How I Made $104,814 In September Working From Home

Welcome to September 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…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: October 19, 2020

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.

How I Made $104,814 In September 2018 Working From Home #workingfromhome #workingonline #incomereport #howtostartablogWelcome to September 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:

  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 September of 2018?

I earned $104,814 blogging and online in September of 2018, before expenses.

September was a great month for Making Sense of Cents and the whole blogging business. I earned a great income and enjoyed my month.

I feel like I’ve been working less and less, and yet income is still staying at a great level, which is a really great feeling. It’s great to know that all of that hard work that I put in throughout the years is paying off, which is allowing me to better improve my work/life balance.

I don’t think I spent more than 10 hours working each week in September, which was nice but I definitely miss working!

I have big plans for the rest of the year, but I need to buckle down and actually start working. I think I’m actually going to get a planner soon and be more organized, haha! Does anyone recommend a good monthly calendar? Something simple – I just need something to organize my months. I’ve just always used my phone, but I’m starting to think that writing it down will be better so that I can see it all without having to click everywhere.

The last few months have seen a similar income level (around $100,000) due to the normal summer blogging slump. It should pick up again sometime around the fall. This is for many reasons such as me just being busier over the last few months (we had visitors almost all of July and August, and we have been away from the boat a lot so far this fall already), as well as the summer months usually just being a little bit slower for personal finance websites.

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 $1,000,000 a year, 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, September was another great month. It was great on all fronts – blogging, course-wise, life, and everything else. The business is doing well and I’m very happy with it. I’ve been catching myself saying “Life is really good” a LOT. And, I truly mean it. Life is really good!

My business is growing, 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 recently. 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 March 2017. You can find all of my income reports here.

Breakout of September 2018 income – $104,814.93

In September of 2018, I earned $104,814.93 from my blogging business. Below is how my income breaks apart in the different business income categories:

Total: $104,814.93

The income amount above is for the month of September and before any fees or expenses (some fees and expenses that lower the amount above total around $4,000 (rounded up), which include virtual assistants, Teachable course platform fee, technical assistance, newsletter expenses, PayPal 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 $4,282. After expenses and fees, I earned approximately $96,532.

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 September of 2018: $104,814
  • Total income in August of 2018: $110,284
  • Difference from the previous month: -5,470
  • Total in 2018: $1,205,129

Sailing in September 2018 – Please follow me on Instagram.

Blog news – 5 Year Self-Employment Anniversary!

Fall marks 5 years since I left my day job to blog full-time!

I cannot believe that it’s been 5 years since I worked at my old day job. In fact, I keep looking at the dates because it just does not feel like it’s been 5 years. In some ways, it feels much longer than 5, and in other ways, it feels like I just started blogging full-time (it’s crazy how quickly life can pass you by!).

In case you are new here, I used to work as an analyst at an investment banking and valuation firm. I chugged along working the 8-5 Monday through Friday and didn’t see myself having a fun future there. I had a stressful job filled with lots of deadlines and responsibilities that just didn’t interest me.

Life is completely different now. I look forward to each and every single day of work – I actually look forward to Mondays now.

So much has changed in the last 5 years as well. Just around 5 years ago, I had just paid off my student loan debt, but still had a mortgage, car loans, and more.

Now, I am financially independent, I can retire whenever I want, I travel full-time, have wonderful friends and family surrounding me, have a great business, and I love life! I thought life was good back then, so that makes me even more excited for the next 5 years.


Anyway, I attended FinCon (a financial media conference) in September, and it was a great time. I will be talking more about FinCon in the Featured Question below.

September was another extremely busy month for us (I can’t wait until I can stop saying that, haha!). We closed on our sailing catamaran in May 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!

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 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 500,000 page views.

Below are several other business and blog-related updates:

  • I am creating a new series where I will help readers with specific financial questions, and tutorials to go along with them. Topics such as: How to open a bank account, How to write a check, Finding an online bank, Building and creating an investment account, etc. What other topics would you like to see me cover?
  • 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 13,000 members!
  • 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:


Featured Question: What are the top things you’ve learned recently?

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. 

I attended FinCon in September, and it is my favorite blogging conference. I have attended 6 times and already bought my ticket for next year.

I learn a lot at FinCon every single year, which is why I love attending.

And, it’s not just the sessions that I am learning from (those are great too!), but it’s from talking to other bloggers, money experts, and everyone else who attends FinCon (they are a very smart bunch).

So, what’s the top thing I learned from FinCon this year?

I learned from FinCon this year that… I just want to blog and it’s okay.

So many people have so many big and amazing goals such as having a talk show, becoming a famous public speaker, having an uber successful multi-million dollar business with tons of employees, and more, but I’ve learned that I’m extremely happy where I am. Don’t get me wrong, these are all great goals and I’m so glad that I’m surrounded by so many amazing people.

I’ve realized, though, that it’s just not for me and it doesn’t align with my goals and the life that I want to live. Success can have so many different forms, and for me, I am deathly terrified of public speaking so I just don’t see that as something I want to do, haha! I also know that I don’t want to run a huge company – I like my small team.

I bring this up because I receive emails all the time from bloggers and readers asking me when I’ll start public speaking, when I’ll start hiring 50 employees, and so and so on. And, I’ve been judged negatively for not doing these things.

While things may, of course, change in the future (and I’m sure they will, haha), right now I just plan on working on what I’m currently working on, and just enjoying the path that I am on.

I think I’m going to talk about this more in its own separate blog post. About how I’m slowing down and enjoying life.

I should say that I still have plenty of ideas that I learned from FinCon such as how to better manage my email inbox. I receive around 1,000 emails a day and I pride myself on the fact that I answer all of them, but it’s getting to the point where I don’t think I can do that anymore due to lack of time and to keep my sanity. Another idea is that I want to start creating more printables for my readers, both for money management and for blogging.

Tell me in the comments: What are you working on? Are you working on working less?

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 less than one month ahead. I’ve definitely fallen behind ever since we got the boat! I plan on using October to catch back up in content and I already have sent several articles to my editor for editing (over 10!). 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.
  • 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 the rest of 2018 and beyond! 🙂


Affiliate income results.

In September of 2018, I earned $65,438 in affiliate income, as outlined earlier in this blog income report.

I have some ideas and plans to improve affiliate income further over the next several months. Soon, we will be done outfitting our sailboat, will be leaving the marina that we are currently at, and will start cruising full-time (sailing and not staying in one place). And, when that happens, internet won’t be as reliable and I’ll be much busier dedicating my life to living on the boat, so being able to earn more passive income will be wonderful.

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 September for you? Are you interested in earning blogging income?

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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. MAK

    New to your blog and thoroughly enjoyed this income report. It gives me lot of motivation.
    Just want to enquire that you have mentioned that you have earned “$44,660.00” from your Bluehost blog. Can you explain it further? Is the number of visitors on your blog generated you this income or the affiliate links on your blog?

    1. It’s listed under “affiliate income.” Is that what you mean?

      1. MAK

        Yeah.. I mean, how can someone be the affiliate to the bluehost?

        1. You just sign up through their affiliate program.

  2. There are a lot of great planners out there! I can’t help with monthly because I prefer a daily. I use the Day Designer Flagship for the calendar year and there is one page for each day of the year. I love it though. I used paper planners for YEARS, went digital around 2013 and then came back to paper in 2018. I’m way more productive now.

    1. I’ll check that one out. Thanks!

  3. Congrats on another great month. September was great for me. I had another record-setting month in eBay sales. I’m focused on rocking these next 2.5 months and growing my business.

    1. Congrats on a great September!

  4. Robin

    Excellent information!! You are a complete success and inspire others!! Thanks you!

  5. Thank you! I will check that one out.

  6. Thanks for your posts, Michelle. I enjoy reading the summaries every month.

    For many years I have used the Franklin-Covey planner. Maybe you are familiar with it. They have several different styles. I like the one with two pages/day. One page is divided into two parts. One space for a “to do” list and the other half of the page you can list appointments by the hour. The facing page is a lined sheet which I use as a daily journal or to take notes.Luddite that I am, I like things written down on paper.

    1. I’ll have to check it out. Thank you!

  7. Hi Michelle,

    Thank you for taking your time to compile this amazing data. With this, you’ve won my heart once more. I’m becoming hopelessly enamored with your blog like I just met it today out of the blue.

    John Eze

  8. BTS

    Another great article! Lots of great information but also very easy to read and understand. Your site layout is very easy to read even from the mobile version. Do you only use a laptop to type or do you use mobile/tablets also? Will blogging under a ghostwriter name hurt my chances of readers?

    1. I just use a laptop but I know others who use their tablet.

      I started out anonymously 🙂

  9. Great Article and it really shows you what blogging can really earn you! Hope I’ll catch up to your level soon😊

  10. Great contents Michelle, you are always so inspiring.

  11. MK@Mompowered Life

    Hi Michelle! Could you share some thoughts on how to get the most out of FinCon for a newbie? Like things you wish you’d known, tried, or participated in the first time you went? My business partner and I will be attending for the first time next year and we are so, so excited!! But since we are new to, well, everything right now, it would be awesome to hear your thoughts! Many thanks 🙂

    Also, I fully support that you are being authentic to yourself with your business. It’s definitely okay not to do what everyone else is. I listened to Paula Pant’s WDS talk yesterday at the gym and she speaks of how essential authenticity is in creativity and business. If you just want to blog, great! Her talk was a nice listen! I also love, love Brene Brown’s work on authenticity. Her book The Gifts of Imperfection is incredible. Hope that helps you in your quest to be true to you!

    1. This is a great idea for a future featured question, thank you!

      Fincon has a newbie orientation at the beginning of each FinCon which I’ve heard is really good. Also, you’ll definitely want to bring business cards, get lots of sleep beforehand (most people at FinCon are awake from like 9am to midnight everyday), and take part in as much networking as you can.

      1. MK@Mompowered Life

        Thanks for these awesome tips, Michelle! Sounds like we will need to arrange some serious childcare 😉 But we’re super excited for the adventure of FinCon!

  12. Awesome report as always. I am forever grateful that you take the time to write everything up like this…and that boat picture is amazing! I made sure to follow you on Instagram recently. 🙂 I think it’s amazing that you are so far ahead in your posting…honestly, I am working right up to the last minute the day of. That’s how I roll, baby!

  13. Jennifer Jank

    Congratulations on 5 years! Seeing how much income can cone from a blog definitely helps me see that it can be done.

  14. Great report again Michelle! The planner I use is the Perfect Project Planner. Helps me keep my business and personal tasks together and track different aspects of my website. It has monthly and weekly pages so might suit your needs! (Disclaimer: I created it for my own needs and now sell it on Amazon! 🤗)
    Anyhow, looking forward to next months report!

    1. Awesome! I’ll have to check it out.

  15. Dallas

    Thanks, Michelle for this report, it has kept me in the blogging game!

    Even your dogs look happy on your new floating home… very inspiring.

    All the best,
    Dallas McCalister

  16. Millionaire Dojo

    Nice going! You are killing it! It’s amazing to me how much one person can make from creating a website. Seems almost too good to be true. Good luck on your goals! Especially being happy 🙂

  17. I made some mistakes last month that messed up my SEO a bit. I was fiddling with nameservers and don’t think I did things right. Ended up temporarily losing my US Alexa traffic rank. But the good news is, I did improve my site bounce rate and visitor retention time. I believe revenues were gained but I’ve yet to check because I’m juggling other tasks such as finishing my degree in marketing and gearing up for the MBA Business program momentarily. So hopefully, I’ll AMP up my content production strategies momentarily so I can get back on track with my evergreen content production and improve my SEO. Other good news is that my global traffic rank only went up 100k which is not much. I’m doing some stuff now to get the numbers down globally and domestically so the “side hustle millionaire” journey can go smooth.

  18. This is very inspirational and motivating. I’m working really hard to create quality and interesting articles for my blog and I’m open for collaborations of any kind.

  19. With respect to the e-mails, have you thought about having Alexis go through them and do a first cut at ones that might just need a quick direct to a specific blog post, or a very standard answer? Then, you could cut down your attention to the ones that need you to “touch” and respond to.

  20. Noel Mades

    Very nice and inspiring Michelle. This is the reason why I always read your blog. I still in the corporate world now. I am trying to have a transition like yours. That is why I started my own blog too.

    Thanks Michelle.

  21. I love reading your monthly income reports! They are always so inspiring!

  22. Emley Catherine

    Aw Yes! The feeling of being able to work from home and taking days off or even just extra time to rest without a change in income is amazing!

  23. This is amazing! You are such an inspiration! I used to read your blog back when you were making just a couple thousand a month and it’s so crazy to come back and see how far you’ve come. Wow!

  24. Hi Michelle,

    I know you must be Amazed that you only work 10hrs./week and can still make this substantial monthly income.

    That is a dream for a newbie like me. I finally started my blog but the bounce rate is high and almost no subscribers yet.

    Your reports are very inspirational and give me the motivation to hang in there. Keep em’ coming!

    And you’re right that Anything is Possible!

    Still trying to be like you when I grow up!

    Stay Awesome! 🙂

  25. Michelle, this is AMAZING. Congrats on your success. So inspiring to read these reports, every time. Keep up the amazing work. xx

  26. Tammy

    Great stuff!! I see you do well with surveys, which sites would you say are the best?

    1. The survey income listed here is under “affiliate income” if you look again. I like Pinecone the most, although there are many other great ones.

  27. Hi I came across your site and have been impressed at how well you have achieved lots of income from affiliate marketing.

    I am new to this and 2 months ago, I started building up my Pinterest account from scratch. As at today, I have over 350K monthly views and 25.5K monthly engagement.

    Don’t know how well I can channel all this traffic to my website and if I can start making any decent income from it.

    Your advise would be highly appreciated.

  28. Susan

    I don’t see Adsense or affiliate links anywhere on here.

    1. Do you mean on my whole blog?