After the craziness of September, I thought October would be better. Alas, I was wrong.
I took about a week off in September for FinCon and a short vacation (with a terrible Airbnb experience) in San Diego afterward, which meant I had to do a lot of extra work before and after my trip.
Then just three short weeks later, I took a road trip with my grandma to visit some of her family in Illinois.
It was about a 10.5-hour drive one-way and we stayed for 6 days. I took my computer with me so I could work while she was visiting with her siblings and other family members, but it was difficult to work with the extra distractions and without my second monitor. That thing seriously improves my productivity! If there’s one thing that’s helped me most with my freelance work, I’d have to say it’s either my Macbook Pro or the extra monitor that I use to extend my desktop. #lifechanging
But that is the beauty of being self-employed and location-independent. I was the only one who could take my grandma on this trip without having to take time off from work since I took my work with me. I know it meant a lot for her to visit with her family as some of her siblings are not in the greatest health and they had fun reminiscing about “the good old days”.
Even with the craziness of travel, I still had a decent month income-wise. I invoiced for over $10K for the first time in October, but not all of the payments came in before the end of the month. As you know, I account for my income in the month it was received. So the income that came in after November 1st from invoices at the end of October will be counted in next month’s report.
Here’s a closer look at how I earned (and spent) money last month in my business:
VA/Blog Management Services – $4,893.26
Freelance and Ghost Writing – $2,370.00
Advertising – $60.00
Bonuses, Tips, etc.– $46.00
I want to be as transparent as possible about what it really costs to run my online business. A lot of bloggers share how much money they made, but not how much they spent operating their business. I don’t think this is fair. If someone reading this was to start a business, they need to know that running a business is not without costs. I do not get to keep every cent that I earn.
At the beginning of my freelance business, I spent NOTHING. I did everything myself and didn’t buy any tools, training, etc. But as my business grew, my goals, and my streams of income grew, I had to start outsourcing some things in my business and I started paying for some time-saving tools. I also started paying for training so I can continue learning new things to keep my business current.
The expenses listed below are only what I paid out of my business account this month.
You won’t see a line for internet in the expenses below because that is something I would pay for even if I didn’t have an online business. (But yes, I do get to deduct most of it now that I have an online business.) So keep that in mind.
VAs and Tech Services – $1,538.48
PayPal and Other Fees – $19.86
FreshBooks Renewal – $107.46
Karma Go Hotspot and Data – $174.00
Facebook Ads – $4.93
Board Booster – $5.00
New Computer – $100.00
Total Expenses: $1,949.73
Income less Expenses: $5,419.53
October was WAY less expensive than September.
I was actually shocked at how low my PayPal fees were for October. I know they would be significantly higher if I didn’t use FreshBooks for invoicing my clients. I can’t recommend FreshBooks enough if you are a freelancer who is primarily paid by PayPal.
Board Booster is something I started using a few months ago and it has really helped increase my traffic from Pinterest. I use a combination of Board Booster and Tailwind to get the most bang for my buck on Pinterest.
I also bought a Karma Go hotspot and 5G of data because I wanted to use it while I was out of town with my grandma. Luckily, I hit a sale so I got a discount on my purchase. BUT, I haven’t actually used the hotspot yet because it didn’t arrive in time for my trip. 🙁 Once I’ve used it, I’ll be sure to update you on if I like it.
It’s also important to remember that my online income has not yet been taxed. This means that about 30% of what I make is going to be taken by Uncle Sam. That “expense” is not included in the net figure listed above.
If income reports get you jazzed, you can see all of my online income reports on this page!
Just to see how far I’ve come, I averaged my monthly online income for the 28 months I’ve been freelancing. Even with the smaller months at the beginning, my average monthly online income (gross) is $3,765.23. My 12 month (gross) average is $6,547.16.
Reader Question: Should You Use Job Boards to Find Clients?
One question I’ve been asked a few times is whether or not you should use job boards to find clients for your freelance business.
Personally, I’ve never used job boards. Because I have no experience with them, I don’t recommend them to people when they ask. If you truly don’t know where to go to find your first client, you might be able to use job boards to get some experience for your portfolio.
Other than that, I don’t see much use for them. The work on job boards is typically low-paying due to a large amount of competition. It’s also usually “grunt work”. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t start my business just to do work I don’t want to do. I started my business to get away from work I don’t want to do!
Bottom line: I didn’t use job boards to build my business. However, I talk in detail about how I built my business in my course, $10K VA if you want to learn more about how I did it without job boards.
Did you make any online income in October? Is there anything else you’d like to know about how I run my business or make income online? Let me know in the comments and your question could be featured on my next income report!