In this monthly Traffic + Income Report, we’re looking back on February 2018 at what worked, what didn’t, what lessons we can learn and how we can best move forward to achieve our dreams. I’ll also share my business strategy and tips that made me $10,200+ blogging in one month.
Welcome back to Root + Revel’s monthly traffic + income reports! You might remember back in January we published an annual income report for 2017 (hint: I earned over $75,000 blogging in my second year!).
But, as promised, moving forward I’m going to be sharing monthly reports so we can dive deeper into the every day of running a blogging business.
I know this might seem a little crazy to you–or perhaps you’re just here for the food (might I recommend these 25 DELICIOUS Spring recipes to hold you over), but let me explain.
And they’ve inspired me so much, not only to know what’s possible in the world of blogging as a business, but also with their incredible ideas and generosity in sharing their mistakes and successes along the way.
I finally feel like I’m at a point with Root + Revel where I have something valuable to share about making money online, something that I hope will help you learn how to make money doing something you love, something that lights you up every day and makes you excited to get to work, something you’re passionate about, something that impacts others for the better, something you can do from your couch in your jammies or on a beach in the Caribbean or at a desk in a co-working space at whatever dang time you please because YOU’RE YOUR OWN BOSS.
Please know, the goal of these income reports is not to brag or show off or pat myself on the back (though it’s always a good idea to celebrate your own successes, too!). Rather, my goal with these income reports is three-fold:
- to help anyone interested in starting a blog learn the ropes and find inspiration and motivation to be successful and change your life, whether that’s simply finding an outlet for your passion, improving your financial situation by making some extra money, or finally quitting your job and making six figures working for yourself. I hope that by sharing my own journey, my transparency and story might help you to achieve your dreams.
- to show fellow skeptics (hi, I used to be one of you when I was a full-time journalist who wrote for real publications and turned my nose up at bloggers who were running their blogs without integrity, transparency and a business mindset) that it IS possible to make money online and to do so while keeping your soul intact.
- to help myself. Yes, I’ll admit it. I do have some selfish motivation for publishing these income reports. Because quite honestly, it’s a great opportunity for me to reflect on my business, to look back and see what worked and what didn’t, to learn from my mistakes and to track my achievements.
I’ve been self-employed for nearly a decade at this point, but since I began blogging full-time in January of 2017, my life has exponentially improved.
I’m finally writing the stories that I want to tell, I’m finally helping others to live happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives, and I’m doing it ALL on my own terms.
I’m so proud and happy to report that life is so much better now that I’m truly my own boss and a full-time blogger. I look forward to each and every day–I wake up excited to work, I’m always learning something new and I love the challenge of running your own business, constantly coming up with new ways to monetize and help people, simultaneously.
Alright, enough talk. Let’s take a look at the numbers for February 2018…
Total Income: $10,243.05
- Mediavine Ad Network, $1,268.77
- Affiliate Commissions, $3,919.28
- Amazon $442.53
- Beautycounter $4.50
- Butcher Box $1,995.00
- Daily Harvest, $20.00
- The Detox Market, $24.40
- Dry Farm Wines $146.88
- Green Smoothie Girl $310.27
- Intelligent Blends $4.95
- Kettle & Fire $8.15
- MightyNest $10.10
- Raw Spice Bar, $2.08
- Redmond $24.84
- Reward Style $7.13
- SunBasket $40.00
- Thrive Market $302.00
- Truvani $21.55
- Urthbox, $54.00
- US Wellness Meats $358.46
- Vital Choice $69.96
- Vital Proteins $28.28
- Credo Beauty $16.60
- Real Plans $23.50
- Sponsored Content, $3,000.00
- Superfood Green Smoothies eBook, $4.10
- 13 Pitches That Worked eBook, $55
- Scratch Made, $2,000
Total Expenses: $4,484.94
- Social Media Management $68.41
- Virtual Assistant $2,487.97
- Website/Tech/Tools $233.07 (this includes tools like Tailwind, VaultPress, and Milotree, my hosting service Cloudways, and my tech manager, The Blog Tutor)
- Ads $245.14
- Accounting/Bookkeeping/Payroll $275.75
- Courses + Education $199.00 (this includes Food Blogger Pro, The Blog Village, B-School and more)
- Office Supplies + Networking $591.68 (this includes resources like Texture and Audible, networking meals, conferences, etc.)
- Adobe Creative Suite $9.99 (this is what I use to edit photos)
Net Profit: $6,132.04
Whew! I know that’s a lot to take in. One of the things I hope people will takeaway from these reports is just how much work, energy, thought and heart goes into running a blog. It’s not just as simple as slapping up a few words and an iphone photo and pressing publish.
Before we get into the details, I also wanted to share my traffic totals for February.
Traffic Overview: 104,417 pageviews for the month
Top Ten Traffic Sources
Top 5 Posts on Root + Revel Last Month:
- How I Reversed my PCOS, Leaky Gut + Insulin Resistance Naturally!
- DIY Mold Remover: How to Get Rid of Black Mold Naturally (Without Bleach!)
- A Butter Coffee Recipe to Balance Hormones + Improve Digestion
- DIY Charcoal + Clay Face Mask for Acne and Blackheads
- Keto Beef Stew in the Instant Pot
*Note: This screenshot comes from my dashboard in The Blog Village, a membership site that helps bloggers monetize their blogs. This tracking tool is my favorite part of the site!
*Note: This screenshot comes from my dashboard in ConvertKit.
Note: RPM stands for Revenue Per Mille, or the revenue earned per 1,000 pageviews. When you look at RPM, you put the focus on optimizing your revenue as efficiently as possible, rather than just getting the most people to your site. For example, a site with 100,000 pageviews and a $1 RPM makes $100, while a site with 20,000 pageviews and a $10 RPM makes $200. This is good news because it means you don’t have to have TONS of traffic to make a great income. In fact, when you niche down and focus on providing as much value as possible to your current audience, you earn more money.
Hourly Rate: I worked on the blog for a total of 70 hours in February (wow–I took a lot of time of for three trips last month). With a gross income of $10,243.05, that means I earned roughly $146 per hour. Not too shabby!
If you look at my net income instead, my hourly rate drops to about $88/hour, which is below my goal of $100 per hour, but not by too much. But more on that below.
What I Focused on This Month
Running a blog is a TON of work and each month I feel like I could fill an entire notebook with “what I focused on” details. But for everyone’s sanity’s sake, I’m going to focus on the three main things I worked on this month:
- Cleaning out my Email List: For those who follow along closely with these reports, you might remember that last month I had over 13,000 email subscribers, and now I have just 9,500. Well after attending the amazing ShiftCon conference in February and listening to a powerful seminar by George Bryant, I was convinced of the value of pruning my list regularly to keep only the most engaged and interested subscribers. I’m working with George now on segmenting my list, learning how to provide them with more value and how to prime them to buy from me as I plan to launch more products this year.
- Tweaking Membership Site: You may remember that last month, I finally got around to launching my Membership Site, Root + Revel HQ. I launched it in Beta Mode (reminding myself that done is better than perfect) but after speaking with my members and some colleagues, I realized very quickly that the site wasn’t going to work. First–it was too broad and I was trying to do too much, which was overwhelming for both myself and my members. And secondly, it was way too much work on my end for way too little return, and my goal was to create a more passive income stream that would really help people. Yes, you can make money and positively change the world at the same time. So I scrapped the site, refunded all my beta testers their monthly fee, and turned the private Facebook group into a community for all of my readers. If you’d like to join, you can do so here (it’s FREE!). Moving forward, I’m going to launch some very specific, targeted courses. To start, I’m going to do a course about How to Reverse PCOS + Balance Hormones Naturally. I hope to follow that up with a Heal Your Gut course and then a course about Freelance Writing. Stay tuned!
- Networking + Learning: I mentioned that I attended Shiftcon in February and I’ll admit I was super nervous to go–I only knew a couple people attending, and I’d be flying out to California by myself, totally intimidated about what was in store. I am SO glad I went–I made some amazing friends, met some incredibly inspiring new people, learned a ton both about blogging and business and about real food and wellness and just had the most fun time. After returning, two ladies set up a monthly mastermind with me where we share ideas, get feedback, ask questions and just help each other out. It’s amazing. I also scheduled a bunch of networking lunches with people in Atlanta that I’d been postponing for too long AND I took the plunge and decided to join Marie Forleo’s B-School. It’s a HUGE investment, but one I know will help me find clarity on how to best move forward, provide me with the systems and inspiration I need to expand my business and introduce me to tons of great entrepreneurs. I’ve only been in the program for 2 weeks now and I already feel like it’s money very well spent.
Goals for March 2018
- My main goal for this month is to really spend time going through B-School and planning my PCOS course launch. It’s going to be a lot of work, and I know I need to dedicate a ton of non-negotiable time to make it happen. So I’ve carved out Wednesdays as my course work day. I’m going to do NOTHING else on these days but go through B-School and create my course. My goal is to have it launched by June 23rd, which also happens to be the day my husband takes Level 3 of the CFA. So while he’s studying, I’ll be in course creation mode and I’m determined to GET. IT. DONE. so that after the 23rd, we can go on a much-needed vacation and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Wish me luck!
- I’d also like to restructure my website a bit to be more user-friendly and make my cornerstone content easier to find. Right now, the layout of my site is 100% blog, as in it’s each post listed in chronological order and it makes finding anything-but-brand-new content super difficult. I’ve been on a waiting list with a web designer for a few months now, and they have a spot opening up in late May for me. So I’m hoping to just do some small tweaks now that will set me up for success come May.
Featured Question: Last month, I shared how I’ll be featuring one question from a reader in each monthly income report. Here’s the question from last month:
I would love to hear more about how you obtained the relationships with the brands that sponsored posts
Oh man, I could write a whole book on this topic–it’s such a great question. And I actually do plan to launch some educational products in the future on this very thing.
But to give you at least the Cliff Notes version now, here’s my system:
- Make a list of all the brands that would be a good fit for my blog, ensuring that their ingredients, sourcing and practices align with my mission of clean, real food, non-toxic and natural ingredients and eco-friendly, sustainable practices.
- Add those brands to a spreadsheet. In the next column, find the contact information for each brand. This is an art, but I start by going to the brand’s website and looking for their PR, press or media contact. Or someone in sales/advertising/marketing/social media. More on this process to come.
- Craft a template that explains who you are and what you can do for the brand by producing sponsored content for them. Tweak it to fit each individual brand so that your pitch is customized and on target.
- Email all of the brands on your list you pitch and media kit.
- If you don’t hear back after 1-2 weeks, follow up. This is KEY! I can’t tell you how many gigs I’ve landed just from following up. People are busy, email inboxes are flooded with requests, things get lost in the shuffle and a friendly, professional follow up is a great way to land business.
Alright, that’s pretty much it. I hope that helps!
For next month, please leave a comment below if you have a question that you would like me to answer.
It’s All Thanks To You!
Please know, I am keenly aware that I have the flexibility, freedom and finances to work on this blog as my full-time job because of YOU–dear reader, sharer, Pinner, commenter, Liker, customer or silent follower of Root + Revel. Your support and participation in the R+R community reaches beyond just this website. This month, I donated to the Humane Society in your name.
I am so incredibly grateful for you! Thanks for showing up ????
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no extra cost to you when you purchase through my links.