Another day another dollar. Another quarter, another chance for me dump a ton of updates on you all and share more details about my business income streams in this quarterly income report.
I’ve been freelancing full-time for about 7 months now and I really can’t believe it. Sometimes it’s challenging and it’s a lot more work than I expected but my business is my baby and I feel very content and happy with how everything is going so far.
If you’re new here, this is actually only my second quarterly income report (you can check out my first one here) and while I used to do monthly income reports, I decided to switch to quarterly last year so I’m still new to this, but I’m excited to share everything I’ve been up to.
Why post income reports? Sharing my income publicly online allows me to be accountable for my goals and be able to track my progress including my successes and failures. Being self-employed is hard work and I need all the accountability I can get.
I also share income reports because I personally find them inspiring and motivating and I’d like to motivate other people who are currently doing similar work as me or are considering going down this path.
I always get a ton of questions about blogging and freelance writing. I try to be as honest and transparent as possible and find that posting these income reports helps with that transparency because it shows others a REAL way to make money online and run a profitable business from home.
Finally, I want to share what I’ve learned along the way. I’ve learned so many valuable things from other people that have allowed me to get to where I am today so I want to continue to spread the knowledge and experience so others can apply it in their own way.
With that being said, let’s get into the numbers and all the juicy updates.
During the 1st Quarter of 2017, I earned:
This is my pre-tax earnings but after PayPal fees have been deducted. I usually set aside about 25% of my monthly earnings for taxes. Turns out I ‘over saved’ for 2016 taxes and got a small refund. Yay 🙂
January started off really slow income-wise which made me nervous but things have been steadily picking up month after month. I’m still very pleased with how things have been going since I can still remember a time when I didn’t even earn this much after working for an entire year.
Here’s How That Income Breaks Down
Freelance Writing and Virtual Assistant Work: $14,697.58
Most of this is from freelance writing. I never had a ton of virtual assistant work on my plate but last year, I reduced my VA service offerings even more so I only have 2 small VA clients now. When I say small, I mean small. I earn just under $200 per month from VA work.
Virtual assistants are awesome don’t get me wrong, but I’m just obsessed with writing.
Blogging Income (Affiliate sales, advertising on my site, podcasting, etc.): $1,229.54
I’m glad that blog income is up from last year but I need to make a consistent effort to focus on it more. My main streams of income include: sponsored blog and social media posts, advertising and sponsors for my podcast that I host with Kayla and Erin, putting ads on my site, and affiliate income.
Some of my favorite affiliates are:
Bluehost from my Learn How to Start a Blog Tutorial Page
The key to affiliate marketing is to only promote products and services you love and truly find valuable. As a result, other people will be likely to find them valuable and helpful as well. My affiliate income is still growing, but I’m focused on only promoting things I use or have used in the past so I can contribute my personal experience.
Coaching: $0 – I did not have time to do any coaching during this quarter but I hope to re-open up this service soon.
Have You Taken My Free Blogging Course Yet?
I wouldn’t have a flexible business that allowed me to work from home if I hadn’t started this blog. Earlier this year, I created and released a free email course that teaches you everything I know about how to start and grow a profitable blog. The course is delivered in a 10-day series and I’ve already received a ton of great reviews from people who have taken it so far.
Here is just one of the reviews from a blogger named Kim.
“Whether you are brand new to the blogging game or you’re looking to take your blog to the next level through monetization, this is the course for you.
As a newbie blogger, I’d signed up for 4 other courses that offered some excellent information and tips. However, Chonce’s has been the most comprehensive without being overwhelming. One of my favorite parts of this email course is that it includes homework assignments at the end of each module. These assignments essentially function as your to-do lists/action items. I’ve been able to implement several of her tips immediately such as setting up analytics for my site. As a bonus, if you ever have any questions, Chonce always replies super quickly and is there to help in any way she can.”
If you’re ready to try out blogging and interested in learning how you can earn a profit writing about something you’re passionate about, sign up to take the course below.
Blog Help and VA: $461.36
Tailwind (for Pinterest scheduling): $44.97
Freshbooks (tool I use for invoicing clients which helps me save hundreds in PayPal fees per year): $38.85
Stock Photos: $28
Dlvrt (for automatic tweets on Twitter): $30
*FYI, I don’t add expenses for the domain and hosting of my website since I pay for those annually.
A Breakdown of Quarter 1
Switched to ConvertKit- At the start of the year, I knew I wanted to get serious about email marketing so I left MailChimp and signed up for ConverKit. I’d been hearing so many great things about ConvertKit from other bloggers, but I was basically too cheap to pull the trigger and sign up since MailChimp was free. However, I was tired of getting no results from MailChimp and I can honestly say that I don’t regret my decision because ConvertKit is awesome! It’s very user-friendly and can help you actually help you get the results you want with your email list – actual CONVERSIONS. I’d highly recommend it to any blogger or small business owner.
Got a VA – I’d worked with a VA in the past and then transitioned back to doing more things myself. To be honest, I got a little frustrated because I’m very Type A and like things done a certain way or else I’ll go back over it and do it myself which really wastes time. Needless to say, things weren’t really working out with the help I hired. I At the end of last year I got super overwhelmed and considered hiring a VA again.
I reached out to a friend for a referral and found a great VA that I started onboarding in January. Everything has been going pretty well so far and I’m loving the extra help. I literally would have had to clone myself if I didn’t start outsourcing more.
Started planning out and writing e-course – In January, I also started planning out and writing a free e-mail course. I loved every aspect of creating this!
Kimra Be True Brand You Course – I signed up for a HUGE branding training program last year which got started in January. I was really hesitant to sign up for Kimra Luna’s Be True Brand You program because it was the highest investment in my business that I’d ever made.
I was intimidated and overwhelmed at first because the program is 4 months long, but out to be just what I needed. I’m wrapping it up this month and it’s been pretty amazing. There was literally so much helpful information that I really needed in order to take my business and my brand to the next level. I literally think I’m going to go through the lessons each year since they are regularly updated and it’s just so much content.
Got new tagline added to logo – In February, I decided to recreate my logo and tagline. It took some time to brainstorm a new tagline but one night I went to bed and literally 3 ideas came to me. I had to jump up and ask my husband to text the taglines to me before I forgot them in the morning, haha. I got my logo redone on Fiverr to add the winning tagline in and I’m pretty pleased with it.
Finished email course – In February I finished my email course. It’s the blogging course that I mentioned earlier in this post.
Got 1 month ahead on blog posts – I also set a goal to get ahead on blog posts since I’m anticipating I’ll have less childcare when my son is home for the summer which means I’ll have to cut down on my work hours.
Tried new Instagram strategy – In February, I also focused more on building up my social media platforms especially Instagram. For Instagram, I focused on sharing more attractive images and posting more often and consistently. I used Later which is a free tool to schedule Instagram posts. I also started researching hashtags and trying out new techniques.
My idea behind increasing my social media following and engagement is to build my brand of course, but also to gain more sponsorships with brands as an additional stream of income.
Updated affiliate links in top posts – During this month I also updated and optimized affiliate links in my top 10 blog posts which is something Michelle recommends in her affiliate marketing course. One of my affiliates has really been taking off as a result of adding it to one of my most popular blog posts.
Started messing around with Facebook ads – In March I started learning more about Facebook ads and created my first ad campaign to promote my course. Kimra’s Be True Brand You program included a 2-hour webinar on Facebook ads which was really helpful, but I still have a lot to learn.
Nevertheless, my first ad went really well and significantly boosted my sign-ups with the course.
Started doing split tests for Pinterest images – In March, I also had the person who creates my blog images create multiple ones for certain posts that I wanted to promote in order to test out which ones worked better. I actually haven’t been the best at checking up on this but creating multiple images for certain posts has helped increase my traffic for them.
Got 2 months ahead on blog posts – I was happy to be able to get two months ahead on blog posts which was exactly what I wanted to do. I had to work weekends in order to get ahead but it wasn’t that bad since the weather was pretty cold and crappy for most of March out here.
Completed and published my largest blog post – In March I finally completed a MASSIVE blog post I’d been working on for months. It lists 80+ ways to earn extra income and how to get started with each. You can check it out here.
Pitched for speaking gigs – Finally, I sent a pitch for a speaking gig early in March at a local college for Money Smart Week. At first, I didn’t hear anything back but just when I decided to move on and pitch someone else, I received a response and actually got invited to speak at another college, my Alma Mater, for Money Smart Week as well!
I’m super excited for this opportunity even though I am a bit nervous but I’ve been preparing like crazy for my back-to-back presentations next week.
Goals For Quarter 2
Get 1 week ahead on client work – I don’t know how realistic this is, but we’ll see. It would be awesome to get at least 1 week ahead with all my clients because I know I’m planning a vacation in August and when I took time off for a short trip at the end of last month, it was nice to be one week ahead with many of my clients. Right now, I’ve got 12 clients that I work with on a regular (weekly) basis and 6 clients that I pick up projects for so trying to get 1 week ahead with everything seems nearly impossible but it would be nice.
Revamp wedding guide – This month I’m working on making some updates to my wedding guide and I hope to promote it with Facebook ads in the spring and see how it goes.
Release next e-course and market it – This year I plan to be very busy creating courses. I created my second course early in April which is another free email mini course about how to properly pitch for freelance clients so you can build up your income. The next two courses I plan to create later this year will be paid and much larger. I already completed this course and created worksheets for it. Now I just need to work on coming up with a launch plan for it.
Retake Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing – This course has been great and I love how Michelle added a few new lessons a while back so I’m looking forward to taking this again hopefully in May.
Go over SEO on the site – I’ve always been mindful of SEO with my blog, but sometimes I’ll admit I slacked off with it so I’d like to go over SEO on many of my blog posts and maybe even delete some older posts as an effort to improve my site’s traffic.
Submit a Guest Post – I haven’t guest posted in so long. Hopefully, I can get this done in June or July.
Redesign website – This should be done is May and I’m looking forward to finally working with a real designer for the first time and getting a new look around here!
In terms of traffic on this site, my traffic has actually gone down a bit and I’m not sure why but increasing my traffic will be an ongoing goal this year. That’s it for this report. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions for me or leave them in the comments below!
How was your first quarter?
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