Fall is falling, the weather is changing, and there is plenty of money to be made and saved! I've been at my new job for about a month now (expect a few more stories about the transition in the next month or so) and I'm still keeping at the side income streams, with a little more help from Mrs. Narrow Bridge. Let's dive in a chat about it.
What’s Eric Up To
Two months ago, as I mentioned last time around, I found myself on the end of a dreaded conversation that we all hope to never experience. It was my last day at my job. My boss brought my last paycheck, a form for a severance check, and told me I had until the end of the month on the company's insurance.
I was certainly stunned, but I didn't have any doubt I would be okay. I had a pretty big emergency fund saved up and my online income help bridge the gap until my next job. I actually seriously considered skipping the job hunt and just going full time working for myself, but with a new wife and potential kids on the horizon in the future, I didn't want to risk walking away from a great and growing career path I have worked so hard to achieve.
I found myself in a totally unexpected situation about two hours after I got home from that fateful meeting with a new message in my LinkedIn inbox. You'll get the whole story next week, but the short version is that it landed me a new job that I started exactly 32 days after losing the last one. Lots of hard work, preparation for “what if,” and keeping my online profiles up-to-date seriously paid off.
So I started the new job, but that didn't mean I could ignore my growing side business, which took off during my month away from the full-time gig. I took a trip to FinCon14 in New Orleans, the fourth annual financial blogger conference, where I connected with other great bloggers and grew my side business even more. I realized that weekend that I probably would have been just find working for myself had I not found a new job, but the cards aligned so well I wasn't going to pass up on a great opportunity.
But the new opportunity has taken some hours away from the side gig. It has been a struggle finding time to do my day job, my side job, and enjoy family time with my wife. With all of the demands on my time, let's see how I did in September with my side business income.
Side Business Income
Narrow Bridge Media – All Blogs and Online Activities
My freelance writing, social media, and web design business at Narrow Bridge Media has continued growing almost every month. I have recently brought on new clients and my freelance work is now far out earning this website, but I wouldn't have ventured down that route without this site and many of my clients have connected with me thanks to this site.
Based on prior month trends, I have decided to challenge myself to increase my side business income to $2,500 each month from $1,000. It seems like not long ago $1,000 was a stretch, but now I am consistently beating $2,000 a month. I just squeaked by on the revenue side in November, but had higher than usual expenses thanks to FinCon in New Orleans.
- Web Design Earnings – $315
- Freelance Writing – $983
- Social Media Management – $559
- Affiliate Payments – $159
- AdSense – $32
- Advertising & Partnerships – $507
- Premium Plugin Sales – $0 (Thesis Post Image Converter available at CodeCanyon)
- Book Sales – $0 – Buy here or Amazon
- Outsourced Workers – $50
- Email List – $19 (Provided by Aweber)
- Web Hosting – $21 ($15 per month for LiquidWeb and $5 per month for Hostgator – both paid annually)
- Domain Fees – $9
- Conferences & Events – $1113 (this was actually a LOT higher due to meals, transportation, etc from FinCon in New Orleans, but I'm leaving that detail off of this report)
- Misc – $0
Total Revenue: $2,556, Total Expenses: $1,172, Total Profit Before Tax: $1,384
Denver Flash Mob – Flash Mob Consulting and Planning
This month while doing a few updates and tweaks to the DenverFlashMob.com website, I found about five months of emails that I hadn't received sitting in my site database. This was a massive hit to revenue because for the entire peak summer season, I was not getting any of my customer inbound emails!
It took a lot of work to fix everything, contact all of the people I missed messages from, and got a few events in the works. Some were past the event date and I will never be able to make up that revenue. It always pays to have extra eyes on your tech if you have a service based business, and my eyes were so busy with other projects that I didn't even notice that the emails were sitting there.
- Custom Flash Mob Payments – $0
- 7 Step Flash Mob Planning Workbook Sales – $0
- Outsourced Workers – $0
Total Revenue: $0, Total Expenses: $00, Total Profit Before Tax: $0
Last month I made my first purchase of a foreign stock dual listed on a United States based stock exchange through an ADR. An ADR stands for an American Depository Receipt, which allows for a foreign stock to be traded in the US for American investors to easily buy and sell. There are some extra fees for owning an ADR, but those are generally fairly small, particularly for an investor with an account the size of mine.
I bought stock in Israel based Teva Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:TEVA). I am happy to be diversifying a bit more internationally, particularly in Israel where I believe in the economy, people, and company to create a great long-term return for my investment. I have a very small gain so far.
In June, I bought into the IPO of GoPro, the company that makes cool video cameras for extreme sports, through my Loyal3 account. With Loyal3, I was able to buy into the IPO (that link is to a post on how IPOs work) without being a millionaire and without paying any trade fees. I signed up for $200 in the GPRO IPO and was allocated $108. Not much, but a good way to test out how it worked. I was thrilled with the Loyal3 IPO experience and my stock is now worth $387. That is a more than 200% return in just a few months!
I have also increased my automatic payday investment in SBUX and BRK.B in my Loyal3 account, which, like the IPO, has no trade fees. Here is a post all about how Loyal3 works. Loyal3 also just announced that investors will be able to participate in the Dave & Buster's IPO through their Loyal3 accounts.
Starting a new job means starting over with my automated retirement investing plan with new accounts and allocations. Of course, I will start by taking 100% of my available 401(k) match, which requires I put 6% of my pay to receive a 3% match. I am also taking advantage of my employers stock purchase plan to buy stock at a 15% discount, as I believe that is a great investment. I also maxed out my Roth IRA for 2014 with side income earnings before starting at this job. Read more about my automatic investing in my retirement accounts to see how it all works.
If you have an opportunity to get any employer match, make sure you are taking 100% of that or you are leaving free money on the table. If you have any old 401(k) plans from former employers, make sure to roll them over into an IRA where you can save on fees. I just rolled over my 401(k) from my old employer to my Rollover IRA account at Charles Schwab last week.
The best tool I have found to help me keep my portfolio balanced is Personal Capital. The site helps me track and manage my bank accounts and credit cards too, but the site has helped me save hundreds of dollars per year by showing which investments are charging the biggest fees and how to balance my portfolio for my goals and risk tolerance. The site is completely free.
The stock market continues to reach new highs and there seems to be little getting in the way of more growth ahead. There are always bad days, but over the long run the stock market has always gone up. If you are new to investing be sure to check out my in depth guide to the stock market to get started with investing.
Outside of the stock market, my net annual returns at Lending Club are 11.5%. I currently have 52 active and current loans, 1 past due, 32 fully paid, and one charged off. I have earned $274 in interest, so even with my one loss and another potential on the horizon I am still way up overall.