Welcome to May’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.).
A 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.
How was business income in May of 2019?
In case you are new to this blog, 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.
May 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. I am wanting to grow Making Sense of Cents in many areas – income, readers, more helpful blog posts, and so on.
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 advertising 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 for the first year (a $15 value) through my Bluehost referral 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.
May was a great month!
We got our van, did a little shakedown road trip in it and visited family, and then returned to the boat. At the end of May and into early June, we sailed from Fort Lauderdale, stopped in the Keys, and then continued our sail to St. Pete. It was an amazing sail and one that we won’t ever forget.
I found our first night sail last year to be fun, but nerve-wracking. This year, though, it was completely different. I love sailing at night, seeing all of the stars from the ocean, having dolphins swim with us (we had dolphins swim with us for 6 hours straight on this sail!), and the peacefulness of it all. We had a great passage and I couldn’t be happier right now.
I also got a ton of work done, and caught up on the tons of emails and messages that I received while we were in the Bahamas. It was a successful month, but I still have a ton of work to do to catch up on my to-do list.
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:
- Living On A Boat – The Good, The Bad, And The Beautiful
- How To Make $1,000 Extra With Facebook Each Month
- 15 Outdoor Jobs For People Who Love Being Outside
- 10 Easy Freezer Meal Recipes
- 30 Money And Life Lessons I’ve Learned In The First 30 Years Of My Life
- How We Paid Off Our $223,000 House By The Time We Were 30 (Yes, We Have Kids!)
- Money And Relationships: Are You On The Verge Of Calling It Quits?
Featured Question: How can I get the most out of a blogging/writing/media/industry conference?
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.
There are many conferences coming up, and if you are a blogger and/or in the media space in some way, you may be thinking about attending one.
Networking is so important, especially so if you are a blogger (and pretty much most career choices that exist).
Bloggers should be open to making friends with others who are in media/blogging/writing/etc., attending blog conferences, sharing other writer’s content with their readers, and more.
However, I believe that many bloggers skip this area, which can hold you back if you want to earn money blogging. Many bloggers see other bloggers as competition, and this is a bad behavior for a blogger to have.
Networking can help you enjoy blogging more, learn new things about blogging, learn how to make money blogging, make great connections, and more.
Attending networking events in person is great because that’s usually where you can build blogging connections with others. I attend Fincon every single year. Even though it’s mainly for financial bloggers, it’s a great conference for bloggers in pretty much any niche because the conference topics can be applied to many different types of blogs. For example, there are experts from all types of online niches to teach you how to improve your blog in so many different ways.
So, how can you get the most out of attending a conference? Here are my tips:
- Bring business cards. Some may say that business cards are outdated, and others love them. Either way, I think that bringing them can be a great way to meet new people. And, it’s so simple and affordable to make business cards. So, do it! This will be a great way for those that you meet to find you after the conference is over.
- Have an elevator pitch. You’ll probably meet many people to network with, including other bloggers, advertisers, collaborators, and more, so you’ll want an elevator pitch. This will be a quick statement that summarizes who you are, what you do, what you’re hoping to get out of the conference, and so on.
- Attend the sessions. I’m sure one of the big reasons that you’re attending the conference is to learn, and the sessions at conferences are usually great! I really love FinCon due to the amazing speakers that they always have, for example. I know that I will always learn something.
- Attend the parties, dinners, breakfasts, interviews, etc. Just as important as the sessions are all of the events that happen at a conference. I always make sure to attend as many as I can. I usually say yes to everything that I can fit in – whether that be a podcast, meeting, Youtube interview, dinner, etc. – I’m going!
- Have fun! I want you to realize that you aren’t the only one who is nervous to attend a conference. I like to joke that most bloggers are introverts, which is why we like to work online! But, the truth is that conferences can make all kinds of people nervous. You just need to throw yourself out there, meet new people, attend sessions and events, and enjoy your time.
Do you attend blog/media conferences? Which one are you going to next?
- Is it too late to start a blog?
- 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?
- What products can I promote on my blog?
My plans and goals for my blog and my business.
We have a busy June planned. We’ll be getting more work done on the boat (that’s one of the reasons for why we decided to come back to St. Pete – some modifications from work done last year need to be made), traveling to see family, and getting the van outfitted for our future travels.
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! I’m hoping to finish the above course and this one by the end of July.
- 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 May of around $60,000.
I promoted one affiliate launch, but the rest was passive affiliate marketing on Making Sense of Cents. It was an easy product to promote as it is something that I believe in.
I am always looking to improve my affiliate income, though. 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.
May was an average month for sponsored partnerships. That is because the first several months of each year are usually popular for financial blogs.
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.
Are you interested in earning blogging income?
How To Start A Blog FREE Email Course
In this free course, I show you how to create a blog easily, from the technical side (it's easy - trust me!) all the way to earning your first income and attracting readers. Join now!
Subscribe to our newsletter to receive regular updates and get access to the free course.