Smutlancer Monthly Income Report: August 2018
I’m not going to lie to you — putting out my income and expenses onto the internet leaves me feeling extremely vulnerable. Last month I went through an anxious, rage-y thing (in my head, where no one else could see). It wasn’t until people told me how much this helped them or inspired them that I took a deep breath about it.
And now it’s time to look at the August numbers. Over the next couple of months, you should start to see how freelance/smutlancer income can fluctuate. Which is why you never have just one stream of income and (if you can help it) only one client.
August 2018 Income
My August income is primarily based on work completed in July. I bill clients on the last day of every month, and they have 10 days to pay. Affiliate sales tend to be paid quarterly, but some are paid monthly. I break down my freelance writing between vanilla and sex content because I want to show what’s possible in either category.
- Freelance Writing
- Vanilla Content: $2630.00
- Sex/Adult Content: $3550.00
- Affiliate Sales: $26.96
- Podcast Sponsorship: $225
- Banner Ads: —
- Book Sales: $15.42
- Patreon: $188.00
- Consulting: —
Total Income: $6,635.38 (down $628.58 from July)
I really thought this month was going to be rough, but it was much better than I expected it to be.
August 2018 Expenses
Some expenses are monthly, some quarterly, and some annual. Taxes are something I pay both monthly (a 2017 tax bill) and save for monthly to be paid quarterly.
- Web Hosting: $42.98
- Domain Renewals: $55.90
- Podcast Hosting: $32.00
- Canva —
- Buffer: $10.00
- InLinkz: $2.99 (linky tool for Masturbation Monday)
- Blog Contributors: $10.00
- Taxes: $1000.00
- Payment Fees (PayPal, Stripe): $202.52
- Shipping/Postage: $36.50
- Tech Support: $50.00
Total Expenses: $1,442.89 (up $18.08 over July)
August 2018 Net Income: $5,192.49 (↓ $646.66)
My income in August was down over the month of July which I expected. September will be yet another drop — nothing that surprises me, as I know exactly how much work I did in August. My hope is that September work picks up for a better October, but these things are cyclical. What I’ve tried to do is to get to a level of work that even in a “bad” month, we can at least pay the bills. The months when the work (and money) seem to pour in are great, but you can’t depend on the windfall forever.
My Personal Income Goals
As a smutlancer, my personal goal is to do less client work and make more money from my websites and work that I want to do for my audiences. There are many ways to do this, and for the last few months of the year, my focus will be on SEO and creating the content that gets found on Google. While I will still write whatever feels important at the moment (like I’ve always done), I’ll also create other content with a purpose to it.
- Long-form content that the SEO algorithm (currently) loves.
- Basic information posts that contain as much information as I can possible put in it.
- More interlinking within the website
The more views I can get to all of my websites, the more opportunities there are to make more money from the site. It’s not an easy solution or a short-term one but hopefully I can make it work. And this focus on SEO isn’t the only way to make it happen. It’s just one thing out of a list of tactics I plan to implement. Once I get through this, I’ll start focusing on other strategies — all with the same goal in mind.
So I’m just curious…
I know you receive products in exchange for reviews. In the US, any “gift” that is given in exchange for services, that is valued at over $40, is taxable, regardless of whether it comes from a W-2 employer or a 1099 service/contract. (I have been running my own business as a freelancer in another field for a great many years; I know from taxes, natch. 😉 )
I don’t see “products” listed on your income info above. So I’m just wondering how you categorize products-as-compensation, and how you report them, both (1) in a general, “this is what I made” way, and (2) for tax purposes.
To be completely honest, until this year, I didn’t report sex toys like we’re supposed to. No excuses, just didn’t.
This year, I’ll be reporting them because 1) I finally have an actual tax guy now who’s keeping me on the straight and narrow, and 2) I need my income to be reported as high as possible (beyond cash) because we’re buying a house in a couple of years. That being said, while I recognize that the government considers it to be “taxable income” and I recognize my legal obligation, sex toys that I receive don’t pay the bills, so in terms of *this* income report, it’s not something I plan to include. If I requested monetary compensation in exchange for a review (actual cash to do the review, not just the product), I *would* include that because I can spend that. I don’t necessarily have any clear reason why I don’t consider it income for this report other than 1) even after all this time, I don’t consider myself a “real” sex toy reviewer (yes, the tax man would say otherwise) and 2) that number is deceptive at best because it looks like you’re rolling in cash when, in fact, you’re rolling in vibrators (not a bad place to be, but it doesn’t keep the lights on). I want this report to focus on actual income that you can spend and use to pay the bills.
What I’d love is someone who understands the tax obligations of bloggers and freelancers to talk about it on this website (through blog post or podcast interview) because I’m in no way qualified to do that. But it’s definitely something we all need to be aware of.