Blog Income Report: The Tools That Helped Me Earn $16,000 Last Month
Let’s talk for a moment here. It was like this: I was having a cold and snowy Thanksgiving last year (#TruthBeTold I forget what we’re supposed to be celebrating on most holidays, so I typically just work and eat more food than normal on these days) when my Internet friend emailed me.
She’d read one of my Blog Income Reports and was debating whether she should start sharing hers. I encouraged her to do so because I really think they can be inspiring, and helpful, and such great learning tools, and . . . then she told me how much she’d made that month.
Here was my immediate thought process, in the order my thoughts occurred. And don’t worry, the true inner dialogue is included below:
- This woman is a superstar.
- Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaang Gina, you’ll never make over $20,000 in a month. (Also, I sounded like Martin, from the show named Martin, when I said this in my head.)
- Okay, okay, maybe one day I can make that much. But it’s like seven years out. And hopefully by then I’ll have convinced people to call me by my favorite nickname: Regick. (I blame this one on my love for Chronicles of Riddick, and I blame my love for that on . . . daaaaang Gina . . . there’s just no excuse for that.)
- Wait, why does it have to take me seven years? Sidenote: Buy the domain name byRegick.com to see if people will start calling me by my nickname.
- Hmm, what if I can do it sooner than seven years? No, no, silly Regick, that’s only for other people, not you.
- But hmm, what if I CAN do it sooner? You’re sounding like a crazy person Regick, but I like it.
- Know what? I can do it sooner.
And something crazy happened. byRegick, or byRegina, whatever you want to call it, made over $22K in December 2014 (and note: the report below is about January 2015). Not because I’m the most genius blogger (I’m just not), not because I had 20 million people visit my site (would that break the Internet?) . . . no, I reached that income goal because honestly, for the first time ever I believed and knew it was possible for a normal person like me. Knowing that my Internet friend, who is normal like us, could reach that level, made me acknowledge the possibility of it in my own life.
Why am I saying all of this? Because I really, really want you to read this report below and know that your goals are possible. The mere act of believing, in essence, gives us permission to go for our goals. It’s important to reach for them, not only for yourself and your family, but because your achievements will give other people “permission” in their own lives.
On Facebook the other day, I asked you if you liked seeing income reports from bloggers, and so many wonderful people said “Heck yes.”
I asked this question because amazing bloggers like Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income inspire me with their reports, which is why I started these back in April of 2014. People like Pat have always felt somewhat unreal to me, but they truly are totally normal, real-life people. So, here is the income report of another totally real-life person, who would take you salsa dancing, rock climbing, or tequila drinking if you were in Austin right now.
Oh, and, P.S. >> Since I live in Austin, Texas, I feel I should be honest with you. We like to embellish and dramatize when it comes to weather conditions. It was probably actually 75 degrees Fahrenheit on the cold + snowy Thanksgiving I referenced above (with .2 drops of rain). And no, I don’t know what that is in Celsius; sorry, we the people of America don’t have logical units of measurement.
Blog Traffic for January 2015
For my birthday this year, which is in like 20 months, I want more bloggers to talk about their blog traffic. I think it really helps put things in perspective. Depending on your blog monetization methods, your traffic can be a good indicator of income potential (because it affects/shows the number of eyes on your ads, the amount brands are willing to pay for sponsored posts, etc.), but it doesn’t always positively correlate (if most of your income is based off of consulting or product sales, traffic might not have to be as high to make the same amount).
Below are my Google Analytics stats for January. If you want to become more familiar with some of the stats you can check out on Google Analytics for your own blog, please view my income report from April of 2014.
My blog traffic was down in January . . . apparently, as a blogger, it helps if you post more than once per month . . . news to me. But yo, let me tell you, having a library of past posts will really help you in months that you aren’t able to post as much. It’s one of the top things I talk about in my non-nerd guide to SEO for bloggers. Your past archives won’t ever stop bringing you traffic . . . so keep building them. You can view some of my past posts on my blog post Pinterest board below.
P.S. Alexa.com is a great place to check out your site and some of its key stats. I’ve definitely seen brands make some of their sponsored post and affiliate program offers based on Alexa stats. The site gives an overview of your global ranking and your audience, among other things. Plus, it’s nice to check your trends over time. My rank in America is down this month, but my global ranking is up–I like knowing these things.
Blog Income for January 2015
- #50Workdays–Zero to Blog: $5475.00 (a few payments for this new class/program were made in January, but most were made in December)
- EpicBlog–Editorial Planner: $3,224.22 (this is sold from Amazon.com)
- Bluehost Affiliate commission: $2,040.00
- Grow Your Blog Traffic with Social Media–The eBook + Workbook: $1,503.00
- 3-Day Create–The Workbook to Help You Create Your Own Information Product: $1,079.40
- The Small Business Manual: $773.30 (currently working on revising this book to make it more about freelance businesses)
- The Guide to Creating a Stellar Content Plan: $667.50
- WordPress Class Registrations: $470.00 (this class is taught in real life in Austin–$470 is my portion after I pay the other instructor)
- The Epic Brand Identity Workbook: $437.00
- Amazon Associates: $273.49
- How to Start a Business in Texas: $195.00 (live seminar taught in person)
- How to Promote Your Business Online: $120.00 (live seminar)
- EpicDay Notepad: $120.00
- Linqia Affiliate program: $5.00
Most of my monetization is digital/online, but for the few physical/in-person products I have, I try to give you income figures after the cost of shipping and production are removed. In the past, I’ve had low operating expenses each month . . . however, I’ve started hiring subcontractors and I just hired my first full-time awesome, helpful person, so I’ll have to start detailing my expenses for you soon.
I no longer offer any consulting services. It was a scary move, but I’ve loved being able to spend the time with the #50Workdays people who are building their blogs + brands from scratch right now. It has been amazing.
1. Creating something live + urgent.
This was the world’s largest accident on my part. Here’s how it went down. I was making a tutorial video on how to use Apple Pages (my favorite publishing tool that I use to create almost all of my workbooks and books) when I realized that the amount of stuff I wanted to share was going to take an hour or more. Hmm. Hey Regick, will YouTube even allow you to upload an hour long video? I asked myself.
Yes, I’m going to keep dropping “Regick” until someone other than my good friend Tiffany calls me by that name.
Back to the story: I decided to do a live webinar instead of a traditional tutorial video. I announced it here on the blog (here’s a recording of the Apple Pages webinar if you missed it) and invited some of my Google+ friends. Since I was going to use a free Google+ Hangout On Air as the platform, it made a lot of sense to invite my G+ buddies.
I decided I wanted to offer anyone watching the webinar a special treat. I mean, theoretically, they were going to sit through an hour of moi, so I wanted to dream up something epic. I chose to share a document with my recommended copyright text (to put in every book you sell) and to do a deep discount on everything available for sale in my Gumroad shop. I sell some of my digital products elsewhere, but Gumroad makes it so simple to add discount codes >> it’s my preferred platform. I love them.
Lastly, I decided that the offer/treat should only last for a limited time. It was such a serious discount that I felt I should only offer it for two days. Well . . .
You see the spike in product views and sales in the last few days of the month (in the Gumroad dashboard above)? The increased sales started right after the webinar.
Takeaway: Whatever the size of your audience, consider offering a free training where you give away a lot of valuable information (and maybe even some worksheets/resources), and then offer a limited time sale on some of your products or services. You can use this as a way to launch a new product or as a way to drive sales/awareness of older products.
2. Creating a tool/book that has a really specific audience.
In December I released EpicBlog, it’s more of a workbook + planner than it is a traditional book, but creating it still had most of the benefits of writing a book that Bryan Thompson talks about in his recent blog post. I’ll share some of my other reasons for writing books in a new post soon, but his list is golden.
My book/planner sold more in January than it did the month it was released (December), and since Amazon fulfills all the orders for me, I don’t spend time shipping out each one, but people still receive them in a timely manner.
Takeaway: What is a tool (in your industry or for your audience members) that you really wish you had right now? Can you be the person to make it?
1. Amazon.com’s CreateSpace
CreateSpace is a service + software that allows you to load files for a book (the cover and interior), set a price, and sell your original work from Amazon.com. You can also create CDs and DVDs with them, but let’s talk about books for a second.
For a small fee, Amazon will print + ship out your books to customers all around the world. You don’t have to deal with shipping or returns. Nothing. You just upload your printable book files. Since this is how I created EpicBlog, CreateSpace definitely goes on my list of tools I couldn’t live without.
2. Apple Pages (I use the 2009 version because of all it’s cool features)
As discussed in my free webinar on Pages, in any given month I make over 50% of my income (most of the time it’s a lot more than that) from documents, books, workbooks, eBooks, and other products that I created in Pages.
I really recommend finding a tool that you learn and use consistently for this. Depending on the length of your content and your style, you might use Adobe InDesign or Canva for this, among other tools.
My #1 tip this month for making money with your blog?
Build up an epic library of content that keeps people engaged and on your site. I highly recommend the free blog post template in this post as a starting point.
So, for anyone who wants even more ways to monetize your blog . . . what methods have you been considering? Is there anything you tried lately that was surprisingly helpful?
Oh, and here’s the huge favor I want to ask of you–please tell me: What types of things would you like to see/know from these reports? I want to continue doing them a few times per year, but I want them to be helpful. Do you want to see these stick around?
Photo: Ellie Baygulov