Yahoo! We've made it to 2018 with these income reports!
Only 11 months to go to catch up to real-time. ????
In 2018, I'm going to do things a little bit differently.
Rather than JUST sharing my gross income (before expenses are taken out), I'm now going to share BOTH my income and expenses.
My hope is that this does 3 things:
- Gives you a realistic look at how much actual money I'm taking home.
- Provides some insight into what tools I use on my website and in my business.
- Helps shed some light on the (really awesome) profit margins of online business.
So let's dive right in!
*Please note that the links used below are affiliate links. This means that I will earn a small percentage of any sales made through those links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!
January 2018 Income Sources
1. Virtual Services ($3,951.76)
- Private Practice ($1,843.33)
- Freelance Writing ($1,000)
- Recipe Development ($1,108.43)
2. Recurring Revenue ($287.76)
- Functional Nutrition Library ($287.75)
3. Products ($51.99)
4. Advertising ($11.72)
- Google Adsense ($11.72)
Total Income: $4,303.23
January 2018 Expenses
- Thinkific: $49
- Website Hosting with WPopt: $45.45
- Domain Name Registration with GoDaddy: $35.30
- Hiscox Professional Liability Insurance: $33.33
- Healthprofs: $29.95
- ConvertKit: $29
- Business Banking Fees: $27
- Tailwind: $14.99
- Business Email with G-Suite: $10 (2 accounts at $5 each)
- Adobe Creative Cloud: $9.99
- Dropbox: $9.99
- FNL Affiliate Payouts: $6
Total Expenses: $300
NET INCOME: $4,003.23
*I also have to pay taxes on this income, as well as pay for my own health insurance, but I decided not to include those expenses in my income reports. Most bloggers leave those types of expenses out, probably because they can vary so widely based on life circumstances and where you live.
As you can see, I still made the majority (92%) of my income from work that directly trades my time for money (aka NOT passive income).
My main sources were seeing clients 1:1, freelance writing, and freelance photography and recipe development.
While I love writing and recipe development, these forms of income still have a ceiling. You can only work X number of hours in a week, and once you reach that cap, your income levels are tapped out.
To get around this, you can hire people to work underneath you, OR you can start to create some passive income products.
My strategy is to double-down on my passive income sources and gradually phase out gigs that require my direct time. Stay tuned to see if I accomplish this goal in 2018!
Website Traffic Overview
At this point, I hadn't posted a new recipe on ericajulson.com since the end of September 2017…
Since I had never really honed my niche on my recipe site and generally wasn't bringing in more than $50/mo in revenue, I started to question whether it was really worth my time.
I mean, I had just landed a killer freelance writing gig that paid super well and was starting to see the potential of The Functional Nutrition Library (I had earned $6,000 in 6 months in 2017).
With all of these gigs (AND seeing clients), I was starting to feel stretched too thin.
Something had to give… and I eventually decided it would be this recipe site.
I didn't delete it or anything (The Functional Nutrition Library was still hosted on this site), so I just decided to shift my efforts towards updating and marketing the FNL content, rather than posting new recipes.
By leaving all the old recipes up, I left the door open for food blogging in the future if it made sense, but for now, I had to take an honest look at my life and business and make the hard decision to put the blog on pause.
Let's see what my January 2018 traffic looked like:
Nearly 10k pageviews for the month – not too shabby!
Here's where that traffic came from:
This is a HUGE improvement in search traffic from January 2017 (nearly 6x more traffic!!) thanks to my SEO efforts over 2017.
The main things I did to improve my website were:
- Add an SSL certificate to my website (if you have this, your website URL should start w. https, not http). – If you DON'T have this set up yet, contact your hosting provider ASAP to do so. This is a ranking factor for Google!
- Use a high-quality recipe card plugin (WP Recipe Maker) that adds json schema to your recipes so that Google “sees” it as a recipe (critical for ranking high in the search results)
- Started to go back and update old posts to include the recipe card plugin and do things like update the image descriptions/alt tags, created pinterest images to go with the posts, shared them to Tailwind tribes, etc. etc.
My main referrals were:
- Organic Search: 24% of traffic
- Yummly: 17% of traffic
- Pinterest: 13% of traffic
- Facebook: 4% of traffic
- FoodGawker: 2% of traffic
Since I had focused so much on SEO in 2017, I was happy to see that organic search was my #1 referral source. Next up – tackle social media!
2. The Unconventional RD
I started this blog in early spring 2017, so at this point I was just a few months shy of the 1 year mark.
I had been putting a ton of effort into growing The Unconventional RD Facebook Community (which at this point had 2,034 members), and hadn't posted on the blog QUITE as much as I had originally planned.
I was getting out, on average, maybe 1 post per month, which I would share in the FB group & email out to my email list (which was only 473 people).
This posting frequency got me the following traffic:
I actually didn't even TRY to optimize this site for SEO, so it's funny that organic search traffic is my #1 source.
Any guesses as to what people were searching for when they found my site?
Pretty interesting, right?? I guess Google nailed the topic of my site pretty well LOL.
For this site, my traffic sources look like this:
- Organic Search: 39% of traffic
- Facebook: 29% of traffic
- Instagram: 2% of traffic
It's kind of funny that I was actually TRYING to drive traffic to my blog via Facebook, but Organic Search still beat it out. Just goes to show the power of SEO!
January was a wild month! I had many many different income streams and felt like I was doing way too much.
In the end, I realized that 2018 would probably be a huge growing/transition year.
I could see myself growing The Functional Nutrition Library into a larger portion of my income, moving away from seeing clients 1:1, and expanding my freelance writing to take up that space.
Spoiler alert – pretty much all of this happened, so stay tuned to learn more!
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PS – If you haven’t checked it out yet, I totally recommend joining The Unconventional RD Community on Facebook, listening to my podcast & connecting with me on social media! (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)