How I Went from “Scary Broke” to Piles of Cash

Accepting the Quest for Financial Abundance

I want to share with you how I was able to dramatically level up my financial success rating by taking gradual steps to strengthen my belief in being able to earn more money.

In a nutshell, I looked at my income as a direct byproduct of my belief system. And in order to increase my belief in being able to earn more, I did practical things that earned me real-life “experience points”.

The way I earned these points is by completing quests, overcoming challenges and obstacles, grinding out skills/abilities, and also for unlocking certain achievements.

Using this video-game-like strategy, I was able to go from scared-to-death about money to being completely financially comfortable. I now have the ability to not only invest money, but also generate more revenue quickly and easily.

What it basically comes down to is that each of us has a financial success rating that’s rooted in our mentality and belief system. And this rating can be improved over time by embarking on the quest to create more income.

Here are five simple things I did to level up my financial success:

#1 – Lived below my means and eliminated expenses.

Living within your means is a myth. Live below them — far below. By doing this, you decrease financial stress and increase the excess capital that’s available at any given time. That way, if something big comes along (good or bad), you’ll have the cash to fund it.

My wife and I got creative by purchasing a huge, 42′ fifth wheel for under $3,000 that we stayed in with our 2-year-old daughter. We invested in a Costco membership and bought only essential, raw ingredients while supplementing with vitamins. By doing this we were all able to live comfortably for less than $1000/month, all expenses included. Most months we hovered right around $600/month. For a while, we even did personal and property caretaking which allowed us to both be home together with the baby while getting free room and board and a nice salary between the two of us.

#2 – Owned my own stuff.

Every time I looked at that big RV, I was reminded at what a huge accomplishment it was for me to buy my own home using the gold that I farmed grinding out paid quests.

Having my own home (as opposed to renting) allowed me a great deal of control over my living space, including my habits and work ethic. This contributed greatly to my belief that I can exercise my own power to create a life for myself and my family.

The other component to owning my own stuff is that I only bought high quality things and things that I either needed or really wanted. To be sure that it was a good purchase, I always took my time to consider other options.

#3 – Learned lots of side skills that saved and earned me more money.

When you own your own stuff, you have to pay for your own stuff when it breaks. But if you buy used stuff that’s a little bit older, then you can get the parts for pretty cheap and then learn to install/replace them yourself.

By learning to fix everything we own, my wife and I never have to pay other people money when things inevitably need fixing or upgrading.

On top of that, I taught myself how to do graphic design, web design, Kindle book publishing, online marketing, and writing. These skills not only allowed me to earn some pretty fat chunks of change along the way, but also paved the way for creating my digital content publishing company.

More importantly, my belief in myself skyrocketed every time I was able to earn money completely on my own volition. I read somewhere that fewer than 10% of all people who sell online have ever made a single dollar.

#4 – Started with small victories, building them bigger over time.

Just like in video games, you never start with the boss. You always start out in low-level areas where the stakes and the rewards are relatively low.

That’s why the first quest I embarked on was simply to earn $1 selling a digital product that I created. It was only a dollar, but when I made that first sale, I was unimaginably stoked.

Over time I started earning tens, hundreds, and even thousands of dollars for completing just one quest!

The quests I went on included selling things, trading skills for money, and performing various services for people. And since I live way below my expenses, each financial quest reward went straight to my growing pile of cash.

#5 – Saved my money over time, eventually investing some of it.

Once my saving started reaching a critical mass, my financial success rating went through the roof. Every time I looked in my bank account I was floored with butterflies of excitement.

Just like it’s really easy to burn money fast, it’s also very easy to save it up. If you do everything on this list for just six months to a year, you’ll be absolutely astonished at how different your life is.

Once you do this for a while, it becomes your norm and you just get used to it. You’ll start to see how you living like a king doesn’t require spending a lot of money. It’s all about how you spend it.

Then you’ll have piled up so much cash that you won’t know what to do with it all. And it’s at this point when you start looking for ways that you can invest your money, creating future income streams for you.

Once I got to this point, money just started magnetizing to me, sometimes from some pretty ridiculous places. I was finding hundred dollar bills in old pants, suitcases, and stuffed in the back of drawers. People were handing me money for no reason like I was their king.

The other day I reached into a jacket pocket and found two crisp, $100 dollar bills and it was seriously like finding a couple bucks. I didn’t know what to do with the money so I just gave it to my little sister who happened to be standing there at the time.

Everywhere I go now, I feel different. And people seem to be able to tell. Recently a complete stranger came up to me and said, “Now you look like you have the ability to make a lot of money.” It felt good to hear, especially because I knew he was right.

But it wasn’t always like that. Less than a decade ago, my buddies and I were scraping together $3, $2, or even $1 dollar in change so that we could put even just the tiniest bit of gas in the car. And every time before hanging up the nozzle I made sure to hoist up the hose to drain out any last drops of gas that didn’t get pumped.

Now I have checks lying around that I’m too lazy to cash and I have just about everything I could ask for. Life is pretty dang awesome for me now and I believe it’s because of these five things.

If you look at making money as a quest, then you automatically take away a great deal of the stigma, fear, and insecurities associated with being broke.

Treat it like a game that you’re the main character of. You’ll find that leveling your financial success can be quite enjoyable, even a bit addicting.

To help get you started, I have a handful of quests designed to improve your abundance with a few of the strategies mentioned in this article. Just go to my Pinterest board, “Real Life Quests for Self Development“.

Good luck, comrade, and happy leveling!

*BONUS – I got baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

I hesitated to include this one because I’m really not sure how or why this one worked. All I know is that when I was at my lowest point, I got baptized and sincerely accepted Jesus into my heart. Weeks later, magical things began happening that brought a whole new level of abundance into my life. If I’m really honest with myself, looking back, this was one of the major turning points that caused me to have a big financial breakthrough.


  1. Chris said:

    Some pretty solid stuff here! I suppose I’m a few levels behind you, to use your video game analogy. I like your quests too- I’ll be trying a few. I’ve actually been doing cold showers for a while now. They’re great for recovering from a heavy workout.

    750 working hours, or 5 months. That’s how much longer I have before I can quit my job and move on to my next project with the money I saved. I don’t think it can be understated just how important it is to always have plans in the making and development- and having the balls to actually go for it.

    Congrats on your success man. Keep talking about your experiences with what you do in the future. It’s some really interesting stuff.

    June 15, 2015
    • D/C Russ said:

      Thanks for the nice words. I wish you the best in your next project. Plans are important but don’t be afraid to abandon and re-work them. Cheers man, you’ll go far.

      June 15, 2015
  2. Yeah!! Way to go Dustin! Building the belief up gradually over time and treating it like a game is such a cool approach. What inspired this idea?

    June 15, 2015
  3. D/C Russ said:

    Well I keep hearing these ideas that if you want to be successful, you need to visualize yourself as if you’re already successful. But I did this for years with no results and I wondered why.

    I could never figure it out until one day the visualizations started happening on their own. I took this to be an indication that I’ve reached the proper level to be able to use visualizations effectively. Because without being at the proper level, you won’t have the belief that your visualizations will work and you’re subconsciously sabotoging yourself.

    I first had to see what was possible before asking for more, know what I mean? But I’ve definitely been using and applying the video game analogy to other areas of my life for a long time. I consider life questing one of my major purposes in life.

    Thanks for commenting.

    June 15, 2015
  4. Jacob S. said:

    Just found your site through B&D. This is a truly inspiring story here. Thank you for sharing it!

    I like what you said about quests and “leveling up” so to speak. It seems more reasonable and actionable in life and in business when this type of process is applied. Also seems like it can help you better identify opportunities. Instead of saying I would like to earn money, you can use what you mentioned, like I want to earn money by doing this and I need to build up this or that skill in order to do so.

    Great article nonetheless! Looking forward to more content of yours!

    June 22, 2015
    • D/C Russ said:

      Yeah it’s sort of counter-intuitive. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. You’re welcome back anytime!

      June 22, 2015
  5. I love the video game analogy. The most difficult thing in my opinion is figuring out the rules of the game to get what you want, AND not get carried away by momentary emotions. Because unlike a game, where it’s easy to be indifferent and reasonable, this is real life!

    I love your thinking. Keep writing.

    July 14, 2015
    • D/C Russ said:

      Yeah well emotions are another force to master here. Thanks for the great comment. Stay strong comrade.

      July 14, 2015

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