If you’re coming from Pinterest, welcome. In this report, I detail how I make money online. I recommend starting here with my about page or my step-by-step guide on how to start a blog.
I never intended this monthly income report to be a blogging income report.
After reading The 4-hour Work Week, I wanted to be some sort of female Tim Ferriss and I love making a few hundred dollars here and there on various side hustles.
In fact, I modeled these reports after the Financial Panther, who reports out on his various side hustles in his monthly side hustle reports. I don’t think he reports on blogging income at all.
However, I added another plate to all of the plates I’m juggling this past August when I started Fire Drill Podcast, and I had to cut back on my side hustles this month to focus on the blog and the podcast.
Today’s report is solely a blogging income report, but I’m going to put a bunch of meat in here about paid advertising and Pinterest to make it worthwhile.
Warning, this post is really long but will help you.
If you don’t have time to read this now, just pin this post here and go back later.
Now to the Meat – How I Made $1587 in October Online
Income is down again, which is to be expected when you spend all of your time growing a podcast.
The amazing thing about blogging income though is that posts I wrote over a year ago still bring in money for me.
Blogging is not something to get into to make a quick buck.
It takes time, and I’m sure that the ROI on my time is much lower than if I had picked up another hobby.
That being said, it is tremendously rewarding to blog and the connections that I have made because of this blog have changed the course of my life.
1. I helped people get started with affiliate marketing
I helped more people get started with affiliate marketing by promoting Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course (which I took over a year ago and it is why I know how to make money online today).
- Check out the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course
PS – I made $18k from this course alone in 2017 and it’s less than $200, so I made over 90 times my investment.
2. I helped people prevent their website from getting hacked or fix a hack
Second, I referred someone to Sucuri, which is the company that I used when my site was hacked and taken down by some weird ghost hacker earlier this year.
I actually just recommended Sucuri to my husband on his site because he was notified that he has malware and needs to clean up some files.
Since I paid for Sucuri for the year, I know that if anything goes wrong, I just email them and they’ll fix it. They also proactively scan my site for issues.
This is a really important service for anyone who makes money on their site. I’m surprised I haven’t referred more people to it.
- Check out Sucuri’s services here
3. I helped someone save thousands on their wedding flowers (so happy!)
I’m super excited about referring one person to Fifty Flowers this month.
As some of you know, I got married last December and did the flowers 100% myself (with the help of my friends) and saved thousands.
It cost a few hundred dollars to make the bouquets for myself and five bridesmaids as well as all of the decorations.
I’m really passionate about sharing my story of my $15,000 Game of Thrones-insprired budget wedding so folks know they don’t have to go into debt to have a nice wedding.
I actually think I need to work on my Pinterest game to promote these posts more. I made them before I knew how to make good pins, so they are kind of ugly.
What’s not working (and why is my income down)?
Long-time readers will know that I used to make nearly $3,000 per month back in May/June.
There are a few reasons my income went down, beyond just launching and growing a new podcast.
A lot of it has to do with Pinterest.
- I started manually pinning in July after reading Pinteresting Strategies (which I still recommend but with a caveat)
- I stopped participating in Facebook social share groups (where you drop a link and share others’ in return)
- I cut back on Tailwind and Boardbooster automated pinning
- My pins that make the most money are not as popular anymore
The weird thing is that my Pinterest impressions are actually up, but my traffic from Pinterest is down.
This basically means that Pinterest is showing people my images more, but less people are clicking.
I’m taking this to mean that:
- My manual pinning strategy is working
- My pins need to be better/more clickable
Case in Point – Impressions are up but traffic to my site from Pinterest is down
My Pinterest impressions are up. Yet, Google Analytics shows that traffic from Pinterest is trending down.
Action #1 to fix this – I need to invest more time in scheduling pins (like I used to)
The takeaway here is that I have a full-time job and programs like Tailwind and Boardbooster allow me to not be on Pinterest all day.
I recommend using them for any blogger who doesn’t have the time to manually pin.
When I’m manually pinning, I only do it first thing when I wake up and late at night before I go to bed.
I know manual pinning will work for people who have more time to bop around on Pinterest more than twice per day, but I don’t.
Action #2 – I need to participate in social shares again
The social share groups are a pain in the butt but they work, especially when promoting a brand new pin.
They are a pain because you have to remember to go back and share other people’s pins later in the day, after you already dropped your link in the morning (at least that is how I did it, so that I didn’t flood Pinterest with a bunch of pins in the morning).
Any blogging Facebook group will have these specific share threads.
I have found that the bigger a thread gets, the more people just drop a link and don’t share (or your post gets buried). Less than 50 comments per share is usually the sweet spot to get the best return for your time.
Action #3 – I need to make better pins for old posts
I still recommend reading the Pinteresting Strategies ebook. For under $50, you get 90+ pages of case study research on how to rock the Pinterest game. It definitely helped me improve my images.
I actually started buying images for my pins based on Carly’s recommendation in the book and my images are 100% better and not duplicates of what is out there today. (We all use the same free stock photos in the beginning and Pinterest penalizes that).
Seriously, my images are 99% better now because of this ebook. Just check out my Pinterest profile to see what they look like now (Millennial Boss on Pinterest).
I experimented with Pinterest & Facebook Ads this month
The benefit of making money online is that I can put more money back into the business.
This month, I experimented with Pinterest & Facebook Ads after hearing about them on a few podcasts I listen to.
I actually didn’t get a great return on the Facebook ad spend
I think my time is better spent creating a viral pin.
It was cool learning how to set up a campaign and experimenting with different copy and images.
The one thing you need to know about Facebook ads is that they don’t allow negative targeting, meaning my copy that said “5 ways to improve your financial situation” was rejected because it put people in a negative mood.
Want free blogging case studies and tips from me?
I’m going to start sharing more detailed case studies with my Blogging email list. If you’re not on the list, sign up here.
I’ll email you the detailed notes from the Elite Blogging Academy Conference I attended in September in return for signing up.
PS – If you don’t blog currently, check out my tutorial on how to start a blog (with pics so you know what you’re doing).
I accidentally spent over $100 on Pinterest Ads
When you promote a pin on Pinterest, the default is $25 per day in spend, and you can’t edit that (at least I couldn’t figure it out).
You can edit that once the ad is approved, but I was never notified when it was approved.
Facebook notifies you when the ad is approved, so I figured Pinterest would do the same, and I could go back in and lower the daily spend.
I accidentally spent over $100 in two days. Whoops. Lesson learned.
I did have some interesting findings though.
Take a look at these two images closer (they are the same campaigns, I just can’t show all the columns in one picture).
- You’ll see below that I spent over $60 each promoting two holiday gift wish lists
- I spent only $4 on a money tips pin, yet I got the exact same # of engagements
The best return for my money was actually on the Money tips pin and not the retail holiday gifts pins. (It had lower CPC and higher engagement rate).
That makes sense since CPC on the holiday gifts pin is going to be super high in Q4 leading up to the holidays.
I actually just turned that money tips campaign back on at $5 per day to test it out again in November.
I think Promoted Pins could be super helpful to someone looking to kick off a specific campaign.
Pinterest also said that Promoted Pins get 20% higher engagement after the campaign ends than normal pins.
- You don’t have to keep paying for clicks and saves once the campaign ends.
Last, Podcasts are expensive but rewarding
I also cannot release our income and expenses from the podcast since I’m doing this with a partner, but I want to include a little bit of information about it in this post.
I LOVE having a podcast, but it’s a ton of work (and money). My cohost Gwen and I have already spent thousands to get this thing off the ground.
I believe the podcast has the ability to impact people beyond blogging.
Episode 21 with Jillian from Montana Money Adventures is a great example of that.
We had a long conversation with Jillian about her 5 mini-retirements, real estate investments, and most importantly, about her 6 kids and her experiences fostering/adopting kids.
That conversation legit changed my life and I think more people should hear about the opportunities to give back and create meaning in your life with adoption/fostering.
Here is the episode:
If you’re interested in following me more closely and hearing the stories of our amazing guests, check out Fire Drill Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher.
If you ever have any questions about blogging or podcasting, please email me at millennialboss @gmail.com and I’ll help you out.
You can also join my blogging email list below.
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Kate @ Cashville Skyline says
Thanks for being so candid, J. I’ve been wanting experiment with promoter pins, but I may wait until the holidays are over. Seems like FB ads will be getting really expensive over the next month or so. I wonder if it’s the same on Pinterest? In the meantime, I’m working on my email funnels. Still bummed I missed you at FinCon! 🙁
Millennial Boss says
You’re welcome! I recommend waiting for anything retail related. It seems the money stuff is still cheap. We’ll see if the cost increases though as we get closer to the holidays. Oh, and I’m so bummed we didn’t meet up at FinCon. Next time I’m in Nashville, I’ll let you know.
So much useful info and recommendations up in hea! Thanks for sharing, I’m gonna give that hacking prevention site a look 🙂
Millennial Boss says
Do it! They are so professional and take the stress out of cleaning up infected files (and monitoring your site).
Investment Hunting says
Thanks for the detailed update. How many hours a week do you think you’re putting in to this blog? Just curious. 🙂
I’ve been meaning to buy Michelle’s course. There’s so many scams out there that I avoid buying lessons. But, Michelle’s course get high reviews. When I do buy it, I’ll be sure to click-in through your affiliate link.
Financial Panther says
You’re crushing it! What’s really great with you is how your income is coming from so many sources – it really helps you keep up that consistency!
I had no idea that you modeled these reports after me, so I’m really flattered!
Jim Wang says
Your updates are great because they show the ups and the downs, a lot of income reports are just “hey things are great! I’m making a bazillion dollars!” but they don’t show the other side – when things don’t work. Thanks for your candor!
I used tailwind for Pinterest, but may have over-done it a bit with the automatic pin scheduler. As a result, I’m off Pinterest but still promote posts on other social media outlets. I think for now I’d just rather focus on the writing part and let the other things become secondary. Thanks for your details; this is really helpful by the way! 🙂
Margin of Saving says
Thanks for sharing! This is great advice on the do’s and don’ts or monetizing a blog
It was so great to chat with both of you! I hope more people consider how foster/adoption could fit into their life. 🙂