Aaron's Path A journey of happiness and financial independence

NaNoWriMo Interlude

Today is the first day of the excellent NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.

As you have gathered from the first part of my journey, I still have a lot of debt. I’m working hard to pay it off, but there is always more that can be done.

So I’ve been looking for a side hustle to supplement (and eventually) replace income from my day job.

The long term plan is to have investments that work for me. Each dollar bill acts as an employee that earns about half-a-penny a month. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but once you have enough of them, well… they can earn more for you than you can earn working a full time job.

My goal is a side hustle that will have similar properties to passive investments. Up front work, but ongoing income that requires little maintenance.

Real estate investing is an example of this in action. Do a lot of work on setting up a property, and then collect ongoing rent checks with little time required. This path requires either some equity for investments, or taking on additional debt. This seems risky given my current debt, so real estate investing is currently off the table.

Another possible path is website investing (purchasing a site that is already earning income), or even better, building one yourself.

So where does NaNoWriMo come in? Many of my friends are writers and are working hard this month to write 50,000 word novels. I want to join in, but feel that my current strengths and skills are better geared toward website investing. Writing a book is on the bucket list, but I don’t think it will be as effective as working on websites at this stage of my life.

So, I want to participate in a similarly difficult challenge centered around earning passive income from websites. It’s helpful to have a goal and challenge to work toward, because it helps keep me accountable.

I went back and forth on how to structure a website investing challenge to be similarly difficult as NaNoWriMo. One path could be spending an equivalent amount of time (it looks like most writers will spend ~90 hours (+/- 30 hours) on this project).

Investing time doesn’t necessarily mean anything though. The goal of NaNoWriMo isn’t to write for 90 hours in November, it’s to produce 50,000 words. In my case, the goal should be to produce income, regardless of how much time that takes.

If I invest every penny from my day-job’s paycheck in a month, I’ll secure about $30/month in passive income for the rest of my life. It takes me a month of work (~172 hours) to do that. If I can create a website that earns $30 in passive income, then I’ll have doubled my efficiency for this month.

So that’s my goal. Create a website that earns $30 in passive income this month.

How will I do that? I’ll model this after a site that is currently earning income. So I’ll go to empire flippers and put down a 5% deposit on a site to get it’s URL. From there, look at the general structure and quality of the site, and then choose a similar topic and off to the races.

Is this terribly original? No, clearly not. But this is my version of walk before running. I could choose a topic that is interesting and fun to research, but I’d rather pick something that will earn money.


Smart Passive Income is an excellent guide to the overall approach to earning passive income from websites.

Empire Flippers is a marketplace for websites that are already earning income.

Afford Anything is an excellent blog by Paula Pant on real estate investing. I think she has a fantastic philosophy towards money, time, and what’s really important.

Highly rated books on side hustles and earning passive income on Amazon.

No Plot? No Problem! an excellent book on writing a novel in 30 days by the founder of NaNoWriMo.