Hello everyone! My name is Neil and I have been making a living through the internet since before I graduated from college.
I grew up in the midwest (Wisconsin) outside of a small town. Ever since I was little I have been fascinated by technology and can still remember the Windows 95 loading screen from the family computer. I couldn’t really type at this point, but I knew I wanted a computer of my own.
I managed to make a deal with my parents that if I ever got straight As in school, they would buy me my very own laptop. Three years later I managed to make it happen, and to this day, that is still the only time in school I ever accomplished perfect grades.
From the moment I got that laptop, my parents had a hard time keeping me off of it. Anything I wanted to learn, I could find on the internet. I could find any number of forums for everything I was interested in. I also quickly learned that you could play games… with people all over the world.
I spent many years obsessively playing online games and from the outside looking in, this probably seems like a complete and utter waste of time. Sure, I could have been doing other things, learning new skills, or being a little bit better at school. However, years later, I realized that a lot of the online success I have seen is a direct result of the lessons learned by playing these games.
You see, with many online games, they have a built in economy of goods and services from other players. You could spend all your time in the game gathering these goods, OR you could provide a service to make someone else’s life a little easier. I quickly realized that by doing the later, you could make a lot more money (because you are providing value for other people). This is the exact same approach I take today with online business.
When I turned 18, I got my first job as a cashier at Sam’s Club (basically wholesale Walmart). Before that, I was made to do volunteer work instead of sitting home on the computer all day because I could not find a job. This actually turned out to be a really great experience as I worked for the state archeologist.
I didn’t make it a year at that job because after the summer, it was time to attend college. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I did know that I wanted to go to a bigger school. After the first year, I transferred to the University of Wisconsin Madison. Before I could attend, I had to find a job during the summer, so I managed to get another retail job, this time selling tools at Sears.
That job at Sears forced me to do two things; interact with complete strangers, and learn something about tools (which I knew nothing about). With online marketing, these are two crucial skills. You are constantly learning new things and interacting with people you have never met before. While these were important skills to learn, $6 an hour plus 1% commission didn’t feel so great at the time.
After the summer was over, I quit that job and went back to school. However, this was a more expensive place to live, and I needed to find another job quickly.
I applied to 87 places, and received a single call back from Target. I now had a brand new job pushing shopping carts for $8 an hour and this was the best “job” that I ever had.
Don’t get me wrong, I HATED it, but it finally made me realize that I wanted to work for myself, and that if I wanted something in life, I had to go and get it. I wasn’t sure what “it” was, but I would soon find out.
One night I was working late and closing. After work, I went down to the bus stop where I usually took the bus home and waited. I waited over an hour before I realized that it was a holiday, and the buses were not running that night. I decided to walk the couple of miles home in the middle of the night (not sure why I didn’t call an Uber).
As soon as I got home, I got on my computer, and started looking for a way to make money online. Up to this point I had some knowledge on how to create websites and get them online, but I had never really considered the possibility that people were making a full time living doing this.
That night, I landed on the online marketplace Flippa.com. This is a marketplace that allows people to buy and sell web properties. After a little bit of searching, I landed on a website that was listed for $40,000 and was maybe 5-6 pages of content on the site. I had never seen this kind of money in my life and after taking a look at the website, I knew that I could do better.
At this point, it was probably 2 or 3 in the morning, but I had so much to do. I registered a domain name, I got some of the cheapest web hosting available, and I quickly set up the bones of my new website. I was going to make so much money, how hard could it be?
…harder than I thought apparently.
I managed to set up a better website, with more content but I didn’t receive any visitors. This is where I had to learn how to do SEO and learn how to drive traffic to a website. I spent the next 6 months investing any spare cash into the website, building backlinks and setting up ad campaigns. I ate nothing but rice and mixed vegetable bags to be able to afford this. It finally worked and 6 months later, the site was doing just over 5 figures a month.
After a few months of this, I walked into Target, and put in my 2 weeks notice that I was quitting. There is almost no better feeling than quitting your job and doing things on your own terms.
After I graduated college, I decided not to go to Law School and take a chance on myself. That was 5 years ago now, and I am still happy with my decision.
In the time since then, I have built out hundreds of affiliate sites, tested different ad strategies and traffic, created and sold android apps, digital products and physical products through Amazon. I created a 6 figure income from print on demand (article here), created a software company, and have multiple applications in the works. I moved from the midwest out to the mountains in Colorado, bought a house and continue to live life on my own terms.
All of this was achievable because of the internet and you can do it too! My blog, NeilLassen.com shares tips, tricks, case studies, and all around information on how you can get started creating value for other people on the internet and using that value to get paid. I want to share insights that I have gained over the years to help you learn and grow in your own business.
To your success!