FINANCIAL FREEDOM

Episode 6: The Forge

‘Ding!’

I’d reached the ground floor of the Cairns International Pullman Hotel. It was mid-October and just rolling into summer in Queensland, I stepped over the threshold into the main foyer and was hit by an abrupt cloud of air conditioning. I was early to rendezvous with my sister (an incredible novelty for me), wondering through the reception a grand space with a marble floor, luscious soft furnishings and dangling, meters-long chandeliers. I eventually sank myself into the plush seating and winced at the sun reflecting on the blue and white balloon-arch, leftovers from the Scottish International Rugby team ‘welcome party’ the night before.

There was of course a high chance that at any moment a buff rugby-playing Scotsman would wonder directly past me and not being one to miss an opportunity I proceeded to try to find the ideal seating position to make myself look naturally stunning and effortlessly beautiful, draping my hair over part of my face and twirling the curls with my finger to make them stand out. Smiling sweetly at nothing, resting my arm gracefully in an unnatural position and dropping my sunnies down to rest on my nose, just too low to allow them to be functional.

‘Wow, check out that beautifully tanned and svelte hottie in her Gucci sunglasses’ I imagined the players saying to each other, giggling and blushing as they walked past. Shortly after I caught a brief glimpse of myself in the rotating door and cringed at just how ridiculous I looked. ”Emma you’re such a nob” whispered my internal dialogue in a mocking tone, I caught the eyes of the Porter across the hall, a raised eyebrow and slight nod in my direction confirmed that he too thought I looked preposterous.

In an attempt to conceal my embarrassment I shifted to a hunched over position, pushed my sun glasses (that are not required indoors) to the top of my head and decided to loose myself in a random glossy magazine on the side table next to me.

The magazine that I happened upon was called ‘Forge’, an Australian economic and entrepreneurial publication. I devoured it. Pausing for the longest time on a  review of a book entitled ‘Get Rich Slow’, by Sarah Riegelhuth. Which helps millennials to focus on pursuing sensible investments, the key message being start small with ventures that have low barriers to entry. Now that I thought about it, it wasn’t the first time I had been inspired by the idea of slow-build income, I had recently listened to a podcast interview of entrepreneur Nikki Groom by the Woman’s Side Hustle Society with Gina Fresquez. I reminded myself of her description of gradual progress as ‘Turtle Energy’, no need to jump off a cliff (an analogy for quitting ones job) to make headway, build slowly and progressively and you can eventually spend more time doing your side hustle and less time in a traditional trading time for money role. I wanted this. More immediately, I wanted Forge.

When I left the hotel the next day, suavely leaning in a graceful yet awkward position against my suitcase, twisted curled hair partly over my face and my sunnies towards the end of my nose, I directed my sweetest smile at the concierge and we agreed that I could borrow the hotel-owned magazine on a more permanent basis.

It’s now on my bedside table.


Reminder of 2018 Financial Freedom goal:

By the end of 2018 I will.. not need to work full time, allowing me the opportunity to pursue other goals.

  • I will have set up passive income streams that bring in a cash flow equivalent to my current wages. I will be able to manage these streams in less time than my current full time employment, aspiration is 2 days a week.
  • I will have set up the infrastructure for a scalable business idea to be implemented in 2019

Stock Take: First Quarter 2018 goal achievements
Financial Freedom:

Before embarking on my two finance goals for this year I have been removing my anchors. Becoming more frugal and minimalist has been the biggest shift in my perspective in the last few months, aside from my annoying need to preach about my new virtue, I have made great progress. I have completely changed my spending habits (no more subscription coffee), reduced my belongings by 2/3s (no more 140 pairs of shoes) and raised >£1000 selling my stuff – creating physical and mental space to pursue my creative business ideas. WIN!

Scaleable Business Idea – I have come up with some but am going to keep this under wraps until later in the year. Watch this space.

Passive Income Streams – Timothy Ferriss in his book ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ suggests that having too many options kills decision making and ultimately revenue. My main learning from the 5 income streams below (not going to lie – its dry reading, numbers aren’t sexy people) is that I can’t focus on all of these businesses – some are going to get my top priority in quarter 2 and others are going to be tackled down!

1. DROP SHIPPING Down 

This income stream essentially involves setting up an online eCommerce shop, establishing a niche and targeting those people through Facebook marketing. When they buy something, you order it from the supplier and deliver it directly to the customers home so you don’t need to hold any stock. You can then enjoy the benefits of the income from the orders with very little risk of stock holdings or sale the businesses once it is successful for a lump sum.

Achievements – number of sales: £0! Membership costs -£20.64 Learnt a lot about the process.

Lesson – this didn’t really go anywhere for me, I didn’t commit the time to getting it off the ground and realised that I wasn’t really all that interested in it, I didn’t want to be importing cheap products when I feel so strongly about needless consumerism (see above re: preaching about new virtues). I may come back when I have a niche/product that aligns with my values.

2. SHUTTER STOCK (link) Up 

Stock photo portfolio consisting of 79 images that I have taken during the last decade. Upload high quality images and if approved wait for people to download your images, payment per download. Simples

Shutterstock (2)

 

Achievements – number of sales: 4! Equalling $1.00 (About 70p) No costs to set up or fees WIN! I was shocked by how much content I had at my finger tips that I could upload. There is something I find flattering (read narcissistic) about people all over the world purchasing my photos. I have another $34 to go before I can claim any of this money, slow burn indeed.

Lessons – I need to invest some more time in creating good metadata so my images can be found – example, there about 171 images for ‘white dripping swan’. I also need to consider taking photos specifically for their most requested content to get more regular downloads.

3. TEE SPRING (link) Up 

Upload your designs onto a tee, towel or canvas. As long as you get a minimum order quantity then Tee Spring do the rest of the work, printing and posting.

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Achievements – number of sales: £0! Advertising: -£4. I’ve learned how to upload designs and to edit them which is very straight forward.

Lessons – In my example here, ‘Beat’ is part of a series of original watercolours that portray the feelings of being dog-tired and exhausted, captured in beautiful moments of defeat. Though that’s not capturing the imagination of my audience. My investment here has been minimal, other than that I need to find out why my product doesn’t sell.

4. STOCKS and SHARES Up 

Achievements – I have made a small investment into shares, which are currently slightly less than I bought it for, PFFT! I don’t mind, the investment is small and well within what I could afford to lose; I am in this one for the long haul.

Lessons – I will make more investments, research research, research and then take some informed risks.

5. EMMA FRANCES BOUTIQUE  (link) Down 

Etsy shop, to sum it up: ”Emma Frances Boutique is the hub of Limited Edition handmade home furnishings and accessories. Always UK made, with love.”

Achievements – number of sales: 4! Equalling about £9.78 after P&P, labour and materials. Costs for advertising -£40.

Lessons – time to let this one go, it’s a bit of a pointless endeavour. I am mainly selling off stock from a previous business, once it is sold I will not be making anymore so its a fair bit of effort for a limited return. Despite good engagement no one bought anything from the marketing, all purchases were direct.  I sought some feedback from other sellers who suggested its probably a combination of my products and the quality of my photos. I am going to discontinue this avenue, sell the stock in bulk to a liquidation company and free up my time.

 

Whats next?

  1. Finish removing my anchors.
  2. Focus initially on a narrower slice of passive income streams and build slowly.
  3. Pursue other avenues to build a more diverse portfolio. 
    • Selling ebooks on Amazon – short stories or poems.
    • Uploading classes into Skill Share.
    • Create a podcast.
    • Consider renting out rooms when I move to facilitate going part time.
  4. Plan for 2019 business idea.

‘Getting rich’ to me simply means both having enough to live by financially and being time rich. This is what my passive income streams focus on – not trading my time for money, because there isn’t an amount I would trade for Sunday lunches with my family or summer days hiking across the Quantock Hills with my friends. Which leads me to an interesting question, how do I manage my time in building financial freedom whilst achieving my other goal of investing in my ‘A’ relationships…?

 

 

How did I get here? Read my previous blogs for insight into Entropy Emma:

Best to Start at the Beginning.

Best to Start at the Beginning Part Two

Queen of Sorting-My-Shit-Out

Today I…

Winners Adapt

 

Photo credit: Emma Frances

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