This article contains affiliate links.
Welcome to my first annual blog income report. I’m now going to share exactly how much I’ve made in 2018 through blogging and freelancing.
I publish monthly income report to share not just the revenue from my blog and online business, but also the mistakes, lessons and new projects.
I’m currently earning a few thousand dollars a month thanks to sponsorships, freelance writing and ads but I’m also working on 2 other income streams (affiliate marketing and selling online courses).
Read on to see what’s been going on in 2018. Hopefully, this blog income report will inspire you to add a new income stream to your business, start a blog, learn how to make money blogging, or simply work on new side hustles.
2018: A Year in Review
It’s been a great year for me and Let’s Reach Success. I believe that if we stick to 1 thing long enough and experiment till we find what works best, hard work will pay off.
Most people don’t do that as it takes years of confusion, doubts and laziness (or at least not working on the right things). That requires patience and focus and not everyone is willing to develop that while sacrificing other more comfortable things in life they are used to.
However, I do believe online business is the way to go if you want to live a happy, fulfilling life and it can even help you achieve financial freedom without working long hours.
Once I found this out for myself and learned from experience, I wanted everyone else to know it too. All my knowledge is now neatly organized into 1 course, which is the ultimate resource on starting and monetizing a blog, and then using that platform to be financially free and live the life you deserve.
That’s Financial Freedom Through Blogging and it was released last month.
Now, before we get to the numbers for this year, let’s see some things I worked on, and what I’ve learned or done wrong in 2018 that I plan to change in the new year.
I hope this annual blog income report can help you see the potential of blogging as a side hustle and can inspire you to finally take your future in your hands by monetizing your passion (or just starting a blog in a profitable niche and growing it).
What I Could Have Done Better in 2018
I don’t really have any major mistakes but there are, of course, things that could have been done differently.
For a start, I left freelance writing behind.
It was my first ever online income stream but as my direction shifted from freelancing to blogging, I do it less and less often.
However, if I wanted more discipline (writing for clients requires quite a lot of it) and a higher income, then I would have been consistent with it. Truth is, with more effort, I could have earned $1000 more each month, but I didn’t.
That’s because I don’t enjoy freelancing anymore – it was only a starting point, after all.
The content I create for my own projects is not just more enjoyable work, but also the most valuable investment of my time as it provides value and helps me grow a business.
The next thing is that I could have worked harder on Financial Freedom Through Blogging, but I don’t want to risk turning it into an unpleasant activity that feels like an obligation.
I still did a ton of work on it knowing that I only got the idea some time ago, and even only started creating courses (free ones first) a few months ago.
Also, I learn as I go and want to make sure I include all necessary details in each lesson of the course. That takes a lot of research, time and writing and editing.
On a more personal note, I could have spent less money.
It’s still not much compared to how others spend. I do track my expenses as much as my income so everything is under control. But the spending in 2018 was more than necessary and I don’t want to do it this way regardless of how much my income grows every next year.
With that being said, some of what I spent could have been saved. With more savings and peace on my mind thanks to that, I could have already bought a home. But it’s okay as I still saved enough in 2018 and am planning to take the big step in real estate in 2019.
My Big Moves in 2018 Will Affect The Next Years of My Life and Work
The very first one is moving my online business to the Netherlands, a country with a fantastic economy.
As I will continue my life here, buy a home and one day have a family, it was good I did that soon after moving. The hard part in terms of administration is done as I now pay taxes here and am a real citizen of the country and contribute to the economy with the revenue of my small business.
I got better at money management.
Tracking my income and expenses every month (as well as every 10th day of the month to make sure everything’s the way I want it to and there are no surprises) has helped me tremendously.
While 2017 I wasn’t smart with my money as I spent more, didn’t track well and didn’t really have any savings, 2018 was different.
I believe these are financial habits (mental and physical) I form that I will keep forever and can only improve upon.
Created many courses.
Another thing I’m happy with related to my work is that I started creating and launching online courses.
These products are now part of my brand. People like taking such courses and already hundreds of students have enrolled in the free ones.
It’s so satisfying to see people are actually taking them, lecture by lecture. I can only hope they see the value in each and take action after completing a course like that.
A better hosting provider.
Another big move related to blogging was that I switched from Bluehost to WPX Hosting and I can only regret not doing it earlier.
WPX Hosting is currently the fastest web host for WordPress and they’ve even made improvements and released new wonderful features after I became their loyal client and big fan.
A good and reliable server is important if you’re trying to build a blog that’s never going to have any downtime, which has a ton of content published on it, and which you treat as a real business.
The blog income reports are now part of my brand.
I started publishing income reports some time ago but it wasn’t until the beginning of 2018 that I took them seriously.
Each blog income report is now something anyone can come back to and see exactly what I did the month before, how much I earned, what I learned and what I didn’t do right.
That’s powerful knowledge and it helps people (they’ve emailed me about it). It’s also the kind of content I love from the bloggers I like and follow.
12 blog income reports later each of which presents a good number, I now consider these part of my brand.
It also shows transparency and desire to see more progress by analyzing what I can be doing better.
Updating old content will boost SEO.
I often mention how I’m updating old blog posts. I’ve outlined my whole process here as well as discussed why this activity matters.
All bloggers with hundreds or thousands of articles in their archives are doing it and it’s directly related to growing your blog.
Old content must be edited and updated every year. I want to make sure that whenever a visitor lands on my blog and sees an old piece, they won’t be able to feel like it’s outdated.
Also, Google likes to see updated old pages from blogs and even favors them and crawls them again. That increases the chances of ranking them higher than their previous position in the search engine results.
Bringing old content back to live is a long process and the boost in traffic and rankings will only be visible some time from now.
How I Tackle Content Creation as Opposed to 2 Years Ago
Content creation has always been a big part of Let’s Reach Success. In fact, it’s the content that brings me traffic and makes me money in different ways.
However, I’m now stricter with the guest posts I allow.
There are more guidelines and I only accept quality content that’s 1000+ words and on a topic that hasn’t been covered before or at least has a new angle.
That means I reject most requests from guest contributors so I can only choose the best.
What’s more, I now update old content more than I publish new pieces. I also edit some so much and optimize them for a new keyword, that they are better off being republished.
It’s a good practice for content-heavy sites and I expect it to bring me more organic traffic in 2019.
Also, a big part of my content every month is my blog income report. I share that with my email subscribers too and people like to check out how I did the previous month and what new things I’m working on.
Let’s not forget that I’ve spent a great amount of time writing content for my free and paid online courses. In the past, I was doing it to publish eBooks but that didn’t work so well.
Now I see how much people love courses and how engaging these can be to help anyone achieve a certain result.
I don’t do podcasting anymore as opposed to previous years. I realized it’s not something I enjoy and there are better ways to spend my time.
Plans for Future Launches
Although I haven’t even started promoting Financial Freedom Through Blogging seriously, that doesn’t mean I don’t have plans for the next digital products I want to create.
I have ideas for more courses – smaller ones on specific topics and only on subjects I have real experience with over the years and have seen progress with.
In addition, it’s worth testing something – how different modules of Financial Freedom Through Blogging would perform when published and sold as eBooks.
That will take some time as an eBook requires different formatting and preparation than a course, but releasing a few such titles on Amazon and Smashwords is something I’d like to do.
There, I’ve published only my old eBooks which are all on topics related to personal development. Now, it would be about online business, blogging and financial freedom. These are more profitable niches so there’s a chance people will like seeing titles like that.
How My Priorities Are Changing as The Business Grows
For a start, the financial and administrative aspect should be taken more seriously. That’s why I began reviewing my work and finances not just every month, but also every 10 days.
So 3 times during the month I spend 30-60 minutes to make sure I’m on the right track. Each blog income report at the end of the month is also a big part of my tracking process.
This habit helps me be careful with spending and allows me to make sure I pay all the bills, don’t miss a deadline, and also save something each month.
As the business grows, I can also dream bigger (while still doing the work today and being realistic).
For example, I’m slowly moving away from freelance work as doing work for clients isn’t always the best idea (or fun) for bloggers.
Another thing that changed as the business grew is that I can now set the goal of buying my first home in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It’s a big thing but at the same time it might be easier than renting (knowing how expensive that is for a single studio).
Because of goals like that and making sure I save money and pay the bills for my expensive lifestyle (due to the city I live in), I’m not thinking of traveling. That’s okay. I’m much more interested in settling down in Amsterdam now and managing my money in a way that will provide me with peace of mind over the next decade.
I also want to provide more value than ever.
Now I know more about the connection between starting a blog and growing it so you can make enough money to live the life you want. That’s what I did and I prove every day that you don’t need to earn a lot in order to live like that.
It’s all about the freedom, good money management, and loving the work you do. That’s why I’ve never worked harder than I do now on Financial Freedom Through Blogging.
Solopreneurship and Taxes
My first year of living in the Netherlands I tested the lifestyle, registered here, found a place to live, and explored the city.
The second year – 2018 – was for moving my online business in the country and becoming a solopreneur with a company named Let’s Reach Success.
That now helps me with every next move I make as each institution takes me seriously once I present the right documents.
In the beginning of 2019, I’ll get my annual income statement which I will need for many things, including buying a home.
I’ll also pay taxes in the Netherlands for the very first time. And although there are some benefits for starters, as my income grew, so did the amount I need to pay in taxes.
Starting this year, I will begin saving a percentage of my income in a separate savings account, which I’ll then use for taxes.
Now, I didn’t have that habit yet so I will need to pay a big sum of money at once. Which is okay as the first year of having a business in a new country is exactly for that – to see how things work, do the documentation right, find the right accountant, see what taxes you will pay at the end, and prepare better for next year.
That’s how 2018 looked like for my blog and business. Let’s move onto the numbers of this blog income report.
Annual Blog Income Report: How Much I Earned in 2018 Blogging
I earned a total of $47,479 in 2018 from my blog and freelance writing business.
Please keep in mind that’s gross income.
After extracting fees I pay to other platforms, transaction fees, paying my own taxes and insurance and covering my pension as a solopreneur in the Netherlands, there’s much less left for me to spend.
Breakdown of Income in 2018
Here’s my blog income report for each month of the past year.
- January 2018
- February 2018
- March 2018
- April 2018
- May 2018
- June 2018
- July 2018
- August 2018
- September 2018
- October 2018
- November 2018
- December 2018
During some months, I had a higher income than expected. I’m truly grateful I reached an important milestone for bloggers – over $5000 in a month (without working extra hours).
My goal is now that, although I’m much more invested in the long-term goals, such as moving away from freelance work and instead selling my own products more.
Also, I will limit the number of sponsored posts I allow as this isn’t an income stream I feel comfortable with anymore (too much negotiating, not the right type of clients, lack of stability, not passive, etc.)
Some months during the year are often low in revenue and traffic for almost any blogger, and that’s okay. There’s the summer slump, for example, or the period around the holidays where people are focused on spending money on gifts and traveling.
Some niches always work well, of course. But if you aren’t in the Finance sector or don’t have an eCommerce business, then you will see a dip in traffic and profits.
It’s important to remember the big picture during months where your new projects aren’t paying off, you need to go back to freelance work, can’t find new clients, or don’t have the energy and motivation to show up and do the work daily.
It’s okay to have weeks like that throughout the year and the final number for your blog income report can still be good.
Let me now share a bit about each month of 2018 and how it went for me and Let’s Reach Success.
Monthly Revenue Breakdown
This is the month I registered my online business in the Netherlands (after months of worrying about it) and it went well.
So from January on, Let’s Reach Success is also the name of my company. That’s part of my lifestyle design project too as I began paying taxes in a developed country (and the one I’m going to spend the rest of my life in).
In the first month of 2018 I also bought a new premium theme for Let’s Reach Success and I’m still using it a year later. It’s magazine-style and many people have complimented it.
The January blog income report is also when I started taking my income reports more seriously, made them longer and included more details. I began organizing the information better, sharing what I learned during this month and what my goals for the next one are.
A big thing happened this month: switching from Bluehost to WPX Hosting. That was a turning point to treating my blog as a real business and improving its performance.
In February, 50% of my income came from freelancing and the rest from sponsorships.
Good number, right? Things were starting to look up in the first months of 2018 and I was happy about it.
One of the reasons about this is that I finally started calculating the income for my monthly reports better. Meaning, I included the money I earned instead of just the money I received in my bank account.
With PayPal feels, Upwork taxes, etc., that number was higher. Which means that in January and February I made a bit more but didn’t include it in the final number for the blog income report.
That’s okay, of course, as I was still learning how to do these more effectively (and still am).
In March, I began auditing old content and updating blog posts that needed edits. I was also really focused and productive the month before that and I could see immediate results in March.
That was the month I invested a bit in my education by taking my first ever online course – Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.
I started following its creator, Michelle from Making Sense of Cents, who earns over a million from her blog. I share more about her story and income streams in this post.
To be honest, aside from learning what I needed about affiliate marketing, this course is what inspired me to start creating online courses of my own.
I saw how beautiful it looks, how easy it is to learn from lectures organized in different modules, how good it feels to complete the course.
I then learned more about the platform – Teachable, and was sure I want to sign up with them too. Since then, that’s the only platform for course creators I recommend.
In March, I also spent more time on Pinterest, updated my profile, joined group board, and increased my page views there significantly.
What made this blog income report look so good is that I earned over $2000 solely from freelance writing. That means I spent more hours behind the screen creating content for clients, which isn’t easy, but it helps.
It was mainly on Upwork, but I also had a big client outside of the platform who paid well.
To compare, the last few months that number was $500 or less.
In April, I published my first free online course How to Make Your First Money Online Freelancing. People loved it. Since then, over 430 students have enrolled in it.
That month, as shared in the April blog income report, I also published my most expensive sponsored post and earned nearly $400 from writing 1 article for a client.
May is when I joined Mediavine – the full-service ad management platform I’m using to display ads on my site. This first month was for testing, after which I started making real passive income thanks to them every next month.
I also optimized my site to increase ad revenue. Since then, I’m consistently more than $500/month.
In addition, I reviewed the course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. That was also an experiment as I wanted to create my longest product review and do it right.
As shared in my June blog income report, I released my second free course – The Passive Income Boss.
There are now almost 300 students.
I reached 100K monthly Pinterest views.
Due to not being happy with my first accountant, I finally found a new one and it’s been going smoothly since then.
To make the process of negotiating prices for sponsored posts easier, I also decided on fixed prices. I created this page for sponsors and now refer anyone interested to it, instead of repeating the information over and over again.
I was on a summer vacation that month, which meant 2 weeks of no work at all. I also left my freelance clients behind in advance and needed some time afterwards to get back on track.
I worked much less than any other month, which is related to the many distractions going on in the summer. Energy levels are low and there are plenty of things to do outside instead of staying in front of the laptop.
However, as these months I was earning more than $3000 from sponsored blog posts, the income reports still looked well.
August was my highest income ever. That’s when I also added 2 new income streams. The blog income report included earnings from affiliate marketing and ads, together with sponsorships and some freelance work.
That month was the record for blog sponsorship earnings too – over $4K coming solely from that.
I expect the same to be happening every summer, while the winter period (and the beginning of the new year, in particular) will bring me less money from that.
In the August blog income report I share how I began outlining my paid courses and creating content for them. I wasn’t sure which one to focus on first as I had more than 1 idea.
Eventually, it just felt right to concentrate only on Financial Freedom Through Blogging till it’s done.
My September blog income report is the 2nd best one after sharing my earnings in August.
That month I focused on doing internal linking properly. Turns out it’s a big deal and there was a lot I was doing wrong.
So after an extensive research and learning from the best in the field, I now have new habits when updating old blog posts and publishing new ones related to interlinking.
I write a lot about this in Financial Freedom Through Blogging too as it can help you grow your blog faster.
During these months I also spent some time creating big guides on my site that I can refer people to more often. For example, how to start a profitable blog, a list of the best side hustle ideas to earn extra money, and a guide on how to make money blogging.
In terms of Finance and Administration for the business, I also set up a Business PayPal and bank account to keep personal and business money separate.
As shared in the blog income report for October, I released my third free course – Launch Your Profitable Blog Today.
I figured, I’m creating the biggest paid product in my life – Financial Freedom Through Blogging – so I must also offer a free course on how to start a blog and what first steps to take before you make money from it.
Anyone who wants to take things to the next level and turn that into a real 5-figure business, can then enroll in my paid course.
I finalized the table of contents for Financial Freedom Through Blogging this month and shared it with everyone. At this point, I was working hard to get the first modules done.
This month I officially released Financial Freedom Through Blogging with a price for early birds, while working on the next modules.
During Black Friday, I also paid for a whole year for 2 of my favorite platforms and the ones my business relies on – WPX Hosting and Teachable.
In the last month of 2018, I released 10 free printables so people can kickstart the new year and be productive and organized from day 1.
I also completed modules 4 and 5 of Financial Freedom Through Blogging and released many freebies for the bonus section of the course.
In that month, I spent more money (as most of your did, I assume) and did less work due to the holidays.
Other Bloggers That Have Been Part of My Journey
My work this year wouldn’t have been the same without the inspiration I got and the things I learned from some new bloggers I started following.
I mean, they are not new in the blogging world, but they are new to me. It’s amazing what following the right people can do for your mindset and motivation to do better work.
Michelle from Making Sense of Cents
R.J. from The Ways to Wealth
Ryan Robinson from Ryrob.com
Alexis from FITnancials
Lauren and Alex from CreateandGo
McKinzie from Moms Make Cents
Final Words for My Annual Blog Income Report
Thanks for being part of my journey in 2018. I’m excited to see what the new year brings.
I’m curious if the good and not so good period will be the same for my blog in 2019. That means I’ll be working harder in the summer (and not letting a vacation take my focus away for more than a week or two) and will then take it easy in the winter months, knowing traffic and revenue will probably be lower no matter what I do.
Such tendencies are interesting to observe and my monthly income reports have helped me tremendously in noticing them. Of course, as long as you test new monetization methods, you’ll never see a month without enough money.
I hope this annual blog income report inspires you to finally start your own blog, go back to an old project you’ve left behind and work on it harder, or test a new way for making money online.
Whatever that is, good luck and please, don’t give up too soon! Financial freedom is possible but only if you do what you do for years first.