So…I'm a little backed up on income reports if we're being honest here haha! September was so crazy with course launches and new projects that I didn't get to fit this income report in the content calendar until the beginning of October, but it's all good. You'll just get two income reports in one month. I'm very excited to share the September income report, but that will have to wait until mid-month so I can keep these spaced out.
But here's the deal – the last two months have been great for the business. August was basically the month that is going to set up the rest of the year for M$M, and might even be the catalyst for 2019.
Building a business is slow. Even when you've done things as quickly as I have, it still feels like you're slogging through each quarter sometimes.
In August's income report, I'll go into:
- Growing traffic for M$M
- Update on the Laptop Empires podcast and my favorite episode of August
- Traveling more and taking advantage of the “Laptop Lifestyle”
Let's dig in, shall we? Read this next little blurb to see how M$M income reports work:
If you’re new around here, I started tracking my blogging income through these income reports in mid-2016. This is a great way for me to keep an eye on my progress of doing M$M full-time, and it’s also a great way for you to follow along as well if you’re thinking of starting an online business.
My income reports are divided into three sections:
- A quick intro to who I am and what my story is for new readers (Must-read if you are new here, skip if you’re not)
- How I made money the previous month (This changes monthly)
- Cool things that happened in my personal life and business goals that I have coming up (Also changes monthly, so you’ll want to read)
It’s already been so cool to see the progress and how much my life has changed over the past two and a half years!
1. Here's a quick rundown of my story:
I used to be a high school band director, which was basically what I had wanted to do my entire life. I had $40,000 of student loan debt that I hustled really hard on and paid it off in a year and a half (you can read more about that here).
Then, I got really excited about personal finance and started this site. I had NO idea what I was doing, but kept plugging away and eventually quit my job six months later to run M$M (which had basically made no money at that point haha).
And now, here I am. I run an awesome online business and basically have found my passion in life.
A lot of you have wanted to start your own blogs after seeing the success that I’ve had, and I highly recommend it. If I hadn’t taken a shot on M$M, I would still be stuck in a career I didn’t really end up enjoying very much.
Just understand – blogging (or any online business for that matter) isn’t easy in any way or for the faint of heart, and definitely not something you should immediately quit your day job for. Most people quit blogging long before they actually “make it.”
It takes time to build a business like this, but if you have talent and a good message/story, it is possible to do well.
Take a look at my free blog setup tutorial. You’ll have your own blog set up in just 10-15 minutes, and will receive a lower website hosting price since you’re an M$M reader when you use my exclusive link. As a bonus from my family at Bluehost- you’ll also get a domain name for free ($15 value)!
Have you taken my free blogging course yet? (You should)
So far I’ve had nearly 5,000 people sign up for my blogging course since I created it, and the reviews have been great! Even if you are just thinking about starting a blog or want to figure out how to get more traffic to the one you already have, this will be useful for you.
Basically, if you want to learn the foundational elements of how I went from a high school band director to blogger doing $100k+ of revenue in one month – you'll want to check this out:
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2. Here’s how I made money with my online business in August:
Facebook Courses (Facebook Side Hustle and Facebook Ads for Bloggers course): $51,095.00 before affiliate payouts and credit card fees
August was a great month for our courses! We really have a lot of things figured out as far as our sales funnels go, and we've seen very consistent revenue for the past few months.
Sure, it moves up and down a bit, but overall we're very happy with how everything is working.
More importantly, though, we have students getting marketing clients every day.
My favorite thing about having courses that teach people a valuable skill is that I can sleep well at night haha! It's a really good feeling to know that you're actually helping people with a legitimate skill set. Small businesses will need help bringing in leads for the foreseeable future, regardless of the platform.
Right now, Facebook is the cheapest way to bring leads in for small businesses. It just is. Will it always be that way? Maybe not, but we teach the fundamentals of lead generation so that our students can be successful regardless of the ad platform.
I'm really looking forward to growing this course over the coming years and getting more people into the side hustle game!
Featured question from people interested in joining the FB Side Hustle Course:
So obviously as the word about the course has grown, I get more and more questions in my inbox from soon-to-be students.
This is the spot where I answer one of the questions that I see popping up more often than others! If you have another question that I don't cover – no worries. We answer almost every question imaginable on the sales page for the course.
Here this month's question:
“Do I have to be good at sales to get clients?”
I LOVE this question. I'll put it this way: I was a high school band director with literally zero sales experience when I started doing digital marketing.
You don't have to be some kind of crazy extroverted salesperson to make this happen. We included multiple client acquisition strategies in the course, and also add more trainings in the coaching group attached to the course all the time!
It doesn't matter if you're introverted, extroverted, love talking to people face to face, or want to do everything online…we have something for you that will work.
You WILL have to put the time and effort in, but we'll give you the blueprint to land clients.
The course is currently closed for enrollment, but you can jump on the waitlist here to get access when we re-launch. If you've been thinking about making extra money to pay off debt or invest a little more every month, the FB Side Hustle Course is definitely for you.
Click “SEE MORE” below to check out the testimonials and learn more about the course:
FB Ads for Bloggers sorta launched in August
The course actually launched in September, but we started all of the pre-launch festivities in August. There's a good chance that you saw something about it if you're on my email list.
We're very happy with how the launch turned out, and I'll be sure to include all of the revenue numbers and conversion rates in September's income report.
The cool thing is that we've already had students start to see success with FB ads. Their traffic is growing, they're doing more affiliate sales, and best of all, they're growing their email list!
Here's what the FB Ads for Bloggers course covers:
- FB ad basics
- Driving tons of high-quality traffic to build an audience
- List building
- Landing page optimization (aka making money like we do)
- Our Blueprint for quick blog growth (this is huge if you want to grow and scale on a limited budget)
We're also including a free month of our FB ad coaching group, which includes campaign troubleshooting, access to our entire team of experts, weekly live trainings, hot seats, and coaching calls.
The reality is that a lot of people still don't quite believe in using FB ads for traffic, and that's fine. We're ahead of the curve on this in my opinion.
Everyone always wants to know how I built M$M so quickly…and this is it. FB ads are the main reason I was able to have success, and I'll continue to grow M$M with them for the foreseeable future.
Digital Marketing Income: $4,089.90
Still trucking along with my digital marketing business! I have one more seasonal client that will jump on with me shortly, but outside of that, I will not be growing my digital marketing business in the future.
I have enough to focus on already, and adding more client work just doesn't make sense at this point. Fortunately, I'm able to help the clients I already have by leveraging my team to do most of the heavy lifting. I just jump in and put out fires when needed, which makes this a nice side hustle for me.
Is it weird that I still have a side hustle at this point? I feel like it's always important to diversify your income streams whenever it makes sense to!
Affiliate income: $2,958.40
I saw some growth here in the past few months, which I'm very happy about. Most of my posts that used to direct readers to affiliate offers are now sending them to FB Side Hustle, so I've seen a drop in affiliate income compared to last year.
I actually have a very top-secret project I'm working on to grow my affiliate income to the $10k+ per month mark though! We've found some profitable ad funnels for blog hosting…which is part of the top-secret project.
That's all I can say for now though. 🙂 It will definitely disrupt the “start a blog” game in the personal finance blogging world though. Muahaha.
If you can't tell at this point, I'm a fan of disruption.
I'll reveal the top-secret project in late October, and after that…no more projects for the rest of the year haha. All of my focus for the rest of 2018 is going to go to optimization and growing the traffic to M$M.
Here's where my affiliate income came from in August:
Staff writing: $1,500
This is another one of my side hustles! I have a client that I write personal finance articles for every month. It has become harder and harder to do this work, but it's for a cause and group of professionals that I believe are underserved when it comes to personal finance education.
I'll keep writing for this client as long as they have me! It's a nice way to make some extra cash every month for sure. If you're a newer blogger – you should definitely look for opportunities to make money with freelance writing.
I've been toying with the idea of getting rid of ads for months now. I'll be honest – I don't like ads. With that said, it is nice that they mitigate some of my expenses. I've been reducing the amount of ads every month it seems, so there might be a point where it just makes zero sense to have them anymore.
As far as traffic goes, it's actually lower at this time than it was last year.
There are two reasons for that:
- I've really been focusing on sales funnels and course sales. It's hard to focus on traffic growth when you've launched as many projects as I have this year. I'll get back to traffic growth in Q4.
- We have been optimizing our posts to get people to the different courses that we offer, rather than have them bounce around the site. That has a direct impact on traffic levels of course, but it also helps me make a lot of sales. If you were me, would you rather have high traffic or high revenue? See what I mean?
Expenses to run M$M for January: $6,871.23
This number includes the costs associated to pay my team, run FB ads, and all of the fun stuff like Convertkit, blog hosting, Teachable, and images.
Net Revenue: $26,046.75
For the purposes of this report, I'm going to split the net revenue of the Facebook course and FB4B in half. Mike and I leave money in the business (which is structured as an LLC that is owned by our LLCs). It produces a K-1 every year and then we just transfer the revenue to our main business accounts.
For now, I'm actually leaving a lot of money in the business so that I can reinvest. Now that my wife (Coral) isn't getting paychecks from her former school district, we're figuring out exactly how much we need to pull out of the business in the form of a partner draw vs. how much salary I pay myself every month.
3. Cool stuff that happened in August
The Laptop Empires podcast is humming along
I looooooove doing the Laptop Empires podcast with my business partner, Mike Yanda. I've always wanted to talk about online business in depth on a website, but it's not a great fit with M$M because this is obviously a personal finance website.
There is SOME crossover (laptop lifestyle content, making extra money online, etc.), but I can't really dig into the hardcore online business stuff that I love talking about.
We've been doing episodes every Monday and Thursday, and the podcast has grown very quickly. We've actually been getting a lot of FB Side Hustle directly from the podcast, so it's nice to see some ROI on our efforts there.
We've hired a writing team and will start pumping out content in October! We know that we can get paid traffic through Facebook (that is our specialty after all), but we will focus very heavily on SEO and Pinterest as well.
The goal is to turn Laptop Empires into…well…an online empire haha. It looks like we'll do somewhere around $1,000,000 in revenue our first year, so we feel that like we have the potential to turn this brand into something amazing over time.
Here is my favorite episode from the Laptop Empires podcast in August:
August Florida vacation + red tide + sailing
Coral and I spent the back half of August in St. Petersberg, Florida!
We originally were going to split our time between St. Pete and Anna Maria Island, but unfortunately, the red tide has been horrible in Florida this year.
What is red tide, you ask? Good question haha.
It's basically a bacteria that kills sea life and makes the water look and smell horrible.
After spending the first week in St. Pete visiting some friends and doing a little bit of sailing, we drove up to AMI to check out how bad the red tide actually was.
It…was rough. The beach smelled horrible and there were dead fish all along the sand. It was actually really sad to see such a beautiful place look so rough. We ended up canceling our AirBNB and using credit card points to extend our vacation in St. Pete.
Overall, we still had a ton of fun! St. Pete is a really cool city that seems to be built for Millennials. There were a ton of awesome places to eat, grab good beer, and listen to live music.
I did have to work quite a bit on vacation…which was kinda weird. I was really excited to be able to get work done while traveling since that's how the #LaptopLifestyle thing is supposed to work.
But honestly…it wasn't that much fun. I love blogging, but this whole thing has gotten so big over the past few years in terms of email volume, notifications, courses, etc. that I really need to learn how to unplug.
I will not be working nearly as much on my next vacation!
If you've been reading M$M for a while – I honestly can't thank you enough. Hopefully, you can tell that I work really, really hard to produce content that makes your life better. It's my passion in life.
But, I can't do any of this without you. I hope you had a great month in August!
Make sure you jump into the private M$M group on FB so we can hang out together! I'm in there allll the time haha.
You can take a look at all of my income reports here or check out the latest ones below: