I just wrapped up the 14th month of blogging and while the blogging niche isn’t our main focus, I still wanted to share what I’ve been doing and how we earned over $5,200 this past year for November 2018 in hope of helping other bloggers.
What’s craziness of all to me is that in November 2017, I earned $177 and just one year later, blogging income jumped to $5220 for November 2018. My mind is blown!
This far exceeded what I thought I could make as a small blogger that I’ve been plugging away at part time for a little over a year.
Make sure to pin this post for later to refer back to!
Since the blog earnings goal was $3000/mo by January 1, 2019, this was a HUGE DEAL because:
1) I felt tons of frustration over blogging this past spring and questioned whether I’d ever reach my income goals as a blogger. There’s been so many days I regretted starting a blog and wish I’d started a different type of online business instead. Thankfully I was too stubborn to quit!
2)I still consider myself so new and still have a ridiculous amount to learn about blogging and having an online business. I’m still scared every month that POOF! All of this hard work and income will just disappear.
3) My income goal was reached (and exceeded!) before my January 1 goal.
Hairs Out of Place had over 90K blog pageviews in November, which was it’s highest month so far!
It just amazes me that the main key to blogging success for me has just been slowly and consistently chipping away at making improvements.
If you’ve been thinking about starting a blog and wonder if you actually can, or if you already have a blog and haven’t started making much money yet, it’s definitely a real way to make extra money at home. So many bloggers give up way too early and they sometimes stop before things start to take off.
If you’ve been dreaming of starting a blog, no time is better than right NOW. I thought about it for 3 years before I actually took the plunge, and it’s on of the biggest regrets I now have. Who knows where I would’ve been now and who knows what you can achieve by this time next year?
Getting rapid traffic through Pinterest has been a key to my blogging success, you can sign up for my 7 day Pinterest rapid start course below, so you can learn sooner than later how powerful Pinterest Marketing is!
Our Blogging Story
Here’s a little about our blogging leap of faith story if you’re new to Hairs Out of Place!
I’ve been a SAHM mom for many years and have a background in accounting and banking. After taking extra college classes to sit for the CPA exam and getting a 2nd degree (since I didn’t really have a reason to be at home since the kids were in school all day–yep, even my kids questioned why I was still home), I realized my heart just wasn’t in that path, and I secretly dreamed about starting an online business that let me work from home and have family flexibility. Not pursuing a stable office job was a tough decision for me, since I’d promised my husband he could stop working his draining job once we got all of our kids through school and I’d take over as the the main income earner and would be the earner who had a job with stable benefits.
After doing a lot of soul searching, I took a huge leap of faith—call it a 1 year blogging experiment–to see if I could start a blog from scratch and make a decent income from it within 1 year. I admit, my family was a little concerned and questioned whether this was a realistic employment path, but they still gave me their full support to see what I could do with a blog after 1 year. The plan, if my blogging adventure failed to produce an income, was that I’d go back to accounting or banking to help cover our son’s college costs and save money for retirement.
My goal was to create a blog that MOSTLY focused on passive income. Meaning, once the traffic is coming in through Pinterest and Google, those posts are also making money with affiliate marketing and the opt-ins I create to get readers on my email list, also have a sales funnel and possibly even trip wire products of my own attached.
I definitely started out slow and steady, it was my goal to add on an additional $100 each month to the prior months earnings, just by chipping away at things slowly part-time over a 12 month period. This plan worked fine until I hit a few months where I couldn’t break the $500/mo earnings cycle and really started to doubt myself.
Out of frustration, I assumed this blog was a dud since I heard multi niche blogs had a harder time making money, and while it was making some profit, I doubted it could make a full time income. I figured I’d made a poor choice in blog niche, actually stopped writing new posts for 3 months and moved some of my content to a new niche specific website.
FYI, juggling 2 blogs that are BOTH in the growth phase is NOT wise and I DO NOT recommend that path until one can basically automate itself. But, at the time I thought it was a good idea lol. Now I just want to pull my hair out every week since I can’t keep up on the needs of two sites and struggle to find time to send emails to my (3!) email lists, create new products and find time to work on social media and working with brands.
What I didn’t realize about blogging until almost month 11, is that all the little bits of effort and hard work you put in during year 1 starts to steam roll and and can drastically pay off for you as you start year 2!
So many people give up before they get to this point!
The blog I assumed was a bad idea to start suddenly started taking off and making money. So many bloggers give up before they get to that point and it wasn’t until my content was almost one year old that those little bits of effort started causing income to skyrocket.
Ad revenue grew by leaps and bounds as the posts I wrote last year totally took off at the beginning of year 2.
The affiliate income that used to be $100/mo then turned into $1000+/mo.
The income that went from $500/mo in month 6 went to $1500/mo in month 11, then $2500/mo in month 12 and then shockingly passed $5K/month in month 14! And while I assumed I’d never repeat a $5K month, as I write this on Dec. 10 I’ve already earned $2669 in the first 10 days of Dec and “knock on wood” should have another $5K+ month.
SIDE NOTE: Diversifying income is HUGE, most bloggers making a full-time income from blogging have at least 4-6+ income streams! You cannot make a sustainable income from just one source since Pinterest could go poof some day, the sponsored post you get one month might not happen the next, the income you earn from a course launch won’t happen every month. See where I’m going with this? Get one income source working for you and add on others!
I didn’t get over $500/mo in earnings until I STOPPED prioritizing ad revenue and STARTED focusing on diversifying income and learning how to ACTUALLY make money with affiliate income. I learned so much from these beginner, intermediate and advanced affiliate marketing resources!
Starting a blog is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, it’s let me work from home and helps to give me life flexibility with my family.
Blogging is not easy, it takes tons of hard work, patience, sometimes long hours when you’re trying to create your own products or write an email sequence to go with your latest opt-in.
While it’s easy to get frustrated if you aren’t yet making any money or just a trickle, if you’re trying to make money with ad revenue and affiliate income, think of it as semi passive income. The effort you put in NOW will be making you money LATER. When I used to have a profitable eBay business, while I’d make money instantly, I constantly had to keep hustling and went something was sold, there was no passive income coming in working for me in the future.
Blogging is totally different! You’re investing your TIME up front to create semi passive income streams for yourself LATER. While I think I could maintain what I’ve created in 5-8 hours per week, I’m still trying to GROW my website for my FUTURE, and that’s why I’m still putting in over 20+ hours per week.
While I’m not quite at my dream goal of getting free hotel stays, being able to work on the go while I visit cool countries around the world, or have my husband retire to pursue his rockstar dreams, I AM making enough to pay for my son’s college in full that we didn’t have the money to save for since we’ve been living on one income.
Whether you’re looking to start a blog or monetize a blog to make extra money on the side or hope to be financially independent and totally replace a 9-5 job, starting your own online business can help you do that!
So How Does Someone REALLY go From $177/mo to $5220/mo so Fast??
Learning everything I could about Pinterest Marketing
Coming up with my own unique traffic strategy
Improving affiliate Marketing conversions! These 3 resources helped me this year:
Blogging Help on a Budget
I’ve purchased a mix of inexpensive ebooks and courses this year, and also pricier ones that were more indepth. Here’s a quick run down of my favorite inexpensive blogging tools to help you with getting traffic and starting to make money.
If you’re JUST starting your new blog, I highly recommend:
Reading our post on how to set up your blog step by step
If you’re ready to get blog traffic:
Pinteresting Strategies the course – You CANNOT find a course as high quality for as low of a price as this one
Tribes for Traffic– my own strategy on how I used Tribes to get over 45K blog pageviews per month within 3 months of starting a blog.
If you’re ready to make affiliate income:
Easy Affiliates to Start with If You Don’t Blog About Blogging!
Here’s some of my favorite affiliates that aren’t in the blogging niche:
Amazon – while the cookie is only 24 hours, the sheer volume of sales going through Amazon makes this a popular affiliate for bloggers. It’s definitely my top affiliate since buying through Amazon is something readers know and trust.
eBates – a free shopping cash back app that pays affiliates $25 per sign-up
Ibotta – a free grocery coupon app that pays affiliates $5 per sign-up
Etsy– You can sign up through Shareasale
Having a “free resources” section at the bottom of your email list is a great way to advertise for eBates and Ibotta. People are more likely to sign up for things that help them but cost them nothing.
Wins for the Month
The biggest wins this month truly come from the baby steps of progress and learning that started for me this past summer. Just constantly trying to improve and make things better in little ways added up to huge wins this month in every income area for me, including ad revenue, affiliate earnings from posts, email marketing and my own product sales.
Ad revenue income went way up because more people are online at the time of year. The posts that did GOOD last year, did GREAT this year.
It takes time for your content to spread on Pinterest. I didn’t realize how much truth there was to hearing this until some of my posts were a year old and the posts that each send me 100 page views per day last year, now send me 200-400 pageviews/day EACH.
Advanced SEO tips I’m learning from a resource I just bought in Nov have the benefit of helping you do better on Pinterest too! While I don’t have time to fully dig into this resource until Jan, the little tips I have learned so far helped me draft a list of over 50 posts I already want to write for 2019.
No matter how hard you work, if people are searching for your post topics, the traffic and magic won’t happen. Learning what your niche readers are even searching for is beyond critical to getting traffic.
I’m learning more about advanced affiliate marketing strategies. Just a couple little tweaks I learned this summer caused Amazon clicks to triple, so when Black Friday and holiday shopping came around, affiliate income through lifestyle type posts brought in over $900 in Nov.
Improving on email marketing is starting to pay off. Sometimes I lag on sending emails when I’m busy or don’t know what to send to my lists. Your email list is so important and they signed up because they WANT to hear from you and learn from you. I earned over $400 this month through my 400 person blogging email list, which is a record high for me. When you put your readers above making money and honestly just recommend what you use and love yourself, you build up trust over time, which in turn increases business income too.
NOVEMBER 2018 EARNINGS
Out of $5227.55, here’s the November earnings breakdown for full transparency:
$3214.55 from Hairs Out of Place, which is 14 months old. ($555.60 of this was blogging niche earnings)
Since my personal blogging income goal is $3,000/mo to know I exceeded that just from my main blog (that I was convinced last spring was a mess and couldn’t ever meet my income goals) for the first time was really rewarding!
Here’s my November Amazon report:
And what’s also pretty awesome is that this is PART-TIME! I average between 20 hours-30 hours/week combined, depending on the week. There’s many weeks the passive income helps me out when I took 3 weeks off in July and 2 weeks off in September (which still made $2500 and I wasn’t around 1/2 of the month!) I always put my family first, so whatever time I can do around kids, dogs, aging parents, sleeping and Black List binging, is what I have to give.
Mediavine Ads – $3766.50 (from both sites combined)
Amazon – $480.76
Pinteresting Strategies $12.80
Tribes for Traffic $190 (my own ebook)
Misc Blogging Niche affiliates $95 (Deposit photos, Tailwind, Society, etc)
TOTAL INCOME: $5,227.55
- ConvertKit – $49 (This jumped in price since my email list is over 1,000 people)
- The Society of Women Winning Online – $37
- Paid for 10 pins $50
- Making Sense of Sponsored Posts $159
- Stupid Simple SEO $247
- Pinterest Improvement Master Plan (PIMP) $33.50 (parts are slightly outdated, but as a Pinterest obsessed person who LOVES this bloggers ebooks, I had to buy it on sale).
- List Love Master Course $72.75- By the craft blogger Jennifer Maker Marx who makes over $25K per month after 2 years of blogging, had like 60K people on her email list in a year and writes her list “love letters!” She’s so inspiring and such a sweetheart!
TOTAL EXPENSES: $648.25 (I usually keep costs under $100-$150, but I invested in new resources in a higher income month!)
NOVEMBER PROFIT: $4,579.30
(Income disclosure: I always recognize income when it’s earned. Business owners can choose to use the cash or accrual method of accounting, which means recognizing income when you receive it or when you earn it. The key is to consistently report income in the same way as a business. Some affiliates like Amazon pay immediately after months end, others payout 30-60-90 days later).
Goals for Next Month
Many bloggers report that around the holidays and in the winter, when more people are online and more people are shopping or getting holiday ideas, is also when their blog traffic and affiliate earnings are the highest.
This is definitely true for me too, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if January traffic, ad revenue and affiliate income drops. To make up for the income loss in those areas, I need to be earning money in other ways.
This is another reason why it’s super important to diversify income sources. Because of the common blogging ups and downs, I’m spending the next couple months on learning everything I can about:
Working with brands
Getting even more help with SEO to increase more traffic coming from Google instead of Pinterest
Creating more of my own content
My Absolute Favorite Resources
One of the biggest reasons I was able to monetize and grow quickly was because I treated the blog as a business and invested money back into myself. Even when I wasn’t making money, I skimped on our family budget to find the extra money to buy the tools and resources I needed to grow and monetize as fast as possible.
Do not run out and get tons of resources all at once, you’d be overwhelmed! I try to buy 1-2 new things per month to help keep me moving forward and learning about new things.
There is such an enormous learning curve to blogging, going straight to the experts about a certain topic you need to master is the EASIEST way to get ahead in your business. Here’s a list of my absolute favorite resources for bloggers!
Starting a Blog
Blogging “through” Pinterest to quickly get website traffic is how I was able to grow and monetize a lifestyle blog so quickly. Here’s my recommendations on how you can get started with Pinterest, in addition to advanced Pinterest help!
✔️ Pinteresting Strategies – by Carly Campbell, UPDATED & TURNED INTO A COURSE! I learned so many new things with her revised course.
✔️ Tribes for Traffic – The strategy I developed as a new blogger to get over 45K blog pageviews/month in 3 months through Tailwind Tribes
✔️ Tailwind Scheduling Tool – You can try their popular scheduler for free 1 month with my link. In addition to using their popular scheduler, I also love Tailwind Tribes and Tailwind SmartLoop.
✔️ Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing – This is a super popular beginner’s resource for affiliate marketing. In addition to being a solid course, one of the best parts of owning it, is being part of Michele’s private affiliate marketing Facebook Group. It’s hands down one of my favorite blogging groups!
One thing I love about this course is that Michele is CONSTANTLY updating it and adding new examples to keep helping us!
It does NOT focus on Amazon specific affiliate marketing strategies, if you need Amazon help or have a mom blog, I’d actually start with THIS next course course first.
✔️Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers – (Intermediate Level!) by Carly Campbell. This is my favorite affiliate marketing resource if you already know the basics and are ready to learn intermediate to advanced affiliate marketing strategies! I LOVE that Carly uses examples from her mom blog posts and this course also includes tons of tips on doing well with Amazon affiliate marketing.
✔️Niche Post Conversion Strategies – (Advanced strategies!) PPG is the bomb dignity anything strategy related. The way her mind works and analyzes things is just insane. My Amazon clicks TRIPLED the same week I added just 2 tips to my best posts!
Traffic Strategies (outside of Pinterest)
✔️ Traffic Transformation by Lena Gott– 21 Strategies Lena used to grow her blog from 17K to 400K+ in 10 months! What I love about Lena’s book is it tells you what you need to do to increase traffic in other ways BESIDES Pinterest! Her 45 minute SEO video training is worth the price alone. My Google search engine traffic had a big jump the same week I implemented some of Lena’s tips.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
✔️10 Step Blog Post SEO Improvement (literally step by step on how to fix EXISTING posts). My SEO traffic increased 23K/mo in 3 months after revising my top 10 posts after buying this.
✔️Stupid Simple SEO – This is my new purchase I’m just getting into, I can’t believe how in-depth and eye opening this resource is! It not opened my eyes on SEO in a unique way, but the strategies you learn will ROCK your Pinterest traffic too! I’m so excited to see where my blog will be in a year after focusing on this in 2019!
Working with Brands
✔️Making Sense of Sponsored Posts – I just purchased, LOVE it and can’t wait to also make this a 2019 focus! What’s awesome is Alexis was making $10K per month with sponsored posts, even with a newer and small blog!
Best All Around if You Just Want ONE BIG Resource!
Sometimes people don’t want to buy numerous resources from different bloggers and would prefer an all encompassing resource that connects all the dots between topics such as Pinterest marketing, SEO an affiliate marketing. THIS is that resource and the unique Slack community ROCKS!
✔️ Billionaire Blog Club – Getting rebranded as Dare to Conquer – A comprehensive resource for not only intermediate to advanced Pinterest marketing but also SEO, figuring out what you even WANT your business to be about, a cool Slack community, affiliate marketing, email marketing, etc etc etc lol. It’s an all-encompassing resource that Scrivs “sometimes has open” without advertising, and other times isn’t open.
While I wouldn’t typically say one blogger “knows it all,” the fact Scrivs has started over 17 blogs in random different niches and makes over $70K/month might make him the exception. Is teaching style is NOT for everyone! He’s extremely direct and often has a potty mouth.
Scrivs has TONS of FREE courses and video tutorials and are definitely worth checking out!
The Biggest Mistakes I See New Bloggers Making
And don’t want you to make!
Spreading themselves too thin- Figure out where your readers are and dedicate time into mastering one platform instead of trying to juggle Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all at the same time when you’re just starting out. While I have over 6,ooo followers on Pinterest, I have under 100 on Facebook! My readers are on Pinterest and that is the ONLY platform I focused on my first 8-9 months of blogging.
Not being consistent– It’s the little baby steps of progress and consistency every single day that will send you big results down the road. Or not pinning consistently on Pinterest will cause your Pinterest traffic to fall flat or never take off in the first place. Come up with a weekly plan you can stick to and you’ll be so amazing at the growth and progress you’ll see over time with consistency.
Wanting to blog for free – Blogging is a business and you need to invest some money to make money. Getting help from people who’ve already mastered something will actually help you make money quicker. I lasted about 1 month “trying to figure it all out for free,” and realizing how much time, effort and setbacks I saved and prevented by just investing in blogging education.
Not writing content readers are searching for – So many bloggers frankly aren’t writing content people are actually looking for, and then don’t understand why they aren’t getting traffic. If you aren’t yet getting blog traffic, maybe there isn’t enough people looking for that post topic to get the results you’re hoping for. Maybe this means widening your blog niche to capture more readers?
Not digging down deep– If something doesn’t work, WHY isn’t it working? Dig down deep to figure out WHY and then go and make the changes to FIX things. This might mean you need outside help. There are literally things I’ve had to fix and revisit over and over and over again because something I’m doing just isn’t working how it “should be” and I constantly have to ask myself WHY something isn’t working.
You are the ONLY one responsible for your blogging success. So many give up way too early and don’t dig down deep on WHY things aren’t working yet for them.
If you are PASSIONATE about your blog and want to create a profitable business more than anything, YES it can turn your blog into a good monthly income!
Please post below or send me an email if you have any questions about anything blogging related!
Cheers, Jen 🙂
Other Posts to Help You (I Don’t Write Income Reports Monthly):
11 Month Blogging Report (the one readers have said helped them the most!)
1st Month Blogging Report – Over 3K words and EXACTLY what I did to have a rapid start!