- Danny Baldus-Strauss made six figures working for IBM but never felt rich with a source of income.
- He started an e-commerce business and invested in an Airbnb property to make money on the side.
- He left Corporate America in 2020 to work for himself and now has multiple income streams.
Danny Baldus-Strauss made big money working in America’s companies: up to $300,000 a year at IBM, he told Insider.
A high salary paired with a high savings rate helped him build a seven-figure portfolio in about seven years.
“I had this million-dollar portfolio, but I didn’t really feel rich because I only had one income,” said Baldus-Strauss, who sold IT gear for the legendary tech giant from 2013 to 2020. “In sales, if you miss your quota for two consecutive halves, you can be fired — and in big tech companies, layoffs happen all the time.”
With this in mind, he decided to explore other avenues to make money.
To become “financially impregnable,” as he puts it, one must build multiple revenue streams. “The variety of sources of income means security for me. Because if one of those streams goes away, I have to bring other streams back.”
He spent years researching how to make money before actually trading, saying, “For the first five years of my career, I spent much of my free time reading. I researched how to run an Airbnb and how to start an ecommerce business. And then, at the end of my career, I focused on building an income stream.”
He started by starting an e-commerce business. (E-commerce is any business that buys and sells products or services over the Internet.) He did “retail arbitrage,” where you buy products at a discount and then resell them at a higher price. , and take advantage of the difference. Example: “I buy a product for $12 and sell it for $15. It’s like flipping products.”
His company bought and sold things like household items, toys, and cosmetics, he said, “high-volume, high-margin products like Purina, Swiffer, and Hasbro.”
Baldus-Strauss had an operator managing his e-commerce store, so it was more of a convenience, he said, “I used their warehouse and staff and used 35% of all profits to help fulfill them.” around.”
Baldus-Strauss owns real estate in Colorado, but he spends most of his time traveling and working remotely. Courtesy of Danny Baldus Strauss
In 2017, he also invested in a home in Colorado. He bought it as his primary residence but with the intention of renting it out on Airbnb whenever he was away for work, which was most of the year.
“I paid more for a very desirable location that I knew would be very popular on Airbnb,” said Baldus-Strauss, who sold some of his Google and Apple stock to meet the down payment. You can make good money off short-term rentals — he said he made four times his mortgage payment in a few months — but “You have to be a little different than your house. You need to be comfortable with the people in your primary residence.”
After nearly three years of building his e-commerce and Airbnb business, Baldus-Strauss decided to become self-employed full-time.
“Those big companies where you make a lot of money, they kind of own you — they own your time and your energy,” he said. “You have less creative control and flexibility, and that’s what you trade in to make between $200,000 and $350,000 as a 25-30 year old. I want more control over my time and more creativity in my life.”
When he left IBM in 2020, he was “making a few thousand dollars a month doing e-commerce and Airbnb,” he said.
While they’ve taken immediate pay cuts, they’ve created even more revenue streams over the past two years and made more money than IBM does today, he said.
He continues to make money from e-commerce and Airbnb. His other sources of income include sales consulting and cryptocurrency mining.
Baldus-Strauss has also built up its own brand for years, Finance backpackersAnd now has over 97,000 followers on Twitter.
“I knew Twitter would be a tool that I could eventually monetize by creating a large number, after which I could either partner with brands or create courses,” he explained. “I knew I had to build a following first and then there would be opportunities for monetization, so I started just writing and tweeting every day.”
Now that he has a significant following and makes decent money working with companies and brands like affiliate marketing and M1 Finance, he explained: “For a year, M1 Finance essentially tweeted on his behalf. Having paid off my mortgage. I will talk about it. Talk about their product, their methodology and recommend the stock.”
He encourages everyone to start building their own personal brand.
“The way I look at these social media platforms, you can either create them or consume them,” he said. “I also consume, but I ended up spending more time on Twitter and Instagram creating free content for people. I wrote twitter threads or made videos or did extensive coverage about stocks and I set out to create Freely Shares trust and followers.”
As you figure out how to build your brand, think about what you like and what excites you. For Baldus-Strauss, it’s finance, investment and entrepreneurship. He started with a lawn mower as a child, learned about the stock market from his father at an early age, and studied finance in college. He has been investing his money since 2010.
It didn’t take much time or effort to start Backpacker Finance, saying, “I created the logo that’s on my Twitter account in five minutes. I went to Canva, I found a logo, I typed in “Backpacker Finance” and it’s there today and my profile picture hasn’t changed in two years.
“I wasn’t focused on a business plan or my photos or my logo. I just focused on creating really good content and then making it really consistent.”