Early Exit #26: December Finance Update
Ending the year strong and figuring out how to never work a December ever again.
You’re reading Early Exit Club — a newsletter about leaving the 9-5 workforce to build a $20k/month solo business by Nick Lafferty.
Last time: Every growth tactic I used to hit 1,200 subscribers 📈
Next time: Sharing how much money I made from the Loom acquisition 👀
Happy new year!
For my currently self-employed friends, I hope you’re ready to make 2024 your best year ever (and hopefully you raised your rates).
For my friends who are curious about self-employment, I hope 2024 is the year you finally make the jump (starting by finding some clients).
This is my monthly finance review where I cover exactly how much revenue I made last month, where it came from, and share some notes about trends.
My goal is to help demystify self-employment and show you all what’s possible if you find product-market fit as a consultant (service-market fit?) and put all your hard earned knowledge to use.
Here’s a quick snapshot of my income by channel for 2023, starting in May when I quit my job.
I’m a huge proponent of diversified income streams and this chart shows why.
Consulting was always my largest income driver but it’s interesting to see affiliate revenue make up over $30,000 over that same time period with way less work required.
Would you be interested in a full annual review of my finances from 2023? I’m thinking of unpacking trends in all of these channels for last year because not everything is up and to the right. Reply and let me know!
December revenue (which represents November invoices) squeaked in just higher than November. Consulting income trended down for the first time ever and affiliate revenue increased.
More on each section below 🙂
🔴 Down 2% (29.3k → 28.8k)
From my growth marketing & demand gen consulting practice for B2B SaaS companies from Seed to Series C.
December marked my first ever monthly decline in consulting income for two reasons.
I billed less hours for one of my two clients on hourly billing (coincidentally both of these clients are also my earliest clients from 2023, I don’t take hourly work anymore.)
I did a one-time paid media audit for a friend in November.
2% is a very minor decrease but this this number will decrease even more in January because:
I paused with one retainer client in December.
I billed less hours for both of my hourly clients.
If I build my consulting practice right then every January will be my worst revenue month for one easy reason: I don’t want to work in December.
Like, at all. I want to take every December off for the rest of my working career. This is an impossible dream for anyone with a regular 9-5, but as a self-employed person it’s very possible.
I will structure every new client I sign in 2024 around this plan. To be honest I’m not 100% sure how I’ll pull this off, but it’s the promise I’m making myself and I’ll let you all know how it goes.
🟢 Up 38% ($5,254 → $7,299)
From my website, nicklafferty.com
Last month I announced that I signed a new affiliate partner that immediately made a huge impact on my income.
This was only possible because I had existing high-value traffic that was not being monetized, and all I did was simply swap in an affiliate link to an existing page.
The hardest part of growing an affiliate business isn’t joining affiliate programs, it’s growing the traffic and then matching that with the perfect partner.
And in November I helped this new partner acquire even more customers than the month before which increased my commission payout for December.
Next month this number will decrease as December is typically the worst month of the year for traffic and affiliate revenue, so my January payment will be lower as a result.
Loom Acquisition Windfall
❓($0 → ???)
Next week I’m going to pull the curtain on how much (or rather, how little) I earned from the Loom’s billion dollar acquisition by Atlassian.
This isn’t a humble brag because honestly the amount is hilariously low given the buyout price. Instead I want to demystify what was always a secretive thing in my mind that no one talks about.
I’ll write about my experience joining a Series C startup at the tail end of Covid craziness for startup valuations and honestly lucking out that a company acquired them for an amount somewhat close to their Series C valuation (Atlassian bought them for about 30% less).
If you’ve ever been curious how startup equity works and what it’s like to ever so slightly financially benefit from a startup exit, next week’s newsletter is for you 🙂
What did you all get up to over the holiday break? I wound down most of my client work by December 20th, took a trip back to Dallas (where my wife and I from) to visit my in-laws, and got some much needed housework done as we continue prepping for our big cross country move to NYC in mid-2024.
See you all next week as I unpack everything about the Loom acquisition.
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