‘I still can’t believe it.’
That’s how I would have started this post a few months back.
But through much trial and error, working through unbelievable tiredness, borderline giving up, and having to start completely over, I am starting to see some income trickle in.
And yes, it is super duper exciting. And I’ve also learned to expect it (after all that darn hard work something had to give).
I had no idea what I was getting myself into with this whole blogging thing, to say the least.
But I am glad I got started when I did.
This whole journey has literally opened my eyes to what’s possible with creating my own online business.
So, I’ll save you all the excited babbling, let’s move on to what you really want to know.
Here we go—
Reasons for Publishing an Income Report
(Or what it is for those who just happen to stumble upon this, if so, hello!)
If you didn’t already know, income reports were made popular by Patt Flynn, as he grew his blog to millions of readers and used it as a marketing tool. For me, income reports are a great learning tool to show what is working and how you can replicate that success for yourself.
My top two reasons for publishing an income report, after hesitating and thinking and it through are:
It’s THE (ultra-helpful) learning tool that onboarded me on this whole journey
Without income reports I don’t think I would have attempted to start a successful blog. Which is the inspiration I’m hoping to impart on you as well (especially if you’ve been on the fence about starting, easily the hardest part of it all). Income reports give you a priceless inside look at how all the moving parts come together to form a blog that generates income.
It’s also a marketing tool, simple as that
As I said, publishing an income report helps shed light on the journey of what building a profitable site (in my case lifestyle site) can be like.
It also shows that what I’m doing works and it builds trust with the audience I’m building.
So yes, it’s a marketing tool to sell my lifestyle brand and what it offers. 😊
Why A Lifestyle Blog? (This is Important)
For me, a lifestyle blog is the perfect online business for someone who has never started an online business before, can be inconsistent, or that doesn’t have a lot of time on their hands. That is/was me.
Why? Because it gives you the freedom to write on many topics and its a more forgiving blog framework for inconsistency and when life gets in the way. Otherwise it can get overwhelming.
Another HUGE plus of starting a lifestyle blog instead of a very niched down and highly branded blog is that you can write about a lot of things (like health, home improvement, or parenting), you instantly expand your revenue possibilities, and lastly, you can have more fun with it.
A lifestyle blog is a pretty beginner friendly way to start making money online, and it’s what I’d recommend for ANY blogger just starting out. If you find one topic resonates with our audience more than others, you can always niche down later.
If you want to start your first blog and grow it to start generating income, you can use this simple step-by-step blog STARTUP guide (that also includes the monetization how-to part).
You’ll be glad you started when you did, and it pays off in the end (both in personal growth and income).
But, I must warn you, you have to work your patootie off to make it work and make it take off. I really don’t want to sell you a big fat birthday cake, candles and all without first warning you what you are in for.
Because really, I’ve learned blogging is definitely not for everyone. Otherwise everyone would be doing it. Blogging is for resilient people who are willing to do and redo and evolve and change and learn constantly to learn how to create a successful site. You also have to be willing to make an initial investment of time and money. There is just no way around it.
It goes without saying that it is worth it to be able to make your own money with an online business that you can work on from anywhere.
This is especially true for people who get excited about calling their own shots and build something for themselves! 🙂
To start, I got a little over $500 through different affiliate programs (listed below).
But because of the nature of affiliates, that isn’t the exact number that will be paid out (due to customer returns and cancellations).
That’s why I decided to only report the $77 that has made it to my account. Does that make sense? 😊
Also, this is not a ‘how I made money my first month blogging’ report. I’ve been at this for about seven months, figuring and refiguring out what works and educating myself on best practices to be able to bring traffic to the site.
Now, here is how I made my first $77 dollars with Teal Notes.
ShareASale is what I like to call the grandma of all affiliate programs. It’s a great affiliate for lifestyle bloggers because it houses a lot of different types of affiliates. Join ShareASale here to start adding monetized links to your content.
UB Affiliates ($26)
The Ultimate Bundles program is a great program that I go into in more detail here. But it’s basically a round up of awesome resources around one topic that they bundle up and sell for a fraction of the price of what they all cost.
There is everything from homemaking to blogging to essential oils bundles. Pretty cool stuff to be an affiliate for. If you’d like to become an affiliate and promote their products, you can do so here.
Take Note: Affiliates are a great, not to mention the easiest way, to start monetizing a blog, whether you have one post up or 100. Here is a list of more than 9 affiliate programs you can easily join even as a beginner to kick-start your monetization strategy.
Income that has not yet been deposited yet:
Amazon Associates ($3.47)
Convertkit: $30 monthly
Gsuite: $5 monthly
Tailwind $119.88 (paid in full)
Bluehost $303.48 (3 years of hosting paid in full)
A Quick (But Important) Note on Traffic
Most of these earnings were made during my highest traffic month (November with 17k+ views).
This just goes on to show how IMPORTANT traffic is for your blog.
Ever since mid-May, when I started over, I’ve been cranking out content like crazy. Post after post, pin after pin (and re redoing pins that just weren’t working for me).
When I felt like I had enough posts to get some real traffic going, I started focusing less on lifestyle content creation and more on promoting on Pinterest around October.
Now, I was struggling for pageviews to say the least, despite enjoying designing my pins and finding images for them. At some point, I came across Carly’s pinning book at least 10 times before I decided to buy it and took me to that next level of traffic I was looking for.
With Carly’s e-book strategies with some specific manual pinning, I started seeing traffic pick up even more, and some income coming in. Which I’m ecstatic about! Because it proves that investing your time and effort into something that will pay off in the end, well, starts paying off, ha. 🙂
What Has Absolutely Helped Me Get There (And Beyond)
Now, no blogger is an island, is a nice way to start this section.
There is no way I could start seeing blogging success without investing in blogging education from bloggers that have been there and done that.
It’s hands down a necessity to invest in blogging education as soon as you can.
Looking back, I would have bought the courses that I’m about to mention from the very start without a doubt.
Here is what has helped me:
The Pinteresting Strategies e-book revolutionized my pins and pinning strategy back in the end of July. It shed light on obvious things that I had completely overlooked in my pinning strategies that many beginners don’t really think about.
I’ve become an affiliate for the book because it’s that good, you can check it out here.
Now, PIMP Your Pinterest by PotPie Girl is what I’m currently obsessed with, because it’s that next level pinning strategy that I’m already starting to see results with (my pin reach has gone from 400k to 680k within a week of using only some of PotPie Girl’s pointers).
If you feel like you want to expand your Pinterest traffic or you’ve plateud, you really need to check out PIMP Your Pinterest here.
The Billionaire Blog Club (aka BBC Club) is an awesome blogging…I’m not even sure what to call it.
It’s like a blogging gift basket.
You get in-depth video tutorials on basically every aspect of blogging, like e-mail marketing, Boardbooster pinning strategies, SEO, pin design, and it just goes on.
I think my favorite part of the BBC Club is the Slack community. Where you get to interact with other up and coming bloggers in real time.
You bounce ideas off each other and even help each other out with pinning content. It’s a pretty awesome (not to mention completely priceless) blogging community!
Scrivs, the mastermind behind the BBC Club, and who has become an awesome blogging friend has a FREE 12-day Blogging Bootcamp that is filled with no non-sense actionable blogging strategies you need to know.
Click on the image to join and be mind blown by his useful blogging know-how (I’m not sure where I’d be without it).
And lastly, I wouldn’t be able to see any blogging success without a pinning strategy, which involves Tailwind (you can join here for a free 30 day trial).
And recently some Boardbooster (still figuring the ins and outs of it all).
Hands down, these tools have been the most helpful in my own blog growth.
I’d literally still be stuck in square one (while frustrated out of my mind) if it wasn’t for investing in them (investments which I’ll know I’ll get back ten-fold later!)
I more than recommend each of these tools and encourage you to check each of them out for yourself. 😊
Now, moving on—
Top Posts and Traffic
So far, since May (when I completely started over) some of my top posts have been the following:
My highest traffic month has been 17k in November (when most of my income came in). Month after month my traffic is growing, especially after using the strategies and ideas outlined in the BBC Club.
Scrivs is constantly updating content every time there is a change in the blogging world ( I really have no clue how he does it all). I’m super glad I found the BBC community and I’ve stuck with it since (if you see me in the BBC slack channel, make sure you give me a shout out! 🙂
Future Blogging Goals
So, what exactly is next?
Simply, it’s writing more content, promoting it on Pinterest and learning more about Pinterest traffic. Becoming a Pinterest traffic master is a must for any blogger no matter what stage they are in.
Oh, and starting to focus more on my email list and growing it.
Oh, also joining Mediavine, an ad network to add some passive income, and more affiliates that I find fit with the blog and my audience.
And last, I would love to launch a product through my blog, but I have no idea what I’d like it to be, and I want to have more experience before launching a product because I want nothing more than for it to be actionable and helpful (that way it sells itself, haha).
Really, the possibilities are endless when it comes to creating your own product, which is super exciting, to say the least! 😊
Remember, building your lifestyle site is a business, so you kinda sorta (read: really) have to start seeing it as one and treating it accordingly.
How You Can Get Started (And Learn From My Mistakes)
Have you been thinking (maybe forever?) about starting your own money-making blog?
I’ve put together a step-by-step startup guide here, along with the second part (the monetization process) that most people leave out.
Building your own blog isn’t easy, but it’s exciting and the sky is the limit with how much it can pay off in as little as a few months.
It all just depends on how much and how fast you’re willing to work for it.
Will I Publish More Reports in The Future?
I think I’ll probably be publishing income reports here and there, but I doubt I haven’t thought it through yet.
I might just publish a couple more and then only publish them through to my email list.
To end, if this income report has inspired you to start your own profitable blog, make money, and (who knows) eventually quit your job, make sure you check out the blogging guide.
If you’re past that phase, then make sure you’re signed up to as many affiliates as makes sense for your blog and blog topics, so you can start monetizing the content you’ve worked hard to create.
Thanks for checking out the report and I hope I can get to publish another one soon! I hope I was able to make better sense of how it all works to you in the first report. 😊