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 healthy living tips (might I recommend this modern farmhouse kitchen tour 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 August
TOTAL INCOME: $15,753.29
- AdThrive Ad Network, $3,133.00
- Affiliate Commissions, $6,129.04
- Butcher Box $3,070.00
- Amazon $673.77
- US Wellness Meats $579.37
- Dry Farm Wines $200.16
- Thrive Market $630.00
- True Botanicals $78.75
- Vital Choice $125.68
- AnnMarie Skincare $39.46
- SunBasket $80.00
- Aillea $1.20
- Truvani $21.70
- Credo Beauty $28.28
- Kettle & Fire $14.94
- Beautycounter $242.80
- The Detox Market $22.66
- Reward Style $39.08
- Intelligent Blends $1.80
- MightyNest $0.20
- Vital Proteins $25.92
- ConvertKit $8.70
- Four Sigmatic $1.60
- Loom & Leaf $12.95
- Urthbox $17.00
- The Grommet $1.70
- Four Sigmatic $1.60
- Bluehost, $85.00
- EverlyWell, $64.10
- Love Goodly, $26.86
- Bulletproof, $18.26
- FoodBloggerPro $11.60
- Real Plans $7.00
- Lola $5.00
- Redmond $1.15
- Sponsored Content, $6,146.00
- Business Coaching, $290.40
- eBooks (13 Pitches That Worked eBook and Superfood Green Smoothies), $54.85
TOTAL EXPENSES: $4,537.51
- Social Media Management $29.98 (this includes tools like Tailwind)
- Virtual Assistant $2,959.48
- Website/Tech/Tools $248.57 (this includes partial payment for a website redesign and tools like VaultPress, my hosting service Cloudways, and my tech manager, The Blog Tutor)
- Photography + Video $150
- Ads $437
- Accounting/Bookkeeping/Payroll $229 (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 $434.38 (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: $11,215.78
Whew! I know that’s a lot to take in. One of the things I hope people will take away 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 August.
Traffic Overview: 148,349 pageviews for the month (a 30.30% increase from last 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
- Top Sources for Organic Meat Delivery
- How I Got Pregnant On My First Try with PCOS**
**Note: This is the first time a new post has ranked in the Top 5 as almost every other month this year has been the same 5 posts. I’m so excited to see this one, which is so near and dear to my heart, performing so well!
Email List: 527 net new subscribers
Note: This screenshot comes from my dashboard in ConvertKit.
I think the biggest reason for the large number of cancellations this month was due to the huge baby giveaway that we ran. A lot of people just sign up to get free stuff and don’t stick around. This is a constant battle for me with whether or not to even do giveaways. However, even if just a handful stick around and become super fans of your blog, it could be worth it. In this case, we had 1,285 people enter the giveaway and thus far 427 have gone cold and 152 canceled their subscriptions. So that means that 706 people have stuck around and continue to open our emails. That seems worth the effort, right?!
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 33.5 hours in August (Still really focused on implementing what I’ve learned fromthe 4-hour Work Week). With a gross income of $15,750, that means I earned roughly $470 per hour. Wowza! That’s my best month yet 🙂
If you look at my net income instead, my hourly rate drops to about $334/hour, which is still FAR above my goal of $100 per hour. This is super exciting to see, especially as I head into maternity leave, as it means that I’m able to step away from my business and still earn significant income.
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 summarize where my time went in August: getting ahead on blog posts and emails, and getting about 3/4 of the way done with my Blogging Course (it’s called “How to Monetize Your Blog” and I can’t wait to share it with you!).
That was it. Other than a few coaching clients, some photo shoots and a handful of meetings, I just focused on what was most important to me and what would most help prepare me for maternity leave. Speaking of….
Goals for Q4 2018
With my first baby due this month, I’m attempting to take some semblance of a maternity leave. So instead of writing monthly income reports, I’m going to check back in at the end of Q4 and report on what happened from September through December, while on maternity leave.
Self-employed maternity leave is both amazing and horrible. I mean, I can take off as much time as I want, I don’t have to ask anyone’s permission or worry about getting fired and I can come back to work whenever I feel like it.
On the other hand, there’s no such thing as paid maternity leave when you’re an entrepreneur. In theory, if I don’t work, I don’t make money (more on this below). There’s also nobody to cover for me while I’m away, except for my assistant (thank God for her).
And even though I have complete control, sometimes that’s not the best thing as there’s less separation between work and personal life and I have to make the hard decisions of exactly when to start working again, how much, how often, how to juggle it with a baby at home, etc.
So here’s my “rough” plan.
- I am beyond lucky that Matt is taking a 4-week paid paternity leave. I’m going to try to take as much time off during babe’s first month as possible. Ideal Goal: 0 work hours done. Realistic Goal: staying on top of emails, checking in periodically with my assistant to make sure everything is going okay, sharing cute baby pics on social media, etc.
- I met my goal of writing, photographing and scheduling all posts through the end of the year before baby’s arrival (with the exception of one holiday recipe that goes live in December) and I couldn’t be prouder of this accomplishment. Not being on deadline, and especially for sponsored content (as that is truly one of the only things I do on the blog that is a direct trade of time for dollars, and if I don’t write the sponsored content, I don’t make a penny) is going to make the next few months with a new baby so much more enjoyable.
- Republish seasonal posts for timeliness. Admittedly, we did cut way back on new content over the next 4 months. Normally we publish about 8-10 new blog posts every month. During my maternity leave, we have about 2-5 new posts and then a lot of older content, like holiday recipes, that we’ll be updating and republishing in between. This will help our site stay fresh, drive readers to important timely content they might not otherwise find in the archives, and hopefully give us an SEO boost for these seasonal posts.
- Towards the end of October, I’ll likely have another photo shoot to finish up any remaining content needs, snap some cute newborn photos and just stay on top of our edit calendar. I also imagine that around this time I’ll start spending a few hours each week working, planning for 2019, responding to emails and doing some behind-the-scenes work on the blog. But the fact that nothing has to get done through the rest of the year, that all of our hard deadlines are already met, means I can do what feels right in the moment. And that is something I’m forever grateful for!
Featured Question: Last month, I shared how I’ll be featuring one question from a reader in each monthly income report. Here’s the question from last month:
I am currently running Mediavine ads on my blog and have similar traffic to you. I feel like Mediavine cares so much about their publishers and does so many things for us that it would be hard for me to ever switch. However income is obviously important and I can’t deny those numbers! Do you have any further insight into switching from Mediavine to AdThrive?
Such a great question, and one I really struggled with, as well. I have nothing but positive things to say about Mediavine, and I agree that they really care so much and work hard to keep their publishers happy.
That being said, as Mediavine themselves said when I put in my notice–“the only reason to run ads on your site is to make money”. And so I felt like I’d be doing my business a disservice to not try another company that’s known for paying their publishers more.
It’s only been a month and half since I made the switch, but my ad income has nearly doubled! Here’s how it looks:
- With Mediavine, I made an average of $1,575 per month from ads in 2018, with roughly 115,000 pageviews per month.
- That’s an RPM of $13.70.
- With AdThrive, I made $3,133 this month, with roughly 148,000 pageviews.
- That’s an RPM of $21.17.
So for me, it’s worked out so far. I honestly can’t believe how much more I’m making running the same number of ads. So far, it’s been worth it and I know that Mediavine understands. It’s business.
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 and Energy Study Institute in your name. With a new baby on the way, I have a newfound energy for creating a better world for our children. This amazing non-profit is helping your country develop the policies and strategies we need to respond to climate risk, reduce energy waste, and create good jobs!
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 additional cost to you.