Double My Income and Get a Life
January 9, 2009
…that’s my goal for 2009. Losing mummy tummy, shedding that extra flab with regular exercise, spending quality time with family are resolutions which are passe now for me. Anyway, who cared about calories burnt after the first fortnight of the New Year…breaking resolutions was as much in vogue as having a wish list ready before the year began.
When careers change and one transitions from a full-time corporate job to freelancing, priorities re-align as do goals. For the first time in all these years, last year I targeted a few things (if only as a mental note) I wished to achieve before the year ended. My goals for 2008 were:
1. Get published in a magazine
2. Learn how to drive a car
3. Self-sponsor a trip to Bahrain
At the end of the year, I could cross off items 1 and 2. With 4 pieces published in a travel magazine, 3 in a national daily, 70 research articles for a industrial info website, and a few more copy-writing work, it was a good start to my first year of freelance writing. The sponsor part of item 3 was met though the trip didn’t materialize for whatever reasons.
Here I am, in 2009, writing down where I would like to see myself at the end of the year. One lesson learnt from past experience is that it doesn’t help to have a generalized goal. Having a target defined quantitatively and qualitatively makes assessment all the more easy.
Financial goal tops my list because of a self-realization that money is empowering. The void left by a non-existent income is tough to fulfill. How much ever recognition or appreciation comes my way, it is never equivalent to getting a check at the end of the month. The confidence that a paycheck brings - enough money to sustain yourself, pay bills and run the household independently - is irreplaceable.
The only financial goal I have for this year is to double my monthly income by June this year and to start earning atleast half of what I earned as of October ‘06 when I quit the corporate job. All the other things that I shall do will be aligned towards this.
My current sources of income are:
I can right way double my income from freelance writing but there’s a time constraint. I have only “x” number of hours set aside for working and there’s no way I can increase that before June. I acknowledge this and happy with this limitation - it’s a personal choice that I’d rather not trade off.
Stock Trading had taken a backseat in the past few months but I am going head-on into it from this week with a monthly target of 5% returns.
Adsense is one area that has remained stagnant for the last year. My monthly adsense earnings from this blog and Li’l General Rules is around $30 per month. Doing the same thing and expecting different results is but foolish. Maybe starting another blog is not such a good idea but I decided to go ahead which would require less time but attract more traffic - a filter-and-comment blog linking to news items that I find interesting. It’s partially up at http://thedailyindianlife.blogspot.com
The last plan to meet my financial goal and keep my sanity in check is to get back to working part-time (probably back to IT?) in the second-half of this year. Now that I have 53,000 additional people (from Satyam, if only figuratively) competing with me is not a good start!
Since this is the only real work I’ve been doing (if only for a couple of hours everyday) for the past year, I would like to concentrate on the craft for some more time before giving up.
1. Work on my grammar, sentence construction, and punctuation. It’s killing to use transitive verbs, prepositional phrases, and gerunds right. It’s been years since I last took English grammar lessons in school. “On Writing” by Stephen King and “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” invariably put me to sleep. Sorry, fellow writers, but I had to admit.
2. Get 12 pieces published in consumer magazines.
Why Knowing What You Want to Do with the Money Is Important:
This is one thing V always kept saying but the one that I learnt only from experience. No amount of money is enough until you know what to do with it. The day you know what your goal is and how much money you need, you’ll start working towards it. Else you’ll be disillusioned, if money comes your way great, if it doesn’t then also it’s fine. That’s exactly what happened with our investments. If we had known what we wanted to do with the 200% profits we were making on counters like Reliance Capital, we would have booked profits. We didn’t have a plan and now the portfolio is in the red.
Let me cite another instance. The flight tickets to Bahrain around last summer was hovering in the range of 50K. I knew I had to make atleast 4% profits monthly for the next 6 months to be able to sponsor our trip to Bahrain. And my only concrete source of income at that point was from stock trading. So I set a target of 4% and for all you know, I exceeded the target within 5 months, well ahead of time. And all this money from stock trading with an effort of a maximum of one hour daily was driven totally by news sentiments. Once it dawned on me that we were not going to Bahrain there was no goal towards which I had to earn and I lost interest eventually. I am back in the game with renewed fervour now. If you would like to know how I made 25% returns in 5 months, leave a comment. If there’s popular demand, I might start a series on the same and I promise it will not be one of those the-secret-of-how-to-make-quick-bucks story. That basically drives home the point why it’s important to know what you want to do with the money you earn - retirement, holiday planning, school educations, expensive gifts for parents etc etc. For me for now, it will be the freedom not to think before I spend.
Phew..that was a long one! Here’s to a great beginning..what are your goals and how do you plan to achieve them?