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July 2017 Passive Income Report: Digital Nomad, Investor, Early Retirement

I can't believe that I'm living in Ukraine, and I can't believe it's been a full month in Kiev as a digital nomad. It's a bit surreal to be honest. I'm sure some of you think that living and working in a place like Chiang Mai, Thailand is just as strange as me being in Eastern Europe and in many ways it is. They're both halfway across the world from where I grew up in California. I don't speak Russian, Ukrainian or Thai and English isn't widely spoken in either country. So why I am here? Well, kind of like Chiang Mai, Kiev is a good place to have a normal life for a couple of months while I bootstrap a new business, and still be able to enjoy a new country and everything that has to offer so I don't get bored.

The problem with starting a new online business while living back home in the U.S. is runway, responsibilities and routine. The average costs of living back home are going to be $2,500 at a minimum to have your own apartment, eat out a few times a week and have transportation, if not a lot more. Living aboard as a digital nomad it can be half of that and even more importantly, can be rented month to month instead of being locked into a 1 year contract or more and having the responsibilities of maintaining it with weekly errands, chores and other things that just take time. Even though I enjoy having a weekday routine and actually get more done because of it, I don't want to spend my weekends washing my car, cleaning my apartment, in line at Costco, buying things for the house, or at the DMV. As a digital nomad, having less stuff and living month to month out of Airbnb's and short term apartments, naturally frees up our time from mundane responsibilities, allowing us to travel, build businesses and enjoy the process. Here's what I've done this past 31 days from July 1st - 31st, 2017 here in Kiev, Ukraine and what my plans are for August.






Where I Traveled:



My favorite thing about being based out of Ukraine for the summer is the fact that every single day is an adventure and something new and different. Instead of needing to go out of town, hop on a train, plane, bus or long drive out of the city to experience something new over the weekends, and cure my boredom of mundane life, in Ukraine, adventure comes to you. Whether it's just going to the movie theater, gym, or even a supermarket, you can be sure to stumble upon something out of ordinary. It's difficult to explain unless you are actually here to experience it yourself, but just trust me when I tell you that nothing is easy here and every simple day to day experiences seem like something from a different time, age, or even planet here in Ukraine.

The nice thing however is because of this, I don't feel the need to go out of town on the weekends. I can literally just go for a walk and expect something to pop up and amaze me. It's not always a good thing as the locals will tell you, but as someone who has all the time in the world, it's kind of fun to stumble upon a closed off street taken over by the Orthodoxy of the Kievan Patriarchate or Medieval Knights in full armour battling it out with heavy metal weapons that you can hear clashing from a mile away. That being said, I spent the entire month in Kiev and loved every minute of it. It's not an easy place to live, and without speaking Russian or Ukrainian, it's actually very difficult to get anything done, communicate or even meet people, but the challenge is also what makes it an adventure.


The streets of Kiev and the Orthodox Church




Historical medieval battles in Ukraine

A post shared by Johnny FD (@johnnyfdk) on




Where I Am Now:



I'm currently sitting at a coworking space in Kiev that I've gotten a monthly membership at. You'd think that finding a space to work from would be easy in the capital city whose job market is quickly becoming dominated by tech, but it wasn't. Most spaces aren't easy found online, especially if you're searching in English, and it's really a roll of a dice on what you'll end up at once you get there. The only space that felt somewhat like a normal coworking space in the rest of the world was Chasopys which is where I worked from last year and defaulted to again this trip. But since their location was just a bit too far of a walk from where I'm staying this year, and the fact that the majority of their chairs are still broken even after mentioning it to them last summer, I decided to spend some time looking at other spaces, which hasn't been easy. It turns out that most coworking spaces in Kiev are owned by giant companies and cater to teams and not individual nomads.

I ended up working out of Platforma because it was the best option, but it's far from perfect. Their office chairs are brand new and look nice but cheaply made and bend, it's been over a week of working from here and they still haven't gotten us keycards made so we've had to wait for people to let us in every time we walk out of the main space and for whatever ridiculous reason, the only way to pay is to wait a week to get an invoice which we have to print out and bring to a bank to transfer the funds. On paper this space looks like a Wework, it's brand new, shiny, and looks beautiful at first glance, but in reality, like many things in Ukraine, it's riddled with layers of unnecessary bureaucracy under a nice appearance. But since i'm working on a big project this month and need a stable routine, and place to work from, this is by far the best choice I've found so far and have honestly given up looking.


Platforma Coworking Space in Kiev, Ukraine



My Goals from July:



This past month if you've been following along was to start learning Russian, start the process of getting back in shape by working out 5 times a week, work on my new project 3 days a week, and get healthy by walking often and avoid beer and bread. Having my monthly "income report" has actually been a huge blessing as as you can tell, it's really not about the income solely, but instead it's a total life report to keep my accountable and on track with my goals. Things change and don't always go as planned but it's good to see what progress if any I have made and to see if my priorities have changed. I've realized after close to three years of writing these monthly updates, that a lot changes month to month as well as priorities. So let's reflect.

Learning Russian -

The first half of my month was excellent. I started listening to the Russian Made Easy Podcast and would practice out loud during my morning walks to the office daily. It was fun, and I felt like I was starting to make progress. I discovered that even though Duolingo is great for some languages, that for Russian Memrise is far superior. I even made it a point to start hanging out with locals that didn't speak much English for practice. But then my best friend Chris arrived and ruined it all. Well not to any fault of him, but since having him here, I've stopped practicing and started just speaking English all day again, halting my process. I really believe that in order to get good at another language, you have to immerse yourself into it and put yourself in uncomfortable situations where you can't default to English. But even though learning Russian isn't a huge priority for me, since we'll be here for at least another month, I'm going to start it up again.

Fitness - 

Last month I set the goal of, "5 times a week, I will do some type of workout whether it be at the gym, on the pullup bars, or at home, including one day of some sort of sprint routine." The good news is I've taken it seriously and have been working out consistently. I started the first half of the month going to parks to do pullups, but then realized that I needed more structure to really achieve my fitness goals without having excuses not to go, and without getting bored. So since then I've paid for a month of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) which has classes every monday and wednesday, and also got a CrossFit membership to go to on the other days.

These past few weeks I've been very consistent working out on average of 5 days a week and the plan is to continue to do BJJ twice a week, CrossFit 2-3 days a week, and something fun and a bit more therapeutic to give my body a break like Acroyoga once a week. If you've never tried it before, I wrote a post about Acroyoga when I first got into it, and i'm happy to say that I've been able to find it in every country I've been to so far, including here in Ukraine. Although it was much harder to find here since the classes are published solely in Russian.






Business Growth Mode:



If you've been following my blog, you'll know that for almost a year now I've been planning on updating my Earnest Affiliate course but have been putting it off due to lack of time. Well the great news is now that I've sold my dropshipping stores, I have both the time and money to be able to work on whatever projects I like. This included investing in real estate and diving deep into the truth behind real estate which I wrote about in depth this month before deciding if I should be putting my time and money into it. 

So even though my original plan was only to spend 3 days a week working on my new project, which is Version 2.0 of Earnest Affiliate, I ended up making it into a priority instead. I don't really know why I've been so timid about selling the course harder as the lessons it in are what took me from making $5,000 a month to over $25,000 a month last year at my peak when I was focused on working full time and growing my affiliate income as my own test subject. But now that I know what works and what doesn't, I feel confident to put out version 2.0 of the course for $497 instead of the $197 that I was charging for the first version which I knew was more of a primitive version than anything else. The goal for August 1st - 31st is to film and update all of the modules, move the course onto an easier to spell domain name, and onto the easier to use Teachable platform. Anyone who's already a member of Earnest Affiliate before then will be grandfathered in and get a free upgrade to the new course, but those wanting to sign up after the launch will have to pay full price. 






Passive Income for July:




The best thing about having multiple streams of passive income is the fact that even though I haven't worked for almost half a year, I still make enough money online to cover my expenses, travel and enjoy the "retired life."  But if you've been listening to the podcasts and following along the blog these past few months, you'll know that I not only got bored of not working, but I also feel like I'm not living up to my fullest potential and not helping the maximum amount of people that I can when I'm not creating cool stuff, writing books, creating courses, using myself as an open case study with ecommerce, dropshipping, or whatever other project I'm currently working on.

Logging into my bank accounts, I can see that income from Amazon Kindle Book Sales, Udemy, Youtube, Courses, and other various streams are still consistent. My dropshipping partnership store is also doing well as I just got an update but since he's still working out the accounting, I didn't include it in this month's income report yet, but it should be a nice piece of income as well.  It feels pretty cool that I'm able to have a baseline income of around $100,000 year in just passive income even while not actively working on these streams and building another.  Without spending too much time to breakdown the exact sources as I've done for the last two years for everyone, the majority of my current income now comes from affiliate streams since I've sold my dropshipping stores a few months back. Another big part is now coming from the returns I'm now making from the money I invested, but since I'm not actually selling my shares of index funds yet, I'm not actually counting them in my total profit for the month, which would actually be $10,826.81 if I did. But even without counting the on paper returns, being able to make $8K a month online while living in places like Eastern Europe is a great feeling.

Profit for July: $8,221.36 

*slight decrease from $8,384.25 last month



vanguard index investing
My Vanguard Index Funds

From one of my affiliate sources as case studied inside Earnest Affiliate


Expenses for July:




Apartment in Kiev: $425 (sharing a 2-bedroom apt)
Utilities: $0 (included)
Data Plan: $2.30 (6GB of data)
Transportation: $40 ($2 Uber rides and 20 cent Metro rides)
Coworking Space: $175 
CrossFit Membership: $38
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: $17
Acroyoga Classes: $15
Food and Drinks: $500 (estimated)

Base Spend: $1,215


Misc/Other: $300
New Clothes and Shoes: $200

Actual Spend: $1,715

Other Expenses: 
Donation to Muay Thai Kids: $15
Money to Mom's Retirement: $1,000

Total Expenses: $2,730 +/-

*decrease from $3,726.64 last month.



Invested $10,000 into Fundrise this month.


Invested $20,000 into Yieldstreet this month.



Monthly Wrap Up:




It's been a good month being back in a big city, having my best friend relocate from Bali to Kiev to hang out with me, and to get back into a routine. Chris isn't in the public eye like I am but he dropshipping store sold for more than 4X the amount mine did, which has allowed both of us to take a few months off of work, travel around Indonesia and enjoy ourselves before settling back down to get into work again. He's now helping me with a new project and I have a feeling that my income report in the next few months is going to skyrocket because of it.

With the money I made from selling my dropshipping stores, I've now invested 100% of the earnings into things like Vanguard Index Funds, Real Estate Investment Trusts (eREITS), and now this month into something called a Pre-Settlement Portfolio which basically pre-pays people who are waiting for personal injury cases to settle so they can have enough money to pay for things in the meantime and in return, gives me up to 13% interest for lending them the money. This means that the $90,419 I made from running and selling my dropshipping stores, is actually making me close to $1,000 a month in just interest alone. This is what Robert Kiyosaki meant by going from employee, to self-employed, business owner, then finally to investor in his book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. This start here post explains the first step that brought me to where I am today. Watch this month's video update for more details about this and everything I mentioned in this post so far.








That's it for this month everyone! Hope you all have a fantastic August. Lets all try to get richer, fitter, happier and healthier in the month to come!


Want More Info On Ukraine?


Read my mega blog post to Kiev, Lviv, Odessa and Chernobyl here.








Warm Regards,

Johnny


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Post a Comment

  1. I won't be there until early September. italki.com has been good for me for practicing with native speakers while I'm still in here in the US.

    -Zak

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey nice stuff Zak. Let me know how you like it here! It's good you're practicing before you come.

      Delete
  2. Hey Johnny, I agree that language is definitely a problem, even for me as a Czech guy whose language is a bit similar to Russian/Ukrainian. As for the coworking space, you should definitely check out iHub coworking, it's close to independence square, so pretty central. I've arrived to Kiev in late July and been working there ever since and it's one of the most focused places I've ever experienced for my work. My dropshipping stores are growing like crazy here!
    Anyway thanks for the blogs, it helped me to discover Puzata hata in the beginning and I ended up going there every day 1-2 times ever since, haha!

    Ondrej

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Ondrej, glad you are enjoying Kiev. Congrats on your dropshipping stores growing like crazy! That money will go a long way here in Ukraine!

      I worked out of iHub for a day and liked it, but since I'm recording a lot and they don't have any skype rooms, I had to join a different space. Anyways if you're still in town, message me on FB so we can meetup: http://facebook.com/johnnyfdk

      Delete
  3. Hey Johnny! Wow what a transformation I remember you as a Johnny Wolf on Barry's podcast)) Cool blog and lifestyle! Props!

    ReplyDelete

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