Welcome to February 2018'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 2018?
I earned $179,139 blogging and online in February of 2018, before expenses.
February was another great month for the Making Sense of Cents blogging business. In fact, it was my best month ever!
I took part in the Work-At-Home School launch in February, and that earned me $48,751.90. I won both the optin contest and the sales contest for this affiliate launch. I prepped for it in January, and spent a lot of time crafting emails to send out to my subscribers. The launch did amazingly well and I'm so happy I could be a part of it!
I usually don't participate in launches as I am a bigger fan of a more passive income strategy (such as linking to affiliate products within blog posts), but the Work-At-Home School is such a great resource and it was created by a friend of mine, so I knew that it would be successful.
I have plans to take part in more affiliate launches this year, as I've been neglecting my email list and I feel like this is a great way to help my email list reach their goals (such as working from home, managing their money better, finding valuable products/services, etc.), and it's a great way to earn an income as well.
March is looking amazing already as well and I am estimating revenue over $200,000.
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. My goal is to work less than 10 hours a week over the spring and summer months.
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.
I'm constantly asked what my recommendation is for my favorite overall blogging course, and that is Elite Blog Academy. This course can help you start a blog from the very beginning – from forming your blog structure, creating content, growing your traffic, monetizing, and turning your blog into a successful business. The doors open TODAY, so I recommend checking it out now! If you're on the fence, EBA founder Ruth Soukup will be offering a free live training webinar and Q&A session this week. In it, she’ll be sharing the four simple steps every blogger needs to take to create massive success for your blog, as well as answering any questions you may have about blogging and Elite Blog Academy.
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, February 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 this 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.
Breakout of February 2018 income – $179,139.02
In February of 2018, I earned $179,139.02 from my blogging business. Below is how my income breaks apart in the different blogging income categories:
- Affiliate income – $102,277.02 total:
- Work-At-Home School – $48,751.90
- Bluehost (check out my tutorial on how to start a blog) – $40,880.00
- Survey companies – $6,095.00
- Bookkeeper Business Academy – $837.25
- How To Work From Home Selling On Amazon FBA – $795.59
- Ebates – $500.00 (estimated, as this is a tiered affiliate program)
- ConvertKit – $463.80
- Student loan refinancing – $300.00
- VIPKid Teach English Online – $240.00
- Finance Your Detour – $239.40
- Six Figure Blogger – $198.50
- $5 Meal Plan – $152.58
- Miscellaneous affiliates – $2,823.00 (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 – $43,224.00
- Sponsorships and advertising – $31,500.00
- Display advertising – $2,138.00
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 $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 $7,550.80. After expenses and fees, I earned approximately $166,588.22.
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
- How I Made $1,536,732 In 2017
Comparisons and 2018 business income total:
- Total income in February of 2018: $179,139
- Total income in January of 2018: $114,812
- Difference from the previous month: +64,327
- Total in 2018: $293,951
Making Sense of Cents is doing very well and I'm happy with everything.
Wes went on a long sailing trip in January and most of February, and I used that time to work like crazy. I managed to write around three months of content and I am hoping to finish a few more in March so that I can focus on other projects during the spring and summer.
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 are starting the sailboat shopping process, 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 400,000 page views. And, this is why I always say that page views don't determine your blogging income – February was one of my lowest page view months, yet it was my best income month ever.
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 over 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 38,000 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:
- How To Side Hustle- Answers To The Most Common Side Hustle Questions
- Don’t Compare Your Beginning to Someone Else’s Middle
- Change Your Life By Becoming A Frugal Freak – 11 Ways To Be More Frugal
- Retiring Early: Is Early Retirement For The Crazy and Boring?
- How to Make Money Self-Publishing Short Romance Novels on Amazon
- How Elizabeth Reached Financial Independence by 32 And Moved To A Homestead
- What Traveling Full-Time For 3 Years Has Taught Me
- Our Financial Detour: How Budgeting Freed us to Follow our Dreams
- How a New Blog Grew Traffic 10,000% in 6 Months, A Must-Read For New Bloggers
Featured Question: How much does it cost to start a 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.
Starting a blog can be done quite affordably.
When I first started Making Sense of Cents, I spent almost nothing on blogging expenses. In fact, I believe I spent less than $100 my first year – and that was all on blog hosting and getting a domain name. Through my How To Start a Blog tutorial, you can start a blog for less than $100.
Of course, there are different things that you can purchase to make blogging a little easier, or you can just do everything yourself.
I did everything myself in the beginning, including creating my own website design.
Now, 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, I probably went a few years where I was only spending about 1%-2% of my revenues on blogging expenses. Now, my expenses tend to be around 5% to 10%.
Do you need to spend that much?
No, not at all. Or, you may decide to spend more. It all just depends on you and what you want to do with your own business.
Some of my expenses include:
- My computer
- The actual blog: design, hosting, etc.
- Courses, guides, and ebooks
- My email (newsletter) list
- Virtual assistant and editor
- Technical management (I spend less than $100 a month on this)
- Transaction fees (as your income grows, your transaction fees will grow too since they are a percentage of your income).
And, let me repeat, to start making money from a blog, you do not need to spend money on all of these things. In my first year of blogging, I spent less than $100 total for the whole year!
As you grow, though, you may decide to spend more just to make your life easier and so that you can continue to grow and earn a higher income – which is what I do.
Learn more about my expenses at My Complete List of Monthly Expenses for a Multi Million Dollar Blog.
Past featured questions:
- Is 2018 too late to start a website/blog?
- 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?
- 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?
- How can a blogger make more money around the holidays?
- How do you keep track of accounting and taxes for your business?
- What are your biggest blogging mistakes?
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 around 3 months ahead. 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. While Wes (my husband) was in Europe for a month, I used that time to write like crazy and get ahead in content. It was definitely a very productive February.
- 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 20 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 February of 2018, I earned $102,277 in affiliate income, as outlined earlier in this blog income report.
I think February of 2018 was my best month ever for affiliate income!
What's even better is that I think March of 2018 will beat this!
I finished a big affiliate launch for the Work at Home School Summit in February and I did very well. I earned five figures and won first place for both the optin contest and the sales contest that the product launch had. The launch did very well and I'm so happy I could be a part of it!
I do have one more big affiliate launch that I'm promoting over the next month that I'm excited about. And, that is Elite Blog Academy (it just opened TODAY and is for sale just this week only).
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 4,500 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 February for you? Are you interested in earning blogging income?
How To Start A Blog FREE Email Course
In this free course, I show you how to create a blog easily, from the technical side (it's easy - trust me!) all the way to earning your first income and attracting readers. Join now!