DISCLOSURE: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS, WHICH MEANS IF YOU CLICK ON THE LINK AND PURCHASE THE PRODUCT, I WILL RECEIVE COMPENSATION.
Grab a cup of coffee (I did) and enjoy my first ever income report! Income reports are all the rage on blogs these days and I can see why. They are fascinating to read and helpful for new bloggers. I mean, I eat them up trying to figure out how I can apply other blogger’s techniques to my blog to maximize my efforts. But you see, this is a travel blog and my readers probably don’t care if my blog makes money or not. So why am I writing this? Well, because it’s my blog and I can, but mostly because I want to use it as a tool to help others. Whether that is showing them another way they can earn cash to support their travel addiction (which is what I want to do!) or to help another blogger see what did or didn’t work for me. I also want to use these reports as a way to hold myself accountable. Transparency is key when you are wanting to hit goals. So I will include what my goals were and if I hit them as well as next month’s goals. I probably won’t do these reports forever, but it suits me for now.
I will be reporting only income and goals from July – which is my 3rd month blogging.
So I made a grand total of (drumroll please…) $0.93. It’s not much, but it’s kind of a big deal to me. Let me break it down for you.
First of all, this means my blog has the potential to be profitable! It proves that I can actually make money from blogging which will get me towards my end goal of financial freedom as well as freedom from that 9-5 (not that I worked at a 9-5 previously but you know what I mean). My big end all goal, if I’ve never mentioned it to you, is to blog (or write) full time. I love writing and I want to have the freedom to be able to stay home with my daughter and travel the world at the same time. Wow, that was scary admitting that. But I did it for a reason. If I don’t share my goals, then when I achieve them, no one will be able to celebrate my successes. And if I don’t share my goals then I don’t have anyone to hold me accountable and cheer me along as I reach for them.
Second, this particular sale is a big deal to me because it was through Amazon Associates. If you’re a blogger, then you probably know that Amazon will accept you into their program initially but if you don’t make a sale within the first 6 months, they will drop you (at which point you can reapply). But I don’t have to do that! Because I made a sale (Thanks Megan!). Amazon is an amazing partner to have because they have so many opportunities.
Now, here’s how I did it:
Amazon Associates: $0.93 This came from one sale on my post Top 5 Road Trip Items I Can’t Live Without. We recently went on two road trips so the idea behind this post was borne from constantly planning our road trips. We used these 5 things on our trips and I loved them. They were extremely helpful for us so I thought why not share with my readers because it might help them too? And honestly, some of those products I don’t use exclusively for travel. I use some of them daily.
Awin: $0.00 Aside from throwing a banner or two on my site, I haven’t really taken advantage of this affiliate network yet. I mostly signed up for it for their affiliation with Etsy, which I love, but I am still waiting to hear back if I’ve been accepted into their program. However, with Awin, you have to pay a $5 “fee” in order to apply for their program. But when you make your first sale, you get your $5 back. It’s their way of making sure people are serious about applying.
Shareasale: $0.00 Again, I haven’t done much with this affiliate network. I do have a few banners up and I spoke about the City Pass (whose program I am a part of) a total of one time I think. Also I have an affiliate link for that on my Instagram but I’m not sure I’m really ready to be promoting anything on Instagram yet anyway.
I know other people include their side hustles in their blogging income reports but I’m not going to. First off, there’s a ton of them I participate in, but I want to keep this solely about my blog. However, if you are interested in them, you can read about them in my post How I Make Money to Travel Often.
GoDaddy: $7.99 GoDaddy offers plans starting as low as $3.99 a month. Which is am amazing price. Unfortunately, I chose to pay monthly instead of annually so my monthly price is higher. Learn from my mistakes people. I like using GoDaddy as my host because I have previous experience with them from a prior job. I also have great experience with their customer service, which is important. Plus, they are like the world’s largest hosting site, which means a lot of other people like them too. I can’t recommend them enough.
Tailwind: $0.00 Tailwind is an awesome app used to automate your Pinterest account. Which is extremely helpful since you need to be pinning about 50 times (or more!) throughout the day in order for your pins to be seen and your followers to grow. I had a $15 credit to use for signing up with one of their tribes. It’s something they are currently offering since the Tribes are in Beta right now. Also, Tailwind is partnered with Pinterest so I love that. If you use my link to sign up, you can get a free trial and I will get a month free. So check it out, it’s pretty awesome.
Boardbooster: $0.00 Boardbooster is another tool used to automate your Pinterest account but it has different features from Tailwind. I currently have a free trial. While I think some of these features are super awesome, I’m not sure I will stay with them once my free trial expires. Only because I’m not sure I need 2, but we’ll see how it goes! Maybe I will change my mind. Again, if you use my link to sign up, you can get a free trial and I will get a month free.
MailChimp: $0.00 I am currently using MailChimp for my email service. I signed up for the free plan so it is limited (like I only get 2000 subscribers before I need to upgrade) but it works for me for now. And I like that it’s free. That’s my favorite part.
I haven’t purchased any courses or ebooks. Not that I’m not interested, but mostly because with no income, I can’t afford to. There are definitely a few I’ve been eyeing though. If I bite the bullet and get them, I’ll put them on my Resources page (which is coming very soon).
Grand Total: $0.93 – $7.99 = -$7.06
So I ended up in the red for July. But I learned a lot and I will apply that in August.
My July goals were as follows:
- Page Views: 400
- Instagram Followers: 500
- Pinterest Followers: 500
- 2 blog posts per week
- Create Facebook page
- Change my email campaign manager
- Create lead magnet for email subscribers
- Create Pinterest strategy
- Join more group Pinterest boards
Here’s how I actually did:
- Page Views: 776 – I blew my goal out of the water, and was only 4 page views shy of DOUBLING my views from June. (I proceeded to have 5 more page views by 12:15 AM on August 1, so maybe I should count it as it wasn’t midnight on the West Coast yet?) And this is a very low number of page views but my traffic is growing exponentially so I’m happy with this number. My biggest traffic source is the Facebook promo groups I am in. Pinterest is my 2nd biggest traffic source with StumbleUpon being a close 3rd.
- Instagram Followers: 266 – So not quite my goal of 500, but I started out July with 195 and I didn’t spend as much time working on growing my following as I wanted to.
- Pinterest Followers: 191 – Again, not even close to my goal. In fact, I only grew my following here by 20 in July. It’s important to have a large following on Pinterest if you are going to use that as one of your sources of traffic because the larger your audience, the more your pins get seen. Something I will definitely be working on in August.
- 2 blog posts per week – I managed to do this for every week save one – when I was on vacation. I only got 1 post up that week. I had pre-written it so all I had to do was publish it while we were away. That was especially easy to do as my daughter ended up getting sick while we were gone so we spent a bunch of time in the hotel room.
- Create Facebook page: I did create this and promptly didn’t do much with it. As of yesterday (August 2) I began to grow my Likes as well as write engaging posts. So this will be an August goal.
- Change my email campaign manager: Done! I switched from some free plugin I had downloaded on WordPress (and hated) to MailChimp.
- Create lead magnet for email subscribers: Done! I created a free PDF checklist for things you should keep in a kit for car sickness. I get car sick and so does my daughter so with our road trips, this was heavily thought about. If you want the Car Sick Kit Checklist, there you go!
- Create Pinterest strategy: I started out doing this in the beginning of the month but I never actually wrote anything down though I do have a plan in my head. I read a bunch of info on this and do plan to write it down on paper should I find the time. Which I think would be very beneficial so I should make the time.
- Join more group Pinterest boards: Done but ongoing! I joined a bunch more. I think at the beginning of July I was a part of like 5. Now I am in 15 group boards that pertain to my blog or niche. As part of my strategy I would like to get up near the 50 group boards mark. From what I’m reading, that will explode your Pinterest traffic.
- Page Views: 1100 – That’s right. I’m aiming high. But if I hit that, my stretch goal is 1500. I like to have stretch goals. Because I work hard and if I hit a goal, then what? I need to create a new one so I just start with a stretch goal.
- Instagram Followers: 353 I’ve adjusted my social media goals slightly so they are lower than than last month and thus more attainable. Also, I have one big goal in mind so my monthly goals are a means to get there.
- Pinterest Followers: 280 I think this is doable if I work work hard.
- Facebook Followers: 100 This goal should be fairly easy as I’m already halfway there. If you would like to join my Facebook page, you would make my day. I try to be very engaging and interactive with my readers.
- Email Subscribers: 100 This is probably my highest goal as I currently only have 10 subscribers. But I have some great ideas I’m working on for my subscribers and I can’t wait to implement them.
- Write 2 blog posts per week: I have a schedule written for the first 2 weeks of August so I should be able to stick to this.
- Create Resource Library: Started this one last night, just need to finish
- Create Free Content Library for Email Subscribers: I started writing ideas for this last night. My plan is to have it up by the end of the month.
- Redo photos and pins on old posts: Yep, this needs done in a bad way and it’s pretty high on my list.
- Create affiliate marketing strategy: I have not even started this but I should as it’s super important when it comes to making money!
- Start writing my ebook: Spoilers.
- Publish Niagara Falls video on YouTube (by middle of August): I filmed some stuff while we were in Niagara Falls and I want to get it edited into a video for my YouTube Channel. I thought I would have more time for this but blogging has been so time consuming. Much more than I thought it would!
And that’s it! My first income report. I hope you find this helpful. I think it helped me a lot, writing it all down and seeing everything in one place. Hopefully next month I will have much higher numbers for you all!