As I look back over the last decade of my life, I ponder over the hours I spent pouring over my computer trying to find legitimate ways to earn money from home. This very concept fascinated and controlled me, was an obsession that I couldn’t move past. Why? Because I was convinced there had to be a way to achieve it. I believed that as long as there was someone else achieving it, there had to be a way I could do it, too. With that very thought came a lot of anguish and depression. Eventually, I started to believe that maybe I wasn’t smart enough, capable enough, or had enough money to invest. I soon realized that the road to financial freedom online would be a long, strenuous journey. But what I didn’t know was that I would be sacrificing a decade of my youth (age 18 to 28) to this obsession that nagged at my brain.
A College Dropout With A New Plan
This obsession with working from home started back in 2008, after I had dropped out of college and moved to Chicago. I was working at a major pizza chain when I that dreadful feeling started sinking in. With each day that sick feeling started growing in my gut with each day I went to work. I knew the job was the furthest thing I wanted my life to amount to. I despised my job.
At home, I would research ways to earn money online and never find anything substantial. Back then, there wasn’t a lot of content on Google and YouTube like there is today, explaining how to start an online business and learn affiliate marketing. No, as I recall, all I saw were a lot of “programs” with professionally-written sales pages convincing you to spend $47 or $97 to learn exactly how to make six figures. And, of course, lots of fake photos of huge checks, boats, and people living the high life. Fortunately, I didn’t buy into much of that nonsense, so I began looking for an online job to replace my crappy one at the pizza joint.
The Beginning Of A Long, Difficult Path
The next several years of my journey to working online was filled with a lot of misjudgments and disappointments. While I didn’t waste a lot of money on scams, I wasted a lot of time with worthless PTC (Paid To Click) sites, sometimes earning two cents a day, and applying for online jobs that never contacted me back. I remember how excited I was when I earned my first $2 online, I believe from Neobux. That was the proof I needed to keep pursuing my online dream. However, late 2008 and 2009 were really tough with evictions, no income, and judgments from family who never tried to understand my goals. I was fortunate to find some online writing opportunities that paid the bills (around $1,500 per month) from 2010 to early 2012, but then I was back to square one when they laid off all the writers. All of a sudden I was right back where I had started.
It Got Even Worse
Early 2012 was the beginning of the worst stretch of financial hardship I’ve ever endured. The internet literally saved my life while living in a park. I would go the nearby library every day and earn a couple bucks each day completing offers and surveys for GPT (Get Paid To) sites. That is what kept me alive for three months. From 2012 to 2013 I continuously searched for legitimate ways to earn money online with no investment. Eventually I found some work at a gas station, earning $7 per hour as a clerk. I was finally able to afford to live in a motel, which took most my income. That was one of the lowest times of my life. During that time I was still scouring the internet trying to find an escape route from my unhappy lifestyle.
Officially Gave Up
In September 2014 I landed a better job working for a non-profit downtown Chicago. For me, that was heaven compared to my former gas station position in a small town (I loathed). I was finally earning a little more money, enough to buy real food and a little extra stuff for myself. Over the course of three years from 2014 to 2017, I become a dedicated employee at this company and put my online dreams on the back burner. In fact, I was so burned out of trying to work online, then I didn’t even want to talk about it. In fact, I was totally disgusted with it. In my mind, it led me to nowhere… except a life of pain and struggle.
At my non-profit job, I was actually proud of the fact that I started with $8 per hour and worked my way up to $12 per hour. I thought I was really finally getting my shit together. I was finally paying my bills and not having to ask my parent for help. I could finally buy a pair of shoes once in a while and eat out. Those were simple things I had sacrificed for many years. Then, I know this sounds strange, everything changed when the company moved to another office just blocks away. The whole energy was different, the cubicles were smaller (and taller), and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I knew this job was not my mission in life. I was not going to work in a tiny cubicle my entire life waiting to get laid off (they had just laid off half my department).
Everything started to change after my daughter was born in 2015. I didn’t want to keep her in daycare for 10 hours a day any longer. My fire was lit yet again to find a way to work online, but this time I wanted more than just to work online – I wanted the whole package. I wanted a life of financial freedom; freedom to spend my time however I pleased, freedom to eat wherever I wanted, freedom to pursue my creativity, freedom to travel and explore other cultures. Never to be poor again and worry about being evicted, or worry about catching the bus to work, or worry about paying a bill.
I knew about passive income from my years of studying affiliate marketing, but I never had the focus and perseverance to seriously pursue it. Then I realized that I would have to accomplish my original goal or all the years of struggle and pain would be in vain. I vowed to never quit on my original goal again. As they say, if you want something bad enough, you will find a way.
A New Online Experience
The world of virtual assistance was my new journey online starting in 2017. I consider it the first phase of the road to financial freedom for me. After I quit my job at the non-profit organization in the city, I was fortunate to find a few clients (through Craigslist, actually) who needed an appointment setter to call their leads. Because I had phone experience, I did very well and quickly grew my client base within the same organization. I was working part-time from home and earning enough money to cover all the household expenses. Plus, I no longer needed daycare as my partner could watch our daughter. In 2018, I was finally able to purchase a home, using my personal savings from my jobs as the down-payment (with no help from family).
Transitioning Into Passive Income & Real Financial Freedom
I am currently still working as a self-employed virtual assistant, setting appointments for my clients. However, I have my sights sets far beyond the life of a virtual assistant. Although I am beyond grateful for my work, some days are very difficult and filled with depression. I occasionally deal with anxiety on days when I don’t set appointments or encounter difficult people. And dealing with a toddler all day isn’t easy. Some days I feel I have really gotten nowhere in my life toward my goals. Maybe because I am fully aware of the potential in the online world of affiliate marketing and other passive income opportunities. Especially when I see younger people online who achieved financial success in just a year or two. However, when I look back at the struggle and experience of the last decade, I feel extremely grateful and hopeful for what the future will bring. I am 100% focused and dedicated now, nothing will hold me back, including myself, any longer.
If you gather anything from my personal journey on the road to financial freedom online, I hope it’s that you can’t afford to waste any time procrastinating with your goals. You have to guard your focus like your life depends on it. Don’t let anything get in the way – I don’t care if it’s your family, spouse, best friend, or even a high-paying job. Most importantly, you have to believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who do, as well. People who care about you and aren’t in competition with you. You can’t afford to let negative energy or low vibration people bring you down to their place of defeat. And, let’s face it – most of us have been in that position ourselves.
You also have do anything it takes to earn enough money to afford the systems and tools to succeed online. Even if that means working a job and saving every penny to afford to start a website. For many years, I was terrified to spend any money online. I was endlessly searching for a free, easy way to gain financial freedom online. Let me tell you, it just doesn’t exist. You have to invest in yourself and the tools required to start an online business. Fortunately, I have found a way to do so very inexpensively.
My road to financial freedom online is still in progress. I hope that, through this blog, you will see my journey progress in a positive way and even gather something to help you along the way. My hope is that you can accomplish what I set out to do much, much sooner than I did, without the struggle and confusion.