Here was my resolution and how I intended to accomplish it:
I will average $1000 per month in alternative income in 2008.
More specifically, these were the SMART measurements I came up with to measure this.
- Specific – I’m going to expand my alternative income through this blog, through writing freelance articles, through my investments (although those will be reinvested) and through my other blogs.
- Measurable – In December I will look back, take the total of my non-wage income for 2008, and divide by 12. That number will be higher than $1000.
- Actionable – I’m already started on this goal – this blog is earning nearly $0.03 per day, I have some dividend-and-interest-producing investments, and I have started submitting a few freelance articles here and there. I just need to increase the intensity of all of these actions!
- Realistic – If you’ve read this blog for a while you know I believe that just setting a goal down to (figurative) paper means that you can achieve it, but even without that belief I’m sure that if I work hard enough at 10 different income streams I can manage to generate that much, or more, if I make it a resolution.
- Timely – I will have a good idea if I’m headed in the right direction by February 1, but even if I earn $10 in January it just means I have to average $1090 for the next 11 months. I’ll have a moving target each month, and I’ll know on December 31 if I hit my goal or not.
I followed it up a couple of months later, pointing out that I had come up far short of that goal. I interviewed myself (yes, I actually did – it’s a slightly disturbing one-person two-sided conversation). At that point, I had made far, far less than my original goal.
Well, as Jack Nicholson said in Wolf, “The worm has turned and it is now packing an Uzi, Mary.” I spent some time focusing on this goal and a surprising thing has happened. I am now close to halfway to my goal of earning $1000 a month on average. Considering how badly I did for the first month of the year you can imagine that things have really started picking up. I’m not even counting dividend or investment income at this point.
So how did this happen? I’ll attribute it to three specific actions:
- My network, The Money Writers, has provided some help with obtaining revenue (namely advertisers) but far more importantly they’ve helped with ideas, tips and support. This is a perfect example of the mastermind concept in action. I wouldn’t be where I am without these guys (and gals).
- I reengineered the blog and its advertising. Instead of my previous throw-everything-at-the-wall approach, I stuck to about four categories of ads and studied what worked. I tried to eliminate some of my in-your-face ads but put more ads on older posts. I deemphasized or removed ads that didn’t work, rather than hoping they would generate trickles of income; the purpose was to keep the overall experience of reading fun.
- And I am sure this final point appeals to half of you and disgusts the other half, but I really concentrated on attracting success; not just for this alternative income but in my overall financial life. I decided that from being positive and writing more about what I feel needs to be said – from my gut – success would follow. I hope it has, in the sense that I hope what you read continues to deliver more value to you (in terms of ideas and maybe even just some fun reading it) than it takes from you (in terms of time). Only you would know that! Otherwise, you’d go read CNN Money.
So I’m halfway there, after an awfully slow start. Later in the year I’ll also pull in other alternative income: totally independent (rather than contracting) consulting in a slightly different field, my work-in-progress book, dividends, referral fees that I mentioned before (I have “headhunted” some former colleagues into positions this year – one 60-minute phone call netted me a $2000 fee for one of them, for example). I have a lot of plans, and the only constraint I have is time. Scratch that… I watched 45 minutes of Star Wars II: Attack of The Clowns, er, Clones last night, so I have time. The only constraint I have is myself, and I’m working hard on not constraining myself in anything!
And to quote again from my interview article update: “Well, the playoffs WERE good. 17-14, baby.” Anything is possible, even beating “The Greatest Team in History.” Nothing is impossible. Nothing.