The Most Precious Gift
(This was originally posted on Site Build It's Forums, but I thought you might want to read it, too.)
(Update November 2011: I asked Ruby to marry me and she said yes!)
I don't really know where to begin...
I'm sitting at Starbucks, having a black coffee, in a city called Hualien, on the east coast of Taiwan.
I quit my job 2 months ago and am now living with the earnings generated by my website. It makes around 2000US$ a month. My site gets 2000 visitors a day. I have 520 pages published.
I have some feelings inside that I have never experienced. Good feelings. But still confused. I feel that I have received, and I am living and experiencing, the most precious gift.
I am 31 years old, from Montreal, Canada, and I've been working like a madman as an English teacher in Taiwan since 2000. I was burned out, bored to death at my job. Money was not an issue, but passion and excitement was absent. I was losing patience with my students and my girlfriend. I was no longer in touch with myself and felt like a robot - sleep, work, sleep, work, coffee, work, work, work...
Something was wrong. Something essential was missing.
I was missing this most valuable commodity. An essential ingredient to keep a degree of sanity.
I started Taiwanese-Secrets.com 3 years ago after reading stories of people getting out of the rat race by building websites, people like Birgit (the Outback website), and I though this could work and give me a healthier lifestyle and some sort of financial stability.
Last night, I was having a beer with around 20 expats in Hualien, mostly English teachers, people I had never met before, and I was asked by all of them: "So, what do you do in Hualien? You teach? You travel?"
They must have though I was the dumbest person on earth. I could only answer "I don't know what I'm doing." I was feeling bad, guilty about telling them about my situation. I thought they would think I was lying about what I was doing because it sounds so good. Because it seems unreal... "You what? You don't work?"
Since quitting my job, I went to Italy with my girlfriend, to Thailand to shoot some pictures, and to Bali to surf. All payed by my website. 2 months of pure pleasure!
All the money I make is through Google ads, affiliate commissions with HotelsCombined.com, 3 ebooks I have published, and sometimes marketing agencies contact me and they pay me for putting up links on my site.
It is passive income.
And it gives me mobility!
I take my office with me every morning in my backpack and I... what next? It's always different. I now have the time to do whatever I want and I have enough money to live comfortably, eat well... and travel!
I am feeling good about all this but I'm still confused. I have to re-learn how to live without a fixed schedule. I no longer live by a manager's expectation. I no longer need to look for time.
I have it.
Time - the most precious gift!
Thank you to all of you who have helped me at SBI through the forums!
Ken, I wish I could have the opportunity to buy you a drink one day, your system works, and it literally changed my life!