How I Made Money Blogging In August + My Top Blogging Mistakes

Welcome to August’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…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: March 17, 2022

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.

Welcome to August’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:

  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 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.
  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.

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, doing crafts, 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.

Surprisingly, the percentages were the same from the previous month, although, the actual income level was different.

How was business income in August of 2019?

In case you are new to this blog, the main areas I earn a living from include:

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.

August of 2019 was another great month for Making Sense of Cents and the whole blogging business. I earned a great income and I had a fun 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:

  • Getting more media mentions. I’m about to take a course that will teach me how to be featured in the media more, and I’m super excited. I will share more information on this course soon.
  • Focusing on SEO. I am 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 an online shop to my blog. 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.

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.

Follow our travel adventures on Instagram. 

Blog/life news

August was a really fun and busy month! We spent the month in the van traveling to many different places – from Colorado to northwest Arkansas, back to Colorado, to Missouri, then back again to Colorado and Utah.

We’ve had quite a few events to attend which meant a lot of driving back and forth, but it was all great and comfy traveling in our van!

In case you missed it, you can read more about it here – We’re Going To Start Living In A Van!

We’ve been outdoors a ton since we moved into the van, and it’s been amazing! We climbed six 14,000+ foot mountains in the month of August (all within just 6 days!), have mountain biked several times, and more. It’s been great to get back in the mountains, and it’s making us even more excited to get back to the boat next month too.

We’ve also been able to see our family a lot in the last couple of months, and that has been great. In fact, I am writing this from our van which is parked in my sister’s driveway. This is one of the big reasons for why we got the van – to spend more quality time with those that we love!

Below are several other business and blog-related updates:

  • I’m currently around one month ahead in blog posts. I would like to be around 2-3 months ahead. I do have several months of blog posts planned, though, I just need to finish writing them and hand them to my editor.
  • 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 15,000 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 60,000 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:


Featured Question: What do you wish you would have done differently with your blogging business?

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. 

This is a very common question that I receive. I mainly hear it from new bloggers, who are trying to avoid the same mistakes I made when I first started.

And, I completely understand!

All bloggers make mistakes or do things that may be holding them back. I’ve made tons of mistakes and I still make mistakes to this day.

Perhaps what you’re doing is preventing you from making an income, stopping you from growing, or something else. While mistakes will be made, it’s all about learning from them and figuring out better solutions.

Here are the top things I wish I would have done from the beginning:

  1. Use WordPress instead of Blogger. I started blogging on Blogger/Blogspot, and that was a huge mistake. Blogger actually shut down my blog at one time, for no reason at all. I begged for it back and they gave it back, but I’ve heard that was extremely lucky. After that, I switched to self-hosted WordPress and I’ve been 1,000,000 times happier. You can learn how to not make this mistake here with my tutorial.
  2. Stick to just one blog. Once I realized that I could make money blogging, I created several blogs. While this may work for some people, I found that I spread myself too thin. I corrected this problem by selling my side blogs and solely focusing on Making Sense of Cents. I receive so many emails from those who want to start multiple blogs all at the same time. I don’t usually recommend this, as it’s hard to start one blog, so starting multiple would be a lot of work! I recommend simply starting with one, and if you still want another later on, then find the time for it.
  3. Hire help sooner. It actually wasn’t until somewhat recently when I decided to start outsourcing more tasks. I now have an editor (I don’t have her edit my income reports, so there are probably a lot of errors, sorry! I like my income reports to be more “raw” and I barely even proofread them), a virtual assistant (who helps with emails, graphic design, support tasks, and more!), and I hire out for lots of small tasks too, such as for printables and technical management.
  4. Start an email list right away. For years, I skipped the newsletter/email list thing. I thought it looked hard and too time-consuming. Boy, that’s probably one of the blogging mistakes I regret the most! I now have over 100,000 email subscribers, and I just only started taking my email list seriously in 2016. I can’t imagine where my email list would be if I would have started it in 2011 when I created Making Sense of Cents.
  5. Realize that I don’t need to publish daily. While today I don’t publish nearly as much as I did in the beginning, it took me awhile to realize this error. When I first started Making Sense of Cents, I thought that I had to create and publish a blog post EVERY SINGLE DAY. This led to me being quite tired and not really enjoying what I was writing as much as I should have. Eventually, I went down to publishing one time a day Monday through Friday. Then, I went down to three times a week. Today, I am only publishing around twice a week and I think this is my sweet spot!

I’m glad I learned from my errors, but I know that I still have a lot of room for improvement!

What do you wish you would have done differently with your website?

Past featured questions:


My plans and goals for my blog and my business.

I have so many plans right now for my business that sometimes I feel like I don’t know where I want to start! But, that is a good “problem” to have.

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 the summer.
  • 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 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 everything that life has to offer!


Affiliate marketing results.

Affiliate income was at a normal Making Sense of Cents level in August of over $50,000.

I believe that it will be increasing in the next several months as I will be promoting a few affiliate offers to my readers. I have the rest of 2019 planned for affiliate offers, which is great. I am also currently planning and scheduling for 2020 already too!

I’m also hoping to improve my affiliate income by growing my traffic through SEO, as well as advertising on Facebook and Pinterest. The media course that I mentioned earlier should be super helpful too.

Some of the areas that 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 all of 2019 and for the first several months of 2020. 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.

And more!

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.

August was an average month for sponsored partnerships. I secured a couple of deals with new advertisers that I’m excited to work with, and I’m thinking that the fall months will be quite busy as well.

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.

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

Want to see how I built a $5,000,000 blog?

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. Thank you for the post & the amazing tips. 400,000 page views a month is a massive number and its really inspiring. I would like to diversify my traffic so I just wanted to know what is your biggest traffic referrer(s)?

    1. My traffic is pretty well diversified between Google, Direct, Email, Pinterest, and Facebook.

  2. I have just found your blog – I have lots of reading to do! This post makes me really want to knuckle down and focus on my blog – you are really inspirational.

  3. Keith

    Hey there, just curious as your view of youtube? Do you have a youtube channel? Do you recommend starting a youtube channel or only blogging?


    1. I don’t have a Youtube channel. I think they can be great, though!

  4. Mr Fundamental

    Do you have any tips for someone that is trying to grow traffic with their first blog? I’ve been blogging for about a year now, and have 10-12 posts. It has been slow going in terms of gaining traction and getting people engaged in the comments, discussion, etc. Do you suggest just creating and focusing on more content or something different?

    Mr Fundamental

    1. Do you mean 10-12 total posts? If so, the top tip I have is to write more.

    2. If you didn’t blog, would your business still be the same?
      Just wondering cuz social media sites are so big right now.

  5. Suchot – The Curious Frugal

    Wow I had no idea you posted that often at the beginning! That’s a ton of work. You must have so many posts now…glad you are able to cut down and work a bit less. It’s hard to work less when you love what you do though ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t have a ton of time to work on my blog but when I get a chunk of time to work on it, I’m in my happy place. Though I took last weekend off to go rock climbing and that was my happy place too ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Georgina

      My website will be up by 2020 my biggest concern is the blogging aspect of it. I love to write I think I’m just worried that the content won’t be as good. But everytime I visit your blog, it inspires me to start writing now.
      Thank you for sharing and letting us know what can be achieved with the power of blogging

  6. The beauty of blogging and making mistakes is it motivates you to keep going with the intention of increasing your side hustle millionaire $ gUaP $ potential, while staying on track by doing the transformation work and creating lots and lots of content. I’m motivated to stay on track because I know one can put themselves in the driver’s seat to make money online 24 hours a day from affiliate marketing and blogging – content marketing alone. While this line of work is alot of work and requires lots of overthinking at times, it’s also a beautiful labor of love. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Thank you for openly sharing your income reports. I just started blogging 6 months ago and am curious if Facebook and IG ads work for personal finance bloggers who are more focused on topics which cater to high income niche?

    1. Thanks!

      Why do you think it would not work?

  8. As always, thank you so much for sharing these and inspiring all of us!

  9. Thank you for always sharing these, Michelle! It’s always motivating to see that it can be done ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Cheryl

    Congratulations on another amazing month! Thank you for continuing to share these. It’s so inspirational to smaller bloggers like myself to know that I can possibly achieve this one day. Keep it up!

  11. Ngozi

    Thanks for your posts. I get tons of information every time I visit your site. As for me, the email list seems so hard. For whatever reason, I just cant seem to get it right now. I am not sure if it is because I am using a free email software.

  12. It’s great to that you’re so open Michelle and I particularly like the tips you’ve given about things you would have done differently.

    The feeling that you have to post every day resonates with me… it too has left me feeling burned out and not really enjoying the process. I stepped back from it last week and decided that in order for my content to be good, I have to enjoy the process of creating it or I end up with something I’m not happy with. Hence I’m cutting back to focus more upon quality.

  13. Naveen Reddy

    Thanks Michelle for this helpful article.

    I love to read the income reports of others as it motivates me to work on the things which are really worth it.

    Harsh Agrawal of Shoutmeloud also used to publish his monthly income report.

    For me having no boss shouting orders at me is the biggest perk of being a full-time blogger.

    So, when I saw the monthly income reports of some bloggers, I got motivated that it is possible to make income with blogging and then, I quit my job and became a full-time blogger.

    Hey, what is your opinion about Google Adsense?

    It is nice to see that you try to be ahead in blog posts.

  14. Thanks for the great article. Very informative and useful especially for the new bloggers. I’m so motivated by reading income reports of other bloggers. Keep sharing such amazing posts.