Monday, February 9, 2015

Chasing Fast Riches and Discovering The Workcation

This post is #1 in a #17 post series about workcations. The learn more about workcations and see the full eBook, check out Workcation. Have the best life now! on Amazon. It's free to borrow, if you have a Kindle device or Amazon Prime. 

Like many people, I was enamored by the idea of Tim Ferris’ best seller The Four Hour Work Week. Ferris suggested that entrepreneurs can remotely hire third-party contractors, such as application and website developers to build income generating entities, like subscription service websites or iPhone mobile applications. In turn, individuals could work remotely, at their own leisure and enjoy “mini-retirements.”

After being introduced the idea of working for yourself and having more free time to explore your own personal interests, I wanted to experience a “mini-retirement.” I thought it would be incredible to launch my own work-from-home business and be able to travel the world at my own convenience. I thought that if you poured enough blood, sweat and tears into an idea, you could achieve success. Merit would be returned to those who invested the time. The perils of hard work would be rewarded and money will seamlessly be deposited into a bank account as I enjoyed margaritas on a remote tropical beach.

Sounds too perfect, right? To add more wind to my sails, I continued to read success stories, such as Chad Muerto who started a $6 million mobile application company, while recovering from a car accident on a hospital bed. Muerto managed to emerge out of $115,000 debt by hiring third-party application programmers in countries, such as India and China, to develop iPhone applications. Although he didn’t know how to develop iPhone applications, he was able to communicate his ideas to these remote programmers for development and achieve success. His success and passion allowed his first mobile application to earn over $700,000.00.

$700,000!?!? This was only one of his applications and he developed over 50! This was more money than I would make in 10 years of work! …And he did it in less than a year! I couldn’t believe that a simple idea could generate so much revenue in a short period of time. Surely, one of my own ideas – either a similar iPhone application or website – could achieve similar success. Even if my idea did not become as successful and I missed the mark; missing the mark on a $700,000 target, isn’t bad right?

After learning about Muerto’s story, I was determined to replicate his success. I felt that I could learn how to duplicate his success and build my own mobile application empire. I also connected with Muerto in a deeper and personal way. As Muerto was involved in a serious car accident, I had also been in an automobile accident that severely damaged my shoulder in 2011. After two reconstructive shoulder surgeries, including reconstructing my left clavicle with a 6 inch metal plate and over 10 screws, and over a year of physical therapy (but still had over a year more to go), in September 2012, I felt I was to a point where my physical strength was strong enough and I could focus on external business endeavors.

In fall 2012, I shifted my mental focus from physical therapy to developing various business ideas. Although I worked a Monday-Friday 8-5 job, I made it a priority to find time spare time to develop different iPhone mobile application ideas. I figured if other people with less knowledge about the mobile marketing industry or programing experience could create successful applications, I could replicate their experiences and achieve similar success. Turning my passion into motion, I researched the steps required to turn a mobile application idea into an actual iPhone application.

Surprisingly, there were not too many helpful resources online. I spent hours online looking for blog articles about how I could hire freelance programmers and designers from third-party sites, such as odesk.com or elance.com, to outsource my ideas and turn them into developed iPhone applications in a matter of months. The articles were similar to The Four Hour Workweek, but included specific examples to get started with my mobile application ideas. Although these articles were helpful, most of them elaborated about how much revenue their earned or focuses on the pearls of early retirement – relaxing on the beaches of the French Riviera or taking refuge under a palm tree on a deserted Maldives island –all while being able to remotely check in on their mobile projects while sipping a pina …whatever your fancy is...It all seemed too perfect and way too easy.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some successful entrepreneurs, such as Tim Ferris or Pat Flynn, who interviewed successful “apprepenuers” on their respective blogs, FourHourWorkWeek.com/blog and SmartPassiveIncome.com. Some of these interviews did share successful tips and resources to help transform an iPhone application into reality. It was just the main focus of eBooks and online articles that highlighted the millions to be made in the app economy, but neglected more of the step by step instructions to help achieve and transform this alluring goal. Less discussed were the simple odds of making millions on this apprush, with millions of applications already in the marketplace the sheer odds of striking it rich with app gold were slim to none. It was almost like hitting the lottery.

        However, I still felt confident that if others were achieving success, I could to achieve similar success with a well-thought game plan. After reading more eBooks and blog articles on app creation, I figured I had enough knowledge about how to approach and create an iPhone application. I drew out my application idea, created a fixed $400 get for a designer and programmer on Odesk.com, and moved forward with interviewing candidates. After a few interviews and seeing sample project, I selected a programmer from India and designer from Egypt. I was in business! At least moving forward with my project idea and I was proud of the international team I assembled.

Fortunately, I selected a programmer who was familiar with coaching individuals through some of the intricacies of developing an application, such as creating provisioning files and development certificates. The tasks were not complicated, it was just learning the nuances and sequence of development steps. After a few design revision rounds, I selected my final design and eagerly moved forward to programming. After a few rounds of programming revisions, I was finally able to submit the application to the iTunes store and patiently wait for Apple’s team to review my application. After a week of anxiously waiting, I received the golden ticket from Apple; my first application, Sports Parlay Calculator, was approved into the iTunes store! It was a really refreshing experience to take an idea from concept to product in less than 1 month. All I had to do now, was sit back and collect my riches. Right?

The next morning after my application went live, I anxiously opened iTunes connect to see how many downloads my application had. I was amazed to see that over 200 people downloaded the application in the first day. Wow! Either people must be betting frequently and need to calculate their bets, or I just struck gold!

Well not so fast, why should I stop at one application, when I could continue to develop more ideas. I researched the current popular trends in the iTunes store and noticed that photography manipulation applications were trending high due to the rising popularity, especially with the growing popularity of Instagram which went from tens of millions of users in 2012 to hundreds of millions of users 2013.

My second application, Pro Photo Layout launched four weeks after my first iPhone application. It was a photo manipulation application that allowed users to combine several photographs into a montage. The concept wasn’t unique, but it was one of the early montage applications that helped it receive over 50,000 downloads within the first week. As the application continued to receive more downloads, the advertising revenue increased. In a matter of days, I went from earning $1.00 a day to over $50.00/day on advertising alone. $50.00/day isn’t too much, but when you multiply that by 30; $1,500 in passive income isn’t too shabby.

        My imagination continued to escalate, if I could create 6-10 applications that generated $1,500/month each; I could easily leave my job and generate $7,000-$15,000 a month in passive income. As the dollars signs floated in the ethos, I thought more and more about how I could really experience the “American Dream,” “work for myself,” and “live the four hour work week.” Whatever you name it, the dream of providing for myself with passive income started to really take flight!

        I quickly schemed to make additional applications that could help me scale my rising application revenue. I didn’t know how long it would be sustainable, but I wanted to give it a try.

        Over the next six months, I poured my extra energy into creating additional applications. It was rewarding to have an international team and be at the forefront of transforming ideas into reality. However as quickly as I started to gain traction and success, my downloads dwindled and I was left with various iPhone applications that yielded some passive income, but not enough to retire comfortably and quit my day job.

As the reality of early retirement quickly dwindled, I grew comfortable with the idea of working a traditional 8-5, 40 hour+ week job to support my lifestyle; but I also wanted more. I wanted to be able to experience more of life and not fall victim to missing out on opportunities. I didn’t want to have a bucket list of things I “wish I did” when I was older. I wanted to explore more of life and truly carpe diem!

In an effort to fully seize the day, I decided to make a pact to take advantage of my proximity to nature trails, state parks, and the beach and explore these areas after work. I decided that I didn’t need to use my vacation time to explore what was in my backyard. I planned on using my vacation time to take epic, large-scale vacations (with a planned budget) and to spend time locally after work, instead of going home to watch TV or a movie. The idea of taking a mini-vacation after work resonated well within my heart, body and soul! …And the workcation was born!


What’s a workcation? Well, before we dive into one; let’s take a look at why we need it!


To learn more about how you can enhance your life, check out Workcation. It's available to borrow for free via an Amazon Kindle.  


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