If you're interested in increasing blogging income quickly, then there's a lot to learn from this post! This professional blogger supportss her entire family blogging–and she grew her blog to a full-time income within just 10 months. Here, she reviews the income report of another blogger and provides the action steps she needs to take to head down the path to increasing blogging income quickly.
But first, you may be wondering what happened to my income reports…
After posting income reports for nearly two years to chronicle my journey from making only $18/month blogging to an income that supports my whole family, I took a pause on publishing them early this year. You can find past ones here.
I wanted to take a few months to think about and decide whether they were really helping anymore.
My biggest concern was that I started publishing these income reports as a way to make sure that people knew that blogging from home and actually making money was a thing. I had NO IDEA that you could blog from home and earn a full-time income for your family. The fact that there's someone like me out there, schlepping at a job they hate while struggling to make just enough to pay for full-time daycare so someone else can raise their kids drove me insane.
I made myself a promise to publish income reports for that mom. Because as awkward as it is to have everyone know my income, I was lucky to find out about blogging and to give it a chance. It’s my mission in life to make sure that people know that this is a legitimate career choice.
But then as the business grew, I started questioning if I was doing the right thing. I had a few reasons why I was considering stopping the income reports…
- The higher income is less relatable; it’s hard for my readers to believe that this is a legitimate career choice and not a shot in the dark at an unattainable profession (like acting opposite Hugh Grant) when I throw out numbers like $100,000 a month. Which, I can hardly blame them because I struggle with coming to terms with numbers like that and I live it! They don’t get to see the emails I receive daily from readers who started out reading my income reports from last year, who now blog full time and make great money.
- I felt that, in order to continue, I would need to include expenses into my income reports to paint an accurate picture. But with my current budgeting system, that would be a pain and it would take even longer to write income reports (which already take a significant amount of time, as they’re our longest posts). At this point, we have 1 full-time employee, 3 part-time employees, and we’re currently hiring for 3 more positions. So, we have a much higher overhead than when we used too. (We had almost no expenses back then.)
- When you report higher expenses, readers who aren’t experienced in business may not understand that these costs aren’t normal or expected for bloggers who are just getting their start! Our expenses are needed because we’re making significantly more than we are spending and need to continue growing our business. My expenses might lead people to believe that to be successful, you should be spending $10,000 in Facebook ads, which is definitely not the case. (I didn’t invest in Facebook ads until I was earning a significantly more than that consistently, although I wish I had done it earlier now!)
So basically, the short answer is: I wasn’t sure that I was doing what I had set out to do with income reports anymore.
Then Emma (featured below) emailed me with a great idea. What if instead of posting my own income, I helped other bloggers with their income reports and then gave them feedback, actionable advice, and helped them increase their income?
Which pretty much tells me that Emma is going to do amazing things in this world, because that was a genius idea!
So, Emma gets to be featured in our first Reader Income Report and we’re taking applications for next month’s! You can apply here!
Fair warning though, you have to have a little bit of a tough skin. I can be blunt sometimes – but it’s because I don’t want to lead you down the wrong path. I don’t want to say, “great idea” and have you trust that opinion if I don’t actually think it’s a great idea. But I’ll also send you the completed income report BEFORE posting, so if there is something you aren’t comfortable with, we can work together to make you comfortable before sharing your progress and hard work with our readers.
And in no way will I ever be judging you – promise! I have done so many stupid things in my life that I couldn’t possibly judge anyone with a straight face. Deal?
That said, if you’re super sensitive, this may not be the best idea ever.
The first income report is up and you can scroll past the next section to see it. ?
On the off chance that you have a higher income blog or you’re just curious as to what's going on with my business, we added a small section called “What I Learned this Month,” where I talk about what stage we’re in and what’s happening behind the scenes at my business. See below!
This Month at Busy Budgeter Inc. – May 2017
I took this entire 12-week year (which ends at the end of June) to focus on hiring key positions that were missing here at the Busy Budgeter camp. We grew way faster than we were ready for, which is a good problem to have, but still a problem!
While I had great systems in place to make sure that I alone could get the important stuff done, none of those systems worked for a team. Rather than taking the time to fix it, I just kept putting it off.
Which, of course meant that we became less efficient and more clunky.
So, we scaled back on a lot of stuff over the last month and doubled down on setting up systems that work and incorporate the ENTIRE team. We’re shifting from just being a blogging business to more of a traditional business.
I left all my current mastermind groups (which actually made me pretty sad to do), so that I could focus that time and energy into meetings and accountability with my own team. I used a daily tracker to track my time in different projects and realized, at one point, I had spent 5 hours that week networking with other bloggers in mastermind groups and helping blogging friends, but had spend ZERO hours in meetings or helping my own team, which is not the best business decision.
We’re using WeekDone (which is still in trial with us so I can’t give it a full recommendation, but I am REALLY liking it, even though I tend to like paper better), Trello, and Slack to communicate better and tackle projects together. I used the Blogging business structure in EBA to help define everyone’s role so we all know our area of responsibility (which sounds easy, but was probably the hardest part). I went back through Units 10-12 of EBA to create job roles for everyone in the company and then we created training programs for each of the positions we currently have as well as the positions we’re hiring for.
We had more talks then I ever thought possible about what we wanted our corporate culture to be like (a bit pompous considering we only have 4 employees right now, but still), and we got to a point where we’re REALLY excited about what comes next. (And I’m REALLY excited about not spending weeks writing training programs anymore!)
I’ll let you know next month how it all works out, what’s working, and what’s not. You kind of caught me in a transformative month, so it’s hard to give you actionable steps until I know that what we’re doing is working. 🙂
Now, on to Emma’s income report makeover!
Makeover My Income Report! Kids, Cash & Chaos
This month’s Makeover My Income Report comes from Emma from Kids, Cash & Chaos. I’ll interview Emma to see where her blog is right now, what’s working, what’s not, and give her actionable steps and advice to increase her income right now.
Tell me about you and your blog…
Hello! I'm Emma, I blog at KidsCashandChaos.com. I am a stay at home mom of three kids, 8, 6 and almost 2. I also work as a VA for a few local businesses. I started my blog just about one year ago and have struggled with growth and income. I joined EBA in December and am excited to see where it takes me.
Rosemarie’s Notes: YES! So excited you’re in EBA! That was the best move you could make! Elite Blog Academy is the course that I took when I was brand new that brought me from $18/month to $18,000/month in 18 months. I still reference it almost every month. (heads up for readers: The biggest downside of EBA is that it’s only available once a year for five days. You have to have almost perfect timing to get in, unless you join the waiting list here…)
Tell me about your Reader Avatar. Who do you write to?
I write to moms who want to start a business so they can contribute financially to their household. My avatar is a SAHM with some debt, two kids and a partner. She wants to stay home but struggles to run her household on one income. She is tired of online surveys and money making scams. She is ready to find a business idea and run with it.
Rosemarie Notes: I completely love your avatar, but I want to bring up a few things: When I hear your blog name or go to your site, I don’t immediately know that’s who you’re writing to. I wouldn’t advocate a site redesign right now (I’d wait until you’ve earned enough to invest back into that), but I would give some serious thought to changing your name to have it be easier to understand and relating more to your audience. I know that sounds scary and overwhelming, but the risks are MUCH greater when you do this at 200,000k pageviews a month rather than 4,000k/month.
I’m totally not tech savvy, but there’s a way to redirect all your current content to your new site. If you need someone to help you, I’d recommend Grayson Bell from iMark Interactive (he does all of my tech stuff) and he’s way cheaper than you’d expect. If you were able to do this site by yourself and aren’t afraid of a little research, I doubt you’d need help.
How many Pageviews do you have?
3,000-4,000 a month.
Rosemarie’s Notes: Pinterest is easily going to be your top source of traffic with that niche, so I did a little searching and was pleasantly surprised by the fantastic graphics on your pins. Where you’re dropping the ball is on your posts titles and the wording on your graphic.
It’s consistent amongst almost all your pins, but just to take one for example: “Mom to Mom: Interview with Patricia.” This doesn’t make me want to click at all. I have no idea who Patricia is and I have no idea how my life would be better if I click that. Let’s say Patricia taught you how to run an eBay store that made $2,000/month from home. Then that Pin title should be something like “5 Secrets from a Mom Making $2k/Mo From Home on eBay.” Your Pin text can be something like “How I Make $2,000 a Month From Home on eBay.”
Every post title (and content) needs to solve a problem. I would work on changing ALL of those titles (without changing the URL, so you don’t lose past traffic) and images to better reflect that. I would expect a huge surge in traffic just from that. Then start looking at your top performing posts (after your title changes – not before, or else your results will be skewed). Always try to do more of what works, and less of what doesn’t.
How many email subscribers do you have?
Rosemarie’s Notes: The only freebie I could find on your site is the goal planning sheet for moms. I think you’d get a much better response if your freebie related to 100% of your audience. If you know you want to help Moms start businesses, then why not a freebie related to that? Also, with freebies, you have to fall in one camp or the other: simple but gorgeously designed or extremely valuable.
My first freebie still does well, although it’s super not pretty. It was a giant list of 200 ways that we knew of to cut back on our spending. It was (and is) super ugly, but if you’re in my target audience, it’s valuable because you have ALL of the ideas, easily listed in a checklist and you can go through one idea at a time.
I want to see you do some soul searching on what your audience would find so irresistible, that they couldn’t pass it up.
How much money (total) did you make last month?
April – $29.85 (March was more at $148.14)
From Sponsored Posts?
From other? What is other?
Rosemarie’s Notes: This is actually pretty good for your pageviews, just so you know! Your RPM will go up considerably as you get more pageviews and qualify for better ad networks. I suggest Mediavine at 25k/month and AdThrive at 100k/month. Last month, AdThrive had me at over $14 RPM (or $14 per 1,000 pageviews).
Same for your affiliate income. You’ll likely need more pageviews before Sponsors are worth your time, I’d start looking into that around 35,000 pageviews. The easiest and quickest way to increase your income right now would be to change your freebie to meet the needs of 100% of your audience and develop a relationship with them through sending them a weekly newsletter.
Your goal in doing that is to build up trust with them and to solve their problems. Sometimes you’ll be solving their problems with free information, sometimes you’ll solve their problems with an affiliate product that you love, and sometimes you’ll create products of your own to solve their problems.
We’re going to give you a copy of Date Your List, which explains step by step how to write weekly newsletters that build trust with your readers and lead to higher income.
Once you have your new freebie in place and you’re used to writing your newsletters weekly, then you should invest your time in increasing your pageviews. We care WAY MORE about our lists than we do pageviews, so that needs to come first! Realistically speaking, you’re going to need more pageviews than you have now to go to full time income.
What are the top three things that helped you make money last month?
Not much last month. I've started working on SEO and that seems to be working this month.
Rosemarie’s Notes: I’m not convinced SEO is the best area for you to focus on right now. Your niche is EXTREMELY popular on Pinterest. I would put all of your time and energy there for right now. That’s a little bit risky (putting all of your eggs in one basket always is), but it’s effective for fast growth because you’ll see faster growth on Pinterest than SEO right now. Once you can get above 100,000 pageviews, then you can start focusing on a second source of traffic to balance you out a bit. I took that risk. The only time I wouldn’t recommend that is if you’re relying on your blogging income to live right now.
What are the top three things that did not help you make money last month?
Focus, Facebook and working for VA client…but that makes money in its own way.
Rosemarie’s Notes: I can solve the focus… Do every action step listed at the bottom of this within the next month. If nothing else gets done (beside your VA work), then that’s ok. Completely agree on Facebook: not your best yes… so let it go. Seriously, I know it’s terrifying. Just let it go. You can build that up later. Working for the VA client probably did prevent you from making money on the blog, but like you said, it does make you money. If you have 10-20 hours a week to spend on this blog, then that would be enough to make some traction.
What are your goals for next month?
I am focusing on email sequences and creating a funnel for my small business branding class. My class is included in the Work at Home bundle from Ultimate Bundles in June and I am hoping to promote that strongly and be really prepared.
Rosemarie’s Notes: Okay, I completely see the value in this and agree. It makes sense to create the sales funnels first BEFORE you create the freebie and build your list so you have a sequence to send them through already. Just a way of maximizing your work. Best results for least amount of effort = business growth.
What is your biggest frustration with blogging right now?
Funnels and launches. I struggle with how to get my products in front of people.
Rosemarie’s Notes: This is a SUPER complicated subject and there’s no way I could cover this is a post (or 10!), but I can give you my best recommendations. I use Product Launch Playbook to launch products and set up funnels. It’s not available right now, but you can join the waiting list here.
In the meantime, you can actually self-study this to get you started. You can sign up for a bloggers email list that rocks at funnels. My favorites are Ruth Soukup (sign up here) and Kim from Not Consumed (sign up here), when you sign up, use a special name like “Funnel 1 Cleaning Checklist” when you receive emails, it’ll say “Dear Funnel 1 Cleaning Checklist, …” This helps you map out what emails you get from them and when, plus what the purpose is of each email.
It’s not as effective as Product Launch Playbook, but it gets you going in the right direction so that when Product Launch Playbook goes back on sale, you just need to refine instead of start from scratch.
Why do your readers need YOU?
I've started multiple business in the last six years and learned a ton. Some have failed, some were very successful (I even sold one) and I know how hard it is to run a business while raising kids. I have been in their shoes and want to help them to skip some of the mistakes that I made.
Rosemarie’s Notes: Love this. 🙂 I think it’s a great avatar. Are you only focusing on time management and simple solutions to manage both or are you also giving ideas for how to create a business when you’re a mom? How to choose a business that you love etc? I would focus on the latter as well.
Ask me 2 questions that would help you become a better blogger…
How do you promote your products? How do map out an email funnel?
To promote your product, you first need to have an audience (your email list is your best bet), then you need to build trust with your audience (by relating to them and offering them solutions to their problems that work). Then you create products that solve their problems, then you develop a strategy to sell those problems – either through limited time launches or sales funnels (or both).
The easiest way to map out an email funnel is to sign up for someone’s funnel, print out all of the emails and then map it out on the floor. Take your product and audience and relate it that funnel (when I did this, I wrote my email titles right on the print out, so I could see them both at once). You can also write it on brown shipping paper, and start with your audience, then separate them into sections (like for us, we have a blogging audience and a budgeting audience), then brainstorm solutions, affiliates, and products and build content around that.
Keep in mind with a funnel, it’s a fatal flaw if you’re not serving your audience! Making money can’t be your goal. You serve your audience in any way they need it AS YOU make money. So, if your funnel is a giant sales pitch, it’s likely that no one will read it.
Now that we know what we’re doing and we have some clarity, let’s get you some action steps to rock next month. Remember… single minded focus… get these things done!
- Set up your sales funnels (if you get overwhelmed with this step – take this out of #1 spot and move it to the last spot).
- Create a valuable freebie that relates to 100% of your audience.
- Weave your freebie into your top 20 posts.
- Implement each step of the Date Your List training program to build trust and email your list weekly.
- Create a Pinterest Strategy and focus on writing problem solving captivating post titles.
Can you relate to Emma? Is your business in a similar place?
About Emma from Kids, Cash & Chaos…
Emma is lucky enough to be mother to three awesome children, ages 7, 5 and 1. She’s crazy enough to try and run an online business or two at the same time! She has started five businesses in the last 10 years. Some of them were very successful, and others were total failures. She currently works as a VA and run her blog. Check out her latest income report here.