The $100k revenue mark is a pretty significant one in the online business space. For a lot of people (ok, me) it indicates a certain degree of “making it.”
I'll be super honest up front and let you know that making $100k was not my biggest goal, and I'm sure as you go through the highlights of my journey, you'll see that. My biggest goal was to build a business that worked for my lifestyle. And that meant not working more than 30ish hours a week and not hiring a team.
There are a few other things I'd like to establish before we get into the nitty-gritty details of how I generated $100,000 in revenue.
- I was also a full-time mom caring for a toddler for the majority of the time I was running my business. She goes to pre-school now, which has really helped with the whole making more money thing.
- It took me 2 years to get here. My first full year in business (Jan- Dec 2020) I hit $43k in annual revenue. In my second year of business (Jan – present) I hit $100k in revenue on Oct 2. I'm on track to hit around $125,000 for the full year. This number is gross revenue. It's actual cash that has hit my business bank account, but it's not broken down by expenses, taxes, and all those things. I'll break down my actual profit further down in this post
- I don't think that hitting any income goal means anything about who you are or says anything about your personal value. This is intended to be a frank discussion about what it took to get here and what I think you can take away from my experience.
- You may read through my experience and disagree with my takeaways, have different priorities, or think I could have done things differently. That's totally cool! There's nothing prescriptive here. Take what makes sense for you, and do what works for your life.
What did it take to get to $100,000?
I'm a big believer in reflecting – and I did quite a bit to really hone in on what steps, investments, actions, beliefs, and mindsets helped me cross that $100k mark. And don't worry, these are 5 concrete things you can do or learn from… no mystical or vague prattling on here.
Looking back, here's what I've identified as the most important elements in reaching this big revenue milestone:
- Having a marketable skill
- Investing in the right experts
- Working on my money mindset
- Owning my failures and mistakes
- Increasing my visibility
There are so many other things that went into hitting this goal, but these 5 pillars are what truly moved the needle. Let's dig in deeper and get to the juicy parts!
Want to Make $100k? Start with a Marketable Skill.
This may sound too basic, but the easiest way to make a lot of money is to have a skill that people want to pay you for. And if you want to really increase your income potential, start with something you're really freaking good at.
When I peel back all the strategy and mindset and offers, at the core of my business is the fact that I'm an above-average, super talented copywriter.
You can follow all the pro advice in the world, but if you're not selling something you're good at, you're not going to get far. Bonus points if the thing you're good at is something lots of other people aren't good at.
I've always been a writer. It's been my dream job since I was four years old. But that doesn't have to be your story. Maybe you don't have an easily identifiable super skill – that's fine! Pick something you're decently good at and enjoy, and then pour your time and energy into getting better. Listen to the experts. Practice. Study. Learn. And practice some more.
And whatever your skill, make sure you have a solid brand voice to communicate your value to your dream clients! (Need help with that? Grab my free Brand Voice Guide here before you scroll down!)
Your business should be built on the foundation of a marketable skill that you're great at.
Invest in the Right Experts
Everyone talks about investing in your business… but simply throwing your money at a problem is not a great idea. It's important to invest in the right people, with the right skills, at the right time.
Let's look at a few key investments I made, how much I spent, and what they did for my business.
I started with a marketing coach, because I was about 4 months into running my business and had no idea how to create offers or sell them! Kaila came to the rescue, and I spent $1800 for 3 months of 1:1 coaching with her. Just for context, my income was roughly $1800/month at the time, so that felt like a huge investment. But it also immediately paid off – I added an extra $1500 or so to my monthly revenue thanks to the increase in sales once I implemented the things Kaila taught me.
Once I was right at the one year mark of being in business, I joined a mastermind group run by Peggy. This was when I got serious about my confidence, narrowed down my offers from 12 to 3, and got connected with a ton of clients through Peggy's referral network. The mastermind was about $8,000 for 6 months of 1:1 and group coaching and it included an in-person retreat in FL at the end of the program.
I joined a program called Launch With Impact to learn from the lovely Amanda at Monarch and Co because I had tried launching my group program with very little success. I also knew I was skipping a lot of important skills, and I wanted to build a strong foundation for future launches. The program came with a ton of resources and included a money mindset session I'll talk about separately in a minute! It was roughly a $2,000 investment for the 12-week program (and worth every penny.)
As I'm writing this, I'm currently enrolled in a 12-month group coaching program with Amanda at SOWBO. It's the perfect blend of advice, support, and training that I need right now, and Amanda always has the best ideas and direct feedback, which is my fave. When I joined, this coaching program was about $120/month.
Service Providers + Experts
I've worked with a lot of amazing people to build the business I get to run today!
Dubsado Set-up + Workflows – Early 2020 with Amanda Bellamy
High-end Website Template – March 2020 from Elizabeth McCravy
VA + Blog Repurposing – mid-2020 with Alyssa
Custom Branding – Oct 2020 with Jennifer Carfora Designs (I highly recommend waiting until your business is fairly established and you're clear on your brand voice and dream clients before starting the official branding process!)
Online Business Manager/Project Manager – July 2021 to present with Morgan of Joyful & Co.
Branding Photos – July 2021 with Dolly DeLong Photography
Work on Your Money Mindset
I'm not a particularly “woo” person, so I was pretty skeptical when the Launch With Impact group program I joined included a “money mindset” activation session. I decided to at least see what it was all about and vowed to be open minded. Is it too obvious if I say this session changed my life? I don't really care… because it did.
I worked with Jenn at Dive Heart First for my activation session. It included a lot of pre-work that required me to get clear on what I really wanted out of life and what my trust priorities were. Then, in the session, Jenn helped me see the lies I was believing about what I deserved and was capable of. These “mindset blocks” were holding me back from believing I could achieve certain milestones… and because I believed I couldn't, I wasn't showing up, doing the work, or making the money I wanted to make.
Mindset isn't imaginary. It's one of the most important pillars of building a profitable, successful business. And mine – particularly around money – was a disaster.
Jenn helped me overcome so much of my fear and shame in just three hours. And she left me with a custom guided meditation that spoke to my specific goals and reinforced the truth I wanted to believe about myself and my capabilities.
It's not a coincidence that the month after completing my mindset activation session was the first time I reached a $10k cash month.
Own Your Failures and Mistakes
I was chatting with my former coach, Peggy, about reaching some of my huge goals, and she said something that really stuck with me:
Half of our coaching time was me being like, “Peggy! I tried this thing and it didn't work! HELP!” and her saying, “What can you do differently? What did you not try? Where can you adjust?”
And every single time (sometimes after I'd cried a few tears or muttered a few choice words) I came back to the table with an honest reflection of what I could control and where I could try something different. I acknowledged when I had dropped the ball or failed to follow through. I also got really good at seeing what was out of my control and how sometimes things just don't go the way you want, even if you did everything “right.” That's business!
Instead of quitting (and trust me, I had the desire to sometimes) and instead of internalizing what “failure” said about my worth or abilities… I just owned it, adjusted, and moved forward. Not once, not twice… but dozens of times. Heck, I'm still doing this dance of setting goals, outlining action steps, taking the steps, faltering, adjusting… over and over. That's just kind of what this business demands.
Increase Your Visibility
I spent a lot of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 getting myself out there. I pitched podcasts, collaborated on lives with other business owners, guest taught in group programs – anything I could do to get my name and business in front of more people. And it paid off!
Two of my highest-paying clients ever sought me out after hearing me on a podcast episode that really resonated with them.
Each time I taught in a group, my email community grew.
I sold out the beta launch of my group program based largely on word of mouth referrals.
All of that showing up and building recognition and establishing authority became part of a long-term strategy. I've had numerous clients tell me they're ready to get started without any consultation or discovery call because “I saw what you did for So-and-So's website!” or “I loved your approach in the guest lesson you taught, so I'm ready to go!”
When people can experience you, they're more likely to want to work with you. I also saw a huge uptick in what I would call “dream clients” because those are the people who are drawn to you when they hear you speak and engage with your content.
The Reality of Hitting the $100k Mark
My most profitable month of 2021 was also the month I felt the worst about my business. I was drowning in client work, not responding to anyone in a timely manner, and letting things fall through the cracks. (Luckily, Morgan swooped in and got things whipped into shape and saved me from falling off a cliff!) I made nearly $17,000 that month, but I wasn't showing up for my people or building the connections that meant so much.
No amount of money is going to fulfill you. But money can help you create a life of ease, freedom, joy, and adventure. And that's what I've loved most about this year! I was able to take my husband to a five-star, breathtakingly lovely resort in Cancun and pay for it all on my own. I was able to take days off to hang out with my 3-year-old, making memories at the pool or the playground. I was able to buy a new car when ours unexpectedly died, avoiding a lot of stress and overwhelm that we normally would have felt in that situation. I was also able to contribute $10,000 to some very meaningful organizations and charities. And I got to help over 30 business owners increase their own impact and serve more of their clients with personality-driven website copy, strategic sales pages, and killer email sequences. Not too shabby, hey?
I promised to share the reality of my $100k revenue, because what does a number mean without some context, right? I could have spent $120,000 in order to make that $100,000 and actually lost money. Revenue doesn't really tell us much… so I'm going a little deeper.
Gross revenue: $100,000
So that's a short(ish) and sweet breakdown of how I reached the six-figure benchmark in my business. Could I have done it faster? Absolutely. Does hitting $100k mean I'm more successful or better than I was at $40k? Nope. No way.
I hope you found something helpful, insightful, or interesting in here! I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this topic and your own definition of success.