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My Second Income and New Goals

October 30th, 2010 at 05:08 am

About 8 years ago I was inspired by the book, Your Money or Your Life. I wanted to break the connection between making a living and spending my time, which is actually my life, to do it. I wanted to stop trading my life for money.

My ideal solution was to make money online. The potential seemed unlimited and it would allow me to perpetually travel. I got suckered in by every Internet marketing guru that came along. In retrospect I think the way to get rich in the Internet marketing niche is to act like you already did and sell an info product telling others how to do it.

My first website was a template, like thousands of others selling an Internet privacy product. I don't think it ever had a visitor except me.

Then I tried an Internet marketing info product review website. It was one of the first ones, now there are thousands. So I bought $1,000 in clicks from Google. It took about 10 minutes to use them up and I had made no money. Trying to save the site I spent another grand on a coach. I thing the year the site was up it made about $100.

Then I started to realize making money online was actually going to require some real work. So I found another guru that said you could get rich in 33 days by writing an ebook. I eventually wrote a very good one with valuable info that was never before published. It sold for $49.97

It took several months to do all 33 days. I was getting praised by leaders in the industry, I was getting interviewed and trade journals were asking me to write articles. Yet I wasn't selling very many ebooks. I was doing everything I was “suppose to” and I wasn't getting rich. One guru in the niche wanted to interview for his monthly audio cd subscription service. I suggested a joint venture and he laughed. He said my price point was much too low and that I should be charging $397.

I knew I needed more traffic to my sales letter page so I tried buying it from Google again. It turned out that a click was worth $.50 to me but cost me about $1.00. I realized I would have to attract free traffic from search engines. I now had about 2 years of experience failing behind me.

I built a content website. For the first time I did real keyword research and realized this wasn't a good idea, but I had already come this far so I went on. I wrote content pages, a special report, a course and an ezine. I exchanged links and paid for others. The site was a PR3. Many pages ranked in the top 30 but the traffic just dribbled in. I was selling some books but I couldn't make a living at it.

I realized I could make more selling my traffic to Google instead of trying to sell them my book. I added Google ads to all of my pages and stopped developing back end products.

I got discouraged and stopped working on it. I was going to cancel the site at the end of the year but then I realized it had more than it cost. Now 6 years later it has dropped to PR2, but it is making over $3000 a year. I am making money without trading my life for it. I did the work once and was getting paid for it 6 years later.

I have a much greater passion for learning than doing. I still devour Internet marketing info products. The time has come to put those years of knowledge into action. I recently started updating that site and doing some other stuff. My efforts have been sporadic.

It's going to take me over 5 years to get out of debt on my current income. If I was happy with where I was that would be fine. I am not and I can not afford to change my life right now. I obviously need more income.

I know what I have to do to make money online. I have the tools to do it. I just need to do it, day after day. So I am committing to working 20 hours a week developing a second income. I will work 52.5 hours a week for someone else and then 20 for myself.

I will work in super intense 25 minute sessions followed by a 5 minute break. After 4 sessions I will take a 30 minute break. After two sets, I will take an hour break. This is the Pomodoro Technique for increasing productivity. The ebook is free.

My goal is to make as much after work as I do at work. Then I will continue doing both until my debt is paid off and I have 3-6 months living expenses saved as well as moving expenses.

Beans and Rice Challenge – Phase II

October 29th, 2010 at 04:12 pm

I made it through the first week of eating nothing but plain beans and rice!

I was expecting to have to eat extra meals during the day to keep from getting hungry. To my surprise three bowls of beans and rice kept me going all day.

One lunch time I looked at the cold beans and rice, then through them away. I figured I could skip a one meal. I got really hungry and the drive thrus were calling to me. I resisted the call.

I have been eating plain beans and rice long enough to appreciate any additions to them.

Now I am going to start adding some seasonings. The first pot will be Indian Kitchiri (mung beans and rice) and the pot after that will be Korean black beans. Yum! Later I will experiment with different Thai Curries.

After awhile I will start adding the prepackaged organic vegan food I have on hand to the meals.

I have been doing very little spending. Starting October 1st I will start keeping a record of it and posting it here.

I have also decided to start spending 20 hours a week building a second income.

I enjoy reading other blogs and the comments people leave for me. I think daily blogging would support my efforts. Unfortunately I have found that I do not have the time.

A 52.5 hour day job work week and now another 20 hours of additional work on the side doesn't leave much time. So I will be posting mostly only the weekends.

While working out of town I smelled exotic spices. I followed my nose and found a store with a sign that read “Patel - Our Culture, Our Food”. I figured I would check out all the food I couldn't eat.

It turned out to be a large Indian grocery store. I bought $27.67 in beans. That's 24 lbs of beans. I would have never guessed what the store was without the aroma.

Challenge Update and My Fixed Expenses

October 25th, 2010 at 05:02 pm

First the Beans and Rice Challenge update
Breakfast – Freshly cooked beans and rice
Lunch – Cold beans and rice
Supper – Microwaved beans and rice
3 meals down only 201 to go

I've started working on my budget for the new year.
My take home check is about $1,100 every 2 weeks.
Below are my monthly fixed expenses.

Rent 600
Credit Cards 265
IM Exp 215
Bike Loan 164
Storage 70
Bike Ins 38
Gym Membership 28
Phone 27

Total 1407

Rent - Includes utilities. 3 bedroom house on 5 acres
Credit Cards – From self-improvement workshops, easy to rationalize
IM Exp – Internet Marketing Expenses, more about this later
Storage – Storage unit half way across the country. Biggest waste!
Golds Gym – Membership expires in February.
Phone - $100 subsidy from employer. Droid!

More on the budget as I have time to work on it.

Beans and Rice Diet Challenge - Inspired by Dave Ramsey

October 24th, 2010 at 07:53 am

I've have decided to do a Beans and Rice Diet Challenge. The only food that I will buy from now to the end of the year will be beans and rice. My plan is to start off plain and start spicing it up. If I ate well prepared beans and rice now I would be disappointed. But after a couple weeks of plain beans and rice, any flavor will be great.

I do have some super healthy prepackaged food. I have McDougall's Big Cups, Spirutein Shakes, Whole Food Energy Bars and Ultimate Meal Shake powder. The stuff is so healthy that it isn't very appetizing. That's why I still have it. After a week or two of plain beans and rice, I am thinking it will taste great. I also have a great many nutritional supplements.

I have some fresh veggies and meat. To use it up today I am making Thai basil beef with chilie and garlic and Thai red curry beef. So in the morning the Beans and Rice Challenge starts. Beans and rice would be better nutritionally with some pricey fresh veggies and fruit added, but it's got to be better than the fast food I have been living on.

Since my work schedule has expanded to 10.5 hours a day (still get paid for 8) I have been eating primarily drive thru food. I haven't had time to cook during the work week. Slowly eating out has become a major consumer of my discretionary income. By not doing it until the end of the year I think I will be able to get control of my finances.

My goal is to build a YNAB (You Need a Budget) buffer of $2,200 by the end of the year. This means that the money I receive in a current month will be set aside to pay bills next month. The money can be redistributed within its assigned month to deal with the unexpected. In extreme cases money can be borrowed from the next months allocation.

I think I can save about half this with the Rice and Bean Challenge and being a extreme tightwad. I figure my house is well stocked so I can just about stop all discretionary spending without much hardship. I have done it before and the toughest part is psychological.

I get paid every two weeks as opposed to twice a month. This means that I get a couple extra paychecks a year. In December I will get three! So the other half of the money will be from the extra check.

After I get buffer in place I will start living on a more realistic budget. The extreme tightwad and rice and bean diet phase is not sustainable. I don't expect it to be much fun, and I want my ongoing life to be fun. But the financial peace of mind this brief period of sacrifice can bring will improve my quality of life from that point forward.

My goal after that will be to build an emergency fund equal to 3 months living expenses. After that I will get a debt snowball payment rolling. I think these accomplishments are the most I can expect to get done with the income from my job.

There is a lot more I want to do. I moved to the Atlantic Coast of the USA to help take care of my mother. She recently passed away. Now I want to move to the Pacific Coast. Since I started looking at my finances I am starting to realize I have been doing wishful thinking. On my income the things I dream about will never happen.

I need to figure out how to generate more income. I can figure out how while eating beans and rice, then rice and beans... but today I eat good!

I keep running out of money!

October 23rd, 2010 at 07:55 am

I get paid and spend that money until the next check arrives. Lately, about every two or three months I have been running out of money before the next check arrives. I mean really running out of money, negative checking balance with no savings.

A motorcycle breakdown out of town wiped me out this time. I had to pay rent 20 days late keep everything from bouncing. I will be close to broke again when my next pay check arrives. At least I think I will. That is part of the problem. I haven't been paying attention to my finances.

I have had the YNAB, You Need A Budget software for years. Every time there is a new version I buy it, but I have never used it. It's time I get started. I will use it to develop a budget and set some goals. Then I will make a doable plan to reach the goals.

Well, I already know that my big goal is to move across the country to California. I want to attend a Non Violent Communication Program there. There are are lot of steps in between where I am now and being able to do that.

I am thinking about doing a hardcore version of Dave Ramsey's Bean and Rice Diet until the end of the year. Wasteful spending on drive thrus seems to about the only place I will have much leverage in my budget.

I have about decided to do it. I am only afraid I am taking on a challenge too big to start with and that I am setting myself up for failure. I will think about it today and if I commit to it, I'll start tomorrow.