Sept - Oct 2020: Youtube Income, Dropshipping, Costs of Living Expenses, and Travel - Sri Lanka

Happy October everyone! I can't believe that this year has almost ended and it's almost the end of 2020. If you've noticed, I've reduced the number of podcasts and blog posts and have been focusing mainly on creating YouTube videos. It's a bit of a shame as I genuinely think the content in podcasts, blog posts, and in books are more valuable, better thought out, and deeper in useful information. But the viewers have spoken and it's much easier to keep people's attention and get views through fun travel videos than it is talking about finances, building a business or lifestyle design.

I'll continue to write at least one blog post a month mainly these monthly updates but in general I'll dedicate less time here. If you think these posts or the other blog posts I write are valuable, please leave a comment below and let me know what you like about them. As for my monthly video version of these income and expense reports, it's a bit confusing as since videos are always released 1-3 weeks after they are filmed, they are often from the month prior, and when talking about expenses I try to keep those for the actual current month. So that's something I'll try to figure out. Keep reading for this past month's recap and updates. 

Travel Update

It's so nice to be able to write travel updates again each month, as for the 6 months prior to this it's been lock down, or long stays in the same area. However September 2020 was a big travel month for me again, and honestly, it's exhausting and I'm glad it's over. It's crazy to me hearing about the people who actually paid money to go on "flights to no-where" as going to the airport, through security, and sitting on a plane for hours on end is the worst part of traveling. 

However, sitting in a car has also become less appealing to me as even though I used to never get car sick, in recent years I've started to feel uneasy whenever sitting in the back for long drives. My preferred method of travel is by train, or even tuk-tuk which is how we started this monthly travel journey from Arugam Bay, up the East Coast through Batticaloa, Pasikuda, Trincomalee, and Nilaveli before saying goodbye to the beaches and heading inland. 

I'll write these monthly updates according to what videos were published and when, as even though there's actually a 1-2 week lag time, it gets confusing for most viewers to follow my journey in real time. So at least according to my video release dates, Kristina and I left Arugam Bay at the beginning of September and spent most of the month on the East Coast beaches staying at some amazing places, scuba diving, and even going whale watching overnight on a super yacht which I previously had no idea existed in Sri Lanka! 

Where We Stayed

Accommodation wise, it would have been much cheaper and easier if we had just extended our stay at our hotel in Arugam Bay as it was super comfortable, in a great location, had a pool, and included everything for just $323 a month which is something insane like $11 a night as there are so few tourists right now and tons of great deals going on. But our time in Abay had to come to and end someday and although I would have liked to stay a few more weeks as the surf was still good and there were plenty of friends there, the heat was getting to Kristina and she was miserable hiding away all day in the A/C room and never going out. That's why we decided to move on and give up the great deals and the nice room. 

As we moved up the coast we stayed a few nights here and there in rooms ranging from 1-star cheap guest houses in Batticaloa to 4 and 5 star resorts in Pasikuda, Nilaveli and even on a Yacht in Trincomalee. A lot of those stays were for content trades as we wanted to make videos about those areas anyways, and instead of paying $100-$250 a night to stay at these places, we reached out to the places we wanted to stay at anyways to see if any of them would be willing to comp the stay for us in exchange for promotion. It was my first time doing this, and it was perfect timing as most of these resorts were sitting 90% empty anyways due to the airport being closed. 

But even though it was super cool getting 2 nights full board at some of these luxury hotels and we could continue to do so as since then my inbox has actually been getting flooded with hotels and resorts reaching out to me now asking for me to come, I actually decided that unless it's somewhere I wanted to go anyways, it's not worth traveling all the way there just for 2 nights, and I'd rather just pay for my own stay. That's why towards the end of the month we checked into a little known beachside hotel in Nilaveli Beach near Trincomalee and I paid out of pocket for 9 nights just so we could have somewhere to relax, unpack our stuff, and not be obligated to film anything.

I ended up filming the hotel a bit anyways as part of the scuba diving video above, but mostly we just chilled out, caught up on editing videos, and went snorkeling to nearby Pigeon Island. 

Costs of Living

This month's costs of living were a bit strange, as on one hand, we ended up getting a lot of free stays including half or full board meals complimentary. However we also gave up our normal life, cheap apartment, and eating at local restaurants most days. This was also technically the month that we started the sponsored Sri Lanka Tourism tour for 12 nights, but since none of those videos are edited or uploaded yet, I'll save details for that till next month where it makes more sense. 

But as far as costs were concerned this month, I spent a lot more on hotels and transportation than I normally would, but saved on things like no longer having to pay the monthly rent for a scooter. During normal high season, prices for rooms are 4x the price which honestly seems 2x overpriced, but since their seasons are so short and the rooms get fully booked anyways, that's the prices that supply and demand usually dictate. But right now our $170 a night room in Nilaveli was only $30 including breakfast, our Ayurvedic Resort near Sigiriya was only $62 a night including full board (3 meals a day.) 

I'm super grateful that we were able to get sponsored stays and travel this month in exchange for the work we're doing on Youtube to promote certain areas and hotels as well as tourism to Sri Lanka in general. I've made sure to keep my opinions my own and stay honest and truthful with my reviews regardless if we're paying for the room or not. I'm just glad I'm in a position where financially I have the option to pay for the rooms out of pocket, and it's just a nice perk instead of something I actually need. 

Things would be different if prices for everything were normal high season rates as there's no way I would pay $250-$300 a night for a hotel room. So here's this months' strange costs of living breakdown. My total spend actually ended up being exactly the same if you minus out the cost of the replacement MacBook Air that I had to buy last month. 

Hotel Room Nilaveli: $30 x 9 = $270 (Breakfast included) 
Hotel Room Sigiriya: $49.60 x 5 = $248 (Full Board) 
Hotel Rooms Other: $294 (Various) 

High Tea Heritance Kamalanda: $38 (2 persons) 
Entrance to Polonnaruwa: $50 (2 persons)
Entrance to Dambula Cave: $17 (2 persons) 

Taxis, Trains and Tuk-Tuks: $78
Boat Rental: $54
Tips and Gifts: $100

Food and Drinks: $300 
Other and Misc: $200 
Parent's Retirement: $1,000 

Total Spent this Month: $2,679

*Decrease from last month's $3,627.53

Youtube Earnings

This was the best month I've ever had as a full timer video content creator and it's amazing to see my earnings double from the month before. It really has been a dream come true to be able to earn a full time living from making travel videos and staying in awesome places like this. Not including the money I send my parents each month, the earnings I've received from just my Youtube videos has completely paid for my entire month's costs of living. 

Thankfully that some of those experiences and rooms were comped or discounted as if we had to pay full price for everything we did these past 30 days the price would have been astronomical. My goal has been to make Youtube my full time living for both myself and Kristina and to be able to pay for all of our travel and living expenses with a little left over to do fun things and celebrate. Speaking of which, I paused this writing and showed Kristina our dashboard for this month and we just ordered a bottle of wine to our hotel room to celebrate! It's my first time ever in my life ordering a bottle of wine to my hotel room, but this was cause for celebration!

I have no idea what's in store for next month, but I've been experimenting a lot with how to improve my videos, filming, editing, length, and even things like how often to publish. This month's experiment was making a lot of videos with some being short and publishing daily, followed by publishing once every 3 days but with longer videos. I'll keep track of how it all did and maybe even create a course about it someday in the future if I ever figure out the formula to get to $10,000 a month in revenue. 

Youtube Earnings:  $1,926.29

Other Income

It's great knowing that my active income from doing work that I actually love doing is enough to pay for all of my living expenses, but it's even better when my passive income covers it as well as that's true wealth. A lot of people don't realize this, but the definition of being wealthy isn't having a million dollars in the bank, driving a Mercedes-Benz or living in a big house. Being wealthy is being able to stop working if you wanted to, and to be able to continue to live your current lifestyle, or the life you desire off of passive income, savings, or investment income. 

For me, a lot of my income comes from the work I did for the past 7 years and the money I invested to work for me. I never count paper gains as income as those numbers go up and down each month, but I do count dividend and interest payments that I receive. Technically the stock market dropped this month and my net worth got hit with a -$12,000 loss but done of that matters unless I actually need to sell while prices are down. 

Other than that I still earn money through sources like my books 12 Weeks in Thailand and Life Changes Quick, my Income Boss blogging course, and from my dropshipping stores. If you wanted to get into e-commerce, you can take my free dropshipping course as I show you exactly how to start in 12 actionable steps. It takes a lot of work, and isn't an overnight get rich quick scheme, but it works. I should know, I've been consistently making money from my stores since 2013. 

Other Earnings:  $3,607.32

Goals, Lessons, and Recap

September really was a strange month for me, but a lot of people I'm sure. I know that I'm really fortunate to be able to earn a full time living in US dollars while living in a low cost of living country like Sri Lanka. Even more so is how fortunate I am that I have my Youtube channel which has grown so quickly these past few months and has allowed me to get sponsored stays and even a deal with the Sri Lanka Tourism board. It really is a dream come true to be able to do what I really enjoy and love. 

Even when paying for hotel rooms myself, it's such a fortunate time where everything is literally 50-75% off as there are so few tourists in town right now. That means that instead of spending $150-$200 a night on a nice room, I'm able to stay in them for weeks at a time without breaking the bank. Staying in a local apartment or somewhere long term can be even less at just $320 or so a month like we were doing these past few months. 

This upcoming month of October I plan to edit and publish all of the videos I did as a collaboration with Sri Lanka Tourism, and hopefully grown my YouTube subscribers and revenue even more. I also decided to stay in Colombo for an entire month as both Kristina and I are exhausted from traveling so much, Plus being in a big city again after staying in small villages and beach towns for so long is a nice change of pace. We went to watch Mulan in theaters last night and it was fantastic being in a nice cinema and walking around the mall. All of these things are closed in the USA and other countries so I'm really fortunate and blessed. Watch the below video for more details.

I hope these reports have helped you somehow, or are at least interesting. Leave a comment below to let me know what you thought of it and if you have any questions. Make sure you watch the video above as well for the full details and a $2k Youtube celebration at the end! 

With love from Sri Lanka,

Johnny FD

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Income Report 6439956705883862119

Post a Comment

  1. How was your month, where did you travel and how did you businesses go?

  2. Very nice, I'm surprised you didn't go the youtube videos route earlier. I've traveled for 2 years straight in South America and Europe and I regret not shooting more videos, for monetization but also great way to get things immortalized for posterity.

    1. Thanks Rio! I should have done this earlier for sure and regret not doing it sooner. But better late than never right!


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