It’s officially full-disclosure 2014! Not only will I be breaking down how I spend my working hours each month, I’m also going to share exactly how much I earn from my creative business.
This idea took shape for me last month when I was reading a book that shared the salaries of other creative business owners like myself. I quickly realized that when it comes to earning money online, we can easily jump to conclusions based on the little information we receive from those around us.
For instance, I was reading an article about another creative business owner (she does work similar to what I do here on Marketing Creativity) who stated that she was bringing home more than six figures each year.
I took the article directly to my husband for a pow-wow. I presented him with the evidence, and then I asked him, “How? How is she doing that? I don’t understand. Our businesses seem parallel, but hers makes four times as much? Where’s that income coming from? And for what products or services?”
Please don’t get me wrong. If you’re making an enormous amount of money each year, I wish you much continued success. Yes please, that’s for me! Competitively speaking, I always think abundance. That said, the numbers baffled me and I simply wanted to understand them better.
To this my husband replied, “Just because she tells everyone she makes that amount doesn’t mean she does. You could easily say the same thing, and nobody would question it.” By the way, he’s the best sounding board on Earth, and I’m so grateful for all his patience with this gigantic online world that, to him, exists only during our conversations.
I considered what my husband said. I talk openly about money, and I suppose I could pluck a number out of the air and say I made it every year. In fact, that’s pretty much all I’d need to do to get featured in books and magazine articles stating as much.
But that’s not the reason I’m here. The best article I’ve written so far this year was the “How to Turn Your Hobby into a Side Business” series I started for the Creative Mama blog. It brought me back to WHY I started The Energy Shop four years ago: I wanted to live an inspired life and contribute to my family’s income, but I also wanted to maintain my presence at home and continue to be there for them.
Before the Energy Shop, it never occurred to me that I could build my own work-at-home business with as little as $100 worth of supplies. But, that’s exactly what happened. And each month, I supplement the family’s income with my creative business earnings. That’s pretty amazing.
Therefore, I’m going to talk real numbers, all year. I decided to do something radically opposite than announcing my big salary – made up or not. In 2010, my biggest goal was to be a work-at-home Mom. I’ve achieved it, and I want to be completely transparent about the details.
I don’t know what you’re going to think about my income, and that scares me. But if there’s anybody out there who can relate – maybe you’re a stay-at-home Mom looking to make a little extra money, maybe you feel left behind by the workforce, or maybe you’re just plain scared to put your talents out into the world – here’s some proof that the reward is well worth the risks.
I’m going to share with you exactly how much I make and list the ways in which I make it. Here goes!
In January 2014, I earned a net income of: $2,141.11
I start almost every discussion on money or building a rewarding creative business with full disclosure that I believe a multi-faceted business is a must. Therefore, in each monthly report, I’m going to list the source of my income from highest- to lowest-paying for that period. January’s sources of income were:
- Energy Shop Jewelry (screen-clipping above)
- My part-time work as Create Hype’s editor
- Marketing Creativity’s Etsy shop, books and programs
- Build a Better Creative Business course + workshops
Creative Business vs. Traditional Workplace
This topic is timely. I’ve been thinking a lot about my online business these last few months. I’m sad to realize all the times I’ve wanted to quit it. I’m sorry that I haven’t always recognized all that it adds to my life; all that it provides.
Last year, I moved home to Virginia from New Zealand. It was a huge transition, and the shake-up of it all had me questioning my professional direction. I came home to a new mortgage and, as my family grows, so do my bills! A creative business adds a lot of benefits to my life, but a steady + reliable paycheck is not one of them. I spent several months asking myself: is what I’m doing worth it? Should I just go out and get a regular job?
In the next twelve months, I’ll be able to prove to myself that everything I’ve built is well beyond worth it. I’ve been out of the traditional workforce for twelve years. I quit my job when my first daughter was born, and I’ve never looked back. In the years in between, we had three more children. But now, they’re all in school.
After I carefully calculated my working hours this month, I did some math. First off, minimum wage in my state is $7.25 per hour. Let’s say I went out looking and landed a really good job, doubling minimum wage at $14.50 per hour. Let’s even say that this job offered me flexible hours so that I was only ever working while my children were in school (35 hours per week).
Here’s what I make now …
$2,141.11 (January earnings after expenses and taxes) / 76 hours = $28.17 per hour
That’s roughly $563.45 per 20-hour, work-at-home week (after taxes)
Vs. what I might make in the traditional workplace …
$14.50 x 35 hours = $507.50 per 35-hour week at a traditional job (before taxes)
For an estimated total of $1872 per month (after taxes)
Bear in mind, that’s just a wage calculation. In my county, we had several days of canceled school in January alone. What would I have done had I had a traditional job? Hired a babysitter? Called off work? I can’t know how any of that would affect my salary. How would I handle the children’s two-week spring break, let alone summer vacation? I have no idea!
Thanks to the Energy Shop and Marketing Creativity (and to you for sharing these endeavors with me!), I’ve been a work-at-home Mom for nearly four years. I’m looking forward to full disclosure in 2014; I want you to see all that your own creative business can provide!