This post contains snippets out of my life that I have never revealed before. Some because I just forgot about them and others because of fear.
One of my earliest memories includes me walking to the living room in my parents house, staring at the closed, gray drapes and asking “why am I who I am?”
I grew up in a family of four. My childhood years consisted of hanging out, dabbling in music, and playing ice hockey.
My teenage years were filled with dark clothes, dark music, and a lot of time spent in front of the computer.
At one point, I contemplated the purposelessness of life. I asked myself what the point of this all is. We’re born, we go to school, we get a job, maybe get married, buy a house, and you know the rest.
It didn’t seem right to me from the beginning. I felt depressed just thinking about living a life like this. It wasn’t for me, but I didn’t realize that until later.
The Beginning of the End
I eventually got into building websites. I built my first website when I was 14. I managed to get it up to 300 unique visitors a day through banner and link exchanges. I made my first $500 or so online through that website.
It was a taste of what was possible.
Shortly thereafter I gave up building websites. I started learning about the stock market. I was fascinated by all things that had to do with money.
I also become highly curious about topics such as lucid dreaming, how our subconscious works and anything esoteric. I devoured everything I could find on the subject. And while I didn’t get serious with any of it, the feeling of there being something else than meets the eye stuck with me.
It wasn’t until I was working my second summer job washing boxes that I bumped into poker. A friend of a friend had made $500 playing online poker, and I got curious.
How I Turned $0 into $100,000+
The only impression of poker I had at that time was how dangerous it was. I imagined old, bearded gangsters and hustlers sitting in a smoke-filled back room somewhere in Texas. You know, the typical image you get from watching too many movies.
Despite all this, I felt drawn to learn more about it, so I bought a book about how to become a successful online poker player. It looked easy enough, I thought.
I started playing free tournaments (a.k.a freerolls) on online poker sites. You could enter for free, and you could win anywhere from $1 to $500 depending on the generosity of the poker room. Freerolls are a common promotion tactic used by almost all online poker rooms.
I entered one after the other for about two weeks until I won a dollar. I then quickly lost that dollar. I repeated this cycle until I started feeling like there was no hope, but still something kept nudging me forward.
After taking a few weeks break, I woke up one day more determined than ever. Things didn’t go as planned that first day, but after a few days, I won $1.5, and I took it to the real-money tables, and I doubled it.
After that I’ve never looked back. I turned that free $1.5 to $50, then $100, $1,000, $10,000, $100,000, and the rest, as they say, is history.
(Note: my story may not be 100% accurate, because I do not remember all the details, but I’m pretty sure this is exactly what happened.)
A Gambler’s Perspective
When you think of a poker player, you probably think of a gambler; someone who can’t control what they’re doing.
I was nothing like that.
I was calculative, conservative, and careful. On top of that, I meditated regularly, believed in weird stuff, and did yoga. Poker was my job. I played because that is how I made my living. I was a rare breed; a spiritual poker player.
The view people have of making a living playing poker is often deeply flawed. A quote that encapsulates it all perfectly goes something like this: “poker is a hard way to make an easy living.”
Poker is a game of skill, but it involves a lot of luck, which means that you can run into long streaks of bad luck. This is where the game can get especially treacherous, because you can fool yourself into thinking that you’re playing well and getting unlucky, when you are really off your game.
The psychological stress of the game can be tremendous when it is your sole source of income. That is why the above seemingly contradictory quote is so spot on.
I’ve played millions of hands of poker, and I’ve gone through periods where I’ve looked up at the sky and asked “why?”
I have gone months without earning a penny. Those times really put me to the test as a person. I learned to build a support group around me that helped make sure that I’m on top of my game, and not doing anything stupid.
I learned discipline. I learned how I worked as a person, and I learned to manage myself, because there was no one watching over me.
Poker was great. It taught me a lot, and I grew tremendously as a person, but the psychological part of it didn’t vibe with me. After five years of playing, I started feeling a pull in another direction, and I decided to stop playing cold-turkey.
My heart was pulling me towards something bigger, something more important. I wanted to write, help, connect, and create. I wanted to do what I am doing now.
In March ’09, I had some savings in my account that would keep me going for a while, so I decided to take the leap. I stopped playing poker and jumped into full-time website building.
With the exception of when I was 14, I had dabbled with websites since ’06, but nothing serious. I failed many times and wasted thousands of dollars, but it wasn’t until I finally decided to go 110% that it clicked for me.
It took me around 3 months to start making $500/month, but within 12 months, I was already making close to $2,000/month, and today I’m making between $3,500-$5,000/month. I don’t remember the exact numbers, so I might be off here and there.
I was frustrated, scared, and overwhelmed, but I had one thing going for me: I was determined. I wasn’t going to give up.
I picked one thing, I put all my focus into building one site, and I made it work. I built upon that first success, and I went from niche websites to article marketing, and finally to blogging.
It has been an interesting journey, and if anything, it has taught me to be okay with non-perfection. The sooner I start taking action, the more I learn, and the more clear everything becomes.
What I talk about on this blog comes straight from my personal experience. If you’re just starting out, I know exactly where you’re coming from, because I was there not too long ago.
You can do what you love, but it takes hard work.
The Red Thread
Ever since I was young, I’ve always been different. As the years have gone by, I have become more confident with being who I really am.
I’ve always been against the status quo, and I naturally fell into an unconventional lifestyle. I’ve never worked a real job in my life. I’ve been doing this for over six years now, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I am extremely grateful for the freedom I have. It allows me to do what I love, grow spiritually, and in general, enjoy life to its fullest.
What can I say; I love my life!