One of my favorite web business sites is called Smart Passive Income. The owner of the site, Pat Flynn, refers to himself as a web business guinea pig – he has dedicated the site, a YouTube channel, multiple podcasts and several books to trying out all sorts of web businesses, reporting what works and being honest about what doesn’t.
So as one should do with all great ideas, I am going to steal his strategies for this site. I won’t focus on web business and, for now, I don’t have a YouTube channel (or the face for it to be honest) or a podcast. I will focus on becoming rich independently by learning personal finance, investing, entrepreneurship and economics and I will do my best to share what I learn on the site.
Before we get started, I need to brag a little. I’ve been fascinated with business since I was 13 and, in the 13 years since then, read probably more than 230 books related to investment/business/finance/economics/squirrel hunting, not to mention countless thousands of pages of newsletters, stock recommendations and economic prognostications. I’ve worked for a hedge fund, venture capital fund, leasing company, manufacturing company, supervised at a KFC (where I learned Spanish), and spent a week learning about Austrian Economics at Mises University, and I currently underwrite small business loans. A lot of the stuff I write about will come from these experiences, but possibly even more will come from trying new strategies and reading new material every day.
I will proactively build my wealth using these four pillars:
- Personal finance – The kind of stuff you should learn in a high school class, like saving more, what insurance to buy and whether or not you should own your home
- Investing – Investing is how you avoid falling into the pit of endless 2% annual returns
- Entrepreneurship – Here’s the exciting become-a-millionaire jazz. Creating passive income sources and starting your own business have the power to make personal finance and investing immaterial
- Economics – This was the class you probably fell asleep in during college. But it’s also the most effective lens through which to view the world if you want to be the kind of rich person that VH1 makes shows about
I have dedicated pages on the site to books I like and some other resources. Check them out and let me know what you think!
Personal financial management is both the simplest and the hardest of the four pillars. All you really have to do is figure out to what extent you want to budget (I don’t personally believe in budgeting every single cent you earn except in severe instances), how much debt you will utilize and what kinds and where you’re going to put your hordes of cash.
The only budget I subscribe to is taking $40 of cash out each week for food/snacks/movie tickets and not buying anything once I deplete that amount. I have debt on two houses, some student loans and a bunch of credit cards that I pay off monthly. I basically pay the minimum on the mortgages and student loans because the interest rates are ultra-low.
One thing I do participate in is a concept I talk about in my second book called “forced savings.” Each month, portions of my paycheck get automatically transferred into a savings account and one of my brokerage accounts. This allows me to save money without having any emotional attachment to it.
The best place to start learning the personal finance concepts is my upcoming book. If you subscribe to the newsletter, I’ll give you a heads-up when it’s comes out and is free for a week.
This pillar is my sweet spot. I invest my own savings using three distinct strategies and invest portfolios for three relatives (with two more on the way) as well.
On the site as well as in eBooks, I will explore different procedures that can be used to simplify investing and trading. Most of the time I set-up some sort of fake money portfolio following proposed procedures to track the performance on the website and in the weekly email newsletter; you can go to this page to check out how the current portfolios are doing. I also track my own portfolios with screenshots of the actual brokerage account page.
So start by opening this article in a new tab and reading it. Once you know what risk level you want to apply, go to the resources page and seek out websites and books where you can learn more.
Not quite my sweet spot, but definitely the most fun of the four. I don’t write a whole lot about fancy tech start-ups or angel investing. I will focus on creating sources of passive and active income to make it so the lack of budgeting we talked about before doesn’t set you back too much.
For passive income, I have a rental property (well right now it’s a vacant property that needs to be repainted and then rented out) and an eBooks selling on Amazon. This is my first rental property, and I am guessing I will soon find out that it falls into more of the active income category.
My active income (outside of my day job) comes from this website and is basically all affiliate marketing based. When I find a book or product I like that fits into the ethos of the site, I will recommend them. Sometimes I will get a commission on that. Obviously, the most impactful way for me to do this is to be honest with readers, create great content and recommend even better content.
To get started with entrepreneurship, subscribe to my newsletter. While I do blog posts (or in the future even eBooks) for the big projects I take up, the week-to-week updates are covered in the newsletter.
I understand if this pillar seems a little lame. However, each of the previous ones is dramatically affected by understanding economics. It helps answer questions like: Should you get a whole life insurance policy because it is safer than the banking system would be in another stock market collapse? Is the stock market going to collapse again and how should you invest defensively if it is?
The Economics section of the site is more of a work-in-progress than the other three. I’ve written about Austrian Business Cycle Theory on the site and market timing in the retirement book and will talk about economic events in the newsletter. Otherwise, stay tuned.