Welcome to February’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 February of 2017?
I earned $160,211.27 blogging and online in February, before expenses.
This makes February of 2017 my highest income month so far for my blogging business and it was a great month all around. I never thought that I would ever earn over $100,000 a month, especially through a blog, and it’s crazy to think about how I earned over $160,000 last month alone.
While my income levels now are high, I do want everyone to remember that I started at $0 a month and have grown my income to where it’s at now through a lot of hard work.
Before you think that $100 or even $1,000 is out of your league, you should remember that it is not!
I, myself, used to think that it would be great to one day earn $1,000 online and through my blog. I looked up to many bloggers who were earning over $10,000 a month, and I thought that was impossible.
Now, I’m here to show everyone that it is possible! Through hard work and dedication, you never know where life may lead you.
This great business income month was because of a few different things that happened and that I’ve been working on lately:
- I helped promote a friend’s course launch on an affiliate income basis, and this helped me earn five figures just from the five days that the course was open for sale. I don’t usually promote products heavily through a launch because I favor a more passive income source of affiliate income, but this is a great course so I wanted to help promote it.
- 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.
- 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 over 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 the year with 38,000. At the end of February of 2017, I was already at 53,000. 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.
As you can see, February was another great month. It was great on all fronts – blogging, course-wise, life, and everything else.
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.
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 $2.75 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 February 2017 income – $160,211.27:
In February of 2017, I earned $160,211.27 from my blog. Below is how my income breaks apart in the different blogging income categories:
- Affiliate income – $100,151.27 total:
- Bluehost (check out my tutorial on how to start a blog) – $49,970.00
- Survey companies – $13,187.25
- MOTIF Investing – $1,472.00
- Ebates – $1,000.00 (estimated as this is a tiered affiliate program)
- How To Work From Home Selling On Amazon FBA – $599.40
- Bookkeeper Business Academy – $515.87
- How I Grew My Facebook Page From 2,000 to 100,000 in Five Months – $486.00
- Personal Capital – $400.00
- Uber – $360.00
- $5 Meal Plan – $227.70
- Make Money Proofreading By Becoming A Freelance Proofreader – $220.00
- Learn How To Create A Profitable Ebook With Abby Lawson – $150.00
- ConvertKit – $145.20
- Digit – $135.00
- 17 Strategies Used to Go From 17K to 350K+ Page Views in 9 Months – $130.00
- Amazon – $101.35
- Ibotta – $100.00
- 30 Days Or Less To Freelance Writing Success – $98.00
- Izea/SponsoredTweets – $62.50
- Miscellaneous affiliates – $30,791.00 (I had a big launch the last few days of February for an affiliate product and the first few days of March as well, but this income is only from the launch earnings in February, as well as a few other products that I sold as well in February.)
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course – $44,051.00
- Sponsorships and advertising- $13,500.00
- Display advertising – $2,509.00
The income amount above is for the month of February and before any fees or expenses (some fees and expenses that lower the amount above total around $4,000 (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 $9,712.50. After expenses and fees, I made approximately $146,498.77.
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 February of 2017: $160,211
- Total income in January of 2017: $139,233
- Difference from the previous month: +20,978
- Total in 2017: $299,444
Making Sense of Cents is doing very well and I’m happy with how everything is going.
There are three things I’m thinking about (in no particular order):
- I’ve been debating continuing to publish income reports. If you find them helpful, please let me know in the comments below. If there’s something you’d like me to start adding to my income reports as well, let me know that too. I really just want to make sure that my income reports are helpful. I still find reading other people’s income reports and business updates helpful, but I want to make sure that others do too.
- I’m thinking about lowering the number of blog posts I publish this summer. I am thinking about going down to 1-2 posts a week, instead of my current 2-3 a week. This will only be for the months of June, July, and August. The summer months are usually slower for blogs due to everyone enjoying the nicer weather and their summer vacations. By lowering the amount I am posting this may help me to have a better work-life balance during the summer so that I can enjoy the months more as well.
- I’m thinking about increasing the amount that I spend on advertising on Facebook and Pinterest, and overall investing in the blogging business more. As you can tell each month, my blog business expenses are quite low. I want to start investing more in the business, such as through advertising so that I can reach new readers, and improve website traffic, subscribers, and income.
My feature in Forbes from January is still bringing in some traffic and I’m still loving it. You can read my feature here – How This 27 Year Old Made Nearly $1,000,000 in 2016.
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 for the month was around 520,000 page views. Referral traffic decreased last month, but that was expected since January is usually the best month for financial websites. 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 blog-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 15,000 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 sometime this spring.
- 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! I am also currently testing out a new unlimited internet option through AT&T, which should help me save money. For right now, I have both Verizon and AT&T, but I plan on changing that in the next few months after I figure out which one is better.
Popular new posts on Making Sense of Cents last month:
- 15 Reasons You’re Broke And Can’t Save Money
- 50 Easy Ways To Save Money – Start Saving Thousands Each Year
- How To Make Money By Becoming A Cooking Instructor
- The 7 Money Mistakes That Shaped My Life
- The Power of Meal Planning – 6 Reasons Meal Planning Will Change Your Life
- How Melissa Made $40,000 In One Year Flipping Items
- 43 Extreme Things People Have Done To Make Money
- Stop Comparing Yourself To Others And Live Your Own Life
- 7 Lessons I Learned From My Short Sale
- How To Travel On A Budget And Still Have The Time Of Your Life
Featured Question: What are some affiliate program ideas for different niches?
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.
After last month’s Featured Question (What are easy affiliate programs for new bloggers?), some of you asked me for the top affiliate programs in other niches.
I’ve heard from numerous bloggers that they cannot find affiliate programs for the specific niche that they are in.
Well, let me tell you, you’re not looking hard enough if you can’t find any affiliate programs.
Every niche has affiliate programs, and there is an affiliate program for the majority of products that are out there. Most products will have affiliate programs, so the list is endless.
To find the specific affiliate programs mentioned below, they may be linked directly, you may have to find them within an affiliate network (such as Shareasale or Awin), click on “Affiliates” or something similar within the footer, and so on. If you’re not in my affiliate marketing course, you may want to purchase it because I teach you exactly how to find affiliate programs and how to get approved to them as well.
Here are some affiliate programs that you may want to look into according to your niche:
- Finance and Money Affiliate Programs – IGain, $5 Meal Plan, Tradeking, TurboTax, Ibotta
- Parenting/Family Affiliate Programs – Grove Collaborative, The Container Store, Wayfair, Educents, Hello Fresh, My Freeze Easy
- Travel Affiliate Programs – Airbnb, CheapFlights, Expedia, Booking.com, World Nomads, REI
- Crafts/DIY Affiliate Programs – Cricut, Craftsy, Fabric.com, Tiny Prints, Scrapbook.com, Etsy
- Food/Recipe Affiliate Programs – Graze, Thrive Market, Food Blogger Pro, Gluten Free Cooking School, Eat Drink Paleo
- Healthy Living Affiliate Programs – Raw Till Whenever, Mindvalley, $5 Meal Plan
- Beauty Affiliate Programs – Julep, Sephora, Ulta
- Blogging and Business Affiliate Programs – Ultimate Bundle, Convertkit, Freshbooks, Teachable
As you can see, there are many, many affiliate programs for each and every niche to choose from. If you enjoy a product, there is probably an affiliate program for it.
If you’re interested in affiliate marketing, then I recommend taking Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. In this course, I list out over 80 possible affiliate programs for different niches, I teach you exactly how to apply for affiliate programs (and get approved for them!), the affiliate income strategies you need to implement so that you can earn passive income on your blog, and more.
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?
- What are easy affiliate programs for new bloggers?
My plans for my blog and my business.
Plans and goals can help you 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 new goal for 2017. 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 (March 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.
- 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 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.
Affiliate income results.
In February of 2017, I earned $100,151.27 in affiliate income, as outlined earlier in this blog income report. This is my best month ever for affiliate income and I’m extremely happy about it.
I don’t expect it to be this high in April of 2017, as I had one main launch for an affiliate product that was only for sale for a few days between February and March as discussed above.
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 1,600 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 $500,000 from a single blog post
- How to correctly pick affiliate products to promote
- The steps to increase your conversion rate
- 80+ Affiliate program ideas for different niches
- 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 February for you? Are you interested in earning blogging income?
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