Wow! What a great year!
Despite some of the stuff I’ve seen from other folks on social media lately, 2016 was a fantastic year for me — and for Money Boss.
Personally, I had a lot of fun. Kim and I started the year in Savannah, Georgia during a hiatus from our cross-country RV trip. In late March, we hit the road again. We spent three months winding our way through the South on our way back to Portland. The experience was terrific. We had tons of fun, met a lot of friends (new and old), and even picked up a puppy along the way.
That puppy is both a blessing and curse. We love her, but she’s come to dominate our lives. I resented that at first, but have learned to mesh my life with hers so that I can once again be productive.
After months of grousing about not being able to find a schedule, I finally shut up and fixed the problem. After attending Ramit Sethi’s Forefront event in early October, I realized I was being just as bad with my business as some people are with their personal finances. I was making excuses instead of making things happen.
So, I spent a few weeks deliberately organizing my life and setting up systems. My goal was simple: After speaking in Ecuador in early November, I wanted to return to real life and treat Money Boss like my top priority. And that’s what I did.
For six weeks, I focused on creating as much quality content as I could for this site. During those 42 days, I produced twenty articles — about one every other day. At first, this pace was a struggle. But after I got back in the rhythm of things, it felt great!
Not counting this end-of-the-year roundup, I published 63 pieces at Money Boss in 2016 — or about five posts per month. These articles contained a total of 111,086 words, which is a bit more than Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The average article length was just over 1750 words.
This pace is nowhere near my former production at Get Rich Slowly. In the good ol’ days, I churned out about 40 articles per month and wrote nearly half a million words per year. (No joke!) But my goals here at Money Boss are different. For one, I want to have fun. I don’t want to burn out. Plus, I’m trying to focus more on quality than quantity.
The Best of 2016
Based on a combination of reader feedback and my personal preference, here are the best articles from Money Boss this year:
- What to do when the stock market crashes — My response to the doom and gloom scenarios promulgated by the mass media every time the market drops? Buy! The S&P 500 is up 20.41% since I wrote this article (and finished with a 9.54% gain for the year)
- The millionaire mindset — A quick survey of 53 habits that foster wealth and success, as gleaned from authoritative books and articles.
- In March, I published what I think are two of the best articles I’ve ever written: How to build confidence and destroy fear and How to be happy and lead a meaningful life. The material here forms the core of many of my talks. I still need to finish the final part of this trilogy, which is about personal and financial freedom. (Then I can compile all of this and publish a new ebook!)
- Speaking of ebooks: In April, I published the completely free Money Boss Manifesto [3.6mb PDF]. This “brief guide to financial freedom” collects all of the core material from the Money Boss crash course into a convenient PDF. I don’t even ask you for an email address because my goal is to get this into the hands of as many people as possible.
- In July, I published a rant about how traditional retirement advice is wrong. It makes zero sense to base your planning on income; you should base it on expenses instead. While this received a lot of positive attention, I also got some excellent constructive feedback from smart folks I admire. That feedback didn’t change my mind, though. I still think it’s stupid to base financial planning on income instead of spending.
- A month ago, I wrote about the five types of retirement: traditional retirement, early retirement, temporary retirement, semi-retirement, and mini retirements. Since then, I’ve been on an informal quest to write about each type of retirement in more depth using a popular book as a example.
- Finally, last week I published a piece explaining social capital: What is it and why should you care? From my experience, social capital is just as valuable as financial capital — sometimes more so. Because this is such an important idea, I wanted to write about the basics so that I can refer back to them again and again.
My work here involves more than just writing. I also meet regularly with readers and colleagues. And, of course, I speak. This year, Mr. Money Mustache and I presented a three-hour workshop at World Domination Summit. I also made my annual trek to Ecuador for the chautauqua on wealth and happiness.
In 2017, I plan to do more of the same. In a couple of weeks, I’ll fly to Florida for Camp Mustache Southeast. (My topic is crafting a personal mission statement. I hope to share a written version of the presentation here at Money Boss.) In July, Paula Pant and I will present a joint workshop at World Domination Summit. And, as always, I’ll be back in Ecuador to talk about money and well-being in the autumn.
After several years of dormancy, my business is beginning to earn money again. I guess it’s been earning money right along, but mostly it’s been passive income (which is the Holy Grail for some people). In 2016, I actively took steps to generate revenue in the future.
This year, my business received $4,233.36 in revenue. Not a lot, I know, but not bad considering I’m not passionately pursuing income just yet. Here’s where that money came from:
- Personal Capital — $200.00 (earned when Money Boss readers sign up for their service through my link)
- Your Money: The Missing Manual — $570.74 (earned for sales of my 2010 print book — I get about a buck a book)
- The Get Rich Slowly course — $2,729.60 (earned for sales of my 2014 course produced with Chris Guillebeau — I earn between 20% and 40% of each sale)
- Amazon — $324.81 (earned when you folks use my Amazon link to buy personal finance books and other stuff)
- Google — $403.87 (in October, I introduced Google ads to Money Boss)
- Killer Aces Media — $4.34 (years ago, I contributed a single chapter to the Wise Bread book)
Out of curiosity, I looked at the numbers only for December. This isn’t money I received, but sales I generated. (Subtle difference but important.) For the programs where I can access numbers, the business has $398.54 in sales. I expect $100-$250 in sales from the programs where I don’t get to see the numbers. That means Computer Resources Northwest LLC generated between $500 and $650 in sales during December.
As a point of reference, this is about what Get Rich Slowly was earning in September 2006, six months after I launched the site. Of course, GRS had twice the traffic at that point! For fifteen months into Money Boss, I’m okay with where things stand.
Note: As always, I receive zero dollars for my speaking gigs. I do that stuff for free. It’s my way of giving back to readers and colleagues. I earn social capital for these events, not financial capital.
My goal for 2017? I’d like to triple revenue — and really I’d like to quintuple it. When I write this summary a year from now, I hope to be telling you my company has generated between $15,000 and $20,000 in revenue. To make that happen, I need to continue producing great material, do a better job of promoting it, and — especially — begin to incorporate more money-making opportunities at the site.
The challenge for me, though, is that I refuse to make money simply for the sake of making money. That is, I won’t compromise quality in order to make a quick buck. I’m not going to spam pop-up ads, post “advertorial” articles, or run obnoxious display ads that take over the site. And I won’t promote products unless I believe they’re helpful to readers. That means it’s a much slower path to producing income.
Fortunately, I’m in a position that I don’t have to make money. That’s one advantage of being Financially Independent: I can afford to take my time and do things in a way that feels right.
Coming in 2017
I’m excited about what 2017 holds for Money Boss and me. Personally, I’ve already begun to refocus on fitness, which seems to be a perennial challenge for me. I also intend to track every penny I earn and spend so that I can (a) be certain I’m living within my means and (b) cut back on some of the areas that have gotten out of control. (Examples? I’m guessing alcohol, Amazon, and iTunes.)
As I track my personal finances, I’ll share that data here at Money Boss as one of two ongoing projects. I want to document what it’s like for somebody in early retirement to manage their money, balancing the “fixed income” aspect of things with actual wants and desires. My other project this year is to launch another blog and write about the process. My hope is to show how average folks can make some side income online.
Finally — and most importantly to you, the Money Boss readers — I want to publish ten articles per month at this site. Maybe more. That’s twice my output in 2016, but I think it’s doable. (The last six weeks have proved that!) I want one or two pieces each month to be long and thoughtful, but I also want to get into the habit of highlighting weekend features — reader questions, Money Boss Theater, reader stories — and quicker-to-produce reaction pieces during the week.
The bottom line is I’m pleased with how Money Boss has developed, and I hope you are too. As always, if you have questions or suggestions, please drop me a line. (You can leave a comment below or send me an email.)
Best wishes for you and yours in 2017. I hope the year is awesome for you!