Saturday, 24 December 2016

Income Report: December

Ok, it's time to get real.

Or at the very least it's time to stop pretending.

One of the reasons why I started blogging about income was in order to make myself more accountable. And that's great. Pretty much month on month I've increased my income based on the parameters that I have in place.

But the problem is that the parameters just aren't aligned with my bigger story. I keep telling myself that I want a decent passive income stream but month to month it's simply not showing up. It's not to say that the active income that I have been earning is wrong. Quite the opposite.

It too is part of the bigger story. But I keep telling myself that 50% of my income is going to be passive. That's my big dirty goal. I'm removing rental income from the equation for the moment but if I truly, really want financial freedom then I need to really get going on the world of passive income.

So this time next year when I read through my report on income I'm going to be very disappointed if I'm not able to have a made a real passive income impact here.

As for December, I didn't do a whole heap of new stuff. It was a shortened month and I didn't add any additional income streams. So I'll keep it simple:

Monthly income:-

Resume Writing: $1,269
Prolific Academic: $6.50

Total: $ 1,275.50

Not spectacular but workable. What I really intend on building upon is more income streams. Lots of income streams. Maybe five. Maybe ten. But not two. Not three.

I also don't want to grade myself at the moment. I'm simply spinning the same wheels just now. Once I create something bigger than my consistent income stream I'll really be able to push on.

2016 was the starting point. And I'm grateful that I made inroads over the year that I never would have expected. But 2017 is going to see my online business really gather pace. It has to.

So, to a successful experiment so far and so to the next stage where I will seriously move onto the next level. It's none of the big time promises that a lot of other bloggers indicate. It's the real thing.

Time to own my shit.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Income Report: November

I'm glad I'm doing this process as it gives me transparency.

Unfortunately, what this process hasn't been able to do is to shake up the mix of my incomes. I need other tools and levers for that.

My grand goal of lining up Christmas promotions and the like on Zazzle has fallen flat - at least, so far.

But I can definitely see 2017 offering up a few new opportunities online and offline. I'm planting the seeds now...

So time to review things:

Resume Writing: This remains my most consistent provider. Actually, it's virtually my only provider at the moment, but let's not split hairs.... Each month seems to be an improvement on the previous one. That probably won't happen with a quiet December, but November has been my best month, even with my hit to the UK pound.

Translated into dollars I made $2,190, that's 14% better than October's figure. I've worked quite a lot on the resume writing and the coaching, and I've made sure that I've kept better records as well. I may have lost out on certain monies coming to me in the past because of my slackness.

It's working out okay at the moment.

Article Writing: $0. I've been weighing up the return on my time here and for the moment at least it doesn't pay me to spend too much time in this space. I've used some of my articles in the past to leverage different opportunities, but I've traded a bit too much time for money here in the past.

Prolific Academic: $13. Pennies but, hey, it's easy.

Mmmm....My focus on diversification is falling short....

So there you have it: $2,203 for November. No bad and I've finally broken through the $2,000 barrier.

I'll give myself a score of B+ this time. That's partly down to hitting new heights, but it's also a reflection of what I've been doing in the background.

I've been re-working some sites, which will properly go live in the new year. I spent quite a while looking at Google Adsense, listening to passive income webinars and researching different income ideas.

I've also almost completed my first proper Kindle book, again with the intention of launching it fairly soon. That's really the first step into the passive world. Everything I do now is too active for my long-term business model goal.

And there's the small matter of a possible offline job that would completely shake a lot of this up. Job or not, I'm still going to work towards the financial freedom principle and passive income.

I'm quite excited by what the next few months might bring.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Income Report: October

Another day, another dollar...

I may not be diversifying as fast as I would like but I'm certainly being more consistent with my main income driver. But more on that later.

The difficult bit with the way I approach all of this is that I have so many incredible ideas. But I have no time to put in place any of my end of year ideas. Again, step by step.

My offline income still sucks. But that's another story.

So let's take another look at things.

Resume Writing: This figures continues to increase month by month. Last month my revised figure was $1,852 (vs. my initial $1,700 estimate). For October it came to $1,925. That's about 4% up and heading in the right direction.

Again, it was a nice combination of resume writing plus coaching.

It's still taking up more time than I had planned but it's working out okay at the moment.

Article Writing: $0. Must do better. As things stand, there's not anything on the horizon for this month so I'm slacking here.

Prolific Academic: $8.50. A bit rubbish really....

Postloop: $0. Death to Postloop and the fact that it took $12.50 of my earnings. Yep, it closed and didn't give me a chance to cash out. Boo, hiss!

So there you have it: $1,860 for October. Not great about either of the last couple of months but it's pretty consistent enough.

I'll give myself a score of B this time. I didn't increase my income (again) but I have been working on my website.

I'm still working on a few different initiatives. One of them is to support finance people in their job hunting goals. It's taking a little time to gain traction but I'm confident that I can use what I've earned elsewhere to build my own busiess.

It's about the long game, isn't it?

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Income Report: September

I see a bit of a pattern with these reports.

I am very good at defaulting to the same old, same old online income drivers but haven't yet been able to break free into this new and exciting world that I'm targeting.

I know that it may take time but it's definitely important that I stretch myself in a few new areas. I've had one (albeit very minor) income stream start to wind down this month.

That's reason enough for me to look long and hard about building momentum elsewhere. Step by step.

My offline income is also still in transition so it's important that I keep rolling up the sleeves and get stuck in.

So let's take another look at things.

Resume Writing: I'm writing this based on estimates again but my reckoning my income was slightly shy of last month's but still better than earlier months. My initial estimate is $1,700. I'll be correcting it if it's wrong again but that compares with $1,815 last time. It was also a better combination of writing and coaching over the month, which is something I like.

So still some decent momentum here but fundamentally it's taking up more time than I would like. That is, I'm not momentising elsewhere as much as I would like.

It's going to remain my income anchor for a little while longer.

I've put a proposal in for resume writing and career coaching at a local university, so I'll wait to see how that pans out.

Article Writing: $100. Mmm... Well, I had assumed big numbers in the writing space but I haven't written for my old default for a few months now and it's really time I got back to working there. I've had a few PeoplePerHour gigs and that's about it.

As things stand, there's not anything on the horizon for this month but you never know.

Prolific Academic: $13. Well, better than the previous month's $1. I don't really expect it to add up to much as it's purely "downtime" money so I'm happy to pick up a dollar here or there if it's available. In fact, I'm now targeting it as my Christmas gift fund.

Postloop: $2 (estimate). I quote myself from last month: "But it's always there in the background if I need it." Well, it's closing down at the beginning of November! In many ways that's good because I was defaulting to it when I really should have been doing other more constructive things.

But it was one of the first sites I used to earn money online so there's a slight sadness about its demise. But onwards and upwards.

So there you have it: $1,815 for the month compared with $1,871 for August - subject to final resume income numbers coming out

I'll give myself a score of B+ again. I didn't increase my income but I did diversify it slightly with more article writing.

Looking ahead, I've got some potentially exciting things happening in coming months. For one thing, I found myself doing a webinar last week with a lady that's putting together her own online summit.

I'm currently prepping my website so when she does launch her product, people will be directed to my site and I'll be able to capture email addresses and offer up services.

I'm also thinking about what good's and services I can put together for the holiday season.

I don't expect any major earnings excitement in October but I'm hopeful of some momentum going into 2017. 

Monday, 5 September 2016

Income Report: August

Well, it's all very piecemeal at the moment. I've talked in the past about passive income streams and they haven't quite gathered pace.

I've talked about diversification and I'm yet to get the balance here. But this was never going to be an overnight story and by writing it down (hopefully) I'll be able to look back in a year's time and laugh at how far I've progressed. That's the goal anyway.

So let's get this party started:

Resume Writing: So having wrote this article a few days ago, I've had to re-write much of it after properly calculating my resume writing income.

My original estimate was $1,050. The figure actually came to $1,815... Clearly mathematics isn't my strong point and the early part of the month was more active than I had remembered.

It's still my income anchor, though I'm very aware that I need to build out other areas to this level.

The local resume business hasn't gained traction, though that's more down to my low level marketing. I tried to sign up some students to earn commission as introducers, but they all seem to be too busy chasing down Pokemons

Article Writing: $50. I didn't write at all for my regular gig but I've another regular one starting now. I think September could be a good earnings figure for article writing. Famous last words.

Prolific Academic: $1. Yeah, this one's not doing a lot to build out the retirement fund. To be fair, I haven't really thought much about it lately but it is easy money.

Postloop: $5. It's still a comfort blanket of a site for me. You while away a bit of time on, connect with a few people on it, earn a few dollars on it and move on. I don't default onto the site as much as I used to and it's not going to make me a king's ransom.But it's always there in the background if I need it.

So there you go it: $1,871 compared with $1,587. That's about 17% up on the previous month so I do know I'm moving in the right direction.

I'll give myself a score of B+. The $1,000 is my very least level these day for a 'pass' and I'm easily beating that at the moment. But I do need a lot more diversification and a lot of work on the passive income world.

I know that I've got a few writing gigs already sorted out for September, have already beaten the combined Prolific Academic / Postloop return in one survey this month (though that was never going to be hard) and I've signed up for an online writing course as well. All pointing in the right direction.

September will be awesome.  

Monday, 1 August 2016

Income Report: July

So the quest to develop more stable earnings streams continues. One of the big issues (still) for me is that I haven't yet shifted to the passive income approach that I've been gunning for long term. It's still not balanced and as a result it's aways active income - i.e. I need to be trading time for money. The long-term goal is to shift away from this. But for now it's all about stabilizing the income.

So for now, let's see how this month went.

Resume Writing: $1,450. This was a pretty busy month for me and about +90% higher than May. Despite people heading to the beaches for the summer, there's always someone job hunting and in need of a resume.

The fact that I haven't gone away this summer means that I've been overloaded a bit because others have gone away.

I still haven't sorted out a resume business locally, which would allow me to charge more for the same service. But I've been too busy...And I don't want to be purely a full-time resume writer for someone else.

Article Writing: $130. I had one of my usual articles to write and also managed to get a new contract elsewhere, which should be a consistent gig as well.

Prolific Academic: $7. Not a big month at all for me here. Not many surveys, simply because I've been too busy elsewhere.

Zero - not great for me and my goals to improve the mix of income...

So that's it: $1,587 compared with $873 the previous month and $1,127.50 for May. So it's heading in the right direction! It just needs to be more balanced in terms of trading time for money.

I'll give myself a score of B-. It's good in terms of an improvement on the last two months but I still need a lot more diversification and a lot more impact in ths passive income world. My goal is to to make time to diverfy more.

The journey continues. 

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Income Report: June

Ok, so this is my second report and it certainly threw up a few elements I hadn't considered before. It's early days with all of this but I've certainly learned a bit about consistency (or lack thereof), assumptions and random trends (in this case "Brexit").

So it's time to have another look.

Resume writing: $726. So for May I estimated that I made about $800 in resume writing. It actually turned out at a more healthy $953. But at the same time it should have been more...

Why should it have been more? Poor organization by me and Brexit. I'm British so kept a keen eye on events in the run up to the referendum that decided on whether the UK was going to leave the European Union. What I hadn't factored in was the fact that UK voters would actually vote to leave!

How does this relate to my earnings? Well, my resume work is with a UK-based company and they pay in pound sterling. I get paid directly to my PayPal account, denominated in US dollars. The day before the vote you could get US$1.43 or so for every one pound. The shock of the departure from the European Union saw the UK currency collapse and resulted in a US$1.33 conversion rate.

That wouldn't have mattered so much if I had invoiced the UK company at the correct time for payment for May - i.e. before the referendum. But I didn't. As a result, I probably lost about $60 as a result of the pound collapsing.

So the message is to stay organized.

As for June, volume slowed because of the summer so I received less work than before and can expect fewer resumes at the moment. As a result, there's even more reason to build out my own resume writing brand locally.

Article writing: $120. I haven't done much in the way of writing but I did manage to get paid $120 for a single article. That's because the last piece I wrote up required a lot more work to get it into shape.

That's the big problem with this consistent gig. It takes a long time to get the written piece to the right standard. For example, I've been working on a piece over the last three weeks or so and still haven't finished it.

Prolific Academic: $27. As mentioned previously, this is the only survey I bother with.

And this was a pretty good month for it as well. One reason for that: Brexit. Because I'm British there were a number of surveys posted to see how people would vote in the referendum. This was great for me.

The currency element sucks again, though. as the surveys are denominated in pound sterling. But all in all a decent month for that.

Fiverr: $0. Zero sales this month.

Postloop: $0. Not the best result here either. I've done a bit of forum writing but only worth pennies, So I'll skip that.

So that's it: $873 compared with a revised figure for May of $1,127.50

Down on the previous month by over $250. For now, I'll give myself a score of C--. No passive income, less diversification and a lower return than last month. At the same time, I'll raise last month's to C+ after getting more income in resume writing than I expected.

It's not the best, but the marathon continues. And the passive income story is to come.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Income Report: May

So, this is the first one I've done and I haven't got a great deal to report as such. I want to use this as my baseline and reference point going forward so that I really can measure how successful (or not) I am being.

For the moment, I'm purely going to focus on my online-related income. That's the real long-term story as far as I'm concerned, even if I could do with significantly picking up my offline endeavors.

My approach to this will evolve over time as I find the right metrics and put aside some proper time to record this information. It's probably not the right accounting approach (but who cares) but I'll record all the income earned during the month rather than received and paid. It's easy for now because my income isn't that diverse or sophisticated.

So here it goes....

Resume writing: $800. I'm yet to have the data confirmed but by my estimates it should be around $800 for the month of May. This has become a significant story for me and will continue to be for now. Essentially, I work freelance for a company abroad and they line up the clients etc for me to work on.

Ideally, I want to be able to replicate the same approach where I live in Asia because I won't need to give a big chunk of cash to HQ every time I do the work. That's the plan in coming weeks/months. But I've only been doing it for a few months and they are doing all the hard work in terms of getting clients, so I've no complaints.

Article writing: $160. I write articles for a website in Singapore a few times a month and since the beginning of the year it's been quite consistent. It's great that it's $80 a time but my trouble is finding the time and inclination to finish the work. The owner is quite rightly incredibly thorough and every time I write a piece I "look forward to" the revisions he asks for and added information. 

With both of these writing gigs I need to put my ego by the door and just suck up the revisions that are invariably requested. It's not something I'm used to but it's good for me.

Prolific Academic: $5.50This is the only survey I bother with - the others seem to be boring / hard to monetize / repetitive / confusing and the list goes on. As the name suggests, Prolific Academic is all about academic research and actually pretty interesting. I didn't remember to check for many surveys this month but I had a few. Easy. 

Fiverr: $4 (after Fiverr's $1 costs). Not a great return really but I have a few fairly passive income gigs on the site so I was happy to get this one without really having to work any more for it. 

Postloop: $5. Things have gone fairly quiet for me on Postloop - i.e. I've been busy with other writing aspects so I haven't really focused much on it. But it's always there and it's a useful default when I've nothing better to do (which wasn't that often in May).

So that's it. $974.50. It won't set the world on fire but it's better than a slap in the face. For now I'll give myself a score of C. It's a base line and I hope to be able to improve on it. Importantly, only Fiverr out of the amount was effectively "passive". So less than 1%, which is not great.

Hopefully, in coming months I'll be able to build that out.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Income Reports

Over the years, I've enjoyed playing with this blog. It started out as a blog on general musings on life, pivoted into providing personal finance guidance / coaching, and has morphed into a focus on online income streams.

A lack of focus? Maybe.

But I've decided to keep it with an income-stream bias, but I want to add a dynamic to keep me more "honest".  Over the years I've perused many blog sites that outline how much they made from their ventures over a specific month. In other words, they publish a monthly income reports.

I have absolutely no expectation of achieving numbers anywhere close to the likes of Smart Passive Income. Crazy numbers! In fact, there appear to be quite a few bloggers making at least okay money in different initiatives according to this list, and my expectations are still lower.

But I do want to create mechanisms that make me a bit more accountable. It's also a great way to track my various income streams  and its progression (something I really should already be doing but I'm not doing very well). 

Do I expect to attract more readers to this site? No. I haven't made any effort to drive traffic here so far and a few extra musings won't change that. There will still be casual observers, people falling on the site and then passing by. That's what the internet is all about and that's why we love it.

What I do hope to do is use this blog more constructively as a way to record what I'm doing, why I'm doing it and whether or not it's been successful. It's part of my personal journey. Time to embrace it. 

So I guess it's "watch this space" and we'll see how this experiment goes. 

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

53 Work At Home Online Opportunities...And other Fiverr Gigs

I'll get to the 53 Work At Home Online Opportunities element in a second.

But the thing about 'living' online is that there is so much out there that you didn't realize existed (or even realized that you ever needed!). That in itself is a charm and a curse. Is it useful? Is it relevant? Am I killing brain cells and time or am I genuinely adding value to myself?

That's the world I'm still learning to navigate as I look at earning more online income. There are a lot of good strategies out there which may have value for me in the future; there are plenty that make absolutely no sense to me at all. In the meantime, I'm having fun learning and falling at every turn.

And in my endeavors to build more in the way of income streams online, I've spent quite a bit of time on Fiverr, pitching my wares there and learning how other people are making money there. There are people pitching all kinds of services there. You need a logo? It's yours for $5 (well, $5 plus a bit of Fiverr commission). You need an article written for you? This is the place to go for the cheap and cheerful.
Make money online by being smart

The problem with the approach in many cases, though, is the extent to which you are trading time for money. If it's a gig that takes five minutes to create, then brilliant -- you've earned your $5 (minus commissions) in five minutes flat. But if you've got a gig that doesn't allow you to upsell any other service, and it's not taking just a few minutes to do, then you could be working an hour or two for $5. And that doesn't work out well in my head -- I realized that after a bit of trial and error.

It's true that different parts of the world have different costs of living and some people are actually able to make a decent living by being ultra efficient. But for someone like me with a lower work ethic than a lot of people I've got to work out whether I'm really making the most of my time online.

And then there are gigs like this 53 Work At Home Online one that fits perfectly into the model. It's created once and can be sold multiple times. You are, in reality treating Fiverr as your retail outlet. Your Amazon, if you will. Ok, you don't get the traffic in the same way, and you will have to promote and manually send out your work by yourself, but it's a great way of using the Fiverr system without spending hours upon hours in creating a service. It's an approach that I'm adopting.

At the end of the day, making money online is very much about having the right systems in place that will allow you to leverage other people's time, money, energy and platforms. It's about working smarter as well as harder. Time for me to practice what I preach.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Building Online Income Momentum

Making money online is actually quite easy....if you have something to offer. And package it in the right way.

That's my current interpretation anyway. Over the last month I've been focusing exactly on that - having something to offer and making it looking appealing enough for someone to be willing enough to pay for it. Well, I've spent a lot time fine-tuning my profiles on PeoplePerHour and Upwork, in addition to looking at the skills I've got to offer and tried to improve them. And it's started to pay off.

I've managed to snag myself a regular resume / CV writing gig with a company out of London, while another company contacted me to help re-write the content of their website. I've also had requests for two one-off projects. So there's clearly been some traction.

Yes, it is still trading time for money. The slower I do a task, the less of a return I'm getting on a per hourly basis. It's not perfect and it doesn't represent my long-term focus of building passive income streams.

But for now, at least, it's a regular income stream that can build into something bigger if I play my cards right. It also helps me to improve my career capital.

So I will still default to Prolific Academic and Postloop for easy and consistent earnings opportunities. They do that very well. But for building my long-term opportunities I will continue to look to build the future.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Prolific Survey: A Great Online Survey Site

If you look hard enough you can always find ways to earn money online. Don't get me wrong, sometimes you have to put the time in to get very little in return. But sometimes it seems like taking candy from a baby (albeit still a small candy...).

I don't tend to get excited about the world of surveys. They seem to take forever and you really don't get a lot in return very often. The one survey site I do like to have plenty of time for, however, is Prolific Academic. I signed up to be a survey participant back in December and I've been fortunate enough to get signed up for quite a few surveys.

The surveys themselves tend to be academic in nature (hence the name of the site) created by universities all over the world, so some of them are actually quite interesting. Face perception, the relationship between the multiple meanings of ambiguous words, apparel shopping, your willingness to buy a solar charger were all among them.

From experience, they tend to take anywhere from a few minutes all the way up to 30 minutes to complete. They also pay from about $1 a time up to about $6, if you are really lucky in being part of the right demographic -- not a bad return for a survey. The minimum checkout level is around $7.50 (essentially it's denominated in pound sterling and so has a checkout at GBP5.00) and gets paid through PayPal. It just seems like a win-win to me.

So take a look -- there are far worse ways to earn a few dollars online than Prolific Academic.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Getting Focused on Income Initiatives

The trouble with the Christmas period is that it's so easy to get derailed from all the grandest of intentions. One minute you're thinking about slowing down in the run up to the main days in question, the next minute it's the first week of January. And you've been extremely unproductive for a solid three weeks.

So that's where I am now, trying to get a bit of momentum, focus and grit into my money earning approach. What the downtime did, though, allow me to do was to do a bit more reading and research about the whole active-passive income world, and how I might be a bit more strategic in my approach.

This was the backdrop to me falling upon Side Hustle Nation, which I guess is like a movement promoting your sideline enterprises which, if you so choose, can come to replace your 9 to 5 job existence.

So far I've only managed to listen to one of the podcasts on there but it was incredibly inspiring. Essentially, there are plenty of us out there trying our hand at creating a bigger and better earnings world than we are currently experiencing. And it's sites like this that can only be good for keeping us connected to like-minded people (it sounds like I'm evangelizing like a paid spokesman, but I'm certainly not associated with the site - I just like the principle).

I also signed myself up for the regular email updates, again viewing it as a way to stay connected with the type of conversations I need to hear. Pretty useful stuff. One that stuck out was an interesting insight from a recent email that talked about getting the balance between time spent on your active and passive income streams.

I'm currently still in the building phase of my coaching and freelance writing space, both of which can be viewed as active income areas - areas which need to monetize sooner rather than later if only to help cover the bills.

Then there's the passive income space - the information product and eBook ideas. These require upfront investment without any promise of a return. If I build it people still may not come, but I need to build because that's part of my long-term income strategy. So how should I split my time? Well, I've decided that currently it should be a 75:25 split, where 75% of my time I'm working on the active income areas and passive income makes up the rest.

Importantly, though, it's the very fact that I've added time allocation to both spaces that's significant. I hadn't until this point been focused enough to think in these terms. The ratio itself may well change very quickly once I get a better sense of the amount of time I should be spending on both. But at least I'm finally having the conversation in the first place.

It's a great way to get more focused for 2016.