Welcome to my March 2018 monthly income report, the best one so far. I publish these online income reports to share not just the revenue from my blog and freelance writing business, but also the mistakes, lessons and new projects.
Make sure you check out all my income reports.
I’m currently earning a few thousand dollars a month thanks to sponsored posts and freelance writing. Read on to see what’s been going on over the past month. Hopefully, this will inspire you to add a new income stream to your business, start a blog, or simply work on a new profitable idea.
If you’re interested in starting your own site that you’ll monetize, I created a quick tutorial showing you the right steps.
Things are escalating every next month in my online business and I couldn’t be happier. If there’s one thing I see more of, it’s FOCUS.
I’m working on the right things (and doubled my income thanks to that) and investing my free time in creating a new income stream – affiliate marketing (more on that below). There’s balance and I still manage to lead the lifestyle I want and have plenty of free time.
Before moving onto the numbers of the blog income report for March, let’s first talk about a few important things going on.
Created a new free ebook.
The freebies I’m offering for subscribers to the free Let’s Reach Success newsletter were pretty outdated. While I will be updating them, I did finally create a good one.
It’s about making your first money freelancing. I believe that’s still the quickest way to begin your online journey and scale from then on.
Half of my income still comes from freelance writing and I don’t see that changing any time soon. But finding the first client, branding yourself and increasing your rate are all big challenges.
I talk about the phases I went through from being a nobody in the niche to building a name for myself and negotiating my rates. All this allowed me to then reclaim my time, be location independent and work on many other digital projects.
PS, It’s now a free online course.
I publish less of my own content on Let’s Reach Success now and that’s for a few reasons.
First, I focus on quality more than ever. Whenever I do publish a new piece, it has a very specific purpose (such as being optimized for a keyword and having quality information on the topic; writing it for a client to naturally include his sponsored link in it; sharing my journey to creating an online business from scratch and hoping it will inspire others, etc.)
Also, I’m stricter with guest posts and only publish the really good ones.
But you shouldn’t think I’m leaving behind content creation. No, I’m investing the same time and even more in content audit. This is the practice of going back to old content (blog posts only in my case) and fixing them.
That means there’s a lot happening behind the scenes of Let’s Reach Success. It will improve its rankings, will make old content better and will eventually help increase my income. All that by being helpful and relying on Google.
Every blogger with big archives should be doing that. With more than 1600 articles on LRS, it’s something I should have started doing a long time ago.
You can learn more about content audit from this guide by SEMrush.
How I update old blog posts?
- Fixing internal links – some have too many, not the relevant ones, or even without https (as it’s been years ago);
- Adding quality external ones;
- Replacing images with better ones;
- Adding a video, giphy or else to make it more interactive;
- Fixing formatting (shorter paragraphs, bold and italic, quotes, etc.);
- Adding appropriate affiliate links;
- Creating a Pinterest-friendly image in Canva (for free) and placing it at the end;
- Fixing errors with Grammarly;
- Optimizing it for a keyword if it wasn’t already;
- Adding text here and there or remove some paragraphs that are irrelevant.
It’s really time-consuming but there’s no deadline for this.
If you’re doing something similar, you need Grammarly. I use the free version.
More focus on Pinterest than ever.
I’ve always been bad at social media. Maybe one day that will change, maybe I’ll hire someone, or maybe I’ll make enough not to care.
It really isn’t my thing, much like video. But I’m also aware that I never found the right social media channel for my business.
My focus is now on Pinterest for a few reasons.
Many financial bloggers I respect such as Michelle from MakingSenseofCents and R.J.Weiss from TheWaystoWealth are getting a ton of traffic from Pinterest. Here’s how R.J. got over 275,000 views from Pinterest in a month.
The good thing about it is that, unlike Facebook, it’s not gonna change its algorithm and suddenly stop showing your pins. What’s more, it’s not about the followers there.
Each pin with a good design and optimized description can get thousands of views and bring readers to your blog.
Additionally, pinners are buyers, really active on their favorite social media platform, and pinning like crazy. It can drive significant referral traffic to your site, people there actually like marketing and the platform is huge.
The possibilities are endless and there’s nothing to lose. That’s why I’m learning more about it and am, in fact, having fun with it.
Here’s what I’ve done in March:
- Started creating Pinterest graphics for new posts, placing them at the end, and pinning them (at the right time of the day);
- Began checking out people’s content on Pinterest to see what images other bloggers create and what pinners enjoy the most;
- Organized my boards a bit better;
- Changed/added description to each board;
- Adding Pinterest graphics to old posts and pinning them too;
- Optimizing their descriptions;
- Playing with the design;
- Noticing tendencies for what content goes viral on Pinterest (might start creating more content in that direction because of that and see how it goes).
As a result of all this over the last few weeks (which wasn’t many hours as compared to the content audit), my pins have gotten more exposure. The monthly views were a much lower number.
So it works even with minimum effort. That’s what other bloggers have concluded too. I’ll keep experimenting.
Follow me on Pinterest if you’re there. I pin other people’s content too and want to connect.
Where I’ve found inspiration
I enjoyed exploring the income reports of some people I hadn’t had the chance to explore so far. Even though I’m not really in the finance niche, as someone taking care of my own income and expenses these people have helped me a lot.
As a bonus, reading their income reports is pure joy and immediately after that I take action, make a decision, come up with an idea, or write down something to research soon.
If you’re in need of motivation to grow your income, start following such people’s financial journeys too. They share some incredible behind the scenes tips that you can’t find in the standard blog posts.
Looking for blog income reports on Pinterest is a great way to get to them too. Suddenly, it’s not scary to imagine to be making $10,000 a month once you see exactly how others (who started from nothing) are doing it.
If you’re looking for one new entrepreneur to follow who made it big, I’d recommend Matthew Woodward. He’s a big name in the SEO industry and made what is called The Zero Link Building Strategy popular. He managed to rank and monetize a blog without any link building but solely thanks to his great content and keyword optimization. Here are all his income reports from $0 to seven figures.
I’m taking my first ever online course!
That’s a big thing for 2 reasons. First, I’ve never really had a big business expense and invested money in my business growth. As a lifelong learner and personal development enthusiast, I do my own research, learn from the mistakes of others or from trial and error, and do things slowly.
But I knew it was time to allow the experts to teach me what I refused to work on over the years. That’s affiliate marketing.
The second reason why this is a big deal is that I’ve never actually taken an online course. The Web is full of info for free, how-to guides, videos, tutorials, etc. When I invest the hours, there’s progress.
But I also knew I was leaving money on the table by not monetizing Let’s Reach Success with anything else other than sponsored posts.
With 1600 articles and plenty of organic traffic, and my ability to create long-form content, I should have paid more attention to affiliate marketing since the early days of the blog.
So that’s why this investment is absolutely worth is. I invested $197 (not a big sum compared to the big courses that cost over $1,000 but a big one for me as it’s my first course).
I knew exactly which course I needed and by which blogger. That’s Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, who makes close to $200,000/month from her blog.
She’s an expert in affiliate marketing as that’s where most of her money is coming from. I wanted to learn from her and see exactly how she monetized MakingSenseofCents.com
I’m now taking the course. It’s for beginners and some might say it’s too basic. But that’s exactly what I needed to finally learn all I could about affiliate marketing and build the mindset necessary to start earning from it.
The content includes:
- What affiliate marketing is and how it works
- Why affiliate marketing is great
- The exact steps she’s taken to earn over $300,000 from a single blog post
- How to pick the right affiliate products to promote
- How to increase conversions
- How to build trust and not lose followers
- Required disclosures that you need to know about
- The one major tool you need for affiliate marketing
- Different strategies to use to promote your affiliate products
- How to use Pinterest to succeed at affiliate marketing.
I dedicate 1-3 hours a day to it and it’s fun. I knew exactly when I was gonna purchase and take it too. I’m spending around 3 weeks back home in Bulgaria. So being around family and in the old environment was a great chance to do this new activity too.
Of course, I still invest a few hours of the work that makes me money every morning – freelance writing and blogging. But in the second part of the day or even in the evening, I sit down and focus on the course.
And, wow, there’s so much more to affiliate marketing than just placing a few links on a page.
I’m excited about this journey and know it’s yet another thing that will pay off unless I give up early on.
I’ll only promote products I believe in or have used myself, will only include them in informative blog posts, and already included a disclosure as it’s not something to hide.
But there’s a ton of work I need to do over the next few weeks and months. I’ve found the right products for my affiliate list and there will be new soon too. But I have to go back to almost all posts on the blog and see what affiliate link will fit the type of content.
Nothing will appear too pushy, I assure you. All these products and services are important for personal and business growth.
Till now, I was just including a link here and there but it wasn’t even visible.
Also, I’ll be creating proper reviews and tutorials on some topics (such as starting an online store, a review of the new hosting company I’m using – WPX Hosting, why email marketing is important and why ConverKit is the best solution, etc.)
Anyways. If you too see yourself as an affiliate marketer and want to learn from an expert, here’s Michelle’s course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing again.
Since I started sharing my journey more and trying some honest networking, things are going well.
I published a guest post for RunThe Money on how to make $1,000/month blogging. Also, I interviewed a few cool people for Let’s Reach Success.
I usually ask people I already know somehow to share their story on my blog and I send them a few questions.
I also created a Press page for Let’s Reach Success where I collect my interviews and appearances on other platforms.
Legal pages on Let’s Reach Success
Another aspect of blogging I finally took more seriously was the importance of disclosure and the like.
Here’s how the footer of the site looks like now.
That’s a trust signal for search engines and is also an element every authoritative site must have.
So that’s what has been going on in my online business last month. Let’s continue the blog income report with the earnings.
March Monthly Income Report: How I Earned $4,252 from My Blog and Business
I earned a total of $4,252 in March 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.
It took a while till I got to over $4K/month blogging and freelancing. You can see the progress here together with all other income reports.
Also, the difference between this and last month is a bit bigger as I never really calculated gross income for my monthly blog reports so far. Big mistake, I know. It wasn’t until I started reading other bloggers’ income reports that I realized I wasn’t giving you the right information.
After all, what I want to share here is what I earned from blogging. Not what’s left for me after my personal and business expenses, although that’s included too.
Anyways, that’s how I’ll be doing income reports from now on.
This Month’s Revenue Breakdown
Total Revenue (Gross Income) – $4,252
- Freelance Writing – $2392
Other freelance clients $1032
- Sponsorships – $1821
- Books – $39
If you too want to write and self-publish a book, here’s my free guide on how to do it in less than a month.
This Month’s Expenses Breakdown
Total Expenses – $813
- Web Services
- Professional Services
Accountant (paid every 4 months) – €0
- Office Supplies and Misc.
Mobile Plan (first payment + initial setup fee) – €70
Health Insurance – €102
Upwork fees – $244
PayPal fees – $135
Net Profit Breakdown $3,439
Setting New Records
I like seeing progress. That’s only possible with proper tracking, though.
The results I’ve seen are new records in terms of:
- Focused work;
- Bigger income;
- Higher prices for sponsored posts;
- Making more every 10 days of the month;
- Keeping expenses low while living an enjoyable lifestyle;
- I’m getting better at money management;
- I finally have some savings (after spending them to travel to Asia last year);
- And this monthly income report is the longest I’ve written so far.
Last month’s best content on Let’s Reach Success
70 blog posts were published in March. Here’s some of the content worth checking out if you haven’t already:
What I’ll Be Working on in April
I’ll complete the affiliate course.
I’ll finish Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing in the first part of the month. During that period, I’ll also make a plan on what to do with old and new content based on the new things I know.
I’ll share my free book with more people.
I’ll add an opt-in form for Make Your First Money Online Freelancing to more places throughout the blog and in relevant posts.
Here it is again if you want to get access to it:
I’ll finally review WPX Hosting.
I switched to WPX Hosting 2 months ago and am truly happy with the results. That’s why I want to write an honest review about them. Also, I’ll eventually create a step-by-step tutorial on how to start a site with them or migrate your blog from another hosting provider.
I’ll keep educating people on how to start a blog.
If you want to start a WordPress site for cheap, then Bluehost would be ideal for your hosting needs. It’s a great hosting company that powers over 2 million websites, and I personally have been using them for years before I switched to WPX Hosting.
I’ll keep being active on Pinterest.
I should read more about it. I’ll keep creating graphics for all posts and pinning them together with sharing other bloggers’ pins.
My first financial statements in the Netherlands will be live.
I registered my online business in Amsterdam, Netherlands at the beginning of 2018. I have an accountant and will send him over all my invoices these days so he can file them for VAT and tax returns to the Tax Office.
That part is still complicated for me so nothing to add here, really. But I like seeing such progress and it’s an honor for me to be contributing to the economy of my favorite country :)
What’s more, I just paid my last ever taxes in my home country Bulgaria (the business was set up there before and even after I moved away). That, for me, is one step closer to freedom.
Final words for this month’s blog income report
Got to 3,000 words with this income report. But it’s about much more than just sharing what I earn from blogging and freelancing.
It’s exciting. And getting to $4,000/month means I’m on the way to $5K and then $10K. Then, of course, it will take more tracking, better time and money management, new sacrifices, etc. I’m sure I’ll love every part of that too.