FEBRUARY INCOME REPORT - 32,338

HOW I MADE $32,338 IN FEBRUARY

Plus what my strategy and goals are for next month. BONUS: Questions & Answers linked at the end of this article! 

If I had to pick one word for February it would be: S-T-R-E-S-S-F-U-L

February has always been an off month for me and I'd be lying if I told you that these past few weeks haven't been a little stressful. Between paying $36,000 in taxes (yes you read that right) trying to get everything lined up smoothly for relocating my business to Hawaii, selling out home here in Florida so we can make the move over spring break has been a lot to deal with. But as always, creating plans and being driven forward by my goals is something I Iove to do. Focusing on the future.

In addition to my income report, I also go into a little more detail on how I like to use different social platforms to grow my business. I had so many questions about it and wanted to be sure to include that information in this report. 

So if you've been dying to find out how I use them then you'll love reading February report. I know they are all really long so take your time to go over it. 

I'm sure you all are ready to read about this months income report, here's a little bit about me for those who are new...You are totally welcome to skip this part, haha.

I am a mother, wife, business coach, product creator, and photographer who specializes in naturally styled portraiture. I started Modern Baby Photography & Modern Bride Photography with a passion in documenting real moments. My passion grew more and more over the years, and I realized that I also loved creating products to help make it easier for me to run my business. I started sharing these products with other photographers, and that's when Modern Market came about. It's now the largest online marketplace for professional photographers around the world with products ranging from pricing tools, marketing templates, blog themes, educational resources and so much more. I love dreaming big and helping fellow creatives turn their dreams into a reality through personal online business coaching.


Once a month I take the time to go over my personal business finances. I write down what I made, as well as how many expenses I had. It's a great way for me to hold myself accountable in reaching my personal goals and showing others that owning your own business by doing something you are incredibly passionate about is absolutely possible.

In addition to writing down my income and expense report, I will also go over what strategies I plan to implement, what I am currently focusing on, as well as my goals for the upcoming month. By reading these income reports, you'll get a front row seat to watching me run my business, so that should hopefully be interesting. Hopefully, I don't put you to sleep with talking numbers and showing you graphs. 

Important Notes:
The following numbers are gross income from my entire business which includes sales from my online store, my portrait, wedding, and product photography. I look at my business as a whole and have used the same business success steps and marketing strategies for all aspects of my business; these are the same strategies teach to other creatives in my Business Success Class. 

Let's get started!

 

FEBRUARY GROSS INCOME: $32,338

Gross Sales: $30,057 (Net Sales $28,021

Photography Business Class: $2,226

Affiliates: $55

JANUARY TRAFFIC REPORT: 52,568 Visitors

I wanted to add this display graph to show you how increased traffic = increased sales. The problem isn't usually that people don't know how to make more money, they just don't know how to increase what's working and have that translate directly to their income. If you look at what you are currently doing and think to yourself; If I could DOUBLE everything that's working, it would certainly increase your income right? It comes down to being a numbers game regardless for what industry you are in. If you can increase what's working, increase traffic, it will in the end also increase your outcome. 

 

FEBRUARY EXPENSES: $15,128

Vendors: $1768

Paypal Fees: $986

Website Payment Fees: $224

Facebook: $9,276

Pathwright: $239

RetargetingApp: $1960

Post Planner*: $19

GoDaddy: $2

Rare.io: $39

Pixieset: $50

Social Login: $2

Privy: $24 

Adobe: $10

Quickbooks Bookkeeping: $29

Accountant: $500 (increase here for filing our 2016 taxes!)

 (Anything with an * next to it is an affiliate link)

 

GROSS INCOME TO DATE $932,823

(income in graph below is only for January 2015 - now) 

FACEBOOK, E-MAIL SUBSCRIPTION, INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST GROWTH

  • Facebook: 96,008 +1246
  • E-mails: 51,329 +1410
  • Instagram: 7229 +415
  • Pinterest: 5349  +145

TOTAL GROWTH: +3216

It was important for me to add this information into my income report because I do use social media to grow my business. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and e-mail subscription is what really made it possible for me to build my business so quickly. If you compare starting a business to the time before social media was in our life, it was hard. Someone had to open up an actual store business to be found and then count on foot traffic and phone books to be found by potential customers. We live in an incredible time where we have tools such as social media to make it easier than ever to connect to the right people. For me, using these social platforms has helped me grow my businesses and reach hundreds of amazing clients & customers. Below I'll go over how I personally love to use each platform. They each unique, and I have different things I love using about each of them. 

MY STRATEGY AND GOALS FOR NEXT MONTH: 

FACEBOOK STRATEGY
I have facebook listed first, aside from my own websites, this is what I love spending most of my time. I love it over other platforms because I feel like it allows me to engage with people on a deeper level. The people that follow me on there. (photographers, creatives, and my amazing clients) are extremely involved and I love that it feels more like a community than a fan page. My strategy on facebook has always been to be as authentic, helpful and encouraging. I love inspiring others to pursue their dreams and share my own work with people who truly care and have that same positive mindset as me. 
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I try my best to put out as much good content as possible and give people a place to learn and connect. I love giving people direct answers and advice on their own path and love how easy facebook makes this. I get a ton of messages and comments every day and do my best to respond to each of them. I love it when I get personal messages from other dreamers, and love chatting with them. It's really time-consuming to stay on top of all of it but it makes me happy knowing that people can come to a place to get more encouragement. 
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A really great way that has allowed me to grow my client base is uploading client photos and tagging them directly. I'm friends with all my clients and love seeing comments on their page. (you can only see them if you're actually friends with them). I might get 10+ comments on my fan page, but there's usually another 50+ on my clients page. There's usually a few people asking for more information and I'm glad to always see my clients tag my page or me personally under the comment which allows me to connect instantly with another potential client. 
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If I was to draw out my client base and add a line between the ones who know each other it would be a huge spiderweb of lines. They all know each other in some way and I love that about it.
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I spend money on facebook boosted posts and feel like it's a great way to reach more people who are looking for a photographer, or love to connect with another photographer. 
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Other social sites are great but facebook works really great for me since I do have so many aspects of my business. My portrait photography business, wedding photography business, store & business coaching. Facebook makes it really easy for me to have all those on the same page. 

E-MAIL STRATEGY
Growing an email list has been something that I've been working on over the last few years. I find creating newsletters extremely time-consuming, but know what an awesome way it is to reach all clients or customers at once. So although I don't enjoy it as much as Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest I do my best to still stay on top of it.
The way I collect email address is by giving away free content, or some sort of giveaway. For my portrait business, I have done monthly giveaways for people to enter and have collected email addresses that way. For weddings, I have done a wedding package giveaway. For those I will usually only do one giveaway a year, and only if I want to book more weddings. For my store side and business mentoring I giveaway one business class seat each month.  
Giving away free content, advice, products, sessions etc is a great way to get a long list of potential clients or customers. Once I have those collected I reach out on a later date to see if they are still interested in the service or product. Collecting email addresses is a great way to open communication with hundreds of potential clients. 
One of the reasons I collect email addresses for newsletters is because I have no idea where social media will be in 5-10-20 years. I might not use newsletters a ton, but I know that those contacts will be on my list forever, regardless of where social media goes. So growing that list long term is a great way for me to ensure I have a direct contact with the right people. 

INSTAGRAM STRATEGY
I use Instagram for my portrait and photography business. Instagram strives on visuals and using my photography on there has been a great way to reach more potential clients. Connecting with other businesses has also been a wonderful way to rasise more awareness on my own brand. I don't most a ton of content to Instagram but use it to showcase more of my work. 
In 2016 I split up my personal and business page to help create a 'prettier' Instagram. I love sharing my little personal life moments on Instagram but hated how it just didn't fit into my photography style. For those who follow my work know my work is very bright and airy with lots of white. My personal life is a little messier and has a lot more color. I share lots of pictures of my two kiddos and our little adventures. Splitting the two apart has helped me share more personal moments while keeping my business side nice and pretty. 
Here's a quick look at my business Instagram. @modernbabyphotography
And here's my personal Instagram. @Mrs_Ringo

PINTEREST STRATEGY
I use Pinterest for gathering ideas and inspiration. I showcase my own photography work on there, as well as link my blog post content and products. I often use it to create vision boards for upcoming sessions and love the amount of knowledge that is available on there. I also use Pinterest to find other vendors to work with. One thing I do like to do is keep my Pinterest page really organized and pin only things I personally really love. Overall I keep Pinterest pretty simple. I love using it, who wouldn't. 
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The next few things are tasks I started in the month of February. Some are on going and some have been completed. 
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PORTFOLIO REVIEW - CHOOSING MY BEST WORK

I am pretty terrible at posting my work on Facebook, I have so many great photos on my computer that never get shared and I decided it's time to make a change. I went through all my work, and choose only my FAVORITE photos. I wanted to see how many I would end up with and then find a way to schedule those photos online. I want to make sure to put my best work out there to make sure I'm attracting the right client. 119 total images made the cut. I'm not sure if that's good or not but it looked absolutely beautiful in a folder. It was amazing to see so many different types of sessions but see my style in each of them. It reminded me what I love most about my work and I'm excited to share more of my favorite work online. 

Here's a quick look at some of my favorites.

If your a photographer or artist, take time to do a portfolio review. Make a folder of your favorite images and figure out what specifically you love so much about them. Then go create more of that magic! 

 

CREATED NEWSLETTER SCHEDULE 

This one was hard. I've been trying to do a better job sending newsletters, and decided to create some kind of schedule to keep me accountable throughout the year. Fingers crossed that this helps! I managed to send a few newsletters in the month of February and I'm hopefully that continues in the upcoming months.  

 

CREATED A 365 POST PLAN

Consistency is so important when it comes to social media. It's hard to post enough and I decided to sit down and create a plan for every single day of the year. It's something I plan to continue adding on to as the time goes by but the great thing about it is that the more I add to it, the greater the overall plan is and I'll be able to use it in the future. Creating a plan for the next 365 days will help me be more consistent and connect with more amazing people on social media! 

 

TRANSFERING BUSINESS

Oh boy, I'll add this to the not fun list of February. I'm still in the process of figuring this one out, so I won't write too much about it yet, but transferring a business to a new state and figuring out the new tax brackets for it has not been fun.  

 

TAX REVIEW

Another one for the naughty list. Reviewing taxes is NEVER...EVER fun. But it's part of running a business. So far, ever year I've been in business I've increased the amount I make, which means I owe more in taxes every year. This year I paid over $36,000 in taxes. My business is filed as an s-corp so I only get taxed on the amount I pay myself, and not the full amount that I make. I have an incredible accountant that makes sure everything is filed correctly and although taxes stress me out, at least I know we are doing it right. 

Tip: If you run your own business, you have to make sure to put enough aside for taxes. A safe amount to put aside is around 30% of what you make. Depending on how your business is filed (LLC vs S-Corp vs C-Corp etc) and how much you make per year will determine how much you end up having to pay in taxes. If you're a small business I highly recommend connecting with a great accountant who will explain everything to you and make sure you're filing everything correctly. 

  

COLLECTING RESEARCH WITH HEATMAPS

This was something AMAZING that I found so I'm super excited to pass this on to you guys. If you have a business, you have a website, and you'll love it probably as much as I did! This company is called HOTJAR What they do is help you figure out what's working best on your website and what is causing confusion or problems. By installing a little snippet into my website I was able to see exactly where my potential clients were clicking on my website. Hotjar makes these heatmaps where you'll see what gets clicked most. And then you can take that information and make it better. (I had no idea that my slideshow buttons was one of the most clicked on parts...note to self...put something good on slider #2!) 

Heatmaps isn't the only thing they do. You can also set it up to record what your site visitors are doing! It's as if you were watching over someones shoulder as they are going around your website. You'll see what pages they visit, if they had trouble finding pricing or information, and see if there is something that made them leave the site. You might have something on your website that is causing people to X out and you have no idea what it is! Now you can find out what it is and improve your website. 

You'll be able to watch recordings from people visiting your website that are using a computer, a iPad or Cellphone. You'll instantly see how your website is working on their end and then can make the user experience even better! 

There is a 10 day free trial on the site. That's really all I needed to see what was broken on my site, or wasn't working great. I don't have a need for a paid plan right now, but if I ever change my site again I would 100% sign up for one of their paid plan because it seriously pays off to know what works and what doesn't. 

Watch the video below!  

BONUS: CLICK HERE TO READ THE QUESTION & ANSWER SECTION

That sums it up for this months income report and Q&A. I had a lot of fun answering all those questions so if you have any at all, feel free to leave a comment below, or in a comment on facebook, or message me personally on facebook, so I can be sure to answer it in the Question & Answer post!

 

GET FULL ACCESS TO MY PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS SUCCESS CLASS

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Turning dreams into reality is my specialty! I teach photographers and creatives how to build their dream business. With strategies they can implement right away to build a striving business that has an income they can count on!  This class is for photographers who are truly ready to build the business of their dreams and learn the important steps in developing a strong business, brand, and client base. When I first start my photography business I had to learn a lot of important things by trial and error. After years of building a business of my own I'm excited to share all my business knowledge with those of you that are ready to build something you are truly proud of. Something that will make you independently strong as a person and as a business owner. If you have a dream and are willing to work hard at it then you'll absolutely love this class -- It will completely pay for itself over and over again after implementing my business plan and strategies!

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