Friday, April 7, 2017

Making Money Online is TOUGH!!



So I've been trying to make some extra money online now for a little over year, and I have to say ...... it's a mighty tough way to make a little extra dough!

Now I have to admit I'm very, very bad at following instructions, and I've been trying to do this in my spare time, but still, for the amount of time and effort I've put into it, I'm not really seeing much of a return.

Maybe I'm choosing a poor method?  I'm using the "advertise via Tumblr, (and a bit of Pinterest)" approach, whereby I try to get lots of followers to a few Tumblr accounts, and then add posts that link back to my "money" sites.  My money sites at the moment are two Amazon "stores":  1) Tea Universe, ( http://tea-universe.com  or  http://buyingnirvana.com/teashop ), and 2) Awkward Uncle's Curiosity Shop, ( http://www.awkwarduncle.com  or  http://arph001.com/uncle ).

I started Tea Universe first, early last year.  At first sales were slow, (VERY slow!), but towards the end of the year things began to pick up a bit, with sales in December approaching $40.00 .  (Yes, that's for the whole month.  I told you this was a difficult way to make money!)  January sales were also good, but February sales dipped down below $30.00, and March sales didn't even break $20.00.  

So far April looks to be even worse.

As for "Awkward Uncle" .....  Ha!  Don't even ask!  Sales from that store are so poor they can't even be called a rounding error!

I'm also using Adsense, but that has proven a futile way to earn money as well, at least for me.  Besides, based on the experiences websites I'm familiar with have had with Google, I wouldn't rely on that company as your main source of income.  (And note that I'm actually toning this comment down since I'm writing on a Google site!)

May as well enroll in the "Brilliant Success" network, no?

Maybe I'm just not very good at creating interesting Tumblrs?  These are mine, if you want to check them out:






I also have some other blogs floating around, but since I devote about the same amount of time to them that I do to this neglected blog, they're kinda lonely.  (Unread and unloved!)

So what's the point of all this, other than to whine?  The point is that IMHO the best way to financial independence is the old tried-and-true routine of being paid for highly skilled labor.

For example, take me.  I consider myself a chap of middling intelligence, and meager ambition, but thanks to a skill I learned in my early twenties, I've done okay.  The skill I picked up was how to program in COBOL on IBM mainframe computers, and I've been able to make a good living using that skill for close to 40 years now.  

I make about $70,000/year now, which includes holidays, vacation days, sick time off, a 401k match, and subsidized health insurance.  I work in the comfort of an office building, sitting on an ergonomic chair.  The only hazards I face are grumpy boss types, boring assignments, the irritations of dealing with bureaucracy, and an occasional back-stabbing co-worker.

Do you think making affiliate sales on Amazon will provide you a good, stable income for 40 years?

My point is this: study hard while you're still in school, apply yourself to the difficult, unsexy subjects, and then work hard to be very good at a skill that not everyone possess.  If you do this, you'll have a much better chance of financial success than the guy who opts to take the easy route and gets a degree in philosophy.  (That was me at one point, by the way.  Fortunately I had the time and resources to recover from this stupid choice.)

I'm not the only one who says this; as best I can follow him, (he is a brighter bulb than me!), this is also the message of the venerated Mr. Money Mustache.

Sure, the idea of working independently from home, away from grumpy bosses and mind-numbing meetings, is appealing and perhaps fun, but if you really want to make lots of money you need to do the type work that not everybody is capable of doing, either due to lack of ability or training.  Even if that includes wasting two hours in a ridiculous meeting when you have an unrealistic deadline to meet.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Even a Moron Can Make a Little Affiliate Income

Duh ..........

So I recently got a small affiliate marketing payment from Amazon, $12.89 to be exact.  This represents my affiliate income for the ENTIRE YEAR so far, and while incredibly tiny, is at least a start.  (Better than nothing, huh?)  But the really pathetic thing about all this is that I should have received payment at the end of September, only ...... I was such a dummy that I typed my checking account number incorrectly into my Amazon affiliate profile!

D'oh!!

Oh well.  It took a month and a half to get my mess straightened out, but Amazon did eventually repay me, and now I am a SUCCESSFUL INTERNET MARKETER, albeit the most modestly compensated one, (at least so I hope!).

A note on my business methods: I have been following Franklin Hatchett's "Dominate Tumblr" concept, (https://www.onlinedimes.com/how-make-money-on-tumblr/), because it is simple and monotonous, which is ideal for a lazy, senile old fart like me.  The only problem is that it really isn't the best way to make affiliate sales.  Oh sure, Amazon is great for a rank beginner like me, but it does appear that the ONLY way to really make an acceptable income, (which I define as at least $100/day), is by creating an email list.  Ugh!

I don't know about you, but I HATE having my email inbox jammed up with marketing offers.  But yet, to make a decent amount of cash online, that's exactly what I have to do to other people.  Moral dilemma time!

Better listen to Mr. Lehrer!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BDyFuDxA-I


P.S.  I suppose I would be remiss if I didn't include links to my Amazon "stores":

Tea Universe  -  http://tea-universe.com  and  http://buyingnirvana.com/teashop

Awkward Uncle's Curiosity Shop  -  http://www.arph001.com/uncle


Monday, November 14, 2016

Why We Will Never Be Rich - Part 03 of an Ongoing Series

https://thinkprogress.org/ketchup-sandwiches-and-other-things-stupid-poor-people-eat-41617483b497#.vapn93dq5

You can tell a person's true motivations by their actions, rather than their speech.  Based on our actions, I am forced to conclude that we want to eventually wind up like the majority of Americans, namely almost broke, and dependent on government social programs for our survival.

I say this because we have been doing a fine job this year of spending down the PRINCIPAL of our savings.  Which is exactly what anyone who wants to be poor should be doing.

We cashed in stock funds on the following dates:

07/01/2016 ............................................................... $2,500.00

07/25/2016 ............................................................... $3,300.00

09/01/2016 ............................................................... $2,500.00

10/05/2016 ............................................................... $7,000.00

                   TOTAL ................................................ $15,300.00 !!!

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL!!  While fifteen grand certainly isn't chump change, we also managed to blow through some money returned from called bonds, about another $5,000 or so.

So let's just round it off, and say we've spent an additional $20,000.00 this year OVER AND ABOVE   what our income sources can cover.

Ugh!!

The only way to sustain this behavior in the short term, (it's unsustainable in the long term, of course), is to print money, which just about any national government you can name is already doing, quite vigorously I should add.  But since we can not print our own money, we will soon run out of it, and then must turn to our dear Uncle Sam with outstretched arms, begging for a handout.

Do you want to live like this?

Friday, October 28, 2016

A Dream of Paradise Shattered?



For years now I have had this dream, (fantasy? illusion?), of someday moving to another country, where the day-to-day expenses are lower, and my "estate" could support me and my family longer.  Added to this was my dream of "earning money on the internet", (to date this has been a bust!), which created an image of yours truly sitting under the coconut trees*, laptop on my lap, idly pecking away at my keyboard while the dollars flowed into my bank account, and I lived like only the super rich do back in the USA.

There are plenty of websites touting the expat lifestyle, but one which early on caught my eye was Bob Martin's http://liveinthephilippines.com.  My wife is also from the Philippines, so getting her to move back there would be much less of a struggle than, say, getting her to move to Panama.

Bob seemed to have it all going for him.  He was a successful internet marketer, making "big money" (?) online for years, all while living a great life in Davao City in the southern part of the Philippines.  (In case you didn't know, Davao is the city the Philippines current president, Duterte, used to be mayor of, and is considered one of the safest cities in Asia.)  He was a guy I was going to emulate.

Then all of a sudden we get this:  https://www.gofundme.com/2qjcm7as?utm_medium=wdgt.

First of all, if you are able, I hope you can spare Bob a buck or two.  I don't know him personally, only through his website, but as best I can tell he is a decent human being.

But getting back to the point of this article ....... this really sucks!!

I know medical expenses are a dreadful thing, (medical expenses have destroyed our budget this year), and I believe they are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the USA, but I thought Bob had all this covered.  I thought he was keeping his expenses low, and his income high, such that when bad luck drops a figurative brick on our head like this, he would be able to handle it.

I guess not.

My first reaction is to have the inner skeptic in me start screaming.  Maybe Bob didn't really make all that much money online?  Maybe his claims to be running a successful internet business from the Philippines were just BS?  Or maybe he was a fool, and spent all his money, and didn't have any insurance or savings for a rainy day?

Or maybe he was a smart, successful guy, who just got hit with a perfect storm of expenses?

I guess no matter where you live, or what your income level is, health care costs can devastate you?

Ugh!

The "good news", (such as it is), from all this mess is that, in his latest update, he indicates that PhilHealth will be paying him some money towards his life-saving heart operation.  Hopefully Bob will continue to get more and more good news like this in the future.

So .......

The takeaway from this awful experience is that, when planning your escape to your particular paradise, PLEASE remember to have a contingency plan, and the cash or credit set aside to help fund it.


* - Although "those who know better" laugh at me, having been around real coconut trees, and seen how high up in the tree the coconuts are, there is NO WAY I will ever, ever, ever sit under a coconut tree!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Online Income Statement - June, July, August/2016

It's a good thing I don't count on online income to pay the bills, because for the last three months it has been a constant zero!  And this isn't for lack of effort!  (A lack of intelligence perhaps, but I have worked at it.)

I sincerely hope I am the least successful internet affiliate in the world, because if other folks are doing as poorly as me, then there's a whole lot of effort being wasted online.

Well ...... maybe it's not a total catastrophe.  I do have some money queued up in my Amazon affiliate accounts, and once one of them breaks the $10.00 limit I should get a deposit in my Paypal account.  Still, $10.00 isn't exactly a huge amount of money.

Things got so bad I even go back to Clickworker from time to time.  And this is Clickworker WITHOUT access to UHRS, (which is where most of the money is made), because I refuse to back to working on a Windows PC.  (We use Apple PCs in our household.)  So I "earn" pennies a day.

Ugh ......


But the internet gods apparently haven't finished humiliating me, because just recently I updated the software on my tea store, ( tea-universe.com ), and now ...... the site doesn't work anymore!!

My store uses WooCommerce, the WooZone plugin, (to grab products off Amazon), and the Kingdom theme.  Two days ago I updated Kingdom to version 1.7, and everything went wonky.  This surprised me, as I thought all three pieces of software were written by the same group of folks, (AATeam, or something like that), and so would play well together.  Ha, ha .... jokes on me!

IMHO Kingdom is a hard theme to work with.  Or maybe the problem is WooCommerce?  At any rate, all this stuff combines into what ain't a normal straight-forward WordPress page.  But after fussing with it a bit I finally got the appearance of the store pretty well stabilized.  In fact, I kinda like how it looks now better than it looked on the older Kingdom theme:

The new appearance of tea-universe.com

The huge problem is that, once you attempt to checkout with items added to your cart, by the time you're redirected to Amazon the cart is somehow empty!

What happened to the items in my cart?

So what I have now is a nicer looking store that no one can order anything from.  Phooey!


I've paid $5.00 on Fiverr to some guy in India who claims he can debug WooCommerce problems.  We'll see if anything comes of that or not.

In the meantime ...... does anyone happen to know of a way to fix this problem?  


Earn money in your spare time on the internet, huh?  Nonsense, I say!

=================================================================

Update: the guy from India directed me to some documentation, which helped, and made some suggestions, which so for haven't worked.  So what I have done is disable the shopping cart altogether.  Now you simply click "buy product" and get redirected to Amazon to complete the order, (add it to your shopping cart, and check out).

If I have time I may fight with this crazy software some more, but in the meantime at least tea-universe.com is functional again.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Why We Will Never Be Rich - Part 02 of an Ongoing Series

One of the main reasons we will never be rich is Old Grump's continual careless, immature, and just plain STUPID behavior.


This idiocy has recently cost us nearly $500!!  Allow me to share with you the sorry details.

1. A few months ago Grump wrote a check, admittedly under duress, (it was for a product being sold through Kuya's school by a company* he doesn't like much), using the credit union account from his icky job at the Lizard Pit.  Soon thereafter he managed to get another job, enabling him to leave that miserable place.  (Hooray!!)  After waiting for all the checks from the Lizard Pit credit union to clear, he happily closed his account there.  And all was well in his world.

Except ...... he forgot to write down one or two checks, and one of these, (yep, you guessed it - to the company he dislikes anyway), got returned.  That was several months ago, and we knew nothing about it until early last week, when Grump got a letter from a collection agency** asking that payment be made for the original purchase, PLUS AN EXTRA THIRTY DOLLARS FOR BOUNCING THE CHECK.

2. As part of getting a new job, Grump got a new bank account to have his paycheck deposited into.  This new bank does some things a little differently than Grump is accustomed to.  For example, when making a payment online, this payment is not always immediately deducted from your account when sent.  Grump makes lots of payments online, and is used to checking his account online to reconcile how much money the bank says he has with how much he thinks he has, and then making any necessary adjustments in his records.

This past week, he screwed up and bounced an online payment.

What happened is that he made several online payments at once, then when he checked back a few days later saw that the bank said he had about $70 more dollars than his records indicated.  So he adjusted his balance up by $70, and went about happily spending, drawing his account down to the last penny right before his next paycheck, due on the 15th.

Of course, when the one online payment that had never posted, (for about $70!), finally showed up, (two days before he got paid, of course!), he didn't have enough money in his account to cover it, so he got whacked an extra $35 for an overdraft.

Grrr .......

3. The final act of stupidity was a whopper!  After driving home from his job on the other side of the state, and being tired and grumpy from a persistent head cold, Grump drove out with Sweetie to get some pizza for dinner.  What happened next is so stupid you probably won't believe it: Grump got mad at his car, and broke off the turn signal / headlights lever!

Grump holding the fruits of his labor

What a fool, huh?

As they say, as fool and his money soon go separate ways.  This little temper tantrum cost Grump $418.36!!  

The newly installed turn signal / headlights lever

The bill!!


So in less than two weeks, a pathetic Old Grump has managed to waste nearly $500 .

It's not like we have a ton of extra cash to burn either.  We just recently had to take $2,500 out of retirement savings to help pay down some credit card bills.  Flushing another $500 down the toilet of childish behavior isn't going to help us at all.

Financial responsibility requires mature behavior.  If you want to remain an irresponsible teenager your entire life you may do so.  Just don't act surprised when you wind up broke.




* - if you really want to know, the company is Scholastic Books, who in his opinion sell a mediocre, over-priced product under the pretense of "helping your school".

** - this is the first time any of us have ever been contacted by a collection agency over an old debt.  The original check was for a grand sum of $21.00 !!


Saturday, July 2, 2016

Our "Net Worth" - an Update

About a year and a half ago we posted an entry about our "net worth", ( http://owlsandcuckoos.blogspot.com/2015/02/our-net-worth.html ).  Rather than write another blah post about our meager online "earnings", (earnings?  hah!!), for the month, I figured now would be a good time to update those old figures.

1. Assets:  $640,000.00

I wish we could take credit for socking away an additional $40,000 in 18 months, but the truth is that our increase here is mostly due to the performance of our investments, and less cautious accounting on my part when determining account value.  But that's okay; and extra $40,000 is great regardless of its origin.

2. Liabilities:  $140,000.00

Well phooey!  I was hoping we had paid off more on the condo, (still owe about $47,000), and the car, (still owe about $10,000), but those debts are still huge.  And of course the never ending revolving consumer debt continues to hobble us, which wasn't helped in the least by BOTH of our boys, (Kuya and Dodong), being rushed to the emergency room recently.  But you know, it just costs money to live.  All things considered, I don't think we're doing too bad considering that we're supporting five of us.


$640,000  -  $140,000  =   $500,000, which is our net worth.  Half a million!  Woo hoo!!


Unfortunately, all the comments from our prior net worth post still apply.

1.  We are spending more money than we are earring.  We still cash in non-IRA savings to help pay the bills.  (Just yesterday Old Grump cashed in $2,400 to help cover a bloated Amex card bill.)

2.  The increase in our net worth seemingly occurs DESPITE our behavior, due to interest and dividends, I suppose.

This is a financially reckless way to live, as sooner or later the market will crash again, and then our redemptions will harm our principal, (or is it "principle"  -  stupid English language!), balance.


Live frugally, and may your pennies become dimes, and your dimes become dollars!


P.S.  -  I forgot to include a link to the net worth page!  Here it is:  http://rockstarfinance.com/blogger-net-worths/ .