Welcome to April'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 April of 2017?
I earned $131,448.35 blogging and online in April of 2017, before expenses.
As many of you know, one of the big things I've been working on lately is managing a better work-life balance.
And, I am doing MUCH better lately. In fact, in the month of April, after writing articles for Making Sense of Cents, I found myself only working a few hours each day.
I will say that it's been an odd feeling finally having work-life balance more under control. I feel like I'm forgetting things and thinking that I must be doing something with my time that I must not be realizing.
However, this is just a better work-life balance. I'm no longer wasting time and I'm much more efficient. And, I'll be going over this in a blog post in the next month or two.
Anyway, to get back to my monthly income…
This makes April my fourth consecutive month with income over $100,000. 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 $130,000 last month alone.
While my income levels 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 I've been working on lately:
- 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 50,000 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 April of 2017, I was already at 64,000. 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, April was another great month. It was great on all fronts – blogging, course-wise, life, and everything else.
I'm very excited for the year. 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:
“Since taking Michelle's course 5 months ago, my page view average has been 36,715 but my affiliate marketing income has grown from an average of $272.94 per month to $4,400.19 per month. That’s more than 1,500% growth! Within just 5 quick months, I’ve made more than $21,000 directly from the affiliate marketing tips in this course…. I made more than $10,000 in just March 2017 alone! Low page views is not an excuse for low affiliate marketing income. You don’t have to struggle to earn a few dollars a month. Invest in yourself & get educated to start building your business right away. Let Michelle show you how an expert does it!” – Saira Perl, Blogger, MomResource
And these as well:
- 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 April 2017 income – $131,448.35
In April of 2017, I earned $131,448.35 from my blog. Below is how my income breaks apart in the different blogging income categories:
- Affiliate income – $62,492.35 total:
- Bluehost (check out my tutorial on how to start a blog) – $37,665.00
- Survey companies – $10,009.25
- Bookkeeper Business Academy – $1,604.00
- How To Become a Pinterest Virtual Assistant – $1,086.70
- Ebates – $1,000.00 (estimated as this is a tiered affiliate program)
- Student loan refinancing – $750.00
- Budgeting For Budget Haters – $663.00
- How To Work From Home Selling On Amazon FBA – $483.95
- Uber – $420.00
- How I Grew My Facebook Page From 2,000 to 100,000 in Five Months – $412.00
- Personal Capital – $400.00
- Izea/SponsoredTweets – $399.00
- ConvertKit – $323.80
- PrettyLink – $304.88
- $5 Meal Plan – $232.50
- MOTIF Investing – $230.00
- Make Money Proofreading By Becoming A Freelance Proofreader – $208.80
- Haute Chocolate – $142.50
- Amazon – $102.97
- 17 Strategies Used to Go From 17K to 350K+ Page Views in 9 Months – $100.00
- Ibotta – $50.00
- Digit – $40.00
- Miscellaneous affiliates – $5,864.00 (I had a launch earlier in the year which I'm not allowed to share the exact earnings from, as well as a few other products that I sold as well during the month).
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course – $54,273.00
- Sponsorships and advertising- $12,200.00
- Display advertising – $2,483.00
The income amount above is for the month of April and before any fees or expenses (some fees and expenses that lower the amount above total around $4,200 (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 $5,680.50. After expenses and fees, I made approximately $121,567.
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 business income total:
- Total income in April of 2017: $131,448
- Total income in March of 2017: $130,856
- Difference from the previous month: +592
- Total in 2017: $561,748
Making Sense of Cents is doing very well and I'm happy with how everything is going.
Overall, traffic for the month was around 415,000 page views.
Below are several blog-related updates:
- I finally started a community group for Making Sense of Cents. This is a Facebook group in which you can seek advice from other readers on all sorts of topics such as finance, blogging, travel, running a business, and so on. There are already over 5,000 members!
- I created a new series on my blog where I interview extraordinary people who are doing interesting things in life. First, I interviewed JP, who retired at the age of 28 with a net worth over $2,000,000. In April, How This Couple Paid off $204,971.31 in Debt went live. Other interviews I already have in the works include a landlord under the age of 30 with 8 rentals, a full-time sailing couple, full-time RVing couple, and more. I'm extremely excited about this new interview series! If there's anyone you would like me to interview, please leave a comment and let me know.
- I released my How To Start A Blog FREE Course. 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 20,000 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, I also 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.
Just a quick note before we continue. I recently created a time-saving cheat sheet that can help you increase your affiliate income. Sign up below!
Popular new posts on Making Sense of Cents last month:
- How I Successfully Built A $1,000,000+ Blog
- How To Spot Work From Home Job Scams And Avoid Them At All Costs
- How This Couple Paid off $204,971.31 in Debt
- 9 Lessons I Learned From Traveling Around the World
- Great Financial Lessons My Dad Taught Me – Money Doesn’t Have To Make Your Life Miserable
- How To Camp For Free, Even In Beautiful and Desirable Places
- 56% Of Americans Have Less Than $10,000 Saved For Retirement
Featured Question: How can I build a successful blog?
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.
One of the most popular questions I receive is “How can a person create a successful blog of their own?”
Luckily, I talked about this last month in How I Successfully Built A $1,000,000+ Blog. However, I still receive the question so I wanted to quickly summarize that article in this featured question for everyone to see.
Blogging has completely changed my life.
Blogging has allowed me to take control of my finances and earn more money. It means I can work from home, travel whenever I want, have a flexible schedule, and more! It’s all because I learned how to make money blogging.
And, you can create a successful blog too.
Here are my tips to start your own successful blog:
- Be passionate about blogging. While everyone won't agree with this, I do believe that being passionate about blogging, or what it allows you to do outside of blogging (such as if your blog allows you to travel more), will help you to more easily create a successful blog. There are a lot of tasks and responsibilities that go into running a high-quality blog, which means it’s quite easy to spend 100 hours a week working on it. This is why being passionate about what you are doing is so important.
- Have a plan. Creating a plan allows you to lay everything out in front of you. This way, you’ll know what you’re working towards and know what to do next. To create a plan, here are just a few of the many questions you’ll want to ask yourself: What will your blog be about? How will you make money from your blog? How do you plan to grow your blog and reach more and more readers? What goals are you working towards?
- Only publish high-quality content. No, you don't need to be an expert on a subject nor do you have to have a degree, but you do need to be knowledgeable or interested in what you are talking about. This will show in your writing and actually help your readers.
- Network as much as you can. Many bloggers see other bloggers as competition, and this is a bad thought for a blogger to have. Networking can help you enjoy blogging more, learn new things about blogging, learn how to make money blogging, make great connections, and more. If you want to make money blogging like I have done, then you will want to network with others! After all, networking is how I earned my first $100 through my blog.
- Learn as much as you can. There is a lot to learn when it comes to blogging, and it changes nearly every single day. There are always new things to learn, algorithms that change everything, and more. Due to this, you'll want to be on top of your blogging education – taking new blogging courses, reading as much as you can, joining helpful blogging-related groups, and more.
- Create an email list on day 1. To make money blogging, you'll want to create an email list starting on day 1. I waited a few years and this was a huge mistake! Building an email list is important because your email list is all yours. Unlike social media sites, your newsletter and email subscribers are all yours, and you have their undivided attention. You don't have to worry about algorithms not displaying your content to readers, and this is because they are your email subscribers. You aren't fighting with anyone else to have them see your content. Plus, I believe that email newsletters are the best way to promote an affiliate product. Your email subscribers signed up to hear what YOU have to write about, so you clearly have their full attention. Your email list, over any other promotional strategy, will almost always lead to more income and sales.
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?
- What are some affiliate program ideas for different niches?
- What blogging ebooks and courses do you recommend?
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 2017 as quickly mentioned above. This is an area that I have been doing much better with. 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. Even just a day would be nice! 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 (May of 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 recently 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. Just the other day, I did 4 podcast interviews in one day, and I have a few others planned for May and June as well.
- 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 would like 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 am not currently working on any ebooks or courses. What are some good ones right now that you're taking?
Affiliate income results.
In April of 2017, I earned $62,492.35 in affiliate income, as outlined earlier in this blog income report.
April was lower for affiliate income, as expected because I didn't have any major plans to promote affiliate product launches. Instead, it was nearly 100% passive affiliate income (which is my favorite form of affiliate income) and reliant on old content here on Making Sense of Cents.
I didn't publish a single affiliate-related blog post in April, so it just goes to show how passive affiliate income can be!
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 2,200 people purchase the course, and I'd love to have you as a student as well!
In the course 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 April for you? Are you interested in earning blogging income?