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I'm Mara — I help creatives create and launch digital courses and profitable products. I love chatting about online marketing, design and goal setting!

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Exactly How My Business Makes Money

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I always love it when other entrepreneurs share the details of how they make money in their business. I want to know everything – their services and offerings, what kind of passive income streams they have, and how did their income grow over time? It’s something I always wish more people were more transparent about, so in this episode, we’re talking all about MONEY! I’m getting specific about how much money I made last year, all the ways my business makes money, and my best tips for growing your business.

How much money do I make in my business?

In 2022, I made about $128,000 before taxes. That’s more than double what I made in my last year working as a teacher – and if you’d told me four years ago when I first went full-time with my business that I would be pulling in six figures, I would think that sounded pretty glamorous! Don’t get me wrong; I am incredibly grateful for hitting the six-figure milestone in my business. But a surprising amount of that money goes out of my business for taxes and regular business expenses.

Remember, owning your own business comes along with additional expenses

Even though I focus on running a really lean business so I can keep as much of my money as possible, there are always costs to running a business. And as my business income grows, those costs grow, too!

It’s really important to realize that even though your business makes a certain amount of money, all of that money isn’t necessarily your paycheck income. Aside from taxes, there are many things that a traditional job will cover as benefits that you’ll need to plan for as a business owner – things like health insurance, retirement savings matching, and paid time off.

How my business makes money

Now that I’ve shared the big picture of my business finances, let’s get into the details of how my business made money in 2022 (which was my last full year of business at the time of this episode!) I’ll lay out the details of each revenue stream and what percentage of my income it made up in 2022.

One-on-One Client Work

When I first started out, done-for-you client work made up ALL of the income in my business, but now it makes up 87%. As you’ll see below, I’ve diversified my income streams – and I wish I had done that from day one! My one-on-one clients fall into three categories:

  1. Retainer clients that I have ongoing monthly relationships with. Usually, these clients pay me hourly or monthly package rates in exchange for a set number of maintenance tasks that help them update or market their courses. That might look like sending emails to students, updating lessons, making new sales pages, or crafting email campaigns – it’s different for each client! I love working with retainer clients because I can really get to know their business, and it gives me a regular minimum income that I can count on each month.
  2. One-time projects. For these, I might help a client set up a new online course or digital product. Each project has a specific start date, end date, and well-outlined goals. No two projects look the same, but I’ll build a package for each client and quote a fixed price for each project.
  3. Corporate clients. I prefer to work with solopreneurs or entrepreneurs with a small team, but I still have a handful of corporate clients who need help creating online courses for their company or for their employees.


I hesitated to make templates for so long because it felt like I was somehow cheating by not working directly one-on-one with people, but now this makes up 5% of my income, and it’s the area I’m working on growing in the future! 

I finally decided it was time to sell some templates because I was fully booked out on my one to one work and kept having to turn away potential new clients. Being booked out is such a great place to be, but it’s frustrating to send people away without being able to help them out.

I sell sales page templates (that include thank you pages, upsells, downsells and more. I work primarily in ThriveCart since that’s where most of my clients are building their courses. You can see all of my templates here.

Coaching and Strategy Calls

As my business has grown, I can’t take on every client for full projects, so I’ve started offering one-hour online course strategy or coaching calls. These calls make up about 4% of my income, and we talk about the specific problems a client faces in their course or business and create an action plan to work through them. Most clients want advice on which online course software to use, how to get more students to finish their course, or how to get more sales. Really, it’s just a dedicated hour where a client can pick my brain about anything they need help with in their business, and I’ll be super transparent and help them in any way I can!

I also recently started offering business coaching for other business owners where we can talk through growing income streams, getting more clients and all of the things that come up when you run your own business. 

Affiliate income

I used to never use affiliate links in my business – for the longest time, I was so worried that it would come off as silly or cheesy if I recommended something with an affiliate link! But then I realized that I actually liked using other people’s affiliate links as a way to give back to them whenever they made a great recommendation…and I was also spending a lot of my time recommending my favorite software platforms, business tools, and products to people. It’s also so easy to set up – once you have an affiliate link, all you have to do is use that link instead of a generic link to send people to something you’re recommending. Now, affiliate link commissions make up 3% of my income.


I don’t currently do a ton of speaking, but I’ll occasionally speak at in-person workshops and conferences or virtual summits, where I receive a speaker’s fee. I LOVE speaking to groups. Helping a group of people learn something new was one of my favorite things about teaching, and this lets me do one of the things I miss the most about the classroom! I hope to do more speaking as my business grows, but it makes up 1% of my income for now.

And that’s how I make money in my business!

I hope you found it helpful to hear the full breakdown of my business income. To sum it up in one place, in 2022, my income came from the following places:

  • One-on-one client work: 87%
  • Templates: 5%
  • Coaching and strategy calls: 4%
  • Affiliate income: 3%
  • Speaking: 1%

If you’d like to chat more about business owner life and how to make more money in your business, you can always find me on Instagram!

 Want to hear more about how I make money in my business?

Listen to the full episode for all the details on where those percentages stand so far in 2023, the places I’m looking to grow, and to hear my top three tips for increasing your income.

Links mentioned:

My Favorite Business Tools and Resources

Check out all of my templates

Book a course strategy or coaching call with me

Connect with me on Instagram

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*This post may contain affiliate links.