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 ticked off a few big bucket list items in May. Reflection Canyon has been a place I wanted to photograph for years, and we finally made it out there and survived the storm. Sure, we had some near death experiences, but I suppose that made it one of the most memorable trips to date.
Also, on our recent press trip with Travel Texas, we got to explore Big Bend National Park. We love our National Parks, and we can’t wait to share more photos and posts about our big Texas adventure.
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Originally Published: Jun 12, 2019
How We Made OVER $30.9K in May - 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 May 2019
In May 2019 we earned a total of $30,944.79.
Income Comparison to Other Months
- Total in 2019 Year Income: $121,964.86
- Last Month Income: $21,714.49
- Difference: 42.5% increase from last month
- Web Hosting: $19.95 (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: $723.12
- Test Products/Shoot Supplies: $466.93
- *Taxes: $1,192
- Insurance: $613.89
- Travel + Meal Expenses: $1,451.07
TOTAL EXPENSES: $5,553.73
TOTAL NET PROFIT: $25,391.06
*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.
May 2019 Blog Traffic Breakdown + Stats
- Monthly Pageviews: 674,621
- Daily Average: 21,761
- Monthly Sessions: 517,803
- Monthly Unique Visitors: 429,920
- Social Media Followers: 321,144
- Email Subscribers: 8,371
Goals for June 2019
Get back to posting once a week. For real this time. Update Pinterest photos for the top 25 posts. Attend and follow up with IPW
- Move servers and increase site speed
- Start intermittent fasting
2 date nights
- Finish a book
Workout or go to the climbing gym 3x a week.
- Work only 40 hours a week (on weeks not traveling)
What's Working on the Blog
The blog has been running well on its own. Jacob was on our friend’s Off the Pill podcast, which pretty much shut down our site for a few hours from the flood of traffic. We’ve also spent a lot of time updating our older posts, so traffic has been increasing even though the number of posts we’ve published has gone down significantly. It just goes to show that more posts doesn’t necessarily mean more traffic. Although, we do recommend you post often if you are in your first year of blogging. I still can’t believe I used to post 3x a week for several years.
What Didn't Work + Lessons Learned
We need to get back to posting regularly, so we’re going to aim to post at least once a week again. We were also reaching the limits of our server, which generally made our site slow but also crashed our site after a flood of traffic. We’ll be looking for a faster solution this month.
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.