2015 was a very successful year for me. It wasn’t as marvellous as 2014 in terms of “big name” accomplishments, like getting married and graduating from uni. But it was successful in terms of stability and growth.
- My hosting clients have grown from 89 to 150.
- My pre-made sales have grown from £15.5k GBP to £19k GBP.
- My total income grew from £22k GBP in 2014 to £33k GBP in 2015.
I think that last one is pretty impressive, so let me touch on that for a minute…
The best thing I did to grow my income was raise my prices.
This price increase happened across all areas of my business.
I raised my hosting price… three times.
It started at $8.99 per month, then went up to $11.99, then $14.99, and is now sitting at $19.99 per month.
I kept raising these prices because I want to keep a relatively small number of clients that I can give a lot of time and attention to. I could probably cram 500 people on my server, but I don’t want to. I’d rather have fewer people on there that I can give a higher quality of service to.
I tend to raise my hosting prices when I see a large uptick in demand and new purchases.
I released a new pre-made theme with a higher price.
In 2014, my highest priced theme was $39. But in 2015, I released Tweak Me v2 at $69. That single theme brought in over $13,000 USD in sales all by itself.
I’m continuously raising my prices for custom work.
This has seen the largest increase by far. Over 2015 I was constantly re-evaluating my prices with the value and skill level I provide. As a result, I’ve been able to take on fewer projects and earn more money than ever before.
Growth and stability—but no big name milestones… Sorry!
Honestly, I struggled to write this post because I don’t have any huge milestones compared to last year. Last year I had things like, “I got married!” and “I graduated uni!” and “I launched a new hosting business!”
Despite how awesome 2015 was, I didn’t have any big new things like 2014 did. It was more of the same, but bigger. But of course, a few lessons were learned along the way.
And if I’m being honest, 2016 is going to be a focus on quality of life.
This relates to a lot of the awesome content that Erin Flynn has been putting out, like creating a web design business that fits your life.
In certain freelancing/entrepreneur communities, there seems to be this huge focus right now on making bank. We’re talking 6 figures. Then growing that 6 figure to 7 figures, because 6 just isn’t enough any more.
I know what my priorities are and making money just for the sake of it isn’t in them. My priority is to have a leisurely life that I love living.
- I like to sleep in until 10:30.
- I like having a leisurely morning at Starbucks.
- I like not truly starting work until 12:30.
- I like taking a break for the gym at 3:30.
- I like stopping work when my husband gets home around 6:30.
- I like taking a day off now and then.
- I like being able to meet my parents in Paris for a few days just because.
I have a very relaxed life. I kind of always have, ever since I started freelancing. I only work about 4-5 hours a day. Sometimes I just say “fuck it” and play Lord of the Rings Online all day.
I love that about my life.
It’s actually quite funny because people often ask me, “OMG Ashley, do you ever sleep??” And the truth is, I sleep a lot. I get a solid 9 hours every night. And looking at my schedule, you can see I don’t even work that much either. I’m just very efficient, I suppose.
I guess what I’m saying is that I want 2016 to be all about maintaining this relaxed lifestyle. I don’t want to work myself to the bone. I don’t want to race towards 6 figures just because that’s what everyone else is doing.
My number one goal is to focus on the things I love. I want to make enough money to be able to sustain my relaxed lifestyle. I don’t need to make more than that just for the sake of seeing a higher number.
Don’t be afraid to change your business model if you’re no longer feelin’ it.
As you saw from the numbers before, 2015 saw a huge increase in income from making custom websites/plugins. But now in 2016 I’ll be toning that down.
To be totally honest, I’m a little sick of custom work. Sometimes I start a new project and it just feels exactly the same as something I’ve already done. Like building yet another website. Sure, the content is different, the blog is different, the design is different… but there’s this amount of sameness to the whole process.
That was a scary feeling because isn’t that what my job is??? Custom work???
It doesn’t have to be.
My work isn’t a means to an end… it’s my passion.
If I’m no longer feeling that passion and excitement, something has to change. I still love coding, but I’m a bit sick of these custom projects.
That’s when I realized one of my favourite things is blogging. More specifically: helping people through my blog… tutorials, walkthroughs, guides, etc. I already created one e-course, surely I could create another?
In 2015 I launched a Facebook group called #GirlsOnWP. In 2016 I’ll be taking this further. I want to create a whole community around helping women find success on WordPress.
- Learning WordPress for the first time.
- Making WordPress your bitch.
- Learning to customize a pre-made theme with custom CSS.
- Creating a WordPress theme 100% from scratch.
- Launching your own theme shop.
- …what else??
In 2016, Nose Graze will shift into a teaching role. I’ll be teaching you how to code and kick WordPress ass!
#GirlsOnWP is my focus for 2016. I have at least three e-courses already planned that are all about teaching women how to master WordPress (and code, of course!).
Why women specifically? I guess because there’s already an overwhelming amount of men in this space and I want a little space that’s all about #girlpower.
My first priority is finishing up my new Master Customizer course, which I’ve been working on for the last few weeks. I’m hoping to start taking pre-orders for Master Customizer by the end of January. 🙂
Next up, I’ll be revamping my course on building a theme from scratch. The biggest change will be the addition of video walkthroughs to complement the text tutorials. But I’ll also be reorganising the lessons a little and adding a few more.
The price will also be going up after the revamp, so now is a good time to buy if you want it at the lower price! (If you buy now, you’ll still get access to the revamped material when it’s ready.)
In short, I’m so ready for 2016!!