November 2016: Passive Income Report as a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai

It felt like it was taking me forever to get over the exhaustion and jet lag from traveling across Europe this summer. To make it all worse, my short trip back to the U.S. and Hawaii last month messed up my sleep schedule even more. But I knew I had to get over it as I was having ten people move to Chiang Mai from around the world to come start new dropshipping stores with me. I also started planning the 2017 Nomad Summit and on top of all of that I have two weekly podcasts to manage as well as everything else I do online.

It's been crazy, but honestly, I wouldn't trade it for the world. Someone asked me last night what I would do if I suddenly retired and didn't have to work anymore, and I answered exactly the same thing as I'm doing now. I really enjoy everything I do and it's no longer about the money, making it simply allows me to level up and do even more cool stuff as well as help more people.  This month's income and expenses report is going to be pretty exciting with both ups and downs, but as always it's 100% real. Keep reading to see what just 30 days can bring in.

Income from Books

I realized how truly passive and consistent book royalties are. It seems like every month regardless of if I mention the books in an interview somewhere or not the sales are pretty consistent and every month people who have bought the book take the time to review it even without me reaching out. A big tip is aside from writing a good book that people actually want to read, on the very last page ask them to leave a review and tell their friends. 

It seems pretty simple, but it's the reason by both 12 Weeks in Thailand: The Good Life on the Cheap and Life Changes Quick continue to make me a steady stream of income every month. 

Kindle: $177 +/-
PDFs: $21.97
Paperback:  $6.26

Total Profit from Book Sales: $205.23 +/-

*decrease from $217.01 last month

Earnings from my Kindle and Amazon sales

Income from Udemy

Even though I know I should log in more than once a month into my dashboards, with things like Udemy since it's pretty much completely passive once set up I honestly only log in once a month to take a screenshot of my dashboard for my income report and do my accounting for the month.

I was just as shocked as you were seeing that this month's Udemy income was over $1,000 especially since it's more than double what it usually is. But then again I completely forgot it was Black Friday last week and that people were buying discounted courses like crazy on there. Best of all, the only sale that came from my side was the one person who bought through instead of directly on Aside from that 95% of my sales came from Udemy promoting the course on my behalf. 

I honestly love Udemy even with all of their pros and cons. If you have something to teach and don't mind being in front of the camera, I think it's a great way to make a bit of passive income on the side for 1-2 months of work setting it up. 

Total Profit from Udemy: $1,152.18

*increase from $515.70 last month 

Earnings from my Udemy courses

Income from Dropshipping

This month was both awesome and really bad at the same time. As you know for the past few months I've been experimenting with lowering the costs of my ads in hopes to increase overall profit. I used to spend over $1,000 a month in ads but last month I got it down to just $204 which is incredible as we netted $2,437 in profit from that, giving ourselves 12X returns. 

But then I think I got greedy and overdid it. This month we only spent $97.40 on ads which may sound good on paper as it's nice to have low expenses but the downfall was that it wasn't enough traffic to make sales. I'm sure at the end of the day experimenting with ads, budget, and demographic targeting will pay off in the long run but as far as this month is concerned, it was a bust. I should have kept a closer eye on the ads, and I don't want to blame being busy on why I didn't so I take full responsibility for the f$#k up. 

The bright side to things is that I've reverted the ads back to a solid point so hopefully sales will come back just in time for Christmas. It also gave me a reason to dive in deeper into the account, call my suppliers which I haven't spoken to in months on the phone and helped solidified our relationship. 

On a side note, with the help of all of my dropship partners, I've somehow managed to start 10 new dropshipping stores in less than four weeks! It's crazy as it normally takes 2 months to get one up and running and start making sales, but big congrats to Tyler for making the first sale! I'm still waiting on getting the accounting for this month to finalize the profit, but I think it'll be pretty much break even. The good news is I have a feeling that things are going to start getting exciting with all of the new stores kicking in soon. 

Total Profit from Dropshipping: ---

*decrease from $2,437.28 last month

Partnership Store with Tyler

Income from Investments

As a lot of you know, I've been getting heavily into investing as a stream of passive income ever since I sold my main dropshipping store earlier this year for $60,000. So even though I've lost an income stream worth around $2,000-$3,000 a month, I've gained a lot of freetime, and more importantly, another stream of truly passive income. This is the real reason why I'm starting the 10 stores with partners, as even though the semi-passive income we get from it every month is nice, the real benefit is being able to flip the store at the end of 12 months, getting a big payout, then letting that money make you more money.

Sam Marks and I just released Episode 30 of the Invest Like a Boss Podcast where we broke down in detail how 10 of our various investments are going. Technically on paper I'm worth $5,550 more than I was last month from just my Vanguard account, but since I'm not actually cashing out, I won't count the income until the day I actually sell it, as it'll fluctuate up and down as you can see from the screenshot below. The only "profit" i'm going to count are the interest payments and dividends that were paid out. 

Total Profit from Investments: $313.40

*increase from $190.08 last month 

On paper gain of $5,500 this month from Vanguard

Interest payment from my PeerStreet account

Income from Youtube

It seems that regardless of the month, number of views or even how many videos I upload my estimated Youtube revenue seems to hover around the same amount. The cool thing is, ever since I started uploading video versions of the Travel Like a Boss Podcast for certain episodes I've gotten a ton of people watching those as some people prefer to see the interviews rather than just listen to them.

I'd like to make videos for each interview but to be honest, it's a pain in the butt. The problem is needing to sync up two cameras plus the audio from the mics. If I just did it with one camera and one mic it would be super easy but it would also sound like crap and be boring to watch. I'm still trying to streamline the process but for now I think what i'll do is film at least one or two of the episodes each month especially if we're recording somewhere with a cool backdrop, but for the other episodes we'll just keep it audio only.

As for equipment, the iPhone 7+ has been awesome, but unfortunately the GoPro Hero + LCD I bought as a second camera sucks for interviews as the mic is so quiet it's hard to even find where to sync the claps, the fish eye effect looks like crap for static shots, and worst of all it automatically breaks down the 1 hour interviews into 5 different files making it almost impossible to sync. I don't regret buying the GoPro as it'll be fun to take scuba diving and make action videos with, but unfortunately, it's terrible for recording interviews. 

Total Profit from Youtube: $78.80

*increase from $77.72 last month 

My earnings from my Youtube Channel

Income from Affiliate Earnings

I know it's a bit hard to figure out as I separate out my affiliate income and it looks like it's just one big stream but the secret is that it's a combination of 10-15 different sources. It's a combination of all of my different blogs, books, podcasts, youtube channels, and links. I go into detail about each one inside my Earnest Affiliate course where I break them down in detail and show you the individual dashboards for each.

I started really growing my affiliate income a little over a year ago when I created my course as I wanted to be the guinea pig and test what works and what does, but it's since become my favorite source of passive income. Not only is it something I enjoy doing anyways, but the potential payout is incredible. The secret sauce is the earnest part of earnest affiliate marketing. Most "affiliate marketers" just promote whatever pays the highest even if they've never used or bought the product themselves, these people are shooting themselves in the foot. Sure it's takes more time and effort to actually buy something, go through it yourself, then figure out if it's something worth recommending or not, but the long term rewards massively outweigh the upfront costs and headaches.

Total Profit from Affiliate: $20,973.49

*increase from $17,251.76 last month

An example of some of my affiliate earnings

To get the confidential case studies, join Earnest Affiliate

Income from Courses

On my todo list for longer than anything else I can think of has been switching Earnest Affiliate off of my custom build of Wordpress/Wishlist/OptimizePress/VimeoPro/SimplePress/Stripe/SamCart to an all in one solution such as Teachable. I'm vowing right now here on the blog that I will have it all switched over and the modules updated before summertime next year. I know it's still a long way to go, but it's a huge headache and a lot of content. I'm doing this for a few reasons, first, I want to finally raise the price of the course to what I think it's worth. But before I do that, I want to make sure it's scalable, and working smoothly. 

Second, with anything wordpress based, there are multiple pieces that need to be constantly updated and often break. I had a huge outage on my site for a few days this month costing me both new sales as well pissing off students. Luckily, it's all fixed now but I'm happy to pay a company like Teachable to just have it be an all in one. I'm sure it'll have it's downsides but I think for my uses it'll be worth it.

Sales from Earnest Affiliate: $1,379.00
Sales from Optimize Like a Boss: $219.27

Total Profit from Courses: $1,598.27

*decrease from $2,364.00 last month

Total sales for new signups for Earnest Affiliate

Misc. Business Expenses

Last month I expensed my new iPhone 7+ which was a big part of the costs, but this month it was really just the new GoPro I bought for filming that added to my normal fixed expenses.

Intern Expenses: $600
Coworking for Intern: $100
Coworking Membership for me: $100
PDF hosting with e-junkie: $5
Web hosting with SiteGround: $14.95
Payment Gateway with SamCart: $99
Email Marketing with Aweber: $50
Email Optins with OptinMonster: $16.59
Email Accounts with GoogleApps: $8
GoPro + LCD/Accessories: $300

Total office expenses: $1,295.00

*decrease from $2,131.52 last month

The stuff I made my buddy Chris haul back from the U.S.

Misc. Travel Expenses

What's awesome is the fact that I went away three weekends this month and still hardly spent any money at all traveling. I love that everything in Chiang Mai is so cheap and easy to get to and if I really wanted to I could have done it for even less by riding my scooter or taking a minibus instead of renting a motorcycle, but it was a ton of fun and well worth it.

The reason why last month's travel expenses were insanely high at $4,600 a month was because it involved renting a Lamborghini in Las Vegas, a holiday in Hawaii, and flying business class from Los Angeles to Thailand. But this month I had just as much fun for a tiny fraction of the cost!

Motorcycle Rental: $297.00
Camping: $30.00
Pai Circus Hostel: $36.66
Apartment in Chiang Mai: $350.00

Total Travel Expenses: $713.66

*decrease from $4,616.07 last month

The Honda CB300F I rode from Chiang Mai to Pai

I had a ton of fun at the Acroyoga and Juggling convention

Other Expenses:

Donation to (direct to teachers)
Donation to Muay Thai Isaan (monthly recurring for children)
Donation to Warm Heart Worldwide (monthly towards Biochar Project)
Donation to Naklang School (Supplies and Sports Equipment)
Monthly Check to Parents (To my Mom $1,000.00)
2016 Property Tax (for my parents house $3,261.57)

It's an amazing to be able to pay my parent's property tax!

Total Passive Income for November

Even though my expenses aren't quite as low as they were when I was bootstrapping here in Chiang Mai, most of what I spend isn't on myself and isn't on drinking, partying, fashion or gadgets. I really feel like my parent's bills are my bills and even though they tell me I don't need to stress about paying it, I know they appreciate it, especially since neither of them work anymore.

It kind of sucked missing Thanksgiving another year and not seeing everyone, but honestly, I'd rather spend a solid week with them on vacation somewhere than have a quick trip back to San Francisco anyday and see them just for dinner anyways.

I was even able to buy using all of my reward points, my cousin and three other family members round trip flights from Los Angeles to San Francisco just so they could go to see the rest of the relatives for Christmas. It's strange that even though I'm still really minimist and like to save money on certain things, with other things it feels really good to spend on. 

Total Profit for November: $24,321.37

*increase from $21,959.89 last month

Wrap Up Thoughts:

It's crazy to think that even though I spent most of this month sleeping in a tent or a $7 a night bamboo hut in the hippy mountain village of Pai here in northern Thailand, I earned the equivalent of someone who makes close to $300,000 a year corporate salary.

I wonder how many of the people I met in the park doing acroyoga or learning to juggle with me realized I wasn't just another broke backpacker living off of savings. I really think the life of a digital nomad, especially a successful one is the perfect balance of being able to travel and do fun stuff when we want to, but also make and save enough to create a real, sustainable future for ourselves and if we choose to, our future family.

Here's the video version of this month's income report with more detail:

I wish everyone peace, love, health and happiness. If it wasn't for all of your support and encouragement I wouldn't have the motivation and energy to continue to strive for continued improvement and success.  

Warm Regards,

Johnny FD

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Post a Comment

  1. Anothet great month Johnny. Thanks for the update.

  2. bravo! you're an inspiration. looking fwd to nomadsummit

    1. Nice! I'm glad you're coming to the 2017 Nomad Summit!

  3. WOW amazing month. This give me some inspiration to work smarter.

  4. Just wondering, how many hours of working per week do you think you average?

    1. Hey Mieke when i'm in growth mode I work 40 hours a week (building something new like now) but when i'm in maintenance mode (like the 4 months I was in Europe this summer) it's only 4-10.

  5. hi I'm grace, I don't think I have any account set up to login (sorry). Just wanted to let you know that Adobe premiere can sync up multiple cams based on their audio for you and you just then select which part of the clip you want showing at different points. Fair enough if you're not interested in investing in Premiere but it really can be super easy, just to let you know :D

    1. Hey Grace thanks for the info, I'll look into software to auto sync =)

  6. Anybody here read Johnny's book yet?

    1. I use it for toilet paper, so not a complete waste of money.


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