I bought my first site with Income Store and started making my first fully passive income in December 2014. A year later (from what I saved up in that year from my salary) I bought another one, and mid 2016 I knew I would buy one more and I am done. Each year investing more, and in different types of websites as they evolved with their offerings, bringing bigger returns. And in the process I actually loved what I did as a PM! My boss was the best manager I've ever had in my life (that we no joke had great telepathy with, that gave me enough freedom to be at my best and was just a great person altogether!), work was fun (I had lots of fulfillment in managing people, being effective and organize things in the best way), and of course very fulfilling part of it was that it allowed me to get to my goal of retiring soon.
So my plan was to keep working there till the end of 2016 and then quit, but life had a different plan for me in store. July 2016 I went on a two week trip to Russia, and when I came back I knew something was different. I couldn't focus any more, I was sitting in front of the computer but couldn't concentrate or being as productive as I know myself to be. For couple weeks I tried to putt myself together and nothing I tried was working. I even had a chat with my boss telling her I am not at my best and not sure how to fix it. She said she noticed, but we didn't really find any solutions. Maybe a week later it got very clear to me: it was time. I had to go, I was done. Logical part of me didn't like that. As I didn't make enough money yet for the third site, and if I quit now I won't make it by Dec 2016 as I planned. But I knew as many of those other times: it wasn't logical, but it was clear on so many levels, and yet again I had to trust.
I gave notice end of August 2016. We worked it out as the best win-win possible: I stayed for another couple weeks onsite, then sometime remote part time (while I travelling in Europe) while they found me a replacement. I finished my knowledge transfer and then in early October I was fully complete. Right around by 34th birthday.
And talking flow: usually for my website investments it takes 3-5 months to get the site and start receiving monthly distributions. And yet again I got a synchronistic miracle. I reached out to Ken and Bill saying I am getting ready for my next investment site and asked what new and great options they had for me, to which I got the perfect answer: they had a website, in the new mix of regular site and facebook advertisement, that has the best growth potential they found so far. Plus they just bought the site for someone else, and that person all of a sudden wanted a different topic, so they were looking if someone wants to take this one over. As the acquisition process was almost done, it shaved off months for my timeline. With a little bit of creative borrowing from my friend to get the full amount needed (that I paid back within couple months), I got that site mid September with my first payment being in November!
So technically, I was done with my job fully by mid October and my income coming up to my goal in November/December. I retired even ahead of my planned date by December 2016! :) Universe again showed me a solution, when I stepped with trust following my intuition.
LESSON: when you get a clear intuitive hit, acting on it even if it doesn't make logical sense, follow it! It very often pays off. :)
So I retired even earlier than my planned two years! Crazy awesome, I thought. And then in November I went to my calculation to double check my numbers for whatever reason. And I realized I made a little mistake in the formula, and I was actually $2K a year lower a year on my income than was my goal. Interesting how our minds think. All of a sudden I went from celebrating the magic of my early retirement to "wow, I missed my magic mark by $2k. I failed", and I felt crappy. It thankfully took me little time to collect myself and get back into positive thinking and flow. First of all, I didn't fail yet as it's still November and even if I don't see how else I can create more passive income, I know it's possible. And second, even if I am $2K less by then, I didn't fail! I missed my $$ goal, but still retired and have my freedom! :) And of course then I remembered I lent some money to a friend with $200 monthly interest payments, which added up to a little over $2K a year. :) and it is passive. So I met my goal after all! :) And this year one of my sites made $1K more last month than guaranteed minimum, so I am sure I will even exceed my target goal before the end of the year in many other ways:)
As crazy as it seemed to a lot of people, as much doubt I saw around me. With my internal knowing that anything is possible that feels right and exciting to me, it only motivated me.
LESSON: Whatever you put attention on grows. When you focus on achievements and celebrate your successes, there will be more, going down the rabbit hole of worry and focusing on the negative isn't very productive and is not worth it. And anything that you truly want is possible, even if you don't see the how yet.
BONUS CREATIVE INVESTMENTS IDEAS
Other things that helped me along the way to create some $$ towards my investments was real estate.
I started renting my house on Airbnb many years ago when most people didn't know yet what it was.
I just got a thought one day: if I rent my house for the week-end, it will cover the cost of me to go on a trip somewhere. So I can travel for free :) That's how it started. I rented a few week-ends and went for weekend trips. Then I got someone who wanted to rent the house for the whole week for the amount equal to my monthly mortgage. Then it started to fill up more and more. Sometimes I rented the house and got out, sometimes I rented a room or two and stayed in. But very soon I got to the point that airbnb was covering my mortgage, and sometimes more. So I didn't need to come out with mortgage expense out of pocket, that very much helped with saving.
In a little while I was tired of being in and out of the house, as well as of sharing my personal space with strangers. Plus I wanted to get into remodeling.
So I got an old house which I remodeled to have two separate spaces and two entrances (like "mother-in-law). That way I thought I could live in half of the house all by myself, rent the other half and let that pay the mortgage, while I have my own private space. It totally worked out! I got an older house, remodeled it with this in mind. I of course invested significant money into remodeling but equity grew even more than that, and I got all my money back out through cash out refinance. I lived like I planned for some time (living upstairs, renting downstairs), until of course I realized that renting the whole house is making more money, plus I took off travelling, so I started renting it as a whole too haha :)
I did couple regular flips since then. As I am writing it, one has already offer accepted and in the process of closing, and another one just got on the market. Another chapter coming to completion.
THE END. OR THE BEGINNING :)
So now I feel like a big chapter in my life coming to an end. I retired from work. I am completing on my two flip projects.
I moved to live in Playa del Carmen Mexico for some extended time. I realized I LOVE hot weather and sunshine, and now that I don't have a job in Seattle, no reason for me to stay there.
Will I stay here for long? I don't know yet.
Do I plan to do nothing forever now that I am retired? Definitely not! It's just now I got to a place that there is NOTHING I have to do (well, maybe except taxes haha), and can now start focusing only on things I want to do! And that to me is freedom! :)
Do I have a plan? Nope, I don't. I am yet again at a point when I have no answers what I want to do next.
BUT this time is so different. I have no financial or time pressure to figure it out. Sure, the achiever part of me wants to set the next goal, but I get to tame this horse this time. :) Doing my best in taking this time to rest and recuperate, and celebrate this freedom I created for myself instead of getting into my habit mode of being busy haha. Enjoying the present moment. Having no expectation or plan for "the next thing". Having fun, meeting great people and enjoying amazing food!
Did I mention that a little town of Playa del Carmen has 5 restaurants that I discovered for far with dedicated raw vegan dishes?! (I am raw vegan since January 1 2015, but that's a topic for another post :) ). And fresh coconut water here costs $1.5 for liter!!!! Heaven on so many levels :)
Sure I still do things, like researching real estate investment opportunities in Mexico, finishing taxes for last year, dancing kizomba, but they are all on the back ground of space, joy, flow and freedom. I am looking forward to answers to my questions "what's next" revealed to me in perfect timing and in the flow.
Did retirement solved all my problem: heck no! Like the other day, I started to get stressed that I have nothing to do in the hottest hours of the day 12-3 (beach is off the table, and I can only do so much facebook and youtube haha, and I felt lazy to do anything else, even reading books or learning Spanish). I felt really off not being able to figure out where to direct my energy and do something forwarding for my life and other people. And then I reminded myself, other people would be jealous to have problems like that :D So I let it go, and decided to write some blogs ;)
CREDITS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Lots of people, books, trainings and workshops contributed to my journey here. Too many to mention.... But I will list the ones below that I think might be most supportive for your path, if financial freedom is on your list of goals.
I can't tell you what will be the path for you or what you should do (only you can know that).
Below are resources I that I think might be helpful, use the ones that resonate for you and ignore the rest :)
Mind expanding books:
Coaches (I worked with at different times in the last few years):
Investment vehicles (that I used):
Ahh life is so amazing!!!
Good luck on your journey, wherever you are and wherever you are going! I wish you the best, lots of magical moments and synchronicities, enjoy and have fun in the process!
Read the previous part of my retirement story here: Part 1, Part 2.
SEATTLE. ROUND 2.
End of 2013 I came back to Seattle. And actually faced quite challenging times. First time in my life I found myself in debt that I didn't see a way to pay off. I took some 0% credit cards (that offer you zero percent interest for a year) to pay for those business trainings and didn't keep track when 0% period was running out. I also counted on the income from my job which now ended. I have never been in debt in my life, nor did I ever struggled with paying my bills. Asking my family for a loan was off the table (I had too much pride then haha). Getting more 0% cards was off the table too as by then my credit wasn't perfect with those ones maxed out. I was in the situation, where for once I didn't have a plan or way out. I was looking for a new job but nothing was coming up as fast as I would like.
Luckily at that time I met a man, who really supported me, and not financially :) He kept reminding me that I have all I need to resolve that challenge, that I created miracles time and time again and this will be no different. And that I need to enjoy time off while I can haha :) Even though our lives went different directions, that relationship was one of the most transformational ones I had in my life on so many levels, and I am so grateful for live bringing me that person in that time in my life.
I did my best to stay positive, and take any inspired action I felt (sending out resumes etc.). Eventually all the financial puzzle got resolved, and even better than I hoped for! :) I went through a dept consolidation, and bank agreed to forgive me half the debt if I pay the rest in full (which I didn't have the money for). And my previous client company asked me back in couple months (on a different project, but same area, and almost same manager). And because this time I went with a different consulting company (and they were taking much lower % cut than my previous one), my salary almost doubled me doing almost the same job! And I sold my house in AZ and made some $$ even while owning it for less that a year. A buyer came to me and made me the offer that I couldn't refuse even without me putting it on the market.
Now very shortly not only I was out of debt, complete with my Sedona phase of my life, back to Seattle and had a job bringing me good $$.
LESSON: Set the intention, stay positive, do the best you can, take inspired action and trust the solution will present itself.
FINANCIAL FREEDOM. PLAN REVEALED.
All this time I still had financial freedom on my radar. The way I thought I get there didn't flow (doing coaching full time), but the goal stayed, and I was certain I still want it.
Sometime in that coming year, when I was working at my project, feeling grateful for being out of debt, I had a genius thought that set my plan in motion. I realized I somehow thought I need to figure out what I love to do (i.e. something like coaching) that will allow me to make $$ and create the freedom I desire. Then it dawned on me: what if it's not the only way, or what if it's just not my way? I was still being attached to the HOW. And it was unnecessarily sequential: first I need to figure out my life purpose and what I love to do, then do that, and that brings me financial freedom. And since I didn't have full clarity in my purpose at that time, I felt powerless to create my freedom until I figure that out. And then in one of those monents questioning my beliefs in dawned on me: what if instead of trying to make a living doing what I love (which may take a while to figure out) with the freedom of doing it from anywhere, why don't I make $$ doing what I am really good at and like well enough, then invest that money to create passive income, that will bring me all those freedoms, and then I can take time to figure out my purpose and mission. That felt wayyyy better! And in the flow. I was already making good $$ and saving well. Now it was just the time to find the right way to invest them and a strategy to produce enough passive income that will replace my "comfortable" amount of salary.
Then also kind of out of the blue (like best intuitive insights) I started playing with numbers and thought: what if I find some investments that can bring me consistently 20% ROI a year, with low risk, how much time will I need to retire (aka create enough passive income to pay for my comfortable lifestyle). And surprisingly plugging in the numbers, I realized it will take me a little over two years after I start investing there, to get to that place! I liked that a lot!!! I always have been "out of the box" kind of person, and the strategy to take decades to retire didn't really resonate with me. This felt right along my alley :) And I started looking for investments that would bring me 20% or more, low risk. People who asked me and I shared it with said I was crazy, there is no such thing as 20% returns with low risk, but my intention and the intuition was clear, and I told them: "This is your reality, not mine. I respect it, and I believe differently. I know I will find it." And inside my head I said "Watch me" :D
When I have that "knowing", belief is not necessary, and somehow with this I was 100% convinced it was possible, and so it was.
In December 2014 I went to my last business seminar called "Never work again" which was all about different ways to create passive income. It was a multi speaker event and I learned a lot of possible ways to do it (starting with traditional real estate, stocks, tax liens and deeds, etc. and going into other avenues like owning ATMs, opening your own bank, and other ones I wouldn't even think of! Many of them sounded good, but none of them really resonate with me. Except one.
It was a company called "Income Store", and they offered investments in websites. Simple business model: an investor gives them $$, they go and buy a website that is already making money, take it over, keep maintaining and growing it. Investor provides initial cash, they provide website search, acquisition and ongoing support and profits are split 50/50 between Income Store and the investor. And they offer you a guaranteed minimum (that if for whatever reason (within their control or not) income drops lower, they still pay you no matter what and they either fix the site to bring it back up or replace it with another at their own expense). So far it met two of my criteria (low risk with no downside, and completely passive (I give them the money and do absolutely nothing after that). I came to the back table to talk with the co-founders of the company, Ken and Bill, to get more details. And it immediately felt right. I loved their vibe and got and intuitive yes on them as people and their integrity (very important), and on the amount of money I saved up by then and was planning start investing, their deal was 20% guaranteed minimum. When i heard that, I knew I was in. :)
And that my 2 year clock has started. In December of 2014 I set my goal to retire by December 2016.
LESSON: when you have a goal, you need to commit to it first without knowing the how, and then the perfect HOW for you will be revealed in the process.
To be continued. Final run in the next blog post....
Read the previous part of my retirement story here: Part 1.
Read the last part of my retirement story here: Part 3.
Ahh I am sitting here, in my sunny apartment in Playa del Carmen. Why am I inside you ask? Avoiding sun today, because I got really burned couple days ago having too much time on the beach hahah :) ahh the challenges of being retired. you know, we still have them, they are just different ;)
4-5 months ago I retired from my corporate endeavors. And by retired I mean I created enough passive income to give me the comfortable income to live so I don't need to work. Ever. Unless I want to. But then it's not work, is it? :)
First things first.
HOW DID IT ALL STARTED.
First seeds were planted many years ago when I read a book by Tim Ferris "4 hour work week". That book changed my life, as when I read it I realized that what Tim describes is exactly what I want to do. He talks about freedom lifestyle, how it's so unnatural to work the whole life deferring your fun life till retirement and retire when you are old and your health is not the best, so you can't even enjoy much of it. He on the other side suggests mini-retirement throughout life, conscious lifestyle design and creating a source of income that gives you enough $$ to sustain the lifestyle you want without having to work 40 hours a week (hense the name).
Having read that book, I knew without a doubt this is what I want to do, and this fits my free spirit much more than 9-5 job forever..
But... nothing changed overnight :) for many more years I worked as a project manager consultant, and not much changed. I had the inspiration but nothing further....
Couple years passed by. I grew a lot in many ways, attended lots of personal development workshops, even got certified as a life coach and started doing it as a side business. One day I woke up and a thought crossed my mind... I achieved many goals in many areas of my life (moved to US from Russia, became a project manager, had a house, a car etc etc. Tremendous progress in relationships, finances and career achievements but not much movement as I could see in creating freeedom lifestyle. And then I asked myself "Why?". And it got so clear to me! I "wanted" it very much, but i never really set it as a goal with a timeline, and haven't really COMMITTED to it (be and do whatever it takes, thanks Lisa Kalmin and Lynne Sheridan :-)). Then I asked myself: if I were really commit to it, what would I do differently and how do I BE different to create a different result?
The answer that came to me was a bit scary (as anything would be that stretches comfort zone), but I also knew I had to go for it. The answer was: I had enough savings to sustain me for a few months. I need to quit my job, unplug, go with the flow, travel around, have lots of free time, and pursue my life coaching as a full time endeavor. That way I can do coaching on skype or phone, will have my locational freedom (live anywhere), time freedom (choose my own hours) and financial freedom (make enough money to sustain my lifestyle). If it works, great! If not, I can always come back to consulting and find another project. So next day, I told my boss in my consulting company and my boss at the client company. They were both shocked but understood me. And then I got a surprise offer: my client boss wanted me to stay working for them, even if it meant me working remotely and work less hours so I can do what I want. That was unexpected and was so delightful! As that meant I didn't have a timeline to run out of money and can really do it for longer.
So I took the step towards my dreams, and the universe supported me with surprising creative "how" that I myself didn't think of or plan.
Lesson 1: Trust your gut, take inspired action and don't be attached to the "how" or specific outcome. :)
A YEAR OF RESET
I packed my Audi with essential things, rented out my townhouse on airbnb and took off travelling in US. I didn't have a plan, just woke up every day and asked myself what I want to do, where I want to go and followed it. My car was perfectly equipped for sleeping there: when I lowered back seats it created flat sleeping space, plus I had tinted windows and also membership for 24 hour fitness for restrooms and showers :). So if I stayed at places were I had friends, I stayed there, and if not I was perfectly fine in my "mobile home" :D I drove around quite a bit through western US coast (Seattle, crater lake, Oregon, San Francisco, LA and Las Vegas and Sedona, AZ.
It so aligned that I decided to stay in AZ for longer. I rented a place with a friend, then also unexpectedly met a guy and ended up just having fun, sleep, rest, hike, and not doing much coaching at all LOL :D I thought I would enjoy my freedom, but surprisingly for myself I felt very stressed not knowing my plan, even waking up in the morning and not knowing what I want to do felt stressful, I also put pressure on myself to be productive and to pursue my coaching (since I felt like I quit my job for it). But also I realized in a short time that pursuing coaching full time didn't feel right. I didn't want to depend on getting clients to be able to pay my bills. It took me many months to release that pressure I put on myself, let go of predetermined plan and go with the flow and actually enjoy it, replace stress with fun and amazement. I even bought a house there. It made good financial sense and buying monthly was waaay cheaper than renting. I bought a beautiful spacious house, rented part of it, and lived in it as well.
So as I figured if coaching is not my way to financial freedom, some other business might be. And I really knew not much about it.
Another discovery I had around financial freedom attending their free Millionaire Mind intensives was my internal block that was in the way. I noticed that no matter how much or how little I worked, I always kept the same amount of savings.. I knew very well by then, that my belief system as my comfort zone creates my reality. So I wondered why didn't I save more? Thinking about that, surprisingly I felt stressed! And I realized that I felt fear and heaviness around investing. And my smart subconscious decided that if I don't have much savings I won't need to deal with that :D So then I figured the only reason I am afraid of it is because I don't understand it. So all I need to do is to learn more about it, and the fear would go away, and I can start saving move. Then I dedicated that year to learn all about it. I took courses in business in general, marketing, real estate, stock market, tax liens and deeds, you name it....Little that I know that in one of those courses I will come across my retirement strategy only couple years later...
And around the time that I finally started to get used to it, enjoy my life, and let myself be lazy when I want to, universe threw me another curved ball: my project that I was working on remotely was ending. I got a generous two months notice, but this was it. I had a choice: stay in AZ without a job (in a small town with no IT PM gigs whatsoever), or come back to Seattle and look for another job. It actually felt right to come back. My time in Sedona AZ was magical, nurturing and transformative in so may ways, and I also felt very complete.
LESSON: it's important to have a clean slate before inviting something new into your life. And being lazy is not a bad thing :D
To be continued...
Read the follow up parts of my retirement story here: Part 2, Part 3.