For 26 years, Joellyn Travis has influenced children in the Ozarks as a teacher.
Today, she is an Internet influencer.
It’s been a complete career transformation, but she’s having a blast.
In June 2019, Travis founded the Facebook group and affiliate shopping website Leave It On The Porsche.
The name came from the fact that delivery drivers often leave parcels on the balcony.
For one year before its launch, Travis researched affiliate marketing – those are websites that post deals from other sites, like Amazon, and if you click on a deal and order something, the site owner gets a cut.
At the time, she was the principal of Truman Elementary School in Springfield. Travis served as a manager there for nine years. I retired in July 2021.
She is of Lebanese origin, taught in Marshfield in Lebanon and worked as a principal in Springfield.
Her second career started in 2018 when she found an amazing deal online on Facebook. She started following the group because she was a woman who couldn’t resist a deal, says her fiancé John Custer.
After a while, she thought to herself, “They’re not doing this for fun; they’re making money.”
Why couldn’t you make money too?
For a year, Travis joined online groups, listened to podcasts and consumed as much information about affiliate marketing as possible.
“The Amazon policy book is like 250 pages, so it took a lot of time,” Travis said.
It paid off.
Within two months of launching her site, she had 10,000 followers, which is a staggering amount for a new business.
By October 2021, it was 125,000.
“You’ve grown really fast,” Travis said.
She attributes this growth to the closeness between the societies in which she lived and worked.
Lebanon is a tight-knit society. I have taught at Marshfield for 14 years. I had a lot of relationships in Springfield. I just started posting on my personal Facebook page and people were excited. They participated. Our growth is not typical, Travis said.
“It’s not something you can get away with.”
When Travis began her research, she was still a major at Truman. She would get up early, go online and then go to school. When she got home, she was chained to a computer.
Those were long days, but the days were longer.
The summer she launched her website, her daughter went to a music camp in Oklahoma and rented Travis an Airbnb, locked herself in for a week and built the site.
When school started, she would get up at five in the morning to post deals, go to school, come home and post all night.
That was when her boyfriend John Custer, Physician at Ferrell Duncan, noticed it.
“She was going to work all night,” he said, and thought ‘Maybe she could use help with this.
Travis trained him on how to post.
“It was awful at first. It took forever. She taught me everything. I’m not very tech savvy,” he said.
But he got into it and now he loves it.
“When you find a crazy deal out of rock bottom and everyone on the site is crazy for it, that’s for the best,” he said.
They work seven days a week and even have vacation.
When they travel, they schedule posts in advance but still have to post at least three times a day, so there’s never a day off.
“It’s not something you can get away with or stop,” Travis said.
They post by 6am and often post all the way until midnight.
They have live videos on Facebook on Sundays. While most shoppers are female, Custer says he enjoys offering a masculine perspective.
At first, Travis just offered Amazon deals. But in March 2020, when the pandemic hit, Amazon slashed affiliate marketers’ commission by 50 percent.
“That didn’t make the news, but in the world of influencers it was a huge, huge deal. People depend on that for their income,” Travis said.
That’s when she realized it was a good idea to diversify, and now she posts deals from most major retailers, including Target, Zulily, QVC, Jane, and others.
What exactly is affiliate marketing?
Expansion into the world of affiliate marketing works in two ways: a website owner can approach companies, but as a potential influencer’s site grows, companies are approaching them as well. The deals they post are a combination of what they find and what is fed to them from different companies.
When Travis’ follower count reached 50,000, companies started noticing her. There are also brand and influencer negotiators, and Travis has joined forces with Brand Cycle, which works with its website and major brands to help negotiate deals.
Travis was invited to the Great Find Product Expo in Orlando this spring, which is a huge deal because companies like Real Simple and celebrities will be there.
“They have everything from beauty products and toys to barbecue. There will be a lot of media. As an influencer, I will do live videos and show people products. It feels like a whirlwind,” Travis said.
As an influencer, she also negotiates exclusive deals for people in her Facebook group who follow her, and hopes to be able to negotiate more of those exclusive deals on the show.
People can shop on her website without joining, but of course she would prefer them to join because that’s one of the ways companies measure their metrics. Companies also consider interaction with a post and the number of people who open their emails.
In October, she had to move her original Facebook page because when a group becomes too popular, Facebook changes its algorithms so that people in her group don’t get too many deals. As a result, I started a show with some core shoppers.
In less than two months, that group numbered 19,500 individuals.
“This is completely organic. We did not offer awards for joining or advertising. This is 100 percent organic growth, which is amazing,” Travis said.
Now the family has joined. Her daughter is a high school student and has launched an Instagram account for her mom. She has 2,500 followers in just six weeks.
Truman, the golden doodle of Truman Elementary’s name, appears in videos and has captured the hearts of followers.
Travis said the career transition was fun and rewarding overall, but it wasn’t easy.
“I worked from my tail,” she said.