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In 2016 I wrote a blog post that became one of my most popular blog posts. Basically how I built my business and what income streams I had at the time. You can view the blog post here

So its 5 years later and a total of nearly 8 years of being self-employed and I thought I’d give you guys an update and perhaps an answer to the more pressing question, am I rich yet? The simple answer is NO. By most people standards I am not rich yet. Meaning am I a multi millionaire and can retire without doing anything? I am not. But by my standards I am rich. Let me explain why.

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Flashback 2017/2018

When I was younger I thought I’d retire with 35, living on the beach, not working anymore and sipping cocktails all day. Been there, done that. I even wrote about my “early retirement” with 35 here.

After selling one of my business in 2017 and technically not needing to do anything for a few years I got bored. I traveled extensively in 2017/2018. Among some of the places were Samoa, Australia, Tasmania, Cambodia, Bali amongst some other places. I thought ” I made it” and It ended up getting pretty boring after some time. That may sound arrogant and I understand for anyone reading this, dreaming of having this lifestyle it sounds like what is wrong with me?

Believe me, if you have nothing to do anymore you lose purpose and get depressed. Even if you travel for a year and visit places you end up feeling lonely and irrelevant. Thats why when people work all their life and retire with 65 they end up getting depressed and then start to work again. And you might have heard this before, you should enjoy the things in life while you are young.

Tasmania 2018

What makes someone rich?

The majority of people probably thinks that being rich is having millions of $ in your bank account. For me, freedom is being rich. And you need a lot less money for that than you think. Over the years I’ve become a minimalist. Not because I don’t have any income, but because I have gotten rid of materialistic things. 

The most expensive thing I probably own is my 2018 iPhone. I don’t have a car, expensive toys or fancy clothing. I have 8 t-shirts, all in the same colour. I could leave my apartment at any time and pack everything in 1 big suitcase. The only thing I still splurge money on is travelling. For the rest of the time I eat at home, buy clothing once or twice a year and buy things that I need at a discount. Why would I buy a simple white t-shirt that says “Givenchy” on it for 100$ when I can get a simple white t-shirt for 7,99$ at H&M?

For me the most important thing in life besides family and friends is having the freedom to live and work from wherever I want. Sure you might be thinking that I already have the money to do so. But I started from zero, just life everyone else. A few hours, starting today can make a difference in a few years. It took me 5 years to build my income streams to a decent monthly pay-check. And I am not stressing myself these days on making thousands of $ every month.

So am I rich yet or not? How much am I worth?

My monthly income ranges anywhere from 2-5000$ (if I don’t work at all) to 5 figures if I put in some work. If I would work “normal” office hours, like 9-5 from Monday-Friday I could possibly make more. But honestly I am not interested in that at the moment. I value my freedom and work-life balance much more. On a normal day I would get up between 5-6AM, check my emails, record videos, write content, have coaching calls and be done with it by 1PM. I would then head to the gym for 1 1/2 hours, come back have lunch and probably go out for a walk. If there’s something urgent with work I would put in another 1-2 hours. If not, I call it a day. Yes, sometimes I have 10-12 hour work days, but I chose when and if I want to do it. And most of all, I enjoy what I do, even if its a 12 hours work day.

Could I buy a Porsche or even a Lamborghini? Yes I could. But then I’d use up my liquid cash reserves. I rented a supercar for a week once and let me tell you it got boring after 3 days. On the 1st and 2nd day it was exciting. By the 3rd day I drove it for an hour and by the 4th day it was just standing in the drive way. So if I spend 200,000$ on a car – that will loose 20% of its value the moment I drive it out of the dealership – is generally a bad idea and terrible investment. That is if I want to continue my current lifestyle.

Most of my money is in compound interest – creating financial instruments. Meaning I generate interest on my assets every day (for some of them daily for some of them monthly/quarterly). If you live a frugal lifestyle you could possibly retire with as little as 300,000$ in savings. If you invest in passive income assets like P2P lending, ETF’s, mutual funds, REIT’s and others you could make anywhere from 6-10% a year with 300,000$. Meaning you can earn 16,000 – 30,000$ a year passively. That would be enough if you rent a cheap place and don’t spend a lot of money on fancy things. I am not saying that is the ultimate goal or for everyone. I am just saying its possible.

It’s never been easier to make passive income from a few hundred $. And by that I mean the vast amount of platforms & industries available today where you can safely invest. I’ll list a few at the end of this blog post that can get you started.

Of course you can still work and anything earned from your work is extra money, or should be put into passive income assets. Like I said earlier in the post, doing nothing will get boring and make you depressed. Believe it or not.


What have I been doing since then?

In the last 5 years I’ve dabbled into mentoring, Amazon affiliate marketing, creating more courses all the while running other businesses. I built some websites, sold some and expanded my online assets in general. I’ve even dabbled into the Blockchain industry, building a project that ended up costing me 70,000$. Lesson learned.

At the same time I invested the majority of my savings heavily into different passive income assets. I try not to touch them and live of the income I make with my businesses.

In 2020 during the height of the pandemic I rode a bicycle from the Malaysian border to Bangkok (about 1000km) with a friend.

It was pretty much the highlight of the last few years. You can read about it here. 

I also took a 4 months course on day-trading, swing trading, long term trading. I’ve always been interested in trading in general but I never really knew what I was doing. So in September 2020 I decided that I properly wanted to learn from a professional (Thomas Kralow), invested 600$ into a course and started learning.

Best investment I made in the last 2 years. Not only was the course explained for beginners but you actually had to do homework and couldn’t skip to the juicy stuff. You needed to complete each lesson, learn all the ropes until you were “allowed” to trade. If you want to learn how to trade I can highly recommend this course. Check it out here. 

Riding a bike from Malaysia to Bangkok

What am I up to in 2021 and beyond?

As some of you might have seen I recently started a challenge to create another Amazon business. To be more exact it is a challenge to reach 1 Million $ in turnover as fast as possible over the next few months. I want to proof to the naysayers that even in 2021 and beyond you can create an Amazon/eCommerce business and be successful. 

It’s been 2 1/2 months and so far everything is looking good. You can follow my progress here on this page. You can even join me and create your own challenge. I won’t just be creating an Amazon business but I will also sell on my own online shop, use Print on Demand (POD) services, sell to retail and invest any profits into financial instruments. I am updating the challenge publicly every month and almost daily within my course here

On top of that I am thinking of doing a Podcast and grow my Youtube channel. I am also very much into creating passive income as you will have guessed by now. So here are some of the instruments I invested in: 

Assets I invested in

  • P2P lending Bondora and Mintos (monthly)
  • ETF’s via Interactive Brokers (monthly)
  • Gold via my bank (monthly)
  • Cryptocurrencies (one time)
  • Trading course with Thomas Kralow’s course (one time for self improvement)
  • Mutual funds via my bank (monthly)
  • Life “Insurance” via my bank (monthly)

In total I invest about 2000$ a month into these assets (I even spend less than that on my monthly expenses including rent). But you can get started with 100$ or less. If you are interested in this, just look at a compound interest calculator to see how much a monthly 100$ investment with compound interest can be worth in for example 20 years. 

Final Thoughts

This is your wake up call if you haven’t started building a passive income or side business yet. Regardless of how old you are, you should be putting in a few hours every week in building extra income streams. Whether this is actively working on something or putting aside an extra 100$ a month in passive income assets (like P2P lending, ETF’s etc.).

I am 38 now and I know it sounds like a cliche when I say “I wish I would have started earlier”.  Yes I did enjoy my life and spent a lot of money over the years on unnecessary things. I wouldn’t want to miss those. But I should have started putting aside even 100$ 10 years ago. I also wish I didn’t sell my crypto so early 😀

Could have, should have, would have. 

The best time to create assets or invest in passive income was yesterday. The  next best time is now. 

I’ll leave you with this story that I find very fitting (I don’t believe this actually happened but it’s right on the spot 🙂 ) 

Bill Gates and the Fisherman
During a recent trip to Hawaii, Bill Gates saw a fisherman lying beside his boat, smoking his pipe.
Bill Gates: “Why aren’t you fishing?”
Fisherman: “Because I have caught enough fish for the day.”
Bill Gates: “Why don’t you catch some more?”
Fisherman: “What could I do with them?”
Bill Gates: “Earn more money. Then you could have a motor fixed to your boat and go into deeper waters and catch more fish.
Fisherman: “What could I do with that?”
Bill Gates: That would bring you more money. Soon you would have enough to buy nylon nets, so more fish, even more money.
Fisherman: “What could I do with that?”
Bill Gates: Soon you would have enough to buy two boats, maybe even a fleet of boats. Then you would be rich like me.”
Fisherman: “What could I do then?”
Bill Gates: “Then you could sit back and enjoy life.”
Fisherman: “What do you think I am doing now?”

Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor nor do I guarantee any returns on the investments you make. I merely point out a few things that have generated income for me over the last few years and you should do your own due diligence when you invest money. My general advice would be never to investment more than you are willing to loose. 
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About the author

My name is Manuel and I was born in Austria in a little town called Melk. Asia has always fascinated me, ever since I can remember.

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