I think you should stop publishing income reports.
And if you’ve been thinking about doing it, stop before you ever start publishing income reports. There’s simply no point to this insanity. Stop reading others’ too!
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think it’s morally or ethically wrong to do this. I don’t see a new tweet promoting someone’s latest income report and roll my eyes thinking all the numbers are bogus. I’m not that cynical.
But I do think they’re entirely a vanity effort and maybe even a strategy for selling more digital products, and entirely unproductive particular when shared with granular detail.
I have nothing against Pat Flynn or John Lee Dumas
Let me say that first and foremost. I have huge respect for both.
These are the two heavyweights out there who also happen to publish their income reports. They both seem like generous and genuine guys. And I have no reason to doubt that what they publish is exactly what happened financially.
They appear to be tireless and have both done an outstanding job of building online businesses.
But I do think the 2000s have already ushered in a new age of the Comparison Syndrome. And the things we see industry leaders like Pat and John Lee we tend to emulate…right down to the publishing of income reports.
Why do we really publish them?
C.S. Lewis once said, “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man…”
When people read Pat’s income report I suppose there are dozens, if not hundreds or even thousands, of people who think to themselves, I can do this. If Pat can do this, I can too. He’s so down to earth, never slimy with how he promotes his products or others’ products that he’s an affiliate for. I can do it like that, too.
There are times when we succeed in spite of the actions we take, though. I wonder if some people love Pat in spite of him publishing income reports, not because of it.
Do you publish your income reports? If so, why? What are you hoping to accomplish either for your business or to motivate others?
If you really dig deep, again if you’re numbers are entirely accurate and verifiable, is it just to generate credibility towards the affiliate recommendations or other products you want to sell?
I love with Lisa Koivu says about this on Oh, She Blogs!:
A large number of them are written by bloggers who are trying to sell something to other bloggers and those sales (either via products, services, or affiliate incomes from recommending services) are what make up the bulk of their incomes.
Let’s talk about that Comparison Syndrome I mentioned
I already feel we’re completely caught up with putting on a happy face for all the world to see. That’s how we use social media largely. “Everything is going perfect and nothing is off the mark whatsoever!” we shout from the digital rooftops.
Maybe we even fudge a little on the storylines behind some of our Instagram photos simply so we can project that happy image, for whatever reason.
Maybe it’s a variation of the humblebrag, in fact. (Side note: If it is, it doesn’t work, Harvard says!)
I dislike our increasing use of social media like this because there are huge swaths of society that just can’t keep up with your weekly boat excursions, quarterly family vacations, your out-of-the-norm expensive hobbies, extravagant senior trips, and spontaneous flights to the Caribbean, and so forth. In our quest to declare how #blessed we are, we show we’re just not in touch with the real struggles others face.
A portion of your followers look at their less prodigious, humble lives of meager means while you point out the proof that your husband loves you is the brand new kitchen he paid to remodel only one year after you moved into the custom-built home that you designed.
Listen, I don’t want to make waves, but we already make it extremely difficult—maybe even innocently or inadvertently—to keep up with the Joneses in this day and age when we broadcast everything positive that happens in our lives, especially the material.
Let’s not extend that to our personal blogging or digital marketing projects.
Better use of your time than compiling income reports
The time you spend compiling your monthly income report blog post —with screenshots of your Google Analytics charts and your Freshbooks ledger—could be better spent summarizing your numbers with a few interesting aha moments or takeaways for how your income breaks down from a percentage standpoint. That is, if you really, really feel like you must share something about your income.
Or, your time could be better spent writing a deep how-to article that outlines your exact process that went into producing Digital Product X that you launched last month. How about creating an interactive post or tool that really delivers value for readers.
I mean, who decided that transparency had to mean fully opening our books to each other anyway? That’s the only way we demonstrate credibility? By showing everything??
I don’t even feel a need as a dad to tell my kids what I make each month.
I say, let’s reject this trend, you and me. It’s a terrible waste of everyone’s time that only stokes the flames of comparison.
Don’t feel compelled to start sharing writing these income report posts as an act of public accountability or something. Just put your head down and do your thing.
Perfect your craft. Publish your content. Make your thing. Provide your service. Generate multiple streams of income. Share some best practices and how-tos.
But don’t feel you’ve got to go with the full monty to and expose yourself completely. You have nothing to gain, and only more pressure on yourself.