August 2016 Online Income Report - $6,196.71

August 2016 Online Income Report – $6,196.71

Well, I’ve finally decided to make the leap and start doing online income reports! It’s scary as hell if you were wondering. Knowing that everyone knows how much money you make is…awkward.

For a lot of you that have followed my story over the past year and a half plus, you know that I was crazy (maybe dumb…jury is still out) enough to do the proverbial “leap of faith” that a lot of people dream about and start this whole project after quitting my teaching job.

http://millennialmoneyman.com/wp-content/uploads/August-2016-income-1.jpg

M$M on it’s own didn’t do JACK for about 6 months, and the first income I made was by putting a widget on the site and asking for $300 up front from the company (<—good tip for new bloggers). I literally had to start doing digital marketing out of desperation to bring money in.

With that said, the only way I’ve gotten marketing work was by running MillennialMoneyMan.com. My first client was a fan of the site, so it basically acted like a portfolio for me (<—-which is ALSO a good tip for you newer bloggers out there!).

I’ve got to say though, things are freaking awesome right now. I wake up every day and am very grateful that I get to do what I do. Somehow I’ve actually been able to turn a crazy dream into a living. It’s just so cool. Whether you’ve been with me from the beginning or are just getting here – THANK YOU.

If you’d like to start your own blog as a hobby or potential side-hustle, check out my free “how-to” blog setup guide. You’ll be able to set up your own blog in as little as 15 minutes. Blogging is one of the cheapest ways to get started with making money online!

Before I get to the report: If you have a dream in life, you need to pursue it. Maybe it’s not quitting your job like I did, but you should absolutely be working towards your goals every day. It’s worth it no matter what it is, I promise!

Ok, let’s dig in to August’s income.

I’m sure the way that I do these reports will evolve over time. I’ve studied a lot of other blogger’s reports lately, and I’ve decided that this will be the right way for me to get started.

In my opinion the best way for readers to keep track of my affiliate, marketing, and sponsored post/advertising income every month is by showing everything that I have invoiced or earned in my affiliate accounts during the month. You’ll be able to immediately see changes in my income based on new strategies that I’m trying.

I haven’t ever had a client, sponsor, or affiliate decide NOT to pay me for completed/contracted work or sales, and after talking to other bloggers about it I don’t expect to. So there’s that. 🙂

It will be broken down into two categories, since I do two different types of work online. Also remember – I’m self employed. This means I have to pay taxes (ugh), health insurance, and expenses.

August’s Online Income – $6,196.71

Digital Marketing Income $3,468.05

In September of 2015 I started providing digital marketing services including freelance writing, email campaigns, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), social media management and ad campaigns, website design, and running company blogs. This evolved out of a freelancing side-hustle I had when I was still teaching. This is why I really think everyone should have a side-hustle of some kind, you never know what it can turn into!

Out of respect for clients’ privacy, I’m not going to name them on the site or list my specific rates, but you’re welcome to email me if you are an aspiring digital marketer and want tips or guidance!

I really really believe that anyone who runs a successful blog has the skills to run digital marketing as a side-hustle. I work HARD for this income and am basically on-call at all times, so don’t expect passive or easy money this way!

BTW – I learned how to do the majority of this work by running M$M.

MillennialMoneyMan.com Income – $2,728.66

Here’s the breakdown for what M$M made in August:

Affiliate income: $1070.16

Bluehost – $450 (Take a look at my free blog creation guide)
LendEDU – $315 <- I LOVE this affiliate! LendEDU is a great for readers interested in researching student loan interest rates for free. (If you’re a blogger that writes about student loans and would like to be considered for LendEDU’s affiliate program, you can apply through my exclusive link).
Personal Capital – $100
Betterment – $90
Motif Investing– $51.75
Online Surveys – $31.25
Thesis  – $28.21 (This is the theme that M$M runs on…highly recommend)
Credit Sesame – $3.95 (They stopped running their affiliate program for some reason)

I’m SUPER happy with how the affiliate income turned out, because August was the first month that I got serious about growing it! I had been mostly relying on sponsored posts and paid writing gigs to make money with the site up until this point, which is not a great strategy (I’ll explain why later).

If you’re a blogger struggling to make any affiliate income, you need to take Michelle Schroeder-Gardener’s “Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing” course. I did this in August and was immediately able to boost my earnings. I felt kinda dumb that I wasn’t doing most of the things her course teaches you haha.

Blog Coaching: $400

In August I took on more blog coaching students than I ever had before. I really enjoyed this, mostly because I got to meet some cool new $$$ bloggers and share my tips.

I think I’ve been pretty successful with blogging earlier than “normal”, and I give a TON of credit to a blog coaching session I did with J Money from Budgets Are Sexy before I left my teaching job.

He doesn’t do them any more, and I kinda get why. Out of all the ways to make money online, blog coaching is one of the least efficient! I plan on doing them for a few more months before shutting it down, so if you’d like to do a session…you will eventually run out of time! 😉

Sponsored posts: $1,250

I was actually a little disappointed with this number, because I had two sponsored posts fall through at the last minute in August.

I’ve learned a couple things about sponsored posts since I’ve been running M$M:

  1. If you haven’t signed a contract or invoiced yet…it’s got about a 70% chance of falling through. I don’t know why at all, so if you are a social media manager for a company I’d love to know!
  2. Be super picky. I turn down more sponsored posts than I accept. If you work with a $hitty company, you will get called out by your readers (deservedly). Trust is a huge factor for building a brand, so be prepared to turn shady companies away regardless of the potential income. If you haven’t used it or vetted it…ignore it.

Sidebar Ads – $8.50

Womp womp. I didn’t have any sidebar ads on the site until late August, so I expect this number to be higher for September’s report.

If you are wondering how I’ve been able to grow my online income to this point in less than two years, a lot of it has to do with putting money back in to my business. If I see a course that I think will help me learn, I buy it. I went with a paid theme. I did the blog coaching. And, I also had to recently upgrade my hosting (which was kinda cool). I’ve spent good money on Facebook ad campaigns.

Basically, you have to spend money to make money and run your blog like a business instead of a hobby.

I also think I picked a good, catchy name for this site, even though Millennial is hard AF to spell.

And…I’m super aggressive with marketing and hustle really freaking hard for the money I make. If you want to own a business and be out on your own, there isn’t any other way to do it IMO.

Here are some of the things that I want to do a better job of next month:

Take advantage of my ability to work from anywhere: I can legitimately run my online business from anywhere (when I don’t need a printer), but for whatever reason I haven’t done it very much. I’d like to work from a few different places in September!

Keep increasing my affiliate income – I really would like to at least double my affiliate income and take on more affiliate companies in September. I also need to go back and redo some of my product reviews and several old blog posts.

Get better at Pinterest – I think I’m pretty successful on Twitter and kinda Facebook, but Pinterest is definitely the next mountain I want to climb. This will hopefully help with affiliate income and overall page views. My wife Coral is starting to do some really cool stuff for me in that area.

I want to be featured on 2 or 3 big sites before the end of the year – I’ve had a lot of success over the past year with getting featured or mentioned on bigger sites (Reuters, Forbes, etc.), which I think has been a huge help for my income from M$M. I’d definitely like more of those please! 🙂

Definitely looking forward to tracking my progress here and seeing how big I can grow this thing. September looks like it will be pretty good as well!

Questions for you:

  1. Have you started a side hustle yet?

  2. Why is Pinterest so damn hard?

Life differently. Your bank accounts will thank me later. ~M$M

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27 comments… add one
  • Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies Sep 19, 2016, 8:02 am

    I love this $$$ breakdown. While I don’t consider myself to have monetized my blog, I absolutely love my gig with Tip Yourself…and that only came about because of my blog! I might be doing a sponsored post next month, but I’ve turned down all the others. And like you said, I don’t consider the money made until it’s sitting in the bank. Thanks for sharing.

    • Millennial Money Man Sep 19, 2016, 8:09 am

      Thanks! It’s a little long compared to my usual posts, but I’m sure I’ll refine it as I go.

      I didn’t know you were working with Tip Yourself – that’s awesome! I think everyone’s always concerned with monetizing their blog instead of focusing on how you can make money with your blogging skills. There are a ton of companies out there that need skilled digital marketers/social media managers! If you can show that you run a successful blog, it’s a pretty solid way to pick up work.

  • Claudia @ Two Cup House Sep 19, 2016, 8:05 am

    Wow! Congrats, Bobby! I’m a huge side hustle fan, as you know. 🙂 Having additional income is great and we’ve met so many amazing people as a result of our work. Looking forward to meeting you and Coral in person this week!

    • Millennial Money Man Sep 19, 2016, 8:10 am

      Thanks Claudia! It was a little scary putting this out there, but I’m excited about it! looking forward to meeting you too 🙂

  • Christa Szabo Sep 19, 2016, 8:59 am

    What a great post, Bobby! Thanks! I’m thinking of starting my own blog this week actually. I’m planning on documenting my process of opening a business. I’ve had a really hard time finding information on opening a business, especially a food business, so I thought “why not create the content myself?” I’ve never even thought about doing a blog before reading yours. It really is inspiring!

    • Millennial Money Man Sep 19, 2016, 9:46 am

      Thanks Christa! You’re definitely on to something with your idea. People don’t necessarily want to be told how to do things or hear advice all the time. Sometimes they just want to hear about your journey. Good luck with the blog!

  • The Money Wizard Sep 19, 2016, 9:16 am

    Very cool Bobby! I definitely understand the scary feeling, I feel the same when I publish my life saving’s for the world to see monthly.

    It makes me feel better that you took a few months before earning much. I’ve been blown away by my site’s growth lately, but it’s still very much at the “costly hobby” phase.

  • Stefan - The Millennial Budget Sep 19, 2016, 10:14 am

    Huge congrats man! Must be awesome eclipsing your teacher salary. When you are back from FinCon we gotta set up a coaching session!

    I think Pinterest requires your pin to be repinned by the right person at the right time. I have seen some bloggers take off in a couple months while others, like me, are getting mediocre results. Either way it is a fantastic source of traffic and hopefully it explodes for both of us sooner rather than later!

    • Millennial Money Man Sep 19, 2016, 11:09 am

      Thanks Stefan! For sure man, we can do Monday or Tuesday after FinCon if you’d like.

      I’m sure I’ll look back in a few years and laugh at how much I struggled with Pinterest (I hope so anyways)!

  • Amanda @ centsiblyrich Sep 19, 2016, 10:53 am

    Thanks for sharing, Bobby! I’m sure it was scary. But, I have to say, it’s so helpful to those of us who are newish bloggers to see how others are making it work.

    I haven’t dived into any sponsored posts yet. I’m currently working through Michelle’s course and trying to implement some affiliate strategies. After I get that down, doing some freelance work is on my list. Everything just takes so. much. time! But it’s a constant learning experience that I love.

    • Millennial Money Man Sep 19, 2016, 11:11 am

      No problem Amanda – hope it helps! Yeah there is a bit of an art to making money with sponsored posts. I’d say just be super transparent with your readers when you do a review!

  • Jon @ Be Net Worthy Sep 19, 2016, 1:50 pm

    Thanks for sharing the numbers, it’s super helpful for newer bloggers like myself! I was surprised to see how much affiliate income you earned from BlueHost when it seems like every single site is pushing them – good job!

    I need to start pushing my affiliate sales. I think I’ll focus on it myself for a month or two and if i can’t get any traction I may resort to a course.

    • Millennial Money Man Sep 19, 2016, 1:55 pm

      No problem! Wasn’t quite as scary as I thought it would be haha. I’m happy with it so far. You’re right, it’s a very crowded space!

      I know Michelle’s course isn’t super cheap if your site isn’t producing a lot of income yet, but I promise it’s worth EVERY penny. I’d try to take it sooner rather than later. You definitely get what you pay for.

  • Matt @ Distilled Dollar Sep 19, 2016, 8:38 pm

    Awesome work and thanks for sharing!

    I love that you’re still pushing it for the bigger features which is great! That’s how I know you’ll keep moving on up as you add value to the lives of more of your readers (myself included).

  • Amber from Red Two Green Sep 20, 2016, 10:23 am

    Thanks for the reminder to pursue my dreams. Also, it is awkward and scary to publicly share your income. I’ve had friends do this who have had the most awk things ever said to them (“maybe you should pay for dinner, I know you can afford it..”) we publicly share out debt so we have the opposite problem haha. But I’m thankful for folks like you sharing your income bc it gives me hope for my own future!
    Finally, Pinterest is hard. If I ever figure it out I will let you know, lol

    • Millennial Money Man Sep 20, 2016, 6:19 pm

      No problem Amber! Yeah…I’ve gotten a few jokes from the family but nothing too crazy. Yes…I hate pinterest.

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher Sep 20, 2016, 10:38 am

    Dang, way to hustle, M$M!

    I’m still struggling to find meaningful income from my blog, but content does come first and foremost, too! I’m wary of affiliates/sponsored posts because I worry about the blog turning into a big commercial–sounds like I’ll have to get over that. 😉 I get about $20/mo from running ads, but I know it could always be better! I have pipedreams of doing the blog full time. 🙂

    • Millennial Money Man Sep 20, 2016, 6:21 pm

      Thank you! I think as long as you are upfront about how you make money from the blog, your readers will be cool about it! From what mine have said to me – they understand that I need to make money doing this and actually cheer me on :). Also, if you are trying to find ways for them to make extra money on the side they really really appreciate that.

  • Erin @ LiveLifeActive.com Sep 21, 2016, 7:32 am

    Is there a company you work with that you’d suggest for sponsored posts?

    • Millennial Money Man Sep 21, 2016, 2:00 pm

      Hey Erin! There’s a bunch – shoot me an email and I’d be happy to give you some tips. 🙂

  • Jen @ Saving with Spunk Sep 23, 2016, 8:26 am

    I am going to email you about blog coaching. I launched less than 3 weeks ago and I’m doing ok so far but there’s so much to do that I am clueless on. I have big dreams for this blog (which start with getting a premium theme) and I am willing to invest in the right places. 🙂 Thanks for this!

  • Aliyyah @RichAndHappyBlog Sep 27, 2016, 4:14 pm

    So glad you decided to start sharing your income reports! Wishing you many more successful months.

  • Chad Sep 29, 2016, 8:47 pm

    Wow I have so much to learn. Most of this reads like a foreign language to me. Will definitely have to save this for later, and may have to sign up for coaching soon. Thank you so much though for posting this, I’d like to get into freelance writing, but I feel like I’m lacking in writing skills and I’m having trouble with getting viewers to my blog.

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