My blog went live on May 2nd, and by May 31st I had made $0. Okay, that’s out of the way. But keep reading! Why am I writing a post about my income report for May 2019, if I didn’t make any money? I want to outline everything I planned to do – my goals – and evaluate what I accomplished and what needs more focus. You can follow along as my blog ramps up. And if you haven’t yet started a blog, I hope this will help you on your own path.
Why would I share this information? Before I started my blog, I read the income reports of many other bloggers. Most were personal finance blogs like mine, but some were in other areas. It was inspirational to see how they ramped up from nothing. Some were making $1,000 per month, some $10,000 per month, and a couple were earning an incredible $100,000 EVERY MONTH!
However, it’s not only about the money. Income reports also talk about what they did that month on their blog, how they reached out, their audience, and more.
We can all learn from each other.
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Why did I Start a Blog?
I graduated from the University of Guelph with a degree in Management Economics. I took a couple of years to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Then I took my MA degree in Economics from Queen’s University, one of the top schools in the country for economics. (Both of these are in Ontario, Canada.)
I worked as an Economist for one of the major banks, followed by one of the well-known Canadian think-tanks. Mr. Money In Your Tea and I were married by this time, then we had our daughter, Amber*. I hated having her in daycare while I worked 9-5, which was more like 8-6. I found a new job where I could work part-time from home as an Economic Research Assistant. It was perfect! Then the boys were born, Chris*, followed by Phillip*. We wanted to try homeschooling. Loved homeschooling! That precluded working, so by this point I was a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom with no paid employment. Fast forward many years. The kids started public school around grade 7, so now only Audrey* is homeschooled.
Looking for a New Challenge
I started working for a small organisation about 3 years ago, but only 10 hours per month. By the end of last year I was looking for a new challenge.
I looked at working as an Economist again. But going from being at home all these years to full-time work downtown seemed like it would be a culture shock. And frankly, there is no such thing as a part-time job in Economics. I applied to a few jobs, but no nibbles. To be honest, I feel like my skills are probably lacking. Technology has moved on, and I haven’t kept up. Even the high-level economics theory is a vague memory.
I looked at some other work, but nothing panned out. I thought about taking a class in Big Data, but would it pay for itself?
Then I considered a personal finance blog. I’m good with numbers and money. I could work from home, and keep homeschooling our youngest daughter. It would allow me to set my own hours, which is important to me. And I could be my own boss, which I like. And reading other personal finance blogs income reports showed me that I could bring in a little money with this, over time. Most importantly, it would give me a learning curve to master new skills. Something that I’ve been missing lately. Perfect!
Goals and Income Report – May 2019
Here are the goals I set out for myself for this month. Without having blogged before, it was hard to know what was realistic, but I had some ideas from other bloggers’ income reports.
- Write great content
- Sessions: 200
- Page views: 300
- Total email subscribers: 25
- Revenue this month: $5
Write Great Content
Looking at that, you can see “write great content” is a vague goal. I hope I achieved it, but it’s up to you, dear readers, to judge that! I did publish 6 new articles through the month:
- The 6 Steps in my Money Blog’s Birth Story
- The Latte Factor versus Smart Women Finish Rich
- Meal Planning Shortcuts that Save Thousands of Dollars Each Year! which includes a link to my free meal planning template
- The First-Time Homebuyers Rule of 200 will Save you Money and Time
- Broke Millennial – Book Review
- 19 (Nearly) Free Things to do with your Friends
This is in addition to the 7 articles I started off with on May 2nd when I took my blog live:
- The Essential Beginners’ Guide to Credit Cards
- How my Daughter Lost $780 on her First Investment
- Scholarships in Canada – Get Paid to go to School
- 9 Brilliant Ideas for your Tax Refund
- House Hacking – Savvy Home Income Tips
- The Mystery of RESP Withdrawals Revealed!
- Fantastic News about Canada Student Loans!
Increase Traffic, Sessions, and Page Views
I had goals of 200 sessions and 300 page views this month. This is how my traffic looked for my first month.
I’m not sure why I started with such a peak. Maybe all my family and friends looked once at the beginning and never came back? It was fairly discouraging in the middle, but I can see my Pinterest and Instagram efforts are starting to pay off. My traffic started to steadily increase near the end of May.
I’m pleased that I made my goal of sessions and page views!
I had planned to get 25 email subscribers this month. That was a big fail. I have only 7. Those seven include myself (so I can see how my emails look to subscribers), Mr. Money In Your Tea, one of my children (but even the other three don’t subscribe!), and my mother. So 4 of the 7 don’t really count! Another subscriber is my cousin, who blogs at Janine’s Place about homesteading and homeschooling!
I added a post about money saving through meal planning, and offered a free meal planning template for subscribers – but it has not been as popular as I’d hoped. I need to reevaluate my promotion of that post. And reevaluate how I get subscribers in general.
Revenue Goal: $5
Again, revenue ended up being $0. I’ll admit I would have liked to see anything above $0, no matter how small. But that said, just this morning (as I write this) I received an email from Create & Go about their blog income report. They had 6 months of $0 income before they made any money at all! And now they consistently earn over $100,000 PER MONTH! I have no expectations that my blog will have that kind of crazy revenue. But it’s encouraging to see that perseverance is worth it.
Over the course of the month, I have added some affiliate links, mainly to Amazon and RateSupermarket. They’re getting lots of clicks, but no purchases yet. And more recently I added affiliate links to several amazing blogging tools and resources. (See my recommendations page for everything a new blogger needs!) They are all things I have used myself, so I know from experience how helpful they’ve been to me.
I will soon apply for Google AdSense. However, the revenue is low and there’s a high threshold before receiving any payout.
Readers, if you’d like to support my writing, go through my Amazon link and buy anything you’d like! If you do support my blog, thank you so much!
The flip-side for my income report for May 2019 is spending. I have incurred several expenses to date, either necessary to start blogging or investing in increasing my knowledge and skills. Expenses are rounded to whole dollars, and are expressed in Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted.
- Bluehost – $127 (for the full 12 months of hosting)
- Akismet (spam blocker) – $24 (you can get this for free, but the sad face turns happier the more you pay – brilliant marketing!)
- Lokaal (a fabulous new co-working space where I have my public mailing address, a CASL requirement) – $52
- Making Pinterest Possible, The She Approach – US$35
- Boost Your Blog Traffic, The She Approach – US$19 (this was a discount price as a package when buying Making Pinterest Possible)
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, Making Sense of Cents – US$158
The Canada/US exchange rate is about $1.35 right now. So my expenses to date are about $489 Canadian. That will give me hosting, spam protection, and a public mailing address for 12 months. And the two e-books and one course will be references I can use forever!
In addition to blogging, I also continue to work a small part-time job – just 10 hours per month – for the past four years. Lately my hours have been increasing as I receive more tasks from another member who is retiring. As I continue to take on my work, those hours will increase more.
We also rent out two apartments in our basement, which brings in extra income. The 1-bedroom has had the same tenant for over 15 years. He came with the house when we bought it! The annual rent increases are subject to rent controls. The second apartment is an L-shaped bachelor pad, and the tenants tend to stay only a couple of years. In between tenants we can raise the rent to the current market rate. For tax purposes, we can offset some of the income with their share of the housing expenses, such as the electric bill, gas bill, mortgage interest expense, and so on.
Pinterest and Instagram
I started working on Pinterest before my blog went live, by setting up boards and pinning relevant content from other bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest!
I’ve been continuing through May to add new boards. I have at least 1 pin for every post, and usually 3.
I’ve applied for a number of Pinterest board, and I’ve been accepted to 10! That’s fairly recent, so I’m hoping that my pins will pick up traction and bring more readers to my blog. Currently I have 125 followers, and I seem to be getting 10+ daily this last week.
On Instagram I have 46 followers. But my clicks from Instagram are higher than my clicks from Pinterest. So I will continue to be active on both next month. Follow me on Instagram!
I have claimed my site name on Twitter and Facebook, but there are only so many hours in the day. Based on recommendations by more experienced bloggers, I decided to focus on Pinterest and Instagram first. As I ramp up, I’ll add in the other socials. But in the meantime, you can still save my articles to any social media platform you like, thanks to the AddToAny plugin!
Goals for June 2019
Here are my goals for June:
- Write great content: 8 posts
- Revenue: $20
- Total email subscribers: 40
- Sessions: 500
- Page views: 1,000
- Bounce rate: 45-55%
I will continue to read and apply the lessons in Ana’s fabulous e-book, Making Pinterest Possible, to ensure I’m doing the best I can.
I will also continue to read and apply the lessons in Michelle’s course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing!
Other Blogging Related Posts and Pages:
(* NOTE: I use pen names for my children to help preserve their anonymity online. I believe they should determine their own online brand as they choose.)