July 2016 Traffic and Income Report
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
- 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.
hi abby and donnie! i am anne from Philippines. i am planning to have a blog soon but FEAR is constantly stopping me. but your courage and diligence push me to give it a go. i even bought your ebook and learned a lot! you have been such great inspiration! i hope when i’ll finally be able to set it up, you can have a visit, too.
Yes, definitely let us know… We’d love to check it out! Fear is so normal and the more you post, the more confident you will become! One day at a time! Have a great week, Anne and happy blogging!
Always a great read, thank you for keeping us updated on your income and progress! I’ll forward this to my hubby and ask him if he’ll be willing to help me answer emails 😉 He will have to work on his feminine tone 😉
And indirectly I’m a part of your income report too! I’m an affiliate for your Framework book – so thank you!!
I want to start publishing income reports, but the only thing that prevents me is the fear of not growing the next month. When did you feel you were ready to start showing the world your income reports? 🙂
I think that fear is good. We published our first one after an exciting month for us when one of my posts on going paperless blew up and we made a lot of affiliate commissions.THEN, think it went down for three or four months after that! It’s a journey! Rarely will anything be up every single month. Honestly I think income reports are more interesting when things don’t always go smoothly.
Love the concept behind your Blog By Numbers eBook! Such a neat idea.
Awww, thank you so much for replying Donnie! And for checking out my ebook – that’s a huge compliment! 🙂 I eagerly wait for you to publish the income reports every month – it’s exciting to be on the journey with you and Abby! Keep up the awesome work!
New to your blog and enjoying the income reports. Keep up the great work.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Holly! I’m so glad the income reports have been helpful for you! Hope you’re having a great weekend!
I’ve recently signed up to your blog and am finding it so useful! My youngest (triplets) are about to start school so I’m hoping to start spending some proper time growing my blog. I was just wondering what one piece of advice you’d say would be the most useful for a newbie hoping to start making some income (however small) from their blog? I haven’t even put adverts on it yet or anything, so any advice appreciated 🙂 Thanks!
Hi, Sarah! The very first methods of monetization I used were ads via Google AdSense and the Amazon affiliate program. Then I expanded from there. I hope this helps! Have a great day!
I just started my blog, I’m probably not very good at it yet, but your posts have been so helpful to me. You’re also such an inspiration!
Thanks so much for your sweet words, Vanessa! I’m so glad the posts have been helpful to you. Blogging is such a process… Just get a little better each day! 🙂 You can do it!
Love the tip about Help Scout. I’ve checked them out before, but thought it was for a full customer service team. Love hearing how you use it with Brittany. My VA is starting next week and now I feel a little more comfortable handing over the keys to my email! Thanks Donnie and Abby.
Yay! They have a great app as well which is SO helpful. Hope you love it as much as we do! Have a great day, Jackie!
I got my blog email inbox down to zero these past couple weeks and it’s been great. It is sometimes hard to keep up with managing all that come in. I very much appreciate the income reports and have thought about doing my own as I try to grow and focus my blog. I like the idea to show the RPM and email subscribers in a chart. You all are so inspirational and wish you much continued success.
You’re too sweet! Thank you, Tanya! So glad the income reports have been helpful to you! Have a wonderful day!
I still do the majority of tasks on my blog myself, and I’m thinking about outsourcing more so that I can have more free time. I hear about so many bloggers who only work 20-30 hours a week and I want that to be me one day, haha!
A girl can dream, right? 🙂 If you are able, I highly recommend it… it has been such a life saver! Have a great day, Michelle!
Your income reports are the most transparent thing I’ve seen on blog monetization so far, and I want to thank you for them. In fact, your site probably triggered my interest in blogging seriously, and eventually I signed up for a paid blogging course (Serious Bloggers Only), and getting a domain name (I’m still trying to decide on the best website hosting service).
But anyway, I’ve been a subscriber for months now, even though I’m not even planning on decorating my home!
Aw, thank you so much! I’m so glad they’ve been helpful for you! Hope you’re having a great weekend!
Great progress this month even though you may have been less productive than usual. Thank you for sharing about HelpScout! That will be really useful for me in the future!
I love how honest you are! I actually feel like I can trust you and your such a huge inspiration. All your blog posts are so helpful! I just started my blog a month ago and I really hope I can get to succeed like you have! Thank you for your time and effort ♡
Thanks so much, Janett! I’m so glad it was helpful for you! Have a wonderful weekend!
I have been considering starting a website for so long but the process seems so daunting. This coming from a girl who made all A’s in college haha. I’ve just never dabbled much in computer or advertising anything but I can research, and write like a champ. I am a single mom of four. I have a full time job, sports, cooking, cleaning, etc. I recently decided I am tired of being “owned” and mistreated by my employer. It’s time to do this. My question is-Do you, especially Donnie, have a checklist of business steps you take each day or each week to keep things running smoothly? I know I will need to spend at least 30-60 minutes a day writing content and 30 plus for editing. How much time do I need to set aside for building opt-in pages, gaining subscribers, seeking affiliates, etc? I’m on my own and have no clue how much sleep Ill need to give up for this portion of it lol. My goal is to gain 15,000 subscribers in 6 months and be earning at least $3300/ month after expenses, consistently. This would allow me to leave my current full time disaster. My website focus will be relationships and improving self worth. Thank you so much and congratulations on the new home and such a beautiful family. God bless!
Great questions here! You write well… you’ll be great at blogging if you stick to it. I would say that early on you should be spending 75% of your time on content (taking pictures, writing, editing, outlining, etc..) and 25% on other random business tasks like social media, email marketing, responding to email, tech issues, etc. Over time that may switch to more of a 50/50 split.
Once you get started let us know!
Thank you so much! I just ordered a new computer. I have enrolled in two of your e-courses. I love to write but feel rusty 🙂 I also have zero social media skills. Seriously, I still have not hopped aboard the Facebook express, Twitter train, or claimed my 15 minutes of You-Tube stardom haha. My 14yr old says I like to text so Twitter might be a good place to dip my toes. I probably won’t launch my site until Thanksgiving time. More research to do so I don’t completely fall or get discouraged. Again, thank you for all the information, honesty, and for paying your success forward. So many of us desire the freedom to control our own time! God Bless you and the boys?
Congratulations on another great month on income! I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from your blog and I hope one day I can have the same impact. Thanks!
So glad it’s been helpful for you!
I really like reading income reports, they are really inspiring. I’m curious though, what do you use for bookkeeping expenses?
Can you pls tell me what is the income from bluehost in the above list i.e Bluehost – $11,400
Hi, Soumun! Our Bluehost income is from people using our affiliate link to sign up for Bluehost. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!
Abby, I’m curious to know the average conversion rate from your mini email courses to sales for your ebook, simplify. How many subscribers who enroll the mini email course actually end up buying the product?
Great work with your blog!!
Do you get good engagment using Meet Edgar? I tried it and LOVED it, but hear so much about lower engagement with third-party schedulers! Would love to hear your opinion!
I feel like my engagement and reach has stayed the same with Meet Edgar, which pleasantly surprised me! I definitely saw a dip in reach when I was using Buffer and Co-Schedule, but that was a while ago, so maybe they’ve fixed that by now. I love that with Edgar I can set up a library of posts and then just have it on loop– I’m all about set it and forget it! Ideally I would schedule everything directly from FB because I know they like that the best, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day, so Edgar has worked well for me. I hope this helps!
If only I could get 1% of what you are getting in your blog, I would be the happiest in the whole world at that moment.
Encouraging reports you publishing Abby! Keep them coming.
Aw, thanks Lee!