After working as a dishwasher/line cook at the Market Table Bistro for one year, I learned a ton about hard work, discipline, organization, and teamwork.
Above all else, I learned that working a traditional job wasn’t for me. That’s when I started Easy PC, an affiliate website and YouTube channel that teaches PC gaming newbies how to assemble their first computer.
The blog reached over 30k/users per month within the first year, and when its income surpassed that of my job, I quit. To date, Easy PC is responsible for $1MM+ in e-commerce sales.
Alongside working on Easy PC, I was a freelance writer at Cryptoslate for one year, posting weekly articles on cryptocurrency/blockchain news, coin reviews, etc. During my time there I even had the honor of interviewing Jake Yocom-Piatt, the founder of Decred.
After high school, I attended Towson University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science, but one year in and college definitely wasn’t for me. By my second semester, I was working hard to get SEO consulting clients and quit school.
Three clients later I dropped out of college and went on a 7 month trip around the world as a digital nomad. Along the way I spent time in Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Hungary and Romania. That’s also when I started Tuwiner SEO, a link outreach business.
Within 30 days I’d closed 8 clients using outbound marketing and was over the moon - I learned how to book meetings, talk to customers and close sales. Unfortunately, my fulfillment team wasn’t squared away, and delivering those services became a challenge. I had to stop selling so I could catch up.
Fast forward to now - I realized my passion for sales, and my distaste for client fulfillment. I’d much rather talk to customers, understand their problems, and help them achieve their goals.
I sold Easy PC to focus on sales full-time, and recently joined Experiment 27 taking on a sales role. We help digital agencies and other B2B businesses book meetings with billion dollar brands and scale their companies to the moon.
Help a lot of people make more money and make some myself along the way - then, I can take my experience in the world of sales to start my own company one day (service business, SaaS tool, consulting, not sure yet). Either way, excited for what the future holds!
This is the full story:
What I've done so far
Here is a list of my past experiences, starting around the age of 13 until now.
I plan on writing a post about each one, in terms of what my role was and what the experience taught me about business and life.
Flipping on eBay
Selling on eBay began when I realized I could make money by selling my old stuff. Then, it expanded to other junk laying around the house.
Next, I saw a few episodes of the show American Pickers and thought I could do something similar.
Once I ran out of stuff to sell at my house, I sold my friends' things at school for them and took at 20% commission. Not too shabby!
My birthday is in November so by June of 2016, I had my license. That meant I could finally drive to yard sales, thrift shops, Goodwill, and discount stores to buy items for cheap.
Once at the store, I'd find an item that I thought I could flip. I'd search for it on eBay and view the search results using the "Completed Listings" filter.
This filter shows the results of different listings, including whether or not they sold, and what they sold (or didn't sell) for.
With this strategy, I would buy items that I saw selling more often than not on eBay. I could also easily figure out what they were selling for.
For instance, I bought a set of golf clubs at Goodwill for $15 and sold them for $80 on eBay. Not bad for a 16 year old!
Yard sales were another gold mine - a lot of people sell books at yard sales for $0.25 each. I'd offer to buy the whole lot for $0.05/book and most people were happy to take the deal.
On eBay, you can list a book on auction. I'd start the listing at $0.99 and let people bid from there. Most of the books sold for more than $5 each. On top of that, I'd charge $6 for shipping and only pay $2 for shipping, which was a guaranteed $4 profit per sale.
Sure, I was only making $10 per sale, but that's 200x what I paid for each book. Not too shabby.
Lessons I Learned from Flipping Products on eBay:
- Doing things the right way is harder but worth it in the long run
- It's all about the hustle
- How to find good deals
- How to do market research
Starting a YouTube Channel
My YouTube career began at 13, similarly to most 13 year old squeakers:
I posted Call of Duty gameplay commentary videos.
My first videos were pretty bad to say the least, not just because of the production quality, but the content itself.
If I could sum them up with 1 word, it'd be cringe.
I used YouTube as my therapist to vent about everything going on in my life, from the stupid things I was doing to the girls that put me in the friendzone.
Little did I know, some of the people I was talking about in the videos, saw the videos… yeah that was hairy. That's when I learned the internet is public, and once something is on the internet, you can't take it back.
Eventually I pivoted from storytime commentaries to videos about computers. I had become interested in PC gaming, and I was learning a lot about building gaming PCs.
I started posting YouTube videos talking about the best gaming PC build for different budgets, like the best gaming PC under 700 dollars.
The videos did well – they started getting hundreds, then thousands, and some tens of thousands of views. I was ecstatic.
At that time, I was just making money from the video ads, but the earnings were terribly small. I think my channel – with roughly 500,000 total video views – has only made around $200 in ad revenue.
That's when I learned about affiliate marketing.
Here's how it works:
I send customers to an e-commerce store like Amazon where they can buy the parts I'm talking about, and Amazon pays me a percentage of each sale in return.
Each video I posted included affiliate links to all of the parts in the description, and my channel started making a lot more money. I actually used my earnings to build my first gaming PC.
I was super passionate about YouTube at the time - my passion for it has since died down, but the videos still generate passive income.
Passive income, for those of you who don't know, is money deposited into your bank account without you having to do anything (after the initial work is done).
For example, all of the YouTube videos I've published still get views every day.
I still make a few hundred bucks a month from them too – not much, but hey, it's not bad considering I haven't published one in ages.
Unlike a job where you only get paid for the hours you're clocked in, passive income pays you non-stop, even when you're sleeping, so you have the time (and the freedom) to do what you want to do with your life, not what others want you to do.
Lessons I Learned from YouTube:
- Everything on the internet is public and permanent
- If you understand search engines, you can get a lot of eyeballs on your content
- Companies will pay you a lot of money for sending them customers
- I got my first taste of passive income
Market Table Bistro
The Bistro is a fine dining restaurant in Lovettesville, Virigina, right across the bridge from Brunswick, MD, a small town where I grew up.
After getting my license and a car, insurance and gas weren't going to pay themselves. That's what my dad was for :)
In all seriousness, I needed a job for some extra spending money and, more importantly, I wanted to know what it was like working with a team.
It was my first and only "real job" - Chef Jason hired me as a dishwasher.
And despite being paid minimum wage to work in a hot kitchen, this job taught me more than I could've asked for anywhere else.
From organization and efficiency, to teamwork and communication, my time at the Bistro set the foundation of the work ethic I have today.
Furthermore, it gave me a newfound respect for those in the service industry - every time I went out to eat, I was grateful to be actually be seated and enjoying a meal, as I knew how much work was going on behind the scenes.
To this day, I still reminisce while eating at a restaurant when I can see the dishwasher hard at work through the kitchen door's window.
Thanks to what I learned at the Bistro, I not only can wash dishes incredibly fast, but I actually learned a lot about cooking as well, not to mention how to bounce back after getting yelled at for making a stupid mistake.
The funniest thing about my time at the Bistro, however, was my obsession with calculating how many plates I had to wash to afford whatever I was purchasing.
"Hmm, a new stereo sounds nice, but is it worth washing 400 plates?"
Lessons I learned from working at the Bistro:
- It's okay to make mistakes, as long as you don't make the same mistake twice
- When you make a mistake, you can't lose momentum. Fix it quickly and get back on the saddle
- Hard work pays off
- Working in a restaurant is HARD.
- Teamwork makes the dreamwork
- Move quickly, break things, keep moving.
- Efficiency and organization are key
- Cooking is awesome!
You can read the full story of my time at the Bistro by clicking here.
This is where things get interesting – Easy PC was the beginning of the next chapter of my life. The lessons I learned from creating this blog have carried me to where I am today, hands down.
In order to explain what gave me the inspiration to create the site, I need to talk about my oldest cousin Jordan.
Jordan is the owner of Buy Bitcoin Worldwide, an authority website in the Bitcoin space. He teaches people how to buy cryptocurrency, and when someone clicks one of his affiliate links to use an exchange he recommends, the exchange pays him a commission.
He was the first one in my family to pursue this kind of lifestyle, and for that I am eternally grateful. He's my older cousin, but I view him as more of a role model than anything.
After 1 year of college at Towson majoring in computer science, he dropped out (like me). He went to Israel to fight in the Israeli Defense Force but ended up getting a job that was pretty slow.
He worked on the website in his down time, and it ended up doing well. Now it's one of the biggest websites in the crypto space, and back in 2017 when Bitcoin nearly hit 20k, his site was reaching more than 100,000 viewers a day.
His website allows him to do whatever he wants with his time because it earns income for him passively. He went on a 6 month trip to Asia, and then moved into an awesome apartment in Austin, TX.
He has the freedom to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. That's INSANE for someone at such a young age.
Shortly before he moved in May of 2017, he mentioned that if I wrote blog posts about computers, I could get a lot of traffic. He explained that – just like with my YouTube channel – I could use affiliate links to sell the parts I was talking about.
Then he sat me down and showed me how many people were searching for gaming computer keywords on Google.
The thought of being able to live my life like Jordan – in total control, with the freedom to do exactly as I pleased, all the while earning passive income – captivated me immediately.
After he showed me how to setup my website, I started grinding. After completing a free coding course, I was ready to go. The entire summer of 2017, I'd go to work, come home, and write.
Eventually I had written tens of thousands of words about computers, and my site was looking pretty good.
I reached out to big blog owners, and some of them mentioned my new website on theirs with a link. You can think of a link as a vote of popularity that helps Google understand that your site deserves to show up on the first page.
Google noticed, and traffic started coming in. Check out this graph:
My site exploded pretty quickly considering it was brand new. I remember how I felt when I made my first dollar from the website. I couldn't believe it, but I knew I was just getting started.
7 months later, I told my managers at the Bistro that my website was making more than my job there, and I wanted to quit to pursue my website full-time.
Although they were sad to see me go, they knew it was the right decision. In fact, my manager was nice enough to write me a terrific letter of recommendation for college.
I continued working on Easy PC, but unfortunately I got side tracked by other pursuits that I'm going to discuss further down on this page.
Long story short, the site's traffic died off significantly for several reasons, one of which being a lost of interest on my part.
However, I revived the traffic recently and broke records over the last few months, before selling the project to focus full-time on B2B sales, more on that in a bit.What I learned from Easy PC:
- How to make a great website
- How to rank a website in Google (SEO)
- How to make money online via affiliate marketing
- You can quit your 9-5 if you work hard
- Websites are a great way to make money online (digital marketing)
- How to manage your time when you don't have a boss scheduling you
Like I mentioned at the beginning of the article, us Tuwiners are entrepreneurial. My cousin Jordan started it all, and my cousin Austin (Jordan's younger brother) is doing the same thing.
When I quit working at The Bistro, my cousin was also growing one of his first websites, and a big part of that is outreach.
Normally people offer to write a "guest post" – an article for another website – for free in exchange for a mention. For example, if I wrote a guest post for a computer blog, I'd link to my computer blog.
It helps you get more traffic which means more money, so the value exchange is there.
My cousin Austin was doing a lot of outreach, but the owner of Cryptoslate got back to him and said he'd pay Austin to write the guest post. Austin reached out to me and let me know about the opportunity, so I sent him an email as well.
After submitting a writing sample and getting on the phone with Nate, the owner of Cryptoslate, I got the job.
Initially I was planning on just writing one article, getting a link and quitting. It was the first time I got paid to write a guest post, which was mind blowing at the time.
But then I realized I could write pretty fast and I was interested in learning more about cryptocurrency anyway, so I kept working for him.
He gave me some pointers about my writing along the way as well, which helped my writing tremendously. I wrote dozens of articles for him, and it eventually led to me landing writing positions on other websites as well.
If you search "Jacob Tuwiner" in Google, after you find my personal websites and company website, you'll find all of the websites I wrote for as well. I wrote for a computer blog called WePC, a tech blog called PC Guide, and a few IT blogs as well.
The author portfolio on Cryptoslate is incredibly valuable by itself, never mind the money I made working for them. They're one of the fastest growing cryptocurrency news websites on the web. I can't tell you how many times I've plugged that portfolio to close a deal, get a new job, or land a link for my website.
Cryptoslate was based in Seattle, Washington when I worked for them but they recently moved to London. I'm from Washington D.C. and wanted to visit the west coast.
Nate was nice enough to pay for my stay in Seattle for a week, so I went with my friend Diego who was also working for him.
Funny enough, we didn't end up seeing him all that much because he was on vacation for most of the week (whoops) but visiting Seattle was awesome. My favorite memory is the day we visited Mount Rainier National Park.Lessons I Learned from Working for Cryptoslate:
- High-quality writing is valuable
- It's possible to get almost any job, all you have to do is ask
- (Most) business owners don't care about your degree, they care about your capabilities
- Traveling is awesome
Shortly before the summer came, I officially incorporated my business as Tuwiner SEO, Inc.
The summer came, I packed my bags, and left for Israel to start my 7 month long trip working and traveling.
It was initially supposed to be an SEO agency, where I help people rank their websites in Google.
But you see, the problem with SEO is that it's hard to do for just one website, and nearly impossible for 20 to 30 websites at once.
There are a lot of aspects of an SEO campaign, one of the most important of which is building links.
After spending a ton of time sending outreach emails for Easy PC, I knew a thing or two about link outreach.
I started working on an outreach process and began training people to take the process off my hands. At the time I was still trying to do SEO consulting work - in fact, I kept changing my mind about what I wanted to do, as usual.
My cousin Austin asked me why I kept switching around. He told me I'm doing well with link outreach so I should try sticking with it.
He was right.
As soon as I decided to focus on just one aspect of SEO – link building – my business really began to take off. I was getting good results for clients, closing new deals quickly, and began to feel a lot more confident overall.
I hired dozens of freelancers, and even an email manager to help me with the workload (closing 12 customers in one month without a team isn't a great idea...)
However, I decided to abandon the link building business because, well, link building is stupid. It's meant to manipulate Google rankings, and it's not a viable long-term strategy.
I didn't want to have anyone suffer a rankings penalty because of me, nor did I enjoy building links in the first place. It's a shady industry, and people are better off focusing on their brands.
If you build a brand, you'll naturally build links - but if you just focus on building links to trick an AI ranking algorithm, you'll never build a brand and will likely suffer the consequences via a rankings hit after an update.
I didn't want to charge people $4k-$5k/month to build backlinks for them. Their money was better spent elsewhere.
However, I did learn a ton about cold email, outreach, sales, hiring/training people, etc. and now I'm using those skills in my current role.What I learned from Tuwiner SEO:
- How to build a team and train them with standard operating procedures
- How to close deals with cold email
- What it feels like to go from 0 to 12 customers all at once
- That I only want to sell a service I'm passionate about providing
Now I'm working with Robert Indries and Alex Berman of Experiment 27, a B2B marketing agency for ambitious companies that want to grow.
I reach out to prospects, book meetings and close deals on a commission basis, and it's been awesome so far.
I'm only one month in, yet I've already learned a ton about sales, and signed my first client within two weeks, and there are plenty more in the pipeline.
Probably the best part about this is the sales training I'm receiving from the CEO, which I'll carry with me for the rest of my days.
My goal for 2021:
Help others generate $100MM in sales, which means I need to close $10MM in sales, or around 100 deals per year (a bit more than eight per month).
We'll see if I can get there! And if I fail, at least I tried my best and will likely have still done well (a few million in closed business isn't bad!)