How We Made OVER $302.9K in 2019 – Travel Blog Income Report

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.

This will also be our last income report for a while. It’s been exciting to share it over the past year, and we hope that it has helped you on your blog journey.

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. All opinions are always our own. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

First Published: January 14, 2020

Life Updates

2019 flew by and is now over. Even though we’re incredibly grateful for this blog and career, personally it was the worst year we’ve experienced.

We wanted to share some highlights and lowlights of 2019.

LOWLIGHTS

  • We had a lot of major family drama go down at the beginning of the year… things you would only imagine happening on tv and not to anyone you know. This shit happened to us, and we’re still dealing with the shit storm. We’ll have more details afterward when we’re out, but since it involves multiple people, we’re trying to respect their privacy too.
  • My grandma’s condition is getting worse. She’s had Alzheimers for a few years, but now she can’t really get out of bed. It’s been really sad to see her feel like she has nothing to live for.
  • My dog of 18 years died in August.
  • Fingers are still injured, so I’ve plateaued in climbing.
  • We had constant issues with the site going down as we moved servers this year. Traffic also decreased slightly, but it could be attributed to that or it could be many factors.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Mika still has leukemia and Sebastian has thyroid disease, but they seem stable on their meds. We’ve also had some amazing friends watch them while we travel.
  • I started route setting at our local gym, which has been a really fun creative outlet.
  • The blog grew financially this year.
  • We found a great community here in Vegas and spent a lot of time climbing indoors and outdoors.
  • Getting to go up in a balloon at Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, which was a huge bucket list item for us.
  • Driving the Great Ocean Road in Australia.

How We Made OVER $302.9K in 2019 - Travel Blog Income Report ($22K+ in December)

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, 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 December 2019

In December we earned a total of $22,273.74

Affiliate Income
Sponsorships
  • Sponsored Product Posts: $12,268.05 
    *our fave marketplace lately: IZEA
Display Ads
  • Mediavine: $7,964.87
Income Comparison to Other Months
  • Total in 2019 Year Income: $302,940.48
  • Last Month Income: $25,798.20
  • Difference: 14% decrease from last month
Expenses
  • Web Hosting: $98.95 (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: $8,880
  • Office Supplies/Services: $10,221.35
  • Test Products/Shoot Supplies: $1,369.15
  • *Taxes: $4,233 (not accurate until the end of year. See notes)
  • Insurance: $330.68
  • Travel + Meal Expenses: $2,181.30

TOTAL EXPENSES: $27,333.03
TOTAL NET PROFIT: $-5,059.29

We spent a lot this past month, but that was primarily to invest back into the business before the end of the year.

*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.

December 2019 Blog Traffic Breakdown + Stats

  • Monthly Pageviews: 765,567
  • Daily Average: 24,695
  • Monthly Sessions: 309,559
  • Monthly Unique Visitors: 267,690
  • Social Media Followers: 341,681
  • Email Subscribers: 8,852

Annual Breakdown of Income for 2019

In 2019 we earned a total of $302,940.48.

Ads: $84,593.11
Affiliate: $22,446.28
Sponsors: $195,901.09

EXPENSES 2019

  • Web Hosting: $2,213.30 (Want to start a blog? Here’s how you can start a blog in 5 easy steps)
  • Keysearch: $223.20
  • Virtual Assistant, Social Media Manager, Subcontractors: $24,786.34
  • Office Supplies/Services: $25,160.71
  • Test Products/Shoot Supplies: $8,893.44
  • *Taxes: $30,995
  • Insurance: $8,248.26
  • Travel + Meal Expenses: $65,996.32
  • Salary: $53,612.50
  • Paying it Forward: $35,000 (see organizations we work with here)

TOTAL EXPENSES: $255,989.07
TOTAL NET PROFIT: $46,951.41

**Numbers are accurate at the time of post but still need to be audited.

Goals for 2020

Since this is our last income report for the time being, check out our 20 Goals for 2020 to see what we have in store for the coming year.

What have you been up to last month? What are your goals next month?

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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.

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