Hello 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…
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.
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.
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.
My plans for my website and my business (in no particular order):
- 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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Accept more interviews. – I had 4 interviews in May, and one scheduled for June already.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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