Hey there! Welcome to the monthly M$M income report.
If you’re new around here, I started tracking my blogging income through these income reports in mid-2016. This is a great way for me to keep an eye on my progress of doing M$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 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 $40,000 of student loan debt that I hustled really hard on and paid off in a year and a half (you can read more about that here).
Then, I got really excited about personal finance and started this site. I had NO idea what I was doing, but kept plugging away and eventually quit my job six months later to run M$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$M, I would still be stuck in a career I didn’t really end up enjoying very much.
Just understand – blogging (or any online business for that matter) isn’t easy in any way or for the faint of heart, and definitely not something you should immediately quit your day job for. Most people quit blogging long before they actually “make it.”
It takes time to build a business like this, but if you have talent and a good message/story, it is possible to do well.
Take a look at my free blog setup tutorial. You’ll have your own blog set up in just 10-15 minutes, and will receive a lower website hosting price since you’re a M$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 ($15 value)!
Have you taken my free blogging course yet?
So far I’ve had 1,550+ people sign up for my blogging course since it debuted in February, and the reviews have been killer! Even if you are just thinking about starting a blog or want to figure out how to get more traffic to the one you already have, this will be useful for you.
Everything in the course applies to small business websites that have a blog as well, so there is good value for business owners out there that want more engagement on their sites.
Let’s get to the report…
Something to remember when you look at this income report – I’m self-employed and have to cover expenses, my basically useless health insurance policy (seriously it SUUUUUCKS), and taxes. That all comes out to roughly 30% each month.
2. Here’s how I made money with my online business this month:
I guess I just need to get used to the fact that months go by really fast now. December was a blur.
From an income standpoint for the business December really wasn't too special. This was the first month that I've been self-employed where I legitimately did not care how much money I made. Isn't that weird?
Usually, I check my affiliate income numbers and everything else throughout the month and have a good idea what my income reports will look like, but this one was anyone's guess haha.
All I wanted to do was put my head down and get the Make Money Marketing Course ready for beta testing and launching here shortly (which I'll talk about later in this report), plan out the Facebook Side Hustle Course, and spend time with my family over the holidays.
The FBSH course is currently open for enrollment. If you've been thinking about making extra money to pay off debt or invest a little more every month, the FB Side Hustle Course is definitely for you.
You can learn more here:
Overall though, December wrapped up what I would consider a pretty incredible year.
M$M reached over 1,040,000 people (!!!!) in 2017, I made more money than I've ever made before, and I'm just really excited to do this every day.
More importantly, my mission of bringing new people into the personal finance game is working. I can't even tell you how many people I'm seeing that are getting excited about tackling debt, investing, and making more money.
The private M$M Facebook group has grown to 5,500+ members, and my prediction is that it will be very close to 15,000 by the end of 2018.
I've also hired an executive assistant!!!! Her name is Melissa, and she's helping me sort through all of the emails that come to my inbox, as well as a bunch of other administrative tasks that I'm throwing her way.
For the past 2-3 years, I really wanted to keep my business as simple as possible by just running it as a solopreneur.
But as the site keeps growing and I keep taking on more projects, I realized that I needed some help staying organized and getting tasks completed that I just don't have time for anymore.
Now that I have some help, I'm kinda kicking myself that I didn't do this a year ago. Oh well.
So let's go ahead and jump into the income side of things. Affiliate income was pretty standard, marketing income was pretty good, and ad revenue was at an all-time high.
Digital Marketing Income: $4,719.95
So for those of you that don’t know, I run a small digital marketing company from my laptop. I keep it capped at just 5 clients (some are seasonal, some aren’t) so I can also grow M$M and attempt to maintain a good quality of life.
This has been a great source of income for me as I've continued to grow this site!
Blogging professionally takes a lot of time, so for me having the steady revenue coming in while the site was able to grow a legitimate audience has been really helpful.
Just FYI for my bloggers – the Make Money Marketing course that is now in beta testing will teach you how to make money this way.
Out of respect for clients’ privacy, I can’t name them on the site or list my rates for specific projects, but you’re always welcome to email me if you are an aspiring digital marketer and want tips or guidance!
MillennialMoneyMan.com Income: $8,466.31
Affiliate income: $4,639.31
Bluehost Blog Hosting: $2,660.00 (Take a look at my free blog starter guide to set up your own site in 15 minutes or less!)
LendEDU: $1,056.25 <- Over 1,500 M$M readers have used this free rate finder tool so far to search for better student loan interest rates. (Bloggers, I highly recommend that you apply to become a LendEDU affiliate here)
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing: $278.40 (Read my review of this course that helped me grow my affiliate income to over $4,000 per month!)
Haven Life Insurance: $140.00 (If you’re looking for term life insurance, this company is the bomb)
Online Surveys: $84.00
Personal Capital: $100.00
Amazon affiliate: $1.58 (I'm not sure why I even include this haha)
JetFuel Blog Growth Course: $249.48
Staff writing: $0
I didn't do any staff writing in December, but this will start up again soon.
I have one large client that I will write for in 2018, but with all of the courses I have coming out and projects that I'm working on, it's probably best not to try to grow this income stream moving forward.
If more cool opportunities come, cool. If not...totally cool haha.
As far as ad revenue goes, December was the best month I've ever had. I also had a really strong rebound in traffic and got back to the mid 200,000's for page views.
So far in January, I'm having my best traffic month ever (looking at you New Year's resolution people). If it keeps up, I think I'll get closer to the 350,000-400,000 views/month range.
One big thing - I actually had success with Pinterest in December! One of my pins went viral, which was really nice to see. After playing around with some weird pin designs that I thought would work but totally didn't, I finally just asked my wife to make whatever she wants...and they look freaking great.
I'll just add that to the list of things I should have done a year ago.
In 2018, I plan on expanding my reach on Pinterest, as well as focus a ton on SEO. I have sooooo many old posts that I could redo and capture more traffic.
One thing at a time though, right? I've got course launches and tons of other marketing things I have to get done. I'll focus more on expanding traffic streams in a month or so.
I do plan on cutting back on ads in 2018. I won't completely eliminate them because honestly, the money is good and the site is still growing. I'd prefer to have no ads, but when you're looking at $30,000 - $40,000 per year in revenue from them it's a little hard to pull the plug!
If you look at the graph below, you'll see that the ad revenue dropped drastically around Christmas, while traffic shot up.
That's actually pretty standard in the blogging world. Advertisers deplete their budgets at the end of the year, so there are a few days where the ad revenue is almost non-existent.
I also have no idea what happened at the beginning of the month, but traffic was pretty terrible for a couple of days.
Here’s ad revenue and traffic for December:
Yeah...I totally ignored sponsorships in December. I'm already negotiating a few good ones for 2018, so we'll see what happens.
At some point, I will get more serious about this aspect of my revenue. Just...not today haha.
3. Cool stuff for M$M:
The Make Money Marketing Course is in beta testing!
Whew. I'm so glad that this course is about to come out. This was the first course I ever made, and I really think it turned out well. It took forever though, and I learned a ton about creating courses in the process.
I guess I'll have to wait until my beta testers are done to get the real scoop, but overall I think that the M$M course is going to help a lot of bloggers actually make money from their blogs!
Also - I am SO glad that I opted for beta testing this course. The course is audio recorded over video and slides, and I left an entire published lesson unedited...which meant a lot of four-letter words that were in the lesson every time I messed up a slide.
Can you imagine how bad that would have been if a few hundred people bought the course and I didn't realize that mistake??? It was a good laugh all around though.
I went pretty deep on this thing. All in all, there are probably 7 hours of video walkthroughs, lessons, and bonus material from marketing industry experts on local business marketing, client acquisition, Facebook ads, Search Engine Optimization, and freelance writing.
If you're already on the waitlist, be on the lookout for an email announcing the course launch in the next few days.
The course will retail for $197 and will have an option to split into two payments.
If you have been blogging for a while and want another set of skills that will actually make you significant money, you'll want to jump in while the course is the lowest price it will ever be (you get lifetime access and won't have to pay for additional content that will be added to the course).
This is also great for small business owners that want to learn how to do their own marketing.
Sign up on the waitlist below to get first access to the course:
I think my business is about to change a lot
Adding paid products to my brand is going to be really interesting, and ultimately I think it will increase this site's revenue quite a bit.
Affiliate income, staff writing, marketing income, etc. are all great, but as a former teacher, I feel like educational courses really just make a lot of sense for me right now.
A while back, my web developer told me that if .05% of my traffic bought a $197 course from me, I'd make $172,000 per month.
That would be pretty sweet, but realistically I think I'm still a few years away from that level. BUT...I know I can get there.
The foundation is built, and for the next few years, I'm going to focus my efforts on building an empire on top of it. 🙂
I heart all of you
This is my favorite part of my income reports. I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate you coming to the site, interacting, hanging out with me in the private M$M group, and everything else you do.
It is never lost on me that I have a special job that allows me to reach hundreds of thousands, and get to meet some really wonderful people online in the process.
The M$M group is going to start doing local meetups soon, so if you're in Houston and want to hang out with me and the rest of the local M$M fam, get your butt in the group right now (and please answer all of the entrance questions).