“Make millions from just your laptop!” I know what you’re thinking: That sounds more like a cheesy infomercial or a daydream fantasy. But think again and meet Army veteran Emanuel “Manny” Hernandez, who went from street-corner water salesman to a self-made millionaire.
Yep, you guessed it -- Hernandez beat the odds by harnessing his entrepreneurial skills, using just his laptop. (Really!) Need a little inspiration on your own path to entrepreneurial success? Take a page out of Hernandez’s playbook.
A born entrepreneur
Growing up in a small town in Puerto Rico, Hernandez didn’t fit in at school, and his academic performance was poor. But he knew early on that he had another calling in life. "The school system failed me, as it was designed to create workers,” Hernandez told me. “I was not born to be an employee in an office -- I was born an entrepreneur.”
Sometimes, it's the youngest children who see business opportunities most clearly and can teach adults a thing or two about entrepreneurship. Hernandez was one of those kids; he developed a knack for sales, getting his start early by selling gallitos, a Puerto Rican toy made from tree seeds, to his fellow students in grammar school. Later, he dropped out of middle school to sell tires at his cousin’s store.
When the economy took a hit, Hernandez was out of a job. To support his daughter, Hernandez did what he knew best: create money-making opportunities out of nothing. This included selling water on street corners for 12 hours a day while sitting in 110-degree weather.
In 2006, Hernandez joined the U.S. Army, from which he was deployed to combat in Operation Iraqi Freedom while assigned to the Fifth Special Forces. While Hernandez proudly served his country, he also yearned to blaze his own trail. He returned home with his entrepreneurial passion re-ignited.
Googling a simple question
While living in the Army barracks, Hernandez saw a battle buddy becoame devastated over the loss of a girlfriend, who broke up with him while he was serving in the military. To support his friend, Hernandez Googled, “How to get my ex back.”
“I remember my friend’s face while reading the results page, as if it were yesterday,” Hernandez said. “He had a big smile on his face, happy that we found a solution to his dilemma.”
To help his friend out, Hernandez purchased something called The Field Guide to Dating, for $39. But what happened next forever changed his life. When the purchase was made, Hernandez and his buddies expected a hard-copy book to show up in the mail. Instead, the book immediately arrived in digital format in his friend’s email box.
“I was very new to computers at the time so I did not know what an 'ebook' was,” Hernandez said. “It was then that the light bulb went off, when I realized the author had no overhead expenses, no inventory and no publishing house fees. The author could make a living by cutting out all the middle men.”
In fact, that ebook changed everything for Hernandez, prompting him to set out on a new mission to generate a living online. After he retired from the Army in 2009, he learned everything he could about online marketing. After eight months of trying different strategies, he had his first break and made $236.
“To me, making that first $236 was like making a million dollars,” Hernandez said. “It wasn’t a lot money, but it was proof that what I was doing was working and that I could make a living online.”
What was it he learned? It's easy to be scared to make the leap as an entrepreneur. But you should do it, anyway. Hernandez took the plunge and has never looked back.
High-quality traffic for digital entrepreneurs
Today, Hernandez generates more than six figures a month as the founder and CEO of the digital media company, Click Cash Marketing, Inc., which drives online traffic and lead generation for Fortune 500 companies. Hernandez recently launched a new division of his company, Rock Solid Traffic, which specializes in providing high-quality traffic and lead generation for online entrepreneurs in the business opportunity space.
“I always had the dream of becoming a millionaire, not because I believe that money makes you happy, but because of the freedom that comes with that money,” Hernandez says today.
While the entrepreneur has a deep appreciation and respect for the military, he says he was frustrated during that period with not being able to do what he wanted or travel whenever he wanted. Everything had to be done on a permission basis, which Hernandez says left him feeling owned by someone else.
“The same thing happens to many people who take the safe route and stay in the same job year after year,” says Hernandez. “They might have financial stability, but their bosses own them and there’s not much they can do about it.”
Empowering digital entrepreneurship one person at a time
Because Hernandez is a serial entrepreneur, he's preparing to launch a new business in 2017 -- no surprise there. But this one is especially near and dear to his heart as it’s designed to help as many people as possible achieve success online and close more deals.
“True wealth is being able to control how you spend your time,” says Hernandez. “Whether that’s with family, traveling the world or volunteering for causes that matter to you, the choice should be yours, and no one else's, to make. When you work for yourself, you have the freedom to manage your time rather than getting permission from a supervisor. Running your own business empowers you with the freedom to truly live your best life.”
Hernandez plans on helping others achieve success online through his new brand, Millionaire Wisdom. Through this platform, Hernandez aims to help thousands of people get results and earn money online by using what he calls a hybrid coaching system. “It’s not 2008 anymore," he says. "Technology has advanced, and generating an income online is easier than ever before.
“I’m not special. I’m just a regular guy who barely spoke English when I joined the Army. If I could achieve all this, then anybody can. They just need the right mentor to help them cut through all the noise and show them the way.”
Hernandez' story proves that through hard work and dedication, anything is possible -- even that elusive online dream job! He's an Army veteran but he continues to serve his country by empowering others to achieve their dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem.
As Hernandez likes to say, “If a high school dropout who spoke limited English can ultimately run multiple seven-figure digital companies, anything is truly possible for you, too!”
Copyright © 2017 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.
This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by Entrepreneur.com.ph