An inside look at my 2020 business finances

Something that we don’t talk about very often is money.

It’s central to how most of us operate in the capitalist system we reside within, it’s something that probably crosses our mind most days, and for many of us, money may cause us a great deal of stress. Yet it’s something we rarely talk about. It’s almost taboo in our culture to talk about money, particularly in terms of personal finances. 

I have certainly had my own struggles with money. In my own business, two years in, I still face feelings of scarcity and lack of trust in my ability to make the money I need to thrive. Something that has helped me with this is normalizing these feelings, recognizing that I’m not the only one who struggles, and hearing that others running similar businesses feel similar ways. 

When all we see of someone is how they present themselves on Instagram, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that they’ve got it made, that they have no worries around money.

In some instances, that may be the case, but a lot of us out here, showing up in these online spaces, aren’t so different from many of you. So in the hopes of beginning to crack open this conversation around money, I thought I would be totally transparent about my finances in 2020. 

For those of you who want to launch your own businesses…

Perhaps this will provide you with some inspiration that it’s totally possible to make a living doing it this way. There is certainly a lot here in my own experience to celebrate.

And I hope this also normalizes that this is my financial situation, I’m not so unlike many of you, and I also feel scared and stressed about money. I also like to be as transparent as possible in my business operations, and this is another way of offering that as well.

Here’s the big picture:

2020 was my second year running my own business, and I still had some supplemental sources of income, which you’ll see in the breakdown below. All in all I feel super jazzed on how 2020 went for me financially, but I don’t have enough systems in place to trust that things will continue exactly in this trajectory. So this still doesn’t feel totally secure to me. I am hopeful. And I am trying to use this past year as evidence that I can make good money in a way that feels, for the most part, nourishing to me. But that evidence is only a year out. 

For context, 2019 was my first year in business.

My business itself made $25,000 CAD in profit (after business expenses) – that’s before taxes. And I made about $20,000 CAD in supplemental income from elsewhere. In 2019 almost all of my income came from one-on-one clients and contract work.  

Back to the present – 2020.

This past year, in 2020, the revenue from my business was roughly $69,000 CAD. My business expenses last year were about $9000 CAD – that was the cost of running my business. This includes rent at my office for in-person clients; all the online programs I use for courses, email letters, hosting my podcast, etc; some branding work; insurance; and more recently paying a business assistant to help me out roughly 5 hours each week. So my take home income, before taxes, for 2020 was $59,971 CAD. This is the total profit from my business, which includes some supplemental income from other sources.

I feel really good about these numbers for the second year in my business. And, at the same time, I certainly haven’t had any of those “$100,000 course launches” you hear about. That happens – but it’s not the norm. And that’s okay.

Here’s the breakdown of where my revenue came from:

Business Revenue: 

61% of my revenue came from one-on-one work. Most of this was from my individual therapy work both in-person (when it was safe to do so) and online. Within this I also had a handful of business mentoring clients. Right now, this makes up the vast majority of my income. But I desire in the coming year to move away more and more from one-on-one work to other online offerings and group programs. This brings up some of the scarcity for me since moving away from this means cutting down on a huge source of my income. 

16% of my revenue came from my 8-week long online course The Work of Healing Anxiety which I offered live twice this past year. In the coming year I am hoping to transition this to being a self-study course that is offered in an Evergreen format instead of run live, so I can put my energy into developing other live offerings. 

3% of my revenue came from Wellspring, my new membership program supporting women to reclaim their authentic self and cultivate emotional wellness. This number is so low since I only launched it in December of last year to a small group of beta members. I am hoping to grow this in the coming year to make up a more substantial portion of my income. 

2% of my revenue came from my online self-study course Embrace that supports students to connect with their inner child. This is offered on an ongoing basis, but it’s a lower price offering and I normally only sell 1-2 spots in it each month since it’s not something I have promoted that extensively. 

1% of my revenue came from a workshop I ran, by donation, supporting folks who attended to cope with the onset of COVID-19 when the pandemic first started.

Supplemental Income:

8% of my revenue came from teaching a fourth year undergraduate course at the University of Victoria, where I did my own Masters in Counselling. This is something I am doing again at least once in 2021, but will likely let go of after that. So this is another lost income I will be facing and needing to replace in the coming year. 

5% of my revenue came from other contract work providing individual counselling at a local college before the pandemic and through an Employee Assistance Program. Both of these contracts wrapped up during the summer. 

4% of my revenue came from a contract I have to support another entrepreneur who does similar work to me to provide support to her membership community. 

Overall, when I take the time to reflect on this past year and the changes I’ve made in terms of where my income comes from, it is exciting to see.

This was my first year offering any online programs, so the fact that it made up 22% of my revenue feels like a win for me. But I’d certainly like to see that number grow, so I can move away from one-on-one work and focus more energy on creating. This year, my business itself also made $57,000 CAD in revenue (setting aside supplemental income sources), up from $31,000 CAD in my first year. 

Want support with your business?

I hope this offered some helpful insight. If you are a coach, therapist, or work in the helping field in some way and you’d like to work together on developing your own business  – I’d love to support you. I’m opening just a couple of business mentoring spots in the early spring.

Read about the ways we can work together here.