Hey there Profiteers, we survived 2017! That’s right, it’s a brand new year and a good time to reflect on the past year’s successes and failures, review the full year profit and loss, and get myself on track for my brand new 2018 goals. Here in Ventura, I survived a fire and welcomed a new baby to the family, and that was just December! Read on to see how my income panned out for the craziest month of my life, and my full 2017 results.
Why in the world do you share your income publicly?
When I started this website back in 2008, I had just left a job working as a bank manager. I learned a ton about misunderstood parts of banking and personal finance 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 see firsthand.
I read other personal finance blogs as I worked to pay off my car loan (which I did in half of the five year term), pay off my student loans (two years and six days after graduation), and conquer other financial challenges. I realized reading those other sites that I had a unique perspective thanks to my background, and to build trust with you, I am completely transparent on how I deal with my own finances.
Since the beginning of 2012, I have shared my online earnings from my side hustles as they grew and turned into my full-time job. While it is now my primary income, I continue to share every month to show you what is possible if you put your mind to it. Side hustle income has changed my life, and I like to show you how in these monthly updates. Prior to 2012, I shared my net worth monthly and you can see how my online income started coming together.
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!
Most popular posts for new readers:
- Complete Beginner Guide to Budgeting
- Complete Beginner Guide to Credit
- Complete Beginner Guide to the Stock Market
- Complete Beginner Guide to Freelancing
- Complete Beginner Guide to Travel Hacking
- 137 Side Hustle Ideas
A Wrap on 2017
2017 was a pivotal year for the United States, and similarly pivotal in my life. While following along with the crazy saga in Washington, I pressed forward in my business and relatively new life in Ventura. Overall, more good than bad happened last year, but we had some big negatives in my family (not all shared here) that have been tough to grapple with. But the net result of the year also leaves us with many happy and positive outcomes that will carry on into 2018, if not the rest of my life. Here is a quick recap of some of the biggies:
- New baby girl
- Bought a new house
- Trips to Austin, Denver, New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Denver (again), Huntsville, Montgomery, Seattle, Victoria (Canada), Denver (again), Portland, Anaheim, and Dallas.
- Attended and spoke at FinCon, Podcast Movement, and TBEX. Attended ConExpo.
- Six-figure business results, more on that in a moment
- More articles and words written than I’d care to count, and likely more than I’ve ever written before in a single year
- First full calendar year self-employed
December brought about what I called the craziest 72 hours in my life, where we were evacuated from our home in the shadow of the biggest wildfire in California history, and my wife went into labor while we were evacuated. I shared the story online and recorded a dedicated podcast episode sharing the story. It led to my biggest media appearances ever, on CNN, HLN, CBC, and KISS-FM. I’m hoping to leverage those relationships to get a few spots on personal finance and entrepreneurship. We’ll see!
I also kept my blog going, though not posting as often as I’d like due to demands from freelance writing clients. I generally kept to my weekly podcast schedule the entire year, and added the new Oh No We Didn’t Podcast at the end of December. I didn’t start any new crazy businesses, but have a few projects underway.
I didn’t spend much thought on my life list this year, and missed a couple of goals there. Succeeded in $10k+ average monthly revenue, buying a house, and speaking at a conference. I did not launch a new paid SAAS app (multiple underway), fly myself to Vegas (only flew once in 2017 on my birthday), or get paid to speak. Those missed goals will live on in my 2018 life list.
Focus areas for 2018
While I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions, I am a fan of using the new year as a good time to review the past year and plan for the year to come. Here are the five areas I want to focus for the coming year, outside of the given keeping my freelance writing business, blog, and podcasts alive.
- Speaking – Build on last year’s momentum. Get a paid speaking gig.
- Apps – Launch something!
- Course – Create a premium Personal Profitability course
- Book – I’ve been 1/8 done with my book for a while. I’d like to get to 100% done by the end of the year at the latest.
- Health – Start doing something for my health rather than sit and type all day
I need to turn these general goals into actual goals, which are specific, measurable, and realistic. I’ve just been trying to keep my head above water with the new baby and work, and I’m still getting caught up from missing about two weeks of work from the fire and baby, so I still have more to do for 2018 goal setting. My mastermind won’t let me get away without setting serious goals, which is a good accountability check for me.
Entrepreneurial Income Breakdown
And now, dear friends, it’s time for my December 2017 and full year 2017 financial results! Check out my entire history of income reports going back to 2012 here. Please note that this does not include my own paychecks to myself, my health insurance, or taxes. Think of it as income and expense from operations.
Personal Profitability Income – Advertising
- Affiliate Marketing – $59
- Direct Ad Placements – $300
- Writing Services – $8,725
- Website Support – $0 (a few projects here and there)
- Product Sales – $0
- Flipping – $0
- Premium Plugins – $0
- Denver Flash Mob – $0
Gross Profit – $9,084
EXPENSES (Does Not Include My Paychecks, Taxes, or Health Insurance)
- Advertising and Promotion – $7
- Bank Charges and Payment Fees – $50
- Business Licenses and Permits – $0
- Computer and Internet Expense – $304
- Continuing Education – $1
- Conference Fees – $0
- Dues and Subscriptions – $385
- Meals & Entertainment – $28
- Money Mola Related Expenses – $30
- SG&A – $107
- Outsourced Labor – $464
- Postage & Shipping – $3
- Professional Services – $0
- Telecom Expense – $45
- Travel – $0
- Total Expenses – $1,424
Total Revenue $9,084 Total Expenses $1,424, Profit Before Tax $7,660
I did end up missing my December goal as expected, but not by as much as I thought. I figured with two weeks away from work, I would earn somewhere around $7,000-$8,000. Turned out to be less than $1,000 from my $10,000 goal. Not too bad all things considering! The busy family month also led to lower business expenses, so total profit for the month came out well above my old day job monthly salary, so I’ll call it a win.
FULL YEAR 2017 RESULTS
Personal Profitability Income – Advertising
- Affiliate Marketing – $571
- Direct Ad Placements – $2,261
Total Advertising Income: $2,832
- Writing Services – $124,351
- Website Support – $2,182 (just doing a few projects here and there)
Total Freelance Income: $126,533
- Product Sales – $40
- Flipping – $255
- Premium Plugins – $32
- Denver Flash Mob – $267
Total Side Hustles/Products: $561
Gross Profit – $129,927
EXPENSES (Does Not Include My Paychecks, Taxes, or Health Insurance)
- Advertising and Promotion – $174
- Bank Charges and Payment Fees – $1,050
- Business Licenses and Permits – $10
- Computer and Internet Expense – $6,623
- Books & Magazines – $51
- Conference Fees – $398
- Dues & Subscriptions – $385
- Meals & Entertainment – $662
- Money Mola Related Expenses – $296
- SG&A – $466
- Outsourced Labor – $5,161
- Postage & Shipping – $89
- Professional Services – $207
- Telecom Expense – $1,420
- Travel – $2,084
- Total Expenses – $19,076
Total Revenue $129,927 Total Expenses $19,076, Profit Before Tax $110,851
Check out my full history of income reports here.
Financial Planning & Analysis
There’s a lot to look at when reviewing full year results. It is a good time to decide what stays and what goes on the chopping block. I’m going to decide where I should focus my time and efforts in 2018, and what isn’t worth it based on time involvement, cost, or revenue trends.
Freelance writing is my bread and butter, and was the source of 95.7% of my revenue this year. I will not be neglecting this business, and it is effectively my “job” for now. I’d like to diversify into more scalable businesses instead of hours for dollars, as freelancing is, but I do earn at a good rate and get to work with fantastic clients and do something I love, so that’s the name of the game for this year for me.
Last year I set a goal of earning $10,000+ per month for all of 2017. I did so all but two months. I missed one month by $200, and in December by about $900. But some other months I beat my goal by enough that my annual average income per month came out to $10,827 per month. I’m quite happy with that result for my first full calendar year self-employed. Of course, I want my total revenue to go up next year.
About 1/3 of my revenue came from the platform Contently, where I work with some of the best known clients in my business. That work includes white papers, long-form articles, and blog posts at top brands. The remaining 2/3 came from a handful of clients. Many are recurring clients sending work my way each month. Others ebb and flow based on their business need. But it all adds up to a successful book of business, even if I made it through some months by the skin of my teeth to reach my $10,000 goal.
This website is my best known home on the internet, though I also blog at EricRosenberg.com on occasion. Last year this site made $2,873 in revenue. Not all that much in the scheme of things. I spent $5,161 on outsourced labor in 2017, much of which went into Personal Profitability. My goal for the site next year is to earn as much in affiliate and product revenue directly from the site and podcast to cover outsourced labor costs. Essentially, I’d like it to break even.
I really do want to write more here. I’ve been keeping up with my weekly podcast schedule (make sure to subscribe if you have not already). I’ve also been doing at minimum a monthly income report. I’d like to get four quarterly round-up posts and at least two posts per month for 2018. That means sticking to my own editorial calendar. Melissa (that’s my virtual assistant), feel free to give me a kick in the butt to stay on schedule!
I’d also like to finish my book, build a course, and do more regular webinars for the Personal Profitability audience. That’s you!
Denver Flash Mob
I co-founded Denver Flash Mob way back in 2011. I can’t believe it is already the better part of a decade since I went to my first flash mob, a dance party on Denver’s light rail trail. I’ve made thousands of dollars on the business. Not enough to make me rich, but enough that I certainly appreciated the profits when they rolled in. I also paid out thousands in payments to flash mob managers and a flash mob choreographer. But last year, it only brought in about $250 in profits, $267 to be precise. I make more than that on the average blog post, so even though my wife took on most of the work for the last couple of years, we decided it’s time to say goodbye to Denver Flash Mob.
The business has wound down on its own in many ways. It started as flash mobs became a household term, as social media apps like Twitter and Foursquare were new, fun ways to communicate instead of the same old apps we’ve been using for years. At the time, I co-founded Denver Flash Mob with a friend, “Rick Gold,” but that turned out to be everything but what I would have expected. Rick turned out to be a con-artist, and I was lucky to walk away from it with no financial losses. I kept the business going for years after living in Denver, and hired Denver locals to keep it running while I handled most planning and pre-communication. Later my wife took over most of my role, and I just ran the website and the finances. But flash mobs have become less and less popular, and we were never able to figure out a way to guarantee dancers to show up in a reliable, consistent way. Revenue went from thousands to hundreds per year, and it is finally time to say goodbye and close the doors on one of my most beloved side hustles ever.
I have yet to update the Denver Flash Mob website, but I will in the coming weeks. I’ll plan to keep the domain, as it still does get some traffic, and use it to sell my flash mob workbook I wrote as a side hustle to the flash mob business. I’ll list the domain for sale, and if the price is right, say goodbye to the flash mob business for good.
New and Other Projects
At the beginning of 2018, I launched a new podcast, Oh No We Didn’t, with my pal from FinCon Whitney Hansen. So far, so good, on the show. Looking forward to growing the subscriber base, adding a little revenue, and seeing where it takes us. I’m having fun with this project so far!
I’m also in the midst of some new app based projects, and I’m working to keep Money Mola moving forward. Expect to hear more about my apps and Money Mola in the coming months. I’ll share more when it’s ready to go. But for now, I’m excited and amped up for everything new in the year to come!
Until next time, stay profitable!