By Joeel A. Rivera, M.Ed.
I woke up at 2 o’clock in the morning covered in sweat, shaking, with my blood pressure through the roof…. An hour later it happened again, and again. Months later, after several hospitalizations and NO ANSWERS, my symptoms continued. In fact, they worsened.
I found myself no longer able to work, to coach my clients, to teach my classes, to give my presentations, to run my business. I could barely walk… or eat… and all I could do is get in a meditative state to keep my body calm. It took everything I had just to stay alive.
IT ALL COMES CRUMBLING DOWN
Many months of not being able to run our multiple businesses had finally depleted our funds. We had 5 businesses at the time (life coaching, speaking, book publishing, magazine, online directory) and all of them were highly dependent on our direct engagement. My wife became my full-time caretaker and could no longer work either.
Even though our business was crumbling around us, I barely noticed because I was focused on only one thing—survival.
We stopped doing everything except for publishing our monthly magazine, which we had converted to digital the previous year. The subscription income was residual and took very little time to upkeep every month. That residual income is what prevented us from ending up bankrupt or even homeless. Six months into my illness, we had to start paying our staff using credit cards.
What would happen to YOUR business, family, life if YOU were on bedrest for a year?
We would lay on the bed, holding hands, and stare at the ceiling, where we had taped photos of the things we dreamed to do one day when we could go back to living life and exploring the world. We would close our eyes and visualize ourselves experiencing each image—snorkeling with sea turtles, traveling the world, and going on the world’s largest cruise ship.
Throughout the whole ordeal we had a LOT of time to sit and think. It was like a sabbatical. We listened to audiobooks… we consumed anything inspirational that we could find… we even started taking online courses.
I became intrigued about online courses because we had created several courses a couple years earlier and it was the only source of income we had coming in that we didn’t have to do ANY work to earn.
I had reached a place where I accepted the possibility of my own demise, and I had to face that even after everything I had learned and accomplished and built in my life I was not going to leave a legacy.
I was not able to leave anything for my wife or child, financially. And, everything I was so passionate about teaching—all of my knowledge about human potential and building a business, was going to die with me. But I saw online courses as a way to leave behind something… to share my wisdom with the world in a way that would outlive me. The idea of turning what I knew and loved into online courses gave me hope.
Eight months after getting sick, I was hospitalized for the final time. From my room I had a view across the water where we could see some condos on the beach. I said to my wife, “just keep blinking; one day we will be over there.” Although it was only a few miles drive, it felt worlds away.
I began to improve and spent the next year recovering. After losing nearly 30 pounds, losing my muscle mass and strength, and destroying my digestive system, I had to re-learn how to walk and eat.
We never found out what I had, but we didn’t care. All that mattered is that we could see the light at the end of the tunnel.
While I began to regain my strength, I started to record videos for 10 minutes at a time, and then return to fetal position. As I continued to improve, we finished our first course, and as it began to produce an income, I was motivated to keep going. We began turning all of our coaching programs and training workshops that we could no longer do in-person into video courses. We created another course and then another.
We started getting feedback from our students, who were coming from all over the world, about how much our courses were impacting their lives. A man from Syria contacted us to let us know he was taking our Happiness Life Coach Certification because his goal was to bring happiness back into the lives of his fellow Syrians who had been coping with the pains of war. A small group of women from the Philippines contacted us to share how they had each pitched in to purchase one of our courses. They worked on the course together and were implementing it in their community.
One year after that last hospitalization, we were standing at the beach behind our new condo, looking across the water at the hospital where I had stayed.
The road to recovery was long and hard, but being able to reach those we were meant to serve from the comfort of our own home and be able to create something that would outlive us was the fuel that kept us going.
We continued to convert our workshops and coach training programs into online programs. And now, 5 years later:
We’ve created over 80 online courses and have more than 300,000 students from 195 countries/territories.
An entrepreneur’s worst nightmare ended up being life’s biggest blessing for us
- It helped us remember what we really wanted, which was a lifestyle of freedom.
- It helped us realize that we had created a lot of responsibility and work for ourselves with our various businesses.
- We learned how to find peace and happiness even within the most challenging situations.
- We learned the lesson that our longevity and livelihood cannot be 100% dependent on our labor.
- We learned the power and importance of passive income.
And today, we are passionate about empowering others to do three things:
- Give their pain a purpose
- Leave a legacy
- Diversify their income
And all three of these things can be accomplished by doing what we did, which is create online courses based on what you already do, know, and love.
If this story resonates with you because you want more freedom, need a safety net, or you have thought about sharing your expertise, experience, or passion with others online, we invite you to join the online course revolution. You can create passion, purpose and passive income!