It's now January though, which means that I have a brand new month and year to start over.
I'm ready for my first full YEAR of self-employment.
In December of 2013, I made $12,860 in business income, before expenses. I'm hoping for a higher level in January though, but it has been a slow start so far because of the holidays.
Lately, it does seem like I am at a little bit of a standstill. I do need to try working harder.
I am not going to lie – I have probably been taking off more time than I should. I will blame this on being so busy the past few years and my laziness is just trying to catch up to me.
Also, we did sell our suuuper nice 1961 Chevy Apache in December, but that amount is not included in this income post as it is not a part of my business income. We did get to put a pretty penny away and we made a profit on the truck, so that was nice.
I didn't think my level of income was attainable.
Just last December, I made $5,770 in extra income. $5,770 is, of course, still a great amount, but each month I am still amazed by my progress.
Like I say every month, when I first started blogging, I didn't think this level of income was possible. I read (and still read) income reports from bloggers such as Pat at Smart Passive Income and Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff and I thought their levels were just completely unattainable for me.
I'm sure many of you feel the same about your level of “extra income” and that my story is just a lucky story. However, I read stories on other blogs and used them as motivation for myself.
I didn't think their levels were possible for me, but it turns out that I was wrong.
And, I'm glad I was wrong. No, I'm not at the levels of Pat or Crystal, but I will keep trying everyday to improve my business.
This is for the month of December and before fees and expenses (expenses that lower the amount above include approximately $700, which includes VAs for my other websites, PayPal fees, etc.) being taken out.
December‘s number above includes a rent payment from my sister and her boyfriend. So after all expenses and fees, I made approximately $12,160. In the amount above, I do not count the amount that I bring in to blogs that I help run, I only include the amounts that are my actual earnings from my services.
This is still a job!
I know that this is a lot of “extra income” (it's all business income now for me), but please keep in mind that I spend many, many hours every single day on my business.
This is not passive income, although one day I hope that much of my income is passive. I have also been growing this for quite some time, and for around one year I was not making a single dollar, but I was still putting full-time hours into my side jobs. Taxes also take approximately 30% of my extra income. This is something that not everyone thinks about. I plan on creating a post about taxes as a self-employed person on Diversified Finances soon.
Oh yeah, and many of you have been wondering every month – I do have an LLC for my business. I worked as a business valuation analyst for many years, so I do know quite a bit about businesses and how to set them up (and operate them efficiently/effectively).
As I say every month in my income update posts as a reality check: this is still work. Some like to think that I quit my job and I do nothing, but I really do a decent amount of work. It does help that I have gotten much better at streamlining tasks and hiring others for certain jobs that I need done.
This is my full-time job, and for a few years I was working my full-time job while having my business as well. There were many sleepless nights!
Luckily, I do enjoy what I'm doing so it's not like I'm dreading anything. The goals that we have are also a great motivator. You can find my 2014 goals update here. All of my past income updates can be found here as well. Read further on my Extra/Business Income page.
As always, if you have any questions about my monthly business income that you would like me to include next month, please let me know.
I don't believe that there is too much going on at Making Sense of Cents. I'm still chugging along. I do find myself talking about lifestyle design more (such as with my post – Do you make excuses for why you're not following your dream?). Does everyone enjoy these lifestyle design articles? I have fun talking about the subject and writing about it, which makes it easy for me!
My sister's blog is still doing well. I'm hoping to get her more involved with her blog and start promoting her blog more. Please subscribe to FITnancials if you haven't yet.
My self-employment/financial independence blog Diversified Finances is doing well also and I am so glad that I started this website. Being able to talk so much about self-employment and getting direct feedback from readers is great. Is there anything related to self-employment that you would like me to talk about? Please let a comment below if so.
If you are looking to start a blog, don't forget to read my post How To Start a Blog. It gives step by step instructions on starting your own blog. Also, one of my most popular posts this past month was How To Make Money Blogging.
What about my progress after FinCon 2013?
One question that I am asked a lot is what I learned from FinCon that I am trying to apply to my business. I learned many things at FinCon and I made a list of things that I need to do in my post My Plan For the Future. I really have not been that active in making improvements. I need to change that and I need to start making an action plan.
My plans include (in no particular order):
- Start an eBook. – I still have not even thought about this. However, I will say that starting an eBook is not at the top of my list right now. Maybe later, but not right now.
- Build my brand. – I have not done much to build my brand. I guess I am still unsure as to what I should do in order to build it.
- Promote more. – I do think that I have been doing better with focusing on promoting my blog and the articles that I write more.
- Accept more interviews. – I believe I did two more interviews in December. If anyone wants to interview me, I am free!
- Speak at a conference one day. – Speaking at a conference is definitely not in store for 2014. Maybe 2015?
I don't believe I added any new staff writing gigs in December, but I also didn't actively look for any.
I am still looking for a few more staff writing gigs. I have found that I have plenty of free time and I'm just not productive unless I have something filling in those time slots. I also love writing and have over 100 ideas in my phone for new potential topics!
Here's my monthly shameless plugin: If any of you need a staff writer or just a one-time content writer, let me know. Whether you need a couple of articles every week, or just a single post with no ongoing relationship, I am your girl. I can write regular content, content to fill in gaps in your writing schedule, content for advertising and so on. My turnaround is fairly quick and I am reliable.
I created an article titled So You Want to Be a Freelance Writer?, so please read further about this topic if you are interested in staff writing as well.
I bought my very first website in November of 2013, but I haven't done too much with it yet. I do have articles on there and I have a virtual assistant helping me with some work on it though.
I do still believe that I received a good deal on it. I'm hoping to continually increase the statistics on the website and hopefully increase the amount of readers as well.
Do you have any questions about buying a website? Or, have you bought a website? I plan on covering this more soon.
Update On My Blog and Social Media Management Services
One area that I am doing better in is blog and social media management. Lately, I have been seeing that many blog owners are interested in having me manage their blog while they are on vacation or if they need a break. This is something that I love to do, and you can sleep easily while you are on vacation because I believe I can successful manage your website.
I also know how it feels to go on vacation. You might be hesitant in hiring help because your blog means so much to you. However, that is why I love offering this service. I truly know how much a blog means to a person, and I try my hardest to make the transition (no matter how short) a smooth one. A vacation from your blog might be needed – and I'm here to help!
I manage different aspects of several different blogs, and that is what has helped me ramp up my business income in the past few months. All of my services are a lot of fun, as I really enjoy blogging and social media, and all other areas of managing a website.
Here are various services that relate to blog and social media management:
- Manage and approve comments.
- Watch to make sure that your website does not go down.
- Monitor e-mails and reply when/if necessary.
- Reply to comments on posts.
- Make sure postings go live when they should.
- Write articles while you are away (including ghost-written articles).
- Manage social media – this includes looking for new followers and engaging with current followers.
If you need a blog or social media manager, please let me know. I can manage your blog for a short period of time as well. If you just need one week, one month, or some other time period off from your blog (such as for travel, to unplug, a vacation from your website, to start a family, to start a new job and so on), I can help with this. E-mail me with any questions.
Affiliate income – Still no changes.
I have been doing horrible with affiliate income. And, I feel horrible about that because many of you have been asking me to review your product. I keep blaming it on time, but that has to come to a stop.
For January, one of my business goals is to finally go through the affiliate offers that I have. I then want to start making an action plan and schedule to go through them, and see which ones are worthwhile for me to review on my website.
What type of reviews would you like to see on Making Sense of Cents? I have been thinking about starting to review credit cards as we want to start using them more.
Offline side hustles.
I haven't really put any thought into creating an offline side hustle lately. I still have my ideas, but those may be put on hold for right now while I work on growing my online business further.
What offline side hustles do you have?
Business and Extra Income in December (after expenses)
- Staff writing – $575
- Website-Related (managing websites for clients, and my blogs – direct advertising & Adsense) – $10,735
- Affiliate Income – $400
- Virtual Assistant tasks – $0
- Selling Items From Our Home – $0
- Miscellaneous (not related to blogging and online income) – $0
- Mystery Shopping – $0
- Rent (we rent a room in our house to my sister and her boyfriend) – $450
Comparisons and 2013 Business Income total (after expenses, but before taxes)
- Total extra income for December: $12,160
- Income in November: $13,387
- Difference: –$1,227
- Total in 2013: $116,519
How did you do in December? What are your extra/business income goals?