Welcome to April 2019's business report where I show you how I made money online and traveled full-time 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 business report each month.
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 business reports consist of the many ways I earn a living with my business.
Many have asked why I would ever want to publicly talk about what I'm working on 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 business 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 business blogging 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 blogging reports as a way to track how I've done and it helps to keep me accountable.
- 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.
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.).
Quick reminder on the recent announcement.
I want to repeat the announcement again because I have been asked – How I Made Over $1,500,000 In 2018 – Is This The End Of Income Reports? so that no one is confused. I'm sure I'll receive many questions from readers who missed it.
As you all know, for quite some time I have been thinking about getting rid of my monthly income reports. However, whenever I would mention this in an income report, 99.9999999% of you asked me to continue on. Due to that, I want to find a happier way to continue with them.
Now, these will be “Business Reports” where I talk about how the business is doing, my goals, etc. Basically, everything will be the same, except there will be fewer numbers.
Instead of breaking my income apart down to the exact figure, I am including a pie chart. Many of you asked that I still do this so that you can see where income is coming from.
If you’re looking for actual numbers, I did publish income reports for several years that talked about how much I earned from specific sources. You can find every single income report here.
I really don't think too much will change. Instead, I want these monthly reports to be more helpful, instead of focused on just the numbers. I will still be answering reader questions, talking about what I'm working on, and so on, so I still think these will be extremely beneficial.
Many of you have asked “Did your blogging income drop after getting rid of the numbers in your income reports?”
It's only been a couple of months since I decided to stop publishing the exact numbers in each income report, and I also definitely do not know what direction I'm going with these still.
Many of you have wondered if my income has dropped because I'm now no longer showing readers exactly how much I am earning.
I was curious too to see if this would impact my earnings at all.
Well, after just a couple of months, traffic appears to be the same, and email subscriber growth is the exact same as well.
Most readers have completely understood me wanting to get rid of the numbers aspect of income reports, which has been nice!
So, it doesn't look like it will change anything at all.
If there's anything new that you would like me to add to these monthly reports, please let me know in the comments below!
How was business income in April of 2019?
In case you are new, the main areas I earn a living from include:
- Affiliate Marketing – This is the largest chunk of my income.
- Sponsored Partnerships
- Courses – Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course and Making Sense of Sponsored Posts
- Display Advertising – I use Adthrive. Another great option is Mediavine. If you are a new blogger, then another option to check out is Media.net.
I regularly earn over $100,000 a month blogging, and I have earned over $5,000,000 from my blogging business total over the years.
Check out How I Successfully Built A $1,000,000+ Blog for all of the different ways you can make money through a blog.
April of 2019 was another great month for Making Sense of Cents and the whole blogging business. I earned a great income and enjoyed my month.
I have many plans for the rest of 2019, and I have a jam-packed to-do list that I am very excited to start crossing off and accomplishing.
Some of the things that I plan on doing in order to grow Making Sense of Cents include:
- Focusing on SEO. I will be taking an SEO course soon from start to finish, in order to start growing Making Sense of Cents in this area. I tried a few years ago, but stopped. While I get decent traffic from SEO without much effort, I do think this area can be a great way to further grow my website.
- Learning about Pinterest and Facebook advertising. I would like to use social media advertising to grow traffic as well as to grow my email list.
- Adding a shop. I would like to create a shop for Making Sense of Cents, where I sell products such as printables.
- Creating new optins. I don't have many optins for my email list, and haven't added a new one in quite some time. This is currently on my to-do list so that I can reach new readers and gain more subscribers.
The month was great in many areas – blogging, course-wise, life, and everything else. The business is doing well and I'm very happy with it. My business is doing well, I have a lot of ideas for the year, and I am very excited about everything. I really love my business and I don't know where I would be without it.
Below are some of my 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
- How I Made Over $1,500,000 In 2018
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.
April wasn't a bad month, but most of the month was spent working on the boat, getting warranty items addressed, modifying things, and so on. As you can see from the picture above, we hauled our boat out of the water, and that is me standing in front of it.
In May/June, we will be sailing our boat from Fort Lauderdale, through the Keys, and to St. Pete. We were going to go up the east coast, but quite a few things have come up and we just don't have the time to dedicate to go up the coast, along with several other reasons (such as the fact that boat repairs/additions took a LOT longer than we thought).
Don't worry, though, we have an exciting summer loosely planned and we will be going back to tropical waters once hurricane season is over. If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know the news. And, I will be sharing all about it in a blog post soon!
Work-wise, April was full of a lot of work. Since we weren't sailing the boat, I had a lot of time to work on the blog when we weren't working on the boat.
But, I still have a ton of work to do, and I am hoping to catch up in June, which I'm fairly certain that I will be able to do.
Below are several other business and blog-related updates:
- I'm currently less than one month ahead in blog posts. I would like to be around 2-3 months ahead.
- Traffic for the month was over 400,000 page views.
- I am working on a 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?
- 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 14,000 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 50,000 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.
- Other freebies I have include 10 Easy Tips To Increase Your Affiliate Income and 8 Easy Tips To Make Money From Sponsored Posts On Your Blog.
Popular new posts on Making Sense of Cents last month:
- How To Earn Money Blogging: Your Top Questions Answered
- How Amanda Paid Off $133,763 In Debt in 43 Months
- Is Full-Time Traveling As Good As It Sounds?
- The Most Important Money Lessons I Learned From My Dad
- Is Paying Off Your Debt Worth It?
- 10 Easy Road Trip Snack Recipes
- Save Your Money And Avoid A Storage Unit
Featured Question: What products can I promote on my 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.
Are you wondering what companies and items you can promote/sell/advertise on your blog through affiliate marketing, and sponsored partnerships?
Luckily, the list is pretty much endless.
No matter what topic you are blogging about, there are probably many, many items you can advertise on your blog to your readers. And, a lot of the products that you use in your everyday life are included!
I've heard from numerous bloggers that they cannot find affiliate programs for the specific niche that they are in.
Well, let me tell you, you're not looking hard enough (or, even at all) if you can't find any affiliate programs.
Nearly every niche has affiliate programs, and there is an affiliate program for the majority of products that are out there. Most products will have affiliate programs, so the list is endless.
To find the specific affiliate programs mentioned below, they may be linked directly, you may have to find them within an affiliate network (such as Shareasale or Awin), click on “Affiliates” or something similar within the footer, and so on. If you're not in my affiliate marketing course, you may want to purchase it because I teach you exactly how to find affiliate programs and how to get approved to them as well.
Here are some affiliate programs that you may want to look into according to your niche:
- Finance and Money Affiliate Programs – IGain, $5 Meal Plan, Ibotta
- Parenting/Family Affiliate Programs – Grove Collaborative, The Container Store, Wayfair, Hello Fresh, My Freeze Easy
- Travel Affiliate Programs – Airbnb, CheapFlights, Expedia, World Nomads, REI
- Crafts/DIY Affiliate Programs – Fabric.com, Shutterfly, Scrapbook.com, Etsy
- Food/Recipe Affiliate Programs – Graze, Thrive Market, Gluten Free Cooking School, Eat Drink Paleo
- Healthy Living Affiliate Programs – Mindvalley, Vitamix, Hello Fresh, Ultimate Bundle
- Beauty Affiliate Programs – Julep, Sephora, Ulta
- Blogging and Business Affiliate Programs – Ultimate Bundle, Convertkit, Freshbooks, Teachable
As you can see, there are many, many affiliate programs for each and every niche to choose from. And, many of the above can be applied to different niches – you don't have to put yourself in a box! For example, I am an affiliate for all kinds of products, from finance, to blogging, to work at home, to travel, to food, and more. If you enjoy a product, there is probably an affiliate program for it.
If you're interested in affiliate marketing, then I recommend taking Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. In this course, I list out over 80 possible affiliate programs for different niches, I teach you exactly how to apply for affiliate programs (and get approved for them!), the affiliate income strategies you need to implement so that you can earn passive income on your blog, and more.
- Is it too late to start a blog in 2019?
- Where do you find photos for your 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 by 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?
- What are easy affiliate programs for new bloggers?
- 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?
- How do you deal with a blogging slump?
- What's the best topic to write about so that I can make money blogging?
- How can a blogger build relationships and network?
- How do you come up with ideas for new blog posts?
- What are the top things you've learned recently?
- What's your next favorite way to make money blogging?
- Can a new blogger start with sponsored posts?
- Did you ever think you would earn this amount of income?
- If blogging is so great, why doesn't everyone do it?
My plans and goals for my blog and my business.
We have a crazy May planned. We'll be finishing up work on the boat, traveling to see family quite a few times, and sailing the boat from Fort Lauderdale to the Keys, and then to St. Pete.
I'm also hoping to get a lot of work done.
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:
- Complete the Facebook Ads For Bloggers course. There are two courses that I am really wanting to finish so that I can continue to grow Making Sense of Cents. Learning about Facebooks ads is so important and I think I will benefit from this course a lot.
- Complete the Stupid Simple SEO course. This is the second course. SEO is something I just have never really spent much time on, so I know that this course will be extremely helpful!
- Get to Inbox 0. After several months in the Bahamas, my inbox is out of control. I also have around 5 or 6 different to-do lists that are work, life, and boat-related that need to be addressed before I go crazy, haha!
- Create a freebie optin for affiliates to share for Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I have been asked by several affiliates for this, and I'm glad to finally start working on it! This is a great thing to do because my affiliates can easily promote my course with this freebie optin, and then be credited for future sales. For me, as an affiliate for other products, freebie optins are usually the very first thing I promote (as well as my favorite) because it's a great way to introduce an audience to a new product/service/company.
- Get at least three months ahead on Making Sense of Cents posts. Being ahead in blog posts makes life much more enjoyable because I can focus on other things knowing that the majority of my writing work is already done. This is one of my major 2019 goals!
- Work less than 30 hours per week. For the most part, I am working less than 30 hours per week. However, there are some weeks when I spend all day and night on my laptop, not even sure where the day went. Due to that, I would like to continue to work on a better work/life balance.
- Be more present. My main goal in 2019 is to be more present, and I recently wrote about it here – My Quest To Be More Present And Enjoy Life More. I’m excited for the year of travel and sailing we have ahead of us, and I want to enjoy it as much as we can. I’ve been so focused on the business the last several years, that I want this year to be focused on life outside of business. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE running Making Sense of Cents, and that’s what makes it so hard to break away and be more present outside of work.
- 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 2019!
Affiliate marketing results.
Affiliate income was at a normal Making Sense of Cents level in April of around $50,000.
Some of the things I am working on to improve my affiliate income include:
- Planning out 2019 for affiliate offers. I'm not really much of a huge planner, but I am changing that in 2019. I already have affiliate promotions planned out for almost all of 2019. This will help to keep me organized and better prepared.
- Learning about SEO and applying techniques to my blog. This past guest post has me super interested in starting to take SEO seriously – The exact template that helped my site earn $95,000 in affiliate income last year.
- Using Facebook ads to my affiliate marketing advantage. This past guest post also has me interested in growing in this way as well – How One Blogger Grew His Blog to Over 2 Million Visitors In A Year.
- Creating a high-quality funnel. Funnels are something that I have never really spent any time on, but I would like to change that. I want to create a high-quality funnel where I continue to give valuable information to my readers, and keep them happy for the times when I may not have the greatest wifi.
- Continuing to grow the reach of Making Sense of Cents. Traffic has been a little stuck lately, and I want to change that! I want to see what I can do to grow the traffic, as that will help me to reach new readers.
- Analyzing popular affiliate blog posts to see how they can be improved for the future.
- Seeking out new affiliate products to promote, and seeing what my audience is interested in.
Earning affiliate income is something that I'm extremely grateful for, especially lately. We have been so busy lately and I haven't spent as much time on 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.
If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing, I recommend getting the free guide 10 Easy Tips To Increase Your Affiliate Income. With this time-saving cheat sheet, you'll learn how to make affiliate income from your blog. These tips will help you to rapidly improve your results and increase your blogging income in no time.
I also have a course too!
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 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 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.
Sponsored partnership results.
April was another great month for sponsored partnerships. That is because the first few months of each year is usually a popular one for financial blogs. Page views are up and readers are interested in improving their finances due to making new annual goals.
Due to this, I formed new sponsored partnerships with a few financial companies in the first and second quarter of 2019.
For some reason, sponsored blog posts and sponsored social media ads seem to scare bloggers, whether they are brand new or have been blogging for years.
What do I charge? How do I find companies who will want to work with me? What are the rules?
There are SO MANY QUESTIONS when it comes to sponsored posts.
It makes sense – sponsored partnerships are something that probably 99.9% of bloggers want to pursue, but the problem is that they have no idea where to start.
I started Making Sense of Cents in August of 2011, at the age of 22, without any hopes of ever earning an income from it. It started as a hobby – just a way to journal my life and talk about my personal finance situation.
Then, around six months after I started my blog, a blogger friend of mine connected me with an advertiser and I earned $100 from that advertisement.
It wasn't a lot of money, especially considering the amount of time and work I had already put towards my blog. However, it was very motivating to see that something I absolutely loved to do could actually make money. I honestly had no idea that blogs could even make money when I started mine!
After that first $100, my blogging income quickly grew.
I now charge, on average, around $5,000 per sponsored post.
You can learn more about sponsored partnerships in my free guide 8 Easy Tips To Make Money From Sponsored Posts On Your Blog.
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