Dec 2016: Passive Income Report + End Year Earnings as a Digital Nomad

It's been such an amazing year. If someone would have told me sooner that this was all possible, I would have started years ago.  I realized that since I've been openly sharing my income reports every single month since July 2014, I've documented everything I've attempted, succeeded or failed at. It's been my way of staying accountable and not getting lazy or settling. It's allowed me to strive for more, become comfortable with being transparent and has been my way of leaving a ladder behind so others can follow with what worked and not have an excuse on not knowing how to start.

Being able to earn a six figure income while traveling full time as a digital nomad turned out to have been the ultimate dream career that I didn't even know existed until now. Just this year alone I've gotten to travel to 17 different countries and got to check off a bunch of bucket list items including traveling across Eastern Europe by land, learning to ride a dirt bike, sail in a yacht race, scuba dive with manta rays in Hawaii, visit an abandoned nuclear disaster zone, and even attend a wedding in Ukraine. This post is going to be a special one, as I'm going to break down exactly how much money I earned from each passive income stream for the month but also total up how much I made from each over the year. Get ready for a lot of data, big numbers and a roadmap to what revenue streams have been proven to work in 2016 and what you should focus on building now that we're in 2017. 

Places I've Traveled

This is a new section of the income report as I think it's insightful to see where I was and what I was doing when the income came in. I spent the entire month of December in Thailand, mostly in Chiang Mai. But I also went down to Bangkok for a 5 day trip to speak at and attend the Affiliate World Asia conference. If you want to know more about the conference, listen to Episode 140 of Travel Like a Boss Podcast for a recap. 

The reason why I decided to stay in Chiang Mai for the holidays this year is because I have a ton of traveling to do next month and wanted to just chill out for a bit before 2017. Instead of dealing with the craziness of going down to the islands on NYE, I'm headed there a few days after on January 6th to meetup with some friends and go scuba diving on Koh Tao. If you haven't read it yet, here are the 17 countries I visited  in 2016. Keep reading for a breakdown of how I earned a living during this month of being in Thailand.

Places Traveled this Month: Bangkok + Chiang Mai

*last month was Pai + Chiang Mai 

In Bangkok at the AWA Conference

Income from Books

For most of my income streams I look for the amount of profit I made from the source first, but with my kindle books, I love seeing the reviews more than anything else. I'm super close to getting my 100th review for my first book 12 Weeks in Thailand: The Good Life on the Cheap. Aside from that it's still a nice stream of passive income, but more importantly, it's a good memoir that documents how it all started when I built up the courage to quit my job in 2008. 

I think it's amazing that my books are being given to at risk youth to help inspire them and show what's possible in the world and in life if you have the right mindset, set big goals and work your ass off until you fulfill them. Even though this month was a bit slow on book sales, I have a feeling that next month will be good for Life Changes Quick as it's a great book to learn how to set big goals and achieve your new year resolutions. 

Kindle: $135.38 +/-
PDFs: $11.98
Paperback: $0

Total Profit from Books: $147.96

*decrease from $205.23 last month

Income from Udemy

My Udemy courses have been another source of completely passive income this year as they were recorded in 2015 and haven't needed updating this year at all. So aside from occasionally logging in to answer student questions once a week or so it's been 100% passive income which has been very nice way to sell small, what I call bite sized courses that people can consume in an afternoon for less than $50.

The reason why I continue to list my courses on Udemy even though I can sell them for more on my own sites is because Udemy brings me 80% of my traffic without me having to do any advertising. To me this means new students that I normally wouldn't have reached. I think Udemy is a great way for people with coaching or skill based businesses to create both a new source of passive income as well as get paying students into your ecosystem so you can introduce them to your higher paid courses and products.

Total Profit from Udemy $598.26

*decrease from $1,152.18 last month.

Income from Dropshipping

Out of all of my various income streams, the money I make from my dropshipping stores still feels like the most tangible. Even though a few people order my books in paperback and physically receive it in the mail, mostly everything I sell is delivered and consumed digitally. There's still something about knowing someone is reciving a physical box in the mail that is hugely satisfying which is one of the reasons why I still like dealing with physical goods and ecommerce. This is why I'm so happy that I found Anton's course before I started doing anything else. Good news is that my store that I started with Larissa is now making sales again after having a goose egg of a month in November. With all of the tweaks and experiments I've made to our ads, I've somehow got it down only spending $125.59 this month in ads and making over $1,558.34 each in profit! Not included in the Shopify screenshots are the sales we make from ebay and other marketplaces, and the cash back rewards we get from fulfilling the orders, paying for the costs of goods, advertising and shipping for them. 

It's now officially been two months since I started the dropshipping partnership and I'm happy to say that even with all of the ups and downs and hardships of things like one person dropping out, one person getting sick and others getting busy running their other stores, we've somehow been able to successfully launch 9 stores in the past 2 months, and got approved by multiple suppliers for all of them, and even started making sales for 4 already. I just checked the accounting for the new stores and it looks like most of them are still recouping costs from the initial startup so I'm not going to start counting the couple bucks in profit just yet. But I have a feeling that starting next month there will be at least one or two new streams of profit coming in from dropshipping. 

Total Profit from Dropshipping: $3,135.60

*split 50/50 with Larissa, increase from $0 last month. 

Income from Investments

This year officially started the year of me taking my investments seriously. I never really had any extra money the invest in the first place prior to this, but also I didn't have the knowledge or desire to learn. Selling my main dropship store earlier this year was the big catalyst of me having extra cash to invest and needing to figure out where to put it. Starting the podcast with Sam Marks that has not only encouraged me to invest more myself, but also to see it as the ultimate form of passive income, where my money makes me money.

This month I collected just a bit over $1,000 in dividends and interest payments for my investments though Vanguard ETFs, Fundrise and PeerStreet. And my total account value actually rose by a few more thousand, but since I'm not counting account value growth until I actually sell and cash out, I'm only going to count the actual cash received from dividends and interest payments. But it's very cool to know that my total net worth has increased by over $14,245.27 this year even though I'm not counting it yet as it can fluctuate since I'm buying and holding instead of selling. Take a listen to the Invest Like a Boss podcast if you want to follow my journey with investing.

Profit from Investing: $1,005.82

*increase from $313.40 last month

Income from Youtube

What's really cool about my youtube channel is that in 2016 I doubled my subscriber count, now up to 6,632 and I've reached over 1.25 million views! The fact that I've earned over $1,400 this year from my Youtube ads alone even though that hasn't been a focus. It's not a ton of money but it's a pretty cool proof of concept to show that passive income really adds up if you start creating multiple streams.

If I ever decided to get into creating more Youtube videos it's cool to know that I can success at it and it's awesome knowing that it's an option. Embedded below is my favorite video that I uploaded in 2016 which was filmed in Lisbon, Portugal. One of my goals is to make more fun videos like this in the upcoming years, even if it's just for my own enjoyment to look back on as I really love reliving these moments and places.

Profit from YouTube: $100.87

*increase from $82.76 last month

Income from Affiliate Earnings

Most people don't realize this, but this category of income should actually be broken down to income from blog #1, blog #2,  podcast #1, podcast #2, email list #1, email list #2, youtube channel, ebook, etc, etc. as affiliate commissions are simply a way of monetizing the traffic from a given site and not an actually business in itself. For example, instead of selling other brands as of Muay Thai gear as an affiliate on my fight camp blog, I could just as easily focus on building my own brand of products and selling it there myself, monetizing it through google adsense, selling muay thai package tours or creating a membership site from it.

With the podcasts, instead of monetizing it with affiliate links in the show notes, I could just as easily start having 30 second commercials in the beginning, middle and end of each episode. But the reason why I like having non-intrusive affiliate links as my primary way of making money from these channels is because it's easy, non-annoying and extremely relative to things I talk about anyways as I simply link things I would have mentioned anyways. As an example, whenever I mention my favorite usb mic that use to create podcast episodes and videos, I link it with an affiliate link.

Inside my paid members course Earnest Affiliate I show case studies on all of the different products, courses, software and services that I make money from and use them as examples to teach how you can do something similar with your audience.

Profit from Affiliate Earnings: $22,327.96

*increase from $20,973.49 last month

Income from Courses

Last year I spent the majority of my time and effort building up my own affiliate income, trying different ways to monetize and grow my audience. In 2017 I'm going to be focusing more on teaching others do the same than on my own affiliate income. So don't be surprised if you see my own slipping a bit and/or the income from my course increasing by a lot.

The only thing on my to-do list for 2016 that I didn't get around to doing is updating the videos in Earnest Affiliate and raising the price. I was just about to log in this morning to raise the price up to $297 but I didn't feel right doing so without first adding more value to the course itself even though I know it'll still be a good deal for people who sign up as they'll get a free upgrade up to the new course whenever I get around to finishing it. I'm giving myself until summer of 2017 to get the new videos updated and as soon as I do the price will definitely go up. But for now I haven't been promoting Earnest Affiliate as much as I should.

Total Profit from Courses: $1,182.00

*decrease from $1,598.27 last month

Income from Other

Over the year I've also made a bit of side income from taking private coaching calls, running the Nomad Summit, and a few other random things. It's not a big part of my income because strategy has been to give the information away for free in order to reach and help the most amount of people, even if they're not yet willing or able to pay for it, then earning money on the backend if that person later decides to buy something through one of my affiliate links.

I think that even though coaches make a decent amount of money and can do it location independently, they are also trading their time for money and it isn't very scalable. By me giving away the info on free platforms like my blog, podcasts, youtube channel and email lists it allows me to help more people, reach a larger total audience and get paid only when someone sees enough value in what I provide to go out of their way to use a link in my resources page or one of the special offers in my dropshipping discounts pdf.  I've also chosen not to ask for a speaker's fee for seminars and conferences as I'd rather get invited to speak at more events, gain a following from giving free value first, then make money once someone's been following me for a while than vice versa.

Total Profit from Other: $0

*no change from last month $0

Misc. Expenses

I've decided to add all of my random expenses into one category instead of separating them out as I've honestly not done the best job recently tracking my spending as my goal has switched from living as cheap as possible to not wasting money on things I don't need, but then not worrying too much about how much the things I do need cost as long as continue to make more.

If you want to know how I bootstrapped my first 4 years in Thailand, read my first book. But for now I'm putting this here so you can get a general idea of how much it costs to live and travel as a digital nomad / location independent entrepreneur.


Podcast Editing 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


Apartment in Chiang Mai: $342
Utilities/Internet: $48
Mobile Phone: $11.50
Food/Drinks: $400
Uber/Transport: $30
Gym Membership: $34


Donation to Muay Thai Isaan (monthly recurring for children)
Donation to Warm Heart Worldwide (monthly towards Biochar Project)
Year end bonus to Larissa (for running our dropship store)
Monthly Check to Parents (To my Mom $1,000.00)

2016 Income Wrap Up

I think what's even more amazing than the amount of money I earned this year is the fact that I've been able to do it completely location independently while bouncing from 17 different countries but even more so that I've been able to do it while creating a bunch of cool content and events that will help others do the same. The photo above is from the Chiang Mai Startups group, something that I started that will most likely never make me any money personally, but is something that I knew would help a ton of others as well as made Chiang Mai an even better place for entrepreneurs of all sorts.

My goal isn't just to make a ton of money, but it's to openly share what has worked and what hasn't along the way. Some people get angry or hate the fact that I openly talk about how much money I make, but I've learned to ignore those people and focus on the ones that appercaite someone showing them what is working and how much money is possible to earn from each source. I've spend a lot of the year meeting up with friends around the world, learning how to become a better communicator, partner, son, friend, lover, and human being overall. I think out of all of my accomplishments this year, the fact that I've been able to spend my mom $15,261.57 so she could retire without stress has been my most rewarding goal that I've achieved.

Total Profit for December: $26,921.22

*increase from $24,325.33 last month

Final Thoughts

It really has been an amazing year looking back. Since it's already January 2nd, 2017 today I've already had a lot of time to reflect and think about what I want my resolutions and goals to be for the upcoming year. Make sure you subscribe to the email at here and keep an eye out for updates as I'll be writing a lot about setting goals, starting an online business and how to become successful in all aspects of your life in 2017.

I want to thank everyone for their support in this past year. My friends, family, the dropship partners, my mentor Anton, store partner Larissa, podcast partner Sam, and travel buddy Chris. Along with the readers of my blog and listeners of my podcast, you guys and gals are the reason why I'm continue to do what I do even though it takes a ton of time, energy and emotion. Here's to an amazing 2016 and an even more incredible year to come!

Watch the video below for a more in depth video explainer of this month's income report.

Warm Regards,

Johnny FD

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Post a Comment

  1. Another awesome month Johnny and really awesome year. It's been great following your journey this year on both here and your podcast. I have to say you really are an inspiration and whenever I read how you're doing on here or on your podcasts (I listen to both) it always gets me pumped to work on my business and carry on trying to get myself up to point in which I can travel and make money location independently. Have a great year and here's to 2017!

    1. Hey Henry, glad you've been following the blog and the podcast! Stay pumped and here's to getting your business location independent in 2017!

  2. Hi there Johnny!
    Just wanted to wish you an amazing 2017!
    I'll do my best to become 100% location independent within the next 7-8 months, so next fall I'll be able to move somewhere exotic, inexpensive and most importantly...warmer!
    Fall and winter here in the north of Italy suck!

    Anyways, I have a question for you: why did you pick Udemy?
    I'm thinking about setting a course and my options are Udemy, of course, and Wordpress using the OptimizePress plugin.
    I bet Udemy would make anything easier.
    However, they get some money out of your final price.
    Is it just a matter of making things easier or are there any other reasons why I should use Udemy instead of other solutions?

    Thank you and please accept my apologies for my poor English.

    Oh! And last but not least: congratulations for your results in 2016!


    1. Hey Filippo, in 2017 you will not have to sit through another cold winter again! Keep working hard and you'll get there! As for Udemy vs. Wordpress, always start with Udemy, it's 1 million times easier to setup. If you start making a lot of sales, you can always move it off afterwards! Think Minimum Viable Product!

  3. Johnny

    Happy new year and congratulations, I'll be in Chiang Mai end of january, can we meet up? let me know where :)

    1. Hey Paul, come by the friday meetups at the Nomad Coffee Club. Or come by the Nomad Summit on Feb 4th! (

    2. I ALLREADY BOUGHT THE TICKET....Deluxe so Ill see you there, also interested in your dropshipping partnership program if still available

  4. Hey Johnny! Congrats on your results in 2016, I am truly amazed by them! Specially your affiliate income, how many visitors do you have a month in your blog/listen to your podcasts?
    I understand if you don't want to respond to those private questions :) It's just that I can't imagine how many people follow you so you can have 200k in affiliate income! WOW!

    Thanks for your blog and podcast, I really enjoy them ;)

    1. Hey Carmen, thanks so much! I don't mind sharing the data.

      For this blog I got 41,238 unique visitors last month.

      For Travel Like a Boss got 38,983 downloads.

      Invest Like a Boss got 40,428 downloads.

      Plus all of the other random websites I have. So if you do the math, it's like each reader or listener is making me around $4 a year on average or 33 cents a month. =)

    2. Great numbers indeed! Thank you for being so open about all your data ;)

      Also, I wanted to tell you that I started David Vu's Ebay dropshipping course last month because you recommended it, let's see how that works! So far I've done 11$ profit :P

  5. Congrats on the awesome success. I run multiple businesses and find it difficult to work and document on everything. Do you use nay productivity tools to get the most of your time? Wishing you a great 2017!

    Rohit I Lifeselfmastery

    1. Hey thanks Rohit! The best tool I use is called "Time out" which locks my screen every 30 minutes so I can take a break then get back on task. I have all of the apps and tools I use in my resources page.

  6. You are in the position that i dream to be in, traveling the world whilst earning. I am starting drop shipping using Davids guide, hopefully be up and running by the end of the month. Much respect.

    1. Hey awesome Billy! Best of luck to you in 2017! Let me know how it goes!

  7. I just found your site and your income report is so inspiring. Aside from the income I love that you donate every month and what a blessing to be able to be a blessing to your mom.

    1. It's the least I could do! Glad you found the site!

  8. Hello everyone, my name is Kate Johnson.i was able to hack my husband's phone remotely and gained access to all his texts and calls.he is very fast and reliable,I use him whenever I want to be sure about someone.if you require his services tell him I referred you.

  9. hmmm the Affiliate profits seem to come in well under $50k, yet the claim is over $200k. Something doesn't seem right


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