When did you jump ship to full time self employment?

Boy

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Around 2 years ago, I decided that by the time I'm 30 (Dec 2020) I'll be working full time on my own websites, businesses, agency, whatever I have going on by then.

I haven't hit the gold mine yet, but I am working on a new web service that has exceeded my expectations as far as revenue & profit goes. Month 7, $1k in revenue (~$800 profit), 90% from sales on the website, 10% from affiliate marketing. Everything seems like it's on the rise. There are around 115 articles on the website that aren't even close to reaching their organic potential and now I'm starting to manually convert those into YouTube videos. Also spending my evenings implementing Ezoic.

Obviously not a lifechanging amount of money by any means, but that money plus my old money-making actions from back when I started this online thing (print on demand, ebooks, other websites) total up to around what I need to live off of after taxes.

If I can manage to pull off $1k working an hour or two a night (if that), I know damn well I can accelerate this growth even being able to dedicate 4 solid ass hours a day.

I feel like I'm super close to that point, just not quite there yet. Totally could right now, but it would be a whole lot of rice, ramen, mac and cheese, and hot dogs for a month or three.
 
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I'd just have 6 months of rent saved up, then go for it.
 

Ryuzaki

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*record scratch* Yeah, that's me. You're probably wondering how I found myself in this situation. *initiate dream sequence*

I was 24 or 25 years old, over 10 years ago, when I went full time. But let's go back to the beginning.

When I was 15 or 16 I toyed with Geocities and Angelfire sites.

When I was 17 or so I had my first real website, ecommerce section, and forum. Made money then without really knowing what I was doing or being in the game. It was to support another hobby of mine I was doing. I quit that around 19 or 20 years old.

From 20 to 23 or so, I was kicking the idea around in my head of making my own websites to make money. I told all my coworkers, talked about it to my friends, etc. It wasn't until I went to another job that I started a handful of sites. I got the idea of making 50 sites and did it. I built them all on customized Wordpress themes, wrote the content, all that. Then I realized "how the hell am I going to build links for all of these?"

That's when I discovered mass spamming and realized that I either spammed these sites or I wasted my time. I ultimately let at least 40 of them expire, spammed 10, sold a few, let a few expire, but one of them took off and started earning me some cash and it was growing monthly.

My girlfriend at the time got her master's degree and found a job in a city a couple hours away, and my site had replaced my income from the job so I moved with her. I immediately, within a week of moving into the new place, got penalized and lost the entire income stream.

I floundered about in despair for a couple of weeks thinking about the next move. I took every bit of money I had and built a big ass PBN and changed the SEO game forever (not going into details as to not out myself since I don't get credit for this in the public eye anyways). I ended up making about 4x the amount of money that year that I would have made at my job or with that one website.

This link sales went on for another half a year or so before some dummies got the PBN killed off. It was going to happen anyways. I also had built up another handful of sites that fell with it because I was using the PBN for them.

This was a big blow. Hitting rock bottom for the second time due to my own actions was enough and I vowed to be white hat from there out and have stayed true. I started a new authority site in the same vertical as my original site and two of my PBN-destroyed sites. It started doing well after 6 months to a year. I also started learning web development seriously at this time.

There's a lot of time that passed between these events. I can't keep track of it any more, but ultimately I got the original site unpenalized, the two sites that tanked from the PBN unpenalized, and tacked them onto the authority site and sold them as a bundle. Now I was without any sites or income streams again.

The rest is history from there. Built another authority site that pays all my bills and then some. Have more projects, am building more projects, I do high priced web-dev and site design work when it's too good to say no. I'm real excited to launch this site I'm finishing the content for now and starting another one that I'm very confident will be a huge breakthrough for me.
 
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For me, I guess I was forced by circumstances. In my country, getting employment is damn difficult, even if you have the papers.

I started freelancing as a writer when I was in college to pay the bills and get some spending money. Graduated with a degree in Economics but knew from the onset that I wouldn't be getting a job any time soon, unless I did my masters.

Wasted about a year wondering whether to do Masters or get into freelancing fulltime. One client that I was writing articles for introduced me to affiliate marketing. Basically told me something like, "Kevin, you write great articles. You could make so much money running your own website rather than writing for clients".

Didn't heed his advice for about 3 years. Basically, I was scared to start. At the time, we didn't have chipped ATMs in our country. Plus there was a lot of barriers. For example, when I bought my first hosting package, JustHost had to call me to confirm whether the credit card is mine. And some other BS.

Getting payments was also an issue. We couldn't get paid in PayPal in my country at the time. So we use to have some hacks (partner with someone from US, he gets your money and sends it over via Western Union). Got screwed up big time by the person I had this arrangement with.

Chilled for some time.

And then things started falling into place.

i) Suddenly, all banks were required to get chipped cards. Visa and Mastercard were introduced in our country. So we could buy shit online (domains, hostings, etc)
ii) Paypal expanded and started allowing us to send money
iii) Payoneer happened. We could not withdraw PayPal payment through Payoneer

And then I went into a rollercoaster of shiny object syndrome. Made my first affiliate income ($200) from MarketHealth (and then they refused to pay me saying my country is a "high-risk" country). Fcuk them bastards.

Grinded with freelance writing, scraping for $1 article per 500 words. Moved the needle, got a few success using spam along the way. Discovered Amazon affiliate marketing. Discovered BusO.

All in all, I have been self-employed. Never really stable, but never really poor. My ventures have always paid the bills, spam helped me to build a house for my mom, and do some other shit.

However, I've come to a point where affiliate marketing or online business in general is no longer a game. It's a business. Trying to get things done right this time round. Trying to build a brand, improve my life and that of the people that I love, and travel the world.

This is a long-ass ramble. But all in all, I guess I've been drifting from project to project since I left school. And now that I have a family, I've realized I can no longer be a drifter. It's time to put some serious numbers on the projects I'm working on.

Have cut-off my half-done projects and I'm just concentrating on two.
i) Building a writing agency (need to pay the bills)
ii) Building a big brand online business (Check Journal)

Not sure if you can relate. But if I was to give you something it would be this; start now. I've regretted a lot for never starting projects I could have.

Another thing; finish projects. There is no payday for half-done projects.
 

Cash Builder

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It’s great to hear everyone’s stories and find out how we all go to where we are today. It shows that there is more than one path you can take in life, and you can choose to change that path at any time.

I started making money online when I was 17 when I discovered incentive marketing. Basically, complete some offer for £5, get another x amount of people to do the same offer, and you get a reward. I managed to get a free iPod Touch and was amazed that it actually worked. I didn’t do anymore as real-life (parties and girls) got in the way.

I got a job as a chef for 6 years, and in 2012 my wife got pregnant and I realised we didn’t have enough money to get all the stuff that a baby needs. I started with incentive marketing again, and managed to rank in the number 1 spot in Google for “how to get a free ps4”.

The referrals were rolling in, and I managed to get everything that we needed, plus more. Probably about £1500 worth of stuff for free. I spoke to some people in the game that I used to speak to back in 2008, and they had all made tens of thousands over the years.

I thought I was gonna make it big, but incentive marketing died off after this. Probably due to the big algorithm changes, plus the internet was maturing. Most people thought it was a scam.

This is when I discovered affiliate marketing, and I made a few sites but never made any money. Around the same time, I started a degree in web development. Halfway through my degree, in 2015, I landed a junior web developer job, which I thought would be me set for life. After 6 months of working in an office for someone else, I realised I hated it and never wanted to work for anyone else again.

I made the risky decision to quit my job and go back and finish my degree. This gave me two years to figure out how to make money from my sites, and I worked day and night (with 2 kids under 3 years old) to make sure I did it. 2 months before I was due to graduate I sold my first site for $25,000.

That was 3 years ago and I haven’t looked back. I’m still not making enough to live extravagantly, but the bills are paid every month and we have everything we need. The best thing is to spend as much time as I want with my family at the moment, and if I keep doing what I am doing the riches will eventually follow.

Since 2015, I have not had a day off. There are days where I don’t work during the day, but I always get in a couple of hours at night when the kids are in bed. I’ve been scraping by financially for my whole life, and if I have the opportunity to make money and not work for someone else, while sitting in the comfort of my own home, I’m damn well going to take it.
 

BCN

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I used to work as a chemical engineer on drilling rigs and ships, working with drilling fluids for those of you that know that industry. I have a masters in offshore drilling/chemical engineering/geology ... not sure what you would call it as I took a lot of other classes and did my dissertation in geology/physics.

29 years old now.

It was one of the nicer jobs as it's more white-collar, and you don't really need to do any dirty work except for a few times per hitch where you'd have to go on the drill floor to coordinate work. You also get to ride in a helicopter, which people even pay money to do.

Lots of computer work, meetings, and reporting, keeping on top of stock and bossing people around ...

So I would work x weeks abroad, then fly home, and spend about the same time (usually more) here.

I've always made websites and programmed, so I spent some time when I was home doing this too. When you stay at home for a few weeks, you get bored easily. Since my wife works here, we couldn't just travel. And you get tired of walking around, going to the beach and drinking beer.

So I started a company here and building affiliate sites. Had some 1k$ profit days working on my time off. So I did both for a while ...

So I lived in a cheap country and made my money in an international market (oil). You make the same money no matter where you live, as it's a rotation based job.

No other jobs here would pay that kind of money, so when I lost the job (oil price dropped, they cut a lot of staff), I had enough money for a year or two doing nothing (I don't spend money except taking my wife out, eating healthy, living in a nice flat .. but no car, no expensive clothes, no stupid hobbies that take a lot of money. Just simple life, but also not denying myself anything I find important).

I didn't want to move, as I have an apartment and wife and all that ... so had to do something else. So I did online marketing ... and here I am still.
 
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Take the below with a grain of salt, since my self-employment still involves living from my savings. I haven't even registered a company to take out my Amazon earnings yet.

I decided to go for it full-time straight after my Master's degree. I had enough money saved up from a part-time job to live off for 1-2 years. My degree is from Europe, so not only was it free, but the state was paying me a monthly stipend for working part-time while doing the degree. Perfect for saving up some cash.

After graduation, my career prospects weren't terribly exciting. I had no chance of landing a high-paying consulting job or getting into career acceleration programs at one of the big firms. My grades were below average because I didn't care about the studies too much.

I should have known better.

I found out that companies care about your G.P.A. only about six months into my studies, and by then it was too late to compete with the top performers. I was too focused on growing my savings to care about the grades. Would have aimed for landing a management consulting job otherwise.

So there I was, facing a choice was between landing an average job and working my way up (to still earn decent money, mind you) and diving full-time into the online marketing world and learning the hard way. I chose the latter.

I decided against taking up a job because I eventually want to be self-employed, location-independent. No matter how long it's gonna take me. I'm playing the long game. So I made a bet on myself (using my savings) and started grinding through the learning curve.

Inspired by Humblesalesman's case study from /juststart subreddit, I also had 1-2 failed projects that never got off the ground while studying and working. I thought that I could do 33% study, 33% work, and 33% online marketing. I was wrong.

I realized that I need to focus on this 100% to be successful.

So that's what I'm doing now.

Learned a ton so far, and my MFA(mazon) site is slowly picking up. With some luck, CRO, and perhaps a couple of links I should have my first $1K month before Christmas. Running purely on content - I'm starting building links and traffic leaking only now (don't be stupid like me, build links from the get-go).

Worst-case scenario, I can always go back and get that average job I skipped out on.
 

Ryuzaki

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He was one of our earlier members, @localcasestudy, and did an humbelsalesman AMA here that is still one of the highest viewed threads on the forum.
You sure that localcasestudy and humblesalesman is the same guy?

AFAIK Humblesalesman is a secretive affiliate marketer based in Australia that might be running an agency right now. He was extremely careful not to reveal his identity. Here's the case study I'm referencing to that started the sub, someone scraped it and re-formatted for Neocities. Here's also a file with all of his Reddit comments for anyone who's interested.

I think it's 2 different people you're mixing up. But they both did case studies on Reddit.
 
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They are not the same person.
localcasestudy was good at creating affiliate sites, but just cause you can can do A, don't mean you can do be. Hubris got to him and he started posting how he could make a site better than ***.com all of which seem to be gone. Only the app is left.
Humlesaleman seemed to have run into trouble with his web project and disappeared deleting all he could.
Seems to me both case studies were failures. Happens a lot on the online world.

4 years is a long time in internet history. Another reason you'll find many old timers still posting and always listening to the "market" and google.

The main lessons here is that being an affiliate and selling your own products is night and day.
And don't let hubris get to you. I've seen it kill many businesses online and off. Tomorrow it could be all gone.

Best of luck
 
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Man, localcasetudy is thriving. He's into service businesses and subscription businesses. Very active on FB (Rohan Gilkes)
 

Ryuzaki

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Thanks @Poplanu and @Erayz, I thought they were the same person. Thanks for pointing that out to me and anyone reading. I actually didn't know about humblesalesman beyond thinking he was the same guy as localcasestudy. I read his posts linked above and am pretty skeptical. I'll try to read his comments at some point but there's so many of them on all scattered topics.
 
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Does anyone know exactly what happened to Humblesales?
 
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I dunno... when someone goes dissing other people and hides their own mistakes and failures, around here (my neck of the woods) we say "He's full of shit". Others would say "Big hat no cattle"
He talks a good game, says he has an "agency" and a "search team" and yet seems to have no idea of the extent and how long google's manual interventions have been going on for.

Mentions of Income School will now be automatically removed from this sub
I'd expect that from a bunch of kids.

In his own words
Good articles often appear here, but a lot of opinionated junk
So take what you can learn and use it, but with a few grains of salt.
No one is going to tell which rainbow has the pot of gold.
 
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He talks a good game, says he has an "agency" and a "search team" and yet seems to have no idea of the extent and how long google's manual interventions have been going on for.
Can you specify what you mean about the manual interventions? I'm genuinely curious because I'm not that familiar with the topic beyond the "thin content" penalties. And the fact that PBN sites get borked eventually.
So take what you can learn and use it, but with a few grains of salt.
Agreed 100%.
 
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I don’t get the sense that HumbleSalesman and MeekSeller are the same person. The name is quite a coincidence but their tone and way of imparting knowledge seem completely different to me.

Also, in this thread Meek says (in reference to Humble and the origin of the JustStart subreddit) “I'll admit, I'm not up to speed on the history of this sub. This disjointed thing we have called r/juststart is what we have to work with.” With regard to republishing his case studies, “I'll admit, my knocking it back didn't understand the historical significance (for lack of a better word) of what was posted.”

His case studies got me going in the first place, and I will be forever grateful to his efforts. It’s certainly not impossible that they are the same person, and the usernames are odd. Maybe he’s going all-in on subterfuge implying he didn’t know how significant his early case studies were, but that seems strange. They just don’t seem the same to me.
 

Boy

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I've recently upsubbed from juststart. It's hard to put into words, but it has become something that it was trying to avoid being. Weird seeing some of the highest upvoted content in the last week being either
  • I made my 1st dollar posts
  • case study posts that maybe 3 active subscribers can accomplish (outsourcing thousands of dollars worth of content on a website they bought).
It's just a giant dopamine circlejerk at this point. But that's what happens when subs grow.
Mentions of Income School will now be automatically removed from this sub
I'd expect that from a bunch of kids.
Someone suggested that if they were going to ban certain teachers/gurus, they should at least come up with their own crowdsourced basics guide. Looks like that idea was shot down despite the upvotes.
 
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Can you specify what you mean about the manual interventions? I'm genuinely curious because I'm not that familiar with the topic beyond the "thin content" penalties.
ftr I remember the days when I paid to be on yahoo and a few other search engines. Google may have had a fee for fast indexing in those days too. And Alta Vista was king.

So it is my opinionated opinion that Google has been manually intervening in search for around 20 yrs.
Let me give an eg.
How do you think the google algo would treat this content on a website about dog collars.
30 pages with titles *** Dog Collar *** where *** is a word and similar content 300 words max.
20 pages with titles *** Red Dog Collar *** also similar content. AA
20 pages with titles *** Big Dog collar *** also using small variation of the same content. AA
20 pages with titles *** Little Dog Collar *** same as above.

Would you think this is a good SEO strategy to rank on the first page?
Do you think that site would get a duplicate content penalty?
How do you think the much less sophisticated algo of 15 or 10yrs ago would react?
Would this site be banned or de indexed? Or would it be successful?
 
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Thanks for all your inputs, folks. Going to put in my 2 weeks tomorrow.
Good job man, I wish you all the best. It must feel great, but scary.

I myself am working towards the same goal, so I am curious what your situation looks like. If you don't mind, I would like to ask some questions to get some perspective.

Do you still earn 1k per month? What is the median salary in your country?
How many months salary have you saved up?
Do you live alone or with someone?
How do you feel now when you have quit your job? :-)

I myself earn between 1000-1500 euro each month, which is more than what I get from my day job. 700-1000 euro a month is the normal salary here. I have saved up maybe a years worth of salaries.

Even if I would quit my day job now, I'd still feel a bit uncomfortable and scared. Especially after two of my main sites crashed last year due to medic update. Now days I have several sites in different niches and on different servers, to divide the risk a bit.
 

Boy

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Good job man, I wish you all the best. It must feel great, but scary.

I myself am working towards the same goal, so I am curious what your situation looks like. If you don't mind, I would like to ask some questions to get some perspective.

Do you still earn 1k per month? What is the median salary in your country?
How many months salary have you saved up?
Do you live alone or with someone?
How do you feel now when you have quit your job? :-)

I myself earn between 1000-1500 euro each month, which is more than what I get from my day job. 700-1000 euro a month is the normal salary here. I have saved up maybe a years worth of salaries.

Even if I would quit my day job now, I'd still feel a bit uncomfortable and scared. Especially after two of my main sites crashed last year due to medic update. Now days I have several sites in different niches and on different servers, to divide the risk a bit.
As far as the cost of living goes, I'm in an incredibly low-cost midwest state in the US. I live alone in a ~850 square feet apartment and it costs <$800 a month and another $200 for all utilities including internet. I would estimate that this winter I'll be living on $14-1500 a month. No girlfriend, just casual dating (and by dating I mean they come over haha).

The website isn't my only income source but has the most potential and consistently has earned $800-$1000 the last 3 months. I figure if I can dedicate more than what I have been the last 8 months (1-2 hours a day if that) I can quickly multiply the earnings.

I also have book royalties from my ebook days 5 years ago that come in somewhere between $100-200 a month nowadays.

Print on demand designs also come in nice, about $300 a month.

Have ~$1300 a month for the next 15 months through offline means which will drop to ~$400 after that.

Additionally, I have a family member who has gotten into consulting after making >$10k a month teaching online. She has people reaching out for calls but doesn't have an actual system in place, she's doing everything manually. Going to build her a consultant website & give her a content plan to start writing. Taking a small upfront fee for it and then doing a revenue share as well (10-15%).

As far as savings go, if somehow every one of my income streams disappeared overnight I could survive for 3-4 months before wondering if I could pay rent.

How do I feel now? I was nervous as fuck for some reason. But after I talked to them one of the women asked if I could build her a website hahaha

Also not 100% quitting just yet. I decided that because it's not like a you-guys-suck-go-fuck-yourselves situation I'm going to be working part-time (<15 hours) keeping things moving smoothly until they find a replacement which shouldn't take long. Just going in doing the bare minimum to keep things rolling. I told them if they wanted any additional work they'd be invoiced at my contractor rate!
 
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Additionally, I have a family member who has gotten into consulting after making >$10k a month teaching online.
What was she teaching online for 10,000 a month?
 

Boy

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What was she teaching online for 10,000 a month?
She has her masters in early education or some shit, so she was/is teaching home school students online classes that she put together. Most were live, some were prerecorded. Writing essays, forming paragraphs, shit like that.