$12,747 in May – Beginning to Break Out My Business Income

$12,747 in May - Beginning to Break Out My Business IncomeHello everyone! I can’t believe it’s already June. It’s also my wedding week and I can’t believe that is already here. I’ll talk more about my wedding later this week, but today it’s all about my monthly income report.

May was a good month, but I do feel a little stuck. April was my best month ever, but I haven’t been increasing my income by very much, and it seems to keep bouncing back and forth.

I won’t lie, even though I am VERY happy with my income, I did think after I left my day job that my income would have grown a little faster. It’s all my fault though, I haven’t been putting as much time into my freelancing work as I thought I would. I honestly thought that I would be applying the extra 50 to 60 hours each week that I gained from leaving my day job towards my freelancing life, but that just didn’t prove to be possible.

I am growing slowly, and my income is bouncing back and forth, but I am happy with life right now. I have more time to enjoy everything that is going on around me, and I am actually finding more time to relax. I am slowly growing my business which is better than the opposite (going downhill).

After the wedding is over and everything is done with, I do plan on getting back on the working wagon and spending more time on growing my business.

Anyway, in May of 2014, I made $14,947 in business income, before expenses. It was a good month!

 

Reading past income reports of mine and others still motivates me.

The main reason why I started side hustling is because I was reading other bloggers’ (Smart Passive Income, Budgeting In The Fun Stuff, Newlyweds on a Budget) income reports and it got me really interested. If it weren’t for others posting their income reports, then I don’t know if I would have really gotten into side hustling (which eventually turned into my freelancing business).

Also, I like to publish income reports because it’s nice to look back and see what my goals were the previous month. It’s nice to see where I am, compare how I’m doing, and check in on my progress. It’s also interesting to see where I’m slacking and what I need to work on.

From one of my very first income reports: In May of 2012, I made $672 in extra income. $672 is still a great amount of side income to make, but my progress over the past three years is something that I am very proud of. This August will mark three years of blogging for me, and when I started I never thought this is where I would be. The other day I even received an email from a reader congratulating me on almost 3 years, and I had to double think it because I seriously cannot believe that it’s been that long already.

I know I say this every month, but it is the truth. Life is just so great now that I am doing what I want!

I started my blog just as an outlet. I never thought it would turn into a side income or into my full-time career. If you would have told me this a few years ago, I never would have believed you – I probably would have just laughed it off…

 

$12,747 in May - Beginning to Break Out My Business Income

This is for the month of May and before fees and expenses (fees and expenses that lower the amount above total around $2,200, which includes VAs for my other websites, annual web hosting fees, technical assistance on my websites, PayPal fees, etc.) being taken out.

After all expenses and fees, I made approximately $12,747. In the amount above, I do not include the amount that I bring in to websites that I provide services to, I only include the amounts that are my actual earnings from my services. So, if a website I manage makes an income of $2,000, I only include my payment for my services- not the full $2,000.

 

I love self-employment, but this is still a job, a career, and a business.

I know that this is a lot of “side income” (it’s all business income now for me), but please keep in mind that I spend many, many hours everyday 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.

Like 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 sit around doing nothing all day. That is not true though. It does help that I have gotten much better at streamlining tasks and hiring others for certain jobs that I need done. It’s all about finding what you are good at and outsourcing other tasks that you 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! I was a workaholic, but thankfully it all paid off.

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.

 

Blog News

Blogging is still going well. Some told me that I would be bored with it once I started doing it full-time, but I must say that my love for it hasn’t died down one bit. It’s still fun, I feel like I am growing and learning, and I am still extremely attached to MakingSenseofCents and my other websites.

My self-employment/financial independence blog Diversified Finances is doing well also and I am still happy I started that website. I do plan on covering early retirement, financial independence, and passive income more soon.

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, read How To Make Money Blogging.

 

My plans for my website and my business (in no particular order):

  1. Start an eBook. – I really haven’t given this much thought over the past few months. I’m hoping to really sit down and start researching in July of 2014. I’m thinking about creating an eBook about freelancing online. I’m not sure about much else yet though…
  2. Build my brand. - I have been attempting to work on this. I see other freelancers out there who have built amazingly successful brands and I hope to be at that point some day.
  3. Promote more. – I am trying to promote my articles more and I believe that it is working well. I do want to start using Pinterest to my advantage more as well. Personal finance is a hard topic to get people to pin on Pinterest though.
  4. Podcasts – At one point, I was interested in podcasts, but I just don’t think I’m at the point to start doing that just yet.
  5. Accept more interviews. - I had 4 interviews in May, and one scheduled for June already.

 

Staff Writing

I didn’t add any new staff writing gigs in May, but I did do well with my current jobs. I currently have a new writing position that will be added soon. We are just trying to figure out the next steps right now before I begin.

Nearly every week I receive the same question (this time Athena and Catherine tweeted me asking this question)- What should I do to find more staff writing or virtual assistant jobs? 

There are two main ways for you to do this – either they find you or you find them. Them finding you can be more difficult, as there is nothing really too active that you can do to speed up the process. So, if you want another job sooner rather than later, then you should go out there and try to find a new gig yourself.

I highly recommend that you check out Alexa’s article How to Find Freelance Writing Jobs (My Best Tips). She is a master at freelancing, and I see her all over the place. Her article lists the different ways for you to get out there and find more online jobs. You can apply her tips to finding more VA jobs as well.

If you are wanting clients to find you, then there are things you can do. Usually website owners find me through my Contact/Hire Me tab above, and this is something that I think all bloggers should have on their website. Start one now! That is my number one tip! No one can hire you if they don’t even know that you are looking for a freelancing job.

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 the article titled Do You Want to Be a Freelance Writer, so please read further about this topic if you are interested in staff writing as a way to make money online.

 

Buying websites

I have bought two websites so far, and I have built four. That means I have a total of 6 websites that I own myself.

I also manage a handful of other websites. I am thinking about adding a few more websites to my portfolio so that I can grow them and hopefully one day make an income from them.

In March, I finally started my series on buying websites for profit on DiversifiedFinances. Read Buying Blogs/Websites For Profit Part 1.

Do you plan on buying websites in the future? Why or why not?

 

Update On My Blog and Social Media Management Services.

In the month of May, I managed a few different websites for other owners. They all went well, and blog/media management is something I enjoy.

For some, I completely manage the website (everything from e-mails to fixing old articles) and I try to make money for the original website owner through advertising and affiliate income, and then I forward their share of what their website made. I am in complete control of these websites, and the blog owner sits back and enjoys some passive income.

For others, I just manage a few aspects. I might help them answer emails, monitor their website to make sure nothing happens, or I handle their social media.

Blog and social media management are something that I would like to keep growing. I have seen many blog owners who are interested in having me manage their website 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 taking a break from your website because I believe I can successfully 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. I truly know how much a website means to a person, and I try my hardest to make the transition (no matter how short) a smooth one. A vacation from your website is needed every now and then – and I’m here to help!

Pricing is on an individual basis because no two websites/blogs are alike. If you are interested, send me an email and I would love to help you out.

 

Here are various services that relate to blog and social media management:

  • Manage and approve comments. If you are busy, then you want your blog to continue on just like if you were still there. I get rid of any spam, and approve real comments. I also reply to comments on your posts if that is something that you normally do.
  • Watch to make sure that your website does not go down. I check multiple times throughout the day to make sure that your website is up. With all of the hosting problems that I have been seeing lately, this can put your mind at ease because I can find it and hopefully fix the problem instead of you ruining your vacation.
  • Monitor e-mails and reply when/if necessary. If you want a total break from your website, then e-mail management is something that most of my clients sign up for.
  • Make sure postings go live when they should. Sometimes they won’t, and this is where I come in. I will make sure that everything is scheduled and actually happens.
  • Write articles while you are away (including ghost-written articles). You never know when something will come up.
  • Manage social media – this includes looking for new potential followers and engaging with current followers.

 

Are you interested in becoming a virtual assistant? Don’t forget to also read about what exactly a virtual assistant does.

 

Affiliate income - Slow progress.

My goal for 2014 is to get more into affiliate income. Affiliate income is great because it can be a lot like passive income – in that I can create an affiliate article, do little things to maintain it, and hopefully it will continue to bring in income for me.

I didn’t really do anything that related to affiliate income in May, but I have it on my to-do list for the month of June.

$12,747 in May - Beginning to Break Out My Business Income

Business and Extra Income in May ($12,747, after most expenses)

  • Staff writing – $1,180
  • Managing websites and social media for clients – $5,300
  • Website-Related (From all 6 of the websites I own – advertising, partnerships & Adsense) – $5,011
  • Affiliate Income – $931
  • 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) – $325

 

One thing that I am asked nearly every time I publish my monthly income report is whether or not I can further break down my income.  This is something I have never done, mainly to protect myself and those I provide services to.

Mainly, I kept it private because I wanted to have a little bit of privacy. Above, I sort of broke it all out for the first time ever, and in the next few months I plan on breaking it apart further and further. I know some of you are waiting for me to break it apart down to the very exact amount from the very exact source, but I do like to keep it a little private for now because I do need to protect the income that I am making since this is my livelihood.

I have heard of other bloggers who have stated exactly how much money that they made and the sources, and then another person has gone in and completely stole that contact/client from them. That is something that I definitely do NOT want to happen, and that is why I like to keep my exact sources a secret.

Website related income includes all of my websites, and that is all. It no longer includes websites that I don’t own. So, if I provide social media management or blog management for someone, that amount gets put into the “Managing websites and social media for clients” income.

Also, please keep in mind that I work for myself. This means that I have to cover all taxes (which are around 30%), health insurance, and all other benefits that an employer would normally provide.

 

Comparisons and 2014 Business Income total (after expenses, but before taxes)

  • Total extra income for May: $12,747
  • Income in April: $13,493
  • Difference: -746
  • Total in 2014: $64,434

 

 

How did you do in May? What are your extra/business income goals?

 

Comments

  1. Nicola says

    Wow, another great month for you Michelle! The amount you make from various sources is amazing – just shows what can be done if you put your mind to it and work hard.

  2. Alexa says

    Thanks for the shout out. Appreciate it ;)

    I agree with you – you definitely should NOT break down your income by the sources. Because then someone else will go and try to steal your job. They’ll offer a lower price, say they can do more, etc. I like the way you have broke out it now. I think that’s very explanatory and gives people a good idea of where your income is coming from.

    And I also wouldn’t be worried about growing slow either – slow and steady wins the race! I also thought that I’d be working 50-60 hours per weeks when I quit my full time day job but it’s honestly more like 20-30 most weeks.

    Now that I’m self employed I am just enjoying living my life more and doing what I want to do. With that said I do need to kick my income up a notch so I’m gonna work on adding some new streams in the next several months.

    • Michelle S. says

      Thank you Alexa! I feel like it’s broken down pretty well for right now, but others still say it’s still not detailed enough. I think it’s detailed enough for me to be comfortable though.

    • Michelle S. says

      Thank you Stefanie!

      And I’m not sure. I’ll definitely take the wedding day off, but I like working so I’ll probably still work at least a little bit.

  3. Brian @ Luke1428 says

    I think like many other things in life, there are periods of time when we stagnate. Other life issues are in play (like a wedding) that keep us from moving forward how we’d like. In that way, life is kind of like a stock chart. There are periods of sideways trading followed by dramatic rises in stock price when the company hits on all cylinders. The trick of course is to avoid the declines, which it seems like you are doing.
    Brian @ Luke1428 recently posted..Why I’m So Excited to Spend Money Again on Cable TVMy Profile

  4. MMD says

    Honestly I love seeing your income reports over someone like Pat Flynn’s because I find them more relateable. How in the world would I ever make $40K in Bluehost referrals?

    I was really surprised to see in your breakdown how such a large chunk of your income is managing other sites. How much do you charge for this service? (email me if you don’t want to state it in the comments)
    MMD recently posted..Niche Website Update 18 – Reaching Out to Other Bloggers and Changing FocusMy Profile

    • Michelle S. says

      Haha I wish I could make $40K in Bluehost referrals. My life would be complete!

      My fees range widely for managing websites. Some just have me do little things on their website like manage their emails or make sure articles go live when they are supposed to. Others have me manage everything. Payment usually ranges from $500 to $2500 per month.

  5. E.M. says

    Great job, and I like this breakdown. I don’t think you necessarily need to go any further, and it’s definitely understandable to not state specific sources! There’s nothing wrong with enjoying life more and being happier. As you said, the business is going in the right direction, and there’s no need to devote so much time to working if it’s not needed!
    E.M. recently posted..Pushing the BoundariesMy Profile

    • Michelle S. says

      Thank you :) I’m glad so many of you are fine with me breaking apart my income like this. I do plan on talking more about the specifics as well soon, such as how to attract advertisers to your website and more.

  6. Melissa says

    Michelle, this is such exciting news!! I’m so happy for you. I don’t begrudge you a single cent – you work incredibly hard, and people should know that.

    I can’t wait to start blogging and then freelancing. If you ever were interested in writing a post about how you find clients who want you to manage their sites/social media, I’d be really curious to read about it. I just don’t know how I would cold-contact a business and say, hey! I can manage your blog/website/social media! How do you just start that conversation?

  7. dojo says

    My business is actually thriving, even if my time spent working was little. I’d rather spend it with my baby than ignoring her and ‘making money’, so it’s still difficult to balance it all. Happy to see your earnings, it’s a pretty nice number. Keep up the great work ;)

  8. Raquel@Practical Cents says

    Oh wow, I can’t believe your wedding is coming up so soon. I just celebrated my anniversary on June 1. Early June is a great time for weddings as it’s still not that hot. Temps are usually pretty mild. I hope you have a lovely day.

    Congrats on your income. Impressive as usual. Thanks for sharing.
    Raquel@Practical Cents recently posted..My Story: From Renter to HomeownerMy Profile

    • Michelle S. says

      I’m hoping it’s nice. St. Louis is known for having weather all over the place. A few weeks ago it was 50 degrees and the very next day it was 95!

  9. Harry @ The Rideshare Guy says

    Wow, killin’ it even with all the wedding planning :) I like working online but I am finding that it is anything but passive income. A lot of bloggers talk about how blogging will eventually become passive, but I don’t see how. What do you think?

    • Michelle S. says

      Thanks Harry!

      Blogging is definitely not passive income, but if you are talented with affiliate income, then it will almost feel like passive income.

  10. Shoeaholicnomore says

    Hi Michelle! I’m happy to say that I’m finally caught up on your blog (since I started reading from the beginning to reach current). Glad to see your freelance income is still doing great! Congrats on your upcoming wedding!

  11. Kim@eyesonthedollar says

    I would hope you could enjoy life a bit after how hard you worked. I think it’s fine to always look for ways to grow but don’t feel like you have to continue to work 100 hours per week!

  12. Petrish @ Debt Free Martini says

    Each month I read about your monthly income and I am always amazed. I can’t even imagine making so much money from a blog. Thanks for the inspiration. I would never ask for a more breakdown of your finances.

    Where’s the fun if you can’t achieve these goals on your own!! Dare to dream, and walk your own path. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says

    I totally get it about not revealing too much – people can be so sneaky and mean!!! Side hustle income is growing here, but it still doesn’t feel like it too much b/c we’re still doing serious debt damage control. Can’t wait to hear more about the wedding!!

  14. Retired by 40 says

    I mean, really? You’re finishing up planning a WEDDING for God’s sake, and you still managed to “squeak by” with that much business income? You. Are. Superwoman.

  15. Brad @ How To Save Money says

    What a great post filled with so much information. I make most of my income from freelance writing and plan to go back and read all of the links you suggested. I will also continue to read all of your posts with much interest. Having just found your blog, I wonder what you were doing before the blog and how your income now compares with your previous income. Of course that might not be information that you want to share.
    Brad @ How To Save Money recently posted..Saving Money on Vacations with StaycationsMy Profile

    • Michelle S. says

      Haha thanks Michelle!

      And I actually have an article on DiversifiedFinances about budgeting for taxes going live tomorrow :)

      I like to just estimate it each month off of how much I made. It’s difficult though, but since I’ve been making almost the same amount the past few months, I don’t think my percentage will be too off at the end of the year.

  16. Kemkem says

    Wow! All that while still dealing with the wedding. You are superwoman! I don’t blame you for not naming your sources as l am quite sure you would totally get stabbed in the back! :0) good luck with the wedding.

  17. Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans says

    I know you feel like your income should be growing faster but, let me tell ya girl, you are doing absolutely FANTASTIC! I feel like I say this every month but you are so inspirational. I would be very interested in reading an eBook written by you :)

  18. Jacob says

    Nice work, once again. You are brave sharing these details, something I don’t think I could do. Well, mostly because my monthly income is embarrassing compared to this :)

    And only a few days until THE DAY. Congrats again, marriage is flipping awesome. I’ve been married for almost 6 years, still love discovering more about my spouse everyday and enjoying the good times and hard ones. And have a fun honeymoon trip!
    Jacob recently posted..How To Travel For Free: 5 Ways For Couples To Get A Free Trip To HawaiiMy Profile

  19. Bex says

    Great job and I also like the web breakdown. It’s really helpful and inspiring for me because I’m currently planning out some potential websites (keyword research and defining niches) in addition to considering possible businesses ideas. Very exciting!

  20. Chris says

    Awesome to see the great income report again Michelle. I like how you managed to earn some great income from other website doing their social media and website work. Do you happen to have anymore info on this? I want to know more about how you specifically do this and what kind of fees would be best to charge?

    Cheers and keep up the awesome work.
    Chris recently posted..The Biggest Mistake That Can Ruin Your FinancesMy Profile

    • Michelle S. says

      Hello!

      I guess I’m not sure how to exactly answer your question “I want to know more about how you specifically do this.” Are you asking how I started, or what exactly I do? Or are you asking about how I log in to different accounts to manage social media and websites for others

      Determining the fees to charge is something that is hard to do. I would just set an hourly rate or rate per project that you feel comfortable with and go from there. There are VA’s who work for cheap (such as on Fiverr), and then I know others who charge thousands of dollars a month.

      Reply back and I will definitely help out! :)

  21. Sara says

    Hey, the earning on managing websites did the websit owners find you or did you find them? if the latter, how did you find them? how many websites do you manage?

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