Welcome to May 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 May of 2018?
I earned $136,807 blogging and online in May of 2018, before expenses.
May was a great month for Making Sense of Cents and the whole blogging business. I earned a great income and enjoyed my month.
I think the next few months will most likely see an income level lower than this (most likely around $100,000), and then it should pick up again sometime around September. This is for many reasons such as me just being busier over the next few months as well as the summer months usually just being a little bit slower for personal finance websites, in general. I talk about the summer blogging slump in detail in the Featured Question below.
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 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 was supposed to launch this earlier in 2018, but since we found the boat sooner than expected, I haven't had much time to work on it. Things should become more “normal” with the boat soon, which means that things may start to slow down (they won't slow down completely but that's just #boatlife for ya!).
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.
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, May 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 May 2018 income – $136,807.97
In May of 2018, I earned $136,807.97 from my blogging business. Below is how my income breaks apart in the different business income categories:
- Affiliate income – $50,664.97 total:
- Bluehost (check out my tutorial on how to start a blog) – $34,220.00
- Survey companies – $8,093.50
- Six Figure Blogger – $3,873.00
- How To Work From Home Selling On Amazon FBA – $596.50
- ConvertKit – $518.66
- Ebates – $500.00 (estimated, as this is a tiered affiliate program)
- Credible Student Loan Refinancing – $450.00
- Bookkeeper Business Academy – $368.75
- VIPKid Teach English Online – $270.00
- $5 Meal Plan – $199.56
- Miscellaneous affiliates – $1,575.00 (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 – $67,069.00
- Sponsorships and advertising – $16,500.00
- Display advertising – $2,574.00
The income amount above is for the month of May 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 $11,519.21. After expenses and fees, I earned approximately $120,288.76.
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 May of 2018: $136,807
- Total income in April of 2018: $104,065
- Difference from the previous month: +32,742
- Total in 2018: $776,472
Making Sense of Cents is doing very well and I'm happy with everything.
May was an extremely busy month for us, moving from RV life onto a boat. We closed on our sailing catamaran mid-month and have been working on something boat-related the majority of pretty much every single day. Things will slow down eventually, but there is definitely a lot of stuff to do when you buy a boat and move onto it!
It was a crazy month, which meant that not much work was done on the business.
And, I know that the craziness of living on a boat has only just started. Due to this, I'm working on getting further ahead with more content. I realize that we will be extremely busy moving aboard 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.
Overall, traffic for the month was around 400,000 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 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:
- How we went from $0-$10,000/month blogging in less than a year
- How This Couple Retired at 38 and 41: An Interview With OurNextLife
- 6 Actions To Take To Find Your First Customers When No One Knows You
- 29 Money And Life Lessons I’ve Learned
- Editing And Writing Strategies That Will Take Your Content To The Next Level
- Tricks To Get More Done In Less Time
- 37 Crazy and Creative Strategies To Pay Off Debt From Real People
- 10 Delicious Summer Lunch Ideas
- Why I Love Living In A Vehicle
Featured Question: How do you deal with a blogging slump?
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.
The summer is a great time to start a blog. You can start to prepare for the busier blogging season of fall and winter, write articles in advance, brainstorm for your blog, and work in sunnier weather.
However, if you've been blogging for years, then you may be experiencing a summer blogging slump.
Many people look forward to the summer months – vacations, picnics, BBQs, camping, spending time outside, and more. For some bloggers, though, this may also mean lower traffic and lower earnings due to readers being busy.
Of course, all blogs are different. Some may experience higher traffic than usual in the summer, but others may experience lower traffic. Whatever your case may be, usually blogs have a “slow” time throughout the year. So, whether your slow time is in the spring, fall, winter, or summer, what I'm talking about in today's Featured Question can be applied to you as well.
For some, a summer blogging slump is what is experienced. For me, I know that is true. The summer months are when people are usually less likely to be on their laptops and online, and instead are outside more often.
A summer blogging slump can be difficult for some to experience, as it can completely kill your motivation to blog. A slump can make you feel like your income has dropped off the face of the earth, and you may wonder if your income will ever return.
I know so many people who get extremely stressed whenever they feel a slump, such as a summer blogging slump. However, I want you to know that this is all just normal! A business most likely isn't going to be increasing day after day, month after month, and year after year. You may have slower months, and you may have crazy amazing months.
Here are my tips for handling a summer blogging slump:
- Relax. A blogging slump is completely normal. You should relax and realize that it's not the end of the world. Traffic and income will rebound, and you need to keep reminding yourself of that.
- Think past the summer. Since summer may be slow for you, I recommend looking past that and work on projects that may start in the fall, winter, and even later down the line. As you probably know, there is almost always something that needs to be done when it comes to blogging, so I'm sure you can find something else to take up your time.
- Start and finish projects that you may have been putting off. I'm sure you have a list of things that you've been wanting to do, but perhaps haven't had the time. Well, the summer can be a great time to do those tasks that you may have been putting off for later! You may want to finally finish taking that online course that you purchased, create new opt-ins, optimize your articles for SEO, go through your popular articles and update them, improve old articles for better monetization, take new pictures, update dated Pinterest pins, write blog posts for well into the future, write guests posts, start thinking about your blogging plans for the rest of the year, pitch podcasts and websites for interviews, and more.
- Diversify your income. Now is a great time to find ways to diversify your blogging income. If you find that traffic has dropped and your income has as well, then you may be too focused on a specific type of income. You may want to create more products, diversify your traffic, and diversify the way that you actually earn your income (sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, etc.).
- Enjoy yourself. Many people who experience a summer blogging slump simply take the majority of the summer weeks or months off. Yes, they'll still publish new articles and post on social media, but they will take vacations, work shorter days, etc. and enjoy their summers more.
A summer blogging slump is nothing to worry about. Keep pushing forward, improving for the future, and remember to enjoy your summer as well!
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?
- What should I blog about?
- How can I learn how to use social media for my blog?
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 one month 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.
- 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 May of 2018, I earned $50,664 in affiliate income, as outlined earlier in this blog income report.
Earning affiliate income is something that I'm extremely grateful for, especially lately. We have been so busy the last several months and I haven't spent as much time towards the business as I would normally like.
Even though I am spending less time on the business, I am still earning a great income each month and this allows me to focus on a better work-life balance.
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 5,000 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 May for you? Are you interested in earning blogging income?
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