Back in June of 2021, I asked my readers how they were doing with their goals for the year. And I got a ton of great replies. So today, I thought it would only be fair to share the real numbers from my own goals for 2021.
I have two objectives for my business this year:
#1) Make $200,000 in revenue.
#2) Work no more than 1,200 hours.
And while everyone loves to focus on how much money they make…
The second part about how much time I’m working is actually more important to me.
Because it’s relatively easy to make more money just by working more hours.
But that also leads to exhaustion, burnout, and less freedom.
Which is the opposite of what I want for myself.
Also, for context, last year I made around $150,000 and worked roughly 1,200 hours.
Which means another way to look at my goals for 2021 is that I want to work no more than I did last year. While also earning an extra $50,000.
So how am I doing? Take a look…
First, Here’s Where Things Stand With My Revenue Tracker Halfway Through The Year
Right now, I’m projecting to make $214,106.
I got that number by starting with the $120,356 I’ve already made this year. (Which is the green line in the chart.)
Then I add the income from all my monthly retainers — assuming they will all continue through the end of the year. And I also add another $20,250 in one-off project income each quarter. (Together, these projections are the dotted blue line in the chart.)
However if you just take the $120,356 I made in the first half of 2021 and double it, that would get me to $240,712.
Which is even more than my $214,000 projection. And it’s so close to a quarter-million, I may decide to ignore my goal to work less than 1,200 hours if I get close to that.
Because it would be pretty sweet to have a quarter-million dollar business. And it might be worth putting in some extra hours to get there.
Also, Speaking Of Hours, Here’s Where Things Stand With My Time Tracker Halfway Through The Year
Also looking okay here with a projection of 1197.5 hours.
But that means I have a razor-thin margin of just 2.5 hours before I go over my goal of working no more than 1,200 hours.
I got this projection by starting with the 672.5 hours I’ve worked this year. (This is the dark blue in the chart.)
Then I project working an average of 21 hours per week for each week left in the year. (This is the light blue in the chart. And since a week is 7 days, but a month is 30 days, some months wind up with an extra week.)
Only working an average of 21 hours per week is probably going to be hard, though. Even though I do have plans for some vacation time through the rest of the year that will help bring down the average.
Because when you look at the fact I’ve already worked 672.5 hours in the first half of the year, if you double it, that puts me closer to 1,345 hours.
Which is way over my goal.
But I’m actually okay with that…
Because There’s A Third Number I Track To Let Me Know Whether Or Not The Extra Hours I’m Working Are Worthwhile
It’s called my Effective Hourly Rate.
To get this number, I take all the money I make in the business and divide it by all the time I spend working.
Not just time on client projects. Everything.
Accounting. Legal. Sales. Attending events.
Because if my effective hourly rate goes up, it means I’m earning more money for each extra hour I spend on the business.
And I’m okay putting in extra hours — as long as they are adding even more profit to my business.
But if my effective hourly rate goes down, it means that I’m actually earning less money for each extra hour I spend on the business.
And I would not be okay with that.
Here’s the good news, though…
If you go back to my original goal, I wanted to make $200,000 in 1,200 hours or less.
Which is an effective hourly rate of roughly $167 per hour.
And whether you look at my projections for the year…
Or just double my hours and income from the first half of the year…
In both cases, my effective hourly rate is around $179 — which is well above the $167 target.
Take a look…
(The green effective hourly rate number is based on projecting $214,106 in income and 1197.5 hours. And the number circled in red is based on the $120,356 I’ve already made and 672.5 hours I’ve already worked.)
So this is a great sign.
Because It Means That Even If I’m Working More Than I’d Like, That Extra Time Is Bringing In Larger Profits
So as long as I don’t go overboard to the point of burning out, I can be happy with the growth my business is having so far this year. Even if I wind up spending a little more time working than I planned by the end of the year.
Update After Q3 of 2021
This article generated a lot engagement when I first shared it halfway through the year. So I thought it was worth adding an update after the end of Q3 to show where things stand now…
Updated Revenue Projection After Q3
I’m now projecting to make $219,491 this year.
That’s about $5,000 more than I was projecting in the last update halfway through the year. (I was projecting $214,106 at that time.)
But what’s even cooler is that in the first nine months of this year…
I’ve already made close to $20,000 more than I did all of last year!
(That’s the Actual YTD box — which stands for Actual Year-To-Date — I circled below. It shows $169,391 in actual income so far this year.)
Q2 Revenue Projection
Q3 Revenue Projection
Updated Work Hours Projection After Q3
Plus even better, I’m now projecting to work 1,177.75 hours.
That’s down about 20 hours from where I was halfway through the year. (When I was projecting 1197.5 hours.)
And if these numbers hold, I will beat my goal by more than 22 hours.
Q2 Work Hours Projection
Q3 Work Hours Projection
But I actually don’t think that will happen.
See, I just closed a big project that will probably push my hours up over the next few months. So I have a feeling this number will go back up as the year comes to a close. And it may even put me over my limit.
But like I mentioned when I first shared my goals above, I’m less concerned about my hours — as long as the Effective Hourly Rate metric in my dashboard is in line.
Updated Effective Hourly Rate Projection After Q3
And when you look at my Effective Hourly Rate, I’m now projecting $186.36.
That’s up around $7.50 compared to the $178.80 I was projecting in the last update. And it’s nearly $20 over my goal of $167.
Q2 EHR Projection
Q3 EHR Projection
Which means all three of my numbers have improved from where they were at the end of June!
So I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made over the last three months. And since these updates have proven to be popular, I’ll make sure to share my final numbers for 2021 after the year is officially over.
Final Numbers For 2021
Now that 2021 is officially over, let me show you where I finished for the year.
Final Revenue For 2021
I finished the year with $211,757 in revenue.
That’s actually down by around $7,000 from what I was projecting at the end of Q3. Since at that point, I was expecting to earn $219,491.
Q3 Revenue Projection
Final 2021 Revenue
But the main reason I fell short of that projection is that I took on a project at the end of the year for one of my existing clients that only pays royalties.
Now my normal rate for the type of project we did is around $10,000. So if I had charged my normal rate, I would have easily met my revenue projection from the previous quarter.
But in this case, I didn’t get paid anything up front.
However, based on the royalties I’ve been earning from this client already, I expect the new project to be worth much more than $10,000 in the year ahead.
So that’s why I thought it was worth the risk. Especially since I had already hit my revenue goal for the year. And I didn’t need that income in order to reach my goals.
Final Work Hours For 2021
I was actually able to come in 30 seconds under the maximum hours I wanted to work for the year, too.
Q3 Work Hours Projection
Final 2021 Work Hours
Now like I said, I took on a few big projects at the end of the year. And I was worried that they would take up so much time, that it would force me to work more hours than I wanted for the year.
But between a mix of luck and efficiency, I was able to work a total of 1199 hours, 59 minutes, and 30 seconds in 2021.
Which means I (barely) met my goal of working less than 1200 hours.
However if you’ve been following along, you know that I wasn’t too worried about going a few hours over if I had to…
Since as long as my Effective Hourly Rate stayed high, it meant the extra hours I worked were adding to my profits — instead of subtracting from them.
Final Effective Hourly Rate For 2021
But because I hit both my revenue and hours goals this time, my EHR isn’t as important. Since the math works out that if I reach my first two goals, the EHR will take care of itself.
Which is how I wound up with an EHR of $176.47 — $9.47 more than my goal of $167.
Q3 EHR Projection
Final 2021 EHR
So I’m happy to report that I hit all three of my goals for 2021! And that I officially reached multiple six figures for the first time in my life.
It took me close to a decade to get to this point, though. So if you’re just starting out, know that these type of results take time.
I’ve already got my goals for 2022 figured out, too.
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