August, 2015 Freelance Income Report

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Welcome to my 12th freelance income report – for the month of August, 2015.

Wow, I’ve been publicly tracking my income for one full year now. And I’m so glad I did!

The first month I tracked it publicly, I grossed $2,280. I’ve been able to basically 4x my income over the last 12 months. Not too shabby!

A Little 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.

Here’s what it’s looked like since I started:

  • 2014: Income $16,512 income – $3,782 expenses = $12,730 total profit for 2014*
  • January: Income $5,080 – $753 expenses = $4,327 profit ($4, 327 YTD profit)
  • February: Income $5,272 – $978 expenses = $4,294 profit ($8,621 YTD rolling)
  • March: Income $6,595 – $1,084 expenses = $5,511 profit ($14,132 YTD rolling)
  • April: Income $7,503 – $2,471 expenses = $5,032 profit ($19,164 YTD rolling)
  • May: Income $7,368 – $865 expenses = $6,503 profit ($25,667 YTD rolling)
  • June: Income $9,431 – $3,248 expenses = $6,183 profit ($31,850 YTD rolling)
  • July: Income $10,075 – $1,380 expenses = $8,695 profit ($40,545 YTD rolling)

*I started looking into freelancing in April, 2014. I launched this site in May and secured my first client in June, 2014. So really the 2014 total is for June-December (or seven months). During this time, I also worked full-time at my day job. I’ve since quit my job and have been freelancing full-time since the first of the year.

Additional Deductions

After a meeting with my accountant (and an amended 2014 return in our favor), I now take 25% of my net monthly profit and transfer it into a savings account for taxes. I set up an LLC turned S-corp in May and will begin payroll practices later this year.

I also believe in tithing. Since I sold my business, I’ve decided to tithe to our church on that income and continue to support this missionary family in Costa Rica on my freelance income for 2015.

It makes a direct impact into an amazing mission (they’re setting up a daycare to take care of children, so their parents don’t have to bring them with to pick coffee beans, which surprisingly can be very dangerous!). It’s also a fun reason to try to make more money!

August’s Results

Income: $8,381, a 17% decrease month-over-month.

Expenses: $2,532, a smidge higher than ideal.

Net Income: $5,849 (after expenses, but before tithe/tax). This is a 33% decrease month-over-month.

Income Breakdown

Writing: 18%

Virtual Assistance Work: 48%

Course Sales: 19%

Coaching: 14%

Other: (Affiliate, etc): 1%

Consulting (former office): 0% (This has officially ended)

Expenses

My base expenses are about $300 per month. Here’s what that includes:

  • FreshBooks $20
  • Coaching $200
  • Website Support $35
  • Drip Subscription $49

You’ll notice that my expenses are much higher than $300. I’ve recently revised my expenses and now budget ~$2,300 (total) per month for expenses. This is what else I have budgeted for going forward.

  • Affiliate Payouts (varies, but budgeting ~$400/m)
  • Marketing/Website Support (varies, but budgeting ~$1,200/m)
  • Blog Editing/Writing/FB Group Management (budgeting ~$300/m)
  • PayPal fees (varies, but budgeting ~$175/m)

One of my current big initiatives is figuring out how to improve my sales process and the tracking that goes along with it. So I’m investing in conversion optimization help from my friend Carlos. It’s a big leap of faith, but I’m confident that it should pay off. And as always, I’m using the funds from my business to reinvest in it.

Thoughts on the Month

August turned out to be a “building month” for my business. I didn’t shatter any records, but I did hit my goal of grossing $8,000 for the month. My expenses were pretty high, as I mentioned above, but I don’t feel that I’m carelessly spending money.

Both traffic and course sales were down. I’m wondering how much it had to do with people living life (enjoying summer and taking vacations), instead of spending time online. If that’s the case, I’m all for it!

I also unexpectedly had my appendix taken out. That was, well… interesting. Luckily, I’ve had a pretty smooth recovery so far, but it did throw a wrench in the last workweek of the month. And since my business (and our family’s income) is dependent on me doing stuff at this point, it kind of sucks.

All is well that ends well though.

And the silver lining, is that I also picked up four (possibly five) new, high paying writing clients. This should more than double my writing income this month and going forward. Now I just need to figure out how to get it all done! 😉

I did focus on list building again in August, but I didn’t get through the course like I wanted. I am busy “doing stuff” though, so I’m not overly worried about it. Since I moved from Mailchimp to Drip, I now just have one big list, rather than multiple lists.

My current list holds 1,629 people. Remember, just a few months ago (prior to starting said course), it was ~500. I’d call that a win!

Goal for September

September is going to be where I reap seeds that I’ve sown I hope. I should have increased income due to my new writing clients and have some plans to increase course sales as well.

I’d also really like to get a new “Hire Me” page done and draft a “Write for Us” page too. Both of these are pretty low priority, but they’re on my to do list, regardless.

I’m also excited about going to a pretty epic freelancing conference in a couple of weeks where I hope to meet up with a few of my clients in person. And I plan to make some new, valuable business connections too!

Concerns

My top concerns are still around balance and productivity. I did take some great steps last month to help this going forward, like eliminating all evening activities (coaching calls, etc.) from my schedule. This change makes it easier for me to work during work time and be present with the family after work.

I’m hoping to farm out some of the research for some of my new writing projects too. Hopefully this will allow me to manage the increased workload I have. I also gave notice to one of my longest standing clients this week. I was sad to do it, but it was necessary for the health of my future freelance business.

Keep Taking the Next Right Step

If you’re currently hustling to build a business, we’re in this together. I’d love to support you, if you’re willing to do the same.

Leave a comment letting me know we’re in the trenches together or a place that I can go to support you.

Fan my FB page, connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Google+ to stay in touch! We’ve got this!

How did August go for you? Share in the comments!

PS: Don’t forget about this Friday’s FREE webinar/workshop, where Carrie and I will share all of our secrets to building freelance writing businesses that gross over $4,000 per month in revenue. Be there or be square!

Photo Credit: Abigail Keenan via Unsplash

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38 thoughts on “August, 2015 Freelance Income Report”

  1. Glad to hear you are having a good recovery, Gina!

    Even if August didn’t shatter your earning records, income is not the only way to measure progress. Four or five new high-paying clients is such an achievement! Congrats 🙂

    August has been a building month for me as well. As in, I’m starting to build my own business. I’m very excited about the workshop on Friday!

    • Appreciate you acknowledging that you think so Jay! Financial writing for 3 of them and writing an ebook on freelancing for another (this should be a long-term project).

  2. Glad to hear you’re recovering, Gina!

    August was good and bad. Good because the kids and I moved from the Cayman Islands to Florida to be with my husband, and start writing full-time. Whoo hoo! Bad because I hate moving. Lol!

    Good because this month was my highest income for freelancing so far.

    • Congrats on your highest month! That’s SO exciting Elke:-). Moving is a huge, but temporary interruption. Sounds like you’re about to start a wonderful new life chapter. Enjoy!!

  3. I appreciate hearing that you track income as it comes in rather than as you finish the work. I’ve been trying to figure out that piece of my new business! Thanks for opening up to all of us with your numbers.

  4. So sorry you had to go through an appendectomy! Glad you’re on the mend!
    Your honesty and tenacity are so inspiring. Thank you for sharing with us.

    Although I’m still a newbie, August has been my best month so far. My plan is to keep on keeping on and conquer my fears.

    I’m looking forward to Friday’s conference, too. Your progress is inspiring and (hopefully) contagious! Thanks, girlfriend!

  5. Hi Gina,

    I’m a new reader/ subscriber and am really loving your blog! Thanks for sharing so candidly. I’m new to the world of trying to monetize my blog and freelance write. Appreciating all the insight and help I can get.

  6. It is great that you are able to stay positive even if your figures are down on last month. I have to keep reminding myself to look at the ‘big picture’.

    August was my highest earning month to date as well (I finally made enough to make my share of the rent!). Let’s thinking happy thoughts for September!

    • Congrats Philippa! Although we’d both love for our income to just keep growing month-over-month, that’s not reality after a certain point. And income is just ONE measure of success;-). Kill it this month girl!

  7. I love reading your income reports every month! What list building course are you working on?

    August was a bit lower for me too between vacation and more expenses than usual. Here’s to your best month ever next month!

  8. I plan to attend the conference tomorrow (on my lunch.. sshhh..) but if it doesn’t work out to watch the whole thing I’ll definitely catch the replay 🙂

    I’m really hoping to get started as a VA so I can be home more with my foster daughter, but it seems hard to break into, and I am not sure if I should build on some skills/learn some new things first. Hoping to gain some inspiration tomorrow!

  9. Well wishes for a speedy recovery! I found your blog back in June and just this week bought your course. (Love it!). Your income reports are so helpful for a beginner like me. I couldn’t get a good sense on how much the cost of running a freelance business before now. Here’s hoping September is a great month for all!

    • Thanks Jessica! Glad to hear they help – I could get by on far less expenses, but feel strongly about reinvesting in my web-based business to try and take it to the next level. Time will tell if it was a smart move;-).

  10. Congratulations Gina,
    It shows that the month of July really worked so well for you and I’m very happy for your income :), hoping you will send me my own share as soon as possible :)….kidding.

    I believe that everything is going very well for you and if you continue this way, you will soon be hitting 20k per month and that will be very awesome I’m sure.

    Will be looking out for your Write for us Page because.

    Wishing you more successful and productive months.

    Thanks

  11. I wish we had the same rates in Ukraine! Glad that you get satisfaction and financial benefit from your work! I wish you good luck and more generous and wise clients)

  12. Gina,

    Great results!! I was slower this month, too, because I did not have any “big” projects, but I did do “well”, in my books. I am worried about September. I hate when I have a lull. I am so afraid to ever leave my nursing job because of times like this.

    I am applying to a bunch of job boards and reaching out to previous clients, it just seems like bad timing.

    Thank you for your blog and inspiring words 🙂

    Lynn Starr, RNC-OB
    Freelance Nurse Writer, A Nurse’s Touch Writing Service
    Email: labornurselynn@gmail.com
    Website: https://anursestouchwriting.wordpress.com

  13. I know it, but still I’m oriented towards our market. I’m not that sure in my English to freelance in English)) I write texts in Russian and also translate English-Russian. The only way out is to seek work abroad but I doubt whether there is a person looking for texts in Russian) Anyway, thank you for the hint!

  14. Hi Gina, I just found your blog via the post you wrote for The Becomer. Thanks for the excellent article on starting a freelance business. Very best wishes for your continued success. I will be sure to read some more of your posts.

  15. I’m binge-reading your income reports right now and I just find them so encouraging. Thank you for publishing all of this. I’ve only just moved to WordPress from Blogger and I’m looking at monetizing my own blog, so it’s nice to see that it is possible to be successful (albeit not easy).
    I hope you’re feeling better and you have a better month next month (this month, really).

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