How technology changed my life and my quest towards financial independence

Technology is a huge part of our life.  I now see 11 year old kids with smartphones.  My 12 year old nephew is already an expert at social media and coding.  I was thinking the other day that without technology, I wouldn’t be where I am at today.

My life is great now due to all the technological innovations:

I started working in 1998, and have been in the same industry for the last 19 years now. I marvel at how technology really changed my industry and my life along the way.  I am a sports entertainment broker, and provide my clients with exclusive access to all major sporting events and concerts.  I provide them with backstage passes, field access, meet and greet with celebrities.

Technology at work:

In 1998, the hardest part of my job was researching leads.  We didn’t have any computers at work, and the best way to research leads was going to the local library and go through the business books they had.  My printing expenses were very high each month as these books couldn’t be checked out.  My company didn’t cover those printing expenses, so spending on those leads was a way to invest in yourself.  It’s crazy to think that having a computer was a luxury.  I remember being recruited by a bigger company in 1999, and we had to go train at the corporate headquarters in Chicago for 2 weeks.  They had their own library and librarian for researching leads.  That was mind boggling to us, that you didn’t have to go to the library anymore, and all you had to do is give your list to the librarian and she would print and deliver the leads to your desk.

Computer in our office:

Back in San Diego, we now had one computer in the copy room and we had to take turns using it.  I didn’t have to go to the library anymore which was unbelievable.  The reason why we couldn’t have a computer on our desks was to concentrate more on making calls than researching leads.  I kind of agreed, as it was very easy to get sidetracked with a computer.  Our motto then which is still my motto now is that a company will not buy from you if they have never heard of you!  Whats the point of having all of these leads if you never call them?  We used to say that our industry was a contact sport, and you had to initiate the contact or nothing would happen.

Computer on my desk:

Four years later, I started my own company.  It was scary at first, as I was on my own and didn’t have a whole team making calls.  I now had a computer on my desk which was revolutionary.  I could actually research a lead, save that lead on my computer and call that company at the same time.  I felt it gave me a huge competitive advantage.  I could talk to a potential client, while I was learning more about the company and competitors. I could email a proposal to a client, right after talking them when our discussion was still fresh in their mind.

Email Marketing:

My next step was trying to find out how I could reach a lot of people at the same time since I didn’t have a sales team to make the calls for me.  I would email an opportunity to dozens of potential clients, but it would take me a long time personalizing each email to be more effective.  I remember talking to my website developer about my frustrations of spending too much time personalizing my emails.  He suggested to me that there was a new company called bluehornet out of San Diego that could solve my problem of personalizing my emails and sending them out to the masses.  I could now send a personalized email to a thousand people in less than a minute.  It was like having an entire team of sales people working for me.  This was revolutionary, especially with the fact that people now have smartphones and get their emails on the go.  It is now still the most efficient way to reach people.

Sales Teams for hire:

Another revolutionary tool for me was hiring a telemarketing or telesales team.  The one single thing that salespeople hate is making cold calls and being rejected.  That is why the most cost effective way to alleviate that stress on you, is to hire a company that specializes in cold calling.  They become an extension of your team and generate good leads for you.  This will save you money, as you don’t have to hire people anymore, and cover a salary with benefits.  For a fraction of the cost I used to spend in hiring, training sales people, I am now covered and get fed good leads everyday.

Assistant and receptionist for hire:

Another tool that I use that allows me to travel more, and be location independent is having a virtual assistant and receptionist.  A virtual assistant can now be hired hourly, for as long as you want them each day.  It is not a computerized voice.  It is an actual person who answers your phone when a client calls, receives mail for you, and can also ship mail for you.  She can transfer the call to your cell phone, take messages and email them to you.  This is another way to make your company look trustworthy.

Airbnb:

This company has changed our World!  I’m really not sure how we would have been on track to financial independence without the emergence of Airbnb.  In 2013 we were seriously thinking about buying a condo in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  We vacation there a lot as it’s only an hour and half from San Diego.  Our goal was to buy a condo that we could use as a vacation rental now, while vacationing there when there are open dates.  We realized right away during our research, that the most important thing when owning a property overseas was finding a good local property manager.  The way things work there is that you hire a property manager, and he takes care of your bookings with a 30% commission on each booking.  In addition to that you have to pay them a few hundred dollars a month to maintain and manage your condo.  There was no way to go around that, so you had to account for that expense in your budget.  My wife refused to hire those expensive managers, so we settled on a local American manager who had lived there for 30 years and was only charging us $75.00 a month.  We were hoping to have our condo rented 50% of the time, as other owners told us it would be a good start. Airbnb blew that out of the water.  We now have it rented 90% of the time, which is incredible.  My wife handles the bookings, and we would never have created this level of success without Airbnb.  If anybody is interested in a great Cabo rental, please don’t hesitate to check out our listing here on Airbnb: Cabo San Lucas Listing .  We did so well in Cabo, that in 2014 we decided to buy another one in Playa Del Carmen on the Caribbean side of Mexico.  My wife applied the same Airbnb magic for this property, and it is doing unbelievable as well.  Here is our Playa Del Carmen Listing

PCVThis is our condo in Cabo San Lucas

Accessing your work computer remotely:

Another technology that has allowed us to travel 40 days each year, is being able to access my work computer remotely.  GoToMyPC is another revolutionary product.  I can now access my computer desktop from my smartphone anywhere in the World.  This is huge as it allows me to do my work remotely from any country in the World as long as I have WiFi access.  Last year, I was in my home country of Rwanda, Africa.  I was a bit nervous about the quality of WiFi as I would be visiting different sites away from the capital of Kigali.  I was so relieved to realize that the Rwandan government with the help of Microsoft had invested heavily in WiFi access throughout the country.  I was replying to my clients and closing Super Bowl deals from remote villages deep inside Rwanda.  It was exhilarating to be able to make money so far from home.  I now tell people that all I need is a WiFi to work from anywhere in the World.  I can also make calls using WiFi.

My final thoughts:

What’s great about technology is that I can fulfill my dream of traveling, and save money as everything is less expensive.  Without technology, I wouldn’t be able to work remotely, rent our condos, and talk to my friends and family for free thru mediums like WhatsApp or Viber, watch videos from friends on YouTube.  I am curious to hear your stories and see if technology has helped you in your journey towards FI.