June 2018: Travel and Income Report from Odessa, Ukraine

I didn't think I'd come back to Ukraine for a third year in a row, but as fate would have it, it's become my go to place in Eastern Europe over the summers. The biggest downsides to coming to Ukraine is how out of the way it is to travel to and how few direct flights there are to the country. But maybe that is also the reason why it's such a cool place for travelers to come, it's still relatively unexplored by mass tourism. You'll almost never see package tourists here and locals are still often surprised you'd come visit and are genuinely curious why you're here. For me I came because I was getting bored in Bansko, Bulgaria and needed a bigger city to escape to. But instead of going to an expensive city in  Western Europe or to Krakow, Poland where I've been wanting to visit. I jumped at the direct flight straight from Sofia in Bulgaria where I was last month to Odessa which in my experience is the best city in Ukraine. It's one of the few places on Earth that has both a really beautiful old city as well as a nice beach. The only other places I can think of that has something similar is Barcelona and if you're more into a modern city, then of course there is Miami, California or Hawaii.

The goal for this month was to settle into a productive routine in one place and not travel too much. I needed a place to focus, join a gym, and get into good habits again. Overall, I think Odessa was a good choice, especially since things are still really cheap for foreigners as there isn't a big tourism market and the local wages are really low. All that while still having incredible food, nice beaches, Uber, great gyms, and a walkable city center. I knew I would spend slightly more here than I would in Bulgaria or Thailand as even though you can find apartments in great locations for $150-$250 a month, they all require 6+ month contracts. As a tourist coming for 1-2 months, the prices for rent skyrocket, but the good news, everything else is relatively cheap including eating out, coworking spaces, coffee, taxis, and going out. Lets take a look at how much I spent this month in Odessa, and how much I made online with my online businesses and passive income.

Costs of Living

Before I dive into how much things costs here, I need to point out that Odessa during the summer isn't a cheap city. It's a great value city, but not cheap. Living in Ukraine long term however is super cheap as the currency is worth around 25% of what it was just 4 years ago in 2014. If you're looking to save money, I'd suggest to either go to Lviv which is an amazing value year round, or come to Odessa in the non-summer months and sign a 6 month contract for a local apartment. I wrote about Lviv and more about traveling in my ultimate guide to Ukraine blog post from my past two trips to the country.  That being said, I think of Odessa more as a place to go out to nice restaurants, hipster coffee shops, and nice bars and pay 1/4 of the price of New York while getting a similar quality. 

The city beach, nightlife and vibe actually reminds me of Miami or Barcelona just at a much reduced price. The average salary in Odessa is around 7,000 UAH a month which is $266. That means that most locals aren't eating out at restaurants every night of the week, taking Ubers a few times a day, joining the most expensive gym, or getting haircuts at hipster barber shops that serve free whiskey. But it does mean that for people like us who are earning in USD can live like a boss for much less than you would if you tried to do the same in a big city back home. The gym I'm is comparable to an Equinox with a pool, spa, sauna and steam room, and the restaurants I eat at are comparable to most high end restaurants back home all for a fraction of what it would cost in California, Miami or New York. Just check out the video tour of my gym here in Odessa to see for yourself. 

June 2018 Expenses: 

Airbnb - City Center - $682 
Gym - Spa + Sauna - $45.64 (Fitness Stadium
Coworking Space - $76 (Impact Hub Odessa and Terminal 42)  
Boat Party - $20
Concert - $24
Hair Cut - $6 
Uber and Taxis - $2 - $3 a trip. 
Restaurants - $10 - $15 for Dinner 
Wine and Alcohol - $2 - $4 a glass. 
Not counted is the $1,000 I give my parents for retirement.

Total Spend - $1,483 +/- 

*Around 40,000UAH which is 6x the average salary here.

Online Passive Income

I knew that the months of doing nothing prior to coming here both while trekking in Nepal as well as my month on the Nomad Cruise and in Greece afterwards would eventually hurt my income and it has. My original goal was to come to Odessa and start another ecommerce store following Anton's Method to create a new stream of revenue, but I ultimately decided to instead work on passion projects that may not make any money now, but may have a big impact in the future. Because of that, I'm investing thousands of dollars a month and most of my time creating and promoting the first US based Digital Nomad Summit. I've hired a team, secured a venue, and have started spending money on facebook ads to sell tickets. So far we've spent money buying hotel rooms, booking flights for three team members to fly out to Las Vegas from Europe and a host of other expenses. If it goes well, we might change the lives of hundreds of people and create an event that can hopefully be profitable in the future and have growth potential.

However, because I'm focusing my time on the event and not my own businesses, my online income is hurting in the meantime. Luckily, I took my own advice that I wrote when writing Life Changes Quick about goal setting and have saved up enough money to bootstrap new ventures like this. I'm also super fortunate that I saved and invested a lot of the money I made when I sold m dropshipping stores a few years ago and am now earning passive income from the investments as well. That combined with the money I still earn from the income streams I created these past few years, I'm still making just about as much as I'm spending and giving away so it's a blessing.

Total Income for June: $4,994.82

*decrease from $7,311.17 last month
*but still 131,730UAH which is 16x the average salary

My Amazon Affiliate Commissions 

My Wordpress Hosting Commissions 

Lessons Learned from June

One of the really cool things about affiliate commissions is that they keep paying you forever as long as the product itself was good and people continue to like and trust you recommendations. I created the URL so I can quickly change out whatever wordpress host I'm currently using and think is the best company to point people starting a new website to. Because I hit the second their this month, my commissions went from $50 a signup to $75 which makes my 7 referrals worth $525 this month! A lot of the referrals come from people who have signed up for my brand building, affiliate blogging, website monetization course Income Boss as well as people who signed up for the $7 Version called Blogging Bootcamp which is basically the first 15 videos of the full course and everything someone needs to get started and build a solid foundation.

The other really cool thing that continues to pay commissions and which I teach inside my Income Boss course is how to get Amazon to pay you for things that people buy even when they link your link and don't buy the product you linked them to. For example, this month I had someone furnish their office by purchasing 8 of these Random File Cabinets even though I had never seen or talked about them. What happened is that they clicked my amazon referral link to another product and just happened to buy the file cabinets within the cookie period. It's from work I've done these past two years to set these links and reviews up that continue to pay me hundreds of dollars each month in 100% passive income which allows me to follow my passions and work on big dreams today. Watch this video below for more in depth info on my travel and income updates.

I hope this month's travel and income report has given you some insights, tips and and take aways. Leave a comment below to let me know what you've been working on and what your plans are.

Warm Regards,

Johnny FD

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  1. Feel free to ask questions here in the comments!

  2. I contributed to your SiteGround commissions this month =)

  3. Hey awesome, thanks for that Ken! What do you think of SiteGround so far? Which host were you using before?

    1. I finally got rid of Bluehost lol. SiteGround chat support is sooooooo much better lol. I see so many bloggers making a boat load from Bluehost, though. Good for them, I guess.

    2. Maybe in the meantime, until people realize they are recommending crap and stop trusting their advice. =)

  4. time flies johnny, glad you are living the dream! Curious to see how your event summit goes in the USA.

  5. I so enjoyed this income report as it resonated much more, now that I'am actually a full time on the road digital nomad.
    Best Regards
    Marcus Mommsen

  6. Johnny, it's been a while. It looks like you get hooked to Ukraine.
    1. Can you blog about how you make friends with Ukrainian, once you are in their country?
    2. How do you compare American women to Ukrainian/Polish women?
    Thanks for replying in advance!


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