Budget Nerd
a Mark Butler project

Budget Nerd’s Income Report for May 2015

budget-nerd-blogHere’s the second installment in the Budget Nerd Income Reports. I hope other consultants, coaches, and service providers find them useful.


I’ll summarize the month after laying out the numbers.

Consulting $12,625
Budget Nerdvana $390.00
Other Revenue $12.00
Total Revenue $13,027.00
Owner Distributions -$8,500.00
Business Loan -1,658.84
Personal Meals & Expenses -$45.28
Total Distributions -$4,350.00
Emily (Data Entry) $90.00
Brad (Design) $0.00
Total Contractors $0.00
Other Expenses
Merchant Fees -$391.24
Fed/State Withholding $0.00
Govt. Fees $0.00
Tax Prep -$53.75
Hosting & Domains -$52.34
MailChimp -$10.00
Misc Software -$84.99
HelloSign -$10.05
Computers & Equipment -$17.75
Education & Training -$191.84
Meals & Entertainment -$66.22
Sponsorship -$75.00
Business Development -$57.19
Internet -$65.82
Office Supplies -$59.39
Travel Expenses -$43.71
Total Expenses -$11,465.42
Profit/Loss $1,561.58


Signing seven new clients in May (welcome!) accounts for the big revenue bump. It was a busy few weeks integrating them into the service, but things have settled back down. Emily and I are in a good rhythm supporting the clients; we have capacity for at least five more. Good thing, too, because we’ve already signed two new clients in June.

I made up for April’s shortfall in Owner Distributions (and then some); wouldn’t mind sustaining that $8,500! But I won’t raise my average distribution for a while. Building my cash reserve (which sits at $3,000 as of April 30th) and getting ready to hire a second budget specialist are bigger priorities.

I’m planning to budget 20% more to my cash reserves starting in June (from $500 to $600 per month). It’s not a huge jump, but incremental gains will make all the difference in the long run. I’ll sneak up on a huge cash cushion over time.

For the first time in nearly five years of self-employment I’ve started using an actual payroll service. I feel very grown up, but, wow — payroll taxes are terrible (they’ll show up on next month’s report).

I’m still adding money to my tax savings, although payroll withholding will make sure Uncle Sam gets his money from now on.

I’ve now made 6 of 36 payments on my business loan. That’s a nice milestone.

Having an assistant to handle nearly all data entry and management in the business has been, in a word, glorious.


Goals and ‘Leading Indicators’

I seem to be tracking well toward my goal of $15,000 in stable monthly revenue by the end of the year.

I’d like Budget Nerdvana (my home study course) to account for more of the revenue. I have plans to raise the price from $30 to $300 sometime in the next couple of months (which should be enough time for me to build that much additional value into the program).

I’d planned to eventually sell 100 per month at $30, but I’ve revised that to 10 per month at $300.

Other metrics I watch carefully include:

Email open rates: I run a 7-email welcome sequence to all new subscribers which is currently averaging a 63.3% open rate across 1,587 ‘sends.’ My weekly newsletter averages around 50% open rate.

Books gifted: In my sixth email to new subscribers I offer to buy them a copy of my favorite personal finance book. I do this because the book changed my life and because it helps me gauge whether I’m connecting through my writing. In April I gave away four copies of the book.

Overall I feel great about the Budget Nerd’s direction. I enjoy the work and feel very grateful my clients allow me to support them.