After my record setting $10,000+ income in October, I was hoping to keep things steady for November. Some of that October income was one time, and I figured with that fading away I would see a slight drop the next month. Boy was I wrong. Read on to see how I did in November, where I set my newest income record.
Why in the world do you share your income publicly?
When I started this website more than nine years ago, I had just left a job working as a bank manager. I learned so much about personal finance running a bank that I decided it was time to share what I had learned. I was the guy who decided if your mortgage was approved, after all, something most people never get to look at firsthand.
I started reading other personal finance blogs as I worked to pay off my car loan (which I did in about half of the five year term), pay off my student loans (two years and six days after graduation), and conquer other financial challenges as a Millennial with a newly minted finance degree. I realized reading those other sites that I had a unique perspective thanks to my background, and to build trust with you, I would be completely transparent on how I deal with my own finances.
I used to share a monthly net worth update, but since stopped doing so regularly for the privacy of my family. However, I always shared what I earned online and through side hustles, and continue to do so every month. Side hustle income has changed my life, and I like to show you how in these monthly updates.
If it’s your first time stopping in, you can see a history of my online income reports here, going back to February, 2012, when I brought in $739 online. I did a whole lot better this month, but you’ll have to keep reading to find out exactly how much better and how I did it.
Riding the FinCon Client Wave
This year was my first time speaking in my own conference breakout session solo, and having just quit my job in April, I knew I was poised for growth at this year's FinCon. Thanks to some hallway meetings and the freelancer marketplace hosted by my friend Jason Steele, I added some new clients to my roster.
I am excited to share that I filled up my capacity to a point I can't really take on much more. I sent a note to my lowest paying client, also my oldest client with about three years working together, that I have to raise my rates to get more in line with what I am earning elsewhere.
I still have a couple of potential clients that have not ramped up to full-speed just yet, but when they do I will be nearly at the full capacity of what I can produce each month.
Shutting Down My Website Business
While I was ramping up new writing clients, I decided to unwind my website development business at Narrow Bridge Media. I've earned about $25,000 doing website support, so it wasn't easy shutting off that income stream. However, an 80/20 analysis gave me clear data on where I needed to spend my time, and websites was not one of those things.
I am still wrapping things up with a few clients that have projects in progress, but I'm no longer adding anyone new. I actually turned away an old client who wanted to join my monthly maintenance service for this reason. I like her and her site, but this part of the business has to go away. It simply is not as profitable for me as writing.
Eric Rosenberg the Brand
As part of shutting down my website development business, I have decided to follow in the footsteps of people like Chris Ducker and Stefanie O'Connell to make myself the brand. I am planning to do more speaking in 2017, and listening to Grant Baldwin's podcast has given me ideas and motivation.
I have wanted to own EricRosenberg.com for years, but someone else snatched it up and it sat empty and for sale for years. I pushed a hard bargain and got the owner to drop the price by more than 50%, but still ended up spending $1,000 for that piece of online real estate. At least it's a business write off!
Over the last couple of weeks, I built a new EricRosenberg.com and slowly pointed each link from EricRosenberg.me and NarrowBridgeMedia.com to my new online home. I am not getting rid of this site by any means. I'm just working to better brand myself on other projects to make myself even more in demand.
I love writing, but want to include speaking as part of my business as well. The new EricRosenberg.com should help make that a reality.
Entrepreneurial Income Breakdown
Now the part you've really been waiting for, the dollars and cents. I have now earned more in the last two weeks than my old day job plus side hustle combined. In fact, I more than doubled my Senior Financial Analyst income in November. Looking only at revenue, I nearly tripled it!
- Affiliate Marketing – $200
- Direct Ad Placements – $200
- Total Advertising – $400
- Website Support – $1,163
- Writing Services – $14,568
- Total Freelance – $15,731
Gross Profit – $16,131
I think I can now officially say it was a smart decision to leave my day job. In the entire time since, including the very expensive $10,000 cost to move from Oregon to California, I have only had to take about $2,000 out of savings. I have now earned enough to make that up and then some.
If I can keep up this monthly run rate for all of 2017, I would bring in nearly $200,000 in revenue! I am not expecting this to hold, though I would love it to, so I'm setting a goal of over $10,000 per month every month in 2017. That will put me ahead of my 2015 income from my day job plus side hustle and allow me to live comfortably. Anything above that is gravy!
I'm planning to buy a house in 2017 which relies on my 2016 taxes. Ending 2016 with a bang will help a lot with getting a mortgage. Even making $16,000 per month, getting a mortgage can be a struggle without a W2. A famous quote tells us that to get a mortgage, you have to prove to the bank you don't need one. That is very true for the self-employed.
Now, on to the expenses. Note that my payroll (I'm the only employee) and healthcare benefits are omitted because I would need insurance even if I didn't run this business. I also omit payroll taxes to create an operating only financial report.
- Bank Charges and Payment Fees – $25
- Computer and Internet Expense – $1,342
- Co-working Office, SG&A – $69
- Outsourced Labor – $329
- Postage & Shipping – $3
- Telecom Expense – $109
- Total Expenses – $1,877
Total Revenue $16,131, Total Expenses $1,877, Profit Before Tax $14,254
Check out my full history of income reports here.
Financial Planning & Analysis
Another month is proving that my 80/20 analysis from three months ago was absolutely correct. While my web support income has gone down by a couple of thousand dollars, my writing income has made up the difference a few times over!
My biggest expense this month was domain registrations, which included the $1,000 purchase of EricRosenberg.com. I look at that as a long-term investment, however, which will start paying off with higher paying writing clients and the addition of speaking as a revenue source.
Lessons Learned in the School of Hard Knocks
I spent a lot of time building up Narrow Bridge Media as a brand and a little work on EricRosenberg.me over the years, but learned that in the business I want to go into, the brand is me. I don't want to build a website development business with lots of employees. I want to build myself into an in-demand expert. Doing so meant spending $1,000 to buy a .com with my name on it, but sometimes it takes money to make money. Let's hope this one pays off.
Until next time, stay profitable!
4 thoughts on “December 2016 Earnings and Investments Update”
Congrats on your continued success! As someone who’s paid as much as 5-figures for a domain before for a client (and high 4-figures for one I haven’t even used yet), I honestly think you got a great deal. If I didn’t own my name, I’d pay many times that for the .com.
Thanks Brandon! Knock on wood things keep going the same way!
I had wanted my .com for a long time and had been using the .me for a long while before. I also have the .net and .org, but there’s still a big value to owning my own name .com and now use it as my primary email, which is pretty cool. I think of is as more of an investment than an expense.
More on investing in my personal brand coming soon in a blog post near you!
That’s a great monthly income. Best of luck keeping things rolling like that in the future!
Thanks Stephen! Even on months that I brought home a bonus from work I don’t think I ever did this well in a single month! My 2017 goal is to beat $10,000 per month every month. Stay tuned to see how it goes!
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