Categories
Career Side Hustles Spending

Side Hustles I’ve Done

I’m more or less an employee now, but in my 30’s, I used to be quite the hustler. I was self employed for a number of years and did anything I could think of to make money. Now, that I am in my early 50’s, I look back at that period with a certain amount of fondness.

MY SIDE-HUSTLES

Here area few of the side-hustles I used to do (and maybe you could too) with a brief description of my experience with each:

  1. Selling stuff on eBay – I used to search around and look for cool small items or collectables. I couldn’t find enough things and I got tired of the time it took to process orders (tracking bids, postage, etc)
  2. Bartender – The hours were long and the tips weren’t much. To be honest, I’m an introvert, and this probably wasn’t the best choice for me
  3. Security – At special events and bars. Again, the hours were long and the money wasn’t great.
  4. Multi-Level Marketing – I sold vitamins. Ultimately, I didn’t like the recruiting aspect and the expectation to consume so many of the products.
  5. Accountant – This was my main gig – I was self-employed for 5 years. I realized that, after a while, I did not like doing taxes and bookkeeping – most small-business owners are so dis-organized and I found it challenging to charge decent rates for any length of time.
  6. Talent contests – I did a few singing contests! Ok – this was mostly for fun! I did make some money, but not a long-term plan and very competitive.
  7. Film/TV Extra – this was more recent. I had fun and learned a ton about the film-making process, but the hours were long and the pay low.

WHY I DIDN’T LIKE CERTAIN HUSTLES

There was a common theme in many of these hustles – they were location-dependent and took too much of my time, while not paying me enough in return.

I am also very independent and don’t like to be told what to do. In some of the jobs above, I was at the mercy of some unreasonable bosses which took the fun out of the work. I was so busy back then and the last thing I wanted was some fool making my life hell.

Some hustles just weren’t the best use of my time.

I LOST MY HUSTLE

As I mentioned, I am now mostly an employee … something happened to me in my 40’s.

I bought another condo. Real Estate is one of the best long-term investments you can make, but it comes with short-term costs. In my case, I kind of lost my hustle. Because, I had a mortgage, I became more risk-averse, and stayed in a high-paying job probably longer than I should have.

I still hung out with some of the wrong people. I look back and think I still partied a bit too much and went out for drinks at the pub more than I should have. I should have been hanging with other like-minded folks.

GOING FORWARD

Nowadays, I really try to spend as much time as I can around entrepreneurial/hustler types. I am in the best shape of my life and no longer hang out in the bars (and shop) like I used to.

I feel I am slowly getting my ‘hustle’ back. Here are my current side-hustles:

  1. YouTube – a small channel doing covers of various songs.
  2. This blog – just started it about a month ago.
  3. Acting – I’ve been auditioning occasionally for TV. Yes, I’m an introvert, but I’ve decided to push myself.

1 and 2 are location-independent but 3 is not. That’s ok – regardless of what happens, I am picking up new skills that I never would have learned by doing one ‘day job’

I think I’d eventually like to be a Digital Nomad and travel the world!

Categories
Budgeting Spending

July Spending Update

Welcome to my first spending update!

I’ve been tracking my finances since the 90’s and have always had a pretty good idea of where my money goes. I use a program called Microsoft Money Sunset Edition (Sadly, it is no longer updated but you can find a copy free online at the link – use at your own risk!) I enter everything I spend on a daily basis – if I make a purchase on my credit card, I will post it into the software immediately (Don’t forget – I’m an accountant!)

JULY UPDATE

It is now just past the middle of July and a I’ve noticed a few things. I won’t go into detail of exactly how much I spend, but here is what sticks out:

  • I’ve spent too much on eating out.
  • I’ve also spent too much on Starbucks!

The weather has been nice and I haven’t felt like cooking or ordering from my usual meal plan service. I also love the ritual of buying a Starbucks on the way to work. It is just so relaxing!

MY WEAKNESSES

My biggest weakness involves a pub down the street. They have a wing night that I simply cannot resist – yes, beer and chicken wings is my vice of choice. But cheap wings aside, after a few drinks, the bill can get to $50 fairly quickly.

As mentioned before, going out and getting a coffee is one of my favorite activities, especially at the beginning of a long walk. I do make coffee at home in the morning, but to be honest, it is not the same thing. Without a doubt, though, I still spend less on coffee than I used to.

THE PAST

In the past, when I had a good job (I still do, but it doesn’t pay as much), I suffered from lifestyle inflation – I used to spend a fortune on travel, food and entertainment, clothing – you name it! I was seriously on the career treadmill – overweight and unhappy – running to desperately keep up.

I’ve made huge strides over the years and no longer attempt to keep up with the corporate lackeys I see downtown. I’ve gotten my spending down considerably, but it’s a process, even after all these years. Sometimes, I fall back on old habits and have to adjust in the following months.

I’ll keep doing these updates periodically. See you soon!

Categories
Cryptocurrency Investing

I Bought Some Crypto!

I’m definitely more of an old-school guy. I’ve only been on Instagram for a few years and I really only started watching YouTube videos consistently because of the pandemic! Back when I was younger, Exchange-traded funds (ETF’s) were the new thing – now, of course, everyone invests in them. For the past few years, I’ve read about Bitcoin and Alt-coins and have been very curious (but nervous) about dipping my feet in the crypto-pond.

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

Finally, a few months ago, I took the plunge and bought some!

I know I am late to the game but specifically, I bought some ADA (Cardano) and Ethereum. Not much, mind you, but enough to ensure that I watch the news closely and that the news actually means something and hits home.

Reading about something and owning something are two entirely different things. Until you actually own a piece of an investment, you won’t learn about it. I am all about taking action and I felt the only to learn about crypto was by doing (and owning) and here I am!

I purchased some of my coins on Blockchain.com and Binance.com. I’ve also slowly started learning about the types of wallets (web, software, hardware, etc.) but obviously, still have much to learn.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?

I have a strong feeling about Bitcoin and some of these other coins – I have a suspicion they are here stay. I know the pandemic may have artificially increased their values somewhat, but based on my experience, I think there is something more going on here. There are going to be plenty of Dogecoin situations, but if a coin is useful in business and commerce, then it may stick around.

Do you own any crypto? What do you think it will do in the next few years? (And … is Dogecoin done?)

I will keep you posted on my thoughts in the coming months.

Categories
Retirement Spending

The F.I.R.E. Movement

I’ve been reading about the FIRE movement for years – FIRE meaning ‘Financially Independent, Retire Early’ So what exactly is it? Let me start by saying, I am NOT young and certainly not ready to retire but many devotees of this movement have managed to ditch their jobs, retire young and now travel the world or do whatever hell they want.

HOW DID THEY DO IT?

From some of the stories I’ve read, these FIRE followers lived below their means, sometimes saving as much as 50% of their income (or even more) and then invested any surplus in the stock market or real estate. The stock market has been on a huge bull run the past ten years, bloating many stock portfolios and allowing some of these young savers to even retire in their 30’s! I’m an older guy and I have to tell you, I do not have the money to retire, and it is impressive to hear how they have done it.

I think the run up in values of the stock and real estate markets has surely been a help. Tech stocks have gone up by at least a factor of ten or twenty – it doesn’t take much to retire if you invested wisely have have the benefit of this. I also noticed many of the FIRE disciples had high-paying tech or professional jobs. I wonder if it would be as easy to retire early if you didn’t have the benefit of an excellent education which many of these jobs require. Does it look like much fun living far below your means as many of these early-retirees did? I guess it depends on what kind of person who are and what you can tolerate – short term sacrifice for long term gain!

IF YOU’RE OLDER AND NOT YET RETIRED?

Well, I do feel a certain amount of envy …lol … but here are a few lessons that I will take away from the FIRE movement:

  1. Discipline – it’s still not too late to keep track of your finances and keep your expenses low – it’s never too late to live below your means and not ‘keep up with the Joneses’
  2. Retirement – I’ve learned that I will always have to be doing ‘something’. I will never fully retire because I would get bored … but, it is nice to have the bank account to have the freedom to tell people to get lost.
  3. Multiple streams – the stock market took a hit early in the pandemic. I think if someone was living off one source of income, it could be a cause for concern. Multiple streams are the way to go and anyone can start at any age.
  4. Real Estate – it’s never too late to buy a rental property (cash-flow positive) or do some kind of ‘house hacking’ or renting out a part of your home if you can.
  5. Comparison – it’s not always good to compare yourselves to others. Everyone’s journey is different and maybe don’t worry so much.

I have to admit, I was a late-bloomer with regards to my personal finances. When I was younger, no one really talked about money as much as they do today. I got my first internet connection in 1996 and at the time, personal finance blogs were not as prevalent as they are today. One of the first books on personal finance I read was “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” back in 1997 and that opened my eyes to the world of how money really works. Today, there are literally thousands of blogs and pieces of information on any topic you want. I think culturally, money is talked more openly now.

Anyways, onward I will continue … I think I will modify the term F.I.R.E. for myself – ‘Financially Independent, Retire Eventually.’

Categories
Career FIRE Personal Development Side Hustles

Personal Mission Statement

For years, I chased the high salary and job title – I also chased the money. I went to school and it was drilled into me to get a good management position. So, I did that – I went from job to job and tried to improve my title (and pay) with each new company. I started as an Inventory Clerk, then Accountant, to Accounting Manager and then finally, Controller.

BURNT OUT

And then one day, I knew I was done. It was over. I knew that I would no longer continue on to the next logical step – CFO. I was burnt out.

For a long time, I did what I was expected or whatever people thought I should do. I worked in some jobs that made me dread getting up in the morning, but they were ‘good jobs’ and looked even better on my resume. The media bombards us with images of what success is supposed to look like and don’t get me started on peer pressure and other people’s opinions and expectations – I thought I was successful. I was somewhat part of the rat race, I guess and didn’t listen to my own needs, wants or desires. I needed a change or a way to help shepherd me through trying times.

MISSION STATEMENT

So, I developed my own Personal Mission Statement.

What is a mission statement? I guess you can say it’s a set of overall goals for a person or organization – it’s a statement of purpose. It’s like a rudder through a storm or a way to guide us down a winding road when you can’t see what’s around the next bend.

Here is my current mission statement and it consists of 3 sentences:

1.) I want to see new things.

2.) I want to meet new people.

3.) I want to learn new skills.

That’s it. If you notice, there is no mention of money here. Obviously, money is important because we have to pay bills but it is no longer the single driving force in my life.

I’m sure my mission statement will change over time but it has definitely affected how I live my life. I am still a Controller because, to be honest, I have a mortgage to pay, but I now work in a good, small company where I enjoy going to work each day but who knows what will happen next?

It’s a process. I have now started side hustles and my next opportunities or life experiences will be guided by my mission statement.