If there is one aspect of our business that I was struggling to manage, it was email. For the first few years that Just a Girl and Her Blog existed, I handled email all by myself.
And I dreaded it.
Don't get me wrong, I love interacting with readers and helping people where I can, but the volume of email was overwhelming, and I always felt like I was behind and letting people down. (Torture for the people pleaser in me!)
Eventually, Donnie saw the toll that it was taking on me and we created a better system for handling email (and saving my sanity!), and that's what we're focusing on in this month's income report.
"An income report on a home decor blog?!" you may be thinking, "How does that fit in?!" I admit, it's not something you see every day! But our hope is that by sharing what has worked for us and what hasn't, other bloggers and online business owners will be able to learn and grow their businesses as well, so that's why we publish this report once a month.
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I'll turn it over to Donnie...
Our biggest takeaway from July: With systems in place, an online business can survive (even thrive!) during inevitable periods of low productivity.
From a business productivity perspective, July felt like a lost month. Between selling our house, living with family, and going on vacation, we made very little forward progress with our business in July. Turns out that's ok! Over the years we've put some systems in place that allow us to earn an income and keep the business running with very little attention from ourselves.
Selling eBooks and digital courses is somewhat passive, affiliate income is VERY passive, but hiring an assistant is the glue that holds all this together and allows Abby and I to step away from the business for periods of time with minimal upkeep.
As most of you know, Brittany (Abby's sister) is our assistant. Besides social media, email management and customer service is her primary responsibility, and she's great at it! (She's even claimed that she enjoys it!)
We've tried all sorts of methods and services for managing email, but by far the best solution for us is the free version of Help Scout.
Here's how it works...
- People send email to one of our email addresses. These could be general questions, customer services requests, business opportunities, etc. All of this email is forwarded automatically from Gmail or Google Apps to Help Scout as "unassigned."
- Brittany is the first person to see this "unassigned" inbox. As she goes through each and every email, she has a few different options. She can delete the email if it's spam or not relevant. She can respond to the email and take care of the request herself. But what I love about Help Scout is that she can add a note to the email that only our team can see and then assign it to Abby or me, depending on the request.
- Abby and I review the email and attached note and either respond directly or add another note and assign it back to Brittany.
Using this simple system has reduced stress tremendously! Out of the dozens and dozens of emails we get every day, only a few end up being assigned to Abby or me. Brittany takes care of the vast majority of email. I can't tell you how much this has reduced our stress and freed up our time. If you're spending more than half an hour per day in your inbox, then it's time to hire an assistant to help manage your email.
For those of you that already have email help, that's great! Instead of managing email directly inside of Gmail or Google Apps, consider a customer service tool like Help Scout.
July 2016 Blog Income
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
We've been publishing monthly income reports since February of 2014. You can click here to see a running tally of past income reports. As you read this report, it's important to remember that this income didn't happen overnight. It's been a long process and a lot of work! Our blog income our first year was very minimal, and we didn't publish the first income report until we had been blogging for a little over a year.
We strive to make these reports as accurate as possible, but our business accounting does not match these numbers exactly. These reports count income which was earned during the month, but not necessarily paid out to us within that month. With many affiliate programs there is sometimes a significant delay between earning a commission and actual payment to us. We hope you find the reports helpful!
- Bluehost - $11,400 --> How to Start a Blog
- Building a Framework eBook and course - $7,631
- Brilliant Pin Promotion Affiliate - $3,974
- BookBoss - $2,364
- ConvertKit - $1,929
- List Surge Affiliate - $1,572
- Simplify eBook - $1,110
- AdThrive - $958
- Paperless Home eBook - $902
- Genesis Framework - $798
- Media Temple - $700
- Amazon Associates - $493
- Restored 316 - $238
- Siteground - $150
- Pretty Darn Cute Themes - $129
- PicMonkey - $124
- 2016 Intentional Life Planner - $70
- Flywheel Hosting - $45
- Misc. Affiliate Income - $40
- Fizzle.co - $40
- Food Photography School - $30
- Make Over Your Evenings / Make Over Your Mornings Affiliate: $24
Total Income: $34,721
- Design Work - $1,500
- Affiliate Payouts - $1,345
- Paid Advertising - $1,050
- Assistant - $891
- ConvertKit - $511 --> We We Switched from MailChimp to ConvertKit, The Best Email Marketing Services of 2016
- Autopilot - $450
- PayPal Transaction Fees - $276
- Stripe Transaction Fees - $206
- Teachable - $200
- Gumroad Transaction Fees - $131
- Tailwind - $120
- Training / Coaching - $597
- Instapage - $69
- Synthesis Hosting - $67
- Adobe Creative Cloud - $53
- Crowdcast.io - $49
- Zapier - $49
- Meet Edgar - $49
- Flywheel Hosting - $40
- Typeform - $35
- Wistia - $25
- SendOwl - $24
- CloudFlare - $20
- Board Booster - $20
- Google Apps - $15
- BackBlaze - $10
- Motion Mail Timer - $10
- Backupify - $3
- Fizzle.co - $0 (usually $35)
July 2016 Net Profit: $27,026
RPM is a metric to track revenue per thousand pageviews. This is a measure of the overall effectiveness of a blog and is a handy benchmark for comparing blogs even if they have vastly different traffic numbers.
New Posts from Just a Girl and Her Blog
- An Incredibly Organized Garage
- The Brain Dump Method of Productivity (and a FREE Printable!)
- An Inspiring and Organized Home Office
- A Styled Bar Cart Lemonade Bar
- A Beautifully Organized Living Room
- June 2016 Traffic and Income Report
- Printable Student Binder
- A Fun, Organized Garage
- The State of The Move: Some Updates
New Posts from Building a Framework
- How to Use Sales Funnels to Create Consistent Income for Your Business
- My Top 5 Interior Photography Tips for Bloggers
Action step for the month
Get email help! Time spent in our inbox is non-productive time. This should be the first aspect of your business that you hand off to someone else. If you're not ready to hire an assistant (most people wait too long!) then ask your spouse if they would be willing to help with this particular aspect of your business.
So that was our crazy July! What I love so much about online business, though, is that it is possible to put systems on autopilot so that when you've had an insanely busy couple of months like we've had, it's still possible to keep the business running smoothly.
We also can't say enough about our assistant/sister Brittany. I text her multiple times per week to thank her for saving my sanity because our quality of life has been so much better since bringing her onto the team. If it's in the budget to hire an assistant-- DO IT (even if you are a control freak like me)! It is beyond worth it.
You can see our other income reports here:
- December 2016- $41,700
- November 2016 – $40,124
- October 2016 – $51,803
- September 2016 – $33,659
- August 2016 – $44,940
- June 2016 – $32,913
- May 2016- $37,967
- April 2016 – $48,900
- March 2016 – $40,358
- February 2016 – $36,234
- January 2016 – $34,662
- December 2015- $20,441
- November 2015 – $23,663
- October 2015 – $17,639
- September 2015 – $18,225
- August 2015 – $17,162
- July 2015 – $18,334
- June 2015 – $26,041
- May 2015 – $10,593
- April 2015 – $13,322
- March 2015 – $13,887
- February 2015 – $11,138
- January 2015 – $13,991
- December 2014 – $5,841
- November 2014 – $4,920
- October 2014 – $5,330
- September 2014 – $3,396
- August 2014 – $3,254
- July 2014 – $2,659
- June 2014 – $6,956
- May 2014 – $1,620
- April 2014 – $894
- March 2014 – $1,010
- February 2014 – $2,446
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Happy blogging, friends!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.