Confession: At the time of writing this post, it was October, and I’d stopped doing income projections somewhere around April.
I didn’t start again until late August, when I realized I only had $636.75 of income slated for September. Less than what I needed to pay for rent. Let alone other bills.
Talk about being in deep shit.
I feel like I let the fact that I know I’m capable of making thousands out of seemingly nowhere make me cocky, because truth be told, I’d rather not worry about income projections.
But if I were honest, I could see the decline happening from spring itself, right when I stopped tracking. I thought I had it all together and that plenty of people were getting in touch with me for work inquiries, so it was something I didn’t have to worry about.
But man, I was wrong.
But I know what happened: I got comfortable.
I was making five figures every month or close to it, had money in the bank to cover a dry season, and just didn’t feel like doing the “hard work” of marketing.
YES, I WAS EFFECTIVELY IGNORING MY INCOME.
Which sounds atrocious for a self-employed person to do, and it is. But I’ve got a sneaky feeling I’m not the only one.
Most of us, I think, are the kind of people who prefer to focus on things besides networking and soul-sucking email outreach.
Be honest. Raise your hand if you’ve got a tendency to do this too.
(I knew it.)
But the thing is, when you don’t know *how much* marketing you need to do, you don’t do any.
SO I STARTED DOING INCOME PROJECTIONS AGAIN.
I taped a piece of paper above my desk and made columns for August, September, October, November, and December. (The rest of 2017, in other words.)
I knew there probably wasn’t much I could do income-wise for August since the end of that month was already upon me, but I knew I had to hustle my ass off for September.
AND THEN CHANDLER BING SCHOOLED ME . . . HARD.
Yes, Friends fans, love me or hate me, but I’m bringing Chandler Bing into this. Because he taught me a lesson.
Over the spread of 2017, I watched the 10 seasons of Friends from the first episode until the very end. (I will accept no harsh judgement for this whatsoever.)
I’d seen the show before (because, come on, it’s Friends), but had never followed the story line from start to finish.
And call me out for being a total romantic mush, but the story line between Monica and Chandler was just so 😍 😍 😍 that I couldn’t even handle it.
So damn cute. So damn perfect for each other. So damn #RelationshipGoals, even if they make you sick and seem too good to be true.
It’s the kind of love I want with my own romantic partner… the kind that’s nonjudgmental and just fun to be around because you love each other so much. Even if everyone else thinks you’re boring.
But something made me think about that relationship in terms of my relationship with money.
By ignoring my income and just expecting it to please me and fulfill all my needs, I was acting like a Joey, not a Chandler.
Joey’s a smooth-talker and always gets what he wants in bed, but loads of women end up hating him because he never calls them after. And as much as I came to love Joey in the later seasons, he treats women like garbage.
Chandler had some fudge-ups with Janice early on in the series, but once he decided he wanted Monica, that was it for him. He flirted with her, he straight-up said what he wanted from her, but most importantly, he treated her like a freakin’ princess and there was never any doubt in Monica’s mind about how important she was to him.
So if my income was Monica, I wanted to treat her like Chandler would.
SO I STOPPED BEING A JOEY & STARTED TO MAN UP
The first step was taping that piece of paper over my desk and writing out my income projections for the months ahead. Seeing very little in the upcoming months and blank months after that was daunting as hell, but I knew I needed to do something about it.
So I did.
I logged back into my Nimble account and updated my contact lists. I prioritized those contact lists, and the very next day, started reaching out to three people per day.
I made a plan to optimize my referral strategy.
I got in touch with past potential clients who didn’t result in a contract… not to try to sell them, but to see how they were doing.
I had some amazing conversations.
In a routine email I sent out to my subscriber list, I straight up asked for referrals. (And I got some! Imagine that.)
I found job listings that matched my expertise, and applied to them with the hope of working as a remote contractor instead of a full-time employee.
One of my SCORE business advisors even told me to report back to him every two weeks with a spreadsheet of who I’d reached out to, the approach I used, and whether or not it resulted in income.
In short, I stopped being a little bitch and started moving heaven and earth to make my woman (read:my money) happy. They way any real man would. (Is this analogy starting to get a little weird?)
AND LO AND BEHOLD, I BOOKED SOME BUSINESS
I was able to nearly 10x my projected income for September, and to steadily increase it each month after that.
And even though I didn’t directly promote them, I sold a lot more courses via passive income in September too. (It’s like positive actions multiply their effects or something. Like it’s some sort of “law” of the universe.)
I’m not going to pretend like I’m some perfect business dream diva who does the outreach every single day, because life happens, some days you don’t feel like it, sometimes you forget, and if you don’t do it for a week straight, you get out of the habit completely. You know, until you look at those income projections and have an “oh shit” moment.
But tracking your income works, and keeping it visible in a place where you SEE it every single day keeps you from shitting out on yourself.
Try it and tell me what happens.