Ask the Single Dude: How can I make enough money for my first big trip?

Ask The Single Dude
Anonymous writes:

I have a good 30 minute or less question, what’s a simple step by step way to make enough money for your first big trip?

I have been dying for years now to take an extend vacation partially in India, and partially in Thailand. [Lets say 7 weeks]

I stopped working last year [shitty council work job] so that I could concentrate on web design but then basically spent a lot of my time [redacted].

I really need to make money (I want to aim for just under the UK tax threshold of about 9k yearly) and the fuck am I doing a desk job again.

What advice could you give?

Hi Anonymous,

We understand your disdain for the rat race, or “The Corporate Prison,” as we like to call it. We asked you some followup questions to get more information about your specific situation so let’s go through those one by before we give you an overall game plan.

1) What kind of skills do you have besides web design?

“I can write good copy and I am crazy good at cold emails to businesses etc. For example I have made contact with start ups in California before with ease, and I was actually negotiating a deal with a Fiverr rival a couple years back where I contacted all of their top sellers in order to sell the idea of promoting their website via reddit. I negotiated with them individually and then contacted the head of the site with ‘authority backing’ from the top sellers. It was working great, but turns out the site was more than a little unprofessional. [before this I snapped up the name of the company’s subreddit so if they tried to bypass I could sell it to a rival.]

Other than that normal boring things, good communicator, some experience in programming but I need to double down on relearning it.

My background is [advanced STEM degree].”

The kind of skills that you have are great. They lend themselves to freelancing and a location independent lifestyle and you can easily build upon them to increase your market value and versatility.

Your story about your business idea with the Fiverr rival indicates that you have good business sense and savvy.

Your educational background demonstrates, intelligence, hard work and ability to understand and eventually master complex subject matter.

2) How advanced are you in web design? What do you know how to do?

“Just WordPress templates mostly, it’s all still a learning in progress for me. Though I do currently have a client that’s quite wealthy and was looking for me to do multiple sites for him, actually getting time to see him has been difficult because rich people are very busy.”

Your web skills are basic but you can build upon this. Web design and development are some of the most lucrative freelance, location independent careers a guy could have.

3) When do you want to take this trip?

“By summer next year.”

4) Do you have any job prospects right now (for regular employment or freelance work)? If so how much do you stand to earn?

“So here’s the thing, I have a few friends in the [redacted] industry that I could probably get work through them, but I don’t like that area of work. Moved back home in order to [redacted] and it meant I gave up a career. I didn’t have my heart in it anyway, always been interested in being self employed and using creative, negotiation and sales skills.”

5) Do you have any money to invest in starting up a business or for continuing education for yourself? If so how much?

“About £500. Hardly anything, I pissed away a lot of money last year about a 4 months after working a local government job (a recipe for slow death of the soul by the way, everything they say about local government is true).”

6) What was your previous job exactly? When did you quit exactly? How long were you at that job?

“Previous job was telephone guy in [redacted]. We made warm calls to [redacted]. I have the kind of phone voice its hard to get mad at.

Couldn’t get any more engineering or science related work in my town because well knowing I was a [redacted] everyone thought I was overqualified and that I’d leave the first chance I got.”

7) What are your current monthly expenses?

“My monthly expenses are near non existent. Just my phone. I have some student loans but you need to be earning above a certain amount to in order for the payment obligations to kick in. At the moment I’m living with my parents.”

8) Ideally, what do you want to do?

“1) Create more than one stream of income that I can run mostly from home. The more streams the better.

2) I’ve been wanting to take the aforementioned 7 week trip since I was 18 and never got the chance.

3) Reduce tax liabilities on any businesses I run without falling afoul of any laws that could screw me over. I was looking into the Estonia thing but not sure how much that would interrupt, disrupt or mess up the British side of things [in particular the student loan stuff kicking in].”

We think you need to approach this from four different angles. You’ve got the better part of a year to put this whole thing together and we think that’s enough if you work really hard. Here are the four things you need to work on:

First, improve your skills. Take your minimal start up capital and sign up for an online learning program such as OneMonth.com. Today’s Elearning programs are better than ever and are absolutely a viable substitute for ridiculously expensive traditional universities. Learn everything you can about web design and web development from top to bottom. This means learn SEO, learn UI and UX, learn design, learn HTML/CSS/JavaScript, learn one or more back end languages like PHP, Ruby, Python or Scala or JS Node the basics of server setup and administration including how to manage an Apache or Nginx web server (or better yet both). You could also look into learning about mobile app development which would mean learning Swift or Java. Get at least the basics of everything and then go deeper in the areas that you like and show aptitude for.

You’re going to get three major benefits from doing this:

A. You will increase your market value and versatility; you will increase the number of potential projects you can work on and your rate of pay will go up.

B. Since you want to be an entrepreneur, even if you don’t decide to code or design for a living it will be invaluable for you to understand technology as much as possible, especially web and mobile app technology. It will help you myriad ways. You will know who to hire for what job, how to evaluate a potential employee or subcontractor’s skills, how to sell to clients and investors whenever and wherever technology is involved and it will provide you with marketable skills you can fall back on if times get tough.

C. You will learn more about what you really like to do and what you don’t like to do.

Second, start drumming up as much freelance work as you can. Hit the pavement, knock on doors, be relentless, put those sales skills to work. The more freelance work you do the more you’ll get. Word of mouth is powerful. Do right by your first few clients and you will likely have more referrals than you can handle in short order. You may have luck with Fiverr and Upwork (formerly ODesk) and they certainly are better for sellers than buyers but you have to compete with a bunch of retarded Indians and Pakistanis undercutting your bids on many jobs. Matt Forney has some great advice about making money on Fiverr in his book “Writing for Peanuts”: list jobs that you can literally do in one minute or less. It’s only the way standard Fiverr gigs payoff since you only get $4.00 per gig out of $5.50 paid by the client (less any ripoff PayPal fees you incur to actually use the money). People will hire you because they are lazy or ignorant of just how easy the job is.

Third, if and when a business idea comes to you, investigate it. But don’t make the mistake of building something without proving its viability first. Use the concept of “lean” and “minimum viable product (MVP)” to prove your concept before you buy anything or write a single line of code. This is where your multiple income streams are going come from that will build upon your freelancing income.

Fourth, do the research and set up your business off shore now. We can’t possibly know all the ins and outs of current laws everywhere but trust me you can do it. Doing everything exactly by the letter of the law may or may not be possible or practical in every case and making some minor lies of omission here and there might pay off in spades. You can certainly do it in such a way that the benefits far outweigh the risks of British income tax and student loan payments. We know nothing about British law so Estonia may or may not be good for you. Regardless of current laws as an EU citizen we would lean toward basing yourself outside the EU simply because the UK and the EU have less leverage against your business in countries outside the EU if you run into problems. Have a look at Hong Kong and Singapore. Coming from a few dudes who have wasted more than 7 figures on unnecessary taxes, trust us, a little effort now will go a long way in the future. Fuck the government and the parasites who live off it, they are evil to the core. We feel like you have a moral duty to limit the amount of money you give to governments without jeopardizing your freedom and well being. Every large corporation, every rich guy, and every high level government parasite take advantage of legal (and often illegal) tax loopholes and shelters, you should too!

We will say it again, absolutely limit your reportable UK income to below the poverty rate, but don’t limit your total income!

Conventional wisdom might say that what you need to do to meet your goal is simple. Add up your living expenses between now and then, estimate the cost of your trip, then setup a plan to earn enough excess income to save the amount necessary to cover the trip.

We would approach this a different way. Right now you have freedom and very low monthly expenses. Most people do not have this luxury. You need to take full advantage of this. Don’t worry about your income in the short term but rather work to build enough location independent income to cover the cost of your trip as it happens. For example, if your trip is going to take 2 months and cost 2,000 GBP, you could save up 2,000 GBP or you could just work to ensure that you’ve grown your monthly income to 1,000 GBP by next summer. If you can’t pull that off then postpone your trip until you can. We know you want to go but India and Thailand will still be there in 18 or 24 months too. If you play your cards right now you can become a truly location independent person and you will be able to travel where you, when you want, whenever you want. Don’t make this a one time thing, make it a lifestyle.

Also, you mentioned you have some writing skills. Matt Forney has another great book on how to make money writing: “Confessions of an Online Hustler.” It’s a good book witha lot of valuable advice including tips that apply to more than just writing but frankly writing doesn’t seem like as good a gig as web development and web design to us. If you can offer web design, development and good site copy or SEO articles that might be a different story. People that do that kind of writing and do it well charge a lot. If you like writing that’s an option worth pursuing.

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