Leaving Work Behind

My Monthly Income & Expenditure Report — August 2012

Written by Tom Ewer on September 6, 2012. 44 Comments

My Monthly Income & Expenditure Report – August 2012As the three month absence of my income reports has perhaps hinted, I had been in doubt recently as to the value of publishing my earnings here on Leaving Work Behind.

Around the time of the relaunch in May, I had a lengthy internal debate regarding publishing income reports. At the time, I decided not to continue with them. My thinking was always to offer value to you, the reader, and I wasn’t totally sure what value my reports were delivering.

But I have since had a change of heart, which is why you are reading this!

What Has Changed?

Ultimately, I believe that following someone else’s journey can be a powerful means of achieving success personally.

I say this because what really got me excited about making money online when I started out back in May 2011 was Pat Flynn’s income reports and niche site duel. Reading people’s income reports and case studies has perhaps had more influence on my online business than anything else I have read.

With that in mind, I want this blog (in part) to return to its roots of “this is what I have achieved, and this is how I did it”. I think that’s where a lot of the value I can offer lies. And although I may not be making anywhere near as much as A-list bloggers, I believe that I can offer a unique and valuable perspective in terms of my own achievements that you won’t find elsewhere.

Not only that, this blog offers up a detailed record of my efforts to quit my job and establish an online business from the very first day. The frustration of following A-list bloggers who only started blogging when they were already experiencing a great deal of success is not something you will experience here.

Goal Setting

Alright, enough chat — let’s get down to this month’s report!

At the start of this month, I published an enormous post: How to Set Goals and Motivate Yourself to Actually Achieve Them. Although I have talked about goal setting on LWB before, I hadn’t written anything approaching a comprehensive guide.

What surprised me was that writing that post galvanized me into become far more rigorous in terms of tracking my own goals. Although I understood and accepted all of the principles in the guide (after all, I did write it), it became apparent to me that I wasn’t taking my own medicine as much as I should’ve been.

The upshot of this was a huge uptick in prioritization and productivity in August. It may sound absurd, but my own guide ended up being a huge help to me. I’ll be sharing more in terms of my productivity process soon, but I am really happy with the work I am doing at the moment.

Freelance Writing

Since my last income report in April, my freelance writing business has gone from strength to strength. I continue to receive client referrals from this blog (even though my Hire Me page could do with a lot of work), and I have as much work as I would like at the moment from a core of long term clients. I would take on more if the right opportunity presented itself, but I am in no rush.

I could probably earn a lot more money with my freelance writing business if I wanted to. I could ditch clients who pay less than my current Minimum Acceptable Rate, optimize my Hire Me page, and be far more aggressive in targeting potential new clients. But the fact is that I am comfortable with where I am right now, I enjoy the work that I do, and I have plenty of time to work on other projects. So why change anything for the time being?

If I had one piece of advice to hand out to aspiring freelance writers, it would be to work hard on your own blog. I am where I am now largely because of the clients that this blog has referred to me (either directly or indirectly). The fact that I am able to run a freelance writing business without doing any marketing work is pretty awesome. Let your blog do the marketing for you.

My Freelance Blogging Guide

This is my big project at the moment, as you will know if you have read either of my case study posts (here and here).

I spent all of August writing the first draft of the guide, which currently sits at around 23,500 words. I found that I was able to write around 1,000 words per hour, and I dedicated around 4 hours per week to writing (I had previously done some writing in July too).

That was the easy part — the challenge in September will be planning the launch, and all of the various things that need to come together in order to ensure that the guide is a success. It will be an interesting month!

My New Project

I have been debating whether or not to share this with you over the past week or so, but then I remembered that I haven’t hidden anything from you before, so why start now?

I have started a new project. It is entirely speculative in nature, and an experiment more than anything else, but I do have high hopes for it. Whether it pans out into anything of substance remains to be seen, but it will serve as a useful case study if nothing else.

If you are interested to learn more, stay tuned, because I will be revealing all soon!

Income & Expenditure — August 2012

  1. Freelance writing:
    • Income: $4,514.60
    • Expenditure: $49.62
    • Profit: $4,464.98
  2. Websites:
    • Income: $9.83
    • Expenditure: $114.45
    • Profit: -$104.62
  3. Leaving Work Behind:
    • Income: $389.72
    • Expenditure: $56.37
    • Profit: $330.35
  4. Information Products:
    • Income: $0
    • Expenditure: $101.68
    • Profit: -$101.68

Total profit for August 2012: $4,589.03

In August I earned a net income that is well in excess of my outgoings, which is great news (it’s always nice to be able to pay the bills ;)). However, my freelance writing income this month is likely to be something of a peak. With that in mind, my focus is very much on taking steps to bolster my other income streams, in order to reduce my exposure in any one particular area.

My original niche site project is now all but dead, which is reflected by the pathetic website earnings. However, Leaving Work Behind has now established itself as a money maker (albeit a modest one). This is something that I will look to develop further in the coming months.

For those of you who have purchased products via an affiliate link on LWB — thank you! And for those of you who haven’t, thank you also, just for being here and reading! You are all awesome! 🙂

What’s in Store for September?

Hopefully, September will be another successful month in terms of freelance earnings, but I will be extremely surprised if I top August’s income.

Most of my attention beyond my freelance work and posts here will be on developing my freelance blogging guide, and working on my new project. Beyond that, I doubt I’ll have time to do anything else of substance!

Creative Commons image courtesy of Images_of_Money

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44 Responses to “My Monthly Income & Expenditure Report — August 2012”

  1. Andrea
    September 6, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Thank you for being so explicit with your earnings; it’s a piece of the “freelance puzzle” that’s so hard to put together (and often not something shared amongst freelancers!) when you’re first starting out. It’s great to see where it can go with tweaking and putting in the extra time!

  2. Tomoko
    September 6, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I love the fact that you decided to publish your income data. It is BY FAR the most motivating factor for those of us who are yet to make a decent profit unconventionally. I think Pat smashed a major paradigm about sharing income information which is a huge reason we love him so much. transparency shows his unselfish nature. I think you will gain a much wider audience because you too made the decision. Congrats and continue the great work.

  3. Elizabeth Barone
    September 6, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    I’m glad to see these kinds of posts again. They give me a baseline for where I can be in the future if I want. (Right now, my goal is $1,000 a month.) Reading people’s case studies is super helpful, too (like your goal setting one). Thanks for always being so honest! 🙂

    • Tom Ewer
      September 7, 2012 at 12:14 am

      It’s my pleasure Elizabeth. How are you getting on with your goal — you’ve got until summer next year if my memory serves me correctly?

  4. MaAnna
    September 6, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Tom, thank you for returning to this practice. I think it’s important to show both successes and flops because that’s the real world of running online money makers. I think that it is especially important for folks still in their first year or so of doing this to show real results. Pat Flynn’s earning are inspiring, but I think you’re report is even more so because it is a more accurate reflection of the hard work, patience, and tenacity required to make a reasonable living at this.

    • Tom Ewer
      September 7, 2012 at 12:17 am

      The struggle I always had with Pat Flynn’s reports (and don’t get me wrong — I’m a huge fan) is that he started with such a bang (at least, that’s what we saw). He had built up his first blog partially by “accident”, and through a lot of hard work and some good fortune, it all came good. That is tough to reconcile when you’re struggling to make a cent. That’s why I like the idea of being able to show these reports from day one, when I was losing money, rather than making it!

  5. Jeff Maudsley
    September 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Thanks for the report Tom and for deciding to post them again.

    Always good to see how others are doing. I particularly appreciate your decision to post these reports again because of who inspired youalong the way. I agree, Pat Flynn’s reports have been a significant inspiration to me, too!

  6. Charley
    September 6, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    It’s pleasant reading income reports like this one because they are highly motivating. We’re now in greater suspense while awaiting the details of your new project and your next post. Anyway, we can do nothing but wait.

  7. Cudjoe
    September 6, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    You’re among a few bloggers have ever come across who always are transparent in terms of their blogging expenditure. The likes of Pat of SPI are no exception.
    That’s really great, We the new bloggers who just started, are going to learn from you people sooner than later.

    • Tom Ewer
      September 7, 2012 at 12:19 am

      Yep — some of the income reports (naming no names, but I can think of one in particular) really bug me because expenditure isn’t disclosed. It’s incredibly misleading — like when a business owner tells you that he made $1m in sales last year (but actually made a net loss). Expenditure is a vital part of any business, so if you’re going to publish an income report, you have to include expenditure.

  8. Thomas @ Mobile App Tycoon
    September 6, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Really glad you’re deciding to do these again – they are definitely very inspiring and make me want to take action! Congrats on the earnings this month and looking forward to future reports!


  9. Jessica Kihara
    September 6, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    It’s great that you’re making that much from freelance writing. That’s a lot further than most people wanting to start a business make.

    I’m glad you published an income report this month. You’re right – it does inspire people! I love reading Pat’s blog for the same reason.

    • Tom Ewer
      September 7, 2012 at 12:20 am

      Hey Jessica,

      Thanks! I have to pinch myself — going back a year, freelance writing wasn’t even something I had considered. It’s amazing how things can change…



  10. bryan
    September 6, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    While you might think that your Websites earnings are low, you have to think that some people never even make it that far! While I only see maybe a few pennies a day, its nice to see inspiring posts like this.

    My question is though, do you plan on attempting more passive income streams? i would be very interested in seeing that.

    • Tom Ewer
      October 2, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      Hi Brian,

      Apologies for the late reply — I’ve only just spotted this!

      My One Hour Authority Site Project is my most recent attempt to develop a semi-passive income stream. You may want to check that out 🙂



  11. Joe Boyle
    September 7, 2012 at 12:11 am

    Great stuff, Tom! Keep it up! I can’t wait until you’re earning $10k/month or more! 🙂

  12. David Loney
    September 7, 2012 at 2:45 am

    Congrats on your success with freelancing and I am glad to read your blog is making money too. It is very interesting reading about your journey.

  13. Joe
    September 7, 2012 at 2:59 am

    Really appreciate the detail. If I might would like to ask you about freelance writing detail. Do you do “straight writing” or do you combine your business development expertise to your client.

    I guess I’m asking do you just write or do you become more of a consultant with some of your clients.

    Getting ready to set up web site and wondering on going straight writing for building contractors or more developing content (videos, podcasts, writing etc).

    Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks again for your posts.

    • Tom Ewer
      September 7, 2012 at 9:06 am

      Hi Joe,

      My work is mainly writing-related, but I do act more as an all-round “blogging consultant” with a few of my clients. So I guess it’s a mixed bag.



  14. Pierre | Internet Business Generation
    September 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Haha, so we get the income report after all! 😉 Nice breakdown Tom, thats a great start. Looking forward to hear about the new project.

  15. Niall
    September 7, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    This is really cool Tom, it’s good to see that you are making more from this than you where from your 9-5 (i assume)

    This is what I am aspiring too, but still trying to keep the job for the mean time.

    This acting as a blogging consultant actually sounds intriguing! I think that is what I need right now

    • Tom Ewer
      September 7, 2012 at 7:37 pm

      Hey Niall,

      Not quite yet on average I’d say, but certainly close!

      Be your own blog consultant. Read, read, and read some more. Make mistakes, get better. Rinse and repeat 😉



  16. Amit
    September 9, 2012 at 12:14 am

    Well ,not bad income buddy ,,congrats

  17. Jon Haver
    September 9, 2012 at 3:28 am


    Thanks for sharing your post. I couldn’t agree more the posts I learn from are income reports(where people share all the details!) and transparent case studies (failures as well as successes).Thanks for sharing and keep them coming!


  18. George Spencer
    September 10, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Hi Tom!
    Great to read your amazing blog. I’m a university graduate, 23, living in London and also just on the point of quitting my job, just like you did, to set up an online affiliate marketing business focused on the UK. I’m going to use all of your techniques that you have described in detail here and work every day, maybe from 8am-10pm, to get my revenue streams as profitable as yours are. I know what results to expect because you’ve published all your profits! Thank you for saving me some time and effort there 🙂
    Since this blog has been so successful, I’ll be following that model also and posting my journey on a separate name. I’ll try and include a bit more information than you though, maybe some videos and photos as well, to try and steal some of your readership ;P. I’m sure there’s enough room out there for both of us to make money from this, even if we are using the same methods. And I’m sure you relish a bit of compeititon 😉
    Thanks again, I’ll keep following 🙂

    • Tom Ewer
      September 10, 2012 at 9:41 pm

      Hi George,

      Given that I make very little from affiliate marketing at the moment, I’m not sure you’ll be going down the same path as me…but best of luck!



  19. Sheyi | ivblogger.com
    September 11, 2012 at 8:13 pm


    If you do need to pay a 10% tithe, then consider paying to me. Lol$

    Nice report and it will motivate others.


  20. Janet Aronica
    September 13, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Wow – you’re killing it! This is very inspiring to see your focus. Good job 🙂

  21. Financial Samurai
    September 16, 2012 at 6:47 am


    Nice work! Do you feel you will be able to do freelance writing for an extended period of time? In other words, will you burn out?

    I want my freelance writing or freelance jobs to be less than 20% of my total income and focus my writing on my blog and generate a portfolio of posts with income generating ability.

    How many posts do you write a month freelance?

    Thx, Sam

    • Tom Ewer
      September 16, 2012 at 12:03 pm

      Hi Sam,

      Yes of course, freelance writing is a totally viable long term means of making a living.

      I write around 35-40 posts per month freelance.



  22. Mark Bongcasan
    September 22, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Thanks a lot for sharing you income reports. It really inspires us to strive harder. Nice earnings too. Godbless.

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