Why do I do income reports?
I started doing income reports as a way to be more transparent about my business and shed some light on ways that you can grow your own online business, too. I want to show you both what worked for me and what didn’t so that you can apply those lessons to your own dreams. My overall hope is that my income reports inspire or inform you to create and grow your own online biz.
Let’s do this!
Please note that any links below marked by an asterisk (*) are affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you click them and make a purchase. This is, of course, at no cost to you, and I only share products that I use and love myself.
- E-Course Sales: $258,108
- Affiliate Income: $25,572
Total Income: $283,680
- PayPal + Stripe Fees: $8,374
- Gusto Payroll Software: $41
- Affiliates: $10,928
- Facebook Ads: $52,582
- Pinterest Ads: $352
- Independent Contractors + Employees: $14,901
- Graphly: $149
- MotionMail: $10
- Zapier: $50
- Infusionsoft*: $428
- Office Rent + Utilities: $980
- Google Apps*: $17
- Olark: $17
- MeetEdgar 6-Month Subscription: $245
- Teachable*: $299
- PlusThis: $175
- SurveyMonkey: $26
- Wistia: $309
- Meals + Entertainment (for Business): $81
- Conferences, Masterminds, + Education: $545
- Office Supplies: $89
- Business Travel: $1,221
- GoDaddy: $20
- Annual Web Hosting: $600
- Stock Photos: $95
Total Expenses: $92,534
Net Profit: $191,146
Payroll to Melyssa: $8,611
Now that that’s all out of the way, let’s chat about what went down in December — what I learned, what I failed at, and how I had my biggest month in business so far.
Re-Launched Blog to Biz Hive
Most of December was devoted to the re-launch of one of my courses, Blog to Biz Hive. So, much of this income report will center around how that launch worked and what you can take away and implement for your own launches.
For reference, the last time I launched Blog to Biz Hive (BBH) was 6 months prior, in June. That launch earned about $275,000 in revenue with 419 sales. This launch, in December, had almost a 55% increase in sales! We earned about $420,000 and made 543 course sales and 121 sales of an upsell product.
Here are a few things I did differently this time:
1. Three tiers instead of one
During the first two times I launched BBH, I only had one tier — they could pay in full or pay via the payment plan.
This time, I had three (each with a pay-in-full and payment plan option).
The main difference is that the bottom tier included the course and bonuses, but no personal attention. The middle tier included all of that, but also included things like group coaching calls and an accountability partner. And finally, the highest tier included everything in the middle tier, but also included access to a 2-day live workshop in Los Angeles.
Would I do tiers like this again? Maybe.
Part of me feels like there were just too many options to choose from (and when people have too many choices, they sometimes choose nothing). We also didn’t really promote the different tiers — they were kind of just “there” on the sales page.
It’s tricky, because you know that most people will naturally go for the lowest tier, so you want to promote that one heavily, but if you never talk about the other tiers, then people don’t really consider buying them.
In the future, I want to try leaving out the highest tier, with the workshop, and offer the workshop later on after someone has already purchased.
Altogether, about 13% of sales came from the middle tier (around 70 sales), and we had about 10 sales of the highest tier. The rest were from the lowest tier.
Considering that, if all of those people who opted for the middle tier or highest tier ended up buying the lowest tier (i.e. if we only had one tier), we would have lost close to $40,000.
Anyways, just some food for thought! I think there are pros and cons to having tiers for your launches, so the best thing to do is test it for yourself and keep experimenting.
2. Video testimonials (and more testimonials in general)
Now that two cycles of students have gone through Blog to Biz Hive, I had a lot more testimonials and case studies to choose from, which was great. I added a bunch of text testimonials to the sales page, but also added video interviews, like this one:
If you haven’t interviewed your students or clients as case studies — do it! I send out a call for testimonials to my past students, pick out some of my favorite success stories, and schedule a quick, 10-minute Skype interview with them. They’re really fun!
These videos can be used on sales pages, blog posts, social media, and even in Facebook ads. They also tend to be more convincing (in my opinion) than a standard text testimonial because you can hear the genuine excitement from the student (whereas with some text testimonials, you may not be sure if they really meant what they said).
If you’re interested in doing video testimonials, then you can use Skype Call Recorder to record your interviews. Then, I used basic iMovie to edit them.
3. One webinar presentation vs. Three different ones
During my June launch of BBH, I had a “webinar series,” which was basically 3 different webinars that I taught on Tues/Weds/Thurs. I also did a 4-part video series right before that, and honestly, it felt like TOO much content.
So, this time, I only had one webinar presentation, which I taught at two different times. I also did about 7 webinars to other people’s audiences, which I’ve never done during a launch before. They brought in some more sales, but I was exhausted after teaching close to 10 webinars in one week. I’m not sure I’d do all of those affiliate webinars again haha.
But overall, I thought it was smarter to teach ONE presentation instead of trying to create multiple presentations on different topics. Firstly, people are busy and don’t want to have to show up on three different days.
Secondly, YOU are busy, and you could spend that time perfecting one presentation vs. having several unpolished presentations.
It’s also more complicated when you’re promoting multiple webinars because then there are multiple email sequences, ads, etc. Kind of a pain in the booty. 😉
4. Slightly stronger affiliate strategy
Overall, I haven’t spent a lot of time honing my affiliate strategy or putting much effort into it. I know people whose revenue is largely earned from affiliates, and then they have to pay close to 50% of their launch/annual revenue to their affiliate partners.
By contrast, in 2016, I paid about 2.5% of my revenue to affiliates.
So…it hasn’t really been on my radar — which could mean that I’m losing revenue by not having more people promote my stuff, but it also means that my business has a high profit margin because I generally don’t have to pay very much to affiliates. Just something to think about.
Anyways! This was probably my most robust affiliate launch (which is not saying much because, like I said, this isn’t a big focus for me haha).
A few things that helped:
- Created an automation sequence that reminded affiliates to promote certain things throughout the launch (this was really helpful!).
- Put together a mini-website for affiliates, where they could login to the affiliate center, find important dates, and grab promo images and swipe copy.
- Did some affiliate webinars (See #3 above).
5. Much bigger Facebook Ad spend
The Facebook ads expense in the report above is a little misleading — that report combines all money spent on Facebook ads (including on non-launch promotions). But overall, we did spend around $38,000 on ads specifically for the BBH launch (this includes all BBH ads between November to December) and earned about $155,000 from those ads — almost a 4-to-1 return on my investment.
(I have Andrew Hubbard to thank for that!)
By comparison, during my June launch of BBH, I spent only $2,500 on ads! At that time, I was running my Facebook ads by myself though, and really had no idea what I was doing haha. I also only ran ads only to people on my email list (warm traffic).
This time, a majority of that ad spend was used to target cold traffic (people who weren’t on my list and who hadn’t visited my website — basically, people who hadn’t heard of me before). And it ended up bringing in close to 10,000 new subscribers, too!
We did, of course, also target “warm traffic,” but since those ads are much cheaper (since they are targeting people who already know me), they accounted for less of the overall ad budget.
Went to a mastermind with some peers in Florida
During my launch, I actually headed out to Orlando, Florida for a mastermind retreat with nine other 6-7 figure business owners, like Adrienne Dorison, Zach Spuckler, Allison Braun, and Jason Van Orden.
I’ve done “masterminds” before where you meet online every month to get advice and share your wins, but I’d never traveled to one in person. It was really neat!
What I loved is that, by the end of the weekend, we had all been able to share things from a vulnerable place, rather than just “talking shop.” I’d much rather get to know someone on a deeper level — like who they are as a person rather than how smart they are as a business owner.
We’re planning our next retreat for June (in Canada!! I’ve never been!) and we also get to share and connect in a little Facebook group, too. It’s awesome! 🙂
Started working out 4-5x/week
And last but not least, THIS HAPPENED.
I recently joined a paid mastermind (different than the one above), led by Lewis Howes. We just had our first retreat, but you’ll hear more about that in January’s report. 🙂
But in December, I had a one-on-one coaching call with Lewis to talk about my goals for the year and how I’d get there. I was surprised that much of the call centered around my personal health, rather than my business’s health! (And surprised in a GOOD way.)
I’ve honestly never been an athletic person (and I’ve kept that limiting belief throughout my life).
But Lewis kept telling me that I can’t be at my mental best or achieve my biggest goals if my body and mind are suffering. Exercise, he said, was the perfect solution.
And if you remember, one of my goals for 2017 was to focus on my own personal development. So, if exercising could get me closer to being my best self, I was willing to try.
Much to my chagrin, he told me to start exercising FIVE days a week. Which sounded nuts because prior to that, I literally hadn’t exercised in almost two years.
But somehow, I’ve been doing it consistently. At this point, it’s been about 5 weeks…and I’m still goin’! I do a mixture of spin classes and yoga classes. I love having a variety because they suit me when I’m in different moods and it makes it more fun to mix things up.
I also find myself pushing harder and harder, which is a contrast from when I first started this regimen and basically tried as little as possible. ???? Now, I want to feel toned and pushed to my max.
I’ve also noticed that exercising has affected other aspects of my life, too. Like the fact that I quit coffee over 2 weeks ago because I simply don’t need it anymore. And that I’m drinking green smoothies and eating healthier meals on a regular basis (though, let’s try to ignore the sour patch kids I had for breakfast today, k?).
Most of all, it feels good to build that trust with myself and to know that I am willing to put myself through sometimes grueling (though fun) classes in order to reach my highest potential.
Now, here’s how you can take action:
- Experiment with adding tiers to your next launch. If anything, try adding just one more tier and see how it goes!
- Record video testimonials/case studies of your clients or students. Then, add them to your sales page, in a blog post, and used as Facebook ads.
- Organize a mastermind with some people in your niche. The one that I went to in Orlando was organized by my friend, who then invited some people that she thought would be a good fit. You don’t have to be BFFs with someone to invite them into your mastermind, and you also don’t have to meet in person if traveling is an issue. Just find a handful of people and meet up online 1-2x/month.
- Exercise! If you, too, have always been a person who just doesn’t exercise, then consider trying different types of classes and mixing up your routine. ClassPass is also really cool (and something I’ve been using), because it allows you to visit a bunch of different studios in your area (for like, any kind of class you can think of). So, instead of buying memberships to a lot of gyms/studios, you can use ClassPass and visit a bunch. It’s also helpful when you want to try different studios to find your favorite before committing to a membership. (I found that the studio you go to can make a BIG difference because they all have their own “vibe.”)
Got any questions? Comments? Insights? I’m all ears! Let’s chat down below.
p.s. I also have a private Facebook group where I’d love to chat with you and answer your Qs! Click here to join.