Time for another quarterly income report seeing as how it’s been way overdue! I’ve been freelancing full-time for about 11 months now and it’s been an exciting ride so far. I left my job last year to pursue freelance writing and blogging full time. My last day of work was August 31, 2016 and I thought it would be fun and helpful to share quarterly income and business progress reports to let you all take a behind-the-scenes look into all that goes into running an online business.
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.
I’m currently writing this income report from my coworking space in town that I visit once a week. Last month, I decided to stop being cheap, bite the bullet, and finally check out a coworking space. I love working from home, but I don’t get to interact with anyone but my cat (and sometimes my son who is actually more of a distraction) at home so it can get a little lonely.
Plus, I live in a decent sized town and want to meet and network with more people who are work similar to me or running businesses in other areas. That being said, I’m also able to get much more done even in that one day a week that I work in an office.
Since summer has become as busy as I expected it to be, I slowed down on freelancing a bit and now I only freelance 3 days a week. The other 2 weekdays are reserved for my blog and other business goals and I’m trying to take weekends off. However, this doesn’t always happen but I’m thankful to have a flexible schedule. If I want to take off a Friday afternoon and work Sunday morning instead, I can do that and I enjoy having that freedom.
That being said, let’s dive into my business income and progress over these last few months.
During Quarter 2 of 2017, I Earned:
This is the money that actually made it into my account during April, May, and June and not the money I actually earned. I get paid by a variety of sources and sometimes, payments don’t come in until 30-60 days after I’ve earned it.
This amount also represents the gross income I received so it’s before PayPal fees and taxes have been deducted. I try to set aside 20%-25% of my income each month for dreaded taxes.
Here’s How My Quarterly Income Breaks Down By Source
This includes income from freelance writing and virtual assistant work. Mainly this year, freelance writing work has been my bread and butter but I gained a new part-time virtual assistant client last month. As a result, my VA income should increase quite a bit over the next few months which is why I may have to break up my earnings more during my next income report to show a clearer distinction between my two main freelance services.
Blogging Income (Affiliate sales, advertising on my site, podcasting, etc.): $2,884.48
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 blog-related income include sponsored blog and social media posts, affiliate income, putting ads on my site, and advertising and sponsors for the podcast that I host with Kayla and Erin (unfortunately, we decied to end the podcast and you can check out our last episode here).
I’ve been working on revamping my coaching program and I haven’t been advertising it at all but someone did reach out to me last month so I was more than happy to start working with them.
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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 feedback from people who have taken it so far.
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Quarter 2 was super expensive compared to last quarter when my total expenses were only around $710. I hired someone to help me schedule pins on Pinterest last month and it was money well spent. All the expenses I have are essential to keeping my business running smoothly so it’s important that I manage my money property and continue living frugally so I can meet my goals.
Also, keep in mind that I pay for hosting and domain fees to keep this website running annually so they won’t always show up on my income reports.
Blog Help and VA: $1,234.70
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
ConvertKit (to send emails to my newsletter subscribers. ConvertKit is super easy to use for non-techy people like me and I’ve created two great email courses with ConvertKit already): $87
Dlvr.it (for sharing posts on Twitter): $30
Stock Photos (I started using Wonderfelle last month for styled stock photos and I’m obsessed): $14
Courses and Additional Education: $329
New Website Design: $200
A Breakdown of Quarter 2:
I met pretty much all the goals I set last quarter except being able to get 1 week ahead on all my client work. Here’s what I focused on during quarter 2.
Two speaking gigs- In April I did spoke at two Money Smart Week events at two different colleges. It was a fun and interesting experience although it wasn’t paid. But it was a great way to practice and see if I really enjoy speaking. As it turns out, I love talking about money as much as I do writing about it and I like connecting with people in person as well as the teaching aspect. I’m definitely making some moves to land some paid speaking gigs in the future.
Continued working ahead on blog posts- In April I also continued working ahead on posts for my blog which allowed me to still have posts scheduled out weeks in advance. However, I didn’t get 1 week ahead on work for all my freelance clients yet. I did this for about half so far.
Updated Wedding Guide- It took me about a day to update my Wedding Budget Guide, then I used Facebook ads to promote it. I hope to promote it again soon since it’s the height of wedding season.
Created my pitching email course – In April, I also created another course but this one is for freelancers. It’s a course about pitching clients which is the first step if you want to start earning money as a freelancer. The 4-day email course is called Freelancer’s Winning Pitch and it teaches everything I’ve learned about identifying your ideal client and sending out quality pitches that land you the job along with the exact template I use to pitch clients. Plus, students who take the course get to participate in a 5-day challenge so they can start implementing what they learned and gain clients fast.
This course isn’t just for freelance writers and I designed it for freelancers in any niche. If you’re ready to start earning money as a freelancer, you can learn more about the course here.
Organized all my affiliate programs- This has been way overdue but I was finally able to organize all my affiliate programs so I could check in on them and update links more easily. Doing this is a MUST if you’re a blogger and it took me a few days since my stuff was a hot mess.
All in all, I’m have about 30 affiliates and I even found out I had some commissions pending from smaller affiliate programs like survey companies so it was nice to get organized.
Worked on site redesign – In May, I started working with my web designer to redo my site. I actually liked my last theme but I put it up myself and there were still some kinks I couldn’t work out with the theme. I’m so happy I stopped being so cheap and finally bit the bullet and hired someone. Now, this design and layout is more clean, professional, and organized.
I really enjoyed working with this designer who was affordable and super easy to work with so if any bloggers are looking for a referral for their site, I’d be happy to connect you!
Updated old posts for SEO- During this month, I really got into updating SEO on my site. I did a ton of things like updating keywords, making popular posts longer and more detailed, adding links, changing H2s, updating my sitemaps, and speeding up the load time on my site. It was very boring work, but I did it for about 20 of my top posts and it really paid off. One of my posts that was already semi-popular has been getting more traffic and bringing in consistent affiliate income each month.
Created new email opt freebie and sequence – It’s been a while since I created a freebie opt-in for new subscribers, so I created another one in May. You can see it as a pop-up when you visit this site.
Submitted a guest post- In June, I met my goal to submit at least 1 guest post on another blog. My schedule is crazy these days, but it’s been so long since I submitted a guest post and I’d still like to do it from time to time because it’s a great way to connect with other bloggers. Luckily, Alexis from Fitnancials was willing to allow me to guest post on her site and she contributed a guest post to my site as well.
Courses Galore- Last month I also started retaking Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing which is a very valuable course that I can credit for my affiliate income boost over these past few months. Michelle is a master at affiliate marketing and I’d highly recommend this course if you’re looking to take your affiliate income to the next level.
I also took another short course in May and started an online training program for a certification. I’m almost done with the online training program and my hope is that it will provide me with more skills and credibility to start hosting live personal finance workshops and land more speaking gigs.
Slowed down on freelancing – Another thing I did in June was start slowing down on freelancing. I actually think my freelancing income was a bit lower this quarter compared to last quarter, but it’s fine since my income is picking up in other areas.
I found a free local camp for my son to attend a few hours a day in June but that camp ended in July so he’ll be home with me until mid-August when school starts back. My husband watches him on Monday and my mom watches him on Wednesday but Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday I don’t really have any childcare help so I lightened my load a little with freelancing for the time being.
Plus, I want to enjoy the summer and not work 7 days a week like I had been.
Goals For Quarter 3
- Secure at least 1 paid speaking gig
- Work on launching a personal finance one-on-one coaching program
- Improve engagement on social media
- Maintain everything!
That’s all for now! How did quarter 2 go for you and what are you doing for fun this summer?
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