My Exit Plan

Escaping the 9 to 5 job isn’t going to be easy, and as much as I would like to say there’s a one-size-fits-all method that I can give you (for 5 low payments of only $997) it simply doesn’t exist.

Each of us is in a different “prison” of our own making; each requiring a different escape strategy.

You may be unemployed, under-employed, have seven kids to support, never finished high school or be working 3 jobs right now. You could be a “victim of your own success” and created a business that is bleeding you dry with no apparent way out.

I know what it feels like to be overwhelmed by a situation.

I have two sons and when I separated with their mother and had to deal with the realities that came with it I felt exactly like the hero in this scene below:spiderman vs green goblin

spiderman vs green goblin

You know how it is, you’re doing your best to “hang in there” whenever real life (enter the Green Goblin) comes along and sucker punches you when you’re most vulnerable.

But the truth is, there’s never a good time to change your life.

There will always be obstacles in your way, so we need to start from where we stand and make small steps in the right direction.

I recently touched on 5 different steps along the way to establishing a lifestyle by your own terms. This time, I’m going to highlight the steps I’m personally taking and some of the reasons why I’ve chosen this particular path.

My hope is that this will help you decide the path that’s right for you by seeing my example.

Single Dad, Two Kids & Single Income

If you’re a parent then you’ll have some options taken off the table. So a lot of the “get ahead by hustling your ass off” advice doesn’t really apply to me.

I work full time and then often have time with my kids after work. There isn’t a lot of childcare options available for me that don’t cost money; plus they are my kids…I do want to see them and be there for them as they grow up.

For these reasons, I came to the realization that I won’t be successful where I have to do a lot of one on one engagement with potential clients.

Doing product launches could be a problem as well as they often require an insane amount of time and energy to manage. Most nights I’m with my kids, so getting in some extra work after my full time job often isn’t practical.

So I need to make use of opportunities where I can generate some extra income whenever I’m asleep, at work, on vacation or with the kids. Something that doesn’t need my direct physical presence in order for me to succeed.

While this may initially sound like a tall order, almost anything is possible with the internet and the right approach. Also, I’m blessed because I’ve been generating my income since 2008 working online (albeit for various employers), so I’m well versed on what’s possible.

Leverage Strengths, Minimize Weaknesses

Strengths

  • Experienced with online marketing. Ability to plan strategy, track and measure progress
  • Have access to the tools and resources necessary to generate income online
  • Have two web properties that are almost 10 years old and generate income
  • Have earned in excess of $1,000 from online marketing efforts in the last twelve months
  • Strong content skills, ability and willingness to record audio and video content
  • Self-published author on Kindle (fiction and non-fiction) as well as various eBooks

Weaknesses

  • Not much time once work, time with kids and daily duties are factored in
  • Network is relatively small and untapped
  • Side business can’t conflict with my day job at a digital marketing agency (i.e. non-compete + NDA)
  • Earnings from online marketing thus far have been “small” and spread apart

Taking into account my personal situation and potential online business models, I pieced together a plan that I work on a little bit each day. Here it is in a nutshell:

  1. Leverage my existing websites to generate more income via affiliate marketing and product sales
  2. Use my own success as a case study to build an audience of prospects and clients
  3. Expand to additional lucrative and recurring products, start offering products and services to maximize my online income
  4. Automate & out-task as much of the work as possible to minimize dependency on my own time.

Leveraging My Existing Websites

I have two websites that are each almost ten years old.

While one gets ten times the amount of traffic as the other, oddly enough it’s the one with less traffic that has been generating the lion’s share of the income. Both sites originally generated income from Adsense, but that was a painfully slow and low income experience for me. To say I don’t recommend making money this way would be an understatement!

Assessing my situation, it seems that if there was a way to get my site with 10 times more traffic earning revenue, my online earnings situation could change very quickly for the better.

I could also attempt to grow the income of the smaller site that is generating the income; if I doubled the traffic there my earnings could potentially double too.

Since websites that are accessible 24/7 online, any work invested in these sites has the potential to earn income for me 365 days a year. Even if it is a small amount of money, it can snowball.

The core way I will generate income is by receiving affiliate commissions for the tools that I recommend to others.

I choose this because it’s already working for me, generating the majority of money for me hands-free versus anything else I’ve tried. This is further augmented with the prospect of recurring commissions from some of the products that I’ll be promoting.

Recurring commissions mean that I do the work once and continue to benefit from it for months and months down the road; that is simply an offer that I cannot refuse.

Affiliates aren’t on the hook for customer service or product improvements, so this is a great option for me to earn income without committing myself to more time than I already have available.

Online Course Method

The other option that I’m seriously considering is creating and selling my own online course. The technology barriers have really come crashing down for this in the last year or so.

You can easily create and sell courses on sites like Udemy.com, Teachable.com or Thinkific.com without any upfront costs. They merely take a portion of your earnings when you succeed in selling your course.

There’s a cool marketer by the name of Barry Moore at ActiveMarketer.com who took this approach himself who’s recommended to me. He was able to offer a product and use the earnings to validate creating a services-based business specializing in online marketing and sales automation.

The only drawback for some will be that you need to teach something that you actually have experience doing. Otherwise you fall into the trap of attempting to sell a product about making money online just so that you can make money online….don’t be that guy!

Some course ideas that I have right now that I need to test include How To Make Your First $100 Online as well as Online Marketing and Business Growth

Become My Own Case Study

Improving my own websites helps me in two ways – 1) I will reap the rewards of additional affiliate commissions based on optimizing my two pre-existing sites. 2) I can take my own success and use that as content and training on this site, which helps me build my reputation, authority and audience.

I will document my steps and offer to help others with what is actually working for me right now.

Setting up my own product is helpful as well, as it won’t require as much time compared to services and it will help validate interest in what I’m doing.

Affiliate Promotions & Own Product

I have affiliate offers that are converting for me right now…just not as often as I would like.

As part of my optimization process, I’ll be using some new tools that also have affiliate income opportunities – this is the best scenario, promoting products that I actually use. This should help to grow my affiliate income base while expanding into some other products to offer.

The trick is in balancing optimizing what I already have along with expanding my horizons by offering training courses in various online marketplaces. I may also have some services that I offer here and there, but I will strive to avoid that route as much as possible as it will require my time and not scale.

What’s Next?

So that’s my exit plan; expand affiliate income and offer a product. I’ll be updating my progress along the way sharing what’s working, what’s not and my next steps.

But this isn’t just about me – it’s about you too…

…what are you doing to form your exit plan from your current lifestyle?

In particular, I’d love to know if you’ve successfully earned $100 online without relying on services where you’ve traded your own time for money – share it below in the comments section and don’t be shy. Your particular story might be able to help someone else with their exit plan.

 

Mike
 

Mike focuses on the "Holy Trinity" of online marketing - Email, Memberships and Automation. He leans on ActiveCampaign, ActiveMember360 and ThriveThemes to build his platforms, memberships, communicate with prospects and customers while automating everything else.

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