Monthly Archives: June 2013

Contribution To My Town

Have you ever notice some things that are not good enough, and stand there complaining how it should be done, or corrected? Well, I’ve done that plenty of times (typical Singaporean). However, I’ve not really take any actions besides complaining to my family/ friends/ pets.

Recently when I moved to Jurong West, I started noticing some areas that can be improved. This time, I decided to do something about it. I wanted to take action to improve my neighborhood. At the mean time, I was curious what actions will be taken, or my suggestions would be totally ignored.

I’ve decided to write in for 2 items:

  • Flooding at a badminton court areas whenever it rains,
  • Inaccessibility near Jurong Point.

After taking some photos, I emailed to my Town Council (West Coast), hopefully they would do something about it.

Some days later, I received an email, saying

Email

Not bad, at least I had a reply from the Town Council. The disappointing thing was despite West Coast Town Council already knew about the flooding, they did not take any action. The reason given was the ongoing repair and maintenance works there.

Regarding my second feedback about the walkway, they’ve forwarded to Jurong Point Management. Well, that’s it, or that’s what I thought, until recently …..

The Change

I was quite surprised to notice a change recently when I was crossing the road. Part of the pathway was sealed up. I walked closer and to my surprise, it was the upgrading I’ve suggested! Jurong Point Management actually listened and took action!

Pathway Initial 1

I was very happy about it and patiently waited for the upgrading to be completed. Before, you have to walk along the ramp to go up/down. Now, it’ll just take you 2 second to walk up the stairs. I’m so happy to see many people using the stairs. I’ve even overheard people saying this steps really save them a lot of time and hassle!

Stairs 1Stairs 3

The Future

I’m still waiting for the Town Council, or government to do something about the flooding. I hope my neighborhood will change for the better and keep on improving. So what about you? Have you feedback on anything and any action taken so far? Let me know in the comments below.

What Are You Doing For Your Future?

When I looked around me in the morning, everyone was rushing to work (including me). At work, my colleagues were catching the very last second to get their project done before the boss appeared in front of their cubicle. At night, finally people were strolling around the park with their dogs, chit chatting with their kids and jogged along the roads.

Life Planning

So why are our lives so routine? Why do we have to repeat the “process of life” over and over again? This perhaps linked to the famous word “rat race”. People liked me, a normal office employee who earned barely enough to support a family, were trained to study hard for the past 15 years of our lives, followed by servicing the nation, before we were released to the world to start making a living ourselves. By the time I had graduated from university, I was already 25 years old.

What Are My Plans?

After graduation, I found a high paying job. I was overwhelmed by the excessive cash dumping into my bank account on the 28th every month. I loved my life. Freshly graduated, a high paying job, what was more I could asked for, until I started looking around.

What I saw was frightening, really scary. Let me explained first. I was drawing close to $3k as a freshly graduated engineer at that time. With my basic pay, I was quite happy. However, my company allowed me to OT (overtime) 72 hours a month. Guess what? I worked 72 hours extra every month, on top of my 44 hours work week. I spent over 60 hours a week in office!

Though the payout was good (I was drawing closed to $6k), things wasn’t right. i looked around and saw many of my colleagues aged. They looked tired and weary appeared in their eyes. They were hard working, in fact, too hard working, contributing over 60 hours per week to work, for the past 10 years of their lives!

When I talked to them, they told me they were used to getting the big pay check. They did not want to see a dip in their income and therefore they had to force themselves to work. They had big plans for every single dollar inside their bank every month, which majority went to the bills. I got scared.

Awakening

I started to realize I was exchanging my time for money. I was trading 240 hours per month for a $6k pay check? Worth it? No! Though money was important and I loved money, time was more precious to me. I was blessed with 24 hours a day and I wanted to make use of it to do the things I liked. I knew I had to think of some way out.

After I was awake, I studied hard about money. Every person on the planet was given 24 hours a day. So how did the rich manage to get rich? Finally after searching, I managed to find 2 answers.

1. Leverage

You had to leverage. Leverage in Dictionary was defined as:

– power or ability to act or to influence people, events, decisions, etc.

It simply meant that you get help from more influential people to succeed within a shorter time. The help could be in terms of power, or financially. In the financial world, businesses merged to leverage each other’s skills to expand. Investors leveraged the expertise of brokers to trade. Sick people leveraged the skills of doctors to get well. We need help from the experts to get our job done faster and effectively.

2. Passive Income

This is my favorite word. Making money while sleeping. Making money while playing. Making money while I wasn’t working. This is called Passive Income. Everyone, I believe in the world, need some form of passive income. Remember the rule:

– You only have 24 hours a day.

With this rule in mind, you can only earn so much a day. You need to think of ways to continue earning when you are not working, every hour, 24×7. The rich are doing this. Look around you, you will notice the real rich are building wealth, not working for wealth. They are building their businesses that can run by others, 24×7. When these people retire, they are still reaping the fruits from their labor.

Taking Action

After I’ve woke up from my dream, or nightmare, I knew that I have to take action, fast. By the time I decided to start earning my 2nd income, on top of my full time career, I was closed to 30. The earlier I start, the better I’ll be as I know I’ll tend to fail pretty much 90% of the time.

Since then, I stopped all my OT. I did not want to work for that moment, I wanted to work for my future. My J.O.B allowed me to earn and live presently. As for my future, I was laying bricks for the foundation. I read tons of books. I started my internet businesses. I failed basically every businesses I started, and I stood up once again, learning from the mistakes I’ve made, and moved on from there.

I knew I wanted stability. My present job allowed me to have confidence in building my future job. J.O.B is no longer stable. No jobs in the world can promise you anything. I saw many of my friends retrenched during 2008, and many of them were family man which kids to support. The next recession will hit us soon, and I know I need to have 2nd, or 3rd sources of income. Building businesses and wealth push me to work harder for my family.

Right now, I’m still at the infant stage. Although I had my internet marketing websites as my primary 2nd income, and recently started the ebooks business as my 3rd income, they are still not making much, and still much rooms for improvement. I need to manage well, while continue with my day job and hopefully, able to start 4th, 5th, 6th … streams of income. It’s not easy, but it definitely can be done.

What About You

Many of my friends complained about shortage of money, yet after work, they went back home and did nothing about changing their future. The next day, they came to work and the cycle went on. If they did not do anything to break this cycle, nothing would change.

So have you start planning about your future and working towards it? Do you know what you really want in life, like lying on beach with your family, going for holiday, playing with your children? Well, I suggest you really write down your long term future plan, and break down into steps to achieve them, then go for it! Life’s very short and if you minus the years you want to enjoy, you are short of time! Start doing something for your future today!

 

My eBooks Income Report (May 2013)

If you have read my previous post about how to sell ebooks in iBookstore and other major publishers such as B&N, you know I’ve created a new stream of income by writing and self publishing ebooks to Apple iBookstore. I’ve blogged about my sales and income for Apr.

Before I had done much, May was over and it was already middle of June. For the past month, I’ve continued to publish ebooks using freelancers from Elance. Without them, I will not be able to progress as fast as I want. Time is limited to only 24 hours a day. I need to use other people’s time to my advantage.

Having said that, let me shared my progress with you.

eBooks Sales

Number of eBooks published in May 2013

I’ll continued with my plan and make an effort to keep working on this project to make it grows. I’ve not set myself any target, and I don’t know how far this project will go. Anyway, it’s not taking too much of my time as I’ll just be involved mainly in the planning and managing parts. The rest of the work will be done by my freelancers.

I’ve not reported the numbers of ebooks published previously. However from May onwards, I’ll keep a record of the number. It can tell me several things such as my ROI (return on investment), cost per ebook sale and the trend (more ebooks = more sales). These are some interesting figures which I can share with my readers.

As of May 2013, I’ve successful published 16 ebooks. In total, I’ve published 57 ebooks. These are my employees, my friends who are working hard for me daily. The more I published, the bigger my army becomes. Right now, I’m targeting to hit 100 ebooks by end of the year. 43 more ebooks to go.

Number of eBooks Sold

Compared to Apr, the number of ebooks sold increased slightly. In Apr, I’ve sold 271 ebooks (including free ebooks). In May, I’ve sold 293 ebooks (+8.11%). I’m quite happy with the 8% increase in sales, month over month. As long as the sales numbers keep going up, I think I’m on the right track.

Income for May 2013

Finally we’ve came to the finale. This is the number I’ve been waiting for every month. My income from the sales of all my ebooks. In Apr, I managed to get $83.36. In May, I got $98.03 (+17.6%). Wow! I’ve just missed the $100 mark.

I’m very happy with this figure. With just a small increase of 8% sales, I managed to increase my income by 17%. One of the main reasons was because I had increased the price of the ebooks published in May to $3.99/copy, up from the usual $1.99. I’m still doing a split test to see what’s the optimal selling price for these ebooks. If the price goes up, the sales go down. I need to find the balance.

Paypal

My Plan for June

In June, I’m going to stick to $3.99/copy and I’ll like to see the figures before I’ll decide further. I have to collect more data and analysis more for this business to run at the peak.

I’ll continue to get my freelancers to write to me, and I’m still thinking of ways to publish as many ebooks as possible. Right now in May, I’m close to hitting $100/mth from these ebooks. If nothing goes wrong, I’m targeting $200/mth by Dec 2013. It’s not a big, unachievable goal. If it’s properly managed, I’m sure this is a doable. Let’s see how it turns out.

I know that if today, I’ve stopped writing, this income will still roll into my account, month after month until Apple iBookstore closes down (which I doubt so). It’s another stream of passive income which I’ve written step by step for my readers.

I’m just a very normal, office guy who wants to make some extra income for my family. And the thing is, it’s not that hard. You just have to start taking action. If you have any questions, just drop a comment below. I’ll try to answer to my best capability.

Enjoy!

What To Get For Father’s Day?

While father’s day is just around the corner, you may be thinking what to get for your father. If my father is still around, I’ll definitely repay his love with presents. I myself is going to be a father soon, and I already can feel the heat. It’s tough!

I’m an iDevices freak and also will be. Therefore the presents will closely link with either iPad or iPhone.

Libratone Zipp Wifi Wireless Speaker

Nothing’s cooler than blasting music wirelessly. Airplay is nothing new, especially when iOS7 is the talk of the town. However, many people are still slow in getting a set of wireless speaker. Time to jump in.

If you want, you must get Libratone Zipp Wifi Speaker. It’s a 60W stereo speaker that uses FullRoom Technology and DSP optimization to work. It has a large 4 inches bass with 2, 1 inche tweeters to boost the music to the maximum!

The speaker can easily last up till 8 hours wirelessly. After that, you can just plug in to your iDevices and directly play from there. It works both with or without Wifi. The pullback is the price – $399. It pays to be cool!

Netatmo Urban Weather Station

This stuff is crazy, having your very own weather station inside your house! If you like to monitor air temperature, humidity, Co2, air quality, etc .. this is for you.

Netatmo Urban Weather Station will track real time and the data is stored online. You can access with your iphone/ipad anytime you want to retrieve the data. It’s for science freak!

Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook

Who doesn’t like Evernote? I simply love it to death. It’s virtually my notebook and I carry it everywhere I go without having to worry about missing my documents.

However, at times, I do have to sketch and draw. I know there’s an app for that – Skitch. But I do miss the pencil and paper days. Evernote again think ahead and come out with Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook.

Not only you can write and draw on the paper, the layout with dotted lines are designed for Evernote camera. Your image will be digitally clean and searchable. Perfect for working dads like me! Having Evernote as a physical notebook is fun!

With these ideas, this year’s Father’s day will be a breeze for you. Select what you want and get it online. Order it quick before next year’s Father’s day arrive!

My Soon-to-be Baby Girl

My baby girl has grown so much – inside her mummy’s tummy! That’s right, she’s not even born yet and I’m already blogging about her. How I love my precious daughter. Until today, she’ll be 6 months, going into the third trimester. How time flies.

Previously when I talked about my new member, she was so tiny, perhaps size of a peanut. Now she has grown to 67.27mm! The satisfaction I get now is to see my wife’s tummy getting bigger each day. I’m already very excited to welcome my newborn baby, can’t wait for the delivery date to arrive.

Baby 6 months

My Wife

Food eaten by my wife will directly feed to my baby, and therefore I restrict my wife to eat junk food. It’s both not healthy for the mum and the baby. But sometimes my wife’s appetite changed weirdly, varies from Gelato to cakes to chicken wings. Different weeks, she craved different foods. Luckily all the food are findable in Singapore.

I’ve bought some tonic for her as well. Many people are telling me the baby starts to absorb the nutrients from third trimester onwards. However, being a Kiasu dad, I already start “feeding” my wife with bird’s nest during the second trimester. Every parent will hope the best for their children.

When it comes to housework, my wife totally stop doing. Everything’s lies in the hand of the family man, and that’s me. During weekends, I hardly have time to go out with my friends anymore. I have to wash the clothes (luckily washing machine was invented), hang the clothes, iron, vacuum the floor, mop the floor, and any other house chores. Being a house-husband is indeed very tiring. You really have to do it to know.

Do I have a choice? Well I wish I have, but I know it’s tough for pregnant ladies to work. They tend to feel tired and sleepy. I’m telling myself I’ll be the maid this 9 months, after that …..

Names

I’ve not officially think of any names yet. I’ll leave it to my mom and parents-in-law. I’ll just decide on the English names. As for Chinese name, there may be some meaning behind, and I’m not an expert in this. My parents-in-law are very particular about names. They want to see the birth time, date, stars, moon, the cat to decide, so I’ll leave this tough job to them. English names are easy. Any girl names will do for me. Any names to recommend?

Books

This is my first baby and frankly speaking, I totally freak out. I have no idea how to take care of baby. How am I going to communicate with her, teach her the correct stuff and hopefully she’ll grow healthily and be a nice person.

All these may require some knowledge and experiences. Where’s the best way to find? I have some helpful friends who share their wonderful parenthood experience with me, and I really appreciate it. During my free time, I just go to the library and borrow some Fatherhood books to read. No more business books now. I’ve totally divest my world to my baby. I want to learn as much as I can before she reaches this world. So everyday, I’ll be reading bit by bit.

So far, I’ve read a very funny book – Fatherhood The Truth. It talked about how a father should react, whether you like it or not. It may not be on purpose, but the baby’s still yours, and you have the responsibility to take care of it. This book seems to be talking to me directly, and let me warn you first, the language is for adult 🙂

Along the way, I’ll share with you more interesting parenting books if I come across any.

Baby Items

This is the most surprising part. I never know baby items are so expensive until I’ve walked into a baby store. OMG! It’s day light robbery. Wrong, it’s better than robbery. Simple baby socks, clothes, towels can cost around $20 each. I just roughly walk around the baby store at Jurong Point to find out the market rate and I have to re-plan my finances again. Baby items aren’t cheap.

The merchants did their market research well and they knew parents only want the best for their babies and would not mind spending money on them. Therefore, the prices are boost many times higher. Do I have a choice? No! So I can just shut up and work harder. No doubt the items are really fanciful and nice.

Just by walking around the shop for less than 1/2 hour, my wife surrendered her first dollar. We purchase a baby cot on the spot. Guess how much? $185! I guess this baby cot can last till 2 years old before we have to get a proper bed for my daughter. Now I feel parents are suckers. You hate it, but you still buy it. The baby cot looks nice though.

Baby Cot

Gynae

I feel that I have to share all my expenses for having a baby in Singapore, to allow other parents to know roughly how much they have to prepare. I’m not those parents whom go for all high end items and check up. Mine is very normal and having a baby is really expensive in Singapore.

Since it’s already the 6th month, I’ve signed the package from my gynae. The package cost is $800, which can be signed after the fourth month. For the first 3 months, the baby is still unstable and there’s no point to sell you the package. Only after the 4th month, you can have the option to sign, which will cover you for the rest of the check ups all the way till birth, excluding medications.

Right now, from 5-6th month onwards, my wife are having iron tablets and fish oil, which is good for the baby brain. This medication alone cost around $65 per visit. So you can roughly estimate the total cost spend on gynae:

  • $120 x 3 visits (first 3 months) = $360
  • $800 package
  • $65 x 9 months = $585
  • $500 for down syndrome test during 3rd month
  • $200 for a more detailed ultrasound scan during the 4-5 month

Total = $2445

My thoughts

Although the amount is big (or small depends on how rich you are), I still find that children are wonderful. Nothing can replace or substituted the happiness your children bring to your family. Even now, before my daughter is born, my wife and I are already preparing her room, her items.

Nothing can describe the joy we are having right now, and the house will not be empty anymore. Having children really fill up our lives, keep us occupied and someone who will care for you till the end of the world.

I strongly encourage you to start a family if possible. So do you like children? Kind to share your experience with me? Just drop in the comments below. Thanks!