Building an author brand with no money

I am working on building my brand as an author and have several promising projects in the works. The challenge is that right now the return on my published works is very little and I don’t have money to invest in my business (I do have some time, however).

I’m having a hard time not taking the sparse monetary rewards as a sign that I am failing. I am making some progress, but it is incremental. How can I create real strides in my business? Should I set a monetary goal and then use the model to work out my thoughts about it? I want to make $500,000 this year.
How can I move forward?