$12,747 in May – Beginning to Break Out My Business Income

Hello everyone! I can’t believe it’s already June. It’s also my wedding week and I can’t believe that is already here. I’ll talk more about my wedding later this week, but today it’s all about my monthly income report. May was a good month, but I do feel a little stuck. April was my best month…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 28, 2023

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure for more info.

Find out how I made $12,747 from blogging in May.Hello everyone! I can’t believe it’s already June. It’s also my wedding week and I can’t believe that is already here. I’ll talk more about my wedding later this week, but today it’s all about my monthly income report.

May was a good month, but I do feel a little stuck. April was my best month ever, but I haven’t been increasing my income by very much, and it seems to keep bouncing back and forth.

I won’t lie, even though I am VERY happy with my income, I did think after I left my day job that my income would have grown a little faster. It’s all my fault though, I haven’t been putting as much time into my freelancing work as I thought I would. I honestly thought that I would be applying the extra 50 to 60 hours each week that I gained from leaving my day job towards my freelancing life, but that just didn’t prove to be possible.

I am growing slowly, and my income is bouncing back and forth, but I am happy with life right now. I have more time to enjoy everything that is going on around me, and I am actually finding more time to relax. I am slowly growing my business which is better than the opposite (going downhill).

After the wedding is over and everything is done with, I do plan on getting back on the working wagon and spending more time on growing my business.

Anyway, in May of 2014, I made $14,947 in business income, before expenses. It was a good month!


Reading past income reports of mine and others still motivates me.

The main reason why I started side hustling is because I was reading other bloggers’ (Smart Passive Income, Budgeting In The Fun Stuff, Newlyweds on a Budget) income reports and it got me really interested. If it weren’t for others posting their income reports, then I don’t know if I would have really gotten into side hustling (which eventually turned into my freelancing business).

Also, I like to publish income reports because it’s nice to look back and see what my goals were the previous month. It’s nice to see where I am, compare how I’m doing, and check in on my progress. It’s also interesting to see where I’m slacking and what I need to work on.

From one of my very first income reports: In May of 2012, I made $672 in extra income. $672 is still a great amount of side income to make, but my progress over the past three years is something that I am very proud of. This August will mark three years of blogging for me, and when I started I never thought this is where I would be. The other day I even received an email from a reader congratulating me on almost 3 years, and I had to double think it because I seriously cannot believe that it’s been that long already.

I know I say this every month, but it is the truth. Life is just so great now that I am doing what I want!

I started my blog just as an outlet. I never thought it would turn into a side income or into my full-time career. If you would have told me this a few years ago, I never would have believed you – I probably would have just laughed it off…


$12,747 in May - Beginning to Break Out My Business Income

This is for the month of May and before fees and expenses (fees and expenses that lower the amount above total around $2,200, which includes VAs for my other websites, annual web hosting fees, technical assistance on my websites, PayPal fees, etc.) being taken out.

After all expenses and fees, I made approximately $12,747. In the amount above, I do not include the amount that I bring in to websites that I provide services to, I only include the amounts that are my actual earnings from my services. So, if a website I manage makes an income of $2,000, I only include my payment for my services- not the full $2,000.


I love self-employment, but this is still a job, a career, and a business.

I know that this is a lot of “side income” (it’s all business income now for me), but please keep in mind that I spend many, many hours everyday on my business.

This is not passive income, although one day I hope that much of my income is passive. I have also been growing this for quite some time, and for around one year I was not making a single dollar, but I was still putting full-time hours into my side jobs. Taxes also take approximately 30% of my extra income. This is something that not everyone thinks about.

Like I say every month in my income update posts as a reality check: this is still work. Some like to think that I quit my job and sit around doing nothing all day. That is not true though. It does help that I have gotten much better at streamlining tasks and hiring others for certain jobs that I need done. It’s all about finding what you are good at and outsourcing other tasks that you need done.

This is my full-time job, and for a few years I was working my full-time job while having my business as well. There were many sleepless nights! I was a workaholic, but thankfully it all paid off.

You can find my 2014 goals update here. All of my past income updates can be found here as well. Read further on my Extra/Business Income page.

As always, if you have any questions about my monthly business income that you would like me to include next month, please let me know.


Blog News

Blogging is still going well. Some told me that I would be bored with it once I started doing it full-time, but I must say that my love for it hasn’t died down one bit. It’s still fun, I feel like I am growing and learning, and I am still extremely attached to MakingSenseofCents and my other websites.

My self-employment/financial independence blog Diversified Finances is doing well also and I am still happy I started that website. I do plan on covering early retirement, financial independence, and passive income more soon.

If you are looking to start a blog, don’t forget to read my post How To Start a Blog. It gives step by step instructions on starting your own blog. Also, read How To Make Money Blogging.


My plans for my website and my business (in no particular order):

  1. Start an eBook. – I really haven’t given this much thought over the past few months. I’m hoping to really sit down and start researching in July of 2014. I’m thinking about creating an eBook about freelancing online. I’m not sure about much else yet though…
  2. Build my brand. – I have been attempting to work on this. I see other freelancers out there who have built amazingly successful brands and I hope to be at that point some day.
  3. Promote more. – I am trying to promote my articles more and I believe that it is working well. I do want to start using Pinterest to my advantage more as well. Personal finance is a hard topic to get people to pin on Pinterest though.
  4. Podcasts – At one point, I was interested in podcasts, but I just don’t think I’m at the point to start doing that just yet.
  5. Accept more interviews. – I had 4 interviews in May, and one scheduled for June already.


Staff Writing

I didn’t add any new staff writing gigs in May, but I did do well with my current jobs. I currently have a new writing position that will be added soon. We are just trying to figure out the next steps right now before I begin.

Nearly every week I receive the same question (this time Athena and Catherine tweeted me asking this question)- What should I do to find more staff writing or virtual assistant jobs? 

There are two main ways for you to do this – either they find you or you find them. Them finding you can be more difficult, as there is nothing really too active that you can do to speed up the process. So, if you want another job sooner rather than later, then you should go out there and try to find a new gig yourself.

I highly recommend that you check out Alexa’s article How to Find Freelance Writing Jobs (My Best Tips). She is a master at freelancing, and I see her all over the place. Her article lists the different ways for you to get out there and find more online jobs. You can apply her tips to finding more VA jobs as well.

If you are wanting clients to find you, then there are things you can do. Usually website owners find me through my Contact/Hire Me tab above, and this is something that I think all bloggers should have on their website. Start one now! That is my number one tip! No one can hire you if they don’t even know that you are looking for a freelancing job.

Here’s my monthly shameless plugin: If any of you need a staff writer or just a one-time content writer, let me know. Whether you need a couple of articles every week, or just a single post with no ongoing relationship, I am your girl. I can write regular content, content to fill in gaps in your writing schedule, content for advertising and so on. My turnaround is fairly quick and I am reliable.

I created the article titled Do You Want to Be a Freelance Writer, so please read further about this topic if you are interested in staff writing as a way to make money online.


Buying websites

I have bought two websites so far, and I have built four. That means I have a total of 6 websites that I own myself.

I also manage a handful of other websites. I am thinking about adding a few more websites to my portfolio so that I can grow them and hopefully one day make an income from them.

Do you plan on buying websites in the future? Why or why not?


Update On My Blog and Social Media Management Services.

In the month of May, I managed a few different websites for other owners. They all went well, and blog/media management is something I enjoy.

For some, I completely manage the website (everything from e-mails to fixing old articles) and I try to make money for the original website owner through advertising and affiliate income, and then I forward their share of what their website made. I am in complete control of these websites, and the blog owner sits back and enjoys some passive income.

For others, I just manage a few aspects. I might help them answer emails, monitor their website to make sure nothing happens, or I handle their social media.

Blog and social media management are something that I would like to keep growing. I have seen many blog owners who are interested in having me manage their website while they are on vacation or if they need a break. This is something that I love to do, and you can sleep easily while you are taking a break from your website because I believe I can successfully manage your website.

I also know how it feels to go on vacation. You might be hesitant in hiring help because your blog means so much to you. However, that is why I love offering this. I truly know how much a website means to a person, and I try my hardest to make the transition (no matter how short) a smooth one. A vacation from your website is needed every now and then – and I’m here to help!

Pricing is on an individual basis because no two websites/blogs are alike. If you are interested, send me an email and I would love to help you out.


Here are various services that relate to blog and social media management:

  • Manage and approve comments. If you are busy, then you want your blog to continue on just like if you were still there. I get rid of any spam, and approve real comments. I also reply to comments on your posts if that is something that you normally do.
  • Watch to make sure that your website does not go down. I check multiple times throughout the day to make sure that your website is up. With all of the hosting problems that I have been seeing lately, this can put your mind at ease because I can find it and hopefully fix the problem instead of you ruining your vacation.
  • Monitor e-mails and reply when/if necessary. If you want a total break from your website, then e-mail management is something that most of my clients sign up for.
  • Make sure postings go live when they should. Sometimes they won’t, and this is where I come in. I will make sure that everything is scheduled and actually happens.
  • Write articles while you are away (including ghost-written articles). You never know when something will come up.
  • Manage social media – this includes looking for new potential followers and engaging with current followers.


Are you interested in becoming a virtual assistant? Don’t forget to also read about what exactly a virtual assistant does.


Affiliate income – Slow progress.

My goal for 2014 is to get more into affiliate income. Affiliate income is great because it can be a lot like passive income – in that I can create an affiliate article, do little things to maintain it, and hopefully it will continue to bring in income for me.

I didn’t really do anything that related to affiliate income in May, but I have it on my to-do list for the month of June.

$12,747 in May - Beginning to Break Out My Business Income

Business and Extra Income in May ($12,747, after most expenses)

  • Staff writing – $1,180
  • Managing websites and social media for clients – $5,300
  • Website-Related (From all 6 of the websites I own – advertising, partnerships & Adsense) – $5,011
  • Affiliate Income – $931
  • Selling Items From Our Home – $0
  • Miscellaneous (not related to blogging and online income) – $0
  • Mystery Shopping – $0
  • Rent (we rent a room in our house to my sister) – $325


One thing that I am asked nearly every time I publish my monthly income report is whether or not I can further break down my income.  This is something I have never done, mainly to protect myself and those I provide services to.

Mainly, I kept it private because I wanted to have a little bit of privacy. Above, I sort of broke it all out for the first time ever, and in the next few months I plan on breaking it apart further and further. I know some of you are waiting for me to break it apart down to the very exact amount from the very exact source, but I do like to keep it a little private for now because I do need to protect the income that I am making since this is my livelihood.

I have heard of other bloggers who have stated exactly how much money that they made and the sources, and then another person has gone in and completely stole that contact/client from them. That is something that I definitely do NOT want to happen, and that is why I like to keep my exact sources a secret.

Website related income includes all of my websites, and that is all. It no longer includes websites that I don’t own. So, if I provide social media management or blog management for someone, that amount gets put into the “Managing websites and social media for clients” income.

Also, please keep in mind that I work for myself. This means that I have to cover all taxes (which are around 30%), health insurance, and all other benefits that an employer would normally provide.


Comparisons and 2014 Business Income total (after expenses, but before taxes)

  • Total extra income for May: $12,747
  • Income in April: $13,493
  • Difference: -746
  • Total in 2014: $64,434



How did you do in May? What are your extra/business income goals?


Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Wow, another great month for you Michelle! The amount you make from various sources is amazing – just shows what can be done if you put your mind to it and work hard.

    1. Thank you Nicola! ๐Ÿ™‚ Do you do anything for online income?

      1. I don’t! I literally just started my blog (on Sunday!) so have a LOT to learn about blogging and finances and all that jazz. I definitely use you as an inspiration in terms of earnings!

        1. Aww thanks Nicola. I think you will do great in the blogging world!

  2. Revealing individual sources definitely seems like a recipe for trouble. Appreciate your breakdown though!

    1. I’m glad you agree. Some actually are angry that I don’t break it down further, but I do need to protect myself.

  3. I was waiting for this – well done! You did really well this month, especially considering how busy you must be planning for the wedding. It was really cool to see the break down of where it came from.

    1. Thank you Christine!

  4. As expected Michelle, another outstanding month income again! By making sure postings go live when they should be very important too for the bloggers, I noticed some of the blogs was live even if they are only half baked. I’m sure you would be the prettiest June bride! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Nice work again Michelle, especially in the month leading up to your wedding. May was good, overall for me. I was down a little from April, but April was a record month for me so I’m not too torn up about it.

  6. Income Surfer

    Outstanding Michelle. You’re success and progress has really helped motivate me. Keep up the great work!

  7. Thanks for the shout out. Appreciate it ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I agree with you – you definitely should NOT break down your income by the sources. Because then someone else will go and try to steal your job. They’ll offer a lower price, say they can do more, etc. I like the way you have broke out it now. I think that’s very explanatory and gives people a good idea of where your income is coming from.

    And I also wouldn’t be worried about growing slow either – slow and steady wins the race! I also thought that I’d be working 50-60 hours per weeks when I quit my full time day job but it’s honestly more like 20-30 most weeks.

    Now that I’m self employed I am just enjoying living my life more and doing what I want to do. With that said I do need to kick my income up a notch so I’m gonna work on adding some new streams in the next several months.

    1. Thank you Alexa! I feel like it’s broken down pretty well for right now, but others still say it’s still not detailed enough. I think it’s detailed enough for me to be comfortable though.

  8. Inspiring numbers as usual ๐Ÿ™‚ Are you going to take a break at all for your wedding?

    1. Thank you Stefanie!

      And I’m not sure. I’ll definitely take the wedding day off, but I like working so I’ll probably still work at least a little bit.

  9. This is a good breakdown for readers. It’s cool to see how much comes from the sites you own and how much comes from the writing and blog management. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I think like many other things in life, there are periods of time when we stagnate. Other life issues are in play (like a wedding) that keep us from moving forward how we’d like. In that way, life is kind of like a stock chart. There are periods of sideways trading followed by dramatic rises in stock price when the company hits on all cylinders. The trick of course is to avoid the declines, which it seems like you are doing.

    1. Thank you Brian ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Honestly I love seeing your income reports over someone like Pat Flynn’s because I find them more relateable. How in the world would I ever make $40K in Bluehost referrals?

    I was really surprised to see in your breakdown how such a large chunk of your income is managing other sites. How much do you charge for this service? (email me if you don’t want to state it in the comments)

    1. Haha I wish I could make $40K in Bluehost referrals. My life would be complete!

      My fees range widely for managing websites. Some just have me do little things on their website like manage their emails or make sure articles go live when they are supposed to. Others have me manage everything. Payment usually ranges from $500 to $2500 per month.

  12. Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. E.M.

    Great job, and I like this breakdown. I don’t think you necessarily need to go any further, and it’s definitely understandable to not state specific sources! There’s nothing wrong with enjoying life more and being happier. As you said, the business is going in the right direction, and there’s no need to devote so much time to working if it’s not needed!

    1. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m glad so many of you are fine with me breaking apart my income like this. I do plan on talking more about the specifics as well soon, such as how to attract advertisers to your website and more.

  14. Another good month it seems. I hope the wedding planning is going well.

    1. Thank you Natalie!

  15. Thank you Catherine! Yes, life definitely isn’t all about money. I do wish I was doing better with building my brand though.

  16. Melissa

    Michelle, this is such exciting news!! I’m so happy for you. I don’t begrudge you a single cent – you work incredibly hard, and people should know that.

    I can’t wait to start blogging and then freelancing. If you ever were interested in writing a post about how you find clients who want you to manage their sites/social media, I’d be really curious to read about it. I just don’t know how I would cold-contact a business and say, hey! I can manage your blog/website/social media! How do you just start that conversation?

    1. Thank you Melissa!

      And I think you would contact someone about social media the same way as you would for a writing client. The article above that I referenced in this post by Alexa has some great letters in there that I would check out.


      1. Melissa

        Thank you so much, Michelle! I appreciate the advice!

        1. No problem. If you have other questions you can always email me! ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Congrats on another great month. May was great for me. I made my first affiliate sale which was pretty cool to me. I know that I am finally on the right track.

    1. Thanks Jason! Congrats on your first affiliate sale!

  18. My business is actually thriving, even if my time spent working was little. I’d rather spend it with my baby than ignoring her and ‘making money’, so it’s still difficult to balance it all. Happy to see your earnings, it’s a pretty nice number. Keep up the great work ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. I’m glad your business is thriving. Sounds like you are doing well!

  19. You are doing awesome! I think it’s all about finding a balance between life and work that you are happy with.

    And I’m so excited about your wedding this week!!

    1. Thank you Lena! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Oh wow, I can’t believe your wedding is coming up so soon. I just celebrated my anniversary on June 1. Early June is a great time for weddings as it’s still not that hot. Temps are usually pretty mild. I hope you have a lovely day.

    Congrats on your income. Impressive as usual. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I’m hoping it’s nice. St. Louis is known for having weather all over the place. A few weeks ago it was 50 degrees and the very next day it was 95!

  21. Wow, killin’ it even with all the wedding planning ๐Ÿ™‚ I like working online but I am finding that it is anything but passive income. A lot of bloggers talk about how blogging will eventually become passive, but I don’t see how. What do you think?

    1. Thanks Harry!

      Blogging is definitely not passive income, but if you are talented with affiliate income, then it will almost feel like passive income.

  22. Shoeaholicnomore

    Hi Michelle! I’m happy to say that I’m finally caught up on your blog (since I started reading from the beginning to reach current). Glad to see your freelance income is still doing great! Congrats on your upcoming wedding!

    1. Thanks! I can’t believe you read all of that. Hopefully you weren’t too bored! ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Shoeaholicnomore

        I really like to find out the history behind why blogger’s started and what their financial situation was. So no, it wasn’t boring ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Kim@eyesonthedollar

    I would hope you could enjoy life a bit after how hard you worked. I think it’s fine to always look for ways to grow but don’t feel like you have to continue to work 100 hours per week!

  24. Newlyweds on a Budget

    you are doing so great! you are such a success story!

    1. Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Petrish @ Debt Free Martini

    Each month I read about your monthly income and I am always amazed. I can’t even imagine making so much money from a blog. Thanks for the inspiration. I would never ask for a more breakdown of your finances.

    Where’s the fun if you can’t achieve these goals on your own!! Dare to dream, and walk your own path. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much! ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Great job on your monthly income, Michelle! Are you excited for your wedding or are you freaking out???

    1. Freaking out! A HUGE problem happened today AHHH

  27. I totally get it about not revealing too much – people can be so sneaky and mean!!! Side hustle income is growing here, but it still doesn’t feel like it too much b/c we’re still doing serious debt damage control. Can’t wait to hear more about the wedding!!

    1. Glad that your side hustle income is growing. Good job!

  28. You are one of my inspirations Michelle! I have been working hard to grow my technical blog management service, which only deals with technical aspects of blogging. It has been going well and I love it. I can see why you enjoy doing the blog management aspect.

  29. I mean, really? You’re finishing up planning a WEDDING for God’s sake, and you still managed to “squeak by” with that much business income? You. Are. Superwoman.

    1. Hahaaha thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Now that’s a wonderful report and very encouraging indeed! Keep going – you’re doing great!

    1. Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Wow! All that while still dealing with the wedding. You are superwoman! I don’t blame you for not naming your sources as l am quite sure you would totally get stabbed in the back! :0) good luck with the wedding.

    1. Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Thanks Thomas! I’m hoping to start the ebook soon ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Hello! I used to be a financial analyst ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. Haha thanks Michelle!

    And I actually have an article on DiversifiedFinances about budgeting for taxes going live tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚

    I like to just estimate it each month off of how much I made. It’s difficult though, but since I’ve been making almost the same amount the past few months, I don’t think my percentage will be too off at the end of the year.

  35. Holy moly, as always. Especially seeing that YTD number! AND you’re wedding planning? Superwoman, I say, superwoman. I actually find a lot of PF stuff I like on Pinterest through my personal account. It can be done! A lot of it that attracts me is words describing the post included in the graphic.

  36. Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans

    I know you feel like your income should be growing faster but, let me tell ya girl, you are doing absolutely FANTASTIC! I feel like I say this every month but you are so inspirational. I would be very interested in reading an eBook written by you ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Aww thanks Lisa!

  37. Wow, I can’t believe you are getting married this week! I feel like that snuck up really fast. I remember when you announced your engagement! So exciting ๐Ÿ™‚

    You have added a few more websites, haven’t you? Looks like you had a great month.

    1. Yes, it definitely snuck up!

      And I haven’t added any new websites for a few months now. I think the last one I added was in February ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. Nice work, once again. You are brave sharing these details, something I don’t think I could do. Well, mostly because my monthly income is embarrassing compared to this ๐Ÿ™‚

    And only a few days until THE DAY. Congrats again, marriage is flipping awesome. I’ve been married for almost 6 years, still love discovering more about my spouse everyday and enjoying the good times and hard ones. And have a fun honeymoon trip!

    1. Thanks! We’ve been together for 8 years now ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. Awesome to see the great income report again Michelle. I like how you managed to earn some great income from other website doing their social media and website work. Do you happen to have anymore info on this? I want to know more about how you specifically do this and what kind of fees would be best to charge?

    Cheers and keep up the awesome work.

    1. Hello!

      I guess I’m not sure how to exactly answer your question “I want to know more about how you specifically do this.” Are you asking how I started, or what exactly I do? Or are you asking about how I log in to different accounts to manage social media and websites for others

      Determining the fees to charge is something that is hard to do. I would just set an hourly rate or rate per project that you feel comfortable with and go from there. There are VA’s who work for cheap (such as on Fiverr), and then I know others who charge thousands of dollars a month.

      Reply back and I will definitely help out! ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. Thanks! I need to do more research when it comes to keywords. I tend to just wing everything but I need to be more strategic about it all.

  41. Simon Cave

    Great income congratulations! I took a look at your income progression and I am must say that it’s quite impressive.

  42. Sara

    Hey, the earning on managing websites did the websit owners find you or did you find them? if the latter, how did you find them? how many websites do you manage?

    1. Hello Sara,

      The website owners mainly found me because of my blog. If you don’t already have a blog, then I have an article that should help you out if you are interested ๐Ÿ™‚ – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2013/02/how-to-start-a-blog-tips.html

      I manage a few different websites. Some I just manage one little thing (such as approving comments), whereas others I manage the whole entire website and the owner doesn’t do anything.

  43. Nathan

    Nice month, I can’t wait till just one of my sites makes its first dollar! lol