In our series, The Digitize Diaries, people making more than $250,000, completely online, open up about how they got there and what exactly they did to achieve it. We take a closer look at what it feels like to make well into six-figures online — when less than 2% of Americans make that much at all, according to the U.S. Census — with the hope it will give insights into how to better navigate modern day work-life options using the Internet.
Today, we chat with Phil, in Dallas who got fed up with the corporate life, took his background and skill sets online and is now living the life he wants on his terms.
Education: B.S. marketing
Occupation: Product Marketing Manager
Location: Dallas, TX
Income before/after: $88,650/$550,000
You seemed to have had a great job and career. What drove you out of corporate America?
“I just noticed that it was becoming harder and harder to go into the office every day. The demands kept increasing but my salary only inched along. Plus with the 24/7 nature of work; I was getting bombarded at all hours of the day and night with emails, messages, meeting invites. I knew I couldn’t sustain this for another 15 or so years and I knew that something had to change. So I stared looking at options.”
What were the options?
“Really, I thought I’d go back and get my master’s degree. But that is super expensive and I think the ROI of that would be minimal and my workload would just increase. I already work hard, but have no work-life balance. I then thought about my own business. I looked into franchising but I didn’t have the initial downpayment fees which are pretty steep. Then I found the Internet as an option.”
How did you come to find the Internet an option?
“Actually it was my daughter that said I should look at freelancing online. Then a friend told me about this Digitize workshop he and his wife took online about moving your skills to the Internet. I got the link and signed up for that workshop. That was the introduction to DigitizeU.”
What did you discover?
“The workshop goes over some very simple concepts about how to take what you do for living or what you know and the need to move that to digital form online. After that, I knew that was something I could do. It was my background and skills, I just needed the information to shift that online. That’s when I enrolled in DigitizeU.”
What did you wind up doing online?
“During the course, they explain how to figure out what you’re good at and probably getting paid for now and how and where to move that online. I have been in product marketing working for large companies for over 15 years. I did the work they showed me in the course and found that there were a lot of companies in the SMB (small and medium sized business) world that were in product development. I created a product development AND market analysis workshop that is 100% online. I started offering that to some initial target customers that needed my expertise and insight and it took off from there.”
What was the hardest part?
“The transition. But that is what DigitizeU tackles. How to make the transition from 9-5 to online. I know my craft. But what I lacked were the fundamentals to take what I know and move it online using the Internet to establish, position and market my offer the exact kinds of customers that need it and how to automate it all. Once you know how, what and where to do that, it’s not hard. It takes putting forth the effort of course, but it’s not difficult once you know what to do.”
Did you have any fears?
“No, I was excited. I didn’t leave my job (as my wife would have killed me) until I was making at least the same amount of income per month for three months straight. For me that was about $7,500/month. I did that in four months. After that, it’s kind of like taking training wheels off: you’re excited to go but cautious too. But the team at Digitize University was there for me every step of the way. I still ask them questions from time to time.”
How does work now compare with the 9-5 life you gave up?
“I thought the dream of no more meetings, idiot bosses, e-mails, meetings and corporate politics would be what I liked most. It’s not. The money I make now is unreal. I won’t lie. That’s awesome too. But what I found was the biggest upside is the freedom now to do what I enjoy, my way, on my time is the biggest reward of them all. That by far is the greatest feeling. I can now catch all of my son’s games!”
What advice would you give to someone like you that might be looking at options outside of the 9-5 corporate life?
“You really have nothing to lose. It’s just a choice on what makes you happy. Moving my skills online worked for me and gives me the happiness I was looking for. Give it a shot. The workshop was free. Take that and then decide for yourself.”