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    March monthly business breakdown

    By Kieran Drew
    💡
    This is an edition of my old newsletter Digital Freedom.

    It's lightly edited but otherwise untouched. I've kept them on the site to show how the journey has evolved.

    Welcome to March's business breakdown.

    If you're new to Digital Freedom, each month I give you a peek behind the curtain of my creator business, covering:

    • The Freedom Metre (leverage)
    • Revenue (income and expenses)
    • Growth (social media and newsletter)

    You'll also get one idea I'm wrestling with.

    This one’s a 5-minute read.

    Let’s dive in.

    The Freedom Metre

    We're here to disconnect our time from money by doing what we love - Digital Freedom.

    It's not the easiest to quantify.

    But each month, I measure how 'leveraged' my total income is. The higher the better because this means I'm not selling my time.

    FREEDOM METRE

    The aim is to get to 10% 'low leveraged' by the end of 2023. Unfortunately this month was only a 1% improvement from February despite making 5x more in product sales.

    Let's explore why.

    March Earnings

    Revenue

    MONTHLY REVENUE BAR CHART

    Last month, I made a decision to stop selling 1-1 coaching calls.

    Understandably it impacted my income. So it's great that revenue is back over $10k.

    But as you can see below, I'm still making a chunk of cash from 1-1 work.

    Table of earnings

    I'll be honest.

    I was a little surprised by the figures.

    I stopped selling my time (mostly). But I do asynchronous writing coaching for a few clients. I must've got a little green-eyed when someone threw money my way!

    Anyway...

    Whilst the income is great, the point in optimizing for a different goal is that it forces a different approach.

    At this rate, I won't hit the 10% target.

    I've explained more about what I'll change at the end of the email in the 'Final Thought' section.

    A couple more points first.

    1) Newsletter sponsorships and affiliate income are very low

    Instead of selling ad slots, I've prioritized working with other creators to cross-promote.

    I also rarely 'actively' affiliate.

    But these are both solid sources of income so the plan is to slowly ramp it up in the summer.

    2) MRR is delightful

    I ran a 90 day group coaching program in October and offered a small continuity package after.

    It's not easily scalable because I'm the guy doing the work.

    But it takes 90 minutes a week and it's enjoyable because we're all friends.

    I don't intend to improve this offer (I don't want a coaching business), but I'll continue it for awhile longer.

    3) Digital product sales were high

    When the biz hit $100k in revenue, I ran a sale for the Viral Inspiration Lab.

    I've spent 8 years hunched over mouths to make a living. It was tough work. So it still feels crazy to earn by writing a few emails.

    Each month reinforces a belief I now firmly hold:

    Volume wins.

    Writing helps you build relationships at scale.

    If you attract an audience around your interests then build a product to serve them, you have a business where the more you write, the more you earn.

    To me that's incredibly exciting.

    Even if it means you make less in the short-term (audience building takes time).

    I explained my method for building a business this way in a recent email. You can read it here.​

    Expenses

    Pie chart expenses

    Considering last month's expenses were $6,000, this was a breath of fresh air.

    Although I was hit with an unexpected tax bill. Please kids, don't plan to do 'do something tomorrow' then never write it down!

    My one off cost this month was a $395 writing course from the guys at TinyLittleBusinesses.

    I didn't even read their emails or sales page.

    I just knew it would be gold.

    That's the power of effective marketing (which is why I study their content religiously).

    March's net income was $11,582.81 - which is a $7.5k improvement from February.

    A great month for revenue, but not so much for growth.

    Growth

    Newsletter

    Newsletter growth bar chart

    I know the graph looks bad my friend, but it ain't all doom and gloom.

    I removed over 1,300 inactive readers in March.

    It stings. But if I'm honest, that pain is because of ego.

    Social media warps the way you think. You get little bursts of dopamine when you share your stats. But if you're not careful, you end up defining success by numbers alone.

    A note to self:

    Subscriber count is NOT the metric that matters.

    Engaged readers are.

    But growth is good. So I'm working on a few things to improve mine - including starting on other social channels.

    Audience Growth

    Audience growth line graph

    The great news is I finally started on LinkedIn.

    The bad news is I got banned within 3 weeks.

    Thankfully I'm back up and running.

    I got 800 followers after 2 weeks of posting so I'm very excited to finally add a new social media channel.

    Why was I banned?

    Well, I'm holding a live Q&A next Thursday 3pm GMT and a topic we'll discuss is my redistribution strategy (including when I think you should start posting elsewhere).

    I'll explain why I got banned too.

    Overall, social media growth is slowing down.

    But this is by design.

    Final thought: what are you optimizing for?

    Last month I wrote about an issue of priorities.

    I was trying to grow Digital Freedom and build my new writing product.

    I settled on the conclusion you can't do both well, so I stopped the product. Instead, I'd create more content to scale the newsletter.

    It was the wrong choice.

    Content is the easy option.

    But here's the truth my friend.

    Easy is a trap.

    The path of least resistance is the path of least fulfilment.

    “If you have 2 choices to make, and they’re relatively equal difficulty (50–50), take the path that is more difficult and more painful in the short term."

    - Naval Ravikant

    Entrepreneurship is what excites me most and so the product is now a priority.

    This means:

    • Saying no to all 1-1 work
    • Reducing time spent on content
    • Increasing time spent on product

    I've set a deadline to launch the product toward the end of May.

    It's going to be tight because I want to build something genuinely amazing. Plus the copywriting and launch emails etc. But I know it'll be worth it for anyone who wants to attract an audience the right way.

    Cheers for reading.

    One reason I'm looking forward to the product is because I've taken most courses on Twitter and they blow. I only got good at writing when I learned how to intersect copywriting and content creation. And that's a huge component of 'High Impact Writing'.

    don't sell time, sell knowledge

    Kieran Drew

    About Kieran

    Ex dentist, current writer, future Onlyfans star · Sharing what I learn about writing well, thinking clearly, and building an online business