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GOLD! SUCCESS STORY: Biophase

Discussion in 'Lessons from Success/Failure' started by biophase, Aug 28, 2007.

  1. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    My story is not as intricate or exciting as the other ones on here and I'm nowhere near the $1M range yet. But, after reading the other ones I felt compelled to write mine. It's actually pretty boring and normal and it's not the fastlane or slowlane. I'd call it driving in regular traffic and luckily catching all the green lights. :)

    I had a normal education at the University of Illinois which ultimately ended with a Master's in Engineering. I knew that I was in college to get the degree only because it meant getting a higher paying job. I got my first job out of college with a hefty $35k salary. After two years of measly raises, I jumped jobs and got paid about $42k. I was in the wireless industry building cell sites. I was there for one year when they were bought out by Alltel. The company was shutting down the Chicago office and moving everyone to Little Rock, AR.

    This was my first realization that you can't control your destiny in the corporate world. Luckily I got 6 months severance and landed a job the next day. I took my 6 months severance money and bought my first home in 1999. I started remodelling my home from day 1 and found out that I was really good at it. I knew nothing about real estate investing at this time.

    During this dot com era, I changed jobs every year. Every company I went to went under, usually due to crazy overspending on lavish things, but I wasn't going to complain about free health club memberships that cost $100/mo. Although I was changing jobs constantly and I knew that they were through no fault of mine I was having fun living the crazy dot com life, parties, cruises, beer trolleys...

    I finally landed a job that felt like a lifer. It's one of those jobs where you retire. I worked with a lady who had been there 35 years!

    In 2001, my friends and I took a mountain biking trip to Crested Butte, CO. We camped for one week at Lake Irwin. No electric, cell phones, running water, etc... The town had a speed limit of 15mph. I remember cruising into town and slamming the brakes like WTF? However, at the end of 7 days, 15mph actually felt fast in town.

    There was a point during the trip that I looked at my watch and calculated that it was 5:30pm in Chicago. At the time I was sitting on a rock on top of mountain at about 11,000ft having a PBJ sandwich with my buddies just chilling and looking at the clouds. If I were at work this week, I would be running down the street trying to catch my train at this time. What a contrast in speeds. It was at this moment that I knew something was wrong with my direction.

    Coming back to work the next week I had lost all motivation. I had a great week in Crested Butte and we were all talking about going back the next year. I remember thinking, just another 51 weeks? I work 50 weeks a year to enjoy 2 weeks. Thinking deeper I also realized that I only enjoy Friday and Saturday out of the 7 days of the week. Doing the math, something wasn't right. Why do we enjoy only 2/7 of our lives?

    With this realization, my next thought was how do I enjoy life more. First answer, move to Crested Butte, CO. But homes there cost twice what mine does and salaries are 1/3.

    I did a quick calculation on my finances at the time. Jeez, I had a huge house, 2 cars and all the materialistic things I could have ever wanted. I remember seeing on Oprah that families survive on $50k a year. Here I was single, making almost twice as much as that and I couldn't save a penny. Somehow, one day I picked up Rich Dad Poor Dad. Reading that changed my life. I realized that I was tied to my job. I also realized that it was completely my fault.

    I started looking into shifting my income from active to passive. This meant real estate, CDs, money market accounts and high dividend stocks. Anything that put $1 into my account at the end of the month without me doing anything, I was reading about.

    I had goals in 2002 to lower my expenses and to buy a rental property. I was following the Rich Dad passive income = expenses means you are out of the rat race. Living in Chicago, I quickly realized that there weren't that many positive cashflow properties out there. In addition, my mortgage on my huge house hindered my capabilities to get a loan on a rental property. I could not qualify for a investment loan so I failed my goals in 2002.

    I knew I had to sell my primary residence to free up my cash. I completely remodeled the house in the fall of 2002. I also had to sell my Acura NSX. I loved this car so much, but I knew that selling was for a better future. I bought a pre-construction condo in Chicago that I calculated to have positive cashflow. It wouldn't be completed for 2 years. I sold my NSX and put the money down on that condo.

    I sold my car and home and all my furniture in 2003 and moved back in with my parents. I came home with a hefty check for over $100,000. Added my to savings, I had a significant wad of money.

    I had read almost every single Kiyosaki book and every real estate rental book out there the past two years. It was 2004 and now that my expenses were nil, I was really getting sick of my job. I obviously didn't want to stay at my parents house forever so I looked for a change.

    I remember seeing on Loopnet that there were 4-plexes in Phoenix asking $150,000! I didn't know anything about Phoenix. I thought it was all brown and desert. I had a friend living in LA. He said that I could live with him. So I quit my job and moved to LA. On the way to LA, I stopped by Phoenix and bought 2 condos in Scottsdale and a preconstruction house. Talk about impulse shopping! I had 4 properties and no job!

    These buys were all based on cashflow. I was a cashflow guy. If COCR was above 10%, I was buying. The condos had Section 8 tenants and would cashflow $183/mo at the price I paid with 20% down. One day from moving out of Chicago and I was cashflowing $366/mo! This was easy. LOL

    I didn't really like living in LA. I was 30 minutes from the beach and real estate was crazy expensive. 4-flats were $1,000,000 and massively negative cashflow. I couldn't stay with my friend forever and the LA RE market was booming. Then one of my Section 8 tenants got kicked off of Section 8. It was reported that she was a prostitute and on drugs. I got her evicted and went to view the condo, which was of course, trashed. I had to fix it back up to get it re-rented. In the process, it occurred to me that I should just move into it. That's how I ended up in Phoenix.

    The market in Phoenix went crazy during 2005. I literally hit the lottery. Homes were appreciating $10k per month. I made another preconstruction purchase based on the comps I felt I had $100k in equity at the purchase. My Chicago condo also closed with about $60k in equity.

    In 2005 I had literally turned my networth into around $600k. However, I totally understood that this was pretaxed, pre-realtor commissioned money. Getting $600k cash in the bank was another story.

    One day I was surfing craigslist when I came across an ad about preconstruction, cashflowing, mountain view townhomes in Salt Lake City. I made a call to the realtor, did some research online and decided that he wasn't bullshiting. I booked a flight the new morning to SLC, rented a car and met the realtor. I drove the areas, looked at the rents and bought 2 townhomes at $140k. I found a property manager and hired them and my first PM'd rental was born. My calculations didn't quite work out. My proforma rents were too high and I had accept lower rent. Turned out that both townhomes had break even cashflow. Well, one was -$7/mo. These townhomes have appreciated to $195k each, adding another $100k to my networth.

    I also picked up a couple 1 acre lots in St. George, Utah. This was my first foray into land. In hindsight, I broke my cardinal positive cashflow rule. Buying land you are 99% assured negative cashflow.

    2006 saw the downturn of the real estate market. This is where having positive cashflow or at least breakeven cashflow helps alot. I sold my lots in St. George at a loss of around $35k. I sold my condos in Scottsdale at the peak of the market. I sold one preconstruction house at about $65k below peak prices. My SLC and Chicago properties have held in value. My Phoenix properties have dropped huge. I've learned alot about value of geographic diversification.

    My story doesn't have and ups and downs like the other ones. However, some months are bad and some are very good. During the bad months you wonder if you should have stayed in the comfortable cubicle and lived the easy predefined life. The biggest thing I've learned is that you should take risks in life.

    I do sometimes wonder what my life and networth would be if I stayed at my job in 2004. I think about what I've experienced in the past 3 years since quitting. I'm not talking about the money. I'm talking about living in LA, PHX, traveling to SLC, St. George and dozens of other cities that I ended up not buying anything in. My ex-co-workers used to call me and the first thing they said was, "Hey, what city are you in today?" Before that I had spent 33 years in Chicago.

    When I moved into my condo in Scottsdale, I experienced something for the first time in my life. I had lost the ambition for money. What I mean is the pursuit of making lots of money just to make money. I had a monthly payment of $600/mo which included all utilities. For all intensive purposes, I did not have to work for 10 years at my current burn rate. The need for money to pay bills was gone.

    So now you wake up and what do you do? The answer is... anything you want! This is what many retirees face after 55 years. I faced it at 33. I had a new outlook on life. My main priority now was living life, I figure I have at least 50 years. Where does all the time go? LOL Money is important, but money is a means to live life. You shouldn't live your life to get the money. If I want to travel the world, I find out what it costs and then go make that money. I look at money with a purpose. It's purpose isn't to sit in a bank. It's purpose is for you to spend it on things that you enjoy.

    I might have to look into joining that Lambo crowd on here... you guys are making them very appealing to me!
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2016
    Intax, Xeon, Joe Cassandra and 171 others like this.
  2. Yankees338
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    Yankees338 Bronze Contributor

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    I actually found your story pretty interesting! It seems that your POV on money is vastly different than that of many others here. You also exited the rat race pretty early on in your life. Congrats and good luck in the future.
     
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  3. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Admin Post
    Awesome story !!! ... lots of LAC's (Life Altering Choices) as well as Life Altering belief changes. :icon_super:

    Great points:
    1) Again, choices you made, and took action
    2) Geographical changes to supplement your vision
    3) Educating yourself thru books
    4) Realizing that "jobs" and the trap of corporate America's hamster wheel, are slowlane

    Time to go faster! Speed++
     
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  4. 8 SNAKE
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    8 SNAKE Contributor

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    That was a great post, Biophase! I loved the detail you showed in the progression of your mindset as you left your corporate job and transitioned into the role of an entrepreneur.
     
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  5. SteveO
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    SteveO Legendary Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I remember meeting you on a trip to Phoenix. You had told me you were on your way to LA to live.

    Great story.
     
  6. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Thanks to MJ I now have a reason to aim for $1,000,000 net worth. It's because I want to be stickied on here!
     
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  7. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I had a conversation with my Dad last year about tearing down their primary residence and building a new home. In my estimation, it would take 2 years to do with a potential profit of $500,000. In the meantime, I could rent a condo for my parents to live in for 2 years. Then they'd have a brand spanking new house in 2009 to live in. To me there was excitement in living in a brand new house and making $500,000. He just said to me, "I'll be 70 by that time." It occurred to me then that he really didn't care about making an additional $500,000 and that living in a brand new house wasn't high on his list of priorities. I really think he was thinking about wasting 2 years living in a condo.

    I live in an older community in Scottsdale. I am by far the youngest person on the block. My neighbors probably have an average age of 75. They are the nicest people and always invite me over for dinner. Being a piss poor cook, I always accept. I live in an old school community where I know all of my neighbors.

    My dinner conversations with them seem to always confirm how I feel. Life after retirement is an awakening. All the things that made you tick for 30 years are suddenly gone. You were the very important VP of marketing one day. The next day, you're just retired Bob with absolutely nothing to do and all the time to do it.

    I tell them my view on life and they say, "I'm glad you figured it out 30 years before I did." My neighbors are happy people. From our conversations, I don't believe that they worry about money anymore. They understand that their years are numbered and spend time doing things they enjoy.

    I try to find out when that turning point was. I believe that everyone has it. There is a point where you determine that "time" is more important than "money." My neighbors can never answer this. They just tell me that you just know. One day the reality of limited time on earth becomes very real. Then time>money.

    It's like in sports, every great player in starts off being the "hotshot superstar" on the team. He's scoring all the points, getting all the endorsements, MVP, big contracts, etc... At some point in their careers they begin to value "winning a championship" more than the "money" or individual stats. Look at how many great stars went to good teams taking pay cuts or becoming the bench support during the latter years in their career.
     
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  8. AJGlobal
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    AJGlobal Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    The love of the car is what got me into it but I found out after the fact that because of having one, I've met people who share the same interests as me and are trying to get to the same place I wanna go or already have been. If it was not for the lambo, I would have probably never met Mike. Good story .....keep it up. Speed for you.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 16, 2007
  9. snowbank
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    snowbank Platinum Contributor Speedway Pass

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    haha. i just got this image of you speeding around on your bike maneuvering around elderly people walking down the street with their walkers. neighbors: "you coming over for spaghetti tonight kenric?" kenric: "be there by 7" as you swerve in between wheelchairs.
     
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  10. FT1
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    FT1 New Contributor

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    Great story! Thanks for sharing.

    Fred
     
  11. AroundTheWorld
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    AroundTheWorld Be in the Moment Speedway Pass

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    I love this quote biophase. It puts some perspective on this thing called life.
     
  12. andviv
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    andviv Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    Bio, this is my new status message in my messenger 'There is a point where you determine that "time" is more important than "money"'

    Thanks for sharing; Rep++
     
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  13. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Amen! :notworthy:
     
  14. hakrjak
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    hakrjak Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Hey Buddy -- Sorry to hear you took a loss on the St. George land... That's one place I would have expected to do well, along with Mesquite Nevada just across the border. Oh well, we'll get 'em after the down turn.

    - Hakrjak
     
  15. WheelsRCool
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    WheelsRCool Contributor

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    Great story, speed++ for you!
     
  16. michael515
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    michael515 Contributor

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    :iagree: One thing I love about this forum. They get me to realize that I'm not alone in this adventerous journey.
     
  17. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    *Bump* because there are some epic thoughts in the story ... for all those new here.
     
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  18. CactusWren
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    CactusWren Contributor

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    Hey Kenric,

    We need an update, please!
     
  19. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Hey Cactus,

    I'll post an update real soon. Truthfully, I haven't done that much since 2006. Of course that's probably a matter of opinion. Thanks for asking for an update, it will make me reflect on the past 2 years.
     
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  20. SteveO
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    SteveO Legendary Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    We have played a lot of golf and softball. Seems like you have done a significant amount! :hurray:
     
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  21. AroundTheWorld
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    AroundTheWorld Be in the Moment Speedway Pass

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    yes, and then there is the time spend solving the mysterious house guest visits..... and dreaming of a different kind of humane society....
     
  22. Jbellefeuille
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    Awesome. I am 21 and a beginner. I just bought my first home and am renting it out but am currently unable to cash flow it - costs me about $400 per month. I luckily bought it at a discount in Sep. 06' and am renting out 2/3 bedrooms, if I could have waited another 6 months I would have been able to get it for less possibly, but I am happy with my purchase. I am glad to hear stories like these because it reconfirms that I am not crazy, or at least not the only one.

    Sadly, being a full-time student and needing to pay the mortgage after loosing my job at the beginning of the year reiterates you statement about when things are bad....

    I hope that I can be where you are when I am 33 - hell why not 29 ;-)

    Great success story!!!!
     
  23. Jbellefeuille
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    Jbellefeuille New Contributor

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    Change is good - This is the type of change needed.

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9l-YYqjhVi4[/ame]
     
  24. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Ah you brought this up again... :)

    Quick background... my house has some mice, rats or a ghost. At night I hear 3 types of sounds, loud bumps, scratching and a sound like pebbles dropping onto tile.

    I talked to my neighbor and she has loud bumps in her house too. So I've concluded that the loud bumps are due to some weird home construction. I need to talk to my other neighbors.

    The scratching is definitely mice or rats. Laid down some poison bait this weekend. Will wait a week and see if I still hear it.

    Now the pebble dropping...

    While talking to my neighbor about the bumps, I found out that 2 owners before did have a death of a child due to some medical issue. I was too afraid to ask if it was in the house. Don't want to know.

    While watching Ghost Hunters on SciFi last week, they were investigating a haunted home. The one guy Grant says, did you hear that? It sounds like a pebble dropping on the floor in the laundry room. That made my hair stand.

    Hadn't heard the pebble sound for over a month, but I thought I heard it last night. I think my dog heard it to cause he got up and went to investigate before I did.

    So yeah, maybe I have been busy...
     
  25. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    My 2008 update

    So let's see... I left off in 2006 where I was settling down in Phoenix. The real estate market had started to take its downturn.

    Here my plug for why everyone should attend the Fastlane Beer and Pancakes Future Meetings...

    In March 2006 I went to the first Rich Dad get together and met Robert Kiyosaki. It was great to finally meet the people who I had been chatting with on the forums for over 4 years.

    During this meeting I learn alot about everything. I mean I had no idea what direction I was going. I just listened to all the presentations and talked to many people. I didn't learn alot of detail. But I understood concepts and got just enough direction to know what to search for on Google and what forums to visit.

    Who would have actually thought that people made horrible, incoherent webpages on purpose? But guess what, if the user can't read your page, he'll click onto the ad which is the only thing perfectly legible and grammatically correct!

    Before this meeting, making money online was foreign to me. But after this meeting, it opened my eyes to a whole new industry. I started the simple way and put Adsense on my blog. A few dollars later, I tried affiliate marketing, I tried a few simple sites here and there.

    I can't sit at home all day. Since the real estate market was declining and I wasn't buying. I didn't do much during the days except read alot online. I actually went and got a job at the end of 2006. When I got the job I was envisioning the great benefits of it...

    Being able to get full doc loans!

    Isn't it crazy that getting full doc loans was the first thing I thought of? It really was. However, within 2 months, I went to my boss and told him that I just can't do a 9-5 and wanted to quit. We compromised and I was able to work from home and set my own hours. But after 8 months I left. I can't believe I lasted that long.

    I realized that what I really wanted now was to be geographically free. This came from wanting travel to Chicago in the summers and live in Scottsdale in the winters. I also wanted to spend summers in Crested Butte, CO. In order for me to live there or live anywhere I wanted I realized that I needed an income stream that was location independent.

    At this point, my blog and my little internet sites were pulling in a whopping $40/mo. It's not much, but the best thing about the $40/mo was that it was generated blogging. Of course, blogging only requires a computer and an internet connection.

    BINGO! location independent income!

    That was it. I wanted a business that can be run from a laptop and an internet connection. So I started looking online for an internet business to buy. Since I did not know anything about running an online store, I thought that buying a store would be the easy way to start out. But after a few months of looking and talking to owners who either asked for too much money or really didn't want to sell, I started my own.

    Honestly, I didn't know what I was doing. I downloaded free software for my store, messed around with it, stuck some Paypal buttons on it, called a few manufacturers. I was just winging it. I launched with an imperfect store. But that's ok. If you wait until everything is 100% perfect you'll never open.

    As weeks passed, I added Authorize.net, SSL, a toll-free number, a UPS account, a fax line, etc... Now my store is a full fledged legitimate online store with all the bells and whistles.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2016
    Bekit, Roz, Smuggo and 31 others like this.

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