Personal Finance Blog Income Report Roundup: September 2018
Having come across several personal finance blogger income reports since starting this site, a few months ago I launched a new feature compiling some of these reports and adding what lessons I took away from them. Aptly titled my Personal Finance Blogging Income Report Roundup, this time around I’ll be looking at reports published for September 2018 — including one blog I’ve discovered since my last installment along with some reliable favorites. In each case, I’ve broken down their income into four basic categories: affiliate income, sponsorships, courses and/or products, and site ad revenue.
Something to note is that I’ve only compiled the data for each blogger’s gross income despite some sites also including information on their site expenses and net income. Similarly, in some cases, these categories don’t cover all of a site’s reported income as freelancing revenue and the like have been excluded. You should visit each site (linked below) if you’re interested in digging deeper. As another note, I’d love to add more sites to this roundup, so please e-mail me at Kyle@moneyat30.com or tweet me @Moneyat30 is you’d like to be included.
With that, here’s a quick look at how these blogs’ incomes break down as well as a few things I’m personally taking away from their September 2018 reports.
Personal Finance Blog Income Report Roundup (in $)
**Money@30 income = Affiliate income: $5, Site Ads: $4.45 Total: $9.45
Blogging Income Report Roundup Takeaways
Something I hadn’t really noticed until adding A Merry Life to my roundup this time around was that all of the other included blogs report income from individual affiliates. For example, the hosting service Bluehost is a perennial favorite while individual apps/sites like Ebates or, in my case, Dosh are also often cited. In many cases, these types of services may run their own affiliate programs that require bloggers to sign-up directly. However there are also several affiliate networks that exist and that aim to give “influencers” (if you will) easier access to multiple programs.
In her roundup, Mary notes that her revenue from the affiliate network Awin actually bested what she made from Amazon in September. Incidentally, while I’m familiar with networks like CJ and PepperJam, Awin is one I was not aware of until now. However, looking at their site, I see that they offer affiliate programs for the likes of Etsy, StubHub, Viator, CLEAR, and —perhaps most interestingly — The Motley Fool (note: I see Money Done Right made $300 from their Motley Fool affiliation in September and it seems they also use Awin). So while it’s great to sign up for direct affiliate programs with applicable sites and tools you may be reviewing, there may also be opportunities — and even article ideas — you hadn’t considered waiting among these different networks.
Masterminding your own business
This month not only marked my first time being introduced to the concept of a mastermind but has also proven to be the month when I started seeing the term everywhere. After watching a webcast about Mastermind Hunt earlier a couple of weeks ago, I was assured that this has nothing to do with the board game I used to play as a kid and is actually a small group of like-minded business owners looking to grow. The idea is that mastermind groups can serve as a way for individuals to get feedback on what they’re doing, be held accountable for goals they’re trying to achieve, and collaborate on ideas.
So what does this have to do with September’s income reports? Well, I noticed that Bobby of Millennial Money Man made more than $18,000 from his Millennial Money Mastermind. This paid mastermind aims to help bloggers grow their sites. Sadly, he notes that he’s unsure if he’d launch a similar mastermind again, so you may be out of luck if that sounds appealing.
My takeaway from the Millennial Money Mastermind isn’t just that there’s yet another way to monetize your expertise but that masterminds may be a good way to learn from others in your space. I was also taken with something Bobby noted regarding his mastermind group: “It’s amazing how quickly blogging moves and how many different pathways you can take to become successful online.” I think that pretty much sums up what this monthly roundup is all about, doesn’t it?
All this money doesn’t come for free
I know I mention in my intros that these roundups only look at gross income and not net. However, many of the reports I feature do either include a detailed list of expenses or some general notes about the taxes, fees, and other costs they have to cover. The reality is that, as impressive as these income reports can be, it is important to remember that they’re also the product of a lot of investing.
Something that grabbed my attention this month was when Logan from Money Done Right noted that his site incurs $5,000 to $7,000 a month in blog expenses, including “content creation, graphic design, social media management, and advertising.” That’s remarkably similar to the reported $7,929.97 that Millennial Money Man spent on things like Facebook ads, ConvertKit service, stock images, and more. With courses being big moneymakers for many bloggers, the cut that sites like Teachable and others take is also something that should be considered when digesting these income figures.
Although it’s really easy to look at these amazing income reports and dream of what you could do with an extra $100,000 or more a month, it’s also interesting to look at what types of tools these sites are spending their money on to help them reach these levels. At the same time, trying to replicate their efforts by buying thousands of dollars in Facebook ads isn’t likely to work out too well for you. Instead, it’s all about mixing the organic with the paid and growing steadily. Then, as you start to make money, you can reinvest those funds into growing your blogging profits like those at the top of these roundups.
Behind my income report
I’m pretty sure that, when it comes to income reports, your numbers are supposed to go up, not down. Alas, the faithful spring that was Dosh referral money has continued to slowly dry up. In September, only one stranger used my code —but hey, $5 is $5.
Speaking of $5 (or almost), display ad revenue reached a new high last month. Growing 75% from the previous record of $2.53, AdSense brought in a whopping $4.45 for the month. All joking aside, Money@30 did reach a fairly significant milestone in September as my little site saw more than 3,000 visits in a month for the first time. To me, this is a nice start and I’m excited about some of the plans I have in the works to keep that number growing.
That wasn’t the only achievement I’ve seen as of late. In previous editions of this roundup, I’ve spoken at length about my quest to obtain YouTube Partner status for my Money@30 channel. Well, as of this week, I took one massive leap toward reaching that goal as I surpassed 1,000 subscribers! I can’t tell you how excited I am about this mini-milestone and the fact that people seem to actually be watching the content I’ve been working to create over the past several months. From here, YouTube says it could take about a month to review my channel and, if all goes well, hopefully I’ll be able to start adding a couple more dollars to my AdSense totals.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at how other personal finance bloggers are monetizing their sites and I look forward to creating future editions. As I mentioned at the top, if anyone knows of other sites I should include in my roundup or if you’d like to have your personal finance blog income report featured, please feel free to reach out to me or post a link in comments below. Until next time, happy blogging!