December 2018 Blogging Income Report: $25,202– Everything that I did to make a full-time income working from home blogging.
So it’s almost the end of another month, which means that I have to share with you my December 2018 blogging income report. It’s been more than 3 years since starting my blog in August 2015, but it’s been less than 3 years since going “full time” thanks to taking this class.
This isn’t some self-righteous “I’m the bomb, I’m just gonna just brush my shoulders off” nonsense. You shouldn’t waste your time reading that and I won’t waste my time writing it.
What you WILL get out of this is seeing what life as a full-time blogger is like, plus you get to see what works and what doesn’t work. Don’t make the mistakes that I’ve made, but you can still try out the things that DID work.
But first, here’s the break down of how I made my money from my blog in December
Income – Affiliates: $12,850
Survey Sites: $1,893
Ebates: $1,250 (!!!! YUP !!!)
Be a Bookkeeper Academy: $435
Eat at Home Meals: $1,291
Make Over Your Mornings: $184
Stupid Simple SEO: $99
Cents of Style (who have THE cutest clothes! Plus they’re prices are so great!): $46
Start a Mom Blog: $33
Other small affiliate income (there are a lot of programs that had small payouts – we’re talking a BUNCH – so I lumped them all into one here): $298
Income – Products Sold: $9,859
Budget Binder: $3,172
Paycheck Budget: $2,930
100+ Email Subject Lines: $2,755
Pinterest Graphics 101: $491
Income – Display Ads: $2,493
Total December 2018 Blogging Income Report Income: $25,202
Payroll expenses (worth every penny!!!): $787
- Grayson ( Tech Wizard / WordPress Whisperer / Chief of Chill When I Break WordPress at 2 am for the Third Time This Week )
- Asher ( Editor in Chief / the hubby )
- Janelle ( Chief Happiness Officer / Manager / Executive Assistant / President of Workflow )
- Maddy ( Facebook Manager )
Paypal / SendOwl / Teachable fees (paid when I get paid): 1-5% depending on the platform. I added it here so that you know that there are expenses even associated with making my own products.
Facebook Ads: $821 (YIKES. BUT they all get sent straight to a freebie lead magnet that converts at $.21 per lead.)
ConvertKit: $179 (worth it!)
Macbook: $900 (My old laptop finally kicked the bucket. So I had to run out and buy a new Macbook Air from Costco. It is awesome and I’m so excited to use it. It weighs like 15 pounds less than the old Macbook Pro from 2012. 🙂 )
Taxes: I set aside 40% of every penny for taxes. Yup, FORTY percent. That quarterly bill hurts.
Profit pre-tax: $22,476
Taxes to set aside: $8,990
Total December 2018 Blogging Income: $13,485
I’ll be honest… That’s a lot. My husband is a rockstar and makes $3,000 a month. So for us… this is levels that we never thought we’d reach.
For crying out loud, I started this blog because we were living off of $17,000 a year. But there are lessons about that that we will cover in a minute. So let’s talk about what worked and what didn’t work in December.
Blogging WORKED in December, and I think it has a lot to do with 4 things:
- The holiday shopping season really added to this whole income.
- Posting more…
- Emailing more…
- Making more pins!
I stopped making a posting schedule for myself (do as I say and not as I do with this one – I have a library of 3 years of posts I can edit if I need to) and just started re-working older posts that could use some touching up. I created new pins for them, and some of them even went out as emails to my list.
Yes, you can do that! And if you’re having a moment of writer’s block, then I suggest you try it out when you need to email your list!
Really quick though… you need to know some things about me:
- I’m not special. I’m a teen mom, college drop out, mom of 4, second shift wife, and organizational disaster. I can tell you without a question that if I could do this and make it work, so can you.
- I didn’t come up with all of this on my own. NO WAY! I took this course back in 2016 that – and I don’t say this lightly – changed my life.
- But seriously… this is NOT a get rich quick scheme. It’s not an MLM or a promise to make 5-figures every month in your first month. This is after failing more times than I can count, working 50+ hour weeks with a newborn, making $0.17 in my highest-earning month when I first started. I didn’t make “real” money until I was a full year into blogging (meaning I made more than $200). It took a year and a lot of luck to get there, too. So don’t even think that that’s normal, either.
- Blogging is WORK. I expected to get rich off of my first “Hello World” post. I really did. And it didn’t happen (of course). I didn’t know that this whole blogging thing was a real job. It requires commitment, time, energy, and consistent effort.
So now that that’s all out of the way, let’s get into the good stuff! The “what I learned that you need to know so you dont have to fail like I do” stuff!
Looking to start a blog? Check out these posts:
- How to Start a Profitable Blog the Right Way
- Start a Blog on a Budget
- How to Start Using Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers
- How Bloggers Make Money
- Can You Make Money Blogging in One Year?
Why am I sharing my December 2018 blogging income report?
There are a few answers to this, but honestly, it all comes down to you. I want to help you!
You need to know that this is all possible. That you can make it as a blogger and make more than a full-time income blogging.
It’s a lot of hard work and you don’t get to see me ignoring my wife and mom duties in order to get tomorrow’s post done. But no matter how hard it is, my whole family feels like the sacrifice is worth it because we have so much more than we ever could have hoped for thanks to this blog! And it’s possible for you too if you can work at it for yourself.
1. To show you that you can use affiliate income to really make money.
I used to think that big bloggers needed to have 1 killer, million dollar affiliate that made them their money. That’s not the case at all! If you have 10 affiliates who you earn $100 from each month, you have $1,000 of income!
Some of my highest earning affiliates are for things that people get for free. Ibotta and Ebates are my 2 favorite examples of this. They are totally free and never cost a cent for people to join them. But they still pay me $5 and $25 respectively per referral.
People are more likely to join something that’s free, so I know that I’m very likely to make money each time I mention those products. Don’t think that a commission is too low if you know that the product will help your audience. (That rule doesn’t apply to high-ticket items for the most part, but a referral fee of $5 can still add up!)
2. To let you see the back end of blogging and lift the veil a bit.
I had NO idea how much work went into blogging when I started. People still ask me what I do all day that takes so much time.
Blogging is so much more than just writing posts all day. Yes, having great content is a big part of it, but there’s also the planning that comes into everything. If you want to make money blogging, you can’t just throw links onto your sidebar and hope that people click on them.
Blogging is a lot more than that. Which is why you get to see the good, the bad, and the ugly each month in these income reports!
3. To share with you the things that worked for me and the things that didn’t so that you don’t need to make the same mistakes that I made.
Let’s be real: we’d all like to take the easy way if we can help it, right? That’s human nature!
We want to know exactly how to get the results that we want with the least amount of effort and time. And that’s where these income reports come in.
You can see what has worked for me and what failed miserably so that you can avoid mistakes or make the choices that have already worked. Learning from others is the best way to make sure that you avoid spinning your wheels and can actually grow your blog (which is why I loved EBA so much)!
1. NEW PINS
I didn’t want this to be true, but making new pins for older posts with new descriptions actually worked. It gave me a few unexpected mini-viral posts that really added up (I had this post go wild for a few days making me quite a bit of money and this other one did very well, too!).
Making new pins doesn’t have to be tedious, either. I’ve created some templates on Canva that I use for almost every post that do very well. It makes it super easy to create lots of different pins.
2. FACEBOOK ADS
This is actually kind of interesting… I ran Facebook ads this month and towards the end of the month, they went BONKERS! Like, more people than ever were clicking them and signing up for my email list. Not complaining about that, for sure!
Which then takes me to the next point because Facebook ads are a waste of money if you aren’t making money off of the page that you are promoting. Which means that you need to know about TRIPWIRES.
So this is actually where I geek out. Tripwires are my JAM. I love tripwires on email opt-ins.
What’s a tripwire?
No clue what I’m talking about? that’s fine – most people haven’t heard of them. But it’s basically a super deal on a product that you will only see right after you sign up for someone’s email.
Chances are very high that you’ve seen these before and have probably bought some of them yourself. Mine converted like hot cakes (it’s got a 30% conversion rate!) and my upsell (a secondary tripwire that if you said yes to the first one, you will see the second one) converts at 80%!!!!
So when my Facebook ads are driving people to sign up for my email list and then it’s all converting super well, that means that my tripwires are making me even more money!
4. EDITING EMAIL OPT-IN BOXES
I’ll admit – there are times when I get done with an email opt-in box and just forget about it. That’s a BAD IDEA.
Sometimes, small tweaks can have a HUGE impact on the way that a lead magnet can convert. So thankfully, I have an amazing friend, Tracy, who created this incredible course all about how to make the best lead magnets out there.
She was kind enough to help me look over my site and maximize my most visible lead magnets. The tiny tweaks that I never would have thought of have more than DOUBLED my conversion rate of the same freebies! All I had to do was change the wording a little, and BAM!
Lesson learned: Check on email opt-ins once a week to make sure that they are converting well. If not, edit the text or image or the call-to-action.
What DIDN’T Work:
BRINGING WORK HOME WITH ME!
Yes, I work from home. But I try to keep my work and home-life separate. It doesn’t always work super well. It really is a struggle.
My husband and my oldest son were both off for a week at the end of the month which threw off my work schedule. AKA – I basically did nothing that week. It was very stressful.
I know, I know… they’re only little once. And the time my husband is home should be cherished.
But… I have this dirty little secret… I actually LIKE working.
No… I LOVE working!
I don’t know many people who can say that, but I know I can. It’s amazing to be able to say that!
So when I can’t work… I get grumpy! I can’t do what makes me happy.
Thank goodness for marriage counseling to help me talk with my husband about how I need to have the time to work so that I can recharge and be the best person I can be for my kids and family. (No really, I LOVE therapy. Try it out sometime!)
But my scheduling system for organizing my time is STILL working super well! All I have to do is move the tasks around if they didn’t get done. Totally worth it!
HOW I’M ORGANIZING THAT’S ACTUALLY WORKING…
There’s a blog post for this one coming, but I love my current situation with my time managing!
Your week will be PACKED! But then you can throw the tasks that you complete right into the trash. I’ll be honest: it’s VERY rewarding to throw out those to-do tasks! Plus, it gives me a really great, easy way to “brain dump.”
So if you’re looking for more info on how I do my time blocking and managing, be on the lookout for that post!
Next month’s goals:
Next mont’s goals are really more about pushing myself to get everything done before this baby gets here in March.
Income goals: $10,000+ (yeah, that’s less. But it’s also not the holiday season anymore. It happens.)
Time goals: 20-30 hours a week
Email goals: minimum of 3 emails sent each week with at least $500 made from each (excluding major launches where sales goals per email are different)
Pageview goals: Grow to a steady 125,000 pageviews
Expenses goals: Buy tickets for travel in May (still get good deals because saving money is in my blood!)
Product goals: Launch tripwires 101 course, create new course for money saving audience.
Looking at the end of the year and starting next year…
The end of the year is just about here and it’s time to get my goals and schedule all lined up! I’m super excited about this since I started reading the 12 Week Year and I can’t wait to put it into practice (you need to go get that book RIGHT NOW. It WILL change your life, not just for blogging).
Since I’m going to have a baby in March, I’m PACKING the first quarter of the year with as much as I possibly can to make sure that I can take some time off to spend with Baby Vencil #4! But honestly, I’m trying to set everything up so that I can still make money without killing myself.
I started this blog when my youngest was 6 weeks old and I felt like a nut case. So trying to keep everything moving and working while I’m trying to spend some time with my newest little one is going to be tricky. But I think I’m up for it!
All in all, my December 2018 Blogging Income Report was a GREAT month of selling my own products and I can’t wait to see what comes in January (spoiler… creating products is addicting!!!).
More blogging resources:
- How to Rock Affiliate Marketing When You Stink at Sales (Plus an Interview with Michelle Schroeder-Gardner)
- An Honest Review of Bluehost
- How to Frugally Start a Blog on a Budget
- Can You Make Money Blogging in One Year?
- How I Made a Full-Time Income From My Blog in 2016
- December Blogging Income Report
- November Blogging Income Report
- How to Start Using Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers
- 5 Signs Blogging Isn’t for You (& 1 Sign You Should Start Today!)
- The Blogging Class that Made Me a Full-Time Blogger
- Surefire Ways to Promote Your Blog and Grow Your Audience
- Best Tips for a New Blogger From a Blogging Pro
What is your biggest struggle with starting a blog? Let me know in the comments and I’ll get you an answer! 🙂