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Inspiring Biography of Mark Valencia (Self Sufficient Me)

Mark Valencia is a popular gardener and YouTuber.

He has 1.8M subscribers on his YouTube channel by the name Self Sufficient Me.

Mark is also a blogger and a retired Australian soldier.


Mark Valencia was born on 4 March 1969.

He hails from Brisbane, Australia.

Mark has a sister, Ennis.

Love for nature & farming-

At a young age, Mark developed a passion for country life and nature.

At a young age, during the holidays, he used to milk the cows in his uncle’s dairy farm at 3 A.M. and was very passionate about it.

Also, Mark used to help his grandfather in gardening and thanks to this, he learnt a great deal about gardening.

He has also been passionate about self-sufficiency.


Mark joined the Australian Defence Force in March 1987 and started working in the logistics department.

Around 2008, even though he was doing fine career-wise, he wasn’t satisfied with his job because he felt it hectic and mentally draining.

Also, during that time, his wife, Nina Julia Valencia was working as a medical centre administrator in the Australian Defence Force and as both of them were working in their full-time jobs, they weren’t able to properly upbring their young sons.

So, even though Mark was due to get promoted, in April 2008, he quit his job as a Squadron Sergeant Major.

Becoming a gardener-

After quitting his job, Mark moved away from the city and became a gardener in 2008.

He started gardening in a 3-acre property which he purchased back in 2006 and this property is located in Bellmere, 45 km north of Brisbane.

Mark started gardening with a couple of raised garden beds made out of sleepers.

Apart from becoming a gardener, he also became a home administrator and home dad to take care of his boys.

During that time, as his wife was the sole breadwinner of the family and as they had mortgage and bills to pay, Mark started growing as much food as possible in the garden in order to save money on purchasing food from the supermarket.

He is a self-taught gardener and learnt gardening through experimentation, watching YouTube videos, reading blogs and books.

Previously, Mark was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and gardening greatly helped him in recovering from it.

Raised-bed gardening-

As Mark had many serious injuries while working in the army (in May 2000, he was involved in a serious parachuting accident), he primarily prefers raised-bed gardening as it is easier because it doesn’t require much bending.

Raised-bed gardening also makes weeding, digging and planting easier and this is apt as he is ageing.

An interesting fact- James Prigioni, a popular American gardener and YouTuber also does raised-bed gardening.

Starting a blog & a YouTube channel-

After quitting his job in 2008, Mark studied IT for around four years and this later helped him in creating his blog.

In June 2011, he started his blog by the name, Self Sufficient Me to share information with his friends and family and soon, he had an urge to become a professional blogger.

Mark also started a YouTube channel by the name Self Sufficient Me on 16 August 2011 and wanted to become a full-time YouTuber.

Struggling as a YouTuber-

It took Mark five long years to acquire 10 thousand subscribers on his YouTube channel.

He reached the 10K subscribers milestone in June 2016.

At that time, his wife was working at a couple of jobs to provide for the family and Mark wasn’t earning from his YouTube channel and so, he felt a need to secure at least a part-time job.

Also, as his boys grew and didn’t need much of his care, he couldn’t justify being a stay-at-home dad.

So, Mark published a YouTube video stating that he wouldn’t continue working full-time on his YouTube channel and instead would secure a job.

But he received much support from his audience who urged him not to quit.

So, Mark postponed his decision of quitting on his channel.

When life gives you lemons, shoot a video-

On 17 June 2016, Mark published a video titled- 5 Tips How to Grow a Ton of Lemons on One Tree.

In October 2016, this video became viral and this was the first viral video of his channel and thanks to this, his YouTube channel quickly grew from 10K to 100K subscribers.

Mark analysed the reasons for the success of this video and implemented the learnings in all his subsequent videos and from then on, he never looked back.

As of September 2022, he has 1.8M subscribers on his Self Sufficient Me YouTube channel.

Mark earns from a variety of sources like advertisements on his videos, affiliate marketing, selling merchandise and he also accepts donations through Patreon and PayPal.

On 29 November 2019, he started his second YouTube channel by the name Self Sufficient Me 2 and on 16 December 2020, he started his third YouTube channel by the name Self Suffishing Me.

As of September 2022, Mark has more than 880K followers on his Facebook page and 35.1K followers on Instagram.

Grounded: A Gardener’s Journey to Abundance and Self-Sufficiency is his favourite book on self-sufficiency.

Currently, Mark doesn’t have a Wikipedia page.

Personal life-

Mark is married to Nina Valencia and this couple has two boys.

Nina works as a safety advisor for a couple of hospitals.

Some interesting facts about Mark Valencia-

  • While working in the army, Mark was nicknamed bear, thanks to his appearance and this name stuck with him all through his career.
  • Playing tennis and hiking and jogging in the wilderness are his hobbies.
  • Mark is a foodie and loves DIY adventures.

So, how are you inspired by the success story of Mark Valencia?

Share with me in the comment section below.

About Author

Hello folks, I'm Naveen Reddy.
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