Welcome to March 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 March of 2018?
I earned $241,649 blogging and online in March of 2018, before expenses.
March was another amazing month for the Making Sense of Cents business. In fact, it was my best month ever!
I took part in a big affiliate launch in March of 2018 which helped me to significantly increase my income for the month. My income will go back down to a normal level in April as I don't have any launches that I'm taking part in.
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 there was a great product that I promoted in March that I knew was a great resource.
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.
I plan on adding a new lesson to Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing about my exact affiliate launch strategies (including email templates), which will be available to all current and new students. It may take me a few months to create this new lesson but I know it will be an extremely informative one!
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.
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 $200,000 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, March 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 March 2018 income – $241,649.13
In March of 2018, I earned $241,649.13 from my blogging business. Below is how my income breaks apart in the different business income categories:
- Affiliate income – $187,785.13 total:
- Bluehost (check out my tutorial on how to start a blog) – $36,540.00
- Survey companies – $5,021.50
- How To Work From Home Selling On Amazon FBA – $1,521.35
- ConvertKit – $550.00
- Ebates – $500.00 (estimated, as this is a tiered affiliate program)
- Medianet – $396.13
- Six Figure Blogger – $304.00
- Bookkeeper Business Academy – $262.25
- VIPKid Teach English Online – $250.00
- Teachable – $181.80
- Izea – $164.20
- $5 Meal Plan – $132.90
- Miscellaneous affiliates – $141,961.00 (affiliate promotions that I've been asked not to publicly share the exact figure of for company privacy reasons, as well as some small affiliate earnings are mixed in here).
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course – $30,315.00
- Sponsorships and advertising – $21,000.00
- Display advertising – $2,549.00
The income amount above is for the month of March 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 $10,321.86. After expenses and fees, I earned approximately $231,327.27.
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 March of 2018: $241,649
- Total income in February of 2018: $179,139
- Difference from the previous month: +62,510
- Total in 2018: $535,600
Making Sense of Cents is doing very well and I'm happy with everything.
I'm still working on getting further ahead with more content. We are currently driving the RV to Florida to start looking at sailboats. Once we find and lock in a sailboat, I realize that we will be extremely busy moving aboard that and getting the hang of everything, so being ahead in content is key right now so that I can focus as much time as I can towards #boatlife.
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 – March was a low page view month, 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 include 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 40,000 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:
- I Wish People Would Stop Spreading This Awful Financial Advice
- Would You Consider Living In A Camper To Pay Off Debt Quicker?
- Stop Being Lazy – Why Overpay When You Can Save Money On Insurance?
- Real Life Frugality- 20+ Ways Our Family Of 5 Is Frugal
- Here’s How To Save Thousands For Your Next Vacation
- 8 Reasons I Love Using FreshBooks To Run My Blogging Business
- Your Financial Freedom Checklist
- How We Became Professional House Sitters In Europe & Saved Over $5,000
Featured Question: What should I blog about?
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.
Choosing what to blog about is one of the most common questions I receive.
I completely understand this, though. When starting a new blog, there are so many things to think about. And, deciding what you will be writing about is probably one of the most important choices that you'll make.
There is no right or wrong answer when deciding what to blog about.
Some things that you may want to think about when choosing your blog topic include:
- What are you passionate about? I always recommend that a person first thinks about what they are passionate about. Perhaps it's a sport that you really love, crafts, cooking, managing money, travel, or something else. Whatever it is, blogging about your passion is great because that will show in your writing, and your readers will enjoy that.
- What blogs do you enjoy reading? If you are thinking about starting a blog, I'm assuming it's because you probably enjoy reading blogs yourself. If that's the case, then you may want to think about which blogs you really enjoy spending your time on, and possibly blogging about something that is alike.
- What are you an expert in? Now, you don't need to be an expert in what you blog about (more on that below in the next section), but if you are an expert at something, then this could be a topic that you blog about. There are many great “How To” websites that are successful. People love to learn, and many learn new things through blogs. And, there is probably something you could teach (everyone is an expert at something, but you may not realize that yet!). Think about questions that perhaps your friends and family are always asking you about, topics that you enjoy helping others with, and so on.
- What are you learning about? Like I said above, you don't need to be an expert. People LOVE reading blogs from people who are trying something new. This is because everyone has to start somewhere, and people love following the journey and seeing how something is actually done. So, if you are learning how to make money online, for example, you could start from the very beginning of you trying to make money online and show all of your mistakes, what you've learned, show you trying and reviewing different options, and so on.
You can blog about several topics or you can blog about one specific thing such as personal finance. There are successful blogs in pretty much all topics, and people literally blog about anything and everything. So, if you have an idea for a topic, then go for it!
Yes, your blog can be about anything and/or everything. It's entirely up to you.
Here are some possible blog topic ideas. The list doesn't end here either. Choose one, all, or some. It's all up to you.
- Small business;
- The outdoors;
- Fitness and health;
- Inspiration and advice;
- Personal development, self-care, etc.;
- Electronics; and more!
That's the beauty of having a blog. It can be anything you want it to be.
Should a person be an expert or have a degree in the niche they choose?
Another question somewhat related to the featured question is if a person should be an “expert” in their niche before they start a blog.
I don't think you need to be an expert or have a degree in most cases when it comes to blogging.
I know many personal finance writers with blogs that track the financial mess they got themselves into. They don't have financial degrees but are doing very well for themselves and help many people with their blogs. Many times readers just want to hear from you, follow a real person's journey, read about how a real person made it through a problem, and so on. This is a great example of why degrees are not always needed.
However, if you are wanting to give advice about legal or tax matters where you could get someone in a lot of trouble if you tell them the wrong information, then, yes, you should be an expert.
After you decide what to blog about, your next question may be “How should a person come up with a blog name?” I recommend heading to the featured question here to read my tips for that.
Past featured questions:
- Is 2018 too late to start a website/blog?
- How much does it cost to start a 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?
- 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 2 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. This month, I am going to try to get content finished through June and possibly even July – wish me luck!
- 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 March of 2018, I earned $187,785 in affiliate income, as outlined earlier in this blog income report.
March of 2018 was definitely my best month ever for affiliate income!
I took part in a big affiliate launch in March of 2018 which helped me to significantly increase my income for the month.
I usually don't take part in launches, but I plan on taking part in one every few months. It is a great way to get readers excited about a company and/or product, as well as improve affiliate income.
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 4,700 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 March for you? Are you interested in earning blogging income?
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