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My Blogging Journey: Online Income Report & How I’m Able To Work From Home This Summer

Blogging Income Report

Last month (June 2018) marks 1 year since I monetized my blog. I’ve never before shared the journey (and very humble success) of my blog and figured in honor of my 1 year blogging anniversary, now’s the time. The purpose of this post is not to brag about money I’ve made or any small success my blog has had, but rather to encourage other new bloggers or those interested in starting a blog that is IS possible to make money through a blog.

I will not tell you that you’ll make thousands within the first few months of blogging (as I was falsely told). I will, however, share my honest story in hopes of encouraging anyone who wants to start a blog as a side hustle and make some extra money to supplement your income, and have fun doing it! 🙂

My Blogging Story

My blogging journey has been just that… a journey.

Let me start by saying this, when I first started a blog, every article written by successful bloggers made it sound like you could make thousands within your first few months blogging with little effort. Boy was I was in for a wakeup call.

A Little Background On My Life At The Time…

When I first started my blog in 2017, I was making a supplemental income as a substitute teacher to my husband’s primary income. It wasn’t great money, and I subbed in a difficult school district that gave me anxiety on a daily basis. To be honest, I was quite miserable in my job. Because of this, I was dreaming of ANY other way to make money doing something that I didn’t greatly dislike.

I’ve always enjoyed writing and loved the idea of starting a blog, but with college and all, I had never felt the time was right. So with the above circumstances present in my life (substitute teaching in difficult schools with meager pay), I figured what better time to start. On days I couldn’t get a sub job, I could blog. I had secret hopes that eventually I would make enough with my blog to stop substitute teaching altogether.

In addition to my substitute teaching job being less than ideal, my husband worked odd hours and I rarely got to see him, so the idea of being able to work from home and see my husband more played a role in my final decision to launch my own blog.

They Don’t Tell You How Hard It Is To Actually Make Money With A Blog

But let me tell you, it was much, much harder than I thought it would be. I spent day and night on my blog in those first few months. Honestly, an unhealthy amount. It was constantly on my mind. There was so much that went into launching and growing a money-making blog. I constantly felt like there weren’t enough hours in a day to accomplish what I wanted to. And no matter what I did, it felt like my blog was growing at a snail’s pace and I wasn’t making a single cent.

But I persisted. I worked HARD. And my sweet husband supported me so well during this time. He would encourage me, ask how my blog was doing all the time, share my posts, and tell me to keep going during the many emotional breakdowns I had when I wanted to throw in the towel.

My goal for my blog was not to just write my thoughts for people to read. I wanted to make money with my blog while simultaneously helping my readers.

Okay, So You Might Be Thinking, What Even Is “Blogging”?

For those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile now, you know I write about faith related topics, marriage, health and fitness, and personal finance/frugal living. Most people are confused by the term “blog” because they think a blog is some type of online journal where the blogger writes daily on whatever they feel like writing about.

There may be some blogs like that, but most blogs you’ll come across these days exist to make an income, while ALSO helping their readers by sharing knowledge, offering advice, suggesting helpful products, selling their own services, etc.

I dreamed of one day having my blog be successful enough (in my mind, that would mean making enough income to supplement my husband’s income sufficiently) to work from home when we have children. Or at least have that option to work from home if I wanted to (whether or not I decide to go back to work after I have kids, only time will tell).

That’s why I worked so darn hard on this blog. I wanted to do whatever it took to get to the point where I could work from home and make enough to justify it.

Success Takes HARD Work

Six months into launching my blog, I still hadn’t made a single cent. I had purchased blogging e-books to educate myself on blogging, watched just about every free YouTube video ever made on how to blog successfully for an income, and visited as many successful blogs as I could to investigate what they were doing well that made them successful so I could try those strategies with my own blog.

I was spending 40+ hours each week educating myself on how to blog and working on my blog. This included working through blogging courses and taking notes/applying strategies as I went, writing posts and editing them, growing my social media platforms, growing my Pinterest, making graphics for my blog posts so people could share them on Pinterest, working on SEO (search engine optimization) for my posts, editing the layout of my blog to make it user friendly, the list goes on. and on. and on.

So you can imagine the frustration I felt.

When that 7th month rolled around, it finally happened. I was eating breakfast at our little table with 3 un-matching chairs in our 580 square foot apartment. (Yes, broke newly weds described us well). 🙂

My phone alerted me with a notification that I had made money through an app called Ibotta (which I have been using for over a year now).

Somebody had signed up through my referral link and used the app to save money on their grocery purchases. I had made a whopping $5.00.

You would think I had won the lottery, because I kid you not, I started bawling. Like UGLY CRYING bawling because I had FINALLY done it. I FINALLY made money with my blog.

I ran into my husband’s lap and just sat there laugh crying with tears streaming down my face until he was convinced he had married a psycho. They were extremely happy tears.

Because after 1000+ hours of working my tail off on that blog, I had finally successfully made money.

Fast forward 10 months from then, and I’m still making money with my blog, it’s just a tad larger income now 🙂

But Hard Work Pays Off

I now work less than 1 hour per week on my blog (I’ve been hired as a third grade teacher at my dream school – also the school I grew up going to – and have put my blog on my back burner for now) but my blog continues to make money.

As difficult as it was to start making money with my blog, all those articles and blogging courses weren’t lying when they said blogs can make passive income. I’m able to make money each month from posts I wrote months ago. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to work hard on a post, hit publish, and reap the benefits for many months to come.

I also became a freelance writer (I write blog posts for other blogs and get paid for it) for two guys who started their own super successful blogs (I’m talking 6 figures per year). This dream opportunity to continue supplementing my income from home was all thanks to my blog.

One of the guys came across my blog through Pinterest, liked my writing style, and asked me to start writing blog posts for their blogs for pay. I gratefully agreed and have been writing for them since January 2018.

Then, in May 2018, I began working as a virtual assistant for them, doing behind the scenes work for their blogs. All of these opportunities would not have happened had I never started my own blog.

I thank God all the time for these answered prayers. A year ago, I never would have dreamed that I’d spend the entire summer working from home because of my blog. The freelance writing and virtual assisting opportunities truly fell in my lap and I 100% credit God for working all of that out.

I prayed a lot for this blog in the early months of launching and creating my content. I truly believe God has blessed my hard work and gave me the desires of my heart – the opportunity to work from home so I can prepare for full-time teaching in the fall, spend time with my family who’s visiting from all over the country this summer, and spend time with my husband who works an odd schedule. With a normal summer job, I wouldn’t have the flexibility to do all those things. I am very thankful.

blogging income report

This page contains affiliate links, but I would never recommend something I don’t love and use myself. If you want more information, please visit my disclosure page. 

My Blogging + Side Hustle Income Growth From September 2017 – June 2018

I’m going to share with you the growth of my blog from that first month I made money (September 2017) all the way up until the present. At the end of the income report, I’ll share with you each affiliate I work with in detail in case they might be a good fit for your blog and you want to know more about them. I’ll also explain in detail each of my “side hustle” incomes in case you also might be interested in giving them a try. Enjoy! 🙂

Just a quick disclaimer: I’m not sharing the money I’ve made out of pride, thinking I’m rich, attempting to show off my (still meager) income, or any other reason relative to those. I felt it was finally time to share my blogging journey to those who are interested in blogging themselves to show that it IS possible to make money working from home. If I can do it, ANYONE can do it. A year ago, I made $0.00 online and knew NOTHING about blogging. Now my story looks a little different.

There are some bloggers who work full time from home on their blogs and make 6 figures per year, and some even make over $100,000 per month online, and I’m blown away by them! I by no means think I’m doing everything right or think I’m something to brag about. I’m not. I’m just having fun and making a little money on the side while doing it 🙂

Okay, phew, now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive in. 🙂

Money Spent On My Blog From June 2017- July 2018:

-$106.20 – Website Hosting (covers 3 years)

-$30.00 – domain name (writeyourstory.site) (covers 2 years)

-$32.00 – Pinterest e-book by Carly (highly recommend if you want to understand how to use Pinterest to grow your blog and make money)

$58.20 – Genius Blogger’s Toolkit (highly recommend; it’s only available in October and offers 50+ e-books and blogging resources to learn hyow to blog for income) (shoot me an email using my contact form if you’re interested in purchasing the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit – I’ll send you an email with the link to the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit when it becomes available in October)

$37 – Carly’s Affiliate Marking e-book – Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers – Everything You’re Missing”Also highly recommend this book if you want to learn how to successfully make money with affiliate marketing) *(I was a part of the test class for the course which was discounted)*

$263.40 Total Spent Towards My Blog and Blogging Education 

Money Earned Through My Blog From June 2017- July 2018:

SEPTEMBER 2017 Online Income Report –

(not including nannying or substitute teaching)

Blogging Income –

  • Google Adsense: $10.06
  • Ibotta: $35.00
  • Affiliate for Carly’s Pinterest e-book: $25.60 (2 books sold)
  • Tailwind: $15

Side Hustle Money –

  • Poshmark: $83.00

Product Testing –

  • Bzz Agent: Reebok Running Shoes, Reebok Shirt, Reebok Capri workout pants ($150 value)

Total Extra Income: $318.66

OCTOBER 2017 Online Income Report –

(not including substitute teaching)

Blogging Income –

  • Ibotta: $25
  • Amazon: $3.98
  • Airbnb: $20 earned ($140 pending)
  • Google Adsense: $8.45
  • Groupon: $10

Side Hustle Money –

  • $0.00

Product Testing –

  • $0.00

Total Extra Income: $67.43

NOVEMBER 2017 Online Income Report –

(not including substitute teaching)

PAGEVIEWS – 5,001

Blogging Income –

  • Groupon: $10.00
  • Ebates: $64.56
  • Ibotta: $10.00
  • Amazon: $25.66
  • Flexoffers: $14.00
  • Google Adsense: $18.96
  • Shopkick: $10.00

Side Hustle Money 

  • Poshmark: $32.75
  • MyPoints Survey: $25.00

Product Testing –

  • $0.00

Total Extra Income: $210.93

DECEMBER 2017 Online Income Report –

(not including substitute teaching)

PAGEVIEWS – 4,569

Blogging Income –

  • Amazon: $51.09
  • James Allen Affiliate: $249.00
  • Google Adsense: $12.78
  • Flex Offers: $2.80
  • Ibotta: $10.00

Side Hustle Money –

  • Poshmark: $59.00
  • Freelance Writing: $100.00

Product Testing-

  • $0.00

Total Extra Income: $484.67

JANUARY 2018 Online Income Report –

(not including substitute teaching)

PAGEVIEWS – 4,123

Blogging Income –

  • Budget Binder (my product I created): $47.94
  • Amazon: $1.50
  • Google Adsense: $12.92
  • Flexoffers: $2.00
  • Ibotta: $25.00

Side Hustle Money –

  • Freelance Writing: $270.00
  • Poshmark: $12.00

Product Testing –

  • $0.00

Total Extra Income: $371.36

FEBRUARY 2018 Online Income Report –

(not including substitute teaching)

PAGEVIEWS – 11,500

Blogging Income –

  • Amazon: $17.11
  • Google Adsense: $12.29
  • Groupon: $20.00
  • Flexoffers: $8.00
  • Ibotta: $40
  • Airbnb: $20.00 ($40 earned, $300 Pending)
  • Ebates: $17.83
  • The Selling Family: $8.50
  • Shopkick: $10.00

Side Hustle Money –

  • Freelance Writing: $80.00
  • Poshmark: $12.00

Product Testing –

  • Reebok running shoes for Luke (my husband) from Bzz Agent – ($120 value)
  • Deva curl shampoo, conditioner, and hair product from Influenster – ($75.00 value)
  • FREE essential oils from Independent Business Owner -($30.00 value)

Total Extra Income: $470.73

MARCH 2018 Online Income Report –

(not including substitute teaching)

PAGEVIEWS – 12,125

Blogging Income –

  • Flex Offers: $8.00
  • Google Adsense: $8.41
  • Ibotta: $85.00
  • Airbnb: $20 ($60 available, $360 pending)
  • Ebates: $33.94
  • Amazon: $5.95
  • James Allen: $193.00

Side Hustle Money –

  • Freelance Writing: $450.00
  • Poshmark: $20.83

Product Testing –

  • Glade Atmosphere Collection Room Spray from Bzz Agent ($5.00 value)

Total Extra Income: $830.13

APRIL 2018 Online Income Report –

(not including substitute teaching)

PAGEVIEWS – 17,811

Blogging Income –

  • Ibotta: $74.55
  • Google Adsense: $19.76
  • Amazon: $2.89
  • CJ: $10.00
  • Airbnb: $20 ($80 available, $600 pending)
  • Shareasale: $3.19
  • Budget Binder (my product): $9.98
  • The Selling Family: $8.50
  • Ebates: $50.00
  • Shopkick: $10.00

Side Hustle Money –

  • Freelance Writing: $0.00
  • Poshmark: $42.75

Product Testing –

  • $0.00

Total Extra Income: $251.62

MAY 2018 Online Income Report –

(not including substitute teaching)

PAGEVIEWS – 16,699

Blogging Income –

  • $5 meal plan: $1.50
  • Google Adsense: $15.61
  • Ibotta: $26.63
  • Ebates: $100.00
  • CJ: $7.50
  • Poshmark: $8.00
  • The Selling Family: $6.80
  • THREDUP sponsored content – $50

Side Hustle Money –

  • V.A.: $531.60
  • Poshmark $8.00

Product Testing –

  • VOXBOX from Influenster – Collagen Peptides, Liquid Turmeric, and Orange essential oil rollerball ($45 value)

Total Extra Income: $800.64

JUNE 2018 Online Income Report –

(not including substitute teaching)

PAGEVIEWS – 32,790

Blogging Income – *curiously, I worked less than 2 hours total on my blog this month. Passive income is a REAL thing 🙂  

  • Ebates: $125.00
  • $5 meal plan – $1.50
  • CJ: $20.00
  • Google Adsense: $27.78
  • Budget Binder (my product): $18.79
  • Amazon: $66.33
  • Ibotta: $155.00
  • Groupon: $20.00
  • The Selling Family: $6.80

Side Hustle Money –

  • Poshmark: $25.70
  • V.A. – $1,084.00
  • MyPoints Survey – $50.00

Product Testing –

  • $0.00

Total Extra Income: $1,600.90

And There You Have It!

Now that you’ve seen my Online Income Reports for the past year and one month, let’s go a little deeper into each affiliate I share above, as well as the side hustles I love making money with.

First off: What’s an affiliate?

I am an affiliate.

An affiliate is simply somebody who refers a person to a company to make a purchase. Therefore, an affiliate link is a link to a website that will earn the owner of that link a small commission if something was to be purchased from the website the link led to.

For example, I mentioned earlier my husband bought my engagement ring from James Allen. I absolutely love my ring and I love the company James Allen. They resized my ring, clean it, and replaced a diamond that was knocked out of my band (OOPS, my fault) all for FREE.

I would feel 100% good about recommending them to others, so I do! I wrote an entire blog post about James Allen (here) on my blog. If somebody was to purchase an engagement ring or other piece of jewelry through my link I share in my blog post, I would receive a small commission since I referred that person to the company and therefore helped James Allen make money.

Make sense? 🙂

Alrighty, let’s get into what affiliates I use:

Ibotta: Ibotta is an app you use on your smart phone to make cash-back on purchases. There are 100+ stores on the app. Any time you go shopping, you can scan your receipt and get cash-back for purchases you made. You can sign up for Ibotta here and share your own code with your friends (or readers) to start receiving bonuses every time a friend makes their first cash-back purchase.

Ebates: Ebates is an online website that provides cash back to its users each time they make an online purchase with participating stores. There are 100+ stores that Ebates provides cash back and coupons for. When you sign up and start using Ebates, you can share your own referral code with your friends or readers and make anywhere from $10.00 to $25.00 for each referral when they spend a total of $25.00 at participating Ebates stores. Sign up for Ebates here and start sharing your referral code to earn huge bonuses. 

Amazon: Amazon is a fantastic affiliate for any blogger who likes to share products they enjoy using in their blog posts. Because you can find just about anything on Amazon, it’s a great way to use affiliate links AS LONG AS you know the products are quality and feel 100% good about sharing them with others. You can become an affiliate here. 

Shareasale, CJ affiliates, and Flexoffers: I combined these guys all together because they are very similar. Each one is a different company, but they all work the same. When you become an affiliate with any of these, you’ll then have a huge variety of individual companies to become an affiliate for. For example, I’m an affiliate for MyPoints Surveys (I’ve been doing surveys with MyPoints for over a year now) because I truly enjoy the company and feel good about recommending it to others. MyPoints has it’s affiliate company run through CJ affiliates. So every time you see I made money through CJ, it’s because I referred somebody to the MyPoints survey website and they created a free account. The beauty of Shareasale, CJ, and Flexoffers is no matter what your niche is, you’re likely to find an affiliate that works well for you because they all have a HUGE variety of companies to choose from. And they are all free to sign up with. 🙂

Groupon: Groupon is a deal-of-the-day recommendation service for anything from restaurants to vacations to electronics. Every 24 hours, Groupon broadcasts an electronic coupon for a restaurant or store in your city, recommending that local service while also offering you a 40% to 60% discount if you purchase that service. I use Groupon AT LEAST a few times a month if not more. I just had my oil changed at Jiffy Lube for $20 when it would’ve cost me $60 without the deal. Groupon has saved me thousands of dollars over the years. I feel great referring my readers to Groupon because I want my readers to get great deals on everything Groupon has to offer just like I do. Sign up for Groupon here and start sharing your own code with your friends and readers to earn $10 Groupon bucks when they make a purchase within 48 hours of signing up.

ShopkickShopkick is an app used to earn you points as you shop, which in return can be used towards gift cards of all kind. All you have to do is whip out your phone and scan a few items on your next shopping trip or on your receipt from purchase for “kicks”. “Kicks” are essentially points that you earn for walking into stores, scanning items, and scanning receipts. Once you earn a certain number of kicks, you get awesome rewards. I’ve earned 4 free AMC movie tickets so far and am just a couple store visits away from earning my 5th. You can set your points to earn you what you want. Choose from items such as Starbucks, AMC, T.J. MAXX, and Nordstrom gift cards, perfume, electronics, sports equipment, and more. Sign up here to start using and sharing Shopkick with your friends and readers!

Airbnb: I’ve saved hundred of dollars by staying in Airbnb’s rather than going the hotel or resort route. The beauty of Airbnb is you can choose how budget or fancy you want to go! I’ve stayed in many different types of houses, from a beautiful 5 bedroom house on the beach in Mexico to a budget apartment in Las Vegas. Read about my stay in a beautiful condo on the beach in Cancun, Mexico for under $68/night hereYou can use my link here www.airbnb.com/c/meredithl55 to get $40 off your next stay with Airbnb. Once you’ve signed up for Airbnb, you can start sharing you code with your friends and readers. When they complete their first trip, you’ll get $20 in referral credit. 

James Allen: As I mentioned above, my husband purchased my engagement ring through James Allen and I love recommending this amazing company to others. Read all about James Allen here in this post I wrote.

Product Testing:

Bzz Agent: In a nutshell, BzzAgent is a word of mouth company that sends products to it’s users to test and share with their friends through word of mouth, social media, their blogs, etc. You DO NOT have to use social media or have a blog to use BzzAgent. Luke and I have both received Reebok running shoes and some other super awesome products FREE through Bzz Agent. I highly, highly recommend this company if you want to get high quality products for free. Sign up here!

Influenster: Influester is essentially the same as Bzz Agent, but you do need to share about your products your testing on social media to continue your chances of receiving products again in the future. Sign up here!

My Other Side Hustles Mentioned:

Poshmark: I sell clothes on Poshmark as a great way to clean out the clutter in my closet often and supplement my income with my earnings. I can’t remember the last time I had to use money I hadn’t earned from Poshmark to buy new (or gently used thriftstore) clothing. It’s essentially like getting free clothes 🙂 And of course, when I don’t need any new clothing, I deposit my earnings into my bank account. Sign up for Poshmark here and use the code MEREDITHANNE26 to earn $5.

Freelance Writing: I wrote a post to kickstart your success for your freelance writing side hustle here. Enjoy 🙂

Virtual Assisting: I don’t have a post written about how to become a virtual assistant because I quite literally got lucky in becoming one and never had to take a course. (Although, I am educated on how to blog through the many courses I’ve taken in my quest to run my own blog). But, you’re in luck. I found this website that lists 30 sites that offer free training for virtual assistants. Just being honest, I’ve never taken any of these free trainings – so use them at your own risk. But I hope they help if you’re interested in becoming a virtual assistant! 🙂

If these side hustles don’t tickle your fancy, check out this post I’ve written on 12 side hustles you can start to make extra money. 🙂

Alright friends, I truly hope this post has been encouraging to you if you’re currently launching a new blog, growing your new blog, interested in starting a blog, or looking for other ways to supplement your income by working online. Feel free to drop me a line below if you have any questions, comments, or just want to say hello. I’d love to hear from you!

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Comments

  1. Sarah says

    Congrats on your success! I love your blog theme and layout. I’m curious: How did you grow your pageviews so quickly? I’m hovering around 11,000 but my goal is to get into mediavine Ad agency, so I’m not quite there yet. Thank so much!

    • MeredithH says

      Hi Sarah!

      Thank you so much. Basically I spent several months applying many strategies I’d learned from several blog courses I took (from the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit) and it all payed off once my page views started doubling! I spent a lot of time re-editing/revamping blog posts to make them better, linking related blog posts within articles (to add page views), and always having the goal to write quality content so readers will want to stay on my blog and browse other articles as well. Hope this helps! 🙂

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