What is Financial Freedom?
While this number will vary for everybody, the basic math is: Cash Flow from Assets > Monthly Expenses
It is actually a pretty simple concept but it can be hard to implement. Think of it like trying to lose weight. To lose weight, you don’t need a fancy diet, supplements or a Bowflex PR3000 Home Gym. All you need to do is eat less and exercise more. Sure, you can starve yourself and lose weight while you can also spend 4 hours a day in the gym and lose weight. But, like with most things in life, a balance and combination of the two will result in the best and healthiest results.
So to have Financial Freedom, what we need to do is Increase Cash Flow and Decrease Expenses. Again, you can focus on only 1 side of the equation and still get results, but we are going for a more balanced approach.
Financial Freedom = Cash Flow from Assets > Monthly Expenses
The easiest place to start is with your expenses. No, not with your Starbucks Addiction or Netflix Account but with YOUR BIGGEST EXPENSES. Which for most people are Housing, Transportation, Healthcare and Taxes.
Housing is the easiest to fix. No, you don’t need to go run home to your twin bed in your parent’s basement but you do need to get a little creative. If your goal is to be financially free then you will need to make adjustments to your lifestyle which will seem like sacrifices at first. The first place to look is what city and country do you live in? Are you living in a big, expensive city like LA, New York or London? If so, your “number” to be financially free is going to be a lot larger than someone who is living in Pittsburgh, Dayton, Ohio or Bangkok. Also, what part of the city do you live in? If you’re living right downtown, then it might be wise to move a little further from downtown and get a cheaper place.
Next, if you’re living alone, you just made it that much harder on yourself, unless you live in a low cost city. (I pay about $250 for rent and bills in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.) So getting a roommate or renting out your extra room/couch/etc on Airbnb will greatly lower your expenses if you’re in an “expensive” city.
House Hacking is my favorite option because it will help build wealth in two ways. One, it lowers your expenses so you can save more and two it gets you started into real estate which helps build more assets/wealth.
House Hacking is when you buy a house and rent out part of it to cover your rent and in some cases give you extra cash flow. So let’s say that you buy a 3 bedroom house for $150,000. Your mortgage is $750 and you rent out your extra two rooms for $500/each. Now your cashflow is $1,000-$750 = $250. Just to be conservative, we’ll spend this $250 on home repairs in case something happens. You are now LIVING FOR FREE while having your roommates pay equity into your house. When you sell that house, you get the equity back PLUS the appreciation.
Digital Nomads in Taiwan
Taiwan has recently been ranked as one of the top places in the world for expats to live. This is mainly because Taiwan is an incredibly safe country with friendly locals, fast internet, access to great health care, modern subways systems, mountains and beaches. It’s also one of the most “convenient” countries in the world. There are literally 7-11s everywhere and at these 7-11s you can find single cans of beer, fresh food, pay your bills and even have your packages delivered. Despite this Taiwan is often overlooked when people are considering where to start off their digital nomad career. In fact, a lot of people probably can’t even find Taiwan on a map. I’ve lived here for the past 6 years and I still have friends and family back home who think I’m in Thailand instead of Taiwan.
Most westerners come here to teach English and that’s how I first got here before I started my online businesses. The average wage for English teaching in Taiwan is about $20USD/hour and living expenses are about $800-$1,500/month (depending on how frugal or baller you wanna live). This makes Taiwan a great place to baseline your business and you can even supplement your income by teaching English until you get your business off the ground.
Being a Digital Nomad in Taiwan
Taiwan has been my home for the past 6 years. I originally came here to teach English then I ended up getting my IMBA(for free), working for a local company here and eventually starting my own business and becoming a location independent entrepreneur.
I’ve been running an e-commerce business for the last 3 years and have been “location independent” for the past 2 years. Even though I love traveling to other countries I still prefer having a base and Taipei and Kaohsiung are both great options. They both have an international airport and a high speed rail stations where you can travel between Taipei and Kaohsiung in under 2 hours!
One of the biggest reasons that Taiwan is a great place for digital nomads is that you get a 90 Day Landing Visa right off the bat, no need to extend after 30 days or pay a fee. The two largest cities are Taipei and Kaohsiung and both of them have their own charm. You could compare them to Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Taipei is the capital and has an expansive MRT system, world class restaurants/night life and is surrounded by mountains that can be reached easily by MRT, bus or scooter. Kaohsiung is was my home for 5 years and is cheaper and has better weather than Taipei. It’s a lot more laid back and a good place if you want to chill out on a budget but the night life and entrepreneur scene is a bit lacking.
Digital Nomad Cost of Living in Taiwan
Taipei is the Capital of Taiwan and when most people come to Taiwan they usually fly directly into Taipei (Taoyuan International Airport). One drawback of Taipei (and Taiwan in general) is the lack of affordable short term housing. Renting an Airbnb for 1 month will cost about $900 while you could rent the same place for about $400 with a 1 year lease. Short term leases are available but take a bit more searching, I recommend staying for at least 3 months to make it the most cost effective.
Taipei Cost of Living:
Average cost of living in Taipei is about $1,500/month (USD)
$300 Room in a Shared Apartment
$500 Studio (3 month – 1 year lease)
Food, Fun, Misc:
Total – $1000 – $1,500
Taipei 101 at Night
Kaohsiung is the second largest city in Taiwan and can be reached by it’s own international airport or via the high speed rail from Taipei. The cost of living in Kaohsiung is about $800-$1000/month.
View from Kaohsiung Harbor
Rent in Kaohsiung can be as cheap as $150 for a room in an apartment or as much as $600 if you want to live in an MTV Cribs Style Apartment. I spent about $300 (10,000 TWD) for a studio apartment.
Kaohsiung Cost of Living:
Average cost of living in Kaohsiung is about $1,000/month (USD)
$150 Room in a Shared Apartment
$300 Studio (3 month – 1 year lease)
Food, Fun, Misc:
Total – $800 – $1,100
Food in Taiwan
One of my favorite things about Taiwan is the food. Not only is Taiwanese food delicious but you can also find reasonably priced Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese and Western restaurants creating an incredible variety of food choices. You can easily find local meals for about $3 while western food will cost about $5 or more for a meal at a restaurant.
Typical Lunch in Taiwan for $3.00
Transportation in Taiwan
Taipei has an extensive MRT system that connects the entire city. As long as you live near an MRT station you can pretty much get anywhere in the city.
Kaohsiung has a smaller MRT system with 2 main lines. There are also scooters everywhere and this is how most people get around. You can buy a scooter for as little as $300 but expect to spend $600 for a decent scooter.
My 150cc Scooter for $750
Where to Work as a Digital Nomad in Taiwan
There are coffee shops all over Taiwan with fast internet and you can get a cup of coffee or cappuccino for about $2-$3.00. Here’s a great list of other recommended Coffee Shops in Taiwan.
Taipei has a larger digital nomad scene than Kaohsiung and has coffee shops everywhere. There are also some coworking places and if you stay at Eight Elephants Hostel, they have a coworking space that you can use for free next door. Not many people were using it but it definitely has some potential.
Kaohsiung has a small but growing digital nomad scene. There is also a weekly Coworking Day Meetup at that can be found at meetup.com
Final Thoughts on Digital Nomads in Taiwan
Taiwan has a lot of offer for digital nomads and the 90 day free landing visa makes it an attractive choice for those who are tired of monthly visa runs. I consider Taiwan a good halfway point in between Southeast Asia and countries like Japan and Korea. It has the cleanliness, safely and civility of Japan and Korea with a cheaper price tag that is more similar to Southeast Asian countries.
Why Most Dropshipping Businesses Fail
Most People Don’t Treat Drop Shipping Like a REAL Business
The number one reason most dropshipping businesses fail is because people don’t treat it like a real business. Whatever drop shipping “niche” you’re getting into, take it seriously. Think about how you can help add value to that particular market place. Don’t try to drop ship some fidget spinners from Ali Express and then wonder why it didn’t work out.
Whether you like it or not, you’re building a real business. You’re going to have real customers with real problems that need solving. This is how you build trust and build a business. In the end, this is what you want to do because it will lead to the most value for yourself. Your job as an eCommerce entrepreneur or “drop shipper” is to provide value to your customers. You are providing a trustworthy platform where customers can find answers to their problems and safely purchase a product or service.
Most Drop Shippers Don’t Solve a Problem
Businesses are about one thing and one thing only, solving problems. More specifically, solving other peoples problems, not about solving your problem about how to make thousands of dollars online so you can travel the world. Look at your product and service and ask if you are actually solving a problem and providing value.
As an eCommerce entrepreneur or drop shipper your job is to solve problems. Your customers have problems, you have solutions. Let’s take the example of Andrew Youderian at Ecommerce Fuil who created and sold TrollingMotors.net for over 100k. Andrew created a drop shipping store where he sold trolling motors. This is not hard to do and anyone can build a site, contact suppliers and start drop shipping trolling motors. The thing that set him apart from his competition was that he also put together an in depth website that answered peoples questions about the different trolling motors. By doing this he created a valuable resource for his customers which in turn built trust and lead to more profits.
If you’re considering drop shipping or Ecommerce, then do yourself and your potential customers a favor. Start a real business. You can still drop ship and in many cases should drop ship. Just realize that you’re starting a real business and any temporary arbitrage opportunity between eBay and Amazon or aliexpress and Shopify are going to be over saturated and undervalued.
Money Doesn’t Take a Vacation, it Makes the Vacation
Last month I went on a road trip in Kending, Taiwan (also frequently spelled Kenting) and decided to bring my laptop with me. I actually purposefully bought this scooter because the trunk was big enough to fit my 15.6″ laptop inside. Anyways, before I left on the roadtrip I had a problem with a customer who said they didn’t receive their package so I decided to bring my laptop so I could deal with it once I got down to Kending. As I was driving I started feeling sorry for myself having to “work” and bring my laptop down to the awesome beaches in Kending but then it hit me.
This is my life. I am completely location independent, I can go anywhere in the world and run my business.
Sure I have to be connected to the internet and answer emails but I wouldn’t trade that for a real job in a million years. I like getting sales and making customers happy and growing my business. The business is what is funding my entire life. So while my friends with jobs are getting drunk and not worrying about work for 3 days straight, I’ll still be thinking about my business. How to grow it, how to improve it and how to make this lifestyle last forever. Because when you’re a business owner, you don’t ever really get a vacation, but a the same time, you’re always on vacation.
So that’s why I always travel with my laptop, why I check my email at 3 am after a long night out and why I’m in a coffee shop right now on a Saturday writing this blog post.
Money Doesn’t Take a Vacation, It Makes the Vacation
Location Independent Entrepreneur in Taiwan
Taiwan has been my home for the past 6 years. I originally came here to teach English and quickly realized that while Taiwan is awesome, teaching English isn’t. So I spent some time scheming ways to stay in Taiwan without teaching. I ended up getting my IMBA(for free), working for a local company here and eventually starting my own business. Kaohsiung was a great place for me to bootstrap my business because you can live on about $800/month and earn about $20/hour teaching. That comes out to teaching less than 10 hours a week and still breaking even. This gave me a ton of extra time to focus on my business and build it without any external financial pressures like rent and bills.
I’ve been running an e-commerce business for the last 2 years and have now gotten it to the point where I can be “location independent”. That being said, my base is still Taiwan. Kaohsiung, Taiwan to be exact. While I love traveling to other countries I still feel like Kaohsiung, Taiwan is the best base for a Location Independent Entrepreneur. It’s cheap, the weather is good, it has a beach, mountains, good food and you can learn Chinese.
View from my balcony, my rent is $8,000TWD ($250.00)
My Main Mode of Transportation (Entrepreneurmobile), $10,000TWD ($312.50)
Typical Lunch – $70TWD ($2.20)
Beach in Taiwan – FREE =)
The location independent entrepreneur scene in Taiwan is small, but growing. If you’re traveling through Taiwan, send me a message!