March seemed like a busy month, but it didn't live up to February even though there were three more days in March.
In March of 2014, I made $13,119 in business income, before expenses. This is still a great amount, do not get me wrong, however, I thought it would be a little bit higher.
It is still motivating to read my past income reports.
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. This August will mark three years of blogging for me, and when I started I never thought this is where I would be.
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 it always gives me crazy motivation to do better.
I still can't believe I'm self-employed.
When I first started side hustling, I used it as a way to earn extra spending money and so that I could also put extra money towards my student loans. I never thought that I would leave my day job and pursue full-time freelancing.
I am so glad that I am self-employed. I was terrified back in September of 2013 when I told my employer that I would be leaving. I debated what I should do every single day, and there were many restless nights because I was afraid about what would happen if I made the wrong decision.
This is for the month of March and before fees and expenses (expenses that lower the amount above are approximately $1,020, which includes VAs and writers for my other websites, PayPal fees, etc.) being taken out.
After all expenses and fees, I made approximately $12,100. In the amount above, I do not include 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. So, if a website that I manage makes $2,000, I only include my payment – not the full $2,000.
Even though I love self-employment, 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. Taxes are due soon, so many online freelancers are starting to realize how real taxes are.
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!
The other day someone asked me if I can call what I do “work” since I do enjoy it. I wasn't sure how to answer that question. Yes, it is still “work,” and I don't think that the word “work” always has to have a negative meaning. What do you think?
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.
Like 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 happily chugging along and I still love writing 🙂
I do have a blog makeover coming soon, and I love what I'm seeing so far. I can't wait to share it all with you. What do you want to see in a blog makeover? Let me know and I will try to incorporate it! I know that with my last blog redesign, that many people said it wasn't as personable and seemed too business-like. I want honest feedback, so please leave it below.
My sister's blog is doing well. She plans on getting more into blogging once she completes her move to Chicago – right now she is just so busy so I don't blame her on slacking a little bit. Please subscribe to FITnancials if you haven't yet.
My self-employment/financial independence blog Diversified Finances is doing well also and I am happy I started that website.
My plans for my blog and my business (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. How long are ebooks usually? I should probably start reading some personal finance or blogging-related ebooks so that I know what I'm doing.
- Build my brand. – This is something that I am still working on but I'm not even sure where to start.
- Promote more. – I have been doing much better with promoting my articles, but I want to do more.
- Accept more interviews. – I took part in three more interviews in March, and they were a lot of fun. I have two more planned for April.
- Speak at a conference one day. – I'm actually talking to a few other bloggers about the possibility of doing this. It's a secret for now though!
In March, I added one new staff writing gig and also was rehired for a staff writing gig from months ago (they put the website on hold during their slow months).
Nearly every week I receive the same question – What should I do to find a staff writing job?
These website owners usually find 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 know that I still have plenty of time to staff write.
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 bought a second website in February. I think for now I plan on waiting to buy any other websites, but I am still open to the idea. I'm trying to get the websites that I currently have under control for now.
Do you plan on buying websites in the future? Why or why not?
Update On My Blog and Social Media Management Services
In March, I managed around four to five websites for others.
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, and then I forward their share of what the 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 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 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 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. If you are really 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 followers and engaging with current followers.
Affiliate income – I am actively working to change this.
Affiliate income is something that I am still failing with. I have added a few new affiliate products to my website but I haven't been doing my best to actively promote any new affiliate programs.
Business and Extra Income in March (after most expenses)
- Staff writing – $960
- Website-Related (managing websites for clients, social media management, and my websites – advertising & Adsense) – $10,265
- Affiliate Income – $550
- 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) – $325
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 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. Around 65% of the income is from my websites, and the other 35% of the $10,265 figure is from websites that I work for.
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 March: $12,100
- Income in February: $13,454
- Difference: -$1,354
- Total in 2014: $38,194
How did you do in March? What are your extra/business income goals?
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