Welcome to the September 2018 edition of our online business income report.
As you’ll see by reading the report, the income does not only come from our blog, but also our courses. However, selling digital products (such as a course like we do) is a great way to monetize a blog.
When I first starting posting these reports in March of 2017, the income was from blogging only. Now, the income on these reports also reflects income from our online course business.
This post contains affiliate links. Please see Disclosure Policy for details.
Yes, our “Family Business” may be quite different than the image of a family business that you have in your mind. We are not a shop, a restaurant, a local service business, etc..
In fact, our Family Business is online and is location independent. We can run our business from anywhere in the world (and we do). We’re not tied to a physical location and we still operate a very profitable and successful business.
Not only are we location independent, but we also involve our whole family in our business. This gives us the opportunity to show our own children how to earn money online, teach them many important business and life skills, and most importantly, show them that the world is much different in 2018. We’re teaching them the skills to thrive in the future, not the past.
Gone are the days where children are required to go to a four-year college to land a corporate job that they will work at for 40 years until they retire.
The internet has changed the way we work, earn an income, and live our lives.
Our online family business is about finding a way to enrich the world, provide value, and earn a very comfortable income in the process.
We’ll be continuing our focus on “Family Business” in 2018 because we are asked about it all the time. We’re passionate about showing others how to start their own blog and online family businesses. What we’ve done is very possible for others to emulate with the right knowledge and plan.
And one more thing… Although the numbers listed in this report are pretty substantial, we have some very big goals and we’re planning to build our family business to even higher levels.
September 2018 Online Business Income Report
September 2018 was a good month, but a little short of our goals. We didn’t quite hit the $200,000 this month, but we were pretty close. We haven’t come close to $300,000 yet, but that is what we are targeting now. We will get there soon. This income report will show you where the income came from and give you some interesting insight into our business.
We’ve been doing income reports since March of 2017, and if you read them all, you’ll see that our income has increased substantially over the past year and a half. I want you to know that it doesn’t take forever to scale things up if you provide a good service and use some solid principles to increase your business.
I know it’s a little crazy to post our income figures every month, but we have our reasons… We know that it can help others on their own journey to increase online income.
Here’s why we are publishing our income reports for the world to see:
We want these reports to motivate other bloggers and online business owners, 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 our blogging business 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 income reports over the years has really inspired us, so I guess it is our turn to pitch in. We hope you will find inspiration and tips from reading our reports too.
Blogging and online course creation can be a great way to earn an income, and the lifestyle associated with it is simply amazing.
If you don’t know us, here is a little bit about us and what we do:
It’s A Lovely Life® is a family lifestyle and travel blog. We 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 am a licensed real estate broker and have been 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 blogging business full-time because the income potential was 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.
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. We were hosted on these trips, and in most locations, we received VIP treatment!
In 2017 we went 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.
In 2018 we’ve already been to Hawaii on (2 separate trips), St. Croix (US Virgin Islands), Miami, Orlando, an Alaskan Cruise, Victoria (BC, Canada), San Francisco, Arizona, Disneyland (2 separate trips), Pasadena, Montana, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, London, Ireland, a transatlantic cruise, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and New York City!
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 past couple of years. 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.
We’re continually stepping up our video efforts and are excited about the content we are producing!
Here is an example of our new video style. This is from our recent trip to Montana with Adventures By Disney:
Starting in March 2017, we added a major aspect to our business. We began to help other bloggers on a formal basis. We do this by showing others how to start their own blogs, how to treat their blogs like a business, and how to 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 2017:
- 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
So far, the results have been amazing. Over 200,000 people have signed up for this course since mid-March 2017, and we’re constantly expanding our marketing efforts to reach as many interested people as possible.
Having over 180,000 people on our email list really helps to get our message out there when we need to. We also get countless great emails from our subscribers telling us how they love reading what we send out.
We’re able to hit these types of numbers because we’ve been using ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Some subscribers come organically from visiting our website, but there is no way we would be achieving these subscription numbers without spending a LOT of money on ads.
Facebook, Instagram, 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 spent, we spent about the same as we did in August. We’re working very hard to optimize our ad spend. It is a delicate balance with Facebook and Instagram ads. The more you spend (scale), the less effective these ads are. It is about finding the optimal balance and constantly exploring new ways to increase their effectiveness.
A big step forward for us came in June 2017 when we launched our premium course, the Blogging Blastoff (formerly known as 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 15 launches of the Blogging Blastoff have been very successful. So far, over 3000 students have enrolled in the 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 Blastoff 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 Blogging Blastoff 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.
The Blogging Blastoff is open for enrollments once a month for about a week. Provide your email address HERE to be notified when the course will re-open for enrollments.
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 at the end of 2017 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…
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 us to interact with the group and help other bloggers in many different ways!
The Start A Money Making Blog Facebook group now has over 83,000 Members and is growing rapidly. It is the largest new blogger group on Facebook!
We run a free monthly 10k Traffic Challenge that provides information for 10 straight days to the group on techniques to increase blog traffic. The 10k Challenge starts towards the beginning of each month and we would love to have YOU join in too on the next one. Join the Facebook group and you will be notified when the free 10k Challenge starts.
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!
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. I’m a big fan of Teachable!
Affiliate Marketing was a big reason for our success in September 2018
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 and online earning 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 September 2018:
Sponsored Content and Affiliate Income: $93,939.41
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: $98,946.61 (after Paypal fees, credit card processing fees, and affiliate commissions)
The Course Sales for September came from two separate courses:
Blogging Blastoff (Formerly known as Blogging Fast Track) – Sept 2018 class: $74,148.53
There were a total of 197 Course Sales for the Blogging Blastoff. 117 paid upfront and 80 chose the payment plan.
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 Blogging Blastoff 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 at the end of 2017! $24,798.08
There were a total of 68 Course Sales for the Travel Blogging Fast Track. 54 paid upfront and 14 chose the payment plan.
BIG NEWS!! We recently finished our new webinar for this course. It is titled, Bloggers: How To Email Pitch Your Way To Sponsored Travel
In this free one-hour class, we show you exactly how we pitch for sponsored travel opportunities and how we travel over 150 days a year with our entire family!
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 September 2018: $192,886.02
***Please note that much of the income listed above has not been received yet. These figures are based on projects committed or contracted during September. 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 published income report history:
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
December 2017 Income: $139,462.40
2017 Total Income: $871,509.17
January 2018 Income: $229,137.06
February 2018 Income: $170,705.02
March 2018 Income: $208,558.17
April 2018 Income: $207,476.93
May 2018 Income: $167,435.01
June 2018 Income: $208,524.27
July 2018 Income: $238,027.82
August 2018 Income: $193,131.57
September 2018 Income (this report that you are reading now): $192,886.02
2018 Year To Date Income: $1,815,881.87 ***We’re on track to easily surpass $2,000,000 in 2018 (we’re almost there)!!
Expenses & Blogging Tools that we pay for:
- ConvertKit – Email list Service
- Constant Contact – Email list service
- Facebook and Instagram Ads – Used to drive sign-ups for our free email courses and build our email list. We spent $103,572.57 in September 2018.
- Pinterest Ads – We spent about the same on Pinterest Ads in August $5,159.37
- 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!
- Teachable – Online course platform
- 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
- 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
- Facebook & Instagram Ad Management
- Adobe Creative Cloud – We edit some photos here
***We do not detail our exact expenses aside from detailing our ad spending and 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. 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. We also pay for numerous assistants and service providers that help us run our business.
From the list above, you can see that our expenses for our business 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.
One note about our ad spend amounts noted above… Yes, this is a lot of money that we spent in September. Most of this money was spent to promote our free 5 Day Email Crash Course for starting a blog. We also spent a considerable amount on promoting our travel blogging webinar. We do get some immediate return on this amount that we spent, but mostly, it is an investment in the income for future months.
Spending this money builds our email list, grows our Facebook group, and expands the number of interested people that we are able to reach in the future. Making these investments now should help us push past the $300,000/month income threshold in the coming months.
We are really pleased with our September 2018 income of $192,886.02 but we are not where we want to be yet. We know that our business has plenty of room to grow and we can’t wait to see where we can take it. Since this is the 9th month of the year, our year to date income of $1,815,881.87 is an average of $201,764.65 per month.
At this same rate, that projects to $2,421,175.83 in income for 2018. I’m ready to top that projection by quite a bit!
Our next big milestone will be $300,000 per month.
So, what is our current big project?
Big things are in the works!
There is always a lot of interest in our online course business. I’m working on a lot of new content now that will show you more specifically how we create, market, sell, and support our students. Creating an online course is an excellent way to monetize a blog and one of our big goals is always to help as many people as we can live the lives of their dreams.
We’ll soon be launching a new Facebook group to help our students start their own online courses. Want to be notified when it is live? Enter your email in THIS FORM.
Heather and I have been doing some Facebook live videos on our Facebook Page. We will be doing many more broadcasts and will cover all things blogging and family business. Please JOIN US by following our page!
Here are a couple of live videos we’ve filmed already:
We’ve started using a system called ManyChat. They are an approved vendor with Facebook that works with Facebook Messenger. It automates some messages and people are really using it unique ways to enhance interaction with their followers. For instance, on these videos above, we use ManyChat to automatically deliver a pdf document of the material we discuss in our videos.
We’re also working very hard to streamline our operations in our business and the support that we offer to our students. Our goal is to overdeliver on the services we provide and we’re constantly striving to do that.
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 September, we took an incredible 20-day trip that started in London. We spent almost a week exploring the city and doing all the standard tourist stuff. We then boarded a Disney Transatlantic cruise that took us from Dover to New York City with stops in the UK (Stonehenge), Ireland, Canada (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick).
Traveling on a transatlantic cruise was really a fun experience. We had 4 days at sea where there was no land in sight. But, the cruise ship is so big with so many activities, that we never felt bored or isolated. I’d really recommend it if you ever have the time or opportunity.
Here are some fun shots from our trip:
View this post on Instagram
This is my first post in a long time, but I’m planning to post a lot more frequently. We made it to London and this is a really interesting place. It’s funny to me that they have all these phone booths around the city, yet everyone is walking around with their own phones in hand. Maybe they just keep them around for tourist photos like this one.
By the way…are you following us on Instagram?
Here are our top blog and business goals for October 2018:
- Grow our email list by 25,000 subscribers in September. We currently have 187,000+ subscribers on our email list. This is our monthly goal that we have been falling a bit short at lately, but we’ve got some plans in place to hit this goal on a regular basis. We just did a cleanup and removed over 40,000 subscribers that were considered “cold”. This means that these subscribers did not open up any of their emails from us in the past 30 days.
- Increase our affiliate income substantially.
- Successfully Launch the November Blogging Blastoff course!
- Book additional sponsored family travel destinations for 2018 and 2019. We already have some more big trips on the books for 2018.
- Substantially grow our Facebook group: 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 are interested in adding travel to their blogs.
- Launch our new course before the end of 2018. We’re working hard behind the scenes on this one, but it won’t be ready for another couple months.
Goals for 2018:
$2,000,000 in income for 2018 – We’re almost there! We are already at $1,815,881.87 through 9 months with 3 more to go.
Improve our content – This includes improving and innovating with our video and photo content. Obviously, this is not something that is easily measured, but it is something where we can take steps to improve upon.
Take some amazing travel blogging trips that feature exceptional experiences. We’ve already taken some incredible trips and hopefully, we will be taking some more before 2018 is done.
Add 400,000 email subscribers in 2018 – This goal is not going to happen! Especially since we just removed over 40,000 cold subscribers from our list. We are consistently adding over 20,000 subscribers to our list each month, so likely we will end up the year between 250,000 and 275,000 email subscribers.
This month’s screenshot again focuses on our Teachable school. This screenshot shows our earnings so far in 2018 with our courses (January 1, 2018, through September 30, 2018).
As you can see, during this timeframe, our total course sales have been $868,597. After transaction fees (Stripe and PayPal) and Affiliate fees, we have earned $795,701 so far in 2018. This is money we have actually received and does not include money we are due from payment plans.
At this rate, that puts us on pace to generate $1,158,129.33 in total course sales, and receive $1,060,934.67 in earnings in 2018.
Our blog is our family 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 with 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!
Are you interested in blogging? The first step is to sign up for our FREE course:
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
Also, we would love for you to join our Facebook group. This is a private group, so click the link to request access:
Start A Money Making Blog Facebook Group – for those interested in starting a blog
So that’s it for the September 2018 Family Business Blog income report. Follow along each month as we detail our money-making efforts on the blog.
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 isn’t a get rich quick scheme and success doesn’t happen overnight, but it is within reach for those willing to work for it.