It’s that time of the month again! The day when I sit down and reflect back on how the month went behind the scenes of paleobailey.com. Man, was it a busy month! If you’ve never read an income report before, read more about why I’m doing them. The short of it is that before I started this blog, other blogger’s monthly reports were so helpful for me when I was learning the ropes. And I’ve wanted to do it since the first month this blog started, the month I made $0.27, as a personal blog diary about all I’m changing, growing and learning along the way.
However, I didn’t start these income reports back when I wanted to. Someone told me, “people are just going to your blog for food, they don’t care about that”. So I didn’t. And now, even though I never started my blog with the thought of making money (I didn’t even know how people did it), I regret it not doing it anyway. Word of advice, do what you want with your blog, regardless of what other people think you should or shouldn’t be doing.
I also wish I would have done them sooner so there was a visual record of the work that went in, the times I totally failed and made mistakes, the amazing moments of paying off my debt, not having to put my bills on credit cards anymore, the month I had my first 100,000 page view month. All of those things are things I missed because I listened to one person’s opinion.
Anyway. I really hope the information in this post gives you a little insight and motivation if you’re new to this whole blog thing. And check out my post on how to start a blog for a step-by-step of how I did it if you’re interested in giving it a go too! If you’re worried about being a little fish in a big massive blogger pond, don’t be. That was my biggest hang up but if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that there’s room for EVERYONE to succeed and do well. The opportunity is yours if you want it enough!
This Month – The Good & Bad:
This was an exceptionally good month financially due to some big projects I’ve completed that finally paid out. Most, actually.. all work that I do takes a while to be paid for. Companies typically operate on a net30 payment terms system, while ad networks and affiliate networks can take 30-90 days. That being said, I’m not expecting this amount next month at all. My income has steadily been increasing month to month, but because of the large project I did, it’ll go back to gradual changes. Not a mega one like this.
Another thing that happened this month was that I had a pin on Pinterest go mini-viral. I’m not even sure what classifies a pin as a “viral pin”, but within a few days of posting it, it had 19k re-pins and brought in 16,000 page views in one day to that one recipe post. To me, that’s pretty crazy. Of course, things resumed to normal-ish traffic wise within the week and life went on. My love of Tailwind is still going strong though.
I’m wanting to write a post that shows the real, real behind the scenes at some point. Because while this month looks great in my business’s bank account, this month has really taken a toll on me. Remember when I said I was going to work on having a work-life balance back in January? Well, it’s gotten much worse since then, not better. I’m working pretty much non-stop. All day and often until between 1-3am. It’s not super glamorous, I haven’t showered in 4 days, I usually don’t know what I’m doing until I’m doing it, and I’m balancing so many things blog-related at once my head is spinning.
I’ve always been a hard worker, but I honestly have never worked this hard in my life. And I don’t say that to glorify the “work harder/work more/hustle” mantra. By saying I’ve never worked this hard before, I just mean I’ve never been responsible for as much, never had as many balls in the air at once, and never had so much expected of me or riding on my shoulders and my shoulders alone before. This is a combination of my being unable to say “no” very often, learning how to operate a legit business with accounts and accountants and such, and consistent MoM (month over month) growth that’s resulted in a 4000% YoY growth from March 2017 to March 2018. It’s just been a lot to learn and adjust to!
I’m not complaining either. I spoke with one of my blogger friends who’s been doing this much longer than I have, and she comforted me by saying that these are the growing pains of growing and building a business, and having it all happen pretty rapidly. It’s just a result of my blog growing faster than I can keep up with and faster than my learning curve.
It’s just hard some days when my friends and family don’t understand why I’m busy when I work from home. Most people’s idea is that I lay around and watch the View, leisurely read a trashy magazine while sitting on the deck drinking a margarita then just slap up a casserole recipe to the internet. While the reality is I’m lucky if I remember to feed myself most days, a blog post can take 6 hours of work, and the blog posts aren’t even what takes the majority of my time.
There’s about a million things that aren’t visible on my blog that nobody else sees except for me. So it’s pretty frustrating somedays when people just don’t get why I don’t have more of myself to give to them. Or why I can’t answer their Instagram DM immediately. Or why I’m not updating my stories every 2 hours with what I’m doing.
I PROMISE I’m not complaining. I guess I’m just using this blog update to be real for a second and vent a little. But I do know it’s temporary and I’m grateful for the opportunity to to create and do the things I love through this space. So onward we go!
Here’s the details you actually came here for:
Income is counted as what I have physically received in the month of March, not for the work I did. Typically sponsored posts don’t pay out for 30 days, affiliates don’t pay out for 30-60 days, and ad networks don’t pay out for 60-90 days. Meaning, I won’t physically have the money from February until next month or later.
Sponsored Posts: $5,700
*Gourmet Ads: $904.52
Income I don’t consider blog income or add to my income report is my coaching business. I probably could consider it blog income, but truthfully, it takes up so much of my time – time that isn’t spent on blog work, so I think of that as a different revenue source.
PayPal taxes & fees: $436.48
Coschedule: $480 (annual)
Blog props/prop upgrades: $260.00
Food photography background: $295.00
Food photography equipment: $182.10
MailChimp: $30.00 (monthly)
Tailwind (Pinterest scheduler): $10 (monthly)
Lightroom/Photoshop: $10 (monthly)
While this was a good month financially as you can see from the income report, but that also tends to make it an expensive month as well. I reinvest quite a bit into the business and upgrading here and there when I can. I slowly either get better equipment, or better systems that will make my life or processes easier/more efficient. Only the expenses denoted as monthly are ones I can count on every month. The rest are one time expenses.
*You see gourmet ads on there for income, but no gourmet ads on my site. That payment was from revenue created in December through the ads. I switched in January to Mediavine after I had been putting it off for a while. I so regret that and wish I would have made the switch sooner, and I’m so happy I did. There’s one more month you’ll see gourmet ads on for revenue, because they pay out 60 some days behind the month it was earned.
I had some freelance recipe development projects this month that kept me busy, and that wasn’t at the invoice stage until late in the month, so that income won’t be here until almost May. So crazy that the year is going by this quickly already!
As for affiliate marketing, I was going to talk more in-depth about that this month, but decided to maybe make it it’s own post. I only focus on a few affiliates/ways to use affiliate marketing that I know make sense and that builds trusts with my audience, not detracts from it with each post. For example, if you were to go way back to the first recipes on this blog, you’ll find the same brands linked and talked about that I’m using now.
So let’s take Bob’s Red Mill for example. I’ve been using their products long before I had a blog, and they’re consistently linked all the way back to when it was just me reading my blog.. and maybe my best friend. You’ll find Vital Proteins recipes I put up on the blog long before I was an affiliate, or before I did sponsored posts.. because I wanted to.
I was naturally using these products. If a reader sees 3 posts where Bob’s is the arrowroot flour I’m always using, and then they see later that I’m telling them the same flour I already use is cheaper on Thrive Market, well, they’re going to trust me a bit more on spending $60 on a membership. They know I have their vested interest in mind when I recommend something, because I’m not recommending everything.
The main things I always consider before using affiliate marketing, whether that’s accepting a company’s offer to promote their product (very rarely do I do this) for a specific number of posts per month in exchange for a percentage of the sales (this is the “use my discount code” thing), or sign up for their affiliate program myself is how this would enhance or hurt my reader’s experience with my content, trust in me and their own health. Keeping that the most important thing, keeping the affiliate networks low, and not bouncing from protein bar to protein bar (or whatever) means that they’re going to trust me more when something does come along that I think is useful or that I want to market through my content.
I’m just realizing how long this post is getting! I think I should really start just covering a topic each month in addition to the income reports. If you have a topic idea, let me know in the comments!
Can You Make Money Blogging?
Yes! Like I mentioned earlier in this post, there’s room for everyone. I’m still SO NEW at this compared to a lot of people and even I’M telling you, go for it! I’m more than happy to help you, too! I have a really detailed step-by-step guide to setting up a blog, and a growing list of blog resources that I use on my own blog. If you need any further help, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments!
‘Til next month!