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:
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
- Freelance writing:
- Income: $6,023.06
- Expenditure: $232.94
- Profit: $5,790.12 ($161 per hour equivalent)
- Income: $9.33
- Expenditure: $105
- Profit: -$95.67
- Affiliate Marketing (Leaving Work Behind):
- Information Products:
- Income: $1,711.99
- Expenditure: $88.63
- Profit: $1,623.36
- 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:
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.
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:
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:
- Finish the first draft of my LWB book
- Continue developing my authority site
- Create a standalone website for my writing business
- 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.