This post contains affiliate links.
October has been a really great month both professionally and personally. I booked three trips this month and smashed my income goals. I made contacts with new clients and turned down SO MANY JOBS. This is the first month where I really feel pumped about almost all of the work that I’m doing and am really starting to see a lot of progress from the hours I’m pouring into this blog. I’m working less, but making more money and I’m feeling really freaking happy!
Last month I set a few goals for myself and I did well with most and changed direction on a few things too, so totally ignored some of them.
- Create one SEO-researched post per week for Eternal Expat. I’m happy to say that I totally smashed this. I’m really happy with the content that I created in October. I feel like I’m starting to find the balance between creating entertaining posts that I like to write while still being SEO focused and answering people’s questions.
- Create one video per week for my Youtube Channel. This was a bit of a fail. I’m made one video all month, but am hoping to pick this up in November. I’m also planning to do Vlogmas in December, so there will be lots more content on there between now and 2018.
- Implement more affiliate marketing into my blogs in a more conscious way. I have definitely started doing this more and I’ve written several posts for the next few weeks where I have really focused on sharing products and services that I love that also happen to have affiliate programs.
- Publish at least two posts per week on my new blog. This has sort of fallen to the bottom of my to-do list with so much other work on. I’ve decided not to put pressure on myself with this and will just write whenever I feel like it.
- Waste less time on social media – I really want to limit the amount of time I waste scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. Hmm. Yes and no. I have definitely cut back my time on Facebook, but for some reason, I’ve become super addicted to Instagram. I really love Instagram stories – making them and watching them. I am, however, being a lot more conscious about my phone usage overall and I have cut way back this month. I still have a long way to go.
- Pitch for more freelance work with the hopes of decreasing copywriting work over the next few months. Check! I’m excited about some of the new clients I will be working with in the coming months and will definitely be doing more of this in November.
- Try to hit 500 subscribers on Youtube (only 30 away!). I absolutely smashed this number! I’ve hit over 540 and am getting new subscribers every day. I love watching this platform grow!
I made a few big changes for the blog this month and even paid for a site redesign to be uploaded and ready very, very soon! Here’s what I spent my business funds on this month.
I’m loving Convertkit more than ever. The customer service is awesome and my list is growing every day. I love how I can track people’s clicks and learn more about my readers. It means I’m not sending blogging emails to people who are only interested in Mexico City or newsletters to people who only want to know about Mexico. It’s meant the number of people who unsubscribe has reduced significantly. I’m really happy with Convertkit and highly recommend it if you’re looking for an email marketing platform. This month I paid $29.
Keysearch is a tool that helps with finding good keywords to rank for on Google. In the past, I was using several different websites to find keywords and it was taking a lot of time. Even then I wasn’t entirely sure if there were enough people searching for those words to make it worth using. Keysearch totally changes that. It’s a really easy platform to use and understand and not only can I use it to find keywords for my websites, but I can find keywords for my YouTube videos, too. I paid $17 this month for Keysearch. Learn more about Keysearch here.
I finally bit the bullet and invested in Lightroom to edit my photos. I’ve been thinking about it for ages and wondering if it was going to be worth the money. I have to say, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I absolutely adore it and the way it has helped me improve my photos. One of the big problems I was having before getting lightroom was when I wanted to shrink my photos so that they didn’t slow down my website. When I did it with my old free editor, it would make the photos super blurry. Now I can shrink them down, brighten them up, crop, and sharpen them without ruining the quality of the photo. It also means I can finally shoot in RAW, something I’ve been dreaming about since I bought my DSLR two years ago. I spent $119 on the photo editor. Check out Adobe Lightroom here.
Total Expenses $165
As always, my copywriting continues to be my biggest earner, but this month I was finally able to turn down work and really focus on the copywriting clients that I enjoy writing for now, which is mostly travel related. I’m really happy with how much my blog and other income sources have grown this month and am confident that in another six months or so I’ll be able to cut my copywriting work in half.
I’ve been getting a few questions about what exactly copywriting is, so I thought I should explain for those that don’t know. Copywriting is basically when you create content for a business’s website. It usually goes on their blog, but copywriting can be anywhere on a company’s website. Sometimes I write only small blurbs that go above a clothing website’s dress page or shoe page. Sometimes I write lists and sometimes I write thorough, well-researched articles for university websites. The more I work in this industry, the more I’m asked to write SEO focused articles and understand how to write content that is easy to read or skim.
Basically – it’s any content or “copy” that you write for a company. It’s different to freelance writing, in my mind at least, because people aren’t coming to that website for the writing, there coming to that website to learn more about the product or service that that company offers. It’s really varied and while I don’t always love the topics, I learn a lot of random and interesting things and lately I’ve been able to focus more and more on travel websites now that I have a bit of experience.
This month I made $2,372 on copywriting.
I’m still working with Lonely Planet and I pitched for a few articles for other websites that I hope to work on in November and December when the copywriting work slows down for the holidays. That’s the thing about freelance writing, it ends up being quite a long process from the time you come up with your ideas to the time you actually get the go ahead and eventually see it published. I’m enjoying the chase, though.
This month I made $400 on copywriting.
This month I turned down a lot of companies that simply didn’t fit with Eternal Expat and Collecting Labels. I don’t ever want to compromise what gets published on these sites, especially for the meager pay that they usually want you to do it for. This month I made $140 on sponsored content.
Once again this number excites me. I’m seeing a lot more organic traffic and I’m focusing a lot on making sure that I am including affiliate links in almost every post I write without pushing things onto people. I’m excited for the month ahead as people prepare for Christmas. This month I made $250 on affiliate marketing.
I didn’t make quite as much on YouTube as I did last month, but it is still nice that my subscribers are growing. I’m looking forward to creating some fun videos over the next two months when I’m traveling and when I’m back in Mexico City, too. This month I made $15 on YouTube.
This is the first month where I’ve had ads up for the entire month. It’s not a ton of money since they are on-click ads, so I’m really working hard to increase my traffic so that I can join better ad programs. In the meantime, it’s better to earn a little bit than nothing at all. This month I earned $20 on ads.
Total Income $3,197
I’m pretty excited to break the $3k barrier. It’s only the third time it’s happened all year and I really wanted to have a good month since I’m pretty sure things are going to quiet down in the copywriting world in November and December. Maybe I’m wrong, but either way, it will allow me to sock a bit of money away just in case and I can spend November and December enjoying the holidays, spending time with family, doing a bit of traveling, and focusing on this blog.
Lessons Learned in October
This month made me realize that it’s totally possible to do work that you love and still make money. It’s taken me over a year to get to this point and I’m certain that in the next few months I’ll still be saying yes to the occasional work that doesn’t really excite me, but that’s okay because, for the most part, I’m writing content that is helpful and fun to write.
I sometimes have to force myself to reflect back on where I was this time last year to really appreciate how good things are and how far I’ve come.
This month, I’ve seen all of my SEO work from the last few months really come together and my traffic has shot up, mostly thanks to this post about Day of the Dead in Mexico City. While that sort of traffic is seasonal and will probably drop again, it made me really start to think about creating more content like that, things that are quite specific and are only searched for maybe two months out of the year, but that I will rank well for on Google.
I also learned that social media is fleeting. Many bloggers have been distraught recently over a possible change on Facebook that will mean business pages will no longer show up on people’s main feed. If you want to see what your favorite bloggers are posting, you’ll have to click over to a different tab. How this will actually roll out and whether Facebook will commit to it anyway is all up in the air (they’ve been testing it in certain locations).
I was pretty annoyed to read that, since I’ve been putting a lot of effort into Facebook recently, but it was a good wakeup call. You do not own anything you put on social media. You do not have the contact details of your followers on Facebook or Twitter or even Instagram, unless you creepily find them out whenever you get a new follower. The only thing that is mine to do with as I please is this website. It’s made me realize the importance of email lists and creating a community with the people who enjoy this blog in a space where we can always get in touch with each other.
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Goals for November
I’m going to really focus on Eternal Expat this month. I want to make sure I have tons of content ready as I head away towards the end of the month and for most of December.
- Continue to publish at least one SEO-focused blog post on Eternal Expat every week.
- Create at least two affiliate marketing-focused posts on Eternal Expat this month.
- Make at least two Youtube videos this month (subscribe here to see them all!)
- Get at least three weeks ahead on my content calendar so that I have a buffer while I’m traveling and can take a few days away from the computer.