Charli Marie

Why I’m transparent about my income

published3 months ago
3 min read

Hey Reader,

It’s that time of year where I release my annual income report to share all the details with you on the rises and falls of my various income streams.

I’ve been producing these reports for a few years now and I really value the process.

Not only does sharing these details start some interesting conversations, but I see it as my way of giving back to the community of creators, designers and entrepreneurs online that I’ve gotten so much value from over the years. From figuring out what salary to ask for in my role as a marketing designer, to understanding what to charge brands in content sponsorships, to getting ideas for different income streams I could start; I’ve learned a lot from folks who openly share their income details online, and I hope you get value from mine too.

Read the full report on my blog here, or read on for a high level overview right here in your inbox.

A high level overview of my annual income

Despite my best efforts, my income over the past year has not kept up with inflation. Thankfully, it did increase and I earned 4.4% more than last year, but this is well below the rate of inflation. Disappointing! But I’m sure I’m not the only one in this situation.

The division of income between my ‘main hustle’ work as Creative Director at ConvertKit and my own business is the same as it was last year with 75% coming from my job and 25% from my side hustles. I’m pleased to have kept up this split, especially as my work leading ConvertKit’s Brand Studio team has gotten more demanding.

The £131,795 I earned from ConvertKit is an increase of 4.3% on last years earnings, and the £43,524 from my side hustles is an increase of 4.7%.

My 16 income streams fall into 4 categories: design work, content creation, products & services & memberships.

Content creation remains my largest side hustle income category, taking its largest slice of the pie ever at 90.3%. When I noticed in early 2022 that I wasn’t on track to increase my annual income for the 12 month period, this was the category that presented the best opportunity to see some growth so I leaned into it and am not surprised to see it represent so much of my overall income.

I added 4 new income streams this year. I was paid to write some articles for the Superhi blog (the first time I’ve been paid for writing work!), I opened my YouTube channel membership feature (and closed down my Patreon), and started offering two new services: mentoring sessions and job board posts.

The stream that increased the most?

Design Life merch sales were up 423%, but this was only £91 in revenue, so the increase I saw in the content sponsorships stream feels more impressive! I earned 262% more than last year in this category, bringing in £15,790.

The stream that decreased the most?

It’s a tie between speaking fees (just £931 this year) and sales of my font (£731), both down 60% from last year. Clearly I need to promote my font more! (Check it out here if you haven’t got it already).

The stream that surprised me the most?

Having received just a 6.5% raise at ConvertKit in November, I was surprised that overall my ‘main hustle’ salary was up 12% from last year. I’m paid in US dollars, and my business is based in the UK so clearly foreign exchange rates were in my favour over the last year!

The biggest expense for my business?

Video editing! I spent £8,830 on freelance video editors last year. A worthy investment in my opinion, as it frees up my time.

Get ALL the details of all the income streams and how they served me, as well as more info about my business expenses and more charts in the full report.

Poll results: What’s the status of your personal website?

In the last issue, where I shared some details behind the new redesign of my own personal site and asked you about the state of your own. Here’s what Dispatch readers had to say:

Looks like the majority of you are in need of some time to work on your personal site! I’m planning a few videos in the coming months to help you figure out a site map and walk through the design decisions I made in mine (including the things I chose NOT to work on in order to get the thing shipped sooner). So, stay tuned.

And congrats to the 11.5% who have an up-to-date site they’re proud of. 👏

Is Apple preparing us for augmented reality with the Dynamic Island?

Webflow’s Head of Product Design, David Hoang, shared a really interesting take on the interaction patterns the new Dynamic Island on Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro is introducing and how it might be preparing us for interacting with a HUD (heads-up display) in XR (extended reality).

In his latest article, David writes about other ways Apple might be testing patterns for XR or AR (augmented reality) and a look back on “hints” at new devices that were incorporated into iOS in the past. It’s a great read!

Some unfortunate personal news to end this issue with: my beloved cat Nora (you might have seen her on livestreams or in my vlogs) has been diagnosed with a lymphoma. 😞 We’ve started her on chemo and are hoping for the best, but it was a tough week. I spent the weekend caring for her and appreciating every moment with her.

Hug your pets for me! And I hope you have a good week.