This month’s income report is even more exciting than the previous one. Last month, I finally made a profit! But this month, I made a bigger profit and I’m even making the big leap and going full-time! (Mostly. I still work part-time 1.5 days a week as a teacher but still!!)
Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase anything using my links, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. But I would never recommend anything I haven’t used or don’t believe in. Thanks for your support!
Now, before we get started…
Why I Share My Income Reports
You may be wondering, “Why the heck is Sareeta sharing her income reports? Isn’t that kind of weird…?” Well, fair enough. Most of the time, we don’t really talk about our personal income publicly, right?
The funny thing is, it’s really common among bloggers. In fact, I wouldn’t even be doing this if it weren’t for other bloggers sharing their income. I had NO IDEA you could make money from blogging, until I found income reports! I was so inspired.
Most bloggers don’t share them until they’re already succeeding, which isn’t very useful if you want to have an idea of what exactly it’ll be like form the beginning. So I decided to share my own income reports right from the very beginning myself! It’s useful for me and hopefully inspiring for readers like you 🙂
A little about me…
I graduated from university in 2015 with a degree in Education and a degree in Drama with an English minor. I’ve been substitute teaching and doing temporary contracts since. Right now, I teach English Language Learning at a junior high school, part-time.
And I blog part-time. I literally JUST started making income.
In April 2015, just a few months after I had graduated, I didn’t realize you could even do that. I just thought blogging was a hobby. But in October 2015, I found other bloggers who made a full time income from their blog! So I did some research and decided to take the plunge, one year ago.
One. Year. And now I make part-time income!
Sounds unreal, right?
It is. It feels unreal. I can barely believe it myself. But now that I’m making regular profit, I’m determined to go further and make enough to live on.
But let me share with you one thing: I’m not special. I didn’t know ANYTHING about blogging besides literally writing whatever I felt like and hitting the “publish” button. I never thought about editorial calendars, social media management, or email marketing. I had never heard of SEO (search engine optimization) or affiliate marketing (where you make a commission from selling others’ products). I didn’t know the first thing about “lead magnets.” I didn’t even know how to create the simple graphics you now see all over my blog!
No, all of that was COMPLETELY brand new stuff that I learned over the course of the last year. (Although, to be fair, I had some experience with WordPress since I worked as the Editor-in-Chief of my university residence’s paper. Still, all I knew was how to type and hit publish.)
But I love writing, and I love helping others. I know how to do research and I care about feminism. I wanted to learn as much as I could and change the way people think about feminism. I couldn’t find many safe places to talk about the issues I care about, so I just wanted to make one myself. So, I did. I signed up for Elite Blog Academy and focused. By doing that, I’ve now created a community of open-minded individuals who are sharing and learning about feminism. I’ve learned A LOT about feminism and my website has become resource where I share what I learn with other people who want to learn as too. I help others on their journey of understanding while I am learning. All the while, I can make money doing exactly what I love. It’s like a dream come true, for real — as cheesy as it sounds!
The best part? I know I’m making a difference. Readers, including people I know in real life, have shared personal stories with me because I’ve helped them gain the courage to speak up. They’ve told me that from reading my blog they’re learning to think critically and find out more on their own.
That’s how you know online activism matters!
Want to start your own blog?
If blogging sounds like something you’d like to do, I would LOVE to help you do it! Learn how you can start your own blog here — even if you’re not the greatest with technology.
One of the things I love about blogging is that it’s really affordable. If you look at my early income reports, you’ll see that I overspent on stuff because I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. But listen to me: just buy what you need! Read my guide on how to start blogging and you’ll be golden. Blogging is a really cheap, fun hobby that can make you good money! It’s not expensive, especially if you view it as a business — which you should, if you want to blog for profit.
Get this: it starts at less than $4/month! Yup. You can learn more here.
And while you’re at it, you should sign up for the Elite Blog Academy wait list. Trust me: this course is the ENTIRE reason for my success. Like I said, I’m not special — I learned everything I know from EBA over the past year!
Elite Blog Academy only opens for enrolment once a year, and the timing is kept pretty locked down. So if you sign up for the waitlist, you’ll get a notification when they do open up 🙂 Or you can take their assessment to see if you have what it takes to blog!
Okay, now that we have that out of the way… here’s how January went on the blog!
January 2017 Wins
Stuck to my weekly schedule & worked efficiently.
So I tend to sign up for too much at one time, but this month I REFUSED to sign up for more than I can chew. I actually decided to tackle all of the courses and get them done in order to free up more time! I sat down and scheduled out my hours for the week, and stuck to it, no excuses. I also discovered this epic timer that I set for 25 minutes of work, and then for 5 or 10 minutes’ break. When I use it, I’m SO much more efficient, it is incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever been this efficient, ever. So yeah! I’ve made good progress on all my goals this month as a result!
Made a dent in Set Yourself Up For Freelancing Success.
I’m not as far along as I wanted to be, but that’s just because the work is taking longer than I’d hoped. Still good progress though! Only a couple units left.
Prioritized Elite Blog Academy.
I made HUGE progress with EBA. My goal was to finish Unit 5, but since I stuck to my dedicated 2 hours a week, I’m already in Unit 9 now and I didn’t rush! It’s been great. I’m starting to get eager to finish, especially because I know EBA 3.0 is launching soon! (Don’t forget to get on the waiting list!)
Gained new clients & experience.
I worked with 3 new clients this month and had an amazing experience. One signed up for long-term retainer work (which I’m SO excited about!) but the project-based work was AMAZING. Last month, I learned so much about how I would like to work with clients and have cleaned up my workflow really well to be as communicative and organized as possible. I can’t wait to meet new clients now!
Plus I thought it was a little sad to stop working with that project-based client, but actually over this past weekend she contacted me and wants me to work with her long-term! This makes me not only happy because it will help my finances, but it means my clients are happy and that’s what matters most. Yay!!
January 2017 Fails
Didn’t market my VA services enough.
Yep, pretty much self-explanatory. Just didn’t do it enough.
Had too many goals.
I realized this month that I had too many goals. It didn’t seem like it, but I did. As I went through the month, I started adding more goals than I had originally set. I wanted to finish Elite Blog Academy, finish the VA clinic I had joined, finish SYUFFS, market myself 1 hour each day, hit the gym 3x a week, read every night, and gain more clients for my VA services.
I did NOT have the time to do it all on top of my new part-time teaching position. So about halfway through the month I reassessed my goals and decided to focus on my courses: the VA clinic (which I did manage to finish), EBA and SYUFFS. This way, I figured it will clear up time as I finish the courses, since I had no plans to join anything else.
Just kidding! I bought another course.
I had really had planned on not doing this, but I actually found one that I think will do well as a chunk of my course budget that I’ve allowed this year. It’s the Teacher-Seller VA School: perfect for me, seeing as I’m a teacher! It’s a course that focuses on how to work as a VA for teachers that sell products on the teacher-famous website Teachers Pay Teachers which is an amazing resource for teachers. I use it almost everyday at work! It’s also a niche market that is in very high demand, as not many VAs specialize in this niche… so… I think it’s well worth it. Plus I’ll be clearing up a lot of time in the next couple weeks to make room in my schedule so it won’t overwhelm me to take this course.
But still. I wasn’t planning on it, so it’s a fail. #facepalm
What I Want To Do Now: Goals for February 2017
Finish Elite Blog Academy by the end of the month.
Only 3 units left! I expect to be done in two weeks at the rate I’m going. Be prepared for a full-on review of the entire course! (Psst: It’s going to be RAVING positive.)
Last month I prioritized EBA so I didn’t get enough work done in SYUFFS. Now that I’m going full-time, I’m going to dedicate more time to it – starting this week! I want to be done as soon as possible to clear up my schedule and get the ball rolling with my VA services.
Start a blogging email list.
I don’t want to bother my main feminist newsletter readers with stuff they don’t want, so I’ve created an email list just for people who want to learn about blogging. I want to start sending out a regular email to those subscribers just like I do for my feminist readers! Check it out:
Follow a more consistent marketing schedule for my VA services.
I did market in January which resulted in my new clients, but I feel I’m not marketing enough to have a consistent stream of clients. This month I’m going to spend at least an hour each weekday marketing myself.
… sounds like a lot again right? Here’s hoping – I’ve created a plan! We’ll see what happens.
January 2017 Stats
These are my blog stats for the past month, according to Google Analytics.
- Page views: 5,370 (-544)
- Sessions: 4,199 (-510)
- Visitors: 3,693 (-389)
- 18.4% of all visitors were returning visitors — a decrease of 2.2%.
- 81.6% of all visitors were new visitors — an increase of 2.2%.
- Bounce Rate (percentage of people who leave right away): 83.31% (-1.49%) YAY
- Average Time Per Session: 50 secs (+1 sec)
- Pages Per Visit: 1.28 (+0.02)
- Top Referral Sources: Pinterest brought 51% of my traffic, Google 20%. Facebook and Twitter both only brought 6% this month.
I’m really happy that Google is bringing 20% of my traffic now! That’s a lot. Facebook dropped a lot because I dropped the ball on it. I just don’t have the time to dedicate to it… but now that I’ve started using CoSchedule I expect that will pick up soon. Hopefully.
These are my social media stats as of February 3rd.
- Facebook: 277 page likes (+7)
- Twitter: 1,152 followers (+60)
- Pinterest: 1,837 followers (+95)
- Instagram: 255 followers (+40)
- Google+: 71 followers
- Bloglovin: 517 followers (+1)
- Email list: 106 subscribers (+20)
There does not seem to be a way to track how many followers I have on Google+ anymore… if you happen to know how, please comment & let me know! (Update: Julie kindly helped me out in the comments so I’ve added that info now.)
January 2017 Posts
If you’re wondering, these are the posts from last month that led to the above stats.
- My Twelfth Month Self-Hosting My Blog
- Why Disney’s Moana is Such an Important Movie
- Why Online Activism is Important For Social Justice
- How to Organize Your Feminist Blog With CoSchedule
- A Window to Her Dreams: A Book Review
And finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for…
January 2017 Income Report
UPDATE APR 12 2017: I recently crunched some numbers again and realized I majorly effed up my calculations. I didn’t make a profit in January 2017, it was a loss! I made the most money I’ve ever made, but I spent a LOT as well. I’ve updated everything below, but I hope that doesn’t discourage you — have a look at my March report to see how I did make a profit, and a big one too!
Virtual Services: $860.51 CAD
Sponsored Posts: $307.98 CAD
No payout for ads and affiliates until I reach $100 in any given account. but here’s what I earned within each account this month:
I also have to record anything I earn through things like Ebates, Pinecone Research surveys, and UserTesting — anything where I’m an independent contractor — through my business. I haven’t been including those in my blog income reports because the income isn’t related to my blog… but I also wasn’t really worrying too much about my blog as a business. But now that I am, I’ll start including it. Ebates and PineCone Research amounts accrue over time and are paid at different times, so I’ll only include them when I receive payment.
It’s a new year! So here it is for January:
Total Income: $1,201.83
Paypal fees: $71.50
Adobe Creative Cloud: $23.02
Business bank account fees: $12.30
Planner supplies: $62.98
P. O. Box (Annual): $195.30
Teacher-Seller VA School: $267.68
Business credit card annual fee: $49
Total Expenses: $1,335.12 CAD
(UPDATE: The fee for TSVAS was literally as I write wrote this in cyberspace and not actually removed from my bank account as of yet… so really the profit this month was $781.01. I’ll be including that fee in the next income report since that’s more accurate.)
Omg. I made over $1000 blogging! Ahhh! That doesn’t even seem real. A loss, but still an improvement. Any money in my account is all stickin’ around in my business bank account though, it’s not fun money, I need to have a fund in there to factor in recurring fees throughout the year which I had been paying for with my own money pre-business registration. But oh my goodness I’m so excited!
I did set myself back a little by purchasing that Teacher-Seller VA School, but I debated long and hard about it… I think it will pay for itself. But I think that’s pretty much it for courses for the year now unless I start making a lot of money.
I also have not factored in the internet and electricity bills that I can claim on my income tax. So technically my profit isn’t quite that much. I have a lot of organizing to do now!
How Elite Blog Academy Helped Me This Month: Monetization
I’ve hit the exciting part! The neat thing is that I had already started doing some of the things in the monetizing unit, like adding affiliate links from Amazon and adding ads from Google AdSense and Media.net, but even so I actually have learned quite a bit.
I learned that pageviews do matter, but they don’t need to stop me.
I do not have nearly as many pageviews as many of my Elite Blog Academy classmates have — my topic is very niched which means I have a smaller pool of truly interested readers to reach. But this month, I learned that even if I don’t ever grow to having hundreds of thousands of pageviews each month, I can still make money.
I learned that there are SO MANY ways to monetize your blog. While yes pageviews and reach matter — after all, the more readers you have the more you people can sell whatever you sell — there are so many sources of income you can utilize that don’t rely on pageviews. The income source that relies the most on pageviews is ad income.
So what’s my solution? I’m not focusing on advertising until I gain more traffic. Boom! Problem solved.
If you don’t have a lot of traffic, focus on other income streams!
It’s true — even with only 5,000-10,000 pageviews a month, you CAN make an income. You just need to find the right stream. It’s working for me! Affiliates, sponsored posts, private ads, creating your own products or services… pretty much anything but ads, and you’re golden.
Realizing this changed how I look at my business. I’ve been stressing over trying to grow and forgetting to take advantage of what I’ve already built! It’s like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders now that I’ve realized this:
You don’t need to be a huge blogger to find success.
Last month was a game-changer. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for me.
If you want to learn about blogging, you’ll be happy to hear that I’ve partnered with Ruth Soukup, the same woman who created Elite Blog Academy, to bring you a completely free resource, The Blog Structure Blueprint! It’s a must if you want to blog. Click the image below to get your copy!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this overview of January 🙂 see you next month!
If you want to see more about how I actually set up my blog and the costs of that, you can check out this post where I explain it all 🙂 and do share your blog with me so I can check it out!
What goals do you have for February? Let me know in the comments below!
Think Tank Thursday