Jan 2017: Passive Income Report - Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai and Taiwan!

This is my first income report in the new year and now I'm a bit nervous. I had such a good run last year with an average of $25k months and I honestly don't know if I can keep that up. A huge part of me wants to do whatever it takes to keep making that amount, while the other part of me just wants to hibernate for few months and take a break. I'm currently writing this with a sore throat and stuffy nose that has been plaguing me for the past 5 days. I'm not quite ill yet, but I feel like it's just around the corner. Worst yet, I can't rest, I have a huge event coming in three days and there's so much to do.

For the past two days, I've been working from day until night and I've been exhausted. It turns out putting on the Nomad Summit, preparing my speech for it, creating all of the pre-events, after parties, dinners, and networking meetups around is way more work than I expected and a lot more stressful. But the show must go on as they say. But what then? Do I allow myself to take a well needed and deserved rest when it's done? Or do I continue to try to grow my income so I can have another $325,000 year in 2017? Either way, let's start with this month to see where we're at as I've been so busy planning the Nomad Summit and traveling to and from Taiwan to see my family that I haven't actually worked on my businesses at all. So here's another month of truly passive income.

Places I've Traveled

The plan was originally to go down to Koh Tao to kick off the New Year's, do some scuba diving, and maybe even go to the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan while we were there. But it turns out the weather was against us and as we were at the airport in Chiang Mai ready to check in, we were told that the entire islands were flooded and not to go.

It turns out the entire week we would have been there would have been miserable so we got lucky to miss it. Luckily for the people who still went, the weather cleared up literally the morning of the party and it still ended up being an epic event. But instead of risking it, I spent the first half of the month in Chiang Mai. It wasn't until mid month that I went down to Bangkok to see my college friend Mason who had just one more night in Thailand before flying back to California. It was perfect timing as I was then able to fly to Taiwan straight from there to see my parents, sister, niece and nephew who had flown in for a family wedding.

At my cousin's wedding in Taiwan

If anyone's ever curious how I manage making visa runs every 2-3 months, this is the ideal situation. Planning my visa runs around seeing friends, family or taking trips that I wanted to go on anyways. What was extra nice is knowing that I could just pop into a Starbucks for a few hours each day to get my work done and still make money while being on a family trip and not missing out on anything. I've honestly started preferring going on my laptop and "working" over watching TV, taking naps, or whatever else people do when they normally take time to rest and unwind.

I also got to spend a few days at an Organic Permaculture farm here in northern Thailand. I wanted to get away and relax a bit from all of the stress of organizing upcoming Nomad Summit. I've also always been fascinated by what life would be like living off the grid and on a self-sustainable farm so it was perfect. I stayed at a place called Earth Home which was connected by a small road to both PunPun and the Panya Project and was able to hang out at both and do some volunteer work at both PunPun and Earth Home. Aside from help with a seed saving project, I also had the pleasure of getting my hands dirty by helping to resurface this adobe house.

Locations This Month: Chiang Mai, PunPun, Bangkok, Taiwan

*Last month's locations were Bangkok (to speak at Affiliate World Asia) and Chiang Mai

Green building with adobe, sand and clay

Income from Books

For the past few months I've been thinking about creating an updated version of my latest book "Life Changes Quick" as so much has changed since I first wrote that book. My idea was to create an "Expanded and Updated" version that shows the ups and downs of my journey since that book was published. I've far surpassed my original goal of becoming a Thai Millionaire and having $30,000 in the bank, but other parts of my life including being in the best shape of my life and being in a long term relationship has had it's rollercoasters. 

But taking the advice from a trusted friend, I've decided to leave that book as a true reflection of that period in my life, and to just write an entirely new one about this period whenever the time comes. Just like it wouldn't make sense for me to update or rewrite 12 Weeks in Thailand, just because I'm no longer living cheaply, fighting muay thai or teaching scuba diving professionally. I have to remember that not only is it a memoir of things that happened, but also a road map for people who are at that current stage and looking for a guidance.

The only thing that concerns me is that this is the first month where I didn't get any new reviews of either book. It's a vicious cycle as since less people bought the book last month, there were less new readers leave reviews which causes me to get less purchases again this month. Lesson learned from this is that I should have pushed Life Changes Quick more this month especially since at the heart of it, it's a book about setting and achieving goals, which would have been perfect for people while they were setting their 2017 New Year Resolutions. 

Kindle: $149.00 +/-
PDFs: $41.95
Paperback: $15.94

Total Profit from Books: $206.89

*increase from $147.96 last month. 

amazon kindle profit

Income from Udemy

I love Udemy as another truly passive source of income. Aside from logging on once a week to answer questions in the course discussions, I haven't marketed or promoted my Udemy courses at all since the first initial push during the month I made them. To be honest the reason why I don't promote my Udemy courses is because I know they aren't my best work. Knowing that 99.9% of students on Udemy buy courses for $50 or less I never wanted to spend more than 20 hours creating any one course, which compared to courses like my main course Earnest Affiliate that took me a few hundred hours to put together which is the reason why it's not sold on Udemy as I know it's worth full price and never want to sell it at a discount.

Aside from Small Talk which is actually a really good course that I made with Larissa on how to talk to strangers and network at events, all of my business courses are more like samples of my larger ones. Dropship Lab only covers each section in general and doesn't deep dive into dropshipping like Anton's course or a course on travel hacking, saving money on taxes, optimizing conversion rates, or any of the other topics I go over. The same goes with my affiliate marketing for courses, which is basically a slice off of my full Earnest Affiliate course and only covers one of the eight ways you can make money with affiliate marketing. While I do try to make sure anyone who signs up for my Udemy courses gets enough value, if not more than they paid, it's also $15-$50 per course so I hope those people don't expect $1,000 worth of value from them as they're not going to get it from me or anyone else teaching on Udemy, with maybe the exception or David Vu which has been thinking about moving his courses off of Udemy for the past year now.  

Total Profit from Udemy: $663.80

*Increase from $598.26 last month.

Udemy Income
Income from my Udemy Courses

Income from Dropshipping

After having a terrible November and goose egg in sales, I'm so glad to see that not only did sales come back strong in December, but the fact that January was a great month as well. Our ad spend is starting to creep up a bit again which is cutting into our net profits, but after November's fiasco of getting too greedy and optimizing my ads too much, I'm just going to let it sit for another month to get some more data before making any other changes.

Overall, I'm super happy with the store that I built with Larissa and I'm looking forward to some of the stores that were built during the partnership program to start being profitable. It's been a long journey and I've learned a ton of lessons on how to structure the program better for everyone if we were to do it again in 2017 but good news is we have a couple of partners starting to make sales. Tyler has made another sale but is still working on optimizing his product pages. While Sebastian is crushing it with $5,673.00 in total sales this month but is working on finding cheaper freight shipping rates and better suppliers. He's still trying to catch up on accounting and the ad spend from last month but I have a feeling that it'll start being hugely profitable by this time next month. 

Getting into dropshipping yourself? Here's my Discounts PDF with everything I use currently and also how I built my main store that I sold recently for $60k!  

Total Profit from Dropshipping: $2,017.28

*split 50/50 with Larissa. Decrease from $3,135.60 last month.

dropshipping income
My Shopify dashboard for my store with Larissa

Income from Investments

Even though all of my income sources are at the very least semi-passive, the only stream that would most likely continue to go up for ever even if I died or completely forgot about it would be my investments. Making money from money truly is the ultimate form of passive income. The stupid thing is, for years and years I would completely skip over this as even an option because I didn't think it would ever be possible. When I was barely able to pay my monthly rent and utility bills as is, the idea of having extra money to invest seemed so out of reach. But then again, so was the idea of earning book royalties. 

So even if you don't have enough money to invest now, I want everyone to follow this section carefully as it should be everyone's goal to one day be able to. If you want to know more about investing and finance, check out my new podcast that I co-host with Millionaire Sam Marks: Invest Like a Boss.

Vanguard: $1,972.04 (holding)
PeerStreet: $233.30 (interest returns)

Total Profit from Investments: $233.30

*decrease from $1,005.82 last month. (quarterly dividends) 

Inside my Vanguard ETF dashboard

Income from Youtube

In 2017 I vow to make more, and better quality videos for my Youtube channel. It's insane how often I get recognized at airports, on the street, and even this weekend on a permaculture farm from my youtube videos. The reason why it's so crazy is that I hardly even promote my videos or focus on making them. I think if you were to look at the hundred bucks or so I make from my videos you'll see why it's not a priority, but thinking bigger than that, the reason why people approach me on the street is because Youtube, and video in general is a POWERFUL medium. 

I focus so much time and energy on my blog and podcasts, but hardly ever get stopped on the street because of them. It's something about seeing a person on video that really makes you connect with them. So here is my declaration, I'm going to double my Youtube subscriber count from 7,189 currently to over 15,000 in 2017. Subscribe my channel at for updates.

Profit from Youtube: $109.93

*increase from $100.87 last month.

youtube earnings

Income from Affiliate Earnings

My other project for 2017 is going to be rerecording some of the videos for my Earnest Affiliate course and really focusing on helping others monetize their brand, blog, podcast, youtube channel, email list, or social media channel, with earnest affiliate commissions. I spent all of 2016 using myself and my channels as a case study and have finally figured out how to consistently make over $10,000 a month in an honest and trust building way.

I think there is such a huge amount of money being left on the table and a ton of genuinely great content people could be creating if they had the financial incentive to do so. I really believe it's a win/win for both the content creator and the consumer to get earnest recommendations on things that genuinely work, whether it's a software product, book, course, audio book, or physical product. Below are some of the books and physical products that I've sold through my affiliate links this month. If you join my Earnest Affiliate Course you'll get access to the confidential case studies where I show you all of my affiliate income sources and exactly how much I make from each in detail. 

Update: Just got paid $518.40 by one of the networks which previously showed $0. 

 Profit from Affiliate Earnings: $13,840.63

*decrease from $22,327.96 last month. 

amazon affiliate earnings

make money online

Learn how to do it yourself inside Earnest Affiliate

Income from Courses

If you haven't noticed by now, I'm really trying to get more people into my Earnest Affiliate course. It's the course I'm most proud of and that I see the most potential in. I also plan on raising the price of the course whenever I get around to sitting down and updating it as I've intended to do for quite a while now. I know that even though I've been talking about it for months that I'm going to get a bunch of people complaining that the price goes up even though they had tons of opportunities to join when it was still $197. 

One way I can definitely make more money is by creating an automatic rebill for my products where the initial price of $XX.xx but then every month there is a $49 or $69 rebill which is what most internet marketers. An example is Tai Lopez with his 67 Steps eBook, which is $67 to buy the initial product, then a forced automatic rebill of $67 a every month afterwards. But even though I know there's a ton of money to be made in rebills, it's not my style, and if I ever go that route, it'll be for something that involves coaching or new content each month which isn't very passive, so it's not something I plan on doing anytime soon. 

Profit from Courses: $1,379.00

*increase from $1,182.00 last month. 

January 2017 Expenses

With all businesses we have expenses, but what's nice about the digital nomad type lifestyle businesses is that most of them don't cost very much to startup or run. Here are my business, travel and living expenses for the month. 


Podcast Editing Expenses: $600
Coworking Membership: $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
Flight to Bangkok (RT): $118.95
Flight to Taiwan (RT): $337.65 
Hotel in Taiwan: $116.56
Karaoke in Taiwan: $120.43
Wedding Gift: $100

Donation to Muay Thai Isaan (monthly recurring for children)
Donation to Warm Heart Worldwide $125 (biochar project)
Monthly Check to Parents (To my Mom $1,000.00)

With the extended family in Taiwan

Monthly Wrap Up

Not a bad month for me being preoccupied with seeing family and organizing the Nomad Summit conference. The total profit numbers may actually turn out to be a bit higher as I had some tracking and payment issues with two of my affiliate accounts this month as I've been switching over from being paid as an individual to finally getting around to getting paid into my LLC account. I'll talk more about tax savings as a location independent entrepreneur in a few months when I finally get it figured out all out the good news is if I can figure out the two issues, I might actually have a couple more grand coming to me this month.

But either way, seeing a lower number than usual got me thinking. 

Why do I actually need to make $20k a month? I'm only spending a few grand and I do everything I want to do, eat too much good food as is, and I really don't feel like I'm lacking anything. I have this random goal of having $1 million dollars in the bank just so I can say I'm a millionaire, but even when that happens, what will really change? In 2017 I'm either going to end up making A LOT more money, or I'm going to end up refocusing my energy into something completely different even if it doesn't pay as well. Only time will tell, so keep following the journey to see how it all unfolds!

Profit for January: $17,442.19

*decrease from $26,921.22 last month.

digital nomad income

Want to Know More?

Here's my income report in video format where I'm able to go into more detail about the why and how things happened as well as my plans for the upcoming month as well as year. I like the blog post format as it's easier to share screenshots while blocking out any personal information but I also think the video format feels either to connect and talk candidly. 

So even if you've this entire post, you might enjoy the video explanation below:

Hope you enjoyed this month's update! Best of luck to you and your business in 2017!

If you haven't gotten started, here are 27 ways to get started in online business even if you're broke. If you're already making money, congrats and let me know in the comments how you plan on scaling up for the year!

Warm Regards,

Johnny FD

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Post a Comment

  1. Hey Johnny, love your content and enjoy reading your monthly reports.

    What are you advertising spends per month look like now for your Dropshipping stores?

    1. Hey glad you enjoy the income reports! This month I spent $249.47 on ads for my store.

  2. Really interesting to get the detail and insight. Thanks for sharing.

    My suggestion would be for you to do fewer things and do them a little better. Refocus your efforts to maximize your revenues and your happiness. You can do less, earn more and get more enjoyment out of your work. Many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of doing a bunch of different things so they are never reliant on just one source of income (if that one source went away...). Similar to diversification in your investment portfolio. There is a perfect mix of focus and diversity that you should strive for to maximize returns.

    Also, I would associate expenses, both your time and money, with the specific income it is generating. Two things may generate a similar amount of income but one may require siginificant more time or money. Then figure out how much enjoyment you get out of a project and you can make the most well informed decision on which projects to keep working on and which projects you might eliminate.

    Good luck with everything. Sounds like you have a great life!!!

    1. Hey Joe, thanks for the input! You're right, I could defientely make more money if I focused on just one thing. =)

      But I really enjoy creating new streams of income and using myself as a case study if they worked so I can pass the knowledge along.


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