What chains am I referring to breaking free from you might ask? I'm simply alluding to those of us who feel stuck in a 9-to-5 job. Everyone who feels that there is no more room for advancement on their current career path, who dreads getting up for work each day, and/or who views their job as a dead end, rather than a constantly evolving lifestyle. For the most part, I broke free from the proverbial chains more than 20 years ago. The kicker is that I had no money in the bank at the time, a beat up van that had terrible gas mileage, and I was motivated to continue merely by my will to be independent of the daily grind. I won't get too much into detail about that far back because I didn't get into domain investing until 2005. So let’s just say that until then, I found other avenues of self-employment to fund my journey, feeling of freedom, and traveled all over the United States, Canada and Mexico. How I funded my travels to this day is where things will get interesting for you as domain investors, developers, and designers. Before I continue, I must add that what works for one person, won't necessarily work for everyone. These are nine phases that I went through in my endeavors to get to where I am today. Phase 1: I bought my first domain in 2005 with the mindset of developing it into a service. My first thought was marketing, but I've never really been big on data-entry and all the painstaking tasks that used to be required to run a successful marketing campaign back in 2005, so that was ruled out. After reviewing a list of different possibilities that I acquired over weeks of research, I finally had something in mind. I decided on design, development, and domain investing; a power pack of 3 industries that complemented one another. At the time, I had absolutely no experience with anything but design. I had a lot of learning ahead. Phase 2: I quickly started soaking in all the material I could on domain investing and development. After a few weeks, I had the basics of HTML and CSS down, which gave me the ability to start developing small, static, mini-sites on domain names that I chose. Phase 3: I got my feet wet by investing in names on topics that I was knowledgeable about at the time: design, salvage, and government and military surplus auctions. This made content creation much easier. Phase 4: While struggling to make ends meet and balancing domain development as a hobby without much disposable income left, I found design contests. From there, I started list building. Phase 5: Free Wi-Fi access was beginning to be offered at businesses allover to entice new customers to come through their doorways. Admittedly, the speed wasn't that great back then, but it got the job done. At this point, I was ready to disconnect and dive into the adventures that awaited. Hopping from one hotspot to another and sleeping in my conversion van, I quickly found that living closer to the retirement life was easier than I thought and didn't require a big bank account either. During this phase, I learned that in my new line of work, I could generate income from anywhere, as long as I was connected to the Internet. Phase 6: Many start their journey here. I would utilize all the promo codes that I could find for registrars, research different niches, spend hours combing through drop lists, and manually registering the few gems I could. I started registering domain names from $1-to-$5 and began selling those names for up to $45. It was very time consuming, but it worked good enough to fund my travels, put food in my belly, gas in the tank, and do any minor repairs that my van needed as I traveled. Phase 7: This is where I started to realize that coding was changing so fast it was hard to keep up. I found myself having to narrow down my goals to help focus a bit on what worked better. I stopped developing HTML and CSS based sites for clients and decided to only do them for my own sites. The reason that I continued doing it for myself was because I was quickly starting to see that parking wasn't for me. I had better luck developing a mini-site, monetizing it, doing a little SEO/SEM, and having it pay its own renewal fees each year and then some profit on top of that. Phase 8: Of course, this is where I started researching SEO/SEM more for my own development projects and not looking to provide any services to others. Like with many successful projects or even corporations, it's sometimes best to keep your trade secrets for yourself so that they aren't abused and become obsolete. Most of what I learned was through trial and error. With that being said, I would put up a few sites with different tactics and monitor them for 3 to 6 months to see what worked best. After that, it was just a matter of refinement and then implementing the rinse and repeat process. Phase 9: Feeling a bit more rounded in complementing skill sets at basic levels, I began to dig in deeper. Although I researched domains since 2005 and lurked around NamePros, I didn't officially sign-up until 2009. By this time, I had already been to every state more times than I could count on my journey, all the while domaining from hotspots. The journey wasn't over by far for me though. In fact, things were just getting started. In conclusion, I could go on and on about trials and tribulations and even fill in several chapters between each phase, but I must digress and save all that for another day, or open up to anyone interested in the comments. The moral of my story here is that anything is possible if you really want it bad enough. For those of you with dreams of breaking free from the chains that bind you to a 9-to-5 dead end job, don't give up. Hang in there and keep fighting for your dream. Mine was to travel while I was still young enough to enjoy it and still be able to have at least some of the minor comforts in life. I accomplished that dream. I’m currently engaged to a wonderful woman that also has the same dreams that I have in life. I've grown roots a little and have been taking her out on small trips in order to get her acclimated to the freedom of the road. We have plans to go full-time traveling within the next year or two, as a team. Both working on the road as we go and living our dream together. I am thankful to the domain industry for providing us with the platform we needed to live our dreams. Let me know if you would like to hear more about my travels, my trials and tribulations, or other aspects of my domaining, developing, and designing lifestyle(s). I am always happy to share more about my experiences and help others in both their personal and professional growth.