Welcome to another interview! Today we will be interviewing Stefan, a successful individual that has a full time job and managed to build a lucrative part time business. If you are looking to start a side hustle and make money online as your part time gig, this is something you want to check out.
- He was able to build nice $7000/month side income while only working 4 hours
- He started out small and kept on building it – and not giving up
- While he was making good money at his full time job, he doesn’t like it too much
- He is looking to transition to just working on his online business now.
Thanks for taking the time to take on this interview. Why don’t you introduce yourself?
Hi my name is Stefan and I live in Los Angeles. I think my story is a little different than most people you hear about making money on the Internet.
For one I did not have a lemonade stand when I was a kid or some lifelong ambition to be an entrepreneur. My family didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up and for the most part my parents did not hold me or my siblings to any expectations in school.
So like most kids with no one to holding me accountable I did just enough to get by through my school years and barely graduated High school.
Not to say I wasn’t intelligent, mostly just disinterested and unambitious.
One thing I really did have going for me was a love for reading and a desire to no longer be broke.
I started reading self-help books and biographies on successful people after high school and that started to fire up my ambition a bit more.
Back then, I was working in jobs that were low paying manual labor but decided to try to break into a computer support career.
At the time there was a high demand for IT people so you just need to pass a few Microsoft certifications and you could get a job in Technical support or as an IT Help Desk person. This was the first time I decided to pursue a career instead of just a job and try to make enough money where I didn’t have to constantly stress about bills and go further into credit card debt.
I made up for all that slacking in High school and became obsessed with learning more and advancing my IT career. I cut out all my friends who just wanted to party all the time and just focused on learning. On evenings and weekends, I would just study and pass more and more IT certifications. This allowed me to quickly advance into higher levels of IT Engineering and Security and was my first break through to the magical world of 6 figures.
Every poor kids like me dream of what it means to make it big! LOL
Eventually, with more experience, I was able to work for some larger companies and my salary continued to grow. I currently work in high level IT Security on the studio lot in LA of one of the most famous and well-known Entertainment companies in the world.
Can you tell us more about your side gig?
So as I said my story is a little different than most people you hear about making money online. Typically, you hear from people like that after they are already having tremendous success online. I have not even quit my day job yet!
I have read all those online marketing guru blogs and I wanted to know how did those people reach that level in the first place? In the beginning when things were not completely clicking yet, what did they struggle with?
How did they get over those hurdles to reach the amazing success they are having online now? So I decided I want to do something a bit different. I am going to show you how I achieved the modest success online I’m starting to see right now. I am going to show you what’s working for me and what’s not working for me right now.
I am also going to show you in real time how I quit my job and transition into an Online career full time so you experience it with me along the way and apply what you can to your situation.
So my side gig to make a long story short is client lead generation.
And what that is getting service business new clients online and getting paid for it.
I go into much more details on my blog like: How to get your first client if you suck at sales (which I do).
So right now I only have 3 clients. And my best one of them now generates me between $6,000 and $7,000 a month. The other 2 are more modest but I am working on growing them as well.
One of my issues is I don’t have time to get more clients with the demands of my full time job so that is why I will be quitting in the next 3-4 months and showing everyone that whole process.
You are making good money with the company you are working with. Why do you have plans to leave?
So getting back to my career story quickly. I was (am) making an amazing salary and working for a famous and exciting company but I am still extremely dissatisfied. I realized that while my career is lucrative it is not really personally fulfilling to me and worst of all it is taking up ALL of my time.
I spend over 2 hours a day in LA traffic to get to and from work. Then the work day itself is about 9 hours. So that is 11-12 hours of my day, 5 days a week dedicated just to my job. Not only that but when you work in IT you are expected to rotate an “on call”. So many of my precious evenings and weekends are also eaten up by the demands of work.
Now I realize to some people this may sound whiny. And in reality this is the best IT job I have ever had. My company is great, I get paid very well and most IT people would kill to work here. But what I have realized is though you need to be grateful for what you have in life, you cannot let it stop you from pursuing new and possibly better opportunities.
I talk about it in detail in a blog post I wrote but once you see people who are living this new age Internet lifestyle and you accept its possible for you, it’s really hard to accept going back to working 5 days a week, 9 hours a day for the next 25-30 years.
I compare it to the scene in the Matrix. Once NEO takes the red pill he sees the world as it really is. If he would have taken the blue pill he could of just stuck with a ‘normal’ comfortable, safe life.
Books like the ‘4 Hour Workweek’ and even guys like you, Kenny who make a living online and have complete control of your time, have shown me The Matrix, and now there is no going back for me.
What do you think is the hardest thing about starting a business for people that have a day job?
There are many challenges to starting your own business while you are still trying to do a day job. Here are 3 of the biggest.
After dedicating 9-11 hours a day (with commute) to your full time job, you have very little free time left for your friends, family and personal matters. So having to too put even more time into an online business which you are not even sure will work or not can be very tough.
The way I did it was with an obsessive focus on efficiency both in my day job and online business. The time I saved being efficient in my day job I would use towards my side gig.
Keeping yourself motivated can be very difficult while starting a side business. At first you might not see much success and that’s when doubts can creep in. I am working this hard and have not seen any results, why don’t I just watch some Netflix? But you have to go for small consistent wins and keep yourself motivated!
Write down and look at your end goals every day. Seek out and befriend as many people as possible who are having success in the exact area of the online world you want to be successful in.
3. Not giving up.
This in my opinion is the most important factor between those who are successful online and those who are not. Remember you are seeing the end result of many of these people who are now rich online.
You did not see their early struggles that may have been worse then what you are experiencing now. What separates these people who made it vs those that did not is simple. They just DIDN’T QUIT!
I was working my ass off for months and barely making any money. Meanwhile I was seeing other people who started after me making more money and quicker. It was very tempting for me to quit but imagine if I did? Well unfortunately that is what most people do and that is why they won’t see success online.
It is a huge challenge, especially for those who also work full time but you can never ever quit until you reach your online business goals.
How hard was it for you to get started?
It is really not that difficult to get started. There is so many online trainings and strategies on how to make money online. Speaking of the client lead generation courses that I have took, most of them are pretty good and if you go all in and follow their steps you will do well.
Most people that complain about them not working have not actually applied everything they have been trained because it’s a lot of work. Yes, I would say getting started is easy. The really challenge is not giving up once you get started.
I think a strategy to help you with that is to go for small wins and keep track every month how much you make and how well you do. For example if your first goal is to make $10,000 a month and 4 months later you are only making $2,000 a month this might feel like a failure.But if you start off going after small wins you are less likely to get discouraged. For example, my first month goal is to make my first $100 online. My 3rd month goal is to make my first thousand. My 7th month my first $5 thousand etc…
At the end of the year when you look back at each month you tracked you will see all the steady progress you made and it should motivate you to keep going.
Can you provide 3 actionable steps for people that are interested in Google Adwords marketing?
Yes, that’s a great question. So I offer my clients a combination of SEO stuff and paid advertising like Google Adwords. If you can find a client that is willing to spend money on Google Ads that is great because you can start getting them leads right away where sometimes SEO takes a bit of time to start seeing good results.
On the other hand you have to at least have some idea of what you are doing with paid advertising because you can blow their budget if you don’t.
So here are some tips:
1) Niche down and Brand at the Start
When you are starting up a brand new AD campaign for a client you might be competing in a really tough field like let’s say Lawyers. Now that is going to be a budget buster.
So even if your client practices multiple types of law, pick one specific branch of law and brand them as the ‘go to’ person in their city for that particular niche. Created Ads and Landing pages that make it seem like that’s the one and ONLY type of law they do.
This has worked great for one of my clients. I branded him as the Attorney who only does ‘x’ type of law. We even went a step further by saying we only do ‘x’ type of law for ‘x’ type of people (business owners in this case).
You would not believe how many people mention they hired him just because he ONLY handles their types of cases.
2) Focus on conversions
From the very start you have to focus on conversions. Your client does not care about the CTR or Quality Score you got them. All they care about is if the money they are investing in you and the ads are resulting in new clients for them and a good ROI.
This means you must pay attention to the entire funnel, from when someone clicks on your AD, to the Landing Page, to their contacting your client and how the call is closed.
I learned this lesson many times over. First my Ads were doing well but then realized conversions on my landing pages needed to be improved. After that was fixed, realized that the client was not doing a good job handling and closing the leads.
Remember even though it’s their responsibility to close the leads it’s in your best interest to help them make sure the entire process is optimized. If you are getting them leads and they are not closing them they will see the whole project as a bad ROI for them and possibly discontinue your service even though you did a good job getting the leads to contact them.
3) Hire a Professional when the time is right
After doing the Ads for a few years and getting pretty good at them I didn’t think I needed any help. But a friend convinced me to bring on a contractor who would work on my Ads a few hours a week. This guy has worked on Adwords campaigns for huge companies that spend millions in paid advertising.
So I decided to give him a try. The results after a few months were clear. It’s better to pay someone who is an expert at this particular thing and let them handle it. I pay my person $250 a month (at first it was $400 a month but it is now just in maintenance mode) and I make about $6,000 – $7,000 on the campaign. It also frees up my time so I don’t have to work on the Adwords which I don’t really have a passion for.
What were some difficult things you encountered while trying to scale the business?
I am going through those difficulties now. It is extremely hard to scale the business when you still have a full time job and family commitments. So I would say time is still my biggest hurdle when it comes to scaling.
That is the main reason I started my blog so people could see these struggles as I am having them and maybe learn something from them that they can apply to their own situations. Another difficulty I have had with scaling is probably a common one and that is hiring good people to help.
Besides my Adwords consultant who I really just leave alone for the most part and let him do his thing, I have had challenges finding people who can really deliver on what they promise.
When I do find good people I really try to take good care of them. After I quit my job and my time frees up, finding good people to help me scale will be a major focus of mine.
What are some tips you can give people with day jobs on how they can manage their time so they can work on their side business?
Wow I wrote a huge blog post on this exact topic because its so important and I feel I am really good at this particular subject. Now every situation is different. Obviously if you work on a construction site or something, it’s going to be hard to work on your side business. For people in those cases there is no getting around it. They will just have to work on their onine business at night and on the weekends.
But for people like me who work in an office with a computer in front of them all day I have some good tips. First thing is you have to take back control of your time. In an office setting people will waste half your day if you let them. One of the biggest culprits for time wasting is meetings. You have to go out of you way to get out of as many useless meetings as possible.
The second thing after getting control back of your time is to become super-efficient. Instead of getting distracted 10-20 minutes out of every hour with Cat videos on Youtube like your co-workers, you have to resist that. Instead tackle the difficult job tasks that have a real impact and when they get done your management notices. Then use that extra time you save at work to put in time for your online 20-30 minutes every day.
Third is you are just going to have to sacrifice some of your personal time to succeed. I am actually doing this interview right now from a coffee shop on my lunch break LOL. Now would I rather be relaxing or reading on my break? Of course! But I know that to be able to quit my job and get ALL of my free time back Im going to have to sacrifice some more of it right now. That means working at night, on the weekends and yes, sometimes even on my lunch break.
What books do you recommend people read that will help them?
Wow! There are so many good books on Internet Marketing and living this new age Online entrepreneurial lifestyle. I buy as many as I can so I’ll just give you some of the ones that are more specific to what I focus on, quitting your job for an online lifestyle.
The End of Jobs. I just got done reading this so its fresh in my mind. This book talks about how the ‘safe’ option is actually the entrepreneur route as opposed to the salaried worker and should help ease some of your fears about quitting your day job.
The 10 Pillars of Wealth. This book is from Alex Becker, a guy I learned a lot of my SEO skills from. He does not go into much technical detail in this book however. Its more about the mindsets, beliefs and actions you need to take to be wealthy.
The 4 Hour WorkWeek. This is kind of the ‘grandfather’ of Internet Lifestyle books. The author catches a lot of heat for his over hype and some of the criticism is warranted. But this book will always have a special place in my heart because it’s the first one I recall reading that exposed me to all these possibilities. I still like to crack it open for a read at least once a year.
Last but not least, is there anything you want to share with the community?
Yes. If you are a beginner or new to this there is a voice in your head even as your reading this. That voice is firing off doubt after doubt and excuse after excuse. “This will never work for me”, “This guy just got lucky”, “Making money online is a scam” etc…etc…
How do I know this? Because I have heard that voice many, many times in my own head. It’s the main reason why I have not achieved the success I expect much faster. We ALL hear it but the people who succeed in this are the ones who don’t let that voice deter them and just keep going. There is always going to be an excuse why someone else is making it online and you can’t. They are smarter, more charismatic, they already had money, they got lucky, they had mentors, and the list is endless.
But guess what? It goes the other way to. For every excuse you have there is a person making it online right now that’s proving you wrong. So if your excuse is your too shy, you have to ask yourself is there anyone shyer then me that has made money online?
If you don’t feel smart enough are you telling me there is not one single person out of the thousands who make money online that you are not smarter then? Not likely. Once you see it like that you can help combat the doubts in your head and just go for it. Lastly, I think there are two keys to not only success online but success in any aspect of life.
One, define clearly, what your goal is and what it is you want. Two, never ever stop working until you reach that goal. Of course there are hundreds of things in between but it really can be simplified to those two basic principles.
So get to it! If a guy who barely graduated High school like me can do it then I know you can to!