Smutlancer Revenue Report: July 2021
I’m still adjusting — emotionally and practically — to the changes in my revenue and income. The original excitement and drive from June have given way to exhaustion, procrastination, and near-constant worry. But I’m still determined and believe in what we’re trying to accomplish, too. It’s just that sometimes I jump out of bed ready to tackle the day, and sometimes I have to bribe my way out of bed and through my to-do list. (My bribes consist of extra cups of coffee and reading a book, mostly.)
The month felt busy as I fielded a lot of inquiries for sponsorships and even had a great call on a new contributor opportunity as a writer. (That should be reflected in August’s numbers.) But it’s still not enough to cover both business and personal expenses while giving me room to breathe. I’m in a hustle and grind moment in my career, and I have to have faith that it will pay off in the end.
But enough of my gloomy woe and sad-eyed optimism (yes, I can do both…I contain multitudes), let’s get into the actual numbers.
Kayla Lords, Sex Writer
Not gonna lie…it’s odd seeing a big zero under freelance sex writing. It won’t stay that way for long, though.
Freelance sex writing: $0
Self-published erotica: $8.06
Blog sponsorships: $475.00
Banner ads: $500.00
For not having any client work, I was pleasantly surprised to see this total. I know it’s not consistent enough to count on going forward, but I’ll take it.
As Loving BDSM, we generate revenue in multiple ways: Patreon, affiliate sales, podcast and blog sponsorships, and more. This section may change from month to month based on available revenue opportunities.
Affiliate sales: $362.73
Workbook sales: $19.96
YouTube AdSense: $24.01
Blog sponsorship: $125.00
Podcast sponsorship: $200.00
Loving BDSM as a brand holds a lot of promise. We’ve done the hard work of building an audience that actually likes us. Now we have to strike the balance between offering value and monetizing effectively. There’s one thing I’m constantly reminded of, especially as offers come in and are rejected (by myself or them): No one will ever value your audience as highly as you do. The Loving BDSM audience’s time and attention will not be offered lightly and it definitely won’t be sold for pennies. This means I pass on offers — or get passed by — and I’m okay with that.
The Kinkery is John Brownstone’s shop for his BDSM products. As his business partner, life partner, as well as the Chief Operating Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, and Shipping Department, I have a clear vested interest in the growth of this source of revenue. I work in his shop two days a week to help him, so I now add the title “Shop Elf” to my job description.
Product sales: $548.99
The summer slump in retail suuuuuuuuuucks. But we’re using this time to develop products, improve our processes, make our site more efficient, and get ready for the holidays. None of this is happening fast enough (does it ever?) and what keeps us going is faith — in our audience’s feedback, in our love of the product, and in our belief that this is possible. One day I hope to look back on these moments with bemusement. I hope I’ll think, “How could you ever worry this wouldn’t be successful?” But we’re not there yet, so the worry and the work continue side by side.
Molly and I technically “split” this revenue. If we chose to pay ourselves, we would each receive half after all fees and expenses. Currently, the only income the Smutlancers produces is from our Patreon community. We hold onto that money to pay our contributors and pay Obscene Ideas expenses. Eventually, we hope Obscene Ideas will make enough money to cover its own expenses.
Again, Molly and I technically “split” the revenue from Obscene Ideas and would pay ourselves half after fees and expenses if we actually paid ourselves. But we don’t.
Not much to say about Smutlancers or Obscene Ideas. We keep on keepin’ on and sometimes that’s all you can do.
Now, let’s total it all up before getting to the good stuff — the charts and graphs.
Total July 2021 Revenue: $3,393.17
This total is definitely better than last month, so that’s an improvement. Too bad I didn’t actually receive that much cash as take-home income. But it’s a sign of growth, so I’m not complaining.
Get Your Graph Kink On
Okay, so let’s see what the charts say…
In a perfect world, I’d like to see everything be 25 percent and evenly distributed. But I’m also not mad that Loving BDSM takes up such a big portion of the pie. One, because that’s an area where we’re actively trying to grow. Two, because it has so many small revenue streams feeding into it that it can handle more ups and downs without breaking anything.
Is it the most impressive month ever? No. But is it better than last month? YES. I don’t know what’s going to happen moving forward, but anything better than June will be a win.
Hustle and grind as an overall concept needs to be viewed with caution. It gets glamorized to the detriment of all else. It leads to burnout, poor health, and a lot of disappointment. But blame that on the culture that’s been built up around it, not the hard work that’s required to build your own business and income. Right now, I’m in a hustle and grind kind of moment.
I have to get up, do the work, answer the emails, and seek out opportunities if we’re going to earn enough to survive (let alone thrive). But I also have to do it with the hard-earned wisdom of knowing I can’t burn myself up completely. I’m not looking for temporary gains. I’m trying to build something that can survive into the future.