Almost Fearless

How to Make More Money: Day 28 of 30w30d

This post is part of 30 Ways in 30 days to Redesign Your Life and Travel the World. This series seeks to give you the practical, real world steps you need to take to get from wherever you are, to exactly where you want to be– traveling the world and living the lifestyle you want.


30 Ways in 30 Days, money, finance, passive income, travel blogs

The title of this post makes me want to roll around on the floor giggling, because honestly, wouldn’t that be nice.  A little post from Christine and everyone who reads it just starts making more money.  Brilliant!

I’m writing about it today not because I have some secret advice to share with everyone, but because no one does.  I’ve received a lot of emails and comments about this, along the lines of, “Traveling sounds great, Christine, but first, how do I make more money?  Because that’s the only thing I need right now.”

The problem is, as far as goals go, it’s almost impossible to achieve unless you’re willing to compromise something else.  I’ll get to that in a minute.  First, let me quickly tell you why more money and travel don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

More Money = Less Time = No Travel

Don’t believe me?  Ask anyone with a lot of money how much they travel.  Then ask anyone who travels how much money they have.  Retirees don’t count.  Neither do lottery winners.  How many hours per week do the people who make double your annual salary work?

Ah, but you’ve figured it out, you’re going to make more money in less time.  You’re going to earn income passively.

Passive income is the result of active work

I love Tim Ferris.  I love what the 4-Hour Workweek has done for so many people: it’s made the idea of redesigning your life possible. But the whole passive income thing is kind of a joke.  Being more efficient is one thing.  Sitting back and watching a healthy wage roll in on literally four hours a week, well… come on.  Not even Tim Ferris pulls that off.

Yes, I could set up a website to sell something, but first you have to test (straight from the book).  You run with your idea- you buy a little advertising to make sure people will click through, you monitor results, you make a decision on whether or not to proceed.  One idea fails, another succeeds.  Forget for a moment that you have to figure out how to use google adwords or build a website or how to set up a buy now button or a dummy sales page or save enough money to pay someone else to do it or learn what click through rate is good enough to start your business. You’re really smart, that will only take you, what, 30 minutes?  But then, what if your idea doesn’t work?  How many ideas will it take?  Eventually you will find a business that is profitable and requires no hand holding.  But when?  In a year?  In two?  Are you really earning passive income if it’s the result of slowly building up your business over a few years?  I don’t think so.  And Tim Ferris, the wonderful marketer that he is, knows this too.  He’s built his brand with hard work and lots of hours.  He loves it, so he doesn’t count that time (as he says on his own blog).  Will you love your passive business?

Ok, fine, let’s get to it.  How to make more money…

The obvious answers: get better paying job or charge your clients more or get a second job or take on more work (more pat answers here).

Transition from your day job to self employment. In most careers there is a limit to how much can make.  If you truly want to increase your earning potential, you have to cut out the middle man: your boss.  As long as the company makes money off of you, you’ll always be making less than you’re worth on the open market.  The added benefit of starting a business is that you can also outsource your responsibilities for less and by building efficiencies you can profit off of other people’s work.  This all takes time, a learning curve and a bit of luck.

Don’t spend as much. I know spending feels like a reward for all that hard work, but unless you get control of it, you’ll outspend your earnings, no matter what you make.  Cut your spending in half and you just gave yourself a 50% raise.  Think it’s impossible?  Read this post. Or this one.

Calculate your per hour rate. If you’re working a full-time job, calculate the hours you spend, from getting into your car in the morning, to getting out at the end of the day.  I’ll guess it’s about 10 hours a day or more.  Then divide your take home pay by the number of hours you spend “working”.  I did this once when I was a manager at a small publishing firm and came up with$13/hr.  It was my first big job of college, but it wasn’t until after I did the math, that I realized my new 80+ hour job wasn’t actually paying me that well.  If you’re a freelancer, this number is your cost to your client minus your overhead.

Cut loose those activities that aren’t moving you forward. We’re not just talking about low paying clients, but also those networking events that haven’t resulted in a promotion in five years or spending a few extra hours at work each week with no raise.  Ask yourself, is this helping me move forward or is it giving me the illusion of action?  Am I spinning my wheels and seeing very little movement forward?  It’s time to treat your income like the big experiment that it is.  Try something, monitor the results, then move on.  Keep what works, ditch what doesn’t.

Don’t just turn your hobby into your business. It’s tempting, but don’t do it.  Instead use the skills you have, even the boring ones, as your base.  So instead of starting an ill-advised career writing about high school football, use that accounting degree to start your business.  It doesn’t have to be an on-the-nose interpretation of it, for instance, you might combine football and accounting (having a website with exhaustive stats and performance predictions) to give you an edge over other folks.  The first question should always be: what is my competitive edge?

Don’t wait for the big idea. This always kills me, because I know people in my life who have been talking about starting their own business for… ever.  Have they started?  Nope.  They are waiting for the big idea.  The problem is, it doesn’t work like that.  The way to figure things out is to get in there.  You’re not informed enough to know which ideas are big, and which ones stink until you take some time playing with the real-world applications.   Test the idea on some people.  Do a sample run.  Try it out as a side project for a few months.  You will learn so much and then it will come to you… the big idea that changes everything.  First, you have to get your hands dirty.

Oh, and It’s Not the Money Preventing You From Traveling

I used to think like that too.  That’s why I waited until I was over 30 to do something about it.  I finally hit all my financial goals and I was left thinking, “Huh? That’s it?”  I still had to go through the same process as everyone else… having money didn’t change a thing.  No one ever has enough, but the truth is, you already have plenty.  It doesn’t take more than a minimum wage job and a year to save.  You’ll get that next raise or promotion or big bonus check and it doesn’t mean a thing.  It’s you.  You have to want to travel.  You have to commit to doing it.  The money thing, it’s just a thing, no more and no less than getting your passport or booking a flight.  It’s a detail to be handled.  It’s not going to give you permission to travel.  It’s not going to change your life for you.  Put it on the list, but keep it there.  Make more money if you want, but don’t let it become more than it is– a means of exchange so you can buy back your life.

Christine Gilbert

I’ve been dragging my husband around the world since 2008 always with the promise that, “Yes, Drew there will definitely be hammocks there.”



  • People misuse the term, passive income. Many often say that blogging generates passive income. However, you still have to write blog post regularly, which is work which is not passive. Blogging is highly scalable, which means that if I get 100 visitors or 10,000 visitors my workload will remain the same even though my income goes up. But it is not passive.

    True passive income normally on comes from real estate, investments, shares and royalties. These generate true passive income.

    I really enjoyed the post, Christine. Thanks!
    .-= Gordie Rogers´s last blog ..How To Develop Persistence. =-.

  • in regard to your point about transitioning to self-employment and calculating how much money you actually make on an hourly basis, another thing to consider is how much money it costs to work for someone else: gas for the car, new business clothes every now and again, lunches with the co-workers, etc. Working at home for yourself is, for me, less expensive anyway.
    .-= JoAnna´s last blog ..Tripbase: Another Fun Website That Inspires Travel =-.

  • More Money = Less Time = No Travel

    A great and most accurate equation. Plus, I agree it is not money stopping you form traveling or really following any of your dreams. The only thing (or person) stopping you is you. That is right. Only you can stop you.

    Anyways, that is the most valuable lesson I learned in Nov 2004 when I first took off on my nearly year long travel sabbatical and I remind myself of that crucial lesson often.

    stay adventurous,
    .-= Craig Zabransky´s last blog ..StayAdventurous: it’s not the end #MexMonday RT @IxchelSchool 2012 is not the end of the world, Mayan elder insists – Telegraph =-.

  • Of course there are purely passive income jobs…hell, I just started an SEO biz a couple months ago that’s already extremely profitable (and I haven’t touched it in 2 months…I just wake up in the morning, check how much I earned, and spend that much during the day), and now I’m outsourcing 100% of the work to make it grow while I travel….and I’ve been doing similar things for the last 2 years (while living in Europe and South America and Asia). If you set your mind to build a passive income biz, you can…but don’t say that it doesn’t exist. You just haven’t found it yet.

  • Maneesh,

    The point I was trying to make is that “looking” for a passive income biz is not passive. So when people say “passive income” it’s not something that just instantly happens. There is action behind it. I’m sure you had to set up your business. And you had to find a model that works. That is still time spent.

    So if I spent a year looking for the model that works and then sit back and collect money off of it, am I really making money with no effort or am I just delaying my pay until later when I’m finally compensated for all that up front work.

    I just think the term passive is misleading.

  • Yea—of course, any business requires hard work. But unlike blogging, which requires you to continuously be there, there are business

  • SO right on with everything you have said. You just have to do it, for one thing (travel). As for the money making part, there are a million formulas, but you have to select the first one and try it rather than just thinking about it. It’s taken me three years, but I just kept plugging away, making sure I was producing good writing and providing good information. I am only now beginning to earn some decent income.

  • I agree that there is often a trade off between money and time. When we have money, we don’t have time. And when we have time, we don’t have money.

    I also agree that the 4 hour workweek is a myth. The world is getting increasing competitive. Even if you do find an easy way to earn passive income now, it is not likely to last for long as thousands of others fill the same niches.

    Real business and real incomes take work. They always have and always will.
    .-= John Bardos – JetSetCitizen´s last blog ..Interview with Global Artist, Elizabeth Briel =-.

  • Wow, great post. It is actually really relevant to my life right now. My husband and I are planning to travel around the world for at least a year, (or however long our budget will strech.) We are both teachers and let’s face it…we don’t make a ton of money. As our travel plans stand right now, we’re not going to be able to see Africa, and a few other destinations we’re interested in. We often go back and forth with the idea of working another year to build up even more savings, which would then allow us to travel everywhere we want to go.

    I am reluctant to stay and work another year for two reasons. One, I think the more money we have, the more enticing it will be to do something more “normal” with it, like buy a house. Two, I want to go now. How in the world would I wait another year???
    .-= Lindsey Stetson´s last blog ..Farewell to Film Part One =-.

  • Brilliant advice! I think it’s a matter of how badly you really really really want to change your lifestyle – and you find a way – no matter how much work it takes. And I am with you on the money-thing: yes, it needs money and I have to make it somehow, but my GOAL is not money, my goal is freedom to do what I like. I need very little that can be bought with money. So many of my of my friends and acquaintances tell me that they envy me, that they wish they could do the same – but they always find reasons NOT to change.
    .-= Fida´s last blog ..Oct 14, About me =-.

  • Just to say thank you for all your hard work in doing this great series for us. I’m going to leave the UK in Oct 2010 and will support myself via rental income and freelance writing. The series has been very useful.

  • Great Post Christine! My big tip for making extra money is just what you stated above – SAVE! You have to want it too, like you said. Once you want it then it will be easier than you think. This was how I transitioned into saving more money: whenever I wanted something I normally wouldn’t think twice about spending money on – I actually transferred the cost of it into my savings acct. You can save so much money this way. I also did this with small expenses I could do myself but in the past had paid someone else for. A good example would be getting my dogs nails clipped. I hate doing it so I used to pay someone $20 to do it for me. Not anymore. Now I suck it up and do it and transfer the $20 into savings. It’s amazing all the money that trickles through your hands throughout the day. Once you really want to save for travel, you can find tons of money that you already have.
    .-= Bethany´s last blog ..No More Mondays! =-.

  • Like you I have a healthy dose of scepticism about the Tim Ferris school of thought. I mainly follow and and am doing the BAB course at the moment, which is great as it takes you through all the practical ‘how to’ steps on how to implement all those wonderful ideas.

    But I’ve listened to many of the interviews that Yaro made with other successful internet marketeers, and what they have in common is, they’ve all been in business on the internet for many years, they are all pretty focussed, driven, hardworking people. I guess perseverence could be the key.
    .-= Heather on her travels´s last blog ..Friday Photo – Back to school in Papua New Guinea =-.

  • Heather,

    I like Yaro too. I’ve just read some of his free ebooks but I think he’s very practical and level headed. I agree about your assessment… hard work, time, and focus. Which I think ultimately is what Tim Ferriss preaches, but he kind of screwed himself by picking such a sensational title for his book. If you took out that one element, I’d agree with everything else he writes.

    Have you read Gary Vee’s book that just came out this week? It’s called Crush It. It’s very go get em tiger, but he follows a lot of the same principles as I do. One of his big ones is to wait to as long as possible to monetize.

  • I couldn’t agree more with you but I have the problem of a mortgage on an apartment that is in negative equity. Renting can not pay the mortgage.

    More money = less time. The recession here has certainly helped that. Maybe I should get a part time job too 🙂

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