I feel like I could just share this:
...and be done with my April income report. 😛
Okay, but in all seriousness, some marketers may just drop their big revenue numbers like this and then run. 🏃
But not me. I can't stand that $#^!.
How about we talk about the real stuff that it takes to generate those numbers?
That's exactly why I started sharing income reports this year. Because I feel strongly about giving you the full picture, not just the pretty, surface level numbers.
Now that that's out of the way, let's dig into what happened over the month of April!
The month began with 3 weeks cleared of no travel.
(As much as I love being a digital nomad, I find that my time spent alone in my home office is most productive.)
In those weeks, I focused heavily on my Instagram Masterclass and driving some serious traffic to it through Facebook and Instagram ads.
How much traffic? $27,000 worth.
Never in my business life would I have thought that I'd be spending almost $1,000 a day on ads... but here I was.
A little background on my ads: I'm in no way an expert when it comes to FB and IG ads. I set up these campaigns in February and as they started to convert, I increased the daily spend to a point where it made sense. By April, I found myself running three major campaigns... each with multiple ad sets inside at about $50 a day... and so when you do the math, those campaigns were adding up to almost $1,000 a day.
Each day, I'd get a receipt from Facebook and my heart would stop a little.
But... this was the journey I had set out on by creating a free masterclass that was powered by running ads to it.
And when looking at my month's revenue of reaching $50,000, clearly the ROI was there.
But with great ad spend comes great power.
And I felt ill-equipped to be managing all the ads myself.
I mean, I had a business to run! I knew I didn't have time to become an ads expert to optimize my daily spend.
When I realized that I was wasting money on ads but I didn't know how or where... I knew that I had to hire out.
It was time to hire an expert.
I had put off hiring an ads expert before because I knew that a good ads manager would cost $2,000 to $5,000 a month just for their services, and would need an ad spend of at least $10,000 a month to play with.
Before April, my business did not have the budget for those kinds of numbers.
But once I saw that I could get a 2X return for my own ad campaigns (meaning, for ever dollar I gave to Facebook for ads, I was earning $2 back), I started to ask around and see if an ads manager was out there who could get a 3X, 4X or 5X return for my spend.
Long story short: I found this ads ninja.
He took a look at my campaigns and could see the potential for a 5X return. Plus, on top of it all, he could run ads not just for Facebook and Instagram but for EVERYTHING – including Google, YouTube, Bing and Yahoo.
By mid-April, I had hired this person to manage the ads side of my business so I could focus on my next big thing:
HIRING A FULL-TIME PERSON.
Yup. More revenue generated this month has resulted in needing to do WAY MORE THINGS.
So I put out a call for a Marketing + Tech Manager and am aiming to have this person in my business soon.
By the third week of April, my travels started back up again. 😬
I flew to Vancouver to surprise my dad for his upcoming birthday (what an amazing perk to being my own boss!) and to film a free training series with Later.com.
Next, I flew back to Toronto for a day and then jetted off to Connecticut for a business mastermind meetup.
It was there that I celebrated my 31st birthday and also burned my hand severely with coffee. ☕️
Side note: last year, I spent my 30th birthday stranded in the Bahamas at the failed Fyre Festival, so I kind of found it hilarious that my 31st birthday became memorable in another burning way: with a second-degree burn.
See last year's footage:
It's fun to laugh about #FyreFestival now. Here are a few snippets of what I captured while there. Not the Instagram-worthy, model-flanked beach party they promised (LOL). I was there with a group of 7 friends and we didn't pay ridiculous prices, as media is reporting. We paid $500 each (before the Instagram models promo video dropped) which actually seemed too good to be true - a music festival on a private island, a private jet from Miami to the Bahamas, and "lodging" to fit all 8 of us (with 4 king beds), plus gourmet food for the whole weekend. We were up for the unknown adventure that was #Fyre, and our reality was the exact opposite of what we were sold. Ah well, it was a crappy 24 hours but we all came out of it alive and with some (now) hilarious stories of what went down.
Note to self: take a first aid course so that I better deal with emergencies in the future. 🤔
Aside from my burned hand, something else really cool happened on the day of my birthday:
My business hit $50,000 in revenue for the month.
I mean... $50,000 is what I used to make in a YEAR when I was a salaried employee. And now my business just hit it in a month?
Well, I would have had a hard time believing it too, but I'm sure you've realized it by now: I spent A LOT on ads to get that $50K.
And what really matters at the end of the day is that profit, right?
So let's break down the numbers.
April 2018 Income
Affiliate income: $0
TOTAL INCOME BEFORE TAX: $51,752.85
April 2018 Expenses
- Advertising and promotion: $27,693.94
- Paypal, Stripe and bank fees: $417.73
- ClickFunnels*: $420.57
- ConvertKit*: $129.87
- Teachable*: $0 (annual fee already paid)
- Dropbox*: $13.10
- Canva: $16.75
- Acuity*: $32.34
- ManyChat: $19.84
- Deadline Funnel: $48.63
- Bonjoro: $32.85
- Morevago: $12.93
- Buffer: $13.00
- Google Apps: $10
- Grum: $11.75
- Amazon web services: $20.50
- iTunes storage: $3.99
- GoDaddy: $39.63
- Boardbooster*: $13.22
- Independent contractors: $6,570.30
- Accounting services: $325.00
- Meals and entertainment: $361.77
- Phone and Internet: $126.95
- Training, education and events: $2,891.27
- Flights, accommodations and Uber: $2,266.67
TOTAL EXPENSES: $41,492.60
Net profit: $10,260.25
Salary to Elise: $3,000
* = affiliate link
That net profit puts me at about a 20% profit margin. So while the revenue numbers are like:
...the profit is ultimately OFF my target goal of 30%.
Better luck next month, right? 😬
With my new ads manager getting into the swing of things and with a new hire on the horizon, I'm confident those profit margins will start to improve in the coming months.
Takeaways for you based on my income report:
- Don't be deterred by seeing my revenue or ads numbers, or feel like you're behind in any way... I've been running my own business since 2013. These numbers are not normal if you're in your first year or two of business. I started off in the entrepreneurial world exceptionally slow (you can read about how I started my side hustle here). And it's only been in the last year that my business has started to consistently hit 5-figure months. That's why I want to be totally transparent as to how it's all working. But as they say... “don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle."
- When you're scaling your business, don't be afraid to do the dirty work yourself – at least for a little while. Back in February, I could have gotten overwhelmed with Facebook ads and hired someone out ASAP so I didn't have to worry about it. But that would have been throwing money at a problem that I was trying to avoid. Instead, I learned what I could in a short amount of time and began to generate results for myself. Knowing that I could do so with my limited experience told me that a professional could do the same or get better results – hence, hiring a contractor for this became an obvious choice. Now I have a decent understanding as to how it all works, I'm confident that the same results can be achieved at a better ROI and the best part of all? I can remove myself from the task of tinkering around in my Ads Manager backend so that I can focus on more important things.