I’m pleased to share with you my fourth income report for August after the great response to my first income reports in May,June and July.
I include how much money and time I am spending on my two businesses. Along with goals and the tasks I have done to increase my income.
My first post ‘How much money I have, make and need’ really dug deep into my current financials, expenses, living situation and general circumstances. So if you haven’t read that yet, it’s a good place to get acquainted with me!
How I spent my time this month:
After writing my July Income Report I have to admit, I felt a bit overwhelmed. It had been a hard month both emotionally and financially. I knew that I needed to change my work habits this month. As they say when you get a flight ‘Put your Oxygen Mask on first’. I needed to start looking after my health and stop trying to do so much.
Closing the Stag and Raven shop in the City Centre was a great decision, especially as I was away a lot of August working on projects for betternotstop.
I had a pretty busy month, giving my first workshop of the year with Bumble Biz. Then travelled to the Wirral to celebrate the Tough Girl Tribe Podcast birthday party (you can listen to my interviews with Sarah here), down to London for the Adventure Travel Film Festival as well as visiting Family in Brighton and Suffolk.
I spent two weeks of the month away travelling about with minimum work getting down between events and family stuff. Looking back on my previous income reviews I’ve noticed that when I am travelling I REALLY struggle to get any work done, so as a result have cancelled several upcoming trips this year to focus on work. Apart from a trip to Romania in September, I will be focusing on spending my time in Manchester.
Have a look at how I spent my time in August, and let me know what you think in the comments below!
I ran my first paid workshop ‘How to Humanise your Business’ for Bumble Bizz, and got some fantastic feedback which has given me the confidence to approach more businesses about putting on events this year and next year. I also volunteered at the amazing Adventure Travel Film festival. Both of these events had a common theme – which is my belief that human connection is what will build your business and brand.
From attending the festival I met some wonderfully inspiring people, a few of whom I have contacted about interviewing for this website. Volunteering at the festival saved me around £90, and staying with my cousin in London meant my accommodation was free. I also met several people I may be partnering with on work projects in the new year which was exciting. I really recommend trying to get to a UK Adventure Festival (Click the link for my comprehensive guide). Like many of these events I attend, I wasn’t the only person who arrived alone and everyone was SUPER FRIENDLY.
- 5 Hours in Meetings
- 1 Day celebrating the Tough Girl Podcast Birthday Party!
- 3 Days at the Adventure Travel Film Festival
- 2 Days working on and delivering my Bumble Bizz Workshop
- 1 Lunch Meeting with Travel Massive about putting on events in Manchester
- 1 Lunch / Evening Meeting with two Travel Bloggers I met in Czech Republic about putting on upcoming events
- 8 Hours on Emails
- 6 Hours working on Event planning
- 5 Hours on socials
- 5 Hours on Newsletters
- 6 Hours on Marketing work
- TOTAL: 11 Days (8 Hour days)
Like last month, my focus has not been on Article writing or promoting the site, rather working on the building blocks of event work.
- 2006 Page Views per month (last month was 254!) Alistair Humphreys shared my Ultimate Comprehensive Calender to UK Festivals and Events with his newsletter Subscribers which gave me a spike in Traffic. I have also been regularly posting in Facebook groups which I think has increased my organic reach.
- 5136 followers across social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest) I gained 213 followers (compared to 144 last month) which geared me up to improve my postings.
- 251 Newsletter Subscribers (153 newbies, must be from the Alastair mention!)
- 3 Patreons. I am aware that my offering to Patreons is not huge yet so massively appreciate this support.
- $12.00 from Patreon – you can read my article on Patreon here
- £0 Affiliate income
- £70 Product income (Bumble Bizz Workshop)
- £10 Hosting & Domain (Read ‘How To Start a Blog’ Here)
- £23 Convert Kit Email List Manager
- £6 Gmail Email Manager
- £7 We Blog North Membership
- £15 Protect My Bubble Work Insurance for Computer and iPhone
- £28 Coschedule Account
If you have any questions about my income or expenses, please comment below and I’ll be happy to answer you.
betternotstop September plan
My plan for the upcoming month is to do the following:
Creating more valuable content
Creating good content takes TIME. I will be focusing on continuing my weekly newsletter and publishing weekly articles on Minimalism, Wellbeing, and Work. You can sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of this post.
I want to continue to post my income reports and try and do more articles to add to the site this month as well. I also want to build engagement across the betternotstop facebook group and social media pages, so that people get more value from following me!
Start free Coffee Mornings, Sell out my Talk and plan more Workshops
I have my first paid for event at the Royal Exchange in Manchester on Thursday 20th September – Flourish: Plan for Success. It is both a talk and a networking event for Creatives, something I am really passionate about so I am super excited to promote it and hopefully create a really worthwhile monthly event for people in and around Manchester.
Working on an indie business can often be lonely, so I am also starting up free weekly coffee mornings in the City Centre for other small business owners.
In addition to these, I want to plan out some more events for the rest of the year, as well as plan a schedule for 2019.
Increase my social reach to 5,500 per month.
Increasing my engagement in the many facebook groups and on social media I am part of. I understand a lot of people may follow me on Facebook and Instagram, so the reach of followers is not very specific on how many different individuals there are. I would like to see a natural growth in the engagement and reach I have with people that I talk to online. There is no point having 1 million followers if no one is talking to you! I want to work on speaking to more people and getting more feedback from my Facebook group and Instagram account.
Stag and Raven
Stag and Raven had a bit of a rough month in August. I was struggling with cash flow issues, so while I was at the Adventure Travel Festival I announced a 50% off sale across all products online to give the business a bit of a cash injection. In some instances, on specific products this meant I made a loss but it was important for me to stick my neck out and try and get enough money to keep the business solvent.
I also did one outdoor Market which I did not feel was a huge success. It cost me £45 to attend, and as Phil was away I had to spend £15 on cabs. I only made £120 income, and not factoring in the time spent getting ready and attending the event I only made £40. Not great! My plan in August was to book onto more events which I have, but I am not sure markets will be the right audience for me.
- 30 Hours to do lists, organising my time (usually an hour a day)
- 12 Hours on Social Media.
- 15 Hours on general emails
- 8 Hours on general Marketing work
- 10 Hours at the Great Northern Makers Market
- 2 Hours on accounts
- 2 Hours on Advertising
- 4 Hours on Supplier Management.
- TOTAL: 10 Days (8 Hour days)
My stats are now:
- 1675 Online Visitors – up over 800. I think I suffered an initial drop last month as I no longer get traffic from the Afflecks site, but I did much more email marketing this month which helped with people visiting the store.
- 8941 8755 followers across social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest) up 180 followers, this isn’t as much as last month so I need to work more on engagement and increasing these more.
- 560 Newsletter Subscribers – up 100, mostly due to the promotion around the sale.
- £1638 (when last month online was £262!) I think is great – but high due to the 50% off Sale and an outpouring of support from existing followers and Customers. I don’t expect this next month but I am completely overwhelmed with happiness!
The business costs are around £2-3k monthly costs (with a £4,500 outstanding loan and £900 Investment) which I will break down further next month.
This month was the first month without a shop front in two years, so I was really happy with the income from online. I need to look at growing this and also seeing how I can reduce the business costs further. The £600 wage I need is really my personal survival budget!
Stag & Raven September plan
Create Sales to £1,500
This was my goal last month and I managed it! I want to keep up this momentum next month. But through a sustainable model and not by having to do a 50% off offer!
Finish expanding my Sales Channels
I started building my Etsy store in August and want to make sure it is completely set up by the end of September. Also, I need to make sure my Wayfair store is finished and Live and also get the Amazon Store in place before I go away at the end of the month. I had planned to create a wholesale catalogue in August, which didn’t happen so I need to complete that this month and send it out.
Finish Product Planning for 2018 / 2019
Dare I say…. Christmas!!! I need to finish putting together my planning for my Christmas Product range. I also need to I plan on how to introduce new items in the new year. Creating a bit more structure around how I market the business will definitely help me feel more in control.
I paid myself £600 this month which went on household bills and betternotstop expenses. I also decided to get a personal loan. This was not taken lightly. I have decided that I really need to be increasing the income of both businesses by Christmas. Or I will be forced to make some tough decisions. My concern is not about what I could be doing, but making sure I am doing the right thing. (The old idea of getting shit done, but the right shit done!). Also, you may have noticed the income/expenses for both businesses are not adding up, so I decided to get a loan to put into the business just to help me over the next few months.
After what felt like a very dramatic July, I closed the Shop that Stag and Raven has had for two years. I also had to take the big step of getting a loan to help me bridge the gap in the accounts. I was struggling making it work for both businesses while I build them up.
The learnings I had got from July was ‘ask for help’ and August was more ‘sit back, and reflect’. It was a month in which I really slowed down and took a lot of time planning ahead. Not just for the coming months but really at an overall five-year plan on what I want to be doing.
As I said last month, July taught me that I needed to start making smarter decisions on the projects I work on, as well as making sure that my time is spent doing more of what I love.
I’m excited to meet more indie business owners this month through my free meetups. I will also be attending some Etsy meetups, and events in and around Manchester. If you are in the area, I tend to share where I am going on my social media channels or just get in touch if you want to meet up! I have also joined an accountability group online, which I pay for monthly which I am hoping will be another tool that I can use to grow my businesses.
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Also published on Medium.