From zero to 7 figures in 3 years

It was the year 2012 and I was working two part time jobs as an IT specialist. On a regular weekday, I was actually looking forward to going home and making some music.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t live off my music as I never really made any money with it.

Always had an entrepreneur inside of me

I had been developing websites since I was 9 years old and always enjoyed it very much. Aside from earning some pocket money, I sadly never felt like I could turn it into a real business.

Because it was the music industry that had my ear and my yearning for having success as an artist just drove me.

Late 2012 was my moment

Then a new business rented the space next door from one of my jobs. I met the owner and had a little chat, nothing more.

“Do you know how to develop some stuff on our online store and backend?”, he asked me a couple of weeks later. I said, “Yes, that is exactly my world”.

We went back and forth a bunch of times, discussing what his needs are exactly and finally after another 2-3 weeks he told me what he has been paying his current web development partner for the past 3 years and it made me realize that if I could land his business, I would be able to quit one of my jobs.

I tried to show him that I’m the man for the job and apparently was convincing enough for him to tell me, that I will from now on be his web developer.

Since the less paying part time job was at my Dad’s business, I asked whether we could find another arrangement for me to be self-employed and charge for my work. Which he was absolutely fine with and meant that I had the opportunity to actually quit both my jobs and start my own business.

Decision making time

I struggled with myself for another week as I wasn’t sure whether I really wanted to go through with this. I talked to my girlfriend, friends, and family, and absolutely everybody had their own perspective on things. My girlfriend was very supportive and told me to go for it.

Then I went to a Nickelback concert with a bunch of friends on Friday night. I asked one of my friends what he thought I should do. “You should keep both jobs and not take the risk, as you do not know what the future holds”, is what he told me.

I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was not sound advice, but it did throw me off balance a bit. Then on Saturday morning I got a call for some emergency at work as I was on call. So, I went over there and fixed the problem. Right then and there I knew it was my time. After I got back home, I wrote my resignation.

It just sealed the deal. I didn’t want to belong to a stranger’s business anymore.

What to do

By January 2013 I was a free man. That sounds like I was a slave, I know, but it felt very freeing to not have to commute to work every morning, to be my own boss and to actually be in charge of my life for the first time ever.

I updated my website and got to working for my two clients. I enjoyed taking time to read books throughout the day and in general being able to plan my days the way I see fit.

I wasn’t really overbooked with the work, so I thought about getting more clients and how to fill my days. I tried to set a daily schedule to fit in the music making, since I was able to make music any time of the day now. It was great.

A year later

After a year of enjoying my freedom and being able to get by with just the two clients, I had an idea.

I knew the ins and outs of running an online store from watching both my clients. Why not try to monetize on that and launch my own online store?

My girlfriend and I talked about it and discussed it over the next couple of weeks. Once we decided to go for it, we started looking for product ideas. As she was working for a big insurance company and it completely drained the life out of her, I wanted to get her working for herself as well. Because I knew from my own experience how fulfilling that can be.

Idea submerged

A business idea came to light when I was speaking to my mother and, finally, my girlfriend and I chose to start a surprise box business with mostly beauty products.

We started planning, investing, ordering, you name it. In August of 2014 we were able to launch it and made our first sale. It was so fulfilling and satisfying. It’s a feeling I cannot describe.

We launched another online store a month later to sell the individual beauty products and it surpassed the other one quite quickly. So, we focused on our new beauty online store instead.

We sold cosmetics out of my apartment for over a year and a half. Having cramped everything into any bit of space there was. From the living room to the bedroom, every place was used by our new baby.

When passions change

Unfortunately, during the first half of 2015 I realized that my passion for music was fading. Actually, I just didn’t feel the need to make music anymore, instead I enjoyed pretty much everything having to do with our new business. Of course, I was still developing for my two clients on the side.

I wasn’t sure what was happening, but it seemed like I created a passion for our new venture which was all I needed to fill my days and I can easily say that I do not use eye liner or mascara, ok, maybe some face cream, but can you blame a guy for wanting to look young and fresh?

But joking aside, it just shows you that a passion can emerge from anything, even something that you have no interest in at all, if it yields you success. It simply empowers you.

I didn’t need any hobbies anymore. Instead, I wanted to spend every waking moment working on our business. It made both of us very happy.

First $1 million

Within a year of working day in and out, we have managed to make it to $1 million in revenue by the end of 2016. We were amazed how quickly we got this thing off the ground and managed to do everything ourselves.

After that we started hiring and had to move twice, because of how fast we grew.

There were many bumps in the road to success and there still are to this day. But with every hurdle that you jump, you grow as a person, which should be your ultimate goal. As you cannot become a millionaire if you don’t grow alongside of your net worth. Otherwise, what happens is, you will eventually lose everything just like so many lottery winners. Because they did not have the capacity to manage that kind of money.

Slowly growing is a beautiful thing, but it does take patience.

Learning experience

What’s funny is that not the success by itself is what feels great, but the road that led to that success. It amazes me how much people see the event of us having reached something, but completely ignore the sweat and tears it took to get there.

You just cannot buy experience or replace it with reading or going to school. You have to do it yourself and take it all in along the way for it to fully expand your horizon.

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