Business, Profitability, Marketing

Income Report: From Zero to $103,025.74 in Eight Months

We know all too well how easy it is to see a successful business and then just assume certain things about how they make money or even how they choose to spend it. As much as we cringed writing this post (we can be private people and numbers feel super personal), we knew it was time we shed some light on how we actually make money.

As a business that has completely overhauled the process in which we make money (we stopped taking clients and started selling courses), we knew it would be interesting to show y’all how this whole thing actually works.

We know all too well how easy it is to see a successful business and then just assume certain things about how they make money or even how they choose to spend it. As much as we cringed writing this post (we can be private people and numbers feel super personal), we knew it was time we shed some light on how we actually make money.  As a business that has completely overhauled the process in which we make money (we stopped taking clients and started selling courses), we knew it would be interesting to show y’all how this whole thing actually works. | Think Creative Collective

Below is an income report where we went from 0 - $100k in 8 months (January 2016 - August 2016).

INCOME
Courses: $50,627.83
Client Work (which we no longer offer): $31,436.55
One-on-One Coaching: $1985.00
Collaborations: $16,183.50
Affiliate Income: $1,720.90
Other: $1,071.96

Total Income (Jan - Aug 2016): $103,025.74

EXPENSES

Investments in SYSTEMS:
Buffer (No Longer In Use): $60
ConvertKit*: $642.34
Dropbox: $104.80
Mailchimp (No Longer In Use): $112.50
Post Planner: $84
Leadpages*: $477
Tailwind*: $104.88
Teachable*: $709.05
WebinarJam*: $297

Investments in PEOPLE:
Affiliates: $5,257.75
Independent Contractors: $720
VIP Gifts: $100.54

Investments in LEARNING:
Business Travel: $1579.73
Courses: $155.90

Website + Domains:
Squarespace: $209.334
GoDaddy: $102.70

General Expenses:
Ads: $950.12
Office Supplies: $217.03
Donations: $135.42
Paypal + Stripe Fees: $2,315.35
Postage: $82.36
Printing: $2,953.09
Props / Rentals / Other Reimbursables: $1,168.99

Total Expenses (Jan - Aug 2016): $18,539.89

Net Profit: $84,485.85

Here’s a Little Bit of Insight

Of the $30k+ in client work we earned in 2016, more than two thirds of it was earned in January. That’s the straw that broke the camel's back. The money was great, but we were exhausted. The remaining $10k or so was made in the couple months to follow, mostly from unfinished projects and late client payments.

Of the $50k+ in course sales, $17,853 of it was revenue from the August 2016 Teachable course sales.

So yes, that means nearly 40% of our income was earned in 2 months.

Breathe with me folks, that shit is scary.

We Said No… On Purpose

So when clients came knocking, we said no. Trust us, Abagail tried to talk Emylee into a couple (she let one slip by, total mistake by the way), but we kept saying “no”. And that meant no paycheck in March. And only an itty bitty one in April.

But what we did know was that it was working. Every month we had more course sales. Every month our student testimonials got better. Every month our private Facebook community grew. Every month we were being reassured that as scary as this decision was, that it was the right move in the long term.

And then our favorite thing ever happened.

We Started Making Money Everyday

Instead of these spikes surrounding webinars, the inbetween times were now filled with sales. Like everyday - no matter if we posted on social media, were at our desks, or were sitting in a pool (totes happened btw) we made money.

Sure, some days were a whopping $29, but we will take what we can get.

Sales everyday = security

Sales everyday = predictable

Sales everyday = maybe we won’t have such a panic attack when Emylee’s adoption is finalized

Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees

Now, here’s the thing with passive income that everybody warns you about, but no one believes until they do it for themselves.

Passive income is a LOT of freaking work.

Our workday hasn’t radically shifted. We still put in a good 30-35 hours each, every week. But our focus has. We went from client-dedicated focus for 5-7 hours a day to actually working on growth strategies 5-7 hours a day. That sort of shift may not seem like a lot now, but it means radical things for our growth potential. We went from $2k or so in course sales in March to nearly $18k 5-months later. Imagine what this could mean for our business 6 months from now, a year from now, or 5 years from now!

So I see you made a pretty penny on collaborations… Tell me about that?!

Collaborations have been freaking amazing, but also flipping exhausting. We co-created a course, presented to other people’s audiences, had them present to ours, sent emails, did launches, the whole sha-bang.

Collaborations can do absolutely amazing things for you and your business. One of our besties started as a collaboration. Heck, our business wouldn’t have existed if we hadn’t first collaborated. Here’s a couple of things to keep in mind:

Woah… that’s a lota systems, girlfriend!

Yes, yes, yes, we know. Systems are kind of our jam. Probably why our Trello course has HUNDREDS of students. We believe in finding systems that automate your work so you can spend more time focusing on what you love to do most. Keep in mind these didn’t all happen overnight (here is a timeline of when we started to invest). And what you can’t see from this report is all the FREE systems we also utilize.

By far our favorite system, however, is Trello. It seriously has been a complete game changer and we believe one of the major reasons we saw a huge increase in course sales over the summer. Read more about how you can get organized here.

Travel… where’d you go?!

For the first 6 months of the year we lived and worked 300+ miles apart. That meant occasionally showing up on each other's doorstep and a lot of great communication. You can read more about how we made that work here.

When we weren’t traveling back and forth from KC to Tulsa we were scheming about speaking at conferences all over the country. We recently got back from the Savvy Experience… which was ahhh-mazing. AND next up we are headed to BLINK conference in Palm Springs.

Whoop whoop, bring on the cacti!

Ready to make mo’ money? Here’s what you can do next:

If you are on a mission to make mo’ money, then our biggest suggestion is: don’t change your entire business overnight. Yes, having a “passive” income business may be sexy, but you can make good money by running a service or product based business. That said, you could slowly transition (instead of going cold turkey like we did). Either way, here are some things to consider:

  1. Start with your why. It is a good check and balance when you are considering changing EVERYTHING;

  2. Try your hand at teaching everything you know. Read this before you consider creating your first e-course;

  3. Get in front of more people’s audiences either through an awesome collaboration or even by guest posting on our blog (get all the details here), and

  4. Invest in systems that work. You can start with our favorite here.

Got any questions? Let’s strike up some convo in our group on Facebook. If you haven’t already, join here.


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