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An Update on How Things are Going

I figured I would provide a small update on how our escape from the ordinary is going. Things are going pretty well right now, certainly much better then a few months ago. We’ve made a lot of changes to how we are approaching things and have been making steady progress.

So what have we changed?

Weekly Schedule

It may sound simple, but I think one of the best things we ended up doing was creating a weekly schedule.

I won’t get into the details now because I think we’ll make a post about it in the near future. But basically we have a white board hanging between our computer desks that has a day by day breakdown of goals we each want to accomplish each day. C.C. and I have a “meeting” every Monday morning to A) Review last week’s schedule to see how we did, and B) Come up with the current week’s schedule for ourselves.

We find that the schedule is really helping us. It keeps us focused on the goals and more time is spent actually doing because we know exactly what we want to accomplish each day.

Shifting Focus

Another thing we’ve done is shift our focus a bit. Through our weekly reviews of our schedule, we noticed that while we were getting more done, we still had been avoiding one area- alternative ways of making money.

I think we had been avoiding it because it seemed to be the most difficult. We are both currently employed in regular jobs and while we are working towards striking out on our own, right now those jobs are a comfort zone for us. It is a lot more fun to work on things like getting out more, exploring hobbies, writing, and all that. Looking for work just isn’t much fun, especially if you already have a job and the need for a new one is not imminent.

As I said, we came to realize that we were ignoring the whole job thing. In fact, we came to the conclusion that finding alternative ways to make money is actually our top goal right now. Our plan has always been to do the whole digital nomad thing, working for ourselves and travel around. But you can’t really do that without actually making some money at something.

So we’ve shifted our focus to finding different ways to make money for ourselves and we’ve had good results so far. C.C. has even come across some opportunities were she could possibly make more money then she is making at her current job.

Overall, we’ve made some changes that have us moving in the right direction, but there are some things we still need to work on.

What’s Not Going So Well

We felt it was important to shift our focus currently to making money, but that also means less time to focus elsewhere. Some of our goals, like finding something new to do each weekend, have been on the back burner a bit.

I think that we can do a better job of balancing things. I think it is good for us to have a main focus at all times, but we also can’t let the other goals languish in the meantime. We need to also make time to work on the other stuff.

The other thing not going so well right now are our travel plans. We really wanted to start traveling a lot more, even if just at first we had to go cheap and stay close to home. Unfortunately, we haven’t even really been able to do that. Money is really tight right now. We’re getting by, but it gets hard justifying any travel expense when we really don’t have much extra to spend. We’ve cut back on a lot of expenses but it is still hard to get that travel fund together.

I think that at some point in the near future, C.C. and I will sit and have a discussion on this. I’ve done enough reading on other travel blogs to know that travel is possible for almost anyone if you make enough sacrifices in what you chose to spend your money on (i.e. selling your home to get rid of mortgage payments, selling a car cutting out all extra expenses that aren’t absolutely necessary).

I think we need to determine if we are truly willing to do whatever it takes to have the lifestyle we want right now- basically the “jump in with both feet and throw caution to the wind” approach. Or do we want to keep building things slowly until we feel we have enough money or security to take the full leap.

All told, I think we are doing pretty well right now. We’ve made a lot of progress since we decided to get more serious about this. We’ve still got a lot to work through, but that’s half the fun.

Making Money Online: Blogging

After I graduated from college,  Jay and I thought we would try to make a living off of doing something we’d been doing for free all our lives:  writing.  The first site we started was a local restaurant review blog.  The thinking behind this was that we could go and try out new restaurants and different kinds of cuisines, while at the same time writing about it.  [Read more...]

Making Money Online: Playing Poker

This is going to be the first of a series of posts I’m going to be making about various things I’ve tried and am looking to try to make money online.  I feel like this is an important topic because the key to escaping the ordinary and being able to travel is to have a steady stream of income through online ventures.

Even before I knew what I really wanted, I’ve been trying to make some money off the internet.  Over the years I’ve tried many things– some successful, some not so much.  One of the things I’ve tried is online poker.  Now, I’ve been gambling most of my life, mainly just small time with my brothers and sisters, and I’ve also done a bit of poker playing at the casinos.  I can’t say I’m great at it.  In fact I lose more often than I win.  I figured that this is because I’m easy to read at the poker tables, because I get too nervous and feel too much pressure, so I thought playing online would eliminate some of those weaknesses.

The impetus that got me thinking about playing online was watching the Amazing Race.  A season ago or so, they had these two women who were professional poker players, and were very successful at it.  They didn’t seem very remarkable to me, so I wondered how they could be such great poker players. It was then that I thought, if they can do it, so can I.  In fact, I thought most professional poker players don’t seem to be too impressive to me, and it didn’’t seem to take any extraordinary skill to succeed at it.  So I signed up for Poker Stars.com.

Now there are a lot of poker sites out there and some of them offer special deals and incentives for you if you sign up with them.  I just signed up with the one that seemed the most legit.  That part is easy enough, but getting the funds to play is another matter.  When I tried to enter in my credit card number, it was rejected because some credit card companies block online poker transactions.  After trying all my credit cards, and having them all blocked, I looked for another way to get money to my account.  I found out there are some prepaid credit cards you can use to enter and play.  The one I got was a Visa All Access card for $25.  The $5 activation fee for this card was a bit much, but by this point I just wanted to play.

Finally, I got the money into my poker account, and was ready to play.  There are a bunch of different rooms you can play in with every kind of poker you can think of.  I stuck to the 50¢/$1 Texas Hold ‘Em tables.  I ended up winning about $10 early on, but I got greedy and started to that feel this wasn’t enough if I was going to make a living out of this.  So I started playing at the higher limit tables, and by the next two days I was down to $0.

Playing poker online is a lot harder than I thought at first.  I’m naturally a very frugal person, and I guess that translates to my poker playing as well.  I was uncomfortable with betting high unless I absolutely knew I had the best hand. And when I knew I had the best hand, I went overboard with the betting, which just scared everyone off the hand.  Bluffing was out of the question, so I was really quite easy to read.  By the time I was down to my last $5, I was playing so desperately and recklessly, I quickly lost that in one hand at the 2¢/5¢ tables.

Despite this poor showing, I haven’t completely given up hope of making money playing online poker.  I realize I have to take more risks in order to win.  I’ve also gotten some poker books for myself so I can learn some strategies for playing.  I’m not trying to win a gold bracelet in the World Series o f Poker here, but I would like to be able to win money on a consistent basis.  I’m confident that this is not outside of my poker playing ability.