I’ve gotten more requests from readers, Periscope followers and coaching clients about how I actually make money blogging. (Okay, so I’ve got friends and family asking too, haha!) While I can’t do income reports all the time (they are very time-consuming), I decided to break down last quarter’s income to give you guys an idea of how this all works.
Here are some things to keep in mind before I break it down:
- The $16,000 total does not include some affiliate sales that were made in December but aren’t paid out until later.
- I have multiple streams of income including freelance writing, coaching, sponsorship, ads, video creation and product sales. When I re-open the Make Money Your Honey Academy in a few weeks that will be added as well.
- I want you to know that this has taken me a long time to achieve. There is no such thing as overnight success – it usually takes years. However, it can be done and it is totally worth it.
- The total is gross. That means it doesn’t include expenses (usually around $1500 a month but that includes my health insurance, phone and other things I can deduct) or taxes (20% of net profit went to the tax man. Welcome to entrepreneurship ha!). I feel like a lot of people don’t mention this part on income reports but it’s SO IMPORTANT to know what the real deal is. The good news is I still haven’t ever gotten myself into debt. The expenses get paid each month with cash. I’ve bootstrapped every step of the way and will continue to do.
- When I say “make money blogging” it includes blogging for other people.
How I Make Money Blogging By The Numbers
(Note: I ran this report in Quickbooks at the end of the day on December 30, 2015.)
- Advertising/Commissions – One way to make money blogging is with affiliate and ad sales. This includes sponsorship relationships I have with brands, sponsored posts, ad space on my site and affiliate commissions. It’s taken some time to build this form of income but I see it starting to pay off. I’ve been learning from colleagues like Michelle Schroeder-Gardner who makes over $50,000 each month from affiliate sales. She now has class, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, where she teaches bloggers how to make money with affiliate sales.
- Book Sales – These are mostly Amazon commissions so these are sales after fees. I will say Periscope has helped tremendously with selling more books. I’ve also seen an increase in sales since launching the Make Money Your Honey Workbook earlier in 2015. People tend to buy both at once.
- Coaching Fees – Private coaching clients and mini sessions. Once people saw that I could make money blogging I started getting more coaching inquiries.
- Uncategorized Income – I need to talk to my accountant about this one lol. My guess it’s that it’s affiliate income.
- Writing Fees – This is all content creation. Freelance writing and as of 2015 I now get hired to be a personality in finance and business videos. This is the “blog for other people” part of it.
What I Did in 2015 to Make Money Blogging
2014 is the year things finally started making sense for me and 2015 is the year I started putting things into action. Here’s what I did in 2015 to nearly triple my income from Q1 to Q4.
- I invested a lot of time and money in a rebrand. At the time I thought I was going to go bankrupt and wanted to give up, but now I see the rewards coming in. Before the rebrand my messaging was funny, now there’s no confusion as to what I do. I also upgraded all my systems, including moving over to an all-in-one email marketing system like Infusionsoft.
- I got strategic with blog posts. I stopped trying to guess what you all wanted and instead asked you what you wanted. You said you wanted product reviews, content on how to quit your day job and some more numbers. So I delivered (and will continue to deliver).
- I did a blog audit. I deleted, consolidated or redirected over 200 old blog posts that didn’t necessarily fit the brand anymore. This is slowly but surely increasing page views. I also made Pinterest images and updated SEO. This was easy to do thanks to tools like Boardbooster for Pinterest which increased my page views by 8,000 in three weeks. I also use WordPress plugins for keeping track of SEO. (Click here for a tutorial on how to install WordPress on Bluehost.)
- I said yes to shit I’ve never done before. I got approached to do brand awareness work and I’ve been approached to create video courses. I still don’t really know how this happened. In fact, I’m pretty sure I kept asking “Are you sure you want me to do this?”, but they kept insisting so I said yes. It has resulted in new streams of income.
- I simplified. I actually took a hiatus from coaching for a few months and just focused on freelance writing work. I started making more money and coaching clients started coming in more naturally as a result. I also started sticking solely to business and finance. Riches are in the niches.
- I use what I pay for. I pay a pretty penny for stuff like Infusionsoft but I make sure to use it. The end result is you actually get my emails and affiliate sales are starting to increase again.
- I raised my rates across the board. That’s right, I simply started asking for more money.
- I stopped doing so much for free. AKA: no more free mini sessions. If you want free stuff you can read the blog, follow me on Periscope or attend the occasional teleseminar. This was a difficult decision to make but it’s been worth it. If you want to make money blogging there comes a time when you need to stop doing so much for free. (Note: “Free” still has a time and place in business.)
- Periscope. I’ve gotten coaching clients from Periscope and book sales have gone way up. Periscope is also responsible for a sold out workshop in Q3 and higher subscriber numbers. I’m still completely in love with this platform. If there’s one social media platform I would recommend to help you make money blogging it’s definitely Periscope.
- I stopped worrying so much about money. I know, I know, this sounds completely crazy. Call it law of attraction or some woo woo stuff, but as soon as I stopped stressing out about money so much it just started coming in. I have my practices to help me do this which I share in the Make Money Your Honey Academy.
What Didn’t Work
I spent a lot of money on my business in 2015 overall. Like a lot. So much it made me nervous. On the flip side, I’m starting to see the rewards which is good. I also know I won’t have major expenses in 2016 like a rebrand, software training or registering a trademark. I also know what services I will not be renewing in 2016 so I’ll save some money there.
Overall, by the time Q4 rolled around I had the expenses back in check. There was only one major out of the ordinary expense when I put down the deposit for a co-working space. I’d also say I spend more than others do on email marketing and stuff like Leadpages, but I’m really starting to see the benefit of doing so. Not really something that isn’t working, just something to keep an eye on as the business continues to grow.
On the personal finance front, I’m worried there may be a little lifestyle inflation going on. Granted, I’m now paying for things I should have been paying for ages ago (like groceries) and my health insurance went up significantly because I no longer qualify for a tax credit, so I’m not sure it really counts as inflation. I also had some non-monthly but still important expenses like renewing my passport and going to the dentist. Again, not really lifestyle inflation I guess.
My transportation costs are also up because I’ve been using Uber and Lyft more to get to events I’ve been invited to. Still much cheaper than owning a car though.
I did notice I got a little shopping happy but that also could have been because it was December. I managed to not get into debt though which is awesome. I also know that I generally don’t shop all that much throughout the year so it’s not something I’m that worried about. I will definitely keep an eye on it though.
I guess I’ll just have to rework the business and personal budget to make sure I’m still meeting my financial goals. Things tend to change when you make more money so I’m definitely in need of going on a date with my budget.
Interested in more income reports?
I’ll be sharing any future income reports exclusively with the members of the Make Money Your Honey Academy. This is a membership site where students get access to every single class, book, worksheet and piece of content I’ve ever created. You also get access to group coaching calls with me. The content is meant to help you start your online business and take it to the next level with in-depth guidance from yours truly.