Life after Corporate: What does an Entrepreneur’s Monday morning in Vancouver look like?
I’m visiting Vancouver for a month during the holidays and I’ve already had a chance to see some of my family and friends. On a Sunday night I went for dinner with my friends Dulce and Eliza. It was Sunday night, which is usually the time when we dread the thought of going to the office the next morning. Dulce said “Tomorrow we have to work. Greg you’re so lucky you don’t have to wake up early.” Yes in this aspect I am lucky, but I still have to work. I did a lot of my work upfront the month before so I could relax a bit more in December.
In some ways the Entrepreneur lifestyle I’ve designed gives me the opportunity to choose my schedule and where and when I want to work.
On Monday morning in Vancouver people will drive 20 minutes to an hour one way to the office for an 8-9 hour day. I skip this commute and will wake up about 9:30am and sometimes earlier to fly my drone near the park downtown. I might enjoy a dip in the condo hot tub when it’s not busy and everyone’s working. After I may take a walk for lunch at the local café/grocery store in Vancouver called Urban Fare. I bring my laptop to do some work. They have water, washrooms, good wifi, desk, chairs, booze, and food.
On other days I’ll wake up early to do some work at the local coffee shop Tree Organics and spend the rest of the day with my Mom. I’ve plugged away hard since 2011 to figure out what works and realize this sort of freedom. It’s still early days and I’m not earning nearly as much as I was an IT manager in Vancouver yet. However, the freedom I get for doing something I enjoy when and where I wants means a lot to me. In fact, I can do my work from anywhere in the world with a good Internet connection. One of those countries I’ve chosen to live is Taiwan where I can cover the majority of my living costs with my Internet business. I lived there for more than a year learning Chinese and experimenting with different ways to monetize my passion for Travel and videos.
Vancouver is an expensive city compared to Taiwan so I had to work hard, hustle, and be creative before I arrived to enjoy the freedom I’m having now. If you’re interested in hearing more about my Taiwan experience or my Entrepreneurial businesses I’ll be speaking about this on December 27th. Ticket information is below I hope to see you.
I had an idea to talk about my Taiwan working holiday experience before I returned to Vancouver. I scheduled an event on Eventbrite and was actually surprised once I started getting some ticket sales. After all this was my first paid talk and and an experiment. Once I got to Vancouver I found a great spot at the Tree Organic coffee shop on Pacific and Richards st in Yaletown Vancouver. Thanks for the coffee shop for reserving the space and letting me use the projector. This is a nice quiet coffee shop near the waterfront. After some weeks I started to see more paid tickets and came to the realization that I was actually going to do this talk. I put together some slides on slideshare, but I already knew most of the material I just used it as a reference to keep me on track. I brought out my camera to video record 47 minutes of the talk.
Highlights of the talk
The experience of a Working Holiday in Taiwan and what Taiwan can offer someone in Vancouver
Living in Taiwan
The experience and freedom of leaving a job and go travel the world
Teaching English in Taiwan
Making friends in a new country
Creativity on making your own income through the Internet. Earning a passive income on the Internet writing Amazon kindle books, Teaching on-line travel video courses, freelancing, and selling video footage on the Internet
First this experiment paid off. It feels great that people actually paid to hear me talk. To me that is market validation that I have something of value to share. Second this was the first time using the Eventbrite platform to schedule a paid event and it worked out very well. The third, is that it’s worth it to try and see how it works out. If this talk didn’t workout then it wasn’t the end of the world, but at least I tried. Luckily in this case it did work out, and I already see some things I can improve on for next time.
I really enjoyed doing this paid talk and sharing valuable tips, stories, and experiences with the audience. I would like to do a lot more talks like this around the world as I feel I’ve invested a lot of time especially the last 4 years on experiences that most people will never have the chance to experience. At least they can hear firsthand what is was like to leave the corporate life and have the taste of freedom. I also realize that I don’t really get nervous speaking in front of a crowd anymore. Once upon a time during high school I dreaded speeches. since those days I’ve done so many presentations during the MBA, run many work meetings, and have taught many classes in Taiwan, and talked in front of the camera many times during the past 4 years that I’m just comfortable with it.
If you are looking for another revenue stream and you enjoy public speaking as well and have something of valuable you think others would like to hear then maybe you can try a paid talk like I have.
Video highlights from the event
Here are some highlights of the event. If you wish to purchase the full 47 minute talk in HD just click on red button on the left for the download link.
Before I start my 1st passive income report lets explain what passive income is. In my words it is a product that you take time to produce and sell on the Internet through a platform like your blog website or Amazon. If the products are digital like an e-book or a video clip you spend time upfront to create it and once you’ve put it on-line the one product can be sold to more than one customer. Because it is digital you don’t have to worry about shipping a tangible product. Payment is automated through paypal. Your products can also reach a global audience. Imagine being at starbucks. You have a starbucks employee that may be paid $15 an hour. I may be at the same starbucks doing work on my laptop At the end of the day I will have a finished digital product that can earn me revenue while I’m doing other things for no set end date. The starbucks employee may earn $90US for their 6 hours of work. The irony is that we are both working at the same location just doing different work.
Some examples of my products
I’ve been inspired by Internet Entrepreneurs Patt Flynn and John Dumas who have posted their detailed income reports on their blogs. By doing do they have inspired me and provided lessons through their successes and failures. I’ve taken some inspiration and information from them and tried to adapt them to my niche of travel, video, sharing, and inspiration. They have taken the idea of passive income that has been popularized by Tim Ferris and successfully executed the idea with a blueprint.
Although I started this entrepreneurial journey in May 2011 I made many mistakes and spent a lot of money up until now. During my time in Taiwan I have been experimenting with different business models in an attempt to see what works.
Let’s get right to it.
Timeline January 2014 – June 2014
I’m contacted by a company in Singapore to pay me an upfront fee of $500 US to organize my video collection and host it on their website
I manage to organize my collection and spend several months figuring out an efficient process to thousands of my video clips on stock footage sites like Pond5.com and shutterstock.com.
It was a lot of hard work to organize the footage and catelogue it, but It was starting to see sales of $20 to 60$ US come in, which was encouragement for me to continue to go forward. This was starting to become my foundation passive income stream. While I’ve not reached the point where I can completely rely on my passive income this month I feel that I’ve built a foundation and have a path to focus on efforts on that I believe I can reach my goal of being financial independent in Taiwan in the next month or two. I was teaching English in Taiwan the past 4 months, which helped supplement my income while I was building up these income streams.
I want to make American money while I’m abroad in Taiwan learning chinese and to travel more in the heart of Asia.
I currently have 2467 video clips and 120 pending video clips pending curator approval. I have just completed a trip to Japan and expect my total clips to be around 2900 after they are approved.
October’s payout will be $ 167.50 US compared to September’s payout of $279.50 US. Payout’s are on the 15th of the following month.
July 2014 $167
August 2014 $292
Sept 2014 $207 US
Total $666 US
Monthly Average $222 US
Although the number fluctuates my focus will be to get the Japan footage up there as soon as I can. My footage collection for this year has been entirely from Taiwan. I will try to be creative and film footage from within Taipei to save on costs. The good thing is that there is always something to film in Taipei. There doesn’t appear to be any particular pattern to hone in on. However, I did sell one of my first gopro driving tours in Hawaii. I have driving tours in Vancouver, New Zealand, and South Africa that have no been uploaded so this is another strategy to focus on.
if you are interested in seeing my pond5 global video library currently over 3000 video clips please click on the link below. I do get a referral commission if you purchase, but it is free to browse my video collection
In October the pay out will be $226.29 US. I have 1890 video clips and 76 waiting for review. Assuming they are all approved I will have 1996 video clips before Japan’s batch. Shutterstock has a higher rejection rates. Too bad I didn’t keep track of how many approved video clips I’ve had on-line as there has definitely been a correlation with my payout’s and the number of video clips I have on-line.
July $335 US
August $ 134 US
September $239 US
Total $708 US
Monthly Average $236
Combined Monthly Average $475
October Total $393.79
Shutterstock is a slightly better performer for me. I have an efficient process for getting the video clips on-line that I put together in an on-line course on Udemy. The potential in stock footage is I can leverage the existing footage I already have and rely on the stock footage sites to market and sell the video clips. Pond5 and Shutterstock combined have performed the best. I have a collection on Motion elements and a Japanese site Pixta. I haven’t seen a single cent from these sites yet. Given that Pixta is a Japanese site I may put more video clips especially from Japan and see what results I get.
Other sites that I’ve tried, but have given up on for now are Revostock and iStockphoto. I have submitted clips and waiting for a collection at T3media to come on-line shortly. Clipcanvas is another site I have read on other websites as being a strong performer. Their site has been going through upgrades lately and I just recently received an invitation to become a contributor. I plan to get a part of my collection on there to try get a 3rd revenue stock footage stream going.
Combined Pond 5 and Shutterstock deliver $474 US
Another goal is to find a 3rd site that can deliver at least $100US. That would bring a monthly average to $600US. Not a lot by western standards, but good money in Taiwan. My goal seems realistic to me given the size of my high quality collection.
Sign up for the full PDF report and you will receive the full report including income for on-line teaching and my Amazon kindle books.
It is a beautiful day in Bondi Beach Sydney Australia so I have to get out and do some grocery shopping and enjoy the beach. I’m staying at a sandstone surfer dwelling 300m from the beach. I’m still trying to find the right mix of text, pictures, and videos and get these updates out on a timely basis so please comment to provide some feedback on what works best for you.
The second travel adventure – It’s a bit longer this time
This is my second major travel filming adventure. The first was a month in a half trip in Asia December 2011 when I traveled with an SLR camera and filmed a Travelogue adventure entitled ChicVoyage in Asia. I managed to film San Francisco, The Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas before I returned to the workforce in April 2012 and during the making of ChicVoyage in Asia I began to feel an attraction for Australia. During the rest of the year I was inspired by my sister and friend Denny’s bold decision to relocate their life from Vancouver to Toronto to think about embarking on a longer term trip where I had a chance to work and live in a different country.
So off I began researching and I came across a working holiday program that Canada offered to individuals. A working holiday program allows individuals a more straightforward approach to obtaining a visa to work and live in another country. These programs help streamline the process for obtaining a visa to work and live if you are under 35 with most requiring you to be 30 and under. I settled on a working holiday to Taiwan and along the way I would make stops in some of the most livable waterfront cities in the world in countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
My first stops from Vancouver would be in the islands of Maui and Oahu in Hawaii.
What is it like being free from the corporate world and how was it spent?
After I informed my manager that I was leaving the company and the message got out I was invited to plenty of lunches and had an awesome send off party. Thanks guys. These types of social gatherings provide positive energy that I’ll bank on for any adversity I may face ahead. The first days of waking up are liberating because you don’t have to wake up to a schedule that you don’t control. I formed a regular habit of sleeping late at 1-2am and waking up at 9-9:30am. My routine consisted of making myself fresh coffee, selling items on Craigslist , and trip planning.
To prepare for a more mobile lifestyle I traded in my 27 inch iMac for a 15 inch mac book pro for mobile video editing and work.
I now was now free to do work at good wifi spots through out Vancouver Canada. Some of my favorites included Urban Fair at Yaletown Roundhouse and Athletes Village. They offer what I call a hassle free wifi service meaning no passwords or time limits that Blenz Coffee shops do. Other good spots to check out include Giovanni’s Cafe at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, JJ Beans on Burrard (only location with wifi), Edge Cafe, and WholeFoods in West Vancouver. These places offer you good food, nice atmosphere, comfortable seating, washrooms, and free water. In my books definitely a step up from some coffee shops.
However freedom didn’t come without it’s responsibilities. The idea of leaving everything behind to travel and film the world sounds like an attractive idea, but what does it actually take?
For starters I had to purge any possessions that I wouldn’t be traveling with and pack enough to film, travel and relocate my life. Not an easy task. There are things like selling your car and major possessions, getting travel insurance, planning your trip, securing cash flow, and paying your bills. Planning for a trip requires project management skills. There are many logistical things to plan for. Other things I did:
extensive planning for my potentially 1 year working holiday
a going away potluck party
Yes I was busy. Leaving work and the city does have its benefits. I recommend you try it. The trade-off is that it is super sad to leave family, friends, and colleagues.
The first stop Maui – the ocean front condo experience
I decided to make a pit stop on the way to Australia with my parents. The first stop was in Hawaii where I had an awesome stay in Maui at an ocean front condominium. Words cannot describe the feeling of being at the oceanfront and experience perfect weather enjoyed from the Lanai (patio). Perhaps pictures and videos can. This google map outlines what the main attractions planned were and the red line and black spots track what we managed to visit.
You can use the map above along with the information written here as a usable itinerary for yourself. I didn’t get a chance to complete everything I planned to see in Maui. Perhaps you might.
Snorkeling at Black Rock Kaanapali Beach looking for turtles.
The Black Rock is known as a popular destination for snorkeling and the Kaanapali beach. We drove in search of the Black Rock and found that there was free parking next to the Sheraton hotel with access to the beach. The beach was not crowded and the water was slightly colder than luke warm water. I took my snorkeling gear in search of turtles. I asked some people in the water for some tips and one person motioned to the area near the black rocks. Will I find a turtle? Watch the video to find out. Please excuse the production value. I’m experimenting with reducing the publishing time and still keeping quality, but it is difficult without some editing help.
Tip: there is free covered parking adjacent to the Sheraton hotel with beach access.
Tip: if you are snorkeling for turtles you will find more sea life near the black rocks
Waking up at 3:30am in the morning for a driving video tour up to the 4th highest point on the planet at the Haleakala Crater to enjoy the view and the sunrise
travel guides will suggest that you wake up and ride your bike up for the sunrise and ride back down. I recommend that you drive up in a car. There is a long stretch of uphill road to get there and although this means fun times going back the road is narrow. I’m proud of my parents for making the effort to wake up, however we just missed the sunrise. Give yourself plenty of time to get up there. Google the sunrise time and use google map to plan to work backwards to figure out what time you need to leave. Is it worth it to drive up here? If you enjoy adventure and panoramic views then yes, but this is not as awe inspiring on the caliber level of a grand canyon. My official Maui travelogue video will feature video footage of the Haleakala.
Lunch at the town of Lanai where we enjoyed a local beer oceanfront
If you are staying in the Northwest of Maui chances are you will drive past the town of Lanai. I think Lanai is one of the few towns in Maui, and I’ve read it’s a tourist trap. What you will find there are narrow streets and a clusters of restaurants and tourist attractions along the ocean. Yes it is catered to tourists, but I suggest you still visit. We went there once for lunch at the Kool Kat cafe and the second time for a drink at the Koa’s Seaside Grill. I will vouch for Koa as the beer was good, prices fair, excellent service, and prime time ocean views.
More on the experience of staying at a private ocean front condo
I found this condo through VRBO and arranged to provide a video of the apartment for a good deal on the accommodation. This non hotel experience worked out very well for myself and my parents. The apartment had kitchen facilities, laundry, pool, ocean front lanai, parking, and wifi. I think that going through the VRBO route ends up being better value and a better experience for a traveling family. Also what are the chances you will score an Ocean front view at a reasonable cost in Maui? If you would information on the place I stayed at please comment below.
I recommend making a stop at Costco if you have rented out a private space with a kitchen for your food and alcohol. You get a great quality and value. The alcohol generally works out to half the price for an equivalent bottle in British Columbia, Canada. If you have a Costco card in Canada it works in the US. Cool!
Tip: If you have an unlocked phone you can get a prepaid Sim card, which is invaluable for navigating the island and doing research. Hertz offered me a GPS device for $60 for 5 days, but a prepaid sim can provide audio navigation with unlimited data and voice for $2 a day with Tmobile.
Tip: if you are looking for recommendations on restaurants and business services use a website or smartphone app called “Yelp”
You will find this part if more brief. I spent much of my time filming condo apartments there.
I flew to Honolulu where I arranged for an awesome chic condo at the Ilikai Marina with an awesome view of the marina and the Hilton Lagoon. We took an inter-island flight with Hawaiin airlines and then took a shuttle from the airport. Watch out for some of those sharks that try to get you in their shuttle as soon as they spot the lost look on your face. Shop around first using the shuttle services listed by the phone in the airport. We paid about $22 for round-trip from the airport to our condo.
The scene at Waikiki
We stayed at the Ilikai Marina, which is a private condo building which is a 5 minute walk away to the Hilton Lagoon. The Hilton appears to be the anchor in the Waikiki beach area and you can figure out how central your accommodation is to this hotel. The Modern hotel is in an adjacent building to the Ilikai Marina and features a cool pool and bar/lounge area worth checking out. It is an international crowd, very family and tourist oriented with a large volume of Japanese people as well as young and fit people at the beach.
A front row scene for the fireworks at the Hilton Lagoon
Our condo owner told us that the Hilton offers fireworks every Friday night, but we were lucky to catch them on a Wednesday night. You can see the fireworks by the lagoon.
My experience attempting to surf at Waikiki after a decade.
The beach is very crowded and hot at Waikiki. A suggestion is to bring beach chairs or towels and plenty of sunscreen. Rent your board from across the street from the Hilton for about $20 to save yourself some money. When I was there in May there were not that many surfers in the ocean. The ones that were there are quite far from shore and the waves are not that strong. After expending a lot of energy to get out to the area to surf I found most of my time was spent waiting for the waves. I also forgot to take off my sunglasses, which mean I was being careful not to let the waves knock them off.
Okay I’ve finally made it to the end of this post for now. If you enjoy this updates and would like to keep receiving them I would appreciate that you support our kickstarter campaign http://kck.st/ZLc6xv. After the campaign is over (42 hours at time of writing) please email me to see how you can help. I try to produce independent content so it stays clear of any external influences.
I never would have imagined the amount of time and passion it would take to complete a film project from beginning to end. Filming videos and putting together music videos for youtube is one thing, but taking video footage and producing it into a entertaining and professional show is a much larger undertaking.
I have a new level of respect for film-makers after going through the process of planning, filming, and post production. When I left for Asia I had an idea that I wanted to film video and eventually produce a travel show; however it wasn’t crystal clear what the format of the show was going to be.
When I got back to Vancouver I knew that I had captured some amazing footage and unique travel adventures in my month and a half. Originally I created a music video from my time in Asia, but it wasn’t the appropriate video to showcase the adventures I had. My friend introduced me to a travel adventure show called departures by two Canadians that inspired to begin working on the show.
To have the technology to be able to capture that experience in high definition quality and share it does satisfy something internal in me to build and share. Traveling and filming provide me an opportunity to pursue my passions and film provides the platform to document it. The actual process of producing a show provides additional opportunities to tell a story and invoke inspiration through visuals and music. I’ve always enjoyed music and I’ve hand picked tracks that are modern, fresh, and what I’ve felt are relevant for the particular country.
Here is a special personal recount of the experience in Beijing and Xian. If you like it please comment and I can write more about the other cities in Asia.
When I set foot in Beijing it was super exciting to be in the city to be able to film famous structures such as the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China. What I didn’t expect in Beijing was the experience of going to the Centro Jazz bar in Beijing to experience the live jazz, the color ambiance, the smell, great drink, and company. This was one of my Beijing highlights and I manage to capture some of these elements on the film. Even though I’m no stranger to a the Chinese culture living in a dense Chinese population living in Vancouver BC Canada I did feel like an outsider not being able to speak Mandarin. I didn’t anticipate how little English would be spoken by the people I met throughout my trip in the hotels, bars, restaurants, and in the street. Catherine Lu and my good friend Linh were very helpful during my trip there and helped me find my way in Beijing and feel welcome. ChicVoyage in Beijing is a great introducing to Asia and great footage of the attractions such as Forbidden City are a given. What I believe is original about this adventure is including the experience of a night club in Beijing, riding through the Hutongs on a rickshaw bike, and getting a chance to experience some of the best Peking duck Beijing has to offer.
ChicVoyage in Beijing – Included in ChicVoyage in Asia
I had a short 2 day stay in Xian with the main goal to see the Terracotta warriors. I found Xian to be a city that is overcrowded with traffic and loose with the rules. You’ll find motor bikes riding on the sidewalk or taxi’s that only stop to pick you up if it’s convenient. I had a good first night filming at the City Wall, but spent over an hour trying to get a taxi back to my hotel. In the end I had to call the hotel to call a taxi to pick me up. The Terracotta experience more than made up for the first night. My tour guide Koko said I was extremely luck to get a chance to film all 3 pits at the museum as it is usually so overcrowded with people. For me seeing the Terracotta warriors was gratifying in the sense that I knew I had seen a unique worldwide attraction with a long history. I love the montage in ChicVoyage in Xian and I hope with the music I’ve picked you will enjoy it as well.
Trailers from some cities covered in ChicVoyage in Asia
ChicVoyage in Xian – Included in ChicVoyage in Asia