Episode #001: The Million Dollar Backpack

This is the story of how I’m taking an ax to the desk at my home office and figuring out how to run my online empire from anywhere. The catch is, I want to be able to run everything from what’s in my backpack.

This is the story of how I’m taking an ax to the desk at my home office and figuring out how to run my online empire from anywhere. The catch is, I want to be able to run everything from what’s in my backpack.

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Episode Summary

It was mid-2010, and I was laying in bed reading the “4 Hour Work Week” when it hit me… I had made a terrible mistake with how I had chosen to spend my life.

It was at that moment that I realized my Chiropractic Practice was a trap. The more successful I was at building it, the more time I would have to spend inside of it (and away from my family). And that’s about the time that things started to change in my life.

I spent the next 2 years building an online business in my spare time.

And then… I walked away from my Chiropractic practice to be a full-time Internet Entrepreneur.

I spent the next 4 years building infrastructure into my online business so that I would never have to get a real job again. Those 4 years turned a small, basement operation into a multimillion dollar digital business.

And now… I”m starting all over… in a sense.

This is the story of how I’m taking an ax to the desk at my home office and figuring out how to run my online empire from anywhere. The catch is, I want to be able to run everything from what’s in my backpack.

Episode Transcription

Hey. What’s going on? Dr. Ben Adkins here. I’m extremely excited that you’ve decided to spend a little time with me and go on this journey that I’m calling the Serial Progress Secret Podcast.

What is this thing all about? This is the typical inaugural episode, but hopefully it won’t be so typical. I wanted to put something together that documented my life so far as an online business owner, but not so much in a way that I was spending most of my time touting all the cool things that my business has done. Now there’s plenty of those stories coming. Don’t worry. This podcast is about something different. I want to walk you through what this podcast is going to be about, hopefully without boring you too much.

Let’s talk about where I come from. If you don’t know who I am, I started off as a chiropractic physician, and I worked in a small town in Missouri. When I first opened up my office, I had very, very little money. I screwed up with asking for loans, and I got everything for the clinic, but I put myself in a position where I didn’t have a lot of money to market. I turned to what I had to do, and that was the internet. I had to learn how to market myself on the internet, very cheaply, bootstrapping it, and so that’s what I did.

Over the next five months or so, I built a chiropractic practice that was very much contending with those that had been there 20 years or more. Some interesting things started happening to me at that point. That’s where I knew something crazy was happening because I had all these other businesses that were in that particular town and surrounding towns that started hitting me up, and these business owners were asking, “Hey, can you help us in the same way that you’ve been building your practice?” I said, “Okay, let’s, let’s give it a shot.”

I started on this journey of helping these other businesses and did a lot of things right, did more things wrong, but along the way got them results. I got so busy because my practice was growing, and these other businesses that I was helping, they were growing. I got so busy doing that that I got to the point where I couldn’t take on any more clients or do any more work, but I wanted to keep sharing. I had a lot more people at that point that were asking me for help.

I started writing down a lot of the marketing techniques that were working for us. From that point, things went super topsy-turvy. I remember it was an evening right before Christmas, November, December, somewhere in there. I had written down some of the stuff that I had put together, and it was a marketing method, and I put it online. Somebody that was out there approached me and said, “Hey, can I promote this to some people that I know that are very interested in this kind of stuff and us to do a split?” A profit split on it. I said okay. I said, “Sure. Why not? What do I have to lose?”

They sent it out via email to a bunch of people that paid attention to them. I just remember when they told me they were sending it out, all of a sudden, I started seeing sales come through. Being a chiropractor, doing stuff person to person, this was interesting to me. Sales started coming through faster and faster and faster. I remember that first evening, I went to sleep very late. I had to be at my chiropractic clinic at 7:00 AM, but I went to bed at 3:00 because I was just fascinated watching these sales come in.

What ended up happening was that particular day, I think in 24 hours, I made a thousand bucks, and just a thousand bucks from something that was online that I had written. It may not seem like a lot to some people. It definitely doesn’t seem like a lot to me now. At the time, that was life-changing. That was something I didn’t know that the world could work that way.

Fast forward about a year. I started writing more things down and people were buying more and more people were buying, and we became this internet sensation with some of the stuff that we were writing down of how we were marketing our business and the businesses that we were helping. From there, I started to realize that I was making a lot more money and touching a lot more people doing that than I could ever do as a chiropractor. About three years into that, two to three years into that, I realized that this was something interesting.

I decided that as this stuff was going up, I wanted to really get into putting myself into this fulltime. At this point, everything starts to change. I spent the next two years of my life building an at-home business, selling, marketing stuff. During that time, my whole focus was so that my wife could work from home and then I could work from home. That was two years, and it worked really, really hard.

In the next four years, I spent building all the content and the infrastructure for this information business, in this marketing how-to business so that I could possibly do this for the rest of my life. Everything about me, even though I liked being a chiropractor, but everything that I was doing was focused on making sure that I could spend my time at home, and my wife could spend her time at home, and it was all about home. That may seem cool. If you’re not there yet and that’s something that sounds interesting to you, that’s awesome. That excites me because I could absolutely help you get there.

My journey now and what this podcast is all about is where I’m currently at in my life. I spent the last six years building this at-home business where I could work from home, but I started realizing that I was locked into being at home. It was difficult for me to leave home because all of my computers, my microphones, all the things that I was using to power this internet business were at home. It was hard for me to leave because of promotion schedules, how we were promoting products, things like that.

This part of my life, and what this is meant to be a documentation so that someday I can go back and look at this, even if no one out there is listening at all, but I can go back and look at this and walk through the process of how I pulled this off.

What I’m doing right now is I’m currently working on simplifying my business so that I never have to work from home again. It’s funny because the whole goal, while I was in a brick and mortar business in a day job, was to be able to work from home. Now what we’re trying to do, my wife and I, is we’re trying to build a business that is 100% operated out of a backpack. That brings me to the title of this podcast, which was the Million-Dollar Backpack.

What that means to me is this. I had spent my time building a multimillion-dollar per year information business. Every year, we make a few million dollars, selling information online. What’s cool and just full disclosure, we get to actually keep some of that money too, and we get to keep a good amount of it, and it pays staff and it pays me, and it provides a life that I never would have had had I stayed with being a chiropractor, which I love that gig, but this is a much better gig for me.

The idea here is, is how can I prune things down? How can I get things down to something that’s simple so that there’s more profit coming through, but I can do everything from the road? That’s what this is going to be. The entire point of this podcast is to walk you through how I’m going to do it, the people that are doing it, the people that I’m going to meet along the way, the people that I’ve met getting to this point. I’m going to be traveling. I’m going to be living out of a backpack.

The idea is my entire office has to fit in a backpack so I can still have this multimillion-dollar business but not be tied to a desk at my house. I’m still tied to a desk, but it’s at my house, and be able to do that and move and to afford the travel because there’s going to be a lot more travel, but at the same time, really provide the experiences for my kiddo and my wife and myself so that everything is mobile.

Here are the rules. This is the game that we’re going to play. Every piece of how I create this podcast, every piece of how I create a blog or a product or anything that I’m doing as I’m on this journey has to be created from things that fit into my backpack. That’s why it’s called the million-dollar backpack. Now here’s the other rub. It also has to be set up in a way that if for some reason that backpack should become lost or destroyed, that I could walk into an Apple store, I could walk into a Best Buy, and I could replace all of those pieces in a matter of an hour and not miss a beat. That’s the goal.

Like I said, over the next little bit, I’m going to be walking you through the process of how I do this, and how all of it comes together, the struggles, the triumphs, and I’m going to really give you behind the scenes. I don’t want to come off in this as a big internet marketing guru that’s made millions of dollars a year. We’ve done that. That’s cool, but what I want to come to you with here is a very humble, this is what I’m trying to do, and I don’t know how to do it yet, but I’m going to walk you through the process as we go.

What are the following episodes going to be about as we do this? Well, of course, I’m going to be walking you through how all this comes together. What’s in the backpack? Where am I going? What am I doing? How am I making income? What are the processes? You’re going to get a full behind-the-scenes of everything. If you’re someone that is good at something and you’re passionate about something and you want to teach other people how to do that thing, you can have this kind of life too because it’s all about being an expert at something. My thing was being an expert at marketing on the internet, but really, whatever you do, you can do this too. I hope that this gives you some insight.

The other side of it is I’m going to be traveling a lot, so all of the cool marketers that do what I do on the internet, so they help businesses market themselves to the Internet, they sell cool things on the internet. As I travel, I’m going to be interviewing them as well, so they can give you some insight as to what their life is like and what they’re doing. You’re going to see those processes. Sometimes I’m going to be walking you through the tools that I use. Sometimes I’m going to be walking you through the places that I go, and we’re going to be doing a lot of fun stuff.

This is the foundation. Hopefully, at some point, somebody looks back at this and says, “Wow, that’s how it all started.” I’m hoping that’s me very, very soon. This is the beginning of a journey that, as I said, I’m calling the Serial Progress Secret Podcast because that’s what we’re after. Two years to build a business that was a multimillion-dollar endeavor. Four years to build the infrastructure around that business that really made it something that was a permanent part of my life. Now I want to be able to do all those things but do them from the road, anywhere that we want to travel from a backpack.

This is it, the concept. You get it. Like I said, I’m super excited to walk you through all this as I go through it. I hope you dig this. What I would love to hear from you is leave me a comment. Leave me a comment if you’re listening to us on iTunes. Leave me a comment there and leave us a review. Let me know what you think of this process, and tell me what you think it’s all about and what you want to know because I’m listening. Like I said, you can contact me on Twitter at Ben Adkins. You can contact me on Facebook, facebook.com/benadkins or facebook.com/iambenadkins. There you go. I’ll put all of those links into our show notes, which is going to be on the Serial Progress Secret Blog so that when I screw up a link like that, you know that here’s the actual link. This is how you know it’s real. This is pure and unscripted.

That’s what we’re going to do. I want to hear what you want to know, how you want to see this go. Like I said, I’ve got a path that I’m going down. I have a plan and I’m going to walk you through that plan as I take this multimillion-dollar online business that I have, but pare it down into something that fits in a backpack and travel the world.

All right, so that’s it. I will see you on the next episode where we’re going to dive into some of the content. Like I said, if you are a marketing nerd, an online marketing nerd especially, you’re going to love this. If you’re an expert at something and you feel like you’re stuck in the grind, you’re going to absolutely love this too because this is going to show you how to get out of that grind. If you’re somebody that’s already doing something online but you feel like there’s pieces of it that you don’t like, you’re going to dig this as well. We’ll see what this actually turns into. I’m excited to walk you through the process, and I’ll see you on the next episode.

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