Hey all! I’m back with another income and traffic report to share with you today. I started doing income reports as a way to be more transparent about my business and hopefully shed some light on ways that you can grow your own online business, too.
I know that sharing one’s income online, for the world to see, is kind of a strange thing to do. Trust me, it took quite a bit of courage (and convincing from my friends!) to share this data with you. In fact, I held back from sharing my income reports in the past because I never (ever!) wanted to appear like I was flaunting my results. Rather, I do this because I genuinely desire to help you grow your own business and want to provide some behind-the-curtain results of how I’ve grown and tweaked my own. 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.
Thank you for traveling with me, behind-the-scenes, while I take you through my income and traffic reports each month. I’m grateful that you’re here. And if you’re working on growing your own business and blog? Best of luck to you, my friend. Now, let’s get into it!
It’s months like September that made me wish I went the infopreneur route sooner! Not only was September extremely fun — full of new ventures and ideas — but it was also my most profitable month, ever. Want to hear something that actually blew my mind just now? I earned more money in September — doing something I love — than I did in the entire year of 2012. Holy bananas. I would never have expected something like that to happen to me.
Before we dive into today’s report, I want to mention this: I started my blog almost three years ago, in February 2013. When I look at other people’s numbers or incomes, it can be easy to feel like I’m not doing enough if my “numbers” don’t come close to theirs. But usually the people who are earning or achieving more than me are people who have been at this for years. So, please don’t feel discouraged if you’re not earning a full-time income from your blog just yet. It takes time.
First, let’s take a look at my income and expenses for the month, then we can dive into what worked and what didn’t!
- E-Course Sales: $26,155
- Web Design Clients: $2,137
- Affiliate Commissions: $3,411
- Google Adsense: $119
Total Income: $31,822
- Independent Contractors: $2,010
- PayPal + Credit Card Fees: $980
- Fedora/Teachable E-Course Platform: $299
- Evergreen Course Funnel Workshop: $197
- Stock Photos: $140
- Mailchimp: $120
- CAOC E-Course Installment Payment: $97
- Edgar Social Media Scheduler: $49
- Pinterest Promoted Pins: $47
- P.O. Box: $41
- Freshbooks* Invoicing Software: $20
- Google Apps*: $13
- GoDaddy: $7
Total Expenses: $4,020 (Anything with an * next to it is an affiliate link)
Net Profit: $27,802
Most of my income from the month stayed the same as it was in August. The only exception is that I was able to double the income I brought in from my e-courses, from about $13,000 in August to about $26,000 in September. A large portion of that — about $19,000 — came from two webinars I did in September. If you had asked me what a webinar was at the beginning of 2015, I’m not sure I would have even known! Bizarre, right? Let’s get into it…
How webinars helped me grow my business:
Prior to September, I’d only done one other webinar (in August), so I was still fairly new to them. In September, I held one high-quality solo webinar about social media and also did my first Joint Venture webinar with my friend, Mariah (she has a kick-butt course about doing your own webinars by the way). Both turned out well, and my solo webinar in September was 3-4 times as profitable as the one I did in August. I feel like part of the reason is because I put even more time into my webinar presentation and also created a workbook so that students could follow along with it while they watched.
I got such great feedback on that workshop, that I actually decided to package it up for sale…and to my sincere surprise, 68 people have enrolled in the paid recording (you can view it here). I don’t see many people re-selling their webinars after presenting them, but I have been creating an entirely new workshop and 70+ slide presentation for each webinar I teach…so it can be a lot of work to create. The prospect of presenting it live for free and then selling it as a 60-minute course thereafter feels a lot better than creating something that will only be seen for a few days, y’know?
The JV webinar that Mariah and I did also ended up being very successful and I was really glad to hear that the attendees seemed to genuinely enjoy it. Doing that webinar also helped me get a lot closer to Mariah, which is awesome! I realize that I need to reach out and collaborate with more people. Not only is it profitable, but it’s just a lot of fun and the friendships that blossom from collaboration are priceless.
Overall, webinars have been the most profitable marketing strategy I’ve implemented, but at the same time they are quite a lot of work to put together, market, and present. There is really nothing else, though, that has made me feel as close and connected to my audience. 🙂 It feels really good to communicate with people live. I also just really enjoy teaching. I’ve been itching to teach live, in-person workshops. Would you guys be into that?
How my new business model affected my travel plans:
In September, my boyfriend and I went to Seattle for a few days, starting right in the middle of the week. Normally, if I were still running my web design studio full time, taking any time off from work would be a chore, and leaving in the middle of the week would be even harder. But now that my business model has shifted to selling self-paced online courses? I barely had any worries at all. It was such a RELIEF to finally be able to travel without constantly thinking about my business and all of the things I should be doing.
Three things I did to up-level my business in September:
1. I got professional headshots taken.
Headshots were one of those “I’ll do it one day” kind of things for a VERY long time. I knew that having professional photos was important, but I also felt like I could just take them myself and get the same results. Tsk tsk Melyssa. After doing headshots the professional route, I now see how important and game-changing they can be for a business and that I was never able to replicate the same level of quality when I took them myself.
I wish I’d invested in high-quality headshots sooner! This month (October), I also ran some Facebook ads and they were SO much easier to create when using these photos (rather than the random photos I was using previously). I ended up going with a company called Headshot Truck, which, while not necessarily “cheap” was only about $250 for a gallery full of photos I can use forever. One of my better investments to date.
2. I enrolled in David Siteman Garland’s Evergreen Course Funnel Workshop.
I took David’s “Create Awesome Online Courses” course a few months ago (which is great!), and now that my first course was finished, I wanted to create an evergreen funnel so that I could continue making sales even without continuously promoting or “launching” my course to my audience. I have to say that I haven’t implemented his tips or strategies yet, but I know firsthand from friends that they work, so I’m excited to try them out (likely in November!).
3. I signed up for Teachable (formerly Fedora).
Oh.em.gee. Imagine me using about 20 of the praising hands emojis, because that’s pretty much how I felt when I started using Teachable. I didn’t officially launch my school until October, but I did purchase a monthly plan and started putting my school together in September.
I LOVE this platform. Formerly, I was using a membership plugin on WordPress called Zippy Courses. It felt like love at first, until Zippy Courses started malfunctioning repeatedly, and in more than one way. I contacted their support too many times to count and eventually knew that it was time to switch to a different platform. I’m really glad I decided to go with Teachable!
I was worried about using Teachable at first for a few reasons:
- It’s expensive. Though they have four different monthly plans, I did the math based on how many sales I expected to make each month, and it was most cost-effective for me to do their high-volume plan at $299/month (with no additional fees taken out). Using Zippy Courses was free after the initial, one-time payment, so moving to a platform that had a large monthly fee was nerve-wracking at first, but ended up being totally worth it.
- It’s not hosted on WordPress or my main website. One of the biggest worries for me was that my Teachable course website would have a different domain name — courses.thenectarcollective.com, rather than thenectarcollective.com. I thought the name would be long and clunky and that people would get confused by the fact that I had two websites. Ideally, my courses would be hosted on the same site as my blog, but at the same time, having it on a separate domain makes my course academy feel like it’s “own thing,” which feels more powerful to me. I’ve seen a steady increase in course sales, so despite the long name and separate website, it appears to be working out well!
Overall, Teachable is just an amazing tool if you want to create online courses. It makes it SO easy to put together a gorgeous membership website and really takes care of everything for you, like the design of the site, affiliates, etc. I feel more inspired to create my next course, knowing that I don’t have to spend oodles of time trying to figure out a new membership plugin and design a brand new website. It’s all right there in Teachable! They also have tons of plans to choose from at every price point.
Overall, my traffic was pretty much the same as last month, with a slight decline. The decline is probably due to the fact that I was posting less (and inconsistently). My audience needed to get used to it. At first, I was worried and, like a crazy person, felt like I needed to immediately start posting more to compensate. But honestly, I just added more of my posts to Pinterest and voila! My traffic in October is the highest its ever been. There’s a reason why Pinterest is my favorite traffic source. 😉
A shift toward less blog posts:
Sometime in August, I started posting less on TNC. At that time, I felt bad about it and knew it was because I was busy launching my first course. I vowed to write more in coming months, but when September hit, I realized that posting less wasn’t such a bad thing and that it was starting to feel more right to me. As a contrast, in April 2015 I published 20 blog posts, but in September I only published 10. The difference being that the 10 blog posts I published in September are much more value-packed than the ones I created in April.
So, I’m veering toward posting less blog content, but supplementing my absence here by providing value in other ways, such as through webinars or paid courses. I’m also aiming to produce even higher quality blog content so that even if I only post 1-2 times a week, it’s extremely actionable and useful. And also? Even though I’ve been posting less and less on this blog, my business continues to grow. I definitely think that when you’re just starting, it’s beneficial to post more frequently (I posted five days a week for almost a year when I started!), but as you grow and add new forms of content to your tool belt, it makes sense to reduce your number of posts.
Welp, my friends! That is a summary of my month in September. I genuinely hope this was helpful for you. If you liked it, then you can view more income reports here. Have a stellar day. 🙂
Got any questions? Comments? Insights? I’m all ears! Let’s chat down below.
p.s. I’ve got some very exciting things happening next month. Make sure you’re subscribed here so that you get to hear about and participate in them. 😉