I love and hate these things. On one hand, I think they’re really interesting. I enjoy reading income reports on other people’s blogs.
After all, who doesn’t want to know how much money other people make, and how they made it?
Plus, putting these reports together forces me to really dig into my business finances, which always leads to a better understanding of what’s really going on. In a way, it’s kinda cathartic.
On the other hand, producing these reports is so tedious. That’s why, after doing quarterly income reports from 2015 to 2018 on my fashion blog, I decided to stop.
Then I started doing monthly income reports right here on Full Time Blog, but that only lasted a few months.
At the time, I was just too busy trying to actually make money online, rather than write about it.
Granted, I’m still very busy. The business is more productive and has more moving parts than ever.
But I have more help now, and the content production process is slightly less dependent on me, which frees up some time to put more effort into Full Time Blog.
Hence, this income report. Hopefully I keep it up this time!
Keep in mind, since this is a quarterly income report, it covers three months. So the “total” numbers are for three months combined.
I’ll also include a monthly average so you can get a sense of monthly income as well.
Blogging Income for Q1 2020
By blogging I really mean digital media business, which includes content websites, YouTube, social media, email lists, etc.
Other than Full Time Blog, which doesn’t make any money right now, I have one other brand: The Modest Man.
TMM started as a blog, and it’s evolved into an authority site around men’s fashion and lifestyle.
I also have a YouTube channel and that’s housed under the same brand, at least for now, as well as all of the social media accounts you’d expect (FB, IG, Twitter, Pinterest).
From the outside, the YouTube channel and Instagram account look more like an “influencer” type of operation, but I view myself as a the owner/operator of a digital media business.
Here’s how much the business made in Q1 2020:
Many websites and YouTube channels still make a lot of money from good ol’ banner ads.
For my operation, this income category includes ad revenue from YouTube, any banner ads on themodestman.com that were sold directly to a company, and AdThrive (an advertising network that manages your website’s ads for you).
Affiliate programs let publishers earn commission from traffic and sales they generate for e-commerce brands.
For example, say The Modest Man (TMM) publishes an article about the best no show socks. If someone clicks one of the links in that article and makes a purchase, TMM will earn a commission from that sale.
Affiliate programs are an increasingly important source of revenue for my business.
The “other” category includes a bunch of individual affiliate programs managed through platforms like Refersion.
These are sort of a pain to keep up with, but I’ve been surprised by how well some of these perform.
So if a brand is going to receive coverage on TMM, I always ask if they have an affiliate program. If they don’t, I’ll suggest that they create one (and they often do).
Sponsored content may not be passive or scalable, but it’s still very lucrative.
I take a quality over quantity approach to sponsored content by only working with brands that are a great fit and have the right budget.
Also, I’ve noticed that most brands prefer to sponsor video and social media content, rather than blog posts.
Many want some combination of platforms (e.g., one video, one article and two Instagram posts).
Here’s the sum total:
Ideally, I’d like for the lion’s share of revenue to come from more passive sources like advertising and affiliate programs.
In a perfect world, the business wouldn’t rely on sponsorships at all, as this allows publishers to remain more objective.
But for now, they’re adding a significant amount of cash to the bottom line each month, and for that reason I really appreciate all of the sponsors who choose work with TMM.
Digital products like ebooks and courses just aren’t big part of my business, but TMM does still offer an ebook, and the lone sale still trickles in every now and then.
|TMM Style Guide (ebook)||$265|
At one point, this ebook was generating almost $1,000/month consistently. I really need to update it and revisit the sales funnel, a task that’s struggled to make its way to the top of the to do list.
I’m sure there’s some opportunity with digital products – maybe a course or membership program – but I haven’t put in the effort to figure it out.
Maybe some day…
An income report without expenses doesn’t really show anything, especially if you’re self-employed (because your profit = your salary).
It’s been an expensive year so far, mostly because I’ve been investing a lot of money into new content.
Here’s a breakdown of expenses:
|Canva (how to use Canva)||$39|
In January, I started testing out a handful of potential writers that came in through a Pro Blogger job posting.
A couple of them were very good, so I gave them a batch of articles to start working through. I don’t plan on spending this much money on content every month – just needed an initial push to fill up the content calendar.
Adding everything up, here’s what Q1 2020 looked like:
|Per Month Profit||$14,052|
Keep in mind, the monthly profit is pre-tax. At the end of each month, I transfer 30% of that profit to a high yield tax savings account. That money is set aside for Uncle Sam.
I also transfer 50% of the profit into my personal checking account, and the rest stays in the business checking account.
Every now and then I’ll buy new gear (like a sweet new camera), which can be pricey, but I didn’t make any of those big purchases this year.
Also, as a self-employed person, I have other expenses like travel, utilities, entertainment, etc. Since these aren’t associated directly with the business I’m reporting on, I don’t list them here.
They’re also not too significant compared to the expenses listed above.
Phew, that was hard…
Okay, it wasn’t that bad, and I kinda enjoyed it. I hope you did too!
The cool thing about this sort of digital media business is the fact that there are so many different ways to earn revenue.
Building an audience is hard, but monetizing traffic is relatively easy. So if you haven’t built the audience yet, start there.
And if you need help with that, sign up for my email list, and I’ll send you some tips 😉