It is that time of the year again where I lift the lid on my business and talk about how things have gone, how much money we made and all of that stuff. Here is last year's recap if you are interested. This is purely about money the business has earned, and doesn't cover my own side hustles or freelancing.
What happened in my personal life in 2019?
Before we get into the nitty gritty of the business it is important to explain some of the big things that happened in my personal life in 2019, and how it impacted my business.
We moved into a former chapel in February 2019, and I became very unhappy there. A 100+ year old building is cold all the time, it was full of damp and moisture, I couldn't see out of the frosted windows and our landlord was very nasty to us. Living there, along with some other factors, contributed to me finding myself in a deep depression – more on that later.
For the entire year we have been focused on buying a house. We started looking around April/May time and finally put in an offer in early August. We then didn't complete until the 12th December before moving in on the 17th December. We were desperate to get out of the chapel and seemed to have so many issues delaying the move.
The biggest thing that happened this year is that a close family member received a devastating diagnosis. This has completely changed the way I view my time and I view my business. Both Tony and I have become carers for this family member with very little support from others and the impact of that is that I have needed to spend less time working on my business, and instead be able to make this family member a priority.
I also found myself in a deep depression from a number of factors, and it took me a long time to recognise the symptoms. I finally realised something was wrong and visited my doctor and am now supported with taking 40mg of Citalopram.
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Happy #WorldMentalHealthDay. I don’t have anything profound to say. I didn’t want to share my struggles but I also want to stop the stigma. This year has been a shit show for my mental health, but there is help out there and people care about you. A lot. I’m working on my own journey and right now that means needing extra help. I’ve been on Citalopram for 2 months now and I cannot begin to describe the difference it has made to my life. I am so grateful to a doctor who instantly saw the signs of depression and took action, and grateful to my ‘Close Friends’ on Instagram who have taken time to check in on me and my journey to feeling better. I’m doing better. I’m not cured but I’ve been ‘discharged’ from hypnotherapy and CBT after going for a year and I have much better coping mechanisms in place. It has been a long, on-going journey and I am so grateful to everyone who talks about their mental health openly. #mentalhealth #youmatter #depression #anxiety #askforhelp #womaninbusiness #hypnotherapy #itsoktonotbeok #itsokaytonotbeokay #cbt #therapy #stopthestigma #mentalhealthawareness
This has meant that I have wanted to work on my business smarter, not harder. I focused on passive income whilst I gave up or stepped away from a lot of parts of the business to have time for my own recovery and my new carer role.
What is my business and how does it make money?
My business, Drew Media LTD, is home to a few of mine and my husband's money making ventures. They are:
- Blogging (Adverts, sponsorships, affiliate income and more)
- Coaching & teaching
- Fulfilled by Amazon
To name a few.
Over the year the business has (or I have) stopped doing:
- Monthly #MyBlogMyBusiness group membership
- eBay reselling
- Freelancing as the business
- My weekly LoveIt! column
I have also decreased my personal one-to-one coaching and YouTube.
Breakdown of 2019 income
This is what you are all here for, right? The money side of things.
I am thrilled that we reached another 6-figure year (Jan-Dec) for the business. Earlier in the year I was featured in The Sun about my website and business, where I had to send proof of income to the journalist, Helen Knapman. Helen is ex-Money Saving Expert and deputy editor of Moneywise magazine, so she did a thorough job in vetting us and the business before publishing the article.
Earning broken down by percentage of income for 2019 is:
YouTube – 0.73%
eBay – 1.18% (we sold off all of our eBay stock in January 2019)
Fulfilled by Amazon – 3.76%
Courses and coaching – 4.74%
Adverts – 6.23%
Affiliates – 34.76%
Sponsorships – 48.6%
As you can see from my business income breakdown, I have been focusing on more passive ways of making money, or things that aren't as time consuming. For example, YouTube offers me an awful return on investment on the time it takes to research video ideas, script them, film, edit them then upload them. As it happens, I fell out of love with my YouTube channel anyway. In last year's round up I had mentioned that I would re-evaluate it, and all I have been doing there recently is my monthly ‘What's Awesome in Poundland' videos.
I have also spent less time coaching one-to-one, wanting to focus on more passive income streams like adverts and affiliates.
I will most likely phase out my one-to-one coaching in 2020.
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What have I added to my income streams in 2019?
In 2019 I have added a lot of new blogs to our business. Some of them I share, like Mrs Pinch, and there are others that are anonymous or blogs I just don't talk about.
Building websites is something that I absolutely love doing, so I have been pleased to see that this has become profitable for the business and a much better financial return on my time than YouTube or one-to-one coaching.
Most of these blogs are earning an income now, either from adverts with Mediavine and or from sponsorships.
What about 2019 business costs?
I am so grateful to see my business costs going down on last year's.
In 2018 the costs were almost £20,000, but this year they were just shy of £15,000.
This accounts for some new equipment for the business, staff wages up until May, the offices until June (more on both of those later), freelancers, getting my own coaching and a heck of a lot of it was Amazon stock.
Starting a blog is a very low cost business, but in order to get my business to where it is today I have invested in courses, coaching, freelancers and upgrading equipment.
What about your offices and staff member?
We moved the business into office space in May 2018 for the eBay side of the business, we hired a full time member of staff in November 2018.
After giving up the eBay business we only needed the offices for our employee to work from.
After trialling having a full time employee for 6 months we found that it wasn't growing the business at all, and in fact income was down despite having someone else working full time in the business. We made the really difficult decision to make her redundant, and we no longer needed the office space.
Making an employee redundant was the hardest business decision I have ever made and I am still sad about it today. However it was completely the right thing to do for the business.
Reflection on 2019
2019 has been less about exchanging my time for money and instead focusing on doing the work once and reaping the benefits. The business has definitely changed in 2019 to reflect the personal demands on our time that we are facing, as well as putting my mental health as a priority.
I am working less hours than ever thanks to working smarter, not harder and having a decent passive income from adverts and affiliates. Building up different blogs has helped me to be creative and challenge myself – Mrs Pinch is my favourite project of the year by far, and I love how it has developed.
What about 2020?
The business looks so much different than it did at the start of 2019 that I don't have set goals for my business 2020.
If we can maintain a 6-figure business income whilst putting the needs of a family member and my mental health at the forefront then it will be a successful 2020.