February 2016 Income At-A-Glance
Gross Income for February: $595,936
Total Expenses for February: $220,475
Total Net Profit for February: $375,461
Difference b/t February & January: +$267,996
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 entrepreneurs every single month, we’re able to provide you with support – and a single resource – where we share 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 that you’re able to pass on what you learn to others through teaching, which is what we aim to do here at EOFire.
CPA On Fire
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 EOFire for a while now, and John and Kate have included me in these 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 to you, my job doesn’t stop at the verification level; I’ll also be providing tax and accounting tips to you along the way!
Josh’s February Tax Tip: How to avoid penalties and interest
We’re right in the heart of tax season, Fire Nation, and for most of us entrepreneurs, that typically means paying good ol’ Uncle Sam some money.
While I’m all for paying exactly what you owe, there’s one form of payment to the IRS that I absolutely cannot stand: penalties and interest!
Every year I have several clients get hit with penalties and interest for one reason or another.
Maybe they didn’t follow our comprehensive guide to estimated payments and had to pay a fine, or maybe they filed their return late last year.
Whatever the reason, I see way too many people get hit with these every year. Even worse, most people are just paying them without any attempt to get them reduced or even waived altogether!
Straight up: I’m tired of seeing people pay these fees with no questions asked out of fear of the IRS!
So today we are going to put an end to that. The next time you receive a notice that the IRS has hit you with some penalties and interest I want you to call them up and say these 3 magic words…
First Time Abatement
Seems to good to be true, right?
Can you really have thousands of dollars in penalties and interest waived by tossing out those three little words?
For most people, the answer is absolutely YES. Assuming you have a history of timely filing and paying your taxes you are almost certain to be granted this first time abatement of penalties.
What if you don’t have a good history and have been late or had other infractions in the past?
It’s still worth a try.
Last year I had a client get over $10,000 in penalties and interest waived despite filing late three consecutive years. The secret there is getting someone who can craft the right letter to try and make it happen.
It’s not guaranteed to work, but it’s certainly worth trying.
So the next time you receive a scary letter from the IRS demanding you pay them interest and penalties, don’t just fork over the money. Give them a call and use the words first time abatement and chances are you will get them removed on the spot!
And 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!
*Bonus* If you haven’t checked out our FREE course on business entities yet, you can get it here!
What Went Down In February
Talk about a disruptive social media channel – SnapChat is ALL the rage, and JLD is taking the channel head-on!
You might be wondering, “What’s so cool about SnapChat?” < I asked myself this same question a few weeks ago, and here’s what I found out:
- It’s one of the ONLY social media channels that requires YOU to physically be engaged / active if you want to post (no scheduling or having someone else do your posts for you);
- It’s REAL-TIME and only captures the last 24 hours, so it’s always relevant and guarantees you get to keep your followers up-to-speed on what you have going on;
- It’s INTIMATE – you get to share exactly what you’re doing, where you are, and who you’re with whenever you want!
Depending on whether you’re using SnapChat as a consumer or a user – or both – the benefits are pretty amazing. There simply isn’t another social media platform that allows you to share (or follow) real-time and intimate snaps of what you’re up to.
Should you be using SnapChat yourself?
One thing about SnapChat that’s tough is it’s not easy to get followers. You can’t search names – instead, you have to know the person’s Snap handle to find them and follow them. So finding people organically (or having people find you organically) is really tough.
That’s why I’d recommend you produce content on SnapChat if you already have a following. That way you can give your existing audience a call to action to follow you on Snap (vs. spending a lot of time on Snap and never being “found”).
As a consumer, it’s awesome, so if nothing else you should definitely hop on Snap and follow some of your favorites you know and love!
Speaking of favorites…
The Freedom Journal wraps – & ships!
The Freedom Journal Kickstarter campaign ended on Feb 5, and WOW – check out the milestones we were able to hit together, Fire Nation!
- #6 on the all-time list of most funded publishing campaigns;
- Over $453,000 pledged;
- More than 7,000 backers;
- More than 10,000 Journal sold; and
- TWO schools funded that will be built through Pencils of Promise in developing countries!
And we pulled out all the stops when it came to fulfilling the Kickstarter campaign – in fact, it was our #1 priority for the first half of February.
Here’s how Kickstarter works
Once a campaign ends, the campaign owner has to create and send a survey to all backers. That survey includes a space for all backers to provide their shipping information so the campaign owner can actually send them the product – in this case, The Freedom Journal.
Once enough backers complete that survey and provide shipping information, we (the campaign owner) can download the .csv file and start shipping!
And then comes the credit card part.
There were over 533 credit cards that were initially declined during the charging process, and with the help of some good old follow up, we were able to get that number down to just 111! That’s 1.5% of all charges… pretty awesome!
We began shipping The Freedom Journal to backers on February 13 – just 1 week after the campaign had closed. If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, that’s basically a record-breaker for quickness!
A LOT of happy Freedom Lovers!
We’re working on our massive recap post right now, which will give you an inside look at EVERYTHING that went into creating, marketing and launching The Freedom Journal – that will go live early next week!
The Freedom Journal moving forward
So what happens next?
Well, we’ve set up our own Shopify store, which means The Freedom Journal is available now at TheFreedomJournal.com!
The Freedom Journal is also available on Amazon, which you can grab right here.
We’ve been hearing so many incredible stories from members of The Freedom Journal community about how, in just a matter of days, The Freedom Journal has changed their trajectory and their outlook on accomplishing goals.
The chain reaction of awesome has begun – and we’re just getting started!
John also announced in February that we’ll be continuing our partnership with Pencils of Promise and donating a portion of all proceeds to help build schools in developing countries.
So if you haven’t ordered yours yet, then let’s do this! Accomplishing your #1 goal is just 100 days away, Freedom Lovers!
Digital vs. Physical products
This is our biggest month ever at EOFire in terms of gross revenue! The Freedom Journal launch proved to be a massive success thanks to your support.
Given this success, you might be wondering, “Why wouldn’t everyone launch a physical product like this?!”
Here’s why: in May and October 2015 we did a huge “close” and “open” of our flagship online community, Podcasters’ Paradise. That “close” and “open” brought hundreds of new members into our community without any additional expense to us at all.
Something to think about, (and this is the reason why everyone doesn’t launch physical products like The Freedom Journal): it takes a huge investment and a lot of money to create, sell and fulfill physical products.
While we definitely consider The Freedom Journal one of the best projects we’ve ever worked on, it’s definitely a different beast compared to our online products. You can get a behind-the-scenes look at exactly what I mean in our recap post!
A Workcation in Playa
For the 2nd year in a row we met up with our good friends Jill & Josh Stanton from Screw The Nine to Five for a little “workcation” down in Mexico.
Last year we went to Puerto Vallarta, and this year we decided to switch it up and hop over to Playa Del Carmen.
It was awesome meeting up with Jill & Josh again, and even more exciting to reflect on our journeys over the past year – so much has happened!
Since last year, Jill & Josh have:
- Started a private FB group for their Screw the 9 to 5 community, now boasting nearly 9,000 members!
- Completely revamped and retooled their membership community, Screw U, which is totally rockin’ and rollin’;
- Hired 2 new team members!
Since last year, John & I have:
- Created & launched The Freedom Journal;
- Switched from lifetime to recurring for Podcasters’ Paradise;
- Hired 2 new team members!
Well, this and so much more, of course :) But these are topics we discussed and focused on during our mastermind sessions last year, so to see all of these projects and ideas come to fruition and get to chat about that this year was really motivating and exciting.
But work aside, we also found plenty of time to relax and enjoy all that Playa has to offer, like the Mayan Ruins at Tulum and the beautiful beaches that were right outside our doorstep!
We also had the pleasure of meeting Amanda & Brian, two amazing entrepreneurs who are currently living in Playa, and it was great fun to add another couple to the mix!
If you’re thinking about joining (or creating) a mastermind, then check out this post I wrote with some tips on how to get started.
I can’t say enough about surrounding yourself with people who will lift you up, give you honest feedback and advice, and who are there to support you on your journey!
Product/Service Income: $559,256
Podcasters’ Paradise: $21,948.25 (28 new members + 80 recurring)
Create, grow, and monetize YOUR Podcast.
Free Podcast Course: $0 (it’s free :-)
A 15-day course on how to create, grow, and monetize YOUR Podcast.
WebinarOnFire: $4,654 (invoice total)
Create and present a Webinar that converts.
Free Webinar Course: $0 (it’s free :-)
A 10-day course on how to create and present Webinars that convert!
The Freedom Journal: $475,194 [$453,803 (Kickstarter)]
Podcast Sponsorship Income: $54,000
Podcast Websites: $3,000
The Fire Path Course: $216
Podcast Launch (Audiobook on Audible): $160
Podcast Launch (eBook on Amazon): $84
Affiliate Income: $36,680
*Affiliate links below
- BlueHost: $1,800 (Step-by-step guide and 23 WordPress tutorials)
- Coaching referrals: $1,359 (email me for an introduction to a mentor for overall online business or a Podcast focused mentor!)
- David Siteman Garland’s Create Awesome Online Courses: $11,909
- Scott Voelker’s The Amazing Seller: $4,285
- Ramit Sethi: $2,818
- Fizzle: $1,373
- LeadPages: $803
- Click Funnels: $0
- Rick Mulready’s FB ADvantage: $2,193
- Ray Edwards Copy Writing Academy: $1,914
- Bryan Harris’ 10k Subscribers: $754
- Grant Baldwin’s Booked & Paid to Speak: $0
- Libsyn: $895 (promo code Fire)
- Audible: $885
- Tim Paige Voice Over: $0 (ask for the Fire Special)
- Pat Flynn’s Smart Podcast Player: $36
- Infusionsoft: $0
- Aweber: $0
- Amber Ludwig-Vilhauer: $190
- Fire Pole Marketing: $78
- Music Radio Creative: $0
- WP Curve: $120
- Chris Ducker’s Virtual Staff Finder: $0
- Creative Live: $580
- High Speed Elite: $0
- UDemy Podcasting Course: $24
- Podcasting Press: $130
- Amazon Associates: $1,138
- Other: $3,396
Total Gross Income in February: $595,936
Business Expenses: $217,992
- Advertising: $1,062 (FB & YouTube ads for TFJ launch)
- Affiliate Commissions (Paradise): $5,122
- Accounting: $250
- Cost of goods sold: $55,211 (8,800 copies of TFJ)
- Design & Branding: $2,180
- Training & Education: $209
- Meals & Entertainment: $1,116
- Merchant / bank fees: $4,899
- PayPal fees: $731
- Office expenses: $699
- Libsyn: $281
- Other Business Expenses: $138
- Promotional / events: $138
- Paradise Refunds: $297
- WebinarOnFire Refunds: $647 (invoice total)
- Shipwire: $77,743 (shipping & fulfillment of TFJ)
- The Freedom Journal: $43,697 (Kickstarter fees)
- TheMidRoll (Sponsorships): $13,500 (25%)
- Total Launch Package Fees: $350
- Travel: $1,979
- Virtual Assistant Fees: $5,795
- Website Fees: $1,948
Recurring, Subscription-based Expenses: $2,483
- Adobe Creative Cloud: $100
- Boomerang: $14.99
- Brandisty: $24
- Authorize.net: $91.10
- Cell Phone: $195
- Google Storage: $9.99
- Go2MyPC: $12
- HelloSign: $13
- Internet: $159
- eVoice: $9.95
- Infusionsoft CRM: $448
- Insurance: $551
- Chatroll: $150
- PureChat: $20
- ScheduleOnce: $16
- Skype: $2.99
- Shopify: $29
- Stripe: $346 (1-time, 3 years)
- Payroll fee: $77
- Workflowy: $4.99
- MeetEdgar: $49
- Wistia: $25
- Sweet Process: $29
- WPCurve: $29
- Taxes & Licenses: $77
Total Expenses in February: $220,475
Payroll to John and Kate: $18,193
In our May Income Report, Josh focused on how to pay yourself as an entrepreneur. Check it out!
Contribution to Pencils of Promise (personal): $50,100
Total Net Profit for February 2016: $353,271
Biggest Lesson Learned
Proof of concept is POWERFUL
In November 2015 we teamed up with 2 of the Founders of Podcast Movement, Dan Franks and Jared Easley, to host the first ever Podcasters’ Paradise Cruise.
We set sail from Ft. Lauderdale, FL headed to Haiti, Jamaica and Grand Cayman along with 50 other passionate podcasters.
It was an ABSOLUTE BLAST.
Not only did we have some of the biggest names in podcasting on board with us, like Andrew Warner, Chase Reeves, and Chris Brogan, but we also had an amazing crew of attendees who were motivated and determined to take the next step on their podcasting journey.
Naturally, we sent out a survey to those who attended to get feedback on the event – constant improvement is SO huge – and we had so many lessons learned as a result!
The feedback was incredibly positive, and after reviewing everything we were excited to implement some recommendations from attendees on our 2nd annual Podcasters’ Paradise Cruise.
So in February, we decided to set up a proof of concept webinar for the 2016 Cruise.
Because of the amount of work it takes to put together an event like this (in addition to our desire to want to grow the Cruise in its 2nd year), we wanted to make sure we were going to reach our goals for the Cruise before moving forward.
SO on Wed, Feb 24th we went live with a webinar, shared some incredible tips for conference attendees on how to leverage every event you attend this year, and shared dates, details and a deposit link for attendees to claim their spot on the 2016 Cruise.
We also set a deadline: we needed 50 podcasters to commit to the 2016 Cruise before Feb 29th, or the Cruise wasn’t going to happen.
We did a push, including a replay email and special announcements within Podcasters’ Paradise, and unfortunately, we weren’t able to hit our 50 person minimum to make the 2016 Cruise a “go”.
While we’re bummed that the 2016 Cruise will not become a reality (especially given the success of the 2015 Cruise and all the lessons we learned from that), we are grateful for proof of concept.
We’ve not only saved ourselves a ton of time in terms of planning, we’ve also proven to ourselves that our podcasting community simply isn’t ready for a podcasting event on board a Cruise ship.
Thinking about launching a new book, a product, a service, or an online community?
Think about doing something similar to help prove your concept first. Ask for people to invest in the idea before you put a ton of time and bandwidth into creating it, and you could save yourself a lot of time and money in the long run!
Alright Fire Nation, that’s a wrap!
Until next month, keep your FIRE burning!
~ Kate & John
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.
This post was written by Kate Erickson, Content Creator and Implementer at EOFire. Follow Kate on Social: