My favourite time of the year is here: review and reflection! I diligently keep up my stats and tracking throughout the year, ready for this moment (well, and for tax time, too).
Regular readers will know I decided long ago NOT to be one of those niched, sharply-focused businesses – that just doesn’t work for me. I thrive on variety and sure, does this mean I’m slightly less successful at each thing? Probably! But I can keep doing “all the things” because I’ve got enough diversity to keep my interest.
Because of this, I typically have quite a variety of income sources. One of the things I do at the end of each year is some calculations on just where my income has come from (you can look back at my 2018 pie chart and my 2017 pie chart if you want). This one is for the calendar year of 2019:
2019 was my year of consolidation – the year I wanted to keep doing the things I’d been doing, but just do them better. I’m very happy to report that went really well, and my income was up by over 50%. It went almost a little too well, as I had a lot of work on, especially in the second half of the year, to the point where it was actually a little bit too much work – a great problem to have! But consolidation had led to a bunch of great opportunities all coming along at once, and sometimes you just have to roll with it.
In terms of the diversification of my income … well, as seems to be the pattern, a few things changed. My income from the “teaching” category (I used to just call that workshops, but now that I’m teaching at a university I have lumped that all in together) increased and that’s made other categories look like I earned less, but in fact it’s just relatively speaking – my income was the same or up for every category this year (yay!). But just to prove I’m a rambling multipotentialite who chops and changes, this chart showing the diversification of my income over the last three years lays out my variations!
What have I learnt from my pretty graphs?
Of course, the whole point of looking at my income sources is to figure out what I need to change and what can stay the same. (Well, also because I like making pretty graphs, let’s be honest.)
Well, one thing that I like to keep on top of is not relying too heavily on any one thing for income. Over the years I’ve seen this be a risk – for example, a few years back when UWA Extension courses were a large percentage of my income, and it looked like the program was about to close down entirely, I freaked out. In my 2019 it looks like Teaching is a big chunk, but I know that the income in there comes from a few different sources so even if some of that changes, I should be OK.
I also am reminded, again, that my travel blog and podcast aren’t exactly my biggest earners. Of course I’m fully aware of this, and to be fair, I earned about the same as last year, it’s just a smaller proportion because I earned more overall. But it’s a really good reminder that I want to work on increasing this in the coming years.
I’m really pleased to see a steady proportion of my income still coming from giving public talks. I love that work, and it’s amazing to me that people pay me to stand up and talk (when I was in high school, my teachers just kept telling me to stop talking!). I set a goal last year to give 20 paid public talks and I think I got to 22. This year I’ve already got about a dozen booked so I reckon I can get to 30! That’s probably about enough, though, or I’ll lose my voice (which did happen once this year – it was horrible!!).
What can you learn from my pretty graphs?
It’s not all about me 😉
Do you keep these kind of records? I know a lot of my clients are not as obsessed with their spreadsheets or bookkeeping software as I am, but even if you don’t have completely accurate records, can you sit down and figure out the rough proportions of the various sources of your income?
Once you’ve done that: what does it all mean? Do you have the cliched “all your eggs in one basket” going on? Or do you have too many products or services on offer and that makes you inefficient? There’s a happy medium somewhere, and it also depends on whether you’re like me and need to have lots of a different tasks to do or work better in a focused way.
And while I’ve got you:
Don’t forget: Social Media Summer School starts on 6th January 2020. All the details are here!