February 2015 Income At-A-Glance
Gross Income for February: $433,252
Total Expenses for February: $77,532
Total Net Profit for February: $355,719
Difference b/t Feb & Jan: +$182,457.50
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 just starting out. The most important part of the equation is what you’re able to pass on to others through teaching, which is what we aim to do here at EntrepreneurOnFire.
**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 February Income Report Tip!
What’s up Fire Nation, my name is Josh Bauerle. I’m 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 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’ll also be providing tax and accounting tips to you along the way!
This month I want to talk about where to register your business, especially your online business.
Where to register your business
In order to incorporate your business and form an LLC or Corporation, (which could save you thousands in taxes!), you’ll first need to choose which state to form it in.
But contrary to what the people on the sleezy commercials may tell you, the decision isn’t as simple as picking out the most tax friendly state and registering there. There are very specific rules involved with determining which state to register in.
The Physical Presence Test
The easiest way to determine which state you should register your business in is to figure out which state you have a physical presence in.
If you are a brick and mortar business, this is simple: whatever state your stores are located in is where your physical presence is.
But what if your business operates entirely online and you don’t have a store in any state?
Many people think this gives them the right to choose any state to register in. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Even if your business is online only, you have at least one state where you meet the physical presence test for and will be forced to register there.
Here are four tests to determine if you have a physical presence within a certain state:
- You’ve opened a bank account within the state;
- You have employees within the state;
- Any of the owners or shareholders are residents of the state;
- You have any type of office or warehouse within the state.
If you answered yes to any of those four statements, you likely have a physical presence within that state and will be forced to register there.
So while choosing a state like Nevada over California to register your business may seem like it could save you thousands of dollars in taxes, chances are it’s not even an option for you.
Regardless of what the commercials, the Internet, or your crazy Uncle told you, you will be forced to register in any state you meet the physical presence for.
I’m all about saving money on taxes Fire Nation, but trying to get around the rules for registering your business isn’t the way to do it, even with an online business.
I’m always here as a resource if you have any questions! 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!
Fire Nation Feature
We’re starting to hear so many amazing stories from our Fire Nation faithful – how could we NOT feature some of them in our monthly report?! We love you, Fire Nation, and we think it’s awesome that you’re making big things happen.
This month, we thought it would be cool to combine our feature with a mastermind trip that John embarked on to Montana. Destination? Casa de Pete Sveen (otherwise known as DIY Pete). Let me know if you recognize his ‘project of the month‘…
Every quarter my mastermind (Ricky Rick Mulready, Greg Holla Hickman, and JD3) takes a trip somewhere cool to relax, have fun, and IGNITE our businesses. We went to SF last quarter (think Tim Ferriss, Jeremy Frandsen and Alcatraz) and in Q1 2015 we were off to Montana!
MONTANA? Yep :-) Mentioned above, Pete Sveen has been a Fire Nation faithful for some time and has become a great friend. A year ago he took a pic holding a sign with the words ‘Mastermind?’ right in the spot you now see the six of us standing in above.
Well, he definitely planted a seed, and when it came time for us to decide on a place, Montana came up as a possibility – and eventually became THE choice.
Montana sounds good in theory, but in reality?
It’s BETTER! First off, one cannot ask for a better host. Pete whisked us away for a day of skiing at Big Sky, prepared epic meals at night, hosted Entrepreneurial get togethers and ripped some amazing fires.
Second, our guest Entrepreneur on the trip was Casey Zemen of Easy Webinar, and Casey was an absolute VALUE ADD in every capacity.
Third, Rob Montana, aka ‘The Strap Smith‘ (past guest of EntrepreneurOnFire), also stuck with us throughout the Mastermind weekend to make an even six, and it was great to hear his story of taking a passion (leather watch straps) and turning it into reality.
And finally, with plenty of 4-wheeling, hikes, hot tubs and cornhole, this was a trip for the ages, reminding us that we work SO HARD so we can have SO MUCH FUN, Fire Nation!
What Went Down In February
In a recent email newsletter, John shared his ah-ha moment and strategy behind the campaign we sent out to over 17,000 people over 4 days in February who have raised their hands and told us they’re interested in Podcasting.
Once John had the idea, it was just a matter of putting a plan in place and executing it. Here’s what that looked like…
Step 1: Establish list criteria
Our list criteria was, everyone who HAS signed up for a Podcast Workshop, the Free Podcast Course, or watched the Streaming Podcast Workshop; and who HAS NOT purchased Podcasters’ Paradise, left Podcasters’ Paradise or opted out of podcasting communications.
Step 2: Create content
While I was setting up list criteria, John was creating the actual content we would send out, (which included 2 emails per day – 1 in the morning, and 1 at night) along with a new video each day.
Subject line? Straight forward: Paradise investment increase [Plus Bonus]
The content? We got right to the point:
Each email was slightly different in its messaging, and the image above doesn’t represent the email in its entirety, but it’s the gist.
Step 3: Set up email campaign
I started setting up the campaign sequence in Infusionsoft in a way that would allow us do a few things throughout those 4 days:
– Take anyone out of the sequence who bought a membership to Paradise.
– Take anyone out of the sequence who clicked a link we had in the actual email content saying they were no longer interested in podcasting.
– Continue to send out the 2 emails per day for 4 days at a specific time we set.
Step 4: Hit publish & wait
This is always the part that makes me the MOST nervous. 17,000 contacts is a lot of people!
Every time John and I do any type of marketing campaign, we always set our goals. For me, the goal with this campaign was to welcome in 40 new members over the 4 days. For John, the goal was 50.
Once we hit publish, we were blown away by the results:
Over 4 days, we welcomed 136 new members into the Paradise community. (adjusted on 3/11 for refunds and duplicate orders)
2/23/15 = 77
2/24/15 = 23
2/25 /15 = 19
2/26/15 = 16
Translate that to dollars, and in 4 days our income = $158,162 Invoice Total
Since, we’ve only had 2 requests for a refund, proving that growing and nurturing an email list can mean big things if you’re able to continue providing massive value to them on a consistent basis.
Email strategy makeover
Hi, John Lee here, jumping in as this involves me directly! After identifying different areas in our business I wanted to be more involved in, our email newsletter jumped right out.
I always have a lot of thoughts swirling in my head (like the Paradise Push) and felt it was worth testing to see if Fire Nation enjoyed hearing these rants/ramblings in an email newsletter format.
This email I sent last Thursday received over 330 email responses. I am proud to say I responded to each and every one, and was fascinated with the incredible responses I received.
So if you’re one of the many who said ‘MORE PLEASE’, then thank you!… and I look forward to providing just that :-)
If you’re not currently on our list but want to be, jump on here and you’ll even get a couple cool gifts!
4 Essential Principles Workshop
After a full day mastermind with Jill Stanton and Amy Porterfield, I could finally see a clear direction for launching The Fire Path Course: a live Workshop where I would introduce the 4 Essential Principles Every Business Needs.
First off, without Jill and Amy’s help, I never would have gotten to this Workshop. Message: being a part of a mastermind and chatting with others about their business AND your business is POWERFUL.
Working on The Fire Path proved to me – not for the first time, but proved to me nonetheless – that when you’re too close to something, it can be really difficult to get past roadblocks.
I had spent so much time getting the course ready, beta testing it with our Elite Mastermind Tribe, and setting up the opt in giveaway and nurture sequence for those who were interested in learning more, that when it came time to actually introduce the launch of the course, I was stuck.
The reason the 4 Essential Principles Workshop was such a no-brainer for me is because it would logically flow into the course: the 4 Essential Principles are the first 4 stops on The Fire Path.
I held our very first Workshop in early March, and I can’t wait to talk about the results of that in next month’s report, along with what I have planned for the next few weeks to get The Fire Path Course campaign automated.
If you’re ready to take action and want a step-by-step guide to building a strong foundation for your business, then head over to TheFirePath.com for your free course: The Fire Path Roadmap.
Finally, if you’re just interested in all the behind-the-scenes stuff I worked on to bring The Fire Path to life, then make sure you check out The Fire Path Project: A series I’m doing on the blog and Kate’s Take podcast to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how I went from answering an email to creating an online course.
EOFire.com: Our Full Website redesign
If you haven’t checked out our new look over at EOFire.com, then here it is!
We mentioned this in last month’s income report as well, but it wasn’t until February that we actually took the design and flow of our new homepage and spread it throughout the entire EOFire website.
To watch a full site critique from John, where he dives deep into everything we upgraded – and why – click here!
As previously mentioned, we teamed up with our good friend and designer/developer extraordinaire (oh yeah – and the one who designed PodcastersParadise.com and WebinarOnFire), Zach Swinehart, to give EOFire.com a whole new look.
Our #1 goal? To make the user experience top-notch.
Without a quick and easy way for new visitors to know exactly what it is you have to offer, along with a clear call to action and straightforward navigation tools, they’re gone! With our new layout, we hope to get people exactly where they want to go with ease and quickness.
Some of our major upgrades
Some of our major upgrades with the site redesign include:
1. Our Welcome Gate
First time visitors may see a ‘Welcome Gate’ before entering.
Putting a Welcome Gate in place means that anyone new to your site (or anyone who hasn’t visited in more than 30 days) will see the page below instead of the homepage of the site, giving them an opportunity to opt in to your email newsletter.
As you can see, we’re not forcing anyone to opt in; there is a huge black button that allows people to skip and continue to the site: important so that you’re not deterring anyone from visiting.
This one tactic alone has resulted in over 700 email sign ups in just 2 weeks… outstanding!
2. Our search function
A recurring theme in a lot of the emails we received from Fire Nation was “Who was that guest with the…?”, and “Can I search for topics on your site?”
Fire Nation, you ask, we listen – and we implement! Our new search function allows you to not only search for names of past guests, but now topics and keywords as well!
Our sidebar now includes our exclusive suite of free content.
Updating the sidebar not only visually, but also with what it is we have to offer, gives us the opportunity to show Fire Nation the free content they can get access to with just a few clicks.
We’d love to hear what YOUR user experience is like on EOFire.com! Drop a comment below!
RescueTime is an incredibly powerful tool for anyone looking to manage their time more efficiently. In fact, John and I both attribute a huge chunk of our time management and efficiency skills to the RescueTime App itself. Honing these skills starts with fully recognizing what it is you’re spending your time on, and 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. Simply, easy and so powerful!
Kate’s February: 207 hours (vs. 225 in January)
Kate’s top 3 sites for the month:
John’s February: 219 hours (vs. 245 in January)
John’s top 3 sites for the month:
2. Adobe Audition
In January, we brought on our first US-based Virtual Team Member, Lisa, and now that she’s been on board with us for an entire month, we’re really rockin’ and rollin’ :)
Lisa is helping us part-time with some of our higher-level projects, which include our Accountability Partner Program and our Hub Meet Up’s in Paradise, along with helping reshape our Affiliate Program. If you see a note from Lisa, make sure you welcome her to Fire Nation!
We’re so grateful for each and every one of our team members, who without, we couldn’t be doing what we’re doing. JM, Jess, Tipu, and Lisa: thank you!
Product/Service Income: $412,273
Podcasters’ Paradise: $309,380 (invoice total)
Create, grow, and monetize YOUR Podcast.
Free Podcast Course: $0 (it’s free, but automated & generates sales of Podcasters’ Paradise!)
A free 15-day Podcast course on how to create, grow, and monetize YOUR Podcast.
Complete Podcast Course: $210
WebinarOnFire: $13,702 (invoice total)
Create and present a Webinar that converts.
The Webinar Course: $0 (it’s free, but automated & generates sales of Webinar On Fire!)
A free 10-day Webinar course on how to create and present Webinars that convert!
The One Thing: $77
$7 mini training (now free for our email subscribers!) about how to craft YOUR Avatar.
Sponsorship Income: $67,917
Fire Nation Elite Mastermind: $12,777
Total Launch Package: $2,985
Speaker Fees: $5,000
Podcast Launch (Audiobook on Audible): $88
Podcast Launch (eBook on Amazon): $137
Affiliate Income: $20,979
*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.
- BlueHost: $5,250 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
- ClickBank: $3,675
- LeadPages: $1,529
- Tim Paige Voice Over: $260 (ask for the Fire Special)
- Audible: $1,633
- Aweber: $0
- Amber Ludwig-Vilhauer: $170
- Infusionsoft: $0
- Music Radio Creative: $77
- LifeOnFire: $2,485
- Libsyn: $0 (promo code Fire)
- Coaching referrals: $3,803 (email me for an introduction to a mentor for overall online business or a Podcast focused mentor!)
- WP Curve: $0
- Fizzle: $0
- Optin Monster: $0
- Virtual Staff Finder: $0
- Social Media Marketing World: $0
- Amazon: $942
- Other: $1,155
Total Gross Income in February: $433,252
Business Expenses: $75,738
- Advertising: $1,422
- Affiliate Commissions (Paradise): $9,317
- Accounting: $250
- Design & Branding: $465
- Education: $1,338 (conferences included)
- Meals & Entertainment: $1,095
- Office expenses: $1,247
- Paradise expenses: $1,411 (SendOutCards & Conference Swag)
- Libsyn: $146
- Other Business Expenses: $0
- Paradise Refunds: $24,310 (invoice total)
- WebinarOnFire Refunds: $4,075 (invoice total)
- Fire Nation Elite expenses: $5,195
- TheMidRoll (Sponsorships): $9,169
- Total Launch Package Fees: $660
- Travel: $3,383
- Virtual Assistant Fees: $7,306 (includes full-time contractor for 1 month)
- Website Fees: $4,949 (includes Website Redesign)
Recurring, Subscription-based Expenses: $1,794
- Adobe Creative Cloud*: $100
- Boomerang*: $15.99
- Authorize.net*: $91.10
- Cell Phone*: $210
- Internet*: $171
- eVoice*: $9.95
- Infusionsoft CRM*: $388
- Insurance*: $551
- Chatroll: $49
- ScheduleOnce*: $50
- Skype*: $2.99
- Workflowy*: $4.99
- MeetEdgar*: $49
- WPCurve*: $29
- Taxes & Licenses (recurring): $72
Total Expenses in February: $77,532
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 February 2015: $355,719
Lesson Learned In February
Set a date – with yourself
It’s really easy to push stuff off when you’re busy creating and growing your business, and sometimes, that “stuff” is actually integral to your business.
In February, I tested something out: every time I wrote a note on a sticky about a task or project I wanted to accomplish – later – I actually scheduled a time on my calendar to make it happen.
Everything I scheduled was accomplished.
It’s also really easy to put stuff off for any number of reasons (in this case, reasons = excuses):
- You’re scared
- You don’t know how people will react
- You’ve never done it before
- You’re not sure if it will work
That’s exactly what was happening to me with the 4 Principles Workshop: it would have been really easy for me to continue putting off the launch of The Fire Path Course because I was using every excuse in the book to not schedule that workshop.
I finally came to the realization that all I needed to do in order to move forward was set a date, and once that happened, I launched the course.
Was it magic? A secret sauce? Some trick I discovered?
No – all I did was set a date.
Setting that date not only help hold me accountable, it also made it REAL.
Setting that date didn’t mean that I wasn’t still scared, that I didn’t know how people would react – I’d definitely never done it before – and there was no way for me to know whether or not it was going to work…
The point is, I HAD to try it in order to find out, otherwise, I’d just continue to wonder.
Putting yourself up against a wall is sometimes the only way to make it happen. So get real with yourself – set a date – and make it happen.
Act as if: No one knows about it but you
Recently, I’ve noticed a recurring theme with entrepreneurs who are just getting started with offering products and services to their audience. Pretty consistently, their biggest pain point is something along the lines of:
- I don’t know how to get people to opt in for my Webinar;
- I’ve provided a ton of value, but I’m not seeing any sales;
- I created a sales page, but as of now, no one has even visited it.
In fact, I struggled with each and every one of these things as I started developing The Fire Path Course, which is why this is not only something that clicked for me in February, but also something I feel can be extremely valuable to you:
When you’re offering your audience something, whether that be a Webinar, a product, a service, or a membership opportunity, the best thing you can do is act as if no one knows about it but you.
It’s quite simple, right? Yes, and it also works.
Until you put together a plan to market and share your Webinar, your product, your service, or your membership opportunity, it’s the truth: no one know about it but you.
A plan to market and share
This could be an entire post on its own (ah-ha!… look for this topic on the blog and Kate’s Take podcast soon!), but for now, I want to help get you started if this is something you’re struggling with right now.
Here are 3 options to help you get a plan in place to market and share whatever it is you have to offer your audience:
1. Create an opt in page for your Webinar and start running Facebook ads to it
Alternative: if you already have an audience, send them an email that details what they will get out of attending your Webinar.
2. Create a sales page for your product or service and reach out to those in your industry or niche that you’ve started building solid relationships with and ask if they’ll help you share what it is you’re offering on social media or with their own audience (if it makes sense).
Alternative: if you haven’t been building solid relationships, click here to learn how – this is 1 of the 4 Essential Principles Every Business Needs!
3. Write a blog post that’s optimized for what your target audience’s biggest pain point is (Google’s Keyword Planner can help you figure out the best keywords to use for your particular industry or niche).
Make your #1 goal and call to action in that post be your readers opting in to download “the next step” (so whatever you just taught in your post, what’s the next step they can take?) From this initial opt in / download, create a nurture sequence that continues to take your audience one step closer to whatever product, service or membership opportunity you have for them.
Alternative: if you don’t have a blog of your own, check out this post on how to request to guest post and start looking for opportunities to share the content on someone else’s blog.
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.