A man’s worth is no greater than the worth of his ambitions ~ Marcus Aurelius (tweet this)
2013 has been a great year for me so far. January and February netted me well over $13,000 — equivalent to $78,000 per annum.
Although it is truly wonderful to earn that kind of money and I consider myself very fortunate, I cannot help but strive for more. I don’t see this as being greedy — the money is actually something of a “side effect.” The key influencer is that I see more opportunity and potential than ever before in what I am doing. I am motivated by the idea of growing this blog’s audience, diversifying my income streams and ultimately making more money so that I can in turn show you how I did it.
Nonetheless, I can’t ignore the fact that earning more money in itself is greatly satisfying. In February’s income report I predicted that March could be a new record month for me in terms of earnings. Was I right?
What Happened in March?
I didn’t plan to start any new projects in March. I had a lot of work to do in terms of consolidating existing projects and I was also on vacation in Colorado for the last ten days of the month. With that in mind you would be forgiven for thinking that it was a pretty uneventful month in terms of my business.
However, it was not without its moments. I was pretty packed out with freelance work and had to ensure that I got ahead with my regular work at the same time, which made things pretty interesting. Being able to competently manage such situations is vitally important in terms of determining your worth as a freelance writer. In my opinion, clients hire you as much for your reliability and your consistency as they do your writing ability. Fortunately I was able to deliver on my promises and kept everyone happy (which also enabled me to relax fully on my vacation).
Speaking of my vacation, it couldn’t have come at a better time. Not only did I need some R&R, my time away was a huge period of inspiration for me in terms of ideas for my business. I have come back with a whole bunch of potential projects to work on and can’t wait to get started.
But that’s enough about the future — how did I get on in terms of earnings in March?
Monthly Income Report — March 2013
- Freelance writing:
- Income: $5,399.74
- Expenditure: $19.95
- Profit: $5,379.79 ($100+ per hour equivalent)
- Income: $11.17
- Expenditure: $0
- Profit: $11.17
- Affiliate Marketing (Leaving Work Behind):
- Information Products:
- Income: $1,392.50
- Expenditure: $80.05
- Profit: $1,312.45
- Income: $101.44
- Expenditure: $50
- Profit: $51.44
Total profit for March 2013: $7,472.42
A quick glance at my income reports summary page will tell you that this is a new record, beating my previous best in January 2013 by $619! It’s also the first time I’ve broken the $7,000 mark.
Speaking of new records, my freelance earnings of $5,400 is also a new high. This was down to a fair amount of one-off work in addition to some quarterly charges for website maintenance arrangements that I have with a couple of clients. Those quarterly charges have warped my hourly rate calculations somewhat, which came out at $150. Therefore, for this month I have simply approximated my equivalent hourly rate as $100+.
My gross affiliate income was broadly comparable to last month’s earnings, which I’m really happy to see. Affiliate marketing is something I am working hard on at the moment and I’m looking forward to sharing my strategy with you soon (when I’m confident that it is fully effective).
My information product continues to sell pretty well as I continue to tweak and test — I hope that with increased traffic and further optimization these earnings will continue to climb.
Finally we have the rather paltry eBook earnings. It is fair to say that my endeavours on this front haven’t generated spectacular results (which led me to alter my strategy in March), but I’m not quite done yet. I plan to release the final two books in my freelance writing series this month then optimize all five books as best I can. At that point I’ll judge just how worthwhile my Kindle publishing experiment has been.
The Issue of Overspending
Up until the end of 2012, I’d never really been in a position where I’d earned much more than my outgoings on a consistent basis. That is now changing — with my regular outgoings hovering around the $4,000 mark, each month in 2013 so far should have seen me with a nice wad of cash left in my pocket. However, that has not been the case as of yet.
It started off with some unfortunate but necessary expenses such as a new washing machine and dishwasher to replace faulty old appliances. Then it was planned expenses, such as the work to refurbish my spare bedroom into a home office (I’ll have all the photos up on my Facebook page when it’s finished!). Then my house was burgled, which of course has an associated cost regardless of how good your insurance policy is.
But beyond that, I have definitely been guilty of spending more than I typiclly would. I think it’s largely unavoidable when you start earning a bit more — that freedom to spend when you’ve always had a mindset of being relatively careful with your money is an intoxicating feeling. While I’m not spending beyond my means, simply increasing my outgoings in line with my income is not going to get me anywhere. If I want to make the big changes in my life (such as buying a new house and providing for a family in the future) I need to be more responsible with my increasing income.
My Financial Target
With the above in mind, I took the opportunity while waiting for my plane home at Newark Liberty Airport to write down a rough idea of what I want to earn (and save) in order to reach my “material goals.” Here’s what I came up with.
What I Want in Two Years
- A new house ($150,000 deposit plus ~$1,000 extra per month for the mortgage)
- A new car ($15,000 deposit plus ~$100 extra per month for the finance charges)
- One awesome holiday per year ($7,500)
- Luxuries and miscellaneous ($1,500 extra per month)
What I Need (to Get What I Want)
$150,000 + $15,000 = $165,000
Monthly income required:
$4,000 (existing outgoings) + $3,225 (extras as per above) + $6,875 (capital) = $14,000
In other words, I need to approximately double my existing income within two years in order to achieve my financial target (which is in turn led by my material goals). Which means I’ve got a lot of work to do.
However, I must add a caveat to all of the above. As I said in a recent update on my Facebook page, it is key to find “less material things” than money to work towards in order to feel truly fulfilled. At this point I feel that I can work towards earning more money and helping other people at the same time, which is truly awesome. I’m not going to be distraught if I don’t reach the above financial target — for one thing, I am 100% sure it will change within the next six months, let alone the next two years.
As long as I feel that I have good forward momentum I am likely to be happy. I’ll keep reaching for the stars and we’ll just have to wait and see how far I get.
What’s in Store for April?
April is yet another month of consolidation, but hopefully my last one. I will be wrapping up the bulk of my Kindle eBook project and hope to be doing a great deal of work on my authority site to establish whether or not it has legs as a “mainstream” project in the long run. I will also be starting on one major new project — something that is going to be very big indeed for Leaving Work Behind. More on that soon.
I doubt very much that April will see a record month of earnings as I will be doing less freelance work and I do not expect any other stream of income to increase dramatically. My hope will be that I can maintain my affiliate and information product earnings and hopefully increase my eBook earnings, but only time will tell.
What I’m really excited about is my new home office, which should be completed by the end of April. I am hoping that a uncluttered room completely dedicated to work will enable me to be far more productive than I have been recently. Increased productivity is something that I am in dire need of and I am hoping that my new working environment will give me the jump start that I need.