The American Dream is defined as “the ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative.” I believe in that dream, and it’s my goal to redefine it in such a way that it applies to anyone with internet access. In other words: The World Dream.
At one time or another, we’ve all dreamt about making money and living a life that will give us the freedom we desire. But what have we done to achieve that? If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent hours upon hours going to school, working for “the man”, reading blogs, watching videos, testing the waters, maybe even starting your own business or website with not much to show for it. So is this lifestyle a reality, or is it just a dream? This is the mystery I intend to solve, and I’m bringing you guys along for the ride. Are you coming with me?
A Little Bit about Me
Imagine for a minute, the American Dream: Go to school, get a degree, land your dream job, buy your first home, take out an auto loan, a boat loan, get a couple credit cards, get married, have a kid, work by day, go out with friends by night. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? That was my life up until a few years ago, and I honestly believed everything was going great. Having just turned 32, I was living the dream. With 4 years military service, and 10 years at my career job as a network administrator, I was confident that things could only go up from there, but I was wrong… dead wrong!
Losing My Job, and More
In June of 2012, I lost my job. I was devastated. I had never planned for this, nor did I think it could ever happen. But there I was, applying for unemployment, and trying to pick up the pieces. After months of searching for a new job, I made a huge decision to follow my heart and start my own business doing something that I loved: Storage Auctions.
At the time, Storage Auctions were just a side-income hobby of mine for many years, well before the advent of Storage Wars. With nothing to hold me back, and years of experience, I decided to take a leap of faith and dive in head first. I took out a $25,000 loan from my retirement account and by October of 2012 I had started a business with my partner, leased a 5,000 sq. foot warehouse, and set sail on a new chapter in my life.
Within days of starting my business, my father had a terrible stroke that put him in the hospital indefinitely. Bouncing back and forth between hospital visits and running my business, I somehow managed to get off the ground and into the black by January 2013. By April, I was pulling in over $6,000 per month and things were only getting better. Then tragedy struck once again. After 9 months, and many ups and downs, my father passed away.
From Success to Bankruptcy
From a rough June 2012, to a heart-breaking June 2013, my life started to take on new meanings. I closed our business for a few weeks while attending to family matters, and soon got back to business as usual. Immediately, our loyal customers came back in droves and things were looking up. Working out of a warehouse in the form of a thrift store was great, but we had better product than that, and we had an idea!
In early August we signed a lease on a new 2,000 sq. ft store-front in a redevelopment area looking to gentrify. The plan was simple: I would stay and run the warehouse as a thrift store, and my partner would run the new location with all of our fancier storage auction finds. This way we could appeal to both our low-end and high-end customers. Brilliant!
I spent the entire month of August helping to set up the new location as well as doing a complete remodel on our warehouse. Unfortunately, I soon realized that I couldn’t run the warehouse by myself and had to make a tough decision. Do I renew the lease on the warehouse that was slated to end in September? Feeling overwhelmed, and completely clueless to the obvious choice of hiring help, I decided to liquidate the warehouse and focus all of my energy on the new location.
Within just a few months of launching our new store, things weren’t going well at all. We switched business models from storage auction thrift to picking antiques, vintage, and collectible items. In the meantime, we lost our old customer base, and weren’t very successful finding a new one. The neighborhood was not the target market for us, and our target clientele were not willing to travel to this neighborhood.
After throwing away all of our profits into this new venture, I saw the writing on the wall. In December 2013 I had no choice but to file for bankruptcy. It was a tough decision, but I was out of funds, and out of ideas. With the help of rent from vendors and consignment commissions, we managed to keep the business afloat through the end of the lease in August 2014, roughly 6 months ago. Sadly, we closed up shop, and once again I was left jobless and broke.
Re-Evaluating My Life
Having nothing to show for the past 2 and half years, I had to sit down recently and re-evaluate my life. For starters, I have learned a lot about the things that are important in life and the things that are not. I have also gained valuable experience that you can only attain by doing, and not just dreaming. With that in mind, I have spent the past six months researching various options for my future and I have set myself new goals.
New Plan – Passive Income
The idea of passive income is not a new one for me. In fact, I bet it’s not a new idea to you either. Essentially, the goal is to make money while you sleep, or travel, or whatever it is that you want to do. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But it isn’t. There are thousands upon thousands of people living this dream right now and I want to be one of them. In fact, I demand to be one of them!
In a typical job, you work 40 hours per week and get paid for 40 hours per week. With residual or passive income, you work 40 hours one time and reap profits on that work indefinitely. To make passive income, you put in a lot of work up front, and reap the rewards for as long as your work is valued by others. There are hundreds of ways to develop a passive income, and I plan on using this blog as a platform to publicly try them out. Some tactics won’t make me a dime, some will make me a couple bucks. Other effort will make me a living income, and the right idea could make me a millionaire.
Yes, it is a dream, but it’s one that I will no longer hope for, but one that I will actively work towards. Instead of being a passive dreamer, I will be an active participant, working towards my dream of passive income. I am taking the wheel and steering towards success!
Starting things out, I will dive right in to some of my current attempts at passive income and see what sticks. I have three requirements for every attempt at developing residual income, and they are: Location Independence, Time Independence, and Scalability.
- Location Independence:
Having spent the majority of my life in a cubicle, I want my future income to give me the ability to move freely at a moments notice. In order to accomplish this, I must find work that does not require my physical presence. The internet is perfect for this dream as it allows you to sell to anyone, from anywhere. Whether it be through a drop-shipping e-commerce site, an affiliate site, or a maybe ad revenue from a blog, I refuse to let work tie me down!
- Time Independence:
As with most people, sometimes I feel like doing something, and other times I don’t. I don’t want to box myself into an 8 hour window where I have to work. I would rather work when inspiration strikes, or when I’m feeling up to it. This doesn’t mean I plan on slacking off and watching tv all day. This just means that I want to control my time and how I spend it. Making money on the internet will give me this flexibility, where my previous business did not.
Last, but not least, I need my effort to be scaleable. If I stumble across something that makes me money, I want to ramp it up quickly and efficiently to maximize my profits before competition gets too fierce or I lose interest. Sometimes a simple idea can make you a little money. If you can scale it up and automate it, that simple idea can make you BIG money!
Yes, this is the road less traveled. But I have lived the American Dream and it is not for me. My dream is different, and I will settle for nothing less. Many have tried, and many have failed. I don’t think there’s anything that makes me any different. I’m just a regular guy, affected by the economy, looking for a better way. I may find it, or I may not.
In 6 months this blog might be a ghost town of a dream lost, with only this post as a reminder that I once even had a dream. Or, in 6 months I might look back on this with newfound wisdom, skills, and a little bit of passive income. One year from now I could be making enough money live comfortably. Two years from now I could be making enough money to live a life of travel and adventure. Three years from now I could have more money than I know what to do with!
At that same time, you might be reading this post, wondering — What if?
If you’re interested in learning more about storage auctions, I have recently written a book titled Storage Auction Authority. I am also currently working on a web course to compliment the book: Storage Auction Academy. This is one of many of my first steps towards building an online passive income.