Welcome to my November 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 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 – 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.
I invested a lot of time and money into business coaches and training to help me fix my broken web design business, and started teaching other web designers and tech VA’s and such how to make a full-time income with their web design and techie skills inside my Web Designer Academy. 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.
November 2020 Numbers
So I’m not gonna lie… November was kind of a blur!!
So many things happened that made me so grateful for the decisions I’ve made in 2020 on how I run this business. I look back and I’m just like… THIS is why I set everything up the way I did. All that hard work and all those long hours spent building my business and my team… THIS is why.
If you listened to my October income report, you know that we moved into our new house in November – but we started off the month still living in our camper. We’d moved all of our stuff out of our old house and into the garage at our new house, and we were living in our camper waiting on the construction to be finished so we could move in… and for all those times I’ve told you guys that I dreamed of living in my camper and traveling the country?
Well, I think I’m good. I’ve had my fill… I still want to travel, but I’ll leave our RV at home! It was like one thing after another living in our camper! The last week of October, something bit my dog Scarlett – probably one of the million spiders that decided to move into the camper that I was constantly killing – and her whole entire face swelled up, and while she looked super cute with her fat chubby lab face, it still required a 6AM trip to the emergency vet for a steroid shot.
Then my husband gets a stomach flu (but gets a COVID test just to get cleared to go back to work bc he had a fever) then I get the same stomach flu, and it was just like one thing after another for that first week of November!
A few days later my husband’s COVID test came back negative, our friends never got sick, who knows what kind of random stomach virus we had… but that’s how we kicked off the first week of November… and by that first weekend in November I was like “I don’t care if this house is done or not, it’s passed inspection and we’re moving in.” So we talked to our builder and he was like “Go for it, as long as you let my guys in to wrap up what they need to wrap up.”
Like, the moment he said that I turned into a robot machine and started bringing in boxes, unpacking the kitchen and moving everything in but the furniture.
Because I wasn’t doing much in the way of work in the beginning of November. And the following weekend, my stepdad had a heart attack – he’s fully recovered now, but at the time we didn’t know what was going on. They live out in the country and after triaging him at their local hospital, they took him to a hospital downtown – and my mom couldn’t go with him to the hospital but once they moved him downtown she was allowed to be his only visitor – and my mom does NOT drive downtown…
So I was her driver for a few days that week. I’d pick her up, drop her at the hospital, find a Starbucks, go in, buy a coffee, and then sit in my car with my laptop on their wifi working all day until it was time to go pick her up and take her home. And I was able to drive them both home when he was discharged.
So thank freaking goodness I’d started building + reorganizing my team in September and October, because they kept things going for me while I was down for the count and moving and all the things. I would have been SO STRESSED OUT without them!
And two years ago…the way I had my business structured was that if I wasn’t working, I wasn’t making money. Period. If I wasn’t hustling, if I wasn’t making something new to sell, if I wasn’t booking a new web design project, I wasn’t bringing in money.
If all of this stuff would have happened in November of 2018, it would have been a disaster. For my mental, emotional, physical and financial health.
So thank freaking goodness I’d started building + reorganizing my team in September and October, because they kept things going for me while I was down for the count and moving and all the things. I would have been SO STRESSED OUT without them!
And I’m SO GLAD I’d made the decision to actually validate my offers with a plan and with data and get them dialed in so that I stopped STARTING OVER every time I didn’t have a windfall launch like I thought I should – because now I know what to expect the first time I make an offer, and the second, and the third and so one.
I’m so glad I invested the time to build relationships and pitch creative ways to collaborate with other business owners who serve the same people I serve because I had a steady stream of traffic coming in without me having to hustle to get every single new subscriber.
And I’m so glad I invested in coaching to help me make those offers on evergreen and make them over and over and over instead of just once.
And I’m so glad I stopped trying to go it alone and joined masterminds so I put myself in situations where people challenge me and make me think, and point out when I’m playing small and invite me to dream bigger.
And I’m so glad I joined Corinne Crabtree’s NO BS Weightloss program because not only did I learn how to stop comforting and escaping with food, I learned how to manage my mind in situations where the circumstances are completely outside of my control, like how long I have to live in my camper, getting sick and my family getting sick. I was able to take care of myself physically and mentally through all of that.
Because in November, I spent about half the time I’d normally spend actually working and I was just dealing with whatever circumstances life decided to hand to me.
And just like in October, I pretty much made no offers to my list except a Black Friday sale, but it wasn’t anywhere near as successful as flash sales I’ve done earlier in the year as you’ll see when you look at the numbers.
But my revenue was the second-highest revenue month I’ve ever had.
And it’s because seeds I’d planted earlier in the year started to bear fruit.
If you’ve ever listened to this podcast before, you know that Pat Flynn from the Smart Passive Income podcast has had a massive influence on me and this business. He’s the reason I had the idea to create the 5 Day Website Challenge, to hold nothing back and put everything I know about how to build a website in it and give it away for free to the people who need it and make affiliate commissions from people who buy the things I recommend inside the training.
And I haven’t listened to his podcast in awhile because I had to stop because I wanted to try every cool new thing I heard on his show, but the tagline was “Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast where it’s all about working hard now so you can sit back and reap the benefits later.”
Well, that’s where I’m at right now after 6 years in business – I’m at the point where I’m starting to be able to sit back and reap the benefits of all the hard work I’ve done.
I also spent more on expenses than ever before in my business in November of 2020, as you’ll see in just a sec.
So let me break down the numbers for you.
Total Revenue: $19,103.51
- Affiliate Income: $10,024.24
- Site-in-a-Snap Templates: $2036.60 (that’s my half of the total sales)
- Courses $7062.67
Total Investments: $10,114.14
- Tools I use to run my business: $1205.91
- Training, Coaching + Mentorship: $3675.00
- Team: $2618.00
- Affiliate Payouts: $2615.23
Net Profit: $8989.37
So my net profit was pretty much right in line with October, and if you recall my minimum baseline revenue goal in 2020 has been $15,000 a month, so I can pay myself two paychecks of $3000 each, cover my business expenses and pay my taxes.
And as you can see in November, as my revenue went up, I spent the same amount on the tools I use to run my business, and I still paid myself and set aside money for taxes, but I invested a LOT more in my team, significantly more in training, coaching and mentorship which I’ll tell you about in a second, and paid out way more in affiliate commissions that normal, which is super awesome because that means that the partnerships I did, specifically with Kayse Morris and Krista Miller back in September and October were massively successful for both of us.
And that’s what I mean when I talk about how I wrestle with giving that money to Facebook to run ads… or giving it to awesome partners to get in front of their audiences. I mean, the way I do it means I have to put myself out there, build a relationship, build trust and then deliver stellar content to some else’s audience, so it’s more work up front for sure, and with no guarantee of a payoff.
With running paid ads, instead of putting yourself out there, building relationships and spending time on that, you’re spending money to get your content in front of the right people, and you have to be willing to test and change and invest that money up front, with no guarantee of a payoff.
And I’ll tell you a little more about this in December’s income report, but what I’m testing out now is validating my offer first with my audience, then someone else’s audience and THEN with Facebook ads – because if I already know my offer converts, and I know that it massively helps people reach their goals, then I’m willing to give Mark Zuckerberg some money to get my program in front of someone whose life it could change. I really can’t justify giving him money for any other reason in my mind…
But I digress.
So in November, not only did I pay out more affiliate income than I normally do, I also made over $10,000 in affiliate income from collaborations I did in the fall with people.
And then almost all of my revenue from courses came from payment plans from people who have joined my programs through the year, and my Site in a Snap revenue came from the Black Friday flash sale that I did, kinda on the fly at the end of the month.
But you’ll notice that my courses + training expense jumped from $1675 in October to $3675 in November.
That number consists of 4 things:
$100 of the $3675 is what I donate to a local organization every month to be part of the local mastermind that I’m in called the Columbus Change Agents.
When I was invited to join this mastermind last February, I didn’t have any clue the trajectory it would put me on. I wasn’t even sure if it was right for me because there were so many different types of local businesses on the call that I felt like were really well-connected in the entrepreneurial community here in Columbus… so I honestly felt at first a little like I didn’t belong. But I couldn’t have been more wrong, and the conversations we’ve had and experiences we’ve had on those calls have had such a profound impact on what has happened in my business, from me being willing to grow a team, to dream bigger, to make big decisions about the future of my business – all from putting myself in the room with 11 other super-smart business owners once a month for two hours.
$575 of the $3675 is the payment plan for Kendall Summerhawk’s Money Business Breakthrough Coaching program and curriculum.
I joined this program last spring, in May, and back then I had a completely different vision for what I wanted to do in my business… because what I noticed is that there are so many people with massive potential that build their website with my free DIY web design training, and then they do nothing with it. Or they join my Website Marketing Lab, and they do nothing with it. Or my Web Designer Academy, and do nothing with it, and so at the time, I wanted to figure out a way I could help them take action because I really felt like maybe there was something more I was supposed to be doing, like, EVERYONE should be getting amazing results and not just SOME people… and this coaching certification seemed like a fantastic way to coach people into taking action…
HOWEVER… since then… I got some coaching and I came to understand that I was trying to take responsibility for EVERYONE’S action or inaction who join my program, and that ultimately, I can’t. It’s not possible, and for me to put that kind of pressure on myself was keeping me focused on the wrong thing – on “fixing” programs that aren’t even broken – because the people who actually do the work and ask for help when they get stuck get amazing results. So I decided… I don’t WANT to be the one who coaches people into taking action. There are other people out there who can help you if you’re not taking action toward your goals… I want to work WITH the action-takers – because I know when they follow my plan, they’ll create the business of their dreams, and I know this because it worked for me and it works for my action-taking students.
So I’ve stopped trying to basically “fix” people, and instead, started focusing on helping people that would be just like me – they’re so motivated and committed to their goals that they’d figure it out on their own eventually – but they know that by working with someone who has already done it and can show them the way they’ll get their faster, easier – and it’ll be cheaper for them in the long-term because they won’t have wasted so much time and money and delaying making money for so long going it alone. So all of that it to say… my plans for what I wanted to do with the Money Breakthrough Business Coaching have completely changed since I enrolled in the program. And at one point I even thought… “I enrolled in this… and I’m not even sure I’m gonna do ANYTHING with it… ouch… that’s an expensive decision.”
But the curriculum inside that program is basically done-for-you business coaching curriculum, so when I paid for it and completed it I am licensed to adapt it and use it in my own business. And so as I was going through it, there were parts of it where I was like, THIS IS WHAT IS MISSING from my Web Designer Academy curriculum!! It really filled some holes where I’d see my students get stuck. So you may have heard in other income reports where I talked about how I was reworking that program, and part of that was adapting and incorporating some of this curriculum into it – and my students in the Web Designer Academy are LOVING it, so I’m so glad I did this even though it didn’t turn out the way I planned.
$1000 of the $3675 is the payment plan for Mariah Coz’s Accelerator Program that I joined last March.
Best decision I ever made – it’s high-touch group coaching in an on-demand course format, and it taught me how to create consistent revenue every single month from my courses. The strategy in this program is unlike anything I’d ever heard or considered before. But more than that, it put me in a community with other successful business owners making multiple six and seven figures and completely helped me uplevel my mindset when it comes to money and my courses and how I think about them and how I market them. I’ve talked about this program a lot in my income reports so I won’t go into detail about that program here, but it was a $10,000 program at the time that I joined it, and I opted for the $1000 a month payment plan for 12 months.
And the final $2000 of the $3675?
If you recall from my October income report, I talked about how in September I’d finished updating the new curriculum for my Web Designer Academy and released it to the current students so they could dig into it and start using it right away, and they immediately started seeing massive results. So with the old Web Designer Academy, I gave them the roadmap and told them step by step everything they’d need to create to run a massively successful web design business… but with the update, I just went ahead and made everything for them, gave it to them and told them what to do with it. I mean, if everyone needs the same thing, why not just give it to them so they can dive right into booking clients instead of making them spend the time building everything first and then booking clients?
And then I shared with you how I’d talked to my coach Mariah in the Accelerator about how to structure the new program, and she said to me something along the lines of “Oh, this new program you’ve built is NOT a course. You provide way too many assets and way too much support to offer it as a course. It’s a hybrid coaching program, and a program like that doesn't get sold like a course, and it doesn’t get priced like a course, and you are doing yourself and your clients a disservice by selling it at this lower price point. It’s not sustainable for you to offer everything you’re offering at the price that you’re offering it, so if you want to be able to support your clients to get the results you really want them to get, you need to raise the price so that your business makes more money, you can hire people to support you in the areas you need support so you can give these people your full attention. And I’d love for you to join our High Ticket Hybrid program so I can show you how to do that.”
You guys, this is a $20,000 coaching program. $20,000 for one year of training and mentorship.
Two years ago I would have never even CONSIDERED spending $20,000 on anything in my business, let alone coaching.
But now, joining this program was a complete no-brainer. First, I’ve undergone a massive transformation in 2020 with my understanding of value and money and pricing. It’s like night and day, and I’ll talk more about that in my 2020 year in review podcast episode.
I was THRILLED to spend $20,000 on this program, because I already got massive results spending $10,000 on the Accelerator with them, and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I would do exactly what they told me to do to a tee, that I would ask for help and advice when I needed it, that they would not have invited me to join if they didn’t think they could help me and that I would do whatever it took to make my investment back in the program as quickly as I possibly could so that I could then start seeing the return on my investment.
So again, I opted for the payment plan, $2,000 a month for 12 months, and I decided that I would launch my new Web Designer Academy within the first 30 days of joining, and that I would at the very least make my $2000 back every single month.
So I joined High Ticket Hybrid on November 16, 2020. The next day, I dug into the curriculum in the parking lot of a Starbucks near the hospital where my mom was spending the day with my stepdad. I listened to all the videos from my phone in the car while I drove to pick her up, watched them on my laptop from my car all day in the Starbucks parking lot, and then on the way home from dropping my mom off.
Since there was literally nothing I could do to fix my stepdad’s heart attack, I helped where I could, and then instead of spending my time worrying about things I couldn’t control, I dove into writing the sales page for my new Web Designer Academy program, creating the application since it’s application-only, and writing the presentation that I’d invite accepted applicants to watch all about the how to make a full-time income as a web designer and I support my students and the mind-blowing results they’re getting.
After my stepdad was released from the hospital with no permanent damage to his heart thank God, it was the week of Thanksgiving and since my family and my husband’s family all decided to stay home this year, I literally had all the free time in the world to put the marketing together for this program.
The week of Thanksgiving, I asked my students if anyone would hop on a Zoom call with me to talk about what their web design business was like before joining the Web Designer Academy, and what it was like after joining… and I about cried on every single one of those calls you guys. I was so proud of what these women accomplished, I was so grateful they trusted me to guide them, especially when the stakes were so high for them to be successful, and they truly blew my mind.
And after those conversations, to write the marketing copy for this program was the easiest marketing copy I’ve ever written. It literally poured out of me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I couldn’t stop writing. I’d wake up at 4AM and have to get it out of me. Like, it was the easiest sales page I’ve ever written. The easiest webinar presentation I’ve ever put together. The easiest sales page design I’ve ever done.
And I think it was so easy because I had talked to people who had taken the OLD VERSION of the program, you guys, the OLD VERSION, and heard the results they got and how it changed their lives and their vision of what’s possible for themselves and their futures, and I was like… “If that’s what they were able to do with the old stuff? The new stuff is going to transform people’s lives on another level.”
I’ve NEVER felt that confident about any of my programs before. NEVER. But this one? Confident enough to invest $20,000 to get help launching it right? Yep. Confident enough that I didn’t question myself once writing the sales page? Yep.
The ONLY thing I wavered on was the price… and not the way you might think.
So, in this coaching program, they teach that your clients should be able to get a 10x return on investment in your program. So for me, for example, if I paid $20,000 for access to their program, I should be able to make $200,000 from implementing their strategies and utilizing all their support and resources in my business. And whoever enrolls in my program should be able to make 10 times what they paid me to learn my strategies in their own business.
After writing the sales page, and then writing the training that teaches people my full-time income framework, shows them the results my students are getting and tells them everything they get inside the program, when it was time to talk about how much the program cost… I was like, “This is way too low for everything they’re getting. They’ll get 20 times their return on investment at this price point… which means I can double the price to get the ROI to 10x.”
But here’s where I know myself… I was already increasing the price 2.5 times more than I’d been selling it as a course before… and I knew that I could say that new price confidently, without any shred of doubt that they’d for sure make a 10x return on their investment, and probably many of them would 15 or 20x it in the first year.
But if I raised the price 5x more than what I’d been selling it before when I was selling it at course prices… I’d waver. I’d think… what if they only make 5x their investment? Which now that I write that is still pretty dang good… but I wanted to be 1000% confident that people I invited to join my program could 10x their investment in the first year… so I decided to go with that lower price to start, and then increase it every couple of months as I started to see more and more results come in from the new program.
So, for the first time ever… I launched something knowing my price was way too LOW and having a clear plan to increase it instead of worrying that it was way too HIGH.
And that’s a great place to be.
By the way, I’d purchased Amanda Genther’s Launch In Style sales page template because I wanted to make it as easy as possible on myself – and while I designed and sell my own sales page template in my Site in a Snap Template Pack, that one is a shorter form sales page designed more toward service providers – and I honestly just wanted something done for me this time. Just because I CAN design my own sales page doesn’t mean I have to, and I’m so glad I bought and used her template – I literally changed the fonts and a couple of the colors to match my branding, and all I had to do was plug in the copy that I wrote that I learned how to write from High Ticket Hybrid.
But this was the easiest thing I’ve ever done because I’m so confident that this program gets results. And it’s not a new program either. I’ve been offering the Web Designer Academy since 2016… and this version of it is the culmination of those four years of working with people, seeing where they get stuck and where they need help and giving them everything they need to be successful.
So by the end of November, I had all of the marketing for the program done, all of the pages designed, the slides for the presentation done, all the systems built – the application, reviewing the application, inviting accepted applicants to the private training, the sales page, the checkout pages, the enrollment in the course – all the things.
And I did that all by myself – even though I probably should have let my team member Laura do it all – but building systems is my JAM, it’s super fun for me and I wanted to just get it all done, like, it literally poured out of me. I kinda couldn’t stop. I think that’s what they call being in FLOW? And who cares, it’s not like I had anything else to do, with the weather turning cold and having to be inside all the time my husband and I have been pretty conservative with staying home during the pandemic so I needed SOMETHING to keep me busy… okay, okay, I’ll admit it my workaholic tendencies were back in full swing, probably because at the beginning of the month I was barely working and I was PROBABLY a little freaked out that I might not have any income coming in because I wasn’t really paying attention to my numbers all month with everything that was going on – but I didn’t give myself even a second to think about being scared if I was scared, because at the same time I was scared, I was massively confident in what I was about to do…
And I wanted to get it all done as soon as possible, because in December, I was launching the thing. Yep, in December, right before the holidays, I was gonna open the doors on a high ticket program that cost more than anything I’ve ever sold before.
So you’ll have to wait til my December income report to find out if my $20,000 investment paid off or not…
So my biggest expense every single month right now is mentorship. And my second biggest expense is my team, and it is my full intention that as my revenue increases, the expense for my team will increase because my business needs to be sustainable, and it can’t just rely on me to run – and it can’t just rely on systems and automation and me always planting seeds either – and November was a perfect example of why that needs to be the case. I mean, I’m glad I had seeds planted to be able to reap the rewards of that in November, but that was just a total coincidence – it wasn’t planned that way.
So before I wrap this up… there’s one more thing that happened in November I want to note – so back in the day when I was still trying to figure out my web design business, I started offering something called the WordPress Protection Package to my clients, so for anywhere from $10 to $20 a month depending on when people signed up for it, I would do maintenance and backups on people’s websites. Which is all fine and good if I didn’t have a day job, web design clients, a free 5 day website challenge where I provided free technical support to thousands of people, a course teaching people how to market their businesses where I provide support to those students, the Web Designer Academy, my podcast, JV webinars, my email newsletter, social media posts and I could go on and on and on.
So when I started looking at what I wanted to keep, start and stop in 2021, I decided that I would no longer offer this service and that I’d let these clients know… but I kept putting it off and putting it off. And so I’m in my Columbus Change Agents mastermind one Friday afternoon and they’re like “What’s one thing you know you need to do but you’re putting off doing it?” And for me, it was notifying these clients. And it was because I didn’t want to let people down. I didn’t want to put them out.
And so one of the women in the group, her name is Lee, she’s freaking amazing you guys, she’s gonna be on the podcast soon and I cannot wait to introduce you guys to her – but she’s like “I bet you were the good girl growing up, weren’t you?” And I’m like, yep, I totally was. Straight As, follow the rules, fly under the radar, don’t rock the boat, life’s easier that way, right? And she was like “If none of that mattered to you, if you didn’t care what people thought of you, what would you do? What would Unapologetic Shannon do?”
And I’m like, “I’d let these people know it’s been a pleasure serving them but this service is ending because my business is going in a new direction.”
And she was basically like, “You’re keeping these people on with you but you’re not serving them at the level they deserve because you’re afraid of what they’ll think of you. You’re making it all about you, when it really needs to be all about them and you know that you’re not going to be the best person to serve them. So even though it’s uncomfortable for YOU, you need to let them go. It’s selfish of you to not tell them.”
And I’m like, “Dannnng.” She nailed it. It wasn’t about me putting them out… I didn’t want them to be disappointed in me.
So after that meeting, I committed to sending out the email letting people know that package was going away. And the sky didn’t fall and the internet didn’t blow up. But it’s just one more piece of evidence that point at this limiting belief I have, the one that I’ve been working on with Alecia St. Germain in her Profit Accelerator coaching program this year, what she calls a big assumption – about how if I don’t follow the “rules”, if I don’t fly under the radar, if I rock the boat, then people won’t like me and I’ll lose everything.
And I notice it coming in in all kinds of ways, from something as little as being afraid to cancel a service all the way to saying I want to make a million dollars in my business.
“Don’t stray too far from the herd… they won’t let you back in. Don’t fly too close to the sun, you’ll get burnt.”
Well, friends… all of my big fears came to a head in December, and I’ll tell you all about it in next month’s income report.