Ah, income report time. I'm not going to lie, these are getting more and more difficult to write because I have soooo many things going on now haha.
But, I still love doing them. Whether it's your business or just personal finances in general, I think it's a good practice to take a look at the last month and see what happened.
For M$M, it was actually a really weird month. My traffic took a big hit (I'll explain why later in the report), but my revenue actually went up!
One of the things that I'm continually learning about blogging is that traffic isn't nearly as important as I used to think it was.
BUT, that's only if you have a high-quality product to introduce to your readers and high-quality traffic. I'm fortunate to have both.
Back in the day I used to rely more on advertising revenue and sheer volume of people coming to M$M, but now that money from ads has become a small part of the revenue for the site...things have changed (for the better IMO).
I'll get to all of that stuff in the report. Overall, May was awesome, I'm grateful for my business, and I've got big plans moving forward as per usual.
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?
So far I’ve had nearly 3,000 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:
2. Here’s how I made money with my online business this month:
Facebook Courses (Facebook Side Hustle and Blow Up Your Blog course): $53,670.00 before affiliate payouts and credit card fees
The FB Side Hustle course is still crushing it and growing. The crazy thing is that we still have so much to do in terms of getting our funnels put together, and M$M needs to be optimized badly. Things just blew up so fast with this course that we've been trying to keep up with everything.
Fortunately, summer is a little slower in the blogging world, which means that I've got more time over the next few months to get more infrastructure built out.
The most important thing is that we have students getting clients every week now! One of our students, Kathrine, now has SEVEN clients...and one is paying her $5,000 per month.
No, that is not a typo. The entire premise of the course was to teach everyday people a legitimate skill to monetize, and it's working. The key, of course, is that we teach people the fundamentals of marketing and lead generation. We just happen to be teaching it on the FB ad platform right now, which is the best place to generate quality leads for small businesses.
Featured question from people interested in joining the FB Side Hustle Course:
I get so many questions about the course through my email, FB messenger, Twitter, and basically anywhere else that people can reach out to me.
From now on, I'll be featuring 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:
"Does the fee that you recommend I charge FB ad clients include their ad costs, or do I have to pay for those out of my retainer?"
We NEVER recommend that you cover a client's ad cost. We typically recommend that you charge at least $1,000/month per client to create and run their ads. On top of that, the client should expect to pay about $15/day in ad spend to reach potential customers.
So all in, the client will spend about $1,500 per month. $1,000 to you, and $15/day directly to FB.
That may seem like a lot of money when you're just getting started, but there are a couple things to consider:
- $1,000 per month is actually the floor for FB ad management. $1,500 is actually much more common in the online marketing world.
- You have to remember that most businesses we recommend that you work with have MUCH higher costs associated with running their business than what you will charge them. Rent alone for something like a dentist's office can be several thousand dollars per month. Established small businesses typically find a marketing cost of $1,500/month all-in to be very reasonable.
We teach you how to set clients up on auto-billing as well, which means that you'll get paid-in-full at the same time every month. It's awesome. 🙂
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.
Click "SEE MORE" below to check out the testimonials and learn more about the course:
Blow Up Your Blog Course: $1,405.00 net revenue (included in the total above)
Right now, the BUYB course is only $97. That is going to change very soon, and the price will go up to at least $197.
If you are a blogger and want to learn how to grow your traffic, get high-quality/ low-cost email subscribers, and make more money blogging, this course is the best on the market (in my humble opinion).
I teach you my unicorn system for finding posts that will drive tons of traffic at a low cost, and Mike shares some of his magic for getting email subscribers. Everything we teach in the course is a strategy that we currently use to grow M$M.
Stop hoping to rank higher on Google. Stop hoping to go viral on Pinterest.
Start driving high-quality traffic to your blog within the next 24 hours. Pretty simple. 🙂
Click "see more" below to learn about BUYB:
Digital Marketing Income: $4,089.90
Still going strong with my digital marketing income! I have my team handling the day to day client work, and I'm jumping in when I need to.
So far, it's working really well. I am going to limit my client load to 3 clients moving forward, which means that I'll have one year-round and two that are seasonal who I've already worked with previously.
The great thing is that I know I could always add more clients if needed later down the road. I honestly just don't have the time or energy to expand my client base right now, which is a good problem to have.
Affiliate income: $2,742.94
Kinda meh month for affiliate income, but can't really complain. This is pretty much the closest thing I have to passive income!
After months of not really focusing very much on this (it's hard to when FBSH is going so well), I'm finally working on optimizing some of my affiliate posts and will also be starting some campaigns on FB to run more traffic to them.
I teamed up with Credible last month for student loan refinancing! I've wanted to work with them for a while now, but it's just been a matter of getting the logistics worked out. A lot of my readers want to check out student loan refi rates but aren't sure who they can trust. Credible is legit, they do business the right way, and will ultimately be a great resource for the M$M crew.
Affiliate income will probably be down in June, but you'll start seeing this creep up till the end of the year. My goal is to get this revenue stream to $10,000/month by 2019.
Staff writing: $1,500
No change here from last month. I'll keep writing personal finance content for this client as long as they'll have me. The money is great of course, but there's no way I could take on any more writing work right now.
This month kinda sucked for traffic, but it's mostly because the M$M FB ad account got shut down haha.
There are ways to work around that, so it's really not that big of a deal. We really could have gotten everything up and running again pretty quickly, but I wanted to be patient and see if FB would correct the problem after I spoke to customer service. Sometimes they mess up, and there really wasn't any reason to shut down my account.
Anyways, we're all good now and things are back to normal, but it was a reminder that I need to diversify my traffic. I'm a fan of focusing on one traffic source in the beginning and then building out everything else later once you're established.
Right now I'm going back and optimizing some of my low-hanging fruit posts for SEO, and we are also about to really ramp up Pinterest traffic as well.
I don't really have a set traffic goal, but I think 500,000 views a month by the end of the year is pretty reasonable. As long as revenue continues to grow like it has, I'm not concerned about the numbers all that much.
Think of it this way - would you rather have 1,000,000 views per month and make $10,000 a month in revenue, or 150,000 views per month and make $60,000?
No brainer, right? That's why I'm focusing so much on building trust with my audience and optimizing the crap out of our funnels for the FB Side Hustle course.
People used to tell me that I wasted too much time by talking to my audience at the level that I currently do.
They don't say that anymore. Now they ask how to do what I'm doing. 🙂
Expenses to run M$M for January: $5,517.18
Eventually, I’m going to do a line-item list of every expense because I think it would be helpful for business owners/bloggers that want to see how this all works.
But for now, I’m just going to briefly describe what this number includes because these reports already take several hours to complete:
- Paying the M$M team
- FB ads
- Website hosting and various small services I need for the blog (social media tools, Teachable hosting for the courses, etc.)
Net Revenue: $29,067.36
For the purposes of this report, I'm going to split the net revenue of the Facebook course and BUYB in half. Mike and I leave money in the business (which is structured as an LLC that is owned by our LLCs). It produces a K-1 every year and then we just transfer the revenue to our main business accounts.
Business is so weird haha. I never thought I'd be talking about any of this stuff before, but it's also really interesting to see how things just get more complex with your business over time.
We have a few more launches planned for the year which typically bring in a lot of money, and then Laptop Empires is going live as well which will bring in additional revenue, but I probably won't include that in this report since it technically doesn't run through M$M.
3. Cool stuff for M$M:
M$M.com retired my wife
I wrote a post about this a few weeks back, but it's still something that's pretty surreal!
Coral has always been so supportive of my ridiculousness in building this business, so one of my major goals has been to eventually retire her. We want to travel more and really take advantage of running an online business.
So June 1 was technically her last day, but most of May was filled with getting things out of her offices (she worked on two campuses) and getting ready for the transition.
Right now, we're waiting on the paperwork to move over her retirement funds to an IRA, and also waiting on the district to pay a lump sum remainder of her salary. We could have stretched it out through the end of August, but the time value of money says to take it now, so we did.
I've wanted to get my hands on her retirement funds for a while now so it can be invested in something that actually grows. Long story short, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas is a bit of a ripoff. When I took my money out, they tried to incentivize me to keep it in their system by offering a guaranteed 2% ROI.
I typically buy index funds almost exclusively now, but one of the individual equities I did buy with my own retirement funds after I left teaching is up nearly 173%. So...I'll pass on any guaranteed return that they offer Coral haha.
Wouldn't it be nice if every investment did that well? (Also please don't go buy HFC just because you saw it here.)
Laptop Empires is launching this month!
Yessssssss. Mike and I have been recording podcast episodes and cranking out content for the site launch near the end of the month.
The website is basically done, and now we're just working out the finer details. We actually did a flash sale to celebrate at the beginning of June, which I'll detail in next month's report (it went well).
I've always wanted to do a podcast, but never felt like it was the right move for M$M. Most personal finance podcasts are kinda the same, with the exception of a few.
The LE podcast is going to be hardcore online business growth. Outside of money and being a dog owner, that's my other passion in life.
Mike and I have such different backgrounds in online business but have been able to combine them in a really cool way that we don't think many people will be able to replicate.
We're going to come out of the gate swinging, so if you're interested in starting an online business or want to figure out how to rapidly grow your existing one - the Laptop Empires podcast is going to be for you.
Be on the lookout for an official announcement here in a couple of days!
I turn 30 in July ughhhhhhhhh
Well. I'm old now I guess.
I always joke about dreading 30, but quite honestly...I'm pretty happy with how my 20's turned out.
Graduating from college, paying off $40,000 of student loan debt on a teacher's salary, starting M$M, helping my wife retire and becoming a 1% earner all before 30 is pretty good.
I'm proud of what I've done in life so far, and even more proud that I've learned a cool way to help hundreds of thousands of people in some small way.
I do feel like I get wiser and wiser every year, so hopefully, by 35 I'll be like Gandalph up in here or something.
If you've been reading M$M for a while - I honestly can't thank you enough. Hopefully, you can tell that I work really, really hard to produce content that makes your life better. It's my passion in life.
But, I can't do any of this without you. I hope you had a great month in May!
Make sure you jump into the private M$M group on FB so we can hang out and share way too many GIFs.
You can take a look at all of my income reports here or check out the latest ones below: