Well hi there. What's up?
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
- How I made money the previous month
- Cool things that happened in my personal life and business goals that I have coming up
It's already been so cool to see the progress and how much my life has changed over the past two years!
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 1,440+ 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.
Here’s how I made money with my online business this month:
Jeez November is over already? It just seems like these income reports keep coming up faster and faster.
The crazy thing is that it's not really going to slow down anytime soon. I was thinking about trying to take a vacation at some point in December, but that's not really going to happen.
As far as I'm concerned, it's full speed ahead for the business until February or March. As far as traffic and revenue, you'll probably see that things were pretty standard this month.
The $14k - $16k months seem to be normal at this point for my business. The goal for next year is to turn those more into $30k - $40k months, and I think I can do it with all of the things I have on the horizon.
The only problem is that balancing the work that I have right now vs. starting all of these 2018 projects has been a bit of a struggle for me. In fact, I've hired two virtual assistants in the past month or so that have really helped me free up time to focus on content and launching courses in January.
They are helping with email management, reminding me to take various calls and meetings I have through the day, scheduling out social media for the month, and some other odds and ends that I don't have the mental bandwidth to do anymore.
It's kinda strange how your business tends to sneak up on you as it grows. Right after I quit my job to run M$M, I remember sitting around waiting for an email to come in. Now I had to hire someone to help me organize the emails and prioritize which ones to respond to and help filter out the bogus ones that slip through the spam filter.
Isn't that crazy?
But don't worry - you can be assured that if an email comes from my account, it's me on the other end writing it.
Here is my theory on personally interacting with readers:
You should do it.
I actually got really frustrated at FinCon a few months back, because a lot of the messaging from some bloggers came across as: "Don't do things that are low ROI and don't listen or talk to your readers if you can help it."
The thought of thinking of your readers as cattle and filtering them to places just to buy things all while keeping them at arm's length because you don't want to interact with them feels dirty to me.
I'm not trying to throw shade because honestly everyone's business is different and every personal finance influencer has different goals. Some people are able to help a lot of people that way with their courses and stuff.
But me? I'm in it for the community. The people. That's what matters to me, and it's the only reason that I wake up every day excited to do what I do.
People have directly told me that I'm wasting my time by interacting with my readers in my private group or refusing to have someone else ghost write my email responses. Now it's my mission in life to prove them wrong haha.
I don't give two craps about the best ROI or conversion rates. I want to know if I'm helping people get excited about personal finance or entrepreneurship. All of the other stuff is just noise and secondary concerns in my opinion.
If you do the right things and care about the people that read your stuff, the rest of it will take care of itself in time.
And yeah, maybe I'll leave money on the table that way. But considering that some people in the world don't know where their next meal is coming from or weren't fortunate enough to wake up today helps me keep small things like that in perspective.
Anyways, sorry for the rant. As you can see...I'm passionate about this. Let's get to the numbers for November. Affiliate income was good, marketing revenue was good, and some other things were bad haha.
Digital Marketing Income: $5,419.95
So for those of you that don’t know, I run a small digital marketing company from my laptop. I keep it capped at just 5 clients (some are seasonal, some aren’t) so I can also grow M$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 I just finished up 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: $8,968.15
Affiliate income: $5,725.15
Bluehost Blog Hosting: $2,905.00 (Take a look at my free blog starter guide to set up your own site in 15 minutes or less!)
LendEDU: $1,280.25 <- Over 1,300 M$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: $338.00 (Read my review of this course that helped me grow my affiliate income to over $4,000 per month!)
Haven Life Insurance: $320.00 (If you’re looking for term life insurance, this company is the bomb)
Online Surveys: $72.50
Personal Capital: $100.00
Amazon affiliate: $3.00
Become a Pinterest Virtual Assistant Today! Course: $688
Staff writing: $0
I didn't do any staff writing in November, and won't do any in December as well. I'll probably keep this fairly limited next year. I have one awesome client that has already sent me a contract for 2018, so I'll definitely resume this revenue stream in a month or so.
With all of the things I have going on right now, it's actually pretty nice to have less writing than usual.
November was a really weird traffic month for M$M. It was probably the lowest I've had in 7-8 months. I *think* a lot of it had to do with Black Friday, and also that I don't have a ton of holiday content on the site.
Honestly though, it's hard to say. I haven't been doing this for long enough to have good data on my traffic trends.
The good news is that my traffic has already rebounded in December and looks like it will be one of the biggest months I've ever had.
The other good news is that ad revenue tends to get better at the end of the year, so even though I had a dip in traffic, the numbers were about the same as last month.
I expect this revenue stream to drop in 2018. Now that I have courses that I'm going to be selling, I'll be cutting back on the ads. If I get a ton more traffic and it stays the same, cool. If not...no biggie.
Here’s ad revenue and traffic for November (notice that Black Friday dip):
Last month in this section, I went on this little rant that said I should be making more money this way and trying harder to get sponsorships. Well....womp womp.
I basically got to the end of the month and realized I hadn't done anything to try to get a sponsored post on the site. I guess that's when you know you have too many plates spinning?
I have some stuff for December, but probably nothing substantial. At some point, I will probably train my assistant on pitching sponsored posts to companies. But ain't nobody got time for that right now.
Cool stuff for M$M:
I learned a valuable lesson from a marketing client
It took me some time to decide if I was going to actually share this in my income report, but I think it's an important life lesson and business lesson as well.
For the first time since I've been running M$M, I actually got overwhelmed to the point that I was going to give up a bunch of money.
When I was just getting started and wasn't making any money with the site, I started doing freelance marketing work for a jeweler that was cool enough to take a chance on me, which eventually grew into multiple clients throughout the year.
I do a lot for the jeweler as far as content creation, emails, local SEO, website management, etc. It's a great gig.
But as I was looking at all of the things I needed to do for January and started drowning in all of the writing I had to get done, I decided that I couldn't work for the client anymore.
So, I made a really hard phone call and tried to quit.
The call was hard for me for a few reasons:
- I have massive respect for the business owner. He's basically a mentor to me at this point.
- Giving up money isn't something I like doing.
- They had taken a chance on me, and I felt like I was letting them down.
The cool thing is that the business owner took that phone call as a moment to teach me a valuable lesson about my business that I really needed to hear.
I told him I couldn't work for them after 2017, and he said..."no." Haha.
Then he basically went on to say that I'm good at a lot of things and have a ton of potential. But the thing I suck at right now as a business owner?
What the heck was am I going to do when M$M reaches 2 million people next year instead of 1 million like it did in 2017? Quit? Walk away from money because it's hard to manage?
Hell no (sorry I know I said I would cuss less on the site). You figure out how to grow because that's what good businesses do.
So ultimately...he was right. I've always tried to do all of the work myself for my business because I didn't want things to get too complicated or have to manage people. In that process, I was actually making it much harder for myself than it needed to be.
One thing I pride myself on is being coachable. That means sometimes you have to take tough criticism, listen to it, and agree. So I did.
We ended up restructuring some of my responsibilities and coming up with a plan for me to manage other people handling some of the work I was doing.
All in all, it was a really good thing for me as a business owner and kind of shifted my whole thought process on how I wanted to run my business.
With that change, I also plan on restructuring these income reports in the new year to include expenses. For the past year, I've just lazily slapped in a 30% expenses estimate (which is surprisingly accurate), but I need to take more time to dig into the line items.
I'll have a lot of new business owners that are taking my courses that are going to need to know the ins and outs of a business once it gets more complicated.
I'm making a second course (and basically starting a second business)
Crazy, right? A few days ago I introduced a second marketing course that I'm making.
It's called the Facebook™ Side Hustle Course, and I'm so so so so so excited about it.
The idea is to teach regular people how to run Facebook ads for local businesses and help them generate sales leads. You don't have to be a blogger, and you don't need a website.
If you already use Facebook in your day to day life, that's all you need to know to get started with this side hustle.
The idea is to help people make $1,000+ per month in their spare time, which is very reasonable and achievable. It's standard in marketing to charge $1,000 - $2,000 per month per client with Facebook ad management, and it doesn't take much time per client.
While I was creating my first course, I was doing a consulting call with a good friend of mine that started a Facebook ad agency from scratch and is killing it. With his background and my marketing background, we realized we were sitting on a home run.
It will cost $397. We are also creating a support group that will be free for the first month, and then a super reasonable monthly price afterward if you like the safety net of being able to ask questions about your ads or tactics for getting more clients.
I already wrote a full post on the site about it, which you can read more about here. Make sure you jump on the waiting list if you're serious about buying it.
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:
I have a third business brewing...
Yes, I have ANOTHER online business in the works. I can't talk about it much yet, but essentially it's going to be an educational webinar series that teaches online business owners/side hustlers how to scale their business to $2,000-$5,000/month in revenue.
I'm partnering with one (maybe two) of the BEST Millennial bloggers in the game out there right now to make this happen. I'll have more info on the site in the next week or two, but I think when you see who I'm doing this with you'll be shocked.
I think one of the best things you can do in life is to show gratitude. I'm seriously thankful for every reader that comes to this site.
If you haven't done it yet - I highly suggest that you join the free private M$M Facebook community! It just passed 5,000 members, and we're even starting to plan local meetups!
Just crazy. Take a look: