I learned how to live as cheap as possible and worked a bit along the way teaching Scuba Diving or trading video and blogging services along the way.
Then I met a few people here in Chiang Mai, Thailand that were actually successful. I had read the 4-hour workweek in 2008 and met tons of people who said they were living the lifestyle, but it wasn't until a few months ago that I really met people who were killing it and doing well. I strived to work hard, follow exactly what they suggested and for all of May, June and July I worked non-stop on my business. On July 25th, I made my first sale of $450 and since then my revenue has reached more than $62K.
My advice to everyone who is working towards replacing their 9-5 income is to meet people in person who are successful. Go to a co-working office space or travel to Saigon or Chiang Mai and meet real people. Ask them what they did and if it worked. Then once you have something that you know actually works, pour your heart and soul into building it.
Good luck to everyone out there. It took me a long time to figure it out, but now I'm able to live a very comfortable life, travel to wherever I want and I've even started a Travel Podcast in my spare time interviewing interesting entrepreneurs I've met while traveling.