August 2014 Income At-A-Glance
Gross Income for August: $276,117.40
Total Expenses for August: $50,752.38
Total Net Profit for August: $225,365.02
Difference b/t Aug & July: -$16,222.72
Why We Publish An Income Report
This monthly income report is created for you, Fire Nation. By documenting the struggles we encounter and the successes we celebrate as business owners every single month, we’re able to provide you with a single resource that tells you what’s working, what’s not and what’s possible.
There’s a lot of hard work that goes into learning and growing as an entrepreneur (especially when you’re starting at ground zero), but the most important part of the equation is what you’re able to pass on to others through teaching. We’re passionate about helping you build the life YOU want to live, just like we have.
Now that may look very different from ours, but the lessons learned and techniques for running a successful business can be applied in many situations.
As you read through our day-to-day struggles and successes that help define our journey, focus on the lessons we’ve learned from these experiences. Our goal is to make YOUR journey as enjoyable and successful as possible.
That’s not to say you won’t encounter roadblocks. Believe us – we know that no one can escape those no matter how much reading or studying you do. Just keep in mind that every roadblock is a stepping stone towards your future success.
**We’ll receive a commission on the affiliate links below. If you click on my affiliate link and sign up for the products and services I trust and recommend, then I will earn a commission.
CPA On Fire
Our CPA, Josh Baurle, shares his August Income Report Tip!
What’s up Fire Nation? My name is Josh Bauerle, and I am a CPA and the Founder of CPA On Fire, where we specialize in working with entrepreneurs to minimize their tax liability while keeping them in line with the ever changing tax laws.
I’ve been working with EntrepreneurOnFire to make sure their accounting systems are running smoothly and that their taxes are as low as possible. John and Kate have included me in the monthly income reports with unlimited access to all their accounts so I can verify that what they report here is complete and accurate.
And because they believe in delivering an insane amount of value, my job doesn’t stop at the verification level. I will also be providing tax and accounting tips to you along the way!
Over the next few months I’ll be going over the 5 best ways for entrepreneurs to save money on their taxes.
Last month, we talked about the ability to deduct everyday expenses, like your meals and your cell phone bill in your business.
This month, I’m going to discuss retirement accounts and how they can help you massively reduce your taxes as a business owner.
As an employee, your options for retirement savings vehicles are pretty limited. You can invest in an individual retirement account, and if your employer offers it, you can invest in a company sponsored retirement plan, like a 401(k).
As an entrepreneur, your retirement savings options – and the tax savings that go along with them – are far greater. On top of contributing to your IRA, you also have the option to set up your own company retirement plans, such as a 401(K) or a SEP, both of which allow you to contribute very large sums of money, while also potentially reducing your taxes.
Let’s look at EntrepreneurOnFire as an example: In 2013, John wanted to find a way to invest the profits in his business, while also reducing the huge tax bill he knew was coming his way. We opened up a solo 401(k), which is for businesses with no employees, and John was able to invest the full $51,000 max contribution. This move alone saved him a whopping $14,000+ in taxes.
The best part about this strategy is it doesn’t involve you spending any money.
In order to get tax savings from your cell phone bill, you still have to spend money on the cell phone. To write off your meals and entertainment, you’re still shelling out money to pay for those things in the first place. But with retirement savings plans, you’re saving a ton on taxes by simply funding your own retirement. You’re killing two birds with one giant stone!
There are endless benefits to being an entrepreneur. The ability to fund your own retirement while saving massive amounts of money on your taxes is definitely one of my favorites. If you haven’t set up a plan yet for your business, talk to an expert today and get the process started!
As always, please feel free to contact me if you’d like to discuss what would be best for YOUR business. I LOVE chatting with Fire Nation!
What Went Down In August
Last month it was World Domination Summit, and this month it was Podcast Movement – back to back greatness!
Podcast Movement is truly a one-of-a-kind event. Put on Dan Franks and Jared Easley, this 2-day conference featured over 600 driven, motivated and inspiring podcasters who were all there to take one step forward on their podcasting journey.
With keynotes from Chris Brogan, Srivinas Rao, Jaime Tardy and Cliff Ravenscraft, along with breakout sessions from greats like Chase Reeves, Greg Hickman, our very own John Lee Dumas (among many others), the information that was being passed around about podcasting was second to none.
In fact, I felt so strongly about the content, the message and the – movement – that Dan and Jared put together, that I wrote an entire recap and published a bonus episode on my podcast, Kate’s Take, to share the insights and advice that I walked away with. Enjoy!
Follow up from Launch: QuotesOnFire and Kate’s Take
QuotesOnFire and Kate’s Take both experienced very successful launches overall – but it wasn’t without a couple of hiccups.
QuotesOnFire got pinned to the top of New & Noteworthy in all of iTunes pretty much immediately after launch. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?
Well, within a couple of weeks, John was showing nearly 60 1-star reviews and had a lot of negative comments from review hackers around the Internet (people who get paid to post negative reviews on top podcasts to drag down their ranking).
Because it was very clear that these reviews weren’t warranted, John submitted a claim to iTunes and was able to get almost every 1-stay review that wasn’t warranted taken down. There IS justice in this world Fire Nation!
QuotesOnFire is rockin’ and rollin’, and if you like quotes, but haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, then I know John would LOVE your support: subscribe and review!
Kate’s Take has also seen a fair amount of play in the New & Noteworthy section of iTunes, claiming the #1 spot in all 3 categories the last week in August: Business (Careers), Education and Technology!
I’ve also been very grateful for the feedback I’ve been receiving from my listeners on Twitter, via email, here on the website and on Facebook, so thank you so much for that!
One thing I would do differently? Not be so nervous and such a perfectionist! I know – easy for me to say now :) I can hear it in my voice, and some of the episodes I recorded early on that are even being published in early September are a little bit stiff. But everything takes practice!
My biggest tip? Listen to yourself after you’ve recorded an episode. Even if you want to outsource your editing – now or down the line – edit at least your first 5 episodes. It’s only through listening to yourself closely that you’ll identify what it is you could be doing better, and also what it is you’re doing that you wish you weren’t.
If you want to check out Kate’s Take: The EntrepreneurOnFire Audio Blog for insights and advice for entrepreneurs who are looking to uncover their own journey, I’d love for you to have a listen!
Fire Nation Elite 2.0: What it takes to add the 2.0
Over the last few months we’ve been talking about our mastermind Tribe, Fire Nation Elite “2.0”, and I thought it would be cool to use this space in August to talk about 1) what we did to it that’s different from the original mastermind, and 2) the resources and additional systems that this upgrade required.
What’s different – why the “2.0”?
Fire Nation Elite launched with a huge bang back in June of 2013. We had a membership site, resources, monthly live Webinars, a private Facebook group, conference meet ups, an annual in-person meet up, and sporadic Fire Starters courses put on by one of our very own members, Dean Patino.
As we approached our 1-year anniversary, we looked back to our launch and realized that a lot of the excitement and buzz around the things we had planned: our monthly live Webinars, our membership site – the flame had dimmed a bit.
We knew it was time to step it up before our mastermind Tribe was no-more.
In “2.0”, we have everything we had in our original mastermind, plus a whole lot more:
- Social Proof Days that are posted in the Facebook group Monday through Friday, each of which focuses on helping our members on a particular social platform.
- Every Tuesday we have a Tech Hangout, where you can jump on Google Hangouts and chat about any tech issues you’re experiencing in your business.
- Every Saturday, we have Entrepreneurs Hanging out Getting Coffee – yep, we sip coffee and chat it up – business, family, hobbies – you name it!
- We have quarterly Fire Starters courses, each course focusing on a new aspect of growing and monetizing your business.
- Monthly Fire Side Chats, where John and I are on Google Hangouts answering questions and hanging with our Tribe.
What did it take to implement 2.0?
Great question, because it didn’t happen over night, and it wasn’t necessarily easy!
After John and I had discussed the direction of the Tribe several times, and after multiple discussions with one of our Founding 50 Tribe Members, Dean Patino, we decided to bring Dean onto the Fire Nation Elite team to be our Community Ambassador.
Getting Dean up to speed with all things FNE was easy – he’d been an active and valuable member since day 1. But we did have a lot of work to do in order to implement all the new activities, courses and the new membership site we’d use for 2.0. Quick note on the membership site: we switched from Customerhub – on the Infusionsoft platform – to Wishlist Member – on the WordPress platform – for an enhanced user experience (wanted to make it easier for our members to be on the membership site), and also so that we could have a public-facing site that was login protected.
Luckily, Dean is a wiz at planning, scheduling and – WordPress! He’s been an incredible addition to the Fire Nation Elite team, and we wouldn’t be able to call it 2.0 without him.
SMS: Mobile Campaigns
This month our good friend Greg Hickman came to us and told us about something he was testing out in his own business that he wanted to share: SMS campaigns for Webinars.
Greg knows that John and I do weekly Webinars, and so once he started testing out the mobile campaigns in his business – and saw that he not only had an increased opt in rate, but also an increased show up rate – he laid it all out on the line for us.
The set up process wasn’t seamless. In fact, our set up phase spanned about 3 weeks, and during that time we couldn’t actually go live with the SMS campaigns due to some integration issues with our opt in page, (which is on OptimizePress), our thank you page, (which is on LeadPages), and our CRM, Infusionsoft.
With some tweaks in the SMS system, (we’re using Call Loop), an upgrade from LeadPages, and of course, Greg Hickman, we’ve now been offering an SMS opt in on our Thank You pages when someone signs up for our Webinars, and it’s going really great!
Every one of our registrants who opts in for SMS reminders will receive a voicemail and a text message from John prior to the Webinar – a great reminder, and such a cool way to connect with your audience on mobile!
We’ve recently rolled out the SMS campaign at 100% thanks to Greg’s help, which includes the ability for our attendees to actually text in to claim their spot on the Webinar.
It’s a little too early to post stats, but we’ll definitely keep you guys posted in next month’s income report!
Oh, and Greg is working on a killer training right now called Convert From Anywhere. Think SMS can help you convert more email signups, webinar attendees, and increase loyalty and retention with your current customers? Then you’re right – it can! Click here to learn more about Greg’s training!
RescueTime is an incredibly powerful tool for anyone looking to manage their time more efficiently.
After learning the hard way, John and I have realized that the first step to managing your time more efficiently starts with fully recognizing what it is you’re spending your time on. Most people don’t take the time to track this because it’s difficult to write down every single thing you do in a day.
With RescueTime, you have software constantly working behind the scenes to log your time for you. This is by far the #1 productivity tool we recommend.
Kate’s August: 245.25 hours (vs. 221.5 in July)
Kate’s top 3 sites for the month:
2. Infusionsoft / CustomerHub
3. Microsoft Word
John’s August: 242 hours (vs. 270.5 in July)
John’s top 3 sites for the month:
3. Microsoft Word
We also can’t forget about all the hard work and time that our team members contribute! We couldn’t be doing what we’re doing without the help of JM, Jess and Adeel!
Product/Service Income: $265,861.40
Podcasters’ Paradise: $176,922 (invoice total)
Create, grow, and monetize YOUR Podcast.
WebinarOnFire: $18,465 (invoice total)
Create and present a Webinar that converts.
PodcastOnFire: $936 (invoice total)
Create and launch your Podcast in 14 days.
The One Thing: $28
$7 mini training.
Sponsorship Income: $51,228.40
Fire Nation Elite Mastermind: $10,980
1-on-1 Mentoring: $7,000
Podcast Launch (Audiobook on Audible): $131
Podcast Launch (eBook on Amazon): $171
Affiliate Income**: $10,256
- BlueHost: $3,300 Step-by-step guide and 23 WordPress tutorials included! Disclaimer: This is my affiliate link and I will receive a commission if you sign up through my link
- LeadPages: $1,361
- Tim Paige Voice Over: $100 (ask for the Fire Special)
- Audible: $1,680
- PodcastMovement: $423
- Smart Podcast Player (Pat Flynn): $2,820
- Amazon: $457
- Other: $115
*Affiliate links above – if you click on my affiliate link and sign up for the products and services I trust and recommend, then I will earn a commission.
Total Gross Income in August: $276,117.40
Business Expenses: $49,346.16
- Advertising (mostly FB ads): $2,671
- Design & Branding: $465
- Education (includes YouTube certifications): $968
- Meals & Entertainment: $1,563
- Merchant Account fees: $527
- LibSyn: $337
- Other Business Expenses: $11,994
- Webinar Giveaways: $846
- Paradise Affiliate Commissions: $1,587.48
- Paradise Refunds: $11,367 (invoice total)
- WebinarOnFire Refunds: $1,386 (invoice total)
- PodcastOnFire Refunds: $0
- Podcast Movement Event (meet up + T-shirts): $2,058
- Software: $153
- TheMidRoll (Sponsorships): $10,245.68
- Travel: $1,053
- Virtual Assistant Fees: $1,316
- Website Fees: $809
Recurring, Subscription-based Expenses: $1,406.22
- Adobe Creative Cloud*: $49.99
- Authorize.net*: $91.10
- Cell Phone*: $189
- Internet*: $171
- eVoice*: $9.95
- Infusionsoft CRM*: $382
- Insurance*: $172
- Quickbooks Online*: $25
- Chatroll: $199
- ScheduleOnce*: $42.19
- Skype*: $2.99
- Taxes & Licenses (recurring): $72
Total Expenses in August: $50,752.38
Payroll to John and Kate: $13,193
In our May Income Report, Josh focused on how to pay yourself as an entrepreneur. Check it out!
Total Net Profit for August 2014: $225,365.02
Can you believe this all came from the launch of a single Podcast?!
If you’re looking to start your own podcast, don’t miss our Podcast Workshop that we’re hosting next week on how YOU can create, grow, and monetize YOUR Podcast. Yes! Sign me up for the Podcast Workshop!
Here’s what our attendees are saying about the Podcast Workshop:
Rob: “This was a smart hour to set aside!”
Dave: “This is perfect for me! John is laying out exactly what I am working towards!”
We also host a Webinar Workshop every other week that walks you through how to Create and Present a Webinar that Converts. Looking to present Webinars for your business? Yes! Sign me up for the Webinar Workshop!
Things We Learned In August
There are no overnight successes
How did you build all of this so fast?! It’s like it happened overnight! << We get this a lot.
It wasn’t until I was doing an interview on another podcast and received a gasp! from my interviewer when he found out that Podcasters’ Paradise wasn’t a home run on our first up to bat, that I realized there is a lot John and I talk about that people may not have heard.
John and I are both incredibly grateful for the success that EntrepreneurOnFire has seen thus far; however, it wasn’t without struggles, failures and a ton of hard work that we got to where we are today (and today is only the beginning). This is a big part of why we write these income reports: to share these struggles, failures and all the hard work that goes into creating and maintaing EntrepreneurOnFire.
Sure, we love to celebrate our successes, like the launch and continued growth of Podcasters’ Paradise, and the incredible audience we’ve built with Fire Nation. But neither of these communities just suddenly appeared. Just like our sponsors, our mastermind, and our other products and services didn’t just suddenly appear.
I know it’s easy to read an article, or take a look at a number, and think, “Wow – they just happened to land that the first time – over and over again!”
Have you ever heard the story about how John and I failed twice before we came up with the idea to launch Podcasters’ Paradise? Yep – fell flat on our face with two other ideas before Paradise was born.
Did you know that John’s very first product was an eBook, Podcast Launch: How to Launch a Podcast, and that he didn’t even create that until he had been head down working on building his platform, his audience, and the podcast for 9 whole months?
You know our mastermind Tribe we call Fire Nation Elite? John started brainstorming the idea of creating a mastermind in November of 2012. That’s over 8 months before we actually launched Fire Nation Elite.
There is nothing more important than the realization that things don’t just happen overnight. I sat behind a desk on the 13th floor of a high rise building in downtown San Diego for nearly 4 years before I truly learned that lesson.
Nothing will happen unless you take action and create it, and creating it is a process, not a single event.
You know that feeling of overwhelm, when you have a task list that spans the length of your screen, and then some? When you have requests for things – tasks, deliverables, meetings, projects – coming at you from every direction? Everyone wants a piece of your time – and you feel as though you owe it to them.
These feelings can cause frustration, kill your productivity, and even encourage resentment towards the things and the people who are “doing this to you”.
Guess what? You’re doing it to yourself.
Last week I listened to a podcast episode from Michael Hyatt, where he and his co-host, Michele, did a book review on Essentialism by Greg McKeown. The episode was titled, Why Doing Less Is The Best Way To Do More.
I haven’t read the book yet, although I do have it download on my Kindle and in the queue, but the reason I wanted to include this piece on Essentialism here is because I know this is a struggle that all of us have: we feel that it’s our duty to take on more projects and do more things due to a belief that we have to busy in order to be productive. That we owe our time to people.
Essentialism presents a mindset that is quite the opposite, teaching us that if we continue to stuff more and more things into our already-crowded schedule, we’re going to suffer in other areas of our lives. It’s a bucket of water that will continue to overflow as you continue to pour water in it.
My biggest takeaway: every time you think about saying yes to something – a meeting, a joint venture, a project, an offer – stop and think about what you’re going to have to say no to in order to make it happen.
Is it really worth it?
Sometimes things don’t work
We do weekly Webinars, and because they’ve become a part of our regular schedule, we have a system in place that helps us set up, perform and wrap our Webinars very efficiently.
So what happens when something breaks? Not something that you put in place, but something that is a part of one of the systems you use in order to run your Webinars?
This happened to us in August: LeadPages had a hiccup, which is where we actually stream our Webinars from, and we had 15 minutes to figure out what we were going to do before our Webinar start time. Here’s how it went:
We had our Podcast Workshop scheduled for 12pm PST, and we always send out a 15 min auto reminder to a list of about 10k.
When I was setting up the page in LeadPages (embedding the video and the chat), and then testing the page, I was getting a LeadPages error. This means the link that was going out in our 15 min auto reminder was going to be a 404. YIKES!
John and I had a super fast brainstorm session and said “OK, let’s get this set up on a page on our site ASAP, and we’ll to have to resend the 15 min reminder via a broadcast email.” (at this point, John already had 50+ emails in his inbox telling him the link didn’t work).
While I set up the page on our site (literally just copied and pasted the code for the video and the chat to a page on our Website and hit publish), John was creating a buy button via “da button factory” (yes, that actually is a website, and it’s awesome).
Then, I went into my recent broadcasts, grabbed the 10k interest list, and resent an email saying “Whoops – new link” (in a few more words than that). Then, I manned John’s inbox during the Webinar and continued to direct people to the new page on our site who were emailing telling us the link was broken.
WHEW! Crazy roadblock / potential failure / unexpected disaster – AVERTED.
It wasn’t perfect, but being transparent about our situation was the first thing John talked about when he started the Webinar (letting people know what had happened), and I was also being transparent in the chat about what was going on. Guess what? Our audience was VERY APPRECIATIVE that we found a way to make it happen.
The fact that we made it happen erased anything and everything that went wrong before that, and it was all thanks to the fact that we weren’t stuck on the failure – instead, we were set on a solution.
Your turn! What’s your #1 takeaway from this month’s income report?
Alright Fire Nation, that’s a wrap!
Until next month, keep your FIRE burning!
~ Kate & John
PS: Click to Tweet… we’ll love you for it!
Note: we report our income figures as accurately as possible, but in using reports from Infusionsoft to track our product income, they suggest the possibility of a 3 – 5% margin of error.