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I Paid For Two Years of College by Playing a Video Game and It Changed My Life
Sit down and buckle up for this story, because it's a good one.
Let me set the stage for you, so you can get a sense of where I was in my life when this story takes place.
Childhood to Adulthood
I grew up in a lower class household and remember my mother buying things with food stamps at the grocery store.
I never had to skip a meal, but anything outside of basic necessities had to come from outside the home.
Most of the time, if there was something I wanted, I had to work for it.
I would do yard work for family members or neighbors to earn enough for a new skateboard or Gameboy game.
As a child, it bothers you when you learn most of your friends don’t have to do anything to get their stuff.
They would just ask and whatever they wanted would appear.
Thankfully though, I never truly held that against my parents and I’m beyond grateful that I did have the things I truly needed.
What bothered me then molded me into someone who values work and responsibility, which is the greatest lesson I could have ever learned.
When I turned 16, I applied for jobs on my birthday.
I worked a grocery store, then a mall, and then finally a car wash.
“There Must Be Another Way”
At 20 years old, I still hadn’t gone to college but was being urged to by friends and family.
“It’s the only way to get a good career”
I gave in and enrolled in a Mechanical Engineering program but in a matter of months, recognized that I was headed down a path that just didn’t make sense.
Not only did I not enjoy working at the car wash, but it had helped me realize that I wasn’t meant to be an employee.
That may sound harsh, but I truly despise the idea of working a set “position”, for a set number of hours, and at a fixed income that I have no control over.
It’s an inefficient and antiquated way to earn a living.
(As a result, I believe jobs that robots will never be able to replace should be paid MUCH more than they are now. That’s a conversation for another time though.)
Keep in mind this was 10 years ago, it wasn’t as easy as it is today to make a living independently online.
My problem was that I knew there was another option for me, I just didn’t know how to get there.
YouTube and Google weren’t nearly as helpful back then, all you had as a resource were forums.
I spent all of my time during my college classes on my laptop, trying to find a way out.
Ultimately, I found it on accident.
The Real Money Auction House
In 2011, a long awaited game released called Diablo III.
Included in that release, was an auction house where you could buy an sell items in the video game for real money.
Remember hearing your parents saying video games were nothing but a waste of time? They were wrong.
That doesn’t sound too crazy now with the NFT madness going on, but that was mind boggling back then.
This was the first (and last) of it’s kind and was removed from the game less than three years later.
I didn’t think much of it at first, but after I toyed with it for a few hours a light bulb went off in my head.
This could be used to make money.
It looked like this:
I spent several weeks analyzing the entire thing.
Once I was done, I had found patterns that could be taken advantage of.
Buying stuff mid-week and selling during peak weekend playing hours
Buying reduced level requirement items (people who didn’t have much time to play and had money liked these)
Setting alarms to snipe auctions in the middle of the night to sell during peak hours
Arbitraging underpriced item that could be bought for in-game currency and then selling for real money
I actually have a screenshot of an item I sold so you can see what it looked like:
Look at those fees!
Even after losing over a quarter of the sale price, this was still a very profitable venture.
So much so that I was able to pay for my first two years of college out of pocket, while I saved my car wash income.
I used it until the day they took it down for good.
The Mindset Shift
It wasn’t just the fact that I paid for two years of college with a video game that mattered.
It was the idea that I created an income source out of thin air and for once dictated how much I would earn, not someone else.
During this period is when I realized that this was my future.
Working for myself, making a more efficient income, and having fun doing it.
It didn’t happen overnight.
I tried so many things that ended up leading nowhere.
Every so often though, something would work.
Over the years, I slowly built a portfolio of businesses on the internet.
Had I not got distracted with other ventures, I likely never even become an Engineer and gotten here sooner.
However, I finished school and reluctantly worked as one for a year and a half.
I won’t ever go back.
I want to recap what happened here in a broad sense, because someone else’s journey won’t be the same as mine.
I went from hating the way I was told to “earn a living”
To looking for an alternative
To stumbling on one
To failing to create more
To eventually creating several more over the next eight years
I kept going because that hatred for the “traditional” system still remains.
I refuse to allow another person to tell me how much my time is worth, ever again.
If I stumbled across the real money auction house but loved my job, I wouldn’t have made it here.
I would have given up or lost interest the moment things got difficult.
You must be honest with yourself when it comes to what you really want in life.
Chase your curiosities and find whatever it is you believe in. When you find it, go to war so you can do it comfortably for the rest of your life.
We all get one shot at this, so why not make it count?
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