How would you like to make some great money online while enjoying the anywhere lifestyle? Karol Gajda is one of those mysterious niche marketers out traveling the world. Karol offers a look into his life in this interview.
Please tell us a little about your background.
The shortened long story is: I was born in Poland, came to the US with my family (parents and older brother) at age 1, grew up in Michigan, left for Florida as soon as I graduated from University, sold most of my stuff last year, and now I’m homeless by choice.
I’m also a lifelong entrepreneur and haven’t worked for anybody since I was 19. I’m almost 29 now so it’s almost been 10 years!
Please tell us about your travels?
I didn’t start my nomadic existence until Sept 1, 2009. Before that my travels were in spurts of 1-4 weeks.
On September 1, I left for Australia, then went to New Zealand on November 15 before heading back to the US on December 10. Since I was planning on visiting India I knew I should get vaccinations so I allowed 6 weeks for all of that. I leave for India on January 28 on a one way ticket without too many set plans. I don’t plan on even thinking about coming back to the US until October, but by then I’ll probably decide to go somewhere else. 🙂
How do you earn an income?
I do affiliate marketing. That includes using pay per click like Google Adwords and also creating small niche sites that get search engine traffic. It’s difficult to get into the specifics without writing a book (which doesn’t particularly interest me), but I did give an example of the type of stuff I do in my article How To Spot Opportunity.
Can you give us some more details like how much you make per niche or how much work they usually take?
Unfortunately it’s hard to answer those questions because there are no set answers. Sometimes I find a tiny niche to go after and it doesn’t take long to get something set up. Sometimes I take more time because I want to build out a long term money maker.
Income per site is hard to answer. I have projects I’ve sunk weeks into that haven’t made a penny and I have projects that I’ve sunk a few hours into that have made 5 figures. It doesn’t happen often, but it has happened. What I mean is, that only happened once. 🙂 But honestly, there is no “average.” Every project is different.
Have you noticed competition increasing?
As more people try to make money online, and more people show that it’s possible, there is more competition. That said, the opportunities increase too, opportunity is everywhere. I wouldn’t say it’s getting harder. That’s not to say it’s “easy.” If you just got a computer yesterday you will probably have a much more difficult time than somebody who has grown up with computers.
Do you enjoy creating the sites or is it only for the money?
Yeah, I enjoy doing what I’m doing. 🙂 In the old days, I was only about the money, but nowadays money, in and of itself, isn’t on the list of what I care about. Money provides opportunity and that’s all. In my old life I thought I needed $50k/month. I don’t. Not that I have a problem making that much or more, but I’m happy making less.
My life these days is more about showing people that it’s possible to be incredibly happy no matter what. Obviously you want to be able to live and do things you enjoy, but beyond that, happiness does not increase with more income and more stuff. My happiness has increased considerably with less income and far less stuff. One of the happiest days of my life was when I sold my BMW, which was a relic of my past life, pre what I call my Drastic Life Change.
How many hours a week do you work on your projects?
Depending on what is going on with other aspects of my life it could be anywhere from 0 to 80 hours. The flexibility is awesome. And even though I haven’t monetized my blog yet, I do include that as “work” because I spent a considerable amount of very enjoyable time on that too. 🙂
Here’s an example of what I mean by “other aspects of my life.” In India I’m attending a 3 week long guitar luthier workshop where I’ll build a guitar from scratch. That will take up a lot of time every day and leave me with less time for work. Documenting the process of building the guitar will also take a lot of time since I’ll write about and video the process extensively.
As an immigrant to the US, do you feel you worked harder and sacrificed more to succeed?
That’s a great question.
I don’t feel I *had* to work harder or sacrifice more because, although Polish was my first language, I spoke English by the time I started school. Being an immigrant wasn’t an issue in that regard.
That said, my parents came here with 2 suitcases, a life savings of about $400, and 2 young sons. I didn’t realize we were kind of poor growing up and by the time I could comprehend something like that they had worked into a nice middle class life. I do think instead of complaining about situations like they could have they just worked their asses off.
Growing up I put pressure on myself to be the best. My parents obviously expected a lot from me, but I was much harder on myself and simply refused to accept failure. For example, when I was in the 6th grade I decided there was no way my parents were going to pay for my University (and there was no way I wanted to pay for it either! 😉 so I wrote down that I would get a full scholarship. And I made it happen.
What are your future plans with your blog and career?
I’ve grown to love blogging and helping people through my blog so much that I’m going to make it a bigger part of my career. My community has been building steadily and I’m devoting more time to growth this year.
Do you have any plans to settle down and have a more stationary life?
I have tentative plans. One of my goals with my travels right now is to find a city better than Austin, TX. If I don’t find it I will eventually chill out there for some undetermined length of time. But I don’t see myself being stationary for too long. And to anybody who hasn’t been to Austin, but says “Texas?! Why would you to live in Texas?!” it’s because they’ve never been to Austin. Yes, I do get the “Why Texas?!” question a lot. 🙂
Do you have any advice for readers?
If there’s something you want in life, no matter how seemingly trivial or how absolutely epic, take action immediately to start making it happen. You will never regret doing, only not doing.