My last couple of posts have been pretty negative about those who claim to be making money online and want you to part with your hard earned money. Some of you may have even gotten the impression that it’s impossible to make money online when you are abroad.
No, it’s not impossible, just difficult. It takes a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears to make it happen, and even then it may not happen at the scale needed to support a life abroad. You might find yourself eating the cheapest food you can find and living in a hovel, things you’d never consider doing in the US. And if you’re too prideful, you might never admit the truth of your situation.
It doesn’t have to be like that though. I’ve made my life abroad recognizing that online income is just one leg in my financial strategy. I usually mix it with at least one other form of income, and sometimes a couple. With more than one, I keep maximum flexibility and am not stuck doing the things I loathe.
Right now, most of my income comes from teaching English. In the past I’ve taught Math, Science and Computers. Teaching pays the bills, in some places I save some of the money, and other places, like Thailand, teaching paid for the necessities and not a lot else.
In Thailand, I used my online income to augment my income and used it to buy extras that my teaching income didn’t allow for. In the Philippines, I used it it for the majority of my expenses. Here in China I save 100% of my online income.
I mentioned that my personal finances rely on three legs, Those are online income, teaching income and consulting income. I’ve always done consulting when traveling abroad. I give advice from my knowledge base and help people do things better and more efficiently. The thing about consulting though is that it comes and goes. I’m sure if I focused more on it(and I plan on doing that in the future), I could make it a bigger slice of my income.
There is a fourth hidden leg in my financial picture and for some people, it’s the biggest leg in their finances. This is savings and credit. For many years, I didn’t have credit because of past credit problems in the US and I didn’t have savings because I focused too much on just one financial aspect. I was in an earn it and spend it type of lifestyle. I can’t really blame myself because my income was so low and I thought saving what amounted to a few dollars a month didn’t seem worth it.
It’s different now. I’ve been able to build up some significant savings and with that make some good things happen. Combined with my savings, I’m repairing my credit back in the US. This may not seem important, but both savings and credit allow a person to better even out their high and lows income. Granted, savings is better for that, but credit can see you through a tough jam. I guess this is pretty simple, put something back in the good days to see you through the tough times.
Soon I’ll write another posts and begin talking about strategies to build your three or four legs to get the money needed to live abroad indefinitely.