This is the story of how Mr X (name withheld by request) was able to transition out of the military by retraining with digital skills to start and grow a hugely successful online business.
You will learn how off just one website he has been able to sell a banner advertising slot to a big corporate for $10,000 per month residual income!
He now makes his money off semi-passive websites so gone are the stressful, high pressure days he used to have in the armed forces on active deployment.
Instead, he now has a lifestyle business where some months he makes more money than he did in a year in the military.
And he started out as a complete beginner online.
Yes, he upskilled and retrained with us here at the E-Business Institute, learning how to buy and build websites whilst he transitioned out of the military over a 3 year period.
If you are a professional looking to quit your high paid job or ex forces looking for a new career, then this interview is for you…
Click below to watch the video, or read the transcript, to see how this military officer replaced his 6-figure salary for a healthier, work-from-anywhere, lifestyle.
How this student transitioned out of the military by retraining in digital skills…
Matt Raad: Hello again, everyone. It’s Matt Raad here from the eBusiness Institute, where we retrain people with digital skills to earn money online.
One of the things you may have seen is that we train many people who come from a corporate background (or professional background). They want to quit their job, and they typically work in a high-stress situation.
Let me tell you about today’s guest. Some of you may not realise it, but we have another really interesting part of our digital investor community.
We help retrain ex-military or transitioning military personnel with digital skills.
So today, we’re very lucky to have a Mr X (name withheld by request), and yes, he is currently transitioning out of the armed forces. He’s served all around the world, been on active deployment for the last decade, and has served in the Middle East.
Now, because he’s transitioning out of the military, he’s asked that we don’t show his face live but welcome Mr X to this interview.
Mr X: Hi Matt, thanks for inviting me on.
Matt: I’ve asked you to come along to share your story because typically you military guys are under a lot of pressure working in the armed forces.
I think a lot of our community would love to hear your military story. But, also, people would want to hear about why you’ve made the transition from a highly paid armed forces role to digital skills and what that journey has been like for you.
Mr X was introduced to making money online 3 years ago
Matt: Over the last three years you’ve been training with us, you’ve been transitioning out of the military. You’ve already hit your income goals, and your financial freedom numbers are well and truly on the way.
And that’s whilst you’ve been doing this part-time.
And I know within our Champions community, people are just blown away by what you’ve achieved recently with your websites.
So, let’s jump into it. Now, I know you personally and am coaching you through this career transition phase. Are you ok if I give you a name? Is Ken ok?
Mr X: Sure, I’ll take it.
Matt: Ok, I’m going to call you Ken. So Ken, when did you start with us?
Ken: So, that’s an interesting question. Lately, I’ve been on the Champions program, and that’s been my whole life now. And so, I’m trying to think back.
It was probably late 2019 when I had another military colleague who was talking about websites, and we were both keen on trying to become financially independent. It’s a funny story, and I don’t know how much time I’ve got to go through this.
But it was actually his wife who started doing the websites, and we weren’t really open to it. So, one of the big things that I’ve been working on, particularly over the last few years, has been mindset.
The concept of making money online wasn’t something that people in the military would traditionally look at doing
Ken: Initially, we were quite dismissive of websites and online businesses because we thought, “Oh, it’s too good to be true.” Instead, we were going to get busy with bricks and mortar businesses and trying property investments etc., as many other people do in the military. So, it’s been a big iterative procedure for me.
I started out just quite small, just with the WebDev program. I tried to build a website, and I was really confused when I first got into it because I was getting advice from everywhere, like trying to look at YouTube channels and read eBooks etc.
The WebDev Accelerator Web Design Course was great because it outlined, “This is how you do step one, step two, step three etc. And these are how you develop the business plans.” It was a nice, gentle introduction.
And it just scaled from there.
It got to the point where I was so excited about it; every day when I got home from work, I’d be straight on the computer!Mr X
Ken was introduced to Digital Investors through another military colleague who was already making money online
Matt: At this point, too, I had already coached your colleague, and he’s a bit of a legend in our community too.
He was already doing this full-time, and I think he’d quit the military. And I guess you saw that because I think that was when I jumped on a call with you?
Ken: Yes, he was the one that put us in touch, and after he had left the military, I realised, “Oh, actually, this is like the real deal.” He was able to replicate his income using the local business strategy.
Ken: At that stage, I had completed the Digital Investors Program and was starting to consider the elite Champions program. I was thinking, “Ok, he’s done it. Well, I can do it too.” I had seen how successful he was, so I would give it a go too. I’m willing to give anything a try, within reason.
Why Ken chooses to build his online wealth through owning passive websites
Ken: I have mainly focused on the portfolio strategy.
I have also attempted two local business website builds. It’s been a bit of a steep learning curve, but I appreciate you prodding me and making me have a go. I learned some great skills with negotiation and client interactions.
I’m focusing more on the portfolio sites now. I feel I want to scale that. For me, it’s just about time and outsourcing. I found it a little bit trickier to do that with the local business, but I can just see the portfolio strategy growing infinitely.
Matt: I’ll mention here that we teach a strategy where you buy or build passive websites. And this is what Ken has done phenomenally well.
It’s allowing him to transition out of a full-on role in the military. But for our readers, this could be you transitioning out of a full-on role in corporate (or another profession). I know many of you who are reading this are working extensive, long hours.
Passive websites allowed him to transition out of a stressful military role
Matt: I’m so impressed with Ken’s results over the last three years. He is very humble. I don’t think you realise just how amazing you’ve done here, Ken.
You now have a portfolio of content sites, and there are one or two sites that have really fired up for you, haven’t they? These are the ones that have helped you hit your financial independence goal.
Ken: Yes, and I would say I found my roles very stressful. Not just for the operational deployments, but being away from family and friends and having a limited support network.
Most people in the military probably know it takes a particular type of person, and it’s probably similar with a FIFO career or any shift workers. And I absolutely loved my career. I got to see and do a heap of amazing things.
It’s great while you’re young, and it certainly gave me a perspective on the world and educated me. But it became hard, Matt. And I think my mental health started to suffer.
Ken can build his website portfolio anonymously…and so can you…
Ken: Some of the issues that I had was family with health issues. So, I was keen on creating financial independence to give myself more control over my life.
I connected the dots and realised,
“Oh, I could have this semi-passive online business working in the background while I sleep. There is content on there, and people are reading it from all over the world. It’s just making me money while I sleep.”Mr X (aka “Ken”)
This concept frees you up to step away from those full-time positions. Some days, we had 40-hour shifts, and you’re just a zombie by the end of it.
Matt: Yes, that’s full-on.
And the other thing I just realised for you, Ken, is you’ve had to do it anonymously. Like in this interview, Mr X, you can be whoever you want to be online, can’t you?
How Passive Websites Work…
With these passive websites, it’s not your personal name behind them. These are content sites that generate information people are interested in reading. They click on an ad, and you make money out of that.
Ken: Absolutely. I use aliases (or pseudonyms) for all my blogs. Some people are a bit put off by it, but I don’t feel that there’s an issue.
The value of making money online by helping people
Ken: The big thing for me is I have a strong moral compass to make sure that I am only ever helping people online. And the good thing about online business is that to succeed in this kind of environment, you have to help people.
You have to be thinking, “How can I solve people’s problems?” “How can I fix their pain points?” One of the famous people that you got me onto was Zig Ziglar
“You can get anything you want as long as you help other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar
Ken: It’s been fantastic learning how this would work online.
How mindset helped Ken transition from the military to becoming an entrepreneur
Ken: I want to just talk about mindset for a minute. When I first started online (with my ex-partner at the time), it sounded too good to be true. And people were saying, “Oh, no. That sounds dodgy. It’s not you online, and you’re just getting people to click on ads.” There was a lot of negativity around it.
So, over the past few years, I worked on adjusting my mindset. And that’s helped me succeed. My results massively improved when I took a positive mental attitude that I’m here to help people.
Matt: That’s one of the things you’ve always said to me, and I know from personally coaching many other military people. For everyone reading this, I’ll point out my observation of military personnel when they come onto our courses.
Obviously, like Ken here, they all need to be anonymous. They’re transitioning out of the forces, but they’re all ultra-high achievers and very disciplined. And I’ve helped a lot of you coming out of high-pressure situations (including corporate) with that mindset.
The value of exponential thinking when making money online
Matt: Ken, not everyone reading this is in the military. Can you paint the picture back in 2019, mindset-wise? What were the challenges going on in your head?
You are trained in a very specific career choice, which is what you do. But you’ve got no experience online (or as an entrepreneur), which I’d imagine many readers are in the same boat.
Was it scary to learn this digital stuff? How did you find the time and mindset? Where were you at – mainly because of the programming you mentioned that you got in the military?
Ken: Oh, it’s a big one, Matt. To sum it up, my previous mindset was that time equaled money. One unit of time equaled one unit of money.
In the military (and like some government jobs), I guess you can be a bit lazy because there is job security. You think, “Ok, I have to work X number of hours.” Whether that’s an 80-hour week or more, you get paid X amount of dollars.
So, the biggest mindset shift for me is the concept of leveraging and outsourcing your time. Now, one unit of time is no longer equal to a fixed amount of money.
When building websites for passive income, the work you do today pays dividends in the future…
Ken: I’ll give the example of a piece of content for one of the websites. Even if you go ahead and write that piece of work yourself, it could take all day in the beginning. You might work six hours to get an awesome article published.
But that is now your intellectual property on your piece of digital real estate, and it’s working 24/7. Even though it sounds like a significant investment over time, you constantly get paid for that work. This concept blew my mind and was probably the biggest change for me.
Matt: Yes, and we see that with everybody at all our workshops. That’s how Matt starts every boot camp, with his graph and showing that idea.
That’s one of the reasons we love teaching you guys, especially those of you who’ve worked long hours, to realise then, “Hey, you can actually work at home in your jimmy jams for a couple of hours a day.”
Like Ken, Nathan and Alexa making $8000 per month off a website they work on 8 hours a year and many other students in our program, they are all doing this for a couple of hours a week, working on these websites and making significant money. Much more money than some people make working 50-hour workweeks.
Work on your side hustle part-time while you’re transitioning your career
Matt: And so, for you Ken, you’ve been doing this part-time for the last three years as you’re transitioning out of the armed forces, haven’t you? Would you say it’s taken you about three years?
Ken: Definitely. Initially, I just did it on my lunch breaks and when I got home from work.
Matt: A lot of people do.
Ken: It used to be scary because I didn’t feel like I could talk about it with anyone. It was like this little secret thing that I had. Also, my ex-partner wasn’t very supportive of it.
I just had to try and carve out little chunks of time that I could learn and read about it. And I worked out that I could take my laptop with me (or my iPod, iPad etc.) when I was away for work. When I was back in my accommodation at night-time, I could open the laptop and type away. So, I’ve been working on it from all over the world.
Matt: Yes, and from some interesting places, I’m sure.
The steps Ken took to replace his military income…
Matt: So Ken, I want to share with people the site you showed me when we did our first call together. You were building this site, and I was impressed with what you achieved. You built this content site that started to take off.
I’ve personally coached lots of people on small websites up to seven and eight figures through my years of coaching. So when I saw this site, I said to Ken, “You know what? I think that’s going to be a winning site for you.”
And it’s a personal passion site for you as well. I can tell you love that site, and you put a lot of effort into it. As you said, you love helping people, which you do well there.
And if we can fast forward to today, you just won one of our awards for excellence for your incredible achievement that’s just happened.
He realised the value of investing in his education to reskill in digital
Matt: It’s been a journey. This learning experience is not always a walk in the park. Can you tell us about your most recent success? I’ve just given you one of our awesome awards for excellence because it’s just stunning.
Ken: Well, I’m pretty humbled by you saying that. One of the things that I’ve been working on with my mindset is accepting compliments and praise. It’s probably something that I’ve found hard to take. Maybe it’s just something to do with the military.
When I finished the Digital Investors course and was implementing the strategy, I was able to earn enough to pay for the Champions course.
The Champions course was something I wanted to do because, as you mentioned, there was some huge potential.
What I loved about the Champions program was the one-on-one mentoring where you’ve helped me take that to the next level.
And so, for a couple of months, I saw some pretty crazy revenues.
Some months I was earning more than I had in some years of full-time employment.Ken, ex-military
First, he learned how to leverage his time by outsourcing the work
Matt: I know. And it’s mind-blowing, isn’t it?
Can you hear how humble Ken is about it? But there are some months when he’s seen revenues off his website more than what you earned doing what you were doing previously.
Ken: Yes, for a whole year. It is scary for me.
One of the biggest things I have taken out of Digital Investors and Champions is outsourcing. I have no idea how to manage staff, VAs and writers etc. But thankfully, you’ve been able to give me the scaffolding and point me in the right direction so I can set up my systems, tools, and outsources.
And I know you have warned me about overreaching because I have been chomping at the bit. I got myself into a bit of a sticky situation where I just assumed infinite growth, and everything was awesome.
Then he learned how to leverage the income on his website through negotiation
Ken: I committed to spending quite a lot on continuing to expand, getting more sites, more content etc. But I faced a bit of a crunch where my revenue dropped, and I ended up having to pivot. In Champions, we talk about following the MRAAD formula. This is where you refocus on the maximum result activities and get rid of some peripheral things.
I was under a bit of pressure to go and get some more earnings. So, I reached out to one of the partners that I worked with.
Matt: This is on your website? You should mention that this is through the website.
Ken: Yes, this is one of the Australian businesses I’d worked with. I reached out to them, and we had a negotiation around the value of the traffic we were sending them.
I was lucky because I’d tried to do this exact same thing about 12 months ago with one of their competitors. And it didn’t work out, but you and another Champions graduate coached me. You talked me through the jargon, CPCs, CPAs, TAMs, all these three-letter acronyms, which people in the military generally love.
I was able to do a bit of research and work out how much the traffic was worth to them. I was nervous, but they agreed to switch to a monthly retainer-style payment for banner advertising. I was so relieved because that income enabled me to grow the business and keep buying and building more sites.
Ken now earns $10,000 per month off one banner ad placement!
Matt: Well, you have to say how much that banner ad is worth because you’re way too humble about it. You’ve got to celebrate this moment in time because this just happened last week. Right?
Matt: And I want to point out to everyone that Ken comes from a military background. He’s never negotiated business deals like this.
Remember, this is a serious kick-butt, Australian corporate. We’re not talking about a small company here. Ken has walked in there and just said what he’s worth. And this is because of mindset changes. It’s not even about the digital strategy as such.
He’s done extremely well in building a content site, and he was able to ask what it was worth because this is what we train people to do. You must realise there’s a value in what you are doing, particularly in the leads you generate in particular niches.
This one is a very well worthwhile niche. And so, what did you sell that banner ad for, Ken?
Ken: It’s a combination of banner ads and dynamic ads on the site, but the number is $10,000 a month.
Matt: $10,000 a month! So, there you go. Ken now earns $10,000 a month for a semi-passive website. He does this from banner ads that go on there, rather than the clicks from the ads etc.
Ken realised the value of direct advertising with bigger corporates
Matt: This is one of the key strategies we teach. Once you get a successful site, you can negotiate directly with big corporates to directly advertise on your website. It’s very simple.
You just heard what Ken did. He walked in and said, “I’ve got all this traffic, so you stick a banner ad on my website.”
You’re leasing advertising space on your website for $10,000 a month. Go, Ken. You rock, mate. You’ve done it!
Ken: It’s pretty exciting. This might just be mindset stuff that I’m working on, but I still feel like there’s so much more potential. But, I was thrilled because it means I can continue to pay my outsources and contractors fair wages for what they’re doing and sustainably continue to grow.
How Ken uses websites to fuel his FIRE movement
Matt: Well, let’s bring that in now because I know you are passionate about the FIRE movement (Financial Independence to Retire Early). And one of the vehicles that you’ve chosen to be able to do that is with websites.
So, with the money that you’re earning from these sites, you are now compounding that, aren’t you? You’re building out this portfolio to compound into something much bigger down the track.
Ken: Oh, 100%.
If you couldn’t work tomorrow, what would happen to your finances?
Ken: Around three years ago, I recognised the need for diversified, passive income streams. I saw with the job that I was doing; if I had a broken leg or couldn’t work, I’d be done. So, I needed to have alternate sources of income.
After nearly a decade and a half in a certain role, you always look to the future. And I spoke about doing 80 plus hour weeks and looking at the work-life balance, which really wasn’t there. I looked to my seat superiors and older people that had been in the job longer than I had, and it’s a challenging field.
I said, “Look, in another ten years’ time, if I keep doing what I’m doing, I will still be here.” I loved my time in the military. I got to see and travel the world, get an education, and make lifelong mates. But for me, it was time to move somewhere where there was more of a work-life balance.
Ken used the Barefoot Investor principles to replace his income stream within 3 years
Ken: I knew that I needed to look at investments, investment properties, businesses, etc. And so basically, The Barefoot Investor was a book that I loved.
Matt: Yes, great book.
Ken: It got me down this avenue of personal, professional, and financial development and education.
The FIRE movement is wonderful. It can be a bit dogmatic when we talk about “baked bean millionaires”, and it doesn’t appeal to everyone.
But the premise is that once you can invest 25 times your annual spending into something like broadly diversified index funds, you can then draw an income from those, whether that be dividends or capital drawdown.
It’s all very exciting at the start, and you figure out how to set up your buckets, do your budgets, etc. But then there’s a gruelling period for potentially decades afterwards until you can amass enough capital to do that.
Just off the top of my head, and this could be wrong, but if you’ve got a 50% savings rate (i.e., you save 50% of your take-home and invest it etc.), in about 17 years, you should have enough passive income to retire…
Matt: And live off websites. You’ve just done it in three years with websites!
Ken: Well, that’s what I’m getting at here.
Matt: You’ve blitzed it. You are way beyond just replacing your income.
Ken: Yes, and your average person saves 10%. So, they’re on track for retirement in their 60s.
Matt: That’s right.
Ken: If you crank up the savings rate and you become ultra-frugal, you don’t drive a car and ride a bike or walk everywhere, you save every single cent and recycle every can, then you could get to a savings rate of like 75-80%. And even still, it’s going to be six, seven, eight years. It’s a long time.
The inspiration from other military colleagues to transition to online business
Matt: Well, I take it then, you’re a big fan of websites these days?
Ken: Absolutely. At the start, I had a healthy scepticism, which I think is important, and that’s ok. But I saw the results people were achieving online and realised that I could achieve it too when I put my mind to it.
I would say my type of personality is to just jump in, and I need to be more thorough. But my friend, who also left the military, is very methodical and the smartest person I know.
He has a lot of diligence, and so he was very successful. Because he picks his battles quite closely, he achieved success much quicker than I. Even though I have all this enthusiasm and I’ll give it a go, I’ve still been able to do it.
Matt: And I’ll say, he stuck to one particular strategy that we teach: building websites for local businesses. And like you said, he is super intelligent and diligent.
Being consistent in a high-pressure situation allowed Ken to achieve his online success
Matt: I want to say Ken, mate; you’ve rocked it. You’re a massive action taker. Over these last three years, you’ve never once let up. Look at the results you’ve just achieved. You’ve been doing this part-time around a full-on role with extensive hours across different parts of the world. I’d imagine you’ve been working on laptops, studying digital skills, and listening to Matt and Liz on the Digital Investors program.
And fast forward to now, you’re literally at the point where you can get out of the military; you’ve done it. So, I do want to say a big congratulations. You’re going to inspire a lot of people with this interview.
Matt: Hopefully, also a lot of your colleagues who are in the military (or someone in corporate who’s come from a similar background to this), can see your journey. You’ve never negotiated a business deal, and you’re learning about building passive websites.
But there’s been so much more, hasn’t there? Think of the mindset and entrepreneurial lessons you got from negotiating that deal on an online business. You had to negotiate that face-to-face, and you’re making $10,000 a month just off one banner ad.
That’s seriously impressive and life-changing.
Ken took the opportunity of extended leave to build his online business quickly…
Ken: The whole course has been life-changing.
At the beginning, I didn’t have a lot of time to work on it. I was scrimping an hour here, an hour there. But as it’s evolved, I now put more and more time into it.
COVID definitely changed things for a lot of people. But I was fortunate to work in a government role in that I was very privileged and had a safe income during COVID. I was able to follow the portfolio strategy because I wasn’t worried about where my next meal was coming from.
For most people in the military (or in certain government jobs and corporate jobs) are potentially sitting on quite a bit of leave, whether that be annual leave or long service leave. So, my tactic was to use that leave to get my life back together and work on my physical health, mental health, and work-life balance.
By taking some of that time out and focusing on learning about the website stuff, I was able to build a portfolio of websites. In comparison, there are other people who don’t have that opportunity; they need to go down the cash flow strategy with the local business to get that instant income.
It’s funny because three years feels like such a long time, but it’s really not. To see my portfolio grow in 36 months it’s insane.
…and within 3 years, he now has a very valuable website portfolio
Matt: To get the results you’re getting in such a short amount of time, in any business and any investment, is absolutely phenomenal. Hats off to you, you’ve done every single thing that we teach, and it’s yielded a result for you. And you’ve had your ups and downs as well. So, you’ve learned some really valuable lessons along the way.
I want to finish it there by saying a big thank you for coming along and inspiring everyone reading this interview with you. And I’m sure we will be hearing some more from you, Ken, over the coming years.
A big thank you for coming along. I know it takes a lot to talk about some of the stuff that you did today. So, a big thank you for inspiring our community. Thank you so much, Ken.
Ken: Thanks Matt. And just remember, it’s not as hard as everyone thinks. Just keywords, content and links.
Matt: That’s what we’re saying. I’ve taught you well! Really, well done.
Want to learn how you can retrain your digital skills?
Matt: If you’ve enjoyed today’s lesson and you’d like to learn more about what Ken’s done, I’d highly recommend you check out our masterclass and go and learn the actual strategy. That’s where Ken started.
And if you want to take it further, check out our course itself.
But if you’re interested in learning about websites that make $10,000 to $20,000 a month and how you can buy them or build them, and what our students are doing, check out our website buying masterclass and or watch these other eBusiness Institute success stories. We’ve got plenty there to listen to, and we’ll catch you on the next one.