How’s that for a heavy title, huh? 😀

While it’d be awesome to publish my first income report with glowing numbers that have healthy profit margins, I do like to keep it real here on my blog – even if that means showing you my roller coaster-y months.

To give you a little background, January was an interesting month to say the least. 

I took an extended holiday break and didn’t start officially working again full-time in my biz until January 8th. So that essentially left me 3 weeks in the month to hit my sales goals. 

Then, I don’t know what happened, but it was like event-apalooza exploded in January.

In the online business world, I always thought that promotions kind of took a break in January – to give people time to recoup after spending so much cash over the holidays. 

But I was wrong.

In January, there were multiple business events being promoted at the exact same time.

And having never been to any, I decided to make the investment into live events this year.

(My hope is that in 6 months, I’ll be writing a raving review about all the events and how they were ROI-#worthit.)

So I ended up booking not one, not two, not three, not four – but FIVE business events coming up in the first half of 2018.

And these event tickets are not cheap. Their prices range from $997 to $1,800 USD each.

I tried to strategically buy some tickets in January and some in February, but as you’ll see from my income report below, my credit card took somewhat of a beating in January.

On top of that, I decided to host a co-working retreat!


This was a fun idea that came together relatively quickly (and there are still 2 seats left at this time!), but I learned that hosting a retreat also comes with its fair share of expenses. 

Finally, I decided to not run any active promotions for my two courses (InstaGrowth Boss and Freelance Biz In A Box) throughout January. This was for two reasons:

  1. I thought customers would appreciate a few weeks to recover from the holiday spending before investing in a course
  2. I focused on the backend of my business, setting up an Instagram masterclass that can be watched anytime that’s convenient for you (rather than waiting for me to hold it live)

So that sums up my very abnormal January.

But then… I’m not sure there is ever really a “normal” month when you’re running your own business (and that’s the point!).

Without further ado, let’s dive in!

January 2018 Income

  • Services: $5,203.47
  • Coaching: $3,518.87
  • Product Sales: $972.17
  • Affiliate income: $10.91


January 2018 Expenses

  • Advertising and promotion: $70.54
  • Paypal, Stripe and bank fees: $281.09
  • ClickFunnels*: $124.37
  • ConvertKit*: $101.34
  • Teachable*: $0 (annual fee already paid)
  • Dropbox*: $12.75
  • Squarespace: $61.89
  • Canva: $16.53
  • Freshbooks*: $6.39
  • Zoom: $19.14
  • ManyChat: $25.59
  • Google Apps: $10
  • Grum: $15.20
  • Amazon web services: $19.96
  • Satori: $37.21
  • Boardbooster*: $12.70
  • A new external drive: $240.70
  • Office expenses: $200.46
  • Independent contractors: $1,290.00
  • Accounting services: $325.00
  • Meals and entertainment: $313.75
  • Membership fees for business training: $88.52
  • Phone and Internet: $178.90
  • Training, education and events: $4,306.07
  • Transportation and Uber: $88.69
  • Flights: $277.65
  • Accommodations: $245.67
  • GoDaddy: $6.09


Net profit: $1,329.22

Salary to Elise: $3,000

* = affiliate link

Phew! That’s kind of a relief to get that done and out there.

As you can see, little profit is left at the end of all those expenses. 

This was a HIGH expense month and a relatively low profit month. Before paying myself, that’s a 14% profit margin. In general, you want to hit 30%. 

Would I recommend to someone who is in their first or second year of business to spend all their profits on expensive, in-person events?

Probably not.

It’s smarter to plan for the events before they come and save up for them.

It is a risk to put that much money into events, but now that I’m 4+ years into running my own businesses, I feel 100% confident in being able to earn that money back – whether at the live events themselves based on the connections I make, or through future campaigns and promotions.

And as far as my salary, you might be wondering how that works.

The short answer: my company is a corporation and I pay myself out separate from the money earned in the corporation. 

Due to my particular tax structure, I pay myself a set salary each month.

I also follow the Profit First system. So 30% of all revenue that the company makes each month goes into a savings account that is my designated pool for my monthly salary.

Some months that might be $3,000. Other months it might be $5,000.

So that’s why I was still able to pay myself a set salary this month even though my profits didn’t match it – because there was a pool of savings that’s there for these lean months and is only to be used for paying my salary.

Takeaways for you based on my income report

  • Plan for (and save up for) expensive events in advance as much as you can
  • Implement a structure in your business so that you still get paid even in the lean months

Interested in learning Instagram to run your own services business?

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