meeting my 2008 financial goals

A transcript from a conversation with myself, inspired by my 2008 financial goals, after Moolanomy reminded me to follow up on them:

Brip: So, Blap, I understand you made some financial goals for 2008. It looks like they were pretty ambitious! You said you’d like to achieve an average monthly income from alternative sources of $1000 by the end of 2008. I’m sure you know that accountability is a great motivator, so let’s take a look at how you did. Have a seat.

Blap: Uh, right now? (swallows)

Brip: Yes, why not – we’re all here, aren’t we?

Blap: OK… (sits, shuffles papers nervously) Just let me get my notes organized here…

Brip: You mean you haven’t been keeping track of your progress on this goal?

Blap: No, no, no, I have, I just, I’m… (continues to shuffle papers) I’m just a little disorganized.

Brip: OK, then. How are we doing?

Blap: Well, let’s see. Our alternative income falls into three categories: investments, blogging and other. That’s good, right?

Brip: Terrific.

Blap: Well, for investments there are a couple of ways we can look at it.

Brip: Sounds like you’re trying to wiggle out of something already.

Blap: No, but you can look at investment income on a cash basis (as it rolls in the door) or an accrual basis (as you earn it, even if you GET it months later). On a cash basis January was very good, with more than $300 dollars in investment income. A lot of it was earned over the fourth quarter of 2007 and just paid out in January, though. Plus, we bought a car for cash, so that cash that had been generating some hefty interest went down.

Brip: Ah, I see.

Blap: Now, in terms of blogging revenue, it was minimal – less than $100. With no Adsense, and a decision not to accept a number of other ads because they were, well, for bad things made this a real disappointment.

Brip: I agree. But if you decided not to accept ads for various products because you wouldn’t use them yourself, you’re just making a choice that you hope will pay off later – namely, some integrity in advertising.

Blap: That’s the hope, at least.

Brip: Well, OK. Other income?

Blap: We managed to generate a few dollars through writing, and we have some good leads on some other possibilities, but less than $50. We started lending through Prosper but have received less than $1 in interest so far, and we have funded a Lending Club account but haven’t started identifying loans yet. We’ve had dozens of people sign up for Prosper but they aren’t lending yet, so we haven’t received our referral fees for that, either.

Brip: So you’re telling me – excluding investment income – your income through alternative sources was less than $150?

Blap: Er, yes.

Brip: Whew. (taps fingers on desk)

Blap: Yep. (drops head)

Brip: Blap, it’s a good thing you and I are the same person or I’d fire you right now.

Blap: Hey! Don’t forget that this is an average over 12 months. I still have time to make it up. I am trying to work on increasing the income from blogging, but I’m having a lot of trouble with ads. You agreed with my decision not to litter the site with text ads or ads for junk products. Don’t worry, the blogging income will come. And the “other” category will pick up if you finally start doing something about moving your book along and develop that independent consulting practice.

Brip: Well, I’ll believe it when I see it. What were you doing all this month?

Blap: I did spend a lot of time with our cars – shopping for a new one took a lot of time. Plus the other one needed repairs. Cars are completely money suckers. At least we didn’t finance the new car, since we had saved up for it.

Brip: True. (mutters to self)

Blap: And the playoffs were on. And we have been doing very well at work, what with the rate increase and the potential referral bonuses.

(pause)

Brip: The playoffs? Get out of my office. You have a lot of work to do.

Blap: Yes, sir.

(leaves room, dejected)

Brip (to self): Well, the playoffs were good. WE STOMP YOU OUT!

photo by Erik Charlton

13 comments

  • “If we weren’t the same person I’d fire you” LOL!

    I understand the ethics behind your decision not to run certain ads. I am also confident that your blog will be making lots of money at the end of the year. I do agree with Mike – monetize away! I’ve never once allowed ads I see on blogs come off as a reflection of the writer. And besides, ads don’t show up on readers 🙂

  • @Four Pillars: Mike, for once, I have almost nothing to say. Now that I think about it you’re absolutely correct. I guess the only thing I add would be that I just don’t want to clutter up my site with junk ads for (a) aesthetic reasons and (b) because it might scare off better ads since in my experience Adsense and so forth had miserable payoff rates. But you’re right. I don’t LIKE billboards and all of those other ads everywhere, personally, but I ignore them. Hm. Good point.

  • Have you counted the dividends off investments? It is an alternative income too.

  • @Emily: True, I wonder how the ads work sometimes since I read all of my blogs off readers. Maybe I need to work on monetizing my feed…

    @Bubelah: I could, but I don’t want to count dividends in retirement accounts and my brokerage didn’t generate significant dividends (which is why I want to invest it in different things…). For the purpose of this exercise I wasn’t really counting our “joint” investment income, anyway…

  • Very funny post. 🙂

    I’ll say the same thing here that I said over at Finance and Fat on this topic.

    Bloggers who remove ads from their site because they are not “appropriate” are underestimating the intelligence of their readers.

    I don’t care if you have payday loan ads or strip club ads or pretty much anything. TV shows have commercials, radio shows have commercials, magazines have commercials – even highways have commercials (billboards) – and blogs have ads. And much like “ethical” investments – how do you decide what makes the cut?

    Monetize away and don’t worry about the readers. Trust me, dumb people who don’t know any better don’t read your blog.

    Mike

  • Those aren’t particularly ambitious goals. The only time in the last 20 years I’ve not had at least $2k per month from alternative sources was 2003. I don’t want to think about how ugly 2003 was in that regard. And at least early on 2008 looks like it’s shaping up to be close to 2003.

  • Apparently most ads generate clicks from search engine traffic – not regular readers. Text link ads are sometimes bought just for the “link juice” – not necessarily for clicks. Check out the links in my ‘Featured Sites’ – there’s no way they are getting any clicks out of my visitors.

    I completely agree about the aesthetics – I use a plugin called “who sees ads” – Pinyo wrote about it today in fact:

    http://www.blogthority.com/29-increase-your-adsense-revenue-with-who-sees-ads/

    I use it on my site so that Adsense is only visible to search engine traffic or on posts older than 20 days. You can use it for any type of ad.

    Another thing I do sometimes is to put in an ad on a post after the fact ie if you write a Prosper post then maybe a week later you can put a banner inside the post which is not something you would probably want for a fresh post.

    Mike

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  • I just wanted to say that this was very fun to read!

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