What does us Russians in a lot of the time is our inability to talk openly about money matters. This is a generalization, of course, but it sure has done its damage in my life. It’s the way we’ve been brought up, feeling somehow that talking about money, selling stuff, lending and borrowing from friends or family and counting your money in a scrupulous and detailed manner was somehow base of us.

Like, we should be above that. Money was dirty and if you were paid, even for honestly earned work, it was somehow done on the sly, so that neither you, the employee, nor me, the employer, would really KNOW that money was being exchanged. Because the feeling of having worked well should have been enough on your end, and a heart-felt Thank You should have been enough on mine.

This is an explanation of something below the consciousness level, something bred into me with the wet autumns of St.Petersburg and the near-obsessive love of tea.

Of course I have learned to get over this handicap enough (and I am not referring to the tea) to be able to function in American society, but I’ve had some interesting bumps along the way, and even now I cannot bring myself to ask for a raise or even for that ten bucks a friend borrowed and forgot to return.

There was that crazy stint with selling children’s educational books door-to-door one summer. A summer I would as soon forget, as it STILL reigns as THE WORST three months of my life. With my family in San Diego, some of us college students drove across the country to do direct sales and marketing in Baltimore. Hot, sweaty, miserable Baltimore. Three months of that. Working 16+ hours a day, six days a week, literally walking door to door, trying to sell those miserable books. No words could aptly describe the depth of my traumatization during those months. Suffice it to say, I had nightmares about being on those streets, knocking on those hot-white doors for several years post factum. And the nightmare consisted only of the fact that I was back there again, selling or trying to sell, thinking to myself, why am I here again?

The torture might have been justified if I had been at least mildly successful. Some first year sellers came out having earned nearly $20,000 in PROFIT. Not so for me, because of that durn subconscious notion that selling was dirty somehow. And so I would be selling, doing my little sales pitch, and feeling all the while that I have to trick the nice mom into buying books for her kids. Like I had to sneak in the cost, quickly jot everything down and dash out the door before she realized what hit her. I hadn’t realized then that some people actually like to buy things, and others that are potential buyers get weary if you act all sneaky and paranoid, and are beating around the bush talking about the weather when clearly you’re here to sell your wares.

Then there was the humiliation of having to live off welfare. There. I said it. Don’t judge me. I may post on this in detail later, if I get the masochistic desire to re-live that part of my life.

Now, today, I am more interested in working less and earning more. I am interested in automating my income. In other words, I set something up, then go paint an eggplant and summer squash still life (purely hypothetical, of course) while money slowly trickles into my bank account. I have been reading this blog by Everett Bogue, and he writes about this process to quite an extent. I have also been following several other bloggers, (mainly Soulemama) who also generate quite a lot of incoming funds without selling their souls to GoogleAds. How do they do it? Well, surprisingly easy.

One does it through affiliate marketing and marketing his own e-books, the other primarily through sponsorship (although I checked, and all of her book links ARE affiliate links, she just doesn’t mention it so often). Affiliate marketing is selling other people’s stuff and getting a percentage of the cost as profit. Amazon.com has an affiliate program – if anyone buys anything on their site following a link from yours, you get 4% of that cost. (Disclaimer: I joined that program, so if you see a link to a book, like this one, assume it’s an affiliate link. It’ll still take you to the amazon.com site with the book, but if you end up buying it, 4% goes to me. That way, you get your five dollar book, I get my $.20 and a good start towards world domination, and everyone’s happy.)

There are other affiliate programs that offer much more than 4%. Like if you’re an affiliate of Everette Bouge, and sell his best-selling Minimalist Business, you get 50% of the profit. And in the world of e-books, profit = 100% of cost. There are NO overheads. Isn’t that something? Now I’m not an accountant, but having no overhead expenses sounds pretty good to me.

The other blogger, Soulemama, does the amazon affiliate program as well, but on top of that on her site she has sponsors that basically pay for being granted space to advertise and get access to a very specific, large audience (mostly natural, Waldorf or un-schooling, or just alternative education, deliberate, slow-living and back-to-the-basics-of-homesteading mothers). Since she has a solid readership, small private companies are literally lining up for a chance to advertise on her site. And it doesn’t even look like advertisements. Everything is lovely and well planned out. See?

Just thought I’d share this, since it seems like useful and interesting information.

Incidentally, as a junkie of all things useful and interesting, I’ve decided to launch another blog to create a forum for those interested in slowing down their lives, living with more deliberation and joy, and/or helping me live that way 🙂 That blog will also be an experiment to see if these principles and means of earning an income are applicable to us mere mortals. In other words, if the experiences of these bloggers are repeatable in a controlled environment.

I’ll save the formal introductions for later, but will reveal the launch date so as to force myself to commit to it. It shall be December 13th, 2010. My birthday.