I was one of those kids who was constantly working even from a young age. My first “job” at 10 was selling cards from the back of a comic book so that I could get a remote controlled car. Eventually I sold enough cards to get a remote controlled car and I was on my way! My next job was a paper route and that was way tougher than I ever thought, but the tips and Christmas bonuses made the early morning and long hours worthwhile. I saved my money for one the new computers coming out (a Vic 20) and instantly became the neighborhood geek. I also purchased a Timex Sinclair, Commodore 64, and Apple 3 along the way. This was also the start of programming for me – BASIC and even some Assembly.
I then added mowing lawns and appliance repair to the paper route over the next 3-5 years and was saving for had my first car. I bought my first car while my parents were out of town – a wreck of a Chevy Nova with stick shift. I had watched the school bus drivers shift and was confident that I could get my new car home, which I did. Unfortunately it didn’t pass inspection and would cost thousands to make it pass, so I had to sell it for parts. I wound up making a 3-4x profit just by selling it for parts.
Getting Started Online
I got started online when there were 300 baud modems (yes…a LONG time ago). I learned to program in BASIC and assembly language during my teen years, which would come in very handy for tech school.
I was sitting in the basement of my parent’s house around 1980 using one of my computers to connect to another computer over the single phone line. Inevitably someone would pick up a phone elsewhere in the house and my magical connection to another world was gone. My favorite computer of the day was my Apple 3 because it could run Apple 2+ programs through emulation and I could build boards to expand it. One of my first boards that I built was a voice synthesizer, which was coupled with some Assembly code to make it speak.
When I graduated tech school in Pittsburgh I took a contract job that allowed me to see 54+ countries in 5 years courtesy of the U.S. Government. Those 5 years were truly amazing and I learned more than I could ever imagine during my travels.
After I left that amazing job I got into computers – more specifically networking. I learned quickly and within a few years became one of maybe 400 people in the world that was a Banyan engineer (it was a hugely popular networking system in the early 90’s). I even learned how to use a Sniffer to diagnose network traffic, which was essential with token-ring.
I got involved with domain names in the late 90’s, started buying a few domains, and found I was making money from them via ads and selling them. I grew my domain portfolio quickly and at one point owned over 10,000 domains, but have since trimmed down my portfolio to around 4,000 domains.
People always ask me if there’s money in domains – I’ve made over $1,000,000 selling my own domains without even having a website on them. I created a course on this – click HERE to open Domain Dough in a new tab.
Online Full Time
I’ve been working online full-time since approximately 2005, but really started moving towards this around 2003-2004. In the years before going full time I had a consulting business where I primarily wrote code (ASP). One of my biggest clients was the Apple & Eve juice company based in New York.
There was a point when I was dealing strictly with domains that I began to get involved with internet marketing since they went together. One of the earliest marketing events I went to was Yanik’s Underground Seminar in 2004. It was at that event where I was voted the “Secret Agent” (Yanik had all attendees fill out a form) by most all attendees due to my domain knowledge.
I’ve made a ton of friends over the years in that space and continue to do so. I’ve also been interviewed many times by prominent people in the domain space (Monte Cahn and others) and the internet marketing space (Yanik Silver, Ryan Lee, and others) and feel very fortunate to know many amazing people in these two worlds.
In 2012 I caught the eye of one of the best and most famous internet marketers out there – Ryan Lee. He asked me to do a few webinars for his private group about WordPress and then another on generating traffic – we had a blast! Later that year he invited me to speak at his marketing event Dot Com Expo (DCX) – I couldn’t believe it! I did a presentation to a full room of people and got great feedback on my presentation about 7Search (now a defunct ad platform).
It was at Ryan’s event that I met and became friends with two other amazing guys – Noah Kagan and Neville Medhora. I don’t think Noah needs much of an introduction, but if you don’t know him just Google his name or visit OkDork.com. Neville is a great copywriter and has been doing stuff online forever. It’s been fun getting to know them both over the years and always interesting when Noah texts me 🙂
Currently I run around 100 live websites, maintain a large portfolio of domains, market digital products I’ve created, market other people’s products using affiliate networks (like CJ, Clickbank, Peerfly, etc..,), lead generation, and much more.
I’m a recognized expert in the field of domain names and have been hired by multiple large corporations to help with their domain strategy, acquisition, and even selling. I’m also a recognized expert at SEO, SEM, domains, WordPress, lead generation, and plenty of other really cool stuff. When it comes to buying traffic I use many methods such as PPV (contextual), PPC, banners, media buys, mobile marketing, and much more.
Read more about my areas of expertise here: http://marketingfools.com/my-expertise/
In the past I was working with a new start-up every 1-3 years and loved the fact that my domains and marketing gave me the freedom to do that. In late 2015 I exited a startup and am not sure I’ll do another one (it takes a LOT of time & effort), but if the right opportunity presents itself I’ll probably jump back in.
So if you’re on the fence about working for yourself, trust me it’s worth it! Like anything in life there will be challenges, but when you push through them you’ll feel a true sense of accomplishment.