I wanted to take a brief detour from discussing new niche business ideas today and discuss exactly how I was able to quit my full-time corporate job on my own terms. When I say “on my own terms”, I mean when I wanted to, how I wanted to, and was able to make a smooth transition to full-time at home. (By the Way – the picture to the left is a joke, there is no easy “make money” button. Its hard work, sorry).
As many of you know, I worked full-time as a Business Banker at Wells Fargo Bank. You can read more about my background right here. I spent a lot of time getting a bachelors degree in Finance and an MBA; but all of this was really my backup plan. Deep down I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and I knew it was only a matter of time. Well, I got my first “real” full time job after my bachelors degree in 2003. So, it took me 8 years to finally find a business idea that worked for me, but I can now happily say that I am living my entrepreneurial dreams and I’m making more money than I ever have in my life!
I have discussed my internet story a number of times, but essentially I started dabbling around with building websites in 2005 as a hobby essentially. I went from really just trying to figure out if I could get something online to eventually learning how to do search engine optimization. With a full-time job (as you probably know), its very hard to start a business on the side. However, the opportunities of the internet make it much easier. So, I worked MANY long nights after my wife and kids were in bed. I failed miserably for many years. I couldn’t get my websites to rank well in Google and I certainly wasn’t making money.
However, in 2009 I had a break through. I was able to make a shift in my thinking from trying to build websites on high traffic but also high competition topics to building small websites on lower traffic but significantly lower competition topics. Suddenly I was getting free traffic from Google, Yahoo, and Bing. My first couple of sites with this new theory started making about $20/month each. I did some quick calculations in my head and figured since it only costs $10 for a domain per year and a few dollars each month for hosting – that these sites were quite profitable!
Well, the rest is now history. I have since scaled up my business of building “small” niche websites into a full-time empire. I get free traffic from Google and make money from advertising (primarily Google Adsense). I don’t usually like to show how much I am earning, but what the heck. I know most of you would be interested in seeing what I made from Google Adsense last month, so here it is. Please note I have multiple Adsense accounts, hence the 2 screenshots (1 personal account and 1 for my Business entity that I own).
So, you can see that I made $11,861.23 just from Google Adsense last month. I also had income from other sources, but Adsense was BY FAR the most. These are both screenshots from the month of March 2011. As you know, I quit my job on March 11th, 2011. So, the reality is that I was making more from my internet business than my day job for several months before I quit. And this is really what I mean by quitting on my own terms. My income from April looks at least as good as March so far.
I was able to build up my internet business on the side to a point where it had surpassed my day job income. I could have quit a lot sooner and been just fine I am sure, but I wanted to build up my savings account quite a bit as well. In fact, everything I made from my business was never spent on anything personal. I could have been out buying big screen TVs, a new car, gone on vacations, or done other things with the money I was making on the side. However, I made a decision early on to either save or reinvest all the income from my business back into building my business.
So, now I have a decent sized cushion of cash in my business account just in case anything “bad” were to happen. This is what I would recommend for anyone out there considering quitting their job. Make sure you are making real income from your business first, and that you have a little money saved for a rainy day. So, its only been about a month since I started working from home, but I can say that my mental energy is spent on how to grow my business NOT on how to feed my family. That’s the way it should be in my opinion.
So, the day that I “sprung” the news on my boss that I was quitting; was actually more of a celebration than a doomsday. I was excited to tell my boss that I was able to move onto a new phase in my life that I had been looking forward to for a long time. I could also do it knowing that I was already making enough money to support my family. Luckily I had a exceptional boss (really), and she was just as excited for me and the news I shared. After letting my company know that I was quitting, I worked a few more weeks to keep them happy and create a smooth transition period. As such, I am still on good terms with everyone from my old job.
So, what is it like working from home? Well, I gotta be honest…I LOVE IT! I’m able to make my own plans for the day and execute them on my own schedule. I’m able to spend a little time in the morning helping my 7 year old get ready for school and hang out with my wife and kids a bit throughout the day. I’m able to have Pandora jamming in the background as I go throughout my day. I’m also able to go for a run (training for a marathon in June) in the afternoons if I want to.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still putting in about 8 hours a day (or more), but this is what I WANT to do. I’m passionate about my business and look forward to building it each day. However, having the freedom to take a day off or quit early to go hang out with my family when I want is a nice little perk! And the fact that my websites are bringing in traffic from Google and earning money whether or not I do anything is really a nice passive income stream.
Anyway, I just wanted to provide a quick overview of what led me to quitting my job, and what my life has been like in the month since I quit. Life is good. I have lots of plans to expand my business as you know. And of course you get to participate in those expansion plans on this blog as I move into new businesses and try other ideas suggested by you!
If you have any comments, I look forward to responding below!
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