The Truth About Turnover in Self-Employment and Blogging

The Truth About Turnover in Self-Employment and Blogging

Today I wanted to write an honest post. A post about one of the scariest and most stressful parts of self-employment. The fear of where the next job is coming from or the fear of covering the mortgage.

Every day I worry about money. I worry about what will happen months down the line. It is an irrational worry. It’s a worry that I can’t control, therefore should not even be thinking about it.

turnover in self-employment

Before Blogging Life

My blog was born nearly five years ago. I didn’t take it seriously until two and half years ago when quit my corporate job. The intention was to build my blog and live off that sole income rather than my corporate job.

I was a senior manager working in London for a telco company. I had been employed for 16 years and had gotten very used to that monthly pay cheque. By the time I left EE that monthly cheque had reached around £3,500 after tax per month. Life was comfortable. We didn’t need to worry about money

Becoming a blogger

The first year of blogging life earned no money, in fact it cost me money! The bills were paid for using my redundancy cheque. The hard work went in to building up my brand name, building the social media followers and writing great content. Then the money started to come in, enough money to pay myself a salary.

Fast forward to now. I am in the third year of running my blog as my job. I am earning more than enough money to pay a salary. Looking back over the past twelve months I am consistently earning more than I need. But its inconsistent levels of money. I record everything on a cash basis, i.e. how much money directly appears in my bank account or PayPal account.  You never know how long an invoice will take to be paid so this is the only real way to do my accounting to allow me to pull a true salary.

My months turnover can vary from anything from £1500 up to £3500. The inconsistency is frustrating and worrying. I think because I am still comparing it to that time when I was paid the same amount every month no fail.

Getting ahead of myself

I am working towards trying to feel comfortable. This looks like having a balance built up of at least three months’ worth of salary in my business savings account. At the moment I have one months of money stashed away.

Looking forward I want to have three months’ worth of work agreed or invoiced at any point in time. I keep a spreadsheet of all my work that has been agreed with a column for what has been invoiced and what has been agreed but not yet invoiced. If this adds up to around £5k I am happy.

What I need to see and hopefully writing it will make it more visible is that I am doing okay! I have lots of work agreed for the future and I am getting there with my safety net of 5k in a savings account.

In our household we cannot survive without my income, it pays for half of the mortgage, bills and many other bills we pay for.

Comparison Syndrome

I am a member of many blogging Facebook groups and these can be ever so destructive to my mental wellbeing. I hate to compare myself to other but I do it. And I am comparing myself to half a story or an assumption. A story that has been half told and I might make up the rest of the story in my head. A story that has been exaggerated or someone is building up there own ego.

All I want to say is try not to compare yourself to others. Go your own way and focus on what you need to do, not what others are doing. Set a target and aim for it. Know that your income will be inconsistent. Some weeks will pass with few jobs agreed. Other weeks will pass with many jobs agreed.

How do you cope with the inconsistency of turnover? Does it stress you out?

This is a collaborative post.

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Lynn Beattie

Aka Mrs MummyPenny

Personal Finance Expert

I write about personal finance made simple, lifestyle choices that will save you time and money, as well as products and services that offer great value.

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16 Responses

  1. It’s hard when the income from self-employment varies so much. Part of our move to the country involved cutting back a lot, so we could more or less manage on my husband’s income and a buy to let. That means anything I bring in is a bonus, rather than covering essential spending. Good luck building up your emergency fund, that will also make a big difference to your peace of mind!

    1. Fingers crossed that Nov is a big month for month in the bank. Im back to being owed lots of money..please may it all bank this month then I can chuck another 1k into my safety fund;-)

  2. Oh Lynn, you hit the nail on the head! I constantly stress about this. And honestly, if I were single, I don’t think I would be relying on blogging for my sole income. Blogging income isn’t guaranteed — there are highs and lows. Of course, when it’s a high . . . YAHOO! It’s a tough thing to do — walk away from a guaranteed paycheck to strike out on your own. I commend you for that.

    1. Agree, couldnt do it if I was by myself. I just want to get to the point where a low month is like 5k!!! Then Ill be laughing!

  3. I would love to have any income from my blog. I need some pointers :). I use my blog as a business tool. I know that potential clients need to see my content before they decide they know, like, and trust me.
    Thanks for being so open on this topic.

    1. I have niched myself as an expert on personal finance so brands pay for me to talk about them and their products/services on my website. This is where most of my income comes from. If you needed any more tips or info I did write a book, Blogging Your way to Riches is available on Amazon with lots of info on monetising a blog.

  4. Lynn, everything here is so true. Being self-employed is not secure at all, but building a net for the low months is important. It’s a risk, every day. I always tell my clients to have a backup, of sorts, another income, work until things are going smoothly to take the plunge. Oh, boy, do I remember doing that many years ago with my fitness business.

  5. Thanks for writing this Lynn. I’ve been self-employed for seven years now, and though I’ve always managed to pay myself a reasonable salary, the worry of ‘what might happen in the future’ is never far from the back of my mind. It’s hard to know sometimes whether a little worry is sensible and to be expected, to whether you’re stressing yourself out unnecessarily!

    1. The best bit of advice given to me recently was to just accept the worry. It will always be there! But keep doing what you are doing the money will continue to flow. Just make sure you are diversified!

  6. Thank you for writing such an open and honest post. As someone who is starting out on their self-employment journey, this is really useful. Particularly the part on not comparing! I’ve been building a safety net and for that I am grateful and look forward to when my self-employed income is enough to cover my previous wage. Keep up the great work!

    1. Comparison is negative thing in the world of blogging, but is something that you sometimes cant help but to fall into. COngrats on building the safety net, so important, you are doing really well!!

  7. It stresses me out constantly too! I pay myself at the end of each month, so from the 1st to about the 15th I panic I’m not going to earn enough. Then I also have the worry that my website will disappear or something will happen and my income will stop. It’s why I’m trying to diversify my income so I don’t solely rely on my blog alone. I have a few smaller income streams that could possibly help tide me over for a quiet blog month. I’m not sure the money worry will ever go away. My hubby has a good job and still I worry he could be made redundant any day. At least it inspires me to save money and not spend every penny any more!

    1. Totally understand. Thats why getting ahead by 3 months, having that stashed in the bank can only make me feel so much better! Good shout about diversification, is dangerous to rely on one sole income stream. I am trying to do the same..Im now 70% sponsored posts, 30% other things like book sales, aff income, advertising. Really want to get to 50/50

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