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, but let me explain.
P.S. If this isn’t your first rodeo and you’ve been following along with these income reports for a while, you can skip to the next section titled Total Income.
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.
And now, I want to return the favor. I 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 January 2019…
Total Income: $20,764.65
- AdThrive Ad Network, $3,229.00
- Affiliate Commissions, $8,884.20
- Sponsored Content, $6,625.00
- Business Coaching, $1,936.55
- eBooks (13 Pitches That Worked eBook and Superfood Green Smoothies), $89.80
Total Expenses: $6,421.63
- Social Media Management, $29.98 (this includes tools like Tailwind)
- Virtual Assistant $3,909.11
- Website/Tech/Tools $248.57 (this includes partial payment for a website redesign and tools like VaultPress and Milotree, my hosting service Cloudways, and my tech manager, The Blog Tutor)
- Photography + Video $150
- Advertising + Marketing, $1,115.19
- Accounting/Bookkeeping/Payroll $229 (this includes Tax Prep and my online accounting service, Bookly)
- Courses + Education $199.00 (this includes Food Blogger Pro, The Blog Village, B-School and more)
- Office Supplies + Networking $434.38 (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: $14,343.02
Whew! I know that’s a lot to take in. One of the things I hope people will take away 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 August.
Traffic Overview: 228,519 pageviews for the month (a 34.53% increase from last month)
Top Ten Traffic Sources
Top 5 Posts on Root + Revel Last Month:
- Keto Beef Stew in the Instant Pot
- DIY Mold Remover: How to Get Rid of Black Mold Naturally (Without Bleach!)
- How I Got Pregnant On My First Try with PCOS
- How I Reversed my PCOS, Leaky Gut + Insulin Resistance Naturally!
- Top Sources for Organic Meat Delivery
Email List: 1,253 net new subscribers
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.
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:
- Beautycounter: Last month, I mentioned that this beauty brand was going to be a big focus for me in 2019. And I’m ECSTACTIC to report that with very minimal effort on my part, I was able to make over $1,000 in one month from Beautycounter. I’ve found their consultant program to be an amazing way to build revenue from my blog and it’s a business that I am super proud to be a part of. I primarily use Beautycounter as an affiliate program, rather than trying to sell to friends and family (though there’s some of that, too). As I’ve done with Root + Revel, I love being an educator and helping people understand what they’re putting on their body and WHY IT MATTERS. So how’d I do it? Easy! They have an amazing commission structure that allows you to not only earn up to 35% on all sales, but also to earn additional commission from your team’s sales AND get 25% off all products for yourself. My goal is to make at least $2,000 per month from the program, and in my first month of putting in any real effort, I’m already half-way there. I’ll continue to keep you posted in future income reports, but in the meantime, if you’re interested in learning more about Beautycounter and/or becoming a consultant, I’d love to talk with you about joining my team. I can’t wait to see where this program can take my business, and as I’m working to build a team of bloggers, if you’re reading this and wanting to add a great new revenue stream to your arsenal, we should chat! Comment on this post or email me (kate[at]rootandrevel.com).
- Editorial Planning: After taking 4 months off for maternity leave, January was all about getting caught up and planning out our editorial calendar for the year. This included lots of keyword research, analyzing trends, polling my audience, listening to readers’ feedback and requests, and ultimately coming up with 2 posts per week through the Summer. Having a clear strategy and plan in place makes everyday so much easier and allows us to be really focused and intential. I highly recommend planning out at least 2-3 months of content in advance, and then actually creating that content at least 1 month in advance. My goal again is 2 months in advance, but we’ve got a ways to go as we continue to get caught up after my leave.
- Instagram: Wahoo! I FINALLY hired a rockstar social media manager to help me as my engagement on the gram had become quite pathetic. I’ll share more with you in the coming months as we figure out what’s working and what isn’t, but thought I’d at least share my goals with you here:
- Engagement goal: increase from .45% to 1.6%
- Story views: increase from an average of 700 views per story to 1,500 views per story
- Follower goal: increase from 50,000 followers to 55,000 followers
- Traffic goal: increase from 250 sessions/month to 500 sessions/month
- Feature goal: get featured on 3 new accounts each month
Goals for February 2019
I’m going to keep this one short and sweet as my goals are to continue getting ahead on our editorial calendar and grow my Beautycounter business.
But there are 2 other quick things I want to talk about here:
- Switching from Convertkit to ActiveCampaign. After a lot of thought and research, I’ve decided to switch email service providers for one with more functionality. This migration is likely going to be a time-consuming process, not to mention getting acquainted with a new system and how it works, but I know it will benefit us in the long-run. I’ll report back with some helpful tips and stats once the process is complete.
- I still need to FINALLY finish my Blogging Business course. My goal is to have it for sale by the end of Q1, so wish me luck that I can finally complete this so I can help you guys grow your blog into a full-time income 🙂
Featured Question: Every month, I feature one question from a reader in each monthly income report. Here’s the question from last month:
Thank you Kate for being so transparent. You are such an inspiration to us working moms who would love to work for ourselves and spend more precious time with our families. I would love to hear more about beautycounter and possibly become a consultant. Their story resonates with me as I’ve been searching for cleaner beauty products.
Ah, yay! I am so glad you’re feeling inspired by Beautycounter, too! It truly is an amazing company. So let me answer your questions and tell you a bit more about why I’m involved:
- Simply put, Beautycounter is a brand of personal care products, from skincare and makeup to sunscreen, body wash, shampoo and they’ve even got special lines for men, kids and babies!
- But Beautycounter is SO MUCH MORE than just a beauty brand, it’s a movement (Beautycounter was THE MOST GOOGLED beauty brand in 2018). They are truly changing the industry, changing the laws (their advocacy work is so inspiring and makes a huge impact!), and together we are walking the walk.
- I love that this business empowers women to be their own advocates and it can really be whatever you want, from just a way to get 25% off all their products to making over six figures a year (seriously!). You can make $50/month or $50,000/month; last year we had our first consultant earn $1 million. If you want to learn more, email me and I can send you some docs that detail the commission structure, average earnings and the current consultant promo (you can earn up to $1,000 in bonuses if you join).
- I personally use and love their products–they’re green, non-toxic, beautiful, and, most importantly, they actually work! I truly came into this biz so organically–I started as a customer, shopping through their website without a consultant. Loved their products so much, I became a Band of Beauty member to save some money. And ultimately decided to become a consultant because it just didn’t make sense not to be one. For a list of my fave products, check out this post!
Ugh, yeah right… you might be thinking…Isn’t it just another MLM, aka a pyramid scheme?
NO! Now, let me preface this by saying I’m not normally a fan of MLM’s–I feel like I’m constantly getting hit up by consultants trying to sell me stuff and the products are usually cheesy, expensive and ineffective. But Beautycounter is different.
First of all, it’s a direct-retail brand, which means anyone can buy their products, even without using a consultant (just like at Sephora). While they do use Independent Consultants, like me, their products are available where you shop: e-commerce, traditional retail partnerships (like with Goop), and promotional opportunities with other brands (they’re often in beauty box subscriptions, for example!).
But more importantly, I didn’t come to this decision lightly–there’s a reason Beautycouner is the only MLM-style biz I’ve ever even considered joining, even though the money is supposedly great from brands like Arbonne or Rodan + Fields. I just could never feel good about promoting toxic brands like that. Beautycounter, on the other hand, puts health and people over profits.
As a consultant, you are not required to keep an inventory or spend any of your own personal money each month, or really do much of anything. It’s truly on your terms, even if that means you just to buy yourself products at a 25% discount and never tell another soul about it.
The only requirement is that you sell $1,200 every six months, including your own personal orders. If you don’t, you’re not out any money or investment, you are just simply downgraded to a Band of Beauty member.
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 Nicholas House in your name. When I learned that many of the women that come to this homeless shelter are fleeing domestic abuse with their children, my heart just broke for them. And I just love their mission–they help families make the transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency in a structured but home-like environment that requires they earn a living wage, maintain the physical, mental and social health of parents and children, and maintain safe and stable housing. They’re also highly rated on CharityNavigator for their accountability, transparency, and performance.
I am so incredibly grateful for you. Thanks for showing up! 🙂