An Accountant in 2013, a Full-Time Online Seller in 2014

On September 20th 2013, I quit my full time job to pursue selling online full time.  I was intending to release this post exactly on the one year mark, but I don’t think anything is really lost releasing it a few days late.

I can still remember my last day quite vividly. It consisted primarily of many well wishes from co-workers, wrapping up last minute projects, and transitioning clients to the next lucky person assigned.

I was able to leave for the day around 1:30PM. I gathered up my laptop, iPad, and other company supplies, dropped them off with Human Resources and was one step closer to being unemployed/unemployable.  I walked out of the HR office, down the elevator, out the door onto the street and the feeling of freedom started to hit me.  As I began to walk down the street to the parking lot where my car was parked, it was invigorating to think about the possibilities that the future held.  Along with an occasional voice inside my head saying “Ryan, are you crazy?”

On this walk (it was about a 4 block walk) I notice that one of the senior partners and a manager from the office are walking down the street heading in my direction returning to work from lunch.  This was the same senior partner who talked me into staying at the firm when I was considering quitting my job 9 months prior, primarily by striking fear and doubt into me at that time.  There was no (well maybe a little) fear and doubt on September 20, 2013.  As I approached them I couldn’t suppress a huge smile which they were able to pretty clearly interpret as a sign that I was pretty excited about the new journey I was about to begin.  They commented on the smile signifying I must know what I am doing, we shake hands, and I complete my walk back to my car, I drive home, and am out of the corporate world.

Becoming a Full Time Online Seller

Stepping away from my job was without too much doubt the single greatest choice that I have made in my life thus far.  It has proved to be a good decision financially as can be seen from the financial results posts that I share, but an even greater benefit is simply the freedom.

The freedom of being self-employed is what I value the most.  I am able to work when I want, take time off whenever I want, and I am compensated based on my results.  At my prior job, including sick days, I was given 21 days off per year.  Without a doubt I have taken more than 21 days off so far this year.  On the flip side of the coin, I have worked many weekends, and there have been a few days where I put in 15+ hours working on various projects that I have going.  The beauty of it is that I enjoy what I am working on, and I can do it on my time.

I know this isn’t my typical type of post, but I wanted to share this story as it shows how much can change in just one year.  One year ago I had a full time job, several years’ experience selling online part-time, and a strong desire to be self-employed.  This desire to be self-employed was one of the largest drivers of quitting my job.  If you want more insight into my mindset at the time, you can read my very first post if you haven’t already: Walking Away From 50K.

Now, enough about my story for today, let’s take a look at your own life.

Reflect on the past year of your life and compare your situation today versus one year ago.  Now you can get as deep into the analysis as you want, but the real value in this exercise is analyzing where you’ve been,  and ultimately determining where you want to be.  So, where do you want to be in all aspects of your life in 1 year from now? Really think about this, put a plan in place, and make it happen.  Amazing things can happen in relatively short periods of time.

To everyone who has subscribed and to everyone who has been following my journey, I truly thank you for reading and your support over the past year.  As long as you keep reading, I will keep writing.

If you have any questions/comments, or goals for the next year you would like to share, please feel free to leave them in the comments below!

44 thoughts on “An Accountant in 2013, a Full-Time Online Seller in 2014”

  1. Peggy Richardson

    RYAN I am retired and looking forward to start doing something with the rest of my life. I am not to an expert on the late technology. what kind of phone I need to download my Amagon seller app.?

  2. Ryan,
    Your blog has been inspiring and informative and after years of light selling on Ebay (mainly expensive electronics I get on sale that have a relatively small profit margin, but a fairly high total profit – more than what I make per hour at my desk job). I’m looking to cut ties with my desk job and experience the satisfaction and reward of working for myself, profiting from my own hard work and dedication, joy of searching out deals, and the freedom of a flexible schedule. I look forward to following your blog!

  3. Hi Ryan, congratulation! you have been an inspiration for me. I always wanted to start an online business and thanks to you I feel more determined and motivated about pursuing my dream. although this is my first time commenting in here, I always follow your articles and also follow other members that with their hard work and dedication, have developed successful online selling businesses. I wish you the best. God bless you bro!

  4. I too look forward to the day when I can stop sucking the corporate teet and work on my own terms. 10 years in retail has been hell. Congrats on your success, and with your inspiration I’ll be going part time very soon. One step closer….

  5. Ryan,

    Really enjoyed your Spreecast with Andy. I have seen amazing growth in my FBA business this year, having just surpassed $160k in sales while also working as an engineer full-time. My goal is to walk completely away from this very comfortable and well-paying corporate job to a full-time FBA lifestyle. Your posts are inspirational and I appreciate all you share.


    1. Thank you for the kind words Jason! Glad to hear that you enjoyed the Spreecast, and sounds like you are doing some great numbers part time. Keep it up!

      Best Regards,

  6. I had a dream job in Alaska for many years. A move to the lower 48 for my wife’s job in 2010 put me out of work. I looked for over a year and then decided to go back a get a master’s degree. Add in a divorce during that time. Here I am almost a year after finishing the degree and still working for $15/hour at a job that is 1.5 hours from me. I have applied for hundreds of jobs, and had exactly four interviews. Two weeks ago I started sourcing goods for FBA. In that time I have already bought about 1.2 K worth of goods and sold enough to cover my start-up costs (the stuff has only been at Amazon for a week). Assuming the goods sell, I will make more in profit than I do in six weeks (I think I lucked onto some really good deals at Goodwill’s in my area). The biggest part that scares me about this whole thing is taxes. Sales tax is making my head spin and I need to find something that can boil it down and make this part of the business a little easier (do you recommend taxjar?). But I LOVE the rest it so far – it suits my rather introverted personality. I love the research aspect of it and even shipping the goods is pleasurable (better then sitting on my arse in an office).

  7. Ryan,

    Congratulations – I am a bit envious, but also inspired. I’ll have to see where 2015 takes me, but I’m setting a goal of resigning from my job by January 2016.

    I do have one question regarding Health Insurance. Unfortunately, I’ve had two years of issues and have relied heavily on my company’s health insurance program. The ACA scares the crap out of me and I was wondering how you and your family have dealt with this?

    1. Thanks Chris!

      Currently, I am 25 and am still covered under my parents health insurance through the end of the year. I am planning on purchasing insurance through the state exchange in the coming months. I will report about this here in a blog post, as the health insurance question is one that is commonly raised.

      Best Regards,

  8. Ryan,
    I am happy you are doing so well, It is great to read of your progress!
    A year ago I was wondering what I would do since I had lost my job the previous month and money was getting extremely TIGHT! Learned about Ebay and Amazon and started them Nov and Dec last year, money continues to be tight however at least I see that I am improving slowly with both streams with the help of people like yourself that are doing these businesses! Keep it up, we appreciate your insight : )

  9. Tremendous! Thanks for sharing your journey with us, it’s very motivational. I started FBA in May and am about 6 months away from shutting down or slowing down my janitorial business. Your blog helps me think bigger.

  10. Congrats, Ryan! You’re definitely a mover and shaker! Would you consider posting your total Profit and Cash flow for your first year? The cash flow thing is still throwing me for a loop.

    1. Hi Jenn,

      Thank you! I will see about doing something like that with cash flow at the end of the calender year, stay tuned.

      Best Regards,

  11. Congratulations Ryan, thanks for posting this story!

    I had a similar experience in 2009 when I left my 9to5 job to work on my own business, It was a great feeling. Unfortunately things did not work out and I ended up back in the 9to5 grind. I miss the freedom aspect of working on my own and I am working diligently on my FBA business (with my wife’s help) to get back there.

    1. Hey Jeff,

      Thank you! Sorry to hear that it didn’t work out initially, but there is something to be said for trying to make it happen. If I had to go to a corporate job now, it would be a little rough, but no where near as rough as if I had never given the self-employed thing a shot.

      Best of luck to you in getting back to self-employed status!


  12. Congrats Ryan, your journey is so inspiring. It is so amazing to see where you have reached in this short time period due to your dedication and hard work. I hope to get into FBA in 2015. Your posts are so informative and inspiring so please keep writing. Thanks

  13. Ryan this is a fabulous, celebratory post! Congrats to you for having the guts to stand up and make a life-changing decision, one that others surely thought was questionable. I was lucky to meet you in person at CES II and I have to say… you are an impressive guy! You truly walk the walk and you have the world by the tail right now. You’re right, doing this kind of “work” (online selling, FBA) is an amazing gift… to be our own “boss” and be able to see the direct results and benefits from the effort we put in. Much better than a flat-rate paycheck every two weeks! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences in your blog; you are an inspiration to those of all ages.

    1. Thank you very much for the kind words Michelle! Being self-employed truly is an amazing opportunity, sometimes we just have to take a risk to make it a reality.

      Best Regards,

  14. I’m very happy for you, Ryan. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I can feel that this is only the very beginning of a successful career and life for you. Keep up the GREAT work!

  15. Congrats Ryan your story is truly inspiring and a great goal for other online sellers to work toward . At this point i still enjoy my job but am building on my FBA income every month because I really like doing this business and I am excited to see what my first 4th quarter will bring (just started FBA in March).

    Your blog had been by far the most helpful blog as far as FBA goes and I am excited to hear you on spreecast with Andy Slammons, he seems to be a really cool guy and is one of my favorite guys to watch on spreecast.

    FBA Question: I sold a radio controlled gyro cycle to a customer a few weeks back and she e-mails me now and ask if there are any replacement controls because her kids broke the other one. I emailed the company that makes it to see if there was one available for sale, but in this case would you do anything else besides just trying to help them find one?


    1. Thank you for the kind words Chad! I am definitely looking forward to the Spreecast with Andy, here’s the link for anyone reading this who want to tune in:

      As for your question, beyond helping them with their questions, I don’t think I would do anything else. Just be cautious about sending them a link to an actual product if it’s not for sale on amazon, since directing amazon customers to sales off amazon can be a big issue.

      Best Regards,

  16. as for a year ago…..yikes……my first son was born on september 14th of last year, so this whole year has been a whirlwind of firsts and exciting moments. and because of all these moments, it has made it more clear to me that i need NEED need to work less hours of unejoyable time and spend more time at home.

    1. Hey John,

      Thanks for the comments here, I am responding to both via this one response. Sorry to hear you are waiting on legal issues to resolve. It sounds like you have a definite goal of being home more, and it’s definitely possible that an FBA business could help with that. If you do make it to my area, definitely let me know.

      Best Regards,

  17. i have a few legal issues currently wrapping up from a previous family oriented business enterprise, but once they end (hopefully december, if not then march), i have every intention of doing the same. i do not enjoy coming to work anymore, not like i used to. my time is more valuable to me than sitting here. and once court and lawsuits end, i plan on leaving. but im tied til then.

    its amazing how fba can be side/extra money, or life changing and door opening. i only recently opened the door, but its easy to see what is possible. thanks for the info and updates. look forward to adventuring together, and sooner or later ill make my way there from chicago and hit you up!

  18. Congrats making it to one year!

    I remember that same feeling in 2008. My situation was a little different, in that me and my Wife were about to get married, and we no longer could work at the same store (Best Buy), and there were no other close stores to work at. I had been selling part time since 2005, so I have a solid 3 years of part time selling under my belt before I decided to go full time. That last week was nerve racking to say the least. But, once I saw the journey ahead of me, relief started to set in.

    I’ll play along with your post though, and go over what I was doing a year ago 🙂

    One year ago, I was doing everything I possibly could to keep my business afloat. We were in the midst of the busiest time of the year for us (Halloween). We were frantically shipping everything we could to Amazon. I was watching the numbers come in, wondering if we were on the verge of collapse, and if I would have to lay everyone off. My worries ended up coming true – everything collapsed, and I had to lay everyone off.

    But, now, one year later, I live in an entirely new city, and have many new friends. I helped my wife start her own Amazon business, and this month is the highest profit month we’ve had so far. Things are much brighter now than they were 365 days ago.

    It goes to show that not only one year can make a difference, but look back several years and see how things have changed. In 2008, I had that energy and spark knowing I was started up full time. In 2014, I reinvented that same spark after a major business failure.

    1. Hey Chris,

      Thanks for sharing your story! From your experience you know better than I that things can change in just a few short years. It’s awesome to hear last month was your highest month yet, may that trend continue!

      Best Regards,

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