Little Background About Me
My name is Mike and I’m a 30-something American living overseas in Europe. My goal is to make a living online, quit my job and become location independent.
This Blog is about how its done and how you can too…
I currently work for a ‘3-letter’ agency for the US Government. While I can’t say I fall in the ‘I hate my job’ category, after 8 years I definitely have lost my passion for it (maybe because I’m an entrepreneur at heart).
Rather then bitch and moan, I’m doing something about it. I decided to turn my new passion for internet business and travel into multiple real-life online businesses that make real money.
I created this blog is to show others, including you, that it’s possible to start multiple online businesses in ones spare time and to encourage YOU to do it too. After all, if I can start 3…you can start one!
Timeline Of My Entrepreneur Past:
Age 10 (1989)
I Got My First Job Delivering Newspapers
- I delivered newspapers in my neighborhood at 5am every day (365 days a year)
- I made $50 per week (1 hr per day)
- This is definitely where my work ethic comes from…
Age 15 (1994)
I Purchased My First Business
- Business #1
- I bought a lawn mowing business from my buddy for $2000 (clients and equipment)
- I used my paper route money to buy the business
- I made $450 per week (about 15 hrs of work per week)
- At age 15 (in 1994), I was making $30/hr. WOW!
- This is where I learned self employment is much more profitable…
Age 16 (1996)
Quit The Paper Route – Started a Second Business
- Business #2
- Quit paper route – lets face it, getting up at 5 am sucks
- Started ‘Edge King’ – business focusing on a much needed but very underutilized market
- I made $50+ per job (jobs average 1 hr each)
- $50 per hour at age 16!
- This is where I learned to find a Niche in the market…
Age 18 (1998)
University Time (Beer and Studying)
- Attended Purdue University (& Oregon State & Community College & Indiana University….long story)
- Studied Law & Business
- Sold off my lawn mowing business (move to Oregon) but kept my Edge King equipment.
Age 19 (1999)
Started A House Painting Business
- Business #3
- Partnered with a buddy, hired a bunch of friends and started painting houses
- Went hands off (physically painting, not managing)
- My first attempt at a business partnership…
- Made $10,000+ in one summer as a manager
- This is where I learned partnering with a friend in business is challenging…
Age 20 (2000)
Started Back-Up Niche Business (Edge King)
- Worked Spring, Summer and Fall (budgeted $ and took winters off)
- Commuted 3 hrs every work day and it sucked (non class days)
- Hired friends, became more efficient and averaged $80 / hr at age 20!
Age 21 (2001)
- Borrowed $3000, purchased Lawn Equipment to start up mowing business again
- Quickly generated plenty of reoccurring clients
- I love the freedom to work when I want and make upwards of $50/hr while in college
- Downside, I did have to commute 3 hrs every work day from college (only 2 days per week)
- The mowing business complimented my ‘Edge King’ business quite well.
Age 23 (2003)
- Decided NOT to go to Law School
- Decided to give Federal Law Enforcement / Inelegance (007 Secret Agent…you know) a try
- Started applying for related career jobs (law / inelegance related)
- Realized…no way to become entrepreneur in this field (Govt holds a monopoly)
Age 23 (2003)
Started First Online eCommerce Store
- Business #4 (Spoiler Alert: This is the one that failed)
- Self taught myself HTML (internet coding language) from a book
- Coded and built a VERY PRIMITIVE site selling College Memorabilia to Fraternities and Sororities.
- I basically spammed the email accounts of Frats and Sororities around the US to advertise
- After 5 months…I closed the doors due to lack of sale and a lack of true interest beyond profits
Age 24 (2004)
Became a Private Investigator
- Sold my Lawn Care business (client list & equipment)
- Moved to Florida, became a Licensed Private Investigator
- Investigated Insurance Fraud cases
- I now have unlimited crazy stories…for another time
- Quit 6 months later due to pay related issues
Age 25 (2005)
Became a Real Estate Investor
- Business #5
- Real estate market was booming so I learned the ropes quickly
- Bought first property for $6,000 (all-in)
- Bought a series of other properties over the next 3 years
- Made enough money to pay off $30,000+ in debt (college, business, personal)!
Age 28 (2008)
Hired By ‘3-Letter’ Agency (US Government)
- After 6 years of applications, interviews, background investigations…I got hired!
- Yep, you read that right…6 years!
- Can’t say who it is perilously I work for or what exactly I do but…
- FYI…in reality, my job isn’t as glamorous as its portraid on television.
- …and NO I don’t pretend to be James Bond (although that would be cool if it was real)
Age 29 (2009)
First Overseas Travel
- Flew to Korea, Hong Kong & The Philippines w/ a girlfriend of mine at the time.
- Since that trip I have been obsessed with cultures and International Travel
- Have since (through 2015) traveled to 30+ Countries on 5 Continents.
Age 32 (2012)
My ‘3-Letter’ Agency Job Was No Longer Fun
- After about 5 years on-the-job, the politics of this type of work started to get old
- The excitement of carrying a gun and ‘chasing terrorists’ wore off
- The realization of 25+ more years of ‘more-of-the-same’ started to appear like a prison sentence
- I NEEDED A WAY OUT!
Age 33 (2013)
Started Exploring Ways To Earn Income Online
- Read The 4 – Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris – Highly Recommended Read!
- Read many Travel Blogs & realized some were making an online income from them
- Realized eCommerce Stores were real, legitimate and could be very profitable
- Started to believe location independence through earning money online was the solution…
Age 34 (2014)
Started a Travel Blog
- My Vagabonding Mike blog was my answer to earning an online income.
- I saw others earning money from travel blogging and it was a topic I’m passionate about
- Passed up on purchasing a $499 course which helps teach the proper way of monetizing a blog
- Figured I could save a little money and learn it all on my own
Age 35 (March, 2015)
Epic Failure: Blog Profits…ZERO
- After 14 months, 150+ page and 50+ blog posts…Epic Failure ensued.
- The Blog was monetarily a bust of epic proportions.
- I earned ZERO profit
- I was now no closer to quitting my job & being location independent.
- Lesson Learned: Always let others help you…even if it costs money (in the form of a course)
Age 35 (August, 2015)
Drop Shipping IS The Answer
- In 2013, I chose Travel Blogging over eCommerce/Drop Shipping…OOOPS!
- Learning from prior mistakes, I purchased the leading Drop Shipping Course on the market.
- I immediately started building my Drop Ship store and had it running within 2 months.
- I received my first order within 2 weeks of opening!
- Things are looking good…
Age 36 (January, 2016)
Drop Shipping, Blog, Podcast, Still Employed…Oh My
- Its been 4 months since I opened my first Drop Ship Store
- Realized my products were seasonal…AKA sales will pick up in the spring
- I still have no firm source of income, thus I’m still slaving away, 50 hrs a week at my J.O.B.
- I have plans to open 2 new Drop Ship Stores by June 2016 (Goal: $3k profit / month)
- February 15 is my ‘go-live’ date for this blog right here.
- March 1 will be my ‘go-live’ date for my new Podcast: eCommerce Quick Tip$
- Its gonna be a BUUUUSSSSSSYYYYY next few months…
Age 38 (Today…2018)
eBay Drop Shipping…IS The Answer
- In Fall of 2016, I switched from drop shipping on Shopify to drop shipping on eBay.
- The Shopify business model works but you see result A LOT FASTER on eBay (within days).
- I learned you can scale drop shipping on eBay a lot faster as well.
- I was making $1500 net within a few months (results will vary of course and they depend on a number of factors)!
- Within a little over a year I had my first $10k net profit month (March 2018).
- My resignation paperwork (from the day job) is ready for my to submit at any time.
- I’ve found so much success, I made a course to teach others how they can do the same.
So that’s my life in a nut shell.
If your interested in starting your own online business, you can find the course I personally used to get started here. If you’d just like to follow along, I post on my blog regularly and also have a podcast called eCommerce Quick Tip$. You can also find all the products I personally use and love over on my resources page.
Have a timeline story of your own to share? Tell the world in the comment section below.