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: $114,762
- Affiliate Income: $26,017
Total Income: $140,779
- PayPal + Stripe Fees: $3,753
- Gusto Payroll Software: $40
- Adobe Creative Cloud (Annual): $600
- Affiliates: $2,676
- Facebook Ads: $43,084
- Pinterest Ads: $631
- Independent Contractors + Employees: $17,155
- Bookkeeping: $529
- Graphly: $99
- MotionMail: $10
- Zapier: $50
- Infusionsoft*: $428
- Office Rent + Utilities: $669
- Google Apps*: $17
- Olark: $17
- Teachable*: $299
- PlusThis: $79
- Wistia: $288
- Meals + Entertainment (for Business): $46
- Conferences, Masterminds, + Education: $30,697
- Business Travel: $136
- Deadline Funnel (Annual): $575
- Headway Themes (Annual): $99
- Screenflow* Upgrade: $34
- Video Recording Supplies: $118
Total Expenses: $102,112
Net Profit: $38,667
Payroll to Melyssa: $8,611
First of all, maaannnn it is crazy to look at my expenses for the month and realize that they’re more than what I earned in a year two years ago. It was my most expensive month of the year, making up about 25% of 2016’s expenses.
It feels like a lot to spend…but there was good reason! So let’s get down to the nitty gritty. 🙂 Here’s what happened in November…
I launched a YouTube Channel…sort of 🙂
Ha! Well, that was the plan anyways. On November 1st, I shared my first YouTube video. My intention was to rotate each week between blog posts and YouTube videos so that I’d do 2 videos and 2 blog posts per week.
…Well, THAT didn’t happen. 😂
I’m writing this at the end of December, and only managed to release that very first YouTube video. I got a bit sidetracked with a course launch I was promoting in November/December, so everything else (like this channel) kind of fell on the back-burner.
BUT one of my big, scheduled goals and intentions for 2017 is to really work on this YouTube channel and actually release consistent (weekly?!) videos. In fact, today I’m planning out my content schedule for next year so that I have no excuses. Woo!
Regardless, I was so happy and grateful for the reaction on that first video I created. I know it was far from perfect since it was my first attempt, but the comments were super encouraging and I was stoked that it hit over 5,000 views. You all rock!
For next time, I already bought a better microphone, so the sound should be baller, and I’m going to try something more conversational and less rehearsed. 🙂
We hit $1 million!
Dudes. I can’t believe that this happened! The other day, I was cleaning out my office because it was starting to turn into a “throw all the random stuff in there” kind of room.
And as I was shuffling through old papers, I found some worksheets I had filled out in December 2015 and in early 2016, all from a program I’m in called Basecamp.
On one of the worksheets, I found my “revenue goals for 2016.” And my original goal for 2016? To hit $500,000 in sales. Which, looking back, I think we hit around July. For reference, in 2015, my revenue was about $240,000 total, so doubling it sounded lofty already.
So, to hit over $1 million just feels kind of surreal. And I’m so thankful and humbled that business is going as well as it is.
Sometimes it feels scary, to be honest. I think I’m a really optimistic person by nature, but even I have moments where I’m like, “Will things keep growing and growing or will everything just crash and burn one day?”
I think that for anyone running their own business, it’s easy to fall into thoughts like that, since there’s only a few years worth of “evidence” that your business is successful vs. traditional corporations that may have been around for decades and offer the illusion of security.
Anyways, I 100% don’t mean this to sound “sad” or “scary.” I am beyond grateful and excited that my business continues to grow the way it has been, but I wanted to share another perspective on fear that I don’t hear other people mention very much.
And the reality is that even if something DID happen to my business, the skills and experiences I’ve gained from it will help me start or grow any other business I create in the future.
We switched to SamCart
SamCart is…kind of hard to describe because it has a lot of features! But basically, it provides checkout pages, an affiliate center, and more advanced reporting and tagging than we had before.
Previously, we were using Teachable for all of those things, but as the business grew and we needed some more advanced features, we moved to SamCart. We DO still use Teachable though — it’s where all of my courses are hosted, where my students can access the courses, and all that good stuff. I definitely love Teachable!
But SamCart has just allowed us to do some new things. So, basically, here’s the new process that happens when someone enrolls in a course:
- They pay for the course through a SamCart checkout page we created.
- SamCart tags them in Infusionsoft with a tag for students of that particular course.
- Zapier connects SamCart and Teachable, so whenever someone buys a product through SamCart, Zapier immediately sends that info to Teachable.
- Teachable sends an email to the student telling them how to login and create an account for the course they purchased.
- The student logs in and now has access.
It was a little complicated to set up at first (mostly because I just wanted to make sure it was working properly, so we had to do a lot of tests), but now that it’s set up, it’s been super easy for me and my students. And it’s nice that we get some of the more advanced features of SamCart, but are still able to use Teachable to host my courses.
We had a meetup in LA!
Yay! This was such a highlight of November. I put out a little notice in my Blog + Biz BFFs Facebook group about meeting up in Los Angeles. Sometimes, I still get that “OMG what if no one comes??” feeling, but I figured that even if one person came and I got to know them a little better, it would be so worth it.
And people did come!
We each got to meet and hear about each other’s blogs and businesses and then we did some masterminding, where each person could share something they’ve been needing help or advice with and the rest of us could pitch in our thoughts and feedback.
I’ve been doing more traveling lately for conferences, masterminds, and whatnot, so I’m planning to do one of these meetups whenever I visit a new city. (I’ll actually be doing one in New York City on January 8th — you can sign up here to get email notifications with the time/location). 🙂
Prepared for our launch in December
Overall, November was mainly devoted to preparing everything for the launch we did of Blog to Biz Hive in December. Launches may only last a week or two, but typically, there’s a “pre-launch event,” like a free challenge or video series leading up to the launch, plus all of the work that goes into creating the launch and pre-launch content and assets.
(This is also why my Facebook ads expense was SO much bigger than usual — we were promoting the pre-launch video series! More on that in next month’s report).
So, we actually started preparing for the December launch back in the beginning of October. It’s a ton of work! But luckily I have several people on my team who are a MAJOR help in getting it all done.
I think this is a topic for a blog post of its own, but I can say with confidence that one of the biggest reasons we hit $1 million this year is because I started growing my team.
At the beginning of 2016, I had a very part-time Virtual Assistant who worked ~10-15 hours per week. And that totally worked back then because I didn’t need a lot of extra assistance at the time.
But if you want to hit bigger revenue goals, there’s usually more “stuff” that you have to do in your business, too. Whether it’s a more complex launch strategy or creating new products or delivering more and better content…it’s going to take more time.
And plus, I’m not an expert at every facet of business, so it makes sense to bring on people who can manage things in their zone of genius.
So, anyways, I realized that in order to grow my business, I needed to grow my team and find the BEST people possible to build my vision with me. This is definitely a takeaway I got from Todd Herman throughout his Basecamp program, as he often stresses the importance of hiring people if you want to scale up. He was so right!
I know I didn’t talk much about the launch in this section (it turned into an unexpected sermon on building your team, haha!), but I’ll save that for a longer walk-through in December’s Income Report instead. 🙂
Mastermind on Necker Island (With Richard Branson?!)
Last but not least, in November I was lucky enough to be invited to a retreat on Necker Island — where Richard Branson lives!
The retreat itself isn’t for almost 10 more months, but before then I’ll get to connect and mastermind with the other women who will be attending. It’s an incredible group of people and I am so thoroughly humbled to be in their company. I can’t wait to get to know everyone else!
The retreat is led by Natalie MacNeil, who is such a superstar entrepreneur to me. I love that she teaches entrepreneurship from a soulful place. <3
Now, here’s how you can take action:
I always like to include this section in my income reports, because as much as these reports are about “my” business and what happened throughout the month, I mainly want to create them so that they help YOU.
So, based on some of the things I learned/experienced in November, here’s how I recommend you take action…
- Consider adding video to your brand. You’ve probably heard me say this a zillion million times, but video is becoming such an important element for brands that want to get ahead and connect to their people. Launching my first YouTube video was my own foray into creating consistent videos, and it’s something I’m working on, too. (p.s. I do weekly Facebook Live broadcasts on Thursdays on my Facebook Page and in my Facebook Group). 🙂
- Seek out people who do what you do…in person! A lot of people who attended the LA meetup mentioned that it was their first time meeting other people in person who do what they do. And I totally get it! It’s easier to make friendships online or to simply forget to build in-person relationships, but when it happens, it’s a game-changer. I recommend checking out Meetup.Com to find some entrepreneurial groups near you…or create your own! 🙂 Actually, one of my closest friends is someone I met several years ago because I created a Meetup.com group for bloggers. We’ve kept in touch almost daily ever since.
- If you’re ready, consider building your team. You may not need to hire a ton of people right off the bat (it wasn’t until I hit around $500k that I felt like I NEEDED more support), but you might be surprised how much just having a part-time VA can help you grow your business. Try making a list of things that you don’t NEED to be doing. Things that could be done by someone else with proper training. Then make a list of the most important parts of your business that ONLY you can do. If you find that you never have enough time to do all of those important, revenue- or audience-building tasks, it might help to bring someone onto your team. 🙂
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.