The beginning of January seemed incredibly slow. I still had work to do, but I wasn't working anywhere near 8 hours a day. The first two weeks almost seemed dead. I'm guessing it's because most people were still recuperating from the holidays.
The last two weeks were extremely busy, and now it's all flowing over into February. And I'm loving it! It looks like February will be a decent month.
I'm actually a little surprised that January was a better month than December. I didn't think it would be as good as it was.
My business income seems stuck.
In January of 2014, I made $13,539 in business income, before expenses. I seem to be stuck around this range (you can see this in the graph below), but I have no problem with that. It's definitely a good level of income.
Even though it is a great level of income to be at, I am still looking at other ways to increase my income. I would like to build more websites, work harder on the ones that I currently have, and try to find additional ways to grow the services that I already offer.
Even though my income seems stuck, I have come a long way.
In July of 2012, I made $1,425 in extra income. $1,425 is still a great amount, especially for extra income, and each month I am happy with 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.
When I first started reading, 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 January and before fees and expenses (expenses that lower the amount above include approximately $900, which includes VAs for my other websites, PayPal fees, etc.) being taken out.
January‘s number above includes a rent payment from my sister and her boyfriend. So after all expenses and fees, I made approximately $12,640. 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 there is much going on that is new with Making Sense of Cents. I did change up my writing schedule a little bit. I'm trying to do my life updates just once or a twice a month instead of every week. This allows me to talk about other topics more and not bore you with my life updates as often 🙂
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. She is wanting to get more into blogging, so if you have any tips for her, leave a comment below! 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.
FinCon14 tickets go on sale today. Who is going to New Orleans for this year's conference? Anyone doing the bootcamp as well?
My plans after FinCon13 included (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 am working on this.
- 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 January, and I actually have three in the works already for February. If anyone wants to interview me, I am available!
- Speak at a conference one day. – Speaking at a conference is definitely not in store for 2014. Maybe 2015? I wish I wasn't so nervous about public speaking…
I didn't add any new staff writing gigs in January, but I also didn't actively look for any (just like in December). I did have some inquiries, but nothing panned out.
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 notepad for new 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 Do 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, and I have been working on it to improve the statistics and quality of it. I made some money off of it in January. This is great because I've already made more money than I bought it for.
Do you have any questions about buying a website? Or, have you bought a website? I plan on covering this topic more soon.
Update On My Blog and Social Media Management Services
In January, I did a good amount of blog management. I managed two websites when the owners went on a weeklong vacation. John at Frugal Rules and Cat at Budget Blonde both hired me on and were happy with my services. I also completely manage another website for someone, but that is an ongoing project and I have been managing it since June of last year.
Blog and social media management is something that I would like to keep growing. I have seen many blog owners that 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. 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 blog might be needed – and I'm here to help!
Pricing is on an individual basis because no two websites/blogs are alike. If you are interested, shoot me an email and I would love to help you out!
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. This can be a lifesaver when you are on vacation because you don't have to worry about checking your website all the time to approve comments.
- 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/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.
- Reply to comments on your posts.
- 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 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. I did one affiliate review in January, and I hope to do a few more in February.
For January, one of my goals was to finally go through the affiliate offers that I have received. I sort of did that, and I made a list of affiliate reviews that I want to tackle. Don't worry, I plan on making them exciting.
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. I recently was able to buy 5 round trip tickets for a trip in May for my friends for free, and I would love to show others how to do it as well.
Offline side hustles.
I haven't really put any thought into creating an offline side hustle lately. I still have ideas, but those may be put on hold for right now while I work on growing my online business further.
Wes has been working on some side jobs, but his income is not included in my income report as it is not a part of my business.
What offline side hustles do you have?
Business and Extra Income in January (after expenses)
- Staff writing – $600
- Website-Related (managing websites for clients, and my blogs – direct advertising & Adsense) – $11,070
- Affiliate Income – $520
- 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 2014 Business Income total (after expenses, but before taxes)
- Total extra income for January: $12,640
- Income in December: $12,160
- Difference: +$480
- Total in 2014: $12,640
How did you do in January? What are your extra/business income goals?
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