When I started my blog I loved reading income reports (Oh, who am I kidding?! I still love reading income reports!). Sometimes I’d be intimidated by a blogger’s success, and sometimes I’d be inspired, but I almost always got some new insight into how I could grow my own blog.
I finally get to write my own income reports now (HURRAY FOR INCOME!), and I want to make them as insightful and helpful to you as possible. Let’s dig in!
This post includes affiliate links, which means if you choose to buy something using my link, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read more on my disclosure page.
I started blogging in February 2016, but I didn’t make any money from my blog in 2016.
I knew that I eventually wanted to monetize, but in 2016 I was a little unfocused and didn’t know what I was doing.
I always intended to turn my blog into a business though, so I invested in good hosting, a professional blog design, and a real email service provider, among other tools.
I was able to pay for all of my blogging expenses through freelance writing, but didn’t make money directly from my blog.
Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to grow at your own pace. And don’t be afraid to invest in your blog.
In 2017, my goal is to make $10,000 through affiliate marketing and selling my time management course.
Tempted by my course, but not ready to commit? No problem. Sign up for my FREE mini course instead!
There are other ways to monetize a blog, but right now this is all I’m focusing on.
Why I’m Not Doing Sponsored Posts or Ads
A few companies have offered me sponsored posts, and one company has asked if I’d be willing to host ads on my site.
I was flattered and excited to hear from them all, but ultimately decided not to go that route.
I had a blog years ago, and I wrote some sponsored posts. While it felt good to make some money from my blog, I realized that sponsored posts weren’t helping my reader.
As for ads, I didn’t want to clutter up or slow down my site just to make a few dollars a month.
Breaking Down My Goal Into Sub-Goals
In late December I did some serious calculations to figure out how I would earn $10,000 from my blog.
Here’s how it breaks down.
- I want to earn $4,000 from affiliate marketing.
- I want to earn $6,000 from selling my own products.
- In order to reach these two goals, I need to get 3,000 email subscribers by the end of the year.
As for the $10,000? It’s the amount that I think I can realistically earn this year based on how much time I have to work and the pace my blog has grown historically.
Need help setting your own blogging goals or breaking those goals down into action steps? Sign up here for my FREE 5-day time management e-course.
This Month’s Progress
From course sales- $235
From affiliates- $8.70
- ConvertKit- $8.70
Although I only made a few hundred dollars, I’m pleased with how February went. I had projected that I would make no income in February, so it was great to launch my course early and bring in a little money.
My course is hosted here. If you’re thinking of creating your own online course, sign up for this free training from Teachable, where you’ll learn the 7 steps you should take to launch your own course.
This is the email service provider I use to stay in touch with my fabulous email subscribers. Check out this blog post to take a sneak peek at my ConvertKit dashboard and learn how CK works.
I use BoardBooster to automatically pin a new blog post to my group boards, and now the majority of my blog traffic comes from Pinterest. Want to learn how to use BoardBooster? Check out my tutorial video over here.
Canva for Work – $13
I pay for Canva because it’s easy for a beginner like me to use, and it saves my templates and branding materials, so creating graphics is much quicker.
One of my goals for next month is to come up with a strategic plan for affiliate marketing, so I bought this course when it was on sale in February.
Total – $279
I spent more than I made, which I was expecting to do. This early in monetizing my business, I do plan to re-invest most of what I earn.
I also pay for these services annually.
Hosting – WPEngine – $290
I’m not gonna name any names, but I’ve tried cheap hosting plans in the past and it always comes back to bite me in the butt. I don’t want to build my blog on a shaky foundation, so I pay for the best hosting.
Did you know that most email service providers require that you send emails to your subscribers from a professional email account and not your personal account? Well, it’s true! So I get my professional email and inbox from Hover.
Takeaway: You have to spend money to make money. Yes, that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. If you’re not confident enough in yourself and your business to spend some money, then your potential customers will not be confident in you either. So don’t be afraid to pay for the tools that will help you reach your goals.
Email subscribers + Traffic
Current List Size- 514 (+96 new subscribers this month)
I won’t lie, my list is tiny considering that I’ve been at this for a year. I don’t know why my list growth is so slow, but in order to reach 3,000 subscribers by the end of the year, I’m going to have to figure it out!
On the plus side, I’m proud that I’ve already made some money from such a tiny list. There are bloggers with thousands of email subscribers who aren’t making any money or who make less than me each month. My email list subscribers are also super engaged, opening and replying to emails regularly, which is awesome.
Traffic- 3,205 pageviews/2,033 visitors
Yep, I wasn’t lying when I said my blog is tiny. My traffic is really low. Someday I’ll focus more on improving my traffic, but right now traffic is just a means to an end (more traffic = more $), so it’s not my primary focus.
Also, side note: I broke my Google Analytics, so this screen shot is from Jetpack. So one of my small goals for March is to fix Google Analytics. 🙂
Takeaway: It’s hard, but try not to compare yourself to other bloggers. Also, you can still do amazing things with a tiny list and very little traffic, you just need a strategy!
Next Month’s Action Steps
For list growth
This is kind of a cheat task because I’ve already written 3 guest posts, which are all coming out in March. I’ve heard that guest posting can help you grow your list, and I haven’t guest posted in months, so we’ll see if it helps.
I’d really love to do a giveaway, both to grow my list and to share some awesome productivity and time management resources with my readers. I’ve never done a giveaway, though, so I’m intimidated by the tech and the coordination involved. But this year I’m trying to take action and do things even when they feel scary, so my goal is to do my first giveaway in March.
Optimize old content
After creating my course, I feel burnt out on creating content. Instead of churning out new blog posts, I want to focus on optimizing my most popular posts. Because my ultimate goal is to make money from my blog, I plan to add affiliate links and awesome opt-ins or content upgrades to get more people on my email list.
For affiliate income
Create affiliate strategy
I bought a course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, and I can hardly wait to dig in. As you can see from this report, I’ve made almost nothing from affiliate marketing, so I’m obviously doing something wrong. 🙂 I want to finish going through the course and map out a real strategy for myself.
For ecourse income
Launch course to segment of email list
I did a beta launch of my course to about 300 of my subscribers. Now that I have feedback and testimonials from my beta testers, I’m launching to the rest of my list (all 200 of them :p). This is a very small launch list, but I’m hoping to get 2-3 sales. These sales will also help me gauge how effective my sales funnel is.
Get feedback and revise
I’m purposefully keeping my course evergreen for now so that I can get feedback early and often. I plan to send an email both to new students and to those who checked out the sales page but didn’t buy so that I can get some feedback.
What I’m not doing this month
I’m not going to stress about posting weekly on my blog. I’m also not going to stress about posting in Facebook groups. In a typical month, I would post weekly and interact several days a week in various Facebook groups, but this month I want to prioritize some higher-level tasks, so these will take a back seat.
Takeaway: You can’t do it all, so get clear on your goals and the action steps that will help you reach your goals. Ignore the rest!
Need help clarifying your goals and action steps? Sign up for my free 5-day email course (below)!