Sidehustle log 08: 2019 Q1 update

Sidehustle log is an ongoing series in which I explore earning money outside my day job through entrepreneurial efforts. Right now, my focus is on trying to build an Etsy digital download shop that I can run from anywhere in the world where I have my laptop and an internet connection.

That hasn’t always been the case. If you want to know more about how I got here, you can read previous installments of the sidehustle log series here:

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Should we get a tiny house?

I’ve written about getting a tiny house before, way back before we found our current home and bought that (and now a few weeks ago realized I want to be an organic farmer).

Back then, we put the idea aside because we were going to stay in our current city for the foreseeable future until our dream homestead came along. Here we have ample opportunities to rent, and even managed to get onto the first rung of the housing market!

The problem is that the organic farming school I would like to attend is located in a small county on the west coast of Norway. Most students live in the dormitory on campus grounds, but that is not feasible for us since Mr. Frugasaurus is coming along for the ride.

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Allow yourself to hibernate on the long slog to financial independence

If you’ve been working towards financial independence/debt freedom for a few years, you might be familiar with the middle years saving slog. You know, that large chunk between being super-exited because you’ve found this amazing new way to live, and actually getting there.

It can be five, ten, fifteen, twenty years between hearing about financial independence and getting there. Especially if you have dependents or disability jacking up your expenses and decreasing your savings rate.

Tanja over at Our Next Life has written some excellent posts about getting through the middle saving year slog. It is a fantastic post, and great if you have a meaningful job you enjoy. If not, of course there is power in saving money so you might be able to change that.

But if you’re like me, maybe you have a job that is perfectly all right, but with somethings you could be without. It’s not your dream job, but you are intending to stay until your savings look healthier. Perhaps you’re trying to start a sidehustle or two on the side, and you’re starting to feel burnt out.

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Why farming?

Earlier this week, I wrote about our plan for a dramatic change in lifestyle.

To me, this is life coming full circle. I am finally confident enough in myself to identify what I truly want and go for it. Where I only saw the impossible as a child, I can now see how we can make it possible to survive off the land, even if we make a pittance growing fruits and vegetables.

But why on earth would I want to be a farmer? And an organic one at that?

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Preparing for a career change

To my surprise, when I posted on twitter that I had managed to tell both my parents about my new plans of leaving academia and applying to organic farming school, I got some questions about where I was in the process, and if I would write a post about it. Ever one for accountability, I thought I would map out the slow steps we are taking towards the rather big career change.

Mostly these are steps I am taking. Mr. Frugasaurus is still doing his part, typing away on his computer in his attic office. The master plan is still that he will build a steady passive income from his ebooks while I work away and provide him the stability he needs to focus on that.

That is still the big plan we are following, but I would be greatly amiss if I was relying on that being the only plan. It could take him a while to build his passive income empire after all, and he could do that from anywhere, including from the west coast of Norway where the school is located.

I have previously written about how I was first contemplating a career change, and later about the opportunity cost of not know what to be when you grow up. Now that I have made my decision, I suppose the time is ripe to make an extensive post about the specific steps we are taking towards reaching that goal, and perhaps give you some ideas along the way if you are thinking of making a similar change in your life.

The first thing of course, make a plan. And in my case, create trackers(shameless plug of my Etsy shop) that visualize your progress, because that is one of the things that keep me motivated.

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Putting obstacles in the way of digital addiction

Do you spend more time than you would like online or with a specific kind of physical or digital addiction?

Stop placing so much blame on yourself for not having the self-control to keep yourself from engaging in the activity. Self-control is a limited resource, and we shouldn’t waste it on actively resisting temptation day in and day out.

Instead, I find it much more efficient to work on building obstacles that leaves me unable to engage in the unhealthy addiction I would like to curb, and gives my self-control a bit of peace and quiet. It is not bullet-proof, but it does a good job 90% of the time.

Just like we try to clear the path and make the road towards our goals easier, we should barricade our path against the things that no longer serve us. I will talk mostly about digital addition because that is what I am most familiar about, but I would love to hear how someone might have implemented similar tools against physical addictions like smoking or alcohol.

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Earning money online, the great equalizer?

Do you ever stop to think about what a marvel the internet is? How many possibilities it has unlocked? What kind of stories it can tell? How much time anything took before its inception? Or how much more rock solid your social class was?

My little Etsy shop is still far from rolling in money, but every time I get an email that someone bought a thing I feel such a jolt of joy it is difficult to compare it to anything. With my background, this earning money online venture feels like free money. How can it possibly be real money when I didn’t go to an office/factory/hospital to grind away for 8 hours, 5 days a week or more?

The invention and distribution of internet has led to some massive changes most could not predict. People in remote locations can talk to each other, sell stuff they don’t use, or work from anywhere in the world. And people build so many things, write blogs and share their ideas. Of course, not all of those ideas are kind, but that doesn’t change the fact that the internet has made an unprecedented change to how we live, work and interact. For good and bad.

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The opportunity cost of not knowing what you want to be when you grow up

Most of us have met one, and I know I have certainly been one myself. An insecure teenager, too interested in too many things, and not sure what I want to do or be when I grow up. The pressure of deciding the right thing is crippling. What if we do it wrong? How do we know what is the right choice when we don’t have that much experience out in the real world? But the opportunity cost of choosing wrong just to chose something can be even greater.

I was one of those teenagers who had no idea of what I wanted to be. Everything was an option, and so nothing stood out.

I wanted to be a gardener, an artist, a baker, a chef, a pet technician, a potter, a glass blower or a weaver. I had no clear concept of which of them I preferred, so I ended up deciding by not deciding.

Instead of a vocational high school, I went to a study prep one. I had always done well in STEM related classes, so naturally the advisers all suggested I pursue that.

“But I want to do all these other things!” I would try to argue.

“Which one?”

“I don’t know.”

“Then pursue STEM – it’s safer, and you can always do those other things on the side.

Sound familiar?

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Don’t let Others Berate You For Your Kindness

It is a strange world we live in. Both inside the personal finance blogosphere and outside. A world where it is sometimes seem as more important to not get “scammed” even once, so we would rather not show kindness 9 times out of 10.

If you don’t know what I mean, I will explain in a moment. With a story, because stories are illustrative and nice.

A roadtrip to the top of the world

It was the autumn several years ago. I was starting university about as far away from home as it was possible to get in Norway. From the very south to the far north. Past the Arctic circle. I was still more a child than an adult at that time. And as such, I was entitled enough to let my parents drive me the 24 hour drive up, combining it with a summer roadtrip.

After several days, we had arrived at the last resting point before the city that would become my home for the next three years. It was a basic pit stop. Consisting of nothing but two park tables, a toilet and some trash bins. We got out, stretched our legs and ate some food.

While we were sitting there, a young woman on a well-packed bike turned into the resting area as well. We were about the same age, so we got talking. She was from Finland, on her way to Tromsø for a solo-trip before taking the bus back home and starting her music studies. Her English was not the best, but we did the best we could to communicate (while I can understand Swedish and Danish, Finnish is a completely different language family).

As so often is with these kinds of meetings, we assumed we would never meet each other again. So we said our goodbyes and got back on the road.

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Ethical Investing 01: Introducing Swedish Trine

This post is not sponsored or affiliated in any way. I just want to share companies I find who may help us make more sustainable, ethical investing choices that benefit everyone, including our planet.

It can be very difficult for small, budding investors to find ethical ways to make their money grow. Index funds mostly take a big chunk out of a country (or the world’s) industry after all, and if they don’t exclude companies that deal in petroleum, guns or treating their employers poorly – well, you might be out of luck if that bothers you.

I am in no position to look down on others. I am investing in index funds myself. But I do try to look for ethical alternatives wherever I can find them. For me, that means about 1/3 of my tiny portfolio is currently in actively managed environmental funds. But there are some who would ask just how environmentally friendly those funds are.

Small, conscientious investors have power

Still. We do what we can. And I imagine buying environmental funds, even actively managed ones, will send a signal to those who manage funds that there are a market for them, and more and better ones will come if we show them it is a priority. Consumer power is a thing.

In this post, which I hope will eventually turn into a series, I hope to present ethical and environmental alternatives to investing for those of us who don’t have a million dollar portfolio to throw around (but if you do, feel free to be inspired…). Businesses I’ve found that, while they probably should not be your entire portfolio, could still be a part of a diverse investment strategy focusing on the triple bottom line (societal responsibility, environmental impact and economic value).

It feel redundant to say this but: I am a random blogger on the internet, not an investment adviser. As such, please do not blindly trust everything I say. As with any investment, you could loose all your money.

With that, let me present to you; Trine.

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