July Blog Income Report (And Traffic, Too)
Each month I publish an Income and Traffic 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.
I Can’t Believe It’s August Already!
Seriously, where has the time gone? The summer is almost over, and pretty soon we’ll start seeing pumpkin beers at our favorite bottle shop and pumpkin lattes at Starbucks. Oh… wait…
Of greater significance than the end of summer, mid-August also means that Mrs. G and I are less than two months away from the arrival of Baby Gourmand. Before we know it, we’ll be changing diapers, warming bottles, and remembering what sleep actually felt like. I also look at his arrival as a deadline for when my experiment as an author-entrepreneur really has to start generating a meaningful income. Diapers and daycare cost a lot of money, and I don’t plan to be a stay-at-home Dad as I know I’ll never get any writing done.
I’ve never been a procrastinator or one who works better under-pressure. However, I’m finding a new enthusiasm and internal drive to succeed as our due date arrives. Maybe this is the rush some of my classmates felt as they stayed up all night to finish a term paper? Whatever it is, my energy levels have spiked and I’m focusing with a greater clarity than I have in a long time.
July in a Pint Glass
That metaphor isn’t too far off. During the month of July I attended the North American Beer Bloggers Conference in Asheville. It was my first time attending a Beer Bloggers Conference, and I had an awesome time. While I didn’t find any of the sessions that informative as compared to TBEX, I did enjoy the networking and have several projects in the works with a few tourist boards and magazines that were present.
The highlight of the weekend though was getting to meet Ken and Brian Grossman of Sierra Nevada who led us on a private tour of their new brewery outside of Asheville. After our tour, we had dinner with the two owners and a team of brewers from Germany whom helped Sierra Nevada brew their Octoberfest Collaboration (Be on the lookout for this beer. It’s one of the best Octoberfests I’ve tried.).
My other travels in July included a trip to Ohio for a wedding and a baby shower for my wife. The reception was held at Gervasi Vineyard in Canton. While I didn’t have time to tour the facility due to wedding activities, I did enjoy a few of their wines at the reception. All were quite impressive for an Ohio winery. On the drive from Canton to Youngstown the day after the wedding, we stopped at Hoppin Frog Brewery in Akron for lunch and a pint or three (review to follow).
I also made my first attempt at Periscope during the Beer Bloggers Convention. One of the events involved an experiment in live beer blogging. We were to sample 10 beers from 10 breweries in under 50 minutes. During that time, we were charged with generating a blog post reviewing the beers. While The Wandering Gourmand is not a beer review blog, I thought that it would be fun to try Periscope. I had 99 live viewers during my first Scope! Periscope is definitely a medium I plan to incorporate into my social media strategy.
In fact, I invite you to join me on Periscope next Tuesday at 6pm for an Ask Me Anything Happy Hour. Pour yourself a drink and check me out @brichwrites. I plan to focus this talk on questions surrounding my income report and how I took the leap to become a full-time writer entrepreneur.
Enough about my sudsy travels! How did I fare on my goals?
- Finish draft two of What Lies at Home – While I didn’t hit this goal, I’m not going to label it as a failure. I grossly underestimated how long it would take me to edit a rather rough draft. I was pleased with my progress.
- Send out round two of query letters – Check!
- Finish affiliate pages – Fail! Why the hell do I keep pushing this off?
- Redo about pages – Fail! Why the hell do I keep pushing this off?
- Catch up on writing commitments – Check!
- Make $500 – Fail! I only made $440.
July Income Report
While I didn’t hit my goal of $500, I did nearly double last month’s income. Hopefully, this is an upward trend as I set my sights to $1,000 for August and $1,500 for September. I don’t think those targets are too far off either as I’ve been heavily shopping a few articles with publications and furiously applying for freelance writing gigs.
A definite positive change is my income distribution. In June, roughly 80% of my income came from freelance gigs. The other 20% mostly came from affiliate income with less than 1% from advertising. In July, my income distribution was spread out a bit more evenly. As you can see, the largest chunk was divided evenly between affiliate and freelance income, with a small but growing portion coming from brand ambassador work. I am comfortable with this mix as it mitigates the risk of earning all of my income from one line of business.
However, I still only have three main clients, which does scare me. The majority of my affiliate income was from Travel Blog Success and my only freelance income was from a culinary tour company. The single freelance income source I am working to diversify and expect it to change in August. The lack of diversification within the affiliate stream is my own fault. I’ve failed to setup my resource pages.
Another issue that’s really starting to creep up is my out of control expenses. I’m spending more than I’m making! While it may be okay for Washington to spend like a reckless drunkard with our tax dollars, it’s not okay for me (I actually went to business school…).
The majority of my expenses in July were from the Beer Bloggers Conference. Hotels in Asheville during the summer are super expensive, and there was a lot of entertainment (you can’t go to Asheville without drinking beer…). I also bought a mic for my phone to improve the quality of my Periscope broadcasts.
I am comforted that my monthly reoccurring expenses are quite low:
- Adobe Light Room – $11
- Buffer – $10
- Paid to Blog (Giving this site another month try to land freelance gigs) – $20
- Internet – $30
- T-Mobile – $52
July Traffic Report
I boldly and stupidly admitted in last month’s income report that I was doing nothing to grow my site traffic, email list, or social media followers.
July’s results plummeted. My site traffic fell. My email list growth fell almost flat. And my social media growth slowed. Only Twitter beat last month’s numbers. While I can’t really say that I’ve changed my Twitter strategy, I am posting more personal asides and non-blogging comments. Basically, I’m letting my personality shine. Who would have thought that people like my personality?
My top blog posts in July were:
- What to Pack and Wear in Europe this Summer
- When In Europe… What to Wear?
- June Blog Income Report
- A Craft Beer Guide to Aruba
- Drink Recipe – The Mexican Margarita
All but my June Blog Income Report are from the archives, which tells me two things. First, I need to compare my current posts to these older posts and see what changed. Second, I need to look at the SEO for those posts. Have my titles changed? Am I using the wrong keywords? Which leads me directly to my August goals.
- Make $1,000
- Finish draft two of What Lies at Home
- Send out round three of query letters for It’s Always Personal
- Finish affiliate pages
- Redo about pages
- Produce an outline for my upcoming e-course
- Review my SEO strategy