In last month’s income report I said that June was a “pretty pivotal month.”
Well, July took pivotal and slapped it in the face. Not since I woke up one morning in May 2011 and decided that I simply had to quit my job have I experienced such potentially life-changing thoughts as I have through the past month.
Those radical thoughts have already been documented in a couple of posts I have published in the past few weeks: How I Plan to Revolutionize My Online Business and My Thoughts on the Future of Leaving Work Behind (And Blogging in General). But in the context of this post, I suppose the pertinent question is, “How have these thoughts affected my income?”
As always, you can expect full disclosure from me.
What Happened in July?
At the beginning of the month I took a vacation to Turkey with my girlfriend. When I wasn’t pulling a stupid face for the camera…
…I was chilling out on the beach…
…Enjoying a glass of red (while pulling a bit of a stupid face)…
…Or, you know, pulling other stupid faces.
What can I say — I can’t take myself seriously.
The long and short of it is that I had an awesome time. But perhaps even more importantly, I used the chill-out vacation as an opportunity to read some books and gain some extreme clarity on the past, present and future of my business. By the time I got home, I was ready to make some major changes.
Rather fittingly, the thinking behind those changes was based upon the very essence of what Leaving Work Behind means to me. Although there were (and are still) lots of thoughts rolling around in my head, all of the planned change came down to priorities:
- Reducing my direct involvement in the ongoing administration of my business so that I have more flexibility to work (or not) as I please
- Doing only work that I find enjoyable and rewarding
Priority number one is met (in theory) by the optimize/eliminate/automate process I outlined in this post, and priority number two is met (in part) by my radical new approach to blogging on LWB as outlined in this post.
In a nutshell, July was spent assessing the very foundations of my business and initiating an enormous seismic shift in terms of the future of everything that I do.
Obviously my plans will play out over the coming weeks and months — July was more about thinking than it was about action. With that in mind, how did my earnings fare?
Monthly Income Report — July 2013
- Freelance writing:
- Income: $3,755.42
- Expenditure: $291.75
- Profit: $3,463.67
- Income: $148.56
- Expenditure: $0
- Profit: $148.56
- Affiliate Marketing (Leaving Work Behind):
- Information Products:
- Income: $1,413.08
- Expenditure: $75.34
- Profit: $1,337.74
- Income: $44.61
- Expenditure: $0
- Profit: $44.61
Total profit for July 2013: $6,150.24
Holy crap — a drop in income of nearly $3,000! My lowest earning month in 2013! Sound the alarm!
Looks bad on the face of it, doesn’t it? But I’m not worried in the slightest. In fact, I feel better than ever about (a) my current situation and (b) my future prospects.
Breaking Down My Income Breakdown
It doesn’t take much investigation to see the “deficiency” in this month’s income numbers: Freelancing.
In June I earned $5,790, whereas this month I earned just $3,464. That’s well over two grand — or nearly all of the shortfall between the two months — accounted for. While affiliate marketing and information product earnings were also down a little, I don’t consider that to be anything more than the natural ebb and flow of things at play.
So what happened with the freelancing? Well, it was a bit of a perfect storm of circumstances. First of all, I did a bunch of work in the last week of June because I was on holiday in the first week of July. That meant that I invoiced an extra chunk of work in June, and conversely didn’t invoice a chunk of work in July.
Furthermore, no “one-off” work materialised in July. I usually get random bits and bobs coming through from my non-ongoing clients, but that wasn’t the case in July. That just left me with the core of my ongoing client work, which was weakened somewhat by the aforementioned lack of work in the first week of the month.
So What Next?
It’s important to bring perspective into play at moments like this.
I made a lot less money in June. But I still made over six thousand dollars — equivalent to $72,000 p.a. That’s not so bad. On the contrary; it’s enough to pay my bills and give me plenty of pocket change.
That aside, I recognize the month for what it was — a catalyst for major change. I expected the huge shift in my way of thinking to clip my earnings in the short term. After all, I am completely changing my business model from that of a freelancer to a “true” business owner. Furthermore, I am moving away from the income-focused method of blogging and relying instead upon an instinctive approach that feels right to me. An approach that I think will give me the greatest chance of helping my readers. Basically, in every aspect of my business I am making decisions that will make me happy and rewarded by my actions.
In the past few months I had got into this ridiculous game of financial oneupmanship with myself. For four months running I managed to achieve record earning months, but for what? All I was doing was stretching the freelancing business model as far as it would go with little regard for the long term prospects.
Now I am in a far better situation. I have the beginnings of a content marketing business that has the potential to make far more than my freelancing ever did and I feel like I am ready to take LWB to an entirely new level. I made less money in July, but I know that when I look back in six months from now, this month will be seen far more as the point at which everything changed as opposed to the point at which I made less money.
What’s In Store for August?
I’ve got a lot to be getting on with.
First there is the ongoing development of Clear Blogging Solutions. I am getting a steady stream of referrals and I intend for my earnings on this front to exceed my May record of $6,206 within the next two to three months. Whether I achieve that goal remains to be seen.
Next there is Leaving Work Behind. I haven’t given this blog enough respect over the past few months, nor have I given it enough time. I have major plans in place to turn it into something far greater than it currently is. I’m extremely excited about what I have in store but I’m not ready yet to reveal all just yet.
Finally, my team will continue working on Free Online Dating Advice — I have decided to extend the previous plug-pulling deadline date for it through to September. That’s almost entirely a hands off project for me now so it becomes a business decision rather than an emotional one.
At this point I honestly don’t know what my earnings will be like in August. I am 90% certain that I won’t have a record month, but I would be extremely surprised if I don’t have a considerably better month than I did in July.
It feels like I’ve hit a reset button, and in doing so have washed out all of the things that I didn’t like about my business. I have created a framework for the foreseeable future that allows me to do things that I find truly rewarding. In terms of reaching the pinnacle of what it means to truly Leave Work Behind, I feel like I’ve taken a huge step closer.