Maybe even more important than the incredible content inside it, author Tim Ferriss is currently fighting a battle against the traditional publishing industry. The 4-Hour Chef is banned from 1000+ bookstores (including all Barnes & Nobles) because it’s the next big bet by Amazon Publishing.
The success of this book threatens the stability of the traditional publishing industry. It could also pave the way for bigger and badder things. As I’m getting ready to publish my first book, I’ve seen first hand how outdated traditional publishing methods are and how their restrictive nature of it all doesn’t do much to benefit the author or the readers.
A victory for the 4-Hour-Chef could mean getting more books and information into the right hands, and more creative flexibility for authors. It’s a win-win scenario (except for the big publishing corporations.)
If The 4-Hour Chef “wins” in any capacity, authors will feel freedom to experiment. If this book “fails” because the old guard makes of an example of it, their message wins: don’t mess with the system that keeps us fat and happy, or we’ll punish you.
Our world is changing. We’re noticing the unhappy effects of our “dog-eat-dog world” of the last decades, and seeing that “sharing is caring” goes a lot further. We’re working on updating health care, we’re working on updating our views on race, gender, gay marriage, the environment, and more.
To me, this is just one more small step for man. Let’s make it happen.
In May, I wrote about my goal to ”create a new stream of passive income by September 30, 2012, that generates at least $50 per month on average and endures for a minimum of 10 years in a way that delivers strong value for many others around the world.”
Since the “deadline” date has passed, I thought I’d share an update on how I did.
The plan was to monetize Art Outlines by selling my illustrations as downloadable vectors for other designers to use.
My plan was to group sets of drawings together into full-sets, each of which would be one page in the upcoming Art Outlines book. For example, I created a full set of banners, vegetables, stars, christmas illustrations, and so on. I drew a page per week and listed each page on my etsy shop for $12.95. And then…
And then, on July 4th, American Independence Day, something magical happened. I made my first sale. A stranger sent me $2 for my drawing of a deer while I slept. Fucking magical.
So was it a success?
I’m pretty damn stoked (and surprised) to be able to say yes, both monetarily and otherwise. After the initial $2, I ended up meeting my monetary goal of $50 passive income per month after September 30th.
I didn’t exceed it by much, but something interesting happened: I ended up starting a new form of active income as a by-product.
By listing my pre-made Art Outlines illustrations on etsy, people started getting in touch about creating custom illustrations in the same style. I was getting fresh eyes on my work and exposure via the etsy platform from people searching for quirky illustrations.
As well as making a fair bit more money than the passive stream, I also really enjoyed actively creating illustrations for customers with a set brief. It’s a fun puzzle for me to solve when a client tells me what elements they would like to include, and then I get to figure out a way to make it happen, using my judgment and creativity to fill in gaps.
I liked having the balance of creating pages at will for the book based on my own wants, and creating something more structred for my active clients.
I really loved making custom illustrations for new clients.
Here’s my Art Outlines monetary earnings breakdown since I started my goal:
JUNE: 30.00 active
JULY: 14.95 passive + 175.00 active
AUGUST: 38.85 passive + 90.00 active
SEPTEMBER: 37.95 passive
OCTOBER: 64.75 passive + 180.00 active
Passive Total: 169.45
Active Total: 475.00
Total Total (passive + active): 644.45
I’m really, really excited about my progress on this so far. Art Outlines is pretty much my ideal form of supporting myself: I can work from anywhere, any time; I get paid to use my creativity and make art I want to make anyways, I’m providing value for others while providing value for myself, and it’s completely passive because I created an automatic download page which customers are emailed after purchase for my completely digital product.
I guess all there is left to do is.. keep going. Based on the fact that people are actually ordering and paying for what I’m making is a clear indicator that I’m heading in the right direction. All I need to do is persist if I want to increase the volume of orders.
A couple folks commented on my initial goal blogpost that a goal of $50/month was too easy. I thought about changing it to a higher goal, but decided to stick with my initial instinct. I didn’t want to set the bar higher because I was (and still am) in the midst of constant travel. During the entire time I’ve been working towards this goal, Art Outlines has been a side project. I couldn’t give it my full attention, as my full attention has been dedicated to my main goal of traveling and working on The Eat Team. I reckon if Art Outlines was my main focus, I could have upped the ante a bit. I’m proud that I was able to meet my goal while exploring and journeying through Australia, New Zealand, and the west coast of the U.S.
I’m looking forward to seeing this project through to completion and earning enough money through passive income to fully sustain my life monetarily. I’m still creating one new set per week, so the finished Art Outlines book should be finished in the next year.
One of the biggest parts of creating passive income streams according to Steve Pavlina is mastering the mindset and really thinking about what you’ll do with your time once you fully sustain yourself with passive income. I think I’ve also been successfully acting upon my answer to that: I’ve been traveling, cooking for friends and family, creating, dancing, and making the most of what I earn. I’m looking forward to fulfilling the remainder of that list in the months and years to come. I’m in it for the long haul and won’t quit till I get there.
‘A ship in port is safe, but this is not what ships are built for. - Grace Hopper
There is nothing inherently good or bad about a hammer.
It is useless if it’s left in the drawer–paintings left to collect dust in boxes, Ikea dressers disassembled in their original packaging, a calendar lying unhung halfway through it’s calendar year.
It is only a tool, and it is useful only when it is being used. It can be used in so many ways, but there’s only a few things it was made to do: drive home nails, take out nails, smash things. Of course, you could also carry it around and use it to knock on people’s doors with, as a back-scratcher, to play catch with.
But those last few aren’t ideal. They’d get the job done in each of those last few scenarios, but in an extremely inefficient way.
There’s a few ideas here I’ve been mulling over that seem to apply to all tools:
1. Tools are made to be used.
A pot was made to be cooked in.
Paintbrushes were made to paint with.
Running shoes were made to run in.
Tools are only useful when used. Don’t let them sit and gather dust.
2. Tools are made to be used in a specific way.
You could use a speaker as a chair, or you could sit on a chair.
You could use a butter knife to cut a watermelon, or you could use it to spread butter.
You could use your desk as a space to write a book, or as a dumping ground for wrinkled clothing.
Each option would work, but which one is a pleasure and which one causes frustration? Impatience? Using a tool for its intended use makes things simpler and more efficient.
3. Tools are neither inherently good or bad.
You could use a hammer to hang some shelves… or you could use it as a murder weapon.
You could use your iphone to share photos of your creations… or you could use it to waste time refreshing your facebook feed.
You could use your legs to propel yourself in a swimming pool… or you could kick your neighbor.
You could use your brain to empower you, or you could use it to produce degrading thoughts about yourself.
You could use your hands to create a sculpture, or you could use them to pick at imperfections.
4. Tools are everywhere
Almost everything is a tool. That is to say, there is a way to use it. From literal tools like a wrench, to everyday items like combs, to every part of your body and your mind.. these things are here to enhance your experience of life, if you use them, and you use them for good and not evil.
The value lies in the usage. The user decides how to use the tool. Therefore, the value is created by the user. The decision, the power is in how you choose to use the tool.
Use the tools at hand to enhance your life and the lives around you.
Five years after iPhone was first released, I’m finally joining the club today.
The reasons I didn’t get one until now ranged from the fact that they were unnecessary– that all I needed on a phone was to call and text, that I didn’t need the bells and whistles, especially at the extra price tag. But the biggest reason of all was that I didn’t feel I could trust myself to use it efficiently.
Now that the cell phone companies have eliminated the excuse of a high price (they make it just about the same price and sometimes even more expensive to buy a new “basic” phone as they do to buy a smart phone), and realizing how handy some of the apps would be on the road and in navigating daily life, I had only one reason left that could get in the way. My mindset.
“Technology alone is not enough. It’s tecnology married with the liberal arts, the humanities, that gives us the result that makes our hearts sing.” – Steve Jobs
I always knew that if I were to get one, I’d have to have reached a level of maturity that I could wield my iPhone for good and not evil. iPhones are extemely powerful, and we all know that with great power comes great responsibility. Pirates had swords to do their bidding, and we have smart phones.
Since having an iphone is a great responsibility, I must treat it accordingly. As a young college kid addicted to constantly refreshing facebook in 2007, I knew that I was not ready.
Maybe you’re thinking that’s a little dramatic–it’s just a phone, right? Well, really, it’s a tool. And no tool is inherently good or evil. But you can use it proactively, or you can use it against people and against yourself. You can use it to enhance life, or you can use it to distract you. To connect, or to disconnect. The choice is yours, whether you want it or not.
Before I took on this responsibility, I wanted to make sure I could handle it. I wanted to make sure I had outgrown my other technologies, and truly lived my life fully knowing that I could live without it.
Now I know that I can live without it, because I have done my whole life.
But I now feel ready to wield my power responsibly. But before I dive in, I want to set some guidelines for what is “good” and “evil” in my iPhone usage. Because, after all, I am human, and we do tend to make a butt load of mistakes ;)
GOOD iPHONE USES
- Note taking: I use sticky notes on my computer and a TextEdit document to compile my notes and to-do list. So unless I’m at my computer, I’m always writing stuff down in a ton of locations. In draft text messages on my phone, taking photos of things to remind me, scribbling on notes here and there, writing them all over my physical notebook. I’ll be eliminating at least two gathering points by jotting down most of my notes on my iPhone, which I’ll be doing since it will be near me more often than the other items.
- Instagram & Camera: I’ve been photographing for 10 years now, studied it, loved it, and continue to do it every single day. I have a bulky digital SLR which I use for events and travel, but I’m looking forward to putting away/selling/donating my point-and-shoot, which is less powerful than the iPhone camera and using it means I carry a phone and a camera at all times. I’ll be saving space and upgrading the actual camera technology, while being able to share photos more rapidly and efficiently.
- Youtube/video: The camera upgrade is already massive, and as I am just getting into youtubing my adventures, I’m looking forward to capturing these moments in higher quality and sharing them more efficiently.
- Not having to bring my computer everywhere: I like having the option of working when I get a burst of inspiration, and also being able to use internet when I want to. I’ve been known to lug around my 6-year-old hulk of a macbook through big cities, and having a computer for a phone means I can give my back some much needed rest and get up and go more quickly.
- Maps/directions: I travel regularly, and when I’m not traveling, I live in Los Angeles. In both scenarios, I’m going to new places on a regular basis. Having an iPhone means I no longer have to google map before I leave and take a photograph of it on my point-and-shoot camera and zoom in to scrutinize the blurry little map while I’m on the freeway.
- Emergencies: I imagine it’s going to be pretty damn handy in a stitch. As my friend Hannah pointed out though, there’s a fine line between convenience and laziness.
- Update twitter/facebook: Not having to remember what I want to say until I get back to a computer means I can free up mental space. Especially useful for my entrepreneurial projects and pages. Think it, type it, publish.
BEFORE I DIVE IN
Before I even start using it properly, I want to make a pact to myself that this iPhone will be birthed into an organized environment.
After 6 years of inconsistent file naming on my home computer, totally disorganized folders, photos this way and that, documents here and there, 3 hard drives, music in all the wrong places, and a digital clutter of the worst degree, I realized that I really should have taken those extra 20 seconds now and then to create some consistency on my hunk-a-hunk-a burning love macbook.
I’ve slowly been working through the mess and bringing it back to a clean, simple, organized environment, but how much easier would it all have been if I had just started it right? This is my public vow, to myself and to the world, that I will organize from the beginning, taking care to learn and instate processes which will clarify and enhance usability.
BAD iPHONE USES
- Mindless facebook: This was the big one. In younger years I spent a truly embarrassing amount of time refreshing facebook, waiting for notifications, riding on the highs of attention, wallowing in the lows of nothing-new-to-see. Somehow I finally stopped that bad habit, and use it consciously to stay connected with friends and family. However, history always has a chance of repeating itself and I want to make sure I’m aware of that so that I don’t slip back into old ways.
- Constant email: What was once a facebook addiction in college gradually grew into an email addiction after graduation. With real work and clients and meeting people and new friends, it’s a constant barrage of information and people awaiting your reply. You can just as easily get sucked into email as facebook, and I let myself drown in it for a while. But, I learned my lesson again and, for the most part, am good at respecting the line between keeping in touch and drowning in my inbox. I don’t want to be constantly updated, I don’t want to know who’s written to me, and I definitely don’t want my phone to make a noise or pop up every time I get a new message. What I don’t know can’t affect me, and I intend to keep my mental clarity and sanity in tact by keeping up my “once a week email-a-thon” and intermittent checking. I say when it’s time to email, not my phone. Step back, biotch.
- Using it in social situations instead of participating in real life conversations and connections: One of my biggest pet peeves is when you’re talking with someone and they whip out their phone and multitask. I won’t lie, my feelings get a little hurt. If we’re hanging out, let’s be together. I don’t like to be multitasked on, and I will do my damndest not to multitask on you.
Sometimes I feel lost. Coming back home after 6.5 months of constant travel in places I’d never been to before was one of those times. I felt relieved, confused, helpless, weak, scared, and worried.
Shouldn’t I have been bursting with glee to brag about my cool trip? Climbing volcanoes in New Zealand, riding an elephant in Thailand, trekking rainforests in Malaysia, and working with some of my best friends on a farm in Australia are some of my most incredible, unforgettable, and priceless experiences to date. I met some of the most inspiring people, tasted the most savory dishes, and saw the most breathtaking views.
And yet, after filling up with all these new adventures, I felt somehow deflated. Disconnected. Lost.
What was missing, I found out, was me. I had just about stretched myself too thin, too many new adventures, too little familiarity.
I had lost sight of myself, a bit. So, I searched. And at home, surrounded by my parents, my friends, my belongings, my bed, my clothes, my city, my friends, my bike, my city, my photos, my art, and so on.. it was easy to find reminders of who I was. I seemed to have forgotten my sense of self, what I wanted, and what I was doing. But for the last two weeks that I’ve been home, I took the time to immerse myself in all of that.
I caught up with old friends, dressed up in my favorite clothes that didn’t come in my travel bag, went to my favorite eateries with my parents, rode my bike down my favorite trails, and sorted through years of old art. The most awakening and inspiring parts of it all was reading all of my old journals, from childhood through to university and up to the present day. It is extremely powerful to see and read your own story, to see how you overcame past challenges, epiphanies you had that still ring true today, and gain new insights by shedding light on old writings. It’s fascinating to see your own evolution, and doing so helps you appreciate everything your past self has done for you to get you right where you are today.
When you’re feeling lost and stuck, sometimes it’s hard to motivate to do a lot, but it’s just like exercise–you whine and complain and procrastinate but once you’ve actually done it, you feel on top of the world. You’re proud of yourself and it gives you a boost to do other things. I forced myself to do all these things that my subconscious knew would make me feel proud and give me a boost.
It’s all about showing up, and in this case, it’s about showing up for yourself.
My travel buddy Hannah of The Eat Team and I just finished a five-day road trip across New Zealand’s north island. We had an epic adventure, climbed mountains, showered in a rainbow waterfall, visited the Lord of the Rings Hobbiton village at The Shire, ate a ton of junk food, read literary trash fiction, got drunk, played cards, laughed, and generally did absolutely nothing productive.
As part of our ongoing travels for The Eat Team, we’re calling, interviewing, writing, planning, photographing, and running around like madmen working hard and playing hard on a daily basis.
But on our little road trip, we didn’t do a single interview for The Eat Team. We didn’t send a single email. We left our phones off for days on end. And we indulged in procrastination and nothingness to the highest degree.
It’s not like doing stuff for The Eat Team is a hassle and to be honest it doesn’t much feel like work at all– it’s exactly what we would want to be doing even without a project like this. (That’s the point of a dream right?) It’s just that, no matter what you do, you can’t do it day in and day out without pause. Even though ice cream one of my favorite things in the world, I wouldn’t want to eat it 30 days in a row.
The week leading up to the road trip left both of us feeling a bit uneasy–we were in Auckland with at least 15 incredibly talented folks ready and willing to meet us. We had a backlog of over thirty articles and interviews already conducted and just waiting to be written, edited, and posted. We had a place to stay for the next two nights and absolutely no plan after that. We desperately wanted a break from the nonstop action and jam-packed schedule, but we were consumed by FOMO. We got a golden opportunity to take a roadtrip, but we didn’t want to let those people down who were waiting to hear back from us, especially those who we already had scheduled meetings with.
What did we do?
We decided to let go. We acknowledged the fact that no matter how much we tried to do and see, there was absolutely no way we’d ever see and do it all. So we let go of it all. We got in touch with the people we were meant to meet, apologized for canceling, and packed our bags.
Today is the first day that Hannah and I have gotten back into “working” on The Eat Team, scheduling, planning, writing, photographing, and tackling the daily steps of bringing our bigger dream into reality.
We spent the entire day in our pajamas behind our computer screens, emailing and facebooking and twittering and preparing and planning and the beauty is this: although the thought of this last week would have overwhelmed us, it did not. because we took a big fat indulgent break last week, today felt like just as much fun as showering in a waterfall by the sea.
It was refreshing. I feel totally inspired again and ready to take on anything. I think that’s the beauty of this nomadic lifestyle which feels more and more like a normal life. There’s huge variety in it, and when one situation becomes tiresome, we move on to the next one. We repeat them alternately, and each of them are just as enjoyable because of the rotation.
Last week, adventuring and hiking and roughing it and indulging felt like heaven. Today, I couldn’t think of anything better than lounging and working and waking up in a real bed and drinking tea and eating a crumpet. On Thursday, I’m looking forward to getting back out in the world again and interviewing some new folks in Wellington.
Sometimes you do this, sometimes you do that. Sometimes you’re here, sometimes you’re there. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down. They’re all a necessary part of the balance, the rhythm, the flow, whatever you wanna call it. This is as much a reminder to myself as it is to you: don’t fear either side, just let it pass through you and keep on moving, keep on making decisions, keep on firing, just keep on swimming. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re feeling burnt out–take a break and embrace it!
Just like in a photo, it’s the contrast that makes life beautiful.
Last year Tim Ferriss posted an article on his wildly popular blog titled My Unusual $20,000 Birthday Gift (Plus: Free Roundtrip Anywhere in the World). I read the article and thought, “Hey, that’s cool. I should enter.” I glanced at the due date for applications and, noticing that I still had a whole month to participate, told myself maybe I’d do it later, like thousands of others.
A couple days later, a friend of mine reposted it in our 4HWW Berlin group and I noticed that I had read the application date wrong–rather than thirty-two days until the fundraiser and competition was complete, there was actually TWO days. I thought, “shit, it’s now or never, isn’t it?” I noticed that there were hundreds of comments supporting the idea or contributing to the conversation about it, but there was a relatively low number of people entering the competition part of it to win that roundtrip ticket anywhere in the world.
That surprised me. Still, I didn’t feel I had a reasonable shot at winning because several of the people who had actually entered seemed to have quite a large following, compared to me but also by most standards.
But then I remembered what Ferriss wrote in his very own book–”Ninety-nine percent of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre. The level of competition is thus fiercest for ‘realistic’ goals.”
I remembered the story of how he offered a class of students a free trip around the world in return for writing to 3 seemingly-impossible-to-reach people and getting a reply from one, and not a single student even tried to complete the challenge because “all of them overestimated the competition, no one even showed up.” And I thought.. well, I’m probably not going to win, but I’m going to give it all I can. I can still “show up”. If I don’t enter, I can’t win.
To enter the competition, all you had to do was leave a comment telling how you promoted his charity drive. I looked at my situation, and assessed it. For spreading the word about his charity goal, most entrants had tweeted, facebooked, and emailed their followers and contacts. In terms of social media, I had a modest twitter following, a strong but small email list, and a fair number of facebook friends. So if I was going to go the “traditional” route, it looked like my chances were slim.
I sat down with a blank piece of paper and thought, “how can I go the extra mile? how can I leverage my strengths and what I DO have to set me apart?” I focused on my strengths and what resources I had at my disposal.
“Ninety-nine percent of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre.”
One of my favorite parts about Tim’s ideology is that you can create win-win situations. It just takes a bit of planning and creativity. The gist of what he writes about is that you can make money through your business, help others and provide immense value to them with your work, have plenty of time to do whatever you want by creating passive income streams, and even enjoy the work you do. He asserts that life doesn’t have to be trudging through a dull job you dislike just because its “normal” and it pays the bills. And I know its true because I’ve had a taste of it myself, both with successes in my own company and vicariously through many of the friends I’ve made from our 4HWW Berlin group.
So on my blank sheet of paper, I took stock of my resources and racked my brain to formulate a win-win scenario. I wanted to tie everything together–to incorporate my greeting card company (which is even based on the 4HWW model), benefit my customers and potentially bring in new ones, harness my best skill (creativity), advance the charity drive, and create a positive feedback loop to “pay it forward”. I came up with an idea, and before I could second-guess myself, I took immediate action right then and there with the mantra “I’m going to give it all I can. If I don’t enter, I can’t win” on repeat in my head.
The idea was this–I released a brand new design for sale in my store dedicated to the charity drive, and created a storewide sale in which the customer received 50% off and I gave 50% to the Room to Read Charity in Tim’s drive.
After several hours of this inspiration-fueled burst, I felt satisfied that I gave it my best. I had no idea if it would be enough, but at the very least I could be proud of myself that I did all I could. The rest was in the hands of Tim and his crew–they would choose the top 5 commenters who would proceed to the next round in the competition.
The deadline for the charity drive passed and amazingly (but unsurprisingly) his readers and followers exceeded the $20k donation goal, meaning Tim would also donate his own $20k.
Two weeks passed, and finally there was a new post about the great victory for the charity, as well as the names of the 5 top commenters who would move on to the next round of the competition.
My name was among them (and my jaw was on the floor).
The next stage of the competition, which was to decide the winner of the roundtrip ticket, would be decided by a pure and simple vote. I still didn’t think I stood a serious chance, especially up against a guy with 50,000 youtube followers and a woman with an incredibly heart-wrenching story among the lot. But I stuffed my worries and reminded myself what mindset got me into the competition in the first place–it was one where dreaming was allowed and I went for it anyways with a “why not?” attitude.
My strategy was simple.. to ask everyone I know to vote for me.
I wrote and messaged and called as many people as I could personally, one by one, telling them how grateful I’d be if they could vote and spread the word in any way. I included a message they could copy-and-paste as their statuses, so that if they wanted to, they could repost it or edit it. I asked my friends to help me brainstorm and get involved. I talked about it to everyone I encountered and asked them to go home and have their moms and dads and grandparents and cousin’s dogs vote and spread the word. I asked everyone in my 4HWW group. I even made a joke youtube video. I exhausted my brain and my body and then let go–I waited to hear the results for several weeks, without trying to think or worry about the outcome (especially because I was traveling at the time).
Almost four weeks from the original post went by and I heard nothing. One day I woke up early to go on a run–I was in Geneva in a hostel on a trip with my brother. I checked my email and saw nothing of interest, then loaded up Ferriss’s website to see if there was any news. I saw that the results had been posted, and since I hadn’t received an email I didn’t think I had won.
But my name was there again. And it was at the top. I won.
I shook my brother.. “I won. I.. won. I won.”
He thought I was joking. I repeated it a couple more times and shoved the computer towards him. I felt a huge rush of adrenaline rush through my body, jumped up, shaking, excited. After a while I remember I was going on a run, so I headed out the door and along Geneva’s picturesque Rhône riverside in the morning sunshine. The rush of adrenaline lasted the entire run and I felt a huge wave of appreciation and gratitude.
The secret to winning didn’t have a lot to do with me–I could only vote for myself once. It was my friends, family, and contacts who made it happen and for that I’m extremely thankful.
I used the ticket I won to do just what I said–travel around the world and write a creative cookbook called The Eat Team. For the past 5 months, I’ve traveled Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and today I’m writing to you from Auckland, New Zealand.
It’s that time of year again, and Tim is currently hosting another charity and win-a-roundtrip-ticket contest at this very moment. Could this one be your ticket around the world? Go enter now.
This week I made my first passive sale! Two dollars might not ordinarily make me jump up and down like a hyperactive 7-year-old, but this time was special. It wasn’t about the money (I guess $2 isn’t gonna get me far, especially traveling in Australia). No, it was proof that I have a viable product, that I’m heading in the right direction, and that if I keep going, I could very well reach my goal.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve also had three requests from “strangers” for custom illustrations in the Art Outlines style, which leaves me feeling even more excited about carrying on.
And is it just a coincidence that my first sale came on Independence Day?
One of my favorite writers, Steve Pavlina, is currently publishing an excellent series of articles which walk you through creating a stream of passive income. Passive income is a stream of money which continues to create income after you’ve finished the work to set it up.
One of his suggestions was to post your goal where you can see it every day. My goal is:
I am now successfully creating a new stream of passive income by September 30, 2012, that generates at least $50 per month on average and endures for a minimum of 10 years, and I’m doing this in a way that delivers strong value for many others around the world.
I’m posting my passive income goal here to commit to it publicly. I plan to finally monetize Art Outlines, an idea I had last year.
This will be my second passive income stream. Although I’m already making $150-400 per month with my first business, Ye Olde Gangster letterpress cards and my current travel project will also eventually create passive income, I’d like to reach the point where I can sustain myself comfortably without needing to work or have a job.
It’s not that I don’t want to work.. quite the contrary. I love to work: to actively push my mind, learn, create, and share. And without the pressure to earn money actively on a daily basis, I can work and live completely on my terms.
That brings up one of Steve’s biggest points: defining your reason for creating a passive income stream.
“Suppose you really get there. Suppose you cover all your expenses and then some with passive income. Then what? What will you do with your time? And will you be truly happy doing that, year after year and decade after decade? Or will you feel even more lost than you do now?”
So, he suggested to answer the following question. I did, below.
How would you choose to live if all of your expenses were covered by passive income, and you didn’t actually have to work to pay the bills?
Cook a lot at home, using high quality ingredients and taking my sweet time to hone new recipes. Invite friends for dinner and host fabulous dinner parties. Join a dance class and/or work on my own dance show. Travel every month (as little as a couple days or as much as the whole month), while maintaining a home base. Set up my home base as a beautiful little studio apartment in Berlin with few but high-quality items. Include a well-equipped art studio for printmaking, drawing, and letterpress that I can use whenever I feel like. Continue making Ye Olde Gangster cards without the pressure to make money. Open a small art gallery below my flat. Set up a second home base in San Francisco. Visit friends & family in LA regularly. Purchase travel tickets without flinching at prices or buying in advance. Work on my Big Idea (can’t say more about it yet other than it’s a tangible object to inspire the masses), partner with investors, and invest substantial money of my own into its growth. Teach letterpress to kids. Volunteer at an animal shelter. Date someone fabulous. Start a silly or educational youtube channel. Give talks and workshops like at Hello Etsy conference and betahaus. Host couchsurfers and give of my time, knowledge, and materials generously. Teach and help others how to create passive income. Write another book. Continue creating every day.
Have you been thinking of starting a passive income stream? Let’s do it together.. we can egg each other on. You can never have too many cheerleaders.
Visiting the Royal Press, Malaysia’s oldest letterpress printing press, is one of the coolest things I have ever had the opportunity to do. Ever.
After a couple years studying letterpress, working commercially, and then starting my own letterpress business, it had me thinking I knew a few things about my favorite method of printmaking.
The Royal Press showed me otherwise. I was happily surprised to be completely surprised. No, not surprised, more like awestruck.
Letterpress-ers, get ready to nerd out. All others, please feel free to skip this bit:
They had a Linotype machine the size of two refrigerators upon which one would type, and then it would select letters from a drawer inside, send them down a chute, and upon your command, heat and melt the lead letters to form an entire single block.
They had a rule-making machine.
They had presses so old and so big they crashed in on my current reality and blew it to smithereens.
They had walls and walls and walls of lead type, greater than any collection I’ve ever seen before, including UC Santa Cruz’s Cowell Press, the Weisensee Kunsthochschule in Berlin, the Print Museum in Dublin, Ireland, and the city collection in Berlin’s massive library.
They had four languages of type: Chinese, Arabic, English, and Jawi.
My jaw was on the floor the entire time.
Aside from the technical brilliance, this place just echoes beauty in every corner. It’s everything I love about letterpress and more. Sunlight streaming in overhead, paper flying this way and that, dusty shelves with records from the company’s last 50 years, employees deep in thought and work, history engrained in every nook and cranny of the building.
The Press is 75 years old, and Ee Soon Wei, great-grandson of the original printer, is on a mission to revive and enliven this beautiful but dusty printing haven. He wants to pass on the traditions of this amazing method, as well as preserve an extremely special family history.
He’s well on his way–he’s currently preparing a Revival Plan to restore the press to a living museum, one in which artists can work and live in residency for a couple years at a time, where tourists to the beautiful and artistic UNESCO city of Melaka can visit the space and learn about this ancient printmaking method, and where the heritage and story of the space is celebrated. The Discovery Channel will begin filming a documentary of the revival process next week.
My personal interest and passion came from the interest in the The Royal Press as a hidden beautiful story that led to preservation and continuing the business while injecting new channel opportunities – gallery, living museum while running the business. I want the story to live on… – Ee Soon Wei