Advanced Freelancing

Learn more about freelancing and owning your business and your time from six-figure freelancer Laura Briggs.
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Feb 24, 2020

Can you believe we're just a couple of episodes away from hitting 100 on the Advanced Freelancing, and previously known as Better Biz Academy podcast? I'm very excited to chat with today's guest, Rachel Richards. She really has an amazing and inspiring story that I'd love for you to hear.

The reason that I wanted to have Rachel on the show is because she is really a master at passive income and has so much excellent insight she can share with us about how to get started with this. This topic comes up a lot. And that's why I felt like we needed to cover this on the show.

A lot of people get confused by the whole process of setting up your passive income streams. 

Is it really passive? How do you make all of that work for you? Rachel has an amazing background. She graduated in only three years at age 20 without debt. She used to be a financial advisor and published her first book in 2017 over 12,000 copies of it. So she quit her full time job at age 27 in August 2019, and is retired now living off of $10,000 a month in passive income.

So she has five rental properties with 35 units total, royalties from her books, royalties from her print on demand business, and her passive income which ranges between 10 to 12k a month.  She has more than replaced her full time income allowing her to retire early, to speak professionally, travel and pursue her interests. And she talks a lot in her books about passive income, aggressive retirement and “money, honey” about savings buckets investing, and how to get started with passive income and different streams.

Now, my interview with her is great.

There's lots of excellent information. I want to call your attention to one of the comments that she makes towards the end of the interview about how to leverage the fact that you've worked in different positions or even done different freelance gigs to figure out what you do and don't like. This comes up from time to time with some of my one on one coaching clients who have this dream of being a freelancer, and then once they're in the thick of it realize they actually hate it.

One of my one on one coaching clients, for example, it took her doing several freelance writing gigs for her to say, ”I don't want to do this anymore.”  And so we've had to step back and figure out what is the service or consulting that she can offer that's going to light her up because freelance writing isn't it.

This is why it's so powerful that you start your freelance business and dip your toes in the water of side income and passive income prospects starting small because you might not like what you do.  Maybe owning rental units isn't right for you because you hate it.  And maybe publishing books, you love the writing part, but being an author is at least 50% marketing and maybe you don't like that.

So figuring out what suits you from your background as well as knowing your own personality can really help you go in the right direction when it comes to building in different types of freelance services or passive income. If you love this episode, please drop me a line at I'd also love it if you left the show a review on Apple iTunes. Thanks again for tuning in. And we're almost to Episode 100, where I will be recapping my top 10 favorite episodes from the show.

It's time for another episode of the Advanced Freelancing podcast.

And today we're talking about a topic that comes up all the time with freelancers who have scaled their business to the point where they're relatively successful.  They're fully booked or close to fully booked and it's time to start thinking about expanding.

Another common issue that a lot of freelancers run into is, ”Okay, I'm only making money when I sit at my computer and work for my clients.  Which means if I'm sick, if I take vacation, or if there's some other reason I can't work, no income is coming in.”  And that's why I'm so excited about my guest today, Rachel Richards.  We are going to be talking all about passive income. And she is the queen of passive income.

I'd love to kick off by hearing about one of the things that jumped out from Rachel’s bio. 

And that is that she graduated with no debt. I know that that's so rare. These days, most of us, myself included, we graduate with tons of debt.  And it almost feels like you're going to be paying it off the rest of your life. So I'd love to know how Rachel made that transition and paid and graduated with no debt.

Rachel’s take for graduating without debt.

It's definitely a tough thing to accomplish, especially with the crazy cost of college these days. But I do have a couple tips. So the first thing I did is I started thinking ahead when I was in high school, in terms of what scholarships I could apply for.

So that got me motivated to do really well in high school.  I was academically doing really well. I had a great GPA. I was also getting involved in as many clubs and everything as I could. And that helped me to earn scholarships to pay for school.

So I went to a Centre College which is a private liberal arts school here in Kentucky.  And it costs over $40,000 a year. That's a ton of money. So with the scholarships that I was able to earn, I had a really big academic scholarship and I also had a piano scholarship. That helped me out a lot. But I was able to cover $30,000 out of the $40,000 in scholarships.

Another tip I would say is that I took a lot of AP classes in high school. 

And I actually ended up graduating in only three years. So when I went into Centre, I was going in as a second semester freshman and almost a sophomore. I was able to graduate a year early, which saves me that entire year's worth of tuition.

And then finally, the most important tip I would give is that, when I was in high school looking at this enormous expense, I was starting to feel really discouraged and afraid.

I had this really big fear of going into debt. And I was discouraged because, at the time, I was working at American Eagle and I was making paychecks that were maybe $200 per week. I knew that to make $10,000 a year to cover that gap and be able to pay for my tuition that American Eagle just wasn't going to cut it. No matter how many hours I worked, I wasn't going to be able to afford that $10,000.

So I looked into other jobs and I actually ended up selling Cutco cutlery.  So it's not an MLM let me just say that first because I know there's a lot of MLM hate out there these days, but it's not an MLM.

It's a direct sales company. And the reason I loved it so much is because it was the first time I was in a job where the harder I worked, the more money I made. I knew I could outwork anybody. I could work all day long and make a ton of money. So it really got me motivated and I was able to earn a lot of money from commission.

So I worked hard that first summer before entering college.

And I was able to make $10,000 that summer. So I was basically paying my way through school. Even though my parents were less than thrilled about the idea of me selling sharp objects to their family and friends. That's what I did. And I did it successfully. So those are kind of my three tips. That's the way I was able to pay for school.

There's so much good information there.

And I love the idea of taking as many AP classes as you can. I also know people who in college would take community college classes over the summer to get ahead.  If there's certain things you have to take, like intro to biology or a math class, why take that as part of your traditional education at an expensive college? Why not just make that be something you take for much cheaper at a community college?  Knock it out of the way.  You could even do that the summer before you go to college. I think that's super important. 

We have a fair amount in common there because I went to a private women's college in Virginia.

And our price tag was not as bad as yours, but it was $32,000. And it was the same thing. It was like we had after scholarships, we had a shortfall of like, $2,000 a year and my mom and I were like, “Okay, there's a way we can make this work.”  And when I got one more scholarship to cover that, then I was able to keep my work, study money to buy groceries or little things that I might need throughout the semester.

But I love that idea of kind of speeding up your time in college. 

It's so expensive.  Even if you're getting great rates at an in state school, it's still expensive. And if you can cut that one year off, maybe put in a little bit of extra work, and prepare for it in high school with those AP classes, that’s a great way to save a lot of money and graduate with very little or no debt at all.

So Rachel is like the queen of passive income. Why don't you give us a little bit of a brief introduction? How did you get into generating passive income streams?

Rachel’s take on passive income.

For those listening, just to kind of define what passive income is. And I know this sounds too good to be true, but passive income is money that is earned with little to no ongoing work.

So I'm sure you're familiar with JK Rowling. She is the author who wrote the Harry Potter series 25 years ago. She did all the hard work and the writing back then. And today, she's still making millions of dollars from the Harry Potter series. So that's passive income. It takes time to create, but once it's in place, it takes little to no ongoing work in order to maintain that income. And that's why it's so beautiful.

Why I think that’s helpful.

That's very helpful because I think one of the things that bothers me about the term passive income, is that people are always asking me about it.  And they're like, “What are your passive income streams?” And I have a side business. We sell all my old lesson plans from my teaching days. We have over 250 lesson plans for sale on Teachers Pay Teachers. In a sense, it's passive, because I spendless than an hour a month even looking at it.

But that being said, we do put some work into it.  We pin pins on Pinterest. And so it'll be interesting to hear more about what your passive income streams are, and if they are truly passive.  But I was just curious, how did you get into them? I mean, obviously, he previously worked as a financial advisor and had more of a traditional job. How did you branch out into these passive income streams?

Rachel branches out into her passive income streams.

So a few years ago, as I was learning about this amazing concept of passive income, I had this epiphany that once your passive income exceeds your living expenses, you're retired. And I just mean retired in the sense of being financially independent and not having to go to work anymore.

So that's what my husband and I started working towards. We actually started in 2017. And it only took us about two and a half years to build up enough passive income to retire.

So in 2017, the first thing we did is we had always wanted to invest in real estate.

We always knew that real estate was a really great tool for building long term wealth. And it wasn't even necessarily at the time. I didn't even think I put together the dots of creating the passive income, but it was just something we always wanted to do.

So in January of 2017, we bought our first duplex. We live in Louisville, Kentucky, so it's a low cost of living area and it's a great area to invest in. And the duplex we bought, we got a crazy good deal on. It was $100,000.

So we put we only had to put about $20,000 in for the down payment. And it was immediately generating $500 per month in profit and profitable cash flow. That's after expenses. So that was such a great income stream for us. We immediately took that money, saved, and reinvested it so that we could afford to save up enough money for the next down payment for the next rental property.

Now rental property, I'll hear something people that will say, “Wow, that's so passive and amazing.” And I'll hear some people that say, ”No, rental properties are not passive at all.” I think it's definitely in the passive category and that you're not having to work a 40 hour week to maintain it.

Within a passive income, though, there's a wide spectrum. 

Some things are completely passive. And some things are less passive. I personally think it really depends on whether you have a property manager or not.  So in my book, when I'm talking about how to create passive income, I always say invest in real estate, get rental properties, but make sure you have a property manager.  Otherwise, it's not going to be as passive as you want it to be.

So that's kind of the first income stream we started with. And then later on in 2017, I launched my first best selling book “Money, Honey”. I was generating royalty income off of that as well. So we had these two passive income streams, rental income and royalty income, and we focused on growing those as much as we possibly could for the next few years.

Fast forward to today, we now own over 35 rental units in Louisville, Kentucky. And I just launched my second best selling book. So I think last year, at some point last year, we hit this $10,000 per month mark, where we were making $10,000 a month in passive income.   Which was more than enough to cover our expenses. So that's when we were able to call ourselves retired. And that's when I quit my job.

I love the distinction between different ways you can define passive.

You can decide how passive really is this and the more you can build in the right structure from the beginning, the easier it is. And that was something I did too with my side business of selling lesson plans. I really didn't want to maintain this every month. I don't want to deal with the customer service questions if someone has problems with the download.

So from the beginning, I had all these lessons and I hired a virtual assistant and said, “Hey, are you comfortable with this?  It's going to take you less than five hours a month to deal with all of this, but I don't really want to be part of it.” I just wanted it to be there and be running on the side. And it's really nice to have that because I never have to get involved in any of that administrative stuff. But money's being generated every month.

So I have two questions following up on that.

So the rental property thing is so interesting. I think we hear this a lot from people who are very wealthy and very successful financially. You've got to invest in real estate. So my first question is, how did you get that initial money for that down payment of your first property? Did that come from personal savings? Was that another passive income stream that paid for the down payment?

Rachel shares where her initial investment money came from.

Yeah, so that came from personal savings. And I'll talk a little bit about how I did that. But then we'll also talk about the ways that people can invest in real estate without having a large chunk of money. So don't let that stop you.

I was in a situation where I graduated without debt. My husband also graduated without debt because he was in the military. So he used his benefits to pay for school. And then we both had pretty lucrative careers. I have always been a financially frugal person.  As a former financial advisor, I knew how to manage my money well.

So, we didn't have debt. I was managing my money. Well, we were both making good money and didn't have kids, which is a pretty big expense. So we were just able to save pretty aggressively.

I graduated from college when I was 20. And then I invested in my first rental property when I was 24. So, after four years, or I think it probably took less time, we had more than enough money for the down payment on the first rental property.

The big difference…

I was just curious, it's obviously quite a big difference, going from having one property where you're getting your feet wet, figuring out how this works. And now you have 35 rental properties. How do you keep all of that straight? I'm sure you have a property manager for each one. But how do you monitor all the logistics with those different rental properties?

Rachel gets real on logistics.

Yeah, so we did have property managers for a while. We're between them now, because the last people didn't work out. But just to clarify, we have 35 rental units, not property. So we have five buildings.  Three of them are apartment buildings where it's 11 or 12 units in each building.

But it is a lot to manage. It's a lot of work when you don't have a property manager, especially when you get to like 25-30 units, then it's really it's a lot of work. And you can't really call it passive anymore.  Which is why you really have to start out knowing that you're going to have a property manager in mind.

But in terms of how to keep everything straight. I am a luckily an Excel wizard.  And I love Excel spreadsheets. So I keep everything very organized in terms of the finances, the tenants, the payments, and the maintenance.  We have a pretty good system in place that helps us be a lot more efficient.

Perfect system for a financial whiz.

That's really amazing. And it sounds like it might be the perfect fit for someone who's already a financial whiz or virtual assistant who's really good with spreadsheets and numbers.  It's going to leverage your existing skill set.

Now, I love the fact that you've written books.

A lot of people assume that books are the fast track to passive income. I know when I published my first book, which was done through the traditional publishing process, a lot of people have this vision of what it means to write and sell books.  But it still takes a lot of work to market a book.  And I know that most books that are published never sell more than 250 copies.

Obviously, you are a major exception to that and are seeing continued success with multiple books. What are your recommendations for someone who's thinking about writing a book and really wants to get traction on Amazon or on any of the other platforms where books are sold?

Rachel’s recommendations when writing a book.

I think you made a great point about over the long run you still do have to market your book. So when you're thinking about passive income, you really need to consider how passive do I want it to be? Because there are things you can certainly outsource.  You can hire a social media manager.  You can outsource or whatnot.

And if you choose not to do things like going on the radio or the TV or doing or you know doing podcast interviews, then you can certainly make it a lot more passive. So everyone that's trying to create a passive income stream really just needs to think from the beginning. How passive do I want this to be? And what can I outsource to make it more passive?

Now books specifically…

Yes, the statistics say that most books sell 250 copies. So to have launched a book that's been so successful is still just shocking to me. My first book “Money, Honey” has now sold over 15,000 copies. And my second book, “Passive Income, Aggressive Retirement” has already sold over 3000 copies. And I just launched it a couple months ago.

I think there's a lot to be said for doing market research. I could write a book about cooking and launch it.   There are thousands of other cookbooks or books about cooking out there. So how could mine be different?

And it's the same thing or maybe even more competitive in the financial industry. There's thousands of books about money and finance out there. So why on earth would somebody want to read mine over somebody else's?

If you can't answer that question, then your book won't be successful. You have to be able to articulate what is the unique value that I am bringing.  What's different about my book that nobody else can find in another book?

So for example, in “Money, Honey”, I had this epiphany.

That people my age, female millennials, were coming to me all the time for financial advice.  My family and friends would come to me.  And I loved helping them. And at some point, I began to wonder why they're not taking advantage of some of these websites or books that are out there or trying to learn?

And then what I realized is that a lot of finance books are dry, boring, complex, and intimidating. So then I thought to myself, “Well, how can I make this subject sassy and fun and simple?” So that's what I did with “Money, Honey”. It's sassy and humorous. It's really, really easy to read. It's a quick read. And it has resonated so much with female millennials. So it really hit a nerve with them. It’s really taken off because of that. It’s just spread like wildfire. Basically, through word of mouth. I haven't done any paid advertising.

I know a lot of people have a dream of writing a book.

That's amazing. And I think a lot of people have this dream of writing a book. I believe that a lot of people, most people do, have at least one good book in them that they could write. But we all know many people who say, “Oh, yeah, I want to write a book. I've always wanted to write a book.” And then it never happens.

I know one of the biggest challenges is when you have a full plate.  Obviously, Rachel had other things going on in her life.  She was working on all of these different rental properties and having that happening at the same time as writing a book.

What tips do you have for someone who's busy? I mean, a lot of my audience, they're freelancers who are successful. So they've probably got a close to fully booked or fully booked schedule.  And a lot of people start off with the best of intentions and motivation, but lose that energy. So what recommendations do you have for people who think they might want to write a book and somehow need to find a way to fit that around their existing business and obligations?

Rachel’s recommendations for writing a book.

Yeah, that's a great question. And I totally agree. I think everyone has at least one book in them. So I get really excited when I can help people with this topic. But I would say I have two tips.

The first one is to set aside time at the beginning of every day.  Because if you wait until after work, or after whatever activity you have planned, the further you go along in your day, the less likely you are to actually sit down and set aside those 10 or 20 minutes to start writing.

When I was writing my first book “Money, Honey”, I was employed full time.  And I was investing in real estate. We all have crazy schedules. We're all busy. So it's just about prioritizing that time and making sure you do it first thing in the morning before things start getting in your way.

And then the second tip...

So one day, I sat down and I decided I'm going to track how I spend my time in 15 minute intervals for two days in a row. So literally every 15 minutes, I would write down what did I do the last 15 minutes? And yes, it was kind of tedious to do that and kind of a pain for two days. But man was that eye opening. It's sort of like doing a budget for where your time is going and where you want it to go or not.

And what I realized after two days is that I was saying that I was the busiest person in the world. I couldn't possibly take another appointment. I didn't have any time to do anything. Once I saw how I was spending my time, and this is embarrassing to admit, but I realized I was spending three or four hours per day on social media, or watching TV.

Most times we don't have any perspective. You don't really know where your time is going until you actually sit down and track it. So I think that's an eye opening exercise. Anyone can do that and really easily figure out where am I wasting my time and where can I free up time so I can spend it writing my book or researching book ideas.

It's so powerful to be able to track your time.

That's something I also recommend to business owners who are thinking that they might not need to outsource anything to a virtual assistant or a subcontractor. Because you think that you're being productive and doing all of these things. But when you track your time, you realize how much of your time you're spending on silly things like answering the same questions in an email over and over again or formatting a blog post and WordPress. And that might not be the best use of your time.

I think any of the tedious nature of keeping track of that is more than balanced out by the fact that it really calls your attention to what are you doing with your time. Because you'll find yourself being more mindful.  You’ll say, “Hey, I wasted the last 15 minutes. How did I go down this rabbit hole on Instagram scrolling?”  Now you're going to be more mindful for the future time periods that you're tracking even within that day and it can really help open your eyes.

I also really support our advice of writing first thing in the day.

Being a full time freelance writer for seven years, if I used up all of my writing energy and creativity on things for my clients, there was absolutely no way that I was even typing one word on my books at night. And so it had to be that first priority. The first thing you work on every day.

And I think sometimes people set these big, crazy goals that you can't really accomplish like, “Well, I'm going to add 5000 words to my book this Saturday.” Wouldn't it just be easier if you said you're going to do like 1000 words every morning, Monday through Friday? Don't set these giant, enormous goals that put so much pressure on you and feel like such a letdown if you fail.

If you miss Tuesday morning’s 1,000 word writing session, you still got at least 4000 words towards your book. That's much more effective than putting this pressure on. I'm going to spend the whole day writing Saturday and I'll get 5000 words. And you get zero and that disappointment is crushing because then it's like, “Well, I guess I have to wait to get another week until my next Saturday to write.” So breaking it down into that morning activity is really important.

So we've talked about two different types of passive income streams, books and rental properties. Are there other recommendations for passive income or side income streams that you can recommend for people who have online business savvy and skills?

Rachel’s other passive income recommendations.

Yes, absolutely. And this kind of gets into the meat of my newest book, “Passive Income, Aggressive Retirement”. In that book, I talk about 28 different passive income models. And anyone can do it. Passive income either takes money or time or sometimes both to create. So you really have to start with asking yourself, do I have more time? Or do I have more money that I can put into building this passive income stream?

Royalty income is a really big category of passive income. So that includes what we talked about launching and writing a book. But it could also include launching a course. It could include something called print on demand platforms where you're earning royalties off of products that you sell without having to touch the products, without having any inventory. A print on demand platform.

There's also passive income that would fall into the e-commerce or advertising category. So that could be affiliate marketing, blogs, or offering some type of membership. And again, you have to be careful about the way you set this up. Because when you start a blog, it could either be not passive at all, it could be completely active.

Or if you build it the right way, and outsource the writing and content creation, then it can be passive. That's something that Bobby Hoyts did. He's the founder of the Millennial Money Man, the website and the blog. And he has a really large community and online classes that he offers. I actually interviewed him for my book as well as a ton of other different subject matter experts.

But yeah, there's tons of ideas out there. So I would encourage people to research, get started, and don't hold yourself back because you don't think that you can do it or that you have the right skill set.

Excellent advice. Now how long do you think it takes to really get traction with passive income streams? And does that vary based on the different type of income stream you're pursuing?

Yes, it definitely varies. And, for example, portfolio income is probably the only passive income that's truly 100% passive.  It literally doesn't require any work. And when I say portfolio income, I mean investing it in investments that are earning dividends or producing income for you.

So when you decide you're going to, you have to have a large amount of money to do this. But the good thing is, it doesn't really require any time. You just invest the money and then it's generating income for you. So that's something that has no time requirement in the beginning and it can generate passive income immediately. Of course, you need to have a ton of money to do it. So you kind of have to  pick your battles there.

There are other income streams like writing a book. Of course that's going to take months of researching and outlining, writing the book, and putting together a marketing plan. And then to actually launch it and sustain the success long term requires marketing and having a really great strategy.

So for example, for my first book “Money, Honey”, I started writing it in January of 2017. And I launched it in September of 2017. So it's about nine months. But I was also working full time. And I also quit for four months in the middle of that because I was convinced that my book was awful and it was going to be an embarrassment. So I quit writing for four full months. And if not for that, I really think I could have launched it within four or five months.

In my first book, or in my first month of lunch, I made about $500 or $600. And then I quickly grew that income stream to over $1,000 per month within the first few months. But you have to account for all the time it took to launch the book in the first place.

And then another example would be real estate investing. You do need some money for that. It doesn't have to be a ton of money. Then you're gonna have to spend time just finding the right property and doing the research. And sometimes you'll get lucky and the right property will appear out of thin air and you'll make an offer and everything will happen really fast.

But it's something I always say you have to be really patient with. Because it could take months to find the right property. I think it took us nine months of searching before we found our first duplex and closed on it. So you just have to be patient, you have to put the work in in the beginning so that you can then enjoy the fruits of your labor later.

That's perfect advice.

Because I think a lot of people hear these great stories about somebody like you who's very successful with passive income streams. And of course that started smaller and you were willing to invest the time and wait for the right thing. So it wasn't like you said, “Okay, I'm going to create online courses. I'm going to write books. And I'm going to buy rental property. I'm going to try all the things all at once and it should be successful in 90 days or less.” That's not how it works.

But you started off with a lot of motivation. And then you continued to tweak and improve things as you went. I think that's so important for anyone thinking about passive income. It might be a slow build, but the long term payoff is really something that can be worth it.

So it sounds like you've built a lot of your financial knowledge and your gold around your previous career as a financial advisor. So what strategies or advice did you take with you when you left that career? And which ones did you leave behind?

I was a financial advisor at first very early on in my career. And then the last few years, I was actually a finance analyst. But there were a lot of things that I learned as a financial advisor. And one of the things I actually learned just kind of on a more personal note. The reason I went into financial advising is because I had this awesome sales experience selling Cutco knives. And then I also wanted to help people invest their money. So I thought it was going to be the perfect career for me.

It turns out that when I actually got into that job, I realized it was a lot cold calling and prospecting. And although I could be really good at that, if I forced myself to be, it was just draining and exhausting, and it didn't come naturally to me. So it probably took longer than it should have for me to realize this wasn't the career for me. And I really needed to make a change.

It's hard because when you're a millennial or a recent grad, and you're trying to navigate your way through  the job market, you don't want to have all these short stints on your resume. Because they say that looks bad to an employer. But at the same time, there's time to do that early in your early in your career where it's really not going to hurt you.

So you really have to give yourself the opportunity to work at a few different jobs and see, what do you not like about this job? What do you like about this job?  That way, you can really figure out what you want your long term career to be. So that's kind of my takeaway, just from a career and personal perspective. 

I think that most people can manage their money and invest on their own. Yes, they will have to do some learning and some reading. But I think that we really overcomplicate the subject of investing. We make it way harder and more intimidating than it needs to be. And in reality, investing can be a super simple activity.

I would also say to educate yourself if you do choose to use a financial advisor. I think that's great because it's better to invest with a financial advisor than not to invest at all, but make sure that you're aware of how financial advisors are paid.

Some financial advisors are paid based off commissions. That means that they are not incentivized in the correct way and they're not acting as your fiduciary. But other financial advisors are fee only financial advisors.  So they're being paid a fee of the total percent of assets they have under management. That means that if they grow your money successfully, they will get paid more. So those incentives are lined up the exact way they need to be lined up for them to be their fiduciary. So if you are going to work with a financial advisor, just make sure you understand how they're paid, how they're incentivized, and whether they are truly acting in your best interest.

That is such excellent advice.

I've heard a lot of the same. And I think a lot of people are scared about how you get started with investing knowing that there are a lot of brokers and advisors out there who have the reverse incentive to make a lot of transactions and move things around so that they can collect a fee every time that happens. And as someone who might not be educated on how all that works, it's hard to tell that balance of are these moves really benefiting me? Or is this being done more for the benefit of the advisor?

So you mentioned that everyone should do a little bit of research about getting started with that. And as far as investing, do you have some recommendations of some books or some resources that you love for total beginners?

Yes, I would give my book “Money, Honey”, a five star review.  But I'll give some more resources. But in my book “Money, Honey”, I do talk about how to invest. And I include screenshots and everything. Because one of the questions that would get from my friends was, “Okay, but how do I physically buy the stock? Like what do I do?” So I have screenshots of literally how to set up an investment account, a discount brokerage account, and how to trade and how to buy your first stocks and some advice on how to do that.

Some other really great books. I've read tons of finance books over the years. I love “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. Another really great book is “I Will Teach You to Be Rich” by Ramat Sethi. I don't know if I'm saying that correctly. And that's not so much about investing as it is just about practical money hacks and things you can do to just easily save yourself some money.

And for those of you who are interested in getting Rachel's books…

If you have Kindle Unlimited, both of them are available through the Kindle unlimited program, which I really recommend if you don't have Kindle unlimited is well worth the monthly cost that you pay to be able to have up to 10 titles out at a time. I've already added both of her books to my downloads. So no excuses to not at least start with Rachel's books.

So my kind of last wrap up question for you is, how do you balance the fact that passive income can vary from one month to another? How do you balance that when you've got multiple things that can change every month?

That's a great question. And something my husband and I were really careful to do when we were working towards early retirement is, you know, if your living expenses are $5,000 per month, and your passive income is $5,000 per month, yes, you're technically retired.  You've covered your expenses. But that leaves you no room in case you don't make as much income as you thought or in case your expenses are more than you thought. Or if you just want to continually be saving money, which we did.

Then we kind of really re-evaluate it. And we said, “Well, for our living expenses are $5,000 a month, and we want our passive income to be $10,000 a month.” So that's an enormous margin of error or buffer room. Most months, we're able to still save a lot of money. But that means that if our passive income is only $7,000 or $8,000, which is a lot less than what it should be, or what we would think it would be, that means we're still more than offsetting our expenses.

So when you're kind of projecting out and planning out how to achieve this, I would just basically do it based on the worst case scenario. So in your worst month, if your passive income is only x, is it still enough to cover your expenses? And if not, then you need to work on getting your passive income higher or reducing your expenses.

That's perfect advice. So aside from getting your books, which are available on Amazon, where else can people go to learn more about you and all of the great work that you're doing?

Anyone can follow me on social media. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter if you just search Money Honey Rachel. You can follow me. And you can message me there. Both of my books are available on ebook and paperback. And my newest book “Passive Income, Aggressive Retirement is” available on audiobook. And “Money, Honey” audio book is about to come out any day now. So definitely follow me! Don't hesitate to reach out because I love to help people with this stuff.

Well, it's really been a pleasure to get to interview Rachel. I know I've learned a lot and I can't wait to read her books. Thanks for tuning in for another episode of the advanced freelancing podcast. For more freelance advice, get a copy of my book Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business—available now! Buy it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and more.

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