A friend to this blog, Financial Panther, wrote a cool article back in March that was a revelation to me and still has me thinking. It was titled: “Monetize Your Life.” The article was about how he learned how to make money from the simple things in life he naturally enjoyed doing throughout the day. It really made me realize that I have been almost subconsciously doing the exact same thing without realizing it.
Below are three ways I’ve personally monetized my life and the hobbies that make me feel happy, fulfilled, and lucky to be alive. Honestly, I think one of the biggest things that has led to my current happiness is that I’ve been able to build a lifestyle where I get to make money doing some of the things I enjoy the most. (But it didn’t happen overnight. It’s taken me six years to build my current life.) Have patience. See a vision. Build it every day. Save your money. Invest it into creating this vision. And you can do anything you want with your life.
THREE WAYS I MONETIZE MY HOBBIES:
#1: Invest In Real-Estate:
After my wife and I bought our first primary residence in 2015, I learned something new about myself: I love working on real-estate projects occasionally.
This was a shock to me as I never thought I’d be good with tools or fixing things. But when I bought my first house, I realized it was mine and nobody was going to do it for me. When something broke, I was faced with either learning how to fix it myself, or pay an astronomical amount to a contractor to do it for me. Because I dreamed of being financially independent, this was the revelation that forced me to roll up my sleeves and try to fix things on my own. And you know what? Something miraculous happened. I learned I enjoy this type of work!!!
I believe the reason why I enjoy it is that I spend most of my work-week working with people, and making deadlines in my sales business (more on this in point #3). So I’ve found it’s kind of a relaxing to spend a weekend day working on a house project, with tools in my hands, and only my own pressure and deadlines to meet. I’ve tiled floors and showers; replaced doors; and updated fixtures myself. I’ve saved a ton of money; built a ton of equity; and have personally learned that the pride of home ownership makes me feel awesome on the inside.
Before the age of 30, I’d never stepped foot in a home store like Menard’s or Home Depot on my own. But now that I own $400,000 worth of real estate at the age 37, I LOVE walking through a home outlet store and looking at all of the tools on sale. It’s relaxing to me. It’s a healthy escape for me. It’s a place where I can get away from all of the pressure and stress I sometimes feel in the outside world.
Realizing this about myself, we bought our first investment property 2 years ago when we had saved a 25% down payment, and this property has allowed me to escape my sales business and just do something different occasionally. It’s probably been one of the best investments we’ve ever made. Not just because of the financial return it’s brought me, but because it’s allowed me to create a new income stream from many of the things I love to do in my free time anyway.
#2 Write this Blog:
For the last 15 years, I’ve dreamed of one day writing a great American novel that intertwines the subjects of money, happiness, and purpose like a double-helix DNA strand. I’ve loved writing ever since I wrote my first short story, and I’ve spent a lot of my life studying and practicing my writing. This blog has allowed me to start making a little income on the side as I work toward this dream.
Sure, critics (better known as negative jerks) could laugh at me for being proud of the $2 a day this blog generates from the little ads that I allow google adsense to place on here. But that $2 per day adds up to $700+ per year. And since Amanda and I are ultra-mindful keeping our expenses low, that extra $700 generated from this blog is enough to pay one of our mortgage payments per year. Knowing that my dream of being a writer is now paying a mortgage payment per year is a MASSIVE feeling of victory and pride for me. That feeling is priceless to me.
Bigger payouts are also on the way. That $2 a day is only going to get bigger as this blog grows, and I eventually can sell the novel manuscript I’ve always dreamed of writing. But for now, making a little money as I practice writing every day is an awesome situation to be in. An added benefit is that I get to build an awesome audience like you as I grow: 580+ email subscribers and growing.
#3 Meeting Cool People:
The first business I started, and my most financially successful en-devour so far as I’ve sold around $1 Million worth of product the last 5 years, is my promotional product sales business. But guess what? This business wasn’t started because of a great business idea I had, or a million dollar investment I was given from family members. It was simply started from my hobby of meeting cool new people; learning what they do; and helping them succeed in their jobs.
A friend’s company was my first sale for $700. A cold-call over the telephone from a phone number I found on Google maps landed me my first client I’d never met before two months later. I landed my first $10,000 sale through a receptionist I met at a random business-to-business downtown networking event. (I was starting a new business, and she was looking for a new romantic relationship, and we bonded over our “new beginnings” in life.) And five years later, I still work regularly with these great clients I just listed above.
The awesome thing to learn from this is that I built a million-dollar-sales-business from scratch because I simply tapped into my passion to meet new people, learn about their lives, and offer them products and solutions to their promotional problems at competitive prices.
Here’s a tip that all great business and salespeople know: “People buy from people. And good people like to buy from other good people.” Great long-term clients aren’t swayed by high-pressure sales tactics, or the newest manipulative sales strategy that some bozo is spewing on a facebook ad. When great clients, with big budgets to spend, get that snake-oil vibe from you, then you may get lucky with one sale, but you’re not going to get called back for all the re-order sales.
But when you’re a good, honest, entrepreneurial sales-person, who cares more about seeing your clients succeed in their jobs than you do about padding your own commission profit margin, then those awesome clients are going to call you back with new orders again, and again, and again. And they’re going to refer you out to all their colleagues who also need your service. That’s what happened to me.
In Conclusion, to find your happiness, find the things you love to do the most, and look for easy ways to monetize the time you spend doing them. Build your hobbies and income streams together, and then make them bigger and more profitable as you go. Over a long period of time, you may be amazed, like I am, with the life you begin to build for yourself.
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