The real internet marketing lifestyle

In the last 23 months I have grossed over $1,975,000 online which generated me a pretax net income of around $823,000.

This means a few things. It means that my business margin is approx. 41% (which is pretty good). It means I paid a whole lot of taxes (around $300,000). It means I earn an average pretax profit of about $35,782 per month online, which when combined with my offline income is enough to make me top 1% earner in the USA.

But does it also mean I can enjoy the ‘internet marketing lifestyle’? You know fancy cars, big houses, expensive watches, designer clothes and working 3 hours a week from a laptop on the beach? Well. Not really. In my experience at least this is for sure not the real internet marketing lifestyle. Now to be fair my experience is partially by choice and partially by necessity.

First lets talk about the things that are by choice. The big house, fancy car, $10,000 watch, and designer clothes. All of which I could have, if I did not have good business sense that is. Below is a picture of the house I live in, and the car I drive. I just took it about 10 minutes before starting this post.

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Ok so it is rainy and dreary today and it does look nicer when its sunny but you probably noticed right away that it is not a huge mansion. It for sure does not look like the home or the car of a top 1% earner. So what exactly are we looking at here and what gives?

Well what we are looking at is a modest 1400 square foot 3 bedroom 1 bathroom home in NE Pa. Purchase price: $58,000 + renovation cost after purchase $16,000. Total real world value, just about $72k. Here is a look at it from the inside (not a bad home, but nothing special):

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Sitting out in front of it is a 2016 Kia Soal. Base model, automatic. ‘Out the door’ purchase price from the dealer: $17,200.

So why no fancy car? Why no big house? Well one thing I have told people over and over, and that many are finally starting to accept is that on online business is still a business. When you are a business owner, you get no regular paycheck. Besides paying your own taxes, comp and health insurance, you get no guaranteed income. Its not like job where as long as you go to work, you are pretty much guaranteed to get a pay check (unless you get laid off of course or don’t do your job). When your a self employed entrepreneur its all on you, and as with almost everything in life there are no guarantees. Just because you made money yesterday, or last month, or even last year does not mean you will today, tomorrow, or next year. Business’s fail every single day. In fact hundreds of them fail every single day. The smart business owner prepares for this possibility.

Now one way to prepare is to save. Savings is great and the standard school of thought is that a person should save approx. 10% of their income. But that school of thought assumes the person is employed at a normal job not self employed. When you are self employed you need to be extra careful and extra prepared. A declining business or one that is having a tough patch can quickly eat up the owners savings. So how do you be extra prepared? Well first of course you save extra. Second you minimize your monthly expenses.

Minimizing your monthly expediences is the primary reason I do not have some big huge fancy house even though it is well within my grasp to purchase one. Im talking about a mortgage to some degree, but even more so I am talking about property tax.

The home I live in is ‘mid level’ for my area. I purchased it with cash so there is no mortgage, but it has a annual property tax of $2200. This means I have to pay $183 a month to live in my own home. A higher end one in my area could be had for around $200,000 and I could have bought that for cash as well. However that would have eaten up a lot more of my cash reserves and more importantly to me it would have put a greater monthly burden on my long term finances in the form of higher property taxes. The annual tax on a $200K home would have been around $5200. It would have cost me more than twice as much to live in a higher grade home. But would that home have given me twice the value? Twice the enjoyment? Would it have kept me twice as warm in the winter? Twice as dry in the rain? Probably not. So to me, as a totally logical, forward thinking business owner it was not worth it.

What about my car? Well another thing business owners tend to become is practical. They tend to think of what they really need and what they really don’t. This again stems from the fact that they have no guarantees of anything and no one to depend on but themselves. My Kia was purchased new this year, also with cash, and while I could have gotten a much more expensive car I had to ask myself, from a practical stand point what would I be getting as far as ‘value’ if I opted for something more luxurious? None really. Its not going to get me where I am going any faster. A sports car will get me somewhere just the same as a base model Kia. In fact the sports car would cost more in the form of maintenance, insurance and fuel. Probably not a very sensible purchase for the forward thinking business owner.

What about clothes, watches and fancy things? Right now as Im writing this I am wearing a t-shirt I bought at WalMart for $7, a pair of jeans I bought at the same place for $14, a $30 pair of casual shoes made from anything but the finest leather and I do not own a watch at all. Why? Because clothes are to impress other people, something I have little interest in, and a watch makes no sense since my phone tells me what time it is.

While some people may buy fancy cars, expensive watches and big houses for me, as an internet marketer, that makes no sense. Being self employed means there is no guarantee of anything. No guarantee my business and income wont decline tomorrow. It just does not make sense to life ‘fast and loose’ when you can burn out at any moment. Also I know a lot of self employed people, both offline and online, and many of them think this exact same way. So if your just building your business, be prepared for the likely hood that your ‘practical side’ will take over.

Ok but what about the other half of the internet marketing life style? 3 hour work weeks from the beach?

Well, Im sorry to say that I have spent a total of about one hour on a beach in the last four years or so. As for three hour work weeks: I’m not exactly sure when that is suppose to happen. But it sure as hell has not happened to me.

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In lieu of beaches and three hour work weeks I spend ten to fourteen hours a day in my home office working my tail off. Above is a picture of my home office, and I am in fact sitting at that very desk right now typing this post.

The thing about working for yourself though is that its not the same as working for someone else. When you work at a job the best thing that can happen from additional hours invested is some extra one time pay, and perhaps if your lucky a raise once a year. However when you work for your self your work is an investment in yourself. Because of this I find that I often do not mind the long hours sitting at my desk. Im not merely working for pay, Im building my business and my future up.

While in my experience the IM business has been less about Rolex’s, beaches and BMW I8’s and more about hard work, self discipline and forward thinking that does not mean that there are no rewards. At 38 years old I own my home free and clear as well as over half a dozen rental properties. I drive a brand new (though not flashy) car and ride a brand new motorcycle. Also my retirement account is better funded than that of many people 20 years older than me.

While I tend to be the frugal type of business owner I do occasionally splurge on a toy for myself, like the one in the picture below:

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There are a ton of rewards and benefits to being self employed in general as well as in the internet marketing business however one thing I want to get people to understand is that it is not all ‘glitz and glimmer’. People like to show exciting pictures of their big house, their expensive watch, their fancy Italian sports car, but the truth is that this is a small part of it if it is even at all. They never actually show the hard work that is involved. While there are exceptions in my experience most marketers, like most business owners, end up being frugal, forward thinking people who would be very hesitant on wasting their hard earned money on a $200,000 car that gets really bad fuel economy and is not in any way practical. As for the dream of ‘working 3 hours a week from a beach’ I know many successful people both online and offline and I have yet to meet a person who has turned this dream into a reality.

 

 

 

 

 

 


  
 
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  1. Kellie Crosby, 29 November, 2016

    Great post Brett, I love that you are a person of value and not waste. Nothing is guaranteed in life, so why squander it away trying to impress a bunch of people who sell by hype that just be placating anyways. You are a great mentor and marketer.

  2. Arden, 29 November, 2016

    Good on you Mr Rutecky!

    I honestly think that many of the pictures with ‘online money makers’ in front of fancy cars and mansions are picture of them with rented cars and other peoples property.

    I live a lifestyle like the one you described anyway… [minus the $31,000/month]

    When I start making that kind of money online, consistently, I’ll invest in a subway franchise 🙂

    Thank you sir!

  3. Brett Rutecky, 30 November, 2016

    EAT FRESH Brother ! 🙂 .. I was looking into a Subway Franchise a couple of months ago.

  4. Bob Coghill, 07 December, 2016

    As soon as Subway serves sandwiches that look like the images in their commercials, I’ll try them again

  5. Tom Markham, 30 November, 2016

    The reason you keep followers like me (cynical, burnt, disbelieving…) is that you’re the sole WYSIWYG person in the world of IM selling/marketing.
    Even though I don’t buy everything you recommend, I stay on, knowing that the apps I DO buy will work as promised.
    I, like hundreds of thousands of hopefuls, also sincerely appreciate your candor, and look forward to your every post, no matter what the subject matter is.
    Thank you, Brett, and keep on keepin on. And to hell with apostrophes: like supercars, theyre not really necessary.

  6. Michael Rytter, 30 November, 2016

    Love this article…and it is so true. We went the other way at first, (but have come to our senses!!), and are now selling our half million dollar log home in the country and have put a deposit on another country home, similar in size, but a conventional build, (not log), not as high end, but with more and larger shops, much less acreage, and in another province where such homes are cheaper (Saskatchewan)…. total price of $135,000….. this will make us pretty much mortgage free. Just have to get our current home sold!

  7. Gordie Chase, 30 November, 2016

    As long as you’re happy the trappings don’t really matter. The bigger house and fancy car is all my wifes idea but I guess you don’t have one of those. If you do and she’s satisfied KEEP HER! I personally use Internet Marketing to purchase rental real estate so I can retire and live off the income. We all have goals and I’m sure when you accomplish yours you’ll probably relax more. Until then keep pushing, I tried the leisure life it was boring.

  8. Deirdre Zipfel, 30 November, 2016

    Great article Brett!. You don’t even have to worry about lawn care. I love that and no worries about painting either cause siding works. You really are the real deal. You are a great inspiration and walk the walk. You are a great role model, mentor, and friend. Thank You!

  9. Brett Rutecky, 30 November, 2016

    Well I do have a yard in the back, about 30X50 feet, but I dont mind mowing that because it does not take long, and its nice to move around a little anyway when your sitting at a computer all day 🙂

  10. tony, 30 November, 2016

    Interesting post Brett. You’re a modest guy and I like that. No flash n frills. The only thing I would change there, is I prefer to own a slightly older but more comfortable car. ie, I drive a 5 yr old Volvo S80 (at new it was around £40k, I paid £5k) From experience I know it’ll hardly need anything other than an annual service (from local specialist not main dealer). I drive this though not because its a beautiful looking thing, but because I want the comfort and safety – i’m 59 and have given up extreme discomfort. My home is not dissimilar in idea to yours. Monthly running costs are my main issue too. Still working on the fund. I like your business logic. It’s practical and straigtforward. Thanks Tony

  11. Brett Rutecky, 30 November, 2016

    I use to buy used cars, but they kept breaking and needing repairs that where nearly the value of the car. After going through 4 cars in 5 years because of this I finally said, enough I want something new with a warranty. The Kia I bought has a 5 year bumper to bumper / anything breaks its fixed for free warranty, and a 10 year engine / transmission warranty. For the price I felt it was worth getting a new one just for the peace of mind the warranty brings.

  12. Jan, 03 December, 2016

    You can’t go wrong with a Kia Brett. I own a Kia Sorento 2.2 Diesel and have it for almost 6 years now, with 245 000km on the clock and it’s still going strong.
    I like your practical outlook on business and finances, it makes sense.
    I wish I can just start to make extra money from the IM world to help me pay off my mortgage before I retire.
    Just a question – do you have a Retirement Annuity that you can deduct from your income before taxes?
    And what about claiming your home expenses from Tax for the area, etc. that you use for your office?

  13. Tam, 30 November, 2016

    Wonderful post and great points are made here. I like the fact you keep reminding others about practicalities for the stuff you have with daily life. Thank Brett.

  14. kami ilmane, 30 November, 2016

    Great post Brett… real post form a real man…it’s all about keeping it real..I love it.
    I share with you your concerns about instability in this business, no guarantees of continuous income, so yes: save, save and save…..I don’t really see the point in spending so much money on a flash car which will lose most of the value within few months of purchase…A car is just a tool, to get from A to B. It needs to be safe and reliable but that’s all…if I want a sporty car I’ll hire one for the day or the weekend, but for a family guy like me, it’s absolutely useless to own one.
    Same with a big house!! if you have loads of money and you’re buying one as an investment to secure your future then fine, otherwise what is the point of having a huge house just for show !!! As you said those huge heating bills, taxes, repairs..etc..will only chew up your income and leave you short for when you get older. Better off saving that money to have a more comfortable retirement life instead. I like your style man, I wish you further success in this business, you really deserve it.

  15. Giovanni, 30 November, 2016

    Admirable and I don’t think your frugal! Self discipline having a plan and always working the plan! Since you have your boys to look after their well being is also a priority. Congrats and continue your positive contributions to your followers.

  16. Ronnie Rokk Smith, 30 November, 2016

    Great post Brett! I might do something like this on my site as well. Super Cool man…

  17. gil baller, 01 December, 2016

    Brett,

    Thank you for another great post. I’am still working a 9-5, regular job for the health benefits.
    If i had private insurance, it would cost me for a family of 4, over 800 dollars a month.
    The same coverage at work cost me 100.

    Will continue, until my on-line business, takes care of all monthly expenses.
    My Daily IM Motto…
    “Lord, give me the determination and tenacity of a weed.

  18. Trey, 02 December, 2016

    Thanks for sharing with us Brett! Inspiring post, and it’s refreshing that you are humble, honest and smart about things in life!

    I work 9 to 5 because of the benefits and income stability. Internet Marketing is fun for me and hopefully a way to gain some additional income to keep up with the cost of living, so I don’t have to keep on living “paycheck to paycheck”.

  19. Ian, 04 December, 2016

    Another great post (as usual) displaying common sense and wisdom 🙂
    And it all makes total sense, except that I love fast cars! A few years ago I used to have the ‘problem’ of choosing what should I drive today; the Monaro with a 350 Chev or the Mustang with 351? Alas, when times got hard, everything had to go and today I drive a little 4 cylinder Mazda. When I can afford it again I will buy a fast car, not to impress anyone else (because I don’t give hoot what other people think) but because I L♥VE fast cars and speed. Probably kinda like you and bikes Brett.
    And I don’t think there is anything wrong with that although I think it would be stupid and bad money sense to buy a ‘luxury’ item (ie not a necessity) when you can’t afford it, and for me personally right now I’d rather invest my money in training and software.

  20. Douglas Halfpenny, 05 December, 2016

    You, sir, have common sense, which, we both know is a misnomer, since there is nothing common about common sense.

    Thank you for expressing so eloquently the cold hard truth about a home business… it is plain, though fulfilling, hard work.

    You inspire me!

  21. Carlos Plaza Domenech, 06 December, 2016

    Hi Brett,

    i’m one of your most recent customer and for been honest the way you reply to my “CS” after that’s honest report, i would like to past the page and recognized that’s i like and respect people that has integrity, passionate and honest.

    So, congratulations for that’s great post and give us a great lecture humility and wise business lecture plus a reality check of life..!

    Two Thumbs Up and you Have my Attention and Respects..!

    To Your Success,

    Carlos Plaza Domenech

  22. Paul, 14 December, 2016

    Excellent article Brett. I can relate. I live on 2 acres in the sticks in a 700 sq ft passive solar house I built myself for $25k cash. My total living expenses are about $500/mo. This is how I’ve been able to easily make a full time income online over the past 3 1/2 years and have only spent, on average, probably 10 hours/week on business. The rest of my time is spent on other interests (I have lots) esp. writing – music, non-fiction. I love this business and lifestyle!

  23. Bill Dampier, 17 January, 2017

    First rule of self-employment: keep your monthly nut low

  24. P Eric Willms, 25 April, 2017

    Now that you have given us a downer, like a good IM pusher are you going to deliver any uppers??

  25. Brett Rutecky, 25 April, 2017

    Whats the ‘downer’ I gave you?

  26. sahbi cherigui, 27 April, 2017

    Hi Brett,
    I do not know what to say only wowww. As I mentioned it before, I never seen someone Genuine and honest like Brett Retucky. Being Grateful is a blessing by itself.
    I will love to meet you in person and I will be honored to shake your hand and said thank you for all inspiration and motivation you are giving me personally.

    God Bless and wish you more and more success.

  27. Mark Watkins, 28 April, 2017

    Really love this post Brett! You are a wise man and you know what is truly important. Economic security is what drives me forward and not being flashy and having options in case something would change in my primary job. Thanks for keeping it real and hype free!!

  28. Gerry Kenny, 01 May, 2017

    Brett I feel like I have just got out of a cold shower, how refreshing to read an open and honest article. Would that your “disease” might break out all over the IM community, but I will not hold my breath. Thank you for your honesty and integrity, and your abundance of Common Sense.
    If only I had discovered you when you started we would have grown our business alongside each other.
    I have just purchased some of your products and I am now in a position to implement your teaching.
    Reading this article has given me a boost of confidence and enthusiasm, knowing I am being mentored by an Honest decent Normal man
    Thank you
    Regards
    Gerry Kenny

  29. Brett Rutecky, 01 May, 2017

    Im really glad you enjoyed the article 🙂

  30. Rhiannon Skye, 01 May, 2017

    Interesting about the cost of high price houses where you live. They are lower price houses in Perth suburbia. Your home would go for at least $AUD300,000 which is $USD200k.

  31. Brett Rutecky, 01 May, 2017

    Yea the housing prices are very good here. For $200K you can get a house which would be closer to $1,000,000 in many other places.

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