I LOVE September! For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved September. I love the cooler temperatures, hitting the books, meeting new friends, and taking in the beautiful fall foliage. This year, I’m excited for my kids to go back to school. I love spending time with my kids, but this past summer was very stressful for me.
Working from home and trying to maintain my income level while entertaining my kids made me feel like I was going nuts. I didn’t reach the goals I had set for myself this summer and that made me feel like a failure. Rather than wallow in self-pity, I decided to take action. I wanted to figure out a way that I could remove the pressure of having to earn money during the summer so I could truly enjoy hanging out with my kids.
The solution came down to timing. If I can earn a full year’s income during the ten months my kids are in school, I’ll feel a lot more relaxed heading into the summer next year. September feels like a fresh start to me and that makes it the perfect time to plan my business activities for the year which is now going to be the next ten months. Here’s what I’m doing in case you want to try it too.
Set a Goal
I’m starting with my annual income goal. I calculated this based on our family expenses and my husband’s current income. If we want to get ahead on paying down our debt, I need to earn $36,000 annually. I also plan to set aside about 15% of my income so I can pay my taxes in April without worrying about where the money will come from.
Chunk it Down
This is a really important step. It takes your annual goal and breaks it down into easily achievable steps. Because I want to take July and August off to spend with my kids, I know I need to make that $36,000 in ten months. That works out to $3,600 per month or $900 per week. This seems a lot more achievable than $36,000!
Make a Plan
Now I need to determine exactly how I’m going to earn that $900 per week. I currently have a few different sources of income: course sales, freelance editing and writing, tutoring, and book sales. Of these sources of income, there are two that stand out as being a lot easier to ramp up than the others: editing and writing.
I am very fortunate in my freelance editing business to be able to work from a job board through Scribendi. This means that if there are open jobs, I can complete as many as I want. In my freelance writing business, I have the ability to reach out to potential clients through a letter of introduction or a proposal. This takes more time and effort than the Scribendi job board but if the work isn’t available on Scribendi, then that will be my next course of action.
Track Your Progress
When you have income goals (especially when they’re non-negotiable) it’s really important to track them. I’m using my bullet journal to keep track of how I’m getting to my goal of $900 each week. This means that each time I get a job, I write down how much it pays and add it to what I’ve already earned that week. I also know that if I want to get to $900 per week and take the weekends off, I have to aim for $180 per day. If I go over $900 in a week, I still write it down, because I might have a week where I don’t make as much. This cushion will allow me to reach my monthly goal of $3,600.
The income I get from book sales is usually less than $10 per month so I’m not recording it in my tracker. My course sales come from Skillshare (affiliate link) and vary from month-to-month. I’m planning to leave these payments in my PayPal account as a cushion or put the money towards a family vacation.
I also receive irregular payments from freelance writing, so I’ll need to make sure I include these in my income tracker. Each week, I will take stock of my goal and decide if I need to start finding more writing clients, or some other way to get to my goal, if my current plan is falling short.
The key to this planning working out is savings. I need to make sure that of the $3,600 I earn in each of the ten months of the school year, I set $600 aside so I'll have $6,000 to split between July and August.
So, it all sounds good in theory. I can’t wait to check in with you this time next year to report on how it all worked out. Do you need help coming up with a plan to reach your income goals? Let me know in the comments. We can keep each other accountable.