Terug naar het Nederlands en een PP update

Het is ruim vier jaar geleden dat ik een berichtje schreef op deze website, in het Engels, en nu weer in het Nederlands. Nederlands is mijn moerstaal en scrijft toch wat vlotter en gemakkelijker. Dus, wat is er al die tijd gebeurd?

Sinds 2013 heb ik bewust een andere koers genomen. In het gebouw van zes appartementen waar ik woonde ging de kwaliteit van de buren hard achteruit. Dankzij de regering werden in 2013 goedverdienende nette buren weggepest naar koopwoningen. Eind 2014 werd ik de “aso” van een nieuwe buurman zat en besloot een appartement te kopen. In 2015 lukte dit tegen goede prijs en een lage rente.

De onzekerheid op de arbeidsmarkt, de huizenmarkt en wat nog meer besloot me om naar andere inkomensstromen te kijken. In 2013 was ik voorzichtig met mijn “bedrijfje” Digital Homestead begonnen, na mijn verhuizing november 2015 gaf ik dit handeltje fors meer aandacht. Mijn Zazzle-shop is flink opgeschoond en ik heb Amazon Merch toegevoegd om royalties te verdienen.

Het kopen van een eigen woning heeft flink huisgehouden in mijn Permanent Portfolio. De laatste keer dat ik deze berekende was ruim vier jaar geleden. Deze maand ziet het plaatje er zo uit:

Permanent Portfolio Nederlands

Ten opzichte van 2013 is het totaal bedrag nauwelijks gestegen, maar als ik mijn appartement meereken dan ziet het er beter uit. Het totaal bedrag komt dan uit rond de 200. Ik heb al flink wat eigen vermogen in mijn woning. De PP houdt geen rekening met vastgoed, dus bovenstaand plaatje is nu voor mij een nieuwe uitgangspunt voor de berekeningen.

Ten opzichte van 2013 is verhouding tussen de klassen een stuk evenwichtiger. Goud (in mijn geval grondstoffen, mijnen e.d.) heeft het al die jaren slecht gedaan. Ik twijfel aan het “goud-verhaal” in de PP. In 2010 ben ik met PP begonnen en goud maar ook grondstoffen hebben niet echt gepresteerd sindsdien. Voorlopig lijkt het erop dat dit zo blijft. Een decennium niet presteren is best wel lang voor 25% van je beleggingen, als je bedenkt dat een mens hooguit 30 jaar met enig risico belegt (van circa 30 tot 60 jarige leeftijd).

In ieder geval is het plan voorlopig cash sparen en gebruiken om extra af te lossen op mijn hypotheek, het aantal EURO’s beperken tot maximaal 25.000, de overschotten daarboven omzetten in betere cash-producten (kortlopende veilige obligaties). En als ik lef heb koop ik opportuun goud EFT’s.

Digital Homestead – making money online with Zazzle

Making money online with Digital Homestead. Yes, I’ve got a new website and it’s purely for commercial purposes. Getting a domain name and hosting isn’t difficult, but it took me about a week to make it look like a proper website. I used the twenty thirteen theme from the good people of WordPress. I don’t have to waste time with coding and the lot. The theme is also suitable for mobile devices. So, I’m a happy camper.

Why “Digital Homestead”? Well, I’ve got a longer explanation here. But the short story is that it isn’t really a full fledged company. It is more like getting a cheap plot of land and commit myself for a couple of years to make it work. Just working the “digital land” and hopefully it’ll produce a living.

Digital homestead - making money online
Making money online with a digital homestead.

Unlike this website I’ll try to keep Digital Homestead clean and focused. That is, just making money online. For instance with Zazzle selling Apple iPhone and Amazon Kindle cases. So no politics or economics. Maybe an opinion about making money online. Which reminds me, I’ve got a new design in my store 🙂

Chosokabe Mon Zazzle merchandise in the store

I recently added some Chosokabe Mon Zazzle merchandise to my store with he help of the quick create facility of Zazzle. The reason is that I really want to put more products in the store and maybe create a bit more revenue. Quick create of Zazzle allows for the creation of a whole range of products in one go. One of the results is this example:

Earning a steady income from Zazzle is more difficult then I previous thought. I did some research in order to find some succesful Zazzle sellers and I found one paricular seller on which I’ll blog perhaps later. A couple of things I found out was that to be succesful you really need more products than a couple of hundreds, more likely in the thousends is desired.

Another thing is marketing your products. Most often a succesful seller has websites specifically to sell categories of products. Or a blog to attract trafic to your merchandise. The blog or website can also be used for advertisement, such as Google Adsense or sponsered links in the blog post itself.

Obviously my marketing is pittyfull and I need to come up with a solution. This website is unfit for specifically marketing for instance Chosokabe Mon Zazzle merchandise. The website name and URL is not very interesting for this purpose. The design of the website is a bit old and not ery suited for displaying product.

Therefor I was thinking to start a new website with a new URL, geared towards selling stuff on the internet. I’ll use a standard template, because I don’t want to waste time and energy in building a website. I just want to configure it. It’ll be only a small investment and a good experiment. It should be possible to create a steady income stream from the internet, so I’m not giving up yet.

Permanent Portfolio check and eShop additions

Well, this is ridiculous. Such a long time not posted a blog. This is no way to increase traffic and try to sell anything. There is a good reason, I work in the financial industry and the last two months of 2011 and January were rather busy. Which left very little energy for other projects. It’s a bit better now, so I want to start writing little posts again. First an update of my permanent portfolio:

Amount Percentage
Stock 10.61 8.33%
Bonds 0.00 0.00%
Cash 112.55 88.37%
Gold 4.20 3.30%
Total 127.36 100.00%

In December I increased my amount of stock, mostly with conservative funds. Also, as you can see, the total went up. From 100 to 127 in about two years. Savings substantially contributed to that. Yields on saving accounts and funds are obviously pretty low. Still the proportion of cash is way high to and I need to start buying stock funds again for my permanent portfolio. In these uncertain times in the EU that’s the only thing I dare to do, although all that cash in EURO’s isn’t exactly prudent either.

As you know I do have an eShop with Zazzle were I show my amateur designs. Now and then I do post some designs and create in Zazzle a series of product classes (one usually adapt a design for f.i. all light coloured t-shirts, or round buttons). This is my latest:

This design is adapted for the product class “light t-shirts”. You can use this pattern for all light t-shirts Zazzle currently has to offer. My goal is to add at least one combination of a design of mine with a product class per day. At the moment I’ve passed the 100 and at the end of the year it should be at minimum 400.

Jolly Kitty and a cat bell

Some time ago I started to upload designes to Zazzle in the hope to sell them from my Zazzle store. No sale still and the main reason is that Zazzle is a numbers game, the more products you have in you store the more likely it is to make a sale. Ofcourse quality also counts, but quality is time consuming. A bit of a “catch 22”, quality versus quantity. But I have to start somewhere and with practice comes perfection in my design. So my first new design is this the Jolly Kitty:

jolly kittyIt’s a cartoonish variation on the Jolly Roger. Whence Jolly Kitty. I think it’s a great idea but the execution isn’t all that good. One lesson I learned is that the black space between the white parts shouldn’t be so different in width. The stroke should be more harmoniously like in a proper cartoon, see f.i. the teeth and the space in between. It is too smallish compared to the rest, but for now I’ll leave it at that.

Therefor the next design is a bit different. I took a leaf from the pop art book and tried to make the strokes more harmoniously. I think it’s a big improvement compared with first one.kattebel
A thing to keep in mind with Zazzle is how best to apply your design on Zazzle products as efficiently as possible. F.i. create an image at least 1200 by 1200 pixels and allow it to be used for all sizes buttons. Also make a design for a square button (or magnet, or sticker etc.) seperately if the design demands it. The result is that you quickly have covered all sizes and shapes of a product.

Besides that, I always tailor-make a design to a product, may it be a hat, bag or mug. Creating a design in a vector program like Inkscape is a big plus in this case. A vector drawing can be scaled and modified quite easily without loss of quality. The downside is you have to learn such software, which isn’t everybodies cup of tea. At least I can have a bit of quantity withou sacrificing quality to much.

Ottoman Patterns in my Zazzle store

After my first attempt to make an illustration and upload it to Zazzle, I was thinking about what would be nice for a line of products. I always had something in mind about patterns. In a bookshop I stumbled on a few books about patterns used in different cultures. And they contained CD’s with jpeg examples. A good start for me for improving my vector illustration skills. I wanted to convert the book examples into vector drawings in order to use the result for many sizes. First a mousepad with one of my Ottoman patterns.

ottoman patterns

Also with a vector drawing it easy to change the colour scheme, which I did a bit. A lot of Arab, Turkish, Egyptian patterns are ideal for this kind of merchandize. Now if somebody just buys some.