I have been so excited to publish this quarterly income report since I hit my first $8,000+ month in July. It’s given me hope that by the end of 2015 I will hit the $10,000 in one month mark!
At the beginning of this year I made the goal of turning my blog into a business. I’ve mainly focused on freelance writing and marketing for other clients, but as my community grew so did the amount of freelancers who came to me for help, accountability, and support.
So this goal came on the heels of last year’s bout with depression, inconsistent income, and even some business debt. I’m an open book and believe my story can help other go-getters relate and find the inspiration they need to reach their own goals.
I believe it’s possible to not sell out while making an honest living online that can actually pay the bills. This entire year has been an experiment in that philosophy.
Enter these quarterly income reports.
Quarterly income updates
One way I keep myself accountable to this goal is by documenting my income via quarterly income reports.
In the first quarter I earned $17,655 from my blogging efforts and freelance work, which averages out to $5,600 a month. During the second quarter I earned $16,555 which is slightly less than the previous quarter and averages out to be $5,500.
This quarter I made over $23,500 which is obviously much more than the previous two quarters and averages out to $7,800 a month.
These quarterly reports are also a way for me to detail exactly how I make money through my blog. The one downside with reading other blogger’s income reports is that they don’t specifically explain how they make money with their blogs, and usually just lists out the various income streams.
My 2015 #blogtobizplan for Q3
My original #blogtobizplan was to have at least 40% of my income come from revenue as a direct result of Careful Cents products, coaching, and other services. Since I surpassed that last quarter, I had to set a new goal.
Because of this I shifted my goal from the 50/50 income pie (client work versus CC work) to eclipsing the income I make from blog management and editorial services. Up until this past month I’ve been completely dependent on that income stream to pay the bills.
After reviewing the third quarter income and expenses, I’m now confident that by the end of the year I’ll be able to fully sustain my income just through this blog and a few awesome writing clients.
Here’s what I mean! Let’s jump right into the numbers for the third quarter of 2015.
I include the income percentage breakdown for each type of income I earned, and explain exactly what revenue stream makes up my income each month.
Blogging income for July – $8,553.97
In July I spent a good portion of the month house sitting in Denver while Ryan and I went apartment hunting. We eventually returned home after two weeks without much luck. (We’re in the process of moving from the Dallas area to the Denver area, and finally found a place in Boulder!)
During this time I also began actively marketing my coaching services, and now do 2-3 sessions Tuesday – Thursday each week. In addition, I recorded my first Periscope and am now hooked! I’ve been recording regular scopes every week (follow me @carefulcents).
Blogging income for August – $8,862.56
As part of my plan to up the visual level of my blog and brand, I reached out to Paul Jarvis about writing a guest post for his Creative Class freelance site. He agreed, and my story was recently published! (He’s also a super nice and down-to-earth guy.)
I worked out of my home office this entire month and really focused on Periscoping regularly, interacting with the community on Twitter, and spreading the word about my site.
Because of this effort, in August I grossed nearly $9,000 the most I’ve ever made from freelancing in one month!
I then concentrated on overhauling a few of the pages on this site, updating my online store page, and created a Freebies page so it’s easy for everyone to find the free goodies I offer.
Blogging income for September – $6,096.18
September wasn’t so much about growing my site and income as it was about bettering the relationships I already have established. I co-hosted my first online workshop with a fellow entrepreneur friend of mine, and started doing more workshops.
I then traveled to a financial conference in Charlotte, NC June where I hosted a Careful Cents Coffee Meetup and met some inspiring freelancers! I also got to spend quality time with some of my best blogging friends from around the country.
Towards the end of the conference, I was awarded a Plutus Award for the Best Entrepreneurship Blog of 2015 (the trophy proudly sits on my office shelf!). Needless to say, I didn’t have a regular routine during September so my income dipped a bit, but I had a lot of other wins, so I feel great about that.
Total blogging income for Q3 2015 = $23,512.71
Below is a screenshot from my GoDaddy Bookkeeping software that tracks all my income and expenses for each month.
This makes it extremely easy to calculate quarterly taxes, and create income reports and graphs. It displays the total income for the third quarter of this year.
Here are the total numbers broken down for the entire second quarter:
- Freelance writing income – $7,064.35. Last quarter I found my love of writing again and these past few months I’ve been able to really lean into that, and my income from it shows. I landed a new writing gig with H&R Block and took on more work from current writing clients (sometimes you just have to ask!).
- Blog management and editing services – $8,166.40. Last quarter I was also able to negotiate a 15% raise from my main blog management client so as the workload increased so did my hourly pay. This portion of my income is steady going.
- Affiliate product sales – $917.96. Affiliate revenue is definitely the lowest it’s been all year, because I wasn’t focused on this part of my income stream. However, I did participate in an awesome Solopreneur Bundle sale that has yet to pay out.
- Brand sponsorship deals – $2,409.00. I avoid sidebar ads and Google Adsense on my blog, but one way I make money with this blog is by working with brands directly as a brand ambassador, like Intuit, H&R Block, Office Depot, and others. I also completed my first paid video shoot (watch the final product featuring my story!).
- Biz coaching sessions – $1,890.00. I have seriously fallen in love with my business coaching clients. They are doing such amazing things, and several of them quit their day jobs this past quarter. If you want to get on my calendar, click here to book a session.
- Digital product sales – $3,065.00. My online store continues to make regular sales with the majority of income coming from applications to the Client Connection Service (with plans to expand the membership in the future). I also recorded my first video training workshop, with bonus worksheets, about Getting Published on The Huffington Post and it’s becoming a very popular item in my store.
Total = $23,512.71 (yes, I’m a bit obsessive that the numbers on ALL my reports match).
Total business expenses
You probably already know this, but as a self-employed freelancer, I didn’t deposit the entire $23k gross income into my bank account (don’t I wish?!).
Here are the expenses I pay each month:
- Taxes, taxes, taxes – $1,200 (quarterly estimated taxes)
- Team members and outsourcing – $590. I pay several team members to help manage this blog, create slide presentations, and handle the tech stuff.
- Web hosting and domain – $9.
- Bookkeeping software – $12. I use FreshBooks and GoDaddy Bookkeeping since they both offer different services that I need.
- MailChimp for newsletters – $45. I recently had to upgrade (again) to a higher tier since my subscriber list continues to grow.
- Images for blog posts and ebooks – $10. This is a premium subscription I pay for from Death to the Stock Photo — and totally worth it.
- Premium social media tools – $49.
- Business coach – $250.
- Office supplies (printer, scanner, and misc paper/ink) – $26.
- Premium internet and wifi (purchased while traveling) – $110
- Advertising and marketing – $35. This includes things like promoted Facebook ads and Tweets.
- Business cell phone – $92.
- PayPal fees – $91.
Total = $2,516
My expenses are by no means high, since I do run a streamlined business online, but after the business expenses are paid I pay myself a $900 weekly salary that goes into a household bank account. I’m the breadwinner for my husband and I, so what I make pays the rent and puts food on the table.
I don’t judge my success with the numbers in my bank account (and neither should you), but these are milestones worth celebrating. Overall, I’m very optimistic about my #blogtobizplan for 2015 and my progress for the third quarter.
I can’t wait to see what the final income report looks like for 2015 and how the entire year is summed up.
How are you doing with freelancing full-time? What are your income goals this year? Leave a comment.