Smutlancer Revenue Report: April 2021
I’m in a strange phase of my business. A lot is in flux, and it’s going to get very stressful before it gets better. I’ve weathered moments like this before — it’s a major dip in revenue that can lead to big gains later as I shift in ways that are better for me professionally and personally. It’ll be interesting to see how the numbers play out over the next few months while I’m in this cycle, and how long it will last.
April 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
This is fairly simple. Most of the income I make as “Kayla Lords” that’s not part of a separate brand is my freelance writing as well as revenue made from my personal site (KaylaLords.com).
Freelance sex writing: $4,075.00
Self-published erotica: $6.12
Blog sponsorships: $153.00 (I was paid in £ and the conversion to USD was very kind to me).
Spending less time on client work means I can spend more time on my own site. This has lead to a couple of sponsored blog posts recently with (hopefully) more to come. My ego doesn’t enjoy the dip in dollars from freelance sex writing, but I think it’s because my smutlancing identity has been wrapped up in the freelance side of my business for so long. Also, freelancing has always felt easier to me than “being a person on the internet and getting paid for existing.” But that weird feeling isn’t stopping me from trying to be a person on the internet who gets paid.
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: $145.17
Workbook sales: $39.92
YouTube AdSense: $19.54
April was a busy month for us over at Loving BDSM but also filled with pleasant surprises. We reached a milestone with our Patreon goals (200 members) and our audience received something in exchange: more podcast episodes. Reaching that goal and keeping our promise to give something back has created a bit of an avalanche effect as we’ve continued to grow a bit beyond that milestone. These upward movements come in waves, so I know it’ll ease off soon but it’s nice to see.
Also, a strategy I employed a few weeks ago — blogging 30 Days of D/s — is reaping its own rewards. More people are signing up for the free program and more people are opting to skip the email and buy the workbook instead. Blogging the program promotes the program, helps more people, and lays the groundwork for what comes next. (Which is a follow-up workbook that can only be purchased.)
Finally, YouTube (for all that it demonetizes nearly all our videos) is beginning to pay out a little faster. The first $100 payout — that’s the minimum you must earn to receive your Adsense earnings — took 19 months to earn. The second $100, paid out in April, took about six months. Here’s hoping the next $100 takes even less time.
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: $1,042.29
April was a great month for the shop. We launched fun kinky stickers that did rather well for our little shop, plus we had a great month in other product sales. It’s not our highest month of revenue but it’s close. With what I know is coming on the horizon (a lot less money from freelance writing), we have even more incentive to increase sales than ever before. To do that, we’re working on our marketing (using Instagram, Fetlife, and possibly YouTube) while also working on new products and figuring out how to maintain decent profit margins without increasing prices drastically. (The cost of wood has skyrocketed in the past several weeks, and it’s painful to buy materials these days.)
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.
Erotic Fiction: $28.50
Self Reflection: $15.00
We spent the month of April working on a new release: 31 Days of Masturbation (just in time for Masturbation Month!) so it’ll be nice to see how (if) that impacts sales going forward. April was a better month than March (if you recall, we had a big old goose egg). Obscene Ideas will likely stay a pet project for a long time, but that’s okay. We try not to stress too much about putting out new books or about our sales (especially since we don’t pay ourselves). It’s more about building up the catalog, using the prompts ourselves — something we’ve both been slow to do, for reasons — and trying out new ideas for upcoming releases.
Total April 2021 Revenue: $6,883.56
Not gonna lie…I did not expect to see an increase over last month.
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. As you can see, this continues to be a work in progress:
Next, let’s look at total revenue and how it compares with the year so far…
Not as good as January but better than it has been which is always nice.
I know things will continue to fluctuate, but reading this and seeing that your income has INCREASED from March even though you made less from freelance work is really exciting. I know it’s still a work in progress, but I really hope this is the start of the shift you’re wanting to diversify your income and move to some more product-based revenue streams that you’re really excited about right now. It’s really cool to see that shift in those pie charts, and while I’m sure you’re spending more time being anxious than celebrating, I hope you’re really proud that the work you’re putting into your non-freelance work feels like it’s paying off? There’ll obviously be ups and downs, but I really hope you get to a point where it DOES pay off and you can take more breaks. (‘Financially stable enough to be able to take mental health days’ is a total money goal of mine.)