In the beginning of 2014, I decided to do something rather scary… BE TRANSPARENT & HONEST. I want to be an open book, but I’m scared. WHY? Because I’m still at the beginning of my journey, and the numbers are pitiful, and the failures often and obvious.
Below are the numbers, the finances, the projects, my health, and stats from SEPTEMBER 2014. This is a snapshot of what it’s like to be a self published author. A new entrepreneur. An average guy still finding his way. It isn’t designed to scare, nor glorify, merely provide the truth of right now. For all my other Monthly Income Reports, Click Here.
Many of the links in this post are affiliate ones, directing you to the products, apps, and softwares I use to create this monthly report. Don’t worry, it doesn’t cost you anything or affect your privacy, just gives me a commission if you happen to buy. Please note I use(d) everything I link to, and am picky when it comes to sharing such info.
Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, I love to tap away at the keyboard and share my words with those willing to read. However, standing out from the ever growing list of book is tough, so let’s dive into my published books, the amount of copies sold, and the kind of income a crazy pen scratcher like myself earns:
Thanks to the TICK to the TOCK Kindle Countdown, I shifted a few copies this month, although hardly a mind boggling amount. I’ll be honest, this month got the better of me, and I didn’t give the two promotions (for Tick to the Tock and The Skype Starter-Kit) the attention I should have.
It was good to sell a few paperback copies of Tick to the Tock and Beyond Parallel, as this always helps the wallet. I’m also chuffed to see One Day in September do okay for the second month running, and it gives me hope regarding perma-free books. I think I need to give a little attention to this and Tales From a Tiny Thai Table, as if they rise the Amazon Freebie Charts, good things may come from it 🙂
No new releases this month
Throughout September, I took a break from I Unlove You, and focussed on writing 20 Short Stories instead. I had hoped to write all 20 in 20 days, but this didn’t happen (like I say, it’s been a manic month). I didn’t even complete all 20 (finishing with 15), but this is okay, for I wrote these for the sake of writing.
Each short story was based on a writing prompt from THIS POST, and I truly enjoyed the entire process. It felt good to write with no end result, and free my mind for a few weeks. I’m now hard at work on I Unlove You once more, and I cannot wait to tackle the second half of the book. Good times await, kids.
As for The Successful Mistake, it’s been another fine month, with the minimum target of 150 interviews nearly complete. For the most part, I organised my notes and created the book structure, and I should be able to start writing the first draft during October. A long way to go, of course, but I’ve started to write Guest Posts, appear on Podcasts, and generally kick the PR machine into gear.
No set publication dates for either I Unlove You or The Successful Mistake, but I sense they could be rather close to one another. I’ll keep you posted.
Like I say, TICK to the TOCK and The Skype Interviewing Starter-Kit both enjoyed Kindle Countdown Deals in September, and both produced rather underwhelming results. I didn’t give them the attention they deserved, which is bad from my end, but I’ve found that success really does depend on a handful of sites/tools.
If your book gets picked by BookBub or Pixel of Ink, good things happen. If not, you rely solely on your own audience and network. I’m working on the latter at the moment, trying to involve people in the journey and form meaningful relationships, so future results may improve. However, at the moment, I rely too much on outside sources, which makes things rather tricky indeed.
The experimentations and future plans continue…
AMAZON USA (affiliate)
AMAZON UK (affiliate)
APPLE APP STORE (affiliate)
FOLLOW UP.CC (affiliate)
LAST MONTH (DIFFERENCE):
Nothing This Month
TOTAL PROFIT = £31.35
Better than recent months, but hardly a steady income stream. I’ll be honest, at the moment, my books are taking a back seat, whilst I focus on current projects, and things that will help make ends meet in the here and now. Hopefully, at some point in the not too distant future, my money woes won’t be as crazy, which means I can outsource one or two things to VAs and the like.
For instance, I’d love to hire someone to arrange, organise, and maximise my book promotions, ensuring they get the exposure they deserve. At present, I don’t have the time (or sanity) to do this properly. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m giving up or not thinking about my books. I do. Every day. I’ll continue to test and try new things, but at the moment, my attention HAS to focus elsewhere.
I’ve decided 2014 is the year I kick my speaking/workshop career into gear, and as such I’ve created four topics to build a portfolio around:
- YOUR STORY MATTERS, DAMN IT! (aimed at colleges)
- CREATE CUSTOMER LOYALTY & BANISH COMPETITORS THROUGH BRAND STORYTELLING (aimed at businesses)
- THE SECRET BEHIND THE MODERN CREATIVE, ARTIST & CHANGEMAKER (aimed at colleges)
- THE LOCAL AUTHOR WHO NEVER USED TO READ OR WRITE (aimed at primary schools)
Focus for the rest of the year is to refine these topics, gain kick-ass testimonials, and generate momentum ahead of 2015:
THE LOCAL AUTHOR WHO NEVER…
Whitehill Primary School
THE BEHIND THE SCENES:
Over the next couple of months, I’m visiting several primary schools, high schools, and colleges. I won’t go as far to say that schools are beating down the door, but response has been good in recent weeks. Once I get a few more testimonials, things should begin to take off.
I loved visiting Whitehill Primary School, too. The kids and staff were amazing, and they provide such a buzz to an ageing man like me 🙂
I’m also speaking at a conference in Loughbrough next month, so my speaking world is beginning to gain steam. Lots to do and learn, but by the end of 2015, it should be a large aspect of my daily bread.
YOUR STORY MATTERS, DAMN IT!
CREATE CUSTOMER LOYALTY & BANISH…
THE SECRET BEHIND THE MODERN…
THE LOCAL AUTHOR WHO NEVER…
TOTAL PROFIT = £150
Nothing too insane, but it’s a start. The truth is, I wouldn’t have time to dedicate too many resources to my speaking at the moment, but if I can get to 3-5 paid speaking engagements/workshops each month, I’ll be chuffed to bits. This isn’t out of the realm of possibility, either, and by January I should have a little more momentum behind me.
I may be a writer, but that doesn’t define my whole world. I also help businesses Discover, Create & Share their story, and I’m constantly meeting and greeting local businesses. However, the fine line of client work, networking events, and crafting your own projects is delicate indeed – and one I’m still toeing along each day:
CURRENT CLIENT PROJECTS:
PROJECT CODE NAME:
PROJECT HAN SOLO:
PROJECT PALPATINE (PART 1)
A collection of videos and About Page overhaul for a local community projects very close to my heart. I can’t wait to finally share this with the world
A short consultancy project on a pitch that may lead to a larger body of work
Some branding, story, and website consultancy for an up-and-coming food startup. Baby steps at the moment, but exciting times ahead.
COMPLETED THIS MONTH
- PROJECT PALPATINE (PART 1)
I’VE BEEN TO
PROJECT PALPATINE (PART 1)
TOTAL PROFIT = £300
All in all, it's been a decent month for client work, and I continue to build on a few irons in the fire. One or two have burned away, but a few new ones have taken their place. If you're a fellow solopreneur/freelancer, I'm sure you know my pain, because on the one hand, you fear none will come to fruition, which means weeks of thumb twiddling. Whereas if they all happen at once, sleep will become a distant thing of the past.
Overall, I'm optimistic and positive, and excited about what's ahead. Continue to build relationships. Continue to follow people up. Continue to help and be a nice human being. It's starting to click into place, folks.
This website is my home, and although it doesn't generate any income per se, it does offer a detailed overview of WHO I am and WHY I can help. As such I think it's important to breakdown all the ins and outs:
479 Views (+32)
1,795 Referrals (+322)
67 Referrals (-34)
82 Referrals (+14)
POPULAR BLOG POSTS:
- 50-brands-with-amazing-brand-stories-20-11 = 1,026 Views
- how-to-get-your-book-on-amazon-for-free-indefinately = 379 Views
- 50-brands-with-amazing-brand-stories-40-31 = 330 Views
- 50-brands-with-amazing-brand-stories-30-21 = 285 Views
- the-best-brand-stories-in-the-world-2013 = 268 Views
NEW BLOG POSTS:
- How To Tell Your Story: The Art Of The Start = 33 Views
- How To Prepare Yourself For Viral Fame and TV Celebrity: with Ross Kemp = 26 Views
- Turndog’s Monthly Income Report (August 2014) = 55 Views
- Conform To Yourself, Not Everyone Else: with Marianne Cantwell = 19 Views
- Visual Storytelling: How Pinterest and Instagram Help You Tell Your Story = 18 Views
- Fulfil Your Dreams By Screaming No To Fear: with Debbie Millman = 88 Views
- The Disruptive Tools I Use To Start My Client’s Brand Story = 11 Views
- How A Tiny Mistake Lead To A $500,000 Culture Shock: with Dave Kerpen = 32 Views
- An In-Depth Insight Into How I Started My Latest Novel = 4 Views
- 8 Productivity Tips I Learned Interviewing 100 Successful Entrepreneurs (GUEST POST) = 94 Referrals
PURPLE COFFEE PODCAST:
MOST POULAR SESSION
Session 18 (24 Downloads)
Session 12 (5 Downloads)
**The above Facebook stats consider a combined friend/follower count for the profile**
It's been a decent month for website traffic, and I think it's no coincidence that it aligns with my first Successful Mistake related Guest Post (on Pick The Brain). However, Google has sent much more traffic my way, which is strange indeed. I won't pretend I understand SEO or Google above the standard rate, but I figure these should be rather similar each month.
I'm not complaining, of course, but it would be nice to understand why the peaks and troughs occur. Any thoughts?
As for how I lay out the Podcast and Social Media stats, I'm taking a new approach. Rather than add every single Podcast Session, I'm fitting everything under a single Downloads Heading. It was beginning to get a little long in the tooth, and with lots more sessions to come, the issue would only get worse. It's been a decent month for the podcast, too, with some of my most popular editions yet. However, I'm not satisfied, and I do plan to take the podcast to new levels soon.
Having interviewed some inspiring podcasters in September, I'm full of exciting and dreamy dreams. I want thousands of downloads, and although I'm not sure how to go about this just yet, I intend to learn very soon 🙂
I've also taken the step to simplify my Facebook world. I mentioned this last month, and I've officially taken the Beyond Parallel, Tick to the Tock, and I Unlove You Pages down. It was beginning to be too much, and I firmly believe that less is more.
I now have my Facebook Profile (which is where all the magic happens) and the Turndog Page (which I've kept for one reason - so I can advertise on Facebook in the future). If you could create killer sponsored posts with just a Profile, I wouldn't keep the Turndog Page, either. Hopefully Facebook will change this process at some point, because I'm placing all my focus on my profile, and I encourage you to BEFRIEND ME and say hello 🙂
Like this website, EMAIL doesn't generate any income, but it does play a huge role in my journey. Overall, I try not sell via email all too much, rather use the medium to connect and share. Email is my primary tool to introduce myself to potential new clients, reach out to those I wish to interview, and talk to YOU on a regular basis. This is a snapshot of my email world:
THE MAIN NEWSLETTER:
CLICK THROUGH RATE
THE OTHER LISTS:
HOW TO BUILD AN AUTHOR HOUSE
PURPLE COFFEE PODCAST
TOTAL FOR ALL LISTS:
Towards the end of September, I cleansed my email lists, which is why there's a big drop in numbers.
It's actually been a decent month for new subscribers (especially with the Guest Post), but I wanted to get rid of anyone who hadn't opened an email since May. For one, the more subscribers I have, the more money I pay Getresponse. This is fine if these wonderful folk interact with me and keep me sane, but after a while, you gather duplicate email addresses, disinterested individuals, and emails that are no longer used.
It will be interesting to see if my Open and Click Through rates improve in October, because in theory I should be left with eager peeps eager to hear from me. Hmmmm, I guess we shall see 😉
And it's been another month of sending lots of personal emails. Between potential leads, current clients, schools, podcasters, bloggers, journalists, and friends, I've sent 20+ emails per day. A rather intense number indeed, but email continues to be my communication hub. Oh, and here's a strange little pattern I've noticed... my open rate of 35% (ish) is the same for both the personal emails I send, and my mass newsletters, too.
I find this rather interesting, and hope to get this number close to 50% in the future.
Time is a valuable entity you can never get back, and knowing how I spend my time (or as often is the case, waste it!), is a vital cog in my growth. I'm forever trying to find a balance between work, sleep, spending time with Kid Turndog, and chilling with a book in hand. The below doesn't break down my exact timetable, but it does provide a rough overview as to how productive I am:
TOTAL HOURS LOGGED
FINAL CUT PRO
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT
146 hours (+16)
14:23 hours (-3.04)
9:35 hours (-7.12)
1:43 hours (-0.43)
22:45 hours (+15.10)
11:18 hours (-2.09)
9:29 hours (+4.46)
15:39 hours (-9.15)
10:18 hours (-3.39)
7:42 hours (+2.10)
0:30 hours (-0.17)
3:05 hours (+0.05)
47 hours per week on a laptop is quite a lot, so I'm rather satisfied with my workload this month (especially considering I had quite a few meetings and events). RescueTime gave me a 78% Grade, which is 3% more than August (happy times).
I'm disappointed with my time in Scrivener, although this number should rise dramatically, considering I'm back in the I Unlove You groove, and starting to draft The Successful Mistake, too. Email once again rules the roost, and although I spend far too much time writing, reading, and planning them, they are my number one source of communication. HOWEVER, I'm excited to outsource some of these tasks one day, because imagine if I could turn that 37 hours into 10?
I could spend all those extra minutes writing and strategising, which motivates me to make money and grow, because the sooner I do, the sooner I can involve other people, spend time on things I love, and take my work to new levels.
Everything else is in line with previous months, although 13 minutes spent on my accounting software says a lot, doesn't it? I really do neglect this side of things / terrified of money and general finances. Come on Turndog, man-up and get this under control!
HEALTH & WELL BEING:
The final piece of the jigsaw is my health and wellbeing, which is arguably more important than everything else. 2014 is the year I wish to bootstrap my routine, and ensure I stay healthy, active, and on top of the stress and vigour working for yourself brings. You can't measure happiness, but you can track your daily day, which certainly plays a role if you ask me:
1.5 Hours (football)
8,164 Burned (-539)
65.3 Miles (-1.8)
0 Miles (0)
6 Hours (-2)
2 Hours (football) (-0.30)
DAYS UNDER LIMIT
DAYS OVER LIMIT
11.02 Stone (156 lbs)
37, 468 Net Colories
11.03 Stone (157 lbs) (-1)
31,764 Net Colories (+5,704)
31 Days (-1)
0 Days (+1)
- No books finished this month (I know, it's a damn disgrace!)
- Thinkertoys by Michael Mikalko (52%)
- Twenty Eight and a Half Wishes by Denise Grover Swank (30%)
- The Power of Why by C. Richard Weylman (35%)
It's not been the best month in terms of health and wellbeing. For starters, it was my birthday a few weeks ago, so I had a few naughty days, which is understandable. However, because I have such a sweet tooth, once I cave in (and devour some lovely goodies), I crave them for days on end, and ultimately give in and devour more deliciousness.
That's the main culprit for all those extra calories this month, and combined with a brief illness, and some unavoidable meetings, I didn't do as much yoga or football in September, either. Despite this, I still lost a pound, which is both surprising and good.
11 stone is my ideal weight (in my opinion), so I'm just about there. My task now is to maintain this level, and better balance my diet. It wasn't a great month in terms of Carbs and Fat content, so I have to get hold of this, otherwise I'll probably fluctuate in weight a great deal moving forward. I don't want this. I want to stay the same weight, feel healthy and light, and be fitter than I have in years.
How do I do this? Though hacking my diet and finding a balance that works for me. Plus, lots of yoga and football and running (I need to start running again). Plus healthy foods, and avoiding naughty ones. It's not that having a treat is a bad thing, but I struggle with having just one. It leads to another, and then another, and then another...
Overall, I'm low on energy at the moment, and seen as winter's my nemesis (I hate the doom and gloom weather), this lacklustre feeling is bound to get worse. A healthier Turndog is one with lots of beans, and when I have bouncing beans jumping below my skin, I get more done. I'm happier. I'm a far more productive individual.
It's time to balance the heck out of things, and become the best man I can.
TOTAL MONTHLY INCOME:
£2.99 (+ £25.42)
£6.05 (- £6.05)
£0.52 (+ £2.42)
£0 (+ £150)
£0 (+ £300)
£9.56 (+ £471.44)
£63.19 (+ £21.20)
£38.55 (- £0.39)
£26.45 (- £26.45)
£25.20 (- £4.20)
£56.74 (+ £2.95)
£13.75 (- £2.75)
£12.80 (+ £5.41)
£0 (+ £75.00)
£236.68 (+ £70.77)
TOTAL PROFIT = £173.90
I made a profit, so this has to be seen as a good month 🙂
Hardly high-five worthy, but overall it's been a good few weeks, and bright times await. Lots of hard work to do, and lots of unknowns, as well, but I'm sticking to the glass-half-full outlook, so let's be happy, folks.
My costs were rather high this month for two reasons. First of all, I bought a software bundle that saves me some money over the next few months. Second, I had to pay my accountant-buddy to do his scary number things. Even the above numbers scare the bujubus out of me, so I try leave the heavy lifting to him. He's a good guy, and saves my bacon a lot. Thank Tim.
Everything else is similar to other months, so nothing much to see here. Lots of hard work awaits, so let's get into October's plans, shall we...
SO, THE PLAN FOR OCTOBER:
Right, let's end with a few mini objectives to help keep the eye on the prize throughout October:
- CONVERT A LEAD INTO AN ACTUAL PAYING CLIENT (CLIENT BASED)
- ARRANGE AT LEAST THREE GUEST POSTS (EXPOSURE BASED)
- LOG AT LEAST 20 HOUR OF WRITING IN SCRIVENER (WRITING BASED)
- START WRITING THE FIRST DRAFT OF SUCCESSFUL MISTAKE (SUCCESSFUL MISTAKE BASED)
- COMPLETE 75% OF THE STORYTELLING STARTER-KIT 2.0 REBOOT (CONTENT MARKETING BASED)
Overall, things are beginning to take shape. I'm still to land that BIG client, but I feel closer to it than ever before. The more meetings I have, and the more people I meet, and the more often I help and say hess to opportunity... the closer it gets.
I'm not saying one client solves everything and means I've made it, but I think it'll create a snowball effect of sorts. The same applies with my speaking, so I just have to keep plugging away, revisiting opportunities, and taking small steps. By January 2016, I should be in a rather decent place.
From here, who knows what happens 🙂
The one true struggle surrounds my books, and certain things have to change. I'm not sure what they are, to be honest, but I have no intention on giving up, and considering I'm starting to Guest Post and Podcast and drive momentum towards The Successful Mistake and I Unlove You, this should benefit my existing books, too.
And there you go, folks. Another Monthly Income Report at an end. I know these reports are long, but I hope they help you in some way (if only for pure entertainment/laughing at me purposes). These Monthly Income Reports are hard to write, but I find them rather therapeutic, too. Thank you for reading, and please get in touch and let me know your thoughts. I'd love to start a convo on TWITTER or FACEBOOK.
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