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 ate way too many desserts (post is on the way), took a trip Upstate with Escape Campervans, and flew some friends in town, which forced us to take time off. It temporarily freed us from our habitual twitch to check emails, pinterest, or instagram engagement. Instead, the weekend was filled with quality time with good friends and lots of laughter (we also happened to go to a few comedy clubs). I haven’t laughed so hard in a while, and I thought to myself, “this is the life!”
How effed up is that?
This has made me think long and hard about work-life balance, which I still believe is a myth. Why have I let work take over my life? Why have I found so much value and comfort in filling my time with work? Obviously, I need to stop blaming NYC’s work culture, and I need to take responsibility.
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Originally Published: Oct 26, 2018
How We Made OVER $12K in September 2018 - Travel Blogger 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.
More: The Ugly Truths of Being a Travel Blogger told by Top Travel Bloggers
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 September 2018
In September 2018 we earned a total of $12,091.07. (note: we need to update the graphic)
Income Comparison to Other Months
- Total in 2018 Year Income: $163,480.97
- Last Month Income: $32,778.52
- Difference: 37.9% decrease 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 (we pay this annually)
- Virtual Assistant + Subcontractors: $1725
- Teachable: $99 (check out their free weekly webinar)
- Office Supplies/Services: $1,783.58
- Test Products/Shoot Supplies: $1,211.52
- *Taxes: $1,192
- Marketing: $1,665
- Travel + Meal Expenses: $2,264.23
TOTAL EXPENSES: $9,878.88
TOTAL NET PROFIT: $2,549.69 (this will barely cover NYC rent)
*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.
September 2018 Blog Traffic Breakdown + Stats
- Monthly Pageviews: 474,661
- Daily Average: 15,822
- Monthly Sessions: 355,203
- Monthly Unique Visitors: 295,668
- Social Media Followers: 296,559
- Email Subscribers: 8,776
Blog News + October Goals
- ☒ Squeeze in one more trip Upstate or to a new New England State
- ☐ Add RewardStyle Widgets to our Top 25 performing posts.
- ☐ Start marketing the e-course
- ☐ Read 2 new books (any suggestions?) Still need to finish Crazy Rich Asians.
- ☒ Take one kickboxing class a week when in town.
- ☒ Go on two alphabet dates this month
The e-course is out! With a lot of trial and error over the years, Jacob has figured out the best ways to pitch and work with sponsors. One of our most recent sponsorships was a $35k deal. Plus, one of our students using the e-course has already booked $11k in sponsorships. If you’re interested to learn more, see the intro video here.