May 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’m also writing this column for me. Posting these numbers publicly forces me to hold myself accountable. Each month I will have to sit down and evaluate both my successes and failures, and strategize on what needs to change. This is something I should be doing monthly anyway, but the truth is that I don’t hold myself accountable for monthly strategy sessions. Now, I’m forced to as I publicly share my results.
May Was Crazy!
Welcome to my May Blog Income Report! I do realize that it’s almost the end of June, but things have been super busy around here ever since I left for TBEX Europe at the end of April. For almost two months now, I feel like I don’t know which way is up. Heck on several occasions, I’ve even forgotten my hotel room number for the night. Thankfully security has not been called as I jam my keycard into the wrong door.
I attended TBEX (more on that in a future post), press tripped around Spain and France, and did some independent beer traveling in Belgium. In the non-travel time, I also tried to accomplish my May goals and further monetize my new career as a writer-entrepreneur.
For more on my lessons learned at TBEX and how I won my first sponsored trip, be sure to sign-up for my newsletter!
My May Goal Summary
Even though I knew that I’d be on the road for most of May, I still created some quite lofty goals. So how did I do with less than two weeks of office time?
- Attend TBEX Europe – Check! Although I’ve yet to host a personal recap session. Did I make the most out of this significant investment of time and money?
- Use the road time to develop content for the blog in my voice since I feel that I’ve lost a little bit of it lately with the Hipmunk project – Check!
- Retool the site for more affiliate income – Still working on this one. I did launch my Travel Resources page but still need to add my Blogging and Freelance Resources pages.
- Send out proposals for a few press trips over the summer – Fail!
- Prepare for a sponsored trip at the end of May – Check!
- Finish sending out phase one of agent query letters for my novel – Check!
May Blog Income Report
I drastically lowered my May income goal from $1,000 in April to $500 in May. I made this decision for several reasons:
- I knew that I would be on the road for most of May. Given that the majority of my income was from freelance writing, which involved my direct time, I wouldn’t be able to hit a higher goal as time on the road equaled time away from working.
- My site wasn’t geared towards real affiliate income.
- I’m still spending time on finding an agent for my novel and those efforts do not involve a direct payout.
- I only had one freelance client and they became quite spacey at the end of April.
I’m happy to say that I exceeded my $500 income goal by a whopping $4.
While I’m happy that I met my revenue goals, May was still a losing month for me. The second half of my European trip fell in May along with some hefty expenses associated with the trip. In fact, my sojourn to Europe has me running at a $1,571 deficit for the year. I half expected this. Two weeks in Europe with lodging, transportation, and food isn’t cheap.
The trick is to make the trip pay for itself. Between the conference contacts, press trips, and independent travels, I have several balls in the air right now to help turn the loss into a profit.
I was also hit with the purchase of a new cell phone. My Samsung S3 finally died. I replaced it with a budget friendly One Plus One (like about half the cost of an iPhone or Samsung S6). So far I am extremely pleased with my off-brand phone.
A major goal for May was to move my income distribution away from a majority of my revenue coming from freelance work. I failed here as the percentage of my income from freelance work actually rose from 76% to 79%. This is to be expected as the tweaks that I did make occurred at the end of the month. Early peaks into June results do show signs of progress.
Overall, I am not happy with my income situation. I regret to say that I am keeping my June income goal at $500. I haven’t made enough tweaks to the site to bring in additional sources of income from affiliate or sponsorship money. I also still only have one freelance client who continues to be flakey.
However, June is the last month in which I will settle for such a low income goal. With a D-day (baby delivery) of October 7, I must quickly ramp up my income, or I’ll be forced to return to the corporate world.
I’d like to give myself a pat on the back for growth in site traffic and social media followers. However, I have to admit that I did nothing new in May to drive traffic or followers. Yet, I grew all of my social media followings by over 20% and my site traffic by over 16%.
The one thing I did change was I returned to writing more posts in my voice versus the Hipmunk bought voice. Perhaps this is a lesson learned to say no to writing opportunities when the client is only interested in accessing my audience and dictates the topics?
The one traffic number I’m not pleased with is my email subscribers. I only grew my subscribers by 13% versus 20% in April.
Even with my positive results, my numbers are still lower than they should be after the amount of years I’ve been blogging. However, you’ll notice that none of my June goals focus traffic or social media growth. My immediate concerns are income (baby on the way) and novel completion (bigger picture). I hope to start strategizing more on traffic and social media growth after my post-TBEX strategy session.
My June Goals
- Income of $500
- Finish retooling the site for more affiliate income
- Recap TBEX notes and host a strategy session
- Complete a read through of draft 1 of my second novel
- Finish sending out press trip proposals for a series on the blog
- Find a new freelance client