Read on, I can help you out.
About a year ago a good friend of mine called me up. He said:
“Ryan, I hate my job, I’m miserable, I’m going to quit. You’re only 27 years old yet you have more freedom in your career than anyone I know. Teach me!”
I told him 2 things:
- Don’t quit your job. You don’t have to. If you quit your job, you’re going to be faced to make decisions out of necessity. It’s an ugly path and I don’t want to see you go down it.
- All I did was pick a web based skill and get really good at it. When you’re really good at what you do, people don’t give a shit where you work from.
Then I told him if you’re willing to make the effort to learn, you can do what I do too. In fact, I can tell you the exact path to take right here on the phone, it’s that easy.
My friend took my advice.
In just 120 days he was able to quit his job on his own terms. He now works from a coffee shop, is able to spend more time with his kids and has limitless upward mobility in his career.
This blog post shares the exact path I laid out for him on the phone that day.
I can broadly summarize it into 4 steps:
- Picking a way ahead
- Learning it
- Mastering it
- Monetizing it
Pretty simple, right?
Let’s get into it:
Part 1: Where to Begin? [Days 1 – 3]
It all begins with figuring out what you’re going to do.
If you want freedom from a physical location, you’re going to have to use the web.
You could develop an app or solutions based software, but you’d need significant capital up front to get you going.
That’s why I like services – offering a service allows you to boot strap and get yourself going with no money at all.
Let’s explore some options:
Web design. Everybody and their mom needs a website these days. The majority of businesses owners don’t have the time to mess around building websites so they’ll gladly shell out $500 – $5,000 for a well built site. I suggest learning WordPress – it’s a relatively easy platform that requires no coding knowledge to build beautiful sites. I learned WordPress in less than 6 months all from free online sources.
Web Analytics. Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of web data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage. I know, I know, it sounds boring as shit. But honestly, it’s the most valuable web based skill you can have.
^ Web analytics covers more than just reading website traffic and sources. It helps businesses make informed (data driven) decisions about their marketing spend. In other words, you can have a direct effect on top line revenue.
Pay Per Click Ads. PPC ads are the sponsored listings that show up in search engines. The way they work are simple – websites bid on keywords related to their business and pay every time someone clicks on them. These ads are a science in themselves and require an expert to set up, optimize and scale them. Seeing as how this is a $30B+ industry and experts are in HUGE demand.
Content Marketing. 68% of companies said content marketing would be their top priority in 2015. Simply being able to write good content and push it through social media, forums and other blogs is an incredible skillset that is in ridiculous demand right now. Seriously. If you can do it well, please contact us, WE HAVE WORK FOR YOU!
Online Advertising. While banner ads are in decline, other advertising platforms have emerged as powerful traffic sources. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are becoming the top advertising platforms due to their baked in audience. Mastering one of these platforms is an easy niche to land clients.
Part 2: How to Learn it? [Days 3 – 60]
Even though these skills are in ridicuous demand right now, you don’t have to spend $100K on a degree to learn it.
In fact, you can learn them all for free.
- Google’s free certification course
- Free Udemy courses
- Our blog (shameless plug, but we have kick ass analytics content!)
Pay per click ads:
Ok, so you’ve found the free resources, but what about the time?
My friend – with 2 young kids, a 40+ hour/week job and an all around dumb ass – was able to get Google PPC certified in just 60 days.
By just getting up every day an hour earlier and eating lunch at his desk, he was able to focus an hour of his day on learning.
If you really want to make the change in your life, you’ll find the time.
Part 3: How to Master It? [Days 60 – 100]
It’s not enough to just know the skill – you’ve got to be a confident, results getting bad ass. Otherwise, you’ll never be successful.
I recommend 2 ways to do this:
1. Ask questions.
Find forums, communities and social media groups online. Connect with peers, share case studies, ask questions, find out what others are doing that works and do it yourself.
I have an undergraduate degree from a top 20 school in the North East. I also have a very expensive Master’s in Business Administration degree.
Everything I do on a daily basis was learned in online forums and social media groups (be sure to check the Digital Marketing Questions Facebook Group).
2. Practice it. Over and over and over.
Do it for free.
Within your personal network, you know at least one person with a business or a website.
Because you kept your job, you’re not acting out of necessity.
You can afford to work for free in order to perfect your craft.
Tell family, friends and local businesses you’ll handle their marketing for free. If you do a good job, all you need in return is a testimonial and reference.
It works – trust me!
Part 4: How to Monetize It? [Days 100 – 120]
It’s all about your track record.
If you can demonstrate a proven history of success, there’s no limit to how much money you can make.
1. Starting off.
When you’re starting off, don’t focus money.
Make it about building a track record of proven results.
Use the web’s natural resources:
Businesses use these sites to post their needs. All you have to do is create a convincing proposal and bid on the work.
Because you’re still working at your job, you can get creative.
- Offer deeply discounted rates
- Offer a free month of services (no risk trial)
- Offer free services until they see results
These are good ways to land some easy clients, get revenue flowing through and build a portfolio of clients that rave about your services.
With a track record, you’re ready for the big leagues.
You can now start pitching bigger clients with deeper pockets.
The best way to do that is in person networking events, such as:
If you can demonstrate a proven ROI / results model, you’ll clean up at these events.
Final Step: Quit Your Job!
Congrats buddy, you earned it.
***BONUS: We’ve included a video of Ryan’s speech – “How to Work Remotely” It serves as a perfect TL;DR for this article: