“My first job after college was teaching financial economics at a university in Prague. While this was an amazing opportunity, it still tied me to one location…”

The quote above mirrors the mind of the typical “travelpreneur”. Essentially, travelpreneuers are entrepreneurs on a wanderlust spectrum, and for Mike Swigunski, an American author and online business expert, building brands and selling businesses while traveling through 85+ countries is the true definition of success.

Founder of Global Career and a leadership strategy contributor at Forbes, Swigunski is an online business expert and strategist with a reputation for helping people buy, sell, and invest in online startups. He was the fourth employee at Empire Flippers, an INC 500 company and one of the fastest-growing startups in the United States. He currently runs his own personal portfolio of wealth-generating assets which includes affiliate sites, SaaS products, online services, and his best-selling book, “Global Career: How to Work Anywhere and Travel Forever”

Of course, the thirty-two-year-old didn’t just drop into the entrepreneurial path with complete knowledge of what he wanted and how to get it all. There were struggles, failures, times when he felt like giving up was the only feasible option, but sometimes, holding onto the bigger picture while strategizing is all the magic a person could ever need.

Early life and education

As a young boy growing up in Wildwood, Missouri (a suburb of St. Louis), Swigunski began to work as early as he could coordinate with his hands.

My father was an electrical engineer who worked on rental properties, and as soon as my brother and I were old enough to hold a hammer or paintbrush, we would help out,” Swigunski recalls. “I cherish these memories as this helped me create a work-smart-and-hard mentality.”

When he turned 16, Swigunski landed his first real job working as a cart boy in a country club. While it didn’t pay the highest, it was a job that came with real responsibilities and required a great deal of patience. He learned, grew, and later secured other various jobs over his career, like working on a trading floor. While working this job, Swigunski augmented his income by flipping items on Craigslist – a side hustle that earned him more money than his day job.

As a sophomore at the University of Missouri (Mizzou) working toward a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Swigunski traded stocks and worked as a student manager for the University of Missouri Study Abroad program for Prague. After a few years of being in the workforce, Swigunski landed a full-ride scholarship to Chonnam National University in South Korea for his MBA.

Leaping away from corporate life

Photo Credit: Mike Swigunski, with permission

After college, Swigunski secured his first job teaching financial economics at a university in Prague, Czech Republic. This job was a great opportunity and an excellent stepping stone for someone who’d just left college, but Swigunski was wired differently.

“The biggest challenges I faced early on were finding international jobs, but these were jobs that required me to be location-dependent,” Swigunski explains. “My first job out of college was teaching financial economics at a university in Prague, and while this was an amazing opportunity, it still tied me to one location.”

He slowly turned his interest toward tech startups and scaling businesses. Eventually, he managed to break free from location-dependent 9-5s and began to travel relentlessly as he worked. He drove tanks in Lithuania, trekked one of the world’s largest glaciers in Patagonia, hitch-hiked the entire south island of New Zealand, attended the Oktoberfest in Germany, and has absorbed the multiple different cultures from working and traveling for more than a decade.

As he navigated the world of startups and remote work, Swignusnki was met with fresh phases of growing pains. Many tech startups running small to medium operations often have disorganized divisions of labor, especially in the earliest stages. It’s a common problem that often leads to overworked employees and unclear responsibilities, and Swigunski suffered his fair share of the confusion. While he enjoyed being exposed to the many aspects of running a new company, he was spread too thin and was constantly in a phase of burnout.

Finding the right balance 

Photo Credit: Mike Swigunski, with permission

He’d found where he wanted to be, but it still wasn’t quite right. Finally, he realized that he’d been dedicating his skills in the wrong direction.

“My first major breakthrough came when I realized that I had the skills to help build and scale other companies, but with a fraction of the upside,” Swigunski explains. “At some point, you reach a plateau with earning potential and this is when you either change companies or start your own projects. I was fortunate to have “side-hustles” that were making slightly more than my day job, so it was an easy transition and much easier to scale once I dedicated my full focus.”

Also, he was making the classical mistake of pouring in the most resourceful hours into his day job, leaving his personal work with the least productive hours.

“I was allocating my ‘best’ 40 hours to my employer and my ‘tired’ 20 to my own projects,” he admits. “I knew if I just spent my most impactful 20-30 hours on my own businesses, the ROI would be 10x more beneficial with about 50% decrease in work input!”

These experiences gradually helped Swigunski to find the perfect balance for thriving at remote work in the startup realm. Over the years, he has built a reputation as the go-to guy for buying and selling online businesses, providing entrepreneurs with comprehensive exit plans, and helping people invest in the most promising startups.

Knowing what he’d endured while trying to find the perfect work, life, and travel balance, Swigunski authored a best-selling book: “Global Career: How to Work Anywhere and Travel Forever”, sharing real-life experience, tips, and tangible advice to help other transition smoothly to the travelpreneur lifestyle while still advancing their career.

With a whole future ahead of him, Swigunski hopes to impact more lives and help millions of people enjoy freedom with zero limitations while doing what they love.“What I enjoy most about traveling is creating unique experiences with family, friends, and locals,” he says. “This can be in the form of hosting travel meet-ups with foreign/local entrepreneurs! I also love inspiring others to travel and I do this through creating photos, educational videos/services, blogs, my book, etc. My biggest inspiration comes from helping others transition toward a path that will bring them more wealth and freedom in every way possible.”