May was a wonderful month full of beautiful San Francisco weather and learning. My expenses picked up over previous months as I did a fair amount traveling, but I anticipated that. I also have more traveling coming throughout the rest of the summer both in-state and cross country so I’ve stayed disciplined with my spending. I’m excited about continuing to fill my days with new projects and activities. It’s nice to stay busy when you’re doing things you love to do!
Outside of work projects, I got very active in the kitchen during the month of May. I’ve never been much of a cook in the past, but I’m working on changing that. I really admire people who love to cook and are fantastic at it so I’m trying to improve my own skills in the kitchen. I joined a program called Blue Apron at the recommendation of a friend, which is a service that delivers recipe cards and pre-measured ingredients straight to your door (farm fresh proteins, produce, garnishes and all).
I chose Blue Apron’s cheaper $60/week service plan which includes one delivery of fresh ingredients for three meals, which feeds two people. As someone who practically never cooks, chopping, prepping, and cooking three full meals a week was quite an accomplishment. Not having to run to the grocery store or worry about spoiling leftover produce in the fridge was refreshing. It’s been a lot of fun so far and I like the flexibility of the program. It’s easy to skip weeks when I’m working on the road and it’s not so much to cook that I feel overwhelmed.
2015 Goals Update
1) Goal: Grow More Traffic
April had an exciting surprise upswing in traffic which unfortunately didn’t repeat in May. But lower traffic in May was somewhat expected, so I am not feeling discouraged. Looking at the month over month chart does motivate me though to do more outreach and hopefully get more mentions in the future that will help drive higher traffic.
Overall I’m happy that Untemplater’s May traffic was steady throughout the month and the year over year traffic remains up.
May vs April:
Year over Year:
2) Goal: Land More Freelancing Gigs
One of my main freelancing gigs (that I was anxious about losing earlier in the year) is still going well so I am less fearful of getting canned in the short term. Phew! But I am still staying on my toes and making sure I deliver high quality work. I enjoy the writing I do for them more and more as each week passes. And I love that I am constantly learning new things. I definitely want to stay partnered with them for as long as possible. Overall I’m really happy with how all of my freelance projects are going and think my skills are improving and expanding in the process. Progress is happiness.
3) Goal: Build More Affiliate Income
A big thank you to everyone who made a purchase or signed up for a service using one of my links. Affiliate income across my portfolio continues to do well and May was another solid month. I continue to research, test, and apply to new programs.
Income Report May 2015
Onwards to the May Income report…
Total Revenue Streams = $10,822
- Editorial, writing, online marketing $4,650
- Website management, other $900
Freelancing income rose a bit from April and is doing well. I’m working a comfortable number of hours and am working to get an even better work-life balance. I’m the type of person that can easily stay in front of a computer alone all day without going outside, so I’m trying to break that habit. I started taking some dance classes again after a two-year break and am making more plans with friends. It’s good for my health to get out of the house more often and get back into hobbies again. I’m starting to feel more well-rounded, which should help my energy, spirit, and productivity.
- Dividends & Interest income $305
- Rental income $125
- Prosper P2P investment income $25
I had a seasonal drop in rental income for May, which I expected so I’m not worried. I continue to stay active in my P2P Prosper account and now have a diversified mix of AA, A, B, C, and D loans in my portfolio. I had a few pending loans I wanted to invest in fall through, so I had to log in more than normal to find suitable replacements but it was easy.
ADVERTISING & AFFILIATE: $4,817
- Affiliate Advertising: $4,080
- Contextual Advertising (Adsense): $244
- Profitable Online Store: $264
- Bluehost: $180
- Thesis Theme: $29
- Unconventional Guides: $20
- Direct Advertising: $0
- Amazon Associates: $0
- Miscellaneous: $0
May was a good month for advertising and affiliate. I didn’t do any direct advertising during the month, but I have some deals I’m working on for June. I didn’t get any hits with Amazon Associates but it has never been a strong performer for my portfolio. It’s too bad the payouts are so low. I don’t want to put too much time into it over other programs, but I’ll keep trying here and there.
Expenses = $(6,761)
- Travel – business: $(1,175)
- Meals & Entertainment – business: $(430)
- Supplies & misc: $(260)
- Aweber, Marketing, Subscriptions, Fees: $(245)
- Quickbooks: $(50)
- Hosting, web related: $(30)
- Outsourcing: $(0)
Business expenses came in higher than last month due to travel. I purchased a Chromebook in April that I used on my May trips and it was just what I needed. Most of the time I work on a 15″ MacbookPro, which I love, but it does feel like a brick. Being able to travel with a much smaller and lighter Chromebook was a welcome relief to my prior days of dragging my beast of a laptop around.
- Living expenses: $(3,310)
- Travel – personal: $(772)
- Meals & Entertainment – personal: $(489)
Although I don’t really like to travel during peak times like summer, it’s manageable. I have about five to six trips coming up between now and September now, so I’ll be running around for a while.
PROFITS: $10,822 (Income) – $6,761 (Expenses) = $4,061
May was down compared to both April and March but I’m still happy with the results. There’s definitely a seasonal drop in traffic and business that tends to happen each year from May until mid-September. So it’s almost a matter of either kicking back more than normal since a lot of people are away during the slowdown, or working harder instead to make up for the losses. I’m trying to do a bit of both.
Although there are a ton of things I would love to do every single day, I know it’s not realistic for me to get through everything on my to-do list. But if I do the best I can each day, I’m happy.
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Become A Freelancer – Motivated to become a freelancer? The possibilities are endless! If you’re a creative, learn how to sell your products and create your own online store. Like to write as much as I do? Find out how to get published, earn money as a writer, and have fun working on the road. Whatever your interests are, focus on building up your skills and developing your own unique niche.
And if you’re burnt out of your day job, believe in yourself that you have options and can turn your career around. I didn’t believe I could escape for the longest time but fortunately I wised up and negotiated a severance package and got paid to leave a job I grew to hate. Learn how you too can get paid to leave your job like I did and open your eyes to new opportunities.
Untemplaters, how did you perform in May? Take any fun trips or accomplish any exciting goals? Where are you headed this summer?
Thanks for the article Sydney, I really like reading these income reports. It is very helpful to see the exact numbers that other personal finance bloggers are producing and how they are producing it. The common Google search comes up with “How I made $X blogging” and while informative, it isn’t geared towards a numbers person.
Hopefully in a year I can get to your level! Thanks again and have a great day!!
Thanks Erik! Glad to hear you enjoy the reports. I love spreadsheets and numbers so they are fun for me to put together. The reports also keep a fire under my butt and definitely motivate me to keep pushing myself forward so I don’t get too comfortable or lazy.
Eric Rosenberg - PersonalProfitability says
This is a great breakout Sydney. Interesting to see how big your affiliate income is as a percentage of total. I need to do more to increase that on my own site!
Thanks! You’ve kept super busy and have accomplished quite a lot yourself. I remember a long time ago when you were trying to decide on your logo design and colors for Narrow Bridge and we were voting on our favorites in the Yakezie forums. Time flies!
Jason@Islands of Investing says
I’m so impressed and happy for you with the success you’re having as a freelancer, and the income you’re generating from freelancing and your website. Your traffic alone is many many orders of magnitude above what I’m achieving, and is something for me to aspire to!
The more I read about what you’ve achieved and what’s possible, the more I want to escape the day job and do something similar. I especially love that your life is feeling a little more well-rounded which is definitely my main objective too.
Keep up the great work Sydney!
Thanks so much Jason! Who knows what I’ll be doing one month or one year from now, but right now things are working out well and I feel really blessed. Now if only I could operate at full capacity with only 4 hours of sleep every day. 🙂 Wouldn’t that be nice? Time goes much faster for me now so I don’t think I’ll ever feel I have enough hours in a day even with more flexibility. There are always so many things I want to do every day and time still manages to escape me. I gotta work harder on my efficiency and focus!
Dominic @ Gen Y Finance Guy says
Looks like you are doing well and that you are in a great position to take advantage of the seasonal slowdown to enjoy all that travel you have on your schedule.
A question about affiliate income. What kinds of things to you do to market the products you are an affiliate for?
Thanks Dominic! Yeah it’s nice being able to be away when things are slower but I am still trying to stay on my toes as I don’t want to get lazy in the process. As for affiliate income nothing unordinary – writing, display ads, and search primarily.
Very inspiring Sydney! I find posts like this very inspiring; it just goes to show what people *can* achieve with a little hard work!
I’m disappointed to note that I did nowhere near as good as you last month – but I’m working on it!
Thanks Richard! I remind myself a lot that the word impossible includes the phrase I’m possible. Believing we can do things is the first step! Don’t get discouraged with your income. These things take time and experimenting. With enough persistence and hard work things will turn up! 🙂