February was a very busy month. The article I published the other day, My Average Day As A Self-Employed Person, was a very relaxed one compared to what my schedule has been like for the two weeks.
My business income is finally starting to grow!
In February of 2014, I made $15,474 in business income, before expenses. Before this month, I was hovering around the $12,000 mark for several months in a row. This past month changed that though!
I had many expenses in February, which brought down my pretax income figure. However, before expenses, I believe this was my best month yet.
This rather large increase in income in just one month was due to many reasons:
- I added two staff writing jobs in February.
- I increased my staff writing rate. I have been hesitant to do that, but it seems like everyone was fine with the increase.
- Some of the websites that I created/bought started doing much better. Adsense, advertising and affiliate income seemed to all be up also.
It is still crazy to read my old income updates.
In May of 2012, I made $672 in extra income. $672 is still a great amount of extra income to be making, but my progress over the past 2 years is something that I am very proud of.
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, Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, and Erika at Newlyweds on a Budget.
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 level of Pat, but I will keep trying everyday to improve my business every single day.
This is for the month of February and before fees and expenses (expenses that lower the amount above include approximately $2,020, which includes VAs and writers for my other websites, the website that I bought, PayPal fees, etc.) being taken out.
After all expenses and fees, I made approximately $13,454. 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 finally created an article titled The Blogging Business and Taxes, and hopefully other bloggers and freelancers will find that helpful.
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.
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. I no longer have that Sunday night dread like I used to. 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.
My main website is Making Sense of Cents (this one!) and I don't have any breaking news to share about it. I'm still chugging along and I still love writing 🙂
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.
She is still all over the place and trying to decide what she wants to do with her life. Now, she might pursue a TEFL certification so that her and her boyfriend can travel the world (and make money at the same time). If you have any teaching English abroad advice, please leave them below! I tried researching the topic as much as I could for her, but she still has many questions.
My self-employment/financial independence blog Diversified Finances is doing well also and I am so glad that I started that 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?
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 have finally started to make some changes and I'm hoping to see amazing results during 2014!
Are you going to FinCon? Tickets are still on sale, but you just missed out on the Super Early Bird pricing. If you are still debating whether or not you should go, feel free to ask me any questions about it. I had a great time at FinCon2013 and I definitely recommend attending the conference.
My plans after FinCon13 included (in no particular order):
- Start an eBook. – I have a few topic ideas for an eBook, but I haven't really sat down and made any progress. I'm thinking over the next few months I will decide on a topic, and then try to write around 30 pages each month.
- Build my brand. – This is something that I am still working on. If you are a blogger and you are building your brand, what exactly is it that you are doing? I'm not even sure what the first step is!
- Promote more. – I have been doing much better with promoting my articles. I also started creating more “pinnable” images for my articles, and I am starting to see more clicks from Pinterest because of this.
- Accept more interviews. – I took part in two more interviews in February, and they were a lot of fun. I have one scheduled for March so far, and I hope to squeeze some more in! I have had some podcast requests also, but I'm afraid that I will sound stupid. I don't have a mic for podcasts either – is there one that you recommend?
- 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…
In February, I added two new staff writing gigs. I also have another one that will start back up either this month or next, which is nice too. I will now tell you how I found these two gigs…
Nearly every week I receive the same question – What should I do to find a staff writing job?
These two staff writing gigs were not ones that I found, instead these website owners found ME! So, how does that work?
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 staff writing job.
Anyway, I am still looking for a few more staff writing gigs. I found that if I manage my time better, then I have plenty of free time. 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 a way to make money online.
I bought my very first website in November of 2013, and I have been working to improve the statistics and quality of it. I made some money off of it in January and February. This is great because I've already made more money than I bought it for.
I also bought a second website in February, from another blogger that I know.
I got a good deal on it, and I've made a few hundred from it so far – mainly direct advertising and some Adsense. I did pay about triple the price of the first website I bought, but this second website also has a lot more content on it. I believe it has around 500 articles, whereas the first one only had around 20 or 30.
Update On My Blog and Social Media Management Services
In February, I managed a few blogs for others, but they were my usual ones that I manage. I did receive a few emails about possibly managing a few other sites and becoming an editor as well, which is something I hope comes through in March.
I asked Cat at Budget Blonde and John at Frugal Rules to provide a testimonial for my blog management services, and they both provided me with one (they were so nice!). You can find them on my Contact/Hire Me page. I really recommend asking for testimonials if you are a freelancer.
Blog and social media management are 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 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. 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.
- 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.
Affiliate income – I am actively working to change this.
Affiliate income wasn't much higher this month, but it is something that I am working on. Right now, I am trying to get approved with certain affiliate programs. The approval time takes a little bit longer than I thought it would, but I'm hoping it will finally happen in March.
Business and Extra Income in February (after most expenses)
- Staff writing – $800
- Website-Related (managing websites for clients, social media management, and my websites – advertising & Adsense) – $11,574
- Affiliate Income – $630
- Virtual Assistant tasks – $0
- Selling Items From Our Home – $75 – This is not included in my earnings amount above. I sold clothing to a few shops near where I live.
- 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
Something that I am asked every time I publish my monthly income report is whether or not I can further break down my Website-Related income. This is something that I don't think I've ever done, mainly to protect myself and those that I provide services to.
I'm not sure if I will ever break that category apart further, but I will say that around 60% of the income is from my websites, and the other 40% of the $11,574 figure is from websites that I work for.
I will say that website related income includes all of my websites (I have a total of six websites that I own), and it also includes income that I make from my freelancing services. So, if I provide social media management or blog management for someone, that amount gets put into my “Website-Related” income.
Comparisons and 2014 Business Income total (after expenses, but before taxes)
- Total extra income for February: $13,454
- Income in January: $12,640
- Difference: +$814
- Total in 2014: $26,094
How did you do in February? What are your extra/business income goals?
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