Remember how I thought August was going to be the pits? Well, from a gross income standpoint it kicked September’s butt!
I feel like whenever I’m optimistic about the upcoming month, my hopes are dashed. And then when I expect things to be shitty, I figure out a way to make it not so.
It’s not to say that September wasn’t profitable (I still hit my net goal), it just makes me wonder about my own estimating abilities. And goes to show that this whole online business thing isn’t that predictable…
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
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 this missionary family in Costa Rica, both of which are extremely important to me. 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!
Fundraising update: We’re still sitting just shy of $29,000 – not much progress in September, except booking our trip (all out of our pocket). Remember, our initial goal was for 5,000 people to donate $10 – if you haven’t and are able, would you consider donating just $10 today?
Gross Income: $19,241
A 16% decrease month-over-month.
Business Expenses: $8,357
Moderate…? (See the expense section for the full breakdown.)
Net Income: $10,884
(After expenses, but before tithe/tax.) This is a 10% decrease month-over-month.
No huge surprises here – it was a good month from a course sales standpoint. Not that great from an affiliate revenue perspective. It all ebbs and flows though, right?
That being said, I am going to start breaking out my income into just four major categories from here on out: services, products, affiliate and other.
Why? It makes more sense to monitor service income as a whole versus what comes from products or affiliate income. Service income can often overlap (what is writing or what is VA work versus consulting?). And tracking what is “active” versus what is “passive” is good to know too – even if it all takes some time investment.
Here’s what the breakdown looked like for last month:
- Services: 45%
- Products: 49%
- Affiliate: 6%
- Other: 0%
Everything was status quo from the services side for September. There will be changes coming in October though – one of my long standing VA clients needs to take a break for some personal financial reasons. I would have preferred a bit more notice, but I’m thankful for the forced re-evaluation of my biz as a result.
I do have one new consulting client in the mix – if this pans out it should replace the income lost. This client’s main goal is to more than double his already healthy newsletter subscriber list in the next six months. It’s aggressive, but I think my friend Carlos and I can get him pretty close!
Say a little prayer for us?
By year-end, my coaching income should pick up pretty significantly as I will be the subject matter expert on messaging for The Academy <–affiliate link. I’m really looking forward to this and will be rebranding this site in preparation of what I’ll be teaching students. (I like to practice what I preach!)
I’ve been really enjoying one-off coaching sessions lately. I’m talented at digging into someone’s situation in a short period of time, spotting opportunities and helping my clients eliminate distractions. If you’ve been struggling with taking your biz to the next level (it doesn’t matter what type of online business you have), consider scheduling a coaching call with me to break through your current challenge and level-up your biz.
Course sales equated to ~$9,500 this month.
Not bad, but not as much as I anticipated with the relaunch of 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success. I might have cashed in on some of my “regular” sales with that flash sale last month though.
Either way, with the increased price point I won’t need as many sales to make the same amount. And I have big plans of tweaking my sales funnel to increase conversions while still in an evergreen format. Stay tuned!
Affiliate income came in at $1,269 or about half of what it was last month. It’s still a respectable number, so I’ll keep it! 😉
Ideally I’d like to see this number closer to the $5k/month mark, but only by promoting high-quality products that make it a win/win/win (for y’all, me and the people I’m an affiliate for). I recently wrote a post that covers my take on affiliate marketing in a little more depth.
Nothing fell into the other column this month, but I’ll keep it around until the end of the year to see if it’s needed.
I’m taking a little break from launching things, whew!
Our book on freelance writing did well – we became Amazon bestseller’s in TWO different categories (royalties don’t get paid out for like 90 days I think and my initial portion will go toward offsetting costs like hiring a editor, book designer, etc.).
My main focuses from now until year end will be:
- Perfecting my freelance writing webinar.
- Writing one to promote my VA course.
- Becoming a student of sales funnels and implementing what I learn.
- Building an even more kickass affiliate program for my affiliates.
- Starting on the advanced freelance writing course I want to launch early next year (hop on the waitlist here to get notified when it’s available).
September’s expenses were fairly average (if $8k is average…). 😉
What’d I spend it all on?
- Tools (Subscriptions, Books, Training): 12%
- Advice (Coaching, Marketing): 50%
- Support (VA, Writing, Website): 30%
- Affiliate Payouts: 1%
- Fees (PayPal/Stripe): 6%
- Miscellaneous (Travel, etc.): 1%
My expenses should have technically been higher.
My web guy helped me move back over to WordPress from Rainmaker. I got a partial refund from RM, but Grayson hasn’t sent me my gigantic bill yet. 😉
Also, I changed affiliate program providers and they keep sales in pending status for 30 days before approving them, so payouts will be made a little later than usual. Adding these two in would have shot my expenses up over $10k pretty quick!
I subscribed to a few new tools (Samcart <– affiliate link), paid my second out of two coaching payments and enrolled in a VIP mastermind group. Reining in my expenses is going to be a huge priority going forward. I’ve already started, but some things won’t be finishing up until the next month or two.
I’ve always been a big fan of reinvesting in my business. So far it’s panned out, but with the loss of one of my clients, I’m going to have to be a bit more careful. It makes me nervous, but God has a pretty perfect track record of providing…
2016 Goals Progress (as of 10/1/16)
My ‘A’ Goal: $125k+ NET income; $100,000 – on track! How crazy is it that it came in EXACTLY at $100k?
My 3 ‘B’ Goals:
- Get land loan under $10k; current balance = $18,272 – I think this will end up being an epic fail…
- $15,000 in savings; current balance = $9,600 – and so will this one…
- 10,000+ newsletter subscribers; current balance = 9,212 – one thing I’m rocking at!
I’m continuing to tweak my goals and have already started thinking about my goals for next year. My overall vision is to have a more predictable freelance business with lower expenses, shorter hours and potentially lower income. But if I can work less and net the same…
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 September for you? Share in the comments!