I’m in a pickle.
It’s more than a pickle really, I’m quite frankly in the shit in terms of the level of debt I’m in and I need to find a way to earn extra money; fast!
I’m beginning a journey to earn extra money. I want to set myself free from a reliance on a day job by finding sources of passive income.
We’ve all dreamed it at some point haven’t we? Those mornings where you don’t want to get out of bed and go to work, or those days where you are so over your job!
I want to move from a place where I have options over when I work and where I work and passive income streams are the keys to making that happen.
I figure if I can get to that point, then so can you, and I want you to follow along on my journey!
If you are keen to learn how I go about changing my life and want to learn to avoid the mistakes I make and replicate the successful roads I wander down, then follow my journey by subscribing to my mailing list.
I’ll keep you informed each time I publish a new blog post and as I start to earn extra money I’ll give you details of my monthly income reports so you can see exactly how I’m tracking.
Why do I need to earn extra money?
Why am I in this position? Well, it’s not because I’m a gambler, an alcoholic or anything like that.
It’s a long story. It’s a pretty interesting story to be honest and I’d wager it’ll make a good book or a hefty series of blog posts one day.
I’m currently in what I consider to be some extra-ordinary circumstances.
Over the last few years my debt has been caused by a number of events that seemed to set themselves up in domino fashion. Life seemed to throw me curve balls one after the other.
Throughout the past ten years my ex-wife and I were impacted by these difficult circumstances which included some serious health issues, problems with suppliers for a sideline business and problems with tenants in a property we rented out. The financial crisis was in full swing and it was unavoidable for this to not kick us whilst we were down. This domino effect of tragedy created huge problems with debt.
It’s really been one thing after another for the last 10 years.
I was fortunate that in the last five years I got into a position where I earned a lot as a contract web developer, but I had a partner who didn’t work. Our spending on things we didn’t truly need, given our circumstances, was a problem. It was a situation I couldn’t maintain.
I was self employed at the time and this is where I was fortunate, I contracted to a very good hourly rate. This at least gave me the ability to dig myself out of a hole created by circumstances I couldn’t control. I would often work long hours, not because I wanted to but because I had to.
I thought working harder and earning more would solve the issue.
Debts were mounted pretty high and we were, for a whatever reason, unable to operate as a team to curb the spending. In terms of my personal cash flow it was like I was on board the Titanic despite my best efforts to turn the situation around. I became burnt out and if I’m being completely open, I became quite resentful.
When the realization hit home that these circumstances would never change I made some drastic changes to my life and ended the relationship.
Divorce is hard. It’s supposed to be one of the most stressful things you can go through in life and mine has been particularly difficult. My priority for a long time has been to look after my health and manage my financial position as best I can.
I have continued to remind myself of the problems I faced and why I made these decisions. I had grown so much in so many ways over this period.
It is very true when they say that which does not kill us makes us stronger.
But I was committed to keep advancing myself and growing. You can’t change your circumstances by blaming others or blaming the world. If you aren’t happy with a situation or set of circumstances that you are in then find the power within yourself to change them. Because you can. Because you have the power of choice.
I made that change. It was radical. It was hard, extremely hard. It’s still hard. But I’m moving forward to where I want to be.
I’m now in a position where I need to earn extra money and I want to encourage you to come on this journey with me so that you to can earn extra money and find some financial freedom away from the daily grind that comes with having a job and working for a fixed fee.
If you are short on cash like me and you turn your mind to immediately thinking that the only way out of your current position is to earn extra money then think again. There are some other perspectives you need to consider beforehand.
Here are some of the lessons I’ve learnt from a few years of self reflection and change.
Why do you need to earn extra money?
Firstly you need to take a hard look at yourself and your situation.
Sometimes you are your own problem, sometimes the people you surround yourself with are the problem and sometimes the problem is not yours at all. You need to figure out which of those situations you are in first.
You need to assess where your problems with money lie or why you have a need to earn extra money. You need to take an objective view of yourself. If you struggle with that then ask a friend or family member that you trust to help you out.
I learnt so much about myself and my finances by looking at the last ten years of my life. I had a good idea why I was in my situation but it was not going to be an easy situation to turn around. Why? Because I was trying to get control of my finances and there was so much that I could not control, or at least control straight away.
I couldn’t magically increase my income and I couldn’t pay off any of my larger debts any time soon.
But you have to start somewhere, every journey begins with a single step. If you can take a good hard look at what your life and your finances look like and then outline where you’d like to be, and by when, then you can make plan.
When I took a hard look at myself I figured out who I was.
What I did know was that I was unafraid of hard work. However, I was exhausted from working hard for so many years.
The biggest thing I learnt was that I didn’t want to bust my ass working at a computer for 18 hours a day to end up getting nowhere fast! Sitting at a computer all day was creating health problems for me and besides, the long hours were killing me!
You can’t do that, you hit this nasty little wall called burnout and boy did I hit that wall!
All work and no play makes for a dull boy.
That’s so very true. You can’t expect to work that hard and not take stock once in a while without it affecting your physical and mental health. Burn out causes you to be unproductive. Stop once in a while to smell the roses, realise why you are working so hard in the first place.
Besides, taking a break, and I mean a real break such as a holiday or a weekend away to truly recharge your batteries. If you can learn to switch off you’ll notice the difference.
I also learnt that my behavior wasn’t the root cause of the situation I was in. I mean, I was, I accepted and allowed the behaviour of others putting me in this situation, so in every respect, yes it was me. But I had changed that.
Looking at who I was as a person, I knew that I could live a simple life. I knew I could save, I knew that I could be thrifty and not spend on things that I didn’t need.
Getting control of my finances was my problem.
You have to make some hard decisions about whether you cut out or change the bad spending habits or indeed ask the people in your life with bad spending habits to change in order to move forward.
Make a plan and take each day as it comes, but always stay the course.
Since separating I’d like to say that I’ve managed to gain control of my finances. In many ways I have, but I still consider myself to be in a leaky boat of debt.
You see, I’ve had problems having contact with my children. I’ve had to turn to the family courts which has consequently cost me a fortune in legal bills. But, the wheels of justice in the family courts turn slowly and whilst most guys would have given up, I simply refuse.
I love my children more than any amount of money. I saw this as an essential expense, in many ways it was, but it shouldn’t have been, but that’s a story for another day.
Having a plan, sticking to the plan and seeing the results is enthusing.
But life will often throw you a curve ball of things that you cannot control. You may get ill, you may lose your job, these are all things that may be out of your control. They are a killer for motivation, but you have to accept them and evolve your plan.
My ongoing legal issues and the sheer cost just kicked my plan around like a child kicking a tin can. But I held onto the lessons I had learnt about myself.
My biggest take away of the learning’s about myself is knowing and believing that I’m intelligent and hard working, consequently I see my current debt as a temporary problem.
If you’re stressing about finances, like I used to, then read that line again:
I see my current debt as a temporary problem.
I changed my mindset to seeing this massive sinkhole that used to stress me out.
Stress and the anxiety that would come with this mountain of debt would cloud my thinking. If you let debt and worry control how you think you’re letting it beat you because it can be so overwhelming and consuming to face!
See it as a temporary obstacle that you can beat. Then create a plan to help you believe that you will beat it.
The financial cost to me as a result of my legal bills has been huge, when I mean huge I mean hundreds of thousands of dollars!
I now have my young son on a regular basis. Those bills, and the stress of the whole situation, are worth every single cent when I’m able to read him a story at night, give him snuggles and tuck him into bed at night.
I’ve learnt from this whole mess that perspective is everything. More often than not it’s how you look at a situation that counts.
Make sensible changes to your life
I quit being self employed not long after I separated.
I already mentioned that I was on a good income as a contractor but my contract at the time was drawing to a natural close. I was faced with finding a new contract or take on a permanent role. I chose the latter.
People told me I was making the wrong decision to move into a permanent role but the benefits of being an employee such as holiday pay, statutory leave, sick leave and employment rights were worth far more to me, and still are.
I figured, sometimes you have to take a few steps back in order to be able to move forward. That was important to me so that I could look after my health and I could get my finances under control.
Whilst my income near enough halved it allowed me to take a breath for some time. Looking back, it was one of the most sensible decisions I’ve made in a long time, particularly when dealing with the emotional stresses of going through divorce and dealing with the family court process.
It’s been a tough road to say the least.
Do not underestimate how stress can impact your health and your productivity at work!
The desire to earn extra money was not a priority for me at this time. My goal was to simplify life and keep it that way until I was ready. I needed income to be predictable and this included getting into a regular cycle with my personal cash flow. Being an employee I had predictable income every fortnight.
Having a fortnightly income and one that was a lot less than I was used to would force me into a budget. Budgeting is important, as is the discipline to keep to it.
Take stock of what you truly need in life
I said that in many ways I’ve managed to get my finances under control. If I was to take away my legal bills I would consider myself to be doing pretty well.
I have never been one to need all the shiny new toys in my life and I’ve learnt to live a frugal life.
Sure there plenty of times that I’ve stood in front of something I thought that I wanted and considered whether I should splash out. On bad days where you need some immediate gratification splashing out on a purchase is a natural instinct for many.
There have been too many times that I’ve stood in front of a PlayStation 4, even when a retail chain was doing a clear loss leader with a $200 discount. I recall standing there for literally 10 minutes rationalizing to myself that I didn’t need it.
There was an emotional tug to the PlayStation. I used to play this with my youngest daughter. It was our thing.
Self discipline kicked in.
I thought to myself, would I really play it that much? I considered all the things I could do with my time without having the distraction of a gaming console, all the things I could do with that money if I didn’t buy it. Things that would be good for my health, my mind, my soul, even things that would help me earn more money.
I’m proud to say that I still don’t have a PlayStation 4.
I don’t need one.
Who knows, one day when I have managed to earn extra money to pay off my debt and solidify a supplemental income stream this could be amongst the list of rewards or treats. I imagine by then though I’ll have found other things to occupy my time.
Take control of the things that you can control
If you’re in a similar position as me sometimes you have to take a step back, realize what you can’t control and focus on what you can.
The legal proceedings, in respect of my finances, have forced me to make hard decisions about where I do or don’t spend my money. This has changed my mindset.
When I separated I left with a bag of clothes, a pillow and my laptop. My ex refused me taking anything from the house such as a spare bed or spare couches. I was fortunate that I could stay with a good friend for a few months, he had a bed and a blanket to lend me.
It felt like a riches to rags story at the time. Ok, not so much because I had a good income, but I was still paying the mortgage and bills on the family home and still providing money to my ex for food etc. and I was able to afford food. I know a great many people are in far worse situations so I am well aware I’m fortunate to have never been on the street, and I’m very grateful for everything I have in my life.
I recall though lying in his spare room, with clutter around me, my small bag on the floor and a crappy blanket over me and thinking how far I’d fallen.
The future for me was plagued with uncertainty. I’d gone from living in a large six bedroom home to bunking in a mates spare room with a borrowed blanket and a bag full of clothes. It was a big change, for me.
Life was a mess but I was sure I was on the right path. I was absolutely sure I’d made the right choice.
Months later, when I got my own place, I had no furniture. I bought a bed, bunks for my girls and a cot for my son. I bought essentials for the kitchen and bathroom and that was it. I had no luxuries at the time. No TV.
Wow, was that the biggest eye opener for me!
Do not underestimate how amazing it is to have no TV! If you want to test a theory of how much of your life you waste on the TV, cut the plug off.
Seriously, do it!
When I had no TV I started out feeling bored. Then I would read, I’d exercise, I’d touch base with friends, in person, none of this chatting over Facebook stuff. I felt like I had a massive amount of extra time on my hands and started to utilize it. Before I knew it life started to feel more enriched.
Do you really need to earn extra money?
I used all this extra time to reflect and assess my life goals. I made a mental plan on how I’d climb out of my situation and set goals for myself.
In January this year I attended a goal setting session run by a friend of mine. He does this for himself once a year and decided to extend the invite to a bunch of friends and we all met up to do it together.
From the lessons I’d learnt about myself and from looking at my situation I realized, with everything I had on my plate that earning more money was inconceivable. My spare time outside of work was taken up spending quality time with my son or dealing with legal issues and I also had a new partner.
I cut myself some slack on pressuring myself to earn extra money. My answer was not just to earn extra money but to avoid spending money.
During these sessions I set myself some financial goals that were pretty epic. These goals demanded some severe culling of some ‘unnecessary’ personal expenses.
I found the little things accumulated and made a big impact!
I planned for 12 weeks of little to no life in order to pay down things like credit cards. These credit cards were charging a fortune in interest. Not having to pay that interest would be a help in itself.
I went hard out on the “no life” aspect. To be honest I went a bit too hard out. But, I achieved my goal, in just 6 weeks. I felt so proud of myself. Achieving that was better than any quick fix of buying a PlayStation 4 or a new pair of shoes (if that’s your vice)!
Over the course of the year I’ve loosened the belt, to maintain my sanity, and tightened it back up again more than a few times. This was both intentional and unintentional at times.
Life has thrown me curve balls since paying those down. Like I said before it’s a real pain to have deal with situations that put you back to square one. But I held onto the fact that I can do it. I can streamline my life and live on a shoe-string budget to get out of my situation.
Moving on to earning extra money…
Over the course of the year I have been aware that I would need to earn extra money somehow.
I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, researching and writing down ideas.
I want to supplement my income from my day job with a passive income. Something that I can put some hard yards into initially but earns me cash whilst I sleep once I set it up correctly.
I want to grow something that keeps money coming in if I’m unable to work. I’ve been in a situation, due to an accident, where I lost my income and didn’t have income insurance. Even since that time, nearly 6 years ago, I’ve sought to get a nest egg for emergencies and never be reliant on a ‘money for time’ financial position ever again.
But I also want to work on something that I’m passionate about. Part of this is helping people.
I see and hear of too many people who hate their jobs, who don’t get to spend time with their families, they are stuck in the rat race. Perhaps you are one of these people. So I want to prove both to myself, you and them that it’s possible to have a life of freedom from the nine to five.
This year I’ve got smart with my time and work hard to constantly learn and evolve myself.
When I drive to work in the morning, I listen to audio books or podcasts rather than music. I’ve been listening to a number of podcasts about generating passive income as well as business books on sales, finance and marketing.
I’ve also been inspired by a number of bloggers who have been able to quit their nine to five jobs and blog for a living.
That’s my goal.
To be in a position where I have a passive income so I can maintain my family whilst I work from home.
This blog is part and parcel of my next step to earn extra money.
It’s intended to be a journey that you can travel with me in order to see how I achieve this so that you can achieve it to.
I invite you to join my mailing list and I’ll send you updates on how I’m doing and let you know when I’ve created a new blog post.
I’m hoping, as you follow my journey, you’ll be able to learn from my mistakes and see how and why I’m making wins to achieve my goals.
If you want to connect please say hello in the comments, follow me on Twitter and join my Facebook page. I’d love to hear if you are following along and if you have any successes or lessons you’d like to share with myself and others then please reach out.
I hear of so many people who are sick to death of their jobs and are looking for a way out of the daily grind. Follow my journey and let’s prove it can be done.
There are a few bloggers who publish monthly income reports. These guys have been my biggest inspiration and so I’ll follow suit. I’m not expecting to make a fortune fast, but I’m pretty determined, so let’s see where we end up.
If you’re following along, set up your own blog and let me know where it’s at. Starting a blog is really simple it’s a great way to help you gather your thoughts, focus your goals and document your journey.
If you don’t know how to set up a blog I’ll set up a series of posts to help you with that. Subscribe to the mailing list to be notified when it’s published.
Following that I’ll formulate a plan on how I intend to get started. I have an idea, but I’ll leave that for another day.
Wish me luck.