Every year seems to go by faster than the last, and 2019 was no exception. I feel like I blinked twice and now 2020 is here!
Since we’re entering a new decade, it seemed like a natural time to reflect on the past few years. It’s been a decade of change. Some changes were really positive while others were difficult.
But that’s life, right?
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A Decade in Review
In the spirit of wrapping up this decade and kicking off the new one, I thought that instead of launching right into the numbers I would reflect on some of the highlights in my entrepreneurial journey so far:
- 2014: I started my first-ever blog. It was called Bumblin’ Knit and it was a free Blogspot account where I wrote about my misadventures as a new knitter. It sparked my love for blogging, even though I knew NOTHING about how to monetize it.
- 2016: Intrigued by the idea of freelance work, I took Horkey Handbook’s course, 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success. I built my first (semi) professional blog and landed my first-ever freelance writing client.
- 2017: I had done a few writing gigs by this point, but I wanted to do more. I took HH’s other flagship course, 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success to learn how to become a VA in addition to a writer. (But it would be months before I took action with it!)
- 2018: I relaunched/rebranded my website to thefitcareerist.com and became obsessed with blogging. I started learning how to use Pinterest and SEO to drive traffic. By the end of the year, I had landed two new long-term clients with my new skills in Pinterest and blog management, and my own blog had generated over 22,000 pageviews.
- 2019: this past year, I decided to get serious about freelancing and blogging and pushed myself to see how much I could grow my side-hustle. I landed 3 more longterm VA clients as well as several “one-off” projects. My blog also finished the year with over 170,000 pageviews – almost 8 times the traffic I had in 2018!
2019 was also the year I decided to publish quarterly side-hustle income reports for all the world to see. If you are interested in seeing the past reports, feel free to take a look:
I did this because I wanted to keep myself accountable for reaching my goals and also to (hopefully) encourage other people who want to get into blogging and freelance by showing them real numbers from an “average” person.
Speaking of goals and numbers, let’s get to those:
I missed my goals by 1 blog post and about $400. I seem to either set my goals too high or too low. But I’d prefer to set them too high and not quite reach them, then set the bar too low and breeze by them.
Encourages more stretching!
In all fairness, I forgot that December tends to be a slower month for freelance work. Both because of client workload and my own availability. (Got to take a day off sometimes, right?)
Q4 Income Report Overview
First, a couple of quick disclaimers: These numbers are not 100% accurate because I get paid (for the most part) in USD but I’m Canadian so the exchange rate depends on the day I converted the funds, and I haven’t been keeping track.
So I based the numbers on 1 USD = 1.3 CAD, which was roughly the average exchange rate for this past quarter. Also, this report is based on income generated not income actually collected. For example, the ad revenue I made in December with Monumetric I won’t actually get paid for until February.
With that out of the way, here’s the snapshot:
Total Q4 Revenue Generated = $6652.12 CAD**
Total Expenses – $962.36 CAD
Total Net Q4 Revenue – $5719.76 CAD**
**Not including taxes
Yup. I actually made a tiny bit less in Q4 than I did in Q3. 😐
But, building a business isn’t a continuous, upward escalator, right?
It’s more like a rollercoaster.
And there are still some great developments that I’m excited about!
Here’s a breakdown of the revenue generated this go around:
Freelance work = $5684.14 (Down from $5887.44 in Q3)
Affiliate sales = $233.09 (Up from $99)
Ad Revenue = $734.77 (Up from 672.07)
In short, revenue from freelance work tapered off a bit in December, which in retrospect, I should have anticipated because of the holidays. But the passive income side – income that’s generated by this website – is up by more than 20%, which picked up some of the slack.
Looking at my progress year over year also lends some perspective:
Now for the less-fun part. Here’s a snap-shot on all my business-related spending from Oct-Dec:
Total Expenses: $962.36 CAD
Horkey Handbook (VA Leads Subscription) – $101.62
Pinterest Ads: $124.26
Ultimate Bundles: $139.15
WP Rocket: $67.01
Facebook Ads: $115.29
Yeah, ouch! I definitely spent more than Q3. A Couple of expenses were one-off investments like WP Rocket and the blogger’s Ultimate Bundle. But I also started experimenting with Ads via Facebook and Pinterest.
So far, my ads haven’t yielded a great return on investment, but I’m still learning! Can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, right?
Looking Forward to 2020
2019 was a pretty big year for me, both in the online business space and in my personal life. Truthfully, there were some pretty stressful times when I wanted to give up on this blog and my biz.
But I’m so glad I pushed on. All in all, I’m extremely happy (and grateful) for the amount of success I’ve had this past year.
And when I look back and see how far I’ve come, it really pumps me up to see what 2020 brings.
I’m not what you would call “wildly successful”; I’m not making millions of dollars by freelancing. My passive income from blogging is very modest compared to the “real” successful bloggers.
But does that extra income make a difference in my life?
And I’m not done growing.
This concludes the income report series I set out to do, and I’m not planning on continuing it for 2020.
But I think it achieves its purpose, which is to demonstrate that if you want to blog or freelance – or both – you can do it.
You just need to decide it’s time and then get to it – understanding that there are ups and downs along the way, and that you most likely won’t be an overnight success.
But also understanding that it’s a journey well worth making
What have you decided for 2020? Are you starting a side hustle? I’d love to hear about your plans in the comments!