Review: The Bathrobe Millionaire
October 7, 2011 - David McConkey
Do you dream of starting a business? How about making millions
“while lounging around in your bathrobe all
day”? If you are at least intrigued by the idea of "swapping the corporate
life for one of financial and emotional freedom," then have I got a
book for you.
The Bathrobe Millionaire: Confessions of an Unemployable Job-Hopper Who Made a Fortune Without Work, Risk, or Khakis is by Jason Yelowitz. It is a breezy, easy-to-read, and funny book. This book could help you become independent, if not independently wealthy.
The book is not as profound or detailed as The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss, but it does offer a different style that would appeal to many readers. It is brief and welcoming in approach, and only 12 bucks ( about the same price in Canada), so it is well worth looking at.
Yelowitz traces his life from childhood in a regular family in suburbia to making his millions by his early thirties. Along the way, he works in a variety of occupations (the “unemployed job-hopper” of the title) and experiences firsthand the dot-com boom and bust. He is distills the lessons of his success into numerous concise tips, which he spreads throughout the book.
And Yelowitz is also actually much more realistic than the title of his book implies. As he himself says, he endured much to finally make it work. “All the life lessons I had learned the hard way, all the previous failures, finally combined to create the perfect business.”
“I had become rich overnight,” he concludes, “after ten years of trying.”
Yelowitz is just one of many who have made millions from the Internet - while wearing their bathrobes (or even less). But his book is not a real “how to.” In fact, a number of the ways that Yelowitz made his money through affiliate marketing by using Google’s AdWords are not even allowed now. (Although at the time, they were not only sanctioned by Google, but also even encouraged.)
In terms of money-making on the Internet, however, he does offer a number of good general suggestions. As well there are some of the specifics of affiliate marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), using keywords, and more tips about converting “clicks” into cash.
The tips in his book are probably most useful for those who would like to start a business from scratch. One of his important points is not to risk too much. He recommends investing only one-half of one’s available capital, and limiting oneself to that amount as a stop-loss target. If that business fails, move on to something else.
“The majority of new businesses do not succeed,” he points out. “A successful entrepreneur does not need every idea to take off, just one.”
Most of his best suggestions are about the actual first steps. Many would-be entrepreneurs, for example, make the mistake of thinking that they need an office, a certain list of supplies, advertising, business cards, and so on. He says that too many people make the mistake of going shopping when they should be focusing on actually first making money.
He recommends sticking with what one already knows. In his case, he stuck with the real estate and home improvement business, after first getting a taste for it with Student Works Painting as a college student.
When reading the book, it is easy to think that many of his conclusions are “obvious.” But that is often the case only in hindsight. For example, he learned from the crash of the dot-com bubble around the turn of the century. He recognized that the U.S. housing market was then in similar bubble. Obvious now, but millions never saw it coming.
Yelowitz ends his book as man who is living his dream by age 40. He notes that he does more than sit around in his bathrobe; for instance, he travels, has gotten married, and does some volunteer work in helping other entrepreneurs get going.
But I think that his real test is yet to come. He has shown he can make a million. But can he make a meaningful life? I await to hear about his next chapter, and I hope that he writes a book about it.
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