What’s Worldwide Wantrepreneur All About?
The TL;DR Version
Worldwide Wantrepreneur is a resource run by me, Charlie Johnson, to share battle-tested strategies for creating an online business and taking control of your life through scrappy entrepreneurship and location independence–but what do those things really mean?
Scrappy entrepreneurship is the process of creating a business efficiently–wasting as little time and energy as possible by formulating hypotheses, running tests, and iterating quickly so you can get to profitability faster.
Location independence means freeing yourself up to live and work wherever you want. Whether you want to work from a cafe in Cambodia, or a co-working space in Boston, it doesn’t matter so much where you work, but it does matter whether or not you have the freedom to choose.
WHO IS CHARLIE JOHNSON, AND DOES HE KNOW WHAT HE’S TALKING ABOUT?
I’m a “startup guy” in my late twenties who is learning about entrepreneurship because I have to. Like many people these days, I’m on my Plan B career.
I graduated from college with a degree in psychology and moved across the country to work for an amazing technology startup as an intern. That position evolved and I eventually found myself running a large distributed team across the country. I was happy, and had no plans to leave the company–but some things are just outside of our control.
The company had gone through three CFO’s in the span of months, eventually finding one who helped them figure out that they were on the verge of going bankrupt. In 2012, just a year and a half into my post-college career, I was laid off from my job.
This could have been a devastating moment–being laid off without warning from my first job, but it wasn’t, thanks to some scrappy startup tactics I’d developed…
During my time at the company, I’d spent all my free time getting to know entrepreneurs and startup rockstars in the community, and I’d learned a lot about networking, contacting hard to reach people, and leveraging your social network.
The day after I lost my job, I contacted every member on my team who’d also been let go, and together we regrouped and began searching for work. A week later I was employed with a higher salary, working for a strategic partner of my former employer… and was put in charge of the relationship between the two companies.
HOW WORLDWIDE WANTREPRENEUR BEGAN
Losing my job turned out to be a blessing in disguise–I had discovered I had some level of control over my fate and could influence my future. Over the coming years I found that I was capable of things I’d never thought possible: I negotiated a 40% raise, I lead a dev team and built a mobile app, I successfully pitched investors, and I helped take an MIT-born company from a 4-person team to a 200-person Google-backed startup.
But throughout all this, I’d always fantasized about the notion of running my own business. I could see entrepreneurs all around me, yet I was always the one working for them, rather than being one of them.
And then I had my Chipotle moment.
After years of a living beyond my means, reality caught up with me. I was $25,000 in debt, and my last usable credit card was declined when trying to get lunch. It was terrifying–I was ashamed of myself, unsure of my future, and felt like I had no control over my life. What happened next forever changed my life.
Resolved to get out of debt as fast as possible, I stopped drinking, gave up all luxuries, and slept in the woods to save money. I worked like a madman, talked my way into multiple side gigs, and four months later was 100% debt-free. It was an exhausting sprint, but I would do it again in a heartbeat–I’d never felt more empowered and in control.
Those four crazy months were possible because I had a purpose–a mission driving my every action: I wanted get out of debt so I could start a business.
At the beginning of 2016 I quit my job, announced to friends and family that I was starting a business (but didn’t know what it would be), and created WorldwideWantrepreneur.com with the goal of sharing everything I learned along the way.
WHY I DO WHAT I DO
Making a positive impact on the world is my primary motivation for everything that I do. I’ll admit, I’ve always craved significance and the feeling that my life mattered–but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I can harness that internal need for purpose and meaning and use it to help others, while also helping myself.
While I need to make money to take care of my basic needs, I don’t want an extravagant lifestyle. I want to be the best version of myself that I can be. I aim to push myself a little harder every day–never surrendering to ambivalence, never settling for complacency. I believe we can all do well by doing good and that life is not a zero sum game.
As I start out on this path to build a business and take control of my fate, I hope you’ll join me and do the same.