Today I have the pleasure of speaking to Sam from Games Like Finder.com which is a curated video game recommendation database where you can discover new games based on what you’re currently into.
What I absolutely love about Sam’s story is he took a passion and turned it into an online business that helps out over 10 million gamers and generates up to an astonishing $4K a month in profit.
Some of the topics we cover:
- How Sam came up with the idea for gameslikefinder.com
- What were the steps from inception into a product
- How does Games Finder make its money
- How much does Games Finder make
- How much time do you put in each month to keep it running
- Tax benefits of having an online business
- Sam’s advice for anyone thinking about turning their passion into a side hustle
Aussie FireBug: Hey, Sam, welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for coming on.
Sam: Pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me.
Aussie FireBug: Now we’re going to be chatting about how you turned a passion into an online side hustle that is helping you on your journey towards financial independence for those out there who don’t know who you are. Can you just give a brief overview of who you are and where you’re from?
Sam: Sure. So I’m based down in South Australia. I’m 28 years old, obviously on the path to financial independence. Always been a passionate gamer. Little stint in a competitive gaming as well. When I was younger, which I quite enjoyed forcing, was born a little too early to turn that into a career. But I’ve turned it into sort of a side, hustle through the games, find a website that I that I run know us.
Aussie FireBug: Now I have to ask because I wasn’t a I wasn’t a competitive game. But, you know, I’ve played my fair share of guys back in the day. What games were you a competitive gamer in, Sam?
Sam: Yep, definitely. So started call of duty, you know, offensive, which was the very first call of duty and the expansion pack for that. So I played for a few clans there on it was actually a competitive ladder run by Telstra. Believe it or not, it was called Game Arena. Not around anymore, but that was probably my main competitive stint. Also, I had brief stints in League of Legends and Fortnight, but definitely was not as successful there, given I was in full time work by that point, so I didn’t quite have the time to keep up with the young kids that are around these days.
Aussie FireBug: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, I get I keep keep flashing back to my 16 year old self. I think that a lot of people at their listening that has played Call of Duty because it’s such a big franchise. So I’m sure that a lot of people have it has played. I’m sure everyone’s got that guy or girl in their group. That’s pretty good at call of duty. How does one actually go? I’m just genuinely, genuinely curious. How did how do you get into competitive gaming or similar competitive gaming back in the day? And how does it all work? You get paid for it. You go to an arena. Had you go to get a certain score to get into the clan, it just. Can you give us a bit of an insight into that world?
Sam: Yeah, sure. God takes me back is nearly 10 years ago now. I guess at that time there was very few competitions around it. Like I mentioned, though, Telstra was running a a game ladder. I think it had about 20 teams. So it was the top Australian league, if you will, for college, Judy, at the time. And it was simply a matter of, you know, I was playing regularly every day, constantly coming the top of service team. Team Deathmatch was the popular mode. And, you know, you just start connecting with a few of the better players. You know, you get invited to try out for a few clans. Some of them were local as well. So I’d made up with them, maybe do a few LAN events and stuff. But as far as payment, there was not really much was very much a you can call yourself a competitive gamer and hey, maybe you know, if if we win, will shout some pizza or something. But it was definitely by no means a career at that point. I was just born too early.
Aussie FireBug: Yeah. ‘Cause we’re talking ten years ago. So yeah. I used to play on a bit of a nerd myself, although I haven’t played as much as I’d like to just in the recent years, but I used to play Starcraft.Starcraft was my jam and when Starcraft 2 come out I’d always I play that ridiculous amount whilst uni. I got up and went all the way up to the masters level, which is for anyone out there and I don’t know how many people will know because this is such a nerd tool, but it was the top 2 percent of the server. I believe there was only one other league above that which was Grandmaster, which was the top two people people of the server. And I my biggest achievement in my games life is I beat a grandmaster once upon a time and I beat him by doing a zerg rush, believe it or not. And it was a bit more sophisticated than a 6 pool, but it was like still a rush. The competitive game scene back then 10 or so years ago, it was nothing like it is today.Sometimes it comes across my YouTube of the Starcraft tournaments and these, you know, the WOW tournament and stuff. And they just it’s like 40000 people or something in an arena. And the prize money is like millions of dollars. It’s just insanity.
Sam: Yeah, it just did not exist back then, you know? Yeah, I said million dollar prize pools in tournament’s huge stadium, huge fans. You can be a twitch streamer on the side making thousands of dollars a day. Just people watching your skills. And that just didn’t exist back then. It was solely just doing it for the fun of it. And if you made some money on the side through, you know, some small tournaments, that was that was great. But there was no path for. Take that as a career as there is now, definitely a little jealous here.
Aussie FireBug: But now this is a nice Segway into my next question, because what I love about the Internet is it opens doors that previously didn’t exist. Now, what I love about your story, the reason that you’re on this podcast is because you took a passion and you turn that into a side hustle. So you started an impressive online company that has helped over 10 million gamers and now has grown to include its own staff. Can you give a brief overview of to what Games Finder is?
Sam: Definitely can. So at its heart, I guess games find as a video game recommendation website where basically I take a popular game. So maybe fortnight because that’s probably one the most people listening might have heard of before. And I’ll go out and I’ll curate a list of similar games to 8:56. I’ll say, hey, you know what? If you want something a bit more realistic, try this one. If you want something for mobile. Try this one if you want something with swords or magic or something. Try this one. But it’s similar to fortnight. I’ll pull them together. List what platforms it’s available on. Is it phrase not free where you can buy it? Some general information, some screenshots, some videos. Put it all in that one place and basically serve that to visitors, primarily through Google traffic. People are searching for these things and I’m simply delivering what they’re after.
Aussie FireBug: Awesome. Awesome. So it’s a Web site. So it’s a curated list. Games on it on its own website. So how did you what was the idea behind Games Finder and how how is it born? Was this something that you personally wanted that didn’t exist? The marketplace didn’t have a product like this. And you said, I really want it. A lot of my friends wanted it. So you just when it created it, can you just walk us through the steps or outcome?
Sam: you’ve hit the nail on the head. It was exactly 10 years ago. Like 8 or 7 when I started, it was looking around for similar games. I can’t remember the game, but I just I just couldn’t find the information I wanted. It was frustrating to me. And I just decided, you know what? There’s got to be that famous line. There’s gotta to be a better way, you know? And so I created that better way. Industries moved a lot in those years. There’s now things like, you know, I even read it has blown up. So it’s easy to find these things. Steam, which is a PC game store now makes it very easy to do this stuff as well. But it just didn’t exist when I started. And I just love the concept of because how often you know, when I’m talking to friends who play games like are I really love X game? What else will I like? And that’s just why the concept started.
Aussie FireBug: How many times and people are out there listening. I’m sure this happens all the time with a group of friends. And you come up with an idea and you say this is like, why doesn’t this exist? And it could be absolutely anything. It can be, you know, in the gaming industry. A Web site, if you’re into snowboarding, could be, you know, one of the best places to drink beer at The Snowy Mountains, specifically in Australia. It could be about fishing. It could be whatever you want it to be. But what I’ve found is a lot of people talk about it, but they don’t actually take the steps to make it the product. So can you talk a little bit about your friends talking about this product that they wanted and yourself? You know, Salik didn’t exist and you wanted it to exist. How did you go from inception into actually something online? Can you walk us through the steps there and how you actually grew the business to where it’s at today?
Sam: So probably go. It’s probably a bit of a long story, but important to take people on this journey.
Aussie FireBug: We’ve got to on that wave. Excellent.
Sam: So even though I started Games Finder in 2013, I actually had the seeds of making money online. Back when I was in high school, probably 16, 17, 2007, 2008, I was in high school, part time job, playing video games, playing soccer on the weekend, pretty regular kid. And I started searching for ways to make money online. I came across a Web site where you could write articles and get paid. I no longer exist anymore. It was cold squid, squid to squid and then two O’s. It’s a strange name.
Aussie FireBug: I would put in the show notes. But you said it’s non existent
Sam: No, it’s not. Does not exist anymore. Unfortunately, risk you take when you use someone else’s platform, I guess. But basically was the user generated content website. So they gave you all the tools where you could publish a web page and they would share revenue that that page generated from ads. I think it was it was fifty fifty your or close to that. You know me being a 16, 17 year old thinking yeah, I’m as good a writer as anyone else, I can give this a crack and put up three or four gaming articles. And I remember making my first eight cents in. I was probably the first six months, I think I made eight cents. So I didn’t didn’t really pan out. But what an eight cents. Oh well it was eight US cents. So by the time I voted, it was like fifteen cents.
Aussie FireBug: So that’s a decent amount at the tuck shop as a six. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Sam: Oh absolutely. I don’t actually I don’t actually think you can even buy a lolly.This is in a back in my day story unfortunately.But you know I basically left it. I did nothing with it. But then six months later I got a ten dollar amount because one of my articles that got popular and Google got a few visits, whatever. And that’s sort of when that light bulb moment hit that, you know, I wrote four articles, didn’t really know what I was doing. Imagine if I wrote 40 articles and I knew what I was doing and how that sort of snowball can start.So I actually did that for about five years, doing random gaming articles, a few other bits and pieces hit and miss. I was I was learning, but I was I would make that a thousand dollars a month at the peak of that, which I was in. You need at that point. So obviously a nice little uni go out, have a drink or something like a fund.
Aussie FireBug: That’s big, big being on $8000 a month. Yes. Is pretty epic. You.
Sam: It was. It was. Yeah. Yeah. I even I even quit my part time job in my last year of uni. Cause I was I figured I could grow this. But then just after I finished uni I had the idea for games funding which we just talked about before. So I decided I want to go ahead and create that. Obviously, I had a bit of a background to work from which helped. So I created a WordPress site. I’m not sure what you host your blog on.
Aussie FireBug: Yeah, WordPress as well.
Sam: Yep. Had you had you find that pretty pretty simple to set up?
Aussie FireBug: It’s it’s very simple. I tell people all the time. You know, if you want to get something online, you can literally set it up without any technical knowledge whatsoever. You can watch if you eat your videos, follow me, go out and you can be online in about an hour. I think fully domain name registered hosting everything. It’s the Internet’s crazy. Yeah. The doors that it opens is just more people need to know about stuff like this, which is, you know, your story is a great example of it.
Sam Yeah, absolutely. They say, yeah, I set up a WordPress site seven years ago. It was a bit more technical, but it’s extremely easy these days. There’s hundreds like had hundreds of videos, hundreds of articles. So I reckon for about one hundred dollars, I had a year’s worth of Web site hosting a domain. I even got a premium WordPress theme, which is just those changes, how things look. And I just started doing some basic modifications. I don’t have a coding background by any means, but I learned to be in school about h._t._m._l C SS, so I was able to change some basics. Even if I didn’t have that knowledge, I would have been fine to go. It was more, you know, I’m a bit pedantic about things, so I want them to look a certain way. And then I just started writing. I was writing so much I just finished uni so I didn’t have a wasn’t working full time or anything yet. So I was just writing and writing and writing probably took three or six months before I had enough content up there to where I was getting some trafficking. And then, you know, I was just getting one visit a day and five visits a day, then ten, hundreds, thousands. I started reinvesting in people to write content for me. I hired a developer to create some features that I thought would be good that well beyond my expertise. And I just that snowball just kept on going.
Aussie FireBug: Love. Love that story. So, you know, there’s a famous saying, I can’t remember which movie it’s from, but build it and they will come. Is it Field of Dreams or something? I can’t remember. I have found and I’ve got my own blog, but I’ve also there’s a few other Web sites that I’ve done in the past and build it and they will come is actually a terrible analogy I’ve found. For if you want your website to get traffic, that is not how it works. If you’re trying to build an online business, I don’t know if you if you’ve had the same experience that I’ve had that you really need to get your content is king. I’m curious to get your opinion on this, but you said, you know, a lot of your traffic was driven by Google. What strategies did you implement to ensure that this this new product that you created was going to get that traffic and people were going to actually read the content that you’d spent hours and hours writing?
Sam: Yep, it’s a definitely a good question. So when I was writing for the scritti website, I picked up a lot of tips and tricks. I’d recommend people search up. That’s basically called keyword research. So there’s a number of tools. Google even has their own where you can type in a key word or phrase and it’ll say, hey, this this phrase gets searched 40 times a month or 50 times a month or 100 times a month or, you know, hundreds of thousands of times a month. The most popular. So what I started doing was I’d go in there and I’d say, all right, well, I’m writing about games like let’s games like fortnight. All right. That get searched 500 times a month. I’m going to write an article on that. I might check out the Google search results and go, you know, 500 people a month of searching for this, but all these results are actually terrible. So if I’m building something good, Google is actually pretty good at figuring out what’s good and what’s not good these days. So as long as you’re writing for something that has demand, you usually can get rewarded for that.
Aussie FireBug: Absolutely. And is it was it any other. Was Google your main traffic generator or is there any other sources that you pull from that bringing significant traffic?
Sam: I definitely get a bit from being as well. Bing presently brings in a bit.
Aussie FireBug: Really?
I don’t get a lot of social traffic. And part of the reason for that is choice. I didn’t want the building a social following building.You know all this work that comes with social. I decided that’s not for me. That’s not something I’m good at or interested in. So I completely honestly ignored that side completely. I want to start off the website. I did get some traffic from YouTube. I actually had a semi-successful YouTube channel at the time I started this as well. So I was using that to funnel a bit of traffic like I was doing a lot of legal legends, game, common commentary and stuff. So I made a few league legends, guides and stuff, put them on the website, built-up bit of traffic like that But otherwise, yeah, it’s completely Google.
Aussie FireBug: So you build this product, built this website to serve a need that you and your friends wanted. But the power of the internet, you can now host this web site and unlimited or the whole world can benefit from what you’ve built.Now, obviously, you mentioned that, you know, it was only $100 to have the hosting and the domain name and everything like that. Yeah, that is only suited for, you know, low traffic in a smallish website. Imagine that Games Finder has now grown to be a lot, cost a lot more than the initial hundred dollars. So obviously and this is another. This is the power of an online company. Is it you can you can start small and if your product isn’t good and it fails, that’s fine because you’ve only lost the time that you’ve put into it. You haven’t actually lost, you know, tens of thousands of dollars like you would with a traditional business if you had to buy a shop or buy inventory and store that in a warehouse and so on and so on.
Sam: So, yeah, absolutely.
Aussie FireBug: So obviously, you’ve scaled up to a point now where you’ve you know, we’ve mentioned you’ve helped 10 million gamers. How does games find to actually make its money to keep that show running?
Sam: Yep, definitely. I might just touch on. Yeah. As you said, the expenses have grown as well. So it’s darn common for me to spend thousands of dollars a year now on games, find out between hosting and premium WordPress benefits and develop a time and you know it. I was able to stop essentially risk free for 100 dollars. If I hadn’t worked out, I could have just walked away. So I definitely agree with your point there. As far as how games find to makes money. Pretty standard. So like most websites, anyone that goes on without an adblock activated will say some typical banner advertising there probably makes up about a quarter of total revenue. Just because gaming doesn’t pay a lot for advertisers don’t pay a lot for gaming. Gaming websites and I find that a lot of my users run adblock software probably because their game is there on the computer a lot or they’re a bit more tech savvy. So they run an ad blocking and that’s fine. I also run one, so I’m not going to be a hypocrite here.That’s that’s fine. I try to implement them tastefully, but if you don’t want to see them, that’s fine. So the other 75 percent is actually made up of affiliate revenue. So it’s from a few sources, but from, I guess, largest to smallest. I work with directly with a few game publishers, mostly for free to play games where I receive a revenue share, usually between 20 and 50 percent of any in-game purchase plays. Mike. So if you have a saying the in-app purchases on these free to play games, spend $10 and get a nice looking hat or something, I’ll get a cut from that.
Aussie FireBug: That that that’s very interesting to me. So because Aussie fly about also makes money from affiliate relationships and I actually have ads, but it’s ads on this podcast because I don’t know how many people out there know about the podcast is actually more popular than the blog. Believe it or not, and I actually don’t run ads on my website. Aussie firebug because like you, I thought I just didn’t know how much. I didn’t think it it’s gonna be worth it. Like how many people run or ran adblock compared to the absolutely minuscule amount of money that you get for putting ads onto your site. And I think I’ve read a few statistics to say it actually it hinders more than it helps depending on obviously how many page views you get. But that’s interesting for me to hear that still 25 percent of revenue, that’s still a lot of money. So yeah, there must be a decent amount of game is not running adblock, which is good for you. But my question was, so someone comes to games finder a dot com and they click on a game so they know like there’s a special link, is it, and then the gaming company know that it’s been that traffic has been sent by you. And then if that person, which they somehow still know is playing that game makes an in-game purchase, you get a cut of that revenue that roughly if I got it right there.
Sam: Yep. Exactly. That’s so unique. Your URL that I send them to somehow and the background I’m I’m not that tech savvy, but yeah. They attach that person to my account for the for the rest of their life. Some of them, some of them for the rest of like some of them it’s only purchases in 12 months or something. The ones I work with were rest of their life is actually obviously very attractive. But I also like the model because in my mind you’re not paying for a game unless you’re actually enjoying it. So it actually means I’m actually making more money by recommending good games, which which is what I really like about that revenue model and that’s no cost to them. It’s probably my preferred revenue model and the one that’s the most successful for me.
Aussie FireBug: Yeah, for sure. I agree with you as well. If you’re recommending a company that you’ve used or that you’re currently using is a lot easier to get someone to discard through an affiliate link or something and everyone wins in that situation, I feel.But also advertising a lot of. So let’s make money that way as well. Can we talk now about how much? So when you first started and Games Fund has been running now for, what, seven years? So how much was how much did games find to make at the start? And how has that growth. What’s that growth been like over the seven years that has been running? And how much are you guys making today?
Aussie FireBug: Yep. Sure.
Sam: So I’ll probably tackle how much I’m making today. First, we might as well put that out there first. Sure. So at the moment I’m making about three thousand to four thousand dollars a month in Australian dollars.I get paid in both US euro and Australian. So I have a lot of fun watching the currencies, but it’s about that on average. The first year I was probably making after about a year, probably making three hundred, four hundred, maybe five hundred a month and sort of every year since then I’ve been adding $500 a month. That’s sort of the growth. So every twelve months at $500 a month and that gets me to basically where I am now. So it’s been pretty steady and consistent throughout.
Aussie FireBug: Awesome. And is the say you currently work a full time job and this is your side hustle at the moment. Is that right?
Sam: Yes. Yep, that’s correct.
Aussie FireBug: Is the dream to eventually have gains? Want to grow into enough income that you’ll be able to quit your job?
Sam: I’m honestly not sure about that. It’s got the potential I think it has the potential would ever want to do that. Maybe as a later on, I you know, I’ve reached my FBI number or something and I decide to step away and do the website but I’m not sure I would want to make it my full time job. I just think it’s I mean, I enjoy the career I’m in now. I don’t hate it. The fire community, I’m definitely more FI than RE. I really enjoy my career. I just like to do this as a side hustle. And then sometimes I wonder if I did at full time what I enjoyed as much. So I’m honestly on the fence. I’m not sure which direction I’ll go.
Aussie FireBug: I really like that answer because I think that. It’s different having a side hustle and site that you passionate about. It’s different to if you turn that into a full time job. And I guess this is why I like fire so important that you can do. You can pursue your hobbies and dreams and your passions without being forced to rely on them for a living. And it’s so much more enjoyable when you don’t have to earn money from whatever you’re doing. As a passion or a hobby. So, yeah, I think that if you’re doing it as a side hustle and it’s you know, it’s earning pretty unbelievable amounts of money and you’re enjoying it. You know why would you change anything? We discussed a little bit before this podcast. We’re just chatting about the potential tax benefits of owning a company. Can you tell the audience how being the founder of Games Finder has been tax efficient in your circumstances?
Sam: Sure. So, yeah, one of the best parts about having the side hustle for me because it’s also my hobby is the way I’ve been out to maximize some benefits around Taxes.I’ll slip in the general advice disclaimer here, not tax advice. Seek your own advice.I myself use a qualified accountant would recommend it.
Aussie FireBug: Well, my tax returns are a bit complicated because of the trust. Once I once I clean up, once I get sell the properties and everything’s through the ETF and just shares the plan, eventually long term for us, I’ll do it myself. But at the moment, just because it’s a bit more complicated and I just couldn’t. On the other side of the world traveling around it was it’s easier to hire a professional, but eventually I’d like to think I’d get down to control myself.
Sam: Yeah. I’m sure you like get the hang of it once you simplify things a bit.So for me, though, because of, say, my hobby is gaming, so new video games come out. I would love to buy them. And the benefit of having a website that reviews games is if I did buy that video game and decide to review it. That’s tax deductible. That was that’s a business expense. So I have that benefit of things I may have bought anyway can become a tax deduction. There’s also little things such as electricity, internet, computer upgrades. There’s some portioning between private and business use for those, but there’s still some benefit to be realized. And at the end of the day, it’s just I’ve turned a hobby into profit and then just getting even a little bit extra out of it by shifting some expenses to a tax deductible state. So I’m saving, you know, 30 percent or thirty seven, whatever the tax rate is, I’m saving that from.
Aussie FireBug: How many does any 16 year olds listening to this that are just online right now starting up their own company so they can get tax guidance? So do you have an ABN or is it the actual company?
Sam: I do have a ABN. So it’s a it gets a bit complex.I used to run it as a sole trader and these days I run it. I run I actually run it through a trust. So my taxes are getting complex. That’s what the accounting is for. So, yeah, it’s evolved over time.
Aussie FireBug: Say, I wonder, the reason I ask is because an ABN doesn’t really cost much to stop. I think it’s what, like 100 bucks or something. You can register a business name for like 100 bucks or close to that.
Sam: Yeah. So I think the ABN actually might even be free. So I don’t think it’s any cost for the ABN. I think the business name part has a cost, though. But don’t quote me on that.
Aussie FireBug: Yeah, maybe I’ll look that up by putting the show to it. But the reason I bring it up is because like I wonder how the ATO look.Imagine if 10000 kids just created an ABN and just created a website for like 90 bucks and said that they were doing this gaming website and they just put an absolute shit load of games and laptops and everything and just started claiming everything on tax like is that. I’m sure there’s an account and yet they’re listening like shaking his head or her head and say, no, that’s not how it works. Not imagine that’s not how it works. But I wondered if, you know, there’s some something that I could do there. But yeah, I’m sure there’s there’s checks and balances that the ATO do to stop that from happening.
Sam: Yeah, I’m sure there is. I think probably when it comes down to is I mean, I’m not an expert in the tax side of things, but you would need revenue to offset that. I don’t think you can start a business by ten twenty thousand dollars in losses, made no money and bought all this stuff and tax deduct that. I’m pretty sure that that’s why you’d probably get caught up.
Aussie FireBug: Yeah, that’s interesting. I’ve been not speaking about this anymore. This is definitely going into specific tax, but it’s interesting. But your circumstances it’s 100 percent legit and I really think that such a thing it’s such a cool little benefit of this business that you’ve created. Like it’s in a niche that you absolutely love and you have the passion. You know, you with a semi, say, my professional gamer, everything like that. And you’ve you’ve taken that passion and you’ve turned it into a profit. I think it’s a really cool story. Now, switching gears a little bit. You’re into the FIRE movement. When did you discover fire? And why is it so important to you?
Sam: Sure. So I discovered fire. Probably. Probably just after I launched games finder. So I didn’t stop getting signed up because I wanted it to contribute to my fire journey. I would say worked out quite well that that is doing that. But that’s not why I started it. I think like most well, maybe not most people, but at least a subset of people listening to this. I was a saver my entire life. Never really understood what I was saving for or why I was saving. I was just really good at it. Discovered Mr. Money Mustache. It was either through a friend or through read. It just absolutely devoured that that blog in a short span of time realized that savings could give me just greater freedom in life and choice, which is something I’ve always valued because I have always viewed money as this limiting thing in life where it definitely doesn’t buy happiness, but it removes so much stress from your life having finances sorted.And I think and I think that just comes from, you know, you grow up. What do you see adults worrying about? They’re always worrying about money. Maybe they’re fighting about money. You hear on the news people struggling. And to just remove that stress from life is so empowering. I think that’s what attracted me to fire.
Aussie FireBug: Absolutely, man. I think. I think there’s a statistic out there. It’s like the second highest reason for divorce. I think in America, the study was full. It was money issues or financial problems. So it’s definitely like you said, it’s not.It’s real funny one, because when you explain it to people, especially being a notorious, tight ass my whole life, it’s like explaining to people that it’s not actually. I don’t actually love money. I just I like what it can do for my life. Like, it’s not like I want to be the richest man in the graveyard. But what I want to be able to do is do what I want when I want and not have to rock up to a job that I originally locked in.Now that I don’t like or I work for a boss, it’s it’s a bit of a prick. Something like that, sir. Money doesn’t buy happiness. It’s technically true. I think this is 50 Shades of Grey in between that statement anyway.
Sam: Yeah, I absolutely agree. I was actually in a job that I didn’t like very much and that was definitely a motivator as well. My first job at a unit was, you know, it was stressful and I always thought, well, what’s a better way? And that that definitely encouraged me to really buckle down into it for sure.
Aussie FireBug: Very similar. Like a lot of stuff that you’ve mentioned, especially just being a good say that and not knowing why. Like, I definitely went through that and I can relate 100 percent to that. I said, yes, save up all this money and then sort of blow it.Not when I say all this money, you know, it’s laughable how much it was now, But back then it’s like. Yes, I saved all this money and I was like, well, what’s the point of having all this money? I don’t like I better spend it on something and I’ll just buy new clothes or something. And then I thought, well, I’m not even, you know, that was good. But now I got no money. It was just such a odd thing.So, yeah, it’s such a classic light bulb going off when you discover financial independence and there’s people like Mr. Money Mustache. He’s just such a such a oracle, you know, in the fly space that he’s actually living proof that it works. And you can actually pull back from a full time job and go in to pursue your passions, your hobbies and stuff that you like doing at such a young age. So I really think that’s a cool. A cool door to open in your brain. And it really. Yeah. Light bulb definitely went off for me. Which it sounds like it went off for you as well.
Sam: Yes, it absolutely did. And I mean five, six years ago when I discovered it, he was probably only one of the few that were out there. And it’s been really enjoyable to see the Australian community build up. You know, we’ve got subreddits. The community. Yeah. Exactly. You know, I see it in the news every now and then. So you’ve you’ve got the podcast. I see. You’ve got your Facebook group, which I which I joined today. It’s you know, it’s. Yeah. It’s just been really nice to to see that growth and hopefully it continues.
Aussie FireBug: Yes. Shout to Aussie fire bug facebook. It’s think we’re at like three, three, three and a half like three thousand seven hundred members. It’s got more members than people like on my own Facebook page. It hasn’t like guys in my Facebook group like the page at least. Come on.
Sam: I’m guilty
Aussie FireBug: I’d be expecting a like within the next hour. So does how does having a side house a lot games, fun games find a play into your FIRE planes or does it not really play into it at all?
Sam: I mean, like I said, I didn’t start it with that intention, which is which is probably a big bonus. I didn’t start it for the monetary reasons. But now that I’m into fire and it’s come along, it’s obviously become a huge part of my plan. There’s probably this probably three ways that it’s helped. The first one is reducing expenses. So we talked about the tax benefits already. That’s obviously a nice little boost. But another part of that is I’ve I’ve probably received thousands maybe maybe even tens of thousands of dollars worth of free video games either sent directly to me or just asking the publishers, hey, I really like this game, can I play it? And that alone has saved me that much, because if I didn’t have games finder, I’d definitely been paying for those games and playing them. I have not had to do that. That is a huge cost reduction.
Aussie FireBug: Yeah, that’s that’s such a such a bonus, isn’t it? I don’t know. You know, the YouTuber marquis brown or something on YouTube that the guy aren’t tech, the tech reviews. I’m probably saying his name wrong.Oh, my God. Like when he first started, he was buying everything himself. I’m pretty sure because his channels and sponsored. And I used to think, how much money is this kid dropping on all these new gadgets? But now, like, yeah, he gets laptops, cameras, smart phones just thrown at him because he’s videos get 10 million views, you know so like all the manufacturers want their product to be reviewed by him just to get it get that exposure out there, which is such a cool thing. I don’t get too many free things, like there’s a couple of services that I have partnerships with, but it’s not as lucrative. Definitely in that regard is something like Games Finder. Jealous!
Sam: You’ll get that. I’m not sure what financial product you’d get for free, but I’m sure we can find one for you.
Aussie FireBug: I need I need some. Any financial companies are listening. Feel free to throw some products my way.
Sam: Hey, all you have to do is ask. That’s that’s what I do. I just ask and I say, hey, I’ve got this Web site. If you’re interested, send me some keys. I usually ask for a few for my friends as well. You know, you got to test it out properly. Yeah, it’s it’s definitely saved a lot of money.
Aussie FireBug: Yeah, definitely. And that is such a important thing to just ask the question. Because what’s the worst they can say is no. And then you’re back to the same situation you were at before. So could not agree any more. Definitely need to ask.
Sam: And then the second part, I think I said three ways. So we’ll go to number two is obviously the income side we can’t ignore. You know, I said three to four grand per month that the website is making. That can make a tremendous difference over the long term. You know, am seven years in. So I wasn’t always making this much, but that’s where I am now. Might be higher in the future, even if it stays at this level. That’s all going straight to investments. I just treat it as money that it’s it’s not my money. I just I just invest it. All the money the website makes. I’ll say there’s expenses, but anything left over is just a striaght into Vanguard.
Aussie FireBug: Such a bonus. The fact that you can do it for whatever reason that you can do it, if something happened at your job job or something like that, you’ve got another source of income coming in and like you’ve already got investment. So that’s another. You’ve got just off the top. I had three sources of income coming in and you might have more. Which is such a powerful concept of, you know, growing this snowball from from attacking it from multiple places. Obviously, most people listening will have the primary source of income, which is the job each or you trade your time for money. That’s obviously gonna be a big one. But building these little streams of income, I think is a such a a way to supercharge your way to fire that doesn’t get as much attention as the other things, like arguing between what’s better, A200 or VAS, which is such a miniscule as such a miniscule difference between those products anyway that this side hustle and making money online. That’s definitely my preference. A can really, really speed things up. And yet I keep harping on about a bit if more people knew the possibilities. I think you could shave years off your retirement date for sure
Sam: It easily and I mean, I would say I’ve been quite successful now at the level I’m at. But even when I was at the $500 a month phase, you. That’s amazing. That’s an extra. Sure. And I’m investing a year one grand , 12 grand a year and that’s just straight to investments. You you you lived without it. So there’s no reason to spend it. Just get it into investments, you know? And that adds up.
Aussie FireBug: And it’s it’s something that you can grow as well as like a little baby. You can nurture, you know, and it’s there. It’s, you know, making money online once as soon as you start. It seems like you get your first $10 or $100. Like you said, the light bulb go goes off and this is just a whole another world where you can potentially make money and this I feel, can play into the retirement part of a lot of people’s flight plans that if they have something, a little side hustle to fall back on each drastically, drastically reduces their reliance on the portfolio come post retirement, even if you have enough in your portfolio. Let’s say that the market crashes and burns like it is at the moment It’s going down at an alarming rate. If you’ve got that that side hustle and that income that’s been made online, you are going to sleep a lot easier than if you’re you’re relying solely on the portfolio.
Sam: And you’ve you’ve stolen my third point because my third point is absolutely the flexibility that the side also brings in your fire plans. You know, I’ve got a Web site. It can be easily packaged up and sold. So if I decide to retire and I want to sell it, there’s a boost to my assets for investment income. Maybe I could quit my job and just run the Web site that we talked about. Or maybe I quit my job and keep the website for the income stream. Maybe I retire with less assets because of the website or maybe I use it to protect against bad returns in the first few years. You’ve just got so many options with that extra income that it’s absolutely the flexibility is is incredible.
Aussie FireBug: Could not agree any more, Sam. Now, before I let you go, I have to ask any advice or what would be the number one piece of advice that you would give to someone that’s out there may be listening. That is thinking about turning their passion into a side hustle.
Sam: I would definitely start out like I did, I would find a no risk way to get into it, so be it. Maybe you want to create a YouTube channel that’s that’s free to start up. There is a few Web sites out there where you can with riots and sort of test the waters. So one of them is called HUBB pages. I just don’t show it. I have a little experience with it. I don’t do it much anymore because I have my my own website. But you could go on that. You could write a few articles, see if you like the idea of it. It might make you $10 a month. Learn more about the process. Risk free. All you’ve got to lose some of your time. And that being said, I would say start with an area of interest. Pick something that you’re interested in that you think might be under undeserved, that you can that you want to research and you might be OK. Q Right. An ultimate resource on it or something. So for me that I also did a few gaming guides because I was really deep into some games where I had some value to give. Think about what sort of value? Where’s your value? Basically.
Aussie FireBug: Awesome. I think that’s that’s a common theme. You know, I’ve had Brandon and your self on now in the sort of theme of side hustles. I would recommend you need to start in something that you’re passionate about. Like don’t go into something. Just because you’re Googling is that it’s the latest trend or what’s gonna blow up or something like that. It’s always better. Some people might have success in that. But I personally think it’s always better to do something that you’re you’re obsessed in and you have so much passion for. And I know a lot of people out there listening will be like, I don’t have any passions. Well, I think that’s rubbish. Everyone has passions.You just gotta think hard enough and really, really put the time and effort into what putting a list together on what the things that you’re good at, the things that you’re interested in and the things that you when you go down to the pub on a Friday night, you just know a lot more about than majority people there. And even if it’s super niche the Internet opens up the door for the whole world to look at your product or your content. So it odds are if you interested in something, there’s gonna be people out there that are also interested in it as well.
Sam: Absolutely. You don’t need to be some award winning writer. You don’t need to have insane website skills. It’s it’s very easy to do. I mean, I started this fifteen, sixteen and I’ve done all right. Games Finder’s is not an amazing website, but it’s it’s filling a niche that I’m passionate about and that’s that’s enough If you pick the right the right niche.
Aussie FireBug: Yeah, great. Now I couldn’t let you go before asking you a few questions that 16 year old me was dying to ask, especially about the competitive gaming career. And maybe there’s some people out there that might find this interesting as well. Smart console or computer gamer?
Sam: It’s absolutely computer gaming for me.Sorry. Console players out there. What’s that?
Aussie FireBug: Read it mean like master race. You’re part of the master race, are you?
Sam: Yes. I guess I am. I wouldn’t use that term because I think 0 0 gamers are equal.And whatever you want to play on, it’s fine. Yeah, I’m definitely on.
Aussie FireBug: Politically correct answer.Love it. What version of cod? Call of duty for those out there that didn’t know what that is. Did you play the most?
Sam: Definitely the first one, definitely United offensive. I remember tracking my time played in an old program that you actually mentioned before the podcast xfire that isn’t around anymore. I had one thousand five hundred something hours in that game, which is almost embarrassing to say, but a young kid in high school with nothing better to do with his time. So that’s where it goes.
Aussie FireBug: Yeah, I guess we we did speak and I was on xfire as well, but I can’t remember if.Yeah, I think maybe you did have. I wonder if that information is still out there somewhere on a database or something. I’d love to know how many hours I spent on call of duty as well.Weapon of choice.
Sam: There was a rifle that I was actually quite good with. And there was a survey that tracked weapons stats. And I was actually the best player on the server with this weapon. It was the Mosen as a bolt action rifle that the thing was a Russian a Russian rifle even then. Yeah. Many fun times without that weapon. It was is good. Good times.
Aussie FireBug: Hardcore or normal.
Sam: I like a bit of both. Actually, I’m actually playing quite a hardcore game at the moment. But then that being said, I think there’s a place for non hardcore games because sometimes you just want to relax and you don’t want that pressure and say both something I’m going to have to say.
Aussie FireBug: You know, I encourage you to specifically, you know, how there was the hardcore mode in like the I think was hardcore. I always played the hardcore mode because it was more realistic to me. Like if you shot someone once in a major area, they died instantly, whereas like some COD games. I don’t know what the latest ones like, but you could sort of power your way through like you could, you know, shoot someone a few times and I could just keep running and you’re like, Oh, I just miss them that hardcore with so much better, I felt, because you just nick them and they would die and you get the kill. And I always thought that was a lot better, although it did suck when you come across a really good play because you just you had no hope.
Aussie FireBug: Did you have a favorite perk in the latest COD.
Sam: No, actually, I didn’t. I didn’t play the latest COD, I haven’t played in a few releases. I have to say I’ve looked elsewhere for gaming in recent years.
Aussie FireBug: You’ve moved on. Oh, I have. Some of the other questions are not going to make sense then, but they want I’ll still ask them. So when you when you played a lot of match, what was your normal score for you in, say, like Team Deathmatch? How many kills? How many deaths? Roughly.
Sam: Offensive worked on a point system. So those points for kill, but there’s also points for objectives and Multikils I would regularly get over 100 score on these servers. I’m not sure how that translates to current games, but yeah, usually very high score very low debts.
Aussie FireBug: Your KD was good. It would have been like it would have been like 4 to 1, 5 to 1.
Sam: Yeah, it was pretty solid.
Aussie FireBug: Now, you might not have played this one, but I’m really hoping you did because this was my favorite.Highest level you ever got to call of duty World War zombies.
Sam: I’m sorry to say I never played the zombie
Aussie FireBug: Like what? That was like a religion in amongst our group of friends. Like seriously that the world of the world. zombies was our jam back in the day like we used to. Seriously gather round, my friend and have beers before the pub. The zombies mode has a special place in my heart for gaming. I feel like you need to get back on that!
Sam: I should. There was a few zombie mods COD 4, COD I played however that was probably the lat i played. I think I was playing league legends by by that stage.
Aussie FireBug: Yeah. COD was such a leap in engine or something. I was like buttery smooth. It looked really nice. But you haven’t played a few in the last couple of releases but yeah. Very special place in my heart in the call of Duty series. If there’s anyone out there listening, Sam, that wants to get in contact with you, what’s the best place to reach out to you?
Sam: So once this podcast goes live, I’ll definitely be watching the comments for a week or two after. So if anyone has a question, I’m happy to answer it there. And you know, it’s always good to be public with these sort of things because if you’ve got a question, someone else probably does. Otherwise, like I said, I joined your Facebook group So if anything pops up there, I’ll try to answer it. But if you have something more private that you don’t want to share with other people, there’s a contact page on Games Finder that I’ll respond to.
Aussie FireBug: Great.I’ll put a link to the website games find in the show notes for those listening that want to check it out. Mate, we’ve reached the end of the podcast. It was an absolute pleasure having you on. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.
Sam: No worries. Absolute pleasure.
I’ve been following your website for a little bit of time. I am 28 this year and I’ve just started my career as a software developer. My career just started so I am not making a lot of money yet. However I live with my parents so I save a lot. Specially in this current climate I get to save lot. Am I too late to even start on this journey?
My main concern however at this stage is that I need to start putting money into an LIC or index fund or vanguard account or whatever. But I feel a bit overwhelmed as to which account to go for.
Should I go for international indexes at the moment? Should I go stocks only? Should I go for domestic ones? Some vanguard accounts show a return of like 15%. There is so much I don’t quite understand.
Currently most of my money is going into savings but I feel like saving isn’t really helping me much and I should be investing that money somewhere. What would be your thoughts on this?
Furthermore to add to that. I would also like to say that I’ve never really invested before but I feel like it’s time for me to focus and start working towards these things. But due to the current climate and the current situation, I don’t quite know how to handle this baremarket and how I should be investing.
I totally understand the sentiment of the market will bounce back and we should nto be worrying that much. But I don’t know I guess I’m rambling a little bit.
Hubpages actually acquired Squidoo in 2014 🙂
On the point – kids get an ABN, create a website, buy a lot of games/laptops and just started claiming everything on tax –
Yeah, it doesn’t work like that. What anyone would need to be legit is – a business plan showing that the intention is to make profit and key things that ATO can monitor are: Repetition, Volume and Regularity.
There is definitely more to it,