A reader asked me to share about the specifics of my finances, ie: “How do you make money with your business?”
So! Let’s talk specifics about where I make money and how much of my income comes from category.
What I Do
First, a little background in case you’re new here/I’m a stranger:
I work from home, primarily as website creator – I design and develop a web presence for a variety of wonderful small businesses and nonprofits like post-graduate volunteer programs and addictions recovery centers, solopreneurs like copywriters and authors, or blogs for business-minded bloggers who want to uplevel their website.
I do a few other things as well, like blogging (hi!) and various tasks related to design and development. I’ll run through each item and explain what it is.
I (perhaps obsessively) record the time I spend doing everything, so it gives me an idea of how much time I spend in a year working on different projects, how much money I’ve made overall, and how much per hour I make for each kind of job as a result.
I don’t believe I’ve ever had a pie chart on my blog before, so HERE YOU ARE:
2014 Income Streams by Type
Let’s talk about these various categories.
Website Creation | Design + Development
The majority of my clients are one-time clients that I receive through referrals because they need a web presence. These clients originally came from people I knew online or who read my blog and sent their friends or family my way when their business needed a site. Now pretty much everyone is referred by a past client.
I make most of my money through website designs. I make my highest price per hour on website designs. I love doing website designs and keep getting better and better at the strategy and information organization aspect of them. I plan on sticking with this for some time!
Ad Graphic Design for Local Business
I make some money from graphic design work on a recurring basis – a local business hired me to do 5-20 hours a month on their ad graphics.
It’s at a lower rate than any other work, but I recently increased my hourly rate with them, so that should help.
I make some money from doing development work as a sub-contractor. The designer sends me a Photoshop file and I turn it into a living, breathing website.
I really like the work as it’s fun to problem solve, but it’s also tricky to develop for someone else’s design. (I usually do it all myself from start to finish, which makes it easier.)
Miscellanious Graphic Design
Though most of my work is covered above, there are special projects I’ll take on for clients like a sales page or an ebook which doesn’t quite fit into the full website category.
Sometimes past clients want to update their website and don’t want to do it themselves, so they hire me.
I don’t make much money blogging, but it does make it worth the time I take away from work and my family. I know blogging for profit makes some people cringe. I never want to be a professional blogger, so making 5-figures a year works for me. ;) It actually drives lots of my referrals for the design work, as well, so I consider it apart of how I make money online – even though it’s not much!
I do very few sponsored posts. I try to only take on brands that I feel enthusiastic about. The litmus test is: would I write about this without being paid? Do I think this fits in with what I like to blog about? Is this something readers would like? If yes to all, then I’ll take it. I’ve never taken on a sponsored post that hasn’t been something I’m excited about – I usually feel like I’m winning because I’m getting paid to do something I’d want to do anyway.
I’ve gone back and forth over the years taking ads off and putting them back on. Right now, things are tight (ie: we could use any extra money we can get!), so I have some ads in my sidebar. I hope they aren’t too annoying.
I make a little bit of money from affiliate links like Amazon and Bluehost. How that works is whenever someone purchases things on Amazon after clicking a link I have to Amazon, I get, like, 6% of their purchase. It’s not a huge source of revenue, but I like being able to get a little back for things that I’m a fan of anyway.
This works best with posts that seem to be popular on Pinterest, like how to cold brew iced coffee in a French press, my tutorial birthday guestbooks with blocks, and how I learned to stop being a slob.
The cool part is I can see how many people have purchased something I recommended. For example, 50 people have purchased the Joy of Less this year so far after visiting my blog!
I’ll never create a post full of affiliate links for the sole purpose of getting some money. I want my readers to trust my recommendations. I never ever ever want to come off as spammy or insincere.
Number Crunching for More Money
So, that’s where all the money comes from. Together it equals a decent salary for a part-time work-from-home mom. But how do I decide where to spend my time? What kinds of projects I should take on? Where my time is best spent?
The pie chart above showed what makes me the most money by category, but when I calculate it by dollars per hour of work, it shakes out a little differently:
2014 Little Leaf Earnings per hour
I can see what gets me the biggest buck for my time, and, combined with deciding what I really love to do, I can make decisions about how to spend my limited work time.
That’s why I love number crunching – it helps me to see things about my business that I wouldn’t have realized otherwise.
(I know not many of you are interested in blog posts about business or business money stuff, but for those of you that do, I love to answer questions in the comments!)