Welcome to the January 2017 side hustle income and goals report!
This is something I am doing for the very first time, now every month, for a few reasons.
First, when I started, I had no idea that it was humanly possible to earn an income online and work remotely – but I knew that I wanted the kind of life that could come from working remotely. As a result, I decided I was going to be the first. I had no clue it was possible.
So, I want to show other people that it’s possible.
On top of that, building a side business was just part of me living my own 10/10 life.
Second, I want to start doing this to hold myself accountable – my business still needs to grow, I’m doing a 4-year medical program, I’m taking on six-figures of student debt, and my goal is to graduate completely debt free.
To think about how huge of a challenge that is, if I took loans to cover my program and living expenses, it would be at least $250,000 in debt (a quarter million dollars).
To pay that off, that would be around $12,500 in interest alone per year.
Right now, my business covers 100% of my living expenses, savings, and fun money. And depending on the month, there’s anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand extra dollars that go towards my student debt.
So I want to share my business goals, debt mission (I still have 2 and 3/4 years left in my program), as well as my holistic goal achievement philosophy. Either way, I want this to inspire you.
In 2011, my goal was to build an exceptional life – and I want to share what I’m doing to try and make that happen.
The breakdown here each month is going to follow the same format:
- How my business and side hustle income is going
- The breakdown of my income and revenue
- New things I’m trying
- My current status among my top 3 goals
- My overall life goals – health, fitness, friends, spirituality, meditation, fun, etc.
- My current debt goals
- My 3 strategic goals
So, let’s jump in.
January 2017 Side Hustle Income Breakdown and Spread
When I first started my business, I wanted it to just be a side income, but knew I wanted to go full-time if that was possible. I had a theory that I could work way less than 40 hours and earn a full-time income, then focus on whatever the hell I wanted.
That’s what I do now, and why I enrolled in a 4-year doctorate in Chinese medicine. For me, the point of a “lifestyle business” is that it funds your life – and allows you to do whatever you want.
For some people, that’s sitting on a beach.
For other’s it’s apparently 4 years of medical school ;-). I have issues, I know.
Here’s the breakdown in relation to my last full-time job:
- Online products revenue – 125% of day job income
- Book royalties – 78% of day job income
- Affiliate income, Youtube ad royalties, etc. – 10% of day job income
- MTP mastermind – 18% of day job income
- Autoresponder – 7% of day job income
The 80/20 Breakdown of my Revenue and What’s Working
Like most of my previous months, the 80/20 is almost always just two things:
- Online course sales
- Book royalties
Online course sales from my blog. I recently put together a huge ass article: how to start a blog for your side hustle or side business. I put together that article, because that’s literally how my side gig started. I didn’t earn tons of money at my last full-time online marketing job, and so I couldn’t afford to invest thousands up front. So I started a blog, learned about writing content and traffic generation, and for something like $5 a month, started creating content, getting customers and learning the long road of business.
Book royalties. Since I launched my books Master the Day and Milk the Pigeon, they’ve done well, but because of my Youtube Channel growth and mentioning them all over my website, they alone have pretty much replaced my day job income, and are fairly consistent month to month.
Usually they make up 50% – 100% of my former day job income (which is crazy, and every time I talk to other authors I realize just how fortunate I am to be able to live off royalties).
Affiliate income. This usually just means products recommended through my blog related to health and fitness, and Youtube ad revenue is revenue I earn from my Youtube channel here. Currently I’m at around 101,000 subscribers. There’s nothing special about my channel as it’s a fairly boring, educational Youtube channel. I do the best I can with the time I have, but it’s been fun.
Autoresponder. This just means the sales coming from my digital products through my blog. I separate this from “product revenue” above, because I want to track how different parts of my business are working, and how well they are performing. For me, that’s key to figuring out what works and what doesn’t.
NOTE: If you haven’t started a blog for your side hustle idea yet, you should. Not only did I realize that dedicating my free time to a project was the best thing I ever did for my mental health, it later became my full-time income. I put together a tutorial on how to start a blog based side business here, in addition, through hostgator here’s a link to save you 25% if purchase through this link. Obviously, every site I have uses hostgator and wordpress, so that’s what I keep using. Eventually, I recommend moving over to WP Engine for dedicated hosting (but it’s much more expensive). The whole point is to start with low expenses and low costs, and with blogging, it’s virtually zero.
What I’m Focusing on To Reach My Growth Goals
The biggest thing I struggle with on a daily basis is the same battle every entrepreneur has:
A. I need to earn more money (and want to)
B. Most of the ways to earn more money, I don’t want to do
C. I want to have more fun
Trying to find a way to do all three isn’t always easy. It’s actually usually pretty difficult. Most of the super successful entrepreneurs I’ve spoken with say they don’t really like their businesses, they just show up and grind it out.
Since I started with a lifestyle business in mind…I don’t really see the point.
The fuck should I build a business (and therefore lifestyle) that I hate? It’s not worth it. I’d rather earn $3,000 – $5,000 a month, and then spend all my time doing what I enjoy. I think at the end of our lives, we regret focusing on money (unless it’s really tight, with a family) at the expense of life experiences, growth, and enjoyment.
Trying to LIVE that is much harder though.
Some new strategies I’m testing out for the coming month:
- Breaking down every single revenue source and implementing five new strategies in each.
- De-prioritizing Youtube as a revenue source.
- Re-writing my autoresponder.
- Taking on fitness coaching clients again.
Breaking down every revenue source. One of the first things I did was reverse engineer what I want my revenue to be for the year, actually for the next 12 months (From October 2017 to October 2018). Then, I broke them down by income and revenue source, and listed 5 experiments on the right side I am going to test. This is going to be my focal point in my weekly business mastermind calls.
I created this orgasmically organized little chart in Evernote.
De-prioritize Youtube as a revenue source. I had really fast success on youtube. Originally, I just started uploading because it was fun and I loved hearing from viewers in the comments section. So around July of last year, I started uploading 1-2 videos per week – and around December last year, one video took off and went viral.
I went from earning $100 a month in ad revenue to over $2,000 a month. It was like fucking crack – free money.
But then I learned just how horrible of a revenue source youtube really is – within a few months, it returned to the normal $100-$300 a month at the time I was making.
If you’re building a business and need consistency, ad revenue is horrible. I found myself prioritizing it, and it was a mistake. I’m focusing on other metrics I can control easier like product sales.
Re-write my autoresponder. For a while, my autoresponder in my business hadn’t been generating nearly as much revenue as it could be. Most of the time, it was less than $1,000 a month, and seeing as I have friends who generate $5,000-$20,000 a month just through their autoresponder (!), I knew there was lots of work to be done.
This month, I’m testing a new variation in the automated messages people receive when they sign up to my site.
Take on two more fitness coaching clients. I usually avoid fitness and weight loss coaching since it doesn’t light me up so much, but last year I took on just one client because I really liked him, and he got amazing, holistic results.
He not only started to see his abs for the first time in a very long time, he started a side art business, sold over $2,500 worth of his art, and completely re-scripted the way he lived his life.
For now, I’m going to open up two more coaching spots in my business, but do it in a different way that lights me up and gets people better results – focusing on holistic, 10/10 success coaching. I find that I’m way more motivated to do coaching when we get to talk about life, business, relationships, and purpose / meaning.
As long as I have any student debt, my business revenue needs to increase. Whereas I was chilling last year living on royalties and course income, I need (and want to) substantially increase my income this year so I have $2-3,000 extra dollars a month to invest into paying off my debt.
My Top 3 Life Goals For This Quarter and My Progress
My goal setting system is locked down like a fucking boss these days, and is ultra simple. I only set three goals, I set a maximum of three habits per goal, and I just track those goals daily.
My top three goals for this quarter have been:
- Sleep normally every night
- Get my stomach back to normal
- Run 5 revenue experiments per month in my business, to reach those KPIs
The reason for setting these goals, primarily the first two health goals, is that despite working out 4-5x a week and cooking most of my own food (like I’ve been doing for 10 years), I really pushed the border of my health last year.
I overworked with my first year of my medical classes while running my business, and completely (physically) burned myself out and had crazy health issues I’ve never had before.
Here are those core goals and the daily habits I’m using to reach them.
Sleep. My sleep recently has been at about 80%.
Core rituals: no work after 10: 45 at night; meditate 2 x 20 min a day; watch netflix or read at 11 until I feel tired.
Stomach. I spent 8 months last year seeing a new Chinese medicine doc, and my stomach is finally returning to normal.
Core rituals: continue taking herbs; cold turkey on coffee; rest and relax when eating.
Revenue experiments. I was mostly on track with a few experiments (failures) every month to continue growing my existing business.
Core rituals: run 1-5 experiments (failures) per month, create two youtube videos per week, create one research-backed article per week, do one promotion per month.
Fitness, Fun, Friends, Spirituality and Holistic Goals Review
Since I wrote a book on the power of daily habits and improving just 1% each day, I want to make sure to do a brief (holistic) review here of the other metrics in my life to just be conscious of them.
Health / Fitness. The above picture was taken in July on a rooftop in Taiwan, so I’m still doing a good job in the gym and eating right at age 30. Unfortunately, with these new stomach issues and sleep inconsistency, there’s deeper stuff going on with my health that needs addressing (which is my #1 priority).
Fun. Despite the 60/70 hour work weeks, I still manage to go out on the weekends and spend time with friends. I’m happy, and I’m where I want to be.
Leisure time. Doesn’t really exist, right now it’s from 6 pm to 2 am on Friday, and the same on Saturday. Most of the rest of my weekends I’m doing about 6 hours of work per day, and then hanging out, going for walks, brunch, etc.
Spirituality. The core metric I put in this field is meditating or doing Qigong (a chinese longevity exercise) 40 minutes per day. I’ve failed miserably here. The first part of the year, I was doing this almost every day, but since then, I haven’t.
Overall. Things are going well. I just need to remind myself of my only true, 3 priorities for the next three years until I’m done with this medical program:
- Do well in my classes, emphasize learning over grades
- Grow my business as much as possible, putting every spare dime to paying off student debt
- Have fun and enjoy the process, and don’t ruin my health (again)
Six Figure Student Debt Payoff & Credit Card Goals
Another thing I want to hold myself accountable with here is a harder goal: last year, I realized that if I only lived on $3,000 per month, and dedicated every spare dime to my student debt, I would not have the $250,000 debt my classmates all will have.
In fact, I’ll have less than $93,000 guaranteed.
But if I grow my business even just 50%, I can have zero debt and unlimited options when I graduate. With so much debt, my friends and colleagues are going to be stuck and forced into work they may not even like in the medical field to pay it off.
Because I’m already not taking out living expenses (I’m paying them from my business salary), that already means I’ll have a maximum debt of $93,000 vs. $250,000 (around 100k is the cost of my program).
And because the first year of my medical program I paid off about $7k of loans (around $1,000/month during the school year), that works out to about $93,000 max.
My loan disbursement is usually around $2,000/month added – and some months, I have that income left over.
Unfortunately, shit happens, and I started getting strange health issues last year, I traveled to Asia, and just made shitty financial decisions. So now I’m nowhere near on target.
The new habit is to auto-allocate 10% of my income for each month into a separate bank, and that goes to paying off debt.
Even more unfortunate, I don’t have medical insurance, and with the strange health things going on last year, I used a credit card for the first time in my life and racked up $3,500 in medical debt.
So my current order of priorities is now:
- Finish off paying credit card medical debt (whether that takes 3 months or 12 months)
- Resume my monthly student loan payments (10% reinvestment fund)
Payments made to CC Debt this month: $0
Payments made to Student Loan Debt this month: $2,550
Reflections: The Road Forward With my Side Hustle Income and 10/10 Goals
Alright – the road ahead. Here’s what I wish I knew and what I hope helps you.
Start an online side hustle. The biggest lesson of my 20s was simple: starting a side hustle was the best thing I ever did to fill my time, grow, and learn. Even if it hadn’t worked out, my side business gave my 20s a lot of purpose and growth – that I otherwise would’ve wasted. Now, it’s also my income.
NOTE: If you haven’t started a blog for your side hustle idea yet, here’s how. Not only did I realize that dedicating my free time to a project was the best thing I ever did for my mental health, it later became my full-time income. I put together a tutorial on how to start a blog based side business here, in addition, through hostgator here’s a link to save you 25% if purchase through this link. Obviously, every site I have uses hostgator and wordpress, so that’s what I keep using. Eventually, I recommend moving over to WP Engine for dedicated hosting (but it’s much more expensive). The whole point is to start with low expenses and low costs, and with blogging, it’s virtually zero.
Reflect weekly on what you want from life. Every Wednesday I dedicate 2 hours to my strategy day review. In that review, sitting in a nice little coffee shop, I just analyze those top 3 goals for the quarter and the year, review my big picture vision of what I want, and then see if anything needs changing.
Choose daily habits and rituals. Forget about your goals, focus on your daily rituals.
Reflect on those rituals nightly, weekly, monthly. If you don’t keep up with your daily rituals, figure out why that is and what needs changing.