About

Welcome to Flexibility Is Freedom!

I'm Tom Qiao - the founder of Flexibility Is Freedom - pleased to meet 'cha! πŸ˜‰

In 2018, I quit my promising career as an investment analyst at Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) to build passive income businesses and design a life of flexibility & freedom.

I had many reasons (see Medium: 5 Reasons I Quit My Job to Build Passive Income Businesses) but it boiled down to this: I realized that while my bank account was going up, my "time" account was slowly ticking away. πŸ•’

Now, it may seem obvious, but time and money are not interchangeable commodities:

  • Money is flexible: money is a unit of exchange and a store of value (thanks, Econ 101) - if you lose money, it can be replaced; if you need money, you can borrow it; if you have money, you can invest it; and if you want more money, you can work hard to earn it...
  • Time is immutable: time is a unit of physical existence and as far as we humans are concerned, it's the only way that we perceive the flow of the universe - but consider this: if you lose time, it cannot be replaced; if you need time, you cannot borrow it; if you have time, you cannot invest it; and if you want more time, you cannot extend it (except keeping yourself in good health).

(yes, I realize it's possible to trade money back for time by outsourcing tasks like cleaning the house or hiring an assistant to save time, but what I mean is it's impossible to buy back the time in your 20's no matter how much money you have when you're 50)

In a market economy, we trade our time (or rather, the value that we provide in that time) for money and the rate at which we do this is called an hourly wage or annual salary. Broadly speaking, this means being employed, having a job, "working for the man", etc.

However, there are many ways to make money and earn a living without trading our time, or at least, without trading as much of it:

  • Renting money for money: earning interest income
  • Renting assets (namely, real estate) for money: earning rental income (plus capital appreciation)
  • Investing money (namely, in stocks) for money: earning dividend income (plus capital appreciation)
  • Inventing assets (inventions, patents, books, etc.) for money: earning royalty income
  • Creating assets (businesses, brands, buildings, etc.) for money: earning business income (plus exit proceeds)

Unfortunately, most of these options require that you already have lots of capital (money) in order to earn a reasonable amount of passive or semi-passive income.

In today's low interest rate environment, you need substantial savings to earn sufficient interest income to cover basic living expenses.

For example, suppose you need $2,500 a month to cover your minimum living costs - at a 2% interest rate (and I'm being generous), you would need to have $1.5 million in the bank! πŸ€”

Of course, investing money in stocks or real estate can provide passive income with the added upside of potential capital appreciation (and potential capital impairment).

But again, such an investment requires a high level of existing capital and/or income (especially for mortgage approvals).

Finally, depending on the situation, inventing or creating assets may be relatively capital-light but will more often than not require a tremendous upfront investment of time, money, or both.

Now, I've personally found that creating digital assets (code and content) is a tried-and-true method of building passive income and long-term asset value with relatively low capital requirements.

You don't need to buy buildings or expensive equipment, hire large numbers of employees, or pay raw material and operating costs.

That's why I'm currently creating a portfolio of content websites - monetized primarily via affiliate marketing and to a lesser extent, display ads - to build my first $5-10K of passive income.

This will cover my living expenses and provide additional cash flow for personal savings and investment into new business ventures.

My main website is TheDermDetective.com, a science-based skincare brand inspired by my personal experience with skin problems like acne and acne scars while growing up.

Since inception, TheDermDetective.com has received 250K+ pageviews across 180K+ users and appeared 2.4M+ times in Google Search and 1.4M+ times in Google Image Search.

Since 2021, I've started working on additional content websites as well. Stay tuned!

You can follow my journey to Flexibility & Freedom by reading my monthly Income Reports where I share the latest-and-greatest about my businesses, including my strategies for SEO, content writing, and more.

And if you have any questions or comments, I'd love to hear from you!

Email me at [email protected] or hit me up on social media:

To Flexibility and Freedom,

Tom Qiao

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