Welcome to my November 2019 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 much I spend and lessons learned along the way!
Important things that happened in November:
- I started working on my website redesign.
- I executed 3 partnerships and was a guest on 1 podcast.
- I recorded 4 guest episodes for my own podcast.
- I had a crisis of confidence when it came to pitching myself for collaborations + partnerships and didn’t pitch as much as I’d planned.
- I scheduled ahead all my podcasts, social media + newsletters for the entire month in the first week of the month.
- I took a vacation to celebrate my 40th birthday and didn’t work for 9 days in a row for the first time ever.
- I did a Black Friday Sale for the first time in 3 years.
Notes I found to myself in my planner:
Just a bunch of to-do lists for things I wanted to have done before vacation.
Review of my goals
My target revenue goal is $15,000 a month by March of 2020.
My minimum baseline $10,000 a month – $2500 to cover my normal monthly expenses, I set aside $2500 a month for taxes, and pay myself $5,000 a month – two paychecks of $2500 each.
Total Revenue: $10,869.86
- Affiliate Income: $2820.19
- Courses: $5549.67
- Done For You & Consulting: $2500
Total Expenses: $1070.26
Get the full breakdown of income, expenses and net profit month by month here.
Net Profit: $9799.60
And I actually paid myself two paychecks of $3000 each in November, on the 15th and the 30th just like when I was at my day job.
And I still have a cushion in the bank where I’m one paycheck and one month’s expenses ahead, and the rest of my profit goes into my tax account – and after I pay taxes every year, what’s left is mine to put back in the business, do something fun, invest, whatever.
My revenue was about $2000 less than last month, but my net profit was only $26 less than last month.
In September, my passive income and courses combined accounted for 76% of my revenue, whereas in previous months it’s never accounted for more than 50%.
In October again, passive income and courses combined accounted for exactly 76% percent of my revenue, and in November it was 77%.
Biggest Lessons Learned
I didn’t do a launch of my Website Marketing Lab or Web Designer Academy in November, but I did do a Black Friday Sale of one of my digital products – which I don't typically do.
And I historically haven't done a Black Friday sale for a few reasons:
- The last time I did one, I ended up having to be attached to my laptop/phone all day to field emails about my sale. I was at my in-laws house that year for Thanksgiving and I was totally checked out and not spending time with family.
- I'm personally not motivated by Black Friday deals and I'm not a big shopper in general.
- Every time I offer a product at a sale price, I get people who have already bought the product emailing me asking me to refund the difference of what they paid and the sale price. So I get really nervous doing sales (and honestly even telling you guys about the details of this promotion) because I'm afraid it's going to end up costing me customers + relationships when I have to tell them “no, all purchase prices are final, I don't ask you to pay more when I raise the price and I don't refund you when I lower it…” Ugh, I dread that conversation!!!
But this year, I decided to give it another shot for a few reasons:
- My online course platform is WAY better and doesn't require a whole lot of customer service.
- I wanted to test out a potential new promo price point.
- I had no plans with family on Black Friday, so it would be fine for me to work to help out customers if needed.
- I understand that even if I'm not a big Black Friday person, there are people in my audience who would LOVE the chance to get a big savings on something that maybe they'd seen and wanted but couldn't afford at the time.
- I stopped working with 1:1 clients so I wouldn't have revenue coming in from that like I normally would in November, and I wasn't launching any other programs, so I decided to do a promotion and just see what happened.
- I decided I'd carefully segment my list to avoid promoting the sale to people that don't qualify for it.
So with that, here are all the stats for my Black Friday sale:
- Regular Product Price: $97
- Black Friday Price: $29 (70% savings)
- Limit: 100 copies or midnight on December 1 – whichever comes first.
- Emails sent: 1219 emails
- Expected Conversion Percentage: 3% or 36 sales at $29 for a total of $1044
- Actual Conversion Percentage: 4.9% of people made a purchase, which is 60 sales at $29 for a total of $1740
Which I think is fantastic!!! Because you can expect 3% – 7% of your email list to make a purchase if your product costs between $0 and $50 – and 4.9% is right in the middle.
But let me tell you what I used to do, how I used to think:
I used to think I should sell all 100 (which is 8.2% of the list) and make $2900 and be disappointed in myself and wonder what was wrong and decide the workbook was stupid and I shouldn’t have spent time on it. That's why it's SO IMPORTANT to know what to expect so that you can make informed decisions, and I teach all of those metrics and how to analyze your results inside my Website Marketing Lab.
Website Marketing Lab Evergreen Sales
And I also wanted to mention that my Website Marketing Lab course was technically open for enrollment in November as an evergreen course via the Jumpstart Your Website Traffic marketing mini-course, I had no new sales of the Website Marketing Lab in November.
I’m not sure if that was because I just did the live launch last month with the 5 Day Freebie Challenge and those Jumpstart people were also in the Challenge, or if people signed up for the free course in November and just didn’t end up converting.
So in December, I’m gonna do an analysis of that sales funnel and see what tweaks need to be made. I need to know how many people signed up, how many people actually opened the emails + went through it, and if they didn’t join, why.
Because I’ve had the idea to turn the written content into a video, I’ve had the idea to do some other things – but the mistake I’ve made in the past is deciding there’s a problem with the content or the format itself and diving into creating something new INSTEAD of looking at my metrics and seeing exactly what those numbers are telling me – which is what I teach my students to do inside the Website Marketing Lab. I need to figure out my exact conversion percentages, talk to some people and see why they decided not to sign up, and so on.
So I’ll share that analysis with you in my December Income Report. Because I suspect my conversions are right in line with the number of signups of the Jumpstart Your Website Traffic Mini Course, and I’m going to also test a couple of things to incentivize people who have taken the mini-course to make a decision on the Website Marketing Lab before 2020 and see if that moves the needle for anyone.
And when I look at things like they are an experiment, and use my critical thinking skills to analyze them and make decisions instead of looking at them from an emotional place of “I’m either good enough, or I’m not good enough and if something’s not performing then I’m not good enough and I need to fix it” which results in me not looking at data and making decisions from emotion rather than fact.
And that’s what I see so many people do, and that’s why I teach metrics and how to measure results and tweak strategically from a place of data and knowledge rather than perfectionism and self-worth.
I also mentioned that I’m working on redesigning my website.
I’ve been using the domain name wp-bff.com, which stands for WordPress BFF, since I launched my business in 2015, and I’ve made the decision to consolidate all my sites under my own name, shannonmattern.com.
This decision has been a long time coming. I know that I hid behind WordPress BFF for so long because I had imposter syndrome, and I was afraid to be the expert and put my name on my business. Five years in, I’m over that. Oh, it still pops up, which I’ll talk about in a minute, but when it comes to my business name, I feel confident putting my name on it.
And I’m also consolidating my peptalksforsidehustlers.com website under it – because then I can have all my content in one place, and maintain just two websites – my courses site and my main website.
So that’s a big project bc there are domain name redirects, email address changes and all the things that go along with it. And that’s what I’ve been working on in November and December…
So my website redesign/merge/domain name change needs done, and I’m working on it, but it’s also a real convenient excuse for not putting myself out there and pitching myself to be on podcasts and pitching collaborations.
I think “my website needs to be done first.” Have you ever thought that?
It’s a lie. It’s totally not true. I can absolutely pitch myself to be on podcasts and to collaborate with people who serve a similar audience. It’s not like if I tell them to go to wp-bff.com that I’m not going to redirect that to shannonmattern.com and they’ll never find their way to my website.
But it’s my imposter syndrome popping it. It popped up another time too in a big way… I’d interviewed a super-successful entrepreneur on my podcast – her episode was ah-mazing and it’s coming out in February, and at the end, we talked about doing a collaboration where I’ll share her webinar with my list and she’d share my free courses with hers.
So she sends me over all the info I need for her promo, but I don’t really have anything done on my end for my promo because I haven’t done a collab like this for my Jumpstart Your Website Traffic mini-course yet.
And that’s when it starts. My mind starts going whackadoodle – like “Her course is $2,000 and mine’s only $997, and her affiliate commission is 50% and if mine was 50% for her, she’d only make $500 so why in the world would she want to be an affiliate for me? And I bet her list is huge, and oh crap, she has a module on setting up your website in her signature course, who am I to even partner with her? Once she finds out what a bad deal this is for her she’s definitely not going to want to share my stuff.”
And I spiralled. And I ruminated on it. And instead of just sharing the info about my program and letting HER do her own research and make her own decision, I just shut my laptop and watched a few episodes of Friends, and then did all kinds of other busywork EXCEPT work on this partnership. I didn’t pitch anyone else for the whole month, and I finally landed on “Just share our podcast episode when it comes out with these affiliate links for my Jumpstart Mini Course and my Free 5 Day Website Challenge and you don’t have to do anything else.”
Which, fine, I feel good about that and so I actually freaking did it – but also? What did I leave on the table? Why am I trying to control the outcome on her end by devaluing myself? Why do I think it’s a bad deal for her? I know better. I know the value I’m bringing to her isn’t money. And vice versa. And she even said on our podcast episode, “There’s no partnership too small.” Which I wholeheartedly agree with.
But I let feeling unworthy and not good enough stop me from going for it with her AND pitching other people for other collaborations. And I have this noble obstacle, this website redesign project, sitting there helping me justify my reasons.
And if you know anything about what I teach about marketing, collaborating with others who have the audience you want is a HUGE part of what I teach.
But alas, I’m not immune to imposter syndrome.
But here’s what’s great about this. I know it. I can see really clearly what’s happening. And so I’ve made a commitment to myself this week that I have to pitch myself as a guest to 5 podcasts this week, no matter how uncomfortable I feel. The act of pitching is my goal, not the outcome of the pitching.
And just get back into the pitching game, so that next week when I pitch more direct collaborations, I’m a little warmed up for it.
The website and pitching have nothing to do with each other.
So let me ask you this: what noble obstacles have you created so that you don’t have to get uncomfortable?
Hit reply and let me know!
Websites are a HUGE one, and we talk about that all the time on this podcast – every guest that’s come on here making six and seven figures says the biggest mistake they see people making is spending too much time perfecting their website.
Reducing my work hours:
The other thing that was amazing in the month of November was getting ahead of all my marketing so that I could go on vacation and not work. And it was so awesome that I’ve set that system up monthly going forward so that I can be a month ahead every month, which feels so amazing and calm.
And starting last month, I’m also tracking hours work just to keep myself accountable to my commitment to myself to work less, not work weekends and not work on vacations and holidays, so here’s how much I worked in November 2019:
Here’s how much I worked each week:
- Week 1: 48.5 hours, 6 of that on the weekend.
- Week 2: 39.5 hours, 2 of it on the weekend.
- Week 3: 4.25 hours. I was on vacation. I had to crack open my laptop one morning for 15 minutes for a client emergency, and then I worked for 4 hours on the Sunday that I got home planning my upcoming week and writing my Black Friday email.
- Week 4: 43.5 hours, with 0 work on Thanksgiving Day, and then 12 hours on Saturday and Sunday. I also spent the first 3 days of the week on-site at my old employer’s office helping them prep for year end, which is totally out of the ordinary for me so I planned to work on the weekend on my own stuff.
Total Hours Worked: 135.75
Which is .75 more hours than last month. Fascinating, because I didn’t work for almost 9 straight days – but I did do some work every single weekend which was making up for that vacay. And I know that screwing around with feeling all awkward about pitching derailed me a little bit too.
But can we talk about my vacation for a second? It was everything I wanted it to be. I was relaxed, I was present, I was in the moment. I felt like I must have felt when I was a kid – not thinking about the past or the future or what I needed to do, just BEING.
Even though while I was there I was planning our next vacation there, but that’s how much I loved it. My Colorado trip that I mentioned in my October income report really did prepare me to relax, and I’m just glad I have a plan and a system for going on vacation without feeling anxious or like I have to work.
Because that didn’t just happen – it did require planning ahead, and working a little extra on weekends, and it was 1000% worth it.
All of this has been 1000% worth it. Even the hard stuff. So if it feels hard, keep going – the rewards are worth it!