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A note from Sophia —
I wrote these income reports real time and looking back at them, I can’t believe how far I’ve come! I’m keeping it real with you and sharing the nitty gritty details of how I made money blogging. As I look back on these, I think they’re a fun look into my life at the time so I’ll be keeping them as original as possible. Hope they show you how possible it really is to make serious money blogging, and with that, let’s dive in!
It’s been a little over a year and feels like the right to share my May 2019 blogging income report! …and it’s the biggest month YET!!
Why? Because it’s pretty dang impressive that in just over a year and a half I have been able to turn this website into a business that brings me thousands of dollars a month AND that I can do it around my full-time college schedule. Seriously, all college students should start a blog. It’s the best thing I have ever done.
In just a year, I have increased my income to make $12,379.67 in ONE month while being a full-time student and having a social life.
After semi-figuring out this blogging world and all it entails, I am here to tell you that ANYONE can start and be successful with a blog. It is not hard to do.
However, it took and still takes a lot of work and is not “quick money”. If you’re a hard worker, you can get the same exact results as me.
It took me about 5 months after starting my blog to earn consistent money and those months were really hard. Even when I started earning consistent money, it was still pretty low considering the amount of time I was putting into my website.
I was constantly overwhelmed and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I was so desperate to make it work that I continued to Google everything and anything about blogging.
Once that first $100 dollars hit my bank account, I knew that all the hard work I had been putting in was going to pay off.
Little did I know a year later, I would be making more in one month than I EVER had in a year!
By Sophia Lee Income & Traffic Report:
Affiliate Income: $4,821.26 total
- Amazon Associates: $3,718.34
- Bluehost (check out my tutorial on how to start a blog): $595.00
- My Store: $507.92
Display Advertising (through Mediavine): $7,558.41
Total Income: $12,379.67
I want to make it clear that I don’t get to take all of that $12,000 and spend it on whatever I want, although I wish I did ;).
I take 30% of my monthly income and put it in a bank account for taxes. I also have two amazing girls that now help me behind the scenes with the blog that I have to budget for.
Plus, I usually buy a blogging course or two because I find courses so dang important in growing my blog.
I definitely DID NOT spend a lot of money right when I started blogging but as it has grown, I’ve started to put more money back into it just like any other business.
I also pay for these yearly…
I try to pay for all my blogging expenses annually so I don’t have to pay them monthly and it saves me some cash because the companies offer me better deals. Right now for a recurring monthly expense I have Convertkit (email provider) which costs me $120.00 a month. This went up because I increased my email subscribers by a lot (good thing I guess!). I have to admit, I am still not use to this expense…
I also pay $14.99 for a Shopify plugin that helps me get better reviews on my products. I got that the last day of the month so I don’t even think it charges me until this month though. I should probably go check that!
These expenses come up once a year but I do set aside money for them monthly to prepare for when I have to buy them:
- Bluehost – hosting company I started with!
- Tailwind – the Pinterest scheduler I’ve been using to manage to survive blogging while being a full-time student
- Shopify Yearly Payment (new! This is where I have my store hosted on)
So, how did I do it?
May was an awesome month for me because I finally had a few weeks off of school that I could focus solely on the blog!
I did a lot of catch-up and getting things fine tuned for summer. It was a lot of things that I don’t really know if it will increase my income that much, but it needed to be done.
Here’s what I’ve been focusing on:
- Plan a weekly email schedule
- Develop my next product
- Get three posts published a week
Breakdown of what I did for my weekly editorial calendar:
I’ve been playing around with how I have wanted to set up my email list and email my readers.
Every blogger says that this is the most important thing to focus on blogging, but I am just still not fully comfortable doing it! I feel like I have no idea what I am doing and am not really sure if I am doing the best job with having my emails be helpful but also have them convert.
My email subscribers are rising really fast (which is AWESOME) but it’s now costing me $120 a month so I have to figure out how to supplement that cost.
I always put email at the background which is a major no-no. For this reason, I have started to batch create my emails so I don’t really have to think about them besides when I am writing them.
My Pinterest has been sitting around 8.3 MILLION monthly views!
I am really REALLY confident with my Pinterest plan. Like, really, really confident.
I’ve been doing it for almost a year now and when everyone else is having issues with Pinterest, my traffic has been rising (over 400,000 pageviews in May).
I am actually working on a whole Pinterest course which shows exactly what I am doing and how you can grow your Pinterest with my same success.
Breakdown of what I am doing to not be scared of email:
HAH! Why am I so dang scared of email?! I don’t even know why.
Email is one of my biggest goals right now and something that is going to be my main focus this summer. To be honest, I am really growing my email list but I haven’t been making money from it. So, I need to figure that part out.
I am thinking I am going to invest in a course on that. I LOVED List Love Masterclass which showed me how to grow my email list (and boy, has it been working) but I need something to show me how I can promote to those readers.
Income Report Thoughts:
My blogging income has grown really quickly. Honestly, I have always been confident in myself that I would hit this type of income from my blog. Butttt, I didn’t realize it would be this quickly (and continue growing this fast).
Honestly, since money can be a touchy subject, sometimes I get uncomfortable with people knowing how much I make. But, then I think about how much I love reading other bloggers income reports who are making so much more than me and how much it motivates me.
Ahh! I just don’t know how I want to handle them anymore. I am thinking that after I hit $15,000 a month I am going to move all my monthly income reports just for my email subscribers. That’s what other bloggers are doing and I think it could be a great option for me.
Let’s Talk About This $12,000 Dollars:
I am still in shock that I made this money last month…I planned on making this much but for it to actually happen is really crazy.
I REALLY want to hit $15,000 one month this year. It was my stretch goal I set for myself back in January. With how things are going, I think that this is actually possible. Crossing my fingers to hit this goal in July!!
I talk about this in almost all my income reports.
My monthly income really fluctuates throughout the year. The summer is usually really high for me and January and February is usually lower for me. Right now, I am trying to figure out ways to more normalize my monthly income so I am trying to think of ways to increase my income during the low months.
January and September are the months I am on the fence about with my income but the other months I think I can make at least over $5,000.
Here’s what I have learned so far blogging this year. Some months I will make a lot of money and some months I won’t make as much. I am basically working on “commission”.
Here’s how I think my income will go this year:
January and February: Lowest income months of the year (hoping to make at least $2,000 per month)
March: Starts to get a little better (would be really happy making $2,500)
April-August: Very high income (goal is to hit at least $5,000 per month with two months hitting at least $15,000 per MONTH!)
September: Not as high as April-August but still decently high (maybe $3,000 earned this month)
October: Very high income (at least $12,000 earned that month)
November and December: $4,000 in November and at least $6,000 in December
If all goes as planned, that would have me making nearly $80,000 in one year. AS A FULL-TIME COLLEGE STUDENT (taking 18 credits per semester).
Just last year I was nannying and only making $300 dollars a month. Even my low blogging income months are more than I could have imagined!!
Did I Hit My May Goals?
- Get 12 blog posts published (three a week) (Have no idea how this even happened but I got 20 posts published…I’ve been really sticking to my schedule! It will be interesting to see what my July and August pageviews look like with this many posts)
- Get 7,400 email subscribers (as of June 10th, 2019 I am at 9,493!!!!! I can’t believe it. My yearly goal was 15,000 and I definitely think I will hit it!)
- Grow Pinterest to 17,000 followers (as of June 10th, I am at 18,411!)
- Get almost done with a new product (I did almost get done with a product…but the product has been taken awhile longer to get done than I thought. It’s actually the main thing I am working on in June)
This is the first month hitting all my goals!! I guess this is what not having school for a month will let me do 😉 Can you tell I am counting down the days until I graduate next year??
My June Blogging Goals:
- Get 12 blog posts published (three a week)
- Get 11,000 email subscribers
- Grow Pinterest to 20,000 followers
- Get products and Facebook ads launched
I set some goals for June that are STRETCH goals…aka I don’t know if I’ll actually be able to get them because they are pretty big. Manifesting it out to you that I will though!
I also have been socializing a lot more with my boyfriend and all my friends being home from college. This has taken some of my “blogging” time away but I am OKAY with that. I am trying to find a work-life balance…still haven’t found it but I am on my way.
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