I have never done one of these before. Honestly, I have always thought they were completely cheesy. I also realized that almost everyone I know in business that has done income reports, in my eyes, increased their credibility by a million. Most of them I started following after trying to figure out how to reverse hack their businesses. I decided in order to keep myself pushing forward, I need to put it out there so I know I have people who will be coming back to see what I’m up to.
I’m a little embarrassed.
While $9k might seem like a huge number to some, I am completely embarrassed over it. I am use to making nearly 6 figures in the month of December, but that stopped in 2014 when I decided to take a breather from being serious with ANY of the businesses I was working on. This was after I sold a business that had literally sucked precious blood, sweat and tears out of me and my family. It was great to recharge, but building businesses is a hobby, so while I haven’t built anything for the long haul, I have built, sold, flipped and otherwise made a little here and there over these past three years. I admit these numbers reflect me not really digging in and being serious this year either. I’ll get into that a little more in this post.
Reasons I Could Have Made More
First Things First.
The income from this report comes from various different things, but mostly apparel.
I could have made more, but I kept turning off my ads when I felt a little overwhelmed with managing it all.
One of my designs from 2013 (an elf printable) generated 80,000 pageviews, but I sent them to Etsy and didn’t upsell them or collect emails like I have in the past years. I feel like I left a HUGE amount on the table with that decision, but giving away printables for free isn’t free for me – the increased expenses for hosting and answering emails from people who couldn’t figure out how to download or print free printables (or emailed me angry that they’d downloaded my free printable and then couldn’t figure out how to access it) wasn’t worth it to me this year.
I work a full-time job from home (read about this here).
I have four kids, including a toddler and homeschool the older three.
I literally spend about 45 minutes a day on these income streams. Imagine if I had 8+ hours a day.
Now that I am done with the excuses, let’s take a look at what really happened and how I came to these numbers.
The fluke Facebook group post…
In November I responded to a post in a Facebook group regarding niches. Niches are my jam. The flood of inboxes and calls that came afterward surprised me. Honestly, I might write a story about this.
One of the people that requested a call was in Australia, so I dusted off my Skype account and logged in for the first time in three years.
As soon as it purred to life, old messages began to pop in. I noticed one from a person who’d bought one of my businesses years ago. I instantly cringed, thinking something had gone horribly wrong or amazingly (and he was either messaging out of anger or to gloat). Either way, I clicked on the message and closed my eyes to prepare myself for what was ahead.
He asked me to buy back the business.
Now, I should tell you that it’s 45 days before Christmas and I am staring at a 5 figure number that makes my stomach turn.
Curious, I began asking for the due diligence.
He’d only posted 5 times on the fb page in the last 11 months.
When he bought it, it was making $160k a year, on average.
I asked for the sales numbers.
For 2017 he’d made what I was earning with this business monthly. At just over $15k from January 1 to November 15, I doubted the business could be revived.
I was shocked and disappointed all at the same time. After a call to my husband and a little more digging, I decided I had to buy it back, even if it’s for a short period.
This business had made $300 from the 1st to 15th of November before I bought it back. Yes. $300. During Christmas season.
That one response to a post in a Facebook group that led to me seeing that Skype message from September sparked a challenge and made me a nice chunk in late November and December.
My Income Report: $9K In December
Apparel Company #1 $987.25
Apparel Company #2 $7356.74 (late Nov included)
Etsy Shops (three total) $199
Etsy Affiliate $401.33
Book Sales $6
Domain Name Sales $250
I decided not to post the expenses because it was a hectic month and digging that up would take more time than I have. I will report that after COGS, tools like Shopify and SmarterQueue and advertising, I’m at about 40%. While this seems like a low number, considering it’s mostly passive income (I dropship a lot of the items I sell) I’ll take it.
A Little About Each Income Number
Apparel company #1 is newish. The niche is really small and I’ve let it take its time growing. I’ve spent minimal on ads and I admit that I could have spent a lot more time on new designs, posts on fb and content in general. I feel like this is a solid idea that could net several thousand a month.
Apparel company #2 was dead when I bought it on November 15th. This site is why I laugh when people post nasty comments on website for sale listings when income has plummeted. They almost always assume it’s because there is no money left to be made in the niche. Nine times out of 10 it’s the owners error. These gems are fun to buy, revive and flip.
Etsy. I left so much money on the table here. My product descriptions leave a lot to be desired.
Etsy affiliate. This is the viral graphic redirect that sent traffic off my site (and out of my mailing list).
Book sales.. a book I wrote three years ago and never promoted.
Domain name. A random guy called me up and asked if I’d sell a domain I was sitting on.
Where I Left Money on The Table
- Content – or lack thereof.
- Amazon – not listing products there.
- Advertising – I could have let it run instead of turning it off when I felt overwhelmed. And, this kills your costs on FB. I could have retargeted people that left without buying.
- Email. I paid for my MailChimp account And then only sent one email to one list. Between three sites, I’m sitting at around 18k on the lists.
- Not converting traffic from the viral printable.
What I’m Working on (or hiring out) For January
I honestly don’t enjoy apparel, it’s the Shopify notifications that’s make me like it. I’m in the process of trying to give away site #1. If she decides not to take it, I will most likely list it for sale. There’s a small chance I’ll keep it and just let it continue to average $1k a month. I’ve also invested in several domains for this website and have started to build a blog. The niche is small and there’s simply no one writing anything. With just 6 posts, I’m already outranking two major sites for a few keywords because their copy is just that bad. Advertising dollars with that site is where it’s at. Sending traffic from the blog to the ecommerce site is an option. If she takes them, she takes them both.
Hiring a content writer to help with my pregnancy magazine and maybe some content for my product sites – like updated product descriptions.
Decide if I want to move forward with an event.
Help for Pinterest. I just don’t have the time!!
A third niche company – the products are secret for now. 😉 This site may not launch until February or March.
A maid service. The site is done, legal paperwork is in progress, the developers are working on the app and the booking software is up and running. Now I just need to hire people, get an address for local listings and promote it.
A course to share with others how to rock the apparel industry.
The eight week niche. More details soon.
A course for my maid service new hires so I can ensure they don’t scratch $3,000 refrigerators or burn $9,000 flooring that can’t handle acidic cleansers.
So that’s it. I’m hoping I can continue to work myself back to five figure months. I make the most when I focus on a few projects and as you can see above, I’m not exactly doing that. But hey, I’m coming out of retirement. Maybe I’ll surprise myself.