My lovely wife brought something to my attention yesterday that we both haven’t really noticed. I quit my desk job on 31 May 2012. We’ve been ‘living the dream’ for well over a year now, and we haven’t ‘failed.’ I’ve failed to look at our current situation and compare it with where we were a year ago, rather than where I want to be in six months, etc.
How many people do you know who get up one day and say, “I’m bored of my life. I’m quitting my steady job and moving to a new state to do something new.”? I’m guessing you haven’t heard that too often, unless you’re one of my friends. 🙂
When Jessica and I moved to Utah, I made up a new career path for myself. When I say ‘made up,’ I really do mean ‘made up,’ as inimagination stuff. I stopped saying I was an electrical engineer and started saying I am a web developer. Well, I didn’t go right for the ‘web developer’ phrase, but I worked quite a few angles to get it there.
Slick Dealing, re-selling master
I love finding slick deals. I also love buying said slick deals. How could I get the best of both worlds? I found slick deals, bought them, then re-sold them on ebay and craigslist.
Exhibit A, to the left, is hard drive mountain. It is one of my finest achievements. I purchased 20 hard drives at a ridiculous discount from Staples – using a coupon on every purchase. They gave me a nice call informing me to stop ‘abusing the coupon system,’ so I didn’t purchase in that big quantity again.
From June-December 2011, though, I netted about $2,600 from reselling. It wasn’t a full-time income, but it wasn’t half bad.
Want a mobile website?
My first attempts at making money without a desk job were deep in the realm of internet marketing. I’ve since grown to abhor internet marketers, but you live, you learn. The one task I did succeed for a little while at was building mobile websites for businesses. I called everywhere. I made mobile websites for people in Portland, San Diego, Utah, etc.
I would send a physical letter with a screenshot of their current website on my smartphone and a screenshot of the mockup of a mobile-optimized site I built for them. I didn’t make much money from this, but I was learning about the hustle. Hustling is tough work.
I sold these websites for $295. In hindsight, I probably would have sold more if I’d raised the prices to about $500 each. Druthers. I was ecstatic to sell any, though, and in total, I sold three.
Look ma, I’m on YouTube!
I’ve always wanted to be able to make money through monetizing Google’s Adsense program, but I didn’t want to create one of those ad-filled spam websites. Happy medium? YouTube! I started recording my P90X journey – every single day of it – in video. I uploaded the first 90 days of video to YouTube and made a few other videos: head shaving, Wonder Wash, Mini Spinner. Search for them – you’ll find me.
I used to be happy when I made three pennies on Adsense for the day. Yes, you heard that right. Three cents. $0.03. It was three times more than I usually made. I added Adsense to a couple of my videos, and the pennies started to add up a bit quicker… Here’s a screenshot from today:
I used to make three pennies a day, and last month I made $43.26. It’s the 25th of June, and I’m already up to $47.64 for this month. Unbelievable progress.
I also included links to Amazon products in my YouTube videos. That campaign has been incredibly successful for me as well. Here’s a look at Q1 2012 for my Amazon Affiliate program:
WordPress developer, anyone?
I then decided that I wanted to be a ‘coder.’ I wanted to write PHP functions and the like for websites, so I headed over to craigslist. I responded to about 40 different ads, each looking for WordPress developers. I got one response, and thus started my ‘web development’ career.
I knew close to nothing about writing WordPress-specific PHP, but that’s what Google’s for, innit? It took me hours to do what most developers could probably have done in minutes. Now? Now I can blast through an object array in no time. There are few things I can’t do, and if need be, I’ll figure them out.
From Humble Beginnings, To Infinity and Beyond
This is only the start of my wild and crazy career choice. Thing is, it’s not even really a ‘career’. I’m just doing what I love doing to help other people.
When Jessica and I got married, I had ballooned up to 264lbs. I’m 6’3″, and I have a pretty big frame as it is, so I hide the weight relatively well; however, the simple truth is that I was a big boy. Too big. Looking at my goal board at the top of this post, I was aiming for 232 lbs by October 2011. It’s June in 2012, and I’m currently down to 218, on my third round of P90X.
I am absolutely dominating my health, and I couldn’t be more proud of myself.
Jessica and I have traveled to more places than I can count on two hands, and we’ve only been married for one year and four months. Off the top of my head, we’ve been to Anaheim, CA; Orlando, FL; Milwaukee, WI; Pewaukee, WI; Denver, CO; Boulder, CO; Red Rocks, CO; Albuquerque, NM; Portland, OR; Salt Lake City, UT. And that’s just off the top of my head.
We communicate with each other better than we ever have before, and it’s all due to the strength we’ve built through leaving the conventional life and going out to live our dreams. I couldn’t be more in love with anyone or anything than I m with my lovely wife, my best friend, my Jessica.
What did I learn, one year on?
A year ago, I would have been thrilled to make fifty cents over the course of one day. I would have loved to just lose 10 more pounds. To travel to one more place. This thinking has to stop. If you think this way when times are down, you’ll think this way again when things are going well, and nothing will ever be enough.
I’ve done some quite amazing things since quitting my (amazing) desk job on 31 May 2011. If I could do it all over again, I doubt I’d do anything differently. The only thing I haven’t done is give up.
I wanted fifty cents then. I want ten thousand dollars today. It’ll be one hundred thousand dollars tomorrow. It will never stop. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this life-changing experience, it’s that I need to live in the now. Today. I won’t wait for a tomorrow that will never come any more. I’m living for this moment. Wanna come?