Welcome to my once a month income report for bloggers and freelancers. If you’re new here and want to catch up on my progress, feel free to browse my previous income reports here. If you’re looking for help on how to start your blog, or how to increase your web traffic, check out my resources page!
Oh hi thereeeeee! Welcome to this month’s income report – this time I’m just glad I was able to get it out before the end of February!🙏🏼
So January. Oh how I love you and the new budgets you bring.
If you’ve been following along with my reports, you can see that I have more than doubled my income this month, and we’re going to talk about some of the reasons I was able to do this other than the fact that I’m a complete workaholic.
I’m gonna basically give you the short answer right away: I really made brand new marketing budgets work for me in terms of pitching brands for sponsorships and getting repeat clients to come back once they received new budgets for the year. So this month’s income report theme is going to focus on everyone’s favourite topic: nabbing sponsored posts. A big part of that? Client feedback!
Let’s get this month’s income report started!
Here’s a breakdown of my income from this month: (8775.00)
- $8467.00 sponsored blog, social media and video posts
- $308.00 advertising (Mediavine + AOL)
Here’s a breakdown of my expenses from this month: ($3568.30)
- $30 Adobe Creative Cloud (I have the student discount for Lightroom, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Premiere Pro)
- $3500.00 Canon 6D body + Canon EF 100mm F2.8 L Macro lens
- $38.30 The Food Photography Book by RecipeTin Eats
This month I have decided to start showing the amount of money I’m making in Canadian dollars to better reflect the money I’m actually making. Because so many of my readers are US-based and about half of all client work is paid to me in USD, I had been previously listing my income in US dollars. Going forward, I will now be listing in Canadian dollars so you should be aware that I get more money as a result of the exchange. However, many of my business expenses (like online courses, Adobe Creative Cloud, etc.) I also have to purchase in US dollars. So you win some, you lose some.
You may have also noticed that while I had a substantial increase in sponsored post revenue, I also re-invested a lot of it in a new camera!!! I had been wanting to buy the Canon 6D for a while now and knew that if I ever wanted to grow my blog, my photography had to improve even more. So, I went out and finally bought my full-frame camera. What a difference it has made in my photography! I am over the moon happy and was so glad to start the New Year off with better equipment.
This also enables me to show brands that I’m a professional photographer, now that I have upgraded beyond the entry-level camera to a professional body and macro lens. As I continue in this blogging and food photography career path I ultimately want to start doing professional photography in the food advertising and editorial industries so I also saw the new camera as beyond even an investment in my blog, but as an investment in my entrepreneurial career.
Now before we get into this month’s traffic I want to talk about some of the reasons that I personally feel I have been so successful in securing a lot of sponsored work, despite the fact that my web traffic isn’t in the millions (yet…heheheh).
Since taking Jenny Melrose’s amazing Working with Brands course, I have been spending much more of my time pitching companies for sponsored work. I have taught myself how to create Tasty-style recipe videos so I can sell them as a premium service at a premium price, and I have also opened myself up to tons of out-of-the-box opportunities to diversify my sponsored income, from making myself available for Facebook live videos to hosting contests and beyond.
This year as I continue to make blogging and food photograpy my full-time business, I am focusing more than ever on tasks and activities that involve truly growing it, from the quality of my recipe posts to the number of ways I can continue to generate an income.
I am trying to move away from the daily tasks that distract me and don’t end up really helping to build my blog that much, such as social sharing groups. Ideally, I would hire a VA, but I’m working on this full time and am really trying to get my student loan paid off and move back to Toronto in the next year, so I can use all the money I can get.
Right now my bread and butter in terms of income is sponsorships, but I don’t want to rely on that forever as my only main income stream so I will be discussing diversification strategies and my goals for sustainable business practices in next month’s income report!
I want to share some feedback brands give me after working with me on sponsored content, and reasons they give for wanting to work with me in the first place. Below are some actual pieces of feedback I’ve had:
- “You went above and beyond what we asked. You are the first blogger we’ve worked with to repost the recipe you created for our website on yours in order to better promote your work with us.”
- “Your photos are fantastic – it’s clear you know what you’re doing.”
- “We are really focusing on content creation this year and loved what you did for us last year – we would love to have you create a couple more recipes this year too!”
- “The client was really happy with your photos and recipe idea, and the video was great too. They would like to extend the partnership by two more posts.”
- “I know I always come to you with crazy deadlines and that I can count on you to pull beautiful photos together at the last minute. I know I can rely on you.”
Whenever a reader makes a recipe and shows me the results, or if I make a Snapchat story or get a post to the front page of Foodgawker, or get a post featured in a Buzzfeed/BHG/MSN/HuffPost roundup, then I also email the brand to show them the extra value of working with me. I make sure to go above and beyond the deliverables, and I make sure to do a fantastic job on photos.
When I was first creating videos, I even threw in a surprise video every now and then for clients. I think your ability to get more sponsored work hangs on not only your talent and professionalism, but also your reputation. If you make it well-known that you’re easy to work with and that they can rely on you to get the job done on time and go above and beyond, word travels fast. About 50% of all my sponsored opportunities come from people I have worked with before, or people I have had a previous relationship with. It’s so important to me that I keep the relationship front and center when working with anyone.
I think of it this way: if I can get 3-4 new clients each month and book 1-3 pieces of sponsored content with each of them, then those are clients that have a higher chance of returning to me or referring another campaign to me (because most brands are represented by PR firms that represent multiple brands).
Then the cycle continues.