OH HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN
Ok ok I'm being dramatic. But the inevitable has happened (I'll tell you why it was inevitable, soon).
However, this is a PERFECT illustration of why trading hours for money isn't something you want to depend upon, ever.
Why I earned less
I earned less because I took a break over Christmas - I took a whole month off client work actually. And because I have been working for my clients on an hourly basis, no hours worked = no hours paid.
Not very leveraged is it! I may need to rename this blog if I'm not careful.
It was only lucky that I had a cheque to bank for some freelance writing, and an affiliate payout - or I wouldn't have earned a thing!
This could still happen... I'm determined it won't though!
My Online Income transition
My overall business income plan, is to transition from service work (building websites for people), to passive and residual income (affiliate earnings, product sales, ad revenue).
Right now, my earnings are mainly coming from service work - which, like a job, is 'active' income, meaning that I need to trade hours or services for dollars.
But like I said, it becomes a problem when I don't do the hours. I don't get paid for hours I don't work.
The problem with trading hours for dollars, is that if you don't do the hours, you don't get paid. That's why you need passive and residual income streams - to lower your overall risk.
Over time I'll slowly transition to earning more passive and residual income - which means I can make money without being actively present. (It doesn't mean I don't have to do a WHOLE lot of work to create those income streams first - more on that soon).
The more I earn from passive and residual income, the more of my time is freed up to continue growing my business.
Right now, I am juggling client work (which brings in the cash), and growing my blog and business (which brings in pretty much nothing yet!).
And it will continue to bring in nothing, until I do the work required to make it profitable.
To that end, I've had to get really firm with myself and treat my business like a client too - because I found that working on my online biz often came second fiddle to my clients (because client work = immediate money).
But in the long term, it's the work that I put into my online biz that is really going to pay off. So now I have very clear goals for the week, and segment my hours between clients and my biz, very clearly.
High Performance Habits - book and planner
On a side note, I've recently had to admit to myself that I've been a 'piss poor performer' over the past few years. Yes, I have a 3 year old, but I'm used to much higher levels of performance and achievement. I've been listening to Brendon Burchard's High Performance Habits on Audible, and have started using his 60 day daily planner.
It's been hard listening because I've had to admit to myself, that all the excuses I made for myself, for not performing at a high level, were just that. Excuses.
That might seem harsh, as you know I suffered from post natal depression, but I realise now that I used this as an excuse. A way to hide from the hard work I needed to do to get back on track.
One of the things he said that I nodded along to so hard my head almost fell off, was this:
Lots of people really dislike necessity—they hate feeling any sort of pressure. They don’t want internal pressure because it can cause anxiety. And they don’t want external pressure because it can cause anxiety and real failure. Still, the data is clear: high performers like necessity. In fact, they need it. When it’s gone, their fire is gone.
You can read all of that extract here (thanks Brendon).
I can totally relate to this! I refused to set real deadlines for myself because I didn't want to 'put pressure' on myself. But what this did, was put out my fire.
If you want to perform, you need a deadline!
I refused to set real deadlines for myself because I didn't want to 'put pressure' on myself. But what this did, was put out my fire. If you want to perform, you need a deadline!
The fire has been lit
While this low earning month felt a bit crap, what it has done for me is ultimately good. It really highlighted to me that I need to get my BUTT INTO GEAR and grow my online biz. Because until I do that, and start bringing in enough income to sustain and grow it, I'm going to need to continue to divert my energy away from my biz and onto client work.
I need a deadline. Holy crap I think I'm going to do it like this:
Coming soon: Practical Manifesting
By 1 March, I'll start socialising, and open the waitlist for Practical Manifesting - An Online Course And Coaching Programme For Women Who Want To Make Extraordinary Shit Happen. (That's not the proper tagline but it will do for now - imperfect action!!).
This course sums up all the things I've done to turn my life around. I want to get it into the hands of 1,000 women who seek major, positive change in their lives. But they'll never see it if I don't put it out there!
They'll never see it if I don't set a deadline........
My online business will never get momentum if I don't put it out there.
Once my online income steps up a notch
Once I DO start making more passive and residual income, a number of things will start falling into place. Things like...
I'll be able to free up even MORE time by outsourcing
The first thing I'll probably do, is outsource. Because the more time I have to work on my business (and not always IN my business), the faster it will grow, the more people I will reach, and the bigger impact I'll have.
Outsourcing Priority #1: A cleaner
Are you surprised this is my first priority? I mean, wouldn't a fledgling business hire a Virtual Assistant first? Well no, and here's my reasoning. You might think that hiring a cleaner is contradictory to the point I was trying to make in this post, but let's look at it logically. I do about 4-6 hours of cleaning related tasks a week, maybe more. If I can outsource that, I can spend 4-6 more hours on income generating, business building tasks. What's not to like about that arrangement?
Priority #2: A Virtual Assistant
I have been thinking ahead about outsourcing business tasks too though. I use Trello to keep track of my biz tasks, and recently I've been labelling certain recurring tasks as 'VA tasks'. Things like - the stuff I do to prepare a blog post for publishing, and how I promote it; monthly SEO maintenance tasks; monthly website stat and social media tracking; income and expense tracking and Pinterest scheduling to name a few.
For each of the tasks I've identified as potentially outsourceable, I've been adding step by step instructions, the next time I do the task.
So when the time is ready, it will be easier for me to 1) identify the tasks I can easily outsource and 2) hand them over.
Priority #3: An Accountant
Ok in reality this is probably priority #1! I've been keeping track of my income and expenses really well, but that's not all I have to worry about. I work from home, so there are related expenses I should claim for. I have income coming from global sources AND have earned income as an employee this past year. I want to know that I'm doing everything right! (On a side note, it's kind of lucky that one of my clients is a really cool accountant, so guess who I'm going to ask first!).
On to my earnings for January.
VA/website creation work $0
I had a really nice summer break
Remember how I talked about putting some website creation packages together, in last month's income report? Well I've already had my first client sign up for one of these packages! This is encouraging, as it validates that my clients want what I think they want.
Freelance Writing $145 NZD ($100 USD)
This will likely be the last income I get from freelance writing for a bit, as I focus more on my online biz, and website clients.
Affiliate Income $83 NZD ($56 USD)
All of this affiliate income came from Thrive Themes.
I have a few learnings to share about Affiliate programs. If you're thinking about adding affiliate marketing to your revenue streams, have a think about these few points.
If you're totally not interested in this, skip down to the income section.
Affiliate income Tip 1: Use the product AND like it
All of the products that I'm an affiliate for I have used and rate highly. I think this is really important for authenticity, but also because readers often ask me questions about the different products I talk about. So it helps that I rate them, support them and use them.
Cookies can also have a long or short expiry date. It pays to check.
Affiliate Income Tip 3: Check for Deep linking
What I've found is really helpful, is if you can link to more than just the 'buy now' page for a product. This means you can share content that your audience might find useful, rather than just the product page. This is called 'deep linking'.
Here's a good example:
Build Blog Freedom product/sales page
This affiliate link sends you directly to the sales page of Build Blog Freedom Fast Track, where you can purchase the course.
A free training workshop
But this affiliate link sends you to a totally free training by Sharon Gourlay (the host of the Build Blog Freedom courses).
This means I can share useful content but still get the 'credit' for referring you, if you decide to sign up later (but not later than the cookie expiry date haha).
That gives you a chance to experience her teaching for yourself, rather than just taking my word for it - I am an affiliate after all and have in interest in you purchasing from her!
Total income for January 2019
|Website Creation (service)||0||0|
|Total income for January 2019||$228||$155|
Conclusions and expectations for next month
Last month I made a couple of really good decisions in relation to the services I use for my online business.
I changed hosts
For a long time I have been experiencing slow site loading times, and despite moving servers and changing plans, it didn't improve. I talked to my host about what might be causing the poor page load times, and they advised it was my website - whatever I had installed, was causing the issue.
I did LOADS of tests to try and speed things up, and nothing really helped.
In the end, as a solopreneur I decided I was spending TOO MUCH time trying to fix this. I needed to be focusing elsewhere.
So, I switched to a host who say this on their homepage:
"WPX is the fastest WordPress host... with first-class support!"
As it turns out, as soon as I switched hosts, my page speed went up significantly, and my bounce rate went down MASSIVELY.
Here's why those two things are important.
Page speed is important, because if your site doesn't load lightning fast, your visitors just leave! This (leaving without engaging with your website) contributes to a high bounce rate.
A high bounce rate tells Google that - in a nutshell - your site isn't providing valuable content. That people are coming to your site and not getting what they want, so they're leaving. This means you won't appear as high in search results. That's in a very small nutshell You can tell I've been doing an SEO course eh!.
So NOW, I'm getting more visitors staying and reading my content, and consequently, more people joining my mailing list. And the list is where it's at - I get an invitation to visit your inbox from time to time = golden.
I set up a Transferwise account
My first website package client is actually based in Australia. I could request payments from her via Paypal, but they take a percentage. Transferwise don't (but you'll still pay to convert foreign funds to your local currency).
Once I got my Transferwise account verified, I was able to set up an Australian bank account, and just add that to her invoice. She can then transfer by internet banking. Slick!
Things I’m grateful for this month
My small house
Yes, I would love more space - but right now, having a small house is working in my favour. I don't have to CLEAN as much!
In fact, as part of my workout warm up, I vacuum the house - it's just enough time to get the heart rate up and amped for a workout. I no longer get annoyed with the floor getting dirty (yes, it annoyed me haha), because I know that 3 times a week it's going to get vacuumed anyway! Win!
Monthly Income Reports
I earned my first dollar from online sources in July 2018 (well, quite a bit more than that actually). I've published my online income reports ever since. You can see them here: INCOME REPORTS