Welcome to the blog!

Income Report #3 is in the books!

I’m really excited about this month’s report, because it marks the first month that I actually made REAL money online.

Goodbye coffee money, HELLO cash for important things, like paying off bills and debt!

How did I accomplish this? Let’s dig into the deets and find out!

March 2017 Total: $3,870.66

Yeehaw, a record for 2017 thus far!

*Keep in mind, during this time I was still working as a tutor to bring in additional income, which is not included in these reports.

I wanted to mention this to remind people that everyone’s journey to entrepreneurship looks different, and that’s okay! I do not have an instant-success story, but it’s still a story worth sharing.

Back in 2014, my boyfriend and I made the decision to both start businesses at the same time. For the first few years, I shouldered the majority of the income generating burden, and did not have the luxury of jumping 100% into my nutrition business right out of the gate. It took me some time (years!!) to find my niche and build up steam.

If I’m being honest, it was mildly soul crushing to work on my dreams “on the side”, but hey, flash forward 3 years, and it’s all coming together. All it took was a little time, patience, and experimentation to figure out a way to make it work for ME. And you can do it too.

I’m sharing my story in hope that some of you will see yourself in my journey, and continue to push for your dreams, even if they happen more slowly than you were hoping or expecting. It’s never too late to get started, and it’s okay to go at your own pace. 

March 2017 Income Sources:

 

1. Virtual Services ($2,958.13)

  • Nutrition Counseling ($2,590.63)
  • Consulting ($367.50)

2. Affiliate Marketing ($843.44)

  • RD Entrepreneur Symposium ($834.75)
  • Amazon Associates ($8.69)

3. Advertising ($69.09)

  • Gourmet Ads ($38.01)
  • Google Adsense ($30.63)
  • Sovrn ($0.45)

So, YAAAAY! You can see that I finally made some true passive income on my blog this month!

Of course, I made the usual small amount of ad income, but the bulk of my passive income earnings this month came from my first foray into affiliate sales. Woohoo!

Let’s dig into each source of income for more details:

Virtual services

 

1. Nutrition Counseling ($2,590.63)

So in addition to making some real passive income this month, I also had a record breaking month for my private practice income!

The main reason for this jump in income is that I started to implement packages in my business.

I know, packages can be intimidating to get started. (At least they were to me). I’m pretty sure I used every excuse in the book to avoid putting them out there.

I convinced myself that packages were a lot of work to put together, that I’d have to come up with a system for payment plans and new paperwork, and that no one would sign up for a package since I didn’t have a bunch of amazing testimonials on my website (yet).

Of course, none of those excuses were valid. I could have started with packages on day 1! I was just holding myself back, as per usual.

So in March, I decided “Eff it, I’m just going to tell people about my food sensitivity package right out the gate, and see how it goes.”

In my head, I had convinced myself that clients would laugh at the offer and no one would sign up (LOL how ridiculous are our inner critics???).

But lo and behold, the FIRST person I offered the package to signed up on the spot and paid in FULL. 

Hallelujah!

So that’s the story of how I made $1,000 during a 15-minute discovery call, selling my first package. After that, I was hooked.

2. Consulting ($367.50)

No real updates here. In March I was still plugging away at my consulting project, revising the Local School Wellness Policy for a nearby school district.

This work was almost entirely remote, and could be done from home, so it was a great gig!

In case you missed it in my previous income reports, I landed this job by reaching out to one of my former preceptors & inquiring whether she needed any additional help for the school year. Turns out, she did, and I was offered the gig.

I think this just highlights the importance of being proactive and reaching out to your network if you are ever looking for extra work. You never know what opportunities might pop up!

Affiliate Marketing

1. The RD Entrepreneur Symposium ($834.75)

Okay, so this is the topic I’m REALLY excited about sharing this month. My first big chunk of affiliate sales!!!

First, I want to give a huge shout out to Heather Neal of Elite Wellness & Performance. She is the amazing dietitian who organized the RD Entrepreneur Symposium.

Participating in the symposium gave me the confidence to start talking more publicly about my entrepreneurial journey & desire to make passive income as a dietitian, and, looking back, completely catapulted me in a new direction.

Without the symposium, I may have never gotten around to starting this blog or The Unconventional RD Facebook community, both of which are cornerstones to my life and business today. Thank you again, Heather!!

In case you missed it, The RD Entrepreneur Symposium (affiliate link) was an online event held in March 2017, featuring 16 amazing dietitians who shared tips for building, running, and growing a nutrition business. {There was recently a Fall version of the symposium, which you can still enroll in for self study for right now!}

My talk during the symposium was all about the importance of finding your niche. (You can learn more about how I struggled in my business before I found my niche in this blog post.) Spoiler alert – my business went literally nowhere until I found a niche that spoke to me (helping people who suffer from food sensitivities).

The RD Entrepreneur Symposium was the first online event I’d ever been a speaker for, although I had watched many summits and participated in other online programs like B-School and Money Bootcamp (affiliate link).

I truly had no idea what to expect… and just sort of jumped in on a whim. 

This was definitely one of those instances where you’re a little scared and intimidated by the opportunity, but you do it anyway!

Since I had never participated in an event like this before, I had really low expectations. I spent about one full work day putting together my slideshow and narrating the slides for the symposium, and was genuinely expecting just one or two affiliate sales to come in. I legit would have been happy making that amount of money for creating my first online talk.

Needless to say, I was totally overjoyed with my affiliate sales (over $800, say whaaaat!).

At the time of the first symposium, I did not have a Facebook group of my own, so I simply posted about the symposium in one other Facebook group (with permission) and sent an email about it to my mailing list.

To my HUGE surprise, I actually made some affiliate sales, and was (literally) squealing with delight every time someone chose to sign up through me. IT. WAS. AWESOME!!!!

This experience completely opened my eyes to the possibilities of selling products online, and lit a fire under my butt to get going on some of my own ideas that had been floating around in my head.

Flash forward 6 months, and I’m now running my own thriving Facebook community, talking about passive and alternative income on this blog, and managing my own membership site and e-courses!

And for real, The RD Entrepreneur Symposium was the thing that started it all. Don’t you just love how life works??

2. Amazon Associates ($8.69)

Oh hey gurlllll, $8 in Amazon affiliate income?? That’s so much better than the $1 earned in February!

I honestly have no idea why I made more affiliate income this month.

People bought the RANDOMEST things (you get credit for any purchase made within 24 hours of clicking your link, not just the specific product you linked to), so I think it was just due to an increase in blog traffic (and therefore, clicks on affiliate links in my recipe posts).

Advertising

1. Gourmet Ads ($38.01)

Gourmet Ads certainly performed well for me this month! $40 isn’t chump change to me, so I was thrilled to be making some real cash from ads on my blog.

2. Google Adsense ($30.63)

I use both Gourmet Ads and Google Adsense to display ads on my site, and so far, Gourmet Ads has been slightly out performing Google.

But since they both brought in over $30 each this month, I think they are both worth keeping! I really haven’t done any tweaking with my ads thus far… so not much to report!

I will say that the mobile ads and in-text video ads seem to do the best, so if you can include those in your repertoire (without being annoying and intrusive), I would!

3. Sovrn ($0.45)

Okay, this might be my last month with Sovrn (another ad network). I have them set up to display 1 small ad in my sidebar, but they almost never fill it (meaning there is just a blank space at the ad’s location in my sidebar most of the time).

I could play around with setting up an ad waterfall that includes Sovrn (this just means that if Sovrn doesn’t fill the ad block, Google Adsense will put an ad there instead, so I don’t waste the space), but I’d have to spend time learning how to set that up, and it doesn’t seem really worth it when I’m already making good money from Google and Gourmet Ads.

Buh-Bye Sovrn!

Website Stats 

What did my traffic look like this month? Great, actually!

I successfully recovered from my February slump (of only 3k pageviews!), and had 3 recipe features that brought me some traffic boosts:

 

You can see that on most days, my traffic hovered around the usual 100-150 pageviews per day, but when I got recipes featured, it spiked to over 1,000 pageviews in one day.

Where did my recipes get featured, and how?

This month I had my Weeknight Bolognese with Fettuccine and Vietnamese Chicken Salad featured in Yummly’s newsletter. Woohoo!

(PS I’ve found that people are so much more willing to leave reviews and ratings directly on Yummly. Sometimes I’ll pop in and check out what people are saying about my recipes. It’s so fun!)

I also had my Vegan Buddha Bowl featured in a roundup on Shape.com back in January, and I think they promoted it again across their social media channels this month, bringing me another nice pop of traffic.

I literally got all 3 of these features by submitting my recipes to roundup requests within the Dietitians on the Blog Facebook group. (Love when RDs help build each other up!) I’m so thankful for all the generous RDs in that community. Definitely check it out if you’re a dietitian food blogger!

So basically 2/3rds of my traffic this month came from referrals from other websites. (Which I’m hoping signals to Google that I have a quality website and gives me a bit of an SEO boost in future months!)

The rest came from direct traffic (14%), social media (12%) (most of that was Pinterest, followed by Facebook. I get almost no traffic from Instagram!), and finally, organic search (only 6% of my traffic).

I’d like to focus on improving my search engine traffic and getting more hits from Pinterest in the coming months.

And in case you’re wondering what traffic to a BRAND NEW baby site looks like, March was also the month I posted for the first time on this website!

I received a grand total of 249 pageviews and 29 sign ups to my email list, which I was pretty happy with!

Other fun things in march:

Besides blogging and my practice, I did a couple other fun things that will hopefully pay off in the coming months!

1. I was interviewed on a podcast!

This was SO freaking fun!

Rebecca Coomes from The Healthy Gut Podcast reached out to me via email to see if I would be interested in speaking about food sensitivities on her SIBO podcast.

Ummmm, hell yes I would!

Rebecca normally lives in Australia, but she was going to be in Los Angeles for a few days in March and was trying to line up some in-person podcast interviews.

We booked a time slot in my rent by the hour office space and spent about an hour talking about all things food sensitivities. Rebecca brought some pretty high tech recording equipment with her, so we were sitting across from each other in my office, talking into microphones and chatting 🙂 So much fun!

If you want to check out my interview, you can listen to the episode here.

Now, unfortunately, the podcast didn’t bring me droves of clients (I think part of that is because a lot of the listenership is based on Australia), but I did have a few people reach out via email/social media with questions, and 1 client a few months later who had heard me on the podcast 🙂

The interview was definitely worth doing, and got me even more excited about the idea of maybe starting my own podcast in the future.

2. Enrolled in Food Blogger Pro

My parents gifted me an annual membership to Food Blogger Pro (affiliate link) over the holidays, and I was finally able to enroll during their first 2017 enrollment period in March!

What is Food Blogger Pro?

It’s a membership site for people who want to learn how to build a business around their food blog. (Perfect, right??)

The site includes video trainings on so many valuable topics, including:

  • Getting Started (techy stuff for setting up your website)
  • Building Traffic
  • Food Photography
  • Photo Editing
  • Filiming Food Videos
  • Social Media
  • Essential Tools
  • Essential Plugins
  • Generating Income
  • Creating an E-Book
  • Plus access to bootcamps and mini courses!

There’s also an active discussion board where you can interact with other members and specialists to get high quality feedback and encouragement.

If you’re struggling to get your blog off the ground, or you feel totally lost with the endless to do list that comes along with food blogging, becoming a Food Blogger Pro member (affiliate link) is a great way to fast track your success and avoid some of the most common mistakes! (If you’re already killing it in the game, then the material will probably be too basic for you, but it’s great for beginners and hobby bloggers!)

I’ll keep you guys in the loop on my upcoming income reports with the various strategies I implemented, and the results I saw!

That’s it for March 2017! 

It was a GREAT month that got me super excited for the rest of 2017, and I can’t wait to see where my business takes me this year!

If you haven’t checked it out yet, I totally recommend joining The Unconventional RD Community on Facebook, signing up to get my 25 Must Have Resources for Online Entrepreneurs (seriously, this list will save you hours of googling), & connecting with me on social media! (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)

Best,
Erica