A friend and former co-worker of mine, Terrence, has started up a new blog called Double Journey. His goal is to double his money from $20,000 to $40,000 using any legal means at his disposal. So far he’s in the hole by almost $100 because of website hosting and domain costs, although that isn’t really a big deal.
Terrence and I have talked extensively about money-related matters over the past year, usually while eating sushi. It’s no secret that I want to be able to retire* as early as possible (like most people!), and I talk a lot about how I make money with Paint.NET even though I’m giving it away for free. I talk about all the reasons why I don’t want to charge money for it. I talk about traffic levels, click-through rates, audience and user base size, ad placement and flow optimization, statistics, etc. I probably talk about it way too much, in fact – maybe I just like to hear my own voice!
Regardless, there’s a few things that I’ve realized over the last few years that I’ve managed to cram in to his head (or down his throat?) over the last year. Namely, that doing something is always better than doing nothing. Even if you don’t make any money on what you’re doing, I can guarantee you’re at least learning something (heck, universities charge thousands of dollars for that!). It may be that you’re learning what doesn’t work, which has its own value. So Terrence came up with an idea and started up this blog, and has been writing posts every day or two for the last few weeks. He recently put up a donate button of his own, and I am quite sure that’ll he’ll make at least $0 from it. This is something I did with Paint.NET in 2006 and I can assure you I’ve made much more than “at least $0” from it. It’s even my #1 tip for freeware authors. (sorry, I still don’t feel comfortable sharing my revenue numbers)
Do you really want this cat to go hungry? Do you realize by not giving money, you are killing this cat? You can help save this cat by clicking the “donate” button in the right column.”
Terrence has also crammed some important ideas into my head. Namely, that saving money is a smart thing to do! I realize this sounds obvious, but for the longest time I really didn’t have any money in savings: I’d pay rent, make my car payment, buy some DVD’s, etc. My checking account was at equilibrium and wasn’t really going anywhere. I was still in “college kid mode”: I lived, I ate, I bought toys. I didn’t think about my financial needs past the next big computer upgrade. Over the last year I’ve moved past this and finally have enough money to necessitate spending some effort in managing it. I have a large spreadsheet in Excel where I track all my major expenses and incomes. I even met with a financial planner today and he had some good advice that I’ve already started implementing (“put more money into the 401k!”).
Will Terrence double his money? I hope so, because then he’ll be obligated to buy me lunch at Sushi Land. Be sure to go and read his blog, and maybe even send him a dollar so his cat can eat more gourmet food. And then you can send me a dollar :P (or 10, or 20, etc… although I prefer Euros!)
* “Retire” in this case really means “have enough money to obviate the need for a day job.” For example, if you have $20 million in the bank and are earning an ultra-conservative 5%, then at the end of the year you can take 1% of that as income ($200,000) and let the remaining 4% ($800,000) stay towards keeping up with inflation. At that point you really don’t need to have a day job.