The One Year Income Challenge | Fear of Success

I’ve been in denial. I have told myself over and over again that this is just a side hustle. I don’t really want to make a full-time income from this. I’m okay with just a little extra money.

I’ve been holding back. Sabotaging myself. Short-changing my own business. The truth is, I’m afraid of this site becoming too big. I worry about how I will handle taxes when I make more than my expenses (stupid, I know). I worry about the people I’ll let down if I grow and don’t meet their standards. I’m afraid of success.

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The Challenge

This year is an important one for me and my husband. We’re turning 25 this year. We’re working on our debt snowball (more on this later). We’re planning to start a family within the next few years. We’re figuring out what we want to do with the rest of our lives. This year is a very important stepping stone for where we will be going in the next 5, 10 and even 20 years. And we want to be really intentional about how solid the next few stones are.

That’s why I’m starting this little challenge for myself, and I’m blogging about it publicly so that you can follow along too. Maybe this will inspire you or maybe you’re just curious - either way, this is the one year challenge.

The challenge is to hit my income goal by the end of this year, and if I don’t hit it, I will officially retire my business and use the blog solely as a hobby (and spend less than $300/yr on it). That’s basically enough to pay for the domain name and website.

The Goal

I’m about to set a goal for myself and to be honest, my fingers are lingering on the keyboard as I get ready to type out some numbers that I truly have thought to be impossible. But big goals will push me. Big goals scare me. Big goals mean big success. So I have to set them.

My monthly income goal by December 2018 is $5081.

This is gross income. I have pretty minimal business expenses right now (and I'll break them down for you in a moment). $5081 per month might not seem that big to you, or maybe it sounds massive. Either way, I picked this number for a very specific reason. I plan to save 35% of the gross income and after my current expense that leaves me with $3000.16 in profit, which replaces my current monthly income at all three of my day jobs. 

To put this all in perspective, over the last few months I've only been making around $500 monthly from this business. That leaves very little room for improving my business or my personal finances.

I love my jobs - I don’t want to quit them, but I know I will need to take some time off once we have kids and an extra $100 per month won't do much for us. We also have a pretty large amount of debt to pay off over the next three years and if I can bump that down to one year, that would change our lives forever (seriously). 

The Budget

So, once I got this idea in my head, the first thing I did was lay out a plan. Honestly, the first income goal I typed out was $1000 and even that scared me. I've hit that before but never consistently enough to say "hey I make $1000 every month". Here is my monthly budget for 2018.

Expenses

  • Squarespace ($144 per year) - $12/mo
  • PO Box ($90 per year) - $7.50/mo
  • Domain Names ($24 per year) - $2/mo
  • Tailwind ($120 per year) - $10/mo
  • Google Suite - $10/mo
  • LinkTree - $6/mo
  • Adobe CC - $19.99/mo
  • Virtual Assistant Contracts - $225/mo
  • MailerLite - $10/mo

Income Goal: $5081.00/mo
Total Expenses: $302.49/mo
10% Business Savings: $508.10/mo
25% Tax Savings: $1270.25/mo
Income - Expenses - Savings = $3000.16/mo

So, those numbers look great. And when I laid it all out like this, I was like “heck yeah! I can totally do that!” - but then I was like “wait, how do I make $5081 per month???”. This is where the hard part came in.

The Income

The first thing I did was write out a list of all the ways I currently earn an income online. The list was pretty long so I simplified it into 5 categories:

1. eCourse Sales (and ConradHub Memberships)
2. YouTube Ad Revenue
3. Affiliate Income
4. eCommerce Sales (my digital products)
5. Client Services (one on one work)

Currently, none of these categories are earning much income, especially since I have a hard time focusing on just one thing at a time. Oops. But once I realized how many different revenue streams I actually had in place (and how many were passive income opportunities) I knew I needed to make one more list.

How to earn more income from these streams

This list ended up being pretty extensive and very specific to my own business, so to help you out and save you the boredom of reading my personal list, I made a generic version that could help any business similar to my own:

  • Post Content Consistently (Videos, Blog Posts and Newsletters) - get on a schedule and stick to it so your audience knows what to expect and when to expect it.
  • Get on a written business budget - figure out what your expenses are if there’s anything you can cut back on or purchase yearly to save money.
  • Boost the SEO keywords of old but popular content
  • Add affiliate links, opt-ins and links to my own products in old content (where ever it’s relevant).
  • Focus on work that increases income, leave the admin tasks for your VA (or hire one if you don’t have one yet).
  • Utilize the tools you already have to optimize your blog posts, social media content and sales funnel. Stop paying for tools and resources you’re not using well.
  • Schedule three hours every week to work on a product, course or service that you’re offering. Improve it, add new content to it or work on it. Make time to earn money.

Sticking to the challenge

I wrote this post up in Evernote, mostly because it’s where I fleshed out my budget and goals but partially because I was afraid to put it into Squarespace right away. I’m afraid that once this post goes live, I’ll be moving into a glass house. People will hold me accountable. Followers will want updates. And worst of all, if I don’t hit my goal, that’s a big fat belly flop at a very busy pool party. 

This analogy is all over the place.

Point is - I’m terrified to make this happen, but that’s the whole reason I’m doing this.

I’ve got big plans for my life and none of them involve being in debt or wishing I had really given my business a fair shot. I’m stepping into my fear and I hope you’ll do it with me.

Over the next year, I’ll be posting monthly income reports. They will be on some random days since I will be posting my regular content on Friday mornings, and they might not always be on the last day of the month since I know I’ll be a bit behind on tracking all of this. But I will be honest and transparent with you guys. You’re going to know exactly where I’m at in this challenge.

At the end of the year, you’ll be able to cheer along with me or act like you never saw this post (because that’s super awkward and you should probably think of some words of encouragement but that’s just weird so you don’t say anything).


I hope you’ll follow along and do this challenge with me. Set a scary goal and share your progress! Let me know in the comments if you’re going to be doing this too, let’s support each other along the way.


Nora Conrad