2022 has been my first full year working for myself. Most of my revenue has come from client work, but it’s been a nice year for side-project income too.
I’ve battled with some mental health demons, but not as bad as in previous years as I come to understand them a little more.
I’ve had some viral hits, met some lifelong friends, and worked with some incredible clients. Then, the end of the year set me in a new direction for 2023: my handmade leather wallet business.
I enjoy doing a reflection each year and setting myself some arbitrary targets because it’s fun to look back on them.
Let’s start with the fun stuff: money.
Total revenue: £52,090 (approx. $63,000)
- Clients via invoice: £23,605
- PodPanda: £13,364
- Whitstable Craft Co: £6,969
- Indie Bites Sponsors: £6,601
- Indie Feast: £1,117
- Gumroad: £434
This is my first time totting up and seeing these numbers. It’s about the order I expected. It’s quite nice seeing that £52k number as my total revenue for the year. That’s all self-earned income and is higher than I ever earned in a job. I can be pretty proud of that.
Profit, however, is unlikely to look quite as impressive. I know I can write off all of the Whitstable Craft Co revenue, and I had a lot of expenses for software and travel. Not to mention tax. Which I’m very scared about.
I don’t really remember everything that happened this year - how do people usually keep track of these things? Let me see if I can jot down some highlights.
- Sold my car and motorbike to make progress with money situation
- Gained a new cat
- Started 2 new podcasts; No More Mondays & This Indie Life
- Went viral twice; once with my aforementioned cat, then with dontbuyayeti.com
- Traveled to New York twice
- Got 6 new fantastic PodPanda clients
- Doubled Indie Bites downloads
- Ended the year with the best few months of my life making £5k in a month with my leather wallet brand
I went through my year month by month and bulleted everything that happened if you’re really interested.
I always set goals each year and it’s fun looking back on them. Often the goalposts change as the year goes on, and so some I completely forget about.
- Gym 5x per week - nope, completely failed. Had a few good stints but could never keep up with it. Have barely been.
- Go for more motorbike trips, document on YouTube channel - Did 0 trips, had 1 bike stolen, sold the other. Did get some pro photos taken which I’ve been wanting to do for years.
- Find 3-4 more freelance clients producing good work I enjoy - success! Although some of them have churned now.
- Publish 4x Indie Bites per month. 52 eps for the year. I didn’t do badly here. 33 episodes published, many months where I published 4x.
- Experiment with more online growth tactics for Whitstable Craft Co, aiming towards £500 p/m. Well, I didn’t do the first part, but accidentally achieved the last one (kinda).
- Publish 1x blog per week, 1x YT vid a week, tweet every day - colossal failure. Did 2 YT vids and 6 blogs.
- Improve the 2 Hour Podcast course in some capacity, grow to $1k p/m. Did literally nothing for the course.
- Track content consumption so I can actually recommend my favourites. nope.
PodPanda went on a bit of a wave this year. Started out small, had a bit of a peak in Sept/Oct and then fizzled out.
Over the year I’ve had 6 clients, and only one of those is left on retainer, but I’m still working with 2/3 of them on a project basis. Podcasting is hard to put on a monthly subscription for many companies.
I still believe in podcasting as a format, but I’ve wanted to become less known as “the podcast guy” as I have fallen out of love with it a little bit. PodPanda has been my main income this year and I continue to see it as that, so it very much has that “job” feeling.
I find it hard to put hours into growing something I don’t have as much passion for so that’s something I’m going to have to figure out this year.
I will say the clients I currently work with are fantastic and I love them, I just have less excitement for growing PodPanda as a business.
However, I am curious about the idea of PodPanda being a media brand, constituting of original production shows and newsletters + a handful of clients that I enjoy working for and can make an impact with.
Whitstable Craft Co
Boy oh boy, am I excited about this brand. I’ve always loved it, but it always had to come second to client work and Indie Bites. But the huge month of sales from Nov-Dec lit a fire in me.
I’ve spent the month almost exclusively making wallets and it’s been incredible. The trouble was I spent all the money on fulfilling the orders and investing in new tools for the biz, but I still had a blast.
I acquired a dream tool that I’d always wanted, which was a huge milestone and means I can expand the line of products I make.
There’s something about creating a physical product that you believe in, that will last a lifetime and will be one of someone’s most used possessions.
Next year I’d LOVE for this to become a much larger proportion of my income and replicate the feeling I had in the last part of the year.
Total downloads: 56,162 (prev. 27,292); 33 episodes published
- Chris Frantz = 2,242
- Brett Williams = 1,755
- Grey Baker = 1,636
- Marie Martens = 1,556
- Monica Lent = 1,524
Oh, Indie Bites. I do still love you. But I feel like I have to make you now, instead of doing it for fun.
It’s been a relatively successful year for downloads and growth, but not for consistency. I don’t get massively excited about the future of the show but maybe that’s because I’ve had so much excitement for the leather wallets recently.
For the first time since starting it’s felt like a job and I've had some intrusive thoughts about stopping it.
I hope I can get a new dose of excitement for it and be back speaking to my favourite indie hackers every week.
On another note, Indie Feast continues to surprise me. Over £1k in revenue was generated this year from my supporters, even with the change in membership back in May. I have some ideas on how I can make this better and more sustainable.
This Indie Life
My second “bootstrapper ride along” show and I’m bloody loving it. I loved doing No More Mondays and so I was pretty sad when it stopped. I wanted to do it right second time round, and Dagobert Renouf is the perfect co-host. He pushes me to be better, is candid and has a ton of great stories. He’s also a really nice guy. I’m excited to keep this going but I’ve got to get better at publishing regularly.
Personally, the biggest change was bringing a second cat into my little family, Eddie. I also took my Dad to New York in Feb and had a wonderful family holiday in July. I’m super close with my family (both literally and figuratively) and that’s been nice. I’ve spent a lot of time playing Tennis and Golf and successfully did not try to monetise them (although I made a golf TikTok account). I climbed Ben Nevis in June and had a lovely day out in Snowdon in August. Financials are still a disaster and I need to do something to fix them. Ramen Club was a consistent source of joy this year for me, met some incredible new friends, had many laughs over beer and had time in London coworking.
And a BIG shoutout to my mum. She is my guardian angel, has helped me more than you can imagine when I'm feeling down and never asks for anything in return❤️
I’ve spoken a lot about mental health over the past few years and so I wanted to touch on it. I’m writing this as I’ve just had one of the worst bouts of depression I’ve ever had. Super super low couple of days. I am surprised I am even at my computer writing this article right now.
This year has been full of ups and downs, especially with things like my motorbike being stolen, constantly having no money and my cars breaking.
I think I’ve mostly had a positive year for my mental health. I’ve been learning more about how to deal with it and realising that it’s something I need to live with long-term. Not to be too hard on myself when it happens and know that I’ll come out of it the other side.
It’s definitely hard when it happens but you still have clients, sponsors and customers who need work to be done when you’re feeling like shit. You want to tell them all to bugger off, even though you don’t mean it. Most are understanding, others don’t get it. I haven’t really worked out how to solve this.
The real challenge is taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen as often while I’m feeling good. That’s taking regular breaks, managing dopamine, prioritising consistent habits rather than embracing sporadic bouts of energy.
I’m going on feeling while writing this. My feeling right now is I want 2023 to be the year where I get the leather wallet brand to be something big. I want to hire my mum and sisters and use the revenue to get myself out of my huge pile of debt. I’m feeling this way because I’m super excited about it right now, but that may change.
But I need to keep my other projects going while I make this dream happen.
Thinking logically, PodPanda / client work needs to be my main focus. This is what pays the bills. So I can I make it fun? I want 2-3 fantastic clients. I already have one with the Uncensored CMO, but ideally, I’d like to work with the likes of Lemon Squeezy or Transistor to make some incredible content.
Indie Bites and This Indie Life I’d like to put on semi-autopilot. Episodes coming out every week, super high-quality productions. Tied to PodPanda to bring in new clients or sponsors. I might need to get help producing / editing them. As much as my headspace isn’t fully here right now, I know deep down I enjoy producing them.
I really want to write and document more. I find it therapeutic, I like being open and sharing my journey and I want to be better at writing. I took Sam Parr’s Copy That course and felt I was getting better at copywriting, but haven’t written much since. YouTube was a goal last year and I only made 2 videos. I’m not going to commit to anything but I think I’d enjoy making more video content too.
Time to set some more goals:
- Build a daily routine - my best days are when I’ve managed to get up at 5:30, go to the gym, then start my day at 7am
- Get weight down to 80kg
- Work with 3 fantastic podcast clients (about $10k p/m)
- Scale Whitstable Craft Co to £10k p/m (side goal - have content production machine for TikTok every day)
- Build a newsletter
- Write more
- Sell a project
- Pay off £10k of my £22k debt
So there we have it, my year in review. Glad I managed to drag myself out of bed to write it. It was especially fun (and validating) to tot up all the numbers to see I’d exceeded my previous salary.
I’m excited for 2023 and hoping I can inject a little stability while continuing to work on the things I love.
If you’ve been a client, sponsor, or supporter of me this year. Thank you. Without you, this would not be possible.
ps - if you’ve been following me on Twitter and you think I’ve missed something out or if you have any questions about anything, DM me.