If you’re new here I’ve posted income reports ever since I started this blog, four years ago. I initially had goals of making a few hundred dollars per month and then slowly growing that amount. Luckily, that’s what I’ve been able to do.
In 2012 I decided that earning money online was going to be the only way I could create the life I wanted living in a small town with no good job options. I dove in head first and started trying things out. I’ve failed at sooo many different things and have had great successes with others.
As of now I earn an income through being a freelance writer, virtual assistant, and blogger. (And yes, I know how crazy that sounds to most people!)
In November I earned a total of $6,608.59. It looks like income is down a bit, but last year November and December were two of my lowest months. I’ve come to expect the ebb and flow.
Since everyone is celebrating the holidays it’s expected that people are spending their time with family, spending their money on gifts and so on. This is all just fine with me as I’ll be doing the same! In fact, I took almost an entire week off when my kids were on Thanksgiving break. I’ll be trying to work ahead on the “must-do” things for December so that I can enjoy my kids while they’re home on Christmas break at the end of the month.
Wondering where the $6,608 came from? November income broke down like this:
- Freelance (Writing and Virtual Assisting) $1,200
- Ad Networks $2,200.69
- Affiliate Commissions $2,657.90
- Sponsored Posts $550
If you are confused about what any of this means you can see a better explanation here.
What About Expenses, Taxes, Insurance and Retirement?
One thing that’s not talked about enough when it comes to self-employment is the “benefits” plan…..Or the fact that there is NO benefits plan.
When I decided to go on my own I could’ve cared less about benefits. I had NEVER had a job that had any benefits whatsoever. I had no health insurance, no retirement account, nothing.
If you’re transitioning from a job that provides benefits into a self-employment role it’s something you need to take into consideration. When you’re paying for these things yourself, it can be a lot!
Here’s a real breakdown of what I personally do when it comes to taxes, expenses, insurance, and retirement.
Taxes and Expenses: In November I had expenses of $757.26. Taxes were roughly $1,560. This makes my actual “take home pay” around $4,291.33 I normally try to save around half of my take home income (which doesn’t always happen) while I’m building my savings back up after having to cover a major home repair.
Health Insurance: I got remarried last year. My two daughters and I are on my husband’s insurance plan. Since he works for the state we get good insurance and only pay $280 per month for all of four of us. If I had to pay my own insurance I’m sure I’d be down another $1,000 per month.
Retirement: I started my retirement account with Betterment a couple years ago. I automatically have $150 per month deposited into that account. (Last year I did $220 most months.) Then I’ll periodically deposit more into the account when I see fit.
I also use Betterment for my daughter’s college savings accounts. I auto-deposit $50 per month into each of those. Again, I’ll add more when/if I see fit throughout the year.
Recommended Blogging Tools
If you’re wondering what tools I recommend for blogging, here’s a list:
Domains and Web Hosting –Bluehost. If you’re interested in blogging but haven’t yet started you can get hosting from Bluehost for as little as $2.95 per month PLUS a free domain name when you go through this link which is just for my readers. If you need help getting set up you can find a step by step tutorial here.
Social Media Scheduling – For Pinterest I use Tailwind. I started using this about a year ago with great results. Tailwind is affordable and super easy to use. You can get a free month of Tailwind with this link.
I’m also subscribed to Hootsuite as I used to use this for scheduling my virtual assistant clients Twitter accounts. I still use it for mine. Although, truth be told I don’t really love it and could probably do without.
For Facebook I just use the built in Facebook scheduler.
Bookkeeping – GoDaddy Bookkeeping. I absolutely love this bookkeeping software. You can read my full review here.
Photos – I find a good majority of my photos on Pexels. This site is free with copyright free images. If I can’t find one there I’ll buy an image off of 123rf.com or look for one on Haute Chocolate which I also have a subscription to.
I use PicMonkey to edit all of my photos.
Best Blogging Course – Elite Blog Academy. If you’re looking for the best blogging course I highly recommend Elite Blog Academy. It is expensive but it was what helped me go from a couple thousand dollars per month to at least $5k per month. (Join the waiting list or read my review here.)
You need to calculate self-employment taxes, expenses and benefits into your income goals if you’re trying to go solo full-time.
I always recommend that people get started on the side. If you currently have a job start experimenting with ideas and building up your savings before jumping straight into self-employment. This will give you plenty of time to figure out the type of work you like to do and build some financial stability.
(I tried 5 different ideas before I found one that worked for me.)
Here are some different ideas for you:
- 5 Ways to Make Money with a Blog
- 30+ Services You Can Offer as a Virtual Assistant
- How to Get Started Freelance Writing
Have a great week!
Joyce @ My Stay At Home Adventures says
This is so great! I think you are the only one I know that breaks it down to include taxes. I still use your excel file too to be honest and next year I will be switching to the GoDaddy program you wrote about because now it seems to be getting complicated. LOL I also read you email and I can’t believe your daughter turned 8. Your daughter and my son are a year apart and it seems like they are growing up so fast. Happy Birthday!
They are growing so fast it’s crazy!! I think when I started this blog my kids were two and three. Now they’re six and eight 🙁
I’m glad the Excel file is working good for you! It worked really well for me and then at some point I got a little lazy. GoDaddy basically does the same thing as that spreadsheet only it does it automatically so I don’t have to remember. I think they’re both good options.
Great results, Alexa! 🙂
Is it worth to use Adsense ads along with Media.net on one website? Or using Adsense is more profitable? What about CPC?
Thank you 🙂
I actually use three different ad networks because different ones do better in different placements. I have one Adsense ad (top left hand corner) which I was going to replace with The Blogger Network but they didn’t think they’d be able to beat what that ad does. And then I have one Media.net ad that does really well where it’s placed and does MUCH better than any other ad in that spot. The Blogger Network now takes care of everything else.
I suppose it all came down to experimentation and now I just do what works.
Congrats on the great month!! I’ve noticed my income is down this month (so far), too. I probably won’t be “affected” by that until February though as it seems most of my payouts are two months away!
Knowing your daughters were 2 and 3 when you started your blog gives me hope (I saw your comment above!!). Sometimes I wonder if this is “worth” my time, but you’ve come such a long way!! I have three little girls now – 4, 3 and 6 weeks! Life is busy but it sure is fun!
Congrats again, Alexa!!
Ramona @ Personal Finance Today says
Wonderful numbers once again, proving there’s money to be made online, if you are determined and hard-working.
Keep up the great work, you are a true inspiration
Well congrats it is been a good month, well done!!!
Kecia | OnlineIncomeMom says
What a great month, Alexa! It’s so nice to be able to take time off and still make money, huh? I need to start thinking more about retirement. I am going to check out the program you mentioned.
Congratulations Alexa! Great work! Very inspiring for the rest of us!