Turn Your Hobby Into Cash

The problem with having a job is that you rarely have the time to work on your hobbies. They say that if you do what you love you will never work a day in your life and I really believe that to be true. When you have more time than money you can focus on taking those old or new hobbies and start developing income streams.

Every hobby had many different ways to make money from it you just have to be a little creative in developing them. For instance, if you love to fish you could rent charter fishing trips, open a fishing store, sell worms, write fishing “How to” books, start a fishing website and monetize it with ads or sell items, make fishing rods, create online fishing videos with ads, teach fishing, etc.

In fact, there are so many different ways to make money from your hobby that you could develop multiple businesses for each hobby. How nice would it be to do what you love everyday, be your own boss, and make enough money to live? Well, there are plenty of people doing this right now and you could be the next.

Your goal on these businesses is to start them with very little money and experiment with your ideas. With this method you don’t lose much money if it doesn’t work out and if it does the sky’s the limit. You will learn if there is a need for your business in your community or if your pricing is correct, etc.

This information will help you understand the more profitable areas of your hobbies business that you can incorporate into your successful ventures. Every micro-business failure is a learning experience and will give you the information and experience you need to become successful.

Trying and failing at micro-businesses is in my opinion the cheapest and most beneficial way to learn the ropes of being a small business owner and it’s much more practice and cheaper than taking college classes for starting a small business.


$50 Micro-Businesses

Over the years I have started several businesses and when I was younger I went all in financially on a few of them. What I learned is that you can make a lot of money quick and also lose the money just as quick along with your credit when you go all in.

My solution which allowed me to keep my sanity as well as my money was to start several micro-businesses for very little money. I like this method since you have little to lose by experimenting with different businesses. Many can be started on $50.

My favorite businesses tend to generate their income from passive business. These include vending machines, internet businesses such as websites and ebooks, and online surveys and referrals. All of these can easily be started for under $50.

I started these businesses without any experience or prior experience and that is the best way but also takes several years to really master. To speed up the process you can read books on the subject. I like to learn about a business first hand and then write an ebook about it.

This way your getting paid to learn new skills which is a plus. The key to the candy machine business was to never buy the machines new since they cost several $100 each but buy them used instead. The most worthwhile information on this business is to identify and locate businesses that generate the most income with your candy machines. I wrote a book that tells you just that from my personal experience here.

The cheapest and most hassle free micro business, in my opinion, is based on the internet. Websites and ebook businesses are much more time consuming to learn the skills, write, and continue the process but as far as financial cost they are very cheap.

A website only require register a domain name( less than $10), getting a hosting service (less than $10/month and that’s it. After your first website you can normally set up many more on the same hosting site without additional fees except for the annual domain fee of less than $10.

The key with an internet business is to learn all the ways to generate traffic. This will take a lot of time but be very worth it in the end. Contrary to popular belief you can’t just set up a website and traffic comes.

Ebooks are even less expensive and easier to create. All you need is a MS Word compatible software for writing and an adobe PDF software to format it into a internet transferable ebook. You can also spend a few dollars on the ebook cover image but that is not required since it just makes it look like a real book to a buyer.

Lastly taking surveys is although somewhat time consuming at 1-2 hours a day you can make over $1,000/month as I have. It took me several years to figure the survey sites that pay in cash but it ended up being worth it. I also wrote an ebook on taking surveys here.

So ultimately you have two ways to make money with every new micro business you try. The business income itself and writing a ebook about that process.


Structure Without a Job

Many people dream of the time in their life when they will have no more schedules and deadlines. The reality is that many of the same people won’t have that kind of unstructured time until they retire and some may NEVER be able to retire.

One of the first things that will seem shockingly weird when you don’t have a job is that you no longer are being told what to do and where to go and set times throughout the day. Initially this takes some getting used to but after that few weeks has passed you generally fall into a routine.

Now this routine will obviously be different for everyone based on their likes and goals but never the less it is important. I noticed that there is a steady progress of creating a better schedule and than after you have gotten bored of this routine you start to slip.

By slip I mean you may get bored and start to slack off with any type of income generating businesses you may have started. Most likely you will have reduced your expenses so low that meeting your post job budget becomes so simple that the stress and pressure that you once had before leaving your job are gone.

Now I will be the first one to tell you that not having financial pressure and stress are a good thing. Too much of anything thou is not always a good thing and in this case if you don’t put a little pressure on yourself you may end up slacking.

Not that slacking is such a bad thing but it certainly could become bad. When and if you find yourself slacking off in your micro businesses try and change up your schedule to spice things up. I like to schedule my day to finish all my business work in the late morning and schedule something I am really looking forward to in the afternoon.

This schedule gives me incentive to do my work and finish it so I can move onto something that day I am really looking forward to. You should try and break up your routine if you start to feel like your wasting your time.

The Value Of Money

Money is a funny thing when you have a steady paycheck for many years you take it for granted and many people waste it on useless junk. I think this is due to the stress from working a 9-5 job. Since you feel pretty crappy at your job you spend money to fill the void which is definitely understandable. I did the same thing myself when I worked.

What this vicious cycle does is leaving you feeling hopeless and broke. Not to mention that your credit card bills lock you into that job while filling up your house with junk. Now when the steady paychecks stop you become a lot more value conscious of your money.

Although after quitting your job you have plenty of time and freedom the income can be pretty slow to non existent in the beginning. Any major life transition takes time before you start to feel normal again and what I have found to be true myself is that it gets much easier once you settle into your new lifestyle.

One of the best side effects of not having a job is that you end up really appreciate your money much more. Having respect for your money will take you a long way and help you avoid buying things you don’t need. It will change the way you look at money, no more spending money on junk, which is a great feeling.

You may even start to use coupons, reduce many unnecessary expenses, and find way to create multiple incomes through your own businesses. Many people take spending money for granted and they don’t realize how precious that lifeline is.

What Do You Do For A Living?

One of the first questions that comes up when you meet someone new is what do you do? When your working at a conventional job that is a pretty easy answer but when you don’t have a conventional job this question can strike fear in you.

If you don’t prepare for this questions ahead of time it can really put you in an uncomfortable spot. So you have to get a little unconventional in your job description. It’s hard to not really say what you would like to these questions but sometime you have to suck it up.

Self employed can work but many times that won’t solve the problem since it’s so vague that they will ask what business your in. Since you may have several micro-businesses it wouldn’t be dishonest to say your an entreprenuer or a capitalist.

I would really love to just say why does it matter what I do but honestly I like to keep the peace and not cause too many waves. Sometimes what I like to do is change the topic quickly which also allows me to avoid answer that question.

What I would like to say is “I do nothing all day” since that would probably get to my point much quicker than trying to side step the question. Saying this would also be pretty funny to watch since I am sure many people would be in shock. “Oh my, this guys a bum” or “I bet he lives in a tent somewhere”.

There are really lots of ways to respond to this question such as I’m a capitalist, independently wealthy, retired, small business owner, man of leisure, etc. Or as one person I know just makes up a non glorious job like trashman, recycler, ditch digger. His theory is that it’s nobody’s business what he does.

When you have spent enough time away from a traditional job you sort of fall into a different mindset. You start to see the daily grind from an outsiders perspective because you ARE an outsider. Being an outsider allows you to make detached observations with rational thoughts.

The strange thing is that the 9-5 workers will look like slaves after you tasted a bit of freedom from it. Questions like what do you do for a living will become less important when you control your own freedom.

Creating Passive Income

When I decided I had enough of the 9-5 I quickly realized that I had better learn about creating passive income.  I knew about dividends from stocks and rental property but I had little knowledge on home based income.  Thus I tried out just about every type of income that I could research.

I quickly learned that many of the internet based incomes either were scams or required knowledge and experience that I didn’t have.  So I kept chugging away for the first year and kept the passive income streams that worked and noted the ones that didn’t.

Here’s what I learned in the process.  There are 100′s of online survey sites but the majority pay in points or sweepstake entries.  So I automatically dropped out of those types of survey sites.  The sites that pay money I sampled and out of these less than 1/3 were worth the time required for the income.

I found a little over 10 survey sites that you can make decent money from and wrote a ebook on them.  I used these survey sites to pay my monthly bills while I created more long term passive incomes.  I continue to use these survey sites even after creating my passive income streams.  My theory is why give up easy money?

The bread and butter of making online passive income come down to creating ebooks and websites.  Creating ebooks is easier in my opinion than creating websites.  With ebooks all you need is to write about a subject you know, put it in PDF format (sendable online format) and listed it on Amazon, LuLu, Barnes and Noble, or your own website for sale.

Creating a website not only requires writing of the subject matter but a constant focus on new content to keep readers coming back.  It can get very easy to sidetrack the constant writing needed when you don’t have a 9-5 job making you write.  You have to really develop the discipline to keep writing new material.

Add to the constant writing and new topics required to learning how to select a good domain name, point it to your hosting company, keep the software updated which is normally requires at least once a month software updates to prevent your sites being hacked.

Than you need to learn at the basics of HTML code for websites.  Now the most difficult part is driving traffic to your site which creates hopefully sales.  Learning all the different methods for generating traffic, some free, some not, can be exhausting.  Once you learn the traffic methods than you will have to use a little trial to find out which one gives you the best bang for your time or money.

Finally the most important part is monetizing your website.  Again there are so many ways to monetize your site that I couldn’t possibly list them all.  Trial and error seems to be the best way to make money.  Keep trying new ways to make money and stick with what works ad drop the rest.

The bottom line is that there is no such thing as passive income online UNTIL you have created the ebook or website.  Once you have finished then then you will create passive income and work on your next ebook or website for more passive income.

If you know what your getting into before taking the plunge and sounds like something you are interested in then by all means try it.  The worst case scenario is that you will learn new skills on how to make ebooks and websites which is a nice skill to have but not make any money.

The best case scenario is you enjoy it, make nice passive income, and have a great way to increase your passive income.  I hope the steps required above don’t scare you off but if they do than it is probably better that you don’t waste your time trying it.  If it sounds like something you might like to try then go for it, it can be financially rewarding.

Can You Retire on $100,000 In Assets

I know what your thinking is this guy is nuts?  How on earth could anyone other than a homeless man retire on $100,000?  Well. true conventional wisdom says that’s complete bull—- but if you break down the numbers it is indeed possible for many people.  There are some tradeoffs that some people won’t make and that’s fine since some people truly like their job but if you hate working and would rather spend your time doing fun things you would probably be willing to do just about anything to quit working.

Lets break down the numbers before you through this concept in the “crazy” category.

1. House – $30,000 – Can you live in L.A. or NYC and find a place for $30,000, no, but there are many areas of the country where you can find nice homes from under this amount.

The Midwest, South, and North areas of the U.S. have many areas with houses in this range and I am not talking about some slum in the city.  I am talking about homes with 1 acre lots in semi-rural areas, single family homes with driveways and garages.

These homes won’t impress people but they are in safe areas and a great way to live inexpensively.  If your living on $100,000 in assets you won’t be able to impress people but since you won’t need a job who cares.

2. Car – There are plenty of 5 year old cars available for under $5,000.  Many have less than 50,000 miles on them.  A 5 year old car along with a AAA membership for potential car issues make a great cheap transportation alternative to new higher priced cars.

Your car insurance will also be lower as well since you won’t need anything other liability insurance.  With no mortgage or car payments you would be surprised at how far your money will go.

3. Health Insurance – When I hear people say that they want to retire but can’t the biggest reason tends to be health insurance.  After all you could have millions saved but lose it sue to a health problem if you don’t have insurance.

So how do you get health insurance in a small budget?  If you spent a few years in the military and were honorably discharged you automatically are eligible for VA care.  Doctor visits are $25 and so is almost any other visit except specialist visits which are $50.  A 6 month hospital stay is less than $1,500 total plus meals.  If your a military veteran your pretty much set.

If your not lucky enough to be a veteran there are several other options.  A high deductible policy from $2,500 and up plus a Medical Savings Account (MSA) in which you can save up your deductible in a savings or investment account cover large medical expenses.

If your under the income limits to qualify for government insurance that is always an option as well as many other types of policies that are lower costing after doing more research.  As long as you have some type of insurance for major costs it’s much easier to deal with the lower cost doctor visits.

4. Savings/Investments – Of the $100,000, $35,000 or less will have been spent on your house and car which leaves at least $65,000 left towards starting a few small businesses and investments.

If you invest $65,000 and earn 8% annual returns will give you $5,200/years or $433/month.  If you and the returns you can get from a few small businesses created from your hobbies you could easily bring in over $1,000/month doing what you love.

For $1,000/month and no debt including no mortgage or car payments you can live a nice life without needing to have a 9-5 job.  No stress or rush hour traffic and a decent life doing the things that you love.

The skeptics will always deny that retiring on $100,000 is possible and they will find every non likely life disaster to poke holes in this lifestyle but nothing in life is 100% guaranteed.  At least if you take the plunge, the worst case scenario is that you end up living a few years in early retirement and go back to work.

If you throw that idea out as crazy and impossible you could be throwing away a life that is much more rewarding in every way but financially and possibly work until you die without ever experience a relaxed and laid back lifestyle.

I wrote a book based on this lifestyle which you can get more information about here.

Can You Quit Your Job?

If your on this website you either don’t have a job or don’t want a job, in either case your probably looking to find away to pay your bills so you may never need another job or maybe just to hold you over until you find another job.

If you currently have a job but want to get out of dodge fast I would suggest that you analyze this decision in every minute detail.  Once you quit it may be impossible to go back to your job in the event you realize you made a mistake.  So don’t screw this important decision up.

I can tell you this for sure, if you quit your job your stress level will drop at least for a little while unless you can’t pay your bills than this will be one of the most stressful times of your life.  Have a plan before making the decision to quit.  Here is my advice on planning to take the plunge before you actually go through with it.

1. Reduce Your Expenses To The Bone – I am talking extreme like ditching your car, renting vacant rooms, storage space, etc.  Cutting out Netflix, cable, and any other expense that isn’t absolutely necessary and here’s why.  When your making a transition to becoming your own boss with all the freedom and responsibility that requires it will be stressful until you get back into a daily routine.

The last thing you need at this point is financial stress in your life.  That’s why I suggest a temporary cutting back of expenses.  In 3-6 months once you have a small business or several small businesses up and running life will be good again and you can increase your expenses.  Unless you have lots of cash saved up I recommend this temporary drop in expenses.

Who knows you may find that spending less is just so darn liberating that you never increase your expenses even after your income is back up.  There is something very liberating about having very low expenses.  The thought that your time is your own and you answer to know one can be very intoxicating and powerful.  You might even want to take some time off and go somewhere you love, oh the decisions.

2. Save up 6 Months Expenses – Before you go ahead and give your 2 weeks notice make sure you have your post job budget of 6 months stashed away.  Don’t get discouraged I have seen people get their post job budgets down to under $500/month which would equal only $3,000 in cash.

This is why it’s so important to cut your expenses since it will also allow you to quit your job much sooner.  This 6 month stash should be plenty of time to start multiple small businesses and the skills that they require.

3. Get The Skills Your Business Requires - When I quit my job I didn’t have my skills learned a head of time and it took me about 3 months to get really proficient at creating and monetizing websites.  I mostly learned through trial and error and youtube videos so although most of your new skills can be learned at no cost they take time, sometimes lots of time.

That’s not to say that you couldn’t learn your skills after you quit your job but I think it makes it much easier and faster to make money when you can start your business the first day out.

Don’t pay for your new skills if you can at all avoid it since almost anything you need to learn can be found online through websites and videos.  Save your money for your actual business where you will get a much higher return on your investment.

4. Start Small – Remember most businesses can be started on a few $100′s.  There is no need to put all your money into one business and go for broke.  My suggestion is to start multiple small businesses and grow them over time.  This allows you to drop out of businesses that either don’t fit your personality, you don’t enjoy, or aren’t making enough profits.

Realistically you can start 4-5 micro businesses on $1,000 but you need to go low end on almost everything.  Don’t buy the embossed extra thick colored card stock for your business cards that cost $50 and up.  Stick with a low priced printer like vistaprint $4.00 for 500 business cards.

Almost any business can be started with a few items:

1. Prepaid Cell Phone – There is nothing more unprofessional than using your home phone for your business.  For $10 you can buy a Tracphone prepaid cell for your business number.

2. Email Address – Everyone communicates via email or text.  Set up a free email address at yahoo or hotmail so you can put it on your business card.

3. Business Cards – No respectable business won’t have business cards and at under $5 (vistaprint) for several 100 you be crazy not to order them.  Be sure to include your business cell number, email address, and website for contact information.

4. Tshirts – Again for less than $10 you can design and buy online a tshirt with your businesses name and number on it at vistaprint.com.

5. Advertising – Naturally if your a business that needs customers your are going to need to advertise.  Online, newspaper, and handing out business cards are all great ways to start drumming up business.

6. Website – You can make your own website and buy a domain and hosting account for under $20 through Godaddy.com and Bluehost.com.  Every business needs a website.

Following these basic but crucial rules should help you to gain an distinct advantage in quitting your job and succeeding at becoming your own boss.  The freedom and independence of quitting your 9-5 job will feel like “your the man”.

Chained To Your Job?

Wanting to get out of the rat race isn’t something new, people have dreamed of getting out ever since work was invented. So what keeps most people chained to their job? Lots of reasons but few of the reasons can’t be overcome through some unconventional planning. Some of the more common excuse/reasons are:

1. Bills – The number one problem of escaping the chains of a job are bills, pretty obvious but if you really look behind the details there are solutions to almost all of the bills. The problem isn’t income, the problem is outgo.

There are plenty of people that make under poverty level of income that are able to save 50% plus of their income. How? Simple they reduce ALL of their expenses as low as humanely possible. That means no Netflix, eating out, sharing apartments, taking the bus or riding a bike,etc.

Now all of these decisions are based on rational expense reduction without the need for societal acceptance which you won’t get living this lifestyle. If your strong willed and are trying to save up to start a business or invest to get out of your job then who cares what others think of you. You will feel better when you quit your job and create your own life free of most financial obligations.

Why can’t many high income workers lower their bills? Simple, they care more about “image” than freedom which is fine if you want to work until 65 but not if your goal is freedom and independence. Thus to gain your freedom you need to reduce your expenses substantially.

2. Image/Status – Most people have bought into societies assumption that your only successful as your car, house, and job.  When your trying to gain advancement at a job and so called “friends” that but into that thinking you usually end up exhausted everyday just trying to compete.  If you are able to mentally separate these status symbols from rational thinking you will save so much money towards your freedom.

In my old life when I use to see a nice car or house I would think “wow” they are raking in the money.  Now I think “wow” they are wasting so much money and probably living paycheck to paycheck.  Switching your mindset will be the key to gaining your freedom and don’t expect many people to support your rational thinking since most people have been raised to accept and never question society interpretation of success.

When your able to escape this mentality your set to really reach your freedom and independence goals.  The mental change in your thoughts about reversing what you have been led to believe will be 90% of the goal to achieving independence of your life.

3. Family – It’s a natural tendency to care what those closest to us think about our lives.  No one would disagree with your thoughts on that assumption however YOU are responsible for your own life.  If your not happy with working a job than create your own.

Since your opposing popular opinion you will get lots of flack for it from your family.  What tends to deflect their opinions and possibly change their thinking enough to maintain good relations is the benefits to them.  You will have more time to spend with them now to get closer to the family.  Your stress level will fade to a all time low and you will be more pleasant to be around.  You can go on day long family trips during the week, etc.

By focusing on the positive aspects that will benefit your family you will be showing them that although your idea may seem a little unorthodox it has many benefits.  With a little time your family should come around to accept your new life.

4. Health Insurance – One of the biggest reasons most people stay in a conventional job is for the health insurance and with huge potential medical costs who can blame them.  This is usually the biggest obstacle to leaving a job and has kept many otherwise financially able folks from quitting their job.

There are solutions that work incredibly well for people without jobs.  If your spent a few years in the military and were honorably discharged you can get your medical care for $25 or specialist doctors for $50 a visit.  A stay of up to 6 months in the hospital is less than $1,500 plus daily meal costs.  This is a good option for prior military.

Then there are high deductible health insurance policies called HSA in which your deductible could be anywhere for $1,000 – $5,000 and every year you deposit money into your saving account portion for the deductible portion.

Their are many other potential low cost policies as well.  Do some research and you can come up with plenty of potential low cosy policies.

So as you can see there are some very good reasons to stay at a job on the face of it but after digging a little deeper you can find some good solutions to solve them and quit your job.

 

Benefits of Not Having a Job

People tend to be shocked when they ask what you do for a living and you respond “lots of things”.  In reality I do lots of things to generate income through various projects I am working on but try explaining that to your standard stranger.

What I do like to do instead is explain the benefits of being able to pay your bills without needing to work a 9-5 or answer to a boss and there are many benefits.

1. No Watch – The first thing I did when I decided to go it alone was to get rid of my watch and wow was that liberating.  I control time now not the other way around.  People ask me “where’s your watch”?  I don’t own one and the look on their face is hilarious, really it is.

An example:  I went down to a local Nissan dealership to buy a car and was already preapproved for a loan or I could pay cash.  Since the interest rate was only 3% I decided it may be better to just finance it.  After taking a few cars out for a test drive I decided on a car to buy, sitting in the car salesman’s office in a tshirt and shorts without a watch made me look like I was a bum.  The salesman asked me what time it was and I said I have no idea?  The shock when he noticed no watch, he was probably thinking who doesn’t wear a watch and dresses like that and walks in here and just buys a car.  The answer, me because I don’t work a 9-5.

2. No Alarm Clocks – It is so great to get up when my body wakes me up.  No more alarm clocks bothering my sleep.  Creating income around your own schedule is completely the opposite of the way 9-5 workers operate.

I like to structure my activities to suit my schedule and fill in the gaps working on income producing projects.  This allows me to maximize my time and completely fills out my day constructively.

3. Freedom – Try waking up and deciding what you want to do today.  Go to beach, golf, shopping, anything based on how you feel and what the weather looks like.  In a 9-5 you would have to pull a “sickie” if your lucky and you certainly couldn’t pull that offer several times a month.

Imagine if your day tomorrow was completely unstructured and you structued how you wanted it, imagine the possibilities.  Most people will never have the kind of freedom until their retired.

4. No Income Limitations – Most 9-5 workers get a raise every year or if their lucky get a promotion but they rarely have the ability to double or triple their income in one year. When your working for yourself you control your income.  If you want to make more money expand your micro-businesses or create new ones.

5. No Dress Code – I hate wearing suits, they are uncomfortable and tend to cause me to sweat.  The only purpose for them is to “look good” and “impress/intimidate” those that don’t wear them.  When you play by your own rules “who cares”, after all what are they going to do fire you?

I feel much better in shorts and a t-shirt than a stiff suit and its a lot cheaper to buy new ones.

6. Shopping/Errans – As many of you know shopping after 5 pm or on weekends is a nightmare and I always seem to get stuck behind someone in the check-out line that needs a price check or has some other problem.

Try shopping during “business hours” and the stores are empty.  Running errans becomes a breeze and you can easily complete all of these daily chores in half the time of the 9-5 ers.  It’s a much less stressful and crowded time to get things done.  Who knows you may even enjoy your daily errans.

7. No Rush Hour Traffic – Having home based businesses is a great way to never need to drive in rush hour traffic.  Grab your coffee and labtop and your in business.  Answer a few emails, make some calls, ship a few things out and your done.  Work on new projects later in the day.

Now compare that way of living with your normal 9-5 worker who is up by 6 am and needs to rush around in order to make it through rush hour traffic and to their job before 9 am.  I don’t think you can even compare the benefits of avoiding this schedule.

So next time someone asks you what you do for a living, respond with a few of the many benefits of not working a 9-5.  You will get a lot of shocked looks that will keep your day entertaining.