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In this Income Report, we’re looking back on 2017 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 $75,000 blogging in year two.
Welcome to Root + Revel’s very first income report!
I know this might seem a little crazy to you, 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:
I’ve been self-employed for nearly a decade at this point, but since I began blogging full-time in January of 2016, 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.
Truth be told, when I was a freelancer for magazines and newspapers, I hated having to report to an editor, to be beholden to their advertisers and their needs, to convince through begging and pleading that a story needed to be told and, more often than not, to be rejected. Couple that with diminishing budgets, increasing demands, cranky and thankless editors, an overall exhaustion from traveling so much and a body that couldn’t handle eating rich restaurant food five times a week, and I knew I needed a change.
Now, I’m 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 2017…
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.
Also, I want to take a moment here to talk about how high my expenses were for a new business. This is something I struggled to grasp for a long time: do you have to spend money to make money, or should you wait to spend money until you’re making enough?
In the end, after A LOT of analysis and talking with other business owners and reading tons of books and blogs on the subject, I decided that if I wanted to grow my business quickly, I would have to invest some money into it. And for my sanity, I knew I couldn’t possibly do everything on my own. I had to delegate.
So how did I decide where to spend and where to save? It was pretty simple, really–I thought about what tasks I enjoyed doing and what my strong suits were (writing, creating, business development, interacting with you, my dear readers) and what tasks I hated doing and had no skills in/desire to learn (social media, admin, photography, video editing, pitching). And then I outsourced the latter.
I never would’ve been able to accomplish all that I did last year without my incredible team–I’ve got an Instagram guru, a Pinterest pro, a virtual assistant/business manager/publicist, a photo and video team that blows my mind with their talent every day, and the rest of my money went into advertising and learning so that I could continue improving R+R all the while.
Of course, I don’t recommend going into debt to start your blog, but if 2017 taught me anything, it’s that investing in your business (whether it’s a blog, a moving company, a brick-and-mortar store or restaurant, etc.) is key to your success, and the speed at which you achieve it.
**Note: there was a glitch with my Direct traffic through October 2017, so most of my Pinterest and Google search traffic was being counted as direct. The issue has since been resolved, which you’ll see reflected in future income reports.
**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.
I worked on the blog for a total of 925 hours in 2017. With a gross income of $75,120, that means I earned roughly $81 per hour. Not too shabby!
If you look at my net income instead, my hourly rate drops to about $38/hour, which is still respectable for being my first year of full-time blogging.
I use Toggl to track my time.
Oh man, where to start. It’s tough doing this income report for the entire year (future reports will be monthly), as there’s so much ground to cover and I’d prefer not to bore you all with a book the size of Hamilton.
So I’m going to pick three big things I focused on in 2017:
Since this income report is for the entire year of 2017, I’m going to make this Goals section for the entire year of 2018.
I’m going to be featuring one question from a reader in each monthly income report, so please leave a comment below if you have a question that you would like me to answer.
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 Environmental Working Group 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.
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