I love the freedom of working for myself! Freedom has always been something that is SO important to me, and the notion of a 9-5 and having to ask permission to take a vacation – well, it never sat well with me! - Alison Andrews, SBI! member since 2009

How The Decision to Start An Online Business Changed Her Life Forever

Written By: Mike Allton in Real-Life Success Lessons!, Success Stories | December 21, 2016

How The Decision to Start An Online Business Changed Her Life Forever

After holding a regular desk job for several months post-graduation, I quickly realized that I no longer wanted to work for someone else and longed to find a way to work online. Several weeks of research later, I finally stumbled upon the company that changed my life…Michelle Jay


Welcome to A Christmas Carol – SiteSell-style! Each day we’re going to re-introduce one of our successful SBIers and their amazing stories. Like the Ghost of Christmas Past, we’ll revisit these tales of old and see what lessons we can glean.

For this next Christmas story, we’re visiting with Michelle Jay of StartASL.com who, in 2008, had just graduated from California State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Deaf Studies and an emphasis in ASL (American Sign Language) Teaching.

Fresh from college, Michelle was anxious to start helping others to learn and integrate ASL into their lives, and see the dramatic impact good communication can have. But her first regular, 9-to-5 job was less than fulfilling. After being employed for a few months, she realized that an online business where she was the boss was what she really wanted.

That’s when she found SBI!.

My goal initially was to create the website that I always wanted when I was first interested in learning American Sign Language at the age of 13. When I graduated college, I realized that the same websites that were available then were still the only ones available. My goal was to change that and introduce Start ASL as the best place to learn ASL online for free. I wanted to spread the knowledge of ASL to everyone who can’t afford to pay for college courses or find time in their schedule to even attend those courses.Michelle Jay

quit-her-day-jobAt first, Michelle used the available tools to research her niche and verify that her idea for a business was a valid one with real potential. Then she started writing the content that would form the backbone for her site and business — a completely free curriculum for learning sign language.

After that, Michelle began to grow and expand, as well as monetize, her site. She added Google AdSense ads and affiliate links and, eventually, her own digital products.

In fact, Michelle has gone on to publish books, and has received national acclaim through her published articles.


I started Start ASL when I was 20 years old. When I was 23, because of its success, I was able to quit my day job and work on the website full time. The site has grown every year since then because I could fully dedicate myself to the success of our students. Now that I am 28, my husband and I are able to stay home with our one-year-old. I cannot even put into words how much this means to me.Michelle Jay

Michelle now enjoys a thriving and helpful online business thanks to SBI! — and you can too!

I owe everything I know to SBI!Michelle Jay

Michelle’s business, StartASL.com, has not only grown in terms of customers, but expanded to include additional partners and multiple revenue streams. She’s achieved the level of success that most solopreneurs only dream of, a success rate that is very common among SBIers. Following the right process with the right tools makes online business success doable.

Why is this especially important for teens and “GenZ’s?”  So many graduate, like Michelle, in areas they love. Nowadays, they’re destroyed to find out that they can’t get a job in the field! No need to suffer such a blow…

They can do much better by creating their own job which turns into a higher earning business with ever-growing equity, becoming true authorities.  What more could one ask for?


As we’re whisked away by the Ghost of Christmas Past, back to present-day, overlooking the streets crowded with busy people bustling through the Christmas Season, we’re reminded of how important things like family really are.

Just like Ebenezer Scrooge, we sometimes need to be confronted by such stories in order to truly recognize what’s important to us, and what we need to do to change.

Do not let another Christmas pass by while your dreams of owning a business fester in your belly like a bit of undigested cheese. Throw open the curtains and renew your lease on life! It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, now is the time to get started.

Get Started with SBI! Get Started with SBI! For WP

Read More Successful Online Solopreneur Christmas Stories:

  1. How A Successful Attorney Transitioned To A Successful Online Mompreneur
  2. How An Army Veteran Launched A Golden Online Business
  3. How The Decision to Start An Online Business Changed Her Life Forever (you are here)
  4. He Leveraged His Pain And Achieved 100k Visitors To His Website
  5. How An Oil Worker Brewed Up A Profitable Side Business
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Learn From More High-Traffic, Profitable Solopreneurs

  • Recent Success Stories With Takeaway Lessons. Read more recent inspiring stories from our blog. They deliver useful ideas and takeaway lessons from folks who’ve “done it and won it.” If they can do it, you can, too!
  • Multi-Year SBI! Reviews. We take a deep-dive into the long term, full business stories of several different types of solopreneur successes. They periodically update their progress so you can see how they and their businesses grow over a period of years. This gives you excellent insight into what solopreneurs can accomplish with real online businesses.
  • Hundreds of the “Top 0.5%.” Every one of these SBI! businesses (hundreds of them) rank in the top 1 million active websites (out of approximately 200 million!). That’s all the more impressive because 1) we are such a small community and 2) many Top 0.5% sites are mid-sized or large companies.

Solopreneurs fail at astronomical rates. SBI! makes you up to 100x more likely to succeed (that’s not a typo!). It will never be easy, but we do make it way more doable.

Scan the wide variety of solopreneurs who are winning in real niches. Use it to get a feeling for what SBIers do, as well as to generate ideas. What do you know? Turn it into a business.

Mike Allton
Mike is an award-winning blogger, speaker, and author at The Social Media Hat, and Brand Evangelist at Agorapulse where he strengthens relationships with social media educators, influencers and agencies.

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