If you gave away all of your money and nearly everything you owned, could you get it all back?
What if you had to start over in a completely new career? Could you repeat your success?
That’s exactly what Mark, the subject of today’s case study, did.
In his mid-20’s, living in semi-retirement after early success as a day trader, he gave away over a million dollars…all of the money he had.
Then he got rid of his apartment and nearly all of his stuff, quit day trading and moved into his car. His goal: prove to himself that it wasn’t luck and get it all back.
Flash forward a few years and Mark’s hustled his way into a six figure job as an IT security expert for an insurance company.
But he knows if he’s going to his reach his goal of early retirement, then he’ll need to work for himself. And that means figuring out how to find enough clients for his IT security consulting.
In today’s case study, we’ll look at how Mark’s using a streamlined lead generation process he learned in Earn1K to blaze through this critical step and earn thousands of dollars on the side.
“I had the cash and resources to do whatever I wanted to do.”
Mark had it made. Still in his twenties, he was a millionaire day trader who slipped through the tech bubble untouched. He spent a little time every day managing his investments. The rest was free for whatever he wanted. Life was good.
“I worked for myself. Basically, I was semi-retired for six years,” Mark remembered. “It was just a completely free life. I had the cash and resources to do whatever I wanted to do.”
But one question kept bothering him: Was it all a fluke?
No matter how good he had it, Mark wanted to be sure he had earned it. “I gave it all away. Everything. I lived in my car. I wanted to build up again from nothing. Not even the same career.”
His first post-retirement job: temp receptionist.
“It took me about a year and a half to go from living in my car to making a decent salary and living normally. After that it became a game of finding a company that had a problem that wasn’t being solved.”
“For long-term stability, you need to have multiple options.”
Mark was working as a low level technical analyst for an insurance company when he found his opportunity.
“I saw the company had a gap in IT security. I said I could fill that gap and took on more and more responsibility. Every time something popped up, I said ‘I can do that for you.’ I just created a position for myself. When a huge security audit came up, I already had everything in place. They made me an officer, and I started earning six figures.”
Mark was living very comfortably again, but he kept pushing, though. Mark went back to school full-time on top of his job and looked for a way to generate a second income stream.
“In my job, there was no where to go up or side to side. The next step was to start my own business. For long-term stability, you need to have multiple options.”
Mark developed his IT expertise, but he couldn’t find an offer anyone wanted to spend money on. That all changed when the IWT 30-Day Hustling Course opened.
“I said I’d charge half what others charged. They laughed and said no.”
Mark dove into the month of hustling determined to find an profitable business idea. That meant learning how to talk to potential clients. Getting to know what they really wanted. He pushed other obligations to the side and hustled through the “insane amount of free material” in the series.
“I started the wrong way,” Mark laughed, remembering his first attempts at customer research. “I said, ‘here, I have this service. Any other company would charge this much. I’ll charge half of that.’ They laughed and said no.”
Here’s where Mark took a big leap forward. He said, “Okay, what would you pay for?”
“I was surprised,” Mark recalled. “They asked for this little, easy thing that I can do in an hour. They want me to hacker test their site and give them a logo to put on the bottom of the site when it passes.”
Mark had his profitable idea. He was sold. “When Earn1K came available, it was a no-brainer. I had to take this course.”
“I’m disgusted I didn’t think of it before.”
When he enrolled, Mark set two goals for himself:
- “I wanted to be able to have three clients. I didn’t care how much I was making. I wanted to prove the business concept. I wanted to get the business running.”
- “I wanted to create a machine that would allow me to replace my income and quit my job. What I was really excited about was building the business systems.”
By the time he completed Earn1K, he had already recouped the cost of the course in new business. He also had reams of note and ideas from each lesson. The one that turned his idea into a viable side business generating thousands of dollars was a 29-minute video on how to generate leads.
“The lead generation systems you talked about were simple,” said Mark. “The whole concept of ‘let’s figure out where everyone is in your market. And let’s find a way to contact people who would be qualified leads.’ Then you work through it and make it a system. If all you need or all you have time for is five a day, that’s okay. You just do it. I’m disgusted I didn’t think of it before.”
Between his full-time job and class load, Mark only had a few hours a week to devote to his side business. More than enough to build his sales funnel.
He spent a couple days developing a checklist on how to qualify a lead. “I’m looking for A, B, C, D. Single developers or a small development team. Someone in my geographical area. Someone who’s website doesn’t suck. Just those three things tell me tons of information.”
From there, Mark would quickly look at the lead’s website to determine what their interests and strengths were. He could use that information to test different emails.
“Earn1K taught me how to make my lead generation a system. Make it automatic. It can be something you do before you go to work or on lunch. That really informed the process for me.”
Checklist in hand, Mark starts by Googling around. Some professional websites are also a good source of local, web developer names. “One strategy I’ve used is search for small businesses with Google Maps. If the business has a website and isn’t a franchise, they probably used a local web developer. I can look on their site for the developer’s name. There’s lots of ways to find the leads once you know who you’re looking for.”
Mark started by spending 10-30 minutes generating leads every evening. Pretty soon, his process was so automatic that he asked his wife if she could generate some while he was at work.
“She wasn’t sure she could do it since she’s not in IT. I said, ‘do it for two days and we’ll see. We can make adjustments.’ Pretty soon, she was getting better leads than I was.”
Now they’ll often work side-by-side in the evening generating leads for a half hour. In 30 minutes, they can each generate about 20 leads.
Depending on his schedule, Mark contacts about 15 leads a day. He adds the rest to his growing lead database. A steady flow of leads allows him to test different emails and steadily improve his conversion rate. Mark is well on his way to achieving both of his goals.
From side business to main business
With a semester ending, Mark is taking the rest of the year off from his studies to spend all of his extra time building his side business. That means really leveraging all of his new leads and clients.
“Today, I’m playing with some new emails. And I’m connecting with two clients to really push in and get in their heads. I’ve got more thinking to do about how I can really help these developers help their clients. I’ll be talking to small businesses, too.”
Mark’s calculated that to make the switch to full-time freelance, he’ll need fifteen regular clients given his current service offering. He’s got one now, but lots of hot leads in his sales funnel.
What happens when the former millionaire becomes 100% self-employed again?
“I’m moving to France. I don’t know French, but it’s a fantastic place to be and live. If I want to do wild and crazy things, there’s a lot of wild and crazy to have in Europe. It’s there, so why not?”
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