Income Report: January 2018 - Travel, Goals, and Chiang Mai

I still can't believe it's 2018, and it's already February. It feels almost surreal to be back in Chiang Mai after traveling out of my duffle bag and being away for almost a year. Exactly one year ago this month I sold all of my stuff here in Chiang Mai, moved out of my condo, and packed a bag to become truly nomadic again. A lot of people ask if living in Chiang Mai year round constitutes being a digital nomad, or if that just means you're an expat. Being a digital nomad is working online wherever you go, regardless if you are setting up a home base in one place such as Thailand, or if you are moving every few weeks to a different country. Personally I really enjoyed living in a few different countries last year but for longer periods of time as settling down for 2 months at a time is a more long sustainable long term than having to check into a new airbnb, hotel or dorm every week.

This month I've been in Chiang Mai and even though part of me feels like I never left, there are definitely a ton of new faces, and places. The city has grown, more coworking spaces have opened, and there are even more cafes and coffee shops to work from. The Nomad Summit this year also had its biggest turn out so far with over 400+ attendees from all around the world. It's been an amazing month, and I'm excited to be able to break down and show you which streams of passive income are still going strong to help support this crazy travel lifestyle. Keep reading for a full update of January 1st-31st, 2018 with an inside the dashboard look at the life of a digital nomad. 

Where I Traveled

I spent the entire month of January in Chiang Mai with just a short side trip after the Nomad Summit to go camping on top of Doi Chiang Dao a few hours away to unplug, relax, and get into nature. I've been to Chiang Dao before, but mainly to relax at a hotel called The Nest Chiang Dao and get away from the city for a weekend. For whatever reason, even though it's less than 2 hours away and just as scenic and beautiful, Chiang Dao isn't as popular as the hippy village of Pai where you can discover juggling or acroyoga like I did at the circus school or stay at a luxury couples retreat in Pai at Reverie Siam. Then of course there's also the popular city of Chiang Rai near by with the white temple which people often choose over Chiang Dao as well. So maybe it's good that way, it's one of those less visited places with less, and that's not a bad thing, especially for those of us who have been living here longer that are looking for a quiet escape. 

Other than the camping trip, if you've been following my Instagram stories @JohnnyFDK I also went on hikes almost every morning so far this month just halfway up Doi Suthep mountain to Wat Pah Lat on the Monk's trail. It's been a great way to wake up and get into nature every morning for just an hour before work, while saving the longer thikes all the way up to Doi Suthep for the weekend. The goal was to get out into nature more often as well as get into hiking shape for my upcoming trip to Nepal next month and it's been a success.

Lesson Learned: Getting into nature just 1 hour a day on a short hike works wonders for your mind, body and soul. 

Sunrise at Doi Chiang Dao

Sunset at Doi Chiang Dao

Travel and Living Expenses:

Apartment: $893.20 (28,000thb monthly)
Coworking Space: $125 (Punspace) 
Transportation: $30 (Ubers and Mobike)
Food and Drinks: $380 +/-
Chiang Dao Camping: $118 (including transport)
Gym: $41
Misc/Other: $100 +/-

Base Living Expenses: $1,687.00 +/-

Course/Video Hosting: $83.25 (Teachable)
Email Marketing: $58.92 (GetResponse)
Wordpress Hosting: $4.95 (SiteGround)
Ticket Sales: $25.00 (Ticket Tailor)
Mother's retirement: $1,000 (blog post)
Donation to Stop the Smoke: $300 (Warm Hearts Worldwide)
Producing the Nomad Summit: $37,673.64

Total Expenses: $2,858 +/- an insane number.

For this month, my basic living expenses was on par with my estimate of around $1,500 a month to live a really good life here in Chiang Mai. I've also lived for less than $600 a month which I documented in my book 12 Weeks in Thailand: The Good Life on the Cheap but have since upgraded my apartment from a basic 5,000 baht ($160 usd) a month room to a super nice 1-bedroom apartment with floor to ceiling windows. The other big expense I had was my gym membership which I should have skipped as I was working out mostly outdoors this month and inside my condo gym.

Aside from that, the only other big expense I have is the $1,000 check I send my parents each and every month to help them with their retirement. That being said, it's still really easy to live a basic life in Chiang Mai for between $600 - $1,000 a month as if you subtract the luxuries from my expenses above, that's what I spent even without trying to stay on a budget. Things also get cheaper the longer you stay, so if you sign a 6 month or a 1 year lease on an apartment, expect to save 20%-40% on your bill. Below is a video tour of the new apartment I moved into this time around, for more info on how to find an apartment in Chiang Mai, read my guide to Chiang Mai.

Passive Income Earned

One really exciting thing that I never seem to get bored of is the ability to continually earn passive income for months and even years after creating a product or a piece of content. If you've been following my blog for a while, you'll know that in 2014-2015 I worked really hard to create a bunch of courses on Udemy, write two books on Amazon, and a ton of reviews of my favorite products on my blog. The great news is since that content with both evergreen as well as genuinely valuable, even years later people continue to buy those products, leave reviews of the book, and recomend it to friends and others who purchase it and keep the momentum going.

As I show everyone how to do the same in my course Income Boss, I've now setup a system of passive income through my various blogs, websites, and email lists that continue to make me over $100,000 a year passively through multiple streams of online income. I show you in detail inside the case studies of my course, but here are a few screenshots below of just some of the sources of online income that have continued to work even with zero promotion on my side. As for the Nomad Summit, even though this was another successful year, after booking the venue again for next year and paying all of the staff to film, edit, and produce the photos, videos, as well as all of the other crazy expenses that go along with putting together a 400+ person conference where you feed everyone, I was left over with just enough to make what I would have earned working on my own online business this month. Good thing I don't do it for the money. 

Total Income for January: $9,479.42

Passive income from Udemy

New reviews of 12 Weeks in Thailand book

Passive income from Affiliate Blogging

Income from my Youtube Channel

Video Income Report

For those who prefer the video version of me explaining this month's travel and income report in much more detail and a recap of everything mentioned above.

It's been an easier way to go into my thoughts on these past 31 days and share what I plan on doing in the future than the 12 hour blog posts I used to sometimes take 2-3 days to write. 

Goals and Lessons

Last year in 2017 I traveled to 8 countries and managed to earn $178,376 online from my laptop while doing so. I wrote about it in detail in my 2017 year in review post, and in it you'll read that my priorities have shifted a lot since the year before where I made even more money starting, running, then selling a couple of dropshipping stores. Part of me still can't believe it's now 2018 and that we're on a completely different journey now and honestly, part of me wishes I could go back to 2016 and focus solely on making money, traveling as a digital nomad and crushing it hard in every way. During that year that I documented in my book Life Changes Quick, I was in the best shape of my life, had energy for days, was madly in love, and made a shit ton of money at often over $30,000 a month in pure profit. It's way more than I've earned from spending months planning the Nomad Summit as the expenses to throw the conference are insane, but finding ways to give back and inspire more people to start their journeys is where my heart is and what makes me happy. 

The crazy thing is, there's nothing stopping me from just stopping everything I do for the community and, re-read my own book, join Crossfit, start another dropshipping store and do it all over again. By this time next year I'd have it all again. But what's stopping me is the feeling of needing something new and different, even if it's not necessarily better. I know it sounds crazy but I just need to follow this new path and see where it ends up leading me. I honestly don't even recomend it for others as the end of the rainbow is unknown while the other promises a pot of gold...or at the very least a gold watch (read the gold watch challenge.) So that being said, my goal for this month is to see how long I can go without starting a new business just yet, live off of the passive income i've built in the past, while exploring myself to see what the next chapter is in my life. I sincerely urge you to just follow what has worked in the past and what I've already documented as to be honest, this isn't the smartest move, but something inside of me just needs to explore. Lets see what this crazy life takes me. I'll be sure to report back once I find out for sure. Until then, keep building, keep grinding, and see you on the other side or at the very least the 2019 Nomad Summit

After months of preparation the 2018 Nomad Summit 

2018 nomad summit
This was the 2018 Nomad Summit!

Warm Regards,

Johnny FD

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Post a Comment

  1. The Nomad Summit seems like a lot of fun! Who is the woman in the nomad summit promotional video? She says she is from San Francisco as well. It would be good to meet up. Thx Sam

    1. Hey Sam, not sure which woman you're talking about as we have a few different Nomad Summit promo videos up, but if you comment on that specific one I can try to tell you. =)

  2. I love a place Chiang Mai. Here's everything you need to know to get the most out of Thailand's shopping capital: unmissable night markets, the best bazaars, and street food certain to boost your bartering skills.

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