From Financial Advisor to Financial Comparison Site Owner: How To Quit Your Job and Support a Dream Lifestyle

This is the story of how I went from being a bored financial advisor to owning a financial comparison website that lets me travel the world on the profits.

I’m usually not comfortable telling people how to make money online but I wanted to share my story because if I can do it then you can do it.  I’ll also give you some tips on what NOT to do when starting a niche site like this.  If you avoid the mistakes I’ve made then you’ll save yourself a lot of wasted time and energy, and you’ll probably start making money a lot more quickly too.

My story

I am a qualified independent financial advisor, and although I had a decent job in the UK financial services industry, like many other people I found myself dreaming of making money online and living by the beach.  I tried a bunch of things and nothing seemed to work until I started Compare Logbook Loans, a financial comparison site in the obscure niche of logbook loans that I’d never even heard of before.

How to Quit Your JobIt wasn’t an easy ride, and I’ve made lots of mistakes along the way, but it now earns me and my business partner a basic living each month, and since it really took off I spent most of 2011 in Thailand and Vietnam living by the beach.  The site won’t make me rich – it now makes around $8,500 net profit per month between two of us – but because I get paid in UK pounds it allows me to live an excellent lifestyle in exotic places where I benefit from the great exchange rate.

There are many different online business models but the one I have managed to get working is a cross between affiliate marketing and lead generation. Put simply, this means that I get paid a commission by loans companies every time my website sends them a new visitor who goes on to become a customer.  Everything is tracked automatically by online software and the lenders simply transfer money into my bank account at the end of the each month – it’s great!

Obviously there is a large amount of work of be done on the website each month – it’s not one of these automated cash machines that you hear about – but in relation to the income the amount of hours worked is pretty good and I can’t complain.

What NOT to do

Rather than just give you give you a chronological account of what I did, it might be more useful for you if I break it down into mistakes I made and how you can avoid them.  I have always found negative advice more useful, simply because it is much easier to know when something does NOT work than when it does, because there are so many variables involved, including blind luck and random chance (which most of the so-called “gurus” never seem to mention.)

Here are a few of the mistakes I’ve made and what I learned from them – I hope this helps you to shave at least a year off your learning curve!

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From Floundering to Published: How Writing SEO Articles Paid Off My Student Loans

Editor’s Note: What do you do if you LOVE your day job, but just can’t shake the dream of becoming a writer? Simple — you continue to excel in your day job while generating a tidy little side income from freelance writing gigs. In fact, you earn enough side income in just 7 months to completely pay off your student loans (about $5000)! That’s what STRONGside, the blogger behind Live the Write Life did. How do you get these freelance writing gigs, you ask? STRONGside started out writing simple articles for a site called textbroker and worked his way up to publishing in magazines such as Greenville Business Magazine. In this article he shares his experience of working with textbroker and how you too can use it to launch your freelance writing career.

(Note: If you have an inspiring story to share, feel free to contact us, so we can feature you in one of our future stories).

Handing it over to STRONGside now…

inspiring_stories_livethewritelifeOne year ago I had a dream of being a writer. I had no plans to quit my full time job, I just knew that I needed to start writing.

When I graduated from college in 2007 I took the first job that came my way. I graduated with a Political Science degree and since I had no plans to go to law school, my degree was rendered effectively worthless. My first job was in mortgage sales, and I was miserable.

Thankfully, a manager at my office knew that I was unhappy. He ended up taking a new job six months after I started, and he recommended that I apply at the same company. I did, and within one month I had a brand new job in a college financial aid office.

I spent the next two years at this job trying to figure out how I could merge my passion for writing and a day job that I thoroughly enjoyed. That is when I stumbled across a website that would change my life forever.


I discovered Textbroker in January 2011. Textbroker is a text brokerage service that acts as the medium between writers and publishers. As a new writer, you will create an account then submit an initial writing sample. This writing sample will be ranked from 2-5. The higher your initial rating, the more levels of writing that are available to you. The higher the level, the more you get paid.

I was skeptical of this system at first, but I decided to give it a shot. [Read more…]

Gutsy and Smart: The Incredible Story of a Real Life Student Landlord

Editor’s Note: Some time back, I posted a guest article about becoming a student landlord. I have heard of someone in my school doing it, but it was mainly with seed money from parents. I didn’t really think there existed students who would be responsible enough to raise the funds by themselves, deal with the issues associated with becoming a landlord, and top it off by saving their earnings diligently. Until I read Ginger’s frugal students blog that is! Ginger and her husband (who is also a student) have an incredible story of owning income property with a positive cash flow, bought from their savings, while they are still in school. Ginger was kind enough to share her story here. I hope you feel as inspired as I did to read it! (Note: If you have an inspiring story to share, feel free to contact us, so we can feature you in one of our future stories).

Handing it over to Ginger now…

Student Landlord -- GingerBuying any residential property can be frustrating and difficult but when you are buying for more than one reason, it can be even more so. My DH and I bought a duplex in December of 2009. We had not planned to buy it so soon, in fact we had debt we wanted to pay off before buying a property but the first home buyers tax credit made us decide to buy.

The Decision to Buy, And Raising the Money

We had just moved from San Jose, California to Buffalo, NY during August of 2009 for my DH to go to graduate school. During my college years I had put money aside in both a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA for my first house. All together I had saved about $7000. During my last year of college I was eligible for subsidized student loans and took out the max amount of $5500 for the year. [Read more…]

From Newbie To Full-Time Blogger: 5 Things I Learned

Editor’s Note: I first heard of Michael Dolen when he pitched me for a guest post on this blog. Something about Micheal’s mail was different from the many others I receive. As we exchanged emails back and forth, I found out that Michael has a very interesting story of going from debt to a successful self-created career in blogging. I asked him if he would mind sharing his story with the readers, and he said his story was just another story of a blogger–nothing special about it. But here’s the thing – even though your life seems “regular” to you, it can be a huge source of inspiration and learning to others. Boy, am I glad I talked Michael into writing down his story – it is so jam packed with nuggets of information based on real experience! I hope you learn from it as much as I did. (Note: If you have a story to share, feel free to contact us, so we can feature you in one of our future stories).

Handing it over to Michael now…

In today’s economy it’s hard to be optimistic about anything, especially when you are just starting out in your career (or you are still in school and haven’t even started yet). With high unemployment and the outrageous cost of going to college, is there any light at the end of the tunnel? The answer may surprise you and that “light” may come from where you least expect it… blogging.

To prove to you anyone can be successful with blogging if they put their mind to it, here’s where I was coming from when I began:

  • I had no college degree. In fact, I had recently dropped out of college.
  • I was in my early 20’s with no formal education, no stable source of income, and no financial support from family. Furthermore, I actually had a negative net worth due to massive medical bills resulting from a car accident I was in at age eighteen. In a nutshell, my prospects didn’t look too bright!
  • My knowledge of web development was limited. I can’t code/program for the life of me and my Photoshop skills were virtually non-existent.

Fast forward to the present and I’m doing quite well for myself thanks to blogging. Here’s some valuable things I learned along the way that I would like to share with you:

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From Freelancing to eCourses: The Inspiring Story of Ali Luke

Editor’s Note: I have seen the name Ali Hale/Luke mentioned on so many different blogs, that I decided to look her up. Ali’s got it all just right – the quality of her content, her writing style, her website and her pitch. So I contacted her for a writing project. During some of our correspondence I found out that Ali holds an MA in creative writing and pretty much supported herself through college with income from her freelancing projects. So I requested Ali to share her story with our readers. And here it is. I can’t think of something more fitting to kick off our “inspiring stories” series! (If you have a story to share, feel free to contact us, so we can feature you in one of our future stories.)

Handing it over to Ali now…

Inspiring Stories: Ali LukeWhen I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer. I imagined making my living writing novels – and I worked hard at my fiction writing for years. After I finished university, though, it became pretty clear that I needed a real job! I worked in tech support while trying to sell a bunch of short stories and my first novel.

Pretty quickly, I realized that (a) it’s tough to find the time and energy to write when you’re working full time, and (b) there’s not much money in fiction! So, I started blogging… with a rather delusional idea that I’d be able to make hundreds of thousands of dollars from my own blog.

My Very First Paid Post

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