June 2019 Income Report
An audio version of this income report is available to Patreon backers of certain levels »
June’s revenues were $7,182.77, up from May’s $4,968.21. Profits were $4,551.83, up from May’s $2,812.51.
Want to 4x your creative output? Click here for my free toolkit »
In May’s income report, I said I felt like my business was stabilizing, thanks to the creative systems I have in place.
This month, I was ready to report that I felt like I was achieving “escape velocity” in my business – that point where you escape the gravitational pull of worries over what to do and how much money it will make. That point where it feels like the only way is up.
Thanks to my systems, I was starting to maximize “time spent doing nothing in particular,” which was bringing me clarity and good ideas.
That’s how I felt, until the morning of July 4th.
Emergency trip to Phoenix
The morning of July 4th, I had one of my best writing sessions in recent memory. After battling visa issues for the entire previous year, I was finally hitting my rhythm, thanks to securing a three-year visa.
But after my writing session, I looked at my phone. Within a couple of hours, my suitcase was packed, and I was rushing to the airport, and hoping to buy a ticket at the counter before the last flight of the day.
I had to get to Phoenix as fast as possible. My mother was in the ICU, in a deep coma, from a brain hemorrhage.
Driving from my parents’ house to the ICU became my new commute. Waiting by Mom’s bedside for her to respond became my new job. My family and I had conversation after conversation with nurses and doctors and surgeons.
It took a week, and eliminating other options through testing, for us to come to terms with what they were telling us: Mom was not going to wake up. There was too much damage to her brain stem.
We could keep her on life support indefinitely. She would eventually die of pneumonia or another infection. Fortunately, she had a living will, which made it clear that she wouldn’t want that.
So we made the gut-wrenching decision to remove my mother from life support, and allow her to succumb to her injuries, while we held her hand. Within fifteen minutes, her heart stopped beating.
My mother passed away on July 13th. She was 69 and, until this incident, very active and in excellent health.
An AVM killed my mom
The brain hemorrhage was caused by an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) – an abnormal collection of vessels in which arteries go straight to veins without first going to capillaries.
It’s estimated that 1% of Americans have an AVM. 88% will never know they have it. Half of those who find out, find out the way we did – it bursts. Mom was a ticking time bomb from the day she was born, and never knew. (The AVM Research Foundation is a good charity that funds research on this neglected condition).
Things don’t go as planned
Words can’t do justice to what it’s like to lose your mother. I’m still in such a fog that it will be a long time before I, myself, know what this experience has been like. But, people lose their loved ones in unexpected ways every day. Now, I’m one of them. Death is a part of life, etc.
It’s another reminder that things don’t go as planned. That is the plan. You can put all of your energy into designing the perfect life, as I have tried to do, but the unexpected will still come your way, over and over.
Things didn’t go as planned for my parents, either. They had just moved into their dream home. A stretched string on the ground in the backyard still delineates where they planned dig a new pool – that project is cancelled. They had an Alaskan cruise booked for August – the doctors helped my father fill out the travel insurance claim form.
The best you can do is to design your life to weather the expectedly unexpected. I’m grateful for the antifragility I’ve nurtured living my life the way I do. While I hope I need to use it less than I have the past year, I know it would be foolish to expect that.
Creative systems save the day
This experience is obviously a personal tragedy, but it’s also tough on my business. I had to postpone an important sales call to attend to it, and I had to reschedule a podcast interview. I also lost about two weeks of prime creative energy.
“Front-burner” creative projects – one-off projects such as the creative systems course, getting started with coaching, and my next book – all got removed from the stove completely.
What was left was the “back-burner” stuff – the stuff that I do so regularly that I have systems in place for getting them done. Thanks to those systems, I haven’t missed an episode of Love Your Work, nor have I missed an edition of Love Mondays.
Coping through creativity
Obviously, in a time like this, keeping work going is not priority number one. But keeping that work going has helped me cope with this difficult time. It would be that much harder if my whole business fell apart.
Thanks to my systems, I had tiny, bite-sized tasks right in my task management system. During those moments waiting by Mom’s bedside, when I swore I could hardly think, I could at least open up an Evernote file and brainstorm something for five minutes, as it said to do on my Todoist.
There’s a quote from Atomic Habits author, James Clear, that stuck with me: “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” I’ve been grateful for my systems the past few weeks. I don’t know what I would have done without them.
Odds and ends in tough times
When life gets all scrambled up, it’s hard to keep your big creative projects on track. But it’s a good time to take care of odds and ends – those little things that you never get around to because you’re too immersed in the big projects.
I’m still in the Scottsdale / Phoenix area for a couple more weeks, as I support surviving family members. In addition to keeping the “back burner” basics going, I’m also taking care of some small things.
I’m publishing HTS directly to Kobo, for example. This will allow me to run promotions through Kobo Writing Life – which is not possible the way it is currently published on Kobo, through Draft2Digital.
I also did my first promotion on Kobo – a free promotion of WAB – giving away about 180 copies. The promotion brought in two new ratings on the book, and will hopefully drive more organic sales. Total cost: $5.
I also did get WAB published through PublishDrive. The ebook is now available all over.
Finally, I have a stack of books at my parents’ house that I’ve been meaning to give away – but being in Colombia has made that impractical. I want to gift them to my best readers. If you’re reading this, you must be one of my best readers. Send me an email if you’re reading this, and I’ll send you a signed copy of The Heart to Start or an unsigned copy of Stephen Pressfield’s The War of Art – to any address in the U.S. – while supplies last.
Logo Mastery Earnings
The earnings from Logo Mastery are finally making an appearance in this income report. Logo Mastery brought in $1,491 of revenue. Not too bad for a course that I’ve had sitting in my archives doing nothing the past couple of years!
How I report processing fees
Tallying up this Logo Mastery revenue made me think about processing fees, and how I report them. Teachable takes a 5% transaction fee in addition to the $39.99 subscription fee I’ve paid the past two months for some features, such as a course drip feature. Additionally, Stripe takes their cut, which I think is about 2.9%.
This is a contrast from SendOwl. I pay $24 a month for SendOwl, and then Stripe or PayPal take their cut, somewhere around 3%. So, Teachable’s extra 5% is sizable.
Right now, I’m reporting the top-line revenue on Teachable sales. I’ve never reported the cuts that Stripe or PayPal take as part of these reports, so perhaps I’ll continue that tradition with Teachable.
Why not report processing fees?
The reasons being that it adds extra complexity to reporting, and transaction fees aren’t something that can be avoided. If I were making so much revenue that the transaction fees were sizable enough that I felt it was worth exploring alternative ways to process payments, I would watch the numbers more closely.
These income reports have never aimed to be a perfect representation of every penny coming in and out of my business, but rather a rough approximation. (I’m following the lead of what I see when I read between the lines of Pat Flynn’s income reports).
My Teachable dashboard shows my July “Earnings” to be, $1,371, contrasted with my “Sales” of $1,491. I’m tempted to simplify things and report Earnings, but I still feel that top-line revenue is a better number to report, so that’s what I’ll do moving forward.
Some Logo Mastery students chose a six-month payment plan. Teachable will be taking a slightly larger cut in coming months, in lieu of the $39.99 monthly fee, since I’ve downgraded to the free plan, until the next time I sell a course on the platform.
Oops, SendOwl subscription counted going forward
In writing that last section, I realized that I haven’t been counting my $24-per-month SendOwl subscription while making these income reports the past eighteen months. So, my earnings have been over-reported by $24 every single month.
This is a small error, so I won’t be going back and fixing the numbers. But I will be reporting the SendOwl subscription fee moving forward, under Hosting.
|The Heart to Start Kindle||$1,483.89|
|The Heart to Start Paperback (Amazon)||$383.45|
|The Heart to Start “Wide” (non-Amazon)||$39.91|
|The Heart to Start Audiobook||$120.24|
|How to Write a Book Kindle||$263.79|
|How to Write a Book Paperback||$220.68|
|How to Write a Book “Wide” (non-Amazon)||$0.00|
|How to Write a Book Audible||$41.76|
|How to Write a Book Spanish Kindle||$2.33|
|How to Write a Book Spanish Paperback||$0.00|
|Make Money Writing on the STEEM Blockchain Kindle||$16.26|
|Make Money Writing on the STEEM Blockchain Paperback||$5.69|
|Make Money Writing on the STEEM Blockchain Audible||$1.58|
|Total Book Sales||$2,579.58|
|Blog 2 BLING! (Beta)||$235.00|
|Summer of Design||$18.00|
|Total Digital Products||$1,866.00|
Affiliates / Advertising
|Match.com free trial||$59.97|
Love Your Work Podcast
|Total LYW Podcast||$415.22|
|Podcast Editing / Publishing||$240.00|
Want to 4x your creative output? Click here for my free toolkit »