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!
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:
- $672 extra in May (2012)
- $994 extra in June
- $1,425 extra in July
- $1,603 extra in August
- $3,275 extra in September
- $3,700 extra in October
- $5,114 extra in November
- $5,770 in Extra Income in December
- $6,523 in January Extra Income (2013)
- $5,983 in February Extra Income
- $7,862 in March Extra Income
- $7,859 in April Extra Income
- $7,641 in May Extra Income
- $10,192 in June Extra Income
- $11,117 in July Extra Income
- $9,554 in August Extra Income
- $12,334 in September Side Income
- $11,927 in October Income – I Finally Left My Job
- $13,387 in November Income
- $12,160 in December Income
- $12,640 in January Income (2014)
- $13,454 in February Income
- $12,100 in March Income
- $13,493 in April Income
- $12,747 in May Income
- $12,787 in June – Site Redesign and More Motivation
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.
Nothing extremely exciting has happened in this category lately. I had my blog redesign in June and I am still loving it, of course.
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:
- Start an eBook. – I haven't done much with a potential eBook yet.
- Build my brand. – This is still slowly happening.
- 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!
- Accept more interviews. – I had four interviews in July. I was also mentioned in US News and Forbes last month!
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.
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.
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.
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 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?
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