Ep. 306: August Income Report

Welcome to my August 2020 Income Report!

Every month I publish an income report to take you behind the scenes of my online business and reveal exactly how much money I make, how I make it, how much I spend and lessons learned along the way.

To give you a really quick background if you’re new to the show:

I started my business doing freelance web design back in 2014 as a side hustle, burnt myself out on that, created a free training that teaches entrepreneurs how to DIY their websites and I make money from that through affiliate commissions. It’s called the Free 5 Day Website Challenge and you can get your hands on it at http://www.free5daywebsitechallenge.com.

In 2018 my side hustle replaced my 6-figure day job income and I quit my day job, and by then I’d also started teaching entrepreneurs how to market themselves online without ads or being on social media 24/7. If you want to learn more about how to do that, I have a free training for you called How to Market Yourself Online which you can get at http://howtomarketyourselfonline.com

I also started teaching web designers how to market themselves, get clients that don’t drive you crazy, and how to price + run projects in a way that actually makes them money. And I have a free training for you on that if you’re a web designer which you can find at http://startafreelancewebdesignbiz.com

You can find links to all of those courses in the show notes – if you’re in Apple Podcasts just scroll up on this episode and they’re all right there on your phone.

August 2020 Numbers

Last month I officially changed my monthly minimum baseline revenue from $10,000 to $15,000 to cover my husband’s salary, and I changed my my expense budget from $2000 a month to $3500 a month to more accurately reflect my willingness to invest in the right mentors, get help and leverage the relationships I’m building.

I pay myself two paychecks of $3000, $3500 a month for expenses and investments, and the rest stays in the bank to pay taxes and either for a rainy day, a bonus, or an investment back into the business (or all of the above!)

So with that frame of reference, here are my numbers for August 2020:

Total Revenue: $19,659.01

  • Affiliate Income: $3318.16
  • Site-in-a-Snap Templates: $4567.15 (that’s my half of the total sales)
  • Courses $7216.70
  • Done For You & Consulting: $0
  • Tech Masterclass Bundle: $4557 (that’s the sales that came in in August – the sale happened in July + August).

Total Investments: $7076.11

  • Tools I use to run my business: $1930.01
  • Training, Coaching + Mentorship: $3887 (includes Summit in a Box)
  • Team: $750.00
  • Affiliate Payouts: $509.10

Get the full breakdown of income, expenses and net profit month by month here.

Last month I started reporting my expenses in these four categories now too – Tools, Training, Team + Affiliate Payouts so that I can make sure my expenses are in alignment with my vision for myself and for the business.

Net Profit: $12,582.90

August 2020 is the best month I’ve ever had in business. And it’s not by accident. I’m intentionally and strategically making more offers for my products and programs than I ever have before.

Month in review:

August was a total whirlwind… in a good way.

It started off with my test-offer of my Tech Masterclass Bundle that I talked extensively about in my July income report – so if you haven’t listened, go check out Episode 301 where I go into detail about it – but it brought in almost $5K in the first few days of the month.

I made this offer for a $49 bundle of 20 of my old tech masterclasses to my email list of about 4200 people and in 3 days it made $6,000 dollars.

Here’s what I learned from doing that:

  • $49 is a no-brainer price point for my audience.
  • I don’t have to keep creating new things, I just need to make offers for the things I already have.
  • My email list is my most important asset. Which I already know, but this just reinforced that!

My favorite method of list-building is to build relationships with other people who serve my ideal client and then provide crazy amounts of value to them and their audience – whether that’s through podcast interviews, doing workshops and webinars for their communities, hosting webinars for them to my community, and any other creative collaborations we can come up with.

It’s a strategy that I used in the very beginning to build my list – and it worked SUPERBLY – but I got away from because I was looking at what everyone else was doing to explode their traffic and 10x their email list and so I starting chasing shiny objects that pulled me off course.

And back in January of 2019, I joined Growth University’s Partnership Accelerator which forced me to get over myself and find and pitch potential partners, and I had to do a LOT of mindset work to understand that I do bring a ton of value to the table when I collaborate with people.

I teach my students inside my Website Marketing Lab training how to create Shareworthy Freebies and leverage them to get in front of audiences of their ideal clients so that they don’t have to go out and find each email subscriber one by one.

And I’m not gonna lie… it’s not easy to put yourself out there like that. It does get easier every time you do it… but there are times when it presses on your impostor syndrome big time.

Impostor Syndrome Alert!

In August, I had the opportunity to do a workshop for someone’s audience, someone who I really, really respect, someone who’s built a 7-figure business.

She invited me to talk about exactly how I build these relationships and pitch collaborations in a really authentic way – and I was so excited and honored that she wanted me to come talk to her people about it.

But then my impostor syndrome popped up and I was like… “Who am I to teach her audience this marketing strategy when I’ve only made $100K so far this year and she makes millions?”

And you guys, I obsessed over that presentation. I rewrote it three times, I re-did the slides three times. I stressed myself out because I back-burnered other projects because I spent way more time than I needed to on that presentation.

And I don’t think it went as well as it could have had I been more confident and not all in my head about it.

Because I didn’t remind myself that WHO I AM to teach them is the person she invited to teach them, knowing full well where I’m at in my business because I’m pretty sure she reads these income reports!

And WHO I AM is enough. I’m not trying to be someone I’m not, and I don’t have to be where she is to be qualified to share what I do.

But I let that voice inside my head get the better of me.

I am not immune.

But what I used to do is let an experience like that take me totally off the rails, having me question my entire business, decide that I needed to offer a new service, make a new course take a new course – and basically stop all things marketing that actually get me a result and go back into create mode where I’m safe behind my laptop making things and not having to feel insecure about it because I’m the only one who knows about it.

I don’t do that anymore.

Now I can see myself doing it, and I can get through it and stay the course with what I’m doing. I can’t always STOP myself from letting the inner impostor get the better of me, but at least I don’t let it knock me off the rails anymore.

Someday, I bet I’ll hear that voice, and I’ll automatically be like “We don’t think that way anymore, Shannon.” But I’m not quite there yet, and that’s okay.

I tell you that to tell you that sometimes it's uncomfortable, and that discomfort is growth. And it’s worth it.

Side Hustle to Self Employed Summit

Another one of the partnerships I did was with Krista Miller from Summit in a Box. She’s coming on the podcast in a couple months to share her story so I won’t go too deep into it – but she teaches people how to host virtual summits and she created this product/program called Summit in a Box where she’s literally done all the heavy lifting for you to host a virtual summit.

And you guys know me, I’m all about partnering with people who already serve my ideal client, so I’m like, all about pulling 20 people together at one time for a big summit that benefits everyone involved and everyone who’s signing up to attend.

So I did an affiliate webinar for my audience, introducing them to Krista and having her talk to everyone about virtual summits, how they help you grow your list and make money and pitch her Summit in a Box product.

And when she got to that point in her webinar, I was the first to buy it! So that’s why my training, coaching and mentoring expenses were so high this month – because I bought this program. But it’s not just another course – she’s literally done almost all of the work for you. There’s even a website template in there for your summit website (she’s also a web designer like me).

And I knew, KNEW that I would make my investment back, not only in affiliate commissions (which paid for my Summit in a Box and then some) but in the Summit that I’m hosting in February of 2021!!

So save the date for the first weekend in February of 2021, which isn’t that far off, for the Side Hustle to Self Employed Virtual Summit!

I’ve pulled together 20 of my favorite people who have been guests on this show to dive even deeper into their best strategies to help you go from side hustle to self employed without taking a paycut. It’ll be like this podcast, but with even more actionable strategies you can implement right away to grow your business.

Divi Site in a Snap

Another big project we tackled in August is we launched the Divi version of our Site-in-a-Snap website templates.

So I teach people how to DIY their websites. For free. Totally free training. And I teach them how to design their brand and design their pages, but I’d see people get totally stuck on the branding, the page layouts and the website copy.

Like, I’m talking stuck for MONTHS.

No reason not to launch their website – they have all the information they need to point and click their way through it.

But perfectionism totally was keeping them stuck.

So I tried to convince people that your website doesn’t need to be perfect to launch. I’d bring guests on this show who have multiple 6 and 7 figure businesses who would also tell you guys “Just launch. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Your perfectionism is HURTING you. It’s taking money right out of your pocket.”

But I get it. It’s still hard when your business and your brand are so personal to you and you’ve got all this impostor syndrome and “Who am I to be doing this?” and “I’ll look like a fraud” and the way you try counteract all of that is to have this PERFECT website as the face of your business.

So that message was totally falling on deaf ears…

And I thought “Wouldn’t it be so awesome if I could just do it for people, without having to actually do it? Like, design their graphics, design their pages, write their copy and give them the templates, show them how to install them and customize them and give them templates for their website copy – and then all they have to do is take and tweak and make it their own?”

And so I did. I made it with the Elementor page builder plugin, one of the popular page builders for WordPress, which is the website platform I use and teach – and everyone loved it and raved about it because they were finally able to overcome that perfectionism, feel confident about their website and launch.

But there are a TON of people out there who use WordPress who use the other most popular page builder theme out there called Divi. And I used to teach Divi to my students inside the free 5 Day Website Challenge – and they were like “Hey Shannon!! Will you make that for Divi too?”

And I kept putting them off, but then my team member Laura, who LOVES Divi, was like “I’ll make them, and I’ll answer questions about them.” And I was like “Okay!! Let’s do it.”

So she got to work taking all the Elementor templates I’d made and designed them in Divi, and we spent hours going back and forth making sure the installation process was so simple for you guys, and we launched those at the end of August.

So if you use the Divi theme, and you want to get your hands on some strategically designed website templates made to convert plus all your branding done for you and editable in Canva, plus all your website copy 90% written for you, then go to https://courses.shannonmattern.com and click on the Shop link to check out the Site in a Snap Template Pack and choose the Divi version at checkout.

“You’ve Outgrown Your Dream”

The last thing that happened in August that really sticks out to me is a loving call-out from a member of a local entrepreneur mastermind that I’m a part of here in Columbus, Ohio.

This mastermind is a really cool concept – it’s a hand-picked group of about 12 entrepreneurs and the fee to be a part of it is a $100 monthly donation to a local charity. We all get to nominate a charity each month and then vote on it and we all make our donation.

So it’s my turn for our hot seat – and I think we were talking about our next big goal or something – I can’t remember the exact conversation, but I think one of them asked me what that next big goal for me is… and I didn’t know.

I was like “Sure, I could say I want a million dollar business, but is it worth it? It’d be so much more work, and I’d need to hire a team, and I’m afraid to hire a team because what if I can’t pay them and I have to let them go… and I’ve had a great year and I’ve reached my big goals and…”

So one of the women in the mastermind – Nellie Corriveau, The Sales Queen – asked me if she could give me a “loving call out” and I said YES PLEASE!!

And she said something to me that just… hit me. I don’t even know another way to say it. It’s like I’d been asleep at the wheel and she woke me up.

She goes:

“You’ve outgrown your dream.”

It was one of those moments where a cord was struck, it resonated literally throughout my body. She was SO RIGHT.

Everything I’d dreamed of making happen, I’ve made happen. Starting a business, quitting my day job, a six figure year, a $15K month and now almost a $20K month.

She and the other people there asked me if I ever took time to just… dream.

Dream really big. About the impact this business could have if I would just get out of its way.

And of course, the answer is NO. I’m always on the go. I don’t take time for it at all.

I’ve outgrown my dream in other ways too. With my weight loss goal – I feel the way I always wanted to feel… so I still haven’t really been working toward the “big goal” I’m just hanging out, not gaining or losing.

So, I don’t have a new dream to tell you guys about yet…

I’m working on it, and Nellie offered to help me work on it too which I totally need to take her up on because she’s amazing – and you guys need to check her out at https://www.salesqueencoaching.com/ – she’s just good people.

I just know I have a lot of fears about the person I’ll have to become, the leader I’ll have to become, and that’s why I’m hanging out where it’s safe and easy. But I also trust that the right path will reveal itself, and I’m putting myself out there so that it can.

So before we wrap up, I’ll give you guys a quick update on the house that we’re building – I’m recording this income report on September 25 – which is like, 3 weeks later than I’d normally record it because we were getting our house ready to put on the market, which we did, and we are currently in contract at the time of this recording, and I’m hoping that my next income report will be the last one recorded in this office that I’m sitting in!

And next month, I’ll share with you some changes I made to the biz this month, September, but I’ll save it for you for next month 🙂

That’s all I got for you!

Thanks so much for listening and I’ll see you next week!

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Hi, I'm Shannon!

If you want to learn how to build a website, market yourself online and get traffic + customers so that you can go from side hustle to self-employed, you’re in the right place!

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