How I Made $114,812 In January Blogging

Welcome to January’s business income report where I show you how I made money online last month. It’s time to look at this month’s update and see how I did. If you’re new to Making Sense of Cents, you may be wondering why I would want to publish my income report each month. You can simply skip…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: April 6, 2024

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.

Welcome to January’s business income report where I show you how I made money online last month. It’s time to look at this month’s update and see how I did.

If you’re new to Making Sense of Cents, you may be wondering why I would want to publish my income report each month. You can simply skip to the next section if you’re not new here.

This all started out as my extra income report because, in the beginning, it was all about the money I was earning from my side jobs. In my side income reports from the beginning, I included all of the income I made except for what I made at my day job.

However, I left my day job as a financial analyst in October of 2013 and now my monthly income reports consist of the many ways I earn a living.

Many have asked why I would ever want to publicly post my income each month. Some think I’m crazy, whereas some are glad I’m open about what I’m doing. Whatever you think, I enjoy publishing my monthly online income reports and I share them publicly for three main reasons:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Lastly, I like to show others that making side money is possible and that there are many legitimate ways to make money from your home. If you are looking for information on the many ways to make money online, I published the article Monthly Income Report Roundup that showcases many successful bloggers who are kind enough to share their income with the public each month.

I know I say this every month, but it’s the truth. Life is great now that I’m my own boss and a full-time blogger. I look forward to each and every day and it’s a wonderful feeling. I truly love waking up every single morning.

Above are just a few of the reasons for why I enjoy publishing my monthly income reports. I like to show others that you don’t have to hate your job and hate your life. You can make changes to your life and make money in a way that allows you to truly enjoy the life you are living. I’m not saying that you have to LOVE your job, I’m just saying that your job should, at least, allow you to do what you like to do outside of work (whether that be spending time with loved ones, painting, hiking, etc.).

How was business income in January of 2018?

I earned $114,812 blogging and online in January of 2018, before expenses.

January was yet another great month for the Making Sense of Cents blogging business.

I spent around 10 days of the month on vacation in the Bahamas (as well as getting there and back), barely working, so I definitely say this was a big WIN!

Being able to take a nice vacation and still earn a living because all I need is my laptop is the best thing ever.

February is looking amazing already as well (I am estimating revenue over $180,000) and March (I won’t be surprised if this is the month where I finally break $200,000 – I have big plans for this month!) is looking even better. So, it will definitely be a great 2018 from what I can already tell.

But, my biggest goal for the year is to still improve my work-life balance. I’m getting better and better, but I’m still nowhere near perfect.

Currently, I am working on creating my next blogging-related product to sell, which will be about how to earn money through sponsored posts on a blog. You can sign up for the waitlist here.

EDIT: November 23, 2018 – Making Sense of Sponsored Posts is available! Learn how I made my first blogging income, and how I’m now making $10,000-$20,000 a month with sponsored partnerships!

Anyway, to get back to my monthly income…

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.

As you can see, January 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 the next year, 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 as I had many new students join the course last month. It’s still not showing any signs of slowing down – and this is still without any guest posts, webinars, etc.

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.

This chart only goes back to June of 2016. You can find all of my income reports here.

Breakout of January 2018 income – $114,812.66

In January of 2018, I earned $114,812.66 from my blogging business. Below is how my income breaks apart in the different blogging income categories:

Total: $114,812.66

The income amount above is for the month of January and before any fees or expenses (some fees and expenses that lower the amount above total around $5,000 (rounded up), which include virtual assistants, Teachable course platform fee, technical assistance, newsletter expenses, PayPal and Stripe transaction fees, etc., however, this does not include taxes) being taken out. I also had expenses for the affiliates promoting my course, which totaled $5,586.65. After expenses and fees, I earned approximately $104,226.01.

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.

Comparisons and 2018 business income total:

  • Total income in January of 2018: $114,812
  • Total income in December of 2017: $126,260
  • Difference from the previous month: -$11,448
  • Total in 2018: $114,812

Blog news 

Making Sense of Cents is doing very well and I’m happy with everything.

Wes is currently on a long sailing trip – he left in January and at the time this is published, he will still be gone. He is currently on a 2,500 mile sail from Les Sables, France to Croatia.

While he is gone, my plan is to use all of my extra free time to work like crazy! I hope to be around 3 months ahead in content by the time he gets back. Currently, I’m around 1.5 months ahead. I think I can meet my goal.

If I can be even more ahead in evergreen content, the better. This is because the spring and summer months are usually busier for us, as we travel more places (the weather is much nicer in many more places in the US outside of winter). Plus, we may start looking for a sailboat, so that’ll take up a lot of time too. Due to that, I want to be as ahead as I can so that I can have a good work-life balance.

I am still brainstorming some sort of personal finance product to create and sell on Making Sense of Cents. What would you like to see from me? I have a few products that I’ve brainstormed on the blogging side, but I’m really wanting one product that I launch in 2018 to be on the finance-side. Please leave some comments below to help me brainstorm!

Overall, traffic for the month was around 550,000 page views.

Below are several other business and blog-related updates:

  • My sister started as my virtual assistant in July of 2017. It is going very well. Some of the tasks she is in charge of are adding Pinterest photos to both new and old 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.
  • My community group for Making Sense of Cents is continuing to grow. 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 almost 10,000 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. 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 37,000 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.

Just a quick note before we continue. I 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:

Featured Question: What are your biggest blogging mistakes?

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. 

Let me start out by saying that all bloggers make mistakes. I’ve made tons of mistakes and I still make mistakes to this day. It’s all about learning from your mistakes and improving for the future.

Here are the top mistakes that I have made:

  1. I started on Blogger instead of WordPress. I started off blogging on Blogger, and that was a huge mistake. Blogger actually shut down my blog at one time, for no reason at all. I begged for it back and they gave it back, but I’ve heard that was extremely lucky. After that, I switched to self-hosted WordPress and I’ve been 1,000,000 times happier. Plus, being self-hosted is much better and much more professional, so I’m glad I made the switch to being self-hosted.
  2. I tried to do everything myself. It actually wasn’t until somewhat recently when I decided to start outsourcing some tasks. I now have an editor (I don’t have her edit my income reports, so there are probably a lot of errors, sorry!), a virtual assistant, and I hire out for lots of small tasks too, such as printables and technical management.
  3. I wrote a lot of short, unhelpful articles. In the very beginning, I wrote a TON. But, they were all very short blog posts. Making Sense of Cents, in the beginning, was just a hobby, so my blog posts were just brain dumps and didn’t really have a point. Now, each of my blog posts are anywhere from 1,500 to 5,000+ words.
  4. I watched my Google Analytics like a hawk. After I made the switch to WordPress, I finally installed Google Analytics. When that happened, I started stalking my numbers and would refresh the Google Analytics page all day long. This led to a lot of wasted and unproductive time!
  5. I didn’t have an email list. For years, I skipped the newsletter/email list thing. I thought it looked hard and too time-consuming. Boy, that’s probably one of the blogging mistakes I regret the most! I now have around 80,000 email subscribers, and I just only started taking my email list seriously in 2016. I can’t imagine where my email list would be if I would have started it in 2011 when I created Making Sense of Cents.

Well, there you go. Above are my mistakes and I hope you don’t make them too. What have been your top blogging mistakes? Share in the comments below.

Past featured questions:

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:

  • Get at least three months ahead on Making Sense of Cents posts. I am currently only 1.5 months ahead but I have plans to change that over the next few months. 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.
  • 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 2018.
  • Create two more products to sell. In 2016, I created Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, and that has completely changed my life and my business. I want to create two more products to sell in 2018 so that I can continue to diversify my income. I have some plans in store and I’m excited to finally start creating more products!
  • Grow to 150,000 email subscribers. I’m hoping to see at least 150,000 email subscribers by the end of 2018.
  • Work less than 40 hours per week. For the most part, I am working less than 40 hours per week. However, there are some weeks when I spend all day and night on the laptop, not even sure where the day went. Due to that, I would like to continue to work on a better work/life balance.
  • Have fun. Okay, so this isn’t really a goal that is quantifiable or something that I’ll track, haha, but I am really looking forward to 2018! 🙂

Affiliate income results.

In January of 2018, I earned $60,643.66 in affiliate income, as outlined earlier in this blog income report.

January was another great month for affiliate income.

I just finished a big affiliate launch for the Work at Home School Summit and I did very well. I earned five figures and won both the optin contest and the sales contest that the affiliate launch had. I will be talking about this more in February’s income report (as the actual sale happened the first week of February). I prepped for it in January, though, and spent a lot of time crafting emails to send out to my subscribers. The Summit did amazingly well and I’m so happy I could be a part of it!

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 4,000 people enroll in 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 January for you? Are you interested in earning blogging income?

How To Start A Blog Free Email Course

Want to see how I built a $5,000,000 blog?

In this free course, I show you how to create a blog easily, from the technical side all the way to earning your first income and attracting readers. Join now!

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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. This is amazing!! So excited to see what you end up accomplishing this year. I am amazed at how much you have been getting down since your husband has been gone!

  2. caren

    Love your income breakdowns, Michelle. I’m curious if you would ever consider sharing your blog expenses as well? it would be interesting to see how much it costs you to run your operation!

    1. I share my expenses in every income report ๐Ÿ™‚ Do you not see that or are you referring to something else?

      I also have shared them in more detail here – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2017/09/the-products-and-services-i-use-to-make-a-successful-million-dollar-blog.html

  3. Bernz JP

    Congratulations on such amazing accomplishments! You’re right about work-life balance. It really is all about balance in everything that we do. Stay healthy, keep on blogging and enjoy life. You’re such an inspiration.

  4. Canโ€™t wait to take and become an affiliate of your sponsored posts course!! I know nothing about sponsorships. Congrats on a great month!!

    1. Haha I really need to start working harder on that course!

  5. Matt

    These reports are both encouraging and amazing to hear. I’m excited for you that you are doing so well and loving the job you get to do! I am curious however, are your monthly expenses fairly consistent or do they fluctuate significantly? I am starting my own blog with a dream of it becoming a tool to help reach FI sooner than later, but those expenses seem outlandishly high!

    1. My expenses are pretty consistent. You can see my expenses in every income report.

      But, my expenses will be higher because I am earning more. I have to pay more in PayPal and Stripe transaction fees, I outsource more than a brand new blogger, etc.

  6. You crushed it Michelle!

    Adam took one of your courses and I’m working on our latest affiliate website currently from the ground up. It’s a blast and we love having these income reports as a reference. The breakdowns you do are great!

    Last month our income report was at $130 but we expect once we do the big launch of our new Affiliate website, that will help. =)

    Thanks for sharing!
    -Andrew (& Adam)

  7. Hey Michelle,

    I was sitting here thinking to myself a person would have to be an absolute fool to not believe you’re making that kind of monthly income from blogging and affiliate marketing alone. I know for myself you’re doing those number because I’m in sales and marketing and dedicated to the internet. I’m proud of you for staying the course from your humble blogging beginnings in 2011 and taking that risk from your cushy job to a risky side hustle. Would love to interview you someday about your blogging ventures and the associated struggles. Keep up the good work my friend. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. DNN

        You’re welcome. Glad to support you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. So inspiring! I love your goals and how you keep pushing yourself and your blog to grow!

  9. Hi Michelle,

    I’d love to be interviewed for the interview section of your blog. I’ve taken your affiliate marketing course and it changed my life, I managed to sell my house and travel pretty much full time now. I even flew from the UK to the US for FinCon and could only afford it thanks to the tools you taught us alongside the inspiration and motivation from income reports like this one.

    I’m trying to break the 25,000 sessions for Mediavine (I keep getting so, so very close) and hopefully being part of your blog could help me achieve this.

    I’ve left my email on the form for you.

    As for the income report this month. Seriously? You are smashing it!
    Keep up the amazing work and here’s to $200,000!

    Cora

  10. Great article and I like how you break down all the income sources. You asked for financial product ideas. I would love to see something about plug ins for ad network ads. I’m not sure if it’s really financial, but time management, doing the high pay items first, for bloggers short on time would interest me.

    1. I’m not sure if I understand what you’re saying. Can you explain further?

  11. Congrats! Everyone has to start somewhere ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I’m in awe! You’ve done amazingly well and appear to effortlessly pivot and refine your strategies.

    Hoping you get on top of the work life balance and get some relaxation in.

  13. Another great month! But it’s great to hear that your life balance is getting better.

  14. Natasha

    One word – Inspirational!

  15. So inspiring Michelle! Blogging wasn’t the full time income I needed, I ended up creating that this past year in another business. But I still love blogging and communicating ideas this way. Thanks for all the fantastic information you share!

  16. Kicking a@@ Michelle! Keep up the good work. I’m looking forward to the $200,000 month report.

  17. Goals!! Way to go, Michelle! I’m about halfway through EBA and love reading your income reports to stay inspired and motivated! You are well on your way to a $200,000 month and I have no doubt that you will reach it. I love that you are doing so so well, and still make goals for improvement. I’m just getting started with affiliates and can’t wait to take your course!

  18. Ashish Kumar

    Wow
    First of all big Congrats.
    People like you who give hope to someone like me who is starting.
    Actually the thing is which hurts the most and it is all because of my stupidity. I started a blog back in 2011 and we were making a progress and that time I was in college.
    Then when I got the job I could make the time to move forward with the blogging and it died. If I had not been that stupid. Maybe just a little could have done something better.
    Anyways I am kinda restarting the blog and looking at these reports motivates me.

    I also noticed that there is no Adsense income. Do you heavily rely on affiliate or Adsense is not that good?

    I also want to monetize my blog. What do you think would be the right time to do it? Should I make respectable number of visitors first or should I start now

    1. I use Adthrive for my display advertising.

    2. Amanda (CrunchyHippieLife)

      Monetize now and you will have less โ€œcatch upโ€ to do later. Michelle talks about this in her course – start with your affiliates and make money now! I didnโ€™t know what I was doing when I first started, so I have over 100 old posts still to go through and add links. Donโ€™t be me! Start yours out the right way. Michelleโ€™s course is great for that.

  19. Hey Michelle.

    This is really impressive.

    keep up the good work

  20. Kelly

    As a new blogger, this is the type of post that I aspire to write one day. Thank you for the information and, more importantly, the inspiration!

  21. DNN

    Good morning my friend Michelle,

    Just had to double back to this inspiring blog post and thank you a million times over for being a true side hustle entrepreneurial inspiration to everyone across the internets. You’re Iron-clad proof that there is more than job security in blogging and affiliate marketing. Whatever you do my friend, please don’t change anything. Keep everything the same and just be yourself. I look forward to supporting you years to come and promoting your blog posts on DNN. Hopefully, I can interview you sometime this year and build a sustainable business relationship with you. Thank you for all you do! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Erika

    You are truly an inspiration Michelle! Thanks

  23. Godson

    Your blog is really inspiring. You got me motivated . Thanks

  24. Great work! This is really inspiring me to work harder as well. Hope to break $1000 a month on Adsense this year. Thanks again & keep it up ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Chris

    Wow! This is impressive. I had no idea that this much money could be made monthly just by blogging and affiliate sales. I just started my blog and I hope that someday I can share the same numbers that you presented.
    Thanks for the encouragement

  26. Saurabh Ankush

    Oh Wow! You are such an inspiration for me. I am a new blogger, and learn a lot from your blog. Your income reports are best! and too much informational. Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Jacqueline Rose

    Thank you so much for sharing this!! I know this post is from a few years ago, however, I truly appreciate the transparency. I just started my own blog, Life by Jacq, and I’m so excited to watch it grow.