Alright, alright… I know I said “First 365 Days”, but you didn’t think we’d leave out the pre-launch phase, did you??
A lot went on from June 2012 – August 2013 (to say the least), and we’re about to share it all with you right here. As you can imagine, digging up some of this stuff wasn’t easy. But because you asked for it – we found it :)
This income report is a little different than our regular monthly income reports for the following reasons:
- We aren’t going to break down our income and expenses on a month-by-month basis; instead, it’s broken down in “groups”. (You’ll see what I mean when you start reading…)
- We don’t talk about everything we had going on during this time because if we did, then you’d be reading this particular report for a really, really long time.
- While we do mention some of our lessons learned during our first year+ in business, we don’t go in-depth on all of them like we have in other reports. That’s because, again, you’d be reading for a really, really long time if we did!
Here’s an overview of EntrepreneurOnFire’s “Income Report” from June 2012 – August 2013
Pre-launch phase: June 2012 – September 2012
The pre-launch phase was a lot of prep and a lot of learning. The bulk of John’s investments made during this time went towards finding a coach and attending New Media Expo by Blog World in NYC.
There were also a lot of upfront costs associated with building our website, securing an audio host, and getting all of the equipment purchased and set up.
People often ask how John was able to handle these upfront costs, and how he found the time to do all of these things while still working a 9-5…
Thing is, John had his AH-HA moment towards the end of May, and by early June he had quit his job and dove head first into building EntrepreneurOnFire.
Wait, but how?
Well financially, John had been building a solid savings account for several years, and he didn’t have a lot of commitments (i.e. a family, credit card debt, an expensive lifestyle, etc.) Therefore, his savings was more than enough to help him through a dip in income, allowing him to concentrate on building vs. worrying about crumbling.
John’s savings is important to keep in mind when looking at the early investments he made. This report isn’t a reflection of how we think everyone has to start their podcast, nor do we feel that all of these expenses are necessary when first launching a podcast.
If you’re looking to start your own podcast and don’t have the ability to quit your job and dive in head first, then try easing into it. Remember: it’s not a requirement that you quit your job in order to become an entrepreneur, and you should not use having a job as an excuse for not starting. In fact, a very small percentage of people are able to just quit their job due to the financial commitments I mentioned before.
It’s quite simple, really: all you need to do is commit. Wake up 30 minutes earlier in the morning, or go to bed 30 minutes later at night. On the weekends, dedicate one hour to studying or researching the things you need to know more about in order to launch your business. 30 minutes a day and a single hour on the weekend is not a lot to ask when the return is building a life of freedom to do what you love.
Okay, enough of that; here’s what you really came for… :)
Expenses from June 2012 – Sept 2012 (some links below are affiliate links)
- 3-month coaching package with Jaime Tardy: $1,000/ month x3 = $3,000
- Tickets/Travel for NMX: $675
- Podcasting equipment & setup: $721
- Libsyn hosting: $75/ month (start in July, ongoing) x3 = $225
- Adobe Creative Cloud: $50/ month (start in July, ongoing) x3 = $150
- AWeber: $20/ month (start in July, ongoing) x3 = $60
- Virtual Assistants (2 VAs from the start) $500/ each/ month (start in July, ongoing) x3 = $3,000
- Website and design fees: $69/ month hosting (ongoing) x4 = $276, CharFish Designs $1,500
Total Startup Expenses from June 2012 – September 2012: 4 month time period = $9,961.73
Total income: $0
That’s right: $0
Post-launch, Pre-sponsors phase: October 2012 – March 2013
Once John launched, it was a lot of practicing and a lot of testing. All of the information we have to share with you today here on the blog and in our communities about reaching out to guests, building relationships and growing your audience stemmed from John’s experiences during this time and what he learned from the failures he experienced.
During these months John’s time commitment to the business was massive, as he was still laying the foundation for a platform that could support what would hopefully be a really big audience.
Constant website tweaks and building profiles across social media sites was all in a hard days work. Not to mention our several logo iterations…
It was also during this time that John realized the need and power behind joining an online community of like-minded entrepreneurs who could support, motivate and help hold him accountable. He found Cliff Ravenscraft’s Podcast Mastermind and signed on for 1 year in late September.
Expenses from October 2012 – March 2013:
- Cliff Ravenscraft’s Podcast Mastermind: $3,300 (1 year)
- Logo design work (Fiverr, 99Designs): $715
- Libsyn hosting: $75/ month (ongoing) x6 = $450
- Website and design fees: $69/ month hosting (ongoing) x6 = $414
- Adobe Creative Cloud: $50/ month (ongoing) x6 = $300
- AWeber: $20/ month (ongoing) x6 = $120
- Virtual Assistants (2 VAs) $500/ each/ month (ongoing) x6 = $6,000
- Website developer (retainer): $75/ month (ongoing) x6 = $450
Total Expenses from October 2012 – March 2013: 6 month time period = $11,749
It was around November 2012, two months after launch (and almost six months after his start), that John started looking for ways to monetize. At first, he wasn’t looking for ways to monetize directly via the podcast, rather through online affiliate sales, one-on-one coaching and by publishing his first book on Amazon, Podcast Launch, which happened later on in this time period (February 2013).
Around late November, we had our first experience with “sponsorships”. We started out with private, individual sponsorships ($225 for a 30-second outro) for authors releasing books or products. At the time, we didn’t realize the huge role they would playing in our monthly income reports just one year later.
Income from October 2012 – March 2013:
- Affiliate income
- Published Podcast Launch eBook on Feb 22: $404
- One-on-one Coaching: $897
- Individual, private sponsors (30 second outro): $8,177
Total Income from October 2012 – March 2013: 6 month time period = $10,885.05
Sponsors and more phase: April 2013 – August 2013
As I’m sure you can imagine, John was more than thrilled with the 6-month time period from October 2012 – March 2013. Not only had he proven that he could monetize the podcast, he also realized that with continued growth of his audience that the sky was the limit.
In April, John started talks with bigger, corporate sponsors. What used to be private, 30-second outros had just become something much, much bigger. And come May, we took the lid off and just let it fly, leaping off of every ledge we came to.
Let’s take a look at some of the major projects we started between April and August 2013:
- By May, I had come on board and John and I started serious talks about creating several products and services that, before, he just didn’t have the bandwidth to produce, or manage. These ideas included a Mastermind Tribe and 6 Figure Podcasting (a course John had been thinking about creating for some time).
- We also took a huge jump from AWeber to Infusionsoft in order to up our game in the CRM world. Infusionsoft became a huge time commitment to learn and manage effectively – and continues to be even today.
- By June, we were deep in our talks about launching our Mastermind Tribe, which John had worked on previously to no avail (remember IGNITE! ?)
- We also launched the blog in June, which started out as my main focus for EntrepreneurOnFire. We hoped the blog would bring a new audience to our site – perhaps entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs who weren’t necessarily podcast listeners, but who were still interested in learning tips and tactics on starting and growing a business.
- In July, we launched Fire Nation Elite, our first Elite Mastermind Tribe. We’ve learned so much from FNE throughout the past few months, and we could not be more excited for the amazing community, networking and relationships we’re building every day.
- July also brought us our Website redesign. Remember the old EntrepreneurOnFire.com? This came with its own set of challenges, as it was at this time we decided to break out two separate pages for both the Podcast show notes and the Blog. As you can imagine, this left a lot of cleaning up to do in terms of redirects and hundreds of links that were suddenly directing to a new permalink.
- And come August, we were well on our way to talking about how we would launch Podcasters’ Paradise, (which grew from John’s original idea of 6 Figure Podcasting).
Expenses from April 2013 – August 2013:
- Libsyn hosting: $75/ month (ongoing) x5 = $375
- Website hosting fees: $69/ month (ongoing) x5 = $345
- Website developer (retainer): $75/ month (ongoing) x6 = $450
- Website redesign & other expenses (includes plugin purchases for EOFire & Fire Nation Elite): $2,482
- Adobe Creative Cloud: $50/ month (ongoing) x5 = $250
- AWeber: $20/ month (April, May, June) x3 = $60
- Infusionsoft: $1,208 sign up fee (May), then $209/ month (June, July, August) x3 = $627, total: $1,835
- Virtual Assistants (2 VAs April, May, June) $500/ each/ month (ongoing) x3 = $3,000
- Virtual Assistants (1 VA July, August) $500/ month (ongoing) x2 = $1,000
- Advertising; $709
- Design & Branding: $1,431
- Education: $3,300
- General Office/Admin (approximate, includes computer repair and other subscription-based plans for things like ScheduleOnce): $4,500
- Promotional: $718
- Taxes, License & Insurance (for our LLC): $190
- Travel: $1,380
Total Expenses from April 2013 – August 2013: 5 month time period = $22,025
As you can see in this particular case, the saying proves to be true: “It takes money to make money.”
Just about the time that we seriously started to monetize, we also started paying some big bucks for conferences, mastermind trips, a website redesign, a CRM system that could support our growing audience, and other expenses that were all directly tied to our growth.
Let’s check out our income…
Income from April 2013 – August 2013:
- Affiliate income
- Bluehost: $4,800
- Only72: $2,304
- Audible CPA: $2,145
- Amazon: $1,123
- Podcast Launch eBook: $2,612
- One-on-one Coaching: $3,800
- Sponsorships (approximate): $30,785
- Mastermind (launched with 50 members): $11,425
Total Income from April 2013 – August 2013: 5 month time period = $58,994
John started his journey out with absolutely nothing but an ah-ha moment, a savings account and a lot of drive and passion.
Before he had even launched the podcast, he was already $10k out with absolutely no promise of any return on his investment.
How did he know that he’d make it through the rough start?
He had confidence. He worked really, really hard. And he never gave up.
All said and done, from June 2012 through August 2013, EntrepreneurOnFire only netted $26,143.32 (and that’s before taxes). What appears to many as an “overnight success” took A TON of work, and well over a year to build.
But this is only beginning for us.
We know very well that what we’ve been growing over the past year requires a lot more work, many more hours, a boatload of love and continuous improvements.
This post was created as a result of several comments that were left on October’s monthly income report, questioning what our income report looked like prior to September 2013 (when we started publishing our monthly income reports).
Many of you asked: “What about the first 6 weeks after starting to build EntrepreneurOnFire?… The first 6 months?”
We hope this report in particular stands as living proof that there are tough times to be had at the beginning of creating a business. You will go through periods of time when you’ll ask yourself “Is this really all worth it?“, and “What if I never make any money off from this idea?”
One of the most important traits of an entrepreneur is a lasting will to make things happen – and the belief that it is absolutely all worth it; you will definitely make money off from your idea if you provide valuable information to an audience who needs it.
This report is our way of continuing our pledge of transparency to you. We hope you were able to pick out at least a couple of things that resonated with you and that will help you on your own journey.
Thanks for joining us for a look back in time to review our first 365 days with EntrepreneurOnFire (and then some)!
~ Kate & John