My First Online Income Report: April 2017

work from home

At the end of February 2017, I left a well-paid and secure full-time job in Administration to work from home for myself. I have always done a bit of side hustling, selling my own belongings on eBay, taking online surveys, and doing matched betting. I have also blogged (on another site, melissajanelee.com) for just over two years, which eventually started to earn me a small amount of money on the side. The dream was always there, however, of one day quitting my job and working purely for myself. I wondered if I could make it by becoming self-employed and focussing on my online income streams full-time. After some planning and deliberation, I took the plunge and finally quit my job!

work from home

This is the first income report I’m sharing on the internet. I’m doing it because I truly surprised myself with how much I was able to earn so early on in this endeavour. I want to share how much I made, how I did it, and how I plan to increase this amount next month. Publishing this information will motivate me, and hopefully inspire those of you who are contemplating doing the same thing. I know it is the dream of many to be able to give up the day job and work on your own terms. This is my honest account of how much I made in my first full month of working for myself, how I did it, and how I feel about this kind of lifestyle.

What happened in April

April 2017 was the first full month I recorded all my earnings with the intention of publishing them on this blog. It didn’t happen in March for several reasons. The main one being my fiance was in hospital for the first two weeks of that month. He had a stroke at only age 39. As you can imagine pretty much everything else went out of the window at that time. Fortunately he has made a full recovery and we are visiting the consultants today actually for a check-up.

So April became the first real start to me working from home. I treated it as an experimental month. I had no idea what earnings target to set myself, and even if it would be possible to make a good enough amount to cover all my outgoings. In the end, I selected a rather optimistic earnings target of £2,000 after expenses. It seemed a good idea to aim high to encourage me to work as hard as possible, although I was worried about the implications for my motivation if I didn’t hit this target.

As it turned out, I didn’t.

However I did make £1,738.52 in April 2017, after expenses. 

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Here’s the breakdown of my earnings in that month:

Reselling on eBay – £1,153.37

The majority of my income came from reselling on eBay. This figure is profit after fees (eBay fees, PayPal fees, postage costs, packaging costs and the initial cost of the item I resold for profit). I have not deducted money being put aside for tax and National Insurance from this figure.

As mentioned, eBay selling is something I have done for a while (see my Top Tips for new eBay sellers). I sell anything from clothes, shoes and bags to Lego, books, health and beauty products, and artwork. In other words, anything I think I can make a profit from, I sell on eBay.

I won’t lie and say this was an easy thing to do. Reselling on eBay is time-consuming. You also need to log everything on various spreadsheets, take photos, pack and post the items AND allow time to actually go out and look for things to resell. Productivity hasn’t been helped by an extremely poor internet connection (hopefully now resolved), and my initial laid-back attitude. I did start the month by thinking it would be easy to make a living from eBay. I was quite lazy for a couple of weeks, listing only when I felt like it. Then I quickly realised that I needed to list items pretty much every day to see any kind of decent selling rates.

The more items you have listed, the higher the chance that you will have sales. Once I realised I should be doing more, I snapped out of it and just got on with it. Hearing the ‘ker-ching!’ notification on my phone when something sells is a great motivator too.

I also noticed a HUGE increase in sales after I opened my eBay shop halfway through April. It took me two full days to set up my categories and business policies, and move each listed item on to these. That weekend, however, sales were noticeably higher and have been ever since.

Matched Betting – £547.15

I first posted about matched betting last year, after trying it out for the first time. What I love about it is that it is a completely tax-free income! I use Profit Accumulator, and have an annual subscription to it. This provided me with all the information I needed to get started. It includes detailed videos and step-by-step instructions on what to do and when. It’s still essential to me now and helps me keep track of offers. It is well worth the annual subscription fee of £150. As you will see in this post, I made £93.61 in my first weekend of trying it out. Profit Accumulator also allow you to sign up to a free trial to see if you like it, and if you make money (which you will!).

If you haven’t yet tried matched betting, I really recommend giving it a go. It looks complicated at first but it is a simple concept when you get used to the terms and the jargon. And the best thing is, it’s tax-free!

People do make substantially more each month from matched betting than I did this month. The majority of my time aimed at trying to get my eBay business off the ground. This is a good investment for my time at the moment. However, matched betting is something I will continue to do, as and when. It’s a great supplement to anyone’s income.

Other income – £38

I made £23 in April from two mystery shopping jobs, and earned a £15 voucher from a survey site which I have included here. I tend to do surveys every now and then and have made hundreds over the past few years. Again, I needed to focus more on my eBay business so didn’t get much done with them, but reaching the threshold payment on one of them was a nice bonus.

TOTAL INCOME MADE ONLINE: £1,738.52

Expenses

I have not deducted any of my household expenses and day-to-day living costs from this income amount. I have only deducted the associated costs of the particular money-making endeavours above (eBay fees, for example). This is to illustrate the earning potential of someone who wants to start working from home. We all have different outgoings, and mine (my mortgage, bills, car expenses, insurances, food and fuel etc) are things I am trying hard to keep to a bare minimum. I hope that doing things this way can serve to illustrate how you can weigh up the potential for covering all of your outgoings if you decide to start earning money from home. I’m pleased that I did cover everything in April with a little bit to spare.

As mentioned above, I do not deduct taxes from my reported earnings.

Why Blogging Income Is Missing

One thing that I haven’t been able to include in this income report is income from blogging. That’s because, in April 2017, there wasn’t any! I was actually operating at a loss of £7.02. I earned £40 from one post in April, but my blogging expenses (my ConvertKit subscription, Hootsuite subscription and hosting and email costs) just outweighed that amount. This is actually unusual for me. I have steadily made at least £100 a month blogging for the past few months. There are a few reasons why this deficit happened. In January and February I had a 5-hour round commute to and from my workplace each day. This left me with no time to blog. March was a wash-out as Sean was ill, and blogging went on the backburner. My earning efforts focussed elsewhere in April.

As a result of not blogging often, my Domain Authority dropped and it takes time to build it back up. Not being active on other blogs and social media also have a knock-on effect with reducing the amount of traffic and opportunities. I am back on the blogging train now, however, with a handful of sponsored posts in the pipeline and new collaborations arriving in my inbox each day (see this page to view my other blogs). I hope to be able to report some income from blogging in May.

I’m also very excited to have signed up to the Elite Blog Academy course, which opens only once a year (you can join the waiting list to find about about the next course opening by clicking here). It was an investment that I am confident is going to pay off in the longer term. At the moment I am working my way steadily through the assignments and making changes to my blogs here and there in the months to come. The course has fantastic reviews and many successful bloggers are alumni. The founder, Ruth Soukup, is a genius. There are a number of freebies that EBA offer for bloggers; take a look at the totally FREE Blog Structure Blueprint here, the FREE Goal Setting Workbook For Bloggers here, and their FREE Boost Your Blog Income eBook here.

I did make a small amount of affiliate income too, but have not included this as I have yet to reach payment thresholds for withdrawal. I am also signed up to the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course from Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, super-blogger at Making Sense Of Cents. This is another excellent investment for any blogger who wants to start earning money from their blog. Affiliate earnings are a relatively passive way to earn money from an online presence, and passive income is really what many people want!

Full reviews of both courses, Elite Blog Academy and Making Sense Of Affiliate Marketing, will follow on this blog when I have had time to work through them both and form an honest opinion.

What I learnt this month about working for myself from home

Working from home is not as I imagined. Although I am someone who enjoys working alone, and thought I was very motivated, there were a few challenges. I expected to work hard but did not have a clue how much hard graft is really involved in starting a business almost from scratch. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed putting in long days and nights, because I have. It’s very satisfying to see your hard work paying off.

My main challenge has been prioritising my work. I have really wanted to focus on blogging, but have found eBay taking up most of my time. It got quite frustrating because I know that it is possible to earn an income from blogging, in so many ways. However I needed to focus first on the quicker ways to bring in cash, particularly because I suddenly had no income! I hope to learn more as I go along about how to divide my time between all the different ways it’s possible to make money when you work from home. A diverse income stream is key to the success of people who work for themselves.

My Plans For May 2017

eBay: I’m going to continue trying to increase the number of listings I have on eBay. As my number of sales went up, eBay automatically increased my selling limits. My current listings amount to 20 – 25% of the number of items I can list. I also want to get closer to reaching Top Rated Seller status on eBay. This will increase the visibility of my listings in search results. This should be possible by June, if not during May. I would like to get to a ‘maintenance level’ where I am just replacing items as they sell. This should help free up my time to pursue other income streams.

Matched betting: this is likely to go on the backburner in May while I use my time elsewhere. It’s always a decent thing to fall back on though, when I have the time.

Blogging: I’m going to continue plugging away at the Elite Blog Academy course. It’s the type of course where there is no time limit to complete it. Some people take many months or years to work through the twelve units it involves. I can’t wait to see what impact the work has on my blog stats in the future. I’m only on Unit 2, and am learning so much already that I didn’t know about successful blogging.

I’ll be on holiday for the first 12 days of May. I’m not sure how this is going to translate in terms of earnings next month. Sign up to my email newsletter below to get May’s income report direct to your inbox. I’ll also send other useful posts about blogging, eBay reselling, matched betting and all sorts of other weird and wonderful ways I’ll be earning a living from home.

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5 Comments

  • Reply
    Alison McClean
    May 30, 2017 at 5:58 am

    My dream is also to leave work & be able to earn enough to support myself. I’ve given myself 2 years to sort this out so hopefully, with your advice I’ll be able to manage it.

    • Reply
      athomeandonline
      May 31, 2017 at 8:25 am

      Hi Alison, thanks so much for your comment! Two years is a perfect amount of time to be able to reach that point where you’re able to follow your dream and start earning from home. Best of luck with it – it’s so worth the hard work to get there but is completely achievable x

  • Reply
    Ailsa
    June 2, 2017 at 6:26 am

    I need to find the time to look into match betting!

  • Reply
    Lauren Charlotte
    June 2, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Hi thanks for this post I really enjoyed reading it, I have wanted to try matched betting for a while now I think I might give it a go! What I was wondering though is where do you get the stuff that you sell on Ebay from? And what sort of things do you sell? Thanks !

  • Reply
    Susan Smith
    June 7, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    I have often thought of this, but its having the get up and go to start, after reading this its given me plenty of ideas, thank you

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