Yakezie Member Post: Joel from Credit Card Chaser Thumbnail

Even though I enjoy writing, and do so in the first person as is typical when blogging, I certainly fit the mold of the stereotypical introverted Internet nerd in that I am much more comfortable talking/writing about any subject other than – me!

While many of my hundreds of different websites revolve around dry financial topics like credit cards, car insurance, etc. it is actually much easier for me to rant and rave about Dave Ramsey or come up with a guide to rental car insurance than it is for me to sit down and write a post about myself. However, My respect and admiration for Financial Samurai (coupled with his email prodding) has forced me out of my comfort zone so let’s get started!

The Dreaded Question

As not only an introvert but a self professed Internet nerd, making small talk has never been my forte. To make matters worse, I never quite know how to answer the customary “So, what do you do?” question that is a staple of normal, friendly, and socially adept humans the world over.

Since I wear many different hats, I have probably answered that question 10 different ways, with my most recent stock answer being that, “I own 4 different companies and I do a lot of nerdy Internet stuff.” (followed by a smile if my wife elbows me or thinks that I am appearing rude without trying to be).

About Me – In Bullet Points

Since I love bullet points when writing or editing for one of my writers because I think it makes a blog post or any article written for the Internet look clean, organized, and easy to read; here are a few bullet points about me (now if only carrying on a small talk conversation was as easy for me as reciting off some bullet points…):

  • I am a Christian, a volunteer youth chaplain with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and a member of a Southern Baptist church.
  • I am married to my best friend and we have a 16 month old daughter.
  • I have a bachelors degree in business/accounting, an MBA, I am a Certified Financial Planner™, and I am also currently taking classes part-time to complete a Master’s of Divinity.
  • I am a serial entrepreneur: I own Real Time Health Quotes LLC with my business partner Mark which is an online insurance agency where we have about 35 agents in 8 different states, I own Domain Superstar LLC with my business partner John where we create/acquire/develop websites to turn them into revenue generators (one of our recent big projects is an online workout website), I own 360 Quote LLC where the goal is to build/buy great money making financial websites on anything from car insurance to credit cards, and I also have some smaller ownership interests in other projects.

Much of how I describe what I do is immediately misconstrued since even though I am a CFP™ I don’t work with clients, even though I own an insurance agency I don’t sell insurance, even though I build and market websites I don’t build and market websites for other people, etc.

The Things that are Important to Me

Even though I have always done some kind of work, even as a young kid working on a farm, I always knew that I wanted to work for myself. Being dependent on an employer, having to conform my schedule and priorities to someone else’s command, and having both my creativity and income potential stifled were all reasons for me to hate having anything to do with Corporate America/”Working for the Man”/insert-your-choice-of-job-insult-here.

When I first started out working for myself my standard work week was ~100 hours, my method of splurging was buying two 99 cent double cheeseburgers instead of just one, and my first few websites made $13.50 the entire first month. Now my standard work week is however many hours I want it to be, my method of splurging is being able to go out to eat somewhere besides McDonald’s, and some of my websites have made more in under a week than my entire annual salary at my first job out of college.

I love my “two-step commute” from my bedroom to my office down the hall because I have the freedom and the flexibility to either succeed (or fail) based solely on how good (or bad) I perform. I love that each of the different websites I either build or buy are each like their own “mini business” with their own unique markets, challenges, opportunities, etc. which allows me to be creative and essentially start a new business with every individual website. I also love that I can arrange my schedule (and work from anywhere that I can connect to the Internet) to do things that are important to me like spending time with family, going on missions trips, playing sports, etc. Why not consider becoming an entrepreneur yourself?

What do YOU Think?

If you work for yourself, what advice would you give to others considering making the “jump” from working for someone else to going out on their own?

If you work for someone else and are perfectly happy to do so and continue to do so (nothing wrong with that!) what advice would you give to others that want to advance up the career ladder (or maybe even just find a job)?

I have made the case before that I think that entrepreneurship is actually less risky than working for an employer (if done in the right way) – do you agree or disagree?

Note: Joel was one of the first Yakezie Members from over a year ago.  We lost touch in between, but hopefully we can reconnect more often going forward.  He has a lot of entrepreneurial insights to offer the group, and I’m glad he is part of the Network.  Sam