August’s Billfold LLC Update

It’s time for another Billfold LLC update! There’s a lot to cover in this one, so I’ll divide it into sections:

Summer Pledge Drive

Thank you again (and always) for your support! During our Summer Pledge Drive, we increased our Patreon contributions by $64/month, going from $2,159 in monthly pledges to $2,223.

We also received $839.42 in PayPal contributions, which, when you divide by six and add the Patreon increase, gives us an extra $204 to put towards programming between September and February.

As some of you suggested, I’m going to update our footer to include “support The Billfold via Patreon or PayPal.” (This is something I can’t actually do myself; that part of the website is only accessible through our webdev guy. But I’ll ask him about making the update.) I’ll be running another pledge drive next February, to coincide with The Billfold LLC’s first birthday — so if you like to plan your budget six months in advance, now you can.

August budget

Here’s the budget I’m working from for August:

August budget
TOTAL $3,337
Taxes (25%) $834
Operating expenses and savings (5%) $167
Freelancer payments (23 pieces at $40/each) $920
Nicole payment $1,416

August has a few more weekdays than usual, so I dropped the operating/savings line from 10 percent to 5 percent to ensure there was enough cash to cover both the freelancers and me. I also went back into July’s budget and pulled some money out of operating/savings to bump my July payment from $1,551 to $1,602, because I need to average at least $1,500 per month or this isn’t going to work for me financially.

Especially because…

I am now the sole owner of The Billfold LLC

The Billfold LLC was originally a partnership LLC. Last month the partners agreed to convert it to a single-member LLC with me as the sole owner. (Thankfully, there were only a few forms to fill out as part of the transition.)

This means… well, in its simplest form, it means I’ve gone from thinking “what do we want this business to be” to “what do I want this business to be?”

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this.

Our near-term goals are still my top priorities: increase our programming in September, and increase the money we pay our freelancers (though I should probably get in the habit of writing the money I pay my freelancers) in January.

After that — well, it partially depends on how much money we’re bringing in, but it’ll be time for me to start putting together some larger-scale goals.

Larger-scale goals

Where will The Billfold go in 2019? What kind of business do I want it to be, and how do I want it to grow?

One option, for example, would be to bring on another editor. That’s something I’d like to do at some point, but I don’t want to do it at the expense of my own earnings. I’m going to run this in the Profit First style (a book you might remember us discussing last summer), which means that I can’t get stuck in the common small-business owner trap of paying myself last.

But, on the subject of editorial: I’m aware that I’m currently near the top of the Cat Tree of Financial Well-Being, to borrow from our discussion of Get Your Money Together. My financial systems and habits are pretty much automated at this point, which means that my “here’s where my money is going” posts could get a little dull.

So I started thinking about how I could become more valuable. The posts where I share an article and invite y’all to read and discuss are still going to be part of our day-to-day programming, but what else do I have to offer?

There’s a reason why I just posted the second installment in what will undoubtedly become a Financial Fairy Tales series, for example. I’m not going to say that type of writing is something that “only I can do,” because that isn’t true, but it’s something different that I do well.

I also thought it might be time to start an advice column. I’ve run advice columns in the past for The Freelancer and The Write Life, and maybe that would be another way I could add value to The Billfold.

I could bring back the quirky slugs and the joke tags and some of the old-school Billfold elements, even though the part of me that likes organization/categorization knows why quirky slugs aren’t necessarily a good idea. (The slug is that line of text that runs above each article, and if you click on it you get all of the articles filed under the same slug. I’m guessing more of you read it than click on it, and even more of you would read it if you thought you might find a joke there.)

Then I thought about this book proposal that I’ve been not actually writing yet because I ended up spending most of my free time last month building an online course for Hugo House. (It’s called How to Get Started as a Freelancer and you can sign up here.) People have been asking me for a book on writing and money for at least a year, so what if I published it through The Billfold? I already have experience as a publisher, after all — and that would add value to both my own work and to The Billfold LLC as a business, and it might bring in some more money that we could use towards programming and towards publishing other books. Some by me, some by other authors.

And then I laugh and say “Nicole, you have owned The Billfold LLC for literally five minutes and you already want to turn it into a small press.”

But then I turn back to myself and say “Well, okay, but how is this business going to grow? We’ll always have the blog — that isn’t going anywhere, y’all — but there’s an upper limit to the amount of money we can bring in from ads/sponsors/readers. If you want to earn money past that limit, you need something besides the blog. Especially if that new asset can bring in passive income.”

So that’s what I’m thinking about, this month. It’s probably more information than you expected, and it’s kinda messy and I might change half of these ideas as I start to put them together.

But I’m curious to hear what you think, since there wouldn’t be any Billfold (or Billfold LLC) without you.

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