So this is a weird and timely post, as people are learning that their Craftsy stores are being shut down or being reduced. I personally had one single pattern on Craftsy, and made a total of $33 from it, so it had no impact on my bottom line, but I understand that many businesses used it as their sole online ecommerce solution. Sadly, as my one friend puts it, “Free is not a business model”, so when Craftsy offers free listings and takes no cut of the sales it made, you had to know that was not a long term solution. So, I was planning this post anyway, but I also want to say to any of you who are devastated by Craftsy’s news and thinking about doing this as a bigger, more full time business…. You can do it.
I realized we are here at the end of a first full year of solopreneurship. I have run my business alongside my full time job until March 2017. Even last year I worked for the first three months so it was not a full year of going solo. To be honest, these numbers surprised me, but then they really didn’t… here goes.
My income was up 84% this year. Yep. You read that right. Up 84%. If you looked at my travel miles for the year you know that I put in a ton of mileage on the ground and air to make this a reality. What does that Income really look like? It’s $5K shy of my full time salary when I worked.
However, that is not my “take home” pay like it was when I worked. It’s the gross income, out of which my business expenses must be deducted. My expenses were also up. Significantly up. 180% up. Most of that is travel expenses, and launching new products this year that I didn’t have before.
That margin, between the blue and orange, is what I must live off of. And it’s NOT my old salary. Far from it.
Here are the various ways I make money. Reimbursed expenses, meaning the expenses I have when traveling or teaching on behalf of someone else, helps offset some of the expenses, which are significant with that much travel. But I continue to make the bulk of my income teaching and the ancillary sales that come from teaching.
This chart of my expenses is monstrous, but really, it’s the travel expenses that ate up most of my budget. There were travel things I did this year that were not reimbursed, and so those made the expenses groan quite a bit. However, this is fairly in line with last year’s expenses, and in line with a previous chart I showed you in 2016.
I taught a class in Houston this year about making your side hustle your full time job, and teaching my students all of the planning I did before I made this jump. This included going to two separate financial planners with my business plan and asking if I could “make it” on my own, or should I be looking for other full time employment. The answer from both was that I could make it…IF I stuck to the plan. Last year, It took me some time to get my feet under me PLUS I started a new business (Sew Much Cosplay). This year, I had a much better handle on the new business, which is now incorporated into my larger corporation, so you see it included in these charts. BUT… I did not implement all of the aspects of the business plan yet. So I see this as these numbers staying the same or increasing slightly next year, if I can get a handle on the crazy expenses.
I’m not going to lie to you and say this year was easy. It had some very dark moments when I thought I wasn’t going to make it. There were a few close calls when the bank account and the incoming checks I expected didn’t meet up the way they should have and I was feeling pretty “broke”. BUT… I traveled over 29,000 miles. I launched new products. I taught in new venues. I increased every aspect of the business. In other words, I HUSTLED. HARD. And I increased my income 82%.
I used to work hard on someone else’s behalf, and I love doing this and love working hard for myself. Do I see areas for improvement? You bet. It’s totally surmountable. Hustle on, business friends!
PS. be sure to visit the other bloggers who are part of the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge this year! They are so amazing!