For some reason, February always tends to be a low-earning month for me.
I’m not 100% sure why this is, but I think it might be because A) it’s a short month, and B) It’s my birthday month! I think I tend to relax a little more around this time and take my foot off the gas pedal for a sec.
Here’s how my February went this year:
*Please note that the links used below are affiliate links. This means that I will earn a small percentage of any sales made through those links, at no extra cost to you.
February 2018 Income Sources
1. Virtual Services ($1803.33)
- Freelance Writing ($1,000)
- Private Practice ($803.33)
2. Recurring Revenue ($665.39)
- Functional Nutrition Library ($665.39)
3. Products ($335.45)
4. Affiliate Income ($26.04)
5. Advertising ($13.43)
- Google Adsense ($13.43)
Total Income: $2843.64
February 2018 Expenses
- FNL Affiliate Payouts: $101.50
- Thinkific: $49
- Hiscox Professional Liability Insurance: $33.33
- ConvertKit: $29
- Website Hosting with WPopt: $19.99
- Tailwind: $14.99
- Business Banking Fees: $12
- Business Email with G-Suite: $10 (2 accounts at $5 each)
- Adobe Creative Cloud: $9.99
- Dropbox: $9.99
- Website Hosting with Cloudways: $5.63
- Gift for TURD member: $5
Total Expenses: $300.42
NET INCOME: $2,543.22
Alright, so I did a LITTLE bit better this month in terms of growing my passive income.
Last month, more than 90% of my income came from work that required directly trading my time for money.
This month, it’s down to 63%. Not bad!
Most of this is due to the fact that I shut down my private practice and stopped taking on new clients. Eek!
This was such a HUGE decision, but it just felt right.
I knew that shutting off one of my major income streams would probably hurt my bottom line (and, based on my income this month, it clearly did), BUT, I also knew that it would open up my schedule for more freelance writing and blogging, and give me the time I really needed to grow my passive income streams.
Here’s the thing – I’ve gotten REALLY good at living on a shoe-string budget over the years.
Because of that, I can be really intentional about the things I spend my time on. I really just need to make around $3k/mo to survive. This gives me the ability to focus on my long-term game, not just paying the bills month-to-month.
My ultimate goal is to build a business that brings me a flexible lifestyle, not to just do anything and everything that could bring me money.
Sure, I could see clients, do freelance recipe development, freelance write, blog, do speaking engagements, run membership sites, and do online courses, but would I be able to do ALL of those things well by myself?
No, probably not.
So as my business has started to grow, I’ve had to make the choice about whether I would like to hire out to keep those income streams going, OR, cut things and keep my business lean and flexible and changing into something more passive-income focused.
I decided to go with the latter.
As 2018 has progressed, I’ve found myself cutting old income streams every time I create a new one.
- When I landed my freelance writing gig, I decided to stop seeing clients.
- As the Functional Nutrition Library grew, I stopped working on my non-revenue generating food blog.
- In 2019, when I launch The Unconventional RD Business Bootcamp, I will stop freelancing altogether.
Rather than having a MORE MORE MORE mentality, I prefer to keep things lean and follow the one-in one-out philosophy.
Part of this is because I don’t really enjoy managing people, and would rather run a small business with just a handful of employees and a very focused purpose and niche.
I’m also not very good at jumping quickly between tasks, so limiting the # of things I need to focus on helps me stay productive and focused.
Of course, this is just my outlook at the current moment, as someone who has yet to crack six-figures in their business. My perspective on this could totally change as I grow and evolve, but right now, I’m really happy with aiming for a six-figure small online business!
Everyone is different, so I always recommend listening to your intuition and building the type of business that feels right for YOU.
Alright, so let’s do a quick review of my top income sources:
1) I got paid for an article I wrote.
2) I was still seeing a few private practice clients.
So this brought me in some income this month.
3) I made over $600 on the FNL (!!)
It seems like this source of passive income just keeps growing and growing every month, and I AM HERE FOR IT!
Patience and persistence are paying off!
At this point, I had been updating the content in the library every week for 9 months, so I was happy to see that at least the site was gaining visitors and members month after month (and not losing them!)
I honestly hadn’t done ANY promotions except for posting about the library in a few Facebook groups, so I was pretty happy with a few new members trickling in every month.
4) A ton of my old clients decided to re-order supplements at the same time.
This was totally a surprise little boost in income.
As you probably know if you read these income reports, I recommend supplements to my clients through an online practitioner-only dispensary called Fullscript.
*PS – that is my affiliate link for Fullscript and there is a special deal going on right now. If you sign up for a new account AND place an order before Jan 31st, 2019, we BOTH get $50 paid to us via PayPal! (Pretty sweet, right??)
In March, a bunch of old clients decided to refill their orders in bulk, and I ended up earning a pretty big chunk of change from supplement sales.
5) I sold a few handouts on RD2RD (one of my favorite websites!)
Okay, I’m sure you know by now how obsessed I am with RD2RD.com (yes, this is my affiliate link).
It’s a website where dietitians can sell their handouts and educational materials directly to other RDs, without having to create a store on their own site!
RD2RD take a small cut of the sale in exchange for processing the payment and delivering the product to your customer, without you even having to lift a finger!
Seriously, you just get to enjoy those awesome sales notifications as they roll in 😉
Anyways, long story short, I was one of the first RDs to upload content to the site after it launched.
I had a few handouts that I had spent FOREVER making back when I saw clients in person and thought “Hey, these are literally just sitting on my hard drive, not being used, so I might as well throw them up on RD2RD and see if anyone else might find them useful!”
(In case you’re curious, you can view my handouts here.)
Well, I guess they were actually popular because I sold a few and made some extra cash! Woohoo!
6) I made some affiliate income by recommending Food Blogger Pro
Okay, I have to admit something.
When I was trying to grow my food blog, I was lightweight obsessed with Food Blogger Pro.
If you’re not aware, FBP is a kick-ass membership site for beginner food bloggers who want to learn how to grow and monetize their site.
And they for real know what they are talking about. FBP is run by Bjork Ostrom, husband to Linsday Ostrom, the force behind the popular food blog Pinch of Yum.
They’ve been blogging since, like, 2009, and have had SERIOUS success. Like, to the tune of $60k+ per month in PROFIT. No joke!
In fact, their income reports were one of the major inspirations for me creating THESE reports 🙂 That’s how inspiring I found them.
Anyways, Food Blogger Pro only opens for enrollment a few times per year, so I usually mention it in my Facebook group when it’s open (with my affiliate link, of course).
I had one person enroll through my link, so I was able to earn a little bit of affiliate income. Yee!
And yes, in case you’re curious, I was a member of FBP myself for 1 year. It really is an amazing resource & I will continue to recommend it for all new food bloggers!
The only reason I didn’t renew my membership was because I started to move away from food blogging and into other niches, so it didn’t really make sense anymore. But I still have so much love for that membership site!
For my expenses…
I paid out my highest affiliate payment ever!
Seriously! My affiliates make good money! They receive a 50% recurring commision on anyone they refer to The Functional Nutrition Library for as long as that person remains a member.
If you’re a member of the FNL (or just know people who might be interested), definitely check out my affiliate program!
I also signed up for hosting through Cloudways for the NEW FNL website 🙂
One of major 2018 business goals was to move the FNL away from ericajulson.com and onto its own website (and to make it look way prettier and professional).
In fact, I had won a $500 Zing grant in 2017 to help me do just that!
I initially thought I would be able to finish the entire redesign by March 2018, but HA, by the end of February all I had done was purchase the new domain name and sign up for hosting.
Guess that gives some truth to the recommendation to take how long you think something will take you and DOUBLE IT.
PS – If you’re wondering how I like Cloudways as my host… they’re… alright.
I signed up due to a recommendation from a tech guy in the Food Bloggers Central Facebook Group.
On the one hand, Cloudways DOES provide great (and fast) hosting, available on a month-to-month basis, BUT, you REALLY have to know what you’re doing in order to get anything done.
I spent A LOT of time learning how to use their platform since it was totally different from what I was used to on GoDaddy.
They have web-chat customer service… but honestly, that was ROUGH. I felt like the customer service agents were speaking another language back to me when describing their solutions.
Eventually, I figured everything out, BUT, I recommend using SiteGround for hosting instead! They are also very reliable and fast but actually have amazing customer service. Highly recommend!
This was actually a crazy month for me!
I made a lot of big business decisions and had quite a few changes:
1. Stopped taking on new private practice clients.
2. Accepted that I was taking a break from food blogging.
3. Committed to pursuing freelance writing more heavily.
4. Focused my passive income efforts on my membership site.
That’s a lot of change for one month, right??
I felt like a weight was lifted off of me when I realized I could let 1:1 client work go.
For some reason, 1:1 work always felt like something I “should” be doing as a dietitian, but was not something I truly loved.
Once I came to terms with that, I was able to let it go and focus on areas of business that truly DO bring me joy (like content creation!).
I felt a little bit like I was “giving up” on my food blog that I had been trying to build almost 3 years (or, really like 7 years if you count my previous blogging attempts during grad school).
There was a little bit of grieving involved with letting go of my food blog…
I knew that a lot of people had thought it was a “silly” endeavor from the start, and by shifting my focus, I felt like I was admitting defeat.
However, that was TOTALLY my ego getting all up in there and was NOT a healthy way to look at the situation.
After all, I wasn’t giving up the blog because I didn’t enjoy it or believe in my ability to grow it. I was choosing to let it go simply because other amazing things that I had created (like my membership site and this blog) were growing more rapidly and bringing me the online success that I had originally been searching for with my food blog.
I really had to let go of my expectations of online business (i.e. that I was meant to be a food blogger) and embrace the reality that I was actually in the middle of growing a successful educational membership site and naturally building a community around The Unconventional RD.
Those are AMAZING things to be proud of, and I should NOT be embarrassed or afraid to let go of something that just doesn’t fit in my life anymore.
I hope this resonates with some of you that may be in similar situations! <3
Since this was a big transitional month in my business, these income reports will also reflect that.
In the past, I shared a lot of traffic insights for ericajulson.com, BUT, since I’m moving away from that blog, these reports will shift more to highlight my success with my membership site and other ventures, like affiliate sales, etc.
Don’t worry, towards the end of 2019 I ended up launching a NEW blog (focused on nutrition articles), so we WILL get back to blogging strategies eventually 😉
Want to receive blog posts, special offers & other helpful info about passive income/entrepreneurship as a dietitian? Join my email list!
PS – If you haven’t checked it out yet, I totally recommend joining The Unconventional RD Community on Facebook, listening to my podcast & connecting with me on social media! (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
Erica Julson is a registered dietitian turned digital marketing pro. She has over 12 years of experience blogging and building online businesses and has taught over 900 wellness professionals inside her signature program, SEO Made Simple.