So I’ve stumbled at the first fence at my attempt to raise some extra money from a side hustle. I’d read a book about how to make money from selling items on eBay. I didn’t exactly think this was going to be my path to riches beyond my wildest dreams, but I did hope I could sell off some unwanted things from my house, free up some space and raise some extra cash. So I started piling up some DVD’s and books that I no longer had any use for. I started slowly and listed 4 DVD’s over 2 nights. I had one bid already, only for £4.50, but you have to start somewhere. I then woke up this morning to an email from eBay saying that they had suspended my account as they were suspicious of activity on it. What, listing 4 DVD’s? It doesn’t look like there’s an appeal process at all, I’m just not allowed to buy or sell anything on eBay anymore. Hm, so that didn’t exactly go according to plan.
Clearly I’ll need to do a bit more investigating on this to see if there’s anything I can do to change the power that be’s minds on this. In the meantime though that seems to be the end of my eBay adventure. I’ll look into other ways of selling things to see if that’s going to be beneficial. I guess if nothing else it demonstrates the vulnerability of being too dependent on any one way of making a living. Obviously I’d not even got going with eBay, but imagine if I’d been a few years down the road with this experiment and this was making up a big part of my income. A valuable lesson in the importance of having a portfolio income, with money coming from a variety of sources.
I’m not feeling too down hearted about the lack of success in this first attempt at a side hustle. You have to start somewhere, and it’s not always going to go according to plan. I always think that it’s really easy to be positive when things are going well, it’s when life throws you a curveball that you see a person’s true character. It’s hard to keep battling away when you feel that you’re not making as much progress as you’d like to, but that’s when it’s really important to make sure you’re moving in the right direction, dig in and keep moving. It’s easy to just give up and keep plodding along on the same old road without making any changes. But incremental changes and improvements can have a massive impact on your life. Yes, sometimes a huge change is needed, but other times it’s just a question of tweaking things somewhat to get where you want to be.
So I’ll keep trying to figure out how to bring in more income to bring me closer to FIRE. I’ve been putting in some good work recently researching side hustles. I’m looking at Matched Betting as a potential source of more income. Lots of the FIRE bloggers seem to do well with this, although let’s hope I don’t get gubbed from Matched Betting accounts quite as quickly as happened on eBay! I’m watching lots of You Tube videos about Matched Betting. I think I’ve more or less got my head around the basic idea, but I want to do some more research to ensure I fully understand it and don’t make too many stupid mistakes. I’ve got a week off in the Easter holidays, so the plan is to start Matched Betting then. I’ll have enough time to spend on it that hopefully I won’t be rushing and so mess up. In the meantime I’m going to keep researching Matched Betting, set up a new email especially for MB and probably a dedicated bank account to keep track of money from the MB side of things.
I was training with my new running club last week when another running club turned up in the same part of the industrial estate where we were doing a session. We were basically both running up and down the same street at the same time but completing a totally different session. Awkward! But I’m pretty sure there’s more than one way to get good at running. It won’t be the same for everyone, and that’s ok. You find a group of people that you feel comfortable with and that you have confidence in getting you to where you want to be. As long as you’re improving and enjoying yourself then it’s all good. It got me thinking about FIRE though, and the many different ways that people achieve this. I think most people can agree on the basics of FIRE. Spend less than you earn and invest the difference. That’s pretty much what it comes down to. After that it gets a little bit less simple though.
So, should you go down the extreme frugality route, counting every single last penny and forsaking anything that might bring you joy but involves the spending of money? Is it ok to have a car or is that the work of the devil? Or is it more important to increase your income rather than reduce your spending? I imagine that for a lot of people a combination of the two probably works quite well.
Should you feel guilty if you can’t manage the exacting standards of MMM et al? Well no, clearly not, and I don’t think most FIRE folks out there would think so either. I’m pretty sure that most bloggers out there don’t write to make people feel bad or indeed to shout about their achievements. It’s a way to document your journey, to keep yourself accountable, to engage with like-minded people and to share ideas. Achieving FIRE will be unique for each person. Yes, there’ll be a recipe that you can follow of how people have already managed it. There’s no point reinventing the wheel. That’s why I love reading FIRE blogs, to find out how people have managed what I’m trying to achieve. But will a highly paid couple follow the same path as me as a single parent with two teenage boys to support? Unlikely. But you know what? That’s ok.
I love the idea of earning money from a rental property. I love to read blogs and listen to podcasts where people have done just that. I’ve started working some figures out and looking at flats locally to see if the figures add up. It’s all very exciting. Until I start to imagine how I’ll actually feel when I’m responsible for managing a property. Not to put too fine a point on it, stressed to the eyeballs is how I start to feel. I can’t quite work out why I feel like this, I just know that I do. I don’t imagine that this will change any time soon, so I’ve come to the conclusion that this route is not the right one for me. Maybe a bit further down the line I’ll feel a bit braver and will revisit some of my earlier ideas. But I guess that’s the exciting thing about life. Things change, and how you feel now isn’t necessarily how you’ll always feel.
So for me I think that paying off my mortgage and building up my assets through shares is the way to go. I need more income too. I know I keep banging on about it, but it’s going to be crucial in me achieving my goals. I’m starting to dream bigger. Before I was trying to get retired at 60. This was going to be a bit of a stretch for me, but I think I’ve got things in place now to make this happen. More or less. But actually, that’s not the extent of my dreams. As that quote goes “The greater danger for most of us isn’t that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we hit it”. Being financially independent at 55 will give me so much more scope to do what I want with my life. So maybe I won’t be fully retired in the traditional sense of the world. But so what. Even if was still working part time I would have so many more options with what I wanted to do. Definitely something for me to ponder.
I’ve realised that I’m really good at achieving my goals when I put my mind to it. It’s usually figuring out what I want to achieve that I have difficulty with. Any time in the past when I’ve had a really clear picture in my mind of what I want to achieve, I’ve reached my goal. In my early twenties I saw myself living in Spain, so I went to night classes to learn Spanish, used my fortnight holiday to do a training course on teaching English as a foreign language and secured myself a teaching job in Spain. It’s not always easy getting what you want, and it usually involves a fair amount of hard work, but you’re always glad when you succeed, no matter how things turn out in the end. It’s often the working towards things that’s the satisfying part.
So I think I need to work on what my particular picture of FIRE looks like. At the moment it’s a little bit blurry for me. I don’t quite yet feel like I have a clear destination in mind. Hopefully that will come with time. What I don’t want to do is to be getting the finances sorted but then have no idea what I want my life to be like. Drifting along is all well and good, and at times it can be just what’s needed, but for me I like to know what I’m aiming for so I can put my plans into action to get the life that is just right for me. It’s exciting stuff that’s for sure.