October Blog Income Report
Each month I publish a Blog Income Report. My desire is to inspire others to dream big and plan their own exit strategy from the cubicle hamster race. I also want to set the proper expectations that this is tough work. You’ll work harder than when you were working for the man with (a lot) less income at first and more fear than ever. But you know what? You’ll love it because you’re following your passion and have the opportunity to control your destiny.
The Hidden Risk
If you’re like me, you salivate over income reports. You get jazzed when you read that Smart Passive Income made $41,550 in affiliate income from Bluehost last month and that Pinch of Yum made $3,200 from their e-book.
You also receive the same dose of inspiration from “I Quit My Job Posts” written by successful bloggers like The Art of Manliness. I mean, isn’t it all of our dreams to stick the middle finger to the man and march out on our own? To blaze our own trails, where only our imaginations can limit our success?
The success of others provides that motivation we need – the kick in the pants, to quit our jobs and launch a financially successful blog or freelance career. They’re selling the goods that we’re ready to buy.
What most of these successful bloggers leave out are the unplanned risks that can completely sideline your progress and potentially leave you in financial ruin. What if disaster strikes in your personal life and you’re left without the financial cushion many corporations provide through benefits like disability insurance?
I had two events occur last month that completely derailed the momentum I experienced after the success from my best month ever. The first event, the birth of our son, was planned. We knew it was coming and that I would have to step aside from writing for a couple of weeks to help my wife and learn how to be a father. I prepared for the time off by lining up guest posts for the blog, writing ahead for my freelance clients, and wrapping up some tasks so my plate was cleared for writing only. Even after I went back to “work,” I still planned to do so on a reduced level to maximize time with our son.
I was almost ready when the unexpected occurred.
On Friday, October 2, I was headed to a coffee shop for a few hours of writing, which is often a treat to myself after a productive week. While I was stopped and waiting for a car ahead of me to turn left, I was rear-ended by a teenager driving at full speed. The impact pushed me into the car in front of me. I was left with a totaled SUV, concussion, and sore upper back and neck.
It was impossible to write that first week as my brain wasn’t coherent enough to piece together a sentence, let alone a paragraph or article. I took the week off to allow my brain to heal. Then Baby Deacon was born, and I took a couple of additional weeks off from writing (away from the computer).
When I finally did start writing again, I began to experience a pain that was debilitating. I cannot sit for more than a few hours a day. By the end of the day, it hurts to even hold my son. One teenager not paying attention behind the wheel has left me to the point where I’ve actually cried myself to sleep at night on multiple occasions.
Financially, my progress from last month has been derailed. If I still held a corporate job, disability insurance would have kicked in to pay my salary while I recover. I don’t have disability insurance as a freelance writer. Sure, there will be an insurance settlement (he was assigned full-liability for the entire accident), but how do I account for missing wages when I’m just starting out?
Luckily, we weren’t naïve in planning this chapter of our lives. We are faithful followers (and teachers) of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. Before I left the corporate world, we eliminated all debt but the mortgage and cushioned ourselves with plenty of savings. Besides building up a six-month emergency fund (Baby Step 3), we also budgeted out a new, leaner, monthly budget, subtracted out my wife’s salary, and multiplied what was left by 12. We then saved that amount before I quit.
Without this meticulous financial planning, we would be screwed right now. This is why I often think income reports and “I Quit My Job” posts are reckless. My aim is to be realistic and set proper expectations. If you are planning to leave the comfort of a corporate salary and benefits, please first enroll in Financial Peace or read Dave’s Complete Guide to Money.
With Deacon’s birth and my car accident, how did I fare in October?
- Make $1,000 – Fail! Not even close.
- Finish Tweaks to my site – Check! I actually wrapped these up in the hospital before Deacon was born.
- Finish SEO optimization tactics – Fail!
- Start on a draft of my e-course – Check!
- Find a new client – Check! I’m now trying my hand as a publicist for a local chef.
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October Income Report
You may recall that I state over-and-over again that I need to start developing some form of passive income. As a freelance writer, passive income is a form of disability insurance. Passive income doesn’t involve my direct activity.
Over the past couple of months, I restructured my site to encourage passive income. However, my traffic is too low to see a significant bump in monthly revenue. Thus, my income is tied to my direct involvement. I get paid per word, and writing words involves active time.
Yes, I’ve mentioned the course I’m developing over-and-over again. This, besides my resources pages, will be my passive income. The truth is that I’m recklessly behind on finishing the course. October has taught me that I need to make it a priority and release it ASAP. My goal is to be in beta by next month.
One positive to my income report is that I seem to have my expenses reigned in. For the first time in a long time, I only had (mostly) my reoccurring expenses to contend with. As I promised last month, here are my reoccurring expenses:
- Internet – $29.95
- Cell Phone – $59.69
- Lightroom – $10.71
- Buffer – $10
- Paid to Blog – $20
I also had $17.16 in entertainment. As I sought refuge outside of my home office to write towards the end of the month, I ran up a few tabs at coffee shops. With family in town and the openness of my new home office / dining room, I was forced out of the house. I found the time in coffee shops to be quite refreshing and productive and plan to incorporate more in my future.
October Traffic Report
For a unique look at traffic, I opted for a quarterly comparison over a month to month. What’s really interesting is that the two areas I’m focusing on, Page Views and Unique Visitors, have fallen. However, I did not post as frequently in October. When I don’t post regularly, my numbers always drop.
My social media growth is somewhat of an anomaly though. I have done nothing over the last three months to change my strategy and encourage growth. This has been on purpose. My number one goal is to first fix what I can control – my direct traffic and email list. Once I have a handle on each of those, I will begin to work on the audience I can’t control – social media.
Lastly, I’m super stoked for my top posts in October. For the first time since I started publishing my income reports, all but one post is from the past few months. Thus, my new content strategy of writing posts that are either helpful or personal antidotes is working. Here are my top posts for October if you want to check them out:
- 48 Hours in Asheville, North Carolina – A Self-Guided Asheville Brewery Tour
- 14 Tips for Attending TBEX
- September Blog Income Report
- Welcome Baby Gourmand
- What to Pack and Wear in Europe This Summer
- Make $1,000
- Finish SEO optimization tactics
- Finish draft of my e-course
What has you knocked down right now? What are you doing to overcome it?