First up – thank you so much to everyone who took the time to fill out my reader survey! (You can still add your thoughts here.) I really appreciate your feedback and I’ve been adding tons of your post ideas to my calendar. One of the most requested items was an income report, so today I want to share where my income comes from and how I managed to go from earning $3k/month to 5-figure months this year.
This has been a really exciting summer business-wise as I hit some big income milestones. I now earn more working for myself than I did at my $50k/year corporate job. I started hitting 5-figure months.
Last year I earned just under $28,000 and this year I will earn 6-figures.
Like I did when I made that realization, I’m sure you’re wondering…how the hell did that happen?? So this post is as much for me to break it all down as it is for you to see how it’s possible.
July Income Breakdown
- Freelance web design work: $1,460
- Etsy template shop: $95
- Badass Babes E-Course: $8,601 (part of this is monthly payments, so I received an additional $2k from Badass Babes for the following two months)
- Consulting: $315
- Product sales total: $1954
- Badass Blog Planner: $421
- Create. Profit. Party!: $1508
- Double Your Blog Traffic: $25
- Amazon Affiliate links: $73
Taxes (30%): $3,750
Take Home: $8,274
My blog traffic in July was a little low at about 20k visitors and I published seven blog posts.
Ok, so now that we know how the money is flowing in my business, here’s what I’ve done this year to make that 70 percent increase happen.
Set an income goal for the year back in December
First, I set a goal for myself at the beginning of the year that I wanted to hit $80k. But it wasn’t enough to just pick a number, I needed to understand how each income stream would have to grow in order to contribute to that amount of money. I broke $80k down stream by stream and did a little math to come up with realistic price or unit growth for each. I knew I wanted to be selling at least 60 blog planners each month, and I wanted to book two consulting sessions each month and eight clients for the year (along with raising my prices). And while I do track monthly earnings for each income stream, it hasn’t been a hard and fast rule that I must hit those goals each month.
Launched 3 products/programs + increase my custom design fee
Second, most of my income (most months) now comes from products and not from client work, so obviously that passive income stuff is legit. (Which is why I wrote an entire book on the subject.) While I am all about passive income being passive, I did end up in launch mode for about 4 months straight and released two new products, which is not entirely passive. First with CPP, then the Badass Babes, and then launching my Photoshop course. Not well planned on my part, but I can’t help myself; I just like making stuff. (Which is pretty helpful in this whole growing your biz stuff.)
Co-hosted three live webinars
Third, I worked with Mariah to run three webinars (you can check those out here) and offered exclusive limited-time product bundles, which made for extra income and in the case of Badass Babes, really helped to boost sales. I was able to add $20k to my income for the year from those three live events. All the info on earnings from those webinars is over here >>>
Grew my email list + sent more emails
Fourth, because of the number of launches I did, my email list grew a ton and I took advantage of that by sending a lot more emails than I had the previous year. At this time last year I had 1751 people on my XO list, which has now grown to 4860 subscribers. I know when you’re not a marketer at heart (like me) it’s hard to believe sending more email will be more effective than it is annoying, but sending more email does make a difference. Last year I sent about 55 emails only to my XO Sarah list; this year will be around 80 emails to that list along with automated email sequences that are sent automatically after people download content upgrades – about 1000 people so far have gotten those.
Stepped up my marketing game
And fifth, I made a point to focus on marketing. This included adding content upgrades to my posts to grow my email list and then (important!) creating automation sequences to move readers from subscribing to buying. I also did my best to keep up a regular posting schedule on my blog because I always see a boost in traffic, a boost in shares, and a boost in purchases on the days I share new blog content.
The TLDR; breakdown of that . . .
- I set an overall income goal for the year and broke it down so I knew how much I needed to generate per income stream per month
- I focused on adding new products to the shop and took on less client work at a higher price
- I ran webinars with exclusive limited-time product bundles, which generated extra income and boosted e-course registrations
- I grew my email list, set up automation sequences, and sent more email to my mail list (weekly emails + launch emails)
- I started including content upgrades to boost subscribers as well as focusing on creating super valuable blog content twice a week
Maintaining 5-figure months
Ok, so this part of the post is not actually about how to keep making 5-figures each month. This income report is for July; in August I made just over $10k. I worked non-stop this summer and while some months I don’t mind working late-nights and weekends, after a while I do want a little time off. Or at least I want my days to slow down. To maintain those numbers you DO need to keep marketing, consistently write super valuable blog posts, and send a ton of emails. People who are making a ton of money are likely working A TON as well.
I only need to make about $4k each month to pay my bills, save for taxes, and have enough money left to maybe buy a new pair of shoes and have cheeseburgers delivered. I don’t NEED to make 5-figures every month to have my nice little apartment and travel and still save/invest some of my money.
Yes, it’s totally surprising and fun to look at my totals for the month and be proud of what I’ve accomplished, but if next month I can spend more of my time relaxing on the couch and reading and I earn a little less, I’m completely OK with that. Because THAT is what I’ve earned. It’s not about the money; it’s about being able to do something I really love for a living and have the ability to slow down or stop when I want to.