$14,937 in July – My Highest Income Month

$14,937 in July - My Highest Income Month

It’s that time of the month again. It’s time to look at my monthly income report and track my progress over the past month.

This all started out as my “extra income” report because before October of 2013, I still had my day job. In those extra income reports, I included all income that I made except for income from my day job.

However, in September of 2013, I turned in my notice at my day job as a financial analyst, and my last official work day was in October of 2013. Now, my income reports consist of the main way that I make an income each month, which is through my freelancing business.

I publish my income reports each month for many reasons.

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) monthly income reports and they had me interested and motivated.

Before I started blogging, I knew nothing about side hustling and making money online. I didn’t think side hustlers were worth the time, and I thought the main way to increase your income was through your day job.

Boy, was I wrong!

If it weren’t for others posting their monthly online income reports, I don’t know if I would have ever attempted side hustling.

Also, I like to publish my income reports each month because it’s a way for me to look back, learn from my mistakes and see what I need to change or improve the following month. Just sitting here and typing up this income report is a great way to keep in touch with my business goals. It also gives me motivation because if I can see that nothing has changed in a few months I know what I need to start working on.

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 to do. I look forward to each and every day and it’s a wonderful thing.

 

How was July?

July was my best income month ever. I was very surprised by this because usually the summer months are supposed to be slower in the online freelancing world.

July was extremely busy the first week and the last two weeks. The middle of the month was extremely slow and I had almost no work come in when I was on my cruise, which worked out well but it always feels odd when I don’t work.

In July of 2014, I made $16,237 in business income, before expenses. It was another GREAT month!

 

$14,937 in July - My Highest Income Month

This is for the month of July and before fees and expenses (fees and expenses that lower the amount above total around $1,300, which includes VAs/staff writers for my other websites, technical assistance on my websites, PayPal fees, etc.) being taken out.

After all expenses and fees, I made approximately $14,937. 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.

To read my posts about extra income, click here. Below are my extra income updates:

 

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

One thing that I still have to remind others is that my freelancing business is still a job. I spend many hours every day, every week, and every month on my business.

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 you need done.

This is not passive income, although one day I hope that much of my income is passive.

I have also been growing my freelancing business and services 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. I also have to provide for my own retirement, health insurance, vacation time, and more. This is something that not everyone thinks about.

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 and worked out for me in the end.

You can find my 2014 goals update here.

As always, if you have any questions about my monthly business income that you would like me to include next month, please leave a comment or send me an e-mail and I will gladly try my best to help you out.

 

Blog News.

Nothing extremely exciting has happened in this category lately. I had my blog redesign in June and I am still loving it, of course.

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.

 

$14,937 in July - My Highest Income Month

Image source: mobilehomeliving

Working on the road.

In July, we went on a weeklong cruise. I had unlimited internet on the cruise ship which cost around $180 for the week. Yes, it was expensive, but in order for me to run my business I need internet. Luckily, I enjoy what I do so I don’t mind working when I am on a trip.

Many people have asked me about the internet speed on a cruise ship.

We were on the Allure of the Seas which is the biggest and newest cruise ship in the world, so our internet speed was fast. I would compare it to something you would find at a Starbucks.

I thought it was going to be much slower. Everyone told me to prepare for slow internet, and it actually had me a little worried because I wasn’t sure how I was going to work. If the cruise was only for a few days, I would have gone without it, but since the cruise was 8 days I decided to buy it.

It was somewhat slow on some occasions, such as when it was a sea day and everyone was trying to get on the internet at once. However, if it was a port day, early in the morning or super late at night, I found it to be quick.

 

Also, we have been thinking about getting a vintage camper trailer. We want to start traveling more, and we want to be able to bring our dogs everywhere as well as be comfortable at the same time.

Our solution is to buy a vintage camper trailer and do some restoration work to it. I can’t wait until we actually find one and begin the process. There is one thing that we are not sure about. How do you work from a camper trailer? Is there a way to hook it up to some sort of satellite internet? I still need to work!

 

My plans for my website and my business:

  1. Start an eBook. – I haven’t done much with a potential eBook yet.
  2. Build my brand. - This is still slowly happening.
  3. Promote more. - I have been getting better at promoting, but I would really like to work on this more. I have noticed that working on improving the images I use has led to more clicks from Pinterest, which is good!
  4. Accept more interviews. - I had four interviews in July. I was also mentioned in US News and Forbes last month!

 

 

Staff Writing.

Staff writing was okay in July. I am still looking for more clients, but I have shifted most of my attention to blog management lately. I am still hoping to find a big personal finance website to write for, but I didn’t actively do anything towards that goal in the past few months.

 

What should I do to find more staff writing or virtual assistant jobs? 

This is now a permanent feature in my monthly business income posts because it is such a popular question every month.

There are two main ways for you to find staff writing and/or virtual assistant jobs - either they find you or you find them.

A client 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 staff writing or virtual assistant position yourself.

If you are wanting new clients to find you, then there are actions you can take. 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.

You also might want to post in related forums. There are online job forums out there, you just have to search for them. You need to let your services be known and possibly even ask others to spread the word.

If YOU are wanting to find clients, then there are a few different ways you can do this as well. You can search job boards, reach out to publishers that you want to work for, and more. Check out my article How To Find A Writing Job for more information on this.

Here’s my monthly shameless plugin: If any of you need a staff writer or just a one-time content writer, please let me know. Whether you need a couple of articles every week, or just a single post with no ongoing relationship, I am your person. I can write regular content and be hired as a staff writer, content to fill in gaps in your writing schedule, content for advertising and so on. My turnaround time is 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 and built four. That means I have a total of 6 websites 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. I have been looking around and I am waiting for the perfect website to come up before I buy again.

In March, I started a series on buying websites for profit on DiversifiedFinances. Read Buying Blogs/Websites For Profit Part 1. I haven’t done Part 2 yet, but I hope to soon.

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 July, I managed a few different websites for other owners. They all went well, and website/social media management is a service I enjoy providing.

I also added a new website to my blog management services last month, and that’s what really helped me boost my income last month.

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 the services I offer when it comes 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 articles if that is something that you normally do (such as answering any questions and so on).
  • 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.
  • Monitor e-mails and reply when and 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 correctly and actually happens.
  • Write articles while you are away (including ghost-written articles).
  • 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 - Boy, has this been slow.

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 am starting to get more and more into affiliate income, but it has been a very slow process. I am afraid to review too many programs because I don’t want this blog to turn into one large advertisement where all I’m doing is pushing products onto my readers. I want a healthy balance.

What do you think is a good amount of affiliate programs to review each month? Tell me! I have been doing one a month, but that is probably not enough in order for me to make a meaningful amount of money through affiliate income.

 

Other income.

One thing I always include in my income reports is my extra income as well. Right now, the only thing we really do for extra income is renting out a room to my sister.

Sadly, she is moving next month. We will miss her, and we even tried talking her out of moving to Chicago too.

When she leaves, we won’t be having someone replace her in her room. Instead, I will be taking her room and changing it into my office. Right now, my office is in a small extra bedroom in our home. I already have everything for my new office (thanks to our wedding guests mainly!), and I can’t wait to start decorating and putting everything together.

Business Income Chart

Business and Extra Income in July ($14,937, after most expenses)

  • Staff writing – $833
  • Managing websites and social media for clients – $6,350
  • Website-Related (From all 6 of the websites I own - advertising, partnerships & Adsense) – $6,999
  • Affiliate Income – $430
  • 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. I have never fully broken everything down line by line, and I do this mainly to protect myself and those I provide services to.

I kept it private in the past because I wanted to have a little bit of privacy. 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 private for now because I do need to protect the income that I am making since this is my livelihood.

Also, most of the bloggers who completely break apart their income have most of their income coming from affiliate links, while I do not. I would have to personally share people’s names in order for that to work, and that does not seem right to me at all.

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 tried to completely steal 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. I also don’t want my clients to be bothered.

 

Website related income includes all of my websites I 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 instead and not in the “Website related income” category.

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 July: $14,937
  • Income in June: $12,787
  • Difference: +2,150
  • Total in 2014: $92,158

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

Comments

  1. canadianbudgetbinder says

    Well done Michelle. My post today is about a young lady who has friends who are jealous of her career and finances. I talk about you in the post and how successful you are as a blogger and freelancer but it’s a career for you and it’s lots of work. I find that jealousy follows us no matter what and I hope we can offer this young lady some insight. Keep up the good work. I learn lots from you even if I don’t often say it. Mr.CBB
    canadianbudgetbinder recently posted..Why the fixer-upper house might not be for you: PF Weekly Grab a brew #83My Profile

  2. Camille @ Challenge Mantra says

    Vintage camper sounds like fun, and congrats on your side hustle becoming a job. I like your comment that self-employment is still a job.

    When my husband and I retire, we keep playing with the idea of buying a camper and rolling around to different national parks and serving as “camp hosts” so we can stay in camp grounds for free. It’s fanciful, but one day, we may end up doing it!
    Camille @ Challenge Mantra recently posted..Challenge #6: Meditation and Goal SettingMy Profile

    • Michelle S. says

      Yeah I think many people still think it’s that way. I’m not sure if it’s because I was on a new ship or if because cruise internet has actually changed.

  3. MomCents says

    Pure awesomeness! This is such a motivation to keep going. Right now my FinStats are all about paying off debt and bolstering my E-fund. I post them for my own personal accountability and because I’d like to think just maybe it encourages someone else to say “I can do this”

    Well, I want you to know your income reports encourage me to say I CAN DO THIS!

    Congrats on a great month!
    MomCents recently posted..Finstat August 2014My Profile

  4. Julie Wood says

    I am so impressed by your level of income. I do wonder how you do it. It sounds like you are very good at what you do! Congrats on your income for July!!

  5. Paula V says

    Wow…great job on a wonderful month. Though this is all fascinating, it is still very much above my little pee brain. LOL. I can’t imagine making five figures a month and that’s okay. I’m fine if I sell one of my nutrition consultations for $25 and win an ipad or paypal contest. :-)

  6. Kassandra says

    It’s amazing to see your progress every month Michelle. You work hard and deserve every penny of it.
    I am sure you have inspired several to pursue online income in part due to your success :)
    Kassandra recently posted..Music To My EarsMy Profile

  7. Kim says

    Another great month! Are you looking at an Airstream? I have a really strong desire to live in one of those and ditch my house altogether. I won’t, but it’s fun to dream. There are all kinds of blogs about living on the road. I believe many people try to park where there is wifi. Many campgrounds have it, but I think it’s slow. I also think you can buy something that works with your phone. I can’t remember the blog, but it was a couple who took their kids and lived in a RV for a year. She also worked online and talked about how they did it.
    Kim recently posted..Amazon or Walmart: Which is Cheaper for School Supplies?My Profile

    • Michelle S. says

      We are thinking about an Airstream, but those are usually super expensive. Most of the ones we found started at $20,000 and went all the way up to $50,000!

      Yeah, wifi won’t really work for us because campgrounds usually have extremely slow wifi.

  8. Prudence Debtfree says

    Wow! I was thinking that by monetizing my blog, I might make a few hundred each year to help us pay down our debt. That’s a far cry from the numbers you’re pulling in! Your mastery of social media and tech aspects of the job are key. I’ve got some serious tech-phobia, so my steps are uncertain to say the least. I’m getting a web designer to set up a very simple Word Press site (I’m on Blogger now) as a first step. Hoping it will be up by next week-end. Anyway, congratulations on your very successful business, and thanks for the practical help and inspiration that you offer to others.
    Prudence Debtfree recently posted..Debt And Personality Type: Type A vs. Type B ( & our 11th slice out of Debt #3)My Profile

  9. Holly Storm-Burge says

    Wow! I am blown away by the income you’re generating! I have tried affiliate links and have made a few hundred over the last couple of months, but it’s nothing to write home about. Thanks for the motivation!

  10. Cami says

    Wow! That is awesome. I like the idea of finding what you are good at and outsourcing everything else. That kind of focus brings success.

    • Michelle S. says

      Yes, I definitely do. Since it’s so easy to work, I am almost always working when I am at home. Luckily I really enjoy what I’m doing so it doesn’t feel like work.

  11. Anna Pry says

    Congrats on your high income month! I’m sure it took a lot of work to make it to this point. I sometimes think about starting out on my own business but I dont think i have what it takes to put into it to make it successful at this point in my life.

  12. Karen S. says

    This is amazing. I never considered blogging before–I used to be a web programmer once upon a time, and I have a residual website or two–but I never really intended to make any money from them. This makes me think that it’s possible! I’m still not sure that it’s what I want to do, but I have to go back and read some of your pages about blogging more closely….

  13. Cindy B says

    You’ve made amazing progress in such a short time! It’s quite an inspiration to anyone wanting to be their own boss.

  14. Jo-Ann Brightman says

    You have made great progress and I voted for you. I do not think I could do all that you have done in such a short period of time.

  15. Stacey Roberson says

    I have been following your blog for over a year now, and I am really inspired by the amount of income you bring in monthly. Started off small, but it’s really paying off now. I would love to be able to quit my day job and work for myself, but I think that may be down the road a little.

  16. Poor Student says

    That is an awesome income! Congratulations! :) And oh, I keep wondering, have you tapped into making money through newsletter using affiliate links or direct advertising? I never try it myself, but people keep saying that it’s one of the best ways to make money if you have a blog, especially since you have a significant number of readers. I’d be really interested to read about it if you decide to do it :)
    Poor Student recently posted..Eating Healthy on a Student BudgetMy Profile

  17. Michelle S says

    Wow, looks like you are having a great month! (and year, and career as well). I could only dream of making that much online!

  18. Rebecca Marie says

    Hey Michelle! I have to say, I love browsing through your blog and keeping up with your income updates. It really helps motivate me to try to save/earn more money, and gave me the idea to start my own blog to start keeping myself accountable for it. I can’t wait to read more, and to see August’s update! Keep it up!!
    -Rebecca Marie
    Rebecca Marie recently posted..T-minus 12 Days!My Profile

  19. Christi Johnson says

    Michelle…STELLAR month! Congratulations! I am like you…trying really hard to break through with my affiliate income. I love writing for others and managing their blogs. That’s part of the reason that my first month back marketing and blogging again went so well.

    The problem is that it’s SO much work. I mean…I love it, but I need to get more systems in place so that I am not working myself to pieces. Hw do you manage it all?

    Well…again…congrats! And thank you for writing this article each month. You keep me inspired!
    Christi Johnson recently posted..Life In My World, Recently – The Afterlife, An Accident, An Airedale, And AllergiesMy Profile

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