Hi, my name is John, a full-time digital marketer, and I started this blog during my junior year of college.
During engineering lectures, I was going down the rabbit hole of “how to make money online” business models such as self-publishing books on Amazon, affiliate marketing, freelancing, and e-commerce, to name a few.
My junior year of college was when I took the “I can make money online too” red pill.
I started with self-publishing with the help of free content and self-publishing courses. Later started getting familiar with the affiliate marketing world.
Long story short, I had success self-publishing books on Amazon (some I wrote and some I didn’t). However, I was still stuck with challenging school work in a major that I had lost interest in (even though I was part of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society).
The last two years of engineering school were brutal. I almost quit, but I knew it would break my parents’ hearts, so I endured via a mini Stockdale Paradox. I had caught the entrepreneur bug and knew the new direction I wanted to move towards.
The Start of My Online Marketing Career
After graduating with a B.S. in mechanical engineering, I got a job as a Search Engine Marketing Specialist at a local digital marketing agency (you can read how I did it in my guide here). The work involved managing the company’s sister companies and local business clients.
During this time, I also started learning about affiliate marketing. But more specifically, how to build affiliate marketing websites (aka. niche sites).
Friends and family thought I was crazy for taking a massive pay cut by choosing a career that didn’t pay as much as I’d earn as a junior engineer. But, I was headstrong and stayed my course.
The experience I gained working on different types of digital marketing campaigns and businesses was great.
I got to organize, structure, and launch different marketing campaigns, from A-Z, with various tools.
Here are just a few:
- Content Management Systems (CMS): WordPress, Joomla, Wix, Squarespace, Shopify
- Landing Page Software: Thrive Architect, Elementor, Unbounce
- Sales Funnel Software: Clickfunnels, Unbounce, Hubspot
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Hubspot, Salesforce
- Email Marketing: ActiveCampaign, GetResponse, Actionetics, MailChimp
I had already been using a few of these tools in my affiliate marketing endeavors before getting hired. However, there were (and still are) plenty of online marketing software that I enjoyed learning about.
Since I was using these tools daily at the agency and on my affiliate website, Freedom Bound Business, I started reviewing and creating tutorials on these tools.
To get people to my FreedomBoundBusiness.com, I started with YouTube and, later, the Google search engine as my traffic source. And just like my earlier self-publishing success, I also stood on the shoulders of giants by taking affiliate marketing courses that taught me how to create passive income websites.
Bringing More Experience to the Table
My brother Chris is also a digital marketer who runs a fitness blog Lean WIth Style. He helps write content for this blog regularly as he’s been using marketing software on his blog that I don’t have experience with.
Over the years, we’ve immersed ourselves in the online marketing industry. We’ve gained skills and abilities on the job and our affiliate side-hustle projects that are hard to come by if you don’t love the industry as we do.
A few of his skills include:
- Google and Bing Ads
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- YouTube SEO
- Pinterest Marketing
- Sales Funnel Design
- Web Design
- Email Marketing and Automation
Quitting My Day Job
After nearly two years of being employed in my digital marketing position, it was time for a change.
Throughout 2019 I was “poached” by other companies on LinkedIn for a higher salary. And I was earning more than double my job income through my affiliate sites and my first online business venture, Kindle publishing.
I was at a crossroads (again) in my life. I could either:
- Quit my current job and get a better-paying digital marketing job close to six figures.
- Grow some stones, quit my job, and scale my online business ventures.
At the time, I was indecisive and battled this decision. It was such a hard decision to make because I was used to job security.
Enter Brett. My long-time best friend from high school, with who I’ve been sharing the wonders of internet marketing over the years (this will make sense soon).
He understood my situation and didn’t know much about the industry’s technical nature, but he saw the business potential and was interested. He was most interested in the client/agency potential of digital marketing.
Early in 2019, we purchased tickets to Matt Diggity’s Chiang Mai SEO Conference event. The event had affiliate SEOs, client SEOs, and online business owners of all levels.
It was perfect as I wanted to meet with SEO experts and colleagues. And Brett was excited to travel, learn more about the industry, and see if there was room for him in this industry.
Brett would always tell me about his client-agency aspirations. He even had a name picked out called Instinct Marketing (more on this soon).
Going to the conference was a success. It solidified that I was capable of doing this. I interacted with people who had no 9 to 5 job and lived off their niche website income. This gave me confidence and moved me towards option 2 in my “crossroads” situation above.
What drove it home that I can quit the 9-5 job is talking to a few of the speakers at the conference, Jonathan Kiekbusch of SEOButler.com, Matt Diggity of Diggitymarketing.com, and Gael Breton of AuthorityHacker.com.
I met Jonathan at a YouTube conference in 2018. I told him about my crossroads dilemma, and he encouraged me to take the plunge. I told him my experience level in SEO and that my business paid more than double my job income.
Summarized, he said something along the lines of what’s the worst thing that happens if you quit and fail… you get another digital marketing job. Looking back, this probably seemed like a no-brainer to Jonathan and a lot of other entrepreneurs, but it was a self-confidence bridge that I needed help crossing.
When I returned to the states, I got my affairs in order and finally quit my day job. Things had just gotten real. But, getting the stones to leave my 9-5 job wasn’t the only thing I got out of the Chiang Mai SEO conference. Brett and I had decided to start a digital marketing agency.
Trusting My Instinct with Instinct Marketing
The client-agency model didn’t attract me from the start. I was a cliche “work from home” type online business owner. Probably because I’m a born introvert. But, Brett was a born salesman.
Brett had over a decade of sales experience at Verizon Wireless and was serious about starting a business where he could use his abilities. He was interested in selling SEO services to local business owners in our local area.
As Brett put it, “if those nerdy introverted guys at Chiang Mai can make thousands of dollars a month with their agencies… so can I!” I figured he was right; he’d just need to understand digital marketing services and B2B sales a bit more.
I ended up partnering with Brett and created Instinct Marketing. I had faith that he could learn B2B sales and be proficient at digital marketing over time.
He would be responsible for bringing in the leads and converting them into paying clients. And I’d be responsible for fulfillment and building out the systems to scale the team with an in-house team.
Today, Instinct Marketing has clients, employees, and we’re continuing to grow. As for myself, as long as I’m doing what I love (digital marketing), I’m on the right track. Client work has brought out the inner-extrovert in me, which is good as it helps me be well-rounded in all areas of life.
Why You Can Trust Freedom Bound Business
As you know by now, I started this site while I was in college. A LOT has happened since then.
Initially, it was going to be a self-publishing site geared to help writers make money with Amazon and create freedom through their business (hence the name).
But, shiny object syndrome led me to affiliate SEO and client-agency work. These days I publish articles on this site about digital marketing, affiliate marketing, create guides, and compare and review online marketing tools (and some courses) based on my REAL experience in the industry.
One thing that separates FreedomBoundBusiness.com from most sites similar to mine is that I’ve actually been in the digital trenches.
- I’ve used WordPress plugins like Elementor to build client websites.
- I’ve done and continue to run Google Ads pay-per-click (PPC) and Facebook Ad campaigns using landing page tools like Unbounce and sales funnel tools like ClickFunnels for email marketing e-commerce launches.
- I’ve built complex email automation with GetResponse, ActiveCampaign, and other email marketing tools.
- I know what it is to maintain and scale digital marketing campaigns month in and month out while having clients breathe down my neck.
- I created my own Kindle publishing keyword research course back in 2016 (retired for a couple of years now) without an online course platform and launched it to my email list using Jeff Walker’s Launch strategy.
- I’ve brought on my brother Chris, founder of Lean With Style, to write about his internet marketing experience. He brings additional knowledge to the table, including: PPC, YouTube SEO, content marketing, course creation, and email marketing.
- And I’ve taken my share of affiliate marketing courses that’s helped me become good at making money with affiliate websites.
The point is you can trust what you see on this site. I didn’t just one day wake up and decide I wanted to review software and talk about digital marketing because I want to make money online. The content on this site is based on my experience as a digital marketer thus far.
Who knows what the future holds for Freedom Bound Business (FBB). I may create my own online courses on pay-per-click advertising, write more about starting a client-agency, or publicly share my affiliate niche projects. I’ll eventually decide, but for now, feel free and reach out to me and let me know what you’d like to see!
My focus, for now, is continuing to publish content & SEO FBB and scale Instinct Marketing.
I hope you enjoyed reading my about page, and best of luck!