These posts are a way for me to share the ups-and-downs of working for myself, of trying to take my business off the ground, of how to make money as a digital nomad, or whatever you want to call it. They’re a way of holding myself accountable every day because I know at the end of the month I’m going to have to tell you what I’ve done to be better.
You can read all of my previous income reports here.
February 2017 Income Report
February was a slow month. The work that I was so excited to be doing in January basically dried up as quickly as it had appeared. It left me scrounging for freelance work and hustling for affiliate sales.
Such is the life of a freelancer.
That being said, it was a good month to really focus on my websites and to plan for the next few months. I’ve spent a lot of this month analyzing statistics, reviewing what I’ve been doing and figuring out how to improve both of my websites. I am really focused on producing the very best content that I possibly can on here and over on Collecting Labels.
After such a spendy month last month, I kind of subconsciously cut back on my spending in February. I want to try to increase my organic Facebook growth a bit more, so I shied away from any ads or boosting of posts. Instead, I focused on posting tons of different types of content – videos, blog posts, photos, links to other posts – and tried to figure out what did the best.
I’m already starting to wonder if I really need a Virtual Assistant or not. I definitely have a lot more free time to focus on creating content now that I have someone to handle my social media, but the control-freak side of me struggles with this on the daily. I’m going to give it another month and see how I feel about it then. This month I spent $48 on my part-time VA.
Still using Mailchimp, still happy with it. I’ve started playing around with the plugin a bit more and, as you can see at the bottom of this post, adding email collection boxes around the website. Somethings as simple as that has already increased my email list by 50% in the last 20 days or so. As always, it costs me $15 a month.
I bought a somewhat expensive eBook, How I Went From 17K to 350K+ Monthly Page Views in 9 Months, on the recommendation of Silvia of Heart my Backpack. It was a great investment actually and perhaps the best purchase I’ve made to educate myself on how to grow my blog. It has actionable steps to take to increase traffic and create a more cohesive brand.
If you’re looking for a way to organically increase your traffic and still stay loyal to yourself, your blog and the brand you’re trying to build, I highly recommend this. It cost me $25.
Total Expenses: $88
I don’t know if I’m somewhat embarrassed for not investing more into the websites, or if I’m impressed for not wracking up a huge bill for myself! I think this is likely to increase quite a bit over the next few months as I focus on making the website faster (for SEO) and probably changing the appearance of the website around a bit.
Part of me wishes that this section would become more consistent so that I could have solid jobs that are generating “steady” income (whatever that means). At the same time, the ways in which I aim to make money change so much, that that’s probably not going to happen anytime soon.
I did quite a bit of freelance work this month with a few different websites that I come back to often. It’s mostly travel writing, which obviously I enjoy. Although I’d ideally like to start pitching for bigger payouts, it’s good to have this work to fall back on when things are slow on other fronts.
This month I made $350 on freelance writing.
All that copywriting I was doing last month quickly came and went. I made a whopping $80 doing some copywriting for my usual client.
I’ve started trying to take less low quality (and low paying) sponsored content across both of my websites and while I thought this would negatively affect my income, it’s actually meant I’m working with higher quality and higher paying companies. Who knew. I’ve also started charging in British Pounds instead of dollars. This month I made $200.
I also managed to work with SocialPubli again this month earning another $25. If you haven’t already heard of them, they’re a site that helps bloggers and companies connect. The work is mostly across social media platforms, not blogs – at least all the jobs I’ve gotten so far have been this way.
You guys – I made $10 on Youtube this month! TEN DOLLARS. Last month I made $1.27! I can’t believe it. I can’t believe people are actually watching my videos. This video has over 1,000 views! I know that’s not much for some people, but I am just so pumped to see this growing so much.
I really love making videos and seeing my awful sunglass tan across my nose in HD. I can’t believe I didn’t start making videos earlier, but discovering how much I enjoy the whole process from filming to editing to interacting with people who are watching has been a revelation. I definitely have so much more to learn, but I’m really enjoying this creative outlet.
After taking Michelle’s course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing last month, I have been working my butt off to implement her strategies while still staying true to myself and my readers. I’m still trying to find the balance between recommending things that I truly love without making my readers feel like I’m shoving sales down their throats.
This month I made a measly $43.
I’ve started sprinkling a few ads throughout the website in a way that I hope isn’t totally obtrusive and annoying. As my page views increase, I obviously hope this will become a stronger stream of income. For now, it’s sitting pretty at $5 for the last three weeks since I’ve started adding them.
Total Income: $713
A decrease of $18.27 from last month
This Lifestyle in Review
It’s frustrating sometimes. I feel like income-wise I’m in nearly the same place I was eight months ago when I started this whole thing. But when I look back at how I was making money then, I’m definitely encouraged to keep going. I’m no longer managing people’s social media or writing on topics that make me dread sitting down at my laptop just to make a few dollars.
I find myself doing work that I not only enjoy, but that I’m proud of. I’m working with interesting people, I’m writing about travel every single day (the me of a year ago would have KILLED for this to be true), I’m learning about SEO and web design and html coding and I kind of can’t believe how cool that all is (that I’m learning it I mean, the info itself isn’t all that cool tbh). Sometimes I have to remind myself how far I’ve come instead of constantly focusing on how far I still have to go.
It’s tough. It’s tough to get up each morning and think about how I can not only make this website better for all of you but also how I can leverage that to keep this location independent lifestyle going that I adore so much. I know that while $700 a month in Mexico City is more than enough, it won’t last me very long in other countries that I dream of exploring.
And so I wake up each day and learn more. I write and write and write some more. I pitch and get denied and then sit in my pajamas feeling like I’ll never be good enough. And then I do it all again.
Because dammit I love it.