketing world was like Pat I got to tell you about somebody doing something cool
and and that was you so thank you again thank you to dad and I wish you all best. Thank you.
All right so I hope you enjoy that episode with Ryan and a big thank you to his father Brian
and Ryan just first of all amazing job at doing an interview I think you have a little bit of a
natural talent there and keep doing it because you're inspiring a lot of people and keep
honing you on the storytelling skills and keep going with the businesses like oh my gosh this is
super cool so you heard the url's Biblebuilds.com and kid businessclub.com coming soon if not
already out by the time this episode comes out and I just cannot wait to see what he has in store
next so definitely check him out and a big thank you to the family and also to you for listening
this has been super fun and I look forward to doing more of this in the future and you know I know
we interview people like Gary Vaynerchuk and Tim Ferriss and all the like bigger names out there
but these were the kinds of stories that I appreciate most because it really helps us understand that
there's always going to be opportunities out there and it doesn't really matter what age you are you
just got to take action and keep going and stay consistent just like Rylin said so well done Rylin
and thank you for listening and if you want to get the links and everything mentioned here in all
in one spot just head over to the show notes page smart passive income.com slash session five nine seven
seven against smart passive income.com slash session five nine seven for the show notes and resources
thank you again so much I appreciate you and look forward to serving you the next episode of
smart passive income podcast until then cheers peace out and as always team Flynn for the win
have a go on thanks for listening to the smart passive income podcast at smart passive income.com
I'm your host Pat Flynn our senior producer is Sarah Jane Hess our series producer is David
Grabowski and our executive producer is Matt Garland sound editing by Duncan Brown the smart
passive income podcast is a production of SPI media we'll catch you in the next session
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10:30 --> 20:00 amazing bit·5 likes·
The part where he mentions that he wants to be adopted by a more functional family even at 45 yrs really hits home. Really delineates how no matter how old and independent you are, you still need love and support.4 months ago·1 like·
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