January has been a great month. I took decisions, made changes, organized my work and finances better, and removed some past projects that were no longer part of my vision. All this is not just good for the mindset, discipline and business, but it’s also kind of a therapy. Tracking, reviewing, leaving things behind – all these are necessary steps to pivoting and reaching new heights.
How you’ve made your money so far is the enemy, as Gary Vee says.
It keeps you working on the same old things, which can’t help you move forward. You end up being stuck and wonder what you’re doing wrong. When it’s important to experiment, make mistakes, pivot, enter new markets, even. All that is how growth comes. It applies to both growing personally and increasing your monthly income.
So, let’s see what I did in January.
Let’s Reach Success is now the name of a company registered in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Let’s start with the fact that something I was planning for months now was successful. The registration process took place back in December, had the accountant and other details ready. Was just waiting to actually receive the business and VAT numbers so I can continue my work as usual.
I’m stricter with keeping business records now, and always ask clients for company details before I do any work for them.
New looks for the site.
Bought another premium theme from Theme Forest. The site looks differently now, there’s a new accent color too – yellow. It’s more like a magazine than ever, and the focus is still on content.
I take more time when choosing images too. Another great thing is that I increased the site’s load time right away with this theme thanks to its clean code. I share more details about it in this post.
I’m done with podcasting.
After 106 episodes of the Let’s Reach Success podcast and making this a big part of my online identity, I’m done with it. Over the last few months, I was constantly thinking about stopping this project. However, I wasn’t really sure how. Realized, though, that the bad thing about podcasting is once you stop your subscription with your host (Blubbry, in my case), your feed disappears too. They can’t keep your old episodes. That means all the traffic I was getting from iTunes would be gone too.
I tried to find a reasonable solution for that. I was determined to stop podcasting as I wasn’t enjoying it anymore and it felt more like an obligation. Also, it’s a much better return on investment for me to write quality content, search for new leads, or optimize the site.
So, what I did in the end was contact the host’s support to ask one final time whether there was a chance to keep the past episodes live. There wasn’t, so I thought I’d just upload them all on YouTube, embed the videos in the posts, and remove the audio player (which was thanks to the PowerPress plugin).
I had been doing that for most episodes in the past already, so they had the video version included in the post. So I checked which episodes don’t have it (that was around 40), downloaded the mp3 files for them from my host, and then deleted my subscription. After which, I used TunestoTube. It’s a free platform allowing you to add an image and mp3 file, description, title and tags, and turn that into a YouTube video added directly to your channel.
It took some time, but I’m glad I did it. It led to saving a few hours of my week, every week, for something that I wasn’t seeing results from for a long time now.
Did my first interview for an online event.
Anna from Woman Warrior 2018 contacted me. She told me about this event that was gonna take part in February where more than 20 women will gather to talk about their most powerful practices, how they stay focused and inspired, and what challenges they overcame. The common theme is ‘living life on your own terms’. That’s exactly what my goal is with anything I’m doing with my life, so thought it’s a good opportunity for me.
I’ve turned down similar offers up until now because I’m still not comfortable with video. As the new year started, though, and because Anna was enthusiastic about this and made me feel comfortable, I realized it’s the right moment for me to do this.
The interview was 30 minutes, during which time I didn’t stop talking. It was exactly about the things I love the most, such as how I started with my online business back in the days, how I stay productive when working from home, what my best advice is, etc. I enjoyed it and – hopefully – it can inspire some of the viewers.
It’s happening this week, actually, and my interview is on Feb 16. You can sign up for free here if you’re interested.
Set fixed rates for my services and don’t make compromises anymore.
I’ve been settling down for a long time, just like most freelancers do in the beginning. It’s easy to be underpaid in this field. You remind yourself of the fierce competition and accept lower rates, you do more work on the side to keep clients happy but don’t charge for it, etc.
Now that I have some stability and am more confident in how things are going in my work, I decided to get rid of that constant feeling that I’m undervaluing my efforts.
I set fixed minimum price for sponsored posts and I reject people all the time who can only pay something lower. As for my freelance clients, I don’t go for lower rates anymore, tell old clients openly that I have new prices now, and more. All this led to feeling safer, not allowing others to have control over my income, valuing my time more, taking myself more seriously as a writer and website owner, and saying ‘no’ more often than usual. I also see that I’m now making more from sponsored posts than I did before.
Now, let’s get to the numbers.
January Income Report
I earned a total of $2068 in January. Unfortunately, in euros that’s much less than 2000, which is my current goal.
The low value of the US dollar is indeed affecting my lifestyle, so it’s yet another one of the reasons why I raised my rates.
However, previous months I did reach my goal, and things for February are looking pretty good already. So I’m confident that I can continue making €2000 with the same efforts, while – of course – I invest time in new things that will add up to my monthly income in the future.
- Money earned from freelancing (on Upwork): $603
- Money from sponsored posts: $1425
- Ads: $32
- Books: $9
- Revenue: $580
- 2 new clients
- 11 sponsored posts
- Revenue: $783
- 8 sp. posts
- Revenue: $705
- 1 new client
- 12 sp. posts
- Blubbry (last time) €10
- New theme €42
- Business registration fee €50
- Others €19
What I Learned This Month
It takes courage not just to start new projects, but to also stop old ones.
Some people keep working on stuff just because they’ve already invested time and resources in the project. However, it’s crucial to stop at every step of the journey and check if this really is taking you where you’re headed.
If you allow it, your business can help you grow.
I often receive emails from people who offer me opportunities I would have never thought of myself. Others contact me with suggestions on what more I can do for the site, my writing, or my brand. It’s constructive feedback and I do take it into consideration.
If you become a lifestyle designer, you keep paying the price for freedom on a daily basis.
My life became much harder in many aspects after I decided to leave home, have an online business, now run it from another country and follow its regulations. That’s to live with uncertainty, deal with doubts, etc.
But all that means you’re doing something. Risky actions always go together with this. And I can say with confidence that this is the life I want. It’s worth working harder to keep it, to optimize other elements, create systems to save more time and trouble down the road, and keep relying on personal development to get me through tough times.
Goals for February
Switching hosting providers.
That’s been something I wanted to do for months now. Chose the company (WPX Hosting), contacted support a few times to discuss details, set a date, and moved it. More on that in the next income report and monthly review, as it happened in the beginning of February.
Promoting myself as a freelance writer in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
I’m location independent. And anyone who’s looking for a writer remotely, doesn’t really care where they are located. But Google does. And now that I’m living in a well-developed city, I can use the location to get some attention. The first step was to include that more times in my Upwork profile, and now people from the Netherlands do contact me more often.
Then, accidentally I was approached by someone from a popular job search site, who simply wanted me to create a banner. They included it on their search results and tagged me as a freelancer in Amsterdam. Although the work itself is the same, the way I can target clients can be slightly different.
The good thing is that Amsterdam is pretty international. Plenty of foreigners come here to start companies and are looking for English freelancers. Doesn’t matter where you come from, really. The point is to write in English and cover topics in their field. But the only way for them to find me, among so many other writers, is if I mention more often that I’m freelancing from Amsterdam.
So, next, I’ll be making changes to my Portfolio and Writing Services pages. The goal is for them to show up in the search results when people search for ‘freelance writing Amsterdam’ or similar keywords.
Focused on guest posting again.
That’s something I left behind for years, but it’s indeed a strategy to improve your online presence that is still as effective. If you’re a writer or have a business of any kind, keep reaching out to bigger publications, follow their guidelines, and offer to provide them some value. I do need to turn this into a habit again.
Pitching a few platforms per month and getting one article published successfully is a good goal to set.
Enough for reviewing January. Let’s get back to work.
Thanks for getting this far and hope you enjoyed last month’s review. Let’s see what February will bring :)