These days, many people are touting the benefits of nomadic living and passive income streams, but how realistic is it? Elin Rose of Sailopreneur shares her story of transitioning from the burden of a desk job and student debt to the freedom of being a sailing ecommerce entrepreneur (with over $12K in monthly sales!).
I’m one of those yachters who for a long time tried to work a job in between sailing voyages. It went something like this: “Boss, can I be away for a month?” Boss: “Ermm what? You only just started yesterday!”
My last job was a soul-destroying, brain washing desk job, where I worked as a PA in a big corporate, boxy environment for a whole 3 months. I wound up flying back and forth from job to boat. Contracting a few months here and there, getting a new job, losing that new job, getting fired and sometimes just simply eff***ing off to the boat!
Fast forwarding a year and a half, I find myself living the most abundant life, making more money than my fellow desk job millennials, and having more free time to sail and travel.
After the corporate job, I decided to set out to be a digital entrepreneur. At the time my family were puzzled, friends were not impressed or supportive, and I found myself extremely isolated. I spent my days browsing Amazon and eBay. On top of that I had student loan debt of 98K (what a drag!) and had no idea how to pay it back.
I started selling stuff online, knowing nothing about business, entrepreneurship or how to sell. It was no overnight success, but overtime it grew and by September 2017, I was smashing my monthly sales target of 12K! The best part? Most of the time, I was living on my friend’s boat and sailing to my heart’s content!
How I got started and how you can too:
Before you begin, you need to identify your core values. What is the desired outcome of all this? For me, it was location independence, freedom from a desk job and passive income.
When I first started I knew nothing about how to achieve this. I knew what products I wanted to sell (food supplements), but I did not know how to market. It’s important to have a genuine interest in the products that you want to sell, then you learn how to establish demand. If you want to sell anything online you might as well sell what sells well already. You won’t dominate the market but you can compete with other sellers by making your products better (not actually all that difficult!)
I went online and googled suppliers in the UK, found a few and emailed or called them. I got quotes and selected the best one, bought the goods and shipped it into the Amazon warehouses. I registered my business and hoped for the best. A few weeks later, I made a sale. I was over the moon and I remember shouting “It works! The bloody system works!” Something extraordinary happens to you when you realise that and you become unstoppable. I improved every step of the process, added more products to the range, started selling in more countries, set up more sales channels, got paid in more currencies, shipped items from home when I was there, got more reviews and sold more stuff to more people.
But how to shape this to fit my sailing life?
Many people find it very hard to believe that you can travel and run a business at the same time. Yet so many like myself do it and it’s become a booming industry. When you have put in the initial work, this business runs on automation and all I need to do is to make sure that I’m in stock. Then I just check my sales figures in the morning and before I go to sleep. Amazon fulfills all my orders and I do not have to touch or see them. They go from the supplier to the warehouse and then to the customer.
And with all this going on, where am I?
Why running an ecommerce business from my boat makes sense for me:
I’m job free; I have no boss except for the weather forecast and myself.
I do not have to break up my sailing voyages to travel home to seek work.
I have an uncapped earning potential.
I’m never on an unpaid leave.
I’m investing in my bestest asset which is my own ability to make money –to keep myself afloat!
I know that my business will keep paying me for the rest of my life.
My income grows from month to month.
And I’m sailing to my heart’s content!
And finally, how much do I make?
In September 2017 I made 12,6K in sales on Amazon. I also sell on Ebay, and I get handful of direct purchases from shops and customers in Europe.
To put this into perspective, I used to work 9-5 for minimum wage (£8 pounds an hour) , so roughly £1,280 a month.
On Amazon alone I sell on average 20 items daily. My typical profit off one item is £17.38 as seen below. That is £347.6 per day or £10,428 per month because I make this every day of the month, not just Mondays – Fridays!
It’s important to note that this is not a get rich quick solution! I spent countless hours setting this up and I´m by no means a guru. I have still lots to learn about both sailing and business. I achieved these figures because I outwork most people. It also meant I’m not always sailing as I often need to rely on a good internet connection.
What it took to get started
I’m just one of many people out there who trying to figure it out. The good part is though, in order to achieve this, I did not need any qualifications (except sailing ones!), I did not need my degree although it was of benefit of course. What I did need was a tremendous amount of grit, endurance, patience and an immense desire to achieve a mission. Just like riding out a storm on the ocean. One simply does not give up!
“Sail more and work less”