I’m Grace and I love to build businesses online.
As a young girl, I imagined myself working in an international firm. Business trips included 5-star hotels, working with teams around the globe and a comfortable salary. That was exactly what I achieved in my 20s. My career in IT Security in the financial services sector began at one of the Big 4 accounting firms. I went on to leading teams and working with other multinational financial institutions.
After achieving the career of my dreams and learning how to speak German fluently, I threw my corporate career out of the window or — as they call it today — I retired.
How it all started
Life was tough when I moved to Germany. I was craving for food that reminded me of home. Left without a choice, I learned how to cook. One day, my husband (then boyfriend) suggested that I share recipes on the internet. He was inspired by his friend who had a YouTube channel with his mom. At that time, my friends and colleagues began requesting the recipes of food I had made. I thought it was a fun hobby. This hobby then grew into a commitment.
For me, it was clear that this hobby can never replace my dream corporate career. Because let’s be real. You have to become really famous before you’re able to earn real money online, right?
The YouTube channel was growing steadily. Then we got our first 100,000 subscribers. We won the YouTube NextUp competition in 2016, representing the DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) region. Despite millions of views, the channel still didn’t earn enough to replace my six-figure salary.
The turning point came when my dad passed away in 2015 at the young age of 56. His passing made me question my existence. I had one big question: what if I also died at 56? After a tearful conversation with my mother, I quitted my job because I knew exactly what would unfold in the next 20 years if I were to pursue my corporate career. On the other hand, I didn’t know where an online career would take me if I were to give it 100%.
Quitting was tough. Post-quitting was even tougher. Imposter syndrome, shame and guilt befell me. All lead to a lack of motivation. The worst thing was that I didn’t know where to start despite having something in hand. The job I quitted was my identity that I prided myself with. I felt I single-handedly killed my identity. Fear and uncertainty kept me up at night. Sometimes, I would even catch myself looking for jobs again because I wanted my confidence back.
After 3 years, I can finally tell you that it’s possible to rival a corporate salary online, and some more! I went through a journey of learning about digital businesses, myself and the mind. You get better at your craft if you understand yourself. That assisted me in sharper decision-making especially when it comes to my digital businesses.
Why am I doing this
I want you to create your first digital business or as I call it, a digital real estate.
Over the years, I saw many friends dabbling in traditional real estate. A major chunk of their savings is dedicated to a down payment because “it’s always better to pay into your own property than into someone else’s”. A 30 years loan at minimum. This is a mindset I fully disagree with.
Here is how I see it: Why dedicate a big chunk of your savings to a loan which will end up being much more than your property’s worth? Think of all the middlemen costs for lawyers, accountants and taxes. You generate no cash flow if you live in your own property. A rental property bears a high risk of housing nightmare tenants. I heard first hand stories from friends. In some jurisdictions, it is illegal to immediately remove someone from your property even if they refuse to pay rent.
I don’t know about you but I like my life to be peaceful.
In 2020, I heard of relatives and friends losing their jobs. Some are still jobless until today. Traditional companies suffer while the internet economy is accelerating faster than ever. If we look around, our lives are also much more interconnected digitally. Why not capitalize on this trend?
Is it possible to lead a peaceful life as you run digital real estates? Yes. Your business, your rules.
How does this online business thing work?
Each website is a business on its own. The business is able to provide you an income equivalent to a rental income or far beyond. With traditional real estates, your rental income is tied to the location, the demand and the size of the property. A digital real estate is valued based on the number of visitors, products or services sold.
Products could be non-digital (tangible) or digital (intangible). Non-digital products could be wholesale items such as kitchenware, homemade goods or food. My favourite has got to be digital products such as software subscriptions, ebooks and online courses. There are also automated ad placements which depend on the number of website visitors.
Setting up a website can be done in 30 minutes or less. These days, website builders are so easy to use without technical expertise. The setup cost is cheaper than your Netflix subscription. Building a valuable digital real estate takes dedication and time, which is free!
When you go fully digital, your business doesn’t sleep. If automated well, it will continue to run even without you watching it.
There is no limit to how much you can earn with digital real estates. The best part of it is that once you know how it’s done, you can create another, and another, and another. Did your digital real estate get too big to manage? Hire a remote team. Got bored of your digital real estate? Sell it off to a private person or investment capital firm.
Whether it is to replace your job, as an investment or for life insurance, building your first digital real estate makes sense. If you need a sign, this is it. Start now.