July 2020: Income, Expenses, Travel Recap! (Youtube Income + Dropshipping)

This has strangely been one of the best months of my life. Maybe it's going from full lockdown and stay at home quarantine to having freedom to go out, eat at restaurants, surf, hang out with friends, and even to travel again, or maybe it's something else. These past few months I've changed a lot as a person, and even went from being an extreme extrovert, to happily staying home, being quiet, and way more introverted. I've also went from being a full time digital nomad doing online marketing, to deciding last month to focus even more on passion projects, working less, and enjoying life more. I've completely stopped building new online businesses, doing consulting work, or anything else business related, and I've somehow accidently become a full time travel youtuber.

In just this month, my channel has gained more than 6,000 new subscribers and has earned me enough money to pay for all of my living expenses for the month. It's been a crazy journey, and I can't wait to dive in deep with all of you in this month's income, expenses and travel report to show you what I've been up to. Oh yeah and I forgot to mention, it was also my birthday this month as well! 

Watch the Video

Where I Traveled

It's really strange but also exciting to be able even have something under this section for the first time since lockdowns happened in March! Last month I moved from the south beaches of Sri Lanka, all the way to the east coast, to a small surf town known as Arugam Bay. But after a month and a half of being in one spot, I decided it would be fun to take a short trip for my birthday and go on a bit of a holiday. Kristina and I has just started dating a few weeks before that, but neither of us hesitated to pack a bag (literally one shared bag, my 60L carry on) hop on my scooter and drive up to the mountains in the center of the country 4-5 hours away.

We had both been to Ella before, but we knew it would be a great change of climate from being in the sun, and by the beach for the month prior. As much as I love Arugam Bay, it's still a small surf town, and the weather everyday is hot, hot, and then hot at 36C/96F. Driving up to Ella was a nice change, but what was even nicer was leaving our scooter there and taking the train up to Nuraliya Eliya where temperatures drop down to 13c/55F at night and in the early mornings. It was my first time there, and I had skipped it previously as all of the travel bloggers and videos I had seen said there wasn't much to do there and didn't recomend stopping by more than a day. It turns out though that while it may not be very attractive for fast travelers who want to see the country in 1-2 weeks, it's perfect for expats, slowmads, and digital nomads who want to go somewhere completely different than the coast. 

Nuraliya Eliya is known as Little England both for their artitecture left over by the British, the tea plantations which are still in operation, as well as the climate. Prices are higher there as it caters to wealthier Sri Lankan tourists who come from Kandy or Colombo so it's dotted with 5-Star hotels and a taste of luxury. Even just the trip getting there was a ton of fun.

Expenses for July

Costs of living in Sri Lanka are quite low, and around the same as Thailand or other countries in SE Asia. However, since the country is less touristed than Bali and other more established destinations, there's just less choice when it comes to things like long term accomidation, at least during high season when the strip of hotels on the beach get full and raise their prices. Lucky for me, right now everything is 50-75% off because of the travel restrictions. I've been living in a beautiful hotel room right on the main beach road for just $321 a month, including A/C and all utilities. I even kept my things there and continued paying for the room even when we went on our 7 day trip to the mountains as for $11 a night it was easier just to keep our room than to move around. Plus it was a nice way to continue giving the local family some income as I was one of their only guests. 

Aside from that, daily living here isn't expensive, as food, surfboard rentals, tuk-tuks, and other costs of living are relatively cheap and super affordable. The biggest expensive this month for sure was the trip up to Ella and Nuwara Eliya, but it was also absolutely worth it. 

Rent: $321(A/C Room on the Beach)
Hotel in Nuwara Eliya: $192 (2 nights) 
Hotel in Ella: $52 (2 nights)
Hotel Other: $45 (3 nights, various) 
Electricity and Utilities: $0 (included)
WIFI: $10 (for extra data)
Netflix: $8.99 (Downgraded from the $12.99 plan)
Cell Phone: $15 (for 4G)
Scooter Rental: $113.10 (Automatic Honda)
Motorcycle Rental: $43.10
Gas for Motorbike: $21.30
Horton Plains: $68 (2 people) 
Horse Riding: $65 (2 people, 2 hours) 
Train Tickets: $9
Surf Boards: $24.24 (daily rentals, 2 weeks)
Groceries and Fruit: $85
Restaurants: $342.52
Drinking Water: $8
Coffee and Cakes: $47.10

Total Living Expenses: $1,476.20

This was an increase from $846.20 last month mainly from eating out more at nicer restaurants, paying double rent and staying at the nice hotels, as well as doing side trips like going to Horton Plains, Horseback Riding, Motorcycle rental and dating a girl who isn't German. Also not included in the monthly expenses is the $1,000 I send my parents every month,  money I donated to charity, and business operating costs. 

Youtube for July

This is really exciting as aside from the side trips we went on this month, my income from YouTube has now covered all of my basic living expenses including food, utilities, rent, scooter rental, coffee, surfboard rentals, and more. Another way of looking at it is that my YouTube income covered all of my travel expenses including staying in the nice hotels, and doing all of the cool stuff I did this month for both myself and my girlfriend. Either way, it's been a fun and rewarding hobby that has continued to grow since I decided to start producing videos full time a few months ago.

The funny thing is that I've actually had a Youtube channel since 2008 and used it as a place to upload my Muay Thai fights and Scuba diving videos just to share with my friends and family. It wasn't until May of this year that I created a series of Dropshipping tutorials, essentially a full 13 part course, that I uploaded to my Youtube channel. That was the first month that I went from making $150 a month on average, to over $500 that month. I knew that if I just continued to create videos teaching Shopify, Niche Selection, and other aspects of ecommerce, that I could start earning a decent amount of money even just with YouTube ad revenue. However, even though I still have some stores that I run with a partner, it really isn't something I'm that excited about anymore, and isn't something I want to spend all of my time thinking about and talking about. 

That's where the travel videos came in. I've always enjoyed making fun, shareable videos on Youtube of places I've been and things I've done. And it's also something that I like watching and looking back on myself. At first I thought it was a fluke seeing videos like my Journey to Arugam Bay video get 30,000 views, but the next week when I uploaded the Hippy Market video below, which shows what expat and traveler life looks like here, my channel really exploded. I went from earning around $150 on average from my channel for the last couple of years, to this month reaching an all time high this month! What was also really cool to see is the fact that all of my top earning videos are my new travel videos and not my business, online marketing, drop shipping, and digital nomading videos. 

Also fun fact is that 41.1% of my video views are now from Sri Lanka, followed by the US, Australia, UK, UAE, Canada then Italy. 

Youtube Income: $883.70

*increase from $581.34 last month, plus 6,500 new subscribers!

Dropshipping Income

Even though I'm now technically a full time travel youtuber, and had earned enough money to cost all of my basic living, or travel expenses for the month, it wasn't actually enough to cover all of my expenses especially when I factor in costs of visas, flights, and taxes. Luckily I have my actual ecommerce businesses that I built and helped build years ago that earn most of my actual monthly income. This month we had another great month with $40,123.66 in sales for just one of my stores.

A lot of people don't realize that most instagramers, youtubers, or full time travelers either have another stream of actual income that pays for their living costs, or they're actually broke. I've met a ton of travel bloggers who have zero money in savings and are barely getting by, as I would be too if I had relied on just my Youtube earnings. So make sure you actually build a real business, get a remote job, or do something that earnings real money if you want to pursue something fun and passion focused like creating content or travel videos, at least until it starts to take off and starts earning you enough to cover your expenses and then some.

For me I learned dropshipping through taking Anton's Course, you can watch his free webinar to get started. If it wasn't for taking his course, building my stores back in 2013, and learning the business side of things, I never would have had the time, freedom, and skill sets to be where I am today. It's still unlisted on Youtube as I never got around to publishing it before my travel videos started taking off, but here's a Review of Dropship Lifestyle that I created a few months ago. But as you can see from my dashboard screen shot from this month, things are still going extremely well. 

Profit from Dropshipping: $6,151.33

Other Income for July

I also have a bunch of other random income streams that I built over the years including my podcasts and the ad revenue it sometimes brings in. My two books on Amazon, 12 Weeks in Thailand and Life Changes Quick. A bit of interest from real estate funds, and other investments as well as my online courses. 

Affiliate income has been up and down but still brings me over $20-$40k a year in income, as does my course that teaches it called Income Boss. I also have a few courses on Udemy such as Small Talk and a few others.  If you're interested to learn more, watch my 14 Streams of Income video below. This will be the last month I talk about the "other" income category as honestly I'm really glad I built it all and that it still earns money each month, but i'm honestly bored of talking about business growth, passive income, etc, and would really just want to focus on Youtube right now to see if I can grow it the same way I have my other businesses.

It would be a dream to replace this income with ad revenue as a content creator as it's something I'm really passionate about and think it would be a ton of fun to do full time. Also another big part of my income is through investments, my biggest investment this month with with WorthyBonds. I talked about it all in detail and showed my exact net worth and how much I have invested in each account inside our Invest Like a Boss Pateron. 

Total Other Income: $3,257.83

Goals and Progress

This month was really good in terms of exploring, seeing new places, as well as having fun. I've also learned a lot of things about myself and what my future goals are, including what I want to focus my time and energy on. It's been almost 6 months of me being here in Sri Lanka and as the slow learner I am, I'm finally starting to get "okay" at surfing and being able to catch green waves a bit more consistently. I started using a hardboard instead of a soft top/foam board, and started going to different surf breaks by tuk-tuks with friends each day instead of just going to my go to each day. Surfing, at least for me really has been one of the toughest sports to get good at, but honestly I just enough getting out there each day, the exercise, sun, being in the water, and incremental improvements each day. 

Fitness and health wise, even though I've been constantly bloated from eating rotis, rice, bread, lentils and other carbs all day, as part of the typical Sri Lankan diet, I've somehow managed to lose 4kg/9lbs since I've been in Sri Lanka. Most of that has come from surfing, as I haven't been to the gym since February. There's a clip of me catching a few waves in the "perfect day" video below, which was actually filmed a few weeks ago on my birthday! 

Overall, this was another fantastic month, especially considering all that's happening in America and in many other parts of the world. It's just another big reminder on why choosing this life of location independence, online income, and choosing to stay here in Sri Lanka instead of panic flying home or somewhere else was such a good idea. I wish you well wherever you are in the world, leave a comment so I know you actually read this far! And let me know what you liked about this post and if you have any other questions, i'm happy to help. 

With love from Sri Lanka,

Johnny FD

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Income Report 8437654275629319905

Post a Comment

  1. What did you like about this month's update? Leave any questions here as well!

  2. Hi Johnny,

    I like the way in which you documented the experiences of going up the mountains. The mountain views, waterfall splash, the hotel experience on the food and facilities etc makes me want to join in the fun with immediate excitement and passion.

    Well made video and awesome views.

    I look forward to seeing more such updates from you.


    1. Glad you enjoyed the videos of driving up the mountains! It's been fun making and sharing them!

  3. Thanks for taking the time to post!
    I like that you're part of a couple now :)

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post! And i'm glad to be coupled up as well! =)

  4. "and dating a girl who isn't German" made me laugh lol

  5. Johnny, I've been following you for more than a few years.
    What happened to your investment with FundRise, PeerStreet, YieldStreet from this article (

    Are you still invested with these three? How are they doing if so?

    1. Hi Alex, I go over all of them each quarter in detail inside the Invest Like a Boss Quarterly update episodes. Take a listen:

  6. Good to hear you are happy, all the best for your relationship and new focus on youtubing!


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