Welcome to my first quarterly income report!
As many of you know, I stopped posting monthly online income reports last fall and decided to just share income updates quarterly since I usually focus on quarterly business goals.
I recently hit my 2-year mark with blogging, and this is my 5th month being self-employed and freelancing. I started freelancing as a writer and virtual assistant around March 2015 but it had only been a side hustle until just a few months ago.
Once work started piling up and I realized how much I loved the freedom and flexibility that came with blogging and freelancing, I decided to take the leap and try out working for myself.
I’m happy to say that I don’t ever want to go back to working a traditional job.
You can view some of my previous monthly income reports below:
August 2015 Online Income Report: $765.65 – First Monthly Income Report
September 2015 Online Income Report: $920
January 2016 Online Income Report: $2,703.36
April 2016 Online Income Report: $3,219
September 2016 Online Income Report: $4,794.66 – Last Monthly Income Report
The past few months were busy so I can’t really complain. I’m going to be breaking everything down and sharing some updates along with what has and hasn’t worked for me. My main objective with these new income reports is to be as transparent as possible and give you a first look into the financial aspect of my business.
Now, let’s get into the numbers.
During the 4th Quarter of 2016, I earned: $11,550.05
This is income I earned between October and December. Mind you, this income has not yet been taxed so I usually set aside around 25% of my earnings each month for Uncle Sam.
I really shocked myself in a good way at the end of last year. I remember not too long ago I earned around $10k or less for the entire year! This is just proof that earning an honest income online is possible and potentially limitless.
How My Income Breaks Down
Freelance Writing and Virtual Assistant Work: $10,511.21
Blogging Income (Affiliate sales, advertising on my site, podcasting, etc.): $948.84
Blog Help and VA (Staff writer, contractors, virtual assistant): $465
FinCon 2017: $378
Tailwind (for Pinterest scheduling): $45
Freshbooks : $25.90
Domain and hosting fees for my site are paid yearly so they aren’t always included in my income reports.
Unfortunately, I didn’t track my hours worked most months but that would be interesting to start doing again since I estimate I’m not quite working 40 hours per week (Maybe 30-35). I had a lot of fun working on my blog and my business during the 4th quarter and started to experience an improved work-life balance. All of the sudden, the 11 months I put into building up my blog and my freelancing business started to pay off big time.
If you’re interested in working for yourself as a freelancer, blogger or both, I’d highly recommend starting a blog. Blogging has been therapeutic for me and a great way to earn extra money since I consider it my side hustle right now.
Blogging is not for the faint of heart though and it takes time to monetize your blog the right way and earn an income from it, but it’s an exciting journey worth taking. As a freelancer, I never would have been able to grow my business so fast if I didn’t have a blog as my platform to promote my services.
If you’ve been playing around with the idea of starting your own blog to jump start your efforts to earn an income online, I say just do it! Check out my tutorial guide on how to start a blog because once you do, you’ll wish you had started sooner.
What’s Been Working
As you can see, freelancing is my bread and butter and the bulk of my income comes from freelance writing. I love to write and my clients are awesome. I got into freelance writing after getting a coach to teach me the ropes, then I sent pitches like crazy and built my network up to connect with some of my amazing clients.
To diversify my freelance income, I started picking up virtual assistant gigs so I wasn’t just writing all the time. I do things like social media scheduling, creating images, editing, etc. Lately though, I’ve been phasing out virtual assistant work and I only have two clients who I do VA tasks for.
I’m now only considering VA clients on a case-by-case basis.
Also, another little hack I’ve found that’s working well is using Freshbooks for invoicing. I spent way too much time sending clients invoices via PayPal only to get ripped off big time. When I invoice a client to pay me for work on PayPal, they take out a crap ton of fees that dig into my income on top of having to pay taxes all on my own. I couldn’t believe when PayPal took $76 from me in fees in one month last year.
I started using Freshbooks to invoice 95% of the time and I only pay $0.50 per transaction. Winning!
I really like my work schedule these days. I recently shared what a typical work day looks like for me although it’s never the same. I like to get up early and knock out most of my work before I have to pick my son up from school.
I also only do freelance work Monday-Thursday. I reserved Friday solely to work on other aspects of my business and my blog. It feels great to have that entire day to work on my own business pursuits as well as take care of all my client work.
While I’d still like to secure one more regular freelance client, I’m almost pretty much booked up and I’m committed to leaving Fridays open to do things like promote blog, work on building my email list and my brand, etc.
Blogging Income Increase:
I didn’t earn a ton of blogging income during the 4th quarter of 2016, but I did notice a spike so that was good. Right now, blogging income is only 8% of my total income and I want to increase that.
I took a course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing created by a fellow blogger and it’s really been helpful to me. The course creator, Michelle, earned almost a $1 million dollars from blogging last year (no that’s not a typo) and her bread-and-butter is affiliate marketing.
If you want to learn how to master affiliate marketing, there’s no better teacher than her, and her course is super affordable when you think about all the content and value you will get.
What Hasn’t Been Working
Not Having Enough Time:
When I quit my job last fall, I didn’t think I’d have loads of time or anything but I did expect to have more free time and once reality set in, I found out I was wrong. Running a business is a ton of work and requires a lot of time especially during the beginning stages.
Some days just feel like a rush and I can barely even make time to load my dishwasher. I realize that I’m running a one-woman show over here so I act as the employee, boss, payroll person, receptionist, marketing department etc. I usually get done with work around 4 or 5 these days which isn’t super late and I like my daily schedule overall but I’d rather wrap up sooner.
What has been really eye opening to me is the fact that a big chunk of the work I do isn’t even paid whether it’s checking my email and responding to messages, sending out emails to my list, creating invoices, etc. I’d say I spend about 50% of my time during the work week doing paid work and the other 50% of my time doing unpaid work.
To fix the issue with struggling to find enough time, I’m going to try to focus on working more efficiently, getting more comfortable with outsourcing and saying no to some things, and sticking to one task at a time because I tend to bounce around a lot and I feel that wastes my time in a way.
My Lack of Self Promotion:
I really need to get comfortable with promoting myself more along with this blog. I also want to continue to send more valuable and consistent content out to my email list so I’m going to post about once a week here + the new series I started, and dedicate more of my time to promoting my blog and my services.
That’s is for this income report. Let me know if you have any questions about earning money online and I’d also like to know if you have any income goals for this year and how you manage your time when you feel like there’s just not enough hours in the day to get everything done.
My Favorite Resources
ConvertKit – I’ve been using ConvertKit for about a year now and it’s made email marketing so much easier and more profitable.
Freshbooks – This is the tool I use to invoice freelance clients and avoid those annoyingly high PayPal fees. Try it out for 30 days and I bet you won’t go back to using your old invoicing tool.
Tailwind – This is my go-to- tool for scheduling Pinterest pins.
Earn More Writing – Learn how to start freelance writing from a writer who went from $0 to $225,000 per year.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing – Most bloggers I know are raving about this course and that’s because it’s awesome and really works if you want to make money from affiliate marketing.
Learn How to Start a Money-Making Blog in 10 Days
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