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Tracking Online Earnings

If you’re new to the online writing arena, I think one of the greatest pieces of advice I could give is be persistent, patient and track your income (apparently I can’t count, that’s 3 pieces of advice).

Persistence and consistency helps the income to grow.  Even in those times when you’ve been writing quality work and the rest of the internet doesn’t seem to know it.  Just keep on writing, eventually they’ll catch up to you.

Tracking the income helps you to see which sources are the most lucrative.  Since I’ve been on the internet, I’ve kept rather meticulous records of how much I’ve earned and constantly compare the numbers.  As long as the numbers are going in the Track Earningsright direction, I’m a happy camper.  When they start to slump, I re-evaluate what I’m doing and make some changes.

If you already have a preferred method for tracking income that works for you, stick with it.  If you don’t, feel free to use this modified rendition of the Excel spreadsheet that I use.  Modify and customize it to suit your needs.

Whether you use the spreadsheet or not, if you’re serious about your freelance writing career, get in the habit of tracking your income.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Lisa Russell April 2, 2009, 1:42 am

    I’ve been tracking my income in a similar way, but yours is way cuter. My question is, do you track as you’re paid or as you receive?

    I’ve done it both ways and don’t have a preference, except that I suspect that the tax man has a preference.

    Tracking it by the days I earn is rewarding, and helps me make sure i meet daily goals.

    Tracking it by the day I receive helps me with my family budgeting.

    Lisa Russells last blog post..Dude- I gave you my baby Teeth

  • Felicia April 2, 2009, 7:48 am

    Hey Lisa,

    I usually track it on the day that I earn it. Once I receive the payment I go back and change the font color to green.

    I’ve been using this type of form for a few years so my ‘Annual Summary’ page includes each year with a column for the percent change in monthly/annual income. My sheets are also subtotaled by residual and active income.

    Since my residual income has surpassed my active plus residual income for last year, I’ve decided to go 100% residual, unless there’s an active income deal too good to turn down.

    Keeping close track of the income changes over time helped me to come to my residual income only conclusion.

  • Lisa Russell April 2, 2009, 12:05 pm

    Thanks so much for the insight. I went ahead and made it so that the column headings I use in January duplicate over the course of the year and I addded a few more columns. Our forms were similar enough that I could transfer all my info over to yours very easily. I didn’t know how to call data from another tab and now I do- the obsessive record keeper in my is so very excited. I was pleased to see my affiliate sales more than doubling each month, which was affirming. My husband just lost his job so I actually have to go BACK to writing for DS and other upfront pay sites, but just for a little while. I do love the ability to decide, though:) And I’m glad I devoted so many months to residual-only work, you’re right, it’s the best long-term decision! (after writing my husband a resume, that is!)

    Lisa Russells last blog post..Dude- I gave you my baby Teeth

  • Lisa Russell April 7, 2009, 10:22 pm

    So- I created a derivative work and I’d like permission to distribute it via my website- would you like a copy? I’ll keep your links intact- and add mine- It will be free of course- here are the changes I made
    1- made job–column headings auto-fill to january
    2- added monthly expense charts to mirror IRS deductions (with a link to the IRS “what’s allowed”
    3- created auto profit & loss statements per month and per annum
    4- created auto “annual income per job” chart
    5- recolored everything so that user-writable fields are a different color
    6- created an eHow daily earnings calculator

    on mine- I have pie charts, too but I didn’t add that to the sample. Sound tasty?

    Lisa Russells last blog post..Living my Dream? You Betcha.

  • Felicia April 8, 2009, 6:28 am

    Lisa, modify it as you see fit.

    That’s the great thing about using spreadsheets. There’s always room for change. As far as the monthly expense charts go, in an earlier version of my spreadsheet I included monthly expense sheets but found that one page with all of the year’s expenses worked better for me when it came to preparing the taxes (the one page basically was a check and balance for my Quicken expense report).

    However, if monthly pages work better for you, feel free to modify it as you see fit. I also have a profit/loss row at the bottom of my sheet, but I also have other “Felicia” specific information that I didn’t think everyone else needed to view or would be interested in.

    I tried to make the chart as generic as possible so that you and others could make your own modifications to tailor it to your own specific needs.

    Once you’ve made it your own, you can remove my links from the chart. After all, I only created the basic sheet, you made the modifications and “Lisafied” it. So give credit where credit is due.

    On my chart I have a page of article titles for each site along with links to either the online content or the .pdf backup of the online content. I also keep running “Alexa” ranking along with the page view/income stats for each site/article. In addition I have a page with stats for potential niche sites and the associated keywords.

    As I said, I’ve been doing this for a few years so the chart has had many additions and deletions. I found that over the years the simpler I made the form, the easier it was for me to use. As long as I had the raw data, I could create any query or formula I needed.

    The chart is almost like breaking in a mate or a spouse. It takes a while to get it just right. Once you get it right, you find that you need to add a column, track another metric or remove something you no longer need.

  • Lisa Russell April 8, 2009, 8:27 am

    Oh that is genius- I already keep a master keyword file, so I can write offline without doing fresh keyword searches- but I hadn’t figured out yet how to monitor each of my articles, or how to integrate my rankings with all that. Honestly, I could analyze stats all day and never write a darned thing- I confess I am a spreadsheet-loving-geek:) I’ve changed my income-tracking spreadsheet about 4 times this year. And this is only April. I’m going to release that “Lisafied” version at http://www.30queries30days.com later this week, and I’ll credit you as my inspiration, because my readers need to know you. And if you’re ever in Seattle, give me a ring:)

    Lisa Russells last blog post..The one place I didn’t look

  • Felicia April 8, 2009, 8:36 am

    Lisa, you are a gem!

    If I ever happen to be in Seattle, I’ll definitely look you up. The only problem is that we’ll probably spend most of our time analyzing stats! I’m a stats-a-holic too.

    I look forward to seeing the Lisafied version of the spreadsheet.

  • Diana May 4, 2010, 10:42 am

    I really like your spreadsheet. I’ve been working on my website since the beginning of the year. Although my earnings are not a lot, I’m really happy and excited about the possibilities. I’m going to use your spreadsheet to track my earnings. Thanks!! 🙂

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