Welcome to the November 2017 Online Business Income Report.
Wow….we did it! We took in $138,240.33 in November and we finally smashed through that $100,000 barrier! This has been a major goal of ours that we were so close to in June, July, and October so this is really a big milestone. Read the full report to see how we did it.
When I started writing these reports in March 2017, they only included blogging income. These reports have since grown to include our online course business.
Since online courses are a very effective way to monetize a blog, this was a logical addition to the reports.
A lot of people may think we’re crazy for sharing our income reports publicly. It sounds a little strange, I know…
Here are the reasons why we are publishing our income reports for the world to see:
We want these reports to motivate other bloggers, both new and established, and help them attain their own income goals.
This is the perfect way to motivate ourselves and keep us accountable for our own business goals.
I started working on the blog full time (at the beginning of 2017). Since I am more of a business and numbers guy, this is the exact type of project that I love.
Reading other blogger income reports over the years has really inspired us, so I guess it is our turn to pitch in. We hope others will find inspiration and tips from reading our reports too.
Blogging can be a great way to earn an income, and the lifestyle associated with it is simply amazing.
If you are new to the blog, here is a little bit about us and what we do:
It’s A Lovely Life is a family lifestyle and travel blog. We love to share about products and services that make life better and easier. We love to travel and we do so 150+ days a year as a family, featuring resorts and family-friendly destinations.
Heather is the main writer for the blog, and she has been blogging for over 10 years now. She started writing about budgeting and saving money and gradually transitioned to writing about our lifestyle and travel. She has built this blog to what it is today, and she loves every second of it.
I have been a licensed real estate broker for the past 10 years, owning our own successful brokerage. At the beginning of 2017, we made the decision that I would work on the blog business full-time because the income potential is so great. I was also not enjoying real estate as much as I used to and we both believe that happiness is important for our family (especially me…haha)! I learned so much in the real estate world that directly benefits our blogging business, so this was a natural transition.
Just 5 years ago, the climate in the blogging world was much different than it is right now. At that time, there were very limited opportunities for bloggers to make money unless you had an enormous following.
Things in 2017 are completely different. Brands are very excited to work with bloggers to feature their products and services in the form of sponsored posts. Sponsored posts are essentially advertisements, but are crafted in a natural way that is much more effective than standard print and online ads.
For the past 4 years, the majority of our blog income was derived from sponsored content. Each year our blog income has increased dramatically and it shows no signs of slowing down. As our following and traffic grew, we were able to increase our sponsored post rate and stay very selective in what brands we choose to partner with.
Our income has risen to the level that Heather and I can work together, and we absolutely love it! There is no more commuting to work for me (unless we are traveling for a story) and we are able to spend much more time together as a family. When it really comes down to it, that is the most important thing of all!
A few years ago, we started to get involved more with travel blogging, and we are so glad we did! Last year we traveled 150 days out of the year to Cancun (twice), Hawaii, A 19 Day Tour of Florida, A Dude Ranch in Tucson, Aruba, Jamaica, Virginia, Maryland, Austin, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin Dells, Colorado Springs, Park City Utah, all over California, and more. We were hosted on these trips, and in most locations, we received VIP treatment!
So far this year we have been to Orlando, Cabo San Lucas, Lake Tahoe, Rapid City South Dakota, The Cayman Islands, a European River Cruise with Adventures By Disney, Puerto Vallarta, and Miami (just Ashley and I). We have also done some local overnight trips including trips to Disneyland, a business trip to Austin, a Disney Cruise, and an overnight trip to San Diego for a conference. We have some BIG trips planned for the near future that we will be able to share about soon.
While travel blogging does not contribute to the majority of our income, it is increasing. We feel the travel blogging market is still in its infancy as many resorts and destinations are now beginning to offer payment in exchange for sponsored coverage.
We also have gotten heavily involved in video over the last year. We film some standard vlogs, travel vlogs, room and resort tours, as well as some short funny videos. We have been hired to do numerous sponsored video content projects over the past year for lifestyle and travel. According to all the research, video will become increasingly important, and we want to be poised to take advantage of that.
Starting in March 2017, we added a major aspect to our business. We began to help other bloggers on a formal basis to increase their income and incorporate travel blogging into what they do. Heather has always had a passion for helping new and fellow bloggers in any way that she can. We decided it was time to organize her knowledge and we introduced the following free email course this past March:
- Start A Money Making Blog – Free 5-day Email Crash Course (click the link to signup) – this course was designed for new bloggers to help them start a money making blog the right way
- Start A Travel Blog – Free Email Crash Course – Similar to our Start A Money Making Blog email crash course, this course is designed specifically for those interested in starting a travel blog. Travel blogging is a large part of what we do and it allows us to have some amazing experiences.
So far, the results have been amazing. Over 61,000 people have signed up for these courses since mid-March, and we plan on expanding our marketing considerably in the coming weeks and months to reach even more people interested in blogging.
A big step forward for us came in June when we launched our new premium course, the 30 Day Blogging Fast Track. This is an intensive course that we designed to provide bloggers with exact money making systems, the steps to dramatically increase their social accounts, and also provide a defined system to drive lots of traffic to their blogs. Our first 6 launches of the Blogging Fast Track have been very successful. So far, over 800 students have enrolled in this course and we look forward to teaching everything to many more students going forward.
The course is structured in a unique way. Each day a new lesson is presented and there is a corresponding assignment/activity that is provided for those that wish to participate. The course comes with a lot of bonuses including access to the VIP Blogging Fast Track Facebook group, and those that take the course will also be able to resell the course as affiliates and earn a 33% commission!
To read all about the 30 Day Blogging Fast Track course, click HERE. The curriculum is what we are most proud of. We provide a lot of information in this course, and I really recommend scrolling down the page and reading through the whole curriculum so you can see what is included.
Enrollments are now closed for the December Blogging Fast Track course! We will be opening up enrollments for a week in mid-December for the January 2018 class.
We would love to have you be a part of the January class!
There is a new class that starts on the 1st of every month. We only open up enrollments for about one week out of every month. Spots in the class are limited.
We made another HUGE leap this month when we introduced our new course, the Travel Blogging Fast Track. This course is 100% Focused on travel blogging. It’s 21 days of learning and interaction designed to show YOU exactly what you need to do in order to become a thriving travel blogger yourself. More on the Travel Blogging Fast Track below…
Most of the sign-ups for our free courses come from spending money on Facebook ads, Pinterest ads, and from our site visitors. In the past, we have resisted spending money on ads because we love free traffic (who doesn’t). But, in order to reliably increase sign-ups, we knew that we needed to spend a considerable amount on ads to make this happen.
Facebook and Pinterest ads are a difficult thing to master, but after some trial and error, a LOT of research, and a considerable amount of money spent, we have been able to gradually decrease the cost per new subscriber. We know we need to dramatically increase our email subscriber list in order to hit our future income goals.
In November, we increased our spending on Pinterest ads and decreased our spending on Facebook ads. So far, our ad costs are more on Pinterest than Facebook, but it remains to be seen if Pinterest ads or Facebook ads offer more return on our investment. We are also working to optimize our ads on Pinterest and our costs are coming down as we learn more and refine our system.
The plan for December is to ramp up our Facebook Ad spend more than we did in November.
Another big addition to our business has been the popularity of our Start A Money Making Blog Facebook group. This group is an amazing support network for bloggers, both new and established. It has really been fun for Heather and I to interact with the group and help other bloggers in many different ways!
The Start A Money Making Blog Facebook group now has over 23,000 Members and is growing rapidly. We run a free monthly 10k Traffic Challenge that provides daily information for 10 straight days to the group on techniques to increase blog traffic. The December 10k Challenge starts on December 5th and we would love to have YOU join in too. Sign up for the FREE 10k Challenge HERE. Did I mention there are some great prizes?
We are very active in our Facebook Groups answering questions, doing live videos, and running our challenges. We have some great NEW challenges that we are planning to run in the future too! We are working on maximizing our time management skills to get these projects done ASAP.
Recently we moved the instructional/learning component of our Challenges onto the Teachable platform while we continue to handle all discussion and interaction for the Challenges in the Facebook group. This has really helped to organize the challenges and ultimately has allowed it to be a better FREE resource for our group members.
No matter what stage you are in with YOUR blog, I’m confident that you could benefit by joining along in the challenge.
In November we continued our progress into the world of affiliate marketing.
We have resisted this area in the past. For the past few years, we have solely focused on income from sponsored content.
While we still plan that sponsored content will be a major portion of our blogging income, we realized that we were leaving a considerable amount of income on the table without affiliate marketing added into the mix.
We will continue to increase our affiliate marketing efforts for those products and services we use and find beneficial. This will increase our income as well as help our readers get matched up with things that we know they will love!
Before we get into the numbers, I want to make it clear that everything we have done can be duplicated by you. Blogging is not rocket science! You just need some knowledge, a clear plan, and persistence. YOU too can duplicate or surpass our results.
So, without further delay, let’s get to the fun stuff.
Here are our income figures for November 2017:
Sponsored Content and Affiliate Income: $70,061.09
This includes: Sponsored blog posts, affiliate sales, sponsored social content for It’s A Lovely Life and sponsored content written for other websites.
Affiliate income was generated by our participation in the following programs:
- Revive Social
- Warfare Plugins
- Pretty Link
- Constant Contact
- Numerous Travel Related Affiliate Programs & Resorts
Course Sales: $68,179.24 (after Paypal, credit card processing fees, and affiliate commissions)
The Course Sales for November came from two separate courses:
30 Day Blogging Fast Track – December 2017 class: $46,792.15
There were a total of 175 Course Sales for the 30 Day Blogging Fast Track. 125 paid upfront and 50 chose the payment plan.
The 30 Day Blogging Fast Track is now CLOSED for enrollments. But, we will be opening the January course for enrollments in Mid December.
Check out the information page (it will open in a new tab so you won’t lose your place here) and make sure to scroll all the way down to see the full curriculum. I think you’ll be blown away!
We are very pleased with how many students have taken and are participating in this course. Our goal from the beginning was to provide something of such value that it would be a “no brainer” for those interested in progressing their blogging careers. I’m confident we’ve accomplished that task by providing such an extensive curriculum and also providing some great bonuses.
Want to see some actual comments and feedback about the 30 Day Blogging Fast Track course from students that have taken it? See these threads in the Facebook group (you need to be a member to access. Request approval and we will get to you right away): HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE
Travel Blogging Fast Track – Our NEW course that we just launched on November 27th! $21,387.09
This was only open the last few days of November. There were a total of 76 Course Sales for the Travel Blogging Fast Track. 62 paid upfront and 14 chose the payment plan.
The Travel Blogging Fast Track teaches you everything you need to know to become a successful and professional travel blogger including:
- How to pitch for comped rooms, restaurants, attractions, etc..
- How to create travel content for your blog
- How to make money with a travel blog
- Much, much more…
If you are a blogger and would like to learn how to travel the world (like we do), we HIGHLY SUGGEST you take a look at everything the Travel Blogging Fast Track has to offer. Make sure to scroll down to the bottom to read the full curriculum.
This is more than a course….it is 21 days of interactive assignments and knowledge not being shared by other travel bloggers. Plus we have some AMAZING BONUSES too. This course is open for enrollments NOW and we’d love to have you join in the course too.
Total Income November 2017: $138,240.33
***Please note that much of the income listed above has not been received yet. These figures are based on projects committed or contracted during November. Some of the projects have been completed already, and some have not. For the purposes of these income reports, we recognize the income in the month in which the work is committed or contracted. It also includes affiliate income generated. In both cases, there is sometimes a lengthy delay between these steps and when the funds are actually received. For course sales, some of the courses were purchased using a payment plan. We have not received all those payments yet, but the amount above reflects the amount we project to fully receive. We have left out individual names of sponsors for their privacy.
Here is our Year To Date Information:
January 2017 Blog Income: $28,346.00
February 2017 Income: $29,220.00
March 2017 Income: $37,809.75
April 2017 Income: $26,938.69
May 2017 Income: $36,010.20
June 2017 Income: $98,202.78
July 2017 Income: $90,117.90
August 2017 Income: $66,665.09
September 2017 Income: $87,519.56
October 2017 Income: $92,976.40
November 2017 Income: $138,240.33
Year to Date Income (Jan, Feb, Mar, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November): $732,046.77
Expenses & Blogging Tools that we pay for:
- ConvertKit – Email list Service
- Constant Contact – Email list service
- Facebook Ads – Used to drive sign-ups for our free email courses and build our email list. We spent $15,398.74 in November 2017.
- Pinterest Ads – Used to advertise for sign-ups to the 5 Day Email Crash Course. We spent $26,380.18 in November 2017.
- Tailwind – Pinterest Scheduling
- Revive Social – Awesome plugin that automatically tweets out our old posts from our site on a regular schedule (this has really increased our Twitter traffic)
- Bluehost – Web Hosting
- Grammarly Premium – helps us with our Grammar!
- Social Warfare Plugin – Premium plugin that makes posts easily shareable
- PicMonkey – Premium version. We use it for video thumbnail editing, Pinterest images, and various graphic design projects for the blog
- Canva and stock images – Paid version
- Video Editing – We have most of our video content edited for us
- Themeforest – we recently changed the theme of It’s A Lovely Life
- Pretty Link Pro – used for affiliate links
- Fiverr – mostly miscellaneous graphic design work
- Google Apps for Business – Gmail, Google drive, calendar, etc..
- Namecheap & Godaddy – domain registrations
- Professional Services
- Adobe Creative Cloud – We edit some photos here
***For now, we will not detail our exact expenses aside from providing a list of tools that we use to run the blogging business. Please note that we have many additional expenses not reflected in this report that relates to our overall business operations, and are not specific to the blog. Since we have our own company, we are responsible for many other expenses and taxes (health insurance, retirement plans, tax preparation, legal fees, etc) that would be too extensive to document in this report.
From the list above, you can see that our expenses for the blog are extensive. However, many of these tools and expenses are things that helped us get to where we are today. Over the years we have tried out many additional services and tools that did not work out, but the above list of items is crucial to our success.
We also get asked all the time how we have our business set up. We use an S Corp for all business operations. If you are interested in setting up your own S Corp, C Corp, LLC, or LP we recommend IncFile because they have the best prices around and they are quick and efficient.
We are thrilled with our November 2017 income of $138,240.33 but we are not fully satisfied yet. We know that our business has plenty of room to grow and we can’t wait to see where we can take it. Our year to date income of $732,046.77 is an average of $66,549.71 per month. We plan to increase all these numbers substantially. We finally blew through the $100,000 per month milestone and there is no looking back now.
So, what is our current big project? Since we just finished the Travel Blogging Fast Track you would think that we would have a lot of free time. This is far from the case! We are working on creating some webinars for our courses that are taking a lot of time. But, it will all be worth it when they are done. We’re focusing on really providing valuable information in these webinars and our goal is to make an impact on everyone that takes their valuable time to watch them.
One thing I would like to note is that we turned down numerous sponsored opportunities that were not a great fit for our blog this month that would have increased our income even more. At this point in our development, it is very important for us to only work with brands that align closely with our vision. We have learned that even though this may hurt our short-term income, it really helps to increase our revenue in the long run.
As for Travel Blogging in November, here are the trips we took:
Holiday Time at Disneyland – Since we’re about an hour and a half drive away, we just went up for the day
Las Vegas – This is a place that we have been to many times and a place that we love! Not because we’re gamblers, just because there is so much to do. We spent 3 nights here and have some fun content planned as a result of this trip.
LA Auto Show with Kia – This was a day trip. Heather and I took the train up to LA and got to see all the exciting vehicles and things happening with Kia…which are impressive by the way!
Here are our top blog goals and priorities for December 2017:
- Continue increasing our sponsored post income. We love working with brands to tell their stories to our readers and are really looking forward to some really great posts.
- Grow our email list by 18,000 subscribers in December. We currently have 61,000+ subscribers on our email list.
- Increase our affiliate income substantially. Since we just started working on affiliate income in March, we are still making improvements every day.
- Successfully Launch the January 30 Day Blogging Fast Track Course.
- Book additional sponsored family travel destinations for 2018. We already have major trips to Florida and Hawaii on the books for 2018
- Substantially grow our Facebook groups: Start A Travel Blog and Start A Money Making Blog
- Spread the word about the Travel Blogging Fast Track course. The information in this course is a goldmine for bloggers that want to travel.
Our blog is our business….a business that produces a substantial income for us and allows us to travel the world to some incredible destinations. It also provides us access to amazing events that are simply not available to the general public.
As you might have guessed, this makes us big fans of blogging. The best part about it all is that it is a business that requires very little investment to start (only $59/yr or less with our recommended host), no inventory to buy, and can be done either full or part-time on your own schedule.
The sky is the limit for blogging and we would love to help you on your own journey! There is great information in these free email courses and we urge you to click the links to signup:
Start A Money Making Blog – 5-day Email Crash Course – this free course is designed for new bloggers to help them start a money making blog the right way
Start A Travel Blog – Email Crash Course – free course that will show you how to start a travel blog
Also, we would love for you to join our Facebook groups. These are private groups, so click the links to request access:
Start A Money Making Blog Facebook Group – for those interested in starting a blog
Start A Travel Blog Facebook Group – for those interested in travel blogging
So that’s it for the November 2017 online business income report. Follow along each month as we detail our money-making efforts in our business.
Remember, this is something that YOU can duplicate too. You just need to have a plan in place and be persistent in your efforts. Blogging and online courses aren’t get rich quick schemes and success doesn’t happen overnight, but it is within reach for those willing to work for it.