How to get money to finance your passive income goals (and dreams)

But bros…I was born in a middle-class-to-poor family, and I have lots of memories of how we grow up pretty broke, some examples:
  • standing at the glass window of KFC and my embarrassed mother shoo-ing us away
  • returning cash gifts to my parents to “recycle” and give back
  • I ate a LOT of bean sprouts and eggs and carbs
  • oh the carbs – we would bulk buy plain biscuits and noodles from MAKRO, no longer around, and had lots of oatmeal, rice, porridge (oats or rice)

I really, really, really worked, learnt, saved, learnt some more to get to where I want to go, this was the typical life I had last 8+ years:

  1. Grind/worked 16-hour days, 7 days a week for 8 years after graduating (still working tho)
  2. Reinvesting every dollar, living very frugally
  3. …whilst people around me go on holidays, parties and buying whatever they liked

Is it easy to build passive income and retire early? Hell no!

It’s bloody tough and hard….if it’s easy, everyone would have lots of money, six pack abs and look forever 16 right (ehehe).
Of course I do it because it’s worth it – to me it means a lot to get streams of passive income as early as you can in life, ideally before 45 – so you can spend the next 45 years of your life playing and doing shit that’s important to you.

Ben Settle’s Gran Torino Story (from a movie) and what the movie taught me

I got an email from Ben Settle, and it summarizes how I began building my wealth and passive income journey. I figured it’s a good sharing story too.
Let me tell you the story told in Ben’s email:
==== Snippet from Ben’s email ====
So the snippet from the “Gran Torino” screenplay.
In the scene the old grouchy main character Walt — played by Clint Eastwood — is talking to the young loner teen Tao who he befriends about the valuable tool set in his garage, and how he got it.
TAO: I can’t afford to buy all this stuff.
WALT: I didn’t buy all this stuff at once, blockhead. I’ve lived here for fifty years. A man stays in one place long enough he tends to attract a decent set of tools.
TAO: Yeah, but…
WALT: Look, kid, I think I know where you’re going with this. You don’t need everything to maintain a house. I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
[Walt slaps down THREE items in quick succession.]
WALT: This is for you. Roll of duct tape, can of WD-40, and a pair of vise-grips. Any man who’s worth a shit can do half his household jobs with these three things. In the odd chance that doesn’t work out, you can borrow something.
And so the script goes…
==== End snippet from Ben’s email ====

2 points I picked up from Gran Torino story:

#1 – Start wherever you are, and start now.
Maybe it’s saving and investing $100 a month first. Or less or more, I don’t care.
Just start and keep going.
#2 – Keep it simple basic when you’re starting out
  1. Roll of duct tape = earn more / side hustle
  2. Can of WD-40 = stop buying shit that don’t advance your passive income goals
  3. Pair of vise-grips = investing and reinvesting into safe and reliable defensive assets

You just start where you are

You dont need a million dollars to start the ball rolling.

You dont need the best phones or computers or softwares or people.

Just start where you are and keep going.

I chose to freelance, and increased my base salary by at least 100%.

Entrepreneurship to earn more

So, I mentioned that I have / had some skills right? I’m a trained and license occupational therapist, so I can do related work in nursing homes, house calls etc.

I contacted an agency and secured a freelance job, which within first month increased my take home from $2000 before bonus to $4800 net.

Now before people start mentioning that I’m “luckier than some” because I had these skills and parents that funded my studies, I will agree. And I will add that you start where you are. Some of you will have skills and some dont. Some will have debt and some dont.

Whatever it is, start where you are.

It is waaaaaaay more important that you start and keep going, rather than having perfect line-up in your situation

I had no money when I started, so I spent what I had: time. I read blogs, books from libraries, met people and asked questions. As we earned more, we invested everything into growing the company. I went for classes and bought books and attended seminars on sales, money, management, marketing etc to improve my skills.

Made so many mistakes by upsetting clients or vendors, all the mistakes in the book.

We undercharged so much, and made little.

I was shit at negotiating, fearing that clients wont be happy.

I read and re-read all the marketing blogs and seminar materials I paid for.

And continued serving.

70% were happy, and 30% weren’t.

These got me experience dealing with realities of money, business and clients. It also got word of mouth going. The 70% referred me more clients.

Whenever possible, we took out some money to pay down our home so that we lived without debt.

I continued learning from the lessons and the processes on money, business and clients. I’m still learning and growing today, since I started my first business when I was 20 years old. I’m 40 years old today.

I continued to apply as I learned, and we grew the business more and more, and it was eventually acquired for a tidy 7-figure sum. I took that money and put some in real estate, and somehow, much went into crypto.

I’m going for classes to learn how to build an online business as well as use the money generated from crypto to live on where I pay for taxi, meals, grocery, even my power, water and gas bills!

So on and so forth.

Repeat until done

You may start your passive income and early retirement journey in debt or from zero, but as you stick with it long enough, keeping unnecessary costs low, earning more with side hustling and investing/reinvesting, you will find that your portfolio will grow and compound with time and continued investment.

You dont need to start out with a huge amount.

If you’re like me, starting out from zero, then you only need the retire early equivalent of duct tape, WD40 and vise-grips. My answer and conclusion is to start and keep going. Even if it’s $100 a month. Start there, keep at it. Pickup a side hustle, earn a couple hundred or more and chuck that into Vanguard. As you earn more, invest more and more

Work, save, invest, reinvest.

Do this again and again, over time.

Until you reach your portfolio target and ideal take home from investments.

Then you’re done, and onto the next.

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