Income report #4 | increase of my average hourly income and more time for blogging

It was a rough month. I honestly noticed February was a bit shorter. I know, this sounds ridiculous, but my to-do list is so long, I needed 2 or 3 days extra. Well, I managed to do a lot in those 28 days, so that’s a positive start of this income report.

Did I reach my February goals?

  • Maintain a freelance writing income of €1000 per month. → NO
  • Write weekly blog posts for Samen de Wereld Ontdekken and Digital Nomad with Kids. → YES
  • Get the affiliate programs for Samen de Wereld Ontdekken right (including adding a few more). → YES
  • Build an email list for Digital Nomad with Kids, which includes creating a landing page + finish writing the email course + putting up a notification bar & subscription box. → YES
  • Start with the Mastermind group, hooray! → YES
  • Make a decision about my social media accounts. → YES

As you can see, lot’s of YES’es on my goal list but there is one important NO. Although the difference is not much (as you’ll see in the next paragraph), it was definitely a more challenging month regarding my freelance writing income. More about this in a bit.

The other goals focus on my blogging, and in retrospect, I don’t think I’ve set very challenging goals for February, so that’s why it was relatively easy to reach them. Mental note to self: let’s set some more daring targets for March 🙂

Freelance writing results of February 2017

A few weeks ago, I was very actively proposing on Upwork. As you can read here, I have a set of skills that make it a bit easier to compete there. However, I’ve outgrown it a bit, because I long for recurring clients. And those are scarce on Upwork (although lots of them advertise that there is room for long term employment, you’ll never be sure if that’s really true). So I’ve put a lot more hours in pitching copywriting agencies. And with success!

Pitching agencies

I’ve sent an open application to 8 agencies, and 3 of them responded positively. For one of these, I started working immediately. However, they pay fairly low, so we’ll have to see if this will be worth it.

I need to add here, that pitching for Dutch companies is very different from pitching to US-based companies. In the Netherlands, there is less competition. If I’ve understood correctly, on average, a freelance writer in the US needs to send a dozen or hundred pitches before getting a positive response.

Critical questions from clients

The hardest thing about last month was that I received a few very critical questions from two different clients. I had delivered high-quality work, as always, and I felt confident about the result. However, they were very dissatisfied, and it was a major shock for me. I’m honest with you; I felt ashamed, and I was a complete mess for a few days.

After getting into the details, it turned out better than expected, though. For one client, I could explain my reasoning thoroughly, and they agreed then. The other one, it seemed, was just giving me normal feedback that’s part of the standard correction round, but they communicated it very harsh. And I’m a softy.

This was tough for a few days, but I’ve learned a lot from it!

So, let’s get to the numbers!

Expenses

I didn’t have any expenses related to freelance writing.

Income

I had five assignments last month: two through Upwork and three from other clients. One of these Upwork clients has a lot of work for me. I have a high paying job for March as well, so this is great. The other clients are recurring jobs, so that’s even better.

My freelance writing income for February 2017 is €940

In January 2017, this was €1106.

This income is VAT excluded, but I have not yet deducted income taxes. I have no clue how much I’ll earn this year, but I keep 36,55% (the tax percentage for the lowest earnings in the Netherlands) aside for taxes.

Time spent

In February, I worked a total of 136 hours:

The label ‘Other’ is a few hours of administration, updating a Facebook group for Dutch digital nomads, and 45 minutes spent on my website HuisoppasEuropa (see below).

As you can see, I’ve spent around 48.5 hours on freelance jobs. As a comparison: 38 in December and 68 hours in January. Here’s the breakdown for February:

  • 5.5 hours of sending proposals on Upwork
  • 5 hours pitching for agencies and applying for other freelance jobs
  • 38 billable hours

With 48.5 hours spend on freelance writing, my hourly fee is €19.38

Last month, my hourly fee was €16.26, so this is an increase of €3.12, and that was exactly my target. So I didn’t reach my goal of €1000 per month, but I did increase my average per hour ánd got some interesting prospects of new recurring clients.

Niche blogging results of February 2017

I have four websites – you find more details here. As you’ll see in this paragraph, I’ve made a few bucks, but it is not much. However, I’m taking serious steps to start earning more soon.

Expenses

I’ve had my usual monthly costs (hosting and such), but I also started investing. Scary, but I think it’s necessary if I want to earn with my blogs.

  • Grammarly Premium €6,75
  • SBBI Mastermind group €92,82
  • Domain name registration and hosting €17
  • Subscription KeySearch €9

Total costs: €115,57

SBBI Mastermind Group

In February, I entered Carol Tice’s Small Blog Big Income Mastermind Group. I know I have a great niche with this blog, I just don’t know how to monetize it. The last couple of years, I’ve learned a lot about blogging and monetizing, but it seems I just can’t get it right. Also, blogging for a Dutch audience is entirely different, so I was in need of a little (I mean, a lot!) guidance about US-focused blogging.

I’ve only been part of the Mastermind for a few weeks, but I already learned a ton. As you might have noticed, I changed a bit of my layout. But the biggest thing is the ebook I now offer for new subscribers. Making a freebie had been on my to-do list for months, and now, I prioritized it because of the Mastermind. Big win!

Income and time spent

1. Huisoppas Europa

My husband is working hard on a new database system so there will be more news about this website next month. I’ve only spent 45 minutes on it to fix a few small things.

2. Europe Family Camping

Not my priority at the moment, so it has to wait a few more months.

3. Samen de Wereld Ontdekken

I published a new blog post every week and participated in a collab post. I also entered a Facebook group for Dutch travel bloggers to get more interaction. It is also a lot of fun to be active in this group!

 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017
DA (MOZ) 13 13 15
Hours spend  42  23 23,5
Page views  2295  3505 2761
Income €0  €10.25 €37.19
Twitter followers 323  411
Pinterest followers  34  34
Facebook followers  401 413 428
Instagram followers unknown  243
Email list subscribers  169  169 168

Social media

Making a few decisions about social media was on my goal list for this month, and I did: I decided to stop with Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram for this website. It will save me tons of time! In my next income report, I’ll delete these rows from the table.

Affiliate program

I earned €37.19 with the bol.com affiliate program. It’s not much, but I don’t put many efforts in expanding this income, so I’m happy with it.

Also, as mentioned in my previous income report, I noticed some malfunctioning in an intermediary program I used for other affiliate programs. It was on my to-do list to transfer these, and I finally did. I was very reluctant to do this, dreading it for ages, and once I sat down and started fixing it, I finished it only two hours or so.

Email subscribers

I send a monthly newsletter to my subs, but I have no idea if people actually like it. I need to start thinking about what to do with it. I’ll put it on my goal list for next month.

4. Digital Nomad with Kids

I wanted to prioritize this website in February because of the Mastermind group, so I’ve put extra time in making a freebie and setting up sign up boxes. It isn’t showing yet, but it will, I think, I hope…

 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017
DA (MOZ) 13 13 13
Hours spend  11  30 58
Page views  281  665 1017
Income  €0  €0 €0
Twitter followers  1249  1505 1935
Pinterest followers 77 78 86
Facebook followers 29  37 46
Instagram followers +/- 30 107 155
Email list subscribers  2 2 4

Social media

Surprisingly, Facebook now gives me the same number of visitors as Twitter, and I only shared two blogs and some Instagram pictures on my Facebook page. I need to expand Facebook, that’s for sure.

Goals of March 2017

These are my goals for next month:

  • Maintain a freelance writing income of €1000 per month. And I hope to increase my hourly fee a bit too, or at least keep it at the current level.
  • Continue pitching agencies and freelance jobs twice a week.
  • Write weekly blog posts for Samen de Wereld Ontdekken and Digital Nomad with Kids.
  • Put all of Carol Tice’s advice from the SBBI Mastermind into practice (which is a lot of work!)
  • Get 100 email subscribers for Digital Nomad with Kids. This was on my goals list for January. Now that I got my freebie online, let’s see if I can get those 100 subs 🙂
  • Put more effort into Facebook for Digital Nomad with Kids
  • Read Sharon’s book ‘How to make money from blogging’ (from DigitalNomadWannabe)
  • Decide what to do with the email subscribers of Samen de Wereld Ontdekken. Sending emails in Dutch is very different from the email marketing strategy that is common for bloggers in the US, so I need to think this through.
  • Set up a new website for the company of my husband and me. More about this in my next income report 🙂

Conclusion

Although my monthly income decreased, I’m happy with the average hourly increase. It’s all about prioritizing. I can put more hours in freelance writing and easily increase my monthly income. But for now, I choose to put some extra time and energy in monetizing this blog.

How was your month? Got some nice results? And what are your goals for March?


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