Each month, I’ll be tracking my revenue and expenses on this blog. The purpose of this exercise is not to brag about how much I make, but rather to explain my path toward financial freedom. Writing this article is more a review for my team than anything else. It forces me to take the time to reflect about my business. I hope you will enjoy it!
- +86% gross revenue
- +454 new Convertkit subscribers
- +26 articles written outside my blogs
- +22 investing membership sales
- Almost breakeven for the first month!
This Month’s Strategy
In one word, this month’s strategy was surviving. On July 1st, I moved into my house. On July 2nd, I transformed what used to be a daycare into an office. On July 3rd, I had my first team meeting and on July 4th, was the first day at “work.”
When I met with my partner right before July started, we had established a short list of goals to achieve in July:
- Write 35 articles outside my blogs
- Write 4 articles per week on my blogs (three different ones)
- Analyse competitors in my membership field
- Learn how to do a webinar
The goal was to keep a very small amount of objectives to make sure we could follow them on a monthly basis. While I have probably over 100 things I would like to do on my site, I must determine what is urgent and what must be done one month after the other.
July was all about making immediate money. Since I can get paid when I write for other sites, it was my main focus. This is not a long term strategy, but if I want to clear my head and relieve some financial pressure, I had to get my fingers typing.
I’ve already shared some wins of my first 3 weeks of work not so long ago. My favorite is probably how my membership grew over that period:
(click on the image to enlarge)
In regards to my 4 key points, I’ve done the following:
- 26 articles outside my blogs
- Maintained 4 articles per week on my blogs
- Completed my analysis of 3 different membership sites
- Watched Pat Flynn’s webinar tutorial
Besides my key points, I also did several other tasks that weren’t mentioned in our meeting. I’ve started contacting many bloggers I used to chat with. It’s always fun to have discussions with other people that are in a similar situation than yours. Sometimes, blogging can become a very lonely venture.
I also did a whole redesign of my membership website. But this was more than just plugging a nice theme and improving my logo. I did a complete restructure of my whole site. I’ve been working with my members to identify our best feature and determine what should disappear and what was missing. By the end of my first week of working, I’ve done a complete site remodel:
The site doesn’t just look more professional, but it is also a lot easier to navigate through our different features. I have clarified what I do with my service and I can resume it into 4 words: investment decisions made easy. As I will do more promotion in the upcoming months, I wanted to make sure my product was amazing.
Another interesting side project I started was to offer a similar product to DSR but through another channel. This is being done in a partnership with Seeking Alpha. It is an investment website looking to create a “marketplace” where many authors can sell their investment newsletters. Seeking Alpha is already making money based on its huge traffic (mostly advertising I guess) and started its marketplace about 18 months ago. Since I have a fairly good following there (a little bit over 6,000 followers), I thought it was a good way to use my stock research abilities to create a side product on their site. I’ve completed the first step during the last week of July and will continue moving forward in August.
I finished my month with 74% of my articles written outside my blog. I still call it a win considering I’ve started working after 3 days in the month (which would probably bring another 3-4 articles) and I had to get used to my new life. Working “all of the time”, even when you are fully motivated comes with ups and downs. Here are a few struggles I’ve went through.
The first struggle is more personal than business, but it all comes down to the same thing. Managing your own schedule can be tricky. At first, I was working pretty much all of the time. Each minute I had was about thinking of my company. Then, I got these urges to stop and have fun. We went to visit friends of ours and came back at 2am. I decided to take a full day off to go for a road trip with my wife. I cut the week in two by having a nice supper with a bottle of wine on Wednesdays (and then it’s harder to wake up the next day!). So depending on which week or which day, I was either incredibly productive or completely mediocre. I hope to get a more consistent work flow in August, this will be part of my objectives!
Another struggle I’m facing is in regards to how I made my money this month. On my first month of working, I made $8,367. Annually, this breaks the 6 figure revenue. Not bad for the first month of working you will tell me. However, I’m a bit concerned about where the money is coming.
“Unfortunately,” I had a record month in paid advertising. I have to get back to June 2016 to find a better month. While I’m always happy to receive easy money, this is not the business I want to build. It is also a highly volatile type of income. Therefore, I can’t expect to make another $2.4K from paid advertising next month.
The second point that worries me is my DSR sales. After the first 3 weeks, I averaged slightly over 1 sale per day. I thought these sales were directly coming from articles coming from outside of my blogs. Before the last week started, I created a specific sales page with different product ID’s so I can track how many sales were coming from outside my blogs or my newsletter. It turned out that ZERO sales came from this channel during the last week. This is frustrating since I was ready to make the assumption that the more I write, the more I would get sales. But my success from the first three weeks of July wasn’t coming from where I thought it was. Since I made several modifications during July, I still can’t point out why I was so successful. Still, I made almost $3K from my membership website without any sales or any special events.
Finally, I also had a very strong affiliate month. This is mainly because I received a recurring payment from an affiliate campaign I ran last year. However, I decided not to conduct another affiliate campaign this year (or any other years going forward). The point is quite simple; each time I use my blog network and newsletter to promote someone’s product, I miss an opportunity to sell my products. During our team meeting, we had determined 4 different times in the year to make promotions. This should help to have strong sales throughout the years. But in the meantime, this is also not a recurring amount that will come in August.
Income Report +86%
Total income of $8,367 converted to CAD @ 1.25 = $10,458.75
I’ve given some thoughts about my income made in USD vs my expenses converted into CAD and I decided to publish all numbers in CAD. This is how I will know if I’m really breaking even or not. Last month, I posted business revenue of $4,503. July was my first month where I was working full time. I started my month by getting my new office ready and then I dove into my “to do” list. I’m glad to see how I was able to boost my revenue by 86% in the first month. This is definitely a lot more than what I expected.
Net income of – $532.60
I also decided to include my salary in my income report. Now, you have the full picture. I’ve made my budget and I need about $6,000 per month to live. In July, I decided to take the $6,000 on top of some company expenses (such as my car!). But going forward, the amount paid by the company for my salary will be less than $6,000 as the business is paying a few other expenses for me that are necessary for my work such as internet and my smartphone.
I also had to pay my virtual assistant for work that was done in June. This accounting issue has hurt my July’s budget, but I still managed to finish the month at *only* -$532.60. This is a very small deficit to start a business! I expected to break even around December or January 2018. It looks like I might be able to break even in September, once summer vacations are over!
What’s coming this month
Last week, I’ve met with my partner and we highlighted the key points to be done in August. Here’s what it looks like:
- Write 35 articles outside my blogs
- Write 4 articles per week on my blogs (on three different ones)
- Build a promotion calendar (we have a DSR promo coming in September)
- Start Seeking Alpha marketplace product
- Optimize my top pages on my blogs
- Build a webinar (for my promotion)
- Clean / Manage / Create funnels in Convertkit
I am taking the month of August to prepare the biggest promotion I ever did for my membership website. I really want this to be successful and “launch” my new life on the right track for the months to come. I’m excited and a bit scared at the same time. But there is nothing hard work and focus cannot overcome!