The Dough Report, March 2016

Hello & welcome to another edition of "The Dough Report", where I talk about how much I made and spent in the past month. Additionally, I like to branch out a little and also include thoughts on money, savings and all things financial in general. Why? Because I feel that apart from sharing how much we make, talking about everything else related to our finances is also slightly taboo. Let's change that! I'm curious to find out more about how everyone else is managing their money and I'm guessing you're too.

If you're new around here, it might be best to have quick read through the income reports I published previously to find out what exactly I'm doing here and why. Basically, each month I'd like to share the following: How much I earned, how much I spent/invested into my business and on what and what I learned during that month. So let's get to it.

March 2016 Earnings:

  • Social Media Projects: 1.537,50€
  • Copywriting: 1.397,50€
  • Consulting: 1.500,00€

Total Revenue (excl. VAT): 4.435,00€

March 2016 Expenses*:

  • Adobe Creative Suite: 8,50€
  • Google Apps: 4,00€
  • Mailchimp: 8,50€
  • Google & FB Ads: 85,00€
  • AppSumo: 23,50€
  • Website Hosting: 46,10€
  • Phone & Internet: 45,00€

Total Expenses: 220,60€ (*Not included: social insurance payments, taxes, rent, utilities)

Total Net Profit: 4.214,40€

FYI: Please bear in mind that the sum you see above is definitely not the amount of money I get to spend this month, as at least 50-66% of it goes directly into a savings account set up specifically for future tax and social insurance payments.

Virtually all my income at the moment comes from clients I have on retainer, meaning it's an ongoing business relationship where I perform the same tasks and services every month. This is what enables me to focus and build my coaching business, to be honest - because it means I can structure my workload accordingly and also estimate how much time I need to allocate to this projects in the next weeks and months. Depending on what your line of business is, it can be tricky to land retainer clients - however, it definitely can be done. Here's a few pointers I'd like to share on how to establish monthly retainers with your clients:

  • Have a look at your current clients. Who has been with you the longest? Who has been billed the most by you? These are the clients you should look at first. Not only do you have an established, trust-based working relationship with them, they obviously also need your services.
  • Make sure you sell your clients value, not hours, depending on what it is you provide them with: blog posts, technical support, sessions or workshops, social media postings. If possible, include a goal with these services so clients have an idea on what to expect.
  • Don't be afraid of pitching a retainer agreement to them. Because they know you and value your opinion, they will listen to your reasoning - even if doesn't align with their budget planning at the end.
  • Stay flexible; not everyone wants to agree to an ongoing indefinite agreement right away. I often offer clients a short-term contract (3-6 months) first in order to give them a little more assurance. Afterwards, we evaluate our relationship and move forward.
  • Do the actual work. It should go without saying that signing a retainer agreement with a client also means you actually have to do the work for time frame you agreed upon. In order to make your clients happy, you need to be on top of things, giving 100% and work pro-actively on keeping them happy. This way, not only will they continue to prefer the retainer agreement but they might also recommend your services to others.

What is your experience with retainer agreements in your line of business? Do you prefer them? Have you convinced clients of signing them with you or do you actually prefer short-term commitments?


Thanks for taking the time to read this! I'm Melinda and I offer creative and strategic coaching for passionate solopreneurs and freelancers. Connect with me on Twitter or sign up for my bi-weekly newsletters for more information and resources on #AFreelancersLife.