I’m a little late, but finally got around to sharing my quarter 3 income report for my online business and I’m pretty excited about it!
In a nutshell, quarter 3 was a period of slow down for my business and somewhat hectic for my personal life which I will explain in more detail further down.
Why I Do This And Wondering Whether I Should Continue
Lately, I’ve been going back and forth on whether I should keep sharing these income reports. They take a lot of time to work on and I want it to be helpful to people and help me stay accountable. Basically, I want to demonstrate what could be possible when running an online business because if other people didn’t write online income reports and show me the possibilities, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.
On the flip side, I realize how income reports can make other people feel crappy. Bloggers and online service providers are some of the most ambitious people and it’s so easy for me to fall into the comparison trap and experience severe imposter syndrome myself. I felt that way at a recent industry conference and quite frankly, I’m tired of feeling like I’m not doing enough.
I know it’s probably all in my head, but I’m at the point where I refuse to chase a moving target so my main intentions are to keep my business running smoothly and make occasional tweaks and changes to ensure that I’m following through with my underlying mission and reasons why I started this journey in the first place. Yet and still, I’m not going to lie when I say income is one of the ways (NOT the only way) I measure my success and progress.
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. So if you do find this valuable, please let me know. If not, let me know what I can do to change it or if I should just phase these reports out.
That being said, feel free to take everything I mention in this post with a grain of salt. These are the things that have (and haven’t) been working for me throughout my journey. I don’t have it all figured out and probably never will 🙂
Now that I’ve got that off my chest, let’s get into the report.
During Quarter 3 of 2017, I Earned
This is the money that actually made it into my account during July, August, and September 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 Income Breaks Down
Freelance Writing: $10,321.97
This includes income from freelance writing for various different clients. I started getting into freelance writing shortly after I started this blog and I find most of my clients by sending pitches or referrals. If you’re interested in becoming a freelance writer, check out the links below and my 4-day email course and challenge to help you perfect your pitches and land quality freelance jobs.
Virtual Assistant Work: $4,842.89
This income is from my one part-time VA client and another client who I do editing for. I’ve never really openly advertised my VA services but my part-time client came to me as a referral in the personal finance niche which was nice. I help edit and schedule blog posts for this particular client, schedule social media updates, and do other back end things on their site. What I love about VA work is that your services can be pretty flexible and it’s easy to catch on and learn new things. The more skills and experience you have, the more you can charge because you can provide more value.
If you’re interested in becoming a Pinterest VA, I’d encourage you to get on the waiting list for the Become a Pinterest VA Today course which will be open for enrollment this Friday. The course creators, Kristin and Gina, are absolute sweethearts and allowed me to offer a generous discount to anyone who hops on the waiting list today. If you think you’d be interested in working from home as a virtual assistant, check out my post below.
Blogging Income (Affiliates, Advertising on my site, product sales): $1,780.30
My blog income is down from last quarter and I’m sure the summer slump had something to do with along with the fact that I didn’t put a ton of time into blogging in Quarter 3. Yet and still, I’m grateful and excited to be diversifying and making a part-time income from this site! I’m hoping to get back on a better schedule and finish out the year strong.
Have You Taken My 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, produce better content, package your services, and more. 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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My business expenses are up quite a bit from the last two quarters, but you have to spend money to make money and I’m pretty pleased with the help and resources I’ve been paying for.
Blog Help and VA: $1,915
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
Coaching – $120
PayPal Fees – $79.11 – That’s it for billing $15,000+ in freelance projects for the quarter. That only averages out to about $26 per month. My PayPal fees have dropped significantly since I’ve been using Freshbooks to send out invoices!
A Breakdown of Quarter 3
Aside from freelance work and putting up content for this blog, here’s what I worked on behind the scenes in Quarter 3.
Took and passed the CFEI test – Over the summer, I slowed down on freelancing in order to take lessons to become a Certified Financial Education Instructor. I didn’t have any child care during the month of July and wanted to focus on helping my son with his reading and enjoying the summer so I got little done with my business outside of client work and preparing for this test. However, I ended up taking the test in July and passing so I’m hoping to use what I’ve learned to help continue educating people about personal finance.
Presented at the virtual money summit – In July, my friend Whitney Hansen also created a virtual Money Summit and asked me to present a session on paying off debt. This was really fun being that the entire summit was carried out on Facebook live and we got a lot of great feedback from attendees.
Local Blogger Meetup – In August I started my own local blogger meetup on the Meetup site. I also found a monthly breakfast and lecture for women entrepreneurs right around the corner from my house. It’s been important for me to get more comfortable networking and interacting with people in person. I’d recommend this for anyone who has an online business or is looking to work from home. You need time away from your computer to interact with other people. You don’t have to start a Meetup group like I did, but you can always attend free, local events or even meet up with some other creatives at a coffee shop.
Started Seeking Out More Brand Partnerships – During this month I also started seeking out more partnerships with brands via influencer networks like The Clever Collective and Find Your Influence. I got selected to work with Navient and wrote a post about paying off my student loans. It was a pleasure working with Navient because they loved how authentic my content was and selected my post as one of the top 3 for the campaign.
Hired someone to help with speaking pitches – In September I hired someone to help me send out pitches for speaking gigs. It’s a ton of work when you’re just starting out, but I was able to create my public speaking page for this site and a speaker one-sheet. I also landed a spot on a panel in Chicago in January and I’m pretty excited about that.
Revamped content audit – I started auditing my content last month and have to do this in chunks because it’s not that exciting, haha. I basically freshen up posts, improve SEO, delete old irrelevant content, and promote my valuable evergreen content more.
Lost a mid-sized client – Quarter 3 was not all good news by far. On one of the last days of September, I got a random email from a client canceling our contract. This was the first time something like that has ever happened to me. It was bizarre because I was given no explanation as to why and we had been working together for almost 2 years. I was earning around $600 – $700 per month from this client so it was a decent-sized blow. However, I understand that with freelancing, stuff like that happens all the time and you have to be ready for it. People’s budgets change along with their needs and interest in your service. Your work isn’t really guaranteed whether you freelance or not and while that’s okay with me, I really prefer open lines of communication and mutual respect with my clients.
Having diversified my income streams with blog income and other freelancing projects has definitely softened the financial blow so I’m not really worried.
Goals For Quarter 4
My only major goal for quarter 4 is to focus on taking things one step at a time according to what’s next up on my priority list. I recently attended a conference I go to every year that’s called FinCon and it often leaves me with this huge rush of inspiration and motivation to take action. However, I realize that I tend to get super overwhelmed when I have too many goals on my plate and that results in me not being able to get anything done at all.
Have you ever experienced this? How was your quarter 3 and are you looking forward to the holidays?
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