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Another year has ended and we’re already one week into 2018. So I thought I’ll summarise 2017, because you can never really figure out how to get where you want unless you know where you’ve already been. It’s easy to forget the happenings in an entire year unless you sit yourself down to purposely think about it.

The biggest event and theme for this year was family. My sister flew in mid June in her last trimester for my now 3 month old nephew; Lucas. I’ve been pretty much Hong Kong bound since, I already told myself that I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my family this year before we all go our different ways. Call me sentimental, but as a family; I feel like we’ve all aged. My sister is now permanently based in New York and although air travel isn’t any more difficult than a long bus ride, having that amount of distance is still new to the family. And then I realise why I never really go on trips for longer than a month at a time. I’m just not comfortable leaving my ageing parents alone for too long by themselves.

My parents aren’t incredibly old and they’re healthy enough for their age but I can’t help notice all the little physical things they complain about. The aches, the pains, the appointments and the regular “have I taken my medicine yet?” fiasco on a weekly basis. I was looking at old photos a little while ago and it just strikes me how many more fine lines my parents have on their faces. You don’t notice them when you see them on a regular basis but when you put a comparison side by side. It’s striking.

Both of them got an all clear from their full body checkup in September, well nearly. Nothing new or unexpected, which I’m very happy about. There was a tiny scare in the reports and dad needed his blood works done again to confirm. Boy it was impressive how fast everyone suddenly becomes a medical professional with Google search results! (And yes, eventually every search will lead to cancer)

nanny duty is rough

I have been neglecting my physical health for awhile now. I sincerely want to improve my physical health for the better in 2018 by doing my exercise and eating properly. It doesn’t sound like an far-fetched goal to have but it’s been surprisingly something I have never been able to maintain. I’ve always managed to reach my goals momentarily, but never reached the point of effortless habit. So for 2018 I really want to reach that point of effortless habit instead of needing to constantly apply effort. It’s just not sustainable and it never lasts long.

I only went to 3 different places this year since I was HK bound for most of 2017. I embarrassingly didn’t remember where I went until I retraced my steps. It honestly feels like it was so long ago. I went to China in January, Japan in February and USA in April. It was my first time in Japan even though Japan is such a short flight away from HK. I don’t know why it took me so long to pay the country a visit, but I’m glad I did.

It was windy and cold but the whole experience was completely new which I loved. The food was great and I still remember the weird seaweed pickle dish I just had to have for every meal. I don’t know what it’s called but it was just so good with everything I ate, that I had to have double!

2017 in review as a digital nomad

I’m 100% sure I’ll be paying Japan a visit sometime in 2018.

My China trip that started the year was just a quick getaway to use the last remaining days of my multi-entry visa. I remember being blown away by how advance China has incorporated technology into everyday life. The speed China is progressing is absolutely mind blowing and I don’t think I’ve fully wrapped my head around how far they’ve come in such a short amount of time. Just last month Guangzhou announced incorporating digital identification cards into people’s personal smart phones so you don’t need to carry the card around. While the HK government just announced a new HK ID card design to be rolled out gradually in the next decade…

HK is lagging behind in technology application and it’s a bit unfortunate since I see how advance China has become in applying new technology into everyday activities. One of the big reasons for this, I think, is the reluctance most developed economies have to change and adopt something new. There seems to be this “why change something that’s working” attitude. While China has this “we need to catch up to the world” attitude, not knowing they’re cities have pretty much surpassed most of the world already. Technology wise.

let’s change that one year into 10 🙂

I’ll like to travel China a lot more in 2018 and wrap my head around the culture. I plan to apply for another multi-entry visa soon, ready for a trip in late January. I lot of you might not know this, but I was born in the UK and thus hold a UK passport. I need a visa to enter China each time and I’ve been paying the hefty price for years now. Before they would only give me a one off visitor visa, and then a 6 month visa until finally last year they gave me a 1 year visa. I’m hoping I get bumped up again for this application and get a 2 year visa at least, but like most things to do with the Chinese government, it’s under their discretion. I’ve heard of people getting a 10 year visa, which is pretty much the same thing that most HK people get, but a bit pricier. I’m not going to get my hopes up for that, but I would be extremely pleased if I manage to get that.

Wish me luck!

My USA trip was mostly centred around visiting my sis and seeing how she’s settling into life over there. I travelled along the east coast and ate some insane portion sizes. While I was there I tried opening a US bank account. At the time I really needed a US based bank account to receive certain payments. I fell short on some documents to get it done, but I managed to find a solution with Payoneer, which actually works out at just about the same price to run compared to a US account. I’m still undecided whether I would ever want to try again in the future, but I do know I’ll be visiting USA sometime in September for my nephew’s first birthday.

believe it or not, this little fella is only 3 months…

Regardless of my decision to open a US bank account or not, I would most likely like to explore my possible business structure options. Like most digital nomads, structuring their finances can be a bit of a headache. You want to make sure you do them properly and legally, but the world doesn’t seem to have many clear rules for location independent people that make money online. A.K.A an international interface. I’m based in HK most of the time, but it doesn’t mean my situation is any more straightforward; as most other non-US online marketers know. Right now I’ve done nothing fancy but the bare minimum, however I’ll like to do something about this within 2018. I want to make sure I’m structured in the most efficient way possible while still meeting all my legal responsibilities.

While we’re on the note of travels for 2018. Someone brought to my knowledge, an awesome music festival focused on sustainability in Pattaya, Thailand. That’s none other than Wonderfruit festival. It’s being held in December, so it’s a long way from now but I’ve already decided to go and got my early bird tickets. Talk about being eager!

I’m sure there will be a few more trips than the ones mentioned above, and I can’t wait to share with you guys the details on here.

Financially, I overcame many setbacks and made a number of fundamental changes to how I want to proceed with my online endeavours. One of the bigger decisions was to no longer focus my efforts on publishing. I’ve enjoyed very stable success from publishing and I would still recommend anyone who wants to start making any sort of money online to try this first. It’s one of the easiest and fastest ways to make passive income online and the method is accessible to almost everyone. You can start with as little as $300 and start profiting within 3 months. I always tell people to give publishing a go before trying anything else, because the publishing business model has become so systematic and transparent that if you can’t make money from publishing, don’t even bother trying anything else.

But the reason I don’t want to continue my efforts to expand this business is because my ebooks, paperback and audiobooks are all dependent on a third party platform. I didn’t want to reach 6 figures and have it all vulnerable to an external source I had no control over. One of the 3 money rules I follow is to have multiple streams of income to gain financial security, and although technically my publishing business provides me with 3 separate streams, they are all under Amazon’s control in one way or another. Now I’m not saying Amazon will disappear overnight or go bankrupt, but I am saying that Amazon can change up the rules overnight. Which they have. On several occasions. So it only makes sense for me to not make my publishing income the lions share of my total income, if I want to minimise my level of vulnerability to sudden changes. I still however, will maintain my portfolio of publications and expect to see healthy organic growth.

One of the earlier posts I wrote on this site was my Rolex challenge. I had given myself the challenge to reach $990,000 HKD in profits for 2018 and the prize would be a Rolex watch, hence the name. At the time of writing I was thinking about ways I could scale up and leverage what I already have to make more. I had only vague ideas of how I’ll go about making such a large amount of money, but had no real answers. At times it felt like I had the shiny carrot syndrome, where every success story I read seemed like a possibility. Now, fast forward a few months and I think I’ve grounded myself enough to understand the importance of mastery. I’ll like to focus on one thing and one thing only for 2018, and that’s myself. It’s as simple as that. No new fad, industry, method, trick or product. I’m just going to focus on being the best version of myself I can possibly be. Everything else will follow.

And that’s the attitude I plan to carry throughout 2018. I think in 2017 I was a little lost with what direction I wanted to go in. The more I learnt about passive income, the more I got distracted and overwhelmed by the possibilities. I even wrote the internet’s longest list of passive income streams. (Check it out if you want to see just a FRACTION of the possibilities that exist.) In my ideal greedy world, I would want to replicate other people’s success in EVERY. SINGLE. WAY possible. Initially I thought it would be possible. I mean, it’s passive. Why wouldn’t I be able to have every possible passive income stream and also excel in it?

That’s the thing. You actually can’t. And I’ll tell you why.

The income might be passive but the knowledge you need to build income streams is limited to your ability to manage and retain so much knowledge. It goes back to the importance of mastery. It’s just more reasonable to be good at a few things than a whole laundry list of things. It sounds like common sense, but I think human greed gets the better us at times. That greed quickly turns into over confident optimism, which are actually two great things to have. But it’s not what you want when you’re not grounded enough by wisdom and experience, and I think I can say I have enough of both to say this now:

Stop trying to learn everything and start mastering one thing.

2017 treated me well though. It didn’t throw anything I couldn’t handle or overcome. I learnt a lot of things and I also matured a lot as an entrepreneur, but I don’t feel like I progressed as much as I could. I didn’t reach my potential, which I feel a little regretful for. I stalled on many decisions out of fear and hesitation, which looking back on it now, just seems silly. I let that fear turn into days and weeks, doing everything else instead of face that one decision because I was too afraid to call the shots. It happened a number of occasions in 2017. I don’t want a repeat of that in 2018. I’ve realized the more I grow, the more I fear losing it all and that fear ironically stops me from growing further.

I see myself getting too complacent with my current situation. Complacency is dangerous, it’s where unfulfilled dreams live and lost ambition goes to retire. I don’t want to get stuck in complacency-ville being too afraid to risk what I already have for what I actually want. I don’t want to carry this fear in 2018 and stop myself from reaching my full potential because I’m uncomfortable with risk. Which is why I’ve already planned 2018 to be a year of 360 self improvement. I’ll be pushing my boundaries and facing personal fears. I want to be comfortable with discomfort so I never procrastinate or figuratively run away from a decision. I know a lot of people struggle with this as well, it’s the reason why people don’t quit jobs they hate or leave relationships that aren’t healthy. Some people eventually overcome and others spend their life in regret. I don’t plan to be the latter and I’m hoping you aren’t either.

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