Beginning on April 1, 2011 I decided to embark on an endeavor to create a blog that gives back all the knowledge I have accumulated over the past 15 years as an applications developer. I also want to share my experiences and failures as a growing entrepreneur for the past few years.
So begins lifeinthegrid.com…
Quality vs Quantity
I think we can all agree that the internet is flooded with individuals generating quick articles in an effort to get a fast back link and make a quick buck. If you spend any amount of time searching for a basic subject it’s amazing how much junk you have to sift through to actually find super high quality content. While Google and most search engines do a good job of weeding out junk, it is still very prevalent.
My goal is to join the slow growing number of producers who produce high-quality content. Those who are more interested in giving back, than just trying to sell the next make me a millionaire product. I hope to create a vibrant community of readers, listeners and watchers who can really take away high-quality information and always come back looking for more.
So here I am, almost 36 and ready to give back to the world. Before I share my journey let me explain some of the mind shifts that have lead me up to this point and some that I’m making along the way. My journey really started close to 10 years ago around the ripe old age of 26-27. After reading “Rich Dad Poor Dad” I began to see things from a perspective I had never seen.
The concepts in the book were very basic but the underlying principles were a huge mind-shift. Things I had never known growing up and concepts that were extremely foreign to me. As far as I knew 9-5, Monday thru Friday was how you lived life. Get into as much debt as you can and live as close to the financial edge as possible. Why? Well, because the neighbors are, and I’ve got to keep up right?
Trading 5 days per week for 2 was just how life worked. My brain had been programmed by my parents, schools, media, news and even college. The reverbing message was that I needed to get an education, find a job, borrow as much as I can and try to become as valuable as I could to the “Rat Race”.
After spending a good 15 years in the rat race I began to see how it creates a fear based mentality which causes most people in it to compete in unhealthy ways as opposed to helping, encouraging and mentoring others. This mentality bothered me quite a bit and I started to look at someone or something to blame, because of course it had to be someones fault right?
I know it’s very easy to point fingers at companies, banks and even governments and say they are the problem but they are not the problem especially in a free nation like the good ol USA. No, the problem (if you even adhere to my argument) is that we are the problem.
Instead of leveraging the large sums of money that corporations give to us for our time, we tend to blow it all on personal consumption and do very little financial investing or investing in our-selves.
Individuals including myself have become wage slaves by our choices. The over leveraging of our own personal finances bubbles up into the need to be stuck in a system that keeps us coming back and asking for more and more resources every two weeks, to feed the consumption beast within us.
It really took some time for these ideas to really soak in and see the true passive aggressive nature of many people in this work pay cycle. Especially when it came to protecting their source of income and even keeping the status quo. Heck, even I have to fight these feelings in my own mind and I really didn’t like it.
So around 27 I got married and some the of lessons I had been reading about sat a bit dormant as I was enjoying a new life with my newlywed wife. It still took me some time to get going but by 30 I had really begun to see the nature of the system and was nauseated by how much time it actually consumed in a given day.
So around age 30 I began trying some experiments with entrepreneurialism and learning how to LBYM (live below your means) and thus begins my journey to helping others and eventually escaping the rat race.
The Journey So Far
Almost all entrepreneurs who begin their journeys; do not reach success overnight or even in a few years. It’s usually through a series of events, experiments and actions that happen causing them to think differently and improve their overall ability to accomplish their goals along the way.
For me, entrepreneurship is not all about money, it’s about the freedom of time and doing things that really matter with that time. Any successful entrepreneur will experience failure; however I really don’t like to use that term. I call them experiments and sometimes those experiments turn into successes. Let me run you through some of my experiments by sharing with you my journey so far…
Experiment #1,2,3 (Age 30-31)
1-2 various websites, 3 network marketing
As I started to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset I begin to attract those of a similar mindset. After some lunch talks with a few buddies who had similar goals we tried to create various types of websites. At the same time, I was also getting a taste of network marketing and learning the various aspects of that strange world.
Without going into details, after a few years of losing focus or should I say not doing any market research on the websites we built, we found out they had no future. So our partnerships disbanded and we went off to lick our wounds. As far as network marketing goes I really had no passion for it and continually bothering friends just wasn’t something I could do, even if it meant I could make some good money.
Experiment #4 (Age 32-33)
Experiment 4, I dove deep into real estate. I started going to several conferences and consuming as many books as I could. To make another long story short, I ended up with two properties, which I currently rent and partially own. Being a novice in real-estate I didn’t have the expertise, knowledge, or historical depth to understand the market. So as the market came to a complete crash in 2008 , I was pretty much left with two properties both with very good loan-to-value ratios, but my ability to borrow and leverage money for more changed radically with the changing market.
So while I did good on the investments and gained some very valueable knowledge, I felt that it was time to just hold up for now. I decided to wait and see where my current investments would go over the next few years. I definitely plan on acquiring more properties and dealing with real estate at a much deeper level.
Experiment #5 (Age 34 – 2010)
After seeing the real estate industry crash, it was a little bit depressing. However, since I had done diligence and bought all my properties at the right time. I was still able to retain and keep some of the value in them. So I begin to take some time off and just ponder what I’ve learned thus far, and decide what I wanted to do next.
During this year of gathering my thoughts I read the “Four Hour Workweek”, “Crush It” and a few others. I started to learn that by going after the things you love and learning to automate and create systems you could really make any business that was well researched and make it profitable. So I decided to take some of those principles and put them into practice. I didn’t really start experiment 5 untill the end of 2010 so the majority of this year was spent gathering my thoughts.
As I was learning about the product/service creation process I also knew that I needed to understand business workflows. At the same time my wife was really wanting to pursue photography as a career. So I decided to help her accomplish some of her goals and learn about setting up and running a business. So I spent this whole year setting up workflows and business processes that would help her achieve the goals that she wanted.
Through this process we both learned about managing and running a service based business, and most importantly helped my wife do something she loves. Her business is slowly growing and its very rewarding to see her grow in her passion as a photographer.
This same year I also started this blog and a plugin called the Duplicator. I didn’t really work on these two items heavily untill the end of 2011, however the initial work and release of both started in 2011.
Since the original posting back on April 1, 2011
Experiment #6,7,8,9 (Age 36 -2012)
So I started this website, and the WordPress Duplicator, back in 2011. Since then I have stayed focused on both for all of 2012. The site is continuing to grow. Starting in 2012 I had an average of 100 visits per day and by the end of the year I was looking at close to 500 for a total of over 108k visits in 2012 (click image to enlarge). The Duplicator is slightly over 100k in downloads and growing…
During this time I also developed with a close friend two plugins, MapIt and PlayIt which we tried to sell through CodeCanyon. Both of the plugins combined grossed us a little over $1,100 in sales and roughly $1,000 in services for small updates and customizations.
Experiment #7,10 (Age 37 -2013)
In 2013 I pretty much dedicated all my time to Duplicator and a new niche site project ptgrad.com that I started with my best friend Steve. I have to say that very little time was invested in this blog and I completely apologized to all of my loyal followers. In 2014 I truly hope to start delivering some quality content and report on all that I learned setting up the new WordPress niche site.
Duplicator continues to grow in popularity and I have reached slightly over 200k downloads. I have also received well of a $1,000 in dontations and I thank each and every person who has contributed.
Coming Soon in 2015, my 2014 experiments and results….
During this year I decided to stay focused on my experimets 7,9,10 (lifeinthegrid.com and Duplicator) experiments 9 and 10 I actually started to give away for free. Experiment 11*: This is a new lifesytle upgrade. Basically I have become a Bulletproof Mustachian. –>
Experiment #10,11 (Age 47 -2023)
So an entire decade has passed since I last updated this post. And it’s kind of odd coming back and looking at stuff. Quite a bit as actually happened over the last decade. Experiment #7 went extremely well. After building up a small team of developers and partnering up with my good friend, Bob. We were able to build the product upto $1 million/year in revenue. In late 2022, we decided to sell the product to Awesome Motive for several millions. In short, it really pays off to keep trying and. Seem with different things, because eventually something will stick, and it will take off as Duplicator did.
As I close this blog post to start the beginning of something I hope becomes successful, I have to give thanks first and foremost to the Lord. My faith and belief in Christ has made a huge impact on who I am today and I know I would not be the same without this relationship. I also want to thank my loving wife and my daughters who mean the world to me!
Without their love and commitment to helping me achieve these goals I would never be able to even do what I do. I would also like to thank my Mom, my family and close friends who have believed in me and encouragement along the way.
Lastly I would like to thank the open-source community. I have always been a huge fan of open source software, and giving back to the community has always been something I love to do. Throughout my career as a software developer I have been involved in many open source projects even tried to start some of my own. I truly understand that without this open source community great blogging platforms such as WordPress would not even be available for me to use.