After just wrapping up our 15th month of having a lifestyle blog, I wanted to share what we’ve been doing and how we earned over $6,400 for December 2018. The blogging niche is NOT our main focus, but we want to share with others that YES it is totally possible to make money online WITHOUT talking about blogging!
If you’ve been wondering how you can earn extra money from home and if blogging is still a realistic way to make money in 2019, then you’ll definitely want to read our blogging income report.
As a SAHM we’ve always focused on saving money and budgeting, but the reality is….there’s only so many ways to cut back on things. We got to a point where I had to MAKE the extra money from home to fill the gaps.
What’s craziness of all to me is that in December 2017 I earned $300+ online, I almost quit in April 2018 out of frustration, I took 3 months off from this blog, and just one year later, blogging income jumped to $6441!
Can you image if I’d quit and given up on myself last spring?
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 100K blog pageviews in December, 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. SO many people quit after 6 months (which is EXACTLY when I questioned myself too), only to make BIG strides after blogging for 1 full year.
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?
Starting out with a high quality host is CRITICAL. I made the mistake of wanting to pay $2.95/mo instead of the $3.95/mo my current host charges, ONLY to realize once my site started doing well, the host couldn’t handle the traffic and kept crashing. And lost money since I had to switch hosts!!
We had one day LAST month with over 21K pageviews on ONE DAY (shocking, right??!) and even being on a small volume plan (25K pageviews per month), I had ZERO issues with slowdowns or crashes.
Please, just honestly do it right the FIRST time and start with Siteground. You will be SO THANKFUL later that you did!
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!
Wins for the Month
The month of December was honestly very similar to November, since everyone still had the holidays on their mind. Traffic was a little higher since more people were online and affiliate income was a little lower since most of my sales came through Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend.
The income overall was higher than November by more than a $1000 because:
1)December usually makes the most in ad revenue, not only because it’s a high traffic month but because the ad companies need to finish spending their ad budget for the year and plop the rest into December.
The posts that did GOOD last year, did GREAT this year and my RPM for the lifestyle blog was $24 and for our part-time food blog was $18.
NOTE about this: the food blog gets higher pageviews, but the lifestyle blog MAKES more with less pageviews since the rpm is higher and it’s been easier to earn affiliate income. Most people buy their recipe ingredients locally and not online.
2) My blogging ebook was included in the 2018 Genius Bloggers Toolkit and participants received the payout for that in December. I typically record earnings when it’s earned (instead of cash on hand), this was the one time I recorded earnings when it came in since I had no idea much contributors would end up getting paid until they received the funds. This payout caused the blogging niche income to be higher than usual for me.
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.
Another big win for me was taking 2 weeks during the holidays absorbing everything I could from the course called List Love. Increasing subscribers and further developing a relationship with my email lists is a huge priority of mine for 2019.
Jennifer’s main blogging focus is crafts, not the blogging niche, so learning her strategies on getting email subscribers, what to send your list and other strategies she used to add over 20K new email subscribers her FIRST year was not only impressive, but relatable since it wasn’t because of the blogging niche.
What Didn’t Work
While income was at it’s highest in the month of December, I struggled to get organized for the new year and was stressing knowing my earnings would be seeing a big drop in January if I didn’t quickly figure out other income sources to supplement traffic swings.
It was also the holidays! The kids and even my husband were home for two-full weeks and between that and holiday festivities, made it hard to work more than 6 hours per week.
The one new goal I had for myself in December was to pitch to 10 brands IN December, and it didn’t happen. Getting them lined up for 1st quarter was my goal (or even writing a couple in December would’ve been great too!)
Just how RPM is higher for ad revenue in December, pitching in December to brands is ALSO ideal in December since they’re trying to use up their ad budgets.
This basically means my January could very well see a huge income drop since I didn’t find time to accomplish this goal and diversify income streams for Q1-which is usually the lowest income quarter for many.
What it REALLY Takes to Make Full-time Income Online
Since I just experienced earning over $5K per month two months in a row, I’m being a little self reflective here on what it TRULY takes (and took me!) to make a full-time income online.
1) Believe in yourself! You’ve GOT to honestly believe in yourself and your goals to make this a reality. That might mean even if your friends and family are doubting you, YOU still believe enough in yourself to keep moving forward.
I’m speaking from experience here…my family questioned MANY times what I was doing, why I didn’t just go get a normal paying job in the community instead of making $.01 an hour. And because I proved to myself that I COULD do it, guess what happened? They all have APOLOGIZED many times and excitedly share with others how I work from home (and actually make money!) as a blogger.
2) Wanting success SO BADLY, you want your online business to work as much as you want to be breathing. While that might sound a little dramatic, you HAVE to be passionate about your mission to make it be a reality.
If you just want to make money online just because and aren’t passionate about your WHY, it’ll be much harder to make it happen. Your WHY has to be the reason you get out of bed and focus on your business when you just don’t feel like it.
I’m being 100% real here, my WHY wan’t because I was passionate about a certain topic or because I have a special skill I want to share with the world. My WHY was wanting to pay for my son’s college costs and needing to hit certain business goals to make that happen.
Since I’ve been a SAHM like….forever, the thought of having to go work in an office was scary to me. I knew I liked the idea of writing and having a blog, but I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant and didn’t know what I even wanted to write about.
Just jumping into it is what WORKED for me and I wrote about ALL of my interests to help me narrow down what I truly enjoyed and what readers responded to. This honestly gave me more content to work with year-round than if I’d just stuck to one topic that’s peak season is just in the spring for instance.
3) Diversifying income! Bloggers making a full-time income are most likely NOT making money from just one source. Whether it be from ads, a service based business, an ebook, starting an Etsy shop, starting a 2nd blog, working with brands or affiliate marketing, it’s tough to make a full-time income from just one source.
For us, it’s affiliate marketing, ad revenue, working with brands and having an ebook. I’ve been pondering starting my Ebay business again and really want an Etsy store too!
The key here is to MASTER one thing before scaling up and adding on another.
4) Investing in your business education. Blogging honesty appears easier than it is, TRUST ME. I could not have reached a full-time income after 14 months without investing money in my business to learn from the experts.
The key here again, is to MASTER something (say over 1 quarter) and then move on and learn something new. Even if you’re on a tight business budget, you’ll only grow as quickly as you invest in yourself and your business.
Whether it be Pinterest Marketing, affiliate marketing, working with brands, writing your first book or SEO, picking one area of your business to excel and immersing yourself in it is critical.
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 Pinterest 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 46K 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.
DECEMBER 2018 EARNINGS
Out of $6441, here’s the December earnings breakdown for full transparency:
$3941 from my lifestyle blog (this one), which is 15 months old.
Mediavine Dashboard for total ad revenue earned in December:
⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️
NOTE: While YES I’m making a lot from ad revenue, it also SCARES ME. When ad revenue makes up a big part of your income, fluctuations impact you harder. I’m honestly scrambling as quickly as I can to make revenue in 2019 in other ways.
I still made almost $2,000 in other ways besides ad revenue, but I still want MORE of my income from other sources.
My ad revenue goal is $1000 per month for each site, so being way over that in December was honestly surprising.
December 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. Two of the weeks in December did not see me working more than 6 hours each 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 – $4581 (from both sites combined)
Amazon – $498
The blogging niche $923 (includes my ebook, GBTK participation payout, and blogging affiliates)
TOTAL INCOME: $6,441
- ConvertKit – $49 (over 1K subscribers increases the price)
- The Society of Women Winning Online – $37 (NOT this price for new members, I’ve been in the group since it started)
- SendOwl – $15 (who I host my ebook with)
TOTAL EXPENSES: $101 (I tried to keep this low in Dec since I spent $500 on Black Friday blogging sales last month!)
DECEMBER PROFIT: $6,340
(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 – I have this to help me
Increasing SEO traffic – I have this to help me
Creating more of my own content – while I DO have an ebook for the blogging niche, I do NOT have one for my lifestyle list (which makes up the bulk of my email subscribers). I need to change that ASAP.
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 you can turn your blog into a full-time 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):
How I Went From $177/mo to $5220 in One Year Blogging (read “our story” in this if you’re feeling frusterated!
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!