Why I Never Reveal Exactly How Much I Earn Online

Aug 26, 2021
Photo of the author by the author


I’ve wrestled with whether I come across as inspirational or arrogant.

I want to help people and show I have the credibility to back up my words. There are so many who tell you how to make money online when they aren’t making any themselves.

How do I differentiate myself from them without using the numbers as evidence? People take your words more seriously when they know you’re making money.

Yet waving around dollar amounts feels icky. I earn comfortably enough to not even think about returning to my day job but I know some people want me to reveal more.

“Six figures” seems like a nice compromise because it gives you an idea without being too specific. Though I cringe at myself for that too. Here’s why it’s as far as I’ll go.

Revenue isn’t profit

Everyone always uses the most impressive number rather than the most reflective. If you make $20k a month but you spend $50k a month then you’re poor.

It’s the dirty secret of most people who talk about how rich they are. They only show one side of the equation.

Some people do show both sides and I respect their honesty yet I’m not prepared to let the entire internet know how I spend my money. Despite being a content creator, it doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with strangers knowing the ins and outs of my bank account.

I don’t want to need to explain my every move or justify spending $8 on a giant pretzel. Until I’m willing to be precise on both halves, I think it’s better to be vague on both.


I don’t even know how much I earn

Even if I wanted to tell you how much I make a month, I wouldn’t be able to.

I’ve got a dozen income streams going into different banks accounts with different currencies. I pay myself a salary and dividends. Then there are all the various subscriptions I pay throughout the month.

On a day-to-day basis, I don’t need to know how much money I have coming in as long as I know I can pay my bills. The exact amount doesn’t make a huge difference to my life and everything is automated to reduce my mental load when it comes to tax season.

I could spend time every day to keep on top of it but it would only be so I could boast about it. A key part of the lifestyle I’m trying to build is not needing to worry about money so I can spend more time thinking about impact. I appreciate this is a privileged position but it’s my version of success.


Shining the light attracts the moths

I have posted figures in the past. My inbox blows up every time. I get so many people reaching out and wanting to be my friend. Funny isn’t it?

I’m not sure I want to talk to most of these people.

One person reached out after ten years of silence and went straight for the jugular by asking me to explain my entire business model. He didn’t bother with the courtesy of small talk.

Some strangers will aggressively try to trap my time and demand phone calls without being willing to pay. I enjoy helping people but not when they feel entitled to my time. Money seems to bring this out in people.

I want to connect with people who like my ideas, not my bank balance.


It’s not a huge part of my business

For people whose business is telling others how to make money then it makes sense to reveal how much you earn. It serves as both marketing and credibility. It’s a useful point of information for people to decide whether or not to hire you. This is why it makes sense for Zulie Rane for example.

Yet it’s not the same for me. While I do sell a writing course, it’s free for people who cancel within the first two weeks. It’s an income generator but not my primary thing.

Telling people how much I make would make me more money but it would also distract me from the things I want to do. My podcast doesn’t earn me any money at the moment but it brings so much joy to my life.

Time is my most precious resource and it’s what I’d like to help people with the most.


There are so many caveats

When I talk about money, people make the assumption I live some kind of glamourous lifestyle. I have simple tastes so can get by on fairly little (though living in London doesn’t help).

I’d rather donate to charities I care about than buy status symbols. If people think I’m poor and judge me because of it, it’s no loss for me.

There are so many things out of my control that has helped me get to where I am today. I didn’t choose my parents or where I was born. There’s been a lot of dumb luck. I might give you the best advice I can but you can’t replicate my results because of these other factors.

It’s not because I’m so special but the random good hand I was dealt by the universe.

I’m also aware what goes up can go down again. If it happens then it happens but I don’t want to tempt karma by writing in a way that breeds resentment. It is possible to chase your dreams and make a comfortable salary just don’t get hung up on the detail.

Amar's Letter

Real talk on driving impact as an imperfect human.