What a busy month this has been. I have a lot to share with you. I took a long trip, started a new job, and have pivoted again with some of my business strategies. Read about my online income, and my new plans, in this month's earnings and investments update.
What’s Eric Up To
Our lives and careers can change quickly and unexpectedly. Very suddenly and unexpectedly. Of course, we never think that it will happen to us. Layoffs, office politics, changing business requirements and expectations. But they do happen.
I was caught up in a round of changes recently and found myself on the path of deciding what to do next. Unlike many people, but like many of you (I hope), I was well prepared for an unexpected career change with my extensive emergency fund savings and side income to help bridge the gap. The entire story is for another post on another day, but the short end of the story is I had a one month vacation and recently started a great new job.
I had a nearly two week road trip through California, enjoyed a weekend hosting my parents here in Portland, and started a new job at the beginning of September that is way better than the last one. Sometimes unexpected news leads you to even better places.
Not just that, I also had a month to strategize and work on my side gigs, which are in great shape for future growth and tons of current busyness. Here's how it all shook out…
Side Business Income
Narrow Bridge Media – All Blogs and Online Activities
Over the last couple of months, I have been getting bigger and better freelance projects. The difference can be clearly seen in the numbers. Re-branding my freelance business as Narrow Bridge Media has been great for business too. It has helped me bring in a handful of new clients and I’ve been working on some great projects.
I have recently spread my wings a bit on how I handle invoicing and payments and I have incorporated a more advanced payment system that supports PayPal, Stripe, and recurring invoices for my writing and web design business. I have also picked up a couple of new recurring writing clients and web design projects.
I am very happy with how things turned out. I used to have a goal of reaching $1,000 each month in online revenue, and that is virtually a given now with a pickup in freelance writing projects that are recurring each month. Maybe I should raise my goal to $3,000? $5,000? Who knows? There is no limit in how much we can all make!
- Web Design Earnings – $1,234
- Freelance Writing – $825
- Social Media Management – $559
- Affiliate Payments – $0
- AdSense – $16
- Advertising & Partnerships – $339
- Premium Plugin Sales – $0 (Thesis Post Image Converter available at CodeCanyon)
- Book Sales – $1 – 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 – $211
- Misc – $303
Total Revenue: $2,974, Total Expenses: $612, Total Profit Before Tax: $2,362
Denver Flash Mob – Flash Mob Consulting and Planning
Denver Flash Mob is officially back online and things have gone well this summer. Lots of fun happening in Denver! I paid my flash mob team this month from revenue collected in a prior period, which makes it look like Denver Flash Mob is losing money this month. That was just a timing issue.
I had an unknown email issue that may have cost me some leads, and income, but I'll never know. It is fixed now, but most flash mobs take place in the summer so this will likely stay low until next Spring.
- Custom Flash Mob Payments – $0
- 7 Step Flash Mob Planning Workbook Sales – $0
- Outsourced Workers – $150
Total Revenue: $0, Total Expenses: $150, Total Profit Before Tax: $-150
Last week I bought shares in Kroger. Kroger is a powerhouse grocery store chain operating many brands of grocery stores, gas stations and convenience stores, jewelry stores, retail stores, and other consumer businesses. They are best known as the parent of Kroger, King Soopers, Fred Meyer, QFC, Ralph's, Fry's, City Market, Dillons Food Stores, and Smith's grocery chains. The company has been very well run and the financials have continued to perform. Ahead of their September earnings announcement, I purchased shares in my taxable investment account.
I am on the hunt for one more good stock purchase in the near future with a little extra cash I have sitting in my stock account.
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 $185.
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.
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.
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 11.32%. I currently have 51 active and current loans, 1 past due, 32 fully paid, and one charged off. I have earned $265 in interest, so even with my one loss and another potential on the horizon I am still way up overall.