Welcome to my December 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.
But before we dive into this week’s episode, I have an exciting announcement – I’m hosting the Side-Hustle to Self-Employed Summit and you are invited!!!
I’ve invited over 20 of my favorite podcast guests to give you their best info on a topic that’s gonna help you go from side-hustle to self-employed in 12 months or less!
It’s happening Thursday, February 4 – Sunday February 7 from 10AM to 4PM Eastern and you can get your FREE ticket at https://sidehustletoselfemployed.com
There’ll be sessions on topics like:
- The most lucrative side hustle strategies – perfect for anyone who knows they want to be their own boss but just isn’t sure HOW they want to structure + sell their expertise.
- Demystifying running an online business – we’re bringing in our favorite accountants, lawyers, branding, design and tech experts to take all the fear and uncertainty out of starting and running your own business.
- Putting yourself out there and getting clients – our favorite marketing and sales experts are gonna help you get out of your own way when it comes to finding clients + authentically selling your products, programs and services.
- Secrets to success – our favorite productivity, planning, money and business growth experts are sharing their best systems and strategies so that you can position yourself for success.
And if you want instant access to all the sessions NOW so you can watch on your own time, you have the option to upgrade to the all-access pass and start watching NOW, before the live event starts – and for all you podcast lovers I put all of the sessions into a private podcast that you can listen to on your iPhone or Android when you get the All-Access Pass.
But you don’t need to get the All-Access Pass, you can sign up to get your FREE ticket to the live Summit and come hang out with me for 4 days and create your plan to go from Side Hustle to Self Employed in 2021.
To give you a really quick background on my business if you’re new to the show:
I started my business doing freelance web design back in 2014 as a side hustle, knew how to build awesome websites but had no idea how to run a profitable, sustainable and scalable web design business, so I quit working with clients and instead created a free training to teach them how to do it themselves, spent tons of time and money figuring out how to market it and get it in front of as many solo-entrepreneurs as possible – and I make money on that free training 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. And then off the back-end of that I sell website templates, tech trainings + marketing tech + strategy training.
But the 5 Day Website Challenge and course money alone wasn’t enough at the time, nor was it consistent enough, for me to feel comfortable quitting my day job… so I needed to get the one-on-one web design side of my business working.
I invested a lot of time and money into business coaches and training to help me fix my broken web design business, and I got to a point where 50% of my revenue was coming from client work and the other 50% from courses + training and I was making enough to replace my paycheck, pay taxes + cover my business expenses, I decided to quit my day job.
I had also started teaching other web designers and tech VA’s and such how to make a full-time income with their web design and tech skills inside my Web Designer Academy – because SO MANY web designers were struggling like I did and were asking me how I did it. It’s my passion to help web designers run their business in a profitable, sustainable way. If you want to apply to work with us on your web design business, just go to www.webdesigneracademy.com to apply, and if we think you’re a good fit we’ll invite you to free private training all about how to make a full-time income as a web designer.
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.
December 2020 – Month in Review
So back in episode 319, my November 2020 income report, I shared with you how I decided to go all-in on myself and my Web Designer Academy program and enrolled in a $20,000 coaching program to support me in restructuring, marketing and selling my Web Designer Academy in a completely different way than I’d ever imagined, with me being able to serve more students at a higher level than I’ve ever been able to before with the previous structure of the program.
And I’ve told you how I’d spent last summer re-writing the curriculum, and then last September + October creating the modules + the templates and all the assets we give to the students, and then how in November, I talked to my coach about the marketing strategy for the new version of the program and how she pointed out to me that my pricing is unsustainable!
She showed me that for as committed as I am to helping my students charge sustainable pricing, meaning they aren’t undercharging and over-delivering and burnt out, that I was undercharging and over-delivering and that if I offered the program at the price I was thinking people could “afford” then it would be ME who would burn out and not have the impact and be able to serve my clients at the level they deserve.
She was absolutely right, and so I decided, for the third time in the past two years, to invest more money than I could have ever imagined I would when I started this business back in 2015 in myself and my program and in creating a structure that can serve + support my students.
And I shared with you how when I went through the process of developing all the marketing, I had sold MYSELF so much on the value included in my own program and the transformation available to my students that even my upgraded price seemed too low!
That almost broke my brain, you guys. That putting a $5000 price tag on my Web Designer Academy that I had been selling for $2000, which seemed way too high before I started working on my sales page and my webinar… seemed too low after going through that process.
And one of the reasons $5000 seemed like a no-brainer price tag? Because I’m willing to invest in MYSELF to be able to deliver to them at 4 times the level than I’m asking my students to invest in me.
Just the simple act of making the decision to invest $20,000 in learning how to support them in a way that I’m only charging them $5,000 to benefit from? It shifted something inside of me.
I’ve talked before about how because I was a self-taught web designer that I didn’t think I could charge my clients that much because I didn’t pay anything to learn what I learned, and therefore it wasn’t valuable.
I have done a LOT of mindset work to understand how that’s not true, how I didn’t have to pay for my knowledge in order for it to be valuable.
And I stand by that belief 1000%.
But I can also say that I have experienced a tangible shift in how I feel about my own pricing when I invest in myself at a higher level.
It’s like, instead of swimming upstream and doing the work on my mindset and constantly coming up against and having to overcome impostor-y thoughts, I’m floating downstream and not having to expend so much dang energy!
Would I have this perspective had I not experienced both how I devalued my worth when I didn’t pay to learn vs. the certainty I felt in my pricing after having invested in myself way more than I’d ever ask anyone else to invest in me?
I don’t know.
But I wouldn’t change a thing about my OWN journey, because all of it helps me help my students in a way that someone who hasn’t actually gone through ALL of it can’t help them.
Like, I understand their hesitation to raise their prices and what they make it mean about them and how it pushes on every fear they have. I understand what it feels like to say you can help someone achieve a big goal and secretly worry that you’re a fraud and that you can’t really help anybody. I understand what it’s like to put yourself out there in your marketing because you don’t really feel qualified to be doing what you’re doing.
But I also understand that all of that is just your own thoughts about you, and you can use them against yourself, or you can work on figuring out what you believe about yourself and go to work learning to believe something new that’s going to support your goals and help you get there.
And if you don’t get some help with your thoughts about you, then you are always going to struggle. You’re going to jump from thing to thing to thing, chasing something outside of yourself, like a new business model or a new marketing strategy or a new brand or a new website or a new niche. You’ll keep looking for answers outside of YOU and you’ll stay stuck.
I’d done all of this work to get the Web Designer Academy ready to re-open.
I scheduled a Live Private Training on Friday, December 11 where I was going to dive deep into my new “Full-Time Income Framework” for web designers, talk about the results my students were getting and the transformation they’ve gone through, and talk about the program and how we support our students.
But what’s different about this training than any other training I’ve ever done is that it was invitation-only. You had to fill out an application to get an invitation, answer a couple of questions about your goals and your web design experience, and give me a link to your website and social media so I could vet you.
And then I invited the subset of my email list who identifies as web designers to apply to get an invitation to the training.
By the way, if you’re listening to this and you’re a web designer, you can apply to watch a recording of that training by going to www.webdesigneracademy.com
Because what’s FASCINATING to me about my Free 5 Day Website Challenge is how many web designers sign up for it to either learn more about WordPress or see how I run my business so they can emulate it.
And I’m here for it, you guys! I’ll even help you emulate it! Because the best thing I ever did is go into business for myself, and there is a shortage of talented web designers who can actually run a business too. Please let me help you!
So this application process was really cool for me because I got to hand-select people who I knew would be an amazing fit for my program, and I didn’t accept everyone who applied.
And I think some people didn’t think it was a real application because they submitted the most random stuff, probably thinking it was an automated sales funnel and that they’d get access to the training anyway – but I followed up with all of them to ask follow up questions and some people just never responded and others were surprised, like “Oh, you actually are vetting these applications… yeah I don’t really want to start a web design business I just wanted to watch the training.” To which I’d reply “I appreciate your interest but this is only for web designers, I’ve got tons of other stuff for you to learn about business on the podcast, etc.”
I spent that first week of December promoting the application and the live private training and practicing my presentation…
…but as the date of the live training grew near I started to feel a lot of anxiety.
I was on my Profit Accelerator weekly coaching call with Alecia St. Germain of The Conscious Edge (which is a different coaching program than the one I’m in to develop the structure of the Web Designer Academy, btw), and I’d asked for some coaching around how I was feeling about making this offer for the Web Designer Academy.
And you guys, I don’t cry. Like, it’s gotta be something serious for me to let tears come out, but on this coaching call I couldn’t stop it. I ugly cried, I couldn’t breathe… and I remember saying, “I’ve put SO MUCH into this, and I know $5000 is a lot of money for people, and I know that if they show up for themselves and do the work that they will get 10 times their money back – like I truly believe that… but what if they pay me and then they don’t succeed and then they lose everything?”
It was something along those lines, and my heart was just POUNDING in my chest as I talked about it on this coaching call.
And I know that it’s the cognitive dissonance of being in the middle of that transformation, where one part of me still thinks that $5,000 is a lot of money, that selling is slimy and that I can force or coerce someone to work with me, and that I’m a total fraud – even after having conversations with 6 of my students about the mind-blowing transformations they’ve experienced in their business after working with me – and the other side of me KNOWING what happens when someone invests in themselves at that level because I’ve done it, knowing if they do the work they will experience the same results, knowing that they are adults who make their own decisions and that my only job is to give them all of the information they need to make the best decision for themselves, and knowing that I’m not a total fraud, that I’m pricing the program in a way that’s sustainable for my business so that I can show up for my students and fully support them in the way that they deserve.
I was in that weird spot of believing both things at the same time.
And I’m so, so grateful for coaching. To have that space to let it all out, ugly cry, explain how I’m feeling to someone who is skilled at helping me see my limiting beliefs and reframe, and give me techniques to help me when the time came to make the actual presentation.
Because I only felt that ginormous level of anxiety because I care so much about my students’ results.
And it’s so interesting to reflect on it now… because if it had been two years ago, the anxiety probably would have been all about me: “I just spent $20,000 on this program and this HAS TO work because if it doesn’t I’ve failed and I’ll lose everything.”
But me worrying about my own money didn’t even enter into the equation this time. I find that totally fascinating and it just goes to show how much work I’ve done on my money mindset to know that no matter what happens, I’ll figure it out.
So anyway, here I am, the day before I’m going to open up the doors to this new program, on this coaching call, ugly crying my face off, getting coached about why I feel this way, reframing all my negative thoughts about why I’m not good enough to help people, and getting strategies in place for how to mentally prepare myself on the day of, and all the things.
Had I not gotten help, I know for sure the outcome would not have been what it was.
I would have self-sabotaged and not even known I was doing it.
I would not have sounded at all confident when it was time to tell people how much it cost to work with me.
And if I’m not confident, why would you be confident?
Here’s what I left that call feeling 1000% confident about:
One, my program works. The students’ results speak for themselves. And two, I care enough to get the help I need to help my students.
I won’t withhold coaching, training and mentorship from myself because I know that it not only helps me, it helps me help them better.
And I feel like that has been the theme for all of 2020 for me:
In a year where I couldn’t control anything outside of me (like I ever could, but in 2020 the illusion was shattered for good that I could control anything outside of me), I invested in ME like never before.
I continued my membership in Corrine Crabtree’s NO BS Weight Loss Program. It’s essential to my mental + physical health, and I continue on that journey even now in 2021. I pressed pause just 12 pounds short of my goal because I couldn’t think of a good reason to keep going + go for more when I felt better than I ever had in my whole adult + teenage life, and I let a few pounds creep back in over the holidays… and now I know it’s because I didn’t learn everything I needed to learn the first time around to become who I need to become to finish the job. And that’s my continued work in 2021, to finish what I started and to finally get and keep the thing I’ve always wanted. That podcast is in my earbuds on the daily and I will gladly pay her for the rest of my life.
I continued my mastermind with my Texas girls – who have become more than just my biz besties… we support each other through LIFE and business and I missed their faces in 2020 because we chose to cancel our in-person mastermind retreat. That retreat gives me LIFE and I’m excited to get vaccinated so that I feel comfortable traveling again so I can see their faces.
I met Alecia St. Germain in the most random of circumstances, but as she said, there are just some things that happen that you can’t explain… and she invited me to join a mastermind group of entrepreneurs here in Columbus, Ohio where I live that I’ve done once a month for the past year… and as we all have gotten to know each other and people have come and gone, there’s a core group of us that have remained consistent and these powerful women just blow my mind every single time, even though every time I show up “not needing any help” they help me with something I didn’t even realize was a thing for me, just by being in their presence and listening to their conversations.
Alecia also invited me to a workshop she hosted called “Immunity to Change” in which I learned all about how there are assumptions I have about me and how the world works that dictate how I unconsciously do life, and you can uncover those assumptions and step through a process to challenge them so that you can identify what’s holding you back from achieving your big goals, and start changing your belief system and thinking so that you can accomplish them. That workshop resulted in me being invited to join her Profit Accelerator group coaching program and I jumped at the chance to work with Alecia because she is one of the most kind, giving and intuitive people I’ve ever met. We had an instant connection and I just had to see where it went… and so far it’s taken me to the most rewarding places personally and professionally.
I’ve told you about how I joined Mariah Coz’s Accelerator program so I could uplevel my marketing strategy for my online courses and trainings – but more than that, I saw behind the scenes of how a high-touch coaching program was run – one that had hundreds of students in it… but I still got the personal attention I needed, the eyeballs on my business and my offers and my assets, to make sure I was properly implementing the strategies – as well as getting to be in the same space as other 6 and 7 figure entrepreneurs running similar businesses and getting to see how they think about value and money and mindset. I can’t explain it any other way but that the Accelerator is just operating on another level.
And I wanted to run my programs at that level too – which is why I also joined her High Ticket Hybrid program so that I could uplevel my Web Designer Academy and run it at that level. And since doing that and seeing massive success from it… I have to stop myself from dropping everything to overhaul all my other programs!
That is SIX, yes SIX programs that I’m invested in and committed to in 2020 and in 2021 to continue to grow myself so I can grow my business.
And every single one of them serves its purpose and has contributed to my results in 2020.
So let’s talk about it – let’s talk about the success of that Web Designer Academy launch and my results in 2020.
And I’m not gonna lie… I’m super, super proud of these numbers, but I’m also a little nervous to tell you.
Because after working with Alecia, I understand that I have an assumption that if I make too much money, people won’t like me, and if people don’t like me, I’ll be ostracized and lose everything.
So better to stay small and play small and be “relatable” so that your results don’t feel so out of reach for people.
Which is not only me judging me, it’s me judging YOU that you would judge ME. Which is disempowering and disrespectful to YOU when you actually stop to think about… Which is not how I consciously operate at all… but that stuff is subconsciously IN THERE, working behind the scenes. I’m glad I know about it now so I can stop it from controlling me.
And because I’m nervous to tell you, I’m feeling compelled to frame and justify these numbers by saying things like, “You gotta understand, this is my 6th year in business, I’ve been offering this program in one form or another for 5 years, this didn’t happen overnight, I’ve done a lot of work on my mindset to get here…”
And while all of that is true… what I have come to understand is that if you’re here listening to this, and you’re just a few steps behind me on this journey, you want my success just as much as I do, because you know I’ll turn right around and tell you exactly how I did it.
A rising tide lifts all boats as they say.
But there are people around us who do look at others’ success and use it against themselves.
And for a long time I’ve been worried about those people, not wanting those people to be mad at me or not like me… but what I’ve come to realize is that a) there’s probably not nearly as many of them as my caveman brain likes to tell me, and b) I can’t be right for everybody. It’s just not possible. I mean, about 15 people unsubscribe every time I send an email out. And I’m totally cool with that. They get to decide whether they want to learn from me or not – it’s their choice.
And I honestly feel weird about using the word SUCCESS. I almost went back and changed it to RESULTS. And that would be me playing small and diminishing myself again.
So it truly is my hope that you are inspired by these numbers.
I’m really proud of them, and I’m proud of all of the time and money and emotional transformation I’ve invested in myself to accomplish them, and I’m grateful for every single person who trusted me enough to buy something from me – because every single one of those dollars represents another human being’s hopes, dreams and goals and I do not take that lightly – I take it very, very seriously, and I’m excited for what we’re all accomplishing together.
So with all of that, here are my numbers for December of 2020:
December 2020 Numbers
Total Revenue: $30,549.09
Affiliate Income: $5026.90
Site-in-a-Snap Templates: $510.00 (that’s my half of the total sales)
Courses $25,013.00 (that’s just the money that went into my bank account in December)
Total Investments: $12,995.13
Tools I use to run my business: $1275.57
Office Expenses (new laptop + credenza) $3734.86
Training, Coaching + Mentorship: $3575.00
Affiliate Payouts: $1951.77
Net Profit: $17,533.96
That’s three times as much revenue as December 2019 (Episode 271), and twice the profit.
And out of that profit I pay myself $6,000 and pay taxes. And I’ve left the rest of the money in the business bank account for a rainy day or to finally test out some Facebook Ads inviting people to apply to the Web Designer Academy. Because now that I have fully validated the offer… I feel like it makes sense to get it in front of the people who need it with paid advertising, and now I can actually afford to spend some money testing.
But you guys, that revenue number blew my dang mind.The most revenue and profit my business has ever made in a month. And I know exactly what to do to continue growing. It’s an amazing feeling.
It’s been a long road… and the biggest driver of the transformation has been me no longer trying to go it alone, and to work with people who can guide me to where I want to go.
So you’ll notice that as my revenue grows, my expenses grow. As I add more students, I need to shift more of what I used to do to my team so I can better support them. I’m investing more in my own mentorship than ever before. And my general business expenses are pretty consistent at around $1300 a month, but I expect those to increase a little in 2021 as I shift things around too.
My next big challenge is going to be shifting what I spend my time on and relying more on my team. And bringing on coaches in the Web Designer Academy so that we can provide additional support to our students so I’m never the bottleneck for them getting feedback.
I’m currently working on that with my coaches and in my programs as to what that looks like.
But this is what’s possible for you.
This is what is possible for you when you don’t quit.
When you don’t allow fear to get in your way, you lean into it and figure out what it’s trying to tell you. And when you’re willing to invest in yourself because you believe in yourself, not because you don’t believe in yourself and you believe you’re worth getting the right support so that you don’t have to do it all alone… not because you’re not good enough or smart enough and you’re looking for the answer outside of yourself.
So before we wrap up, I’ll break down my totals for 2020, and then give you peek at what’s in store for 2021.
2020 Annual Numbers
Total Revenue: $185,927.48
Affiliate Income: $43,880.18
Site-in-a-Snap Templates: $21516.88 (that’s my half of the total sales)
5 Day Website Challenge Workbook $4100.00
Tech Masterclass Bundle $10,496.00
Web Designer Academy $55.287.32
Website Marketing Lab $45,093.00
Misc (workshops, client work, WPPP) $5554.10
Total Investments: $61,735.70
Tools I use to run my business: $14,250.33
Office Expenses: $4757.84
Training, Coaching + Mentorship: $22,638.33
Affiliate Payouts: $7486.90
Net Profit: $124,191.78
My annual take-home: $72,000
My “Bonuses” $3000~
Taxes + Business “savings” $50,000
Back in Episode 271, I shared with you my BIG GOAL for 2020:
And holy crap if I didn’t almost EXACTLY nail it – the only difference is that my revenue was higher, my expenses higher, but damn if I didn’t about NAIL that profit number
Excerpted from Episode 271:
|1:1 + Consulting||0|
|Profit (Before Taxes)||126,000.00|
So whether I hit these numbers or not is beside the point.
The bigger questions are:
- Am I willing to take all of the action required to make it happen?
- Am I willing to do things that make me uncomfortable?
- Am I willing to pursue progress over perfection?
- Am I willing to mess up + make mistakes?
- Am I willing to change whatever I need to change to make it happen?
And the answer is yes. I’m willing to do all of those things.
And holy crap if I didn’t almost EXACTLY nail it – the only difference is that my revenue was higher, my expenses higher, but damn if I didn’t about NAIL that profit number!
Honestly, I haven’t looked at that goal since I wrote it in that income report. As I always say… I encourage you to write your own monthly income reports even if you don’t publish them so you can see how powerful you really are when you set an intention.
I also said NO NEW COURSES OR TRAININGS… totally did NOT keep that goal, and I’m so glad I didn’t.
The Future of my Business: 2021 and Beyond
I always choose two words as a theme for the year. 2019 was Focus + Constraint, 2020’s were Relationships + Amplify, and in 2021, my words are Unapologetic and Discerning.
Because in order to reach my BIG GOAL for 2021, I’m gonna have to change some things in my business about how I’m spending my time.
And everything’s on the table, even the things that I’m known for.
And I know it’s gonna push up against my need for people to like me when I make changes that may or may not disappoint people. And they might not disappoint anyone, who knows?
The personal transition I’m making in 2021 is going from Solopreneur to CEO. And CEO’s have to make the big girl decisions!
But I know that I’ll approach the decisions as they come from a place of integrity and short and long-term sustainability.
Because if you’ve been around here for awhile, you know overworking is one of the things I struggle with, and I can keep the consequences at bay for awhile, but then I burn out. And I don’t want that to be my normal anymore.
But what I’m not going to do is force any decisions. Because even the decision to stop doing things requires work, time and attention.
I’m gonna put my time and focus on optimizing one thing at a time, and be open to how it evolves. Letting go of all the control is new for me, but I think it’ll be really good for me.
|Big Goal: Double my revenue in 2021.||2021|
|Total Expenses (team, mentorship, tools, ads, affiliates)||$126,000|
|My Salary (take home after taxes)||$84,000|
|Profit (Before Taxes)||$150,000.00|
Having that much money “left over” in the business in 2021 to invest back into it will set me up in 2022 for things my brain can’t even imagine right now – but my mind goes straight to growing my team, like, even adding full-time, W2 employees.
But also it can be there for a rainy day, or I could work on paying off my mortgage early. I don’t have to decide now.
But I know I’m ready for all of it. I’m excited for all of it. And if 2020 taught me anything, I’m capable and deserving of all of it.
So that’s it for my December 2020 income report, 2020 year in review and a sneak peek of my goals for 2021. And be sure to head on over to SideHustletoSelfEmployed.com and grab your free ticket to the Summit that’s happening February 4 – 7 to help you go from Side Hustle to Self-Employed in 12 months or less.