Last month I went ahead and published my first ever income report. While the more cautious part of me wanted to wait until I was making an impressive amount of money before sharing it, I fought the fear and just went for it!
Fear is a funny thing because it’s always there – right in the back of your mind, making you imagine the worst case scenario for every situation in life. Yet what often happens is that fear shows you a skewed vision of things and what actually ends up happening is nowhere near as bad as you imagined.
In my case, I got an awesome response from all of you when I shared my income and my progress on my goals!
So yeah, income reports are now a thing here on Escaping to Freedom. You can expect one each month showing the ups and downs of starting and running an online business from someone who quit his 9-5 job to do this full-time.
What’s The Point of Income Reports?
When I was working in my last 9-5 job I used to listen to lots of podcasts about online business and marketing. That was when the idea for Escaping to Freedom started to brew – without those podcasts and great blogs, this site would never have existed.
My favourite part of any of these sites, however, were their income reports. It showed that what they were talking about really worked, as they were putting it into practice to some degree of success.
Ok, but what does this mean to you?
Income reports are helpful because they prove to aspiring bloggers and entrepreneurs that earning money from an online business is possible. It’s great to talk about the theory of things, but nothing is as effective as data. #science!
In my case, by showing you this data I’ll hopefully appear more transparent to you and to my future readers. From a selfish standpoint, it will also make me more accountable because, let’s face it, being this open is scary!
So, without further ado, let’s get on with April’s report!
What I Did In April to Grow My Business
After March’s incredible mountain of traffic and success, April was way quieter. 🙁 Check it out.
The good news is that the average session duration has increased by 41%, which means that I’ve managed to attract much more engaged traffic this month.
The bad news is that traffic has tanked!! Haha!
March saw two of my posts going viral on Pinterest and getting literally thousands of repins and clicks. After the traffic died down, I was still getting a good 200 visits per day.
These are the two posts I’m talking about:
Since I’ve not touched Pinterest in ages, it’s understandable that my traffic has decreased so much – with Pinterest being such an important traffic driver for me. I’ll soon put up all my newer posts up there and join some cool group boards which could bump up my traffic. 🙂
During April I focused on writing two good articles per week, which took up a lot of my time.
Was that because writing great articles (if I do say so myself!) takes me lot of time? Sure.
Was that the only reason? Nope!
I’ve definitely been struggling with what’s known as Parkinson’s Law, where “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.
It’s like in school or university, where you were given an assignment with ample time for completion – like, months. Even if the assignment should only take a few hours, people will often take up all the allocated time to finish the assignment.
So, going forward I’ll work on this and be way more strict with how long I allow myself to complete each article – and any task in my business for that matter!
A Quick Recap of My Yearly Goals
I’ll take this opportunity to recap on my 2017 goals so that you can follow along with them. I wrote about how I’m growing my business in 2017, so if you want to know more about why I set each goal, give it a read.
Make $1,500 a month from my business by the 31st December 2017
While I am making some money with EtF, I plan on generating most of the 1.5k from my future marketing clients – see goal#2.
This is how most people make their online businesses work after they quit their 9-5 jobs: they rely on active income from freelancing or consulting while the passive income from their site grows.
Start a marketing services business and find my first client by June 31st, 2017
In April I finally launched this new branch of my business, called Equinox Marketing. I even made a cool website for it!
I also managed to pick up a one-off client who needed some design and marketing work done, although for this goal I’m looking for clients to work with on an ongoing basis.
If you or someone you know is interested in my services, please drop me an email! 🙂
Have a month with 50,000 pageviews by 31st December 2017
I got just under 10,000 pageviews during April, which is definitely a step in the wrong direction after hitting 35,000 in March haha! I want to first focus on finding marketing clients and improving other areas of my business before I try my hardest to grow my traffic.
If it gets to the end of the year and I’m still far from 50,000 I’ll have to activate Plan B and bring out the big guns… 😉
Have an “As Seen In” banner filled with 10 reputable media outlets by the 31st of December 2017
Nothing new yet…I’ve been applying to several media outlets as a contributor and got in touch with a handful of reporters. This one is hard to predict, but I hope that once I get featured somewhere big, the others will follow.
Publish 2 articles per week from now until the end of the year.
This went well for April, and I accomplished my goal. However, as I write this in May, I’ve been thinking about allocating my time differently and may not be pushing this goal any further.
I’ll tell you more in May’s income report!
Start a Youtube channel OR create a digital product.
The more I progress in my business and learn new things, the more I realise that a business needs a product. I expected that I would be making more money than I am by promoting other peoples’ products, but I’m not.
Not like there’s anything wrong with that! Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways in which blogs make money – it just might take a little longer to work for me, so I’d like to start the process of creating my own product.
If you’re interested in starting your own product, there’s this awesome podcast episode in which Pat Flynn interviews Bryan Harris about it. I listened to it during a run the other day and it’s pure gold!
So, how am I getting on with my goals? Not too spectacularly, but I’m still making steady progress with them. I think it’s important to realise that these things take time and that it’s never going to be a steady climb.
April 2017 Income: $402.34
Remember, this is gross income, so I haven’t accounted for taxes or expenses. I’ve done this for two reasons:
- It’s a higher figure! Haha!
- I’m not entirely sure how much I’ll pay in taxes for this income. I assume it’ll be around 20%, though.
Now comes the breakdown of the various income streams that make up this figure.
Escaping to Freedom Income: $55.56
This is the money that I’ve made directly through the blog. While it’s not as large as the $180 that I earned last month, it’s still pretty good! Ever dollar that this site earns feels like a reward for all the months of work that I’ve put into it.
I’m hoping for great things in the future!
Affiliate Income: $55.56
Affiliate income is one of the most exciting ways that anyone can make money online. All you have to do is build trust with your audience (not an easy feat!) and recommend products that would benefit them. If they buy through you, you’ll earn a commission for referring that sale.
If you’re a blogger looking to monetise your site, check out Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. It’s the best course on the subject and it’ll pay for itself within a couple of months- it did for me! 🙂
Marketing Income: $150
Towards the end of April, I launched my new marketing side hustle, which I’ve named Equinox Marketing. I’ve even made a pretty cool website for it – check it out!
As you know, I’m looking to secure a couple of clients who need help with their online marketing and blogging. I’ve learned lots by creating and running EtF – article writing, SEO, social media management, website design… – so I really feel that I can provide lots of value to small businesses.
While I still haven’t got a proper long-term client, I did manage to find a one-off opportunity to design the front page of a website, which paid me handsomely – $150 is not a bad start 🙂
If you know of anybody who’s looking for help with their digital marketing, you’d be doing me a favour if you asked them to email me! Thanks!
Other Income: $197.34
These are my other sources of income. While they aren’t directly related to Escaping to Freedom, I think they both exemplify two of the most common topics I talk about: side hustles and investing.
Kindle Publishing: $83.88
I started publishing e-books on Amazon Kindle while I still had a 9-5 job, with a plan to grow this income until I could cover all my expenses. I would then quit my job.
I ended up losing my job way before that and, soon after, I decided that I didn’t want to spend the next 35 years in engineering – so I took the leap to become an entrepreneur!
Kindle publishing has been a great little earner for me, even after months without even logging into my account. I just keep getting monthly payments from Amazon, which just rocks!
If you’d like to learn how to earn passive income by publishing on Kindle, I highly recommend the K Money Mastery course. It covers everything you need to know to start earning money in the next few days – it’s really that quick!
Buying stocks that have a long history of paying rising dividends is a cornerstone of my financial strategy. One day I hope to be able to let dividends cover all my expenses and never have to work for money again – unless I want to.
I introduced the concept of Dividend Growth Investing here, so be sure to give it a read.
During April I got paid by 3 different companies: Coca-Cola, Cardinal Health and Medtronic. This was a relatively slow month because I don’t own too many companies paying their dividends in April – most of them will pay in June, so expect a pretty big payment then!
I love this type income because it’s 100% passive. I didn’t have to go to work and do “X” task to earn “Y” amount of money. I just did my own thing and my investments paid me. 🙂
Expenses & Net Income
I want to be fully transparent with everything, as always. There’s no point in saying I earned $400 if I spent $399 to make it – that’s why I’m also sharing my business expenses.
Most businesses take some initial capital to start up, especially if there’s physical inventory involved. Luckily, an online business can be started with a very small amount of money, so it’s an amazing option for anyone looking to make a few extra $100 on the side.
Just take a look at my expenses this month:
- Hostgator: $17.49 – This is how much I pay for hosting, domain name and WhoIs guard. I pay this yearly, but this is the equivalent monthly cost.
- GetResponse: $15 – This is the service I use to run my email list. It’s a really great service and a great bang for your buck. If you’re a blogger, you need an email list!
- BoardBooster: $5 – This is what I use to automate my Pinterest pinning. It’s a set-and-forget kind of program, which is awesome.
Total Expenses: $37.49
After some seriously complex arithmetic, the net total comes to…
Net Income: $365.42
Ok, $365 isn’t a whole lot of money, but just think about this: how many of your expenses could you cover with $365? I bet you’d get through a few bills with it!
By sharing my income now rather than waiting until it’s impressive, I hope to help more people to see the entire journey, and how they can follow my path and create their own online business that lets them live the life they want to live.
If you’re ready to take the leap and start your own website, I’ve got you covered. Check out my tutorial showing you how to start your own blog in less than 30 minutes. This could be the best decision you’re ever made!
As always, thank you so much for reading!