My Monthly Income Report — June 2013

Money and a calculator

Photo Credit: Images of Money

June has been a pretty pivotal month for me in many ways.

I’ve suffered setbacks, experienced failure and celebrated success. But more importantly, my attitude towards what is necessary to drive further success in the future has changed (for the better).

My last tangible goal was arguably to establish an income that would cover my outgoings, which I achieved that back in mid-2012. Since then I have been floating along to a degree — although I have been driven by a general desire to make more money, that in itself has not served as a compelling catalyst for future success.

However, I believe that I now have a purpose and drive similar to when I wanted so badly to quit my job. I doubt I will ever be able to match the strength of that purpose, but I can go a long way towards emulating it. In my opinion, getting into that frame of mind is as important to my progress as anything else.

What Happened in June?

I had plenty going on both personally and professionally in June.

For starters I finished redecorating and refurbishing my living room. That may not sound like much but it was actually a pretty big deal for me — it was the first time I had actually allowed myself to spend a healthy amount of money on something like that (I’ve historically been an MDF furniture kind of guy). I am delighted with the end result:

My living room

It’s amazing how much of a difference to your state of mind a nicely-decorated room can make. That has proven to be the case with my new home office (in which I am as motivated to work as I have ever been) and is now also the case with my living room.

In other news, it was my girlfriend’s birthday in June and we celebrated with a weekend away to Chester. We stayed in a four star hotel and enjoyed fine dining. Again, this was something that I had never really done before — to drop that much money on a weekend away is something I never would have done in the past.

My attitude to money is ever-changing. Two years ago I wanted to make as much money as possible through whatever means, but now I have a healthy appreciation for money but don’t allow it to rule my life. I love the fact that I can afford nice furniture and weekends away, but similarly I know that I shouldn’t dedicate my entire life to making money, nor should I base the value of my life on the amount of cash I have in my bank account.

It’s ultimately about balance. It’s about enjoying what you are able to do with what you have. It’s about striving to make more so that you can have more, but not being controlled by that desire. It’s about not letting your professional life completely overpower your personal life.

In less positive news, June was the month in which I failed on my journey to reach peak fitness with the P90X program. I suffered an injury early in the month which was later revealed to be an impingement of the rotator cuff in my right shoulder. That basically stopped me from doing any upper body workouts at all, and quite frankly my motivation at that point was shot. I could have heavily modified my approach and continued (albeit with a huge chunk of exercises missing from the program), but I just didn’t have the willpower.

So P90X is over for now — I am going on vacation tomorrow but I will be seeing my doctor when I get back so I can get a referral to a specialist. I hope the injury isn’t too serious. I will be publishing a more in-depth update on the entire situation over at P90X Journal when I have the time, so stay tuned.

Alright, that’s enough chit chat — let’s get onto the numbers!

Monthly Income Report — June 2013

  1. Freelance writing:
    • Income: $6,023.06
    • Expenditure: $232.94
    • Profit: $5,790.12 ($161 per hour equivalent)
  2. Websites:
    • Income: $9.33
    • Expenditure: $105
    • Profit: -$95.67
  3. Affiliate Marketing (Leaving Work Behind):
  4. Information Products:
    • Income: $1,711.99
    • Expenditure: $88.63
    • Profit: $1,623.36
  5. eBooks:
    • Income: $56.28
    • Expenditure: $0
    • Profit: $56.28

Total profit for June 2013: $8,886.84

I really can’t believe I am saying this again but it has been yet another record month of earnings! That is now four months in a row. For a while I thought I might break the $9,000 mark, but I’ll have to leave that milestone for another month.

This latest record was down to good performance in the three key areas of freelancing, affiliate marketing and information product income. I didn’t excel in any of the three areas, but very solid performances all-round contributed to record earnings.

June wasn’t just about making money though — I achieved much more than that.

Making The Most of The Time That You Have

I am fascinated by the concept that each of us has the same amount of time to achieve whatever we want in life. It’s not like the successful among us have twenty-eight hours per day to get more done — it ultimately all comes down to what you get done in the time you have available to you.

No matter what else you may feel gives people a better chance of success than others, time is the great leveller. It is the limiter that puts us all on a level playing field. Because of that, I believe it is those of us who leverage our time as effectively as possible that have the best possible chance of success.

I had that in my mind going into June, which is why I spent the entire month logging everything that I did. I figured that if I could see where my time was going, I could make changes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of my working hours.

The result was interesting:

Time

I worked just over 121 hours in June — 6.05 hours per day on average. That is solid work — everything from lunch breaks, to bathroom breaks, to stopping to make myself a drink was excluded.

Of those 121 hours I spent just over a quarter freelancing, from which I earned $161 per hour. It is clear that my time spent freelancing makes me more money than anything else at this stage (although I expect that to change in the future).

I spent a considerable number of hours working on my authority site. That is to be expected given that it is a main focus of mine, but it does raise interesting questions. Consider this: I earned nothing from that time, but if I had spent those nineteen hours on freelancing I would have earned around $3,000. That is of course hypothetical, but the message is clear — my time is valuable. My authority site has just six weeks to prove itself otherwise I will have to be ruthless in cutting it loose.

Emails made up another hefty chunk of my time. The less time spend on emails the better, as they make you no money directly. I have a couple of ideas to make my time spent dealing with emails more efficient; we’ll have to see how I get on in July.

Beyond that I don’t see any other inefficiencies that I should worry about. I averaged two hours per post with LWB which is fine by me and just a handful of hours in other areas. I’ll expect the pie chart to look very different in July; especially given that I am going to be on vacation for the first week.

Looking Forward

I mentioned at the top of this post that I have a renewed purpose and drive. This has been created by setting myself quantifiable goals. They are goals that I have had for a couple of months now, but it’s only in the last few days that they have really “clicked” in my mind as goals to consciously work towards.

At the beginning of the year I had a “pipe dream” goal to earn $100,000 (gross) in 2013. At the time I felt that it was rather fanciful, but now I would be surprised if I didn’t make that much. Although it was a fun goal to have, it didn’t really mean anything to me — there was no major underlying purpose other than the fact that $100,000 is a nice round number and represents a six-figure income.

I have been thinking about buying a new house for many months now (I remember looking to see what kind of homes were on the market back last December), but not in any serious way. That has now changed as I feel the prospect of buying a new house is a realistic one. The same goes for a new car.

These are goals that I plan to achieve approximately two years from now — I’ll need that long to build a deposit and generate financial accounts that will convince lenders to provide me with a mortgage. What do I need to do? Simple: earn approximately $12,000 (net) per month. That’s an extra ~$3,000 on top of what I am currently earning (based on June’s income).

For the first time ever I have done a rough projection of what I think I will earn in future months. Here’s what it looks like:

Projected income

Each row represents a stream of income (most of which you can probably guess, others are future streams that I am keeping secret for now ;-)). As you can see, I expect to be hitting my mark in November of this year. I feel that these projections are relatively conservative (disaster scenarios excepted), so I believe that there is a very real chance that I can attain my new home/car goal within the next two years. Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure — having such a solid and tangible goal in place is extremely motivating.

The moral of the story is this: it’s one thing to have a goal, but it’s something else altogether to make it real real and quantifiable. If you want to quit your job, don’t just tell yourself, “My goal is to quit my job.” Tell yourself, “My goal is to quit my job, which I will do by achieving X and Y,” where X and Y are quantifiable measures. Make your goal as real as possible and you will be more motivated to achieve it than you could have previously imagined.

Future Income Streams

It’s an exciting time for my business — there is a lot going on. Last month I feared that my freelance earnings would dip considerably but that didn’t end up being the case. In fact, I’ve experienced something of a turnaround in my position on the freelancing side of my business.

Believe it or not, the turnaround is due to my authority site. As you will know if you are a regular reader of LWB, I hired two writers last month for my authority site, and going through the process of finding those two writers demonstrated to me how much talent there is out there. I feared the concept of expanding my freelance business by taking on other writers due to concerns over finding (and keeping) quality writers, but my fears are much reduced. Because of that, I have begun contracting with writers to carry out client work on my behalf (with the client’s consent, of course).

I expect to launch a standalone website soon to properly advertise the services offered (at which point I can finally retire my rather sorry-looking Hire Me page ;-)) and although I have no fixed plans for the business, it will be interesting to see where it goes.

In other news I have a couple of really exciting projects that I can’t wait to get started on, which I will do so sooner rather than later. As always I must be careful not to overcommit myself — it is vital that each project I work on gets all of the time it needs — but I am champing at the bit to make a start on one of these projects as I believe they both have great potential.

What’s in Store for July?

I am on vacation for the first week of July so very little will happen then. However, I expect to hit the ground running when I return home.

It’s going to be a jam-packed month in which I intend to achieve the following:

  1. Finish the first draft of my LWB book
  2. Continue developing my authority site
  3. Create a standalone website for my writing business
  4. Start work on my new project

As always I will have to be very careful not to overcommit myself, but is difficult not to when there is so much that I want to do!

Last month I admitted that I felt “stagnant” in May, but I had words of advice for myself that seem particularly poignant now:

To not shoot for the stars at this stage would be making a mockery of all the hard work I have done in establishing a platform over the past two years. Therefore, I only have one option but to roll my sleeves up and charge ahead. That is exactly what I intend to do in June!

I feel like that is exactly what I have done, and I intend to take that attitude with me into July.

I’d love to know what you think about my progress in June and really look forward to reading your thoughts in the comments section.

Comments

  1. says

    I Tom, as always you are an inspiration to anyone who wants to succeed. Your attitude towards the work is like fresh air. I am on vacations right now with my family, and this time together with them, make me think that I should work harder and get no excuses to give them and me more times like this.

    Your blog is becoming a reference to me, when I’m feeling down and tired. Is where I come to get strength and inspiration

    Keep up the good work. Maybe one of these days I can tell here a successful story – I hope so -

  2. says

    As always, great to see you moving forward. Whenever I read one of your income reports these days I always go back and have a look at your earlier reports as well. Always gives me belief that consistent work pays off.

    By the way, what is FODA? Have I missed something.

    Also, it’ll be great if you could elaborate a bit more on the expenditures you make. Just makes it more valuable.

    Thanks for another honest post.

    • says

      You have missed something ;-) FODA is my authority site: freeonlinedatingadvice.net. I’m big on acronyms ;-)

      Good point about expenditure — I’ll provide a full breakdown next month as an example.

  3. says

    Cheers to you Tom. Very inspiring. Sorry to hear about your injury. I’m a bit of a workout junkie myself and have found the extreme measures of P90x and Crossfit (here in the States) to have a dark underbelly of injuries. Hope you rebound quickly.

  4. says

    As always nice to read your progress Tom and such an inspiration! Funny that you have some projects or goals I also have at the moment or already accomplished. I bought a home last november and moved in march this year, but as an entrepreneur or freelancer it’s not easy in The Netherlands to get a mortgage. Now I want to get us a new car but not sure wich one and how much it will cost. So your post is also very helpful by setting goals, thank you :).

    Also a little question. Why are you building a stand alone website for your writing business with this authority website beside it? Dit I miss something and does this mean you’re going to delete the ‘hire me’ page? I found it strong for you to give the possibility for readers to contact you for freelance work through this website :).

    Anyways, keep up the good work and enjoy your vacation. Often I get the best ideas when I’m on vacation.

  5. says

    I love your progress! Very impressive to have you outline your journey and show that freelancing is not only possible, but delightfully lucrative!

  6. says

    That’s awesome to see it work out so well for you. I decided a while back to do pretty much the same thing you’re doing — jump into freelance programming and hopefully quit my day job once I get that rolling. Seeing reports like yours and other stories around the web of huge freelancing success is really motivating.

    I only started following fairly recently, and I have only read a fraction of your blog posts so far. Maybe I missed it, but — do you have any plans, other than the authority site, to generate passive income — payments that occur regardless of whether you work or not? Is that the goal of the other projects you mentioned?

    That is my ultimate goal with my plans — I may never quit programming, but I want to achieve true financial independence, so that I work by choice, not because I have to — and I feel like passive income is the ultimate tool for that. I ask because you say you’ve just been going with the flow since achieving your first goal (generating enough money through freelancing to quit your day job). I know that once I get to that stage myself, I will have a very clear new goal (generating enough money through passive income to quit freelancing — if I wanted to).

    Thanks again for the reports, they’re very helpful.

    • says

      Hi there,

      I currently generate “passive” income through affiliate marketing and my information product which makes up a healthy proportion of my total income. My plan is to expand my passive income streams in coming months.

      Cheers,

      Tom

  7. Jimmy 23 says

    New reader here.

    Are you concerned you’ve just traded in work for more work given most of your income is from freelance writing?

    How much have you actually saved as you’ve got expenses and taxes to pay.

    Thanks!

    • says

      Hey Jimmy,

      Given that last month I worked about 2 hours less on average per day and earned over three times as much as I did in my previous job (not to mention that I find the work extremely rewarding), I’m not too worried :-)

      I appreciate that most of my income is currently from freelance writing, but over $3,000 from passive income streams this month isn’t exactly pocket change either. I’d expect to see that rise considerably in coming months (if everything goes to plan!).

      RE expenses, these are net income reports so that’s income minus expenses. You can see the expenses in the breakdown I supplied above. As for tax, you should probably knock 20% off the net income to arrive at my earnings after tax.

      Cheers,

      Tom

  8. says

    Hey, Tom! Just curious. I consider an eBook as an “information product.” Can you go into more detail about what those information products are?

    You inspired me to do my own goal setting post, although my income isn’t worthy of posting at the moment. Heal up and keep on truckin’.

  9. says

    Wow, I am a first time visitor and I think I have landed on a great resourceful website.
    I installed your evergreen post plugin and click on a link out of curiosity. Now browsing through pages.
    great work, keep us inspired. .

  10. says

    Hi Tom, that’s great news, well done, I’m sure it makes up for the fitness probs you’ve been having.

    Some thoughts…

    a) I would definitely give the Westhost affiliation more prominence. That’s giving you nearly 80% of your entire affiliation return.

    Also look and see where else you can incorporate Westhost into the site without being too salesey. Where are your high-traffic areas? How can you get the ad above the fold or integrated into the text?

    b) Linked to a) if you could drive down that email usage it would be interesting to see if you swapped emailing for blogging hours how much that extra traffic would generate in affiliate and information product sales.

    c) I love the fact that you spent 2 hours on the Information Product yet netted $1711, that’s $855 per hour – not bad going! Clearly shows the value of information product creation and marketing. Is that the “Successful Freelance Writing Online” product?

    • says

      Hey Dylan,

      a) I’ve worked a lot to give WestHost more exposure. It’s in the sidebar and on my Start Here page and I’ve also written a blog post about it specifically and mentioned it in multiple other posts. What else would you suggest?

      c) Yes, although working on the blog definitely contributes to that so I add time spent on blogging + the info product to get an average hourly rate.

      Cheers,

      Tom

  11. says

    Hello Tom,

    This is always encouraging when I go through your income report. I have following since long, It’s good to see you growing month on month at the same making some records in terms of income.

    Thanks Tom

  12. says

    Always an inspiration, Tom. I enjoy reading about your successes. Ups and downs are inevitable, but love the momentum you have going…

    I’m lining out some goals myself, with plans to create some information products and/or online course. Lots to do but exciting. And, as you say, time to “roll my sleeves up and charge ahead.”

    Best to you and yours. And enjoy that vacation!

  13. says

    Very inspirational and encouraging Tom. I love your determination and drive!

    Just wanted to ask, do you do any freelance writing for UK companies/blogs? I’m a new freelance writer living in the UK and was wondering what the market was like here.

    Thanks for sharing your earnings with us. It helps to push me towards my goals. :-)

  14. says

    Hi again Tom,
    I think what you said “To not shoot for the stars at this stage would be making a mockery of all the hard work I have done in establishing a platform over the past two years. Therefore, I only have one option but to roll my sleeves up and charge ahead. That is exactly what I intend to do in June!” is probably the most important part of your post. This is something EVERY SINGLE blogger should read who’s worked hard on their goals but are about to quit after all the work they invested. There’s only one message that comes to mind regarding what you said about your goals: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” ― Thomas A. Edison
    So by all means, go for it, we’re all rooting for you! :)

  15. says

    Thanks again Tom for being so open with what you’re achieving. It’s really interesting to see the breakdown of how your hours were spent this month. I think that’s a valuable exercise to do and will try it myself to see what I can improve upon. Cheers for the ongoing inspiration!

  16. says

    Awesome income yet again Tom! As a guy running a personal finance website, just make sure you are also saving a nice chunk of that income that you are pulling in and don’t overextend yourself to far budget wise, especially with a house if you purchase one. Best of luck in July!

  17. says

    Hi Tom,

    Congrats on your new record month. I am sad to know that you did not make new progress on your fitness program. Things have been going slowly for me, but I did manage to lose more weight along the way. I am half way through my goal with 20% of the time (My goal is to lose 45lbs in 12 month and I lost 22lb in 2.5 months). Keep building your will power and you will achieve more in life.

    Good Luck!

    Sibo

  18. says

    Congrats on another excellent month, Tom!

    Your monthly income reports are truly inspiring. Hope your shoulder gets better. Please do what the specialist says so that you can heal completely!

    I’m still using your great freelance writing book to help me land more blogging clients and the strategies are working. My goal is to feelance a max of 20 hours per week and then build affiliate income streams from there. As a mom with a 10 year-old daughter I need to keep things part-time for now.

    Thanks again for all the solid information and keep up the great work!

  19. says

    This is great Tom. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that reading about your progress each month keeps us all going at certain times.

    I’ve just started training for a half marathon in September and it’s amazing how much the principals of physical training can be translated over to building a freelance career like this. It’s certainly a marathon and not a sprint, that’s for sure! (I think I feel a blog post coming on.)

    All the best with all the great stuff you have in the pipeline and thanks again for keeping us motivated too :)

  20. says

    As I’ve said before, I’ve been following you since the beginning and you actually are inspiring to me. I continued writing my little word press blog but intend to create my very own like you said. Its been a cool journey to see you become so successful!

  21. Jackson Davies at Blogprefect says

    Loving the Piechart Tom, hmmmm Pie! As far as the P90X goes, you can always go back to that when you are fit again. I’ve had some issues with fitness issues like that. I took up jogging but had some problems with my right knee which came to bite me about 3 weeks in.

    Comparing your earning information to Pat Flynn’s in regards to host affiliate sales I can see that being quite a hunk of change. Information products profits to expenditure looks ace too. I’m intrigued to see how you do with 1 week out this month.

    Carry on camper!

  22. says

    Tom, great month and I really like the addition of the pie graph and the future projections.

    Congrats on the success of leavingworkbehind. Its nice to be able to earn the passive income that you are.

  23. says

    I’ve been away from writing for a little while. It seems the fear of succeeding, or failure, caused me to run out and just get a 9-5 job. So, I decided I want to get back out of the full time job lifestyle so the first website I came back to in order to achieve clarity was yours. I’m glad to see that you continue to succeed and wish you all the best in the future.

  24. says

    Hi Tom,

    Forgive me if you’ve answered this question already, but how did you go about tracking your time for the month? Did you use some kind of software program or just keep track in a spreadsheet?

    Thanks!

    David

  25. says

    Another great month! Love the pie chart. Am tempted to try logging my time in July but am slightly afraid to find out what my hourly rate is for my freelance writing.

    I have had my best month in terms of earnings from freelance blogging in July, which is mainly down to your book and this blog so thanks for that!

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