Welcome to our blog income reports where we share ways we’ve been making money through the blog and the challenges and lessons we learned each month. Plus, this helps us celebrate successes however big or small.
Though we have a few side hustles, we’re happy that the travel blog is our main hustle.
The year is flying by! We started September off by road tripping up the California Coast with Visit California to celebrate California Surfing Day. Then we headed to NYC for a secret video project that we’ll be sharing later on.
Our last trip of the month was LA for the Thirst Project Gala, which is an amazing organization that our blog has partnered with to build some wells.
Now that the temperatures are starting to drop in Las Vegas, hopefully we can fly less and climb outside and explore locally more! This is the perfect time to start visiting Vegas.
This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.
Originally Published: October 2, 2019
How We Made OVER $41K in September - 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 runs their biz differently. There are 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.
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, 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, where the rest will go back into the community or support organizations we love.
Are You Cut Out for Blogging?
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.
Breakdown of Income for September 2019
In September 2019 we earned a total of $41,118.21.
Income Comparison to Other Months
- Total in 2019 Year Income: $216,963.95
- Last Month Income: $18,269.48
- Difference: 225% increase from last month
- Web Hosting: $429.94 (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: $2,877.94
- Teachable: $89 (check out their free weekly webinar)
- Office Supplies/Services: $1,463.30
- Test Products/Shoot Supplies: $676.84
- *Taxes: $4,233
- Insurance: $575.06
- Travel + Meal Expenses: $2,097.20
TOTAL EXPENSES: $12,460.88
TOTAL NET PROFIT: $28,657.33
*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’s not the full amount but definitely makes tax season less painful.
September 2019 Blog Traffic Breakdown + Stats
- Monthly Pageviews: 534,530
- Daily Average: 17,818
- Monthly Sessions: 426,847
- Monthly Unique Visitors: 362,814
- Social Media Followers: 321,981
- Email Subscribers: 8,709
Goals for October
- Add new Pinterest designs to 5 posts.
- Prep holiday gift guides.
- Optimize Keywords for top 50 posts
- Climb outside once a week.
- Finish reading a book (started reading the Fundamentals of Routesetting)
What Worked Last Month
This was a bigger month in terms of income as payments rolled in from previous projects.
Affiliate sales are slowly going up from the work we did in August. Since it was a much bigger month in terms of sponsored posts, affiliates were only 6% of last months income. Our goal is to have affiliate sales become 20% of our income.
What Didn't Work + Lessons Learned
Last month, I worked on cleaning up my tags to help with SEO. When I first started the blog 9 years ago, I started tagging posts with anything and everything. Thousands of tags later, it’s time for a cleanup.
Unfortunately, there was also a bit of a hiccup with cleaning up so many tags so fast. The site slowed down significantly and also lowered our traffic as you can see below.
We also moved servers but we’re still having issues with image quality and site speed, so we still have a lot to work on next month. Anyone have experience with this?
We didn’t get around to optimizing keywords on all top 50 posts, so it’s rolling over to October’s goals.
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. Now, most of our brand sponsorships are over $20k.
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.