Wow. February was a long time ago now haha!
Typically I get income reports out fairly quickly after the end of the month, but things have been sooooo crazy with the business in the past few weeks that I had to push it to the end.
Obviously, M$M is in a totally different place than it was just two months ago. I'm happy for the exponential growth in a short amount of time, but man...it's a learning curve for sure.
Almost overnight, I went from just me and my laptop to a business partner and an awesome team.
Here's what that looks like:
Mike: Co-creator of the Facebook Side Hustle Course that is currently crushing it
Melissa: My assistant that helps keep my brain on track
Erin: Handles our customer support and a million other things for us now
Ben: Facebook ad expert in the FBSH course
Tanya: Facebook ad expert in the FBSH course
Adam: (Technically added in March but I'd feel bad leaving him out) Facebook ad expert in the FBSH course
Overall everything has been running smoothly, but I'll detail more of that below. I will say though - I'm having so much fun with my business right now, and couldn't have imagined this type of growth so fast. It's just nuts.
If you were wondering, yes. That's my office right now! Here's the full picture:
Don't worry - I don't drink wine all day or anything like that haha. Those are bottles that my business partner and I celebrated with for the course launches. I stole the idea from him, but it's a really cool way to remember big business successes that you've had. 🙂
So let's get started (you'll want to check all of this out):
If you’re new around here, I started tracking my blogging income through these income reports in mid-2016. This is a great way for me to keep an eye on my progress of doing M$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 2,000+ 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.
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:
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. There will be a lot of taxes moving forward. I am not looking forward to that.
2. Here’s how I made money with my online business this month:
Facebook Courses (Facebook Side Hustle and Blow Up Your Blog course): $23,846 before affiliate payouts and credit card fees
February was really interesting. The FB Side Hustle course did great...and it wasn't even open for enrollment!
The FBSH course closed down in February so that we could get the first wave of students settled in and get our systems set up. Like I mentioned earlier, we went from no team to 7 people extremely fast. There were definitely things that we had to get sorted before we relaunched again.
We included an optional coaching/support group that allows course students to troubleshoot ad campaigns, ask us questions about client acquisition, and basically just get everything they need to be successful with running FB ads for local businesses.
If you read the sales page testimonials, you'll notice that a lot of the Hustlers (that's what we call course students) feel like the paid group is even more valuable than the course.
Mike and I work our butts off in there to make sure every student is successful. Every single day, we have students sharing their wins with clients. It's incredible.
We do live trainings every Thursday at 7:00 pm Central that we lovingly call "happy hour"...because...well...everyone brings their favorite adult beverage and we hang out haha.
They have been really, really cool. We cover topics that help students along the way of creating their online businesses and have even brought my accountant to do a training on setting up your business correctly from a tax/legal standpoint. All of the trainings are recorded, so you get access to all of the past trainings in the group.
I'm biased, but the value is insane. We had an 80% retention rate in the group after the free trials ended (you get one month free when you purchase the course). 80% is out of this world.
So how did we do it?
Pretty simple. We created a family.
Everyone helps each other out, we celebrate when students get their first client, and they have even started doing meetups totally on their own. They even have swag (t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc.)!
The 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:
Blow Up Your Blog Course: $1,355.00 net revenue (included in the total above)
The BUYB course very quietly released in February, but make no mistake - this thing is a game changer.
This course is exclusively for bloggers or people that want to run Facebook ads for bloggers. As you may know, I based my entire growth strategy for M$M on Facebook in the beginning, and was able to create an incredible community and really the base for the success that I'm having now.
Mike and I share all of our hacks and strategies for getting insanely cheap traffic to your site, email subscribers for your list, and cover things like setting up the Facebook pixel on your blog and other technical information that you need to know about using Facebook for your blog.
Right now, the course is only $97. However, it's about to go way up and will be priced more appropriately for the level of information that's in the course.
Like...this is stuff I've never shared before haha. Nobody uses my unicorn strategy, and I don't think anyone uses Mike's engagement campaign hack either to get 1-2 cent clicks. This is next-level stuff.
If you're a blogger that interested in blowing up your traffic and email list very quickly, you'll want to take this while it's still cheap. This will become one of the go-to courses for bloggers this year once we really start promoting it.
You can sign up here:
Make Money Marketing Course: $315
So...I had to make a tough decision with the M$M course. I'm going to close the doors for a while.
It's a really good course, and many of the people that have taken it are already making great money with clients doing local SEO and social media management.
But, one of the things I'm learning about my business is that I need to focus a little bit. I barely have even promoted this course in February (as you can see by the amount of revenue) because I have so many other things going on right now.
Currently, I have the Facebook Side Hustle Course, Blow Up Your Blog, Free Blogging Course, Make Money Marketing Course, and I'm starting an incredible mastermind with Grant Sabatier from Millennial Money (more details to come on that soon).
It's just...too much haha.
So the course likely isn't going away forever, but it might just be a "by request" option moving forward. I'm not sure.
I'll probably have a little more clarity on that in March. Honestly though, everyone wants the Facebook Side Hustle Course, so I'll probably focus my efforts there for a while haha.
Digital Marketing Income: $5,829.55
You may be wondering how the heck I'm still able to run a small digital marketing agency, but I'm doing it! I don't really actively seek out clients anymore, but I have a handful that I continue to do work for.
Honestly, it keeps me up to speed with the digital marketing world and allows me to try new things to help businesses make money. I also have help from my team now, so I don't have to do all of the day-to-day operations like I had to before. We do social media management, local SEO, Facebook ads, website management and sometimes creation, and a few other services.
A few of my clients are seasonal, which is actually really cool. I'm a big fan of helping smaller businesses reach more people and get more leads/sales.
Overall, this is something that I will continue to do as long as my clients will have me!
Affiliate income: $2,828.15
This is actually the lowest my affiliate income has been in over a year, but it really makes sense. I just haven't focused on it very much. The courses have consumed so much of my time that I let things slip on the affiliate side of things.
Now that I have more time moving forward (in theory) I'll get back to making sure that this is up again. I used to really stress over my affiliate income every month in 2017, and realized that I hadn't even thought of it that much at the start of this year. Still though, I need to do better here and make sure that I'm keeping an eye on this and growing it moving forward.
What I love now is that I don't necessarily have to rely on it because the Facebook course is going so well.
Bluehost Blog Hosting: $2,035.00 (Take a look at my free blog starter guide to set up your own site in 15 minutes or less!)
LendEDU: $573.75 <- Over 1,500 M$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: $42.00 (Read my review of this course that helped me grow my affiliate income to over $4,000 per month!)
Haven Life Insurance: $100.00 (If you’re looking for term life insurance, this company is the bomb)
Online Surveys: $23.00
Staff writing: $3,000
I finally got started up with my staff writing gig, which is great. I have really cut back on this since last year, but having this as a "side hustle" is really cool. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to mention what organization that I write for here, but it's a great one that helps a lot of people that have student loan debt.
I write about budgeting, student loans, investing, preparing for retirement, and a lot of helpful personal finance topics.
Usually, I don't make quite this much money with this type of writing, but I was behind in January and had to play catch-up in February.
Hopefully you've noticed, but I have cut down the ads on the site a tooooooooon. To make my Facebook unicorn strategy work (which you can learn more about in the Blow Up Your Blog course), I had quite a few ads on the site last year.
I spend a lot on Facebook ads now to grow the M$M audience, and for a while, I was getting nearly full-reimbursement for my ad spend with the ad revenue. It was sweet.
But now I can draw that revenue from other places and cut back on the ads.
I've considered going to zero ads on the site, but I'm not quite sure about that yet. I feel pretty good about the balance I have right now - not too intrusive but still making money from traffic.
Traffic slowed down throughout February, but there are a lot of reasons for that. Site traffic tends to blow up in January because of all the New Year's Resolution people (sort of like gyms haha).
You'll also see a large drop in my revenue, which was expected. I'm happy with this though, to be honest.
I have some SEO work to do on the site and have also started to have some pretty serious Pinterest wins, so I think as we get closer to the summer you'll see a bigger push to create more traffic.
Right now, I'm more concerned about making sure all of my courses go well.
I think this is like three months in a row that I haven't had a sponsored post on the site. I get requests and currently have a few tax companies that want on the site as well as some really really big brands, but it's just not my priority.
If I don't use it or believe in it, it's not making it on the site.
It's really like the ad situation above - my other stuff is successful enough to where I don't have to do sponsored posts or anything else that I don't want to do.
That, in turn, creates a better reader experience for the M$M homies and also makes me feel warm and fuzzy when I go to bed at night. 🙂
Expenses for January: $10,243.66
I think in future reports when I have more time to sit down and write these (now that all the course launches are finished), I'm going to do a line-item list of every expense because I think it would be helpful for business owners/bloggers that want to see how this all works.
But for now, I'm just going to briefly describe what this number includes because these reports already take several hours to complete:
- Paying the M$M team
- Bonuses that we gave out after the first course launch was so successful
- Website hosting and various small services I need for the blog (social media tools, Teachable hosting for the courses, etc.)
- Affiliate payouts
- Credit card fees (which suuuuuck but oh well)
Net Revenue: $16,541.54
For the purposes of this report, I'm going to split the net revenue of the Facebook course and BUYB in half. Mike and I leave money in the business (which is structured as an LLC that is owned by our LLCs). It produces a K-1 every year and then we just transfer the revenue to our main business accounts.
Business is so weird haha. I never thought I'd be talking about any of this stuff before, but it's also really interesting to see how things just get more complex with your business over time.
Because of the way that we rolled out the FBSH course, closed it down, and then reopened it in March - the site's revenue is going to be a bit of a roller coaster ride until about halfway through the year.
This number was obviously much lower than January, but that's because I paid out some big bonuses to the team and also had the FBSH course closed down. We re-launched in March, and I can just tell you that it went, very, very well. 🙂
3. Cool stuff for M$M:
Laptop Empires is almost here!
The business that Mike and I co-own is called Laptop Empires, and the goal is to help people start online businesses or grow what they already have.
We sit down and talk about some next-level business stuff on a daily basis, so we've just decided to turn it into a podcast. Ultimately, LE is going to be a fun business for both of us.
We already liked our marketing businesses and I, of course, love M$M, but LE has a totally different feel from all of that.
Right now we are working on content for the podcast, and it's going to be great.
It's not really every day that you have a former teacher and a former lawyer start online businesses the way we have and have success this quickly (I've only been self-employed for 2.5 years!).
If you want to learn more about crushing it as an online entrepreneur, stay tuned. This is going to be freaking huge.
The first M$M local meetup is happening in April!
I don't know if you know this yet, but the M$M community on Facebook has ballooned to over 7,600 people!
I've wanted to kick off local meetups for a long time, and now I finally have time to do it.
We are going to have the first one in Houston, and it's going to take place at my friend's swimming pool company!
I won't dig into everything because a lot of you know the story, but he really was the person that inspired me to pay off my student loans several years ago and taught me a ton about personal finance and business.
We would drink beers at the pool shop and just talk about...money. It's really the founding place for M$M, and I even had an office there when I first left my teaching job to do this full-time.
So we are going to have all of the M$M people in Houston come out and see where it all started. We have a bunch of parking for everyone, and I'm even going to cater Mexican food for the homies.
If you're in the group, my assistant Melissa will start getting all of those plans put together and will make some announcements there.
I'm still married!
I have no idea how Coral puts up with my craziness when it comes to entrepreneurship, but she has been so helpful throughout this process. Entrepreneurship can put a strain on everything if you aren't careful, and fortunately, we've been able to avoid that.
My goal is to get my work-life balance back to something sane and not start any more businesses in 2018. I already own three and am going on four haha.
We also plan on doing a little more traveling before we start to have kids, which is nice because we went several years without doing much because I was working on my loans and we were trying to save up money.
So shout out to all of the spouses out there that are supportive of workaholics like me. It's so important to have that support as you're trying to build something special.
As always - thanks so much for being a part of this thing. I guarantee you that we are just getting started, and it's been so cool to talk to readers and get to know them. I'm suuuuuper excited about meetups because it will give me an opportunity to see the people that have been on this journey with me.
I do have one thought though - please understand that this has been a process that I've been building day-in and day-out since I started M$M. I didn't just wake up and start making a lot of money.
I started $40k down in student loan debt while renting a room from my in-laws.
So many of you are working on your debt, building your investments, or creating businesses. I hope that these income reports show you that it's a process and that there is no simple path to success.
It takes time to do something special, which is why many people who are fortunate enough to have the ability to do great things never actually do.
You can take a look at all of my income reports here or check out the latest ones below: