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Income reports are a HOT TOPIC in the blogging world, but I have a love/hate relationship with them.

On one hand, reading the income reports of some of the world’s most successful bloggers was a motivating factor that inspired me to start my own blog.

On the other hand, they have a tendency to make bloggers (especially newbies like me!) get too caught up in the numbers, and can even be demotivating when you start comparing your earnings to someone else’s.

 

My Harsh Reality Check.

When I began my own blogging journey in late-July 2018, I was dazzled by all the glorified headlines claiming it was possible to earn thousands of dollars with a blog.

I actually started blogging thinking that I could make money faster than I could launch my eCommerce startup — and HOW WRONG I WAS! 😱

After taking this course to get started, I quickly realized there’s AN INSANE AMOUNT OF WORK that goes into professional blogging… I was shocked, and it wasn’t even my first business rodeo.

Nonetheless, I decided to proceed anyway because I genuinely enjoy creating and writing.

The Crazy Cute Co. blog was born from the motivation that I had something unique to offer to the world through my first-hand experience turning a side-hustle into a six-figure business, and overcoming the challenges of the journey away from the corporate world.

I also realized this:

To truly add value into the world, you must GIVE before you can receive. By building your business on SERVING, the financial rewards will come.Click To Tweet

 

Why I’m NOT Doing Income Reports

 

Too many people out there are looking at money coming in as the sole indicator of business success.

As a numbers girl, I don’t think this approach is wrong, but I also DIDN’T want to look at blogging this way because of these reasons:

  • I felt that it would negatively affect the quality of the content I’d be putting out there.
  • With the rise of many successful bloggers who started within the last 5-10 years, there are enough income reports already available online that I don’t feel compelled to go down this “traditional” route in 2018-2019.
  • I believe everyone needs to find their own “secret sauce” for their own unique version of “success”. We shouldn’t just blindly copy what worked for someone else without thinking about how it should apply to our own situation.

Since I’m a new blogger who is not yet making significant income from this blog, I wanted to approach this in a different way — as a PROGRESS REPORT.

 

Everyone’s Situation is Different.

That’s why comparing yourself to another blogger based on dollars alone just isn’t helpful.

'Blogging Income' depends on a variety of factors, including:
  • What niche you’re in (not all niches are created equal)
  • The amount of time you spend on your blog
  • The amount of traffic that comes to your site
  • What you’re selling (affiliates, digital products, services, courses etc.), and how they’re priced
  • How effective your conversions or call-to-actions are
  • The amount of money you’ve invested in technology, education, advertising, hiring, etc.
  • Your overall motivation for your blog, and what you hope to accomplish with it (everyone’s aspirations are different)

Based on feedback from readers, I’ve learned that people who are on the fence about blogging would find it more beneficial to get a glimpse into the actual goals and strategies that are involved in building the foundations of a blog, even before it starts bringing in money.

Obviously, I hope to eventually monetize, but it’s my best attempt to provide something realistic and insightful for you! 🤘🏻

 

Objectives of My Progress Report:

  • To show results and progression based on the “Blogging Income” factors listed above, and not just on dollars alone.
  • To document my own progress as a part-time blogger, and hold myself accountable to my own blogging goals each month.
  • To realistically show how I spend my time blogging as a mom of a 3-year-old who is also busy building up a seperate eCommerce business as my full-time gig.  It paints a real-life picture of what’s possible if you’ve got a full-time job, or are a stay-at-home parent who has a busy life and other commitments.
  • To be an outlet for my readers to share whether you’ve experienced the same struggles, challenges, and perhaps even teach me a thing or two!!!!

 

 Monthly Updates Here! 

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Current Month: October 2018

OCTOBER 2018
WHAT HAPPENED THIS MONTH:
  • Article-writing slowed down this month 📉 because of project deadlines in my eCommerce startup, and took more of my time to move it forward. 😥
  • I started THIS progress report 🎉 out of an effort to reduce overwhelm and keep myself accountable!
  • I changed the CTA of the MiloTree plugin to focus on getting visitors to download my Crazy Simple Business Plan instead of follow me on Instagram, since they added the functionality to add a photo to the desktop pop-up for e-mail!
  • I started actively reaching out to followers on Instagram 📱 to ask what kind of content they wanted to see from the blog — It was AWESOME for my overall engagement + follows! 🙏🏻 As a result, I’ll be rejigging some of the categories on my blog to make my content easier to follow.
  • I got some Fiverr VA help to manage my Instagram account and find some new and relevant accounts to follow within the mompreneur niche.  This helped me grow by almost 1100 followers this month — amazing! 🙌🏻
  • Facing my fear of video 🎥 I’ve been asked to partner with business coach Glynis Tao to participate in a virtual summit in January — a very exciting opportunity! It’s the perfect kick in the butt that’s making me want to refine my presentation skills.
    • I’ve created a few vlogs for IG stories to try and get more comfortable on camera, and added a video to my YouTube channel (the one you see embedded above!)
    • I got immersed into various course-creation webinars toward the end of the month in anticipation of participating in a virtual summit in January, and thought it was a good time to think about refining my presentation skills.

 

ARTICLES WRITTEN:
  1. This Leading Lady Helps Anxious Women Network Like A LadyBoss
  2. Why Your Frugal Ways are Killing Your Business
  3. My 2018 Blogging Journey: A Realistic Blog Progress Report

 

FEATURES:
  1. Q&A interview feature on new blog Boss Babes of Asia
  2. Guest Post: “How To Decide If You Should Follow Your Dreams or Be Realistic” (to be published on productivity blog  It’s All You Boo)

 

Oct 2018
GOALS RESULTS TIME SPENT
 BLOG 
  • Publish one new article per week consistently.
  • Start doing blogger outreach to make new connections and build domain authority.
  • Fell behind on writing goal due to project deadlines for my eCommerce biz.
  • Landed 2nd guest blogging opportunity
10-12 hours writing
 TRAFFIC 
  • Continue using Tailwind to begin building Pinterest traffic (pin 10-15 times per day)
  • Created 2nd version of top-performing pins, and re-shared to boards + Tribes
5-6 hours per week creating graphics for Pinterest + Instagram, and scheduling posts
 E-MAIL 
  • Reconfigure MiloTree pop-up to direct to e-mail list signup
  • Create 1 additional e-mail opt-in
  • 53 e-mail subscribers (+30 from Sept)
  • + 4 additional email followers this month directly from MiloTree!
  • Started the foundation of an email “course” as the nurture sequence
1 hour
 MONETIZATION 
  • Write 1 product review article for affiliate marketing
  • Create manual Pins directly to favorite affiliate product links
  • Started, but did not complete this article after getting sidetracked
  • Created manual Pins for 2 affiliate products, but no sales
1-2 hours
 LEARNING 
  • Participated in Teachable’s Virtual Summit to learn fundamentals behind course creation
  • Start Amy Schmittauer’s course Vlog Like a Boss on CreativeLive
  • Ended up signing up for Teachable Basic plan to take advantage of some course bonuses, but I don’t feel ready to create my own course yet
4-5 hours of learning time

 

LESSONS LEARNED:
  • Pinterest Traffic Swings: 📌 It’s interesting to see this month’s chart… Things were pretty quiet on my blog, yet my overall Pinterest views have been creeping — In fact, I more than doubled my Pinterest views this month! The jump in views coincides with a day that I added a few 2nd versions of high-performing Pins to my boards + Tailwind Tribes!

Source: Pinterest Analytics

  • Pinterest Efficiencies: 📌 Instead of grouping multiple topics together on a single board (using sections), I am better off creating more individual boards, since each of them can be individually searched and followed.  This way, I can also use Tailwind to schedule good pins to multiple Pinterest boards (resulting in repinning multiple times in the queue)
  • I experienced bouts of decision paralysis 😓 when I was deciding what topics to write about this month.  I was torn between writing content like product reviews which were more suited for affiliate marketing vs stories of a more personal nature.  So instead of guessing what people wanted, I decided to just ask!  I discovered people are actually quite willing to share, and it helped me build better rapport with IG followers and readers.
  • I decided to write blog articles to support an e-mail mini-course 📩 on how to start a business.  This helped me keep my topics list more focused, and I’d ensure I was adding value by linking to blog posts on topics readers wanted to learn more about.
  • After starting the Vlog Like a Boss course 🎥 I have a newfound respect for YouTubers — showing your face on camera is HARD! 😰 But I do very much believe that video is a necessary way to build trust with your audience, and so I must train myself to embrace it… It’s a 2019 goal of mine to start regularly making YouTube videos, but still feels very ambitious to me right now!  I’ll start slowly with monthly IGTV vlogs and refine as I go along!

 

GOALS FOR NEXT MONTH:
  1. Create a general e-mail nurture sequence 📩 by linking to opt-ins or blog posts, and broadcast to all existing subscribers.
  2. BONUS: Create 2 more e-mail opt-ins (one social-media related, and another about finding your niche)
  3. Get weekly writing goal back on track 📝
  4. Narrow down affiliate marketing focus 💰 to write good-quality content for top 10 affiliate picks
  5. Split up my Pinterest boards into separate boards 📌 and create new Board Lists on Tailwind to take advantage of scheduled pinning efficiencies
  6. Stay consistent with Pinterest activity 📌  try not to let my scheduled queue run empty. Aim to schedule posts once or twice a month, so I can “set it and forget it”

 

 

Past Months: 🗓

👇 Click on the bars below to expand each month’s progress report 👇

 

SEPTEMBER 2018
WHAT HAPPENED THIS MONTH:
  • I refined my target audience… again! 😓 I decided to speak to ambitious Moms and show them how they can build businesses and live on their own terms. As a “mompreneur” myself, I felt it was the most authentic for me to write in this voice.  Although the content I write about doesn’t exclusively apply to the Mompreneur crowd, I felt that I had taken the right step forward to zero in on my audience.
  • I installed the MiloTree plugin 📱 on my blog to convert blog visitors to follow me on Instagram, and also tried to actively follow and engage with more users I’m finding through hashtags and commonly followed accounts – this resulted in quite a significant growth in IG followers!
  • I got busy on Pinterest 📌
    • I started using Tailwind at the end of August to schedule Pinterest posts (started at 8-10 pins per day), and added Pinterest-friendly images to my blog posts.  I took advantage of their FREE trial to post my first 100 pins and joined 5 Tailwind Tribes to get new shares on my content.
    • I used Canva to create Pinterest-friendly images for each of my blog posts to date, and added them onto each post for easy sharing.
  • I changed my Blog template 🖥 over to Divi Theme from Elegant Themes. I decided to make the switch because of their visual page builder, and the fact that I could design cleaner, more graphic-driven pages that looked like landing pages.
  • Wrote my first roundup article, and generated my highest traffic day, along with best-performing Instagram post. 😬🙌

 

ARTICLES WRITTEN:
  1. 10 Inspirational Mom Bosses to Follow in 2018
  2. 6 Ways New Bloggers Can Grow an Organic Following on Instagram
  3. How I Quit My Six-Figure Corporate Job to Pursue My Passion
  4. From Comic-Con to Business Coach: Glynis Tao Helps Creatives Chase Their Dreams
  5. 7 Reasons Why Moms Make Great Entrepreneurs
  6. 14 Business Books Every Mompreneur Must Read

 

FEATURES:
  1. I Quit My Six-Figure Job to Design Wedding Invitations: Here’s How I Did It (Guest Post for Clever Girl Finance)

 

Sept 2018
GOALS RESULTS TIME SPENT
 BLOG 
  • Publish one new article per week consistently.
  • Start doing blogger outreach to make new connections and build domain authority.
  • Exceeded my writing goals.
  • Landed 1st guest blogging opportunity on one of my fave blogs Clever Girl Finance.
12-15 hours (my writing is starting to get a bit faster!)
 TRAFFIC 
  • Increase IG engagement by actively seeking followers on accounts from similar niche, and engaging through thoughtful comments
  • Increase IG clickthroughs to blog by using linkin.bio 
  • Started using Tailwind to begin building Pinterest traffic
  • Approx. 575 monthly Blog page views (+175 from last month)
  • Started seeing some share numbers on the Social Warfare plugin areas on my blog — exciting not to see zeros anymore! 😅 
  • Instagram1050 (+300 from Aug)
  • Pinterest: 14k avg. monthly viewers (+12.2k from Aug)
2 hours per week to schedule IG posts

10+ hours to learn Tailwind, and create Pinterest images

 E-MAIL 
  • Actively promote email opt-ins via Pinterest, and start paying attention to where the signups were happening from.
  • Created standalone “landing pages” to both e-mail opt-ins directly from the blog’s main menu
  • 23 e-mail subscribers (+13 from Aug)
2 hours
 MONETIZATION 
  • Create a spreadsheet-based digital product to supplement my finance-related posts
  • Decide on a simple checkout/cart tool to incorporate for 1 product that didn’t break the bank
7-8 hours digital product creation

4-5 hours researching tools and customizing shop page

 LEARNING 
  • Helped me create a basic Pinterest strategy for my blog using Tailwind, and understand the characteristics of a good Pinnable image.
2 hours

 

LESSONS LEARNED:
  • Instagram is likely NOT the best platform for driving traffic to an “educational” blog because people are generally on IG for visuals, so it’s more difficult to get people to venture off the platform.
    • Nonetheless, I decided to keep investing time into IG because I enjoyed it, and I felt it was a good way to make genuine connections with people in a way I wasn’t able to do from the blog.
    • Read this article to see how I grew by 200+ followers just by revamping my Instagram page.
  • I should’ve started on Pinterest sooner!  I’m still getting the hang of using Tailwind, but I’m starting to understand how powerful Pinterest is in generating free organic traffic to the blog. The reach is extended even further with Tailwind Tribes!  No wonder Pinterest is a blogger’s best friend!

Source: Pinterest Analytics

  • What matters on Pinterest: According to the Pinterest Traffic Avalanche course, the number of followers on Pinterest doesn’t matter as much as the reach and virality score of your pins!  So I’ll start tracking my viewers, impressions and repins on Pinterest rather than # of followers.
  • Digital Product Creation: I got super-frustrated with the “free” WooCommerce plugin for WordPress because of the difficulty in being able to customize the product, checkout page, and delivery emails, without having to pay for additional plugins.  As a result, I didn’t try to push the product this month because I wasn’t satisfied with the checkout experience.  Will be trying out SendOwl in the future because I’ve had good experiences with this from purchasing digital products on other sites. It was super quick and simple!  Then I can leverage the Divi Page Builder to design a better-looking sales page for my product.
AUGUST 2018
WHAT HAPPENED THIS MONTH:

 

ARTICLES WRITTEN:
  1. Blog Launch + My Backstory
  2. How To Write a Crazy Simple Business Plan in 8 Steps
  3. How One Tired Mom Turned Sleep into Her Side-Hustle
  4. How To Master Your Business Finances Like a Real Accountant

 

Aug 2018
GOALS RESULTS TIME SPENT
 BLOG 
  • Publish one new article per week consistently.
  • Start doing blogger outreach to make new connections and build domain authority.
  • Successfully wrote once per week
  • Created a Q&A interview series to profile what women were doing to start successful side hustles in various fields.
15-20 hours writing articles
 TRAFFIC 
  • Start linking social media content directly to blog posts to drive blog traffic.
  • Installed the Social Warfare plugin to encourage sharing on blog posts
  • Used linktr.ee to connect IG bio to blog posts. and direct links from other platforms.
  • Approx. 400 monthly Blog page views (+300 from last month)
  • Instagram750 followers (+250 from July)
  • Pinterest: 1.8k avg. monthly viewers
2-3 hours getting acquainted with Google Analytics and other dashboards.
 E-MAIL 
  • Make my first opt-in for my e-mail list. I was inspired after watching this FREE webinar on Beginner Strategies for List Building.
  • Created 2 e-mail opt-ins, and added ConvertKit email forms throughout the blog.
  • Got 10 new e-mail subscribers in the first month.
10-12 hours researching, writing, designing, opt-in and incorporating into blog
 MONETIZATION 
  • Start writing articles with monetization or a specific call-to-action (ie. signing up for my email list) in mind.
  • Research good affiliate programs that I could review and recommend for future articles.
  • After starting the Make Money Blogging course from Create & Go, I decided that I would focus primarily on affiliate marketing as the method to start monetizing
4 hours of course learning + initial research
 LEARNING 
  • Got 50% through both courses. After deciding to monetize through affiliate marketing, I shifted focus more to traffic generation through Pinterest.
6 hours of course learning time

 

LESSONS LEARNED:
  • My first 2 email opt-ins were overkill for a beginner, and I can probably keep things simpler for future opt-ins to spend less time. 📩
  • I built a simple email sequence to deliver my opt-ins, but still lack the clarity on how to continually communicate with my email subscribers. What else could I say that could provide value without making people want to unsubscribe?
  • I need to start using Pinterest 📌 to promote my blog posts + opt-ins see how people are responding to it in order to see what topics readers are interested in. I’ve been avoiding it for the first month because Pinterest just seemed like a beast to me, but I knew it was crucial as a traffic generator.
  • I started building Pinterest boards toward the end of the month for my blog articles… Look at how drastically my traffic spiked already after I added all my blog articles to date!
Pinterest Analytics - Aug 2018

Source: Pinterest Analytics

  • I need to speed up my writing process. ✏️ I had been focusing on producing really lengthy articles (3000-5000+ words) thinking they would be more valuable to readers, but then one of the course modules in Pinterest Traffic Avalanche I was going through advised that for Pinterest, a better strategy is to split up meaty content into multiple posts so that they could gain more reach in what Alex called “The Shotgun Method”. I’ll try this next month.
  • It’s a challenge 🤯 to consistently create content, while promoting on social media and managing an email list — overwhelm started to kick in at this point.

 

BEFORE LAUNCH: MAY - JULY 2018
WHAT HAPPENED IN MAY – JULY:
  • LEARNING SHRED: I wanted to immerse myself in as much knowledge about professional blogging, so I could fully understand what I was getting into, and make sure I started on the right track.
  • NICHE SELECTION: Decided to start a blog within the entrepreneurship/business niche, but with a dash of parenting.
  • I decided to just plant the seeds of all the basics I knew I’d eventually need (ie. social media, e-mail management), and just focus on learning + writing to get comfortable with creating content and finding my voice.
  • I OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED MY BLOG at the end of July thanks to confidence gained from the Build & Launch Your Blog course.  🙌

 

ARTICLES WRITTEN:
  1. How 3 Failures Kick-Started My Accounting Career
  2. The Secret Place I Go To For Great Ideas
  3. How a Keanu Reeves Movie Helped Me Discover My Passion
  4. What’s The Difference Between Cash Flow & Profit?
  5. Should You Start A Business? 8 Questions to Ask Yourself
  6. A Simple Hack To Change Your Thoughts From Crappy to Happy
  7. The Complete Beginner’s Guide on How To Make Money Online
  8. A Goodbye Letter To My First Love: Winding Down My Six-Figure Business
  9. The 10 Commandments of Working With Your Significant Other
  10. The Ultimate No-Bull Explanation of Profits & Margins 

 

May – Jul 2018
GOALS RESULTS TIME SPENT
 BLOG 
  • Launch blog with about 10 articles in place.
  • Wrote 10 articles, but wasn’t confident of the quality of content and writing style.
15 hours per month on research + writing
 TRAFFIC 
  • Set up social media platforms to gain initial traffic.
  • No clear strategy yet on how they would be used, but I knew I enjoyed using Instagram the most.
  • Started at under 100 monthly Blog page views
  • Set up: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube
  • Started posting some motivational content on IG first, converting the account from my previous business with about 500 IG followers
5 hours setup

5 hours posting IG content

 E-MAIL 
  • Got inspired by this free webinar on How to Earn Your First Dollar online, as an intro on why e-mail marketing matters
  • Signed up for ConvertKit, based on research and course recommendations, but didn’t have any goals in mind on how to use it yet.
2 hours for research + setup
 MONETIZATION 
  • Sign up for Amazon Affiliates thinking it would be easiest to monetize there first.
  • Signed up for US & Canadian accounts, then discovered that I’d have to make 3 qualified affiliate sales in 180 days on EACH platform. Wasn’t sure if it would be possible given I had little traffic.  Decided to try anyway.
5 hours setup + inserting proper disclosures
 LEARNING 
  • Invested in Create & Go’s Pro Blogger Bundle as a roadmap to understand the methods and strategies behind building a six-figure blog.
  • Finished the Build & Launch Your Blog course. I skipped through some of the basic WordPress setup modules, since I had tech-savvy hubby do this for me 😜
5+ hours learning time

10-15 hours implementation and customization

 

LESSONS LEARNED:
  • Professional blogging is ALOT OF WORK… 🤯 even though I started thinking I’d be able to monetize faster than my eCommerce business, I admit I’m dead wrong! Even seasoned bloggers like Amy Lynn Andrews recommend allowing at least 3-6 months to make part-time income and 1-2 years to make a consistent full-time income.
  • Blog-style writing takes practice. From writing good headlines, to ensuring information is easy to read and digest. The best way to get better at it is to just keep writing.
  • I didn’t have any CLEAR goals about what I could reasonably accomplish in my first few months of blogging, because I wasn’t sure exactly what was possible given my niche, so it was difficult to establish concrete goals.
  • My first few articles are too much about ME and my life story — I want to go back and rewrite a few of them at a later time to incorporate more useful tips and takeaways so that people can get some practical value from reading it.

 

 

P.S. If anyone out there tells you building a blog or a social media following are “easy”, and can happen overnight, they’re full of SH*T. #sorrynotsorry

I sincerely hope you gained a new perspective on what blogging entails, and perhaps consider starting your own blogging journey if you haven’t already.

Let’s figure this blogging thing out together so that you don’t have to do it alone. 😉

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments if you found this information helpful!

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Follow a REALISTIC progress report of my 2018 part-time blogging journey. Why I'm not doing income reports, and what NEW BLOGGERS should focus on instead of just monetizing your blog!
#blogging #incomereport #newblogger #workfromhome #bloggingtips #onlinebusiness #momblogger
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