I idolize Tynan as much as the next reader, and I think his lifestyle is kickass. Yet even after reading his books and being a blog reader for years, I still can't figure out how he makes money.
We know that he gets a couple of bucks when people buy his books on Amazon and when people sign up for SETT, but that's a pittance compared to a living wage. We know he used to be a professional gambler, likes to save, and lives incredibly frugally, but we also know he lost a large part of that money in some kind of overseas account mistake. (He's not clear on what it was, but he did say that he lost most of his earnings)
Is he living off of the leftovers of his gambling days? He's written a few blog posts concerning money, how he doesn't have to pay for most of the things normal people pay for, like rent, alcohol, mortgage, etcetera, and thus his day to day cost is incredibly low. But the man has to eat. And he pays for his RV parking spot, and he buys expensive travel gear, and flights that , even after his tricky discounts, aren't chump change. I find it hard to believe that all of that is still coming from years old gambling money.
We know he loves poker and is pretty darn good at it - perhaps he goes to some tournament whenever he needs cash and plays until he is satisfied? Tynan hasn't spoken much about poker in recent years as he used to, so maybe he's just focused on SETT, but it sounds to me like it's not a big part of his life anymore.
What do you think, fellow readers? (and/or the man himself) How does Tynan make money?
I make money from:
- Amazon affiliate links (gear post, etc)
- Amazon kindle books
- Amazon paperback books (almost nothing these days...)
- Interest through Lending Club on money I made in the past (gambling + real job in 2006 + selling my house + other one time sorts of things)
Overall I'm making less than $2k per month, but I'm actually able to save a small amount of that most months because my expenses are so low. RV spot is $500 and other regular expenses are maybe $500 altogether.
The travel gear isn't really expensive because I always sell my old gear and often make a profit. For example, when I sold my NEX-5N and all the accessories, I made a profit on it, and then I bought the RX100 which was cheaper.
In the past 12 months, here are the flights I've bought:
Japan - $315rt
Peru - $340rt
Tulum - $278rt
Boston/NY x2 = $600rt total
Without actually doing the math, that's somewhere around $1500, or $125 a month. I've also gone on a bunch of trips to Vegas for $75-$100rt, but I make money on those trips and don't really keep track of the flights.
Anyway... that's a rough sketch. Sometimes I have unpredictable small windfalls, like if I get paid to do a speech or when the Korean rights to my book were bought. Other times I'm net negative for the month because I had to buy a new computer or something.
That is an AMAZING Japan flight price! Was it some sort of unique deal?
I always figured that you lived in your RV to save on recurring costs, i.e. rent. Is your RV spot really $500/mo?? My rent is cheaper!
He does live in SF which is notoriously expensive
$500 would be the absolute cheapest you could find a room for rent in San Francisco, with it most likely being a closet or a shared room. $700 is a more realistic baseline, and it's probably in The Richmond or Outer Sunset. Parking is at as much of a premium as a room is in SF. It's pretty ridiculous, but I think its worth it to do for at least a while.
PS: Props to Tynan for going into so much depth with this stuff. His income level definitely shows how little money matters to living a fulfilling life.
Wow, thanks for the transparency!
Just a quick question Tynan — if you were to roughly estimate, what would be the breakdown percentage-wise of your monthly income between the 3 main channels you listed (Amazon/Poker/Lending Club)?
It really varies wildly, and I don't keep track. Poker fluctuates a ton... sometimes I play twice a week + go to Vegas, other months I play once or twice. Sometimes I have big winning streaks, other times I lose $2k in a day.
I make a lot more through the Amazon affiliate program when my gear post is current, but even besides that it varies a lot month to month.
Over a year? Maybe Amazon + Poker are roughly equal. LC is less than either usually, but I try to not spend that money so that it will increase over time..
Tynan - I would think that with a little up front effort, you could snag some speaking engagements and get some more income while meeting some cool people. Prepping for the speaking engagements would be fun and seems like you would enjoy that based on what I have read from you over the years. I bought Life Nomadic several years ago and thought with some minor adjustments - you could adapt the content to have it be more relevant to business road warriors on a budget.
What Korean book rights? Care to elaborate? Sounds great.
Wait, you've had a real job? I'd like to hear about that.
It is amazing what you can live off of (and live well) with some planning and discipline. Nice work.
I had never gambled before and knew nothing about it, but I'd gotten too many e-mails like it. I was at my parents house for winter break during my first year at UT, and I was bored.
"Free $50 just for downloading our casino!"
Hmm. That doesn't seem very risky. I might as well download to see what it's all about.
I'm not much of a blog reader, but there are 3 blogs that I follow heavily: Tynan, Seth Godin, and Steve Pavlina. If you're looking for some good reading, you found my blog - good work. If you're looking for more than just me, check these guys out.
For those of you who don't know, Tynan is co-founder of SETT, the blogging platform I'm using now. He's also the reason I'm interested in blogging, and one of my main sources of motivation when I'm feeling unproductive. I have a few projects right now that deserve more attention than I usually give them, and reading Tynan's posts usually have the effect of making me more productive. If I had to categorize his posts, I'd say he writes about how to live life in an optimal way. I believe there is a very narrow group of people that share his philosophies, and that's who he writes for. I happen to be one of those people, so if you find yourself enjoying my blog, I'd suggest you check his out (it's way better).