September 2021 Retrospective & Income Report

By Kevon Cheung in

Income Reports

October 11, 2021

September 2021 Mood: Have tinkered with lots of toys, now let's pick my favorites and focus
September 2021 Mood: Have tinkered with lots of toys, now let's pick my favorites and focus

Last month I talked about how I'm going to build products that can get better over time. I've gotten more clarity over this month. And I feel like this kid who finally settles for 1 or 2 toys.

To kick off this month's report, I want to take a moment to say this.

Being a solopreneur is hard. Being an online solopreneur is VERY hard.

You don't get to meet people in real life. A lot of your work is writing content, building products, and automating workflows.

It can be quite a lonely path. But I think I've found my thing.

This lifestyle fits perfectly to who I am since I was a teenager - I enjoy a quiet environment where I can do deep work, build things to serve many people online, and most importantly, do things different from the real-life people around me.

How is my personal life?

Great! Avery is 9 months old now.

As we thought "Why isn't she learning new things?" She showed us how to crawl, to stand, and to drink from a straw cup all in one week.

Growth is never linear!

As we are working on a lifestyle that maximizes family time, I'm glad we get to spend a lot of time with her. I also got to spend time with my wife and talk about my plans and other deeper topics.

Other than that, I was chatting with another online entrepreneur and he told me he only spends 3-4 hours a day on his product (business) and he is doing it full-time.

At first, I was like "WHATTT? Why don't you spend more time?"

In my mind, I see building a new business as something I should spend at least 8 hours a day on, min 40 hours a week. Otherwise, I feel like I'm not working hard enough on it.

But when he said he is making good progress and soon he is going to make as much as his previous salary but working half the time, it hit me.

Being an entrepreneur is not about how many hours you work on your business, we're measured by our outcome and goals.

I still like to work a minimum of 40 hours a week though. Ha!

September 2021 Income Report

See entire chart on my Open Dashboard.

Active Projects

Net Profit: $253

Revenue $510 - Expenses $256 = $253

Revenue: $510

Vs August 2021: $1,666

In my blog post "How I Hustled to $2K/mo and Got Rid of It", I explained why I discontinued my two main revenue streams: 30DaysInPublic course and the Public Lab community.

If you're curious about it, I suggest you read that blog post first. I'm sure it will help you understand more what I'm trying to do.

I started working on my new handbook/course called Showing Up Right, and so far, I've only opened the pre-order to my community members.

It is also a pleasant surprise to see that Use Twitter Meaningfully made 5 sales without any marketing. It emphasizes the importance of having products people can just purchase and use without your involvement (unlike courses and community).

Expenses: $256

I don't have a lot to share about my expenses. As I canceled Circle ($79) and downgraded ConvertKit ($79→$39), I'm cutting down my expenses which is always great when revenue isn't up to par yet.

What important things happened

How I hustled to $2K/mo and got rid of it

For details, read this blog post.

But here I will give you a TL;DR version.

Basically I'm letting go of my 2 main revenue streams.

  1. I paused the 30DaysInPublic course as I'm currently leveling up my skills in course design and teaching. I aim to build a course I can run 3-4 times a year and keep making it better for each cohort.
  2. I'm no longer charging a recurring membership fee for my Public Lab community. The decision comes from my shift of focus to be more course-driven. I want the community to be a supporting component instead of its own standalone product that charges members for a space to hang out.

I'm a believer that getting rid of things that are not working well is a way to keep myself working towards the right directions.

I'm a course instructor at Maven

I'm one of the instructors at Maven Course Accelerator Cohort 3
I'm one of the instructors at Maven Course Accelerator Cohort 3

Have you heard of cohort-based courses?

It is currently revolutionizing online education. The key difference is that students get to start and end at the same time, so it is focused on community-driven learning with accountability.

After running a few cohort-based courses in the last few months, I wanted to skill up before I created my 2nd iteration of a Building in Public course. Now that I'm 1 of the 145 instructors out of 2,000 applicants at the Maven Course Accelerator.

A course is not just slapping together a few videos for people to watch. A lot have to go into curriculum design and lesson design. I'm very happy about how this 2nd iteration is shaping up! Stay tuned!

Creating Showing Up Right in public

A cohort-based course usually comes with a premium pricing because it is extremely resource intensive. As a course creator, I could be spending my entire month running the course.

So it is important to also work on product that people can consume on a self-paced basis.

If you've taken a look at Public Lab's homepage, you'll know that I'm focused on helping other entrepreneurs and creators get through these 5 stages.

Public Lab website

While the Building in Public cohort-based course will help people on level 4-5, Showing Up Right is designed to help people on level 1-3.

I want this to become the go-to resource for anyone getting online and want to follow the right steps. But, of course, there's still a lot of details for me to drill into.

Come on! Stop dodging email marketing

For the past 11 months, I've been collecting emails but I haven't done much with them.

I always have this thought hovering my mind that I don't want to be one of those people who send sales emails over and over again. Hence, I took a laid-back approach.

But obviously, it hasn't been working well.

The thing I finally come to understand is that if people come to me and they have a specific problem they need to solve, then my job is to present my solution in the best way.

Many people don't read everything on my website. Many people don't know deep enough their problems. Many people need a nudge in order to solve their problems.

Sending overly salesy emails is bad. But sending email itself is not an evil act. There are ways to do it elegantly.

For example, provide so much value in each email and keep the sales part light.

This is where I need to focus a lot on in the next 1-2 months, because it is time for me to drive up revenue in order to sustain my work and my family.

Plan for October

I've covered quite a lot above so I won't repeat my plan. But I definitely want to share this essay from Marie Poulin with you.

Instead of grinding and doing everything all the time, it is best to have seasons where you focus on different priorities.

For me, 2021Q4 is definitely the product development season. I'm consolidating everything I've learned to build 2 kick-ass products.

Marie Poulin's essay

Hope you enjoy the read. I'm most active on Twitter, so say hi there at @MeetKevon! 👋

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