The first month of 2018 was a doozy! I didn’t get back to Mexico City until January 8th, then our internet didn’t work for a week. Then we got notice from our landlord that we’d have to move out of our apartment by the end of the month a week before the month ended.
The fact that I managed to get ANY work done this month is actually fascinating, nevermind that I still hit my targets for Copywriting and smashed my goals for blogging. It just goes to show a few really solid days of work and some serious time management is all you need as chaos reigns around you.
If you’ve been following along with my income reports for a while now, you’ll notice that this one is slightly different. One of my hopes for this year as my blogs and side businesses grow, is that these will continue to be a huge help to those of you that read them. I am going to be sharing A LOT more information in these income reports in the coming months with everything from income and expenses to how much I charge for different jobs and how much traffic my websites are getting. I also thought it might be interesting to some people to know how many hours I work throughout the month.
I just want to give you a full picture of how I’m making all of this work because I think there aren’t enough people talking about that in the travel writing and travel blogging sphere. I know that I’ve read that sort of information from other lifestyle, family, and finance bloggers, what they charge for their services doesn’t always work in the travel industry.
How I Worked Towards My 2018 Goals in January
- Publish an eBook (preferably by the end of February). I have done a TON of work on this ebook this month and have realized how much more work I need to do in order to make it the best possible product that I can. I am SO excited about it and that makes working on it so easy.
- Get to 50,000 page views (currently at roughly 25,000). I have worked really hard on creating SEO-focused content this month and building up my calendar for the next few months with tons of helpful posts that will rank well on Google (that way more people can find them!). Also this month I hit a HUGE milestone and hit over 35,000 pageviews! Woohoo!
- Join better-paying ad companies. I am 300 unique views away from joining a better ad program. I’m hoping I can keep my numbers up this month so that I can join a different ad program.
- Build my Youtube channel and begin earning $500+ This has hit a bit of a snag since this month YouTube have changed their rules a bit. In order to monetize your YouTube channel now, you need to have at least 1,000 subscribers and quite a few hours of watch time, so I feel sort of like I’m back to square one at the moment. I’m still going to create content when I have good ideas and when I think it will help people, but I’m not going to focus as much energy on this at the moment.
- Increase affiliate income to regularly earn over $300 a month. I definitely worked towards that this month with a great post that is already doing well with my readers.
- Increase freelance income and reduce copywriting work to a minimum (with the goal of eliminating it completely by the end of 2018). I didn’t do much to help this cause this month. I am still relying heavily on my copywriting work.
- Begin regularly earning over $3,000 a month. I am working hard on most of the above so that I can make this a reality very soon.
How Many Hours I Worked in January
I think this is a helpful new addition to the income reports. I often get asked how many hours a week I work and to be honest, I could definitely be working more, but that’s not really my goal with all of this. Freelancing is a lifestyle choiec for me and I don’t want to be strapped to my laptop 24/7.
I didn’t work for the first week of January. The second week I worked roughly 12 hours the entire week simply writing blog posts and catching up with clients to see what work they wanted for the month. The third and fourth weeks of the month were pretty hectic and where I made most of my income. For those weeks I worked a solid 6 hours Monday to Thursday and about two hours on Friday. That’s about 26 hours a week. That left the rest of January from the 29th to the 31st. I worked an additional 6 hours on those three days.
That means, for January I worked about 50 hours in total. That doesn’t include the time I spent posting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, throughout the week and filming my videos on the weekends. I am solely counting hours in front of the laptop.
Blog Traffic Report for January
I think giving you some information about how much traffic I’m receiving can help fellow bloggers to put into perspective how much I’m earning versus my traffic. While numbers aren’t everything, they do play a big role in earning money as a blogger.
January was my biggest month of traffic to-date. I am so pumped to have hit over 35,000 page views in January. I know from last year, that January is one of the highest traffic months of the year, so it likely won’t stay this high for ages, but it’s exactly the boost I needed to start the year off. Here is a screenshot of my Google Analytics for January.
Blog Posts in January (and Why I Wrote Them)
I thought I would start being more open about the thought that goes into every post I write. I think it’s something that often gets overlooked, but I’ve learned over the past few months that simply writing whatever comes into my head is not actually a great business model.
I usually consider a few things when I’m about to write a post or when I’m coming up with ideas for the coming weeks. The first thing I do is go to KeySearch to find out what the best keywords are for that idea. So for instance, if I want to write a packing list for winter in the UK, I’ll head to KeySearch and put in different combinations of titles or keywords for this post until I find one that I feel I can rank for on Google.
SEO-focused posts this month included:
- Uber in Mexico City
- The Most Beautiful Towns in the Peak District
- 7 Towns in the Lake District Worth Your Time
If I really want to write the post and it looks like it might not rank very well on Google, I go to Pinterest and I use the search bar there to see what the competition is for a post like that on Pinterest. If there aren’t many options for it, I’ll write the post and create 4-5 different pins for Pinterest with different keywords so that my new post is found easily on Pinterest rather than Google (always remember Pinterest is a SEARCH TOOL!).
Pinterest-focused posts this month included:
The last thing I think about when writing a post is whether or not it is focusing on a specific product or tool where I can include an affiliate. One of my big goals for 2018 is to triple my affiliate income and in order to do that, I need to offer valuable reviews and references to good quality products and services that I have tested out myself.
Affiliate-focuses posts this month included:
January 2018 Income
I only worked for three weeks this month and still managed to earn well over my $2,000 monthly goals. While my goal is to obviously increase that number this year, it has now become my base income which I know is more than enough to not only survive on but also to save with while living in Mexico.
- Copywriting: $1,766
- Freelance Writing: $500
- YouTube: $20 (due to having less than 1,000 subscribers, YouTube will be shutting off my monetization in two weeks, but I’ll continue to work on growing this channel).
- Blog Advertisements: $43.45
- Affiliate Marketing: $171.80
Total Income for January 2018: $2,501.25
January 2018 Expenses
I didn’t make any new investments this month, but have a few ideas in mind for February, so hopefully I can share some new services and conferences with you in March.
- KeySearch: I obviously cannot stop talking about this incredible SEO tool. I can’t say it enough – it has truly changed the game for me. I have had a huge increase in traffic over the past four months and I will continue to pay for this service until I no longer feel it is helping me. Get a free month of KeySearch with this link.
- ConvertKit: I have been using ConverKit now for about 5 months and I keep finding new reasons to love it. I have created several different automated sequences that are a lot more helpful to my readers and target specifically what they want. I have a Mexico City email list, a digital nomad email list, a list of people who want to receive my personal monthly newsletter, and a list of people who are interested in general travel tips and updates. This has massively increased my open-rate as reduced unsubscribers. It has also helped increase my affiliate income – much of which comes from my email list. Learn more about ConvertKit here.
Lessons Learned From January
This month has been utter chaos. It has helped me learn a lot about the way that I work. It made me realize that I can accomplish a hell of a lot if I set strict timetables for myself. I was actually more productive with less time this month and I need to carry that into the coming months as I begin to have more work on my plate.
Although I’ve been putting myself out there on the internet now for almost eight years, I still find it difficult to deal with negative comments. This month I learned that I don’t need that negativity in my life and I don’t owe anyone a response. Ever since starting my YouTube channel, I’ve had to seriously limit what I read and how often I check things.
The trouble is, some people ask genuine questions and I want to help them and answer their questions, but unfortunately, due to the sheer amount of trolls on YouTube, I’ve had to shut off notifications for all of my comments and stop reading them altogether. If you have left me a comment on YouTube, I apologize – please contact me on Instagram or via email and I would be happy to help.
I also started using Instagram stories a lot more. I’ve been using it as a way to connect with people and it has been really enjoyable. Sometimes I forget that it’s not all business all the time and that I should try to enjoy social media in the same way non-bloggers do. By looking at it as a way to connect with people, it has stopped feeling like a chore and has actually increased my followers and interaction immensely.
Tasks for February
Instead of referring to them as goals, I’m going to start focusing on accomplishing specific tasks by the end of each month. These tasks relate directly to the overall 2018 goals I’ve set for myself.
- Create at least one affiliate-focused post
- Publish at least one SEO-focused post per week.
- Create automated emails for my digital nomad email list.
- Finish the whole introduction section of my ebook as well as two chapters.
- Pitch for at least one new freelance client.
I hope you guys found this enormous new income report to be helpful. Let me know if there is any other information that I can share that would make this even more helpful for you in the coming months. There’s no point in writing these things if you aren’t finding any value in them!
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