Finally I crossed the exciting $5,000 per month in revenue line! YES!
One caveat is that I gave it my all with Facebook, Pinterest, & Tailwind this month so my expenses were SUPER high.
More to come on that later.
If you’re totally new to the income report: Welcome!
This is where I share my month over month blog growth, results of my in-flight blogging experiments as well as give my Etsy printables shop updates.
I don’t include my podcast in this report since I run it with a partner.
First up – I hit 100,000 page views per month again!
I’m spending ALOT of money on paid traffic BUT, my organic traffic is really picking up.
I get more page views from Google now than any other source.
My Google strategy isn’t too complicated.
- I break up my post with H2 headers that would be relevant queries related to the subject I’m writing about.
- I use relevant alt and title tags for all images.
- I use the Yoast SEO plugin and try to get a ‘green light’ SEO score on the post.
That seems to be enough to rank on some of my posts.
I’m trying something new for display advertising
I applied to Adthrive after using Mediavine for the past 18 months and I’m excited to try it out.
I have nothing negative to say about Mediavine which makes me a bit nervous to switch. Everything with them has been great.
Display advertising is the greatest portion of my revenue which makes me nervous too.
It seems that the bloggers in the 100k+ per month category all use Adthrive though so I want to try it out.
I’ll report back on the switch process next month. My switch date isn’t until the end of the month.
I’m now making $5,000 per month blogging!
Here is a review of my Income and Expenses for the month.
Last month I made over $4,000 so this is another steady increase.
I was stuck at around $2,000 per month for a long time so the recent increases are exciting.
Also I should note that my income was $0 for the first year so hang in there if you’re new.
You can see all of my income reports here since January 2017 on my binge page.
Expenses Breakdown for the month
I’m obsessed with Tailwind.
My entire annual fee hit in October which is why the cost is $719.
Tailwind is MUCH cheaper than $719/year though for most people. (I used to only pay $120/year).
I pay for multiple add-ons with Tailwind now including:
- Unlimited Tribe submissions
- Instagram Account Automation
- Smart loop Feed
If you just want Tailwind straight without the frills it could cost less WAY less.
Sign up for a $15 credit to Tailwind here.
You would get access to pin scheduling and a few tribes with the basic plan. That’s enough for most people.
Virtual Assistants + Tailwind = Traffic
I pay my Virtual Assistants to submit my pins to Tailwind tribes and to create and schedule some Instagram posts for me in the Instagram scheduler, like the quotes that you will see on my Millennial Boss Instagram.
I have very high Pinterest traffic and reach (almost a 6M monthly reach as I’m writing this) and this strategy is working for me.
I also use Smart looping which is a new feature to make it easier for me to repin seasonal content.
For example, I have a Christmas Recipes board looping from last year so I don’t have to take time scheduling out pins (or pay my VAs to do that for me).
I also loop my inspirational quotes board.
Here is a $15 credit to sign up for Tailwind.
I love my VAs
Virtual Assistants are amazing and if you haven’t realized that, give them a try.
I use Upwork to find VAs as well as word of mouth from other blogger friends.
It has really worked out awesome and I’ve had only great experiences.
Tip – use Upworks ‘Rising Talent’ section and limit your responses to US only. Hire other bloggers with experience in the area you need help in.
Most of my VAs are from the US but I work with one VA in Scotland and pay her with Transferwise to avoid the high fees so she can keep more of the money.
Don’t have a blog at all but toying with the idea of starting one?
Here’s my 7-Day free blogging course.
You can read all of the steps for the 7-days on that post or you can sign up to have it emailed to you.
You’ll notice a $29 expense for Convertkit. It’s a monthly charge that is very worth it for me.
I love getting email responses from readers and podcast listeners whenever I send out an email.
When I have a bad day or feel overwhelmed by tackling this blog on top of everything else in my life, it keeps me going to get that reply.
Email is also one of the only ways that I can have direct contact with readers and listeners because I’m not interacting on Facebook because I’m an anonymous blogger.
Seriously, I love it.
What I’m doing with email from a strategy perspective
I spent ALOT of time this month setting up ConvertKit sequences for Millennial Boss and my podcast, FIRE Drill.
I also played around with tagging (which works swimmingly). I added a tag in an email so I could know who was local to my city so I can send them special emails about local meetups. I told them to click the link if they wanted to be notified of the meet ups so they could opt in.
I’m noticing a significant increase in my email subscribers this month after I added a freebie printable to my Convertkit email forms you’ll see at the very bottom of this post.
ConvertKit is the best way to collect email addresses in my opinion once you’ve surpassed Mailchimp’s free capabilities.
Email is very important for building community.
Sometimes I’ll send out an email if I don’t have the time to write a long post and want to share an update or an interesting podcast episode I found.
Income Breakdown – How I Actually crossed $5,000 in Revenue
It would make sense that my display advertising would increase this month to almost $2,500 since I received slightly more page views than last month.
Amazon income is also increasing because it’s Q4 and people are buying more stuff in general.
With Amazon Associates, you get credit if someone buys anything, not necessarily the product you linked.
As long as they purchase a product that is in a category that pays out.
Let’s talk about Pinterest Ads (again)
I’ve been running a little Pinterest ads experiment as some of you may know from last month’s Income Report.
I hired Virtual Assistants to write seasonal content for me related to saving money and structured around certain keywords.
Once the posts go live, I promote the pins for a few days on Pinterest using the 10 cents per click strategy I outlined last month.
Then I turn off the promoted pins and I wait.
I tried this with a DIY Fall Family Pictures post & related pin in September.
I spent $23 dollars promoting the pin in September as you can see above.
Then I did nothing to promote the pin.
Surprising Result! More Google Traffic?
In October, I was surprised to see that my ORGANIC TRAFFIC to the post from Google was steadily increasing.
I can’t prove it was because of the Pinterest pin but usually new posts take a lot longer to pick up Google steam for me.
Already a blogger and want more tips from me?
I have an email list for Advanced Blogging Tips. Sign up below by entering your email if you already have a blog.
I send out notes from the various blogging conferences that I attend that you won’t find anywhere else on the blog.
One of the first emails contains my notes from Activate which is a popular blogging conference run by Ruth Soukup.
If you don’t have a blog, the best way to get started is here with this Create your own blog guide.
Moving on to affiliate marketing dollars which made up the rest of the $2,500 in income.
How I make money with affiliate marketing
I recommend bloggers sign up for the following programs and see if there are any products on these platforms that they have written about already:
How it works is that you apply to be a publisher for them. Then you request to join a company’s affiliate program. I choose companies that I have already purchased their products and wrote about them on the site.
For example, I have a wedding series where I write step by step how I did my DIY wedding for $15,000 and I link to some of the products that I bought.
My wedding posts have made me money through Shareasale this month since instead of linking directly to the product, I grab a link through Shareasale using the links they provide. Shareasale links give me a small commission if someone purchases the products and it’s the same experience for the user.
See my binge page for my wedding posts if you’re curious what I’m linking to.
If you already mention products, go find the links to those products on sites such as Flexoffers and Shareasale.
I almost forgot about my Etsy affiliate revenue!
As I’m writing this post, I realized I forgot to add revenue from Awin which I use to promote Etsy products.
Sign up for Awin here. It’s the same as Flexoffers but offers different companies.
I only made $19 last month through Awin but that’s mostly because I’m promoting printables and small dollar items on this site.
For Example: Here are the best wedding budget printables.
If I had linked to higher dollar value products, I would have made more money.
If you sign up for the above programs, but don’t know how to successfully promote a product, read this first.
I can’t talk about affiliate marketing without talking about the course I took to learn how to make money with affiliate marketing.
The hardest part of making money online is learning how to convert.
My review of the course where I learned that is here – Video review of what’s inside Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.
I took that course in the summer of 2016 when I had been making $0 on the blog and now I’m making $5,000 per month.
It’s probably one of the most popular – if not the most popular- affiliate course out there right now.
The short of affiliate marketing is that you can’t just plug a product link and hope it makes money.
It needs to be natural and included in the post in a certain way (even a certain font, color and bold).
This course and the associated Facebook group taught me that.
Facebook Ads Game is still going strong.
You can see in the Expenses section that I spent ALOT of money on Facebook Ads last month.
That is entirely by design after taking the following course from Bobby & Mike of Laptop Empires.
Last month I wrote about my Facebook Ads strategy in more detail so I won’t go into it here, but I was getting nickel clicks.
Facebook Ads Side Hustle Course with Bobby Hoyt & Mike Yanda
This course helps you learn how to use Facebook Ads effectively without blowing your money and I LOVED IT.
Note: It’s for people wanting to run Facebook ads for local businesses as a side hustle (can charge $1,000+ per month).
There is also a Facebook Ads for Bloggers course that they have since released that I haven’t taken but heard good things about and may be more relevant to you. It wasn’t available at the time I took the course.
Here’s my review of their Facebook Ads Side Hustle course.
And last but not least – Etsy Income
If you’re new here, I made ~$500 in August and now I’m making $140 in October.
I’m trying to be patient with myself for not working on my Etsy shop more this month.
I know that my income is down because the bachelorette party game is Seasonal and I have to diversify my product base.
I just know that there are more important things in my life right now than selling more Etsy printables.
My husband and I have a goal to turn off screens by 9PM and we’ve hit that goal every night in the second half of October.
This means I’ve replaced my nightly working routine with a good book and a snuggle with my dog.
I also went to a few startup events in the city during the week and took 3 golf lessons.
Life got in the way of some things I had planned. And I’m 100% OK with that.
Related Post: Launching an Etsy printables business in 6 weeks
What’s next for Millennial Boss? I’m scaling back and up in November
I’m reducing podcast output for Fire Drill to 1 episode per week in November and December after talking it over with my amazing cohost, Gwen.
If you notice a theme with the Virtual Assistants I’ve hired (also amazing) and the use of Facebook and Pinterest ads, I’m trying to grow and scale the business without having to physically be in the business every day.
And it feels amazing.
That’s it for this month. What are your blogging goals?
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