Welcome to episode 31 of the Free and Fearless podcast and the first one for 2022. This is my annual income report and year in review post, and you’ll hear me talk about the bolder actions I took every month, the things I did differently in my business and how it all worked out, the offers I created and the launches I did for them, how I spent over $10K on my business, and much more.
Tune into the episode below:
- how 2021 started for me
- what helped me feel abundance in my business for the first time
- the one daily practice I’ve been consistent with since last February
- how I escaped lockdown right before my birthday
- a big step I took in my business in March
- how the launch of Fearless Content went
- what I did in June that changed the way I do business
- what goes into a launch
- a big new product idea I had and what I did about it
- the one campaign that brought hundreds of new students in my course
- what I planned for the final quarter of the year
- one more course I released in 2021 and how I presold it
- total revenue for the year + for each income stream
- how I spent $11,257 on my business (without counting taxes)
- an overview of the offers I released and promoted in 2021
- how many pageviews I got on the blog and where that traffic came from
- email list growth
- how the podcast did in 2021
- Fearless Content
- The Abundant Biz Journal Challenge [free]
- High Vibe Honey [tapping membership]
- $1K Blogger
- The 5-Figure Blog Biz Checklist [freebie]
- Blog to Biz System
- Blog Income Boost [workshop]
- Bold Business School
- The Epic Online Course Checklist [freebie]
- Blog Audit
- The Passive Income Blog Boss [free course]
- The Blog Sponsorship Boss
Happy New Year, I hope it’s your best one ever. That’s what I plan to make mine, regardless of outer circumstances, because we might be dealt certain cards every year, but we get to choose how to play them.
Today’s episode is something I promised I would share, and it’s sort of a tradition. Every January, after I summarize how my year in business went and calculate all the numbers, I publish an annual income report.
You can check out the previous one here. Every year in my life and business is totally different, as my perspective on things changes, I deal with some more limiting beliefs, build new skills, and am passionate about new projects.
So every annual income report looks different, even if the revenue might be similar. How the money is made changes too, especially now that my focus is on digital products.
I won’t be mentioning the programs I’ve planned for the new year or any goals I’ve set because I want to leave this for another episode. I’m also still finalizing those as the vision is totally different than what I expected.
Something I realized last month is that from now on, I’ll be dedicating December to reviewing the whole year and my personal goes, diving into the numbers, deciding which of these projects and objectives I want to take with me into the new year and make sure there’s a ‘why’ behind each.
And when January comes, I can focus on the new vision, start with a blank slate, plan my offers and launches, as well as the first quarter and month of the year in more detail.
I’ve tried to do it all in 1 week or just over the course of December last years, but it was overwhelming and not as effective as I need it to be. So that’s why now I’m giving myself one month for both activities – ending the year and summarizing the goals, and starting the new one and creating the bigger and better vision.
You might want to do the same if you’ve been feeling anxious during your goal setting process so far.
Now, let’s get into my year-end review and see what I worked on every month of 2021. I’ll share the actual things I did, the themes I had for some months, the products I launched, how much I earned every month.
But I’ll get to the yearly revenue and my blog metrics only after that. So if you’re here just for that, feel free to skip to that part. Let’s begin.
January started with a lot of personal and spiritual growth. I had just completed a fantastic workshop on manifestation the month before that, connected with many like-minded women online, and had uncovered the biggest limitations on the way to my goals. I had also just set my goals for 2021 and was super pumped about it.
My main offer in business that month was a bundle of courses on exactly these topics, I was an affiliate so I I was earning a commission any time someone purchased from me. I also got access to all the programs inside the bundle, which were around 70.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed in cases like that and not get anything done, so I just decided to pick 2 or 3 courses that month, and only enroll in another one when the time was right and when I had space in my mind for it.
In January I completed a course on breathwork and the benefits were tremendous in terms of clarity, finding purpose, being vulnerable, practicing self-love, letting go of what’s no longer serving me, and letting love in.
This was the first time ever I was working with my breath, which is directly related to energy work and has many health benefits as well. Which reminds me that maybe I should go through that 30-day program again. It consisted of a short daily breathwork session, and every day there was a different intention to set for it.
As for the affiliate launch that month, it was my most high-vibe one.
For the first time I had fun while promoting something. a special bonus I gave to anyone who purchased through my link was access to my then upcoming course, Fearless Content. That was a nice way to get the first students in, build some excitement around the launch, and be able to work with beta students before opening the course for anyone else. These weeks I also began creating the content for it.
This is the month that I connected with my community more than ever which helped me get more clear on who I help and how, improve my branding and content strategy.
I also got more into Human Design, released my best freebie for subscribers so far – the Abundant Biz Journal Challenge, which is a 7-day challenge to tune into your potential and do business from a place of love and abundance.
Every day you’ll get an email with journal prompts and affirmations on topics like limiting beliefs, taking back your power in business, manifesting your dream business, calling in what’s next and celebrating your wins. You can sign up below.
Many people joined and gave me great feedback, so that made really happy. What I teach inside it was exactly how I was feeling and what I was doing daily in the beginning of 2021. I was journaling on all these topics, analyzing what my dream business looks like and which elements from my current situation aren’t resonating with my vision, and figuring out how to get there.
This was also the first month that I felt true abundance in my business. But here’s the thing – I first felt it and became grateful for it, and then these positive things began happening, such as growing the community, surrounding myself with like-minded women, having good launches, creating better products, making the most out of Instagram and so on.
I set all this as the theme of my month for January and went into it with that exact intention and it worked. But you really gotta believe before you see the outcome.
In terms of income, I earned $4786.
Most of my February was dedicated to creating more modules for Fearless Content, connecting with students, and preparing for the promo of another bundle. But this time I was going to participate in it with that course. Meaning, I’m an affiliate of it, promote it to my audience and also give them a chance to get my new course together with many others at a discounted price thanks to this offer that is only available for a few days. I had many collaborations like that in 2021 and it really helped me bring many new students to my courses.
That month I also increased my rates for sponsored posts, had a pretty good income, and got featured on Yahoo! News and Yahoo! Finance, which was my biggest feature yet. It was in an article called The 10 Course Creators and Experts to Watch in 2021.
My main new practice that month was tapping, also called EFT – emotional freedom technique. I got to know Gala Darling thanks to it, who soon became one of my biggest inspirations. This technique combines acupuncture but without the needles, just tapping on certain points on the body that are energy centers, with positive psychology. It can be as simple as a few minutes session, in which you talk about the issue you’re having, accept it, forgive yourself and love yourself besides struggling with that, and can immediately feel relief. This helps with stress and anxiety but also empowerment, confidence, letting go, manifestation, you name it.
That was the only practice I’ve ever started which remained a constant in my life 1 year later. I’ve never been so consistent with anything else. That’s the crazy effect it had on me from the start. I have hundreds of tapping videos on all key topics thanks to being in the tapping membership of Gala Darling called High Vibe Honey. She uploads new ones every Sunday and has been my weekly source of motivation.
I forgot to mention that the beginning of 2021 was still lockdown in the Netherlands and by that point, I was quite bored and needed an adventure. I also needed a change of scenery and I knew what the best solution was – traveling to Spain, and Tenerife in particular, one of the Canary Islands.
The weather is amazing there during the winter in Europe, it’s full of positive people, many actually moved there for a few months during the pandemic to live the digital nomad lifestyle, and it’s beautiful. I was planning to head there alone but at the end, a friend joined.
So on February 20th, a day before my birthday, I landed there with a one-way ticket. The goal was to forget about the rest of the world and live like a local on the island.
It worked well and 3 weeks later I was so satisfied that it was time to go back. You can hear more about this in episode 10 of the podcast.
That month, I made nearly $6,000 from my business. In March, the income was $3,616.
I spent part of it in Spain and didn’t do that much work. I made a big step in my business though – my first hire. It was a Pinterest VA and Strategist, who I found through Instagram.
Long story short, I signed a contract for 6 months and it was quite the investment for me, but it was just something I had to do.
It was also a risk I took. There wasn’t a growth in numbers and that’s why we stopped working together. But still, she was amazing and did her job well.
I stuck to the contract even though I knew I didn’t need her services 2-3 months after starting the collaboration, but that was good for delegation mindset. I finally delegated and let go of the control, which is a big challenge for me.
In April, I made $4,000. I was still getting some final things of Fearless Content ready, such as the bonuses, gathering testimonials, promo graphics, etc. The official launch was that month and I prepared well, followed through, and kept my energy high during launch week, which was a win on its own.
While the total revenue that came from it wasn’t impressive, it was still my best launch ever for many other reasons.
Every next month I was experimenting more with Instagram and finding my way there, my voice, creating better graphics and connecting with people more. I knew I’d stick to that platform and keep using it for my business. It was now a big part of my launches too.
In May, the income was the lowest for the whole year – $1500, but it happens. I participated in another bundle of courses with my blogging program $1K Blogger, so that was my promo campaign that month.
I also created a new freebie for my email list – the 5-figure blog biz checklist.
In June I opened the doors to my signature course Blog to Biz System, which had been closed for half a year as I felt overwhelmed talking about it all the time. I needed time off and to gain some clarity on my vision.
That month I was ready to just relaunch it and leave it like that.
I made a total of $3,425 that month, redesigned my website and felt really good about my overall branding. I also invested in Business by Design, the program by James Wedmore that teaches all about building a digital product business. I’ve mentioned that many times on the podcast so I won’t get into it again, but it was a pretty big deal.
My work the rest of the year changed from that moment on, as I started planning each quarter differently, focusing on my main offer for it, doing a launch debrief and immediately planning the next one, creating better offers and improving my messaging, and much more.
In July I did a lot of mindset work thanks to Business by Design and completely changed the way I look at sales, money and business in general. I was also preparing my next offer and a new product. The revenue was $3,762.
August is when I earned $2,260 and released a paid workshop called Blog Income Boost. It was priced low and it was a really good product. At the end of it, I promoted a bigger offer, which wasn’t officially released yet – a blog audit. This was a launch process I was using for the first time, taught by James Wedmore inside the program. I had a lot of fun with it, but it was challenging at the same time as there are many numbers involved, everything needs to be ready in advance so I’m not stressing during launch week, and at the same time I need to detach from the end result and just be present while promoting the offer.
That’s why you get better at this with every next launch.
In August the idea for my biggest program was born – Bold Business School.
Moving onto September, when that idea expanded. I outlined the offer, started creating the sales page, opened the Waitlist and shared it with people, built a whole site – boldbuisnessschool.com and started social channels with the brand name for it.
This program will be more than just a course. It will be a 1-year membership where I teach what you need to know to build a digital product business, to launch your first course like a pro, build your email list, grow your audience, and enhance your offers.
This month I also had another affiliate launch, again in a bundle that I participated in. If you’re a blogger, you might have heard of it. It’s called the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit and it’s the most popular bundle in the blogging industry, which is by a trusted company and being released every next year. It was such an honour to have my course Fearless Content as one of the products in it and welcome hundreds of students inside the program solely thanks to that campaign. So many other bloggers, much bigger than me, participate and promote the bundle to their audience that the reach for this was huge. That’s why many new people learned about my program, which is a fun way to grow my audience.
I made a total of $3,447 that month.
In October, the revenue was $3,812 and my mind was busy with Bold Business School again. I created the framework for the course, carefully decided what to include in it and what the bonus material will be. I added more elements to the sales page and almost finalized it.
You can join the waitlist here, learn more about the program, or grab the new freebie I created for anyone interested in launching an online course. It’s called the Epic Online Course checklist and I released it in October. Got awesome feedback from people who downloaded it.
I started that month with a clear plan for the final quarter of the year. I outlined the big things I wanted to get done, the offer I would release, the exact launch processes I’ll use, the revenue I want to make, and even prepared for staying accountable. It was a really focused period of time for me.
In October, my main offer was the Blog Audit, but this time with an official launch. I started enjoying sales and launching more and more, and the debrief after each promotion was such a valuable set of lessons that I could take with me into the next launch.
November is when I earned $4,000, updated my free course for bloggers and promoted it again.
I once had 3 free courses, closed the doors to one as it was on earning money as a freelancer but I didn’t want to teach that, and then combined the other 2 into 1. The result was The Passive Income Blog Boss, a simple course that teaches you how to start and design your blog from scratch and monetize it in different ways to create passive income streams.
My promotion for the month were the Black Friday deals that I usually share with my audience at that time of the year. It’s products and services I’m using and believe in, and they have such huge discounts that it would be a shame not to share them. That was easier than an actual launch so I didn’t have much to prepare.
I used the extra time I had to bring my next offer to life as I knew exactly what that would be – one final course before the year ends – The Blog Sponsorship Boss.
It has been on my mind for over 2 years now but I just didn’t get to it. And last month I was sure it’s time to get it out there before I move onto Bold Business School, as that won’t be about teaching blogging anymore.
So in the end of November and beginning of December I was in the pre-launch phase of the course promotion, which means warming up my audience, updating a freebie on the topic (I already had it but now improved it and promoted it again), also releasing a podcast episode and an income report that got people excited about sponsored blogging.
In December I finalized the sales page for the course and prepared the material for the launch, then executed it over the course of 6 days in the middle of the month. I was traveling that week but still managed to do it and not get overwhelmed, which shows I’m much more organized in my launches now, because some time ago it was total chaos and that led to a lot of stress.
Then it was the Christmas holidays which I chose to spend creating content for the course, as I had promised one new module per week to the people who enrolled. I monetized the product before I made it, and that’s what I’ll be teaching in Bold Business School so definitely get on the waitlist if you’re interested.
The income that month was $5,426.
And that summarizes all my offers, launches, monthly revenue and other things achieved in 2021. Now, let me share the big picture.
Annual Income Report
In 2021, my revenue was $46,058. The year before that it was $54K.
These are my 4 income streams.
- Sponsored content – $27,181
- Ads – $9,065
- Affiliate marketing – $5,323
- Products – $4,256
My expenses were $11,257, and that’s without taxes.
- Business course: $3K
- Pinterest Manager: $3K
- Accountant: $1K
- Transactions fees: $1500
- Teachable (the platform I use for my courses): $350
- ConvertKit (my email marketing tool): $1K
- PR: $550,
- TypeForm (a tool I use for online surveys, mainly for my courses): $280
- Canva Pro: $100
- Podcast hosting: $150
- Tailwind: $120
- Domains and hosting: $140
- Widgets for my WordPress site: $100
So that’s where the $11K in business expenses went. The biggest expenses from 2021 won’t be happening this year.
I had 8 promotions the whole year, with 4 of them being my products. That’s 2 courses – Fearless Content and The Blog Sponsorship Boss, the Bold Audit, and 1 workshop – Blog Income Boost.
The rest was affiliate campaigns, mainly promoting bundles. So all launches are related to courses somehow, except for the Black Friday promo.
The first part of the year I was still careful with launching and selling too much, but after investing in Business by Design, I got more active with that. From August to December I had a promo every month, which means I planned it, executed it and analyzed it after that. I learned a lot from these.
I’m a bit tempted to start talking about the offers I’ve planned for this year and what I’ll do differently in my business, but it’s better to leave that for another episode.
Now let me share a bit more about the blogging business and some metrics. First is traffic.
- Pageviews: 562,413
- Sessions: 453,151
- Users: 394,158
LetsReachSuccess.com got over 560,000 page views in 2021. The users that visited the site were 394K and over 90% of them were new visitors.
60% of that traffic came from search engines, that’s organic traffic and is thanks to all the content I’ve published over the years and how I’ve optimized it.
19% of the traffic was direct, which is any traffic that doesn’t have a referral. These are the people who came to my site deliberately. Maybe it was from a document such as my PDF freebies, from lectures inside my courses linking to my blog posts, or just entered my URL manually. Google Analytics doesn’t really have more information about these as it’s not easy to track them.
18% of the traffic is from social media, mainly Pinterest. And there’s also a small percentage of referral traffic, which is thanks to links to my blog on other sites.
Read also: How I Increased Traffic by 778% in 2 Months with Pinterest Traffic Avalanche
Here are the articles that got the most traffic:
- How to Become a Self-Made Millionaire with No Money
- 25 Helpful Google Calendar Hacks You’re Probably Not Using
- What’s The Deeper Meaning of a Shooting Star (& How to Figure Out What You Want in Life)
- Top 8 Ideas for a Small Printing Business You Can Start on Your Own in 2021
- 5 Steps to Fix Yourself and Follow Your Dreams
- The Mirror Technique: A Beginner’s Guide to Building Self-Confidence
- 5 Secrets to Having a Give and Take Relationship
- 80 of The Best Blog Posts I’ve Ever Read That Might Inspire You Too
- How to Be in Harmony with Yourself
- How to Create a Great Team Culture Where Everyone Can Thrive
Moving onto email marketing. I got a total of 1,795 new email subscribers, which is awesome. What’s different than other years is that many of them came through the bundles I talked about. Each new student that is added to my Teachable school is also added to my list. And when they start receiving my weekly newsletter, of course many of them can decide to unsubscribe quickly. That happens but it’s how email marketing works.
I now have over 5300 people on my list, and as you heard from my monthly summary, I created a few new freebies for subscribers, updated and relaunched my free course, so there are many reasons for new people to keep joining my list.
What about the Free and Fearless podcast? The show generated 1465 downloads last year.
I published 24 new episodes which is not much but the podcast isn’t my main channel so I was doing many other things aside from that, mainly on the blog and related to course content.
And that’s pretty much it. Thanks for staying till the end, and let me know what you think. It took me quite some time to finalize the annual income report, but pushing myself to do it earlier would have affected its quality. Now I’ve summarized all I wanted to share and this episode and the blog post I create next to it are my way of staying accountable. It really works.
You might want to share such income reports too and review your months in business and then the whole year. You’ll only see the benefits of it after you get the information out there though. It’s helpful and inspiring for others, but it’s so transformational for your mindset at the same time.
Hope you enjoyed it. Now, I’m ready to leave 2021 behind, take only the lessons and the immense gratitude I have for everything that happened, and enter the new year with fresh energy.