A Strong Introduction to Affiliate Marketing For the Newbie Marketer

Someone wise once said “I would rather own little and see the world than own the world and see little of it,” and I thoroughly agree.

But there’s not much more satisfying than seeing the world AND owning your fair share, thanks to minimalism and some good old-fashioned entrepreneurship.

As a digital nomad, I make all of my money online.

Right now, the bulk of my income comes from writing blog posts, magazine articles, and sales copy, but affiliate marketing is rapidly becoming my go-to for pulling in passive income. The company I work for now have given me access to the record of the files which they store using the CRM software. Hence, I need not go to the office to access the files as I can do it right from my house. You can find examples of CRM technology on this Salesforce post if you want to know more on it.

In this post I’m going to show you evidence that affiliate marketing works, second, how it works, and third, a strong introduction to how you can create a stream of passive income that flows into your bank account while you sleep.

You know how it usually goes right?

Yes, marketers are notorious for scummy, fluffed BS proof like driving around in Ferrari rentals, posting videos and selfies of them working happily on their laptops on a beautiful white-sand beach in the Bahamas, or worse yet, clicking through their income reports like we don’t know that video editing and photoshop exists.

But I know they’re not all con-artist liars, and I’ll show you why.

Frankly, I don’t buy most of it, because lots of them say you can make thousands, right off the bat; overnight even.

That’s a common myth, and unfortunately, there’s a lot of myths in this business. More on that soon.

Truth is, affiliate marketing takes hard work on the front end. A lot of it.

And it takes a lot of time too.

So I’m going to give you the best evidence I have of affiliate marketers who regularly make $100k+ per year, and I’m going to give you an introduction to how you can do the same.

What is Affiliate Marketing Anyway?

First things first — what is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is where you promote someone else’s product or service, you send traffic to their website, they do all the work, and they pay you a commission.

Nothing new there right? It’s been around forever. People have been partnering with each other way before the Internet was conceived in the mind the brilliant SOB who invented the idea, whoever he was (shut up Al Gore).

As soon as the Internet grew into the great digital universe we all know and love, affiliate marketing took off like a rocket.

But here’s the problem.

In the beginning, pretty much anybody could promote anything, and lot of people did some shady stuff.

They started spamming affiliate links in emails, building cheesy, useless affiliate sites — shoving those flashy popups in our faces and more.

The result? Companies stopped letting just anybody promote them anymore.

But the damage had been done.

Affiliate marketing has a tainted name to this day.

Trust me, you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about when you start promoting things yourself. Companies don’t respect their affiliates the way they used to. They keep changing the rules, your links, and everything. So it’s kind of a pain sometimes.

But when you do it right, with the right partners, it’s more than worth it. After the hard work on the front end, it really is pretty easy, and it’s good money.

3 Myths About Affiliate Marketing

Myth #1. Affiliate systems are fast and easy to set up, and make money fast.

Nope. In fact, according to Three Ladders Marketing, only 0.6% of the affiliate marketers surveyed have continued on the affiliate marketing path since 2013.

The rest gave up, because like ANY viable business, it takes hard work and time and if you believe that myth, the only thing that’s going to be fast and easy is burn-out.

Myth #2. Affiliate marketing is obsolete.

(See next section Proof That Affiliate Marketing Works.)

Myth #3. You need a popular niche for affiliate marketing to work

Yes, it helps. A lot.

But more than anything, affiliate marketing relies on your direct advertising and SEO skills:

  • Driving traffic to your promotions.
  • Native advertising.
  • Creating new content regularly and updating old content to make it fresh.

Now, I’d never advise building a business exclusively around affiliate marketing — that’s filling one basket with all of your eggs.

It’s much better to run your own business, have your own products or services, and “own” your own clients.

I would say that affiliate marketing is a great way to make some extra cash within your business, but I wouldn’t build a business solely around affiliate marketing.

Can it be done? Sure. My proof of performance entrepreneur that I’m about to introduce you to does exactly that.

But income diversity is key for any digital entrepreneur.

Moving on.

The Evidence Weighs in Favor of Affiliate Marketing

Evidence is the most important weapon in the affiliate marketer’s arsenal.

Because who’s ever created a successful business they didn’t believe in?

So let’s jump right into it.

My favorite affiliate marketer is John Crestani, because you can tell that he’s genuine and doesn’t have an ounce of BS in his system.

That’s my personal opinion anyway, and I like to think I have a pretty solid BS radar.

But that’s not proof.

For evidence, I’ll point you to Business Insider, which says that he built “an affiliate marketing network that currently generates $250,000 to $500,000 per month.”

Forbes gives us his background story:

At 22-years-old, Crestani got a “real job” working for a marketing firm in Los Angeles. The firm specialized in pay-per-click advertising on search engines. Crestani taught himself the trade and was soon running more than 20 client accounts, drafting compelling ads, and smart bidding strategies to drive sales.

He got so good at paid advertising that he multiplied a client’s business by 40X. His firm’s boss was bringing in more than $110,000 per month of extra business from the account. And Crestani was now an online advertising star within the company.

So he did what any self-respecting professional would do: he politely asked for a raise. “My boss looked at me across the table when I asked for the raise and said, ‘Or what?’” recalls Crestani.

Instead of appreciating his value to the company, his boss taunted him and told him to get back to work. Crestani was flabbergasted.

Crestani mentally checked out of the job from that point on and eventually got fired. But he’d been hustling on the side to get clients for himself to keep him afloat while he pursued the real dream: build a multi-million-dollar business where he’d never have a boss again.

Forbes, like Business Insider, claims that Crestani earns $250,000 to $500,000 per month from his affiliate business.

That’s some solid evidence that affiliate marketing works, and works well, but there’s a little bit more I’d like to share.

Here’s a couple other examples of internet marketers who make the bulk of their living off of affiliate marketing, and evidence that they’re legit:

  1. Pat Flynn (makes close to $90,000 per month on affiliate marketing alone)
  2. John Chow ($30,000 per month in affiliate income)

Why Honest Affiliate Marketers Make More

This is the million-dollar question: what should I promote? 

The best advice I can give you is this:

If you’re using products and services that you love and believe in, then go ahead and promote those.

I always make more money promoting things that I personally use and love.

Promoting something just for a commission — it doesn’t work.

Sure, you could sign up for affiliate networks like CJ and ClickBank, they have thousands of products and services to promote. But don’t expect to feel good about your business IF you make anything to begin with. Buyers are smarter than they’ve ever been, and I like that because honesty and quality recommendations are finally being rewarded as a result.

So, you can either choose what to promote based on numbers, or you could ask yourself this simple question:

What are my favorite products and services?

Think about it for a second.

What products do you love?

What services have you used that you’d happily point your friends and family to?

Promote those, because you’re going to make a heck-of-a-lot more money that way, because the best sales person of any product is always the satisfied user — the believer.

Period.

When you promote the things you personally love, you’re inevitably going be more convincing, your calls to action are going to be more compelling, you’re going to make more sales, and best of all, you’re going to love what you do, because you know, at the core of you, that you’re enriching people’s lives by giving them the opportunity to use the things that have made your life better.

How to Live Like Royalty in a Tropical Paradise (Ecuador) — on $50 a Day

We wander, but that doesn’t mean we’re lost.

You’ve seen the numbers. We retain money like a broken slot machine. On average, the millennial is $45,000 in debt, and our overall income has dropped by 8% since the recession.

The result?

84% of us are drowning in debt that threatens our freedom.

But that doesn’t keep us down. Millennials are web-savvy and resourceful. We thrive by adapting, evolving — in fact, we drown in boredom without moving forward from adventure to adventure, creating our own reality as we go.

For most of us, travel represents a solid slice of the best things life has to offer. The variety of nature and history, the depth of culture, and the general connection to the vast world around us is nothing short of glorious. Wanderlust doesn’t even begin to summarize our burning passion to explore the world, but it’s not easy. We can barely squeeze out a nest egg, let alone $20,000 for a proper vacation/mini-retirement in paradise.

Until we adapt.

We wander not because we’re lost, but because we want to get lost in a glorious adventure, unrestrained by societal norms, expectations, and the hollow shell of a past generation’s materialism.

It didn’t take long for me to evolve into a Wanderer.

Nomadic Wanderings

As an aspiring nomad, I wanted to sail the seven seas like Sinbad, conquer Mt. Kilimanjaro like Hemingway, ride elephants in India like Mowgli — and then wake up from that lovely dream, tanned on a white Roatan beach with an icy mojito in my hand.

And now I can. It costs $800 per day for a trip for two in Hawaii. That’s over $20,000 for a single week. But I’ve found a variety of tropical paradises, complete with private beaches, lobster, crab and sushi dinners, and even personal maids and cooks, for not $800 per day, but $50-$100.

My favorite so far is a tiny country called Ecuador, where I swim in the blue ocean, climb the cloud forest mountains, dine like a king surrounded by Spanish cathedrals and architecture, and trek through the lush tropical jungles — in a single day. It’s the most biodiverse ecosystem in the world, and it has a culture and history to match. I spent 3 months of adventure in this tropical paradise for less than $4,000. Total. That includes all expenses — flight, food, fun and frivolous stay.

digital nomad Josh Rueff in Ecuador

I’m proud to be a part of the generous, adventurous, tech-savvy, green and adaptable Millennial generation. We crave challenges, adventure and freedom. I’m happy to share my story of travel in Ecuador, where I lived like humble royalty.

The loopholes below are to fast-track you to wandering freedom. And this adventure won’t break your budget. It wasn’t an overwhelmingly fast process, collecting these opportunities, but it will be for you.

So let’s get to it.

Airfare

The flight to Ecuador was an easy travel loophole. I actually hated the idea from the start and wouldn’t have tried it. Thankfully, my wife Lace has a sixth sense for quality loopholes, and stuck to her guns on it. We used sign up bonuses from the Chase Sapphire and SW Airlines credit cards.

Without paying any extra fees or interest (we pay our cards off early every month, like clockwork) we bought our flight tickets for for $125 each, round trip. These are far from the only credit cards to offer outstanding travel deals. We’ve already gained $1,100 in travel fare from two other cards and we practically just got back!

Transportation

We didn’t waste money on taxis or flights (except in the cities, where taxis are pretty much the only way to travel other than bicycling). Traveling through Ecuador is done with quarters, dimes and dollar bills. It cost us roughly a $1 per hour for bus travel.

It’s a diverse but tiny country, so the most we ever spent was $20 for both of us to take a 10 hour bus ride. Because the cost of living is low, buses are the primary mode of transportation, so you can catch one at virtually any time of the day. For example — a bus came by once every 15 minutes for the main bus stop in Montanita.

Food

Breakfast

Breakfast costed $4 for a giant “Americano” breakfast of an omelet, ham, fresh baked bread, just-squeezed juice and a tall glass of frozen coffee. Most people there eat a traditional $1.50 breakfast of eggs, tripe (cow guts), bread with butter and jam, and coffee, or an even smaller (and cheaper) meal.

Lunch

Almuerzo (lunch) costed $2.50 for a two-course meal of soup, meat, rice, plantains, salad and juice. This is traditionally the biggest meal of the day, but we couldn’t help heaping on the delicious American sized dinners to finish a good day’s work.

Dinner

I’ll never forget the $5 meal of the best ceviche in the world. Thanks to a miniature cost of living, eating a high-end lobster and steak supper, (or ceviche, or sushi) costed less than eating at McDonald’s.

Lodging

Our stays ranged between $10 (in Banos, Ecuador) to $20 (in Mindo, Ecuador) a night. We spent $18 per night to rent a two story beachfront house in Manglaralto, Ecuador.

Beautiful Lacy on Manglaralto beach

We took in the full range of lodging experiences, from a clay, cavish, sauna-like room, to tree houses in the jungles of Mindo, and finally settling into a mini-mansion (relatively speaking) overlooking a secluded beach in Manglaralto. We never spent over $20 a night.

Adventure

Activities are plentiful and muy barato (super-cheap). We soared through the sky like the local Frigate Birds (these little pterodactyls have 7-foot wingspans!) on ziplines whipping over 200 foot drops to the jungle below. Whisking through 10 different ziplines stretched from the corners of the cloud forest cost us a whopping $15.

Our all-day guided jungle tour was $30 each — very steep, but it included drinking traditional brews of the jungle tribes (which tasted like burning mud mixed with spittle), shooting darts through blowguns, swimming in waterfalls, hiking through the jungle and experiencing the beauty of the wildlife; then finally sleeping like a drunken log on the trip back home.

Josh-Rueff-drinking-chicha-a-tribal-yucca-drink-in-Ecuador-scaled

It was a haggler’s paradise we found ourselves thrown into, as we wandered through one of the biggest street markets in South America, Otavalo. It was free other than the stuff we bought of course. (Jewellery ranged from 50 cents to $15 for the most part, and I bought an authentic Panama hat for $15 that would cost $100 in the States).

Swimming, fishing, diving and snorkeling in the beautiful Pacific (and the warm-current part to boot) was all free. We climbed to the top of Basílica del Voto Nacional for $2, and enjoyed a breath-holding view.

The Teleferico tram to the top of the Mount Pichincha Volcano (Quito, Ecuador) was only $8. There we sat in amazed silence at… the silence. The overwhelmingly lovely silence was shattered from time to time; sometimes by a beautiful songbird in a nearby tree, and sometimes by us — it’s hard to not whisper about the beauty of the billowing clouds that seem to pass right through you, appearing softly then vanishing into a mist. A frosty mountain brook bubbled somewhere in the distance, and colorful Quito bustled silently below.

Josh and Lace on the Pichincha Volcano

 

Like every Ecuador tourist and their mother’s dog, we visited the Equatorial Monument for $3, to get our “middle of the world” photograph (the real middle of the world is actually a bit of a hike from the advertised equator).

It was an outstanding, nomad sort of a staycation. Exactly how we like it. It’s pretty great how far the dollar stretches, especially in the most beautiful places in the world.

The TRUTH About Being a Digital Nomad (Q&A With Josh Rueff)

This is a question I get a lot: “How can I become a digital nomad?”

I love that question, because you deserve to live life on YOUR terms. Life isn’t just about surviving, and I want — from the very core of me — to help you thrive.

BUT, it’s not all sunshine and skittle-pooping unicorns.

Those words — digital nomad — mean more to me than just about anything, and becoming one is a very real challenge, and I’ll tell you why.

Being a Digital Entrepreneur

Remember when those “Work From HOME!” ads were about as scammy as they got? Well we’re not in 1991 any more Toto — digital freelancers and online entrepreneurs are becoming the very backbone of the global economy.

This is why I love being a online entrepreneur and digital nomad.

First, every day is an adventure. Every. Day. Some days I wake up to the sound of frothy white waves crashing on a private beach in Ecuador, and other days I roll out of my tropical treehouse bed to be met by the warming beams of sunlight that found openings through the dense vines and foliage.

Other times it’s a the majesty of the mountain range with spring-fed trout that beckon me, and still other times it’s curious cultures that bustle around the Kerala villa I’ve decided to call home for a month or two.

Then, it’s off to work. It’s not something I dread or get bored with — if that was the case, I just… wouldn’t.

Will I need to eventually, yes! But I can live like actual royalty for less than $1,000 a month here, and I have no boss, mortgage or bills that force me to work when I don’t feel like it.

So maybe today, I’ll put off making a few thousand for another day.

Maybe I’ll go for a refreshing morning swim instead, or fish on the beautiful beach all day as my fiddler crab companions skitter here and there with their pincers held high.

Anyway, enough of that — let’s get to the good stuff.

How can you become a digital nomad today?

In this interview I answered the best questions you had for me — if you have more, let me have it at jrueff7@gmail.com.

When and how did you first learn about digital nomads?

That’s actually hard to say… I think I stumbled on the idea of traveling the world while earning my wages like a digital gypsy in Cuba, as I daydreamed — later I read books like Possum Living and even more relevantly, The 4-Hour Workweek.

It’s funny because before I read books like that, I came up with a nomadic gameplan. I thought “this is brilliant — we can finally quit the jobs we hate and do the things we love, ANYWHERE we want!” See, I thought I was going to revolutionize the world and free them from their misery with this brilliant strategy. Then I read the 4-Hour Workweek… As much as I wish I could say that I’d already developed a plan just as good, I hadn’t. So, like many, I have to credit Tim for inspiring me and getting my strategy organized (although I DID have the idea before I read his book, and my way of doing things is MUCH different to be fair.)

Why did you decide to become a digital nomad?

Digital nomad was never a part of my vocabulary until the last few years of my life. That said, I think I officially became a digital nomad — in heart at least — as I travelled the world in a Marine Corps special forces unit (I think they’re called the Raiders now). There were so many adventures I wanted to experience — so many jungles to explore, warm beaches to nap on, coves to snorkel, languages to learn, and animals to observe. More than anything, I wanted freedom.

I hated how unhappy people seemed with their jobs. Figured there must be something better out there.

The problem was finding a job that would let me travel the world and do what I wanted, whenever I wanted to.

As you’ve probably guessed, there aren’t many traditional jobs like that, so I struck out on my own.

I’ve always had entrepreneurism in my blood — I remember selling fishing bait on the side of the road when I was 6, and lunch subs in junior high.

This time though, I knew I had to make real money — enough to free me for good.

I had been writing from age of 3 or so thanks to my uber-ambitious dad, and other than drawing, it was my favorite thing to do. So that’s what I did.

Writing evolved into content writing, copywriting, content marketing, consulting and speaking engagements.

You talk a lot about freedom — can you tell me what that means to you? 

Absolutely. Most people, like it or not, have let their addiction to safety influence them to enslave themselves to what’s become a societal norm. Sorry I know that’s a weird way to put it —  basically what I’m trying to say is this.

Over 80% of Americans hate their jobs, but willingly work the majority of their waking life doing things they hate.

Why?

Because of a steady paycheck. Benefits. Because their parents and education system taught them how to be a good economic asset.

Doing anything else is scary because they might not get paid the same time and day every week. They might not have guaranteed health benefits, or they’ll have to get their own.

Worst of all (and this has been my own experience), their friends and family might think they’re strange birds.

Social acceptance is a huge part of the psyche, and to most people, that’s their biggest fear.

What is freedom to me?

► Freedom is living life on my terms. If I want to pack up and move to Hawaii for a while, I can and I will. I don’t need to ask for time off, and I don’t need to worry about how it’ll reflect me.

► Freedom is waking up at 5 to do my daily routine, then deciding “you know what? I want to sleep in today.” And then doing exactly that.

► Freedom is doing something you love, and getting paid more than doctors and lawyers for it (believe me, it boggles my mind too).

► Freedom is never feeling the need to escape.

For some people, the only thing that keeps them sane is the memory and expectation of the weekend, or looking forward to the one vacation they get each year.

If I can get anything across to you, it’s this — your life doesn’t have to be miserable, and it doesn’t even have to be average!

The truth is, being normal is a lack of courage. 

I’m not going to lie to you and say it’s easy or that you can get independently wealthy in a few weeks. It’s hard. Sometimes it’s a genuine struggle. But in the end, you’ll be FREE.

On that note, what has been your biggest challenges or frustrations?

Great question. I love this question because so many digital nomads like to show off how they work on their laptops on the white sands of Honduras (which is BS by the way — it usually gets waaay too hot for that), or vlog about nothing but ziplining through beautiful tropical forests, eating delicious food and yeah, basically all the good stuff without telling the truth about how hard it can be.

And I get it by the way — who really wants to see the hard things in life, especially if you aspire to be a digital nomad?

Anyway, for me, the toughest thing, hands down is keeping friends. 

Loneliness.

It takes a rare breed of person to be okay with their best friend being gone for months or even years at a time, then coming back with the hopes of picking up like nothing changed.

Honestly, I’ve lost many of my best friends because of this lifestyle. If you want to be a digital nomad, you have to find people like you or you’ll never have a social life that as humans, we all need.

Next to that, I’d say overcoming fear. Like all of us I’ve been trained from a ridiculously young age that work is important.

THAT’S not the problem — it’s the definition of work — THAT’S the problem.

School taught us to take orders and do what we’re told — NO QUESTIONS ASKED.

Why? Because I said so. That’s why.

The Merriam-Webster definition of slavery  is:

“submission to a dominating influence.”

What we’ve been taught about work is disturbingly similar. There’s always a dominating hierarchy that we submit to. If we work really hard and get good at what we do, maybe we’ll get to be one of the “dominating influences,” but we’ll always be a slave to someone.

And this is a good thing how? Why aren’t we taught to be autonomous, innovative entrepreneurs who round up enough passive income to retire by the age of 30?

I just don’t understand our system.

Anyway, this is where fear sinks its soul-sucking fangs in.

In a job, you exchange your submission for a regular paycheck and benefits. 

Making the plunge into a freelance or entrepreneurial lifestyle can be terrifying, because at first, you won’t have a regular paycheck or benefits.

At least that’s how it was for me. And frankly, there’s been days when that dull blade of anxiety plunged deep into me — I’m not proud to say it, but there were times when it froze me up solid; paralyzed me with fear of the unknown.

That’s why it took me over 5 years to kick my 9 to 5 job to the curb for good.

But overcoming that fear was the greatest accomplishment of my business life, and the rewards truly are great.

How did you learn how to do it? What resources did you access?

Okay, brace yourself for the lamest, most cliche answer ever.

*sigh*

Do it.

Really, that’s it — you just gotta do it.

Yes, I read some great books on the subject, and yes, I had to find what I was truly passionate about (writing and marketing) and figure out a way to do it online, but to for all the holistic digital nomad advice I give on this website, it all pales next to this simple pointer:

You just have to shove through the “what if’s,” the social backlash, and the fear of the unknown, and just friggin do it.

Sure you should look before you leap, and that’s what this site is for. Stick around and I’ll teach you everything I know about being an online entrepreneur and digital nomad, but don’t let a perceived lack of knowledge keep you from taking the plunge.

You deserve it.

-Josh

3 Steps to Become Independently Wealthy

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Like I mentioned in a a previous post “7 Self Sufficiency Strategies”, becoming independently wealthy is the Holy Grail for any respectable digital nomad.

There’s a lot of crossover because people who want to be self sufficient are trying to become less dependent on others for their needs. When people become independently wealthy, they have become completely financially self-reliant.

If you don’t completely understand what it means to be independently wealthy, don’t worry, we’ll cover that now.

I’ll also tell you how I became independently wealthy after years of trial and error. 

So first…

What does it mean to be Independently Wealthy?

To be independently wealthy means that you’ve acquired enough wealth (typically passive income) to support your lifestyle without depending on others. This requires a certain level of financial acumen that not many people possess. But then again, not many people pursue it to begin with.

Becoming independently wealthy means that you are no longer a “slave” to your assets, instead, your money and assets work for you.

Here’s the 3-step process (it’s not that simple of course, but it is only 3 steps;))

Let’s say I’m a roofer. The money I make in my trade covers the expenses of my lifestyle; mortgage, utility bills, entertainment, etc., and my paycheck only barely stretches to make ends meet. But if I want to buy a new TV, a new couch, a new Xbox or anything above the basics – I have to find something like Investors Choice Lending in Seattle to accomodate me.

This is how most people live.

If I stay in this situation indefinitely, I will never become independently wealthy because I have to bring in a surplus that I can put aside to make my money work for me.

So something has to give if I want to become independently wealthy.

I either need to cut my expenses so my savings increase, or I need to find a way to make more money. Ideally I’ll do both.

Step 1: Create a Surplus Cashflow

If I take on additional hours, shave the fat off my budget (Read “Minimalist Living: The Simple Budget” for more information), or find some other way to cut expenses and/or increase my cash flow, I’ve taken the most vital step toward becoming independently wealthy.

Why is this the most vital step? Because the first successful step is the one that will transform your lifestyle.

It establishes positive habits that build momentum, motivation, and morale, which will ultimately lead to financial success. These habits become strong because of the sense of fulfillment they give, and the satisfaction of success.

Sadly the vast majority of us don’t take that first step. They live paycheck to paycheck, and are unable to see how one simple step can change their life from barely making it, to becoming independently wealthy.

Step 2: Raise a Passive Cash Cow  

A Cash Cow is simply an asset that provides a steady inflow of profit or income. I call it a “Passive Cash Cow” because I need the cashflow to be passive income, that is, steady income I don’t need to directly manage or maintain.

So if I – Josh the roofer – am able to complete Step#1, I now have a surplus of income that I can start investing with. Now when most people think of investing, they think stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, but that’s not necessarily what I’m talking about.

Any asset you buy is an investment that has potential to produce passive income:

  • Farm Land
  • Hunting Land
  • Trailers
  • Trailer Parks
  • Houses
  • Other Forms of Real Estate
  • Websites
  • Blogs
  • Forums
  • Other Online Real Estate
  • Small Business
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Mutual Funds
  • Storage Units (bought through auctions)

This is just a tiny example of assets I can potentially buy to generate a passive income. They’re all investments.

The hard part however, is not simply making an investment, but making a good investment.

If I’m smart, I’ll probably start in a field I already know well, or choose one field to study and experiment in until I get good at it.

As I roofer, I decide to invest in real estate since I’ve been around houses throughout my career and learned my fair share of real estate knowledge aside from roofing.

So I save my surplus cashflow until I have enough to buy a small fixer upper for $10,000 (I bought my first 2 houses for less if you’re thinking that’s ridiculously low).

I find and buy a foreclosure I know I have the experience to fix up to par – this is my investment.

When I fix it, I have the options of either renting it out,  immediately flipping it for profit, or waiting for the real estate market to improve so I can cash in on higher flipping profit.

Since flipping the house only provides a one time chunk of income, I decide on renting it out. If I go the other route I’ll need to build up an autonomous small business for flipping houses, which is a viable option to generate passive income, but not my thing :).

Once I rent it out and hire a property manager (who takes a 10-12% cut from the rent), I’ve created my first Passive Cash Cow!

Step 3: Push Past Passive Cash Cow Equilibrium

That’s a tongue twister. Like the state of the screw in the picture, equilibrium is just a state of balance – If I’m able to duplicate the Passive Cash Cow investments to the point of budget equilibrium, I’ve finally become independently wealthy. The rental properties bring in enough income to pay for my lifestyle expenses, and now I can choose to pursue whatever I want. I’m no longer dependent upon others for my paycheck, which is just about as free as I can get.

But planning beyond budget equilibrium is a necessity that shouldn’t be ignored, especially after I’ve come so far. All it takes is one property and I’m below equilibrium and forced to rely on someone else again for enough money to make ends meet.

So I need to push past that equilibrium so I can offset any devil-in-the-detail problems that rise along the way.

And then the sky’s the limit! Should I continue to raise Passive Cash Cows to support a comfortable lifestyle of luxury? Should I travel the world?

I could use surplus cash help the people I love, and even the people I don’t! Maybe I’ll retire until I get bored, then I’ll start a business revolving around my favorite hobbies. It wouldn’t even matter whether it’s successful or not, I’ve got all the money I need because I’ve become independently wealthy!

Now let’s get into the specifics — what I did, do, and will continue to.

How I Became Independently Wealthy 

Here’s how it works.

People use the internet to find stuff.

Think about the last 10 websites you visited.

Nearly all of them had commercials, right?

They might have even convinced you to buy.

And guess what? When people like you decide to buy, someone else gets a paycheck. Who? The person who owns the website.

I cashed in on this reality years ago, and thank God I did!

Here’s what I did.

I started by attracting freelance writing clients to my portfolio website, which helped me convert those leads into cash.

Then I did some extra-credit homework —I studied the people who build websites and generate passive income from them. I observed their strategies and once I figured it out, I did it myself. I built one website, then two, then three. Now I have what I call my cash-cow fleet.

What happened? Well, I started getting hundreds of unique visitors per day, and a certain number of them click my advertisements and buy.

Does any one website make me rich? No.

Did it happen overnight? No. (It took years actually.)

But each site pulls in enough for me to be independently wealthy, and the magic happens (partially) while I sleep.

Thanks to my cash-cow websites, I graduated from being a worker to being an owner.

And that’s the only way I truly know how to become independently rich.

-Josh

Sleeping 3 Hours a Day: Polyphasic Sleep

By Josh Rueff on June 10, 2013

“Sleeping is a waste of time.”

-Leonardo da Vinci

Time is perhaps the most valuable thing a person can possess.

On what seems to be (but isn’t) an unrelated note – one of the most controversial and oft debated subjects is that of sleep. Especially polyphasic sleep.

Do we get enough sleep? Should we nap? Can we sleep less?

In today’s society a subculture of polyphasic sleepers is on the rise, claiming that 4, 3, and even 2 hours of sleep per night is enough. The prevailing theory is that REM sleep is the only sleep that seems to be of any importance, and you only get 3 hours of REM in an 8 hour block of sleep. When you train your body to sleep in fragments, your brain adapts, jumping right in to REM sleep instead of wasting 5 hours before and after.

As legend has it (and it may not be much more than that) Leonardo da Vinci slept only 2-3 hours per night, which is almost absurdly believable when you take into account the vast number of inventions, paintings, theories, and contributions to science the man is credited for.

Benjamin Franklin is another supposed proponent of the habit of polyphasic sleep, which may be a myth derived from his autobiography where he advises a sleep schedule of no more than 5 hours a night, and his habit of taking naps during the day. Not much, but also not polyphasic.

Tesla claimed to only sleep 2 hours a night, leading many to believe he was a polyphasic sleeper as well, since this is the only way a person can survive off of that little sleep. The fact that he admitted to napping occasionally to “recharge” gives further credit to the theory.

Thomas Edison called sleep “a heritage from our cave days.”

Polyphasic sleep is a schedule where you take a series of scheduled power naps throughout the day ranging from 15 to 30 minutes each. Healthy Howard’s buying guide advocates that some polyphasic sleep schedules allow for a core sleep block of 1 1/2 hours to 5 1/2 hours, followed by a series of power naps, sometimes with the help of CPAP and APAP systems. The overall goal of course, is to gain more time, which is valid enough, and though the practice seems to go against nature, it turns out that most animals are actually polyphasic sleepers. So us humans, with our luxurious 7 to 10 hours of monophasic sleep happen to be the weird ones.

Sleep Schedules in Nature:

1. Giraffe: 2 hours per 24 hour day, fragmented.

2. Deer: 3 hours, fragmented.

3. Elephant: 4 hours, fragmented.

4. Lion: 20 hours, fragmented… Wait a minute – 20 hours???

Yes indeed. Well no actually, they don’t just sleep 20 hours, but they either sleep or rest for that long every day.

So why do lions get to rest so long when the other animals only sleep a tiny fraction of the night?

I don’t have a blatantly scientific answer for that, but my best guess? They can. They’re at the top of the food chain just like us, and just like us, they sleep more than they need to. It’s a luxury they’ve earned. 

So how much time should we sleep?

It depends on what you want! If you love to sleep, those extra 3 or 4 hours sleeping in on a lazy Saturday may be your favorite thing in the world, and that’s okay! If you’re more like me, you may have a Christmas list of the things you want to do, and polyphasic sleep is the perfect answer – with an additional 30 (or more) hours a week, you pretty much stretch one week into two! That’s a capital (ist) dream.

This was too good for me to pass up, so I’ve recently begun my journey into the dark (veeery dark at times – you start to feel like a vampire being up at all hours of the night when everyone else is snoozing their life away) art of polyphasic sleep. I’m not going to lie, I feel like a superhuman, even though technically I’m doing the baby version of polyphasic sleep – the Everyman 3. Who knows, maybe I’ll start the notorious Uberman schedule of 6 20-minute naps every 4 hours, but I doubt it. This is all about what benefits me best, not how much I can deprive myself. Although 42 hours of extra time every week would be nice.

I have to say, even though this post is about sleeping less, I love the example the lion gives: If you’re able to conquer the world around you, you can choose whatever schedule that fits you best.

Josh