Story of my 500 day struggle + Why my degree is useless + my 30 day income report in a chart.

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I haven’t posted in a long time so I wanted to reconnect with subscribers in the most transparent and interesting way possible – by giving an open book breakdown of my last month of earnings and sharing the struggle I went through to get here.  I’m fascinated with internet entrepreneurship and I wanted to post some insight into the 500 days of skill building that got me to this point.

A snapshot of my last 30 days of earnings:

 

earnings

The breakdown I’ve shown above is about 75% affiliate earnings, 15% product sales, 5% consulting and another 5% to  random immaterial revenues (such as donations, at about $15 for march) The costs formula is wonky due to time zones and how I was recording costs so I balanced one column to zero on March 16th.  There’s a few remarkable things about how I’ve been earning money – most interestingly is that nearly all the money I made in March was from work done in February and before…

Why a dollar isn’t a dollar

1) Business income has advantages over employment income. Also, I’m a non-resident of Canada earning income from non-Canadian sources giving me a tax exempt status.

2) I live in a third world country and keep my monthly expenses around $1,000 USD.  I no longer have a commute, living expenses are extremely cheap, and I enjoy a higher standard of living at a fraction the cost (relative to Canada)  This arrangement also allows me to completely outsource all my domestic necessities – (I never cook, clean my room, or do my laundry)

3) Perhaps most importantly: 90% of revenues were ‘passive’ or payouts on assets I built in previous months.

I still work a lot – about 60hours/week, but interestingly all the work I’m doing now is for projects that won’t materialize till next month (or even next year) It’s not ‘passive’ income – it’s assets I’ve built in the past paying out. You don’t just ‘get’ money. You have to build something first that provides value and benefits others in the future.  The asset building part is very hands-on but once complete the fruits of your labour are often automated (thanks mostly to online systems)

Over 500 days ago I set my goal for total freedom and now I’ve managed to get off the hamster wheel. I’m completely out of the rat race.  I don’t know if this is a chicken / egg situation but work wise I’ve changed – almost everything I do day to day sees nearly ZERO immediate reward. I’m involved almost exclusively in long term projects. The best part of diligently plugging away at long term goals is experienced in their manifestation. That’s what I’m going through now.

Short terms goals like health and fitness are now rewarding me energy and vitality.

Mid term goals for money are rewarding me with daily passive income.

Finally, long term goals for skills and assets are beginning to reward me with competencies, financial security, and a growing circle of influence.

Seeds were sown days ago and soon I’ll enjoy their harvest. (after some tumultuous periods of farmer-like work ethic)

 

How did I get to this point?

I made the decision I was going to fully earn my income through the internet 500 days ago now. Since then I’ve undergone the most intense learning curriculum of my life.  This was much different then the four years I spent at university earning a business degree; for some perspective:

If someone asked me how valuable my 4 year business degree was, I’d say, “$10’000”

If someone asked me to value what I’ve learned in the last 500 days of self-directed education, I’d say, “$100’000”

In other words self education has given me 10x the value a university degree in half the time.  That’s powerful.

As Jim Rohn said:

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Why? How?

What you study in school has a low relevance factor. You also have a low level of applied learning – literally meaning you don’t apply what you learn. This leads to pointless memorization of stuff (stuff which you could google in the future anyway).  Compare formal education to a self-directed regime where your curriculum is dynamically constructed to help solve your most pressing issues.  Then everything you learn becomes applied. Everything you learn becomes relevant. Everything you learn becomes valuable.

My journey began approximately 500 days ago. I had set a very specific goal: to earn at least as much as my salary from sources entirely on the internet, giving me the freedom to travel and live anywhere in the world.  From inception it took 500 days to get there.  I remember vividly when it started, a month into my at my tax accounting gig right out of college.  I was working with people I didn’t know and was living with people I didn’t like – just to make make ends meet.  With a stressful 9-5 time for things like quality R&R, a social life, and hobbies were laughable.  What little spare time I did have was reserved for maintaining a sliver of connection with the people I loved.  The rest of my time was spent recovering and preparing for the next work day, so I could pay the bills and keep working the next day, and so on and so on.

Above all I wanted to be free.  But with most of my time and energy spent working a job to afford survival… I needed to find a way out.  And I did,

The way out

Hustle.

My life changed when I went full hardcore with my time.  No more going out.  No more boozing.  All my free time to getting something – anything off the ground and going.  The last month at my corporate job I was sneaking away on lunch breaks to meet web design clients at a Bistro down the street.  I’d come back to my desk with a $1’000 cheque in my pocket feeling pretty pleased, knowing that my final day to quit was approaching.

All or nothing

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This is my new home office in Bali, Indonesia….

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You can get an idea of what my new work life looks like in the video below. We did a 24 hour time lapse work session that I put together for another hobby site of mine here:

Final Comments

People you meet, experiences you have and books you read all contribute to your world view. With an open mind reflection on life’s experiences expands your perspective. I find it interesting I was more arrogant when I was younger, knew less, and was less capable. But now that I am more capable and know more than ever I feel the least so – after being repeatedly chewed up and spit out, failing hundreds of times over, humbled again and again. It’s a more accurate map emerging.

I’m 24 years old and I can honestly say that I experience my day to day life peacefully. I consider this my greatest accomplishment to date. Good things, bad things, all just things. Pleasure, pain, all just sensation. I’ve detached from classic objects and ownerships of success and come into touch with the things that truly make me happy. The two biggest being:

Surrounding myself with loved ones and having a wealth of time to not rush – but enjoy – the activities I love with some tender love and care (Read this book to really get the concept of having a ‘wealth of time’). Through understanding my happiness I can furlough the superfluous fluff typically ‘sold’ as a ticket to happiness; those percentile moments of existence defined by hedonistic consumption – vs. the TLC moments of doing what I love for hours a day and sharing life with people I love for hours a day.

And this is pretty much what growth looks like. It hasn’t always been easy. I have some serious problems with pills and alcohol, I can’t seem to manage my sleep, I frequently slip into 2 or 3 day long modes of lower consciousness, and I consistently fall short of the goals I set out for myself.

I guess that’s it for now.

-clay


ALSO
What would you like to see? Comment/email me if any of this resonates with you. I’ve done a couple fairly ‘off the wall’ things that people might be interested in hearing about, let me know if you want me to write something up or do a video – I have lot’s of spare time here in Bali 🙂

• Last year I did an intense 23 day experiment in consciousness exploration. The first 10 days going into flotation tanks for increasing amounts of time (up to 4 hours) Next I spent 10 days at a vipassana retreat meditating in silence at a Buddhist sanctuary in the wilderness, I then went deep into the rocky mountains – several hours down dirt roads – where I rented a cabin to experiment with LSD and isolated meditation. I have a few interesting things to say on that subject

• Right now I live in Bali. I’ve been ‘habit’ hacking for a long time and I was thinking of posting a video of my daily routine and things I do to stay on top of my game.

• There’s a few life altering books I’ve read this last year that I definitely think are worth sharing

• Anything else you would like to see?


Please Like/Share/Tweet. Post in the comments if you have any thoughts on the relevance of a University degree nowadays –

 
This entry was posted in Blog.

13 thoughts on “Story of my 500 day struggle + Why my degree is useless + my 30 day income report in a chart.

  1. Thank you for sharing, Clay. I resonate with a lot of your experience, and for a while I’ve been looking to make the jump. However, one thing that I can’t seem to get over: I never want to leave the US due to financial constraints. My network and my friends are all in the US (though spread all over), and I don’t see the value in leaving.

    Before you moved to Bali, did you experiment with “trail runs”? Ie, visiting your putative lifestyle business destination for a few months to try it out before officially making the jump. I’ve heard a lot of this from people in the DC, and I’d be interested in hearing your take on those types of mini vacations.

    Also, I would be very interested in hearing your experience with a full consciousness retreat: where you were at mentally/emotionally prior to the journey, where you ended up, why/how you choose to do it and the rationale behind the different exercises and the order you chose (tank, retreat, mountains).

    Cheers,
    Dan

    • I would also like to know what Dan is asking. I struggle with the thought of leaving my family behind and I would love to read about your consciousness exploration experiences.

      Elias

    • I understand what you mean about leaving your network behind.

      What I’ve noticed is that I keep in contact with most of my friends and family digitally anyway, this melts the perceived distance and keeps a connection there. The cost of travel is going down, peoples demand for freedom is going up – the result? People travel.

      The OPPOSITE of what you’d expect happened. We had at least one guest at the villa for 13 STRAIGHT WEEKS! Because every friend or family member who’d ever make a trip to asia knew we lived in Bali and made sure to come visit. We had to make a no-invite policy so we could actually get some work done because we were running a god damned hostel!(although I love everyone we’ve hosted haha)

      The other cool thing when you’re overseas and you see people you know the context is totally different. No one is going to work the next day and the quality of time you spend together is much higher.

      Also to reiterate – it’s pretty awesome having maids, chefs, and never worrying about a budget or overspending.

      Also friends and networks are incredibly easy to build up if you yourself have a lot of value to give. If you can get over feelings of separateness with other humans its very very easy to make connections. For example, im writing this post from Hubud, a co-working space in Ubud – it’s pretty much just a badass internet cafe that feels like a start-up work environment, 40 digital entrepreneurs and creative types under one roof. But my point, in just the last four days I’ve had offers to go into business together, got to meet several potential clients, had a gay dude make a pass at me, and then am going for dinner with a girl this weekend. I know it’s a bohemian lifestyle, but wow it’s awesome – and it’s the direction things seem to be moving.

      I’ve also done trial runs. I motorcycled all through British Columbia and have lived in Poland so I knew what I was getting into with the suitcase of possessions lifestyle.

      Anyway those are just some of my thoughts. Here we are at Christmas, a happy group of Canadians 7000km from home (we also made up the most intimidating scooter gang in the history of the earth)

  2. Nice blog post! Can’t believe the timing of this, this is exactly what I needed to pep things up in my journey for development.

    • Glad to have given timely assistance 😛 Stay in touch,

      Clay

  3. Awesome stuff. Exactly the kind of life I’ve been looking to build for myself. I’ve not been as hardcore in the hustle as you have so I don’t really have entrepreneurial income, but I did land an online job through oDesk that earns me over two thousands a month.

    So now I’m considering moving to South East Asia as well, perhaps Philippines. I figure I could even do with much less than you (your place looks really nice) but to hear that it only costs you 1000 dollars a month to mantain that is pretty amazing.

    Definitely would like the habit tracking routine as I’m in the process of building my own habits as well. Rebuilding really – I had a pretty solid routine going on towards end of last year which I wrote about in my blog, but it broke down and now with my work demanding 40 hours a week I can’t really replicate it no more. I’ve done one off 60-hour workweeks and I’d really like to learn the processes to regularly replicate it.

    All in all, what you’re posting is pretty inspiring as its very much what I’ve been trying to do. Also I don’t have a degree so the idea of self-learning is what attracts me.

    Also finally it would be interesting to hear how much experience you have of SE Asian countries in general, why you chose Bali over say Thailand, Malaysia, or Philippines etc and what you would choose if you were a guy like me who can live anywhere he wants and has nothing tying me in any place (though I do know people from Malaysia, Hong Kong and Philippines). Though my focus is more on building social skills as I’m anti social to the point of being socially crippled rather than building a strong business – but I want to eventually get to that as well.

    Thanks for the big value post! I still need to get over to reading your manifesto 🙂

    • 2k/month over oDesk? Dude that’s a dream job for someone in their twenties who wants the freedom to travel!

      Will post the habits redux soon.

      I actually had very little info on Asia when I came over here. Was culture shocked and got really sick for the first three weeks. Most of my info on where to live was from the DC a forum of internet entrepreneurs. Bali came highly recommended as a great balanced place to get started launching a business.

      Part of the reason I can live on 1000/month is because 1) we have a place paid for upfront on a one year lease and because 2) its actually more like 1300 month (I can’t seem to stay away from the nightlife haha)

      • I agree – I feel ridiculously lucky to have it, especially given its something I really enjoy doing. I know though that its not gonna last forever so I want to develop myself in the background so that when the time comes that I can’t fall back on it I can carve out something else.

        Alright, well I am gonna visit Philippines later this year anyway, I’ll see how it feels there. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Bali but not familiar with it in a similar way than many of its surrounding countries – and I don’t know any locals there. Ultimately in no hurry to make a decision since I won’t move out until end of year when I’ve cleared out all the destinations I’ve promised to be in.

        It’s still very tolerable. That’s what I love about SE Asia, nice weather and very cheap to live well. My experience so far limits to Kuala Lumpur and as said Hong Kong, but I don’t think HK counts as SE Asia. Anyway its also considerably more expensive – would be awesome place to live though. Kuala Lumpur is much cheaper and not as good, but wouldn’t call it bad either. My original plan actually was to stay there but I mismanaged my money and had to return home.

        Over anything I’d pick Osaka (just a personal preference) but as with HK I’d rather look into living somewhere cheaper right now.

        Anyway, thanks for the fast response and the insights.

  4. Great post. Stuff like this is what inspires me to keep moving towards the goal of being totally financially free.

    Would love to see a post about your habit hacks. Making the best use of my time is the area I could improve the most in.

    • Hey Alex,

      I’m almost done a mega-post rounding up what I learned from the habit tracking experiment. I have to be careful not to get too off the wall and I’m totally aware that some of my ideas are evolving towards woo-woo consciousness evolution speak that makes most people think i’m talking about aliens or something lol.

      Hope you’re enjoying Korea! Stay in touch,

  5. Happy to see your progress Clay. Struggling myself with the “no-day-to-day-gains” problem, but thankfully long term progress looks good.

    Would love to hear about the 23-day experiment.

  6. Good stuff there! I’m looking forward to the must-read list and stories about crazy experiences would be cool as well off course. Another thing which would be interesting to read about would be which internet businesses are hot at the moment, meaning for people looking to get into this type of lifestyle, what would you recommend focusing on and learning first? Thanks for all the effort you are putting into this. Impressing and even more so for a 24-year old!

  7. Great post. Excited to see your progress in the journey, along with some more value packed content like this. Also, I’d def be interested in a post/blog series where you do a deeper dive into life in SE Asia.

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