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.
We didn’t spend much time on our computers in January. It was the last month living in NYC, so we were running around the city like mad trying to capture as much content as possible.
We also went through our annual purge and packed up our stuff. Even though we lived in a studio apartment, we still managed to collect things we don’t necessarily need. Moving is one way to force yourself to purge. Whether these things spark joy or not, if it wasn’t top priority and didn’t fit in the car, it was out.
The rest of the time, we hung out with friends and spent time at our second home, Brooklyn Boulders QB.
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Originally Published: Feb 28, 2019
How We Made OVER $26K in January - 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 January 2019
In January 2019 we earned a total of $26,888.92.
Income Comparison to Other Months
- Total in 2019 Year Income: $26,888.92
- Last Month Income: $29,907.85
- Difference: 10.1% decrease from last month
Previous Income Reports
- How We Made Over $29.9K in December ($248K in 2018)
- How We Made Over $26K in Nov 2018
- How We Made Over $28K in Oct 2018
- How We Made Over $12K in Sep 2018
- How We Made Over $32K in Aug 2018
- How We Made Over $23K in July 2018
- Our First Income Report Jan – Jun 2018
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.
- 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: $669.49
- Test Products/Shoot Supplies: $602.99
- *Taxes: $2,165
- Insurance: $608.05
- Travel + Meal Expenses: $2,612.35
TOTAL EXPENSES: $7,764.60
TOTAL NET PROFIT: $19.124.32
*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.
January 2019 Blog Traffic Breakdown + Stats
- Monthly Pageviews: 539,957
- Daily Average: 17,418
- Monthly Sessions: 418,396
- Monthly Unique Visitors: 352,783
- Social Media Followers: 325,138
- Email Subscribers: 8,256
Blog News + February Goals
- Switch ad managers
- Start putting together a bucket list for our next city.
- Spend time with family during our time in Atlanta
- Find a new apartment and home
- Move to a new city
What's Working on the Blog
First of all, it’s been amazing having someone else manage our instagrams. We used to spend so much time on it, and the constant fight for engagement and fluctuating numbers would get discouraging. Having someone else work on that has helped me put my focus back on the blog. When I’m on IG, I get to make real connections without worrying about numbers.
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to put out regular, new content each week, but by the end of our year in NY going ham, we were burnt out. You may have noticed, but we didn’t post much this month and were curious to see if it would affect our overall views. It didn’t! We were able to focus on marketing and sharing current content while we gathered more images for future posts.
If you don’t have much content, it’s good to build that up. But if you already have plenty of content, it’s beneficial to spend time marketing old content rather than writing up new posts.
What Didn't Work + Lessons Learned
We didn’t try anything new, since we were focused on prepping for the move.
The e-course is out! Are you a content creator and want to learn to work with brands?
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.
What have you been up to lately? What are some of your goals next month?