Iâ€™ve said in several places that my goal here is to make â€œbill-payingâ€ money with my writing. But what exactly does that mean? How much money is that, exactly?
Time to define some terms and set some goals.
First I need to look at my break-even point.
Currently, itâ€™s costing me about $25.00 a month to host the Book of Dark Places. Thatâ€™s kind of steep, but given the nature of the content, a host with unlimited bandwidth is mandatory. The good ones cost around $25.00 a month. Still, I could, shouldâ€¦ and probably willâ€¦ move BoDP to something cheaper. But letâ€™s assume nothing changes and look at things the way they are currently. Thatâ€™s $25.00 a month for hosting. I just renewed the domain name for darkicon.com for $35.00 (1-year, expensive-ass Network Solutions). Thatâ€™s $2.92 a month. Iâ€™m not sure how much the domain name for BoDP costs me, but itâ€™s at one of those cheap registrars, so Iâ€™ll halve the darkicon.com amount. Thatâ€™s 1.46 a month for that name. Now, hosting for darkicon.com is SUPPOSED to be free, but actually costs me $70.00 per year. All that adds up to $35.20.
So at $35.20 a month, my writing is a self-sustaining hobby. At $35.20 a month, I am not being compensated for any of my time and effort, but at least that effort isnâ€™t COSTING me anything.
For the record, Iâ€™m not making anywhere near $35.20 a month from my writing right now. Youâ€™dâ€™ have to move that decimal point to the left a space or two to get near my current monthly earnings. Also, note that the above figures do not include any taxes, advertising, or other business-related costs.
Ignoring those additional costs for now, Iâ€™ll take $35.00 a month as my baseline.
Fuck the baseline. The baseline is bullshit. If the baseline is the best I can do then itâ€™s time to stop writing stories and start hitting up Elance or Rent-A-Coder for extra cash.
So how much money do I need to make OVER the baseline? Good question. The determining factor on that is time. Assume Iâ€™m going to keep doing this for a few more years. What I make per month next yearâ€¦ just starting outâ€¦ will be a lot less than what I EXPECT to make per month in 2015. I donâ€™t really know what kind of growth rate I can expect once I get started, so letâ€™s look at the short-term only. Once I get started and put in a good effort, how much do I expect to pull down in the near future?
Well, like I saidâ€¦bill-paying money: An amount of money that will actually make a difference in my household budget. Okay, letâ€™s pick a bill:
My World of Warcraft account costs me $15.00 a monthâ€¦ but I wonâ€™t count that. Iâ€™ll move up one rung on the ladder-o-finance and look at the next-smallest bill. Thatâ€™s my water bill, which runs near $35.00 a month. Thatâ€™s pretty close to what my phone bill is, too, and it will ALSO buy me a nice tank of gas. At $35.00 a month Iâ€™ve got several choices of bills I can pay. Okay, fine.
I should shoot higher . I really should, and believe me, I will. But for a new venture, I think Iâ€™ll aim low. So thatâ€™s it. $35.00 AFTER my expenses.
Ahhh, but waitâ€¦. Any money that I pay myself has to be taxed, so what I REALLY need to bring in (after expenses) is closer to $60. Add the $35.00 in expenses back in, and itâ€™s right smack at $95.00 Letâ€™s round it to $100 so I can have a double cheeseburger at Wendyâ€™s once a month.
One Hundred Dollars a month.
Thatâ€™s sad, pitiful amount of money. Thatâ€™s not even 1/10th of my mortgage. I should at LEAST triple that amount for a real, meaningful goalâ€¦ but Iâ€™m not. Iâ€™m going to keep it low.
Can I do that?
Can somebody whoâ€™s put as many years into the craft as I have make a measly $100.00 a monthâ€¦every monthâ€¦ with his writing?
Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m going to find out. If I can, then Iâ€™ll adjust the goal to â€œmortgage-paying moneyâ€ and move up from there. If notâ€¦ if I canâ€™t even meet that pitiful goalâ€¦ then there are other investments that I (donâ€™t want to, but HAVE to) make with my time.
Goal defined. $100 a month. Now, how am I going to do it?