I simply can’t believe that more than half of 2019 is over and I’m already writing my side-hustle income report for Q2!
I have lots of exciting info for you if you’re interested in what it’s like to build a side biz while working full-time. I’ll go into how much I made, how I did it, and what my plans are for Q3.
I have a lot of wins to report, but also some pretty big fails. But that’s okay because I truly believe that failings are the stepping stones to success. And I’m going to share it all with you because I want you to have an authentic picture of what it’s like to build a business on the side. Because it isn’t easy.
Not impossible. Quite doable, even.
But not easy.
First, I need to add a couple of disclaimers: I can’t say that this report of my gross numbers are 100% accurate. It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but the more my business grows, the more obvious it becomes that I need to get a better handle on my bookkeeping. But I have spent a long time crunching the numbers and I would say they are mostly accurate. The other thing I realize I haven’t been doing correctly is reporting income generated during the month instead of income actually received. So for example, I may have generated X number of dollars in June but didn’t actually receive the money in my account until July. I’m going to keep it this way for consistency sake but if I decide to continue doing income reports after Q4, I will change the way I’m doing it to make it more accurate.
** My blog posts contain affiliate links, which means that I may earn a commission on purchases you make after clicking on those links. (At no extra cost to you!) Full disclosure here. **
Just keeping it real!
With that out of the way, let’s jump in:
To recap, I had set myself some pretty specific goals for Q2, which were:
- Publish quality content for The Fit Careerist twice a month
- Increase net income by at least 20%
- Get serious about passive income (via affiliate sales and ads)
- Connecting more with you, my audience
- Maintaining work-life balance
Where I Failed
Let’s get the #fails out of the way first, shall we?
To be frank, I missed the mark on more than one of these. I did end up publishing a total of 5 blog posts between April 1 and June 30, so I only missed this goal by 1 blog post. And I stand by the decision that it’s better not to post at all than to post content that isn’t helpful or interesting. So I’m okay that I did not quite meet this goal.
Where I really failed was with my last two goals. Simply put, I’ve been a terrible pen pal! I only sent out one email to my subscribers in the past three months. I realize I need to have a detailed plan in place in order to make this happen, so I have bumped this up to the top of my to-do list!
The other area where I failed was work-life balance. I need to confess to you that I have been working way more than I should since the start of the year, but the past two months have been pushing me to my limits. I had a couple of particularly large one-off projects that were had me waking up early to work before work and staying up late to work after work. Then I was working pretty much every weekend too.
But those projects are done and I’ve already started making some changes to put better processes in place and start outsourcing the more administrative business tasks and that has been helping a lot!
Let’s get to the fun stuff! Q2 was my best quarter yet. Here’s the breakdown:
Revenue – $4800.92 CAD
Expenses – $1560.22 CAD
Net Earnings (Excluding taxes): $3240.07 CAD
I didn’t just my financial goals, I surpassed them by a lot. I’m over the moon about this, but it tells me that I need to set my sights higher for Q3.
But let’s take a closer look at the revenue and expenses.
Here’s a visual for you:
Freelance Work: $3484 USD
Affiliate Sales: $67.55* USD
Ads: $280.65* USD
Total Revenue Q2 2019 in USD = $3832.20
Total Revenue Q2 2019 in CAD (After PayPal fees = $4800.92 CAD**)
*To be transparent, these are sales between Apr 1 and June 30 but I have not actually received the money yet for these ads. Many affiliate sales and ad programs have a net 60-day payout.
**It’s hard to say exactly what my gross revenue was in CAD before the PayPal fees because I haven’t been keeping track of the exchange rate. But I had noticed that PayPal’s exchange rate was consistently a couple of points below what the actual exchange rate was. For example, for most of this quarter, the exchange rate was around 1.32, but PayPal would give me a 1.28 exchange rate. (Yes, I need to do a way better job of tracking my finances… This much is clear!)
Let’s break this down.
Freelance work: I’ve landed a few more ongoing clients in the past couple of months which is why May and June were stronger months than April. As a result, the time commitment required has been ramping up a lot. For the past few weeks I’ve been working about 11-12 hours a week on client work, and then probably another 5-10 hours a week on writing articles.
Affiliate sales: I’m a bit disappointed with my affiliate income this quarter as it’s been tapering off, especially the past few weeks. I think this has a lot to do with the Google algo update at the beginning of June, which is when my rankings took a huge hit. But they have been starting to creep up again. I haven’t had time to put as much energy into this as I would like!
Ads: Certainly an improvement after my $6 earned with Media.net, eh? After passing the 10k pageview threshold in February, I applied to Monumetric’s Propel program to get set up with pay-per-impression ads. The ads went live in mid-April and I’ve been very, very happy with them! If you have a website and are over 10k pageviews and are thinking about ways to add an extra income stream, you should definitely take a look at Monumetric!
Next, let’s look at all the expenses that are directly related to my keeping my business running/growing. Despite my efforts to cut back, I still ended up racking up some new costs. But looking at it broken out, I think most of it was money well spent.
Here’s a quick snapshot:
PayPal Transaction Fees – $126.23 CAD: So, there’s something I messed up on my last two income reports. The net income is still accurate, but the total revenue was off. Because I forgot to factor in these fees.
I had been counting my actual withdrawal amounts as gross income, but it wasn’t an accurate reflection of what I actually got paid by my clients, because PayPal takes a cut on incoming funds, and they also take a cut on the exchange rate from USD to CAD. On my Q1 report, my gross revenue was actually a bit higher than what I reported, but net income was the same.
It’s a bit of a downer to know that over $100 of my earnings were cut before they even hit my bank account, but I suppose that’s just the cost of doing business.
Tailwind – 123.22 CAD: In April, I downgraded my account to the most basic monthly subscription and I haven’t missed all the bells and whistles at all. The scheduler helps with keeping the pins in circulation when I don’t have time to log onto Pinterest, but for the most part, I have been doing most of my pinning manually and that has been yielding the best results.
Monumetric Setup – $129 CAD: Definitely worth the price of admission: I earned this one time fee back within the first 30 days fo my ads going live.
VA Leads Subscription – $137.04 CAD: Horkey Handbooks VA Leads group has been an invaluable resource for landing new clients and staying up to date with the latest news in the VA community. I simply love this group and even once my client roster is full, I probably am going to stick around just for the community. <3
Convertkit Email – $159.23 CAD: I’m still not using my email list the way I should but it’s something I plan on putting serious effort into within the next couple of months so this is a vital expense for me.
Depositphotos – $79.81 CAD: I canceled my subscription at the end of May because I wasn’t using up my monthly allotment for photos. I downloaded as many stock photos as I could before it expired and I’m surfing off of those until I run out or need more. I’ve also been turning to Canva for more of my image-sourcing needs.
Canva – $16.58 CAD: I bought business cards this past quarter, for a pretty reasonable price I must say!
Wave Video – 27.39 CAD: I purchased this subscription because I’ve been experimenting with making videos for Pinterest and possibly for the blog. But this was not something that has been immediately useful for the business. I might discontinue this subscription for the time being.
Google Suite – 21.13 CAD : I broke down and upgraded to GSuite this quarter as I desperately needed some of its features. It’s a reasonable expense and 100% worth the investment!
Courses 739.90 CAD : Clearly this has been the biggest expense this quarter, but I believe in investing in my skill; the better my skills, the better the service I can offer to clients! (And the better I can grow my business.) I feels like I get tempted by courses almost daily, but I’m pretty selective about which ones I invest my time and money into. Here are the courses I took this quarter and why:
- Pin Practical Promotions & Pin Practical Influence by Redefining Mom: I believe that promoted pins are the future of Pinterest, and I knew that if I was going to continue offering Pinterest management services, I would need to get familiar with this feature sooner rather than later. It’s a big course and I’m still making my way through it! Pin Practical Influence is more for affiliate marketing via Pinterest which was very helpful and informative as well!
- Canva Templates by Caroline Vencil: This is less of a course and of a resource. These pin templates helped me save hours in pin design!
- Sponsored Success by Tracy Fobes: I’m planning on getting into sponsored posts as a way to generate another source of revenue while continuing to create content for my site. This course answers all your questions about sponsored posts including the ones you wouldn’t think to ask! Highly recommended if you’re thinking about getting into sponsored posts.
- BC Stack: Impulse purchase I made and I’M SO GLAD I DID! For about $50 CAD, you get access to dozens of courses and resources curated by some of the best bloggers on the web. In particular, I loved Pot Pie Girl’s PinTest PlayBook and Design Like a Pro with Canva by Jada Aloisio. Unfortunately, you can’t buy this particular BC Stack anymore but there will be a new BC Stack coming out next year with a new curated list of great courses. You can sign up for the waitlist here.
Total expenses: $1560.22 CAD
Goals for Q3
The year is half over and I realize I need to realign my goals a bit. Here’s what I’m focusing on for the next 3 months:
- Reach 8k of side-hustle revenue in Q3: Yes this is a lofty goal, but I think it’s totally achievable! But in order to accomplish this, I will need to beef up the passive income side of things quite a bit.
- Land my first sponsored post: Thanks to Tracy Fobes course, Sponsored Success course, I have a pretty good idea where to look for sponsored posts and how to land them. It’s just a matter of finding the time to dedicate to it. So I’m making this a priority in the upcoming months.
- Get my bookkeeping crap in order: Writing this post was very humbling for me. I thought I had my crap together with a simple spreadsheet I’ve been using, but clearly, I’m at the point where I need to get serious about keeping my business finances in order. I’m looking into investing in a proper bookkeeping program to do this.
- Be a better pen pal: I promised my email subscribers that they’d hear from me once a month and I failed miserably at this. But this time, there’s no excuse. Connecting with my readers is now a top priority!
So that’s it! Writing this report was an eye-opener for me, and if you’re running your own freelance side-biz I highly recommend you write them, even if you’re the only one that looks at them! (Although you might as well blog it or sent it out as an email if you don’t mind sharing because I find other people are really interested in income reports!)
I’m really excited for Q3 and have high hopes! But even if things don’t turn out according to plan, I won’t give up.
Where are you in your side-hustle journey? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!