Welcome to January's business income report where I show you how I made money online last month. It's time to look at this month's update and see how I did.
If you're new to Making Sense of Cents, you may be wondering why I would want to publish my income report each month. You can simply skip to the next section if you're not new here.
This all started out as my extra income report because in the beginning, it was all about the money I was earning from my side jobs. In my side income reports from the beginning, I included all of the income I made except for what I made at my day job.
However, I left my day job as a financial analyst in October of 2013 and now my monthly income reports consist of the many ways I earn a living.
Many have asked why I would ever want to publicly post my income each month. Some think I'm crazy, whereas some are glad I'm open about what I'm doing. Whatever you think, I enjoy publishing my monthly online income reports and I share them publicly for three main reasons:
- Before I started blogging, I knew nothing about side hustling and making money online. I didn't think side jobs were worth the effort and I thought the only way to significantly increase your income was through raises at your full-time job. If it weren't for others publishing their monthly income reports, I don't know if I would have ever tried side hustling. I want to help show others the positives in side hustling and how it can change a person's life. There are many different ways to make money online, and I like to share my story each month to help motivate others to improve their financial situation by making more money.
- Secondly, I like to publish my income reports because it's a way for me to look back, learn from my mistakes and actually see what areas need improvement. I use my monthly income reports as a way to track how I've done and I treat it sort of like a journal.
- Lastly, I like to show others that making side money is possible and that there are many legitimate ways to make money from your home. If you are looking for information on the many ways to make money online, I published the article Monthly Income Report Roundup that showcases many successful bloggers who are kind enough to share their income with the public each month.
I know I say this every month, but it's the truth. Life is great now that I'm my own boss and a full-time blogger. I look forward to each and every day and it's a wonderful feeling. I truly love waking up every single morning.
Above are just a few of the reasons for why I enjoy publishing my monthly income reports. I like to show others that you don't have to hate your job and hate your life. You can make changes to your life and make money in a way that allows you to truly enjoy the life you are living. I'm not saying that you have to LOVE your job, I'm just saying that your job should, at least, allow you to do what you like to do outside of work (whether that be spending time with loved ones, painting, hiking, etc.).
How was business income in January of 2017?
I earned $139,233.11 blogging and online in January, before expenses.
This is my highest income month so far for my blogging business and it was a great month all around.
This was due to a few different things that happened and that I've been working on lately:
- January is a great month for traffic for personal finance. Everyone wants to start the new year off by learning how to manage their financial situation better, which means that page views and visitors are always up. I received around 790,000 page views in January, which is the best month ever for Making Sense of Cents.
- I had a feature in Forbes which generated over 50,000 new visitors to Making Sense of Cents (amazing!). This feature led to many new email subscribers, many great emails from new readers, and more.
- I'm focusing on diversifying my income. In 2016, I finally created my first for-sale product, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. This helped me to diversify my business and try a new form of income. Now, my business income primarily consists of affiliate marketing, a product, sponsorships, and advertising, which is a mix that I’m very happy with. Also, I'm making a better effort at diversifying my affiliate income as well, so that I earn a larger share of income from different companies. If you're looking for some easy ways to boost your blogging income, I recommend reading this free ebook – 7 Surefire Ways To Boost Your Blog Income Overnight.
- I'm focusing on my email list. I didn’t start taking my email list seriously until around April of 2016 when I switched to Convertkit. Convertkit makes sending an effective and efficient newsletter so much easier and better. I never really understood email marketing before, but ConvertKit makes it so easy and now I feel like I’m an expert! I now have around 40,000 email subscribers. One of my biggest blogging mistakes was waiting years to start my email list. If you don’t have one yet, you should start ASAP!
- I'm spending more time on Facebook. I started 2016 with just around 6,500 Facebook followers and ended it with 38,000. At the end of January, I was already at 46,000. I owe a lot of that to the ebook Facebook Strategies Worth Sharing. Growing my Facebook page has allowed me to reach new readers, improve my blogging income, grow my email list, and more.
I'm very excited for 2017. I know it will be another great year! The business is doing well and I'm very happy with it. I've been catching myself saying “Life is really good” a LOT. And, I truly mean it. Life is really good!
My business is growing, income is increasing, I have tons of amazing ideas for 2017, and I am very excited about everything. I really love my business and I don't know where I would be without it.
Anyway, January was another great month. It was great on all fronts – blogging, course-wise, life, and everything else.
My Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course is still doing very well and I had many new students join the course last month. I think a lot of this has to do with all of the amazing reviews that I'm hearing about my course such as:
- One blogger went from $0 in Amazon affiliate income to over $1,500 after taking the course.
- One blogger went from $87 a month in affiliate income before taking the course, to over $1,700 a month after!
- One blogger received their first affiliate sale just two days after taking the course (and they were a brand new blogger too!).
- Another blogger doubled their monthly affiliate income from $2,500 to $5,000.
Plus, I've heard and read many other great reviews about my course.
If you're a blogger, I recommend checking out my blogging course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I share my exact strategy and tips in this very informative online course. If you're a blogger, then you need to check out this course.
If you are interested in starting a blog of your own, I created a tutorial that will help you start a blog of your own for cheap, starting at only $2.95 per month (this low price is only through my link) for blog hosting. In addition to the low pricing, you will receive a free website domain (a $15 value) through my Bluehost link if you purchase, at least, 12 months of blog hosting. FYI, if you are asking yourself “can you make money blogging?” – my top tip is to be self-hosted. This is essential if you want to monetize your blog as you will appear more professional and this will help you monetize your blog tremendously. My blogging income did not take off until after I switched to self-hosted WordPress.
Breakout of January 2017 income – $139,233.11:
In January of 2017, I earned $139,233.11 from my blog. Below is how my income breaks apart in the different blogging income categories:
- Affiliate income – $69,878.11 total:
- Bluehost (check out my tutorial on how to start a blog) – $47,060.00
- Survey companies – $14,098.50
- MOTIF Investing – $1,472.00
- SEO Training Course – $1,207.80
- How To Work From Home Selling On Amazon FBA – $1,161.50
- Ebates – $1,000.00 (estimated as this is a tiered affiliate program)
- Bookkeeper Business Academy – $740.75
- How I Grew My Facebook Page From 2,000 to 100,000 in Five Months – $444.00
- Izea/SponsoredTweets – $320.00
- Make Money Proofreading By Becoming A Freelance Proofreader – $302.56
- Personal Capital – $300.00
- Uber – $240.00
- $5 Meal Plan – $ 224.70
- Digit – $195.00
- Ibotta – $180.00
- ConvertKit – $147.90
- 30 Days Or Less To Freelance Writing Success – $124.80
- Amazon – $121.60
- 17 Strategies Used to Go From 17K to 350K+ Page Views in 9 Months – $70.00
- Miscellaneous affiliates – $467.00
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course – $49,078.00
- Sponsorships and advertising- $17,000.00
- Display advertising – $3,277.00
The income amount above is for the month of January and before any fees or expenses (some fees and expenses that lower the amount above total around $4,500 (rounded up), which include virtual assistants, Teachable course platform fee, technical assistance, newsletter expenses, PayPal fees, Stripe fees, etc., however, this does not include taxes) being taken out. I also had expenses for the affiliates promoting my course, which totaled $3,563.60. After expenses and fees, I made approximately $131,169.
Please keep in mind that I work for myself when you read my monthly income report. This means I have to cover taxes (which are over 30%), health insurance, and all other benefits/expenses that an employer may provide.
Check out The Ultimate Guide To Making Money Blogging for all of the different ways you can make money through a blog.
Below are some of my other monthly online income reports. I publish an online income update every month but only included some of them below as it would be a very long list. If you head on over to my income page you can find all of my monthly income reports from the past few years.
- $672 extra in May (2012)
- $6,523 in January Extra Income (2013)
- $11,927 in October Income – I Finally Left My Job (2013)
- $12,640 in January Income (2014)
- $23,758 in February Income – My Monthly Online Income Report (2015)
- How I Made $300,000 Online In 2015
- How I Made $979,321 In 2016
Comparisons and 2017 online income total:
- Total income in January of 2017: $139,233
- Total income in December of 2016: $91,765
- Difference from the previous month: +47,468
- Total in 2017: $139,233
Making Sense of Cents is doing very well and I'm happy with everything.
In January, I started a small blog redesign. The designer has mainly changed the color theme and the logo for Making Sense of Cents and she's currently working on a few other things. I wanted a more minimalist logo and design, so I am very pleased with how things turned out.
I had a HUGE feature last month in Forbes. You can read it at How This 27 Year Old Made Nearly $1,000,000 in 2016.
This brought a ton of new readers and I'm still extremely excited about this feature. I'm definitely ready to start 2017 out with a bang now!
I'm starting to guest post on other websites in order to promote my blog better and reach new readers. I think I've only guest posted once or twice ever since I started blogging in 2011, so this is something that I'm looking to change. I am going to try to guest post on someone else's website at least once a month for the next year and see how that works out.
Overall, traffic increased significantly and I received around 790,000 page views. Pinterest traffic increased last month, and organic and Facebook traffic each increased as well. My traffic will go down in February, but that is expected since January is usually the best month for financial writers. That being said, my goal is to reach 1,000,000 monthly page views in 2017, so I will be spending a lot of my time trying to reach new readers.
Below are several business-related updates:
- I released my How To Start A Blog FREE Course a few months ago. If you’ve been wanting to start a blog, then check this out. I created this email course for those who are interested in starting a blog, but haven’t done so yet. The course is free, and over 12,000 people have already signed up just in the past few months. Thank you to everyone who has sent me kind emails about how great the course is. I don't know why I didn't do this sooner!
- Due to how well my first free course went, in August I created the free Master Your Money email course. It's full of great money management lessons and financial worksheets (such as a free budget template), and I'm loving the positive response from this email course as well.
- I have plans for my third free email course and I will most likely put that together in March.
- This month or next, I will hopefully be creating a free personal finance support group on Facebook. I'm extremely excited for this to be live! This would be a place where everyone can talk about money freely, seek support and help, and so on.
Also, I have received many questions recently about how I'm staying connected to the internet so that I can work and travel in my RV at the same time. I use a Verizon Mifi and I am able to stay connected pretty much anywhere with it. It really comes in handy because you can't always trust free wifi. Sometimes free wifi is slow, hard to find, or not safe. I don't know what I would do without this device!
Popular new posts on Making Sense of Cents last month:
- Blogging Changed My Life – Could It Change Yours?
- The Busy Person’s Guide On How To Be Healthy
- 59 Things To Do Instead of Watching TV So That You Can Take Your Life Back
- How I Paid Off $40,000 In Student Loans in 7 Months
- 65 Ways To Make Extra Money in 2017
- The Less You Own, The Less That Owns You
- 45+ Ways To Live An Amazing Life Starting In 2017
Featured Question: What are easy affiliate programs for new bloggers?
I feature one question from a reader in each monthly income report. Please leave a comment below if you have a question that you would like me to answer.
As a new blogger, you may be interested in affiliate marketing. However, many people believe that a blogger needs to have a lot of blog posts and a high amount of followers before they will be accepted into an affiliate program.
That isn't true at all!
There are many affiliate programs that you may be able to join right when you start your blog. Some affiliate programs don't have many requirements, such as traffic statistics or the age of the blog that is applying for the affiliate program.
Some of my favorite affiliate programs that you may want to look into trying out as a new blogger include (of course, this depends on your specific niche):
- Amazon Associates – This is always the first affiliate program that I recommend a new blogger sign up for. This is because you can find nearly anything and everything for sale on Amazon, so there is probably something that you'd be able to promote on your blog from this affiliate program.
- Awin – This is one of the largest affiliate networks in the world (with over 6,000 possible affiliate programs to join), so I'm sure any blogger could find something to promote.
- Ebates – Anyone with an Ebates account can promote this service, so you don't even need a blog. Ebates can be great for many niches, such as finance, parenting, lifestyle, travel, and more, as Ebates can be used for many different types of purchases.
- Digit – Anyone with a Digit account can promote this service, so you don't even need a blog. Digit is more for finance and parenting niches as it's a savings app. You could use it for a travel blog as well and promote it to your readers as a way to save for a vacation.
- MaxBounty – Maxbounty is an affiliate network, but you are paired with an affiliate manager who may be able to find some affiliate programs for you, even as a new blogger. Remember, if you succeed, then they do as well, so they want to help!
- Shareasale – Shareasale is another affiliate network, and it's one of my favorites. There are many, many companies that are listed within Shareasale and you can probably find at least a few companies within your niche that will allow you to promote their product, even as a brand new blogger.
- Courses and ebooks – If there are any courses or ebooks that you took in preparation of launching your blog, then you may be able to sign up as an affiliate for those right away and start promoting them. After all, someone like you is exactly who potential buyers want to hear from on this specific product!
As you can see, there are many options for even brand new bloggers when it comes to affiliate marketing. Plus, by starting with these easy options, you can test your affiliate marketing skills and get the hang of affiliate marketing right from the very beginning with your blog.
Past featured questions:
- How do I increase my affiliate income?
- Do I need millions of page views a month in order to make money blogging?
- How do you build websites up to sell them?
- Do only celebrities make money through owning websites?
- How much money can a person make blogging?
- Where does blog income come from?
- Is there enough room for new bloggers to make money?
- What should a person blog about?
- How can a blogger increase their page views?
- Should my blog be self-hosted?
- How should I launch a new blog?
- What blogging tools or resources do you recommend?
- What should you do when a blog post goes viral?
- What is affiliate marketing?
- What did I learn from launching my course?
- What should you do when you're feeling blogger burnout?
- How can a blogging conference help me?
- Why does a blogger need to have an email list?
- How can I make more blogging income around the holidays?
- Where do you get your photos from for your blog?
My plans for my blog and my business.
Plans and goals can help you to run a successful business. I believe that working towards a goal can help keep a person motivated too.
Below are some of the areas I am currently working on:
- Earn $1,000,000 from my business in 2017. This is a brand new goal for the new year. Many of you have asked why I didn't increase my goal to $2,000,000 for 2017 since I was so close to $1,000,000 in 2016 already. Well, the main reason for that is because my overall goal for the year is to have a better work-life balance, and instead earn more passive income from my blogging business.
- Have a better work-life balance. This is my main goal for the year. While I have an okay work-life balance, I would like to be able to take a break from my blog without constantly checking my phone or laptop. I love my business, so that makes it hard for me to step away from it, even for just a few hours.
- Get at least three months ahead on Making Sense of Cents posts. I am currently 2 months ahead in content. Before the end of the month (February 2017), I would like to be at least 3 months ahead in content. Being ahead in content makes life much more enjoyable because I can focus on other things knowing that the majority of my writing work is already done. We plan on visiting many new places this spring and summer, and we just booked a 2 week sailing trip, so I am trying to get as far ahead as I can in preparation for no internet (or really bad internet service).
- Grow Making Sense of Cents to 1,000,000 monthly page views. I would love to help more readers, see even more engagement, have higher traffic, and so on. I love my blog and I would love to see it grow! I’m hoping to see at least 1,000,000 monthly page views by the end of 2017. In January, I saw 790,000 page views which was amazing and very motivating.
- Start doing more live interviews, such as podcasts and webinars. I’m not as shy as I used to be, but living in an RV and not always having an internet or a reliable schedule makes podcasts and webinars are a little more difficult. I hope to find a way around that (perhaps planning out a better schedule?) and dedicate more time to this area.
- Create one more product to sell. In 2016, I created Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, and that has completely changed my life and my business. I want to think about and create another product to sell in 2017 so that I can continue to diversify my income.
- Promote the blog and business better. I am doing much better at promoting my blog and content, and I'm noticing an improvement. I started focusing more on improving my traffic from Facebook, and I've been very pleased with the results. I used to only see around 100 visits a day from Facebook, but for the past few months, I have been seeing around 2,000+ visits a day from Facebook.
- Continue learning and improving. I currently have a few blog courses that I'm working through, such as one for Instagram and an SEO course that I'm finishing up.
Affiliate income results.
In January of 2017, I earned $69,878.11 in affiliate income, as outlined earlier in this blog income report.
I'm a very big fan of affiliate income, of course. It's something that I enjoy due to how passive it can be. It makes full-time traveling much more enjoyable when I know I can bring in an income while having fun seeing new areas.
As I always say, blogging income is not dependent on page views. Even brand new bloggers can make money through affiliate marketing. If you know the correct way to promote a product, you can succeed at affiliate marketing. This is one of the main things I teach in my Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course.
My affiliate marketing course went live in July of 2016. I've already had over 1,400 people purchase the course, and I'd love to have you as a student too!
In Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, there are 6 modules, over 30 lessons, several worksheets, bonuses, an extremely helpful and exclusive Facebook group, and more. I go through everything that you need to know about affiliate marketing, such as:
- A quick introduction to affiliate marketing and how it works
- The benefits of affiliate marketing
- The exact steps I've taken to earn over $400,000 from a single blog post
- How to correctly pick affiliate products to promote
- The steps to increase your conversion rate
- How to build trust with your readers (this is a MUST!)
- The required disclosures you need to know about
- The major tool you need for affiliate marketing
- The many different strategies to promote your affiliate links
My course is anything and everything about affiliate marketing. This course is perfect for you whether you are a new blogger or if you've been blogging for years, no matter what topic your blog is about, what country you live in, and so on. I wrote this course so that it would benefit everyone, and there is so much to learn from it.
How was January for you? Are you interested in earning blogging income?
How To Start A Blog FREE Email Course
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