Blog Income Report- June 2016
If you’re wondering why I post a blog income report, it’s because this journey was only made possible by other bloggers posting their blog income reports and inspiring me to give it a shot on my own. This is kind of my way of “paying it forward”. Plus, I love the fact that I work in the only industry where it’s totally normal to post your income every month.
If you are a blogger, or end up being a blogger, I would love to see you post your blog income report too! You can actually link to them in the comments below.
June was a fairly relaxed month. Summer is pretty boring for personal finance bloggers, so I’ve been using the lull to focus on building a team, outsourcing and efficiency.
My hope is to have a solid footing with those things by the end of July to focus strongly on Affiliates starting in August and going through to the holidays.
We now have a social media manager, a tech guy, an executive assistant (who handles everything from customer service and emails to scheduling posts), a bookkeeper and tax strategist, and a graphic designer.
We’ve come a long way in the last few months and it’s crazy to see everything finally coming together. Outsourcing and building a team is extremely important to me because it lets me focus on the things that I’m good at (writing posts and emails) while still working a 20 hour work week.
Outsourcing is how you grow without working more hours.
In June, I hustled a little because I plan to take most of July off for vacation. So income should plummet next month since anything I make will be passive income. I plan to hit it hard straight through to the holidays and my next month off will likely be December.
In theory, I’ll have launches and everything scheduled to roll without me and a team trained to run things while I’m gone but that’s still a stretch as of right now.
But first… About me…
I’m a full-time blogger. Less than 2 years ago, I had no idea that was an actual thing. To say the last two years have been a wild ride is the understatement of the year.
If there’s one thing that I want to pass on to you, is that I am NOT special. I’m not crazy smart. I don’t have a writing degree and I’m certainly not a grammar expert (although a free app called Grammarly certainly helps).
I just love to write and I love to help people and I’m really good at reducing our spending. So, I walk people through the baby steps that we took to completely transform our finances. I’m able to support my family making far more than I ever could in my previous career.
Want to start your own blog?
If that sounds like something you want to do, I can help you make that a reality with step-by step instructions (for free!). You can find instructions for how to start your own blog here (even if you aren’t great with computers).
The best part? Blogging is a super cheap (almost free!) hobby that makes you money! Starting your own blog isn’t very expensive! Starting a blog that makes you money while working from home starts at about $3.95/month!
June 2016 Blog Income Report:
Pageviews are still down for the summer, but consistent with last winter before the crazy budgeting spike in January, so I’m pretty happy. We’re still seeing a sharp increase with Facebook this month thanks to the Strategies Worth Sharing book we went through back in April.
There’s a new line in the income report this month for “My Products” which is for The Pinterest Strategy Guide that I released this month to take the place of coaching. For a fraction of the price of coaching this sold like hotcakes and I was overwhelmed by the response.
While that’s a good thing. It also means that I dropped the ball by just throwing it out there instead of actually launching it properly. Best thing about blogging? You can always relaunch later! I plan to fix that in August or September.
I’m taking July off, so I’ll likely have much lower income next month. My “goal” is $12,000, but I don't plan to track it and I’m fine if we don’t meet that. Whatever I make next month will be passive income.
Pageviews and Income:
Pageviews: 359,091 (down from 449,520 last month)
Income: $20,557.28 (down from $22,930.97 last month)
Income Broken Down:
$1,260.00 Sponsored Posts
$3,680 Ad Networks
$3,762 My Products (The Pinterest Strategy Guide – See below)
(further breakdown of my strategy for each category below)
Step-by-Step Pinterest Strategy Guide
Because I’ve stopped coaching, I released my Pinterest Strategy Guide in PDF form to you. Which means that you can spend a fraction of the price that coaching costs and get my step-by-step Pinterest Strategy Guide direct in your inbox right now.
My goals for May were:
Facebook ads- My only goal was to see enough progress with Facebook ads so that I know the ROI that I’m getting from the ads. That’s it.
I set a small goal here because I’ve been struggling making progress in this. Setting small goals helps me avoid overwhelm and ensures that I actually make progress on goals.
Someone recommended Absolute Facebook Ads by Claire Pelletreau and I was thrilled with it! I won't have stats for at least a month or two, but I’ll make sure to share them in my income reports.
For this month though, I was able to calculate the value of each subscriber (meaning, I know how much to spend on ads to get subscribers because I know how much each subscriber makes me) and I’m a/b testing ad sets with confidence.
That’s a HUGE difference from last month where this was a huge source of stress for me.
Newsletter growth: I wanted a 20% increase in my newsletter list, and I didn't hit that mark. Or even close. I realized that while I love Convertkit, their analytics are pretty sucky. So much so, that I’ll likely have to make a switch unless they release some extensive updates within the next month or two.
I thought I was on track all month, until I realized that I wasn’t factoring in unsubscribes and that they’re counting both lists together in some places.
I’ll be looking at Constant Contact and Infusionsoft going forward. Analytics are a pretty big deal to me so it’s worth a switch to me.
What worked this Month:
**These are the things I’m currently trying. If you need the full resources of the tools that I’ve used to get me to this point, you can sign up here to get free instant access to the full list of the tools and resources that have worked for me this far. **
RescueTime: I had always tracked my time worked by the hours that I set and then made sure to only work within those hours, noting any discrepancy in my desk planner. I found Rescuetime this month, which tracks both my hours naturally as well as my productivity.
It lets you assign ratings to both individual websites and types of websites. So, Facebook could be “very unproductive time” (since I have a social media manager) as well as news sites (because that means I’m aimlessly wandering the internet instead of working).
The best part about this is that it’s the first productivity tracker I’ve found that’s passive. Meaning, I load it on my desktop and my laptop and I don’t need to touch it, It knows when I’m working and it tracks accordingly. It also has no trouble figuring out which of the three screens I’m using (so if I’m on Facebook on a second screen but not using it, it doesn’t count that).
It even comes preloaded with typical productivity settings for websites based on your business, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time on set up. Rescue time is also free!
I switched to Rescuetime from manual tracking and check in daily to see if I can beat yesterday's productivity score. You can get Rescuetime here.
Creating products: This was the first time I’ve focused on my own products instead of an affiliate product. I’m kicking myself for not doing this sooner. I used to coach other bloggers in Pinterest strategy and monetization, but as I grew I had to severely limit those sessions.
So I would make about $200- $400/month and take one 1 or 2 session per month depending on what my workload looked like.
In order to make that a good business decision for me, I needed to double my rates, which would be too expensive for most bloggers that I’ve been helping. So, I released a step by step guide complete with videos to implement the Pinterest Strategy that I used to grow from $18/month to over $20,000/month in less than 18 months and charged a fraction of the price of coaching.
I was able to increase my income from coaching to selling the guide by over 840% while freeing up an additional 4 hours of my time (which is quite a lot when you work 20 hours a week!)
And I was able to help a ton of bloggers that wouldn't have been able to afford one on one coaching by making my system affordable to them. You can get the guide here.
I love win/win/win’s. 🙂
What didn’t work this month:
Convertkit: I was so excited when I switched to them a few months ago but have been increasingly frustrated with their lack of analytics. This is a big deal to me, because if I can’t clearly and easily see what’s working and what’s not, it’s hard to set goals and improve.
I’ve spent almost 3 hours this month attempting to pull the information I need out of Convertkit when I realized that I just need to switch. So I’m checking into Constant Contact and Infusionsoft (but secretly hoping Convertkit rolls out some awesome analytics this month).
Mazuma Bookeeping: For the record, I actually loved Mazuma, but I hired a tax strategist to discuss whether or not to switch to an S-corp this month and they were totally on point.
He was able to help me not only structure the business for this blog, but our other businesses as well, and I want his company to be doing our books since he’s the one giving me advice.
While both companies give free tax advice, the new company (Love Low Taxes in Virginia) spent hours with me this month and gave me a full overview on taxes and business.
Goals for next month:
None! I’m on vacation, remember? 🙂
I don’t usually list expenses in my blog income report because this changes so frequently. I focus on outsourcing and quick growth, so I invest heavily back into the business.
Every month, I set a new business budget and don't usually itemize the expenses as I go (the bookkeeper does that for me).
I get asked about this so often though, that I wanted to include my budget.
Again, this is my budget, not my actual expenses (I won't get that back from bookkeeping for a few more weeks, but I’m usually right on target or within $400).
The other thing to realize is that most of these are unnecessary if I’m not looking to grow and expand. I could downsize and work 40-60 hours a week with about $1,000 in expenses. My quality of life would be a lot different though and the growth of the business would slow considerably.
I probably won't put expenses in next month's blog income report, but I may do a future post on how to plan your business budget and calculate your expenses.
The Busy Budgeter Business Budget (that’s a lot of B’s.)
Minimum Target Income $13,000/month
(This is the amount that I need to make in order to pay my own salary, my employees, bills, and taxes). If I went below that (like on my months off- when I earn only passive income), then it’s not a big deal, it just comes out of the business reserves from months when I’m way over that.
Audible – $14.95 (for business books- only theory books, I take courses for things I need practical application of).
Simple Pin Media – $550 (I just started working with Kate Ahl, so I can free up some time working analytics on Pinterest)
Executive assistant- $1,220
Social media manager- $240
Amazon Web (cache)- $100
Marketing (Facebooks ads)- $600
Outsourcing (smaller jobs like graphic design that aren't needed monthly)- $300
Office supplies- $100
Yearly expenses (like Picmonkey and hosting)- $55
Conferences and mastermind retreats- $200 (I have a $2,000 conference budget that this adds to that I set up at the start of the year with profits from last year).
Training- $300 (this often gets bumped up. I don’t restrict training at all. If I’ve done my research and think it will benefit me, I’ll buy it regardless of price. Quality training is the number one investment you should make).
Total Expenses: $4,173.95
Taxes are being set aside at 30% as well.
So, If I make $20,577.28 in a month, then remove the expenses of $4,173.95 then I have a profit of $16,403.33.
I would need to set aside $4,920.99 for taxes leaving me with $11,482.34 for my income.
Because I’m now an S-corp, I just set myself a monthly salary, so I pay myself $5,249/month and the rest I can take as dividends later. That also allows overages for my vacation months (where income may drop below my minimum) and unexpected growth opportunities.
That gives me more than enough to live on, makes budgeting super simple, and makes taxes worry free (it would be next to impossible to not set aside enough for taxes).
I’m a big fan of living below your means. 🙂
My Income Strategy:
I earn income in three major categories with my blog. I’ll run over my strategy for each of them.
I focus most of my sponsored post efforts on reaching out to brands that I use and love and offering a sponsored post package at a rate that’s a little lower than “industry standard” (which is highly debatable). That let’s me increase the “yes!” emails I get in response, and ensures that I can count on making a certain amount every month on sponsored posts while still being really picky about which brands that I’ll work with. I also go through each of my brand networks (places like Tapinfluence and Clever Girls) to see if there are any assignments that would be a good fit for my blog.
In general, more pageviews equal more ad earnings. I use Adthrive (you can apply with them once you have 100,000 pageviews) and love them. My RPM (The ad revenue that I get per 1,000 pageviews) bounces between $6.40 and $10.00 depending on the season.
I increase my pageviews by marketing my blog content through Pinterest using a fantastic tool called Boardbooster. I a/b tested everything on Pinterest (and still do) for about 6 months until I figured out a system that works for me. My favorite thing about Pinterest (at least with Boardbooster) is that I spent only 4 hours a month running my Pinterest Strategy. That leaves me tons of time to grow in other areas.
I focus on a core group of affiliates that I think almost everyone in my target audience should be using. Since I run a budgeting website, I factor cost into the equation. If something is a great product, but is too expensive for my readers, I likely won’t add them to the core affiliates list. Having the core list lets me easily track special sale dates that my readers should miss and lets me focus without getting overwhelmed with the barrage of affiliate “offers’ hitting my inbox daily.
To me, the key to affiliate marketing is to never ever promote anything that you haven’t used yourself and you don’t love. My philosophy is that if you only promote companies and products that you would tell your best friend about enthusiastically, then you’re doing it right.
If you want to see my full list of blogging resources that I use, you can find them here.
Need a step by step guide on how to start a blog? You can find one by clicking here (you don’t even need to be great with computers!).
If you publish your own blog income report, link to it below in the comments so we can all see!
FTC Disclosure of Material Connection: In order for us to maintain this website, some of the links in the post above may be affiliate links. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and/or believe will add value to readers.