Quarters For College (or: Income Goals for 2012)

Quarters for College

Due to some shuffling of future plans, it looks like the business needs to start picking up some expected income drop-offs come 2013. So instead of ambling into next year, I need to ramp things up a little faster than I had planned on.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m not trying to make a living from the micro business, but it does need to start paying the bills (literally)– right now the scariest one, aside from the mortgage, is my student loans.

Yay for higher education?

Ye Old Student Loans

Sarcasm aside, my student loans aren’t small enough to laugh off, so this is a serious endeavor on my part. The loans are scheduled to run until November 2019 and they are costing me $510 a month. I could petition to get them lowered, once things get tighter, but for now I’m going to hold on the idea that I can keep paying them at the current rate.

$510 a month is $6,120 a year (net), and that’s definitely enough to make Uncle Sam mark this adventure down as a business and not a hobby. Add in the taxes and the expenses (fixed and variable) and I’m going to be making a nice chuck of change… all of which will be going to someone else.

Sigh.

But a goal is a goal, and now it’s time to break things down into an action plan.

Slow and Steady Pays the Bills

It’s going to take me quite a while to build up to $510 net a month, so I’ve broken it out into an incremental increase of $42 a month. Hopefully by the end of 2012 I’ll be at a level where I can maintain that monthly goal… but it’s going to be a bit of a learning curve.

The bulk of my business plan was built on the idea that I’d have five years to bring things up to speed. Writing is by no means an overnight endeavor, so I may end up relying more heavily on the artwork side of the house to meet my goals. At least to start with.

That said, success tends to breeds success and in the initial low dollar goals will hopefully give me that oomph to get over the next monthly speedbump.

A Job Away From Job

Finding ways to earn $42 a month won’t be that hard, finding ways to earn an additional $42 on top of everything I earned the month before—that will be the kicker.

All of which boils down into me spending a lot more time producing things people will pay for, and less time goofing around. (At least until I find that perfect balance where people pay me to goof off.)

In the end, this whole endeavor will come down to finding a balance between how much time I have to devote to the business and how much income I can earn in that time. While it’s still easier to run a small business than it is to pick up a part-time job, there’s also no point in dedicating time and effort into something that can’t turn a profit.

I can find ways to save money, but I’m not sure I can find ways to save time…

Chasing the First 42

I’ve started a spreadsheet that tracks products, costs, taxes and the like with the goal of listing enough ‘sales’ to hit a $42 net. I’ll hopefully have that done by this weekend, now that I have the list of starting inventory from last week.

Once I have the first spreadsheet done, in theory I can use it to build upwards for the following months. Of course things will have to be modified to match real-world results, but if I can find a scalable model that will give me plenty of mini-goals to words towards: x more subscribers, y more sales, z more products to choose from.

Time to start piling those stones!

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!