Q1 of 2017 is officially in the books!
I used to publish income reports on a monthly basis, but I stopped at the end of 2016.
Why? They took a lot of effort to put together and apparently some people find you less relateable the more successful you get…
Weird, right? But I guess I get it.
I’ve never put my income on the internets to brag though – it was just an outlet for accountability and then they started inspiring others and served as a source of credibility that I know what I’m talking about when teaching others how to break into virtual assistance work or freelance writing.
So I decided to try out this whole quarterly business review thing.
And in doing so, I pay WAY less attention to my business finances… but in a good way. I’m still doing everything in my power to keep this ship moving forward, but not looking at it daily is a welcomed change! (I.e. I “trust” more and stress less!)
So I’ll keep doing it as long as it makes sense. It still serves as accountability and hopefully motivates someone out there. If you think I’m an A-hole for doing it, just tell me and I’ll stop. I don’t have any more energy to waste on people that want to judge me, so it won’t take many reactions of that type. 😉
To catch you up or if you’re new here, I did a recap of 2016 and announced my goals for 2017 in this year in review post. You can also read this (skip ahead if it sounds familiar to you):
A Little Freelance Income Report Backstory
I keep a profit-and-loss statement for each month, as well as a rolling total for the year. I enter in income as it is received (rather than as it is billed) and do the same for expenses.
I started looking into freelancing in April, 2014. I launched this site in May and secured my first client in June, 2014. My total income was $16,512 – $3,782 expenses = $12,730 total profit for 2014. During this time, I also worked full-time at my day job.
2015 & 2016
Aren’t numbers interesting?
Taxes: 25% of net income
I continue to transfer 25% of my net monthly profit into a separate savings account for taxes. Horkey HandBook was established as an S-corp in May, 2015 and we began payroll practices later that year.
Tithing: 10% of net income
I still tithe 10% of my net income. I honestly can say that our finances turned around the month (April, 2013) we decided to trust God with it all (since it IS His anyway…) and He hasn’t let us down yet. 😉
2017 Q1 Results
Gross Income: $84,381
Or an average of $28,277 per month. Year-over-year that’s a 36% increase. And quarter-over-quarter, it’s a 21% increase. Cool, huh?
It wasn’t always so grand though.
My VERY first quarter income was $2,345. Totally respectable as a freelance writing side hustle and how this whole thing got started.
Business Expenses: $34,654
Or an average of $11,551 per month. (That’s a lot of dolla, dolla bills y’all!)
Net Income: $49,727
Or an average of $16,576 per month.
It makes more sense to monitor service income as a whole nowadays (instead of breaking out the columns individually), and look at how it compares against product and affiliate income.
Why? Service income can often overlap. (What is writing or what is VA work versus consulting?)
Tracking what is “active” versus what is “passive” is good to know too – even if it all takes some time investment. (I.e. product income isn’t passive – there’s still customer service, marketing, ongoing improvement, etc. It IS more passive than service work, just not 100% passive.)
Here’s what the breakdown looked like for last quarter:
- Services (writing, VA work, coaching): 32%
- Products (course sales): 62%
- Affiliate Income: 6%
It’s not surprising that my service income is starting to shift in a downward trend. In fact, it’s intentional.
The reason, is it’s hard to make significant progress growing your own business, when you’re juggling multiple clients and using all of your creative energy to grow theirs, instead of your own.
The first thing to go was 1:1 coaching – it’s just not scaleable. I do <3 it though, but will focus that time and effort on continuing to grow the Mamapreneur Mastermind. Here’s what one member had to say recently:
Hey Gina Horkey, I think you got this mamapreneur thing right. 🙂 I really like these women.
(I’ll try to come up with a solution for you dudes in the future too!)
I’m still not sure if I’ll give up service work completely though.
Why? Well, it’s dependable. It’s (mostly) enjoyable. It also keeps me relevant to my audience and what it’s like to work with freelance writing or virtual assistant clients.
Side note: Want to listen to an awesome podcast episode on the subject? Click here.
So while I won’t likely be moving on from the services side of my business completely this year, I’m not actively seeking clients.
In fact, I dropped that whole ghostwriting an ebook thing too, because I shouldn’t have taken it on in the first place… it goes against every fiber in my being to go back on a commitment I’ve made, but something had to give and it made the most sense for it to be that. The client was super chill about it, which I’m very thankful for!
I had a MONSTER month in January for course sales.
February and March were respectable being that I didn’t have any launches. I’m really hoping April brings home the bacon with our latest launch of the Pinterest VA course. We did A TON of marketing/prep/investing in making this course even better, so hopefully it’ll pay off in spades.
The income I collected form affiliate marketing in Q1 wasn’t that strong (~$5k). I should be doing that per month on average from our calculations…
I did participate in the launch of Elite Blog Academy and should have $4,500 coming my way. I WHOLEHEARTEDLY believe in this course – if you’re not enrolled, hop on the waitlist RIGHT NOW! <– affiliate link
Why? It’s probably the most comprehensive blogging course around. It tackles everything from editorial calendars to monetization strategies to product launches and SO much more. I originally took it in December, 2014 and am currently making my way through again (for FREE since it’s lifetime access) and learning a ton!
But enrollment only opens up once (sometimes twice) a year, so get on the waitlist <– affiliate link and enroll when you get invited to do so. It costs a pretty penny (on average $60/m if spread out over a year), but 100% worth it if you’re serious about making an income from blogging!
Another product that I stand behind and that attributed to my success in this category is Michelle’s, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course <– affiliate link, which will help you become a better affiliate marketer too. Not only did I learn a lot from it, but Michelle is earning over $100k PER MONTH, most of it from affiliate income… she’s like the female version of Pat Flynn. 😉
Lastly, if you haven’t started your own website or blog yet (and you want a future in online business – via services, products, affiliate marketing, etc.), you should do so RIGHT NOW!
Our AMAZING (and FREE) tutorial on the subject, 7 Days or Less to Branded Website Success just got a face lift thanks to Daryn. After tons of research, we’re now promoting two hosting providers: Siteground and Flywheel (which HH is hosted on).
Hosting starts at a measly $4 per month (seriously, brand new bloggers – pick THAT plan!) and we’ll walk you through EXACTLY how to set one up, step-by-step. And we won’t let you take too long to do it either – promise!
Since I’m no longer doing daily accounting, I don’t have as clear of a picture of exactly where my money is going.
I’ve been investing in some new tools lately (erasable colored pens (<3 these!), a cell phone stand (gamechanger!), blue screen and stand (for shooting video) and Kindle Unlimited membership (you can try it FREE for 30 days too!) for reading more books – I’m starting with The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod). <– all affiliate links
Monthly Expense Average
So while I don’t know exactly where ALL of my monies are going, I do know on average what to expect. I have roughly $10,000 per month in committed expenses (a lot, I know), but reinvesting in my business has kinda worked well so far, so I’m going to keep with it.
Here’s what it looks like:
- Tools (subscriptions, books, training): 2%
- Support (VA, writing, website): 63%
- Affiliate Payouts: 30%
- Fees (PayPal/Stripe): 5%
- Miscellaneous (travel, etc.): 0%
So the $10k is really the “minimum.” I’d like to stay within $2,000 of that each month though, including things like paid advertising, travel to conferences, etc. that aren’t really accounted for above.
I guess I’m running a proper, big girl business, huh?
Side note: There are MANY bloggers that have FAR less expenses than I. In fact, everyone has their own journey to success PERIOD. This is what works for me, but might look completely different for you. And that’s totally okay!
2017 Goal Results
My ‘A’ Goal: $400+ gross income; $84,381 – slightly behind, but totally doable!
My 3 ‘B’ Goals:
- Pay-off land loan; current balance = $12,607 – totally on track!
- 25,000+ newsletter subscribers; current balance = 19,391 – I think we’re going to crush it this year!
- Compete in a fitness competition; ummm…, well I’m joining CrossFit, does that count for anything?
I’m feeling pretty good about all, but #3… I’m not one to admit defeat too easily though. I’m gonna go after it with a vengeance now that we’re home and settled again!
How did Q1 of 2017 end for you? Share in the comments!