Are you ready to start your own business? Have every decision be your own and success and failures rest on your shoulders? or are you content working for someone else, letting someone else call the shots and determine what happens? Find out how Dr Ben Adkins made the decision to never work for anyone else, ever again. and you’ll never guess where he got the supplies to start his first real business.
A lot of people ask me, “Ben, you’re living this backpack lifestyle. You’ve got this online business, and you can do pretty much all of it from a computer, but how in the heck did it start? Did it just come right out of the gate and making millions of dollars in this business, or was there build up?”
Well, I’ve never believed in the whole lottery mindset. All of it was a slow grind, coming from absolute nothing all the way to where I am now, and today I want to tell you what that process actually looked like, because a lot of you have said you wanted to know what it was. Let’s dive in. Let me show you how I went from absolute zero, working in a brick-and-mortar, to making millions of dollars from a backpack. All right, let’s do it.
Okay. My journey into this whole computer-based business that I could run from anywhere on the planet with an internet connection and a laptop that I could fit into a backpack, it was not like what I think most people think it is. A lot of people think that you can just dive in and start doing this, and it’s all one moment that leads to everything. That may be the case for some people, but for me it was absolutely not that.
For me, this business has been something that I started off very humbly in a basement. Actually, not even in a basement. It was actually in a job that I had, which was a mattress store, and it just grew from there. I wanted to walk you through what this looks like if you start like I did, and you go from the ground up. Before we get into this, you need to know a little background. I started off as a chiropractor. I went to school with the idea that I was going to help people in healthcare before I even knew I was going to be a chiropractor, and so I was a biology major.
When I was doing all this, somewhere along the way I figured out, hey, I wanted to be a chiropractor. After three, four years of regular college, getting a degree, and I actually didn’t have to go the full four years to get my degree, because I found a loophole where I was able to finish my degree while I was doing my advanced degree, and so I ended up going to, all in all to become a doctor of chiropractic, to get a biology degree and all that good stuff, I ended up going to school right around seven and a half years. That was finding everything that I could so I could work straight through, no breaks, and to finish early.
Went in, did this, and basically what happened was, as I was getting ready to take the final test to become a full-blown chiropractor, I had to get a job, so I worked at a clinic for a little while, but also, I also worked in a mattress store. I’ll save you the how I ended up there for a little while, but when I was in this mattress store, it was the perfect job for a guy that was studying for a test to become a full-blown doctor of chiropractic, and this is why: I would go in. There would be maybe four to 10 people come in the entire day, and then the rest of the time, I was studying for my test that I had coming up and various other things.
If you’re thinking about this, there’s only so much time you can study for a test without going insane, so what did I do the rest of the day? What I did the rest of the day while I was in that mattress store, and I was done with all my jobs there with all the things that I needed to do in that place, from that point I had to occupy my time. A couple hours every day, I would have time to learn marketing on the internet, and so that’s what I did. I started studying marketing on the internet, and that led to the first what I call windfall.
This was the thing that it’s so not much money now compared to what I do, but it was so big for me. One day, I got into this domaining thing. If you’ve never heard of domaining, what it basically is is domains online, www.something.com, that has value just like real estate, and so I started figuring this out, and one of my first big … I say big, but my first things where I made money was I went in and I learned the ropes as to what was valuable versus what wasn’t in terms of domain names, and what I did was I went and registered a domain for under 10 bucks, and then I took that domain to auction, and ended up selling that domain for around $200.
The first time this happened, it absolutely blew me away, because I was like, “Oh, there’s value in this digital world. You don’t have to be in a brick-and-mortar. You don’t have to do all this stuff.” But that was the first time. I bought a domain, and this is probably 2008, 2009. I bought a domain for under $10, registered it from the ground up, didn’t buy it from anybody else, but then went and sold it to someone who had a reason to use the domain, and it was valuable to them. They bought it for over $200, and so that was the first big thing that I did.
Right after that, I passed my test, I got my office opened, and this was the next big thing for me in terms of how I made money. I opened up my office, and I didn’t have any patients the first week. I think I had one person show up the entire first week into my office when I was a chiropractor, and so I figured, “I’ve got to do some better marketing at this.” I didn’t have a whole lot of extra money to go around at that point, so I had to use what was there, and this entire time I’d been working at the mattress store, not only was I doing the domaining thing, but I was also learning all these cool things about how to market your business online.
And so I started taking that knowledge, and I started applying it. Within about six months, using Facebook … Facebook ads was an early thing then, very, very early on, I started to get people to come in to my office just by marketing myself on Facebook, so I was doing some things with ads, I was doing some things with just organic marketing with my personal profile, and of course my business page on Facebook. With that, I was able to get people to come through the door, so that was my second thing. Not directly, I just made money without a brick-and-mortar, but I made some money, and that’s the thing.
It was using the internet, so at that point, what you were probably start thinking is, “Okay, that’s cool, Ben. You made some money, but was it really scalable?” And the answer was, “Absolutely no, because they had to be local to me to do that, but that led to something else down the road.” That led me to the next thing, is people saw that I was growing my business. This was the third time I was really making some good money with online. People saw that I was bringing people into my business, and they said, “Adkins, can you do for our business what you’re doing for your chiropractic practice?” And so I started getting hired as a chiropractor in all my free time, because I was getting busy at this point, because the internet stuff was working.
People started hiring me to come in and to help them with their business marketing, so I ended up founding a, what I would now call a digital services agency, because other businesses local to me needed help with the internet, and so that was really the third big thing that I did to make money online. Each time that I figured out something new, we started making more and more money because of it. Now this is where things start to get really, really interesting.
I had people that were asking me to help them with their business, right? I’ve got three things that have worked for me so far, but I have other people that have started asking me, but I’m so busy with my chiropractic practice, because I’m still in that mode at this point. I have so many people that are asking me for help to come do it, but I don’t have the time to actually go in with these first few digital service clients, so I have to work something else out.
I get this genius idea, like I was the first person to ever think of it that, “Hey, well if I can’t go in to help them personally, at the very least, I can write down some things that I’m doing that are working, and I can sell that to them.” And so I wrote my first ebook. This first ebook was just designed to go out and help people, and people bought this, on a very local level, but people bought this. It was just designed to help them with Facebook and Facebook ads, things like that. Nothing too complicated, but that’s what my first … I wrote down what’s up here, and this is how I make most of my money these days, by the way, but I wrote down what’s up here, and I put it on paper and sold a digital version of it, so there was no cost to actually put it on paper or actually make a book.
We just sold a digital ebook, a PDF, to these folks. That was going well. I had a few things there, but then I started really coming up with some fun things that I thought, “Hey, this is a business in itself.” The first thing that I sold that was really, really successful, and this is one of my favorite stories, because this is where I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is something, this is something.” I had figured out that all the local law enforcement would publish who had gotten arrested, who had had to do things down at the courthouse. This was all public domain information that had been put out there.
What I figured out is you could put together what we call a local gossip newsletter based on that, and people would pay a subscription fee, a low one, but seven dollars a month. They would pay for you to compile this information and make it easy for them to access. I was doing this on a very low level. I tried to keep people’s names out of it as much as possible, but this was something that people wanted to know. They wanted us to go down to the courthouse, figure this stuff out, and publish it out because it was public domain, and they’d pay us a subscription fee. This was all digital.
Once I figured this out, I was doing that on a low level, but I was like, “There are other people all over the country that could do this.” I wrote this stuff down, and I’ll never forget this. I published this thing out, and for some reason, I had published this on this network that sold … It was specialized in selling digital products, and for some reason, a lot of people thought this was really good. Once they bought it, once they went through it, they wanted to sell it to people that trusted them. I had no clue what affiliate marketing was at this point, but some people said, “Hey, can we promote this, and we’ll do a split, 50/50 split for the people that buy it. We’ll split the money if we promote it to our people.” I was like, “Okay, cool.”
I had no clue what that was all about, but it sounded awesome. It sounded completely awesome to me, and I was like, “Yeah, let’s do that.” That happens, and about an hour after I got that message and said, “Yes, let’s go,” I just start seeing sales. I had a notification set up on my phone that, every time I got a PayPal payment, it would ding. It starts dinging, and it keeps dinging, and it keeps dinging, and it keeps dinging, and it keeps dinging. I’m sitting there.
Like I said, I’d had a hard day at the chiropractic office. I’d seen a bunch of patients that day, but I’m sitting there at home exhausted, and this little thing that I’d written, and not actually written, but typed up on a PDF, this little book … That night, I got up the next morning, because I had to go to sleep, because I had to go to the clinic the next day, but that night, that little thing put $1,000 in my pocket. Just a few people promoting it, and it put $1,000 in my pocket. It put $1,000 in the pocket of the person that was promoting it too, but it put $1,000 in my pocket, and I thought … I’m sitting here doing the math. I’m like, “How many patients did I have to see today and adjust, physically be there, to make that much money?”
If you go to a chiropractor, you can start doing the math there of how many that was, but the thing was is I didn’t have to do that work again, and I could keep selling that. I didn’t have to be physically present, and that’s the first time really it starts to hit me that I’ve got to take what’s up here, and instead of translating it through my hands into something that I can physically do in a physical location, I have to start doing this stuff in a way where I can write it down and transfer the knowledge out.
That hits me. The interesting thing about this is, when something like that happens to you, when you start that and somebody promotes something, and you make that amount of money, in your head, you’re thinking, “Yeah, but that’s never going to happen again. This was a fluke. There’s no way this happens.” I had something else that I wrote that was a skill that I’d picked up back at the mattress store, when I was in the chiropractic office, had helped it grow. I put that down in a PDF and I put it up. Lo and behold, a couple days after I put it up, same thing. Somebody asked, “Hey, can we promote it?” It was like, “Sure, absolutely you can promote it.”
And that night, $1,000 again. In 24 hours, $1,000 just for something I wrote that was literally 15 pages. 15 pages, this thing was, and it makes me $1,000 while I’m sitting on my butt at my house after I’d gotten home from the clinic. The thing that I haven’t mentioned yet is, this whole time, every time I put one of these things together, every time I put one of these little PDFs together and it’s selling and I make money, I’m also putting all of the people that bought this product onto an email list. All of their email addresses are getting added, and what I’m going to end up doing with this later on, and this is what I do to this day, is every time I release something new, I can send out an email and let these people know that loved the thing that I put out before, that I’ve got something new coming out.
Instead of having to split the money the next time that I put something out, I’ve got my own email list that I can tell about and I get to make 100% of the profits on that. What do I do from there? It’s $1,000 here and there, but it’s nothing consistent, so I start thinking, “Well, I know a lot.” Marketing my practice, all of the things that I’ve learned online, because I’m getting to be a complete nerd for this stuff, I know a lot of this stuff. What happens if I really start going all in? And I start researching things harder, and I start teaching these things in my way, so I start getting really consistent with putting out product. And not just for my benefit, but I’ve got people asking me, “Hey Ben, do you know about this? Do you know about this topic, this topic?”
And if I knew about it, I’d write something about it and I would teach them the tricks that I knew. I start getting really consistent. Right around the time that my kiddo was born, my first kiddo and my only kiddo at this point, right around the time my kiddo was born … This is 2011. We’re coming into 2011. I start saying, “You know what? What happens if I get really consistent with writing material and releasing material? These 10-15 page things, what happens if I do that?” And so I got to the point where I was just saying, “I know a lot of stuff,” and I started making a list of all the stuff that I knew how to do online, to market a business, to make money from a backpack.
I didn’t think of it at that point that way, because I wasn’t doing it from a backpack. I was still in my clinic, but I started thinking, “What if I release this stuff on a regular basis?” I was kicking this idea around in my head for awhile, but I didn’t do anything with it. It was May, because the kiddo was born, all this other stuff was happening, but it’s May of 2011 before I really get into this. And I start saying, “Okay, let’s go.” I had this big list of things that I thought I could teach. I started writing up these PDFs. I get these PDFs done, and every two weeks, I would release a product.
Every time, I’d make a couple thousand bucks, a couple thousand bucks every time. And then it happens. I’m getting ready to go to this event. This is going to be one of my first online marketing events, because now I’m just fascinated with all this, and it was … I’m trying to think of where it was. I can’t even remember where the event was, but I’m about to go to this event, and for some reason, one of the products that I released, people just gravitated towards. And it was called The Evil Facebook Magician. That was the name of the product, and the whole product was just me teaching some tricks that most people on the planet didn’t know.
I was such a nerd for Facebook at this point, and marketing using Facebook, that I knew a lot of things that I realized nobody else did, so I wrote down five things that most people actually had no clue of. This thing goes live, and it explodes, and I go from a position to where I had been selling 200-300 copies of something, and all of a sudden, I sold 2,000-3,000 copies of this. That was really interesting, because that was a chunk of change that came through really, really quickly.
What I want to get across here is, it’s not that I knew at the the time this was going to be the thing that broke. I actually thought this was just one of my worst products yet, because it was just, instead of being a step-by-step, it was just a bunch of random, “This is how you do this,” that weren’t really necessarily connected. I didn’t think this was going to do good at all, but all of a sudden, here it goes. It shoots through the roof, and what I attribute that to is consistency.
I got really consistent with writing, so my writing got better. My ability to market what I was writing got better, and did I just happen to connect something I was into with what was people were interested, so I caught a wave on my surfboard. We put this product out, it does really, really well, and it puts me on the map. There are people right now watching this that that’s the first product they ever bought from me, way back then.
From this point, keep in mind, this was a seven dollar product. This was a seven dollar book that I’m putting out, and I’m not charging a whole lot, but at this point, I was saving money. I didn’t have to spend this money. I was making my own salary at the chiropractic office, so I was putting this money back. I started putting together quite a bit of a bank account, because this was making me a few thousand bucks at a time, and it was 5,000-10,000 at a time, and I start growing this.
We’ll get back to that. At this point, I start thinking, “I want to keep growing. This is going well, and people seem to be really enjoying what I’m doing. They seem to be getting results.” And so I keep going. I look at all the people that are really successful, because at this point, you start identifying other people that are doing the things you’re doing, and so I started really thinking about that. “What are the people that are doing really good at this and really are reaching a large audience, what are they doing?”
By the end of that year, by the end of 2011, remember I just started really seriously in late 2010 to put out a couple things. I didn’t really start releasing a lot of stuff on a consistent basis until May of 2011, but by the end of 2011, I had put about $50,000 in my bank account by doing this. And so I was like, “I’ve got to invest some of this money back into this business to grow it.” I was looking around at all the people who were really good at this, and what I figured out they were doing, they were all on video.
Now, everybody was just writing down or putting out software or putting out courses. The ones that were really, really good were getting their face on video so that they could, and I didn’t realize this at the time, but so they could bond. I invested in a video camera, a microphone, and some backdrops that were terrible, by the way. You can go back and probably find some of these that are still living out there. It was absolutely terrible, but that was it. In 2012, I focused a lot of my time on making sure my face was on camera.
Not only did I have these really great products, not only was I building up a list of people that were into my products that I can contact every time I release something, but also, I started appearing on video so people could recognize my face. By the time I got to the mid-to-later 2012, this really started blowing up, because people felt like they had a connection with me. And they did, because I love talking to people. I was just as much a nerd for this stuff as they were, and I was putting out products teaching things that actually help people, so that was that.
Here’s where things start to get really interesting. At the end of 2012 or so, and remember I’d been charging seven dollars, three to seven dollars to buy these products, and they were just selling a lot. That’s why I was making money. At the end of 2012, I said, “It’s time to scale up.” I made a very, very huge decision that has forever changed my life. I stopped charging seven dollars, and I started charging 100, 200, 300, 400, 500 dollars, but I would put more time and effort into the products.
Here’s what happened to my market. The market that I was serving shrunk. The customer support stuff however also shrunk, but here’s the thing: The people that really loved my stuff were making money with the stuff I was doing before and getting results with the stuff I put out before, so they were paying for this stuff. I remember I put out this thing. I didn’t really think it was going to work, but I put out this thing for $200-300 at the end of 2012, and I walked away and I made, in about three or four days, because I was charging $300 instead of a seven dollars, a lot less people bought, but the people that did buy, they ended up helping me make $300 a pop, we did 100 sales, over 100 sales. I remember it was somewhere, 120-something, so I walked out of this with $30,000.
Keep in mind, the year before, I ended it with all that, but that was one weekend, and so I learned a lot. At that point forward, this was the key: How do you go from, “Hey, I sold something and made $1,000 but that was about it. When I first started, doing that first domain thing from $200, how do you go from that to multi-millions every single year in sales and products?” You get consistent.
I started planning out on a calendar, “These are the things that I want to talk about. These are the things that I’m good at. These are the things that are going on up in here.” And I felt like I had been playing at a high level with marketing for awhile. “These are the things that I want to teach.” Instead of just putting things out haphazardly, I started putting together a calendar.
Things started making sense, and they started building on each other. This course that I sold this week builds really nicely with the course that’s coming out in three weeks, and so I started getting strategic and planning a calendar. I focused 100% on helping the core group of people that was my core buyers, and it’s funny. Less buyers, less people coming through the door, but more money coming through, and a lot happier people, people that were following me pretty hardcore.
All that said, that’s the journey. That’s what I’ve gone through. At this point, things have gotten more complicated, but still it’s pretty simple overall. I’ve taken what’s up here. I’m putting it either into a video like this one or I’m doing a podcast, or I’m writing things down into a word processor and putting it out as a PDF. That’s how I’ve made money.
The cool thing about this is everybody out there can do this. Everybody out there is good at something. It doesn’t have to be about marketing. It can be about wood working. It can be about basketball. It can be just about anything, and that’s where I get really excited, is because this journey that I stumbled into that has worked out really well for me is something that each and every person that’s watching this video can do, but on a topic that they absolutely love.
I hope you enjoyed this walkthrough of how I got to where I am today, what I’ve been doing, how I am able to travel all over the world, have great food, see a lot of really cool things, meet some great people, hang out with really cool people all over the planet, but run a multi-million dollar business from a backpack. That’s the story. I’ve never actually told that before in full. I hope you enjoyed it.
And like I said, if you did, make sure that you click the like button below, the little thumbs up. Let me know. Also, if this is interesting to you, I’m going to be teaching a lot of things coming up, make sure you subscribe and hit that little bell, and that will make sure that every time we put out something like this, you will get a notification.
All right, I hope you loved it. I will see you on the next video. I’ll talk to you soon.