After three years of graduating college, Pat Flynn's relatively normal life took a complete spin.

He had lost his job, and for a while was not able to find a way to replace his income. In order to survive, Flynn eventually started an online business and fortunately for him it was a great success from the very beginning.

Fast forward to today, Pat Flynn is one of the most well known Internet entrepreneurs in America. Below we take a look at how he turned what could have been an unfortunate situation into arguably the best career opportunity of his life.

Forced Into Entrepreneurship

For someone who never set out to become an entrepreneur, Flynn has achieved many accomplishments in the world of business. He studied architectural design at the University of California, Berkeley, and after began to work his way up the ladder of an architectural firm. In a 2015 interview with the "We Study Billionaires" podcast, Flynn said that he saw himself in the industry for at least the next 40 years.

However, that all changed three years into his career when he was called into his boss's office to hear the words, "Pat, you're one of the youngest [and] brightest guys we know, [but] unfortunately we have to let you go." This all happened during the recession of 2008 when many architectural firms were taking a hit, and as a result Flynn had a very hard time finding a another job. His months of unemployment ultimately forced him into entrepreneurship.

His First Business Venture

During his search for new employment opportunities, Flynn had learned about podcasting. He came across an episode of Jeremy Frandsen's "Internet Business Mastery" that featured a man who was making six figures a year by simply helping people, through the Internet, prepare for the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification exam. After listening to the interview, Flynn realized that he had taken a similar professional exam, the LEED Green Associate Exam, and that candidates who were taking the exam would likely pay for content to help them pass.

According to Flynn, within a relatively short period of time, his website GreenExam Academy was receiving anywhere from 5,000 to 6,000 visitors a day. He began to monetize the website in October 2008 when he published an e-book with resources on how to prepare for the LEED exam. Flynn sold the e-book for $19.99 a copy and made a little more than $7,900 from it in his first month of offering the book on the website.

In addition to adding several pieces of new and free content to the GreenExam Academy website each week, Flynn began to roll out more products to offer to his site users over time. These included e-books, audio guides, and practice exams. Within his first year of selling info-products, Flynn grossed over $200,000.

Building Multiple Streams of Passive Income

In 2010, and following the success of his first business, Flynn sought out to share the many lessons that he learned along the way of building GreenExam Academy through a podcast called the Smart Passive Income Podcast. There have been 223 episodes to date, and every one of them shares various strategies on how a person can create a profitable passive income business using the Internet.

Besides his podcast, which makes money from selling ad spots, Flynn also owns, an advice website for food truck owners, and Security Guard Training HQ, a training website for future security guards.

As a way of being fully transparent with his audience, every month Flynn makes public a detailed report that outlines all of the money he earned from his various income sources as well as all of his business related expenses. In the last 12 months alone, Flynn grossed more than $1.6 million in revenue. Last month, June 2016, his many passive income sources brought in roughly $115,000 and netted about 70 percent after expenses. The bulk of his income for that month, $72,800, came from several affiliate programs he is involved in including the ones ran by Aweber, BlueHost and Amazon. He also brought in $12,400 from podcast sponsorships and $10,700 from book royalties.

The Bottom Line

Unemployment forced Pat Flynn into becoming an entrepreneur. After being fired from his dream job during the most recent recession, Flynn started an educational website that helped architects pass the LEED exam. The website was well-received and he was able to monetize it by selling info-products like ebooks, audio guides and practice test questions. Following the success of his first business, Flynn started a podcast to share his story and the lessons he has learned along his journey. He has since started a number of other businesses that are all built on tapping into the potential of passive income. Over the past seven years, Flynn has made well over a total of $3 million from all of his business activities.