Smutlancer Revenue Report: May 2021
May didn’t feel like much of a different month than usual, but that’s only because I didn’t feel it in my bank account the way I will in June. I’m a silver linings kind of person, so the one positive I can find in this month is that the pie chart at the end should be a lot more equal and less top-heavy. Plus, I was able to spend time on the business goals I really want to work on, so there’s that, too.
What am I talking about? Check out this month’s revenue report.
May Revenue Streams
This is a breakdown of all the ways I earn money as a Smutlancer (vanilla income not included). No expenses are included, so these are gross totals. It represents revenue generated during the month even if I haven’t received the cash yet. I differentiate between income and revenue this way: Income is money that’s hit my bank account that I may or may not have earned during the month. Revenue is money earned before fees that may not have paid out yet. In some cases, like affiliate sales, workbook sales, product sales, and sponsorships, it’s technically both because I’ve already been paid.
Kayla Lords, Sex Writer
Freelance sex writing: $2,300.00
Self-published erotica: $8.04
Blog sponsorships: $80.00
Did I panic when my biggest freelance client cut my workload (and earnings) by half starting in May? Not really. Did a panicky feeling flutter in my stomach when I sent the invoice for May’s work and saw the income difference? A bit. I’ve known this was coming — and in a way, it’s what I’ve been working towards. So I’ve been making budget cuts in my personal life and making plans for increasing my other streams of revenue. I want the income level back, but I don’t want it to come from the same kind of work. I want to make it up in the other things I do…hopefully, I’ll make that happen — eventually.
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: $40.44
Workbook sales: $9.98
YouTube AdSense: $15.40
Blog Sponsorship: $80.00
Affiliate sales were down this month, but the difference was made up in a sponsored blog post, which we are receiving more interest for. I’m very picky about the content that I publish for all of my sites, but especially for Loving BDSM. We have a very distinct style and brand and any company that wants to get in front of our audience has to fit well. Patreon looks “bad” but it’s closer to our usual baseline. Fewer people signed up as annual members in May and this is the result. We’re holding steady at 200+ members so that’s all that matters.
My experience over the years with Patreon is that growth comes in waves and swells especially in milestones like these. We’ll likely hold steady around the low 200s for several months before the next wave pushes us higher. My main concern is that we not shrink too much. If we do, it means we’re not resonating with our community and audience as we used to do, which would mean a bit of soul-searching on our part.
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.
Product sales: $1,184.08
Before I pulled a report on sales for May, we both thought it was a “bad” month. In fact, it was not. We had fewer sales in May as compared to April, but those sales were larger. This is the kind of growth we hope to see going forward. And now that my freelance income has taken a turn, this is where a lot of my time and creative energy has gone. It’s such a change from service-based smutlancing, and I love it.
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” this income and would pay ourselves half after fees and expenses if we actually paid ourselves. But we don’t.
I have so many thoughts about Smutlancer the site and community and Obscene Ideas. About the time and energy put into both and the return (or not) Molly and I get from it. I’m not ready to share those thoughts — primarily because I haven’t worked them all out for myself. It’s clear from the numbers month after month that certain streams of revenue yield better results and that’s where the majority of my time and energy should be spent. In fact, it’s where the majority of my time and energy are spent. I don’t think these numbers are due to a lack of focus; I think that one business venture has a better chance of long-term success over another. What will ultimately be done about that, I’m not sure. Ultimately, I don’t have a lot to say about these last two revenue streams other than…Yeah, I know.
But now, let’s total it up and then get our graph and chart kink on.
Total May 2021 Revenue: $4,745.13
Ouch. Yeah, that hurts. Although I can see some successes in the month. (I’m lookin’ at you, Kinkery.)
Get Your Graph Kink On
Let’s look at the breakdown between revenue streams. My goal is to balance out the streams so I’m not overly dependent on one over another. The way we got here might be stressful AF but let’s just see what it looks like…
In a perfect world, this would be a four or five-way tie, but it’s more balanced than it has been previously so let’s put that in the “success” column.
Here’s the most painful (but realistic) view:
This month is down close to half from the beginning of the year. Hopefully, from here, we can start moving in the opposite direction again.
This is the nature of working for yourself. Income goes up and down. Not all income-producing projects work out the way you want. The Universe (through a variety of mouthpieces — podcasts, articles, conversations) has been sending me a clear message of what I probably need to do next — and where I need to focus my attention. Right now, I’m going to keep on keeping on. But this serious dip in income (the income that pays the mortgage and all living expenses) will force all kinds of hard and not-so-hard choices. Where I go from here I’m not completely sure. For right now I’m on the same path, but I think it’s veering off in a different direction.