“I come from quite a poor family. It was crazy. Not having had much growing up, I’m careful with money. I have anxiety about not being broke again.”
Even with his new found wealth, he was still missing something. “I felt like it wasn’t fulfilling in any way, and I wasn’t free, having to ask for permission for take time off — and I don’t do well with authority.” Despite only being on his sales job for six months, Ward informed his employers that he would be leaving. They in turn offered him a new position, double his salary and sponsor him for an Australian passport. Ward accepted, but this too did not fill the void he yearned and left his new 9-5 job after four months. “I always dreamed of being free,” he says. “Initially that feeling came from backpacking broke, but I wasn’t truly free because I wasn’t financially free. Truly free is to have the financial security to allow you to do whatever you want to do.” With a lot more idle time on his hands, Johnny decided to jaunt off to Africa in 2010. “The World Cup was on, and I had all this money burning a hole in my pocket,” Ward says. “I’d never seen money like that in my bank account before, so I booked a one-way ticket to Zimbabwe.” In the months before he left, Ward opted to delve into the wonderful world of blogging. He set up OneStep4Ward, a website where he would share his experiences in traveling.
“I’m terrible at tech. If I forget my Facebook password, it’s a struggle. I associated the concept of making money online with this like charlatan personality. I couldn’t get my head around how people actually do it, and then I cracked the specific thing that I do online and was like ‘Wow, I can’t believe it.'”
That’s when he discovered his new passion. “I remember the first bucks I ever made,” he says. “It was like $80. The first guy ever to pay me for an advertisement on my site changed my mindset entirely, and I thought, ‘This might work!'” He quickly expanded his one blog into an entire online media company called “Step4Ward Media.” With the help of four employees, the site provides web services like creating content and managing SEO. In the span of three years since he started up the company, Step4Ward Media has earned $1 million and averages about $1,000 a day. Ward has set another goal for himself, to visit every country on the planet Earth. So far in his travels he has visited 151 of the 198 nations. Looks like he has a chance to unseat Gunnar Garfours, who is currently the youngest person to ever travel to every country in the world. When he’s not gallivanting all over the world, Ward lives in Thailand, where he bought an apartment with cash. On average, Johnny spends about three months of the year working and relaxing there before jet-setting to wondrous places. “It doesn’t seem that real,” Johnny says. “I don’t live a flash lifestyle, so it feels arbitrary. I’m really careful with my money. I have a wealth manager in the UK, and I’m investing heavily. I bought a place in London and the one in Bangkok, and I’m looking to buy another in London.” Well I’m a blogger and the most exotic place that I’ve ever been to is the Jersey Shore. My income from blogging over seven years allows me to afford a 2001 Geo Metro. So please Mr. Ward, instill your wisdom in all of us here today.
“I worry in the social media age, people get so caught up in creating inspirational memes and oversharing, when you just gotta do it. I love to read that stuff, but you need to draw a line in the sand and say, ‘Now I’m going to do it.’ You can get caught up in the online hyperbole. I tell people you don’t need to make $1 million. Initially you can make $1 or $10 or $50, and have that money in your Paypal and then be like, ‘Wow, this is actually possible. No matter how you plan to make money online, always start a blog, even if you’re not going to monetize. Have a voice, be an authority. I think having a blog is so integral to that movement.”
Sounds easy enough. Here are some pics from Ward’s Instagram to help motivate you to accomplish your new #LifeGoals.