The end of October marks the end of my ninth month blogging. And… I officially made the transition to self-employment at the beginning of the month!
This is a big deal, and I might be jumping the gun on this one.
But you will seriously never know until you try.
Despite feeling as if I may be too optimistic or too glossy-eyed about becoming self-employed, I had an incredible month full of opportunities that show freelancing can bring a tremendous amount of potential. As in, more potential than looking forward to that annual $0.75-$1.50 raise at a day job.
In fact, I made $1,549.65 from blogging this month alone. This is even after one week of vacationing with my family (using up the last of my PTO) and another week feeling unmotivated with the cold (ironically, spending my hours missing paid sick days).
Even so, as a full-time blogger, you become in control of your schedule, and in turn, your future.
So here’s another income report.
Income reports leave a bad taste in people’s mouths. There are a few income reports that leave readers with nothing in the end. But my goal here is to show others it’s possible to make money blogging, and it’s possible to start making something out of yourself.
After all, if it hadn’t been for the income reports published by other bloggers, I honestly would not have started blogging earlier this year.
Although I haven’t replaced my own full-time income, I brainstorm different ways to grow this number every month. So, maybe I do currently work for myself at an average of $9.00 per hour. But I have my own long-term game in mind, which is what you’ll see in this income report.
How We Report Income
I report income as income paid during any given month. Previously, I reported income as it was earned, which doesn’t paint the reality of making money blogging:
- Programs have different minimum payouts before you can get paid (e.g. advertisement networks with $100 minimums, or affiliate networks with $50 minimums)
- There’s sometimes a long wait before you get actually get paid (even after you meet the payment minimum, you’re still operating on the advertiser’s terms. So you might not get paid for one or even three months depending on the company)
So even though I’m excited to see Ebates referrals, that program only pays quarterly. That program is still a fun one to promote because bloggers in many niches (travel, fashion, parenting, foodie) can actually give their readers $10 just for making their first purchase. And as a blogger, you get a bonus (this quarter it’s $25 per referral) in return. With the holiday season coming up, we recommend thinking about your readers and how they could benefit from joining Ebates’s online cash back program.
So… how do you make REAL money blogging?
As you’ll see from this income report, I make money blogging in various ways:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Product Sales
And, currently, I make money from two blogs: Reroute Lifestyle, and my lifestyle and travel blog KristaAoki.com.
Diversifying your income as a blogger is crucial. It’s important not to rely on ONE source of income.Thinking of full-time blogging? Diversify your sources of income. Click To Tweet
In fact, one of our affiliates changed the way they award affiliate commissions starting today. So…we can’t project, or rely, on them for a consistent income in this next month. But at least at this point, we’re making money blogging from different sources.
Related Reading: 10 Ways to Make Money Blogging This Month
Previous Income Reports
Our blogging income continues to surprise us.
- Blogging Income Report: How This Blogger Made $2,274.38 in Six Months
- July Blogging Income Report: How I Made $698.23 Blogging
- August 2017 Income Report: How We Made $898.78 from Blogging
- September 2017 Income Report: How We Made $1,140.95 Blogging in September
I can’t believe this number continues growing. In the past few days, I actually reached a significant milestone: my first $5,000 total blogging. ME. A NORMAL freaking person who, just last month, worked at the front desk of a hotel. A normal person who had no idea that you could even make money blogging at the beginning of this year.
If you’re currently thinking about starting a blog, but something’s stopped you for the longest time… you’ll never know what you’re capable of until you try.
Now, I’m a part of a fun and upbeat community of bloggers who celebrate each other’s wins! This feeling of community brings me back to the glory days of working at Macy’s and celebrating accomplishments with my coworkers.
Related Reading: How to Start a Blog and Make Money Online
October Traffic & Goal Report
Maybe it’s because I can finally commit to the blog full-time, but I kicked my goals out of the ballpark this month. And by that I mean I achieved any goals set.
Traffic: 7,500 page views ✓ (we ended the month at 8,922 page views, up from 6,321 last month)
Facebook: from 18 → 30 likes ✓ (ended the month at 31 likes)
Pinterest: from 90→ 125 followers ✓ (ended the month at 133 followers)
Email List: from 515 → 600 subscribers ✓ (ended the month at 705 subscribers!!! what!? thank you!!!)
Twitter: from 167 → 200 followers (ended the month at 218 followers)
Facebook Group: 150 members (ended the month at 151 members!)
Ebook Sales: 5 ebook sales (made this goal after we started accepting Stripe!)
Here’s what we did that really worked for us:
- Created a pinnable Pinterest image for our Facebook group and our email list freebie page. There are two platforms I’m really trying to grow: our Facebook group, and our mailing list. So, we created pinnable images for both our Facebook group and the freebies page where we showcase all our opt-ins.
- Joined new, niche-related group boards on Pinterest. We used our list of Pinterest group boards to find some group boards in our niche. Strategically, we chose boards with large amounts of followers.
- Started posting niche-related tips on Twitter. Honestly, this act alone has helped our Twitter growth so much! To continue building your authority as a resource in your niche, start posting niche-related tips and advice on Twitter. Hashtag them! This will not only help build your brand recognition, but it will also help your readers on their journey. Win/win!
- Began accepting Stripe payments. If you’re selling products, make sure you enable multiple ways to pay. We thought that just accepting Paypal payments would suffice, but taking the extra 10-20 minutes to set up Stripe has resulted in about $300 extra profit for us this month. We use Sendowl to accept payments for our products and services. If you’re only offering services and want to skip those Paypal fees, we recommend using Freshbooks to invoice your clients. It’s free to try for 30 days – plus, after that, you only have to pay a flat, affordable monthly fee. Click here to try Freshbooks for free!
October 2017 Blog Income Report
This is the gross income we netted as a result of our two blogs.
Siteground: $375.00 (Siteground is our incredible website host that saves us from technical crises every month. And their lowest plan starts out at $3.95/mo. Click here to get started with Siteground at only $3.95/mo.)
Career in the Making ebook: $116.00 (My own ebook, which goes into the exact marketing and monetization strategies I used to make $2,200 on my lifestyle blog. Because you need the right monetization strategy to make money blogging. But you need the RIGHT kind of people on your blog, too.)
Web Design Service: $716.00 (I started offering Divi web design services on my blog, using this blog to showcase my expertise. If you want to try it, brainstorm how you can apply this service-related business model to your niche.)
The She Approach for Boosting Your Blog Traffic: $16.43 (I learned so much from Ana’s ebook for both newer and more seasoned bloggers on boosting your blog traffic. She gives invaluable advice on headline writing, authentic audience growth, and soo much more. Click here to learn more about Ana, and her ebook!)
LendEDU: $120.00 (Since I love talking about money, it makes sense that my favorite affiliate helps people save money in the long run. LendEDU compares rates for up to 6 of the top student loan refinancing lenders using a totally free and easy-to-complete application that doesn’t affect your credit.)
Linqia: $10.00 (A great platform that connects bloggers with brands. If you want to make money from sponsored posts, definitely sign up for Linqia.)
Blog Audit Service: $40.00 (I haven’t pushed our blog audits much, but someone asked us for help with her marketing and monetization strategy. So, I audited her website and two social media platforms, and offered advice on how she can increase her traffic & engagement, all the while making more money blogging.)
ShareASale: $64.22 (I partner with ShareASale to promote programs like Etsy, Tailwind, and Grammarly.)
BONUS! Referral Credits
Since these numbers are referral credits, we are not including them in our total.
Airbnb: $40 travel credit (I will be living out of Airbnbs starting this month, so this is massive.)
Tailwind: $75 referral credit (I have a lot of Tailwind referral credits, sooo I’m definitely going to use them to get access to their detailed Pinterest analytics for Reroute Lifestyle’s Pinterest account.)
October 2017 Blog Expense Report
Siteground: $0 (I prepaid $215.80 for a two-year subscription with Siteground. They saved us from yet another tech crisis at the beginning of the month, so as usual, I can sing their praises.)
Tailwind: $0 (I prepaid $75.88 for one annual subscription to Tailwind. This month, I’m going to purchase a second annual subscription using referral credits.)
Paypal Fees: $17.26
Stripe Fees: $9.33
Sendowl: $15.00 (I use Sendowl to process payments for all our products and services.)
G+ Suite for Business: $5.00
Mans Greback: $70.98 (for a commercial font license… :x)
Total Expenses: $117.15
So far, I’ve put a little less than 20% of what we made back into the blog (towards fees, services, etc.). I’m a pretty frugal spenders. For example, instead of paying for a monthly subscription to Convertkit we use Mailerlite‘s free plan while we learn the email marketing ropes.
BIG Blogging Takeaways from October
It’s important to have a support network.
This is my own first month working on the blog full-time. Granted, I took a family vacation my first week off my day job. And, I was sick for five days after that. But after those little speed bumps, I put forth 110% effort (which is the absolute minimum to put in when you start working for yourself). I pumped out a ton of projects within a one-week period – projects that previously sat on my to-do list for weeks and weeks.
At a day job, you have your coworkers to bounce ideas off of.
What about now? Luckily, I have a support network of fellow bloggers to bounce ideas off of.
Oh my gosh, so vital.
Collaborating with other bloggers is incredible.
One of my favorite small bloggers is Sammy from Well and Wealthy. I look forward to opening the raw and totally real emails she sends to her newsletter list each week. She talks about real problems she faces with her blog, as well as any solutions for those problems she finds online.
So, of course, I had to ask her about a fun collaboration opportunity. When she mentioned she wanted to write about email marketing, it was like this partnership was meant to be. Sammy has mastered (in my eyes) something I’ve struggled with week after week when it comes to blogging.
She’s created an email newsletter that is totally fun to read.
And she actually talked about how bloggers can accomplish that same fun, engaged newsletter. Click here to read it.
Related Reading: How to Build Engagement and Trust with Your Mailing List
Submitting a guest post for another blogger seems counterintuitive (after all, we bloggers seriously carry so much on our to-do lists). But there are actually a few benefits:
- Your writing (and expertise) gets put in front of another audience.
- Just having that other blogger to bounce ideas off of will help turn an okay idea into an incredible one.
- You build domain authority from the link back to your website on another blog (hello, SEO boost).
- You build a relationship with another blogger with a similar audience to yours…thus opening collaboration opportunity in the future.
Protip: When you write a guest post, the topic should be within your niche and in front of your target audience. Otherwise, it’s moooost likely just a waste of your time.
Track as much as possible.
I say this a lot.
But this month I had a huge epiphany when I looked at my blogging statistics so far this year.
I stopped doing something in order to save money, but that change actually cost us money in our business.
Here are some things we started tracking this month:
- Clicks from the Reroute Lifestyle navigation menu.
- Where we’re getting our affiliate conversions (blog posts vs. email freebies).
- Where we’re getting our new email subscribers (blog posts vs. freebies page vs. individual landing pages).
- When we get repins on the Reroute Lifestyle Pinterest account, and which board we’re getting the repins from.
Maybe tracking your blog’s statistics and using those statistics to track your growth are just NOT skills that come naturally to you. If you’re like, what?! I need more info, girl! Then I have you covered.
Our Goals for November 2017
Here’s what I have planned for November:
- Grow our Pinterest to 200 followers. Pinterest is essential to any blog’s growth. People visit this platform to be inspired, and we blog to inspire… so it’s naturally one of the best places for bloggers to promote. Read more about Pinterest.
- Grow our mailing list to 850 subscribers. Because we’re hosting our first live webinar, we think we may be able to achieve our goal of growing our list to 850 subscribers.
- Grow our Twitter to 300 followers. To do this, we will continue posting #BloggingTips. If you try this tip for your niche, let us know your results!
- Get 10,000 monthly page views. So – we thought 7,500 would be a stretch. We are going to push ourselves, and try hitting 10,000 monthly page views in November!
- Grow our Facebook group to 200 members. We’d love to celebrate 200 members in our Reroute Lifestyle Community! If you haven’t joined us there yet … well, why not!?
- Make $1,800 in gross income. If we could make $1,800 in November… wow, we’d be speechless.
- Host our first live webinar! When I see bloggers struggle to make income from their blog, I can sense it’s from not having a clear income strategy. Which I understand, because that’s not something that comes naturally to everyone. So we’re going into a simple, step-by-step way to increase your blog growth and income for 2018 and beyond. And we’re doing it live, so click here to save your seat.
- Work on our web design sales pages. A well-designed website is a strong foundation for making money blogging. So, moving forward, we want to help bloggers create beautiful and functional websites. And we want to work on our sales pages to really communicate what we have to offer the world.
Oh, and here’s what we’re not going to do: push growing our Facebook page. We will continue posting on our Facebook page once or twice per week, but Facebook is intentionally reducing the amount of organic engagement a page gets (to push advertisement revenue). So, we’re intentionally not going to focus on growing this platform. Instead, we’ll spend our time focusing on other ways to continue our growth.
What are your blogging goals for November? Let us know in the comments below!
Sometimes, the hardest obstacle to overcome is yourself.
Honestly, sometimes the hardest obstacle to overcome is yourself.
Take blogging step by step.
- Step 1: Decide what you want to write about.
- Step 2: Create some content around that topic and strive to provide both depth and value.
- Step 3: Start the blog.
After that… there are a whole lot more steps. But if you break everything down into smaller pieces, and tackle those smaller goals, you can avoid overwhelming yourself.
Blogging is much more than writing. As a blogger, you’re also managing your social media, creating business relationships, promoting what you do… research. ANALYTICS?!
When you’re blogging for profit, you really need to manage your blog like a business.
Just remember: blogging is definitely a “learn-as-you-go” activity. At first, you might feel overwhelmed by the tasks you have to conquer. After fighting (mostly from fear) about whether or not we should launch Reroute Lifestyle, we can confidently say to build a successful blog, you first need to conquer your fears and stop WORRYING! So many people have such brilliant ideas, and end up self-sabotaging themselves with words of discouragement.
We ALL have these BRILLIANT ideas buzzing in our brains. But what’s a successful idea until you act on it, right?
Starting a blog CAN be intimidating. We almost didn’t launch Reroute Lifestyle to the public. But it’s been an incredible way for us to open opportunities for our future.
Even better, blogging is a great way to make money on the side and turn your play-thing into a pay-thing.
How are you tackling your blogging goals next month?