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Quarterly Income & Spending Report - Stall 17

Y'know, I realized last week that, as a business coach, it's a little weird that I haven't done one of these income reports yet.

Honestly, I think they're really tacky when done wrong - i.e. when used as a promotional tool.

I'm far more interested in seeing what really goes on financially in a business than I am in seeing someone's finances--and their six- or seven-figure months--flaunted as a way to drum up even more customers.

That's why I thought I'd do things a little differently, because I really do believe that looking into a business's income and spending reports can be an amazing and highly beneficial tool. Rather than talk about my finances as a business coach, I decided to start a series on income and spending reports for my other business, Stall 17, as well as any other small equine businesses that would be willing to volunteer their finances in exchange for a little help, to use as analytical tools.

Reporting Period: January-March 2018

A little background: I launched Stall 17 on January 17th, 2018. Originally, my goal launch date was somewhere in spring of 2017, but HAHA that didn't happen. I encountered a crap ton of setbacks, including my supplier running out of some specific supplies I needed for months. Some weren't restocked until August, and others until December. There's one I'm STILL waiting on. So, I had no choice but to wait.

Then, of course, I had major issues getting bath bomb recipes to work for me. I still don't know what I messed up because I never had a successful batch. They all kept breaking in half or disintegrating or the colorants wouldn't blend right. 

I say all this to explain that I'm probably several hundred dollars in the hole thanks to the months of payments for my site, domain, email hosting, etc., as well as all the ingredients bought and ultimately wasted in my failures to make bath bombs.

But we're not going to think about that right now. I'm just going to focus on 2018 since 2017 was such a wash all around.

Spending & Expense Report

January

  • $28.15 - web hosting via Squarespace
  • $31.81 - raw materials & premade bath bombs via supplier, Bulk Apothecary
  • $19.99 - Adobe Illustrator subscription (I really need to cancel this...)

Total: $79.95

February

  • $28.15 - web hosting
  • $9.00 - Shipstation subscription (I got a free one month trial, which I used up in January)
  • $19.99 - Adobe Illustrator
  • $16.60 - sewing materials
  • $13.91 - mini sewing machine (which I promptly broke. I should know better than to try to sew.)

Total: $87.65

March

  • $28.15 - web hosting
  • $9.00 - Shipstation
  • $19.99 - Adobe Illustrator
  • $0.80 - Etsy seller fees (I cross-posted 3 products on Etsy)
  • $9.00 - Amber Grants (applied for a business grant)
  • $12.70 - vet-tested essential oil recipe chart for horses
  • $5.00 - jewelry supplies order #1
  • $60.81 - jewelry supplies order #2
  • $0.49 - Visa fee from jewelry order #2
  • $28.17 - Leather supplies from Tandy Leather Co.
  • $34.41 - More essential oil supplies from Bulk Apothecary
  • $28.86 - StickerYou order
  • $0.23 - Visa fee from StickerYou
  • $15.66 - Discount Mugs product samples
  • $10.74 - product display supplies
  • $11.01 - sewing supplies to try to fix the sewing machine (it failed...)

Total: $275.02

(God almighty, I think I just had a heart attack...)

A couple notes:

  1. My personal tax return came in March, which is why EVERYTHING got charged in March.
  2. The reason March is so packed with purchases is because I'm gearing up for my April/May launch of my summer product line. Lots of stuff had to be bought.

Overall, so far I've spent a whopping $442.62. Even though that's really not that much in the grand scheme of things, that's the equivalent of spending an entire two weeks' worth of income from my day job, and that's a little nauseating to me. Oh, the perks of being a sole proprietor, not taking out a business loan, and self-funding my business! 

Income

January

  • Products sold via Stall 17 site: 0
  • Products sold via Redbubble colistings: 9 (8 stickers, 1 tote)
  • Redbubble total payout: $5.49

February

  • Products sold via Stall 17 site: 0
  • Products sold via Redbubble colistings: 3 (all stickers)
  • Redbubble total payout: $0.82

March

  • Products sold via Stall 17 site: 0
  • Products sold via Etsy colistings: 0
  • Products sold via Redbubble colistings: 4 (all stickers)
  • Redbubble total payout: Pending due to their payouts happening on the 15th of each month. For the first half of March, I've received $0.34.

This is the depressing part: I've only made $6.65 in profits so far. Redbubble automatically deducts all production costs, so the payout from them is purely my profit.

And that $6.65 is not a pretty number.

You don't even have to be good at math to know that I'm deep in the hole so far. $435.97 in the hole, to be exact. (And that's not even including everything I spent in 2017, which I don't even think I could add up because I'm pretty sure I've lost some, if not all, of the receipts. (Possibly on purpose. Don't be like me, y'all. DON'T BE LIKE ME.))

Stats & Things

Now I want to take a look at stats for the last three months.

Stall 17 Website

  • Unique Visitors: 86
  • Visits: 98
  • Page views: 229

Not bad, but not at all great. At least I'm getting views to my site.

I had 3 ehh, okay spikes in traffic during the last 3 months.

  • The week of Jan 14-20 saw 15 visits.
    Cause:
    This is the week I launched my site. I had a couple posts on social media, but no major events.
  • The week of Feb 25-Mar 3 saw 28 visits, with March 1 getting 20 visits. 
    Cause:
    I'm really not sure. I shared a simple behind the scenes post on Instagram that included listing a few ideas I had for products, but that post got relatively low engagement compared to what I typically get on IG and dismal engagement on FB. I also cross listed three products on Etsy on the 26th, but only one got views. 4 views. This one has me baffled.

  • The week of Mar 18-24 saw 14 visits.
    Cause:
    Instagram! On Monday, I shared a motivational quote, on Wednesday, I shared an Instagram exclusive code for free shipping on orders over $40, and on Friday, I shared a #FridayFun question about weird horse show rituals. The quote got 28 likes and a comment, and the next two got 14 and 15 likes respectively. 

As for traffic sources, that's where things get skewed. It looks like 78% of my traffic was a result of direct sources, aka someone probably typed the URL directly into the search bar or clicked from a bookmark. SOOO I may be to blame for those first two spikes. 

I DO know, though, that after direct sources, Instagram is my second most frequent traffic source, even though the numbers are teeny. 

Looking at popular content, Squarespace analytics only let me go back 31 days, which would be March 10-April 9. This is pretty promising, though, because I wasn't on my site very often, unlike during the first two spikes. Unsurprisingly, my Home and Shop pages are the two most visited. My two most visited product pages were my Gojiberry Superfruit Tea Sampler and my #Equestrian sticker. I can understand the sticker, but the tea took me by surprise.

Redbubble

Redbubble has no native analytics feature, which really sucks, and I only just discovered their Google Analytics integration the other day, so that does me no good right now. All they offer is an activity feed which lets users look at their most recent activity, probably a last 30 days kind of thing. So, on Redbubble I have 2 followers, 9 favorites, and 38 items sold since I've been a member.

On the bright side, they do have a pretty decent Sales History page, and I can go back all the way to September 5th, 2017 when I made my first sale.

Etsy

I admit, I sort of forgot about Etsy once I cross posted my first three products there, which is why I have literally no stats to speak of.

Suggestions for Improvement

Now for the really f*ing hard part: based on everything above, I try to come up with suggestions & improvements to help turn a profit. And if I'm being honest, this is only really f*ing hard because this is my own business and I'm so emotionally invested in it. (Also because my business specialty is more service-based businesses, not product-based ones, and this is a real struggle for me.)

So, here are my suggestions... for myself:

Cross post more products on Redbubble. So far, that's been the only platform I seem to be making sales on, so the obvious first step is to post more art designs on Redbubble. I also need to take advantage of Redbubble's various features, like adding posts and joining groups. I'm not the most artistic person, though, so joining challenges on Redbubble wouldn't do me much good.

Cross post more products on Etsy. I've had luck on Etsy with prior business ventures, so I know it's possible. Additionally, Etsy allows for a greater variety of products to be listed, meaning I can include my handmade products, which I can't do on Redbubble. Best of all, Etsy has a lot of features I can take advantage of: ads, running promotions like free shipping or coupons, and setting up a Promoted Listings campaign.

Log into my sites through Squarespace instead of visiting my site directly, then using the keyboard shortcut. This should cut down on, if not eliminate, the skewed numbers from my own personal logins.

ADVERTISE. You may have noticed that, in the last 3 months, I didn't spend even a single dollar on paid advertising. I can't say why, honestly, but I didn't. I can say, though, that that's going to change. I've written out rough drafts of several Facebook and Instagram ads that I'm going to run in conjunction with the launch of my summer line. 

Get better at social media. Honesty hour: I'm really bad with social media. Don't get me wrong, I know what I'm doing and how to do it, and I'm definitely fluent in how social media works. I just SUCK at posting consistently. I sort of forget about it until it's been a couple weeks and I haven't posted anything and suddenly I panic and can't think of anything to post and it's all just really bad. 

Get serious about my Summer Collection launch. Not that I'm not already taking it seriously, but God knows I've put way too much money into products for this collection. I mean, really now.


I desperately want this store to succeed and I'm determined to see it through for the rest of the year at least. I'm going to put out a Summer and Winter line and try to gauge my long-term success based on those two. That said, if I get to the end of the year and I still haven't turned a profit and dug myself out of the red, then I'm going to shut the doors on this one.

I don't want to, but I'm not going to put myself in debt chasing a pipe dream.

Besides, it's not like Stall 17 is my only dream.

Enjoy this post? Find it useful? I'd love to know! Leave me a comment below on what you found most helpful. I'm considering doing more of these, as well, so if you'd be interested in reading not just about my own little business, but about other equine businesses, too, let me know!

P.S. Don't forget to share this post with your friends!

Quarterly Income & Spending Report - Stall 17, apparel & gifts for equestrians. In today's blog post, I'm looking at January-March 2018, both income and spending as well as several other statistics, to take a look at how this quirky online boutique serving equestrians is performing. Click the link to read more about it!