I began writing this post last February during the first week of my full-time travels and living abroad
. At the time I had recently graduated university and was just enjoying the beginning of what I had set out to do for many years. Pretty much non-stop travel was the goal and all of my efforts were finally realized. I was hesitant to publish the content right away. Although extremely excited with what I had accomplished a lot of my thoughts were based on assumptions of what I anticipated would happen. As a reminder you can read about how I earn my income here
Earning a Living:
It was an easy choice to work for myself straight out of university. I had already been doing it successfully since high school and after six or so years developing multiple businesses I had finally hit my stride come January. In 2009 I had my first really successful year while taking 21 credit semesters, a part time internship, and running three businesses. This meant I earned a very livable, though quite average income, for living in a first world country. But 2010 started at an insane level as I furiously worked on expanding my career consulting business. Even a few months into 2010 it looked like I would earn over six figures for 2010. I felt like a hot shot but this extreme success meant it was time to relax and enjoy my surroundings.
Of course the career consulting business didn’t maintain that pace. It didn’t decrease much either. But what really kept me away from six figures was the forced closure of a retail clothing business I had started in high school. With access to a wholesale account I had been undercutting the name brand clothing company for six years by reselling individual items on a private forum. I sold to individuals at a price well above wholesale but well below retail. The brand eventually caught on to the hundreds of others doing this and shut us all down. They also threatened to sue me. Eight months later I haven’t been sued so I think I am in the clear! But this passive income is gone forever.
Coasting on Autopilot:
Down to just two businesses I pretty much ran on autopilot for months. My online retail store provided a small but consistent stream of real, passive income. I forwarded each order to some American guy I hired to ship the few goods I actually stocked – cologne and t-shirts. The rest of the orders for other products were processed in minutes and shipped individually by the wholesale companies. I didn’t actively market the business and like the past few years most products moved slowly. There’s not much effort I am willing to put in when the business doesn’t excite me. It’s also just a business that I know has very little potential. Why bother?
But the career consulting business continued to do exceptionally well. It’s not passive by any means. I rewrite documents and exchange emails with clients every day. It’s actual work that challenges me. But at times I kind of like doing it. And then in return I am rewarded with positive feedback from clients who landed many interviews and jobs. In the end it’s worth doing and has become something which helps make me feel good about myself because I truly believe I am helping others. It’s rewarding.
Meanwhile, for a good portion of the year, about ten months, I coasted along business-wise. When people asked if I planned on expanding my current businesses or start a new one I laughed and said no. I actively avoided trying to develop anything. I continued making great money on pace to double my 2009 income. Only $1,500US away from literally doubling last year’s income with 11 days left in 2010 it’s pretty much a sure thing.
New Business Out of Nowhere:
The only reason I am going to end up reaching the meaningless goal of doubling my 2009 income is because of my latest business I created by monetizing travel blog. I saw an easy and mostly effortless way to turn this into a significant side business which has since overtaken my retail store as my second most profitable business. The income milestone is meaningless but what’s nice is that once again I am truly excited about working on this new business. It really feels great with each new advertising sale I earn and the even the less exciting administrative duties I look forward to…coordinating new articles with my writer, negotiating deals, etc.
Just as my earnings have increased so have my savings. Just the other day with less than half a month left in the year I hit another big milestone – a significant figure. Living the way I do means easily saving a good amount each month without even trying. Without a car and rent between $250-$1,000 a month my expenses are pretty low. I don’t buy the latest HDTV or more than a couple nice shirts because I have nowhere to put these things. Though that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to have them. I probably would if things were different.
Though I keep stashing all of this money in savings account I have no plans to use it for anything. I’m not going to invest it in anything risky like stocks or gold because i’m really conservative that way. I can’t stand the thought of losing money I earned. Buying a house or car is pretty much a joke at this point. One way or another when the time comes I will find a way to use it; whether towards my family or a new business.
But for now it’s buying my freedom. It gives me the peace of mind. I don’t worry about what would happen if my insurance found a loophole and dropped my policy. Or if my income stopped completely I could still continue traveling for say the next five years.