September 2016 Income At-A-Glance
Gross Income for September: $162,247
Total Expenses for September: $58,886
Total Net Profit for September: $103,361
Difference b/t September & August: -$21,151
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.
**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’s Monthly Tax 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 EOFire for years 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 September Tax Tip: Revisiting sales tax & Nexus when selling on Amazon
We’re back, Fire Nation! And no – I don’t mean for this months tax tip, (you know those are always coming back!) I’m talking about the return of The Freedom Journal on Amazon!
In our April tax tip we talked about some sales tax issues that arose when we started selling The Freedom Journal on Amazon, and how those issues caused us to remove The Freedom Journal from Amazon.
The decision basically came down to one scary word: Nexus.
In the sales tax world Nexus is a fancy word that essentially means any where you have a physical presence, which includes storage of inventory, you have to register, collect and pay sales tax on all sales within that state.
If you’re using the Amazon FBA platform (Fulfilled By Amazon), then you’re going to eventually have Nexus in at least 14 states.
But as successful businesses often do, EOFire re-evaluated the situation after making the decision to pull out of Amazon.
During that re-evaluation, we discovered that Amazon has a second selling option called FBM (Fulfilled By Merchant), which allows you to have far greater control over where your inventory is stored, and in turn, where you have to deal with sales tax. So we’ve essentially figured out better methods for dealing with Nexus.
Ultimately, we realized the income generated from having The Freedom Journal on Amazon was greater than the cost and headache of dealing with the sales tax issues that come with it.
So if you sell physical products and are debating whether to use a platform like Amazon because of the sales tax issues that arise, here’s a rundown of the two areas that made EOFire decide to come back:
Essentially, Amazon FBM simply means you are in charge of your own inventory storage and shipment, whereas FBA puts it all in the hands of Amazon.
Most of the sellers going this route are smaller and shipping from their own home, but there are some bigger sellers out there doing this, too.
In the case of bigger sellers, they are finding some type of third party merchant to take over the inventory storage and shipping for them. And while it can be a bit of a headache up front to put these pieces into place, there are two big benefits:
- First, you control where the inventory is stored, typically in only one or two states, which significantly reduces your sales tax requirements.
- Second, you could save quite a bit of money as opposed to the fees Amazon charges for their FBA program.
The one possible negative here is that Amazon Prime, which a significant number of Amazon users prefer to use, is only available for FBA sellers.
Options for Sales Tax Compliance for FBA
Since posting our original tax tip on the difficulties of complying with Nexus rules in the FBA program, we’ve come across a number of services that can help you do exactly that.
Make no mistake, you will pay a pretty penny for these services, but it could very well be worth your money to make it happen.
There’s also a resource called Tax Jar that can help you automate the process of actually paying and filing the sales tax reports each month/quarter/year.
While I haven’t used any of the setup services myself, or seen them enough to get a personal recommendation, I will say this: it’s best to do some research on it, talk with the people at Tax Jar and find a firm you are comfortable with to help you meet the sales tax requirements that come with FBA selling.
The bottom line this: when it comes to sales tax, it’s like any other area of your business – it needs to be evaluated and reconsidered from time to time to make sure you’re meeting the requirements as efficiently and cost effectively as possible!
If you have a question you would like to see covered in a future income report, leave it in the comments section below, or reach out to me directly!
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!
Mentioned in this episode: Kahuna Accounting (our incredible bookkeeping team!)
David Lizerbram’s September Legal Tip: Knowing when to delegate
This month’s legal tip comes in the form of a story…
Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time working with a team of lawyers to assist a client who’s a very successful doctor and investor. Let’s call him Dr. A.
Dr. A has made a lot of investments over the years: real estate, LLCs, products, medical companies, you name it. He came to us because he needed help getting this pile of investments organized.
Dr. A has built up a nice portfolio of investments, but also a lot of legal risk.
Let’s say someone gets injured in one of the condos he owns. That lawsuit could jeopardize all of this other investments – and the future he’s worked so hard to build for himself and his family. There are few things worse than working hard to achieve your dreams only to risk losing it because of legal exposure.
Fortunately, our team is also working hard to organize this all into a structure that will protect and insulate those investments. Once we’re done, any legal issues that might arise unexpectedly will be contained, rather than spreading like a virus and infecting the whole system.
If Dr. A had a system, a strategy, and good legal advice from day 1, he would not only have had better legal protection, but he would have saved him him tens of thousands of dollars.
At this point, it’s money well spent. But I’m sure he wishes he’d been on the right path from the start.
I understand the thought process: Dr. A became wealthy by watching every penny and doing things for himself.
Maybe you’re at an early stage of your entrepreneurial journey, or maybe you’ve already started to enjoy the success that flows from your hard work. No matter where you are in the process, it’s important to have a strategy to protect your assets and a team around you to execute on that strategy.
There comes a time when you need to transition from doing it yourself to hiring the best people because you just don’t have the time or expertise to do it all yourself.
Don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to discuss setting up a plan to protect your business and personal assets – no matter where you are on your entrepreneurial journey.
You can find many more free legal tips for entrepreneurs on my blog and podcast!
What Went Down In September
A month in Maine
One of our favorite things about owning our own business?
We get to call the shots!
In September we were able to travel to Maine and spend the entire month enjoying The Way Life Should Be with John’s family – workcation style :)
With many lakeside BBQ’s, hikes, and day trips to cities like Portland and Boston, we enjoyed the freedom we’ve created in our business and life while continuing to work on a business we love.
The best of both worlds?
I’d say so.
But it doesn’t come without a ton of discipline and focus. Tune in to this month’s income report recording to hear about our top tips for balancing work and vacation when you’re traveling!
Agents of Change Conference
While in Maine we also had the opportunity to take the stage at Agents of Change, a 1-day conference put on by our good friend Rich Brooks from Flyte New Media.
Chris Brogan, Amy Schmittauer and Sue B. Zimmerman, among many other greats, rocked the stage to chat about search, social and mobile.
This is the first year we’ve both given presentations at AOC: John, a closing keynote on the importance of setting and accomplishing goals, and me, a breakout session on creating systems to help grow your business.
The room was packed from morning till evening with incredible people (many from Fire Nation!) and a lot of amazing energy.
We wrapped the night with an afterparty in the Old Port surrounded by friends both old and new, and to top it all off, we got our own personal tour of the Seabags headquarters the next morning, along with our very own Seabags!
Thinking about attending a meet up or conference in the coming months?
Our best advice: take action and get uncomfortable! You never know who you’ll meet or what type of connections you’ll make :)
One example: We chat in this month’s income report recording about a meet up with Danielle, an awesome entrepreneurial superstar who drove up to Maine from Mass to meet with us at a cafe after learning about John and The Freedom Journal on Twitter.
After we met with her at the cafe, we encouraged her to make the drive again to attend Agents of Change, which she did – and we had an amazing time getting to build a relationship with Danielle, learning more about her business, and having the opportunity to help her on her journey.
You just never know who you’re going to meet, what you’re going to learn, or how your business and journey will be impacted by putting yourself out there and taking action.
EOFire turns 4!
Time flies when you’re having fun :)
We put together a massive post to help celebrate our 4 years with YOU, and to share our biggest lessons learned. You can check it out here!
In late August I launched SkillsOnFire, which is where I will be creating short but POWERFUL tutorials to make you DANGEROUS in a number of different areas, including social media, email, time management, morning routines and MUCH more.
Are you ready to master productivity, discipline, & focus in 100 Days?
One of my current, BIG projects is The Mastery Journal: Master productivity, discipline, & focus in 100 Days!
I’m INCREDIBLY excited for the launch of The Mastery Journal (coming Q1 2017) because this is a project that’s very personal for me.
The Freedom Journal was creating the solution for how to set and accomplish meaningful goals. My EOFire guests thrive with goals, while many of my listeners struggle with goals; The Freedom Journal bridges that gap.
But The Mastery Journal is personal.
I believe my strengths are productivity, discipline, & focus.
There is a method to my madness, and in The Mastery Journal you WILL learn how to master productivity, discipline, & focus in 100 days.
Straight up, The Mastery Journal is going to be work, but if you want to achieve your dreams, it’s time to raise your hand and join me! Allow The Mastery Journal to be your guide.
I’ll be sharing my progress, as well as providing gifts and awesomeness along the way, so be sure to sign up for updates at TheMasteryJournal.com!
Product/Service Income: $120,696
The Freedom Journal: Accomplish your #1 goal in 100 days!
- Shopify: $14,289 (296 Freedom Journals & 48 Digital Packs sold!)
- Amazon: $8,112 (208 Freedom Journals sold!)
- Total: $22,401
Podcasters’ Paradise: The #1 Podcasting community in the world!
- Recurring: $12,024 (138 monthly)
- New members: $11,545 (44 new members)
- Total: $23,569
Podcast Sponsorship Income: $66,000
Podcast Websites: $5,000
WebinarOnFire: $3,285 Learn how to Create & Present Webinars that Convert! (Note – Feb 2019: Webinar On Fire is no longer available; we recommend Amy Porterfield’s Digital Course Academy for webinar training!)
The Fire Path Course: $7 A step-by-step business roadmap
Free Courses that result in the above revenue:
Your Big Idea: Discover your big idea in under an hour!
Free Podcast Course: Create and launch your own podcast!
Funnel On Fire: Create a funnel that converts!
Affiliate Income: $41,551
*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.
Resources for Entrepreneurs: $19,403
- Audible: $335
- Aweber: $0
- BlueHost: $1,200 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
- Click Funnels: $14,544
- Coaching referrals: $1,262 (email me for an introduction to a mentor for overall online business or a Podcast focused mentor!)
- Disclaimer Template: $89 (legal disclaimers for your website)
- Fizzle: $465
- Infusionsoft: $0
- LeadPages: $1,408
- Virtual Staff Finder: $100
- Shopify: $0
- WP Curve: $0
Courses for Entrepreneurs: $19,327
- Ryan Levesque’s ASK: $4,905
- David Siteman Garland’s Create Awesome Online Courses: $4,039
- Scott Voelker’s The Amazing Seller: $0
- Ramit Sethi: $3,412
- Lewis Howes’ Legacy: $3,777
- Self-Publishing School: $1,047
- Nick Stephenson’s First 10k Readers: $401
- Rick Mulready’s FB ADvantage: $436
- Bryan Harris’ 10k Subscribers: $0
- Fire Pole Marketing: $0
- Grant Baldwin’s Booked & Paid to Speak: $62
- Ray Higdon’s 3 Minute Expert: $0
- Josh Turner’s LinkedIn Academy: $1,248
Resources for Podcasters: $1,746
- Libsyn: $1,336 (promo code Fire)
- Pat Flynn’s Smart Podcast Player: $24
- Music Radio Creative: $64
- UDemy Podcasting Course: $22
- Podcasting Press: $300
- Amber Ludwig-Vilhauer (done for you services): $0
Other Resources: $1,075
- Amazon Associates: $935
- Other: $140
Total Gross Income in September: $162,247
Business Expenses: $55,710
- Advertising: $383
- Affiliate Commissions (Paradise): $4,070
- Accounting: $350
- Cost of goods sold: $3,815
- Design & Branding: $1,980
- Education: $223
- Legal & Professional: $1,235
- Meals & Entertainment: $907
- Merchant / bank fees: $3,035
- Amazon fees: $5,885
- Shopify fees: $221
- Stripe fees: $46
- PayPal fees: $348
- Office expenses: $501
- Promotional / events: $240
- Paradise Refunds: $3,574
- WebinarOnFire Refunds: $647 (invoice total)
- Shipwire: $5,213
- Sponsorships: $16,000
- Show notes: $300
- Total Launch Package Fees: $0
- Travel: $135
- Virtual Assistant Fees: $4,408
- Website Fees: $1,836
Recurring, Subscription-based Expenses: $3,176
- Adobe Creative Cloud: $100
- Avangate: $34
- Boomerang: $80 (team package)
- Brandisty: $24
- Authorize.net: $91.10
- Carbonite: $60 (annual fee)
- Cell Phone: $255
- CCBill: $20
- Google Storage: $9.99
- Go2MyPC: $12
- Graphly: $99
- Internet: $658 (inc’d Internet setup fees)
- eVoice: $9.95
- Infusionsoft CRM: $360
- Insurance: $551
- Libsyn: $320
- Chatroll: $150
- PureChat: $20
- ScheduleOnce: $9
- Skype: $2.99
- Shopify: $29
- TaxJar: $19
- Payroll fee: $77
- Workflowy: $4.99
- MeetEdgar: $49
- Wistia: $25
- WPCurve: $29
- Taxes & Licenses: $77
Total Expenses in September: $58,886
Payroll to John, Kate & PR Team: $24,236
Total Net Profit for September 2016: $103,361
Biggest Lesson Learned
Do it yourself vs. hiring the right people
David’s legal tip this month really got me thinking about the topic of doing it yourself vs. hiring the right people.
I couldn’t agree with David more: there comes a time on your journey when you have to evaluate what your time is worth, and this is typically weighed against the ROI (return on investment) you’ll get – the investment being your time.
For example, if you’ve launched a podcast, and as a result you’ve booked 5 new coaching clients, then your time gets a much higher ROI when spent with those clients vs. say… on scheduling out your social media posts.
That said, your social media posts are still important – they are potentially the marketing that’s getting you higher visibility, and therefore, more listeners, and in turn, more clients.
In this scenario, paying a virtual assistant to help you schedule your social media will be highly beneficial since it’ll free up more of your time to work with your new clients – plus time to brainstorm ways to get even more clients.
I challenged myself to do a review of the tasks and projects I’ve been working on to see if the ROI on my time investment was matching up, and I found in several areas that it was not…
I realized from taking inventory of the tasks and projects I was working on, in addition to the tasks and projects I was delegating, that some of the things I was delegating should have been things I was working on, and also that some of the ones I was working on should have been delegated.
Work, life – it gets busy. Take that time out to reflect and really look at what it is you’re spending your time on. Are you happy with the ROI? If not, think about whether you should be doing it yourself, or delegating it to someone else.
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 a combo of Infusionsoft & Xero to track our product and total income / expenses, they suggest the possibility of a 3 – 5% margin of error.