This year keeps getting busier and busier.
I’m not complaining though – all of that hard work from earlier seems to be paying off. In fact, Novemeber, 2016 will go down as my BEST gross and net income month to-date!
It’s just hard to keep up with all of the projects I’ve committed to sometimes.
So what happened? Read on for the full lowdown.
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.
2015 & 2016
Aren’t numbers interesting?
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.
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. (Guess we’re legit, huh?)
Tithing: 10% of net income
I split my tithe to our church and a family in Costa Rica. The latter makes a direct impact into the community – in 2014 they opened a daycare to take care of migrant farm worker’s children, so their parents don’t have to bring them with to pick coffee beans, which surprisingly can be very dangerous!
Gross Income: $31,820
An 81% increase month-over-month.
Business Expenses: $14,793
Almost double last month’s… (See the expense section for the full breakdown.)
Net Income: $17,027
(After expenses, but before tithe/tax.) This is a 90% increase month-over-month. Holy crap, right?
As I’ve mentioned in the past, 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. Products are NOT passive, there’s still customer service, marketing them, ongoing improvement, etc. It IS more passive than service work, just not 100% passive.)
Here’s what the breakdown looked like for last month:
- Services (Writing, VA Work, Coaching): 26%
- Products (Course Sales): 70%
- Affiliate Income: 4%
- Other: 0%
I did a lot of writing last month – like almost $3k of writing ($2,930 to be exact!). And this was only from seven pieces, which equates to $419 on average.
That’s SO far ahead of where I started (my first piece paid about $.04/word) and leaps and bounds ahead of where I was even a year ago. Half of these projects came from clients I’m working with through Contently in the personal finance space and the others are recurring clients I write for monthly.
Even though we launched the Mampreneur Mastermind last month, I haven’t received any of that income yet (there should be a payout before year-end though I think). For once, I’m not in charge of the accounting aspect and we’re planning on reinvesting some of the profits back into our initial group of girls and the service as a whole (marketing maybe?).
We had 18 WONDERFUL ladies join us and Ariel, Lisa and I are stoked to get to know them better and personally mentor them to help them crush it in 2017. Since this will be a teaching/coaching service, I’m including it here, rather than in the products section (although it could technically fit there too).
(If you’re interested in joining a small mastermind group of 5-6 other ladies, receiving monthly (brand new) teaching from Ariel and myself on business building and want to network with some amazing femalepreneurs, you should fill out an application for consideration to join.)
As I’ve also mentioned, my service income should be going up due to my role as the subject matter expert on messaging for The Academy <–affiliate link, which kicked off last month. The first month went really well and am thankful to be involved.
Due to the above, I’ve actually paired down my coaching clients. I’ll actually have only one private coaching client going into 2017. I’m not sure where I want this part of my business to go, but stepping back (at least temporarily) seems like the right move at this time (I also need to save room for the Rockstar members of both courses – if you haven’t cashed in your coaching yet, you should do so ASAP!).
Course sales equated to $23,323 or the highest they’ve ever been!
One reason, is that I took 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success off of the (public) market on November 4th, and there was a huge uptick in sales from that. I also offered a payment plan for the first time ever, so there were renewals from the launch at the end of November too.
A note on payment plans: While they can be a pain in the butt (when people purchase something they really can’t afford), they’re also a nice way to even out your income for a couple of months post launch. I.e. My payment plans are slightly higher than the upfront price (which hedges my bets from people enrolling, consuming the material and flaking out on the rest of their payment plans… this totally happens!) and equate to three payments total, which means I get residual income in the second and third months when people elect a payment plan.
My friend Kristin Larsen and I also partnered on a brand new course, Become a Pinterest VA TODAY! We had been talking about partnering on it for months and finally got our act together to put it out for Black Friday. Our sale went really well (we sold over 100 copies in four short days) and it’ll serve as a beta sale of sorts, so we can fine tune the product based on feedback and then relaunch it again next year. Pinterest is such a hot niche (it’s a great traffic generator for blogs/websites) – if you’re interested in checking out the course next year, hop on the waitlist here.
30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success is still an evergreen product (i.e. always for sale) and saw okay sales in the month of November. One of the reasons I’ve been changing from an evergreen model to that of a launch is that it gives people a reason to take action – when something is available for purchase all of the time, there’s no urgency. And since I’ve decided to stop discounting my products, I have to find another way to urge people to take the plunge… I’m not into high pressured sales, so a cut and dry launch (i.e. the product is available for a short period of time every so often) makes the most sense for me.
Honestly, I’m still figuring this whole products thing out. What I do know is that it’s my goal to provide as much value as possible, to help people get the best results that they can and that way we’ll both win. And that goal hasn’t/isn’t going to change!
Affiliate income came in at just over $1,100, so pretty inline with the last several months.
This is a huge area of opportunity in my business. I only promote stuff I believe in though, so I have no interest in “selling to sell.” One product I can stand behind (I purchased/went through it myself earlier this year) 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. 😉
Nothing fell into the other column again this month, but I’ll still keep it around until the end of the year.
Y’all know I can’t sit still, right?
There’s always something next to plan for. It’s just how I roll.
I recently hired my friend Daryn to help me with both some strategic planning and implementation. Daryn’s super smart when it comes to WordPress, SEO and content strategy. You might remember that we started to partner on the Freelance Freaks niche site? Although we haven’t decided 100%, I’m pretty sure we’re going to put that on hold (or completely ditch it) in lieu of seeing where we can take HH over the next year. That’s the beauty of experimentation!
My main goals for 2017 (which are still being fleshed out… more in depth post to come!):
- Tweaking my writing course funnel.
- Duplicating it for my VA course.
- Growing the Mamapreneur Mastermind.
- Building an even more kickass affiliate program for my affiliates.
- Writing/launching my new advanced freelance writing course (hop on the waitlist here).
- Revamping the content strategy for the blog.
- Increasing affiliate revenue.
- Writing a VA ebook.
- Building out a couple of other products…
Are you exhausted from reading that? I am from thinking about all of the work… 😉
November’s expenses were quite high, coming in at almost $15k. Craziness, considering it wasn’t that long ago that I was only grossing $15k, right? But if I can still take home half of my gross and it continues to grow…
What’d I spend it all on?
- Tools (Subscriptions, Books, Training): 2%
- Advice (Coaching, Marketing): 45%
- Support (VA, Writing, Website): 18%
- Affiliate Payouts: 27%
- Fees (PayPal/Stripe): 6%
- Miscellaneous (Travel, etc.): 1%
Nothing new in the tools field, except my annual renewal came up for Buffer.
I paid the second installment of the VIP mastermind group I’m a part of in November, as well as my final payment to LeadPages for the work we’re doing together. And there was a very small amount in Facebook advertising (I still haven’t figured out paid advertising…).
Support was “fairly normal.” I have one main VA these days (Mickey) and a couple other gals that I sub stuff out to or work with on an as needed basis. This area will probably see the most growth in 2017 honestly and I’m going to experiment with contracting out for very specific positions (i.e. Pinterest marketing, outreach, etc.).
Affiliate payouts were higher this month, because I processed all of the payments for the Pinterest VA course and labeled Kristin’s portion as an affiliate payout for accounting purposes… still figuring out that accounting stuff. Not everything falls into cut and dry areas, but I figure if I’m receiving the payments, the IRS is going to say it’s my income… you know?
Fees… gross, right? But what are you going to do?
Miscellaneous saw a couple of course refunds (they happen) and some travel expenses to Seattle. That trip was so fun BTW… I really need to take the time to write more about what I’ve been so busy doing (sorry about that!).
2016 Goals Progress (as of 12/1/16)
My ‘A’ Goal: $120k+ NET income; $125,970 – DONE!
My 3 ‘B’ Goals:
- Get land loan under $10k; current balance = $17,162 – yeah, this one isn’t going to happen.
- $15,000 in savings; current balance = $10,000 – neither will this one…
- 10,000+ newsletter subscribers; current balance = 11,336 -DONE!
I’m happy to have achieved my A goal and at least one of my B goals. I have plans to payoff our land loan in 2017 completely and at least double our savings account balance. As you probably know, I’m a fan of setting a pretty high bar… 😉
Remember, we’re totally in this together!
If you’re currently hustling to build a freelance or online 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 was November for you? Share in the comments!