Today’s podcast is with author and stay-at-home mom, Kylie Ofiu. Kylie set a goal for herself back in 2009: become a millionaire by 2015.
Her journey towards millionaire status includes part-time work as a hair dresser, selling books second-hand, and other odd jobs and businesses. But where Kylie’s progress towards her goal really started to take off is when she landed a book deal with Wiley to turn her blog post, 1001 Ways to Make Money, into a book.
In the podcast you’ll learn about Kylie’s goal, how she manages several gigs while being a mom, and you’ll hear first hand what it’s like to go from “blog to book” (a topic she’ll be speaking on at the upcoming Financial Blogger Conference.
Listen to the Podcast
Success Tips from Kylie’s Story
- You’re more likely to achieve your goals if you make them specific. Kylie’s goal of 1 million dollars in assets and cash by 2015 by doing whatever it takes is certainly specific.
- Reach for the stars so that your not just the richest person in the retirement home. Kylie says there’s no reason to limit yourself to riches only in retirement.
- Don’t be average. Kylie didn’t stop with 101 ways to make extra money, she made 1001, and that’s part of what sparked the interest in the book deal.
You can buy Kylie’s new book, 365 Ways to Make Money: Ideas for Quick $ Every Day of the Year (Kindle version), on Amazon right now.
To see the full transcript, click show
PHILIP TAYLOR: Welcome to the Part-Time Money Podcast, Episode 17, Becoming a Part-Time Millionaire by 2015. I’m your host, Philip Taylor, creator of PT Money Personal Finance.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Part-Time Money Podcast is designed to help you discover new and interesting ways to make extra money and to learn the ins and outs of those money-making methods. Not from me, but from the people who are actually doing the work. Along the way hopefully you can pick up a few entrepreneurial skills to help you in whatever money-making pursuit you take on.
All right, we’re here today with Kylie Ofiu and Kylie is our first international interviewee on the podcast. She’s based out of Sydney, Australia. Kylie’s blog is at aspiringmillionaire.com or you can also find her at her website, kylieofiu.com. That’s k-y-l-i-e-o-f-i-u.com.
Kylie has one goal or — she has several goals but she has a very interesting goal, and that’s to become a millionaire in assets and cash by 2015. You might ask, “Is she employed?” No, she’s not employed; she’s actually a stay-at-home mom so it’ll be an interesting interview today I think to find out how she plans to get to that one million as a stay-at-home-mom. So welcome, Kylie.
KYLIE OFIU: Thank you.
PHILIP TAYLOR: My first question I always ask folks is, what inspired you to start making some part-time money? So I guess maybe for you what inspired you to even set this goal?
KYLIE OFIU: Well, it began with when we were looking in Canberra, my husband was working really long hours and we just never got to see him. There’d regularly be a whole working week where he wouldn’t see our daughters at all and I just grew tired of it. So I decided, “Well, there’s no reason I can’t be a millionaire.” I thought if I set an exact time limit and then I have a goal to work towards it’s more likely to happen than just saying, “Well I want to be a millionaire sometime.” I just started seeing what I could do to make money from home around my daughters and just went for it.
PHILIP TAYLOR: I see, so more time for your husband with his kids. That’s certainly a great goal.
KYLIE OFIU: Yeah.
PHILIP TAYLOR: So it’s just you at home all day with the kids right now?
KYLIE OFIU: Yeah.
PHILIP TAYLOR: OK and wow – you’re able to do all this from home. That’s amazing. So why a million dollars? Why was that number important, or why did you chose that number?
KYLIE OFIU: I just plucked it out of the air really. A lot of people want to be a millionaire and most of the homes where I was living before Sydney, a lot of them were heading towards the million dollar mark and we wanted to buy there and keep our house in Sydney and to do that we needed basically a million dollars, so that was the aim.
PHILIP TAYLOR: So is this million dollars – does this include your husband’s income?
KYLIE OFIU: It didn’t to start with, no. It was just whatever I could generate — and still that’s my preference, whatever I could generate myself on top of his income.
PHILIP TAYLOR: OK and you set this back in 2009, it was?
KYLIE OFIU: Yeah, just the beginning of 2009.
PHILIP TAYLOR: OK. So why so aggressive? Why not just say, “I’ll shoot for $10,000 or $100,000?” Why a million? That seems very aggressive for such a young person with limited time and I just wonder why you went for the big number like that.
KYLIE OFIU: Well, a lot of it has to do with my mom actually. My mom passed away when she was 37 and she didn’t get to do a lot of things – like she wanted to travel and that and she didn’t get to do most of that and I figured the one way to do it was to basically reach for the stars and provide that income for us, so that we could do anything so that if anything happened to either of us young it wouldn’t matter. We’d have the money there to support ourselves and still be able to do things.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Right. So you don’t want to be the richest person in the retirement home, you want to be the richest person while young, right?
KYLIE OFIU: Yes.
PHILIP TAYLOR: I like it. OK, so tell me about some of the part time opportunities or businesses you’re pursuing right now?
KYLIE OFIU: OK. Well, to start with, I’m a qualified hairdresser and beautician so I do that part time a bit, for friends and family that come over. I used to run that as a full-time business before but scaled back after I had my daughters. I also sell books secondhand; I buy things to resell either online or at a garage sale or just wherever. I sell opals to the American Embassy with my sister-in-law.
PHLIP TAYLOR: What’s that? Opals?
KYLIE OFIU: Opals, yeah. Her family has specialized in jewelry for about 70 years and she has a special contract with the American Embassy here in Canberra to go in and demonstrate opals and sell it to the diplomats that come over.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Oh, very cool.
KYLIE OFIU: Yeah. I do that with her when she needs me. I sell at market sometimes – just anything that comes up I sort of do.
PHILIP TAYLOR: I see. Which of these pursuits would you say might give you the best chance of reaching your goal?
KYLIE OFIU: Well currently, recently I got a really big opportunity through my blog, which I’ve been earning a little bit of money through, but I got contacted by John Wiley Australia who wanted to turn one of the posts I’d written into a book and the way that’s going and how much it’s already sold before it’s already even launched, it looks like that will probably be the biggest contributing factor to my millionaire goal.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Oh wow, OK. So let’s talk about that book. What’s the name of the book?
KYLIE OFIU: 365 Ways to Make Money.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Nice. Something for every day of the year.
KYLIE OFIU: Pretty much.
PHILIP TAYLOR: So you mentioned that the blog allowed you to write this book. Talk to me about that process; because Wiley is a big publisher, from what I understand, so how did your blog get connected to such a big publisher?
KYLIE OFIU: Well earlier this year, in March, they held the first Australian Blogging Conference. Blogging’s not as big here in Australia as what it appears to be in America and so a group of moms decided to put together a conference and I went to that. I had my name down on the list in October last year and the acquisitions editor happened to have a look at it, because bloggers can write pretty good stuff a lot of the time, and she found the name of my blog, Aspiring Millionaire, and thought it sounded interesting.
So she went on over to it and one of my top posts at the time was 1,001 Ways to Make Money and she saw that, read a little bit and then she went, “This has to be a book,” and contacted me straight away.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Well that’s great. A 1,001 Ways – so you had a post that covers 1,001 ways?
KYLIE OFIU: Yeah. It originated with when I first started looking at what ways I could make this million dollars and I thought, “Well, I’ll work out 101 ways to make money.” So I sat down and I wrote that down and then just more ideas kept coming so I thought, “Well, I’ll just shoot for 1,001 –why not?” Yeah, I did – I came up with 1,001 ways to make money.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Amazing. I’m sure you know my most popular post is 52 Ways to Make Money and it was all I could do to write those 52. So I’m amazed that you got to 1,001 so that’s pretty impressive.
KYLIE OFIU: Thanks.
PHILIP TAYLOR: But it’s also incredible that someone from Wiley – you mentioned the acquisition editor – saw your name, found your blog and they just contacted you straight up before the conference? Or during the conference?
KYLIE OFIU: Before the conference. She contacted me back in November. She sent an email to see if I would be interested in turning it into a book, then listed out what they would offer me and that sort of thing. I sat there looking at it when it first came because I thought, “Publishers just don’t contact you. You get rejected books before you get a contract,” and I was looking at it and I kept saying to my sister, “Do you think it’s a scam? Could this be a scam? They’re a real publishing house…” and she’s like, “No, I think they’re real.” So I just went with it and they were really excited.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Yeah, well that’s great. So they decided to whittle it down to 365?
KYLIE OFIU: Well originally though, they wanted to do the whole thing and then they’re like, “We want you to expand on each idea to make it a couple of paragraphs.” Then when they were looking at how thick that would be they were like, “Maybe we’ll just make it one for each day of the year to start with.”
PHILIP TAYLOR: Yeah.
KYLIE OFIU: Make it easier to read.
PHILIP TAYLOR: So how long did that take you?
KYLIE OFIU: It took about a month to – well it took a couple weeks for us to organize the contracts and that, and then when I actually started writing it took me about a month to get it all done. The actual whole process took between from when we signed the contracts to when it’s actually on shelves is about six to seven months.
PHILIP TAYLOR: OK, so that makes sense. I think you mentioned it’s coming out this July, right?
KYLIE OFIU: Yeah.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Wow – so many questions about this, but if you don’t mind talking about it, did they give you any type of stipend up front or kind of guaranteed money up front?
KYLIE OFIU: Like an advance? Yeah.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Yeah.
KYLIE OFIU: Yes, I got half the advance as soon as I signed the contract and the other half once the manuscript was handed in.
PHILIP TAYLOR: OK, do you mind telling me what that was?
KYLIE OFIU: It was really small.
PHILIP TAYLOR: OK.
KYLIE OFIU: It was only 2,000.
PHILIP TAYLOR: But it’s helping you move toward your one million dollar goal.
KYLIE OFIU: Well that’s it, and ultimately the advance that you get paid comes out of their royalties that they get paid later. So it just means that I’m going to get more money later instead of having the advance come out then.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Exactly. That’s right because you’re going to sell a million copies of this thing, right?
KYLIE OFIU: Hopefully.
PHILIP TAYLOR: So are they handling most of the distribution for you then?
KYLIE OFIU: Yeah, they’re doing pretty much everything. I don’t really have to do much at all. I just contacted some bloggers to see if they wanted to do reviews on it and that’s about it but everything else is done by them. They’ve got it into the bookstores and done it all.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Wow. So your book will be in – I don’t know the bookstores there in Australia – do you have a Borders bookstore?
KYLIE OFIU: We did until they went bankrupt so they’re not here anymore really.
PHILIP TAYLOR: OK.
KYLIE OFIU: So we’ve got Dymocks – Dymocks is our biggest bookstore which I guess would be like your Barnes &Noble – exact thing I guess.
PHILIP TAYLOR: OK, so it will be on the shelves there?
KYLIE OFIU: Yes.
PHILIP TAYLOR: That’s great. That’s fantastic.
KYLIE OFIU: Thank you.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Wow. So let’s talk a little bit about the – well first, will that be available in the United States at some point?
KYLIE OFIU: It will be. They said it will be available about two months after it comes out here, so towards the end of August, start of September it should be available on most of your bookstores like Barnes & Noble and I think there’s about 20 that they listed that it would be available in America.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Very cool. So did they give you any kind of projections in terms of how many sales they thought it could make?
KYLIE OFIU: Not really. Because at first they were just aiming it towards the Australian market so they said it wouldn’t sell as much as a lot of the best sellers and stuff in America. But once we started getting more interest from America they were like, “oh we think it’s going to sell a lot more” than they originally expected.
PHILIP TAYLOR: So did you have to pull out some of the Aussie-related ideas?
KYLIE OFIU: Most of the ideas are for anyone, that can be done pretty much anywhere.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Globally.
KYLIE OFIU: Yeah. A lot of it was stuff that could be done by anyone so it didn’t matter that it’s got Australian money on the book or the cover or anything like that. It was just for everyone.
PHILIP TAYLOR: OK. All right, very cool and in terms of the eBook sales, do you think that’s going to be a big part of it? Were they big on that being a big piece of this?
KYLIE OFIU: They weren’t so much; but I do think that the eBooks will probably be more sales than the actual book because most people have Kindles now and that’s the easiest way to sort of just download, and it’s easier to hold a Kindle on a train or a public transport than an actual book.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Right. Yeah, so your book’s actually already available in the Kindle, right?
KYLIE OFIU: Yeah, I think so. It wasn’t meant to be, I didn’t think, but when I looked on Amazon it was up there.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Not bad – very cool. So, going forward, are they going to do the marketing for the book for you? I think you said you’re going to do some guest posting but were they going to do any marketing for you?
KYLIE OFIU: Not a lot. They’re doing a little bit like they’re doing press releases and that basically, and they contacted all the bookstores around to sort of offer interviews and things like that and some magazines and that. So they’ve done a bit. But they said that the biggest marketing now is actually through social media so it sort of falls back to the author to do it themselves through Twitter and Facebook and their own blog (unintelligible-14:21).
PHILIP TAYLOR: Very cool. And podcasts, right?
KYLIE OFIU: Yeah, that’s right.
PHILIP TAYLOR: OK so, this is great. Let’s see – did you ever think you’d write a book?
KYLIE OFIU: I always kind of hoped I would, even as a teenager and stuff I thought it would be so cool to be an author but I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly or without doing it all myself first or writing a manuscript first.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Right.
KYLIE OFIU: It wasn’t in my immediate sort of thoughts.
PHILIP TAYLOR: OK, so backing up kind of to all of your part-time opportunities are you still doing some hairdressing? Selling some things? Working with the family business? You still doing those things?
KYLIE OFIU: Yeah, I still do everything.
PHILIP TAYLOR: OK and why sort of focus on a handful of things versus – and even the concept of your book is 365 Ways to Make Money – why focus on several ideas like that, versus putting all your passion and energy into one specific idea?
KYLIE OFIU: I guess it’s kind of like diversifying your assets. I always wanted to create like a few different income revenue streams. Ultimately I’d like them to be passive but at the moment because they can’t be I thought, “Well at different times of the day I can do different things.” So that’s why I decided to do various ones.
PHILIP TAYLOR: OK, I see. That makes sense. I like diversity. Are you keeping a record of your progress toward this one million?
KYLIE OFIU: Sort of. I was keeping it better before we moved and we’ve been renovating and that sort of thing. But yeah, I try to keep track of where I’m up to.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Is there a place on your blog in particular right now where people can see that?
KYLIE OFIU: There’s not, because not long ago I had some privacy concerns with some people talking to me and that sort of thing so I had to…
PHILIP TAYLOR: That’s understandable.
KYLIE OFIU: (unintelligible-16:35)
PHILIP TAYLOR: OK, but it’s a still a goal for you and you’re still working toward it?
KYLIE OFIU: Yes and I’ll definitely announce it when I reach it.
PHILIP TAYLOR: OK. I understand you have two children as well, three and under right?
KYLIE OFIU: Yeah, a two-year-old and a three-year-old.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Talk to me about how you make time for a lot of these projects even though you have two young kids.
KYLIE OFIU: I’m actually really lucky, but my kids are quite happy and easy going and they sleep really well, too. So often, I can get up in the morning when my husband goes to work which is about 4:30 a.m. and my daughters don’t usually get up until 7:00 or 8:00 a.m. So I can do things in the morning before they get up, on line and then when they are up they’re happy to do a lot of their own things and play outside so I can still do clients like hairdressing or whatever around them.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Good. I would imagine the hairdresser thing sort of works out with you – just people coming over to the house – it’s family and stuff.
KYLIE OFIU: Yeah.
PHILIP TAYLOR: That’s cool. Well, I’m definitely excited for you with your book and I’m also excited that you’ll be coming and sharing your sort of blog-to-book story with those attendees that are coming to the Financial Blogger Conference I’m putting on in Chicago in the fall.
KYLIE OFIU: I’m looking forward to that.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Yeah, thanks for submitting your idea to speak on this topic and I’m looking forward to hearing your skills and strategies in more detail as you bring that to the conference.
KYLIE OFIU: Sure.
PHILIP TAYLOR: How can folks get a hold of you and/or see more about you and your book and your blog?
KYLIE OFIU: They can either visit either of my websites, aspiringmillionaire.com or kylieofiu.com, or otherwise I can be contacted on Twitter or Facebook which is both under Kylie Ofiu.
PHILIP TAYLOR: OK.
KYLIE OFIU: My email details and that are on there too.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Very cool. Any last tips for anyone out there wanting to make some part-time money?
KYLIE OFIU: Just go for it. See what’s available and think outside the box.
PHILIP TAYLOR: Good advice. All right, Kylie. Thanks so much for being on with me today and good luck with the book. I look forward to seeing how well it does for you…
KYLIE OFIU: Thank you.
PHILIP TAYLOR: …and congratulations on getting that deal and thanks so much for offering to come out to Chicago to speak and share this story as well then.
KYLIE OFIU: Thank you for having me.
PHILIP TAYLOR: I look forward to seeing you then.
KYLIE OFIU: All right. Thank you.
PHILIP TAYLOR: All right, thanks.
KYLIE OFIU: Bye.
PHILIP TAYLOR: That does it for this week’s episode. Thanks so much for listening. You can find more episodes at ptmoney.com on iTunes under the Part-Time Money Podcast. See you guys next week.