Sharon Tseung: How to Gain Financial Freedom Through Passive Income
2020 has been a year filled with uncertainty and has completely changed how we perceive the workplace. Because of COVID-19 many jobs have come to a complete stop and many booming businesses have ceased existing entirely. A lot of people who have relied on one steady income are now struggling.
Sharon Tseung is the Founder of Digital Nomad Quest and an expert on building passive income streams and living digital nomad lifestyle. With her advice, she hopes to give people the skills to develop financial freedom and to worry about paying bills less. In times like these her advice is particularly valuable — here’s what she recommends to build a variety of income streams to give you ease of mind and the ability to live the life you want to live.
What’s your career background and how did it lead you to you giving advice about investing?
Sharon Tseung: Back in 2016 I quit my job in marketing, traveled the world for two years, and built multiple passive income streams on my digital nomad journey. Thanks to my passive income and investments, I was able to increase my net worth despite all the travel expenses. My mentality going into my journey was about creating a life in which money worked for me — not the other way around! I wanted to build a life of financial freedom early on so I could live life on my own terms.
I’ve now been a digital marketing professional for over eight years and I’m currently a general manager at a startup in the Silicon Valley. Now that I’ve built multiple income sources, my journey has led me to teach passive income and investing on my blog, YouTube channel, TikTok, and podcast. I want to inspire people to design a life that’s true to themselves.
How do you define passive income?
Passive income is income that you make with little time and effort. It can require a decent amount of work to get started, but not much to maintain. Examples of this may include money made from your e-book sales, your website ads, a rental property you own, or sales from your online print on demand store that are automatically fulfilled. In these cases, money works for you.
Why is it important to have passive income?
There are many reasons why passive income is crucial. If you’re dependent on only one income source, say your full-time job, you’re putting all your eggs into one basket which can be extremely risky. I’m all about diversifying your portfolio. You want to make sure you have multiple income sources so that if anything goes south, you’ll still be safe no matter what. That’s why I continue to invest and master different passive income streams.
Furthermore, if you’re looking to become financially free sooner than later, building passive income streams is the way to go. Think about your monthly expenses. If you’re able to cover your spending for the rest of your life without really having to work for it, you could essentially retire. After building a solid nest egg and passive income sources working for you, you free up time. This time can be spent traveling, pursuing your passions, and hanging out with your loved ones. If you don’t have to worry about your finances again, you can focus on creating the ideal life that’s true to yourself.
What would you say to women (in particular women of color) who are hesitant to invest or feel overwhelmed by the information that’s out there?
It’s easy to let society dictate what’s appropriate for us, but you don’t have to follow social norms if you don’t want to. Don’t fall into the trap of letting fear decide your fate. Focus on what you want out of your life and what your heart is telling you, and take action. I actually find that the things you fear may actually indicate the things you should be doing. For example, I was scared to quit my job and travel the world by myself while building passive income streams. It turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.
What are some side hustles you recommend?
I recommend some of the channels I’ve pursued: selling digital downloads on Etsy (check out The Etsy Entrepreneur), shirts on Merch by Amazon, products on Amazon FBA, blogging (check out Blog Launch Profit), YouTube, and real estate investment.
You have a unique take on investing in real estate, can you tell me more about that?
Yes! I currently own six rental units that cash flow me well. I prefer out-of-state buy and hold investing because I live in an expensive market. When looking in different states for more affordable markets, I can leverage my high income to invest. I typically look at markets that have solid job growth, population growth, growing housing prices, and decreasing crime rates. And I typically like to charge below market average rents to help my tenants and keep them happy, as well as avoid vacancies.
What are some books you recommend to improve habits and productivity?
Two books I recommend are Atomic Habits by James Clear and The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.
Are there business opportunities in these times of Coronavirus that might help women who are struggling?
Definitely. I would start with looking for remote jobs on sites like flexjobs.com and weworkremotely.com. I would then look on Fiverr and Upwork for freelance work. Once your job income is stable, I’d focus on building online businesses like selling digital downloads on Etsy or building a YouTube channel.
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