May 2012 Finance Report (subscribers only)

Namaste to all you legendary email subscribers. Welcome to my May finance report, coming at you from the fine and smoggy city of Kathmandu.

As usual, I’ll share with you all the details of my finances below, along with a few notes that I think you’ll find interesting.

But before we get to that, let me throw out some of the many kindnesses that came my way last month. All told, they ended up saving me a good chunk of money or just making my life better in some shape or form…

Paid in Kindness

  • The first week in May I met an English anthropologist named Daniel at an over-priced coffee shop with slow wifi. He recommended I check out another coffee shop nearby, which has proven to be a much better place to work and saved me some nice dough.
  • An Australian girl I met at that new coffee shop gifted me her Lonely Planet guide to Nepal since she was leaving town the next day. Thems ain’t cheap.
  • My buddy Pete Windle, who works for one of Ireland’s biggest radio stations, connected me with a producer of a prime time show. (I was invited on to talk with the host Ryan Tubridy, but unfortunately the phone connection was too sketchy and they had to drop me at the last minute.)
  • The scooter rental dudes who came all the way out to Nagarkot (about an hour from Kathmandu) with a new scooter after my friend’s broke down halfway up the mountain.
  • My friend Niraj invited me to his home for dinner one day. No idea what exactly we ate, but it was divine. Niraj also acted as cameraman for the Church of I Don’t Know video.
  • And thanks to all the cool people who played along with good humor in said video.
  • My filmmaker friend Laurence treated me to numerous meals and drinks while he was in town for a week, and who made me feel important by following me around with a camera all the time.
  • An American chap I met in a bar one evening bought me a drink. Pretty sure he wasn’t gay.
  • My buddy Preim invited me to his house several times, treated me to a couple of meals, and invited me to use his office if I need a place to work.
  • My landlord Ramesh organized a milkman to deliver a gallon of milk to my apartment each day, saving me regular trips to the supermarket.
  • 36 legendary people sent me donations throughout the month. Yes, 36. Incredible.
  • And thanks to everyone who read, commented, and shared my writing during the month of May. Thanks even to those who left harsh comments and sent nasty emails. You help me more than you know.

(Note: The risk of listing out such kindnesses is that I may accidentally forget someone who was very kind to me during the previous month. My apologies if you did me a good turn and I haven’t mentioned you above. It’s not that I don’t appreciate your generosity; more likely that I just had a brain fart.)

Okay, let’s move on to the more numerical form of currency. Keep in mind that I spent all my time last month in Nepal. Diving in…

May Expenses

Food and Drink

Groceries€ 103
Pubs, Coffee Shops, Restaurants, Take-aways€ 274
Total€ 377

Way up from the €294 I spent on food and drink last month. I’ve been eating out a couple of times a day in Nepal. Food is cheap here, but it quickly adds up.

Housing and Utilities

One night at the Hotel at the End of the Universe, Nagarkot€ 10
One night at the Royal Grand Hotel, Kathmandu€ 5
Total€ 15

I prepaid two months rent in April, so no rent payment for my apartment in May, resulting in a massive drop from last month’s total of €924. I didn’t actually spend a night at the Royal Grand Hotel in Kathmandu, just used it for three hours one afternoon when I had food poisoning and needed a place to lie down, didn’t feel like walking 20 minutes back to my apartment.

Speaking of my apartment, it’s not turning out to be quite the deal I thought it was, mainly because the wifi there sucks and I can’t work reliably from home. Instead I have to go to a coffee shop to get some solid work done, and of course I have to buy something while I’m there. I’d estimate that close to €100 of my food and drink expenses last month were on account of working from coffee shops.

Travel

19-day scooter rental (including petrol and parking)€ 107
Two month visa extension for Nepal€ 97
Taxis in Kathmandu€ 12
Total€216

Way down from €433 last month. Of course, I didn’t travel much, only taking a two-day trip out of Kathmandu. My plan is to spend the next two months in the valley, building up my finances, then take a few weeks to go trekking and perhaps take a meditation course.

Business Expenses

Disrupting the Rabblement paid subscription refunds€ 52
Web design outsourcing€ 48
Vimeo Plus (one year subscription)€ 48
Post Affiliate Pro (for $50 Blogs, monthly subscription)€ 15
Ecwid shopping cart (for $50 Blogs, monthly subscription)€ 15
AWeber email marketing (extra charge for 500+ subscribers)€ 8
Internet cafes / wifi charges€ 5
Socialoomph.com (monthly subscription)€ 3
Total€ 194

About half of what I spent on business stuff last month. The Vimeo Plus renewal came as a surprise; forgot I needed that for A Course In Courage.

Post Affiliate Pro
At last I’ve gotten around to setting up an affiliate program for $50 Blogs, though it’s pretty bare bones at the moment. If you’ve ever got a friend who needs a blog set up, send them my way. I’ll get them up and running good and fast, and you’ll get a 60% cut of whatever your friend pays. Win-win-win. You can sign up for the program here and grab your affiliate link.

A quick note about affiliate links
I link to everything I use so you can go ahead and check out the products and services for yourself. However, I only become an affiliate for products and services that I actually like and am happy to recommend. If you click through and buy something via my affiliate links, it doesn’t cost you anything extra, but I get a percentage of the sale price. Please don’t buy anything unless you have a clear need for it.

Gifts and Donations

Donation to LLS for my ultra marathon-running friend Ilya€ 40
Donation to my buddy Tal to help build a school in the Dominican Republic€ 24
Nest donation (Mastermind penalty)€ 16
Donation to support filming of documentary in Pakistan€ 14
Donation to Chase Night€ 4
Charity quiz entry at Pub Maya in Kathmandu€ 2
Total€ 100

Just about hit my target this month, that being to donate 10% of everything I earn. I still need to make up for some earlier months where I shortchanged the charities though.

Facebook contests
For those of you unaware, I do run occasional contests and giveaways via the Disrupting the Rabblement Facebook page. Make sure you’ve liked the page and you’ll see future contests and giveaways posted on your timeline.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Health clinic visit in Kathmandu (for diarrhea)€ 59
One-month gym membership in Kathmandu€ 43
Second-hand blender€ 12
Laundry (several loads)€ 10
Dare penalty, paid to a friend in Kathmandu€ 9
Nightclub admission fees in Kathmandu€ 9
Toiletries€ 6
Subscription to Raam Dev’s Journal€ 5
Admission to Durbar Square in Patan€ 5
Condoms€ 3
Admission to Boudha stupa€ 2
Cinema: The Avengers€ 2
Postage and printing€ 2
Admission to Garden of Dreams in Kathmandu€ 2
Garbage bags€ 2
Rehydration salts€ 2
Total€ 173

Up from €113 last month.

Expense Summary

Food and Drink€ 377
Housing and Utilities€ 15
Travel€ 216
Business Expenses€ 194
Gifts and Donations€ 100
Miscellaneous expenses€ 173
Total Expenses€ 1,075

Way down from the €2,247 I spent here in April, and close enough to my goal of €1k or less. Yayness.

May Income

Away from the minuses and on to the pluses…

Reader donations (muchas gracias!)€ 434
$50 Blogs€ 307
Freelance web design€ 296
Google Adsense payment (for ndoherty.biz)€ 88
A Course In Courage€ 36
Total Income€ 1,161

Up a bit from €953 in April.

And I have to say: I’m blown away by all the donations. 36 in total last month, amounting to €434.

It’s strange, too, because the majority of those donations came through right after I cancelled the paid subscription model. It seems folks really do prefer having the choice to send money rather than feeling obligated. A massive thanks to all of you.

Where that leaves me

I had €2,379 to my name at the end of April. After applying the most recent exchange rates (I have accounts in both Dollars and Euros), that had increased slightly to €2,470. Taking into account all my May income and expenditure, my total bank and cash balances now work out to €2,583.

Here’s how I’m doing so far in 2012:

  • €24 in January
  • €554 in February
  • €947 in March
  • €1,289 in April
  • €86 in May

Outlook for June

Right. Time to get serious.

I’m staying put in Kathmandu for the next two months, and after that I plan to go offline for a few weeks and enjoy some trekking and such, get out of the city. To make that happen though, I need to step up my earning. I’m taking on more freelance projects and will be pushing $50 Blogs harder. The goal is to earn at least €1k in both June and July. That’s €1k aside from donations and affiliate earnings. Wish me luck!

As regards expenses, hopefully I’ll be able to keep those under €1k in June. I do have to renew a year’s worth of web hosting and pay rent again, though I’ll be looking for a better deal on the latter, moving to another part of Kathmandu.

Feedback welcome

Let me know your thoughts on these reports. Do you find the info helpful? Would you like more detail? Less? If you’re self-employed yourself, I’d also love to hear about your financial adventures.

19 Comments

  1. Andy

    Good luck, you walking breathing source of inspiration, you!

    Reply
  2. Andrew

    Glad you made a profit this month. Hope you enjoyed The Avengers. Go & see The Raid as it’s Indonesian and you’re in that area of the world (well compared to the UK!)

    Reply
  3. Georgene Harkness

    As a Certified Public Accountant, I live and breathe financial stuff. Thanks so much for sharing with us. You live a fascinating life, for someone so young, and I am totally envious!

    Now, a question: you indicate a 60% affiliate payment on $50 blogs, which is a lot! But the FAQ at the affiliate site says this (see the last item):

    8. What must I do NOW?
    Few simple steps:
    1. Go to blahbhlahblah…
    2. Fill out blahbhlahblah…
    3. Receive your password blahbhlahblah…
    4. Log in blahbhlahblah…
    5. Place some blahbhlahblah…
    6. Receive 30% commissions from every sale!

    So, is your commission structure different from the one in the FAQ, or did one of you make a typo?

    Thanks, Niall!

    Reply
    • Niall Doherty

      Hey Georgene,

      Thanks a mil for catching that. The 30% is an error, and I just corrected it. I’m paying out 60% commission for each referral.

      So if someone just orders a standard $50 Blog via your affiliate link, I’d send you $30 commission. $100 order = $60 commission, etc.

      Reply
      • Georgene Harkness

        Thanks, Niall!

        Now, I’m embarrassed to bring this up (seems like I always have a problem….) but the signup page hangs. For, like, forever….so I am at “Loading application” for something like five minutes now.

        Sorry to be bothersome! 🙂

        Reply
        • Niall Doherty

          You mean when you click the link, or after you fill in your details and click Sign Up? The former works fine for me, and I can troubleshoot the latter if it’s that.

          Reply
  4. Georgene Harkness

    After I click the link…I can’t get past “Loading application.”

    Ah! The fact YOU can get there led me to try it in IE, and it works in IE. I was trying to get there through Firefox, and Firefox is still hung (can’t get to the signup page at all).

    So, my problem is solved; not sure whether others will have the same issue or not. Thanks, Niall!

    Reply
    • Niall Doherty

      Glad you got it loaded. I’m using Firefox, but on a Mac. If anyone else is reading and has similar issues, please let me know.

      Reply
  5. Matt Horwitz

    Hey Niall, just want to cheer you on mate and say that I am thoroughly enjoying your journey and follow closely. Quite epic!

    I enjoy your analytics.. both financial and web traffic – it’s great to see.

    Are you really getting a gallon a day delivered to your apartment? Are you drinking a gallon a day? Is this part of the ‘gaining muscle’ experiment?

    Reply
    • Niall Doherty

      Hey Matt. Yup, drinking a gallon a day, as part of my muscle building experiment. The milkman delivers it to my apartment.

      Reply
      • Matt Horwitz

        Sweet man! Looking forward to seeing the results from this. I am not feeling the urge to drink some milk lol.. time to go grocery shopping 🙂

        Reply
  6. Jenny-Li Limon

    Hello Niall,
    do you have a budget about what are you going to expend each month for which things, and how much you expect to earn?

    Reply
    • Niall Doherty

      Hey Jenny-Li. I keep it simple: I aim to earn more than €1k and spend less than that. I don’t really have a budget for specific things. As long as I’m close to that big target, I feel I’m doing good.

      Oh, but I do aim to donate 10% of everything I earn this year. And then hopefully up that to 15% next year.

      Reply
  7. Josh Lipovetsky

    Milkman..vintage! 🙂 Way to be in the green this month, man. Those donation figures are insanely awesome!

    Reply
  8. Ben Holt

    Hello Naill,
    I’ll echo Matt’s question – how are you using a gallon of milk each day? I know how I would do it: make cheese!

    Anyway, it’s terrifically inspiring and entertaining to hear about your adventures.

    Peace

    Reply
    • Niall Doherty

      Thanks, Ben! I’m just drinking all that milk. I have to boil it all before I can drink it though. I use one liter in a milkshake each morning and the rest I just drink straight during the day.

      Reply
  9. Laila Atallah

    Niall, I find this breakdown of your expenses and income very helpful! Thank you for airing your laundry with us all. 😉

    As always, more detail is appreciated. As a person who aspires to incorporate more blogging and video into my work, it’s very helpful to see which services you use and what they cost.

    Reply
  10. Bella

    Hey,

    I think you are doing good with your earning because not many bloggers are actually making money, unless they talk about really good stuff. Congrats!
    Sp you spent EUR 3 on condoms?? LOL

    Reply

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