Thursday, January 3, 2013

2012 In Review

This has been a life-changing year. Jumping head-first into internet marketing and ebook authoring has turned out to be one of the best decisions I've ever made. I've never been more excited about my future.

The story

I started out the year flat broke and unemployed, taking freelance work and borrowing money from my family to stay fed and housed. In March, I finally fell into what I thought would be steady employment in the sales department of a tech startup. I really enjoyed the work and earned a generous income on only 25 hours of work a week. I was moving in the right direction.

Working at the tech company exposed me to ways that some people were making money online (among other things). I remember one particular day when somebody posted an article about somebody who made gobs of money spamming Pinterest. The guy used bots to post thousands of Amazon affiliate links to Pinterest boards and reap cash from the clicks. The exposure to this idea got my gears turning, and I began looking into Internet marketing.

Unfortunately, I was laid off two months later. I had enough money saved by that point to tide me over for two very lean months before I once again ran out of money and had to go on unemployment. I lived off of unemployment while I looked for a job, eventually stringing together a patchwork of music teaching jobs that did little to put a livable amount of money in my pocket.


I watched a few free Internet marketing webinars in the abundant free time I had. Thinking it would be a good investment, I bought Lisa Parmley's $97 Authority Site Model course. Even though I did not end up pursuing site building as taught in the course, I did learn a lot of important Internet marketing (IM) fundamentals.

I spent almost a month constructing a website, slowly realizing that it wasn't really congruent with my style of working. Shortly before I finished my first site, I was reading Steve Pavlina's blog. He had posted a link to Vic Johnson's Getting Rich With eBooks 3.0 course, which was completely out of my price range. The sales pitch ended up being all that I needed to take action. I figured I could piece together the knowledge from the course that I had already paid for and apply it to the medium of Kindle books.

Sometime at the end of June, I wrote my first ebook. I researched my topic, wrote, and published the book all in the same day. Two days later, I jumped around my apartment when I discovered that I'd made my first sale. I put out two ebooks that first month and made $24. I had had doubts that I would be able to make any income passively, but this proved to me that I could do it.

I kept writing and was able to increase my passive income to about $700 a month. With my lesson clientele beginning to grow and the two month pay delay finally starting to put some ebook money in my bank account, I was starting to rebuild my financial life. I've been making a livable income for the last few months - the equivalent of something just barely above a minimum-wage full-time job in the US ($1250/mo) - but working my day job only 15 hours a week. That's been fine by me considering the circumstances. Because I've been living very frugally, I've also been able to stash away some money and get current on all the debts that I'd fallen behind on during my period of unemployment.

A few months ago, I was put in touch with someone who has been making $9,000 a month selling ebooks. With his tips (which I summed up in this post), I was able to write some ebooks that sold really well and boost my income significantly, hitting the four figure mark for the first time in November.

December was incredible. Christmas provided a huge sales boost, and I finished out the month with over $3000 earned. I won't know the exact numbers until the middle of the month, but I am guessing that it will be $3,050 to $3,100. I only put out one book in December.

All in all, I earned nearly $7,000 passively this year, and at minimal expense to myself.

I also managed to pay down enough debt and save enough cash to drag my net worth into the black! My net worth is now positive at around $230. It's not much, but it means a lot to me. I am actually building wealth now!

Big Changes

The jump in my passive income has allowed me to move forward with some big changes in my life. Last week, I put in my notice at my job. I'm going to write full-time from here on out.

I've also decided to leave New York City, where I've been living for almost eight years. I have a plane ticket home to my parents' on January 30th. I'm going to live with them for a few months while I save up money to buy a car and move to Los Angeles. I think a 100 percent down payment on a quality used vehicle will make an excellent 25th birthday present to myself. :)

Goals for 2013

Work: Though I didn't have any concrete goal set for how much I wanted to be making, the fact that I broke $3,000/mo in six months has me feeling like I could do pretty much anything. I'd love to be up to $10,000/mo by the end of this year - but even that seems a little low. We'll see what happens. I think I'll continue to adopt the strategy of loose goals. It's been working well for me so far, so why mess with a good thing?

Financial:  I'd like to completely pay off my remaining debt.

Personal: I doubt my ability to get to my income goal without seriously cracking down on my productivity. I want to get into a solid workflow and stick to it consistently. I am good at sticking to things when I consistently remind myself of my goals and keep myself motivated. I am going to do a better job of that in 2013 and be less susceptible to slipping up when life hands me challenges.

I'm also focusing on managing and eliminating the pain I experience as a result of my repetitive strain injury. The pain is most present in my hands and wrists, which seriously interferes with my ability to type.

The healing and management of my injury requires me to take care of myself physically and psychologically, so I am going to join a gym and begin seeing a therapist upon moving home. I was exercising regularly and in great shape in college, and I don't think it's any small coincidence that my pain started when I stopped exercising. I've also had great success with counseling in the past, and find myself wanting to return every few years to 'clean house'.

All of that said, happy 2013 and happy moneymaking to everyone!