I love the idea of income reports – the transparency, the strategy – but let’s face it, it’s discouraging when the only ones out there are from people making 5, 6, 7 + figures a month. Their strategies don’t always, or ever, seem realistic for where my business is at. I want to clarify that I’m 5 years and a few failed business models in (including a breakup with a business partner and a significantly profitable PR firm that was burning me the hell out). I’m not at the beginning. So wherever you are, no matter how many times you’ve failed, you still have a journey to go on and a story to tell.
And so, as part of My Story to Making $10K a Month, where I’m inviting you to follow along while I figure out how to make 5 figures every 30 days, I’ve decided to do a business and blog income report each month (spoiler alert: this one doesn’t even break 4 figures, so I’ve got a long way to go). Drop your email below to get more detailed updates on my journey and strategies![convertkit form=4967047]
This is also partially because I need to get over the resistance I feel around money. I literally avoid logging into Quickbooks at all costs because I fear I’ll be disappointment by the numbers. It’s time to face my fear and start confronting my financial stress head on. Money is one of the hardest things about starting a business and I want to show you that if I can do it, so can you.
RELATED: I’m a Success, but Not Financially
Here we go!
Marketing Servies – $815
Media Temple (for website hosting) – $55.00
Meals + Entertainment (for business) – $50.97
Quickbooks Payments Fees – $34.56
ConvertKit – $29.99
G-Suite (formerly Google Apps) – $25.00
Bank Account Service Charge – $22.00
Tailwind (for boosting Pinterest traffic) – $14.99
Zoom (for video conferencing) – $14.99
Acuity Scheduling – $10
Akismet – $5
Total Expenses: $262.50
Net Profit: $552.50
Owner’s Withdrawals – $130.00
At first glance, this is a super shitty (but realistic) income report and I debated on even publishing it, but in my last My Story to $10K a Month email update, I promised you monthly income reports and it wouldn’t be fair if I hide this one.
I don’t have much to share about what worked because my only income last month was from a previous client that I still do some marketing, website, and design work for (my previous business model was a marketing/PR firm and I’m almost at the end of phasing this out). However, I’m posting this to establish a baseline and so that in future income reports, I can refer back to it and prove to you gems (and myself) just how far I’ve come.
So what have I been doing in bring in income?
My current financial focus is on filling the next session of my group program From Struggle to Shine (all on using your personal story to do more of the heavy lifting for you in your brand), so all my other revenue streams – like brand collaborations on the blog and creating content that monetizes – has pretty much come to a halt (for now). The program is $2,400 and that seems like a crazy amount of money to me, but when I look back at how much time I put into not only creating the program, but into 1:1s, group mastermind sessions, coordinating guest experts, and giving personal feedback during the first group, I’m seriously crazy for not charging more than that. I refuse to go below my “happy price” for this element of my business (or any part of my business). And the feedback from the first group has been phenomenal, so I know the quality of the experience is well worth it.
When I ran the test group that began in the last quarter of 2016, I was finally able to get a little bit ahead of my finances (instead of just being on top of them, which is definitely a step up from my previous state of being constantly behind them). And now that the test group is over and I’m in the gap before the next round, I’m so scared I’ll end up right back where I was before I created the progress I did. The thing is, my financial situation is not a reflection of my skills, my worth, or my passion and that’s something you and I both need to remember. Okay, Gem?
Let me give you some insight on the structure of my business while you’re here so you know what to expect in further reports! My biz has 2 components:
I tried for quite some time to make blogging my online source of income and it just wasn’t working. When you hear people say it takes years to turn a blog into something profitable, it’s true. I have a couple affiliate program and ad networks that I’m apart of. Some of which did bring in money in January, but I don’t count that as income until the payment actually lands in my bank account, so we’ll talk about this in upcoming months. I also (selectively) do sponsored posts and other brand collaborations. These were on hold for January because I was absorbed in all things From Struggle to Shine.
2.) Educational Programs
This is my way of combining my past PR wisdom with my love for incredible stories. Like I mentioned, I have a deep passion for blogging, but I needed a sustainable form of income and blogging alone wasn’t bringing that in. My first stab at this kind of offering is From Struggle to Shine. I resisted any kind of course or “coaching” revenue stream for a long time because it seemed like a monster to take on (and it is, lol) and I didn’t want it to take away from my blogging passion. However, FSTS allowed me to merge all my passions. The reason I love blogging is because I’m obsessed with stories (and I’m damn good at inspiring other people to use them). I love sharing brands with incredible stories and driving exposure to people who are doing cool things! And so, I thought, “why not a) teach people how to optimize their story and b) give them a place to share it”. It might not be the fastest way to make money, but it was important to me that I found a sustainable solution where I didn’t feel like I was giving up anything or neglecting my own passions.
Now, sales conversations for FSTS are not my favorite thing in the world (because internally, I just want to do what I love and help everyone for free, you know?). But I’m going to be testing out this passive revenue thing everyone keeps raving about. I started by creating a free 5 day course as my opt-in – Crickets to Conversations (where you learn how to create meaningful, effective conversations with your audience on social media – and beyond). Which leads to my first online course – 60 Minutes to a Stronger Brand. In my February income report, I’ll break down the process I went through to set these up a bit more! My thought is, aside from delivering high value content on autopilot, that by having a free product lead into a small purchase (60MSB is currently pre-selling at $27, so go get it =P), I will be able to more easily select entrepreneurs I can powerfully serve with FSTS to have more targeted and effective sales conversations.
In the mean time, I’ve been delivering a ton of value and giving away a lot of my time and knowledge for free (because that’s what they say you’re supposed to do, right?), as opposed to trying to get in bed on the first date. So, I’ll keep you posted as to whether or not that strategy is effective.
Right now, I’m overwhelmed because I feel like there are quite a few moving parts to my business that are hard to keep up with. It’s been helpful to keep reminding myself that they are all moving towards one goal – spreading the power of stories so that you gems can build stronger versions of yourself and your businesses. This reveals another lesson – keep everything moving towards *one* purpose. It’s great to have various revenue streams, but all your efforts should build on one another and towards a specific core message that you want to deliver to the world. I see these online entrepreneurs who have 12 different programs and courses and products for things all over the map and it makes me wonder, what are they really the expert in?
One thing is for sure, as nervous as I was about opening up about finances, I had 37 people opt into my email list to follow along on this journey within 24 hours and just one Gem Nation Facebook Group (<<<— come hang out with us!) post to announce it. I’ve never had something spike my email list growth like that before. Allowing your audience in on a story always wins.[convertkit form=4915104]
So, here’s a reminder to be real. Be authentic. Put the tough stuff out there. Let other people in to the journey you’re on. You have people ready to support you if you’re up for letting them in.