Welcome to October 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 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, 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.
How was business income in October 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.
October 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 already for 2020. I have a very full 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 worksheets and 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.
Can you believe that 2019 is almost over?
It's crazy to think back about this past year. Just last month was a whirlwind, haha!
In October, we left the Utah and Colorado area, and started heading back east. We visited family and friends along the way in Colorado, Missouri, and Arkansas, and made our way to the Annapolis Sailboat Show. I took a marine diesel engines class while there, along with a few other classes, and attended the sailboat show.
After that, we started missing SV Paradise too much, so we decided to wrap up our van summer a few weeks early to drive back to Florida. We've been getting the boat ready ever since, and will be departing the USA very soon!
In case you missed it, you can read more about our decision to spend the summer living in a van – We’re Living In A Van!
Because we are leaving very soon, I have been trying to catch up and get ahead as much as I can. It's been crazy, and I'm hoping I'll be able to tackle everything on my to-do list in a reasonable amount of time.
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. I do have several months of blog posts planned, though, I just need to finish writing them and hand them to my editor. I have so many good ideas, but now I just need more time, haha!
- 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 build credit, 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 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 Reduce, Reuse, And Save More Cash
- How To Get Rid Of A Timeshare – Stop Wasting Your Money!
- How Sarah Earns $5,000,000 A Year With Shopify
- Do You Need To Have “The Talk?” – 4 Powerful Reasons To Talk About Money
- The Airbnb For Cars: Your Guide To Making Money On Turo
- How I Paid Off $30,000 of Student Loans in 2 Years by Paying the Minimum Balance
- 18 Of The Best Ways To Make Extra Money For The Holidays
Featured Question: Where do you go to learn about blogging?
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 hear this question all the time “I want to blog but I don't have a ton of money to spend to learn how to do it. Where can I learn for free?”
To learn more about blogging, you don't have to spend a ton of money.
Yes, courses can be super helpful. But, there are plenty of free resources to help you learn as much as you can as well.
I spent almost nothing on my blog for around the first 1-2 years. I still was able to learn a lot of valuable information about blogging, though, in that time.
As a blogger, there are probably many, many topics that you are interested in learning about. Here are various freebies and resources to help you learn more about growing your blogging business.
- First, if you don't have a blog, then I recommend starting off with my free blogging course How To Start A Blog FREE Course.
- Affiliate Marketing Cheat Sheet – 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.
- 11 Ways to Boost Your Blog Reach Overnight – This free eBook gives you 11 actionable tips to take so that you can grow your blog.
- 20 FREE (or almost free) WordPress Plugins – A very common question I receive is “What plugins should I use on my blog?” This freebie will tell you exactly what you should use!
- Facebook Ads For Bloggers 101 – This free training will show you how to increase your blog's traffic with Facebook ads. This is the top area I'm working on this year, and I recommend you do the same!
- If you're looking for great free Pinterest advice, that would definitely be Simple Pin Media. This website publishes high-quality articles on the topic of Pinterest as well as highly informative podcast episodes. They also have several great Pinterest courses. Make sure you subscribe to her free email list as well, as she sends out high-quality free Pinterest tips all the time (I make sure to always read her emails because they are so helpful!).
- My favorite overall business-related podcast would have to be Amy Porterfield's podcast. Some of my favorite episodes are How to Engage Your Small Facebook Group When You’re Just Starting Out, All About Instagram Ads, and How to Create a 5-Day Social Media Video Series for Rapid List Growth.
- If you want to learn about SEO, I recommend reading The exact template that helped my site earn $95,000 in affiliate income last year.
- My favorite overall free resource would be Social Media Examiner. This website shares tons of great updates for nearly every social media site. If there's some rumor going around about social media, I usually check this website first to see what they have to say about it.
- Find free webinars. Many of your favorite bloggers will often host free webinars. Sure, they may be selling something in it, but most of the information is usually super valuable. So, attend the free webinars that you see!
Where do you go to learn more about improving your business?
- 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 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?
- How can I get the most out of a blogging/writing/media/industry conference?
- How do you have internet while traveling full-time?
- What do you wish you would have done differently with your blogging business?
- What are the best ways to connect with your audience?
My plans and goals for 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 more motivated as well.
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 year. I've started and now I just need to finish!
- 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 October 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 most of 2020 already planned for affiliate promotions, and I'm excited about all of them!
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 2020 for affiliate offers. I'm not really much of a huge planner, but I have recently changed. I already have affiliate promotions planned out for all of 2019 and for most 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.
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.
October was a crazy month for sponsored partnerships. While I didn't publish more sponsored blog posts than usual, I did start new contracts on quite a few sponsored partnerships which will go live over the next several months.
My email inbox has actually been a little crazy with how many companies and advertisers are looking for sponsored partnerships right now.
So, sponsored partnerships are definitely going well! And, I think that they will just continue to do better and better. The first few months of each year are usually the best for me, as that's when advertisers tend to be looking for a lot of bloggers.
This is because companies and advertisers tend to have new advertising budgets to work with, and readers may have new year's resolutions, goals, etc. that they are working on (and want to hear about the products that I recommend!).
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 creating your own blog?
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