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 to say that the travel blog has become our main hustle.
Last month, we finally made it up to Acadia and did a New England fall foliage road trip. We managed to see the last of the leaves in Maine but unfortunately only saw dead trees in New Hampshire. Gotta love nature. Maybe next year we’ll do an entire East coast road trip chasing fall.
We also crossed off some bucket list items in NYC like rock climbing in Central Park, having afternoon tea at the Plaza, visiting Coney Island, and eating at Masa. Are any of these on your NYC bucket list?
Besides all the fun activities we’ve done, I haven’t been sleeping much and have been struggling with how I can be a better mental health advocate. A friend I knew from instagram passed away, and made me realize even more how depression is a silent killer. On the outside it might be glitter and rainbows, but you really don’t know how much someone is suffering on the inside and how far they are from the edge. I wish I could have been a better friend. I wish I made myself more available and wasn’t someone that’s always thought of as too busy globetrotting.
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Originally Published: Nov 12, 2018
How We Made OVER $28K in OCTOBER - 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.
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 October 2018
In October 2018 we earned a total of $28,729.32.
Income Comparison to Other Months
- Total in 2018 Year Income: $192,210.29
- Last Month Income: $12,091.07
- Difference: 237% increase from last month
Previous Income Reports
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 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.
- 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 + Subcontractors: $1,618
- Teachable: $99 (check out their free weekly webinar)
- Office Supplies/Services: $854.85
- Test Products/Shoot Supplies: $506.74
- *Taxes: $1,516
- Insurance: $1,341.67
- Travel + Meal Expenses: $2,707.22
TOTAL EXPENSES: $8,682.03
TOTAL NET PROFIT: $20,047.29
*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.
October 2018 Blog Traffic Breakdown + Stats
- Monthly Pageviews: 480,254
- Daily Average: 15,492
- Monthly Sessions: 364,630
- Monthly Unique Visitors: 304,211
- Social Media Followers: 294,956
- Email Subscribers: 8,814
Blog News + November Goals
- ☒ NYC Content – one more afternoon tea spots, fall foliage spots, one broadway show in NYC, two holiday spots.
- ☒ Add RewardStyle Widgets to our Top 25 performing posts.
- ☒ Start marketing the e-course
What's Working on the Blog
Between traveling and training the past few months, I’ve had trouble putting out new content. Luckily, we haven’t seen a decline in traffic which confirms that it’s more about marketing your content than content creation.
What Didn't Work + Lessons Learned
We added hotel affiliate links to 40 of our top posts, but so far none of them have converted. It has only been 3 weeks, so it’s too early to write this off completely, but we’ll be monitoring this to see if we need to make any changes.
With a lot of trial and error over the years, Jacob has figured out the most successful ways to work sponsors and win their favor. Many of them continue to work with us year after year.
With a business degree background, and 5 years of B2B at his corporate job before joining me at Local Adventurer, Jacob has had a lot of foresight in making our blog one of the top blogs in the US.
But numbers don’ t mean much if brands are not willing to work with you and pay you what you’re worth. There are plenty of huge influencers out there who don’t know how to monetize their brand and either work for free or work to travel. In order to have a home base in a city like New York, this year was a huge test on whether we could make enough to pay rent and support our small family including two cats (both who have been sick and very expensive for us 😓).
Last year our blog grossed over $180K and this year we’re happy to say we’re trending higher with individual brand deals making us $35k+.
Lately, Jacob has given many consultations and mentored others in growing their own businesses, and we have finally put together an e-course with everything he’s learned over the years.
One of our students who just started using the e-course has already booked $11k in sponsorships. If you’re interested to learn more, see the intro video here.