June 2011 Finance Report (subscribers only)

Bienvenidos, all you legendary email subscribers.

June was a relatively expensive month for me, as I took a trip to the US for The World Domination Summit, bought some fancy new pants, and once again invested a good chunk of money in my business. For the sixth consecutive month, I also earned a lot less than I spent, which is kinda the complete opposite of what I’m aiming to do.

Yeah.

As usual, I’ll share with you all the details below, along with a few notes that I think you’ll find interesting. Let’s get crackin’…

June Expenses

Food and Drink

Groceries€ 183
Pubs, Coffee Shops, Restaurants, Take-aways€ 102
Total€ 285

Overall, I spent €45 more here compared to May. I ate out quite a bit while in the US, and  bought heaps of vegan energy bars (not especially cheap) so I wouldn’t be stuck for something to eat while traveling.

Rent and Utilities

Rent€ 200
Total€ 200

Same as last month. My apartment here in Spain is nothing fancy, but it suits me perfectly and the price is excellent. Included in that €200 are all the usual utility bills, plus high-speed Internet.

Travel

Portland hostel (5 nights)€ 104
Bus from Madrid to Burgos€ 17
USA visitor visa€ 10
Taxi to Burgos train station€ 10
Madrid Metro€ 5
Portland MAX from the airport€ 2
Burgos local bus service€ 1
Total€ 149

Thanks to Portland for providing free public transport within the city center. That saved me a good chunk of change. I also saved a bit by accidentally under-booking my stay at the hostel. By the time I realized it, they had no beds left for my last night in town, so I ended up heading to the airport and sleeping there for the night before catching my flight the next morning. Wasn’t so bad.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering how much my flights cost, I accounted for them back in February. All told, they amounted to €940, while my ticket to WDS cost €230. Not a cheap trip by any means, but definitely worth every penny, and I recommend you get your ass there next year if at all possible.

Business Expenses

Dreamhost (12 months of hosting, see below for discount code)€ 48
Unique Article Wizard (affiliate link, one month subscription)€ 46
Domain registrations and renewals€ 41
Aweber email marketing (affiliate link, three months subscription)€ 34
MS Remote Desktop (monthly subscription, see notes)€ 23
Boingo 24 hour internet pass (JFK and MAD)€ 18
Mobile phone credit€ 15
Refund issued for A Course In Courage€ 7
Kinkos fax€ 2
Total€ 234

Some details related to the above…

A quick note about affiliate links

I link to everything I use so you can go ahead and check out the products and services for yourself. However, I only become an affiliate for products and services that I actually like and am happy to recommend. If you click through and buy something via my affiliate links, it doesn’t cost you anything extra, but I get a percentage of the sale price. Please don’t buy anything unless you have a clear need for it.

Affiliate marketing

Last month I mentioned that I’m experimenting with affiliate marketing, and that many of my recent business expenses are related to this. As you’ll see below, so far my efforts haven’t generated any income, but I have been learning quite a lot. I’ll be trying a few different things in July, and I’ll be happy to share a full report on my experiments later this summer (by which time I’ll have hopefully figured out what does work).

Dreamhost

I’ve started moving all my websites from GoDaddy to Dreamhost since the price is about the same and I’m not a big fan of killing elephants. If you’re looking to create a website, you can use promo code NIALL50 when signing up for Dreamhost; that will get you $50 off your first year of hosting, plus a free domain name, plus a $32 kick-back to me. They also have a two-week free trial, so you can test it out and not pay anything right away.

MS Remote Desktop

Some recent software I’ve purchased only works on PC, and I only have a Mac, so I found this nifty service called MS Remote Desktop which gives me remote access to my own private Windows desktop. It also means I have access to a machine with a US IP address, which comes in handy every now and then ;-). The service costs $20 per month but I somehow only accounted for $7 of that in May, so making up the difference now.

Mobile Phone Credit

Since arriving in Spain I’ve managed to spend €35 on credit for my phone even though I rarely use the thing, maybe a dozen texts per week and the occasional quick call. It took me about six weeks to figure out how to turn off the Cellular Data setting on my iPhone so it would stop bleeding credit. D’oh!

Miscellaneous Expenses

Clothing and footwear€ 173
Vitamins, deodorant and sunscreen at Walgreens€ 17
Haircut at a barber school€ 9
Donation to Dan Zubrzycki’s Haiti fund€ 7
Donation to help get Stupid Time Machine to L.A.€ 7
Helping that guy who was short change at the supermarket€ 1
Love Drop subscription€ 1
Total€ 215

Some notes on the above…

Clothing and footwear

That €173 accounts for a pair of shorts, a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and two pairs of shoes. It’s only recently that I decided to start investing in high-quality gear that I really like; for too long I’ve been trying to save on my clothing purchases and settling for good enough. I’ve had to find out the hard way that good enough doesn’t leave me satisfied for very long, and ends up costing more in the long run. I expect I’ll spend quite a bit more on gear in the coming months as I invest in some other high-quality products for my RTW trip.

Expense Summary

Food and Drink€ 285
Rent and Utilities€ 200
Travel€ 149
Business Expenses€ 234
Miscellaneous expenses€ 215
Total Expenses

€ 1,083

After hovering around the €850 mark for the past two months, June saw my expenses shoot back up to four figures. Shucks.

June Income

Away from the minuses and on to the pluses…

A Course In Courage subscriptions€ 69
jQuery freelance work€ 66
Refund for Instant Article Wizard€ 32
Amazon.com affiliate payment€ 17
Donations (muchas gracias!)€ 13
Affiliate payment for Unleash Your Confidence (affiliate link)€ 12
Interest on savings€ 2
Revenue€ 211
minus 20% tax – € 42
Income€ 169

Once again, nothing much to shout about as regards earnings this month. Although I did get a nice little buzz a couple of weeks back when I had some money trickling in for five days in a row.

I’ve just recently started taking on some freelance web design work so I won’t have to continue eating into my savings. I was hoping to avoid freelancing since I feel that having clients isn’t all that different from having a boss, but something Danielle LaPorte said at the World Domination Summit really struck a chord with me. Paraphrasing:

Too many newly self-employed people are under the mistaken assumption that they should only be doing work that they love.

She’s right. I had this ridiculous expectation that I could go from 9-to-5 to complete freedom without having to pay any dues. I can see now that I need to stop passing up all those freelance jobs that have been coming my way. It’s not work that I especially love to do, but it’s good money and it buys me more time to let some other things build.

Where that leaves me

I had €5,892 to my name at the end of May. After applying the most recent exchange rate (I have accounts in both Dollars and Euros), that had decreased slightly to €5,859. Taking into account all my June expenses, earnings and taxes, my total bank and cash balances now work out to €5,043.

A quick summary of how I’m doing so far this year:

  • – €1,173 in January
  • – €641 in February
  • – €785 in March
  • – €186 in April
  • – €708 in May
  • – €914 in June

Outlook for July

Unless anything hugely unexpected crops up, I fully expect my expenses to be back down around the €850 mark for July. I will be experimenting with one new expense (hiring a virtual assistant), but if all goes to plan there I should end up with more free time that I can devote to freelance work.

As regards income, I’ll be aiming to earn at least €500 this month. My previously-stated goal is to be making at least €1000 per month by the time I leave Spain in mid-August, and that deadline is fast approaching.

Feedback welcome

Let me know your thoughts on these reports. Do you find the info helpful? Would you like more detail? Less? If you’re self-employed yourself, I’d also love to hear about your financial adventures.

11 Comments

  1. Jeff Friend

    Wow, this is an amazing breakdown!

    Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) I was just laid off from my 9-5, so I’ve decided to expedite my trip to Central or South America! As exciting as that is, it’s also scary as hell because I won’t have nearly the same income, but will still have a majority of the same expenses (rent, student loans, credit card bills, food, etc).

    Your posts always inspire me, and this one has come at the right time so I wanted to thank you for putting yourself out there in this world, and also for leaving a blueprint so that others can do the same.

    Reply
    • Niall Doherty

      Thanks a mil, Jeff. Glad you found this helpful. I just need to make sure now that I actually succeed and start making some good money before too long. Otherwise this is just a blueprint for how to rip through $10k in savings 😛

      Reply
  2. Anthony

    Keep it up mate, loving the positive slant on things as usual!

    Reply
  3. Mirella

    I love reading these reports, they give me so much to think about as I’m contemplating my next move. Thanks so much for sharing!

    It’s interesting what you said about doing more freelance work and finding a balance I suppose between what you love to do and what needs to get done so that you can do what you love to do! May I ask what sort of freelance work you are doing/finding?

    Reply
    • Niall Doherty

      Hey Mirella. I’ll mostly be taking on web design work. WordPress themeing, jQuery coding, that sort of thing. I’m pretty good at front-end web development.

      Thanks for the comment 🙂

      Reply
  4. Benjamin

    Here’s a Q for you.

    I see you bought Unique Article Wizard and asked for a refund on Instant Article Wizard (which I guess you bought last month).

    General stuff I’ve heard is that UAW is far superior to IAW (which you seem to have confirmed). Have you noticed some good results from UAW yet?

    I’m pretty much doing the same things as you at the same time it would seem! I’ve got a niche site which is slowly growing (I’ve been working on it three weeks), and I’ve only done a wee bit of backlinking (blogs, squidoo, etc). I’ve yet to mass backlink with a service such as UAW. I’m building up the content before I want to do that… but as I say, how’s UAW working out for you?

    We’ll have to get on Skype soon to discuss all this! I don’t know if you follow Chris Ducker, I met with him a few weeks back in London. He’s started a niche site project (ala Pat Flynn). My URL and updates will be up there soon… scary – http://www.virtualbusinesslifestyle.com/2011/07/niche-challenge-kick-off/

    Gracias mi amigo.

    Reply
    • Niall Doherty

      Hey Ben, sorry for the late reply on this, just saw it got stuck in the spam queue.

      I honestly haven’t noticed great results from UAW, though that might be saying more about the niches I chose and the quality of the articles I was spinning than anything else. I’m thinking of canceling my subscription to it this month and investing the same amount in experimenting with virtual assistants. I figure I might be able to find some quality content writers and SEO ninjas in the Philippines or elsewhere who will work relatively cheap.

      As for IAW, I was disappointed with how much work still had to be done to end up with a good article. Not as easy as they made it look in the promo video. To their credit though, they were cool about giving me a quick refund, no questions asked.

      Chris Ducker’s project sounds interesting. I’ll look forward to hearing how that works out for you.

      Cheers!

      Reply
      • Benjamin

        Very interesting. I’ll hit you up with an email!

        Reply
  5. Vlad Dolezal

    Ooh, interesting details. I think I’ll try keeping a tight log like this when I move to France this autumn.

    Reply
    • Niall Doherty

      Can’t recommend it enough, Vlad. Really puts things in perspective. And I’m looking forward to totting up all my monthly numbers at the end of the year and having an exact record of everything I earned and spent in 2011. Should be pretty interesting (at least for me :-P).

      Reply

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