Hey everyone! 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$M full-time, and it’s also a great way for you to follow along as well if you’re thinking of starting an online business!
I can’t wait to look back on these several years from now and see how far the site has come. It’s already been crazy so far.
On a personal level – life is awesome. This month marks my second year of self-employment! Can't believe I've made it this far haha.
A lot of you have wanted to start your own blogs after seeing the success that I’ve had, and I highly recommend it. If I hadn’t taken a shot on M$M, I would still be stuck in a career I didn’t really enjoy very much.
Just understand – this 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 to tell, 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 special 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 ($15 value).
My Facebook reach continues to grow...
I don’t know if you guys have noticed, but the engagement from M$M readers on the FB page (you can like it here) is pretty awesome.
It's up to almost 22,000 likes, and is growing by roughly 1,000 per week. I'd like to hit 50,000 by the end of the year.
One of my goals has been to create a community feel for M$M readers, and it’s finally starting to happen. We’re having some great comment threads on everything from internet scammers (just trust me it’s funny) to college degrees and if they are worth it or not.
Have you taken my free blogging course yet?
So far I’ve had over 800 people sign up for my blogging course since I made it in February, 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 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.
I’ve been told I need to charge for this course, but I’m opting to keep it free for now. If you don’t want to pay for it, get in for free while you still can.
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 terrible health insurance policy (not joking...it's awful), and taxes.
Here’s how I made money online in May:
MillennialMoneyMan.com Income: $10,125.70
This was an interesting month for the blogging side of my business. My site traffic was actually down quite a bit (around 20%), and I still made about the same amount of money from the site as I did in April.
Obviously my income was down from the $20,000+ I made last month, but that was from the marketing arm of my business. I'll talk more about that later in this income report.
Affiliate income: $4,476.70
Bluehost Blog Hosting: $2,250.00 (Take a look at my free blog starter guide to set up your own site in 15 minutes or less!)
LendEDU: $1,035.00 <- Well over 1,000 M$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: $222.00
Online Surveys: $177.00
Personal Capital: $700.00
If you are a blogger and want to figure out how to make affiliate income, you need to take the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course. This is THE most comprehensive affiliate course out there. I took this course back in August of 2016, and saw my affiliate income jump from a few hundred dollars to several thousand per month.
Blog coaching: $300.00
I was actually surprised to earn money with blog coaching this month! I barely push it at all except for mentioning it in these reports, and quite honestly I've been trying to phase it out of my business for the last 5 months or so.
But if someone comes along that I really feel I can help, I'll still probably make time for a session or two a month. It's always cool to see how a client's site changes after we talk.
Sidebar Advertising/Sponsorships: $2,349.00
May was another solid month, but I would like to push this number up moving forward. I don't think I'll have a big jump here until the summer is over, but we'll see!
Staff Writing: $3,000.00
Fortunately, I'm still going with the staff writing gig I picked up several months ago. I really enjoy this type of work. Even though it's not passive like some of my other income streams, it definitely helps diversify where the money is coming from for my business.
A lot of you have asked me about this gig – it really just came to me randomly one day because of how big the site is, so I can’t give you sage advice for how to get one that pays quite this much unfortunately.
BUT, a ton of readers have recommended Upwork.com for freelance writing gigs, so if you’re interested I would check it out.
Digital Marketing Income: $4,269.95
If you’re new to M$M, I’ll just catch you up really quick! When I left my job almost two years ago to start working for myself, I wasn’t making much money at all. The site itself had made around $3 when I took the leap of faith (please don’t do what I did).
A reader really liked my story and work on the site, and became my first marketing client! This is a great way to make money when you first start blogging because the skill-set is identical to what you do with your own site.
I highly recommend that anyone who spends time blogging go out and try to find some marketing clients. It’s been a great experience for me so far.
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!
Facebook ad services: $0
This month I didn't actually have any Facebook ad work for clients, but that wasn't a big deal. I was able to secure more work later this year from some clients that are seasonal.
I've also got one more fairly large client that I'm going to meet with this month to see if we are a good fit for working together. Wish me luck!
Site traffic was down
May brought a 20% reduction in traffic from April, but I'm actually not concerned. A lot of my traffic comes from Facebook, and I tweaked a few things that dropped my traffic pretty drastically for almost a week.
Fortunately, that experimentation actually yielded some killer ad campaigns that are averaging around 5 cents a click (which is really really good) and better engagement/less negative feedback.
Sometimes you have to take a small step back so that you can have more success later on. So far this month it looks like I'm back on track and will have a great traffic month.
The cool thing was that my income in May wasn't really changed on the blogging side of my business. So even with less traffic, I maintained revenue.
I'm guessing that this summer will be a little closer to the $15k side of things until September and everything will ramp back up (and maybe get a little crazy) near the end of the year. I used to make about $3,500 per month as a teacher, so you won't hear me complain!
Cool stuff for M$M:
I've finally decided on a course to create!!!!!
After giving it months of thought, I've figured out what my first course offered through the site needs to be. Over and over and over I'm asked by other readers and bloggers how to make money quickly with a blog.
It's heartbreaking sometimes because people see my story and actually quit their jobs to try to make money online!
The reality is - blogging itself isn't a quick income stream. It's just not. Affiliate marketing takes time, sponsorships and ad revenue don't come quickly, and high-paying freelance writing gigs aren't that easy to come by.
If someone tells you that you can start a blog tomorrow and have this incredible #laptoplifestyle immediately, they're flat-out lying.
However...online marketing work can be lucrative and a much faster income stream if you know how to get clients and provide the right services to small businesses in your area.
If you've been following me for any length of time, you probably know that I quit my job way sooner than I should have.
I had to figure out how to make money somehow, because it wasn't coming from this site.
That's when I leveraged MillennialMoneyMan.com to secure my first digital marketing client. Marketing work was the steady income stream that I needed to be able to build M$M to what it is now, and I'm still going with it.
I've made tens of thousands of dollars over the last two years by providing marketing services to small businesses through my blog, and I'm ready to share my knowledge now.
This course will be for people that legitimately want to make money from their computer and create a business that's directly related to running a blog.
If you have a blog or have wanted to start a sustainable online business, I highly recommend that you get on the waiting list for the course through the signup form below. I will start working on the course in July, and am hoping to roll it out early fall.
I have some help this summer...
My wife is off for the summer, and I'm putting her to work haha! I'm going to have her help me with some aspects of the online business so that we can spend more time together until August when she goes back.
There's a lot of work to do that involves going back and editing old posts, changing featured images, linking to new content, etc.
While I can definitely still run the business by myself right now, some extra help never hurts.
I finally understand Pinterest
It seems like a lot of male bloggers go through this phase of being scared of Pinterest, which is totally what happened to me the last couple of years.
Coral has really helped me so far and done a lot of the hard work, but I wasn't seeing the type of traffic that I wanted from the platform. I finally decided to jump in and figure out how Pinterest actually freaking works. She does have a full-time job after all, so I can't expect her to just magically manage everything for me during the day.
I took the Pinfinite Growth course by Melyssa Griffin, and now I feel so dumb for avoiding Pinterest. It's actually a pretty simple platform once you get past the mental roadblock of thinking it's something that male bloggers can't thrive on.
I've done very well on Twitter, then Facebook...and now it's time to do the same on Pinterest. If you have any suggestions for great personal finance group boards to join, let me know in the comments!
We're going to Aruba!
In May I wrote a post asking for vacation tips from all of you! I got so many responses it was crazy - it took Coral and I several hours to comb through everything and plan our summer vacation. If you want some great ideas from M$M readers, there are a bunch in the post.
Ultimately we decided on a week in Aruba, and we're stoked! We are trying to move away from the resort type of vacation and do more adventurous stuff. We rented an AirBNB for $69/night and are going to do a ton of snorkeling, hiking, tours, etc.
Apparently you can't flush toilet paper...wish us luck (Sorry I know that's gross but I feel like it's important for you to know haha).
The best thing is that I'll have internet, so expect a ton of vacation pictures on my Insta. 🙂
As always, you guys rock
Thanks so much for checking out my May 2017 income report. Also, thank you for being awesome and please please please reach out and let me know what cool stuff is going on with you!
Whether it’s student loan payoff stories, accomplishments with your business or blog, or anything else…I love to be a part of it. Without all of you, I wouldn’t have a job. I consider every one of you as family because of that. ?
Here's something I wrote on my Facebook page that I think applies really well here:
"It's not all about the money.
In this very strange business that I'm in, there are a lot of different ways to make money and "monetize" your readers and audience.
We have conventions where bloggers and other online influencers get together and discuss how to capture more emails or convert views into sales, which obviously is important if you want to make a living online.
But, rarely does anyone discuss how important it is to talk to the people that actually take the time to read your site.
Not just a "thanks for commenting", but ACTUALLY getting to know as many readers as you can.
I've been told I spend too much time answering comments and emails. If you think about the pure volume of roughly 100,000 people a month...it's a lot. I'm about to sit down and answer about 40 emails that I got two days ago (I'm behind).
I spend roughly 1-2 hours a day just responding to comments and questions.
Could I use that time elsewhere to monetize my site more effectively? Probably...but it's not about the money. It's about the people.
I didn't start Millennial Money Man just to sell things. I started it because there aren't enough places that people can get together and just talk about personal finance without it being weird.
My theory is that if you legitimately pay attention to your readers, the "big" money will come later on (and honestly I make plenty now and am super grateful).
Relationships and people should always come first.
Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing - I'll keep talking if you guys do."