I’m sure many people are trying to achieve the same thing and that is financial freedom but not many people talk about what they are actually doing, so I thought I would document my journey to try an attain the holy grail that is financial freedom.
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What is Financial Freedom?
This is a term that lots of people use but what does it actually mean?
Well it depends on the individual as we all have different goals and aspirations but generally it is achieving a level of wealth that can sustain your daily life, either from investment returns such as dividends or having a big enough pot that you can draw from every year until you depart this earth (think of the 4% rule).
But what is financial freedom for me?
Well it is to be completely financially independent and do what I want to do every day, knowing that my investments are more than covering my living expenses.
But I will probably still be working as I get bored doing nothing for days on end but I want to be working on things I want to be working on and for me, that is blogging, creating YouTube videos and making jewellery. But it will just be nice to be able to do it without having to worry about money.
My First Failed Attempt
I’ve always wanted to be my own boss and I got the first opportunity in 2012, when I was in situation to launch my own ecommerce business.
While I had a few good years, it ultimately ended up not working and I closed it down in 2019 but I walked away with much more than I started with, I turned an initial £1,800 investment into over £10,000 in the bank when the business closed.
But the problem with an ecommerce business is that income is very hit and miss, especially as I was selling jewellery and outside of October – December, sales are pretty much abysmal. This makes financial planning quite difficult, it also isn’t the easiest business to scale without lots of additional costs.
So after closing the that down at the end of 2019, I decided to look into building a more sustainable business that would provide me with more regular income and also look into making the money that was already in my bank account start working for me.
Building a Sustainable Business
After closing my ecommerce business down, it was time to start thinking about what to do next and as I suck at being an employee, I knew that getting a job wouldn’t be a long term option, so I looked at how I could turn my existing skills into a money making business and I had a couple of options:
- Start Building Websites – I have built a fair few websites over the years and got asked to build some when I was coming to the end of my ecommerce journey but I’ve known plenty of people who have done this over the years and it can be incredibly stressful and I didn’t want to work for other people, so that was out of the question.
- Become a Consultant – I was getting asked for advice by lots of people who were looking to start or grow an ecommerce business and this would have been a pretty easy side step but I would be selling my time for money effectively and I struggled to see the scalability, so this one was crossed out as well.
- Create a Blog/YouTube Channel – by far the hardest and least likely to succeed out of the three options but if it worked, it would be by far the most lucrative and scalable and as I already knew that people were looking for info on starting/growing an ecommerce business and also building websites, it seemed like a good option.
So that was decision made, I was going to start a Blog and YouTube channel around ecommerce and thus EcommerceGold was born. But what made this option so appealing?
But I knew that it would take some time for me to start making money from this and all in all it took 8 months to get my first affiliate commissions paid into my bank account and nearly 18 months to get monetised on YouTube, so I basically worked for free in 2020!
However both are now starting to pay off and combined are generating me over £1000/m consistently.
In 2021 though, I realised that I wanted to talk about more than just ecommerce as my interests were changing and I wanted to talk about my financial journey, to hopefully inspire others, so I launched The MoneySmith in August 2021 as my personal brand that I want to build for many years to not only help others but also provide me with an income.
Making My Money Work for Me
I’ve always been good at savings, well except for when I didn’t have a job and got myself into a little bit of credit card debt in my late teens as I didn’t really understand how credit cards worked.
But I was taught from a young age that if I wanted something, I needed to save for it and I still remember my first big purchase, which was a Gameboy Original in the mid 90’s, that I saved up and paid £40 for second hand.
And since I got myself out of debt with the help of bank of Mom and Dad, who also taught me how to use my credit card correctly! I have always had a keen eye on saving my money but as I got into my 30’s, I began to realise that being a saver wasn’t really working out for me.
This is because interest rates have been abysmal on savings since the 2008 crash and are only getting worse, with many Cash ISA’s providing a interest rate of 0.1% or less and when combined with inflation, that means that all my hard earned savings are losing value every year.
Stocks & Shares
So it was time to start making my money work for me and I do differ from my parents on this one as they don’t really trust the Stock Market and prefer to have money in the bank that might not be making interest but also won’t potentially lose its value either.
Now, I wanted the most hands off way to invest as possible, because hunting for individual shares doesn’t really appeal much to me and while trying to build my business up, I don’t really have the time.
So I first considered index funds such as the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VUSA) or the Vanguard FTSE 100 ETF (VUKE) as both of these are pretty passive way of investing as they would mean I would be buying part of the whole market.
But then I came across the Vanguard LifeStrategy funds, which are balanced funds across equities and bonds, of which you choose the split and provide exposure across lots of different markets, without having to buy individual index funds.
This works for me as I could just set up a monthly deposit, buy my chosen fund and carry on with my life. It also works as the funds are designed for long term growth, so dividends are automatically reinvested, which gives me that awesome compound effect.
I wanted to diversify my investments and while the Lifestrategy fund was doing a fine job of that for my stocks and shares, I also wanted to look at some different asset classes to invest in and one that I had known about for a long time but also been sceptical about was Cryptocurrency.
But in 2021, I decided to dip my toe into the Crypto pool and buy my first bit of Bitcoin and the prices crashed about a week later!
But I know how volatile Crypto is and continued buying more, around 5% of the amount I was investing into stocks and shares and diversified my portfolio to include alt coins such as Ethereum, Cardano and a little bit of Dogecoin (who doesn’t love a meme coin!).
This is a purely speculative investment as who knows what will happen in the world of Crypto and it is incredibly volatile but I’ve only invested an amount that I am prepared to lose.
Quick plug – if you would like dip your toe in the Crypto pool, you can get £7 of free Bitcoin when you buy £80 or more Crypto through my Coinbase link.
I briefly considered investing in property but it can be such a headache here in the UK, especially residential property and I want a simple stress free life, so it isn’t something I am going to be looking to add to my portfolio.
When it comes to alternative investments, I really think it is useful to have and interest in it and also understand the marketplace as you could easily get burnt.
For me, being in the jewellery trade for nearly a decade, I understand precious metals, gems and diamonds (I am a qualified Gemmologist and Diamond Grader) as I have been exposed to the market for a long time and understand what causes things to move.
So I have invested a small amount into Gold (knowing people with big secure safes who will store it for you makes it a more attractive investment) as more of a protection of wealth rather than an investment that will grow as gold prices usually keep up with inflation. It is also an asset that I can quickly and easily liquidate if I need to.
My Financial Freedom Goals
So that is what I am currently working on but what are my end goals:
- Build EcommerceGold – I want to build EcommerceGold to a point where it is generating 4 to 5 figures a month and then look to cash out.
- Grow The MoneySmith – this website and YouTube channel are my long term business, that I plan to keep indefinitely and turn it into a 5 figures a month business.
- Grow My Stocks & Shares – the goal for my stocks and shares portfolio is the grow it to over £1 Million by the time I choose to retire and then move it from growth the dividend, so that it can provide me with a regular income.
If I can achieve these goals, then I will have achieved financial freedom and money shouldn’t be a worry for me later in life.