Welcome to September 2017'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 September of 2017?
I earned $113,267.08 blogging and online in September of 2017, before expenses.
September was yet another great month for the business. I have been working less than 10 hours a week, and I also had a virtual assistant start in July which has made work even more enjoyable because I now have my VA completing the tasks that take up a lot of my hours every day.
The business has been running very smoothly on its own lately with minimal work from me. It's nice to know that the upfront work that I do helps me to earn an income later, while allowing me to enjoy what I do and have more time for other things.
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.
It's been an odd feeling finally having a 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.
Anyway, to get back to my monthly income…
This makes September my ninth consecutive month with income over $100,000. I never thought that I would ever earn over $100,000 a month, especially with a blogging business, and it's crazy to think about how I earned over $100,000 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 it 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, despite minimal hours worked, was due to 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 60,000 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 September of 2017, I had over 80,000. 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, September was another great month. It was great on all fronts – blogging, course-wise, life, and everything else. 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 September 2017 income – $113,267.08
In September of 2017, I earned $113,267.08 from my blogging business. Below is how my income breaks apart in the different blogging income categories:
- Affiliate income – $54,590.08 total:
- Bluehost (check out my tutorial on how to start a blog) – $37,100.00
- Survey companies – $5,971.25
- Become a Pinterest Virtual Assistant – $2,703.60
- Flourish With Facebook Ads – $2,129.60
- Ebates – $1,000.00 (estimated, as this is a tiered affiliate program)
- How To Work From Home Selling On Amazon FBA – $904.90
- Bookkeeper Business Academy – $522.75
- ConvertKit – $480.83
- Student loan refinancing – $450.00
- How I Grew My Facebook Page From 2,000 to 100,000 in Five Months – $272.00
- $500 Savings Challenge – $270.00
- MediaNet – $256.50
- Izea/SponsoredTweets – $ 235.15
- $5 Meal Plan – $210.30
- Pinterest Strategy Guide – $181.20
- Miscellaneous affiliates – $1,902.00 (private affiliate promotions that I'm not allowed to share, as well as some small affiliate earnings are mixed in here).
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course – $36,509.00
- Sponsorships and advertising- $20,050.00
- Display advertising – $2,118.00
The income amount above is for the month of September 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 $17,953.15. After expenses and fees, I earned approximately $91,313.93.
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 September of 2017: $113,267
- Total income in August of 2017: $135,110
- Difference from the previous month: -21,843
- Total so far in 2017: $1,162,987
Making Sense of Cents is doing very well and I'm happy with everything.
There weren't any big changes in September, as it was a month packed full of travel and moving the RV a lot, so I focused more on life instead of work. October will probably be fairly similar too, due to us being “home” for the first time in around one year. We plan on spending a lot of time with friends and family! Plus, me and Wes are both in a wedding (I'm a bridesmaid and Wes is a groomsman), so we have some fun wedding-related activities while we are here.
Recently, I made the much needed switch to HTTPS. In August, I received a message from Google saying that Making Sense of Cents would start showing a “Not Secure” warning on my blog, along with many other websites that aren't running on HTTPS with an SSL certificate. It's a change I've been just passing over and not really thinking about. However, with this new message, I knew I finally just had to get it over with.
So, I hired Grayson (I use this genius to complete all tech-related things for my business). He was able to do it quickly, and affordably. I definitely recommend hiring him to complete this very important task for you.
I switched from Shareaholic to Social Warfare Pro due to making the switch to HTTPS, so that I could keep my social media numbers. I don't know why I didn't make that switch sooner because I already like Social Warfare Pro 1,000 times more than what I used to have.
Overall, traffic for the month was around 400,000 page views.
Below are several business and blog-related updates:
- My sister started as my virtual assistant in July and at the time of this writing, she has now been my assistant for almost three months. It is going very well. Some of the tasks she is in charge of are adding Pinterest photos to older blog posts here on Making Sense of Cents, helping manage the Facebook groups I run, scheduling social media posts, and more. This helps free up more of my time so that I can create more products, reach more readers, and most of all, have an even better work-life balance.
- I am thinking about adding some sort of group coaching session to my business sometime in the future. While I used to do individual coaching, my time was limited. Group coaching would allow me to help more people and to also create a great support group for bloggers.
- 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 7,000 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. Other interviews I already have in the works include a great debt payoff story, a family (including a baby!) who live in a van full-time and run a business, 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 around 30,000 people have already signed up. Thank you, everyone, for the kind emails about how great the course is. Glad everyone is enjoying it!
- 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 in the next month or two.
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:
- My Complete List of Monthly Expenses for a Multi Million Dollar Blog
- This Successful Entrepreneur Went From Welfare To Earning Millions – Interview with Kimra Luna
- How To Make Extra Money By Renting Out Your RV
- How I Grew My Blog from $0 to $17,000 per Month in a Year as a Stay at Home Mom
- Reaching Early Retirement Through Dividend Growth Investing
- Does Confusion Lead To People Saving Less?
- Create a Life You Don’t Need To Escape From
- Should you go on vacation if you have debt?
Featured Question: What are typical blog expenses?
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.
Blog expenses vary from person-to-person. For the most part, though, a blogging business can be started very affordably.
To run a successful blogging or online business, your expenses may be different from mine. And, you definitely don't need to spend a lot of money with a new blog – I certainly wasn’t in the beginning.
In fact, besides blog hosting, I really didn't spend anything on Making Sense of Cents in the very beginning.
When I first started my blog, I spent almost NOTHING on blogging expenses. I probably went a few years where I was only spending about 1%-2% of my revenues on blogging expenses (less than $100 a month many months).
Now that I am earning a great living from my blog, I am spending a little more of my monthly income on blogging expenses.
My expenses are still very low, as I am currently spending less than 5% of what I earn each month on expenses.
Remember that every blog and business is different. Part of being successful is finding what works for you and your business.
Some of my business expenses include:
- My computer. Since I began my blog six years ago, I believe I've only had two laptops (including the one I have today), and they have both been Macbook Airs.
- The actual blog: design, hosting, etc. Hosting can be found through companies such as Bluehost for less than $100 per year.
- When I’m on a podcast, I use this microphone – Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone.
- Courses, guides, and ebooks. I believe that in order to be a successful blogger and to learn new ways to make money blogging, you will need to invest in learning new strategies, such as through ebooks, webinars, courses, and more. Some of my recommended blogging tools and resources include: Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, 21 Strategies I Used to Increase My Monthly Page Views from 17k to 400k+ in 10 Months, Facebook Strategies Worth Sharing, and more.
- My email (newsletter) list. I pay $439 a month for up to 65,000 email subscribers with Convertkit. It's expensive but well worth it. If you have a smaller amount of email subscribers, you'll pay less. I believe their cheapest package starts at $29 per month.
- Virtual assistants, editor, and technical assistance. I outsource tasks to a few different people and they make running a business much easier!
- Taxes vary from person to person, and I as mention in every single one of my business income reports, it ends up being somewhere around 30% for me. Remember, though, that doesn't mean it will be the same for you.
You can learn more about the different expenses I have for my business in My Complete List of Monthly Expenses for a Multi Million Dollar 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?
- 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?
- Did you start your blog to make money?
- Do you mind sharing a detailed list of what processes you have with new blog posts?
- How should a person come up with a blog name?
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 $1,500,000 from my business in 2017. This is a new goal that I just adjusted 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. BUT, after looking over my June income report, I have realized that I was very close to this goal for 2017 already, so I increased it. My goal for 2017 is to now earn $1,500,000. It will be a tough goal, and I look forward to beating it! I've changed it a few times this year now after tracking my progress – a task I recommend because it can keep you motivated to succeed with your goals.
- 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 quite a nice work-life balance compared to just a few months ago, I know that there is always room for improvement.
- Be around three months ahead on Making Sense of Cents posts. I am currently only around one month ahead in content. I fell behind due to me being lazy this summer. I would like to be around 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. This will definitely take me some time to get to!
- 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 around 1,000,000 monthly page views by the end of 2017. I do not see this happening this year, but I have been able to significantly grow my email list which makes me very happy.
- Do as many live interviews as I can, 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 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. In the last few months I have completed several podcasts and video interviews. I am planning on taking most of October off though because we will be back “home” visiting family.
- 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 recently I have been seeing, at least, 1,000+ 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 September of 2017, I earned $54,590.08 in affiliate income, as outlined earlier in this blog income report.
September was another great month for affiliate income and I didn't spend more than one hour on my affiliate marketing strategies for the whole month. 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 do plan on creating more affiliate-specific articles on Making Sense of Cents. Perhaps, around one a month so that I can start reviewing products and companies more closely that many of you have been asking me about.
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 3,300 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 September for you? Are you interested in earning blogging income?
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