I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for SEVEN months now. It honestly feels like I just got started. That being said, I also can’t believe that I made OVER $1,000 THIS MONTH! That is just crazy to me. This is the second month in a row I’ve made over $600. Let’s take a look at my January 2020 Blog Income Report!
Why am I sharing an income report? Since my website is primarily finance-based, I thought it would be helpful to some of you to show that blogging can be a viable side hustle. Even in 2020 when it seems like everyone is starting a blog! I’m going to share an overview of my milestones and income each month so you can get an idea of what really goes into blogging. It will also be great for me to look back on as my business grows.
I’m not sharing my income reports to try to brag about how much I’m making – blogging is a lot of work and I run my website and YouTube channel like a business. It takes long hours to build a profitable blog. I think sharing my progress and being transparent about what time commitment I’m putting in to get the income results I’m getting is a good way to show people the realities of blogging as a side hustle.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a commission off sales at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn on qualifying purchases. Check out my Disclaimer for more information!
Should You Start A Blog?
I don’t agree with people who say you can’t start a profitable blog today! You don’t have to have any special skills or technical knowledge to get started, which makes it a great side hustle option. And don’t worry that there are so many other blogs already – that just means that it is possible to be successful at blogging!
I don’t blog full time and do have a pretty intense day job, so it definitely is possible to do as a side hustle. These blog income reports are a great way for me to share my experiences and real progress so you can get a realistic idea of what is possible! I read so many other income reports online before I started my own blog, and those are really what made me think this all could be worth it.
I want to be real about what type of time commitment blogging takes – it’s a lot. I spend most evenings and weekends working on my business. I do work a full-time job along with blogging, and I really don’t have much free time anymore. Blogging is also not a get-rich-quick type of business. I made pretty good money in my 7th month, but I know plenty of other bloggers that didn’t make any money in their first year. It all depends on what you’re able to put into your business and what monetization methods you use!
Blogging is a lot of work, but it’s been very rewarding for me so far! I absolutely love getting to talk to my followers and help people change their financial futures!
January Blog Income Report
January had some crazy ups and downs when it came to traffic. I had two separate website issues that caused my traffic to drop pretty significantly. I also had a pin go viral, which pretty much made up for all the lost traffic earlier in the month! A lot of my time in January was spent creating blog posts and getting all the digital files ready for the launch of my printables shop. Financial Flamingo Printables officially launched on January 31, 2020.
Click here: Financial Flamingo Printables Store
Something else exciting happened in January… I got some free stuff sent to me for review! Erin Condren sent me several different items that I did videos for on my YouTube channel. I absolutely love EC products, so this is so exciting for me! I also am part of their affiliate program through Share A Sale (more about that later!), so I do make some money off doing these reviews.
In my December Income Report, I shared my goals for January with you:
- Hit 45,000 pageviews
- Make $300 in affiliate sales
- Get accepted into Monumentric
How did I do with hitting those goals this month?
I hit goal number one! I ended the month with 49,200 page views. That is just absolutely INSANE to me! I can’t believe I’m already seeing this kind of traffic within 7 months.
I also reached goal number two! I made just over $500 in affiliate sales this month. The majority of this income comes from Erin Condren. I actually got the opportunity to work with the Erin Condren team twice during January. Not only did I receive an Erin Condren Tote bag to review, but I also received a deluxe monthly planner bundle – plus two extra bundles to give away! I absolutely love their products so it’s honestly so crazy to me that I get to work with them.
Goal number three… while I did get accepted into Monumetric in January, I’m not actually using Monumetric for my ads right now. I am currently working with Ezoic, and have had a great experience so far. The onboarding process is very simple, an account manager does just about everything for you, and I’ve seen great revenue results so far. You do have to meet some requirements to get into Ezoic – 10,000 pageviews in a month and Google Adsense approval. Those are similar to the Monumetric requirements so I was approved and had ads running in no time!
Ezoic works a little differently from other ad networks from what I understand. They put placeholders on your site for where ads could show up. What actually shows up is totally based on the viewer and their browsing history. It works this way to improve user experience and shows the ads that will maximize their impact on the viewer. I’ve only been using it for about 3 weeks, so I’ll let you know how things go!
Click here: Sign up for Ezoic!
Before we get into my income breakdown for the month, let’s talk about what kind of traffic I had in January. You can see my Google Analytics below for the month.
49,000 PAGE VIEWS!! That is craaazzyy. In November my goal was to hit 4,000 page views for the month. I still don’t really know what to think about this, but it helped my income out for sure this month.
Something I am going to start doing in February is tracking how many hours I actually spend working on my blog each week. I think this is a good way to show how much return I am actually getting on the work I put into my blog and YouTube channel.
How Do I Grow My Traffic?
Traffic is an extremely important part of any online business, blogging included. Growing traffic is something that I have focused on a ton in the past few months. The main tool I use is Tailwind. I also highly recommend the ebook Traffic Transformations.
Tailwind is a great Pinterest scheduling program. I am able to schedule my pins ahead of time, set them up to post to different boards, and even use the interval tool to space them out. This has completely changed how I bring in Pinterest traffic without doing a ton of constant work. Click here to get Tailwind for your website.
My crazy growth at the end of November was due to one of my pins going viral. In November, I completely revamped my Pinterest account – I redid my board descriptions, updated my keywords in my pins, and set a better schedule for pinning going forward. The Tailwind interval tool is my FAVORITE. I started utilizing that when pinning from my website, and along with my new keywords based on keyword research, I was able to grow my Pinterest to around 1 million monthly viewers through the month of January.
I also read through Traffic Transformation. This is a fantastic ebook from Lena of Adventures in Blogging. It has given me so many great tips that have helped make my blog posts more shareable and attractive to potential readers. I highly recommend it to anyone who feels like they are stuck with low traffic numbers and want multiple strategies to grow! She goes over a lot of strategies that I hadn’t heard much about anywhere else – I totally think it’s worth the investment.
Now on to the income…
January Blog Income Breakdown
For my income, I am going to be sharing what was earned during the month, not what I’m actually paid out. That’s going to be easier to keep track of for these posts. So everything I report in these income reports is what my reported “estimated earnings” are for the month for these different platforms. Most of this money will be paid out around the 20th of the following month.
January 2020 Blog Income Totals
YouTube – $174.53
Printables Shop – $25.92
Amazon – $11.70
Share A Sale – $505.50
Total Affiliate Income – $517.20
Ezoic Ads – $273.29
Google Ads – $52.69
Total Income – $1,043.63
My YouTube channel was monetized on January 3rd. This means I now make money off the ads that get shown on my videos! This has been a really nice additional income stream that contributed quite a bit to my income for the month.
My printables shop launched on January 31, 2020 – and I made a sale the very first day it was open! Someone bought my complete budget binder and my meal planner, which resulted in a nice bit of income for me!
All of my affiliate income is through Share A Sale, and all of it is from promoting Erin Condren! I use an Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner for my budget planner and sharing that through my website and YouTube channel has helped me make quite a bit of money so far. I absolutely LOVE Erin Condren products, so I’m really happy about being a part of this program. The majority of my income for the month came from Share A Sale. If you’re unfamiliar with what that is, it’s a network that you join to find affiliate merchants to work with. I have had a great experience working with them so far!
I am also an Amazon Affiliate. While I don’t make much money from this yet, I honestly haven’t focused much on promoting products from Amazon. I have plans to utilize this program more in the future. I did make a little bit from it this month!
If you’re new to the idea of affiliate marketing, I highly recommend Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. It is 100% worth the money! I am working through it again and updating my site based on the lessons in the course, and I think it is already helping me increase my income a little bit. Michelle definitely knows what she’s talking about when it comes to affiliate marketing (she makes A TON of money this way!) so I love that she has a course that walks through exactly what steps to take to be successful with this income stream! You check out the course here if you’re interested!
I was using Google Adsense for my website ads until the middle of January. I was then accepted into both Monumetric and Ezoic ad networks. I chose to go with Ezoic because they advertise to optimize the reader experience as well as increase revenue. So far I really enjoy working with them. The setup was extremely easy, someone actually set up all my ads for me once my site was approved and I did the first few steps to integrate my site. Any issues or questions I’ve had, they’ve resolved within a few hours! I made a little bit off Google ads at the beginning of the month, and then Ezoic took over on January 13th.
Check out Ezoic!
January Blog Expenses
Something that can be hard for a lot of people that are thinking of making the jump into blogging is that it costs money. It actually can cost quite a bit depending on what all you’re into. I think this is an important side of blogging to talk about because if you run your website like a business then you are going to have to put some investment into it to really make it work.
I have chosen to pay the majority of my business expenses on a yearly basis so I don’t have to worry about keeping track of a bunch of monthly expenses. I currently only have a few recurring monthly expenses for my ConvertKit (email service) and for the spam blocker on my website (which is SO worth it btw!). In January, I also paid for the first month of my Shopify plan for my new printables store!
- ConvertKit – $29.00
- Askimet – $5.00
- Shopify – $29.00
- Amazon – $20.18
- Email Course – $30.15
Total expenses: $113.33
It’s nice that my monthly expenses are pretty low. I also spent a little bit of extra money this month on blogging education. I purchased a course from HerPaperRoute.com on email marketing to try and improve my email list now that I have over 1,000 subscribers! I also bought the book InstaStyle from Amazon. This has been a great resource for me – I am working on improving and somewhat rebranding my Instagram account, and it has helped out a ton!
One thing I did want to bring up is the tax aspect of running a business – and my blog is a business for me. Right now, I am saving 25% of everything I make to pay taxes. In the future, I plan to withhold from my normal paychecks so I don’t have to worry about paying in for my business expenses, but until I have a better idea of what consistent income I can expect, saving works for me.
I did not make a profit in 2019 with all the start-up costs for my business, but I am researching the tax stuff needed to do everything correctly in 2020 since I am hoping to continue making more money. I’m a CPA so I do all my tax work myself, but I would highly recommend working with a professional if you don’t have any experience with tax planning! I don’t see a lot of bloggers talk about planning for taxes in their income reports, so I wanted to mention it!
Goals for February
I’m hoping to continue growing my traffic and income in February. I have a lot of content planned, and I am really excited about all the things I am working on getting done. I’m working on getting my QuickBooks setup for my business and working with my business attorney to get my LLC filed as well. Hopefully, a lot of big things will be coming in the new few months!
- File as Financial Flamingo LLC
- Hit 50,000 page views for the month
- Grow email list to 1,200 subscribers
- Make $450 in affiliate sales
- Grow YouTube channel to 2,600 subscribers
I will be sharing these blog income reports each month from now on, and I’m excited to see where my business goes in 2020!
Want to learn more about managing your money?
- How a Planner Changed my Finances
- Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck
- Debt Snowball vs. Debt Avalanche
- How to Use the Cash Envelope System