Diversifying my Investments

Here is a house our LLC currently has for sale.

As I have mentioned several times before, I’m in the process of reducing my website inventory down to 1.  Not only will this help clear my mind, reduce my responsibilities, and free up some time, but it will also put a heap of cash in my pocket.  I had been investing aggressively in websites over the last few years, spending a lot of money on acquisitions.  I will get everything back and then some by the time I get everything sold.

Currently, the only other investments I have are my IRA (all in the stock market) and about a 1/4 ownership in an LLC that purchases foreclosures from the courthouse steps and flips them in ~90 days.  Our first flip was a great success, and we are in the process of selling our second flip.  I literally do zero work for this.  We have partner running the whole show, he has his money invested alongside us, but also gets a bonus for doing all the work.

I’m currently trying to figure out where to place another sizable investment or two.  I like the idea of start-ups, I like the idea of green energy/positive social change, and I like the idea of investing internationally.

Where to start?  I don’t know.  I Googled “Venture Capital” the other evening and read the Wikipedia article on it.  Guess I need to do some more research in the field…

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Left Sweden on Monday and flew into Amsterdam, then took the train to Belgium on Thursday, and then the bus to Paris on Saturday.  Will be here for a few days, and then head south towards Spain eventually.

 

A cat helping us do the dishes of the 100+ person dinner for some green event at an organic farm here in Karlskrona, Sweden.

One of the unspoken problems in America is the obesity rate in cats.  While almost any cat can survive in the wild, the truth is that most cats in America just sit around all day eating the processed junk food their owners feed them.  This lifestyle usually leads to a rather plump  cat.  Not that it is anyone’s fault or causing any real problems in society, just an observation.

Cats in developing countries, on the other hand, are typically skinny.  They have to work much harder for less food.  Furthermore, some look diseased which usually makes them more skinny.  People don’t have the money to buy fancy cat food and take their pets into the vet.  There are a lot more stray cats which I rarely see in the US.

Which leads me to my question: why are stray cats a problem?  They are fully capable of surviving in the wild, just like squirrels, ducks, deer, kangaroos, etc.   Must we really kidnap every stray cat we see and either put it up for adoption or kill it?

 

I said goodbye to Asia, left the busy city of Bangkok on Wednesday morning, and arrived in the quaint town of Karlskrona, Sweden Thursday afternoon.

After spending the last 3 weeks in the chaos of south east Asia, this calm Swedish town feels like being on another planet.  I was blown away at how opposite everything was.

Don’t get me wrong, I had the time of my life in Asia, but did grow tired of it, especially my last four days in Bangkok.  That city was the epitome of most of the things I didn’t like about Asia.  Dirty, hot, crowded, smelly, insane traffic and chaos on the roads, English isn’t widely spoken, huge city, etc.

Karlskrona is exactly the opposite.  The weather was nothing short of perfect when I arrived.  About 20c and sunny.  The sun finally set late in the evening, and it eventually got dark around 10pm.  Luke and I went for a bike ride around town, and at no point did I think I was going to die (from crazy drivers).  It actually took a little while for me to adjust back to driving on the correct (right) side of the road.

The town is beautiful and insanely quiet compared to the disorder of Bangkok.  At midnight, we wanted to grab a bite to eat, but there really wasn’t anything open.  The community was so small that Luke ran into a dozen people he knew as we were riding around town.  I finally wore my jacket again!

Sunset around 9:30pm

Whats next?

Meeting with a friend from Walnut Creek (Bay Area) in Amsterdam on Monday, Belgium a few days later, then to Paris.  Meeting with another friend from Seattle in Paris and possibly doing Spain, Italy, Greece.  Meeting with a college buddy from SF after that (mid-June) in Prague, and doing Eastern Europe.  Maybe Scotland in July?  Back to the states to eventually, with a stop in Colorado to visit Chris who landed a job out there!

If I make it back to SF with summer to spare, I’ll head up to Portland again to make a visit while the weather is still good.  Probably spend the fall in SF.

 

If you have ever seen “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan”, the name of the electronics store is actually called “Going Out Of Business”.

Being on the road for so long has forced me to re-work my business model.  Previously, my plan was to acquire as many “set and forget” sites as possible, ideally creating a vast empire of sites that would generate me constant passive income.  I acquired 50 or so sites, however my flagship site still accounts for nearly 80% of my revenue.

I’ve since realized that no website is truly 100% “Set and Forget”.  Every site needs some level of attention, and I simply no longer have the capacity to babysit so many different web-properties.  I spread myself too thin, and simply don’t have the time to properly manage each site.

Furthermore, my time is much better spent on my flagship site.  I hired a guy to help me implement the Amazon product feed into my flagship site, and this project has increased site earnings about 8%.  While this 8% doesn’t seem like much, it is more than twice what I make from my 2nd most profitable site.  There is a clear advantage to leveraging my time by focusing on what is already making me the most money.

I’ve made the executive decision to reduce my inventory to one website.  Way fewer responsibilities, and only a slight decrease in pay.

I will be selling each through Flippa.  I’m flattered that several of my readers are interested in buying sites from me, but I can’t sell anything off Flippa as I could end up leaving a lot of money on the table.

Here are my current listings to give you an idea of what I’m getting rid of:

Dr-Gott.com: https://flippa.com/134142-4-Year-Old-Established-Money-Making-Zero-Work-NO-RESERVE

ClassicBodybuilders.com: https://flippa.com/134141-9-Year-Old-Established-TrafficRevenue-Zero-Hours-of-Work-NO-RESERVE

CashCreditAndLoans.com: https://flippa.com/134138-2-Year-Old-site-in-profitable-Finance-nich-needs-new-owner–NO-RESERVE

DietFoodDeliveryServices.com: https://flippa.com/133871-4-5-Year-Old-38-RevMo-NO-WORK—NO-RESERVE

HandModels.net: https://flippa.com/133838-HandModels-net-Established-Hand-Model-site—100-listings-Massive-Potential-NR

RealEstateListingReviews.com: https://flippa.com/133836-RealEstateListingReviews-com-Lots-of-Potential-in-Highly-Profitable-Niche-NR

Yes, I am starting each listing at $1 with No Reserve.  This is because I am serious about letting each site go.

 

Green School and Green Village Bali

One of the fellow travelers I met was John, a young Irish man studying Architorture (Architecture), and interning on the “Green Village” in Bali.  On our way from Kuta to Ubud, we decided to stop and check out the free weekly “Green School” tour.  Since the Green Village is only a few kilometers away, John decided to join us for the tour.

The Green School

The Green School is an international private elementary school with a focus on sustainability.  Everything is made of Bamboo, a highly renewable building material.  They teach the students to be environmentally friendly, in their classrooms made of Bamboo.  Students come from all over the world for an education here, and from what I’ve heard, the tuition is not cheap.

Recreation Area

Classroom

Me testing the Bamboo chairs.

Bamboo pirate ship.  Yarrr

Baby chicken!  Yum…

Study Area

The Green Village

The Green Village is a for-profit, commercial development a few kilometers down the road from the Green School, built by the same contractor who does work for the Green School.  Because we were friends with Irish John, we got a private VIP tour of the Green Village project.

The first thing to note is the differences in safety standards between a construction site in Bali and a construction site in the US.  If you were to walk a job in the US, you’d have to sign a waver, wear proper boots and pants, a reflective vest, eye protection and a hard hat.  In Bali, we strolled in wearing flip-flops and shorts.  The workers were wearing just the same.

The workers construct the buildings based off of stick models, rather than a set of drawings.  I don’t think this would EVER fly in the United States.

The Green Village is a dozen or so bamboo villas right by the river.  The houses are beautiful and blend in with the surrounding nature.  Some were already finished and occupied, while others were still getting started.  We had the privilege to walk through the houses under construction.

Irish John showing us his stick model

My Opinion as a LEED Acredited, Member of the 2008 ASC LEED Competition National Champion Team


While that doesn’t exactly provide the best qualification to share my opinions about these projects, I’ll don’t care and I’m going to share my thoughts anyway.

Bamboo is considered a renewable building material because it grows so fast.  It can grow as fast as a few feet a day, so you could literally watch it grow.  Currently, it is tough to adapt to use in western buildings, but projects like this help develop the uses for it and test new applications in buildings.

Now for my criticisms: When I first heard someone mention going to the “Green School”, I was thinking of more advanced sustainable features: water reclamation, solar panels, passive ventilation, natural lighting, etc.  I wasn’t exactly expecting a bunch of bamboo huts without walls.

The buildings in the Green Village are only guaranteed for 20 years, cost over a million dollars, and you don’t even own the land.  These are massive structures designed for rich ex-pats.  Fundamentally, this doesn’t seem very “sustainable” to me.

While I think it is great that renewable materials such as Bamboo are being experimented with and further developed, I feel that the whole “Green” label is used partially as a marketing technique for these projects.

Don’t get me wrong; I fully support the ideals behind these projects, but I was just expecting a little more.

 

Why Mondays are my Favorite

“Looks like someone has a case of the Mondays”

Seems like most people hate Mondays.  Especially Garfield.  But why?  It is just the name of a day of an arbitrary 7-day week.  Who decided a week would be 7 days anyway?  And who decided that there would be 2 weekend days and 5 week days?  The bible?  Ok…

Here are the reasons that I love Mondays:

  • Most website traffic is on Mondays. The best day of the week for all my websites is Monday.  The worst is Saturday.  Not sure exactly why, but I do have a few speculations.  Maybe people are back at work surfing the net?  Maybe people are bored because all their friends are at school/work?  Either way, I make more money on Monday than any other day of the week.
  • I can catch up on everything. Since everyone else is at work, I have a lot more time on Monday to get caught up on work.  I find my work to be somewhat enjoyable, and it is a great feeling to cross items off my to-do list.
  • I can recover from the weekend shenanigans. When it was Monday in Australia, it was actually still Sunday in the states.  Since most of my clients are in the States, Mondays seemed to be pretty slow.  This would give me some time to relax and recuperate from the weekend.
  • Everyone else hates Mondays. I’d hear people complain all the time that they aren’t excited about it being Monday.  Always hearing this makes my Mondays that much better in comparison.
  • Businesses are open regular hours. Need to go to the post office?  Bank?  Call customer support?  Gym? DMV?  Supermarket?  These tasks are so much easier and less congested on weekdays.
  • Less Crowded. Since most people are at work on weekdays, places of entertainment are much less crowded on Mondays.  Movies, the park, the beach, etc.

One concept that sickens me is the idea of “Hump day”, also known as Wednesday, which is the middle of the week.  Meaning you are half way to the weekend.  Seems most people go through life looking forward to the 2/7 days that we call the “weekend”, and wishing that we could skip through the other 5/7ths of days.  The majority of days are weekdays, so we might as well try and enjoy them!

 

Made it to Singapore

Just a quick note to say that I made it safely to Singapore.  Bali was incredible, and I can’t believe that I only spent 7 days there.  Internet was scarce in Bali, but abundant here in Singapore, so I’m busy catching up with work.

I’m here for the weekend then head off to Thailand on Monday!

Here’s a picture from the Green School in Bali:

 

Made it to Bali

Just a quick post to mention that I made it into Bali.

I mis-read my itinerary and was under the impression that my flight was direct from Melbourne to Denpasar.  I was frantically running around the international terminal at Melbourne Airport wondering where my flight was.  Eventually noticed the “Terminal: Domestic” on my itinerary, which failed to also mention my layover in Darwin.  Oops.

Bali is hot, stuff is cheap.  First night was spent in the most touristy part, and it was as if I hadn’t even left Australia at all.  Thought it was pretty lame.  Now I’m out in the area with mostly locals, and its way more fun.  Heading further inland via motorbikes tomorrow with some fellow travelers.