As someone who has earned over $1 million dollars blogging, I love hearing stories of regular people who ditched their jobs to try something new. Even more than that, however, I love when people find a way to make money doing something they truly love.
Christopher and Melanie Greenwood are living proof it’s possible to merge passion with work – and make money doing it. Formerly an IT Network Engineer, Chris quit his job in 2004 to pursue what he really loves– music. Melanie also quit her job to pursue modeling, and the couple struck out to build a new future of their own design.
Unfortunately, earning a living as a musician isn’t all guitar solos and screaming fans; it’s also hard work. As a Christian rock artist, Chris had been touring the country non-stop, playing 150-200 shows per year. But, once the couple moved to California, they learned about selling digital products online and the passive income it could bring.
Interview with Chris Greenwood, a.k.a. “Manafest”
What happened next? And, how did the couple find a way to earn six figures selling digital products online? Let’s dive right into my interview with Chris Greenwood to learn more.
Tell us the story of how you transitioned from a rock star to a creator of digital products.
Chris: I was in California I learned about selling digital products online and what I love to call SWISS dollars – “Sales While I Sleep Soundly.” I had a taste of passive income from songwriting and having those assets constantly working for me, but the idea of selling my knowledge blew me away. My wife was pregnant with our daughter and it seemed like a great time to create new income streams outside of touring. I loved the profit margins as well because the only investment to create a digital asset was my time, plus a video camera and a microphone.
My first product was a self-published book called “FIGHTER: 5 Keys To Conquering Fear & Reaching Your Dreams.” It is a self-help motivational book sharing the struggles I overcame at a younger age, like being bullied in school and being overweight. I also share the story of my dad’s suicide that took place when I was only 5-years-old.
In my book, I also discuss the rejection and loneliness we face as artists and entrepreneurs pursuing our dreams. I launched a Kickstarter and my amazing fans helped me raise over $20,000 USD. However, I soon realized there wasn’t a ton of money in physical books as a self-published author but there was a ton of money in online courses and audio programs based around the book.
By this point, I had begun studying online marketing through the likes of Brendon Burchard, Michael Hyatt, and many others. One day, however, I was listening to a podcast called Internet Business Mastery when I heard another entrepreneur sharing their success story of selling online courses. Hearing this story stopped me dead in my tracks. I pulled over my car into a Starbucks, bought my favorite drink, and started outlining my first online course immediately.
While my very pregnant wife recorded my words in our tiny studio apartment, I had my doubts. I remember thinking “this is stupid” and “who is going to buy this course?” Fortunately, I kept pushing through until it was done. I kept on focusing on helping people and the impact my course could have on someone’s life if they applied it.
I made just under $100 bucks off the course in the first month and was amazed that there were zero upfront costs. Plus, I didn’t have to ship anything!
I was used to passive income from the music business with radio royalties, YouTube, digital sales etc. but this was a whole other level. Plus, I could charge a lot more then .99 cents for a song or $10 for an album!
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Online entrepreneurship has been a side business for 2 years and my wife and I have made almost 6 figures in revenue from our online courses. We are constantly learning new ways to grow this business daily. I focus on creating courses to help music artists become successful in the music industry.
Plus, I have a growing membership community coaching artists to build their passion into a full-time music career.
What exactly do you do?
Chris: As Manafest I am a full-time rock artist performing on tours around the world. I also write songs and market my music online. As Chris Greenwood, I teach artists and musicians how to have a successful music career.
My wife and I plan to focus most of our time on our online businesses in 2017 as we’ve seen such a great response. She teaches freelancers about the design business while still taking on her own design clients. This has given us more freedom to work anywhere we want while also spending time with our daughter.
We love the flexibility of traveling, working anywhere, and taking our knowledge and sharing it with the world.
What lessons have you learned during your journey?
Chris: Staying out of debt has been a real blessing to us in business. It wasn’t easy at first but it forced us to think more creatively versus just borrowing to make things happen. Also, there is a peace knowing we have reserves. We are still growing and we owe no man anything except to love him.
Another lesson I’ve learned has been when, and how, to raise my prices. My friend Tony Da Silva once said: “If you’re not embarrassed about how much you charge for your products or services then you’re not charging enough.” I love that advice.
Also, I learned to just “ship the thing!” Stop making excuses about whether a product is perfect or not. Get it out there and tweak it along the way.”
Can you share a few examples of entrepreneurs you've helped?
Chris: I’ve coached thousands of artists who are looking to pursue music as a full-time career. I’ve also coached Grammy Award-Winning Songwriter Seth Mosley at Full Circle Music (Nashville) about online business and entrepreneurship. He’s now crushing it with a podcast, selling out live events, and selling online courses. Every time I share an idea with this guy, he listens and then blitzes into action with amazing results. I love helping hungry entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid of hard work.
I’ve also helped an Alberta, Canada-based band who is now making thousands more with their music from digital sales and playing live shows.
I’ve co-created a couple of online courses with friends as well to get them started with their online business. One friend is now creating courses online with his wife and bringing in passive income. It’s so inspiring showing people what’s possible and then watching them take the torch and run with it.
What are your goals for 2017 and beyond?
Chris: One of my major goals for 2017 is hitting a 7-figure net revenue between Manafest and our online courses. I also have a goal to help over 300 artists inside of Fanbase University, which is my monthly mentorship program.
What inspired you to get into Christian rock?
Chris: I dreamed of becoming a skateboarder when I was growing up. Unfortunately, I hurt my foot as a teenager. I couldn’t skate for 3 months and my girlfriend dumped me right around the same time. To say I was depressed was an understatement. But, instead of taking my own life like my father did, I started writing songs about the pain I was in. This was my entry into the music business at the age of 18.
I think God has a sense of humor because I failed music in school and I’ve now had what many would call a very successful career as Manafest. I’ve now sold hundreds of thousands of albums and millions of singles. I’ve also been blessed to play in 21 different countries. I love writing, performing songs live, and creating music videos to share my message of hope through music.
Do you have any parting words of wisdom to share?
Chris: I live by this mantra:
So, keep fighting.
People can check out Chris’s music online via iTunes or Spotify by typing Manafest. You can also visit Greenwood’s website at http://www.manafest.com. Artists who want to take their music career to the next level can check out: http://www.smartmusicbusiness.com.