Welcome to my October 2021 Income Report!
Each month I publish an income report to take you behind the scenes of my online business and reveal how much money the business makes each month, how we make it, how much we spend, and all the lessons I learn along the way.
If you’re new to the show and to online business and this is one of the first episodes you’re listening to… I’d LOVE to invite you to go to shannonmattern.com/podcast and click on the Income Reports category and go back to those early income reports to see what the journey has been like for me over the past few years and how I got to where I am today.
If you’ve ever listened to any of my income reports before, typically I give an overview of everything that happened each month, I break down my numbers in detail and reflect on shifts and transformations that happened with my mindset…
But this month I wanna do things a little bit differently and dive straight into the fact that in October of 2021, my net profit (which is REVENUE minus EXPENSES – or the amount of money the business made minus the amount of money it spent) was -$16, 906.05.
Yep, you heard that right.
For the first time ever, I made less money than I spent.
Well, let’s back up a little bit. It’s not the first time this has ever happened… Back in my March income report, I had a little addendum where I was like, “Oh yeah, and after all my normal monthly expenses I also spent an extra $11,000 on these things which aren’t normal expenses, so I’m not gonna count that in this income report because I don’t want to feel like I “lost” money.”
It’s funny how our minds work, isn’t it? My brain is so cute, as my friend Dr. Lee Cordell would say. It just wants to protect me from feeling fear. It’s also a justification machine that wants to protect its most well-worn beliefs at all costs.
Instead of being like “Hey, this isn’t actually a PROBLEM to spend $11,000 that you have sitting in your bank account on things your business needs just because when you report on an arbitrary snapshot in time on your podcast the number will be negative. The only problem here is when you freak out because you’re making it mean something it doesn’t mean or that’s not helpful.”
I wanted to dive right into the fact that my net profit in October was -$16,000 because you guys, my mindset has shifted significantly over the last several months about money – on both sides of the coin (pun intended).
Not only have my beliefs about the value of my products and services shifted significantly… but my beliefs about what it means to spend money in my business have dramatically changed, and I want to share those shifts with you today because if you started your side hustle with the intention of creating a full-time income and beyond, you have got to start changing not only how you think about the value of what you do, but also how you think about the money you’re spending to run and grow your business.
When I pulled together my numbers for this income report and saw that I spent over $16,000 more than I made… yes, I’m not gonna lie there was a sharp twang in my chest that reverberated throughout my entire body and that familiar thought – that soundtrack as Jon Acuff would call it (and if you haven’t read his book Soundtracks I highly recommend it) – popped into my head, “OMG you’re gonna run out of money!”
And that old shitty thought, as Corrine Crabtree would call it, trigger my new belief system, the one that I’ve been deliberately building over the past couple of years and I thought, “No, those were intentional, deliberate, thoughtful investments in myself, my business and my students. They were more than worth it, and the return on my investments are on their way.”
And the heat and tightness in my chest dissipated as the vibrations faded away. Instead of latching on to that fear-based thought that’s well-rehearsed in my brain, going into scarcity mode which for me means I start overworking like crazy because I think that me working really really hard is the only thing that will save me, and I start thinking of the money that I spent as gone forever, never to return…
I told myself the truth, and then I was about to write that I chose abundance… but honestly… for me, the word abundance doesn’t really do it for me. When I think of the word abundance it feels a little like that fake version of manifestation like I’m just gonna make a vision board, do nothing and go back to my normal day-to-day life and wonder why a million dollars hasn’t dropped in my lap yet.
I’m not saying that abundance is fake or that people that say it are fake… I’m just saying that at this point in my journey the word abundance doesn’t really resonate with me personally and sometimes has the opposite effect, like my BS detector kicks into high gear and I get really skeptical. Maybe that will change someday as my thoughts shift more and I start to really “get” the concept of abundance, but for now, using that word just doesn’t seem accurate.
So I told myself the truth – that I made deliberate, thoughtful investments, and by definition, investments are assets that increase in value. And in that moment, instead of choosing to believe that my money is finite, that it can run out, and that once those specific dollars leave my bank account they are gone forever and I may never make another one… I chose to believe that my resources are infinite – instead of FINITE – that I exchanged my money for extremely valuable assets that will help me create even more money in the future, and that it’s just a matter of time and patience – and faith.
I’ll share more in a little bit about what investments I made in October, but before I do, I just want to point out that THAT thinking is the #1 biggest shift I’ve made on my journey from side hustle to self-employed to CEO.
I didn’t grow up in a family that had money. I grew up in a family that never had enough money and was always running out of money. Not having money and not being able to afford it – whatever it was – was just how it was. The money belief I grew up with is that money is FINITE, and it can run out.
And not only that, the absolute worst thing you could do was make mistakes with your money or waste your money, because one mistake was the difference between paying next month’s rent or moving in with our grandparents again.
By the way, I LOVED the times when we lived with our grandparents. I didn’t think it was a bad thing, it was a total blast for us… I’m sure my parents didn’t love it, and I don’t know if this is just my family or midwest middle-class white culture in the 80s or what, but when you turned 18, it was time for you to move out and fend for yourself – so having to move back home (something my family did all the time) was a no-no, and there was this sense of shame and failure around it, and so as a young child I internalized the idea that like my parents, I could run out of money, not be able to afford anything and have to move back home AND that’s pretty much the worst thing that could ever happen to you so make sure you avoid that AT ALL COSTS.
And I know my mom is listening to this… so just know that I don’t at all blame you for my messed up money mindset. Who freaking knows what random crap our mind will latch onto along the way? I could have thought, “OMG I freaking love living with my aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents, this is a blast I want to have a huge family and be around them all the time for the rest of my life!” But that’s not the way it went for me, and that’s okay…
So for me to look at my income report and see a negative number that equals as much I spent on the last car I bought (not the Jeep Wrangler I’d been pining over since I was 16 that I finally bought for myself in June – the car I bought before that) and be like, “Yep, and that $16,000 is gonna turn into at least $160,000 this year – is a freaking miracle.
Okay, not really a miracle because that makes it sound like I haven’t done A TON of work on reframing my thoughts and beliefs around money. I have. And I got to see the fruits of my labor in action while putting together my October income report.
I truly think the most important shift you can make in your business that can change everything for you and help you create the results you want faster than you ever thought possible, it’s this
Stop thinking of the money you spend on your business as expenses and as finite (like once you spend it it’s gone forever, and start thinking of the money you spend as investments.
Here’s what I mean by that, and I’ll use an example I see over and over and over again in the entrepreneur space, and I’m also totally guilty of it myself for the first like, two-thirds of my business journey.
Yes, it’s your website.
There is 1000% a time and place in your business journey for DIYing, I wholeheartedly believe that and it’s while I teach newbie entrepreneurs for free how to build their website.
You’re in that first part of your journey, you’re still figuring out how to package up and sell what you do, how to talk about it in a way that gets people’s attention, you’re figuring out the flow, what you like doing, what you don’t like doing, the customer journey. And all you need is minimum viable tech. You don’t need the same website you’ll need in Year 5 of your business in Year 1.
But DIYing isn’t for everyone, even if you’re in that first stage, and yet what I see is that so many people are unwilling to invest anything into their business at that stage, and they don’t realize that by not spending a few thousand dollars to work with a web designer who understands that you’re just getting started and knows you need just the minimum viable tech and knows you need the ability to be able to update things yourself as you pivot and evolve… by being unwilling to invest that money now, you’re delaying your timeline for creating more money.
You could have had that website you’ve been ruminating on, trying to find time to work on for MONTHS spun up in just a couple weeks by a pro, and be all set to move on and start testing out marketing strategies, making offers, getting clients and making back your $3,000 and then some by now.
I see it at the newbie entrepreneur level, and I see it at the scaling entrepreneur level too!
You’ve got someone who is techie, who has DIYed everything, who has 700 different pieces of tech tied together, and things are kinda automated but not really and they’re spending way too much time trying to make it all work and they’ve outgrown it… but because they CAN do it themselves and they came up in business DIYing, they still think of paying someone else $10,000 to do it all for them without them having to lift a finger as an expense rather than an investment. Like that $10,000 is going to leave their bank account never to be seen again. Even though that $10,000 bought them a month of full-time work back – time that could be spent making even MORE money.. Even when all that needs to happen for that website to pay for itself is for them to book one or two new clients.
At the new entrepreneur level and the established entrepreneur level, it’s your MINDSET about your money that is going to determine your success. They don’t think about how they could be investing their time in different ways to grow revenue, they don’t think about how this new website is gonna to save them so much time in the future and they don’t think about the cost of waiting or the opportunity cost of what they could be spending their time on that could be generating more money.
All they think when they see the number is “I can’t afford it.”
Listen, I’m not here to tell you what you can and can’t afford. I don’t know the details of your specific financial situation, and if you’re like my parents back when they were 23 years old with a five-year-old and a two-year-old making the decision to pay rent or buy groceries, I get that you literally can’t afford it.
What I want to invite you to do though, next time you hear yourself say “I can’t afford it” when you find out the price of that premium business coaching program that costs several thousand dollars, or you get a proposal from a web designer or a virtual assistant or whatever… is to first, notice that you thought it or said it, and then ask yourself the following questions:
1) If making this investment were to result in me creating one new client, what is that worth to me? Or, you can ask yourself – how many new clients or sales would I need to make for this investment to pay for itself?
2) Do I believe this investment will allow me to create at least that many clients or sales in the next 3-6 months?
3) Am I willing to do everything in my power to make sure I create a return on my investment?
If it’s a coaching program, that means you’re willing to do the work and ask for help and take the coaching. If it’s a website, that means you’re willing to do your part to drive traffic to your website (because there’s no website in the world that will magically get traffic without you marketing it, I don’t care how pretty it is, how great the copy is and how slick your funnels and automations are). If it’s paid advertising, that means you’ve done the work on your end to make sure you are running ads to an offer that converts (or you’re willing to pay for ads to test whether or not your offer converts) and you’re willing to tweak and adjust along the way.
4) Is it true that I can’t afford it? Do I really not have the money, or am I just scared to spend it? If you really don’t have the money, but the investment will allow you to create money and you really want to make it happen, now you get to figure out how to create the money. The easiest way to do that is to just start working with people one-on-one. If you’re a coach who ultimately wants to sell online courses, awesome. Go get some coaching clients and use that money to invest whatever you want to invest in.
But if you have access to the money and you’re just scared to spend it, you get to do some work on what it is that you’re really afraid of.
If you’re anything like me, you’re afraid you’ll fail, and spending money on something and having it not work out to me was the ultimate failure. I’d do anything to avoid the shame I’d feel from the mental beatdown I’d give myself because “I’m smarter than that, I should have known better…” and so because I wanted the result of being my own boss so bad, but my definition of failure was spending money and having it not work out, I couldn’t risk spending the money.
So what was my go-to justification to make myself feel better?
I can’t afford it. I’ll just DIY, work 100 hours a week, gain 30 pounds and burn myself into the ground. But I didn’t lose money!!!!!
That’s a lot of mental gymnastics to do just to avoid feeling shame… Brene Brown would be proud of me.
Listen, even if this $16,000 I spent beyond what I made in October doesn’t generate $160,000 in revenue in the next year, I didn’t fail. Money in and money out doesn’t define me as a person or a business owner. And it doesn’t define you either, okay?
Investments in Knowledge
So what risks are you willing to take to create the life of your dreams? What if you spend money on things that don’t end up generating a return on your investment – like that pile of courses you’ve bought over the years that are gathering digital dust because none of them turned out to be the magic formula to 10x your revenue overnight.
Did you lose money? Heck no you didn’t! You learned lots of things that will help you create more money in the future.
I was talking to an applicant for the Web Designer Academy recently who really wanted to join the program, but she was like, “I just wasted all this money on a program to teach me how to run a social media agency and it literally taught me nothing I didn’t already know.”
I hear versions of this story all the time, people! All the time! “I can’t afford to work with you even though I know you’re the right place for me to be because I already wasted money over here.”
Do you know how many programs I’ve spent $2,000 on and thought “THIS is what people are charging $2,000 for? Are you kidding me? I’m WAY undercharging. I deliver 10 times more value to my clients than this. I get to raise my prices.” I invested $2,000 to learn that lesson that will help me create even more money by raising my prices.
I paid $8,000 for branding that looked great in the slick brand guide PDF, but was completely unfunctional to use across all the different platforms and really hard to implement. So I didn’t use it. Did I waste $8k? Hell no I didn’t! It was one of the best client experiences I’d ever had, and I was able to be like, “I give service this amazing – why am I not charging more? I can adapt some of these experience I had for my own clients too, and teach them to my Web Designer Academy Students.”
Not all returns on your investment are direct or obvious. It’s a mindset shift and a different way of looking at things that will help you stop limiting your opportunities for success.
So that’s what I wanted you to know this month. Let’s dive into exactly what the numbers looked like in October 2021.
October 2021 Numbers
Over the past 12 months, I’ve talked about a shift I’ve been going through personally from solopreneur to CEO and how it’s affecting my mindset and every decision I made in the business – and it also affects how I spend money too.
I don’t do that anymore. I am willing to make investments in the future my business because I wholeheartedly believe they will generate a return for me in the future.
With that frame of reference, here’s how much money we made and spent in October 2021:
Total Revenue: $22,883.51
- Affiliate Income: $3907.70
- Site-in-a-Snap Templates + Trainings: $2864.81 (that’s my portion of the total sales after paying out my partners but BEFORE paying out my affiliates)
- Web Designer Academy: $15,000.00
- Subscriber to Sale Blueprint: $1111.00
Total Investments: $39,789.56
- Tools I use to run my business: $1976.35
- Training, Coaching + Mentorship: $225.00
- CEO Salary (that’s me!) $8831.04
- (includes payroll taxes – $7,000 is my monthly take-home pay, and then I pay quarterly income taxes on the quarterly business profit)
- Team: $11547.00
- Affiliate Payouts: $616.3
- Facebook Ads for WDA: $3814.77
- Professional Services $12,779.10
- Ads Strategist, Curriculum Audit, Hiring Consultant
Net Profit: $-16,906.05
Get the full breakdown of income, expenses and net profit month by month here.
So that’s it for my October Income Report.
I hope you heard something in here that was helpful to you, and if you did I’d LOVE to hear about it – you can head over to my Instagram @shannonlmattern and leave your biggest takeaway on this episode or you can go to shannonmattern.com/366 and leave a comment on the show notes.
And if you haven’t already, I’d love for you to go to shannonmattern.com/review and leave us a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. It helps our show get found by people who need to hear our weekly pep talks for side hustlers!