This is the first iteration of our online income report, where we’re going to split out our income and chart our progress as we head toward $50,000 in income (outside of the podcast, see more on this post: 2017 Goals: Planning for a Productive (and Fun) Year). I’m excited to share a peek behind the curtain with you. You’ll notice that the numbers as they stand are not “holy smokes they’re making a million dollars a month.” And it’s true. We’re not. We are building toward that, however, and I hope you’ll join me. Sharing numbers now instead of waiting until we’re making big bucks makes me feel really vulnerable. But I got my start in blogging by sharing numbers that scared me, and I’m happy with where I ended up. So if you're interested in making money online, you'll like this series.
A note about our income reports: I’m only sharing the money we earned in January, not the amount of money we billed. The $ amount is lower, but it’s a more honest calculation and won’t lead to me inadvertently double counting. I’m pulling this report from Xero, which forces me to reconcile our books, which makes my commitment to sharing income numbers a win-win: you get to see our data and I get to have accounting that makes sense.
In January, we earned money in the following categories:
- Digital products
- Affiliate payments
- Display advertising
Digital Products: $321
This is my favorite category, even though, most months, it’s not where we earn most of our money. Why is it my favorite?
Because it’s as close to passive income as we get here at Stacking Benjamins. See, product creation is NOT passive, but once you have something you’re proud of, you can put it up for sale, and people can buy it, even when you’re asleep.
- Save 50 course: $303. This month, we relaunched the course that helps people learn how to save half their income. It goes through mindset (because the knee-jerk reaction to that idea is, “I could never save half my income unless I was as rich as Scrooge McDuck!”) and tactics. It’s a fun course, and we plan to launch it each January, because it goes along with setting resolutions for the new year.
- Pinterest Template mini-course: $18. This is a five-lesson course that will take you from no design to a fully branded pin design for your blog posts. It was my first experiment into small, easy-to-digest courses, and it’ll be the direction we go with courses from here on out.
Affiliate Payments: $806.65
Affiliate payments are my second favorite category because they’re also pretty close to passive income. We affiliate ourselves only with companies we think will help our readers and listeners, and when someone clicks our links, the companies reward us with a thank-you.
- SoFi: $600. When a loan is successfully funded through our affiliate link, the person requesting the fund gets $100 for using our link, and we get $200.
- ConvertKit: $136.09. There are a lot of posts about ConvertKit on this site. Start with this one: Why Switch Email Providers to ConvertKit from Aweber?
- MyFinance: $48.12. This plugin goes at the bottom of each post on Stacking Benjamins, and it’s a cool concept: they give you display ads that convert to affiliate income, which you share with them.
- Amazon: $22.43. We don’t have a strong Amazon linking program, but we do mention that if you use stackingbenjamins.com/Amazon when you go to Amazon, we get a little money. So when people think about it, they click our link.
Display Ads: $129
- AdSense: $111.80. We still have AdSense ads on a few of our sites, so every few months, we get money from Google. It doesn’t happen very often, but that’s okay. I panicked once when I saw contextual ads for companies we were affiliates of because the revenue is much lower from an ad click than an affiliate link click.
- Investing Media Solutions: $17.20. This is a display ad we have on the sidebar of Stacking Benjamins. It’s not obtrusive and it consistently pays us.
This category is somewhat of a catch-all. Sometimes we consult by doing financial plans (that’s mostly Joe, because you don’t want me to create your financial plan), sometimes it’s design work (that one is me, because you don’t want Joe doing your designs). It really depends. I categorize all work that we do for other people (instead of our own business) as consulting. You might call it freelancing in your business. I’d like to get this number down so I have more time to build the other pieces of our business.
Thanks for reading our first income report! Is this helpful? Does it go into enough detail? Are you surprised by the numbers? Remember, this is one of my companies. I’m also a partner on the Stacking Benjamins podcast (with Joe and OG), which has a sponsorship model for revenue. That side of our business is bringing in most of the money, which helps fund the projects we do over here.