Welcome back to Root + Revel’s monthly traffic + income reports! You might remember back in January we published an annual income report for 2017 (hint: I earned over $75,000 blogging in my second year!).
But, as promised, moving forward I’m going to be sharing monthly reports so we can dive deeper into the every day of running a blogging business.
I know this might seem a little crazy to you–or perhaps you’re just here for the food (might I recommend this refreshing Superfood Frose to hold you over), but let me explain.
P.S. If this isn’t your first rodeo and you’ve been following allowing with these income reports for a while, you can skip to the next section titled Total Income.
And they’ve inspired me so much, not only to know what’s possible in the world of blogging as a business, but also with their incredible ideas and generosity in sharing their mistakes and successes along the way.
And now, I want to return the favor. I feel like I’m at a point with Root + Revel where I have something valuable to share about making money online, something that I hope will help you learn how to make money doing something you love, something that lights you up every day and makes you excited to get to work, something you’re passionate about, something that impacts others for the better, something you can do from your couch in your jammies or on a beach in the Caribbean or at a desk in a co-working space at whatever dang time you please because YOU’RE YOUR OWN BOSS.
Please know, the goal of these income reports is not to brag or show off or pat myself on the back (though it’s always a good idea to celebrate your own successes, too!). Rather, my goal with these income reports is three-fold:
- to help anyone interested in starting a blog learn the ropes and find inspiration and motivation to be successful and change your life, whether that’s simply finding an outlet for your passion, improving your financial situation by making some extra money, or finally quitting your job and making six figures working for yourself. I hope that by sharing my own journey, my transparency and story might help you to achieve your dreams.
- to show fellow skeptics (hi, I used to be one of you when I was a full-time journalist who wrote for real publications and turned my nose up at bloggers who were running their blogs without integrity, transparency and a business mindset) that it IS possible to make money online and to do so while keeping your soul intact.
- to help myself. Yes, I’ll admit it. I do have some selfish motivation for publishing these income reports. Because quite honestly, it’s a great opportunity for me to reflect on my business, to look back and see what worked and what didn’t, to learn from my mistakes and to track my achievements.
I’ve been self-employed for nearly a decade at this point, but since I began blogging full-time in January of 2017, my life has exponentially improved.
I’m finally writing the stories that I want to tell, I’m finally helping others to live happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives, and I’m doing it ALL on my own terms.
I’m so proud and happy to report that life is so much better now that I’m truly my own boss and a full-time blogger. I look forward to each and every day–I wake up excited to work, I’m always learning something new and I love the challenge of running your own business, constantly coming up with new ways to monetize and help people, simultaneously.
Alright, enough talk. Let’s take a look at the numbers for April 2018…
TOTAL INCOME: $8,276.08
- Mediavine Ad Network, $1,470.75
- Affiliate Commissions, $4,562.83
- Butcher Box $1,855.00
- Amazon $704.94
- US Wellness Meats $TK?
- Thrive Market $345.00
- Dry Farm Wines $320.96
- Beautycounter $99.17
- The Detox Market $7.20
- Vital Choice $102.72
- Truvani $111.49
- Reward Style $23.10
- AnnMarie Skincare $94.64
- Vital Proteins $18.64
- Four Sigmatic $14.05
- Credo Beauty $11.80
- ConvertKit $8.70
- Real Plans $7.00
- Melyssa Griffin $327.50
- Pique Tea $86.40
- The Blog Tutor $84.76
- Food Revolution Summit $82.00
- Bluehost $65.00
- Aillea $57.96
- Daysy $44.67
- True Botanicals $32.85
- Ultimate Bundles $23.98
- Intelligent Blends $15.71
- Daily Harvest $10.00
- The Blog Village $5.80
- 23andme $5.00
- Redmond $4.49
- Sponsored Content, $1,850.00
- Business Coaching, $387.50
- 13 Pitches That Worked eBook, $9.10
TOTAL EXPENSES: $5,268.86
- Social Media Management $54.98 (this includes tools like Tailwind and Board Booster)
- Virtual Assistant $2,268.78
- Video + Photography, $1,550
- Website/Tech/Tools $205.58 (this includes tools like VaultPress, my hosting service Cloudways, and my tech manager, The Blog Tutor)
- Ads $137.99
- Accounting/Bookkeeping/Payroll $521.31 (this includes Tax Prep and my online accounting service, Bookly)
- Courses + Education $199.00 (this includes Food Blogger Pro, The Blog Village, B-School and more)
- Office Supplies + Networking $273.52 (this includes resources like Texture and Audible, networking meals, conferences, etc.)
- Adobe Creative Suite $9.99 (this is what I use to edit photos)
NET PROFIT: $3,007.22
Whew! I know that’s a lot to take in. One of the things I hope people will takeaway from these reports is just how much work, energy, thought and heart goes into running a blog. It’s not just as simple as slapping up a few words and an iphone photo and pressing publish.
Before we get into the details, I also wanted to share my traffic totals for April.
Traffic Overview: 116,121 pageviews for the month
Top Ten Traffic Sources
Top 5 Posts on Root + Revel Last Month:
- How I Reversed my PCOS, Leaky Gut + Insulin Resistance Naturally!
- DIY Mold Remover: How to Get Rid of Black Mold Naturally (Without Bleach!)
- Keto Beef Stew in the Instant Pot
- A Butter Coffee Recipe to Balance Hormones + Improve Digestion
- Top Sources for Organic Meat Delivery
Email List Growth
Note: This screenshot comes from my dashboard in ConvertKit.
Note: RPM stands for Revenue Per Mille, or the revenue earned per 1,000 pageviews. When you look at RPM, you put the focus on optimizing your revenue as efficiently as possible, rather than just getting the most people to your site. For example, a site with 100,000 pageviews and a $1 RPM makes $100, while a site with 20,000 pageviews and a $10 RPM makes $200. This is good news because it means you don’t have to have TONS of traffic to make a great income. In fact, when you niche down and focus on providing as much value as possible to your current audience, you earn more money.
Hourly Rate: I worked on the blog for a total of 82.5 hours in April. With a gross income of $8,276.08, that means I earned roughly $100 per hour, which is my goal.
If you look at my net income instead, my hourly rate drops to about $37/hour, which is very below my goal of $100 per hour. I’d really like to bring this number up so that net, I’m earning $100 per hour. I’m currently reading the 4-Hour Workweek and hoping that I learn some valuable time-saving and prioritizing tips.
What I Focused on This Month
Running a blog is a TON of work and each month I feel like I could fill an entire notebook with “what I focused on” details. But for everyone’s sanity’s sake, I’m going to focus on the three main things I worked on this month:
- Getting ahead. As I mentioned in March’s income report, my goal for April was to get ahead at least 4 weeks on my editorial calendar and emails. I’m currently about 3 weeks ahead, so I’m going to really spend the next month busting it out so that I can be 2 months ahead. Especially because I’ve got to start planning for my maternity leave in the Fall.
- Blogging Biz Course. Well, this was my goal. Other than working with some amazing coaching clients, I didn’t spend any time going through B-School and working on my course in April, which is a bummer. But I was actually taken out of the office for nearly 2 weeks in April for some personal reasons and that definitely set me back on work that wasn’t 100% necessary. But here’s the thing: how amazing is it that I was able to take 2 weeks off and not have my income affected? The joys of blogging!!
Goals for May 2018
I just mentioned that my goals for May are essentially the same as they were for April, but other than my course and getting ahead in content, I have a few other things I’ll be focusing on for May:
- Sponsored Content Changes: This goes back to getting ahead, too, and how I talked about wanting to decrease the amount of sponsored content I do on R+R. The good news: I’ve already changed the way I work with sponsors and am now only taking clients who book a bundle of 4 posts minimum. And I’ve already secured $16,500 worth of sponsored content through the end of the year. It’s so great to minimize the number of brands I’m working with to just those who are great and easy to work with, perfectly in line with R+R’s mission, provide me with repeat work and help me plan in advance. My goal is to earn a total of $60,000 from sponsored content in 2018, so I still have about $34,000 to go. But seeing as it’s only May, that means I need to secure another $4,250 per month to reach that goal, which I think is pretty doable.
- Social Media Changes: I’ve been doing a lot of podcast interviews lately, and one questions I keep getting again and again is about social media, which I loathe. My goal is to spend less than 5 minutes per day on social media, which is really difficult if you run an online biz. But I also run a wellness biz that focuses on being present, slowing down, reducing anxiety and doing things that better your mind, body and spirit. Social media is the opposite of all those things, so it feels disingenuous for me to constantly be on phone, documenting my every move and getting sucked into the comparison trap that is only natural on social media. So my goal for May is to really figure out how to minimize my time on social media, while maximizing my results. Right now, that means putting the most energy into Pinterest (which is really more of a search engine) because that drives the most traffic. TBD on how I’ll handle Instagram and Facebook, which don’t move the needle in my biz much, especially with their ever-changing algorithms that continue to lessen my reach and engagement no matter what I do. I’m juuuuust about ready to pull the plug on both and experiment with running a blog that doesn’t use social media. Thoughts???
Featured Question: Every month, I feature one question from a reader in these monthly income reports. Here’s the question from last month:
I am very interested in how you develop and implement your affiliate marketing strategy as you seem to make a good chunk of your income from it. Things like how you find potential affiliates, any email marketing campaign strategies, blog posting strategies that promote affiliate products etc. I have realised that as my blog continues to grow, I would need more that just advertising and want to understand more about strategic affiliate marketing for food bloggers.
Great question, Kim! Improving my affiliate marketing strategy has been a HUGE focus of mine for 2018. In fact, In 2017 I earned an average of $1,005 per month from affiliate marketing. And in 2018, that revenue has jumped to an average of nearly $4,200 per month and growing.
This is not an accident. My goal was to replace a lot of my sponsored content income with affiliate income, which is much more passive and automated. So how have I done this? Well, I’m planning a much more detailed post on my affiliate strategy, but here’s the Cliff Notes:
- Add top affiliates to automated email sequences (sign up here to see examples)
- Create weekly emails promoting one affiliate every week
- Add affiliate links to my Whole Soul List emails that go out on Sundays (sign up here to see an example of my WSL)
- Create Pinterest graphics with original photography, exclusive discount codes, and affiliate links and get on an automated schedule of posting them
- Add affiliate links to Top Performing Posts
- Create more Resource Pages that highlight my top affiliates (like this and this and this)
- Create more blog posts that prominently feature top affiliates (like this)
- Add affiliate links to all blog posts when it authentically fits into the content
- Create more videos to share reviews and unboxings/demos for my top affiliates (like this)
How do I find potential affiliates? The same way I find sponsors: I look at what brands I’m already using and love and fit with R+R’s natural, non-toxic mission. And then I contact them to see if they have affiliate programs. Sometimes you don’t have to email somebody directly, rather they’ll have a link to join their program right on their website, which makes it super easy.
I hope that helps!
For next month, please leave a comment below if you have a question that you would like me to answer.
IT’S ALL THANKS TO YOU
Please know, I am keenly aware that I have the flexibility, freedom and finances to work on this blog as my full-time job because of YOU–dear reader, sharer, Pinner, commenter, Liker, customer or silent follower of Root + Revel. Your support and participation in the R+R community reaches beyond just this website. This month, I donated to the Environmental Working Group in your name.
I am so incredibly grateful for you! Thanks for showing up 🙂
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no extra cost to you when you purchase through my links.