Here is my May online income report. This month, I am sharing how I make money online from my blog and online businesses. I'm really excited to share my results with you!
After a hectic April, May stayed just as busy. There hasn't really been a slow-down period yet this year, and I am definitely starting to feel it. I'm starting to get a little burnt out, and have planned some time off this summer.
While many income reports tend to stick to the facts, I like to include the personal aspect of what it's like to work and report online income reports.
It was also a busy, but fun month for a couple of reasons.
First, my business (and real life friend) Gina came to town so we could continue to work on Become a Pinterest VA TODAY!.
Next, I got together with some of the girls from my mastermind group. I'll talk more about these below.
Let's get down to business!
If you are new to reading my income reports…
If you are new to reading my blog income reports, here's a quick refresher!
I started my blog in January 2015. My most popular income report is still my very first one! In April 2015, I published my first income report proudly stating how I made $60.
My first income report is still incredibly relevant! If you are a new blogger, you can read my first income report to learn how I can make money online. I have now been publishing income reports for almost three years. Time is flying by and I still think it's crazy that I am doing this!
If you haven't started blogging, this blog post will provide you with a list of blogging ideas, tips and teach you how to set up your blog in 15 minutes.
It took me about four months to earn any income from my blog. That was the hardest four months ever because I was so new to blogging and wasn't sure what I was doing.
Earning that first paycheck was the best feeling ever and confirmed that my hard work was starting to slowly pay off!
Since I started blogging and reporting my income reports, my income has overall steadily grown from the very beginning.
I'm at an exciting point with my income reports because I can look back at 2015, 2016 and 2017 and compare how much my income and expenses have changed.
By going through all of my online income reports to see what worked, what stressed me out and what big decisions I was making at the time has been HUGE for me.
This blog is like an online data diary for me, so I'm really glad I have been documenting everything for so long!
I also love the shift my blog and business has made. As things have changed online or with blogging, I've focused on being able to change as well.
For example, most of my income in the early days came from Pinterest VA freelancing and Pinterest management. I have always used ads on my site and done sponsored posts when I felt it was a good fit for my blog.
Today my income primarily comes from affiliate income and my own products and courses. It wasn't an easy shift; it took almost an entire year to shift my focus and accomplish this.
I'm really glad I documented my journey though, because readers ask me about this all the time.
Here are some of my previous online income reports
I feel like I can look at every single one of these reports and remember exactly what I was doing at the time and all of my emotions when writing these.
There has been so much work that has gone into getting to this point. Each month has been like climbing a step on a staircase, but I'm not entirely sure when I'll be done climbing the steps.
- April 2015 online income report (my very first online income report) $61.83
- May 2015 online income report $61.40
- July 2015 online income report $515
- September 2015 online income report $1,530.94
- October 2015 online income report $3,634.28
- November 2015 online income report $2,007.31
- December 2015 online income report $4,238.99
- February 2016 online income report $3,787.91
- April 2016 online income report $5,920.52
- May 2016 online income report $7,268.68
- June 2016 online income report $9,700.11
- September 2016 online income report $6,682.24
- November 2016 online income report $10,736.55
- January 2017 online income report $26,288.57
- February 2017 online income report $15,170.31
- April 2017 online income report $47,442.32
- May 2017 online income report $22,006.28
- June 2017 online income report $29,268.78
- September 2017 online income report $68,856.02
- October 2017 online income report $29,954.89
- December 2017 online income report $18,336.00
- January 2018 online income report $41,502.90
- February 2018 online income report $21,285.00
- March 2018 online income report $33,406.12
- April 2018 online income report $109,878.70
Here's the breakdown of my May online income report:
- $1,026.06 Ads
- $8,563.72 Affiliate Income
- $29,52.50 Courses + Products (Pinterest Presence, Become a Pinterest VA TODAY!, Pinterest Pin Templates, Side Hustle to Success)
Total Income: $39,117.28
This is definitely a decrease from the previous month! One of the biggest adjustments I've made since I started blogging was I am less focused on my monthly income and more focused on my annual income.
Why I focus on annual income instead of monthly income
When I first got started as a new blogger and was starting to make money online, I really felt like I was focused on a month to month basis with earning income.
In my first full year of blogging in 2016, I definitely was in hustle mode. I felt like at the first of every month, my income was at zero dollars and I had to start all over again. This lead to a lot of stress and anxiety!
At the end of 2016, my blog made a little over $90,000 in one year. Per month, this totaled around $7,583.00.
This is where I made the decision that I had a solid blog and business and needed to adjust my work attitude to be more positive. I focused on longevity and not racing towards quick, monthly accomplishments.
Instead of focusing on what I needed to accomplish at the start of each month, I planned out my year. This made total sense because as many of you know, I love to plan and my planner!
I made a chart and listed out all my sources of revenue and how much I made per month with different vendors. I applied all of this towards 2017 so I could have a rough estimate on what I expected to make per month and quarter. I planned out upcoming projects, wrote down dates and got super organized.
This method was so much better for my health and well being. It eliminated the monthly stress of earning money. Instead I focused on the big picture. This way, if my monthly income varied (which it does!) I could focus on quarterly and annual results.
I'm really conservative with my business, so I had low goals 🙂 I would have been happy to maintain my current level of income, so I planned my year as such.
In 2017, my second full year of blogging, I made around $290,000. This was quite the increase from 2016. This was an average of over $24,000 per month.
In 2018, we are about five months into the year. I have averaged around $42,356 per month. I will be the first one to tell you that I think that's insane!
But here's the thing – this is the average amount per month. Some months it's been lower, some months it's been higher. But because I focus on an overall, annual plan, I don't stress how much I earn per month.
I also have a monthly budget and spreadsheet I use to track all my expenses, and for the most part, I stick to it.
My budget doesn't come close to my monthly income, which makes things easier. I've worked hard over the past several years to reduce debt thanks to all my side hustling, so things are much less stressful now 🙂
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Finally, I still don't really have any financial goals when it comes to my income. I would love to say that I wanted to make X amount per year, but my brain just doesn't work like that. I have some goals, but usually tend to keep them on the low end so I can be pleasantly surprised if things go better than expected!
2015 – 2018 May online income reports
I started my blog in 2015. I thought it would be fun to look back at how much I made in May from previous years. This is consistent growth!
- In my 2015 May online income report, I made $61.40
- In my 2016 May online income report, I made $7,268.68
- In my 2017 May online income report, I made $22,006.28
- In May 2018, I made $39,117.28
What's really amazing about watching my increase over the past few years is that I would not have have been able to do this at my day job. Don't get me wrong – I loved my line of work and had a great job.
Unfortunately, I was also at the point where I had pretty much peaked in regards to my position and salary, and I was still pretty young.
The thought of making the same amount of income each year working for someone else started bugging me, which is part of the reason this whole blogging thing began
One of the best perks of blogging and having an online business that I run and operate, is that I control my income.
Can you imagine where you could be one year from now? I had NO IDEA what to expect from blogging and my online biz, so looking at the chart above makes me feel really good.
May online income report expenses
Here are my May expenses:
- Google Apps
- VA work + professional services
- Affiliate payouts
Total Expenses: $16,795.94
After last month's launch of Become a Pinterest VA TODAY!, we had to pay out affiliates who helped promote the course. This is my favorite expense 😉
I also have pre-paid expenses that I have already paid for annually. The reason I switched over to annual plans compared to monthly plans is because of the savings. Pre-paying with an annual plan can save a lot of money!
I would recommend doing this if you feel confident about your purchase. I feel confident about most of the tools I'm using, but it took me over two years to feel like this with certain companies!
If you are planning on being online for the long term, then you should start looking at your budget. While you don't need to pre-pay for everything at one time, I would start with one service/provider that you love and switch to an annual plan if you can afford it!
I don't include the services below in my monthly budget because I've already paid for them upfront. I do set aside funds for these expenses each month so I can be prepared when their various renewal dates come up.
- Bluehost – hosting company I started with in 2015!
- Tailwind – my favorite Pinterest scheduler I use for myself, recommend to clients and for all my students.
- Teachable – where my courses are located.
- SamCart – this is the checkout page I use to sell my courses and products, as well as pay out affiliates.
- ConvertKit – email provider
- PostPlanner – how I schedule my social media posts to Facebook!
I set aside money each month that go towards my annual expenses. That way when an annual payment is due, I already have the funds set aside. Having a buffer for my business is really helpful!
This allows me to be financially ready when payments are due without having to take money from that current month's income.
Aside from starting my blog and selecting a theme, I had very few if any expenses for almost my first year of blogging. As my income grew, I was able to invest in more tools (all the ones mentioned above) one at a time.
Finally, this doesn't include things like health insurance or taxes. I was putting 30% aside each month, but now I've adjusted that to between 30-35% moving forward to account for extra expenses and to put more in my business savings account. I also have to plan for things like savings, retirement, my HSA account, trips to the vet with my senior dogs, etc.
One of the biggest questions I seem to get is how I pay for health insurance on my own and that people are scared to leave their job because they think they won't be able to find insurance.
I have an amazing private health insurance plan (it's not through a ministry) and it's actually a better package compared to my old day job and costs less money. Go figure! So don't let something like this scare you. Just do your homework and see what options are available to you.
If you haven't started blogging, this blog post will provide you with a list of blogging ideas, tips and teach you how to set up your blog in 15 minutes.
How to use Pinterest to make money online
Ever since I started my blog and to this day, my main source of traffic is still Pinterest, followed by Google and then Facebook! Pinterest allows me to earn a great living online.
By using Pinterest, I can send traffic from Pinterest directly to my website, blog posts or my products. I did so well with Pinterest at an early time, that I became a Pinterest virtual assistant and then started a Pinterest management company.
As a Tailwind ambassador, which has an official partnership with Pinterest, I have been really fortunate to hone in on my Pinterest skills and stay up to date on all the Pinterest trends and changes.
If you need help with Pinterest, I recommend doing the following:
- Grab this FREE guide below on how your blog or business can grow and make money using Pinterest.
- Use this 20 Step Checklist to make sure your Pinterest account is optimized and ready to go.
- Sign up for Pinterest Presence, which teaches you how to drive traffic back to your website and is full of technical training and marketing strategies. It's how I went from 5,000 monthly page views to over 200,000 monthly page views in roughly six months!
- If you want to learn how to use Pinterest AND start a $500-$1,000 per month side hustle, check out How to Become a Pinterest VA TODAY!
May highlights – there's a lot!
May was a GREAT month for my blog, business and personal life.
My course partner and real life BFF Gina from Horkey Handbook came to visit! We try to co-work together throughout the year, and it's always better to be able to work in person.
We also filmed new material for Become a Pinterest VA TODAY!, which will debut later this year.
Here's a picture of us on set! Isn't this so cool?!
It's completely different than doing the filming yourself.
There is so much work that goes into working with a camera crew, a script, director, etc.
By far, this is one of the BIGGEST things I've ever done since starting this whole online journey.
It was a total investment in ourselves and our course, all in the hopes we can have a better experience for our students.
If you had asked me three years ago if I envisioned any of this, I would have laughed and said no way.
I'm shy in general, so having the pressure of having an entire camera crew watching me speak was weird, ha! But I learned a lot and I can't wait to share what it was like to be ‘on set'.
With Gina here, we held an in-person meet-up for readers of our blog and our course at a local coffee shop. It was fun to hang out and get to know everyone. We sat around for a couple of hours and talked about life, entrepreneurship and our goals. Getting to connect with people in real life is such a great feeling!
After filming ended, some of my mastermind group also came to visit as well for part of the week!
Working with other women – all in different online niches – was so beneficial. Even though we all were working on different things for our blogs and businesses, we all have the same common goal, which is to help other people and have successful blog and businesses.
We rented an entire home and it was great. We found a home through AirBnB, which made it so much more affordable than a hotel.
We had so much space to work, everyone had their own bedroom and bathroom, and included all the small things, like a laundry room, Keurig coffee machine and more.
If you have ever thought about staying at an AirBnB, here is a $40 coupon!
Over the course of several days, we worked on problem areas in our businesses, brainstormed ideas and got to just hang out!
The time went by way too fast though 🙂
After spending time with Gina and my mastermind group, I had family in town and took a week off work.
It was amazing, ha!
I was able to unwind (some) and my heart and well being really needed time with loved ones. There is nothing better than spending time with friends and family.
We got dressed up and had a Royal Wedding viewing party, went to the Grand Ole Opry, bought cowboy boots, and hung out by all the Honky Tonks. It was perfect!
This is exactly why I love what I do. I feel incredibly lucky, but know a lot of this ‘luck' is from working super hard these past few years. It's been a crazy journey and I really feel like there is so much more that I can do with my blog and business.
Seriously, starting a blog has totally transformed my life. I never would have dreamed I'd be able to do all the things I do now!