For months (even before I started actually working on this blog setup and preparation) I debated whether or not I wanted to do income reports. I love reading other people’s reports, but I kept asking myself was it something I wanted to incorporate into my blog and schedule?
After much deliberation I’ve decided that the reports are a great way to track my progress, and they will keep me motivated and on task if I have to tell you about my successes and failures. They are a good way to look back and analyze what worked and what didn’t and find ways to improve.
I also feel income reports are a source of encouragement to other bloggers and those considering blogging, allowing them a realistic look inside the workings of a home business. One of the main goals of Heart My Life! Is to help people start and succeed at working for themselves, and income reports have their role in that business plan.
I think it’s important to mention that this is not my first blog. I’ve been blogging and selling products online for nearly 20 years. I still maintain several other blogs, though they don’t get as much attention as they have in the past. So I’m not a total newb at this game, but Heart My Life is an entirely new venture in a totally different niche, starting from scratch and building from the ground up. With that in mind I tried to keep expectations realistic while still pushing myself just enough to stretch a little.
I will outline the goals I was aiming for and where I landed, then discuss a bit about what I learned.
So without further delay ….
In order to be fair and consistent from one income report to the next, I’ve decided to account for my income and expenses a specific way. Income will only be counted once it has reached my bank account. While I can see the affiliate sales and other income that have taken place, I’ve learned from years of experience not to count on that income until it’s in my possession. So my income report accounts only for what has been deposited into my account.
My main goal in this first month of blogging was to come close to breaking even. The main expenses of starting a blog are often incurred in the first month, and that is the case with my blog. Thankfully, I had some income from affiliate sales that I started promoting in January while I was writing blog posts and designing my web site. These sales really helped to ease my concerns about fronting money for the blog. So here are the numbers:
Affiliate Marketing = $150.00
Etsy Sales of Printables = $0
My affiliate sales all came from one product which is the How To Make Your First Affiliate Sale in 24 Hours ebook. I LOVE this ebook and the affiliate program. Elise McDowell has done a wonderful job of creating a webpage that explains the book and what to expect from it, and the book delivers. This book sells well and accounted for all of my affiliate marketing income for the month.
For the sake of disclosure, I only promoted two products in January. I wanted to test the waters of affiliate marketing and also start experimenting with marketing on Pinterest. I was happy with the outcome.
My Etsy sales were dismal, mainly due to the fact that I did no marketing whatsoever for the store or products. I had too much on my mind preparing for the blog launch to extend my brain cells in one more direction. So I deserved a fat zero on that front. I will be developing a better plan for promoting those products in the future.
Hosting Package with Host For Web = $33.18/year
Theme from Creative Market = $49.00
Tailwind Yearly Subscription= $104.88
Adobe Photoshop Monthly Subscription = $21.39
Boardbooster Monthly Subscription – $5.00 ***Update~Boardbooster has closed so I’m no longer using the service.
Etsy Fees = $0.23
Total Expenses = $213.68
Income – Expenses = Net Loss = $-63.68
While I wish I could have made money my first month, I’m not at all disappointed with this total. The majority of my expenses were large one-time or yearly expenses that I will not have to repeat for some time. That means, next month I will have MUCH lower costs. I’m confident that I’ll recoup my investment.
I could have chosen to pay for Tailwind and my hosting monthly, but paying an annual subscription rate saves a significant amount of money so I went for it knowing it would be a savings down the road.
I could have skipped buying a theme and tried to use one I have or a free one, but changing themes requires a significant investment of time and energy once a blog is well-established. In the end I decided the best use of my time was to invest in the one I wanted up front.
I also could have prorated the big expenses that pay for a one-year subscription and applied just one month of the cost to this month’s expense report. To make accounting easier, I decided to take the expense in the month I pay it and I paid it all this month.
Traffic / Subscriber / Follower goals
In addition to tracking my income, I also set some other goals that I hoped to achieve, mainly driving traffic to my site and gaining subscribers and followers.
Blog Traffic: Goal = 1,000 visitors // Results = 1,668 visitors
My goal for my first month of blogging was to get my first 1,000 visitors to the site. I am happy to report that Google analytics show that I had 1,668 visitors from February 7th to the 28th. I missed a whole week of analytics because I thought I had Google analytics set up right. When I visited on the 6th to check my stats, I discovered I’d forgotten a step. I fixed it and started getting analytics by the 7th. So in all reality, I probably had another few hundred visitors, but I can’t be sure since I don’t have stats to prove it.
Mailing List Subscribers: Goal = 100 subscribers // Results = 119 subscribers
My hope was to add 100 subscribers to my list. I offered a free email course outlining the steps I took that allowed me to get $150.00 in sales that first month. That course accounted for the majority of the sign-ups. I also offer a free printable To Do List (fillable now too!) to anyone who signs up for my general list. A few people also signed up for my Crypto Trading 101 course that walks subscribers through the steps of trading cryptocurrencies, a fun and often profitable hobby of mine.
Pinterest Followers: Goal = 150 followers // Results = 179 followers
For the month of February, my only social media platform was Pinterest. My goal was to get to 150 followers. That number seems small, even to me, however this was a new Pinterest account and I started the month with around 25 followers. I didn’t have a very big fan base to work with and it takes time to build momentum. I wasn’t too worried about it because the number of followers you have on Pinterest doesn’t necessarily make or break your marketing.
My second Pinterest goal for the month was to really work at building my Pinterest presence and following a plan that would broaden my reach. My Pinterest reach went from 14,695 on February 1, 2018 to 170,500 on March 1, 2018, a significant jump! That means m reach increased by 1161% during one month. I’m happy with that!
I joined a lot of group boards, participated in Tribes through Tailwind and Boardbooster, and participated in several Facebook pin exchange threads and follow threads each week. My Pinning strategy served me very well and helped me generate affiliate sales and traffic to my blog. I hope to put together some information on that for a later post.
For this first month I wanted to keep my marketing simple and I also wanted to gauge the impact Pinterest could have on my traffic. Next month I hope to expand and branch out to another social media platform if my schedule will allow.
Top performing posts
12 Affiliate Programs That Accept Newbies and Nonbloggers accounted for nearly half my traffic.
How I Made $90 My First Week Doing Affiliate Marketing came in at about 25% of the traffic to my site.
Goals for March:
- Publish 4 – 6 posts
- Finalize creation of several products
- Continue developing my Pinterest strategy
- Triple my blog traffic
- Expand my affiliate marketing efforts to include more than two programs
So that’s it folks! My first month’s income report…which in my case was a loss report, but I expected that. So what did you think? Do you feel that blogging has the potential to become an income earner? I’m feeling hopeful. If you have advice, leave me a comment and give us the benefit of your experience!
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