My name is Elias, I have a background in computer science and fine art, and this is how I freed myself from the 9 to 5 grind and became my own boss.
During the tail end of my university studies, I began observing many young people, some even teenagers, who were making 6 and 7 figures running successful online businesses and exploiting automation.
I see them prolifically posting on Youtube, experiencing life-changing success with the FBA model, affiliate marketing, print-on-demand, SMMA, freelancing, email marketing, SEO, lead generation, drop shipping, etc.
They were excited by their success; their energy was intoxicating, speaking as if they were hitting the jackpot, day after day, video after video.
I wanted a part of that. I wanted to build my own brand, with the freedom to do what I wanted without answering to anyone.
I realized that I had many skills but no business or marketing exposure. I didn't have the wisdom that comes from the experience of running an online business, and I didn't know how my skills could translate into starting something of my own.
I decided to invest in a business coach who introduced me to the basics of the online business model. I learned about the importance of mindset, SEO, digital marketing and online presence. The process was slow and expensive, and only left me with more questions and avenues to explore.
When I graduated in 2018, I didn't want to get a job and work in corporate but wanted to start an online business. It didn't happen instantly, the way we always see it play out in our heads, but instead came together piece by piece, creating a tapestry of skills that would not only build my capacity to make my dreams but forge the character necessary to sustain them.
I could not have foreseen how this meandering journey would end up setting me up with every tool I needed to create my vehicle of freedom, but looking back, there was a through line that led me to where I am today.
Here are those elements that unfolded, a series of tools that were essential for my success (and hopefully yours):
At first (after graduation), I invested in a 9K email marketing course, started learning about copy, got acquainted with various marketplaces and products, and did tons of research.
Writing with a clear objective and a sense of authenticity, cutting through the noise your reader is bombarded by daily, is a skill that translates into every avenue of business, and has proved to be fundamental in this digital age of communication.
At that point in my journey, I could feel the value of this skill but wasn't quite sure what to do with it. I wanted to move forward but couldn't commit to just writing emails.
I needed to learn more about digital marketing if I was going to start writing about and selling products. Learning about software, digital products, information products, books, services, etc. But without a firm grip on how they worked in a variety of scenarios, writing emails just didn't sit well. I needed more education.
One of the key models I started learning about was online marketing funnels. I started reading Russel Brunson's books, learning about how to convert a viewer into a customer through a strategic educational marketing framework.
I applied this by crafting a 150-page affiliate marketing website about Share Funnels; posted articles; optimized the site, made it look nice, and hit publish.
This was the first implementation of the concepts I was learning on my online business journey. This avenue presented an opportunity to make a lot of money, but the next big question was how I was going to drive traffic to the site and capitalize on its potential.
Now that I had the infrastructure and means of communication down, I needed to figure out how to gather the community of people who would most benefit from what I had to share.
I started looking into SEO and quickly discovered that it was a powerful tool to optimize my online presence and get me in front of the right people. I soon realized SEO would be another field that would require continuous learning and experience.
I didn't waste any time and jumped right in. I accidentally discovered the "rank and rent" model during my learning and research. It led to me working on lead generation for local service-based businesses, a good model that encapsulated my skills and was very powerful in generating traffic.
The process was systematic and led to positive results working with small businesses and big corporations. Generating traffic wasn't as hard with local SEO as it was for software with a global competition, which was a great place to implement what I was learning and opened up many opportunities.
Unexpected Lessons From The Detour
After months of self-development, continued learning, and applying these tools in my work, life circumstances forced me to take a little detour from my trajectory.
To apply for my permanent residency in Canada, I was required to join the corporate world and get a job that, at the time, didn't seem to be contributing to the vision I had for my life and business.
It's funny how life sometimes interjects our plans with paths that seem entirely unrelated to what we want and that those things end up serving the vision as much, if not more, than what we had initially intended.
I got a job at a software company specializing in software automation, catering to big businesses of 2000+ employees. I worked as a web developer and technical marketer, doing SEO and leveraging their giant partner platforms, such as SAP, Microsoft, IBM, Box, and others.
It was different from the usual add-to-cart and click-checkout type of product and service selling. The marketing dynamics were very different and challenging. The competitors were as big as they come, and the sales team seemed more efficient in lead generation in that specific context. But the experience was exciting and woke up more of my development skills that had laid dormant during my studies in Art and Design.
I did some coding and code customization inside no-code tools, making me more comfortable inserting code and using libraries for animations and specific features.
After that, I went to work for a large retail company as manager of their eCommerce operations for a few months. I had a percentage of technical work to do, but my main focuses were managing a team, managing the department's various operations according to weekly and seasonal marketing agendas, and understanding the intuitive practices and reflexes that could be translated to new features on the eCommerce software.
It was only a short time until I joined a marketing intelligence and eCommerce company which aligned more with my skills and interests. A fast pace B2C environment with tons of building and troubleshooting, a mix of design, SEO, core web vitals, web dev, and dev ops.
I managed and ran many brands with the team, building and maintaining a heavy eCommerce stack of features and customized implementations, and becoming familiar with grey hat & black hat marketing techniques.
Building many sites, funnels, and landing pages was a great training ground where I could put my eclectic skills to work. I gained a lot of confidence and experience in various operations, not to mention having access to tools and software I would not have been able to afford on my own.
I designed many websites and landing pages. I saw how everything performed. We had to design and change all types of sections, especially the hero sections, for every season and event.
I learned quite a bit from designing many web pages, websites, and landing pages, as well as witnessed how poor design decisions can affect the brand and break the consistency of branding across websites and ad campaigns. I saw how different team members' beliefs affected design directions and how having too many cooks in the kitchen is the best recipe for design nightmares and bad practices.
During my experience in corporate, I saw the power of email in small and huge retail companies, especially in eCommerce. On low-traffic and low-sales days, I witnessed how an email broadcast can save the day and bring in thousands of dollars in sales every time. Even though I wasn't working on building and designing the emails, I was taking care of integrations, customization, branding, and troubleshooting multiple eCommerce websites and their email setup.
Core web vitals deep dive taught me that web dev is more complex than most people think, depending on what type of website you are building and what kind of performance you are looking for.
In my last job, I was introduced to Dev Ops on AWS, Lightsail, WPengine, and many more. I regularly carried out multiple operations not limited to hosting, migrations, backups, security gating, script updates, redirects, DNS settings, database migration & cleaning, and setting up and working on different environments for staging, dev, and production.
Through encountering industry and workflow challenges as a team and as a business, I learned to source different platforms which provided specific solutions and optimized outcomes, increasing our performance, allowing us to exercise within the law, and adopting best practices for a variety of technical and managerial operations. This helped us to save time and exploit all types of one-click operations instead of spending hours on AWS.
Learning how to run specific online models from A to Z, having the experience of day-to-day operations, dealing with new implementations and unexpected problems and figuring out how to solve them, researching and trying out a variety of tools, and understanding the reasons behind certain choices while considering speed and performance. All these lessons have given me an informed technical and strategic perspective, which is essential to building my own infrastructure and the topics and knowledge I want to share on this platform.
I had to travel through unfamiliar corporate job areas to learn about them. It feels weird to say, but I enjoyed my corporate experience, as it was the training ground I didn't know I needed for this next chapter.
After four years of corporate work experience, I had achieved my goal and felt it was time for me to move on and finally pull together the pieces I had gathered and live up to my promise of building my own infrastructure. I want to capitalize on my experience and exploit the potential of automation to find freedom. Freedom of creating, sharing, and teaching others how to do the same.
So I decided to create Youvelop. A new platform where people can learn about Digital Literacy, the skills, techniques, and online business models that one can build and automate to free up more of their time to live the life they want.
Do you want to live the laptop lifestyle with financial freedom and freedom of movement?
What are the skills necessary to thrive in the new creator economy? How do you build an automated, fulfilling online practice while staying up to date with all the never-ending new technology, business & marketing trends?
My mission now is to help people like you, who are ready to take their futures into their own hands, who can see a different path for themselves, and give them the tools I have learned to turn those dreams into reality. My journey was long and winding; as you know, I had to figure this out the hard way. You don't have to; you can follow this roadmap to fast-track your way to success.
Welcome to Youvelop!