We often read on the web about dotcom moguls who quit their job to live free and happily in the marvelous world of internet. For a while, I was skeptical about these crazy stories until I met a few of these bloggers personally. Still, I can totally understand why some of you are not too convinced it’s possible to literally live from your computer.
I recently dug into my network to find people who actually decided to increase their income and live a better life by creating a lucrative sideline. Through these five stories, I want to show you how it is possible to put your knowledge and talent to work and make more money than you are earning today. You can keep your job and make more income… it truly works!
I’m starting with Matt’s story because I believe it is the most accessible and incredible at the same time. I met this guy through my master mind group (read more about this story here) about year ago. He was like most readers on this blog: a guy with a job and a website trying to figure out how to make a few bucks from it. At the beginning, I remember he wasn’t making much. In fact, his first income report (July 2012) showed a net profit of $27.13. Trust me, you don’t want to convert this amount into an hourly wage! But 18 months later, he reported a net profit of $971.10 working about the same hours he used to when he started.
A thousand a month is certainly not enough to enable anybody to retire from their cubicle. But the point is exactly that: look at how this guy is putting his free time to work and earn $12,000 more in net income each year. This is better than any promotion you can get. What is really neat about his small business model is that it can be done by anybody! He didn’t do anything extraordinary, he just systematically applied what he learned month after month.
His main sources of income are split as follow:
#1 Keyword research service: Matt understood very clearly how to efficiently work with Long Tail Platinum Pro – keyword research software. Most people who want to build a niche site lack time to search for keywords or are very bad at finding the right ones. Matt’s keyword research service is a hassle free keyword research report delivered by email within seconds.
#2 Adsense: Using his own talent to find good keywords, Matt is building small niche sites and earns about $400-$500 per month from Adsense with these sites. Nothing fancy or complicated, just a good concept applied systematically.
#3 Affiliate Sales: He uses his blog to promote tools he uses to build his websites. This is the most common practice on the internet but it works!
By the way, on top of working full time and having this side gig, Matt is also a husband and father of two great kids.
Another guy from my Master Mind Group is an engineer who works lots of hours both at work and on his sites. Just to make sure he will burn out, Jon is also a father ;-). Yet, he finds enough time to build a relatively passive income business on the sideline.
Jon started to report his journey in October 2012 with a loss of $192.98. He recently posted record net income at $12,194 (shoot! This guy beat me with a blink of an eye!). He started with the idea of building another of those classic authority websites driven by affiliate sales.
He successfully built a resource for student debt consolidation. But instead of stopping his success at this point, he worked on this model and created a complete process to build niche website (remember, he is an engineer).
He actually uses his main talent at work to build a sustainable business. Through his efficient processes, he offers now two great search engine ranking systems. The first one finds expired domains and build links from it to your niche site. The second is a complete private blog network to build links and increase your ranking.
While his numbers are fairly impressive, Jon has no intention to quit his job at the moment. The thing is that he built a business that doesn’t require too much of his time and he can simply cash in from both work and his sideline. The beauty of his model is also the high price he can charge through both services. You don’t need many clients each month to reach 12K/month when you charge up to $599 for a full package!
The next two stories don’t include fabulous numbers and they are not reported. While I have a pretty good idea of how much they make since I’m in the same business as them, I won’t disclose my evaluation either.
Tom started 1 or 2 years after me in the Canadian personal finance blog universe. He quietly followed my path and started to build an online blog empire like mine. While I’ve always been pretty upfront with my empire, he remained quiet about it. All I can say is that he owns his share of the web and keeps making money from his financial websites.
I know he has a good job and kids. Yet, he finds time to make more money on the side through his blog. He uses multiple partnerships and hires writers to run his empire. He is now in a better position to enjoy life while raking in a few bucks every month.
I don’t know how he founded his first blog purchases but all I can say is that you can easily achieve a blog empire if you reinvest your profits for a while… or, like us, you borrow a few bucks to make your first purchase! I don’t know which method he used, but one thing is for sure, he owns a great portfolio of websites today and earns passive income better than any promotion he could have gotten at work. He preferred to work extra hours for himself instead of giving them to his boss – wise decision.
Kyle’s story is quite interesting too as he is a young and motivated teacher who thought financial education is sorely lacking in our society. Since his day job income potential is pretty limited (not that he is making a bad salary but he can’t really get promotions year after year), creating another source of income was the perfect plan for his situation. I bet it’s the case for many of you!
He even wrote a great book for students (I strongly suggest you buy this book for your kids!) called More Money for BEER and Textbooks. He explains how savvy students can get more for their money and keep partying over the weekend (we all know students don’t study over the weekend, been there, done that 😉 ).
Kyle is making money from a blog empire as well, while earning royalties from his book and now recently launched a pod cast. Guess who his latest interview was with…; Tom from Canadian Finance Blog!
He runs a similar business model as mine as he also partnered up with his best buddy; Justin (they even wrote the book together!). The two of them are doing remarkable work in bringing simple financial concepts to the community and helping them understand how to manage their finance. This is another great success story of a good side gig.
Don’t forget to get the book!
Well… I guess you already know about my story now ;-). Since 2008, I average about 100K in gross income from my online empire. I have a partner so you have to divide this number in two but still, 50K gross income per year is not bad.
I use my extra money to pay off my debts, travel and pay for utility bills. The other great thing is that I always get a premium computer or iPad since I need them to work with. It’s not always easy to work full time at a very demanding job, being the father of three and keeping my wife happy by cooking supper on Fridays and Saturdays ;-).
More seriously, I’ve slowed down with my business since our third child arrived but I can now see how to manage my schedule and get back full force with my online business. In the meantime, the money kept coming in and while it was tougher these past two years, it still a very generous sideline. I can’t imagine how I could earn this much by working more for someone else!
Because here’s the key: if you have a passion, take a few hours to work for yourself each week and you’ll start earning more than working for anybody else!Comments: 7 Read More
Would you focus on business, travel, or look for a job? What would you do if you were 25 again?
I need some help with making a decision in September. I’m not sure of what to do next and I would love to hear from you guys on how you would react in this situation.
Here’s the quick background info…
In September our lease expires. I rented a place with my cousins about an hour away from Toronto in a college town. This has been the best year of my life socially and personally. It’s time to move on though. Moving back with my parents is the obvious option since I already spend most weekends at home and my parents love (I think) having me there.
As for other options…
I rented out my condo. I bought this as a rental property but lived in it for a year. It’s now being rented out and generating money. I can’t go back there.
I can move in with other friends, but I’m not so sure I’m impressed by any of the current offers.
I make my income through freelancing, my own blog, a part-time job, and investments (yes, very random).
I love to travel. I have been on many trips and would ideally prefer to travel more in the future.
I’m just not sure of what to do next in September at 25. Apart of me is saying that I need to get a job and be a real adult. Another part is saying to grow my business. I’m also feeling the travel bug coming on once again.
Let’s get specific.
Well, I don’t have a career to be honest. After I got my degree in business, I never applied for a job. I worked hard throughout college to ensure that I could graduate with zero student loans. This allowed me to be pretty carefree after college.
However, I have been thinking of applying for a job for the fall. I’ve already applied to a few gigs that excited me.
The good news is that I can be picky. I have money saved and have no student loans. I don’t have to stress about earning on a paycheck.
The forces pushing me in this direction are the usual suspects: family, society, and friends. Everyone that I know has a 9-5 gig. I’m the only person trying something different. I’m constantly reminded that I need to get a real job and be a real person.
My biggest concern here is that I’ll get stuck in a vicious cycle where I hate my job, but I rely on the steady income. I’m worried that I’m going to hate every single aspect of the job and that I’m only going to enjoy the added income. I don’t want to hate my life. This thought would keep me up at night.
Would you find a career in your 20s or avoid the trap of the steady paycheck?
I have a huge post on this coming up next week.
I can keep on going or put things on auto-pilot.
I can consider new blogs, new projects, more freelancing, and so on.
On the flip side, I can put everyone on auto-pilot while I get a real job and try other ventures.
I can travel more and see what this world has to offer.
I love to travel, as already mentioned. I’ve been on all sorts of random trips the past few years:
I would like to travel more. Ideally, somewhere I can work on my Spanish and become better at speaking it. I also have been pondering the idea of teaching English and actually living somewhere for an extended period of time.
The obvious negative to traveling is that it would interfere with business ventures and prevent me from starting a career. On the positive side, I would see the world and explore more.
So what would you do in this case? I’m open to all ideas.Comments: 12 Read More
What do you think about blog comments? Do you look forward to blog comments? Do you ignore them?
Commenting on blogs is an interesting topic. When blogs first started popping up, leaving comments on popular blogs was the best way to gain traction and possible traffic. Every single blog about blogging was telling us to leave comments. It was a thing the thing to do. You had to leave blog comments.
Now things have changed a bit. Zen Habits and Seth Godin’s blog have disallowed comments. Many other sites have followed suit. It’s not rare to see comments disabled on a blog now. It’s no longer trendy to have comments allowed on a popular blog.
Where do you stand when it comes to blog comments?
You’re always writing for those that speak the loudest. You’re always worried about the critics. You worry about the outliers. You don’t think about the reader that’s actually applying your tips. There are readers that will consume your content, enjoy it, and never leave a comment. There’s no particular reason for them not leaving a comment.
Your readers are amazing. You just have to remember that someone complaining about an article doesn’t represent your whole audience. One person could just be having a bad day and in desperate need of a vehicle to vent on.
You can’t let this one person prevent you from posting or allow you to get distracted with a useless argument.
We also need to stop looking for things to react to. There’s always going to be someone to respond to or some email to check out.
I get stuck in this nasty cycle. It’s easy to get caught up with this. You always want someone to communicate with and someone to argue with. You can go on your own blog or other blogs and argue for hours. You can dissect the article. Mock the blogger. Disagree on a certain viewpoint. And go on and on.
I have to say this…
Stop reacting. Start creating.
When you create content that’s polarizing or leads to a plethora of reactions, you shouldn’t stop or get nervous. You keep on going. Reacting can easily take you in the wrong direction. Constantly creating keeps you focused.
Reacting is dangerous. You’ll never win. Someone will always be mad at you. Someone will always disagree or complain about something.
It’s really simple to spend a whole day on busywork and never really get anything done. This happens far too often for most of us. We respond to comments. Get distracted by comments. We let comments on our blog and other blogs dictate our days and how we spend time.
Screw that. Don’t let time slip by you. You can’t always be caught up in what others are saying on blogs.
Watch how you spend your time because creating awesome content will always trump everything else.
Nope. I don’t think so.
Don’t get me wrong. I love interacting with readers. I enjoy reading comments and replying as well. I also look forward to feedback.
The problem is that feedback can be crippling. Think of all of the people that will read an article, thoroughly enjoy it, and then walk away without leaving a comment. Those are the people that we forget about. There will be those that leave a positive comment with a few words of encouragement. Then there are those that complain.
Have you ever been afraid to post an article because of the potential backlash? It has happened to all of us. We hide our best work from the world because we’re afraid of what will be said in the blog comments section.
I suggest that you focus on pumping out quality content. Don’t let a few nay-sayers prevent you from putting your best work out there.
What are your thoughts on blog comments? Do you engage in discussions on other blogs on a frequent basis?Comments: 11 Read More
Are you struggling to stay focused? Are you finding it impossible to get anything done?
This happens to the best of us. We have all of this free time to get work done, yet we get nothing done. We sit around. We do the laundry. We check email. We go and do the laundry again. How much dirty clothes could we possibly have? We just keep on wasting time. We all know that time is precious and that once it goes away it’s gone forever. Still here we are wasting valuable time.
I have a solution for you.
Get another job.
Find another gig. Instead of spending your evenings or weekends or days on trying to be “an entrepreneur,” why not get another job where you actually get paid for working?
But wait, how does this make sense? Another job isn’t passive income. You’re not following your passions if you find another gig. You’re not channeling your inner strengths.
I’ve learned over the years that more time doesn’t equate to more work getting done. This is the harsh reality. You can often get more done in that less hour before deadline than you did in the days or weeks building up to the deadline. We’ve all experienced this.
I have friends that work two jobs and manage to get so much done in between. They’re always on top of things. More work also doesn’t stop them from going out and doing fun things. They simply don’t have the luxury of slacking off or being bored.
Then I know people who are unemployed and can’t even respond to a basic text message over the course of a day. They never have time for anything, yet they have all of the hours in a day.
Actually nevermind, I’m a perfect example of this.
When I have a whole day off, I get nothing done. It sucks. I tried an experiment in school. One semester I tried to work less hours. I thought that this would improve my grades. Did it? Not at all. I just slacked off more.
The next semester I went back to working full-time. I was forced to get the most out of the hour on the bus or the hour before work. I was forced to get an article done in between classes. I had to manage to squeeze in a date with my girlfriend at the time.
Having less time meant no time to waste.
Not at all. I just want you to see how valuable time is and how much of it you really have.
This isn’t mean to be permanent. This might not even work for you. You might be perfectly productive and already on top of things. That’s cool. This article isn’t for you. This is for those of us that waste time when we have so much of it available to us.
Find another job or add another commitment to your life. Reduce your free time. Notice what happens to your productivity. You’ll get more done than ever before. You’ll appreciate time.
When you no longer have the luxury of sitting around all day, you’ll get down straight to business.
Once you get better with your time and productivity, you’ll realize that you already have more than enough time. This is when you can quit that job or free up more time to get more done.
Oh and I wrote this article in between commitments. I had limited time at Starbucks. I grabbed a coffee and got straight to work. No time to waste!
Comments: 7 Read More
“You don’t want to take initiative or responsibility, so you check your incoming mail, your Twitter stream, and your blog comments. Surely, there’s something to play off of, something to get angry about, some meeting to go to. I know someone who goes to forty conferences a year and never seems to actually produce anything.” — Seth Godin
Who ever thought of making money out of their passion? Is it not the best financial scenario? Making money while you do something you truly enjoy. Most hobbies and passions require that you pay to enjoy them. If you can find a way where you can be paid to enjoy your hobbies, you have just found the Holy Grail! I’m not sure it’s true. A few weeks ago, I read a very interesting article about not turning your hobby into a money maker @ Retire By 40. Joe outlined a list of reasons why making money from your hobby isn’t as perfect as you may think.
A few years ago, I would have argued actively with him. I turned my blog into a business back in 2008. At that time, I saw the same thing as Joe: I can make money online. I can make money out of my hobby. Where I’m a bit different than him is that I started The Financial Blogger back in 2006 with this objective in mind: making money online.
When I start writing my blog, I knew I could make money from it. My friend (who became my partner in this adventure) was already making money from his website. He made enough to pay for his tuition fees and go on a 6 months foreign exchange student program. He never had a summer job, he was simply working online a few hours per week from his bedroom.
Then, I started to do some research and found John Chow. He had the first “make money blogging” blog I followed. When I was telling people in the Personal Finance Blog niche (we were less than 100 at that time) that I was in to make thousands of dollars per month, they all told me that I would be lucky if I could make $200 monthly! I decided to continue nonetheless as I knew that other people were making money.
This is why I started blogging: to make money. I wanted to share my financial knowledge as I thought that most people don’t get the right advice from financial advisors and journalists. The second goal was to improve my English writing skills. But behind all that, I knew I could make money from this business.
What happened is that the more I wrote, the more I wanted to write. I’ve always love writing and even thought of becoming a writer when I was a kid. When I realized that most writers are starving, I thought a career in the financial industry was a better idea ;-).
Slowly but surely, my passion for blogging and this whole “new world” started to grow inside of me. At that time, I was thinking about my blog non-stop. I used to get ideas at any time of the day and night and sent myself emails to keep track of them all. I developed a passion for building a business online.
At that point, I had reached the perfect balance: doing something I truly enjoy while making money from it. Unfortunately, nothing is perfect…
I mentioned this on the blog already but 2012 was a crappy year for us. The combination of having a new (very demanding) job, not sleeping with our newborn, getting stuck under $10,000 of unexpected expenses plus getting kicked in the nuts by Google was a lot of downers in a very short time span.
My passion started to fade away and I temporarily lost the desire to work like a maniac on my blogs. I still liked the fact of having a company and running projects but it looked a lot like a job at one point. The obligation of writing weekly, the tracking of our income and expenses, the projection updates we are doing to make sure we are on track with our objectives… All that sounds a lot like a job vocabulary and not a hobby or a passion.
This was a rough period as I know I need this money in my budget. A good part of my overall income is derived from my online company now. It represents roughly 30% of my income; I just can’t let it go. But having a second job (on top of being a father of three!) seems just like a recipe for a burnout later on. It hurt to think that I needed to work on my company instead of wanting to.
I can describe myself as a very difficult individual when it comes to work. I’m a real beast of productivity and do not fear completing humongous tasks within a ridiculous timeframe. However, I must be happy to do so. If I don’t have fun doing what I do, I become mediocre. I didn’t have the flame burning inside throughout 2012. This is when I started to question myself.
I had to go back to the reasons why I was having so much fun with my business and pulled them back to the top of my priority list. I love managing my business and seeing growth. Results are definitely the most inspiring factors for me. This is why I started to concentrate on how I can bring results to the table.
Cutting the crap, do what I love was the first thing I changed. I decided to write only the stuff that I want to write about. Too bad for Google and too bad if you don’t like it, I’m going to please myself with this blog!
Being part of a Master Mind Group was a clever move. I now have a weekly meeting with motivated people that help me bring results to the table. This is a true motivator for me.
Having a meeting with my partner was another great idea. Each year, we meet-up over the weekend to work on our company. We had a great discussion about the future of our blogs and our involvement. This has boosted my motivation through the roof.
It is! I’m feeling free to do what I like and this is probably the most important thing when you have a business or a hobby; never feel that you are forced to do something. This is probably the beginning of the end if you keep on to this route.
Do you find it difficult running your blog now that you are making money out of it? Is it changing anything to your writing style?
Comments: 11 Read More
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