Income Reports

Monthly Income Report + Moments: March 2016

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march income

Hey guys!! So I am SUPER excited to start sharing my monthly income reports here on my blog. It’s grown so much over the past year that I have started focusing primarily on food and recipes, and I’m happy to say that I’m finally at a point where I have started earning a relatively stable income from my work as a budding food photographer and freelance writer!

I figure these monthly posts will be a great way to not only share some of the ways that I earn money from my website to serve as a starting point for others, but it will also be a great way for you to get to know me a bit more personally – and hopefully in the process, I will start to learn some more about you too!

Whenever traffic has been slow or paid opportunities seem to be waning, I always look at this blog as a portfolio piece, and if you have a blog, you should definitely have the same mindset: it’s a constantly evolving showcase of your photography, writing, social media marketing skills and much more.

So without further ado, let’s get started!

This month probably yielded my highest income to date. I made a whopping $3975 from my blog this month!!! Now, I know that this sounds all fine and dandy but I have to warn you that this was an unusually high month for me, and it has taken a lot of time, hard work and effort to get to this point.

I have been blogging about 20-30 hours a week for about a year now, all while doing a Master’s degree in journalism and freelance writing on the side. It’s been very difficult but if I had a full time job I don’t think I would have ever been able to find the time or creative energy to do something like this.

First if all, here’s a breakdown of my traffic:

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 9.00.00 AM

As you can see, it’s kind of middle of the road compared to a lot of other food bloggers out there, but that doesn’t mean that my time is worth less than those who blog full time and have hundreds of thousands of page views. It also makes me more affordable for brands and companies who don’t have a big budget, but they still get quality work and attention to their product.

Here’s a breakdown of my income from this month:

  • $100 from advertising (Google Adsense, Gourmet Ads, Chicory and AOL Ads)
  • $1125 sponsored posts (clients came from a variety of PR firms and independent brands)
  • $200 freelance writing and photography work
  • $2550 photography contract (this was a project outside of my blog, but was contacted through my blog contact form for the job)

Okay, so the photography contract I received this month was HUGE, and not a typical month for me. However, I was beyond ecstatic, and it feels like all my hard work is finally starting to pay off. I think it’s also a good sign of the professional level that I’m now working at, and with some initiative on my part I could land future, similar jobs in the industry.

Even though I made a lot of money this month, I’ve been steadily making about $1200 a month from my blog between advertising, freelance work and sponsored content, so I think it’s fair to say that I really am earning a small income. For a long time, I was making only about $200-500 a month on average, and as my web traffic has built and client referrals have gone up, I’ve been able to make a low, but steady and liveable income. And you know what? I’m SUPER proud of that. I’m sure all you entrepreneurs out there can relate: when you make something out of nothing, it can be pretty exciting even if the pay is temporarily low.

So I know you’re probably wondering…Where do I get the opportunities for sponsored posts? About half of the sponsored posts I get are through content and blogger networks such as Food Bloggers of Canada and Social Fabric. I’ve also heard good things about Mode Foodie and Collective Bias. The other half of my sponsored posts are through emails directly from my site – usually PR people, brand managers and small business owners wanting me to include them in a sponsored recipe.

Recently, I have also been pitching online food publications with ideas, like the Huffington Post (it’s hard to get paid opportunities with them), Food 52 and Eating Well. Success with this has been up and down, so I will keep you posted here. I do have a Master’s degree in journalism, but there’s no reason you can’t pitch to bigger media outlets if you’re a great writer and have creative ideas that fit with their content!

I should also mention that as far as monetization goes, I also have affiliate advertising on my Shop page and my Blogger Resources pages. I have only made two sales in the three months the pages have been up (one for Bluehost, and one for Fresh City Farms), but my traffic isn’t that big yet and these landing pages are more an experiment for me as a blogger. They require very little work on my part, and I don’t really actively promote them. I will update as my traffic continues to grow and I figure out different ways to ethically promote these areas of my website.

Outside of paid work, I had many other great opportunities and foodie experiences this month:

  • I had the chance to review a restaurant in St. Lawrence Market
  • I had a beautiful evening on a patio overlooking Yonge & Dundas Square with some friends
  • I went for pho on a gloomy Tuesday after class
  • I read my friend’s first published print article in This Magazine
  • I made homemade pizza with my family and had a games night
  • I learned how to make homemade protein bars
  • I visited the Real Jerk restaurant after Rihanna & Drake shot their Work video there
  • I attended a digital media and marketing conference called Podcamp, which was hosted at my school (Ryerson). My friend & I learned a ton about SEO strategy!

Girl on Bloor March Income Report

Outside of all of these great activities, I am coming to a close with classes for my Master’s degree in the middle of April and this will open up all kinds of time for me to further devote to content building, social media strategy and audience development. It will also open up some more time for me to dedicate to finding more paid opportunities both inside and outside of the blog. I am also SUPER excited to start work on some videos for the blog – this is another great skill for me to hone and a way to diversify my income as a freelancer.

As I noted in my last post, I recently moved home to Hamilton to start paying off my student loans, and since I had been living in downtown Toronto for six years I never bought or leased a car. This is very good because I’ll now be able to save every penny, but it’s also somewhat challenging because now I am looking mostly for remote work opportunities.

Though it can be scary, I love being able to work as freelancer full time because there is always room for improvement. For the blog, my goals for the month are going to be the following:

  • Creating more branded photos with text I have purchased from Creative Market (the same text as my blog’s logo)
  • Start building editorial calendars by season with recipes that have been better researched for SEO
  • Continuing to build my email subscriber list and start sending out bi-weekly newsletters (I have been inconsistent with this)
  • Finally build a media kit and start looking for more paid opportunities
  • Start brainstorming miscellaneous financial opportunities for myself outside of the blog using skill sets I have developed through blogging (e.g. hosting cooking classes, website/social media consulting, professional meal planning, etc.)

My goal for the next few months is to ultimately start making an average of $2000 per month. Living and working out of my parents’ home leaves me without any expenses whatsoever, so this amount of money will be more than helpful in paying off my debt and saving up to move back to Toronto.

Finally, before I end this income report I wanted to include some reading that I found especially helpful, and will be guiding me in my goals for the upcoming month.

And there we are, the end of my very first income report! Phew, it was a long one wasn’t it? I know I drifted from the traditional format at times but I hope that I have ultimately been able to help in some way. How do you make income from your blog? Are you still trying to monetize? I’d love to hear some of your stories in the comments. Let’s talk moneyyyyyyyyy?

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32 Comments

  • Reply
    kalie
    April 14, 2016 at 16:12

    hi! Thanks so much for posting this. My friend (also your friend) Nicole posted it on her facebook and I really found it to be helpful and how I can grow my own website. I’ve only been doing it since November (after rebranding) and would eventually like to do it full time.

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      April 18, 2016 at 16:50

      Hey Kalie! 🙂 Sorry I seemed to have missed this comment! Let me know if you ever want to connect and talk blog stuff – I hear you live close by to me and I always love connecting with other bloggers in person!!

  • Reply
    Jessica
    April 14, 2016 at 22:06

    Great, honest report about monetizing. This is something I’m still working on improving. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      April 16, 2016 at 11:30

      Thank you Jessica, I really appreciate that! This will be a learning experience for me too as I go along so hopefully I can continue to help 😀

  • Reply
    Ashley
    April 14, 2016 at 22:15

    That is amazing! Congratulations 🙂

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      April 16, 2016 at 11:30

      Thank you Ashley!!

  • Reply
    Kristen @ A Mind Full Mom
    April 15, 2016 at 08:42

    Thank you for sharing this Taylor. I found it extremely encouraging. And I am so happy for your growth! Keep it up!

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      April 16, 2016 at 11:34

      Thanks so much Kristen! I can hardly believe it’s grown as fast as it has but I guess time flies by when you’re having fun 😉

  • Reply
    Sara
    April 15, 2016 at 13:06

    Congratulations! I loved reading this. It’s scary to think about relying upon freelancing as a primary income; I’m definitely glad you can stay with your parents and really work towards your goals! Very enlightening; I’ve been considering going part-time at my day job so I can focus more on what I truly love doing (writing/blogging). It’s always scary to take that first step though. Again, great post!

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      April 16, 2016 at 11:37

      Thank you so much Sara, I really appreciate your kind comments 🙂 It’s scary to freelance full time but I’ve never really had a permanent, full time position anywhere that wasn’t on contract so I think that maybe it’s an easier transition for me coming right from school. If blogging is something you’re passionate about and you’re in a financial position to do so, I would highly recommend taking the leap, it’s so rewarding!

  • Reply
    Jared
    April 15, 2016 at 13:32

    Great article! Thanks for writing this, I really needed to read this as someone who is just beginning to monetize my blog.

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      April 16, 2016 at 11:38

      Thanks Jared!! You will be surprised how fast it grows over a short time…the hard part is getting over those inevitable plateaus of writers block and driving traffic but if you’re dedicated and passionate I’d like to think it works out in the end!

  • Reply
    Lucy
    April 15, 2016 at 14:44

    Thanks for sharing! I’m working really hard to grow my blog, so this was super helpful.

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      April 16, 2016 at 11:39

      Thanks so much Lucy!! I actually really love the design of your blog so I’m excited to follow along and see how yours grows as well 🙂

  • Reply
    allie @ Through Her Looking Glass
    April 15, 2016 at 16:58

    Sounds like a great month all around Taylor! Congratulations!!!

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      April 16, 2016 at 11:39

      Thank you Allie!!! We will see what happens next month!

  • Reply
    Linda
    April 15, 2016 at 23:08

    Is the 87,000+ views the total amount of your blog or what you get in a month?

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      April 16, 2016 at 11:41

      Hi Linda! 87,000 views is what I get in a month – however, you’ll notice my visitors are lower than that (20,000 in a month). Driving traffic is the one thing I work really hard towards getting and it’s tough even if you have decent content & site design.

  • Reply
    Sammy
    April 16, 2016 at 17:02

    Congratulations hun 🙂 that’s a great effort! I am finding my income is more coming from Freelancing than my blog itself. But the blog is the intermediary in finding me this great work 🙂

    Good on you, so happy for you.
    Sammy | Bargainbaglady {xx}

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      April 18, 2016 at 16:49

      Thank you so much Sammy 🙂 Yes, like you said, I definitely think that a blog serves a portfolio even when you aren’t getting work and it’s so great to be able to rely on something like that in this kind of job market! Glad to hear another freelancer is making a go of it too! 🙂

  • Reply
    Shanna
    April 17, 2016 at 19:53

    Great stuff here! 🙂 Congrats on the amount; after all the hard work you’ve put in, it is well deserved.

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      April 18, 2016 at 16:46

      Thanks so much Shanna 🙂

  • Reply
    Kerisha Deans
    April 17, 2016 at 21:07

    Inspirational

  • Reply
    Hannah
    April 18, 2016 at 00:07

    Nice! That’s a fantastic month, even if the majority came from a photography contract. It’s all income! Thanks for sharing this with us, and for being so straightforward and transparent. Lots of great pieces to pull out of this post, even for a non-foodie like me.

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      April 18, 2016 at 16:46

      Thanks Hannah! Yes the great thing about Social Fabric is that they provide opportunities for all kinds of bloggers, not just foodies. I believe this is also the case with Mode (they have different sections).

  • Reply
    Shasie
    April 18, 2016 at 11:58

    Congrats girl! That’s so exciting

  • Reply
    KP
    April 18, 2016 at 20:46

    I love when bloggers write income reports because it makes me motivated to continue my blogging journey and I get to see how hard working and dedicated other bloggers are! Thanks for sharing this 🙂

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      April 19, 2016 at 10:33

      Thank you so much! I agree, I love the Pinch of Yum reports and there are a couple of other bloggers who have done them as well and they are definitely something to aspire to. I think my income will vary alot more than theirs because my traffic is lower and I am doing work outside of the blog that I am getting because of it, so we will see what happens. I love writing them though!

  • Reply
    Farida
    April 21, 2016 at 06:30

    I’m glad that food blogger has less than 100k page views and still can make money, i love the opportunities you had, the non paid ones, because I believe it’s not all about money but the networking and enjoying the process of being food blogger, i will re-read this for sure, and glad to connect with a talented food blogger like you!

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      April 25, 2016 at 10:36

      Thanks so much Farida! Glad I can provide some insight and so happy to connect with you! And yes, part of this process is definitely enjoying the work and reconnecting with wholesome food 🙂

  • Reply
    Sarah @ Accidentally Crunchy
    February 16, 2017 at 01:52

    Hi Taylor!

    I just started reading your income reports, but I love the way you wrote this one and just wanted to say thanks because I can already see that it’s going to help me with my own blogging journey.

    Possibly the most helpful income report I’ve read yet! Look forward to reading more. Am going to follow you on Bloglovin ?

    • Reply
      Taylor Stinson
      February 28, 2017 at 08:41

      Oops, this reply is a little late isn’t it?! Thank you so much Sarah, I’m so happy you’ve found them helpful! 🙂 I try to make them different but worry I ramble sometimes. I guess that’s what income reports are meant to be…talking out loud about what you’re doing hahaha

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