Welcome to our blog income reports where we share ways we’ve been making money through the blog, the challenges and lessons we learned each month, and finally to celebrate successes however big or small. Though we have a few side hustles, we’re happy that the travel blog is our main hustle.
We spent half of August in Canada road tripping around Nova Scotia and Newfoundland – our even greater backyard. So far, we’ve shared a few photos on Instagram (Esther & Jacob), and we’re currently working on a few posts for the blog.
While we were home in Vegas, we split our time between the office and climbing gym. Jacob left town for a quick consulting gig giving insight from the blogger standpoint, and we even snuck in a couple of date nights, which was a personal goal last month.
We saw Hans Klok the fastest magician in the world and had a movie night to see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Have you seen it? It’s better to do some research on the Manson family before you watch it or it might be hard to understand what’s going on.
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Last Updated: September 9, 2019
How We Made OVER $18.2K in August - Travel Blog Income Report
Why We Share Our Income Reports
If you’re new here, you might be wondering why on earth we would share something so personal. We’ve been hesitant to share our income reports for the last 5 years, and we’re super nervous about this post, but since we’re all about trial and error, let’s see how it goes! We’re putting out these income reports for these following reasons.
To Show You How We Make Income Blogging
We always want to be 100% transparent about how we make money through this blog. The amazing thing about the blogging world is that every blogger we’ve talked to does things a bit differently. There are also countless ways to grow and improve your business. When we started, we made most of our money through affiliate sales. Since then, we’ve shifted heavily to sponsored content. A big part of this is because my background is in sales and it’s what I’m good at. You can learn more about my sale method below. As time goes on, this will continue to change, but we want to share how we focus on our strengths to effectively meet our goals.
To Show You the Potential of Blogging
Whether you have a blog or are starting a blog, we want to show you that you can make a career out of blogging.
Even if you don’t want to blog, there are a ton of ways to be financially and location independent and we hope to inspire others to go after it too. If you want to keep your day job, blogging can be a great way for you to make some extra side money.
Esther started the blog 6 years ago and I joined her full time 3 years ago. Even until last year, our parents were worried about us financially, wondering when we would stop “playing” and start taking our lives and work more seriously. Neither of us ended up being “good Asians” (namely a doctor, lawyer, or engineer). It’s an unconventional job and where most people don’t understand all the work that goes on behind the scenes.
We love that our jobs give us flexibility in what we do, but being your own boss isn’t all that it’s cut out to be either. You have to be disciplined and work hard at your business to grow it.
If you’re not getting the results you want, again, keep in mind that we’ve been blogging for 6 years now and the first month I tried monetizing my blog, I made less than $20. Give it more time and failing in the process is okay. I didn’t have the correct tools that are out now and a lot of it was trial and error. Consider it all an A/B test to figure out what will best work for you.
Note: There are a lot of great blogs and resources out there about blogging, but the tough part is that it’s not always replicable unless you also want to start blogging about blogging. We wanted to show you that it’s possible to start a blog on other topics and still make a living. Though we have an e-course in the works, we want to continue to show you that the bulk of our income still comes from our travel blog.
To Track How We're Doing
I’ve always loved sharing goals online and tracking them. Putting them out in the world (via the blog) has helped me so much with accountability. Since we’re constantly tweaking trying to improve the blog, looking at these numbers will help us learn whether we’ve been making the right changes. It’s amazing to see how the sources of income have changed over time and to see where we still have room for improvement.
Ultimately, our life goal is to make enough to live on half our income (right now we’re at 30%), where the rest will go back into the community or support organizations we love.
Breakdown of Income for August 2019
In August 2019 we earned a total of $18,269.48.
Income Comparison to Other Months
- Total in 2019 Year Income: $175,845.74
- Last Month Income: $22,450.77
- Difference: 18% decrease from last month
- Web Hosting: $525.94 (Want to start a blog? Here’s how you can start a blog in 5 easy steps)
- Keysearch: $18.60
- Virtual Assistant, Social Media Manager, Subcontractors: $979.17
- Teachable: $89 (check out their free weekly webinar)
- Office Supplies/Services: $1,227.85
- Test Products/Shoot Supplies: $465.30
- *Taxes: $4422
- Insurance: $1,262.89
- Travel + Meal Expenses: $2,631.45
TOTAL EXPENSES: $11,622.20
TOTAL NET PROFIT: $6,647.28
*Roughly 30% of your income will go to taxes at the end of the year. The number above shows the money set aside for taxes to offset how much we have to pay at the end. It makes it less painful at the end of the year.
August 2019 Blog Traffic Breakdown + Stats
- Monthly Pageviews: 605,592
- Daily Average: 19,535
- Monthly Sessions: 477,413
- Monthly Unique Visitors: 399,818
- Social Media Followers: 320,076
- Email Subscribers: 8,651
Goals for September
- Optimize Keywords for top 50 posts + 10 older posts.
- Delete and clean up tags for top 50 posts.
- Add new Pinterest designs to 5 posts.
- Start training program for climbing
- Test out 2 new recipes at home
- Finish reading a book
What's Working on the Blog
Last month, we updated hotel links for the top 50 posts (well, most of them. Some posts were a little more complicated, so we skipped those). Most of those links were through Commission Junction, and you can see below, that our daily publisher commission has been increasing. I’m happy to report that updating and adding fresh links has upped our affiliate income. Now, I need to work on the next 50.
We’ve been meaning to put together our ultimate Nevada Bucket List since we moved back and we finally got around to it last month. I spent several days researching and found a ton of fun and weird hidden gems, which makes us extra excited to do more local travel within the Silver State.
What Didn't Work + Lessons Learned
We managed to do all our work related goals but have been slacking on our personal ones. I haven’t picked up my kindle in so long that it has collected so much dust. I also haven’t been motivated to start intermittent fasting this month, so in September I’m giving that one a rest and trying it again in a few.
HOW TO WORK WITH SPONSORS
The e-course is out! Are you a content creator and want to learn how to work with brands?
If you look at our income reports, we make a majority of our income from sponsored posts. We used to do many one-off partnerships with brands, but over the years we’ve been focused on longer term partnerships. Most our brand sponsorships are over $20k, and one of our most recent ones was over $35k.
With over 10 years of trial and error working in corporate and managing our first business, Jacob has figured out the best ways to pitch and work with brands.
At first we were reluctant to put out just another e-course in this oversaturated, dog-eat-dog market, but we’ve seen our coaching and course actually help people quit their jobs and start their own businesses. How cool is that? Plus, all our students who have put our course to action have made their money back within the month, and one of our students using the e-course has already booked $11k in sponsorships. So effin’ excited to see them conquer this new chapter in their lives. If you’re interested to learn more, see the intro video here.
See More Income Reports
“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust
Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.