It’s been a while since I’ve done an income report, and I’m pleased to announce that the 2016 numbers are in!
As I do every year, I’m going to share the numbers with you because that’s how I roll. If you want to make money blogging or in some other way online, you need to know what this actually looks like.
In an age where anybody can say they are making oodles of cash online and how easy it is if you just fork over 18 payments of $97 for them to teach you, I consider it my civic duty to be as transparent as humanly possible.
Additionally, this is a good way for me to review the year’s financials, call myself out for the mishaps (we all have them) and see where I can improve. I started blogging six years ago to call myself out and hold myself accountable for getting my financials in order. Just because I’m now doing much better and run my own business doesn’t mean I’m off the hook.
And so without further ado, the 2016 annual income report! All the graphics are coming directly from my Quickbooks account which is what my accountant and I use to keep track of everything.
$62,916 as of December 29th, 2016!
By the time this is published another $500 will hit my bank account for December and another $1100 payment will be made for a total of $64,516!
I get $65k isn’t a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but this is a pretty big fucking deal to me. I’ve dealt with some demons as it pertains to underearning and 60 grand seemed impossible to me a couple of years ago.
Furthermore, this more than $20,000 more than I earned last year. In fact, I’ve noticed I have a pattern of increasing revenue by about $20k each year. I didn’t plan this, it just happens. Maybe I should plan for it this time around haha.
Here’s what my 2015 income report looked like:
And here’s a comparison of 2015 versus 2016 broken down by quarter:
Overall, I’m pretty pleased with where things are going according to this 2016 income report. I still sometimes can’t believe I actually get to do this stuff full-time, and as more time passes the easier this all becomes. I still have demons to deal with (more on that later), but I’m at least more aware of them now.
Here’s what I believe is really working in 2017:
- Writing. I often times get asked why I’ll never give up freelance writing. This is why. Not only do I get paid to promote myself, there’s also good money in it. Besides, I was born a writer and I’ll die a writer. (P.S. If you’re interested in becoming a freelance writer, I have a course available that teaches you how to do that. Click here to check out Make Money Your Honey With Freelance Writing.)
- Started focusing more on affiliate sales. This is the highest grossing year I’ve had for affiliate sales. I neglected them for years because I thought I would need an insane amount of traffic to make any money. Good lord was I wrong! Passive income is practically funding my retirement account right now and it’s all thanks to Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course. Since taking the course, I’ve gone from earning a few dollars every month to earning a few hundred dollars a month.
- Coaching. I’ve done zero promotion for coaching this year. None. Zilch. Nada. All that money came to me from people who wanted to learn from me. That’s $12k I earned without even having a sales funnel in place.
- Pinterest. Pinterest is bae. I’ve gotten more strategic about how to use it for generating traffic and it’s been worth the effort. I use Boardbooster to make sure I’m pinning to different group board on a consistent basis. My post “40+ Tools to Organize Your Finances, Your Business, and Your Life” has already been shared over 6,000 times on Pinterest! It also happens to be one of my highest grossing posts for affiliate sales.
- Social media. I started investing money into tools to help me grow my social media presence and they’ve been worth every penny. We’ve grown our community by tens of thousands of people and it will continue to get bigger.
- The podcast. You guys are loving the podcast! I wasn’t sure how it was going to pan out but it’s actually been great for business and traffic.
- I’m doing this all while traveling a lot. I went to three different countries (technically four with St. Maarten in the mix) and San Diego this year. I spent 10 days running around the south of Mexico in March and was on the road most of September. The first time I traveled this much in a year was the first year I was self-employed full-time and it was a lot more difficult to pull off than it is now. I’ve already got 4 trips on the books for 2017 with room for more.
I spent about $37,000 on my business this year. Granted, this includes health insurance (I’m opting out of Obamacare in 2017 because it’s way too expensive), my phone, some design upgrades, business trips, and credit card processing fees.
There’s always a delicate balance between earning and spending. The more you make, the more it costs to maintain. I know this eventually sorts itself out, but it is quite an interesting dance I’ve got going on here.
I’m also just now getting around to really using stuff like Infusionsoft. It’s pricey and it took us a while to get to a point where we’re really starting to use it. It’ll be paying for itself by the end of 2017. All of this to say, building business takes time.
I’m forking over 20% of my net income every quarter. Ouch. Such is the life of the self-employed. It evens out come tax time thanks to deductions so I try not to complain too much. My accountant, however, will beg to differ with you about my complaining. He’ll be on the podcast soon to walk you all through tax season.
What’s not working:
- I’m sometimes impulsive with business expenses. I’m not as bad as I used to be, but it’s still something to keep an eye on.
- I’m not outsourcing enough. Yes, I know this sounds crazy considering I just said I sometimes spend too much, but money spent on getting stuff off my plate so I can focus on earning more is money well spent.
- Not as scalable as I’d like to be. As much as I love writing and coaching, it’s not scalable. I started to improve on this in 2016 by becoming more strategic about affiliate sales, but I have some ways to go.
- I still have money demons. We all have them. In my case, I suffered from Imposter Syndrome most of the year which I know affected my ability to earn. I’m also starting to suffer from perfectionism. For example, I could have opened the Make Money Your Honey Academy months ago and made more money, but I didn’t because I didn’t think it was good enough. I didn’t think I was good enough.
How I’m Going to Make More Money in 2017:
There’s always room for improvement, right? Here’s how I plan on earning more money in 2017.
- Focusing on scalability. I have the tools to make my business more scalable, and this is the year we’re actually going to start focusing on using them. This is mostly going to look like affiliate sales via autoresponders and focusing on memberships for the Make Money Your Honey Academy. It’s currently closed to new students, but you can sign up for the waiting list here.
- Automation. It’s time to make some sales funnels for classes. I’ll actually be attending a retreat in Puerto Rico by my fabulous friend LaTisha Styles where she’s going to help me put this together.
- Going local. Because I do everything backward (Story of my life. Seriously.), I avoided my local area for years because I assumed no one cared about finance. As much as I love Miami, this isn’t a hub for my line of work like New York or San Francisco are. That being said, I have been getting more involved locally and it’s led to a few speaking gigs already.
- Keep writing. This train isn’t stopping anytime soon and I plan on riding it until the wheels fall off. I may finally venture into magazine work. I’ve been subscribed to Writer’s Market for the past two years and I just haven’t gotten around to it. I’ve also been sitting on a couple of leads for months so I’ll have to execute on that.
- Give myself some fucking credit. Like most Type-A personalities, I’m extremely hard on myself. I’m always pushing to the next level. I have influence that I’ve worked hard to create, and it’s about damn time I start owning it.
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