Sunday, 3 December 2017

Income Report: November

It's as if the scales have fallen from my eyes. Well, at least a bit anyway.

For months I've been playing at my income generation world. There's nothing wrong with taking a step backwards to go one to two steps forward. The trouble is I seem to have been going one step back, then one forward, then one back...Looking back at old blog posts this all became clear.

But I've noticed in the last few months that I've started to wake up. Baby steps, perhaps. But woken up nonetheless.

I had an interesting chat with a guy a few weeks back, who initially was a potential client but actually turned out to be simply a font of knowledge. One concept he talked about was the idea of what he called the "Strategy-Tactical-Execution" pyramid. At the very top is Strategy. This is our big long-term goal, whether that's for a career, for building a business or creating a life. The Tactical stage below that is all about doing things that support your Strategy. For example, taking a new qualification or building new business relationships are ways in which you can better position yourself for being a success at the Strategy stage.
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The trouble is a lot of us tend to get caught up in the same old, same old because it serves a purpose (e.g. gives us cash) but doesn't actually move us forward towards a greater goal. That is the Execution stage. That is the level that isn't necessarily taking us forward, beyond giving us cash, something to do, putting food on the table and so on. It's obviously a necessary step, and sometimes it feels quite substantial. But in order to get ahead, we simply have to learn how to move up the pyramid.

And that's what I'm focusing on more. The Execution level is something I've been stuck in for too long. Low level, easy cash but a "no progress" level of existence. This month, however, I've (hopefully) started to think differently. I'm back on the mindset of building stuff.

I had a windfall of a gig that I hadn't been expecting. It was similar to the consulting role I had in the summer helping out a university with resumes for its MBA program. (Not "online" in any way shape or form but I still want to highlight it because it came out of online roots). The added dynamic to it is I had to do a mini-workshop/talk.

Now, I have never seen myself as a public speaker but in the space of one month, I have done two talks - one for a university, one for a women's forum.  Both tested me and both opened my eyes up to possibilities. I also managed to get a new coaching client as a result of the forum talk as well. I've been resisting a lot over the past year and I realized it was time I woke up to this fact and took a stand.

Time to stop playing at being an entrepreneur or self-employed or freelance or whatever moniker comes to mind. Time to see how far it can take me. Things will be very slow. No doubt. But it's time to stop the excuses and get on with it!

So, how was this month?

Resume Writing: $1460. This is always an interesting one. It's a staple that has been very consistent over the last year. But in many ways it's got "Execution" tendencies. I'm trading time for money, it's got little in the way of "Tactical" qualities (beyond giving me the skills to write my ebooks and giving me deeper insight into the banking industry), and it's certainly not something I plan on doing forever. I'm not going to get rid of it just yet but I would be disappointed if I read this in a year's time and it's still making up such a large percentage of my "hustle" income.

Project: $3840. I know, I know, this is a one-off. But it's the second one-off of its ilk and was, in fact, a direct result of working with someone at the previous university. These nice bonus payments won't be a monthly occurrence, but if I play my cards right I could find myself with a few more of these with other institutions in 2018.

eBooks: $2. I've got two books out there (The Simple Guide to a Winning LinkedIn Profile and Craft a Winning Resume) but I haven't consciously marketed them in recent months so traction has been limited. The algorithm that had worked quite well for me months ago isn't playing ball any longer. But because I've got these two products primed, I need to move beyond Amazon and think about also marketing them elsewhere. That's my target in January.

Writing: $120. I haven't actually collected the money yet, and I'm still waiting for the pieces to be accepted, but I'm pretty sure my two blog posts to be used on a careers site should be fine. This was another opportunity I saw available, having looked around my local Facebook forums and followed it through. I think there's scope for more there as well. And it's a great way for me to also promote my services as well.

Dividend: $70 (can't exactly remember but it was something like that). I haven't spent enough time looking at my investments and I do plan to start trading more actively as an additional hustle (my background is in investments, though I am pretty rusty). Still, my dividend approach is still something that appeals, and with each dividend I receive, I simply reinvest it in the same stock.

Total: $5492. Thanks to the project, this was one of my best months this year. I'm not going to pretend that this will be the norm, unless I consistently get awarded bonus projects. But it's certainly a pointer in the right direction.

Other projects I've looked at have included:

Zazzle: This is the second year running I'm going to try to take advantage of the Christmas season and sell some products. Last year I achieved zilch. This year, zero. But at least I'm giving it a go.

Domains: I bought some domains a couple of years ago and haven't used them at all. I don't want to flip them, as I do see some value in their names. I reached out to another Facebook forum for ideas and someone suggested using them for affiliate marketing. To do that I would need to build some websites, or pay someone to do it for me.

And then I have a eureka moment. I already have a website sitting there, doing very little, with a few half-hearted blog posts. Why don't I turn that into an affiliate site in the meantime? Far less time, money and effort required than the other sites and it's an asset that's being wasted doing nothing. I only came up with this idea today so it's still fresh. But my goal is to gradually optimize it over the next month just in time for those "get a new job" new year resolutions (it's a resume writing site).

So that's it for now. December will be quiet as I'm essentially switching off mid-month and taking a three-week break. I may do another entry towards year end with a forward-looking bias.

Either way, November was good and certainly on the right path. It wasn't just transactional execution. There were signs of some potential long term.

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