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.
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. I also suggest that you sign up for my free blogging course below.
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:
- 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!
- 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!