Ask Celes: How Are You Earning Money When You Don’t Have a Job?

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(Image: Ethan Lofton)

“Hi Celes, how do you get enough money to travel to all these different countries, seeing as you don’t have a job? Can you earn enough money through the sale of your e-books?” — Gen

Hi Gen, your comment reminded me of this exchange I had with a good friend a few weeks ago in London. He came over from Singapore to London for a vacation, and at the same time to pay me a visit.

While he’s my good friend, he’s pretty much unaware of what I’m doing at PE, save for the things I tell him about it.

During our meetup, we talked about the high cost of living in London compared to Singapore. Loosely speaking, things here are priced about the same as in Singapore, except that it’s in pounds – meaning it’s about twice as expensive to live here. (Update 2015: I wrote this in 2011, based on my sentiments of Singapore in the 2000s. The cost of living has since risen quite a fair bit in Singapore, so there’s no longer such a big cost difference living in SG vs. London.) I also told him about the rent that I am paying here, to which he exclaimed, “How are you getting the money to pay all of that?”

I threw him a weird look before saying: “You do know that I’m running a business and have been doing that for the past 2-3 years with growing results, right?”

Most people who do not know what I’m doing may not think of it as a proper job or a career, but the thing is that it is an actual business. I see it as a business with an international scope, whereby is the main platform I use to run it.

Personal Excellence is also very much my career – albeit one with a unique progression path, of my own creation.

While this is not a typical mainstream job, it doesn’t make it any less of a career to me.

I create my own career development plan (always have since I started out three years ago) and measure myself against the top players in the industry, so I know I’m growing along with the best of the best.

I set astronomical targets to achieve on an ongoing basis — including traffic targets, social media targets, revenue targets, and goals for media features. In line with that, I track my results daily and am constantly reviewing my actions and creating new plans, so as to keep growing.

Regarding revenue, I’ve been doing fine in this aspect. As of last year, my monthly business revenue exceeded my last drawn monthly pay back in my corporate job — after less than two years of starting my business. This was a big personal milestone, especially since it had been just a short period of time.

This year, the revenue has grown further, along with business growth. Not only that, I’ve successfully shifted a big chunk of my income from active to passive — a major milestone this year for me. My main income sources have shifted from speaking and 1-1 coaching, to ebook sales and blog advertising – a deliberate move on my part.

This means I no longer need to trade my time for money like before. Rather, I can now focus on creating high value content, while letting the systems do the work for me. I still do 1-1 coaching nowadays, but I’ve scaled it down tremendously as I want to focus my blog development. (Update Oct 2011: I have removed 1-1 coaching service as I’d like to focus on the higher scale mediums (blog, video, courses) to help others.)

With the monthly revenue I earn, it’s sufficient to fund my travels, support my parents back in Singapore (I give them money every month), pay my rent, and pay my expenses, with some leftover savings at the end of the day.

So in short: (1) Yes, I do earn sufficient money from my work to fund my travels and expenditures. I’ve been making a living from my work since over two years ago, and (2) What I’m doing is essentially my career and my business, even if it may not be immediately apparent to the casual surfer.

Of course, I’m not planning to rest on whatever I have before me and settle for status quo. Moving forward, my ultimate goal for PE is to reach out to everyone in the world, and it’s nowhere near that yet. The work is cut out for us, and I can’t help but feel very excited about what’s ahead.

(Image: Question mark)