Life in Canada, 4 Months On

Full-Time Online Stuff = Hard I’m going to get real in this post and talk about what it’s actually like doing the online thing full-time and why I don’t think it’s for me. Let me go a bit back in the past and explain how this whole thing came to be. I lived in South Korea for 10 years, teaching English at two different universities. For the last year or so, I wasn’t really happy…

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It’s Crunch Time: No More Day-Job

After an entire year and a half of back and forth and then back again, I finally made a decision about what I’d do when I moved to Canada. Despite being a little bit crazy, perhaps, I decided to go all-in on the digital entrepreneur and make my living off of Amazon Affiliate niche sites and self-publishing books. I got my last paycheque from my university in South Korea about a week ago and now…

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Just Start

Just-start

Want Some Unsolicited Advice? Just start. Whatever idea you have, it’s time to make it happen. Just Start: My Story About eight years ago, I started a blog about teaching in a Korean university on Google’s free platform, Blogger. I don’t remember exactly what my motivation was, but I think I just wanted to talk teaching, share my victories, and talk about my struggles to whomever wanted to read about it. I had no idea…

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Starting something new: what are you giving up?

    A lot of people that I meet think it’s amazing that I have 5 books up on Amazon (see them all here) which I wrote all within the last 1.5 years. Then, many of them will say something like: “I want to write a book too!” “I have this idea for a website.” “I want to start a business when I go home.” “I want to build some passive income streams too.” My…

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Bad into Good- A Story from Work

Turning Bad into Good-Work Style What Happened I’ve been working at South Korean universities for the past decade or so and during that time, I’ve always taught extra classes for more money. My contract currently is only for 9 teaching hours/week, so I’ve usually added on another 10-15 to substantially raise my pay. However, this past semester all the extra work seemed to dry up and I was left with almost nothing in terms of…

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The Canadian Financial Industry

canada banks

Last week, I met a guy who had been working for quite a few years in the Canadian financial industry, but had had enough of it. He quit, gave up a lucrative job and moved to Korea to teach English. Give me the Information! I naturally pumped him for all the information I could get, since it’s one of the options I’m considering for my move back to Canada (although by far the strongest possibility…

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Make Your Own Luck

luck

Yesterday, I gave a ride to a newbie to Korea in my car who I’d never met before. She was a friend of a friend and the first thing she said to me was, “You’re so lucky to have a car.” Now, I’m not picking on her particularly because she is a nice person but my answer to her was my standard one: “It’s not luck. Anyone can do it.” Sure, it takes a bit…

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Top 10 Life Lessons I’ve Learned while Living Abroad

I’m coming up on my 10th year anniversary of living in Korea and along the way, I’ve learned a lot about myself, life and finances. I’m sure I would have learned these things, eventually while living in my home country just as a result of getting older and wiser, but I think there’s something about leaving everything familiar that can speed this process up. Top 10 Life Lesson I’ve Learned while Living Abroad 1. People…

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Plan Your Day

My Sweet University Job in Korea I’m pretty fortunate working at a university in South Korea in that I get quite literally months of vacation. And even during the semester, I quite rarely work 5 days/week, so that leaves me with a lot of days in the year where there is nothing that I have to do. I just did a quick calculation and in any given year, I have about 240 days that are…

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An Emergency Fund is Necessary

This topic is especially relevant to English teachers abroad who seem to be some of the worst offenders when it comes to not having an emergency fund and then when something bad happens, they post all over Facebook asking for donations But, an emergency fund is necessary! I don’t want to be all judgey because some of these people are totally legit; I’ve actually donated a good amount of money to them over the years.…

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Indecision

I waver back and forth when it comes to moving back to Canada, quite possibly forever and making a life there, or living the expat life which is kind of amazing in a lot of ways. I mean, who wouldn’t be happy working at a university in Korea where you get paid an astounding amount of money for a very little amount of work. I go on exotic vacations a couple times a year, cruise…

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Know What You’re Good At, and What You’re Not

The other day while wasting time perusing Facebook, I ran across this article: 35 things to do for your career by the time you’re 35 It has plenty of good stuff but I particularly liked #2: Know your Superpower and #3: Know Your Weakness. I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately as I consider options for what to do with my life post-Korea (it’s not 100% certain that it will involve teaching, but it’s…

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How much money do you need to be happy?

I was listening to a recent podcast from The Best of the Left (Capitalism Will Not Set You Free) and they were talking about how the law of diminishing returns can apply to your salary and happiness level. Up to around 75 000 US, people’s happiness increases as their salary does. But, after that level, it kind of has no effect and there are even some examples of happiness decreasing such as when someone wins…

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Ebook into Physical Book: easier than you might think

I originally had the idea to make exclusively an Ebook(How to Get a University Job in South Korea), but that was before I realized how easy it is on Amazon to make your Ebook into a physical book. It takes a couple hours, at most to get everything set up and the price I will earn on commission is about the same as the Ebook, so it seemed like there was really nothing to lose.…

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The “I have the best students” trap

In the world of English teaching in Korea, there is a whole hierarchy of possible jobs, starting from the worst of the worst private institute (Hagwon) to a top job at a university or international school. Anyone with a bit of ambition and some networking skills can move up in the world onto bigger and better things each year beyond their first year. And why not? You’ll have some combination of: higher pay, more vacation,…

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Frugal Living: A Short Commute

In Korea, English teachers are often giving housing as part of their employment package. Except at my university, everyone just gets a housing allowance and you’re responsible for finding your own, which means that you can basically live anywhere that you want. Although the neighborhood I live in isn’t the most luxurious (far from the beach, no expat bars and few restaurant/shopping choices), my house is only a 20 minute walk from work, and it’s…

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Teaching ESL as a Career

When I peruse the personal finance, early retirement and digital nomad blogs around the Blogosphere, it seems like a lot of people were working at “serious” jobs making “serious” money by being a lawyer, working their way up the corporate ladder in some other field or selling things and making lots of money doing it successfully. Then, they left these jobs after hating the 9-5 or more often, the 9-9 kind of life they were…

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How to Write an Ebook: choosing a topic

This past week, I haven’t had classes at my day-job due to midterm exams, so I’ve been busy working on my first Ebook. I’ve wanted to write one for a while because I think diversity is the key in trying to live off passive income. I really have no idea whether affiliate marketing on Amazon or Iherb will be successful in the future, whether Hubpages will shut down, or whether there will a huge crash…

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Frugal (and Healthy) Living…Snacks and Meals at Work

This semester, I have breaks between all my classes which means that I end up spending a lot of time in my office and eating 6-7 meals at work. I most definitely do not want to eat out for all those meals, for health reasons as well as it goes against everything frugal living. Plus, I get a fabulous box of organic vegetables delivered to my door each week, so I can’t let them go…

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Living in the land of no expectations

In South Korea, there is very little understanding of the idea of “academic integrity.” It’s readily apparent after spending a month or two studying or working at a Korean uni and I could do a whole series of blog posts about it, but let’s just assume that you take my word for it and we can use it as a working assumption. Where does this leave me, as a person who is teaching at a…

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Where does all the money go, Part 2

Yesterday I was wondering where all my money went and how I could possibly spend around $2000/month since I generally try to live quite frugally. I’ve thought more carefully about it and been looking at some of my spending via online banking and have figured out the following areas where I actually spend quite a bit of money: 1. Transportation. My car: I paid cash for it (of course), but gas in Korea is very…

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