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Reviewing My Monthly Income Challenge (August 2016 Edition)

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A couple of months ago, I challenged you to Take the Monthly Income Challenge with me. The idea was simple: come up with some way to make more money in a month. It really doesn't matter how much, the important thing was to start it and track it. From there you can look how to grow it each month.

I've been making income through websites, freelance work, and gig economy stuff (dog sitting mostly) for years now, so it is a little easier for me. I need to focus on growth. That's quite a challenge with a 2 and a 3 year old, our real estate “empire”, and frivilous lawsuits.

Each month, I come out with some kind of plan for what I'm going to do to push forward for the next month. However, before we get that let's review last month's results:

Last Month's Monthly Income Challenge

The Month's Good

July's dog sitting was off-the-charts successful with people paying holiday rates for their July 4th vacation. There was a drop-off in August, which was expected as the summer starts to taper off. While July had a big drop-off in blog income, August picked up a little bit. The "ying" of dog sitting and the "yang" of the blog ended up almost a complete wash... almost. Let's let the suspense build for another couple of paragraphs...

The Month's Bad

There wasn't anything particularly bad this month. The drop-off in dog sitting was expected as it is a cyclical business. The worst thing is that I didn't have the catch-up on any of the business opportunities that I received. That seems to be the story every month, but given the volume of requests I get, I should be used to it by now.

Additionally, we were trying to squeeze every last bit out of summer that we could. Before we blink, I'll be spending my day shoveling a ton of snow (perhaps literally).

The Month's Results

Okay, that's enough suspense. I was able to eke out a 1% gain in income. That's not every exciting, but 1% a month compounding is a huge for a whole year (around 12.5%). I know a lot of people who would love a 12.5% raise this year. The lesson isn't a new one: small wins can snowball into big things.

This Month's Monthly Income Challenge Plan

In the first couple of months of this challenge, I didn't have much a plan to grow income. If I can carve out the time to explore all the business opportunities in my email inbox, I should be able to grow income. Unfortunately, a vast majority of those business opportunities are dead-ends. It feels like there might be enough to make 10% growth. As you can tell, I'm a little frustrated about not being able to capitalize on it.

It's already September 19th, the curse benefit of being late to post this is that I have a unique view into how this month is going to go... no DeLorean necessary.

Labor Day brought a lot of dog sitting business. I almost matched August's month total in the first 10 days. Unfortunately, from there it's started to fall off.

At the same time, my oldest son had his first day of school ever. (Parenting tip: School and daycare are very different.) We had to learn a whole new routine and I had to coordinate driving two kids to two places in the morning and in the afternoon. It's a win to adjust to the new routine.

Lastly, I'm heading to the annual personal finance conference, FinCon, in San Diego this week. Since I'm in Rhode Island, the travel is significant. The conference is 4 days long, but with time zones/jet lag, I anticipate it will be a week of sacrificing immediate income. I've had to shut down the dog-sitting business for a week while I'm gone. The long-term relationships that I build at the conference help fuel the success of this blog, so I'll gladly sacrifice short-term income.

My wife is currently on a similar trip, so we're both single parents for a little bit of this month. Like any family, there's a lot of "life stuff" that gets put aside (laundry comes to mind) during these times. We'll sort through all this like everyone does, but it isn't insignificant.

I am looking forward to the month where I can put together significant progress on the self-published book I've always wanted to write. It's looking like that might be more of a October project.

What's Working for You?

Let me know in the comments. I'm particularly interested in people who have some kind of side gig such as Fiverr, Uber, or anything like that to grow their income.

Posted on September 19, 2016.

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