Best Financial Performer runner-up writes, sells, soars

The 33-year-old Silver, who collected his wealth through a series of Internet ventures, is, in a word, unique.
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When we e-mailed Yanik Silver to tell him he’d won second place in the 2007 StartupNation Home-Based 100 “Best Financial Performers” category, we received the following auto-response e-mail:

Hi there,

Because of my schedule and to make sure I get more stuff done (both work & fun) – I am checking email twice per day at 12 pm and 5 pm on weekdays (unless I’m traveling and then it’s even less).

If you truly need an urgent reply please call my private cell.

The 33-year-old Silver, who collected his wealth through a series of Internet ventures, is, in a word, unique.

The son of Russian immigrants, Silver launched his first Web site in 2000 after coming up with the idea one day at 3 a.m.  He started his business in the living room of a one-bedroom apartment. At the time, he was working in his family business of medical-product sales. He began his side-business experiment by selling fill-in-the blank sales letters. He made $1,800 his first month, $3,600 the following month and $9,400 during his fourth month. That’s when he decided to change part time to full time and stick with his Potomac, Md.-based venture. Bye bye, family business.

Today, Silver’s home enterprise is multifaceted.

Besides operating various Web sites, Silver teaches others what he has learned about Internet sales through his company Surefire Marketing. He has written and co-authored several books, including “33 Days to Online Profits” (2005), and teaches courses on his tactics.

With all he has going on, Silver stresses the importance of outsourcing his work. He contracts three virtual computer assistants and is in the process of finding a graphics expert as well.

“I’m a total computer dunce,” the Internet marketer claims. (Right. If there were an expression using “dunce” like the familiar, “crazy like a fox,” we’d write it here.)

Silver says he likes the freedom a home-based business provides and that he gets to spend more time with his wife Missy and their two young kids.

Next, he wants to share his high-flying lifestyle with other like-minded executives and business owners.

Through a new venture called Maverick Business Adventures, Silver would like to take high-level executives on retreat-like extreme vacations, where they can participate in daunting tasks and discuss business ideas as well. Silver’s first planned diversion is an off-road racing getaway in the Mexican peninsula of Baja California, which he has already done on his own. Other ideas he has include African safaris, skydiving, and swimming with sharks.

“It’s stuff that I want to do,” he says. “We’ll see if anyone wants to do it with me.”

Silver has taken part in his share of adventures. He has run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain; bungee-jumped Down Under, and now is preparing to embark on his biggest journey ever: a trip into space. Silver signed up for Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, scheduled to be up and running sometime in 2009. He has already trained in a zero-gravity machine in Florida earlier this year.

What is his advice for those who want to start their own business from home?

“They need to treat it like a real business and decide that they’re going to do it for real,” Silver says. “Thinking about getting yourself going is not going to get you there.”

As his businesses grow, Silver has found himself contemplating whether or not he will ever have to move into a conventional office. “I’ve been thinking about if I want to go there.” He pauses. “But I’m not going to.”

View complete 2007 rankings

See 2008 Home-Based 100 competition

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