December Blog Income Report (And Traffic, Too)
Each month I publish a Blog Income Report. My desire is to inspire others to dream big and plan their own exit strategy from the cubicle hamster race. I also want to set the proper expectations that this is tough work. You’ll work harder than when you were working for the man with (a lot) less income at first and more fear than ever. But you know what? You’ll love it because you’re following your passion and have the opportunity to control your destiny. Get started running your own blog today!
December was crazy awesome!
I almost led with “December was both crazy and awesome!” but decided negativity was NOT the way to start 2016, especially when 2015 ended on my highest note of the year.
Yes, despite hosting family for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, spending countless hours in physical therapy from the car accident, hobbling from a broken toe (not far accident related…), dealing with a new vision issue, and managing newborn sleep-deprivation, I ended December with my highest monthly income of the year!
While I didn’t meet my December income goal, I still beat my highest monthly income in 2015 by $400. How did I do it? Well, I’m glad I asked:
- I didn’t let up in December – Whether subconsciously or not, most people take the month of December off as they plan for the holidays. Sure, they may be at work, but very few people are working. This is the time to leap on opportunity! And Leap I did! I picked up gigs with my brand ambassador client that others didn’t want; I pitched, pitched, pitched, and scored my HIGHEST PAYING FREELANCE GIG TO DATE; and I landed a new one-off client in December and signed with a major household travel brand for a 4 article run in January.
- I targeted end of year spending – Many marketing departments find themselves carrying a budget surplus in December. As they attempt to justify 2016 spending, they need to spend 2015 funds. I was there to help them with not only my LARGEST SPONSORED POST TO DATE but also billing 2016 gigs to 2015.
As I credit in most income reports, none of this would have been possible with 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing. A year ago, I had never freelanced in my life. Now, my monthly income is steadily increasing. If you desire to freelance, you must check out 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing!!!
December Goal Summary
So, we know that December was my best income month to date, but how did I fare with the rest of my goals?
- Make $1,500 – FAIL! I came close but missed the mark. The reason? In my budgeting, I factored that I would secure an extra $200 bonus if a post with a client hit a certain number of shares on Facebook. Lesson learned, don’t build bonuses you can’t control into your budget. Predicting what goes viral online is impossible.
- Finish draft of my e-course – FAIL! I’m still nowhere close.
- Get back on track with regular blog posting – CHECK! For December at least. January… not so much.
- Place an article outside of my re-occurring clients – CHECK! I scored a one-off freelance client and a lucrative sponsored post.
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I’m quite happy with my December income results at $1,271. Sure, when I quit my job a year-and-a-half ago to start this adventure, I was expecting to make much more by this point in time. However, things are on the up-and-up.
Income Source Distribution
Not only did I have my highest monthly income (have I mentioned that yet?), but I was also happy to see income from sponsored posts rise from $100 in November to $500 in December. This is the direction I want to see my income sources move. I want more money from sponsored posts instead of freelance writing. Why? Because it’s from content I own and qualifies more as “passive” income.
What I’m not happy about is my lack of affiliate income. I published two posts to directly drive affiliate income – 3 Steps to Launch a Freelance Writing Career in 2016 and 15 Travel Gifts for Christmas – and neither made me a cent. To be honest, I’m not really sure why.
Business Operating Expenses
Even though my expenses for December were on the high side, $555, my profit was still the highest of the year. Below are my regular occurring expenses:
- Buffer – $10
- Adobe LightRoom – $10.71
- Paid to Blog – $20
- Cell Phone – $60
- Internet – $30
On top of those, I also incurred some hefty rent, education, and entertainment expenses. Now that life is back to the new normal, rent will go away. That category was coffee shops I’d escape to while my wife was home on maternity leave. Education was a one-off for a year subscription to Food Blogger Pro. The entertainment category was from various breweries I visited for a sponsored post.
I hate to admit it, but my traffic and social media following is still very stagnant. I can’t say that’s by design, but I haven’t really done anything to drive either forward. I’ve been working on some larger housekeeping issues as I attempt to make the site more SEO friendly.
January will most likely be the same as I am in major strategic mode for increasing traffic. I expect, and plan, for increases across the board in February. That may sound boastful, but I have some exciting things in the works…
Top Posts in December
When I first started monitoring my top posts, it seemed that posts from the archives were filling up my monthly top five. Over the past few months, posts that were more “recent” now appear in my top five. I re-strategized content for the blog by looking at previously successful old content and incorporating the “why” into my new posts:
- 15 Travel Gifts for Christmas
- November Blog Income Report
- A Craft Guide to Aruba
- 48 Hours in Charlotte: A Charlotte Brewery Guide
- What to Pack and Wear in Europe This Summer
For 2016, my goals reporting is going to start looking vastly different. Those who read my 2016 Goals Report may recall my three major goals for 2016:
- Goal One – Make enough money as a writer-entrepreneur to cover the mortgage plus a fulltime childcare by October
- Goal Two – Publish / Self-Publish a Novel by the end of the year
- Goal Three – Hit 10k a month in blog traffic by July
Beyond just creating the above goals, I also created a month-by-month strategic plan on how I could feasibly meet each goal. Thus, my January goals are:
- Make $1,000 from freelance or otherwise (This is lower than December on purpose. We have some huge adjustments to make now the Mrs. G. is back at work, and I’m part-time stay-at-home dad)
- Find one new regular client
- Finish Food Blogger Pro strategy lessons and formulate strategy for driving traffic
- Build up to 3 posts a week with a cue of 3 ready to post
- Fiction Writing:
- Finish Draft 3 edits to What Lies at Home