What's up profiteers? Welcome to my January, 2017 income report. With the first month of 2017 behind us, let's check in to see how I'm tracking on my goal of earning $10,000 or more every month and what I'm planning for the future.
Before I go too much farther, I want to share a couple of minor changes to my income reports. First, you'll notice that I have two January, 2017 income reports. Since I started doing monthly updates in 2008, I've always named the report after the current month. Starting now, it is going to be named after the month I'm reporting on. Small change for you, medium change for me, but it should make these reports clearer and more interesting to all.
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 misunderstood parts of banking and personal finance earning a finance degree and running a bank branch 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 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 shiney new 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.
More top posts for new readers:
- Complete Beginner Guide to Budgeting
- Complete Beginner Guide to Credit
- Complete Beginner Guide to Freelancing
- Complete Beginner Guide to Travel Hacking
- Complete Beginner Guide to the Stock Market
- 137 Side Hustle Ideas
Revving Up for 2017
Last summer, I was doing okay as a freelancer, but my income blew up in October when it doubled from the month before and I broke through the $10,000 per month barrier for the first time. I hit my peak with $16,000 in revenue in November but managed to stay above $10k in December.
Being my first “winter break” as a full-time self-employed worker online, I thought back to the empty offices around Christmas and New Year's when people were off on vacation and visiting family. I wasn't sure if the slow period for my clients would translate to a slow period for me, but I kept my head down and worked hard and brought in around $12,000 in December.
Going into 2017 I expected January would fall short of the three months prior, and it did, but I didn't want to slip below my 2017 goal of earning at least $10,000 per month. Thanks to a big project with one client, regular appetite for content from another, and my regular weekly recurring posts, I was able to scrape by and make my goal.
January included some fun highlights. I had my first overnight stay with my daughter alone without my wife. We survived the weekend, but in one particularly terrible moment my daughter and two dogs were loose in my building's courtyard as I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to corral everyone back to safety.
We brought home a new puppy in January. Tribble was a Christmas present that someone didn't want (never give a pet as a surprise gift!) and found his way to a shelter and then a foster home. We picked him up and he joined our family with a new name inspired by my Star Trek geekiness.
We also took a trip to Austin, Texas, where I enjoyed work, play, family, friends, and touring. Austin was a great time and I hope to return for the South by Southwest Interactive Festival within five years (it's on my life list). I got some time to hang out with fellow entrepreneur Nate from my mastermind group and his family. We visited a tattoo convention, ate awesome food, and talked about both of our businesses and goals for the coming months.
February is taking us to Denver for a friend's wedding. March is ConExpo, where I'm joining my entrepreneur brother-in-law to learn about what's new in the construction industry at ConExpo in Las Vegas thanks to Caterpillar (maybe they'll let me drive a tractor!). April is back to Denver for Passover and my mom's birthday. May is Seattle and Victoria, BC for my second visit to Canada in just a few years. Thanks to travel hacking and my daughter being under two years old, none of our flights cost more than around $22 for the entire family.
Working on 2017 Goals
Speaking – I have applied for a few conferences to join as a speaker, and look forward to hearing back if I made the cut. It was my turn on the hotseat for a recent mastermind call, and the guys encouraged me to hire help to manage the process of applying to various speaking gigs. I still have yet to do that, but did take their advice and brought on additional help for a few projects.
KosherFish.co – With virtually zero marketing and promotion, my new Kosher fish app is getting over 1,000 views per month. I'm making enough from AdSense to cover the costs to keep the site open, but decided to take it a step further and hired freelancers on UpWork to turn it into an app. More on that when they're launched.
Money Mola – After about a year and a half with no progress, I had a tough conversation with my cofounder and we have decided to reorganize the business. He is stepping down into an advisor role and I'm in the process of finding a new developer to take over and get us over the finish line to launch with a minimum viable product.
Writing – With so much else going on, I don't want to lose focus on my bread and butter. Freelance writing has taken the place of my old day job and is my primary income source by far. I plan to add one or two new clients to replace one that gave me notice that things will be winding down over the next few months.
Entrepreneurial Income Breakdown
Now the part you've all really been waiting for. How much money did my business, Narrow Bridge Media, bring through the doors in January. I made my $10,000 per month goal for the first month of the year. 11 more to go!
- Affiliate Marketing – $84
- Direct Ad Placements – $0
- Total Advertising – $84
- Website Support – $362
- Writing Services – $10,638
- Total Freelance – $12,255
- Flipping – $26
- Premium Plugins – $32
Gross Profit – $11,142
I've now broken $10,000 per month four months in a row. I think I can get used to this! Money has not been a stress for us lately, and we are on track to buy a home this summer. We're holding out to increase our down payment a bit more and for summer inventory to hit the market, which should bring down home prices slightly compared to the winter and summer when fewer homes are available.
As you can see, writing is definitely the bulk of our family's income. I'm looking to diversify through speaking, apps, and online software products as the year moves forward.
EXPENSES (Does Not Include My Paychecks or Insurance)
- Bank Charges and Payment Fees – $724
- Computer and Internet Expense – $313
- Meals & Entertainment – $74
- SG&A – $0
- Outsourced Labor – $267
- Postage & Shipping – $6
- Telecom Expense – $51
- Travel – $376
- Total Expenses – $1,811
Total Revenue $11,142 Total Expenses $1,811, Profit Before Tax $9,331
Check out my full history of income reports here.
Financial Planning & Analysis
This month I want to point out something on most of our minds that I don't regularly report here on my income reports. As you may have noticed, I note my net income as “profit before tax.” As a self-employed entrepreneur with an S-Corp, I am required to pay taxes four times per year. My taxes are not withheld from paychecks like most people, so I have to pay the government big chunks of money at a time and hopefully get a refund in April.
I signed up for the Amex Business Platinum card about a month ago and had to spend $15,000 to earn the 100,000 point signup bonus. I paid my taxes with my credit card online to quickly hit that goal. My taxes are still in the “being done” phase, so I won't know if the government gets to keep all of that or if I owe more until late February or sometime in March. But while it looks like I made over $9,000 in profits in January, I actually had a negative cash flow of about $6,000 for the month.
Lessons Learned in the School of Hard Knocks
Paying $15,000 in taxes at once is a huge hit to the bank account. I had been saving 25% every time I paid myself, and I am an employee of my corporation paying taxes every week automatically via my payroll service Gusto. But taxes are way too important to forget about until April.
I had paid quarterly estimated taxes a couple of quarters this year, but had a negative income one quarter and skipped it and forgot another (big oops!), so I have been far from perfect and expect to pay some penalties to the IRS when I file my 1040. But in the meantime, I figure I'm probably covered with that $15,000 payment. If not, I've still got more cash stashed away in my business savings account to make up the difference.
Until next time, stay profitable!