Horkey HandBook Blog

August, 2015 Freelance Income Report

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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Gina Horkey

Gina Horkey

FOUNDER & CO-OWNER

Gina Horkey is a married, millennial mama from Minnesota. Additionally, she’s the founder of Horkey HandBook and loves helping others find or become a kickass virtual assistant. Gina’s background includes making a living as a professional writer, an online business marketing consultant and a decade of experience in the financial services industry.

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