Passive Income Project: $300 Per Month

Well, I can finally declare victory on my goal of making $300 per month in passive income via my squash equipment site.

The site’s revenue so far in 2015 is $3,799, so I’m over the bogey of $3,600 per year. I had a feeling I’d get it done this year, because last year it brought in $3,570 — so close!

It took almost 2 years to reach this goal. I guess that took longer than I thought it would, even with working only at night. Interestingly, I did not include a deadline when I set my original goal, so maybe that’s got something to do with it.

I guess it’s time for a new goal. Here goes:

I’m now increasing the passive income from my squash site, which helps educate people about squash equipment, to $1,000 per month by December 31, 2016.

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Music

This is how I handle music.

Streaming

For a long time, I bought CDs, and after that, albums and songs through iTunes. Last year I switched over to Spotify premium. It costs ten bucks a month and you can listen to as much music as you want. It doesn’t have every song in the world — it’s missing the Beatles catalog; Taylor Swift, famously; and odd things, like that Hootie and Blowfish album — but it’s pretty comprehensive.

I use the Spotify app on my Windows desktop computer at work. I feel like this app is a bit of a resource hog, but it does the job.

Generally, when I find a song I like, I click the check mark next to it to save it to “My Music”. Then when I’m feeling like listening to music, I go to my list of songs and just play at random. This means I usually get a really crazy mix of songs. For example, the songs playing as I’m writing this are Victory, by the Walkmen; I Get Around, by 2Pac; The Naming of Things, by Andrew Bird; Believe Me, by Lil Wayne and Drake; Can’t Find My Way Home, by Blind Faith; In Summer from the Frozen soundtrack; The Next Movement by the Roots; Girl, by Beck; A Tale of 2 Citiez by J. Cole; Hurricane, by Bob Dylan; and Barry Bonds, by Kanye West and Lil Wayne. You can create your own playlists, and follow Spotify-created playlists, but generally I just listen to my big stack of music on random.

On the go

Spotify also has an iOS app. It works the same as the desktop app. Generally I just play songs at random, like I do with the desktop app.

When connected to the Internet, you can stream any song on Spotify. You can also sync certain songs to your phone so that they’re available even if you don’t have an Internet connection. I do this so I can listen to My Music anytime.

My favorite headphones are these simple ones from Monoprice. They sound good, and they’re not bulky. When I’m not using them, I can wrap them around my phone and they fit in my pocket without taking up too much space. Also, they stay in my ears. The default Apple earbuds are always falling out of my ears.

In the car, a 2007 Honda Accord, we hacked into the CD changer system using an Enfig car stereo. So basically, we can plug in an iPhone and play Spotify. Sometimes we play from an old iPod. The Enfig is a bit fiddly, and required some installation, but it’s better than dealing with CDs.

Home speakers

A while back, we got Sonos speakers, which are controlled over Wi-Fi. We have a speaker in the kitchen, one in the dining room that’s an amplifier (connected to some cool old Hi-Fi speakers), and one in the living room. The setup is really easy and you can play music in all the rooms at once, or just a subset of speakers if you want to. You control the music through the Sonos app, which works on your phone and/or on the computer.

One drawback of Sonos is the app isn’t that great. It works okay, but I find it confusing to navigate. It works with Spotify Premium, so you can play any song you want, and they’ve recently upgraded it so you can access Spotify’s My Music song list, which is a big improvement. We also frequently put on Pandora radio stations, which are free (ad-supported) and easy to access.

Old song files

We had a bunch of old song files that we ripped from CDs years ago, as well as everything we bought on iTunes over the years. I can’t quite take the leap of faith to delete all those files, but to save space, I subscribe to iTunes Match. It takes a snapshot of every song in your library and uploads it to “the cloud”, i.e. an Apple server somewhere. This allows you to delete all the songs from your computer and phone.

If you are connected to the Internet, you can still play these songs anytime from iTunes on your computer, or from your iOS devices. You can also download the songs back to your computer / device as desired. I don’t play these songs much, but for $25 a year it’s useful to know all my music is stored somewhere.

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Watches

I haven’t worn a watch since first getting a cell phone, which happened in about 1999 I guess. I got used to checking the time on my phone and it seemed unnecessary to have a watch.

Recently all the ads for the Apple Watch made me a bit nostalgic for watches. Also I realized that, with the advent of iPhones, it’s hard to just check the time on my phone — I get sucked into the phone, and forget to even check the time.

So, I got myself a watch. I went with this simple Timex guy:

timex

So far I’ve been really happy with my new wristwatch lifestyle.

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What I’m Writing With

I was randomly inspired to write a blog post about the writing implements sitting on my desk. That seems like a pretty weird topic but I had a strong impulse to do it, so here we go:

My favorite pen used to be BIC Round Sticks in blue. They were my go-to pen for YEARS. To me they’re just sort of the perfect disposable plastic pen. I like to spin my pens, and these have great balance and length. The problem is I have a tendency to gnaw them, which means they fall apart after a few months.

So I decided to switch to a pen that I would not chew. Bring on the Zebra G-301 Gel. It puts down a smooth, consistent line of black ink. It also has a satisfying clicker. It’s made of stainless steel, which means I don’t chew them. The only problem with these pens is they’re not great for spinning; they’re just not long enough.

I also use Dixon Ticonderoga #2 pencils. Sometimes, I just want to be able to erase. These are also nice and long, and great for spinning. The only problem is when I drop them, the point will often break.

Speaking of breaking your pencil, I highly recommend the Staedtler pencil manual sharpener. It’s worth spending the 3 bucks to get a dope pencil sharpener that makes a nice, sharp point every time.

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