September Income Report.

So I’m a bit later than usual with my income report this month –  sorry about that! But I’ve finally crunched the numbers and analyzed my analytics and despite lack of growth on both ends, I’m actually pretty excited about this report. I’m going a little more in depth and telling all when it comes to what I charge (something many bloggers keep very hush hush!)

But before we get into that, I always like to add a little disclaimer about why I write these. People who I know in real life and are outside of the blogging world are always puzzled by this. Questions like, “Isn’t that bragging?” or “Isn’t that really personal to be sharing?” are common so I like to give a short explanation. These reports are written partially for transparency, partially to force me to do book keeping so I don’t have to stress come tax time, but mostly these posts are done to help newer bloggers.

When I started blogging I found Pinch of Yum’s income reports and that’s when my eyes were opened to the eyes of monetization. Until that point I had never thought blogging was something people actually made money doing, so it really opened my eyes. I want to be open with you all and tell you that: yes, it can be done; and no, you don’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of time or money to make it happen.

JULY (2)

MY MONTH IN A NUTSHELL

Alright, so my numbers declined in all fronts (except expenses, go figure) but I really don’t mind. At first it stung to see my numbers go down, and obviously I’m not thrilled about it, but taking a step back I realized that it’s not the end of the world. By nature I’m a very anxious person, and I spend most of my time worrying and carrying loads of stress. Numbers are something I used to stress a lot about (as in checking multiple times a day) but when my numbers started plummeting in early September I swore off checking for the rest of the month. It was hard for all of a week, but now that we are over a week into October I might have checked them three times this month.

So yes, my numbers plummeted and it wasn’t the end of the world. Profits stayed steady (except of course for ads, which are largely tied to page views) and my engagement actually went up. Realizing that numbers weren’t everything and that they don’t actually determine success has been one of the best silver linings that has come to me this far.

This month I redefined success. I always thought that I would feel ‘successful’ when I reached one million monthly page views and had a lot of followers across my social media channels. My new definition of success isn’t tied up so much in the numbers anymore. When it comes to blogging, I’m going to feel successful when I am bringing in enough income to comfortably support myself without having to stress about whether or not I’m going to get another sponsored post for the month.

Which brings me into another thing I did this month: Work on passive income streams. Very little of the income that Mostly Morgan brings in is passive. I have my ads and my affiliates and that’s about it (my passive streams are underlined in the report below!) I want to create something that could consistently bring in revenue. I started out writing an e-book, but very quickly I found out that my project was bigger than that so instead I’m working on an entire blogging course. I have put in about 30 minutes a day (this college girl is unfortunately pretty busy!) and I’m about a quarter of the way through.

SEPTEMBER INCOME

Izea – $600
BlogHer Sponsored Posts – $500
TapInfluence – $400
CleverGirls – $300
BlogHer Ads -$216.52
Host Gator (from this post, where I show YOU how to make a blog!) – $200
Linqia – $69.24
Amazon Affiliates – $8.86
YouTube – $4.52
Total: 2299.14

AUGUST EXPENSES:

Hosting – $6.83
Adobe Lightroom – $10.61
New Theme – $45
Instagram Class – $97
Facebook Ad – $10
Total: $169.44

Grand Total: $2129.70

Per usual, I calculated how much time I would be working at a part time, minimum wage job to make this much (as a response to everyone who says that “blogging is not a real job” and I would have had to work 258 hours or around 65 hours a week to come up with this sum. I have talked a lot about monetizing your blog in the past, and if you have any questions leave them below in the comments! I want to do a bit of a Q&A in the comments and answer all of your burning questions about monetization!

SEPTEMBER TRAFFIC

SeptemberSo, when you compare my September stats to my record breaking August they aren’t all that hot. But I’m OK with that, as I mentioned above. I contemplated no longer including my traffic in these posts, because I swear to you, traffic is not correlated to income. 

To a small extent they are related but higher traffic does not always mean higher income. There are full time bloggers getting only 100,000 views a month (and I say “only” in relation to their income) and then you look at my August stats and I had over 600,000 views and “only” made around $2000.

Instead of being so caught up in numbers, I am going to start focusing on my brand and how I’m seen in the blogosphere. There are plenty of bloggers who receive less traffic than me and have equal social followings who are seen as authorities in the blogging industry – and that’s not by accident or witch voodoo. They are savvy business women who know how to brand themselves better than I do, and I need to start paying attention.

As a quick note regarding my traffic – Pinterest changed their algorithm. Again. For some people the change was for the better – for me, not so much. I rolled with it and have started changing up my strategy and I’m happy with the results so far.

TOP POSTS IN SEPTEMBER

PRICING SPONSORED POSTS

A large portion of my income (well over half!) comes from writing sponsored posts, and pricing sponsored posts is a big mystery for a lot of bloggers. The first sponsored post opportunity I ever got they asked how much I charged and I had no clue what to say. I asked around on blogging networks that I’m part of and no one wanted to tell what they charged either. This left me charging $40 for my first sponsored post. Now whenever anyone asks me what they should charge I always say no less than $100, period. And even then I encourage charging higher.

All summer I was charging $250 per post (give or take) and I ended up way overwhelmed. I was undervaluing myself and the work that I do, and brands took notice. I was getting several offers a week for sponsored content and even though I ended up accepting less than half I spent a lot of time stressing about meeting deadlines.

I made the decision to nearly double my rate and start charging $400 per post (which was terrifying!) but I feel so much better. I am getting less offers, but more quality ones and I’m still keeping quite busy. I was afraid after raising my prices I would hear crickets but (maybe coincidentally) after doing so the offers I’ve gotten were from more ‘big name’ brands, which has been super exciting!

OCTOBERS PLAN OF ATTACK

So, if I’m being completely honest here, my main goal is to just post consistently. Usually this isn’t an issue for me, but this semester my classes are hard. As in I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t stress (kidding, it was August) and I really don’t have much free time. The next two weeks are midterms and I am panicking just a little. Instead of a super huge strategy of booty kicking, I’m just hoping to put out great content consistently and stay active on social media.

CAN YOU MAKE MONEY BLOGGING?

Yes! If you are interested in making a profitable blog – I would be more than happy to help! I have an incredibly detailed guide to setting up a blog here, and from there you can check out my blogging tips (there are a lot!) and if you need any further help – email me! I absolutely love talking about blogging (my friends and family are sick of hearing about it!) so do not hesitate.

WANT TO TALK BUSINESS WITH ME?

Last month I hosted my first blog consultation giveaway – and based on the number of entries I decided to bring it back again this month! I’ll be emailing the winner the day the next month’s income report goes live (I just emailed the first winner minutes ago!) and we will go from there!

The process is simple, and we won’t even have to work with each other’s busy schedules to set up a Skype call because it will all be through Google Docs and email. Here’s how it’ll go:

  • I’ll send the winner a worksheet to fill out. (Very simple – just asking about you, your site, and your goals!)
  • I’ll evaluate that worksheet, your site, and your social media and come up with a strategy just for you, personalized to your goals (growing traffic, making money, rocking Pinterest, etc.)
  • After sending you the very detailed plan of attack, I’ll be checking back in with you after 2 weeks to see how it’s going. If you haven’t seen growth, we’ll reevaluate!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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  • You’re not alone! I also saw a big traffic drop this month, and I’ve heard from a few other college bloggers that they had the same! I think part of it is our niche – college students have a lot more time to read blogs in the summer months! Here’s hoping that this coming month is better for all of us!

    • I’ve heard a lot of college bloggers saying so – I can’t say I’m glad that others are seeing the same traffic loss – but I am glad that I’m not alone! I bet they will be once students start figuring out their groove and having more free time!

  • I really love these posts that you do, Morgan! They’re so helpful.

    My traffic also plummeted this month but I’ve still been receiving offers to do sponsored posts which has made me really happy since I just accepted my first ones in August. I hope they continue because I convinced my parents to allow me to just blog during the school year and work over breaks and the summers and so far it has been working out fabulously. Blogging is literally the perfect college job. Even though it is a ton of work, it’s something I love doing!

    • I am so glad to hear that they are! Every months I have the same wave of panic thinking people aren’t going to like them!

      Woohoo for getting sponsored posts! Good for you! And you are absolutely right – blogging is the best job I could possibly ask for given my busy school schedule. We set our own hours, make our own deadlines, and are in complete control of our own success! I am thrilled with blogging! I am so glad that you are, too!

  • I love how you do these posts! 🙂 I read them every month for ideas and encouragement that if I stick with it this really can help cover my expenses eventually! SO looking forward to seeing the blogging course you write! 🙂

    • I am so glad that you read them monthly! That makes me feel so happy! And you definitely can! Just keep chugging away, you will absolutely get there!

  • It’s always great to see you doing well Morgan 😀 I totally understand what you mean about school keeping you busy. My schedule has been crazy since school started and I’m only just starting to feel like I’m back on track. Too bad midterms are coming up. Let’s hope for the best. I can’t wait to see your blogging course, it’s going to be amazing! Good Luck!
    -Valerie-
    yourservetrip.com

    • Hooray for getting back on track! We’ve got this! Thank you so much, and good luck to you, too!

  • I love reading these, if anything they are inspiring! It’s so impressive what you’ve done blogging, especially since you’re a college student as well. Makes it more relatable. Congrats girl–can’t wait to see the courses you come up with as well!

    • Thank you so much! I really appreciate that! 🙂 It really is great seeing people in our age group succeed!

  • Congrats girl. This is truly exciting stuff 🙂

    • Thank you so much, I’m definitely excited!

  • I actually was curious about Izea. It seems you have some pretty good result with them but I don’t see much interest. Pointers?

    • Izea is a tricky one – a lot of their best opportunities don’t even get listed! I get my opportunities through campaign managers who remembered me from past campaigns and email me directly.

      So the big thing is getting your foot in the door with them and making a good impression. If you do get a sponsored post make sure that you are very quick with communication, write a great post (with great pictures!), and are very professional.

      Also, make sure that your profile is completely filled out!

  • Kat (Study-Hack)

    Morgan! I haven’t gone on your page in a while – and I’m so happy to see how much your blog has grown!!! It’s so exciting, I love it!

    Kat

    • Thank you so much, Kat! The growth has definitely been really exciting! I hope you are doing well! I loved seeing your travel pictures on Instagram!

  • I hope you don’t mind me emailing you for some help? They’re pretty specific questions and since you offered, I’ll take the pressure off your family and friends. I’m more than happy to listen lol

    • Yes! Absolutely, I would love to talk to you!

  • Liz Witbeck

    Hi Morgan! My name is Liz. I have been writing for years and my dream would be to work from home full time by just blogging. I’m really impressed by what you have been able to accomplish so far! I just came across your blog through BlogHer.

    I have a blog that is geared towards college students, but I have basically nobody reading it. And I have no clue how to go about getting readers. Any advice people might have would be greatly appreciated! 🙂

    Liz
    http://swakpack.org

  • Great tips! and congrats on all you are doing to maintain your traffic!
    Hope I win the consultation! 🙂
    xo,
    Amanda
    http://www.affordablebyamanda.com

  • I think it’s also a great way to show ways of how to make money and not just that it can be done! Some of these sites I’ve never heard before, so it’s very helpful. Thank you!
    xoxo,
    goodtomicha.com

  • Hi Morgan. I love your income reports, it’s super insightful for me as I’m just starting to monetize my blog through sponsored posts and affiliate/ad networks. The hardest part for me with sponsored posts is my niche (yoga) isn’t out there in the sponsored post world, or at least not on any of the networks I’m a part of. I get a lot of inquiries from smaller brands who can’t afford my rates so I tend to lower them just to help elevate their brand and my experience.
    Anyway, thanks for posting all of this. I am also brainstorming a passive income stream because that’s where it’s at…. Good luck with crafting your course!

  • Lauren DiPego Plotkin

    Hi Morgan! I am so inspired by your blog, particularly your income reports, because it reaffirms that there are ways to be successful and monetize your blog. But there are times when I wonder if and when I’ll get to that point. You say that “traffic is not correlated to income,” but then what is? And also, I know you’re super busy, but I would appreciate it if you could check out my blog and give me some feedback. (www.myplotofsunshine.com) If not, no worries. Thank you so much!