It’s pie chart time: the annual fun (well, I think it’s fun!) of popping my income sources into a spreadsheet and spitting out a pretty graph to show where my money is coming from.
Even though I’m always up-to-date with my bookkeeping, and review my annual goals regularly, somehow at the end of the year it’s always a bit of a surprise for me to see precisely how my income is divided up. I think that’s partly because it varies quite considerably from year to year, for all kinds of reasons both internal and external. This makes it truly a valuable exercise for me, personally, but I also hope it helps others feel assured that twists and turns of business are totally normal!
(Quick reminder: if you want to know more about twists and turns of social media, Social Media Summer School starts on 16th January 2022!)
So, drum roll, the 2021 income pie chart is …
So, what does it all mean? I have a few thoughts …
Knowing in advance that some income won’t exist next time round
Now my first thoughts when I saw this were, I’m going to admit, a bunch of niggling worries. That “workshops” chunk is for teaching external workshops, for places like the Tourism Council of WA, or ADMA (Association for Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising), among others. In some cases I don’t even create the content, although this year I was involved in rewriting or creating significant chunks of workshop content for these kinds of organisations (which is my ideal scenario – teaching content I’ve written myself).
Anyway, the worrying part was that 40% is a huge chunk of my income, and I know that because of the significant amount of workshop content creation I did this year – which I know isn’t something that is likely to repeat in the next couple of years, because I created great content that will just need small updates and tweaks! – then I’m thinking, eek, there’s quite a sum of dollars that won’t be replicable in 2022.
But a deep breath was taken and … I realised that while I did spend a fair bit of time creating these workshop materials, during that time I was offered other work and turned it down, because I had a full load already. So I feel okay, now, that’s just another way that my work will differ from year to year.
I’ve told you this in excruciating detail because I think it’s so important to remind ourselves, as self-employed people, that not only is it totally okay (and in fact, rather interesting!) when our work differs significantly over the years, but that there is nearly always enough other work available so that we will still be able to pay the bills!
Of course, the pandemic has continued to impact my sources of income in both positive and negative ways. Sadly for others, Covid has led to the increasing casualisation of university labour forces, which means that there’s quite a lot of work available for casual lecturers/tutors like me.
On the flip side, I have done significantly less public speaking than in other (pre-Covid) years, even though in theory we only had a couple of short weeks of lockdowns here in Western Australia over 2021. To be honest, though, I spent less energy than usual chasing speaking work, because after so much of it was cancelled in 2020, and with lockdowns still being a distinct possibility during 2021, I didn’t want to have too much lined up that might end up not happening. I’m still not sure how 2022 will look for speaking work, but I do know that after slowly ramping up again in the last few months, I’ve been reminded of how much I love talking to a buzzing room!
You’ll also see that the “travel” chunk of income – which includes podcast and writing income – is pretty tiny for 2021. This is partly because of the impact of Covid on the tourism and travel industry, but I must say it’s probably more because I was so busy with other work that I didn’t spend much time pursuing travel-related income. But I’d like to in 2022 – and have lots of ideas for it!
What will stay the same?
A fairly “medium” size chunk of income came from my mastermind groups, and a similar chunk from my consulting work (which is usually one-to-one though sometimes involves groups). I enjoy this kind of work, and although it’s obviously quite labour-intensive – I have to be there! – I’ll continue to do both of these kinds of work, in about the same quantities.
What were your income sources for 2021?
Have I persuaded you to make your own pie chart? Or at the very least, have a look at the key areas your income derived from in 2021 and what you can learn from that. What is your most productive way of earning money? What’s most enjoyable? What do you want to do more or less of? I think the start of the year is such a good time to consider these questions, and I love doing it!
If you’re curious, you can have a look at my previous pie charts in the posts below.