March 2017 Passive Income Report: Digital Nomad in Bali

This was my first month living in Bali as a digital nomad and it a completely different experience from living in Chiang Mai. I've been spending half of my time by the beach in Canggu and the rest in the more popular nomad hub of Ubud. If you've read either of my travel guides to Bali in previous blog posts, you'll know that I have a love/hate relationship with Bali. On one hand, everything here is a pain in the ass. The infrastructure is like what Thailand was ten plus years ago. Things like catching an Uber, getting anywhere or getting cash out of an ATM are 20X more difficult than they need to be. But even with all of that, I love it here and have extended my visa to stay for at least another month.

But thank god I have passive income and am not actively working or building a business as it would be a serious pain in the ass to try to do so from Bali, especially Canggu where there's currently only one overpriced and uncomfortable coworking space. If I was still working and in growth mode, I would absolutely be up in Ubud or back in Chiang Mai but since I'm really much retired after selling my last drop shipping store, I'm enjoying the surf and life by the beach in Canggu more than I am on my laptop. In this post I'm sharing exactly how much money I made online these past 31 days mostly through passive income while living life at the beach without working more than a few hours a week. This may be one of my last detailed income reports so I hope you get a lot from the breakdowns.

Places I've Traveled

I arrived in Bali exactly a month ago and have been here ever since. What's really crazy is that I'm here with not only my buddy Chris, but also 5-10 other friends from Chiang Mai who have also decided to make the move for burning season or possibly longer. Most of them are living up in Ubud where the digital nomad community and coworking spaces are better but they often come down to Canggu for a weekend visit as it's just over an hour away.

I've spent a bit of my time up in Ubud and the rest down in Canggu as I'm trying to learn how to surf. On weekends I've been going scuba diving on the east coast of Bali, which although beautiful, were long days due to being 3 hours by car away from the dive points. Here's a video of my most recent dive at the legendary Liberty Wreck which is known for a ton of fish life and the chance of seeing sea turtles just from the shore.

Income from Books

More than ever I'm glad I wrote these two books when I did. Not only have they constantly brought in a few hundred bucks every month in passive income, but they also captured a period in my life that I'm able to share with my readers who may be finding me late and wish they could have seen what it was like when I was just starting out.

Both 12 Weeks in Thailand and the second book, Life Changes Quick capture and document the mindset needed to get past those first hurdles and just to get started.

Kindle Sales: $150 +/-
Paperback Sales: $0
PDF Sales: $41.95

Profit from Books: $191.95

*increase from $188.99 last month

12 weeks in thailand review
New reviews of 12 Weeks in Thailand: The Good Life on the Cheap

Income from Udemy

For my courses on Udemy, this month really shows how passive the income is for courses hosted here. Exactly $0 of the sales came from my links or promotions which means this month I made $204.85 in completely passive income from my courses.

Aside from logging in every few weeks to check messages and answer questions, this income has been 100% passive since I filmed the videos.

Profit from Udemy: $204.85

*decrease from $239.63 last month.

Income from Dropshipping

It's been a great month for my dropshipping store, but unfortunately all of that profit goes to the new owner since I've sold it! I didn't make a big announcement about selling the store with a separate blog post or anything but I mentioned it in my retiring at 35 blog post here.

The main reason why we sold the store is because Larissa was buying a house and needed the money, and because neither of us were paying much attention to it this past year as we had other priorities. But honestly It was also difficult at times to be in business with your ex, and even though we're still friends now, we know that when we call or message each other it's because we want to and not because we have to do it for business reasons. So even though we didn't get to keep the profits from this month's sales, we got a lump sum of $60,335.64 total which I gave her 50% of as she helped me build the store and run it these past two years.

I'm so grateful that I started my first dropshipping site four years ago as I would have none of the skills to be able to run other successful online businesses today if it wasn't for the knowledge I gained from building and running those sites and the confidence and capital it gave me. I still think ecommerce and the dropshipping route is the best first business for new online entrepreneurs and those who want to live and work as a digital nomad if you don't already have another form of location independent income or skill you can capitalize on.

If you plan on getting into dropshipping yourself here's my Dropshipping Discounts PDF with everything I use currently including the tools and courses I used to build both of my stores including some bonuses to help you get started.

Update 4/4: One of my dropshipping partners just sent me a screenshot letting me know that we made $21,665.85 in sales for our store this month! He hasn't sent me my 25% share of the profits yet, but i'll be sure to update them here as soon as he does!

Profit from Dropshipping: $30,167.82

*increase from $2,273.56 last month.

Sales from the 2nd drop shipping store I sold

Sales from one of my partner stores for the month! (25% ownership)

Income from Investments

One of the best forms of passive income is having your money make you money. This is the reason why I've been so excited about getting into investing these past few years. If you haven't already, make sure you subscribe to the new Invest Like a Boss podcast where my co-host Sam Marks and I interview successful investors, business owners, and CEOs and ask them all the questions that we as novice investors are interested in knowing but usually too scared to ask.

Even though I have a lot of other investments now, the main two that I look at every month is PeerStreet as it pays interest every month and to track where I am with my index funds through Vanguard. But since I'm buying and holding my Vanguard ETFs for the long run, the monthly ups and downs don't actually matter that much and I don't count them in my reports until I actually sell them regardless of they are up or down. So the only profits you'll see me reporting every month are interested collected, dividends received, and the profit made if I sell anything, which I probably won't for a long, long time.

Expect my investment income to grow over these next few months and year as I'll be putting 100% of the $30,167 I received from selling my 2nd drop shipping store that I built with the Anton Method into income producing investments.

Interest from PeerStreet: $297.59
Gains from Vanguard: -$906.50 (holding)
Dividends from Vanguard: $615.07 (added 4/3/17)

Profit from Investments: $912.66
*increase from $179.00 last month.

Inside my Vanguard ETF dashboard for the year

Income from Youtube

I still can't believe Youtube pays for me close to $90 a month just for hosting videos that I would have made anyways. This month I gained 247 subscribers which is awesome. I've also realized that most people don't care about or watch my scuba diving videos and that spending hours filming and editing them aren't actually a good use of my time. But honestly, I don't make the videos for any other reason than to have memories that I can share with my friends, family and reminisce about so expect to see more! 

Also this is the month that all of the 2017 Nomad Summit videos got uploaded to Youtube, so I expect that to become another small source of income. Although the filming and editing costs 

Revenue from Nomad Summit: $24.56
Revenue from Johnny FD: $89.57

Total Profit from Youtube: $114.13

*increase from $85.28 last month. 

Income from Courses

I originally created my Earnest Affiliate course because I was excited to share what was working for me. I wanted a way to show everyone what I was doing to make these massive affiliate commissions every month and so far those inside the course have learned a ton and a few are starting to really do well themselves with their blogs, youtube channels and websites. 

Even though I don't plan on starting any other new businesses, I do plan on doing a major relaunch and refresh of my Earnest Affiliate course as there's so much knowledge inside of it that I'd feel bad if I wasn't able to share it. The plan is to enjoy another month of retirement and just chill out, surf, scuba dive and relax. But as soon as I get to a place where i'm not by a beach, I'm going to take a month to record some updated videos and relaunch the course at a higher price. 

If you're already a member you'll get a free upgrade to the new version. If you aren't, expect to pay a higher price and please don't ask me if you can join for $197 it's literally been a year since I announced my plans to raise it. 

Sales from EA: $985
Sales from OLAB: $146.61

Profit from Courses: $1,131.61

*decrease from $1,576.00 last month.

Income from Podcasts

It's been way too long but I'm happy to announce that we now have a sponsor for both podcasts! Honestly, I would continue to make the podcasts for free and didn't make any money off of them for the first 40 or so episodes anyways but now that we have consistent listeners, it's kind of nice having a steady income stream. 

For Travel Like a Boss we have TripStreak a flight search company that bases your results on preferences for things like having completely lay flat seats or wanting to fly overnight or during the day. And for our new podcast, Invest Like a Boss we have SaneBox which is an email management service that helps you achieve inbox zero through smart filtering and something called the SaneBlackHole which makes annoying messages and people disappear. 

Ad revenue from TLAB: $1,020.00
Ad revenue from ILAB: $250 (partial month/split with Sam)

Profit from Podcasts: $1,270.00

*increase from $1,000 last month

Income from Affiliate/Other

This is the category where I lump in all of the money I made from my various email lists, youtube channels, ebooks, blogs, podcasts, and other web traffic.

I haven't done any active work on it this month as I've been taking a break and just relaxing, but it's nice to know that a lot of it is still automated or completely passive which means I should continue to make a few grand from these sources even if I completely stop updating the sites and writing new email blasts or creating new reviews. 

The only reason why I spent so much time and energy building up my own affiliate income these past two years is so I could experiment and use myself as a case study to better teach my students inside Earnest Affiliate so they can do it for themselves. Now that I'm retired I'm going to let the income coast for a bit even if it drops down to just a few grand a month as I don't really need the money right now and would rather use that time and energy to focus on other priorities. 

Profit from Affiliate/Other: $6,744.97

*decrease from $8,233.42 last month

A few examples of commissions I earn

Join the course to see the confidential case studies

March 2017 Expenses

Living in Bali is around 25% more expensive than Chiang Mai but compared to living in California or Australia it's a bargain.


Podcast Editing Expenses: $600
Social Media Intern: $300
Coworking Membership: $0
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


Hotels in Bali: $900
Utilities/Internet: $0
Mobile Phone Data: $30
Food/Drinks: $900
Uber/Transport: $120
Surfboard Rental: $40
Scuba Diving Trips: $220

Donation to Muay Thai Isaan (monthly recurring for children)
Monthly Check to Parents (To my Mom $1,000.00)
Donation to Warm Heart Worldwide (biochar project - $15,522 raised so far)

Lessons and Thoughts

It's been a fun journey these past four years as a digital nomad traveling around the world, working from my laptop, building and selling businesses. But even though it's taken me a few weeks to get out of the habit of working everyday, I really am retiring. A big part of me wants to continue to grind, start a bunch of new businesses and flip them for 27X profit. But another part of me knows that money alone isn't fulfillment or happiness. If you've watched my talk from this year's Nomad Summit you'll know that I was most fulfilled, in the best shape, and happiest when i was making between $3,000-$5,000 a month. It was enough for me to live on, still be generous with my friends and family, and even have a bit left over for savings as I've always lived frugally and traveled as a minimalist.

This month I made $39,027.99 in take home profit, which is more than a lot of people make in an entire year. Aside from taking care of my mom, I don't have any other responsibilities, and this may be the last time in my life I'll be this free. So i've decided to take at least a year or two off to really enjoy life without work. After saving up 75% of my income from the past 4 years from all of my online businesses and now after selling my 2nd dropshipping store, I've now made enough money to retire, at least for the next 30 years and possibly for the rest of my life if I don't get married or have kids. I have enough passive income from my sources above as well as my investments and enough money in the bank now to be able to coast, and I'm going to take advantage of it.

Watch this video below where I go more in depth on both the income breakdowns from this month as well as my future plans.

Update 4/3/17: Total has been updated as the dividends from Vanguard came after this video was recorded. Total amount is actually $615.07 higher this month, with a grand total of $39,642.99.

Am I Leaving You?

For  everyone who's worried that I'm going to abandon you before you've made it yourself, don't worry. I have years of content you can go go through, hundreds of podcast interviews with other people who have been successful, books and courses you can follow. Every step of the journey has been documented. Just read through the archives, go through the old podcast episodes, videos, and read both 12 Weeks in Thailand and Life Changes Quick if you haven't already.

But even better than that. I still plan on updating my blog regularly and recording podcasts as that's something I've always enjoyed doing and do more as a hobby than to make money from. As for my monthly income reports, I've been posting them every month since July 2014 and they have gotten more in depth, longer, and more time consuming to write. I know how much value some of you get from them so I'll still do shorter monthly updates.

Let me know in the comments what you enjoy most about my income reports? Is it the costs of living, travel expenses, travel plans, mindset rants, lessons learned, total amount earned, dashboard screenshots, or something else? I'd love to see everyone find similar or even more success with your own online businesses. Let me know how I can continue to help. Also make sure you subscribe to the email list below as I'll be posting more updates there.

Warm Regards,

Johnny FD

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Post a Comment

  1. Johnny, thank you for posting monthly reports. The biggest insight I have gleaned from voyeuristically nosing into your journey is that you have remained humble and generous. Your personal comments about what is important to you have brought clarity to the idea of what it means to have freedom and the price you paid to achieve it.

    1. Hey really glad you've gotten a lot out of the monthly income reports including the ups and downs and the price of freedom. It was worth it but it wasn't easy!

  2. Johnny, as always, you are an inspiration mate! Thanks for sharing. Enjoy Bali, you've earned it. Greetings from cloudy and cool England!

    1. Thanks Mark! Have a cornish pastie for me! =)

  3. Thanks for being so open and honest by sharing all your income reports Johnny. Personally they have been very motivational and I am sure they have inspired lots of other people to start creating better lives.

    1. Happy to be able to share Michael! Keep up the hard work on your end as well!

  4. Appreciate the posts and well done to you.

  5. Why sell the dropshopping business for 60k when it made 30k in one month. Doesn't make any sense

    1. That's the profit he made from the sale after splitting 50/50 with Larissa...

    2. Justin is correct. The store was only making on average a bit over $2,000 a month (between $1k-$5k) The $30,000k was half of the $60K profit I got from selling the store as Justin mentioned.

    3. Ah ok, thanks for clearing that up. Keep on rockin!

  6. Thanks for the updates! I'm at the start of my journey and love the information you've shared!

  7. I have a friend in Portland that makes soils and one of his components would be biochar. Is there any future potential in exporting biochar? Also, a while ago someone from Craigslist was testing the waters with Bat Guano. The two of these together may be a potential product to put into the drop shipping pipeline.

    Anyway, I know you are not in Thailand at the moment and I plan to be there in 2020 so it is a ways off. Just a thought and if it could also help to reduce the burning and smoke all the better.

    Congratulations on getting the winning process going. And Kudos to you for helping others. To me having enough to be able to give and help others is real wealth.

    Best wishes, Steve

    1. Hey Steve really cool that your friend is making biochar! I think it's the future. Hopefully with some support the burning season in Thailand will no longer be a thing by 2020.

  8. hello jhonny FD.
    I am a new mama and want to open a dropshipping store. I'm located in Bali. what subject is best do you recommend for a successful dropshipping store? and how to have popularity ?
    thanks !!


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