I try to write these reports monthly, but sometimes I slip and time pulls away from me. And the next thing I know is it is the end of January and the last monthly report was for October. Oopss.

It has been a busy few months. Which is one excuse. But the other excuse is that I haven’t actually done that much businessy stuff. At the end the last report I said: I am writing a book and hope to finish a first draft of by end of November and I am taking an online course by Harvard on video game development.”

And that is what I have been doing. I finished the first draft of my book, finished the video game course and made a silly first game. Which I think is exciting but isn’t particularly useful or interesting to anyone else.

But what is cool is that I can spend three months focusing on stuff that doesn’t make any money and it doesn’t matter. My businesses still get to tick over making more money than I spend. So let’s talk about that!

Spend Less

Do you want to hear something mental? Since July we have been travelling the world full-time. And our average daily costs (including flights, hotels, insurance, everything) is about half of what we spent living in Tunbridge Wells in the UK.

Yeah, you heard that right. Being on holiday 24/7 is cheaper than trying to live a middle class life in a posh town in Kent.

Our expenses:

We are averaging just under £120 a day (which is actually quite a lot for digital nomads) and have visited Switzerland, Greece, Croatia, Thailand, Vietnam, Bali, Myanmar, Malaysia and Singapore. And we’re not roughing it either. We have always stayed in nice hotels or apartments and eaten a lot of good food.

I went to a digital nomad conference (use code LAZY for 10% off the next one) in December and one of the stand out talks was on financial independence. Investing your money or creating low maintenance businesses that can completely cover your cost of living so you don’t need to exchange your time for money.

I have been banging the drum for financial independence for years and even did an interview for Smart Passive Income on it but haven’t entirely been following my own advice.

There are two ways you can start saving. Either earn more money or spend less. And spending less is where I have been the hypocrite.

Starting in about 2015 I found my expenses creeping up every year. My peers got older and richer and the pressure to ‘keep up’ intensified. I stopped being a bachelor and got married. And I moved to a rich town full of big spenders. We talked about it a lot on this podcast but long story short, sometimes it takes a massive life change to reset your expectations and get back on track.

For me that change was to move out, sell everything and go travelling. I’ve cut my expenses in half while simultaneously improving my quality of life.

 

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You don’t get this view in Tunbridge Wells. I do miss my Jiu-Jitsu gym though :(.

Useful Resources:

Earn More

I have a few businesses that have been ticking over. Let’s talk about how they did in January.

Pipehouse Gin

Pipehouse Gin is our craft gin business and is currently available in the UK and in Spain. I haven’t spent much time on the business but Emma (my wife) has and it is going well. Slowly growing and expanding.

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We did our 2019 accounts in January and are pleased to say that the business is cash flow positive and made a profit.

But just an on paper profit – none of it reached my pocket. Instead it was all reinvested back into the business. Why? What is the point of having a business that doesn’t pay you any money?

Well, because unlike some of my other businesses I believe most of Pipehouse Gin’s success is reflected in the equity value of the business. Meaning that we can expect it to be worth a lot if we sell it. And the more we invest in growing that equity value the more it will be worth in the future.

This is because of the way valuations work. Spirit brands with recurring business customers, good distribution channels and a cult following get very high valuations. Because a huge drinks company can swoop in, buy it up and then plug your brand into their distribution machine. They can make more money from my brand than I can.

Contrast this with an Amazon FBA business or a blog or any other online business. They generally get low valuations because the online world is variable and has lots of randomness. The buyer is pricing in the expectation of the earnings from the business going down not up.

That’s obviously a massive simplification but you get the idea.

One very cool thing about Pipehouse Gin that really showed in January is that we don’t run the Spanish side of the business. We have a partner there who does all their own marketing including their own Instagram account, and is doing it better than we could.

I might be giving away some margin, but they are growing the pie so I still make more money. Ideal for a lazy entrepreneur.

Be sure to check out some of my older posts. I documented everything about the development of Pipehouse Gin in real-time.

If you want to support us please buy a bottle of our gin from Amazon. And if you like it please leave a review!

Table Tennis Brands

I run two table tennis brands. Mid-range Palio & high-end Eastfield Co. They are my biggest businesses making 6-figures a year profit and are the businesses that pay my salary. They sell all around the world with the vast majority of sales coming from Amazon FBA.

January was a slow month as you’d expect, but it gave us a chance to assess how the brands did in 2019.

Palio saw a 7% drop in turnover. Which I’m pretty pleased with. Palio has had a hard couple of years due to increased competition and a lot of fakes on the market. And we seemed to mostly have stopped the decline. The final 6 months of 2019 were an improvement on the final 6 months in 2018. So I am expecting some growth or at least stability in 2020.

Meanwhile, Eastfield had a 125% growth in turnover. This is partly due to some manufacturing problems we had in 2018. But if we ignore 2018, 2019 still saw a 20% growth on 2017 which is really good. Especially given how much extra competition there is now. Given the current trajectory, I expect some continued growth in 2020. Another 20%-25% would be nice.

Relevant Posts:

The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast

The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast is my podcast that I record with my wife. I have had some problems with audio quality while travelling so in December and January we rented a recording studio. Which I think has improved things a lot.

Listen to The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast now:

Plus I get to take some cool pictures and feel like a professional:

 

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We’ve been renting a recording studio recently to improve the quality of our podcast 💪

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But I haven’t been very good at editing them so only a few have been released. In January was one episode:

Which honestly is well worth a listen.

This Blog

Traffic was good in January. And the blog made about £2,500 which long term readers won’t be too surprised at as it normally flutters around that mark while slowly trending down.

The blog made £39,000 in 2019. Down from £50,000 in 2018. Down from £63,000 in 2017. If it continues like that, which I assume it will, I expect to make about £30,000 in 2020.

Having said that, blogging is highly variable and it wouldn’t take much to see my income shoot up again.

In January I wrote two posts:

Relevant Posts:

Investing

Considering we started this post talking about financial independence. I should really talk about investing. Income generating businesses are great, but the most stable and passive form of financial independence is through investment.

I invest heavily in the stock market and in peer-2-peer loans and have blogged about them both before. Here are some good starting places:

Conclusion

There we go, another monthly report. I’m glad to be back on track and will do one for February.

I am going to be spending a lot of time learning video game development over the next few months and so my businesses will continue to suffer. But what’s the point earning free time if you can’t spend it on what you’re interested in?

Thanks for reading!

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