October 2021

By: 
Tom Qiao
 | 
Updated: 
November 1, 2021
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Welcome back to Flexibility Is Freedom!

Hope you all had a fantastic (and surprisingly normal) Halloween 👻.

This month was phenomenal: I felt like I was busy everyday, but in a really productive way.

I started a new job at a digital agency this month, ramped up my outsourcing efforts, and bounced around the GTA looking for attractive and cash-flow-positive real estate.

But first, here's a quick look at the business results.

Key Metrics

  • Revenue: $1,208 (-16% MoM, -3% YoY)
  • Sessions: 12,890 (-4% MoM)
  • RPM: $94 (-13% MoM)
  • Amazon Risk: 40% (up from 36% last month)

In October, revenue was down again, but managed to hold steady above US$1,000 for the third month in a row. The decline was driven by a 4% decrease in sessions and a 13% decrease in RPM.

While my goal this year is to hit $2K per month, I think the website still held its own, considering that I spent much of September on recruiting and a third of October starting a new job.

This month, I mainly polished up one article, researched products and created content briefs for my content writer, reviewed, edited, and published her work, and managed the hiring process for my future virtual assistants (VAs) using onlinejobs.ph.

Starting A New Job @ Treefrog Inc.

In late September, I interviewed for and accepted an employment offer at Treefrog Inc., a Newmarket-based digital transformation agency that does a mix of web design, web development, and digital marketing, among other services.

While it's by no means a small company, it's the smallest one that I've ever worked for as an employee compared to the pension plans and banks where I previously worked.

I joined Treefrog as an SEO Specialist, which means I get to apply my SEO knowledge and experience (not to mention passion for helping businesses succeed!) to a broad set of industries and clients.

So far, it's been a blast and I'm excited to grow my skills and help this agency thrive as well in the SEO services market.

In Progress: Outsourcing & Scaling

Hand-in-hand with starting at Treefrog, is my outsourcing & scaling efforts for TheDermDetective.com.

This month, I paid for a Premium Account at onlinejobs.ph (required to contact applicants) for $69 and posted 3 different job openings:

  • General VA: for Data-Entry and Web Research
  • Graphic Design VA: for Images and Pinterest
  • Wordpress VA: Upload Content and Basic Admin

I designed a hiring process for each one, including job descriptions, application forms (Google Forms), and a suitable filtering & interview process. After I collected sufficient applicants, I sifted through them and scheduled interviews (Calendly is a lifesaver here!) as well as short skill tests.

While each job is a little different in terms of the qualifications and candidate profile, I personally felt that the most efficient way to "weed out" applicants is by requiring a short skill test (10-15 minutes) prior to the first interview, as a way to determine who can follow instructions and who is willing to spend a couple extra minutes to work for your company.

For example, it takes me only 2-3 minutes to review a candidate's skill test and determine if they followed instructions correctly compared to at least 15 minutes for a short interview.

As of this writing, I have completed the General VA search and plan to hire around 2-3 of the final candidates to help with data entry and research tasks.

I am currently interviewing for the Graphic Designer and still need to create a skill test for the Wordpress VAs.

Next Up: Real Estate Passive Income

Finally, I spent most of my free time and weekends this month learning, searching, and walking through real estate properties.

I decided earlier this year that I wanted to put my money to work in real estate because:

  1. The pandemic situation is still hanging over many parts of the world, so even though I might be vaccinated, it's still relatively tricky to travel right now.
  2. We are about to experience (actually, we ARE experiencing now) an inflationary environment that has not been seen in decades, thanks to the aftermath of the pandemic, as well as years of accomodative monetary policy and supply-side shortages (including for housing).
  3. I see real estate as an excellent source of passive income, and an especially strong compliment to a more volatile (but higher growth potential) asset like digital media

My fingers are crossed and my spreadsheet is ready to hopefully find an attractive real estate property by the end of this year or early next year. My plan is to find a duplex or triplex where the rents can support the PITI (principal, interest, taxes, insurance) such that the house "pays for itself".

That's it for October 2021! In the midst of the business, I admit I've dropped the ball a little on other important aspects of my life, namely my health & fitness, so that's something I'm going to refocus on going into November and December.

To Your Flexibility and Freedom,

Tom

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