Home Decor blog passive income report
Hi, it’s Debbie again. Here’s my income report for December 2018 from my flooring blog. Please note that this was written months later, and I’m writing this retrospectively.
As you’ll see, virtually all of the income was from home decor. If you want to see my whole story on this journey and how I feel about income reports, you can read that here.
*This post contains affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, we earn a commission at NO extra cost to you. Full details here.
What happened in December
December is always the worst traffic month for my blog as people shop for holiday gifts and usually postpone home decor projects (especially flooring) until January.
After who wants to do their floors if they have a Christmas Tree? Or if they’ll have guest trouncing around on their newly refinished hardwood floors?
My traffic went down to 262,000 pageviews, but thankfully was up + 25% vs the previous year. Part of that is because I wrote another 2 holiday articles (one did really well on pinterest from Sept-December) and the 2 holiday articles I wrote last year did even better this year (due to SEO/aging).
Holiday sales were strong, but started to drop off around 12/20. I forget the exact date, but basically when it became too late to ship items. So for a December, my base income was strong, but lower than November.
So what rescued me and made it a record month?
The launch of my 1st SEO ebook!
I was supposed to launch it December 1st, but it took me longer than I expected. I launched December 13th. Now, I know this was probably the worst time of year to do this, but I couldn’t launch it before it was ready. I figured doing it in January would be even worse after holiday shopping.
At least this way, I kind was able to have a double intro launch.
The book did way better than I expected, and it introduced me to several larger bloggers which was awesome.
I was hoping for $1,000 in sales and maybe $300-$400 on an ongoing basis. But, I guess I was dead wrong on this! And, I’m glad I was wrong.
It was so nerve wracking leading up to this. I was afraid it would be a failure or a dud. I had put in so much hard work.
Thankfully, it went much better than expected. During the launch (Dec 13th to Dec 13th) I earned $6,208 in sales! Wow! How nice to be wrong in predictions.
Now I didn’t get to keep this full amount as you’ll see. But thrilled as this was 6x as high as my expectations.
So how did I pull this off?
It’s a wonder that I succeeded as I did EVERYTHING BACKWARDS!
- My site is not about SEO nor blogging
- I didn’t have an email list (I do now…and if you have an interest in SEO, you can sign up for my FREE SEO intro course here).
- I did not have traffic to my site from SEO
- I had a terrible landing page (it’s better now, but still needs some work)
So what did I do?
I got affiliates to market my product for me!!
I chose people that had a dedicated audience already. They were established and well respected. They had Facebook groups and email lists with my target audience.
And, thankfully, I had been participating in these Facebook groups for a long time…well before the time I even thought about doing an SEO ebook. I mean I knew how to do SEO very well. I had started learning SEO in 2010 and had the results to prove it. I was well respected in the facebook groups for knowing SEO, knowing how to drive traffic and knowing how to monetize it, so that helped. I had already been making $12,000/month on my home decor blog and ramped up relatively quickly (but not too quickly) so that helped.
The other thing that helped is that people LOVED it. They said that they had learned so much and never saw anything like that, so that was thrilling. Word of mouth spread VERY quickly in the Facebooks groups. By the next day I already had people asking to be affiliates.
What program did I use?
I used Sendowl for my affiliate products. I chose sendowl as so many were using for an affiliate programs already, so I knew it would be easy for my affiliate partners. On top of that, it turned out to be the cheapest place. Unlike the others, they do not charge you a transaction fee for each purchase. This really save you a lot of money, so more in your pocket. It was only $15/month w/ the affiliate level and the first 30 days are free.
Now here’s the thing…and you need to be aware of this when people post their income reports. When you launch a product with an affiliate program, there are costs. The costs are good costs. Here, my costs were $2,471 for the combo of affiliate earnings and paypal fees.
So I only got to keep $3,737. Now I’m thrilled with that. And, this was a super smart investment because I never would have sold nearly as much without it. maybe I would have 10 or 20 books. I hit critical mass…so the word of mouth just worked.
But I point this out because when you read other people’s income reports and they say how much they made for a course or an ebook, know that they did not get to keep all that money. Maybe they kept 70-80% of it.
At this point in time, I kept 60% of it. Now that I’ve grown my email list and have more product offerings and can cross sell a bit, I’m keeping around 75% of that.
how I got to where I am (Dec 2016-November 2018).
At the beginning, most of blog income came from advertising revenue. I think I was making around $300-$400/month on affiliate marketing. I had taken a course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing which helped. It was a good course and the networking with the other members was awesome. But still I was a slow learner.
It took me around 11 months before I started to really get it.
If you look at my income in the early months, it was pretty flat, and that was pretty frustrating.
I had to learn that I really needed to write different types of posts. My articles were helpful for my target, and they did well on google and they solved my target’s questions and problems.
BUT, they weren’t articles with commercial intent. In other words they didn’t lead to affiliate sales. They got me ad income and not much more.
So I started shifting gears a bit based on what I noticed others were writing. They were writing them in different categories. I just needed to write them for mine…and give them time to simmer with google. That’s because SEO is the key with affiliate sales!
Solve a problem, write a well SEO optimized post, wait a few months and voila! Affiliate sales.
By the way, I now have 2 SEO ebooks to help you.
Then, I invested in one of the best ebooks I ever read. One of my smartest investments. And very reasonably priced (less than $50).
The ebook paid for itself within 2 weeks and I was then off to the races with Amazon and affiliate marketing.
In October I also took Carly’s Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers course and this was super helpful, too. I learned so many new ways of doing affiliate marketing both for my blog posts and for email marketing.
I’m so glad I took it as it really added to affiliate marketing skills. This is reflected in my record affiliate earnings for the month – over $7,500. And, it’s continued to guide my growth in affiliate marketing. It was less than half the price of the original course and I think probably twice as helpful. You can check it out here.
At this point in time, affiliate marketing accounted for 58% of my earnings and ads were only 40%, despite the fact that both were growing (I had a bit of all other). I like this ratio better. The less depend on ads, the better as it stabilizes your income more.
DecemBER ACTIVITIES AND PROGRESS
I spent most of my time working on my first SEO ebook and then launching.
I also did a lot of SEO consultations (numbers not included as this was active work).
I didn’t get to half of the things on my “to do” list, and that was okay as I had a record month and couldn’t believe that I launched an ebook.
I was able to diversify my income further, so for December the breakout was as follows:
- 44% Affiliate income
- 30% Ad revenue
- 25% Product income (net after taking out affiliate commissions)
- 1% all other
Yes, much better on the diversification front!
So without further ado, let’s get to the specifics.
Income Report – DecembER 2018
- Amazon $3,663 (slightly down ($111) vs November) as holiday shopping dropped off the last week or so of the year. (See: How I earn $7,000/month from Amazon Associates for some helpful tips). Because the last 4 or 5 months I’ve been at this higher level.
- RewardStyle $1,525 (down $467 vs November)
- Hometalk $907 (not a program I’d recommend as I’m now only making $150-$400 and it takes a lot of ongoing work).
- List Love and Pinterest Launch Plan $376
- BigScoots $70 (for high grade hosting/speed for larger bloggers …if you have 100,000 + pageviews/month, you should be using this!)
- Siteground $50 (great hosting for beginners)
- ShortPixel $44 (for image compression to reduce site speed)
- Pinteresting Strategies and Affiliate Marketing for bloggers $32
- Shareasale $18 (tailwind)
- ShopStyle $12
- Other $30
Total Affiliates $6,707 (down $856 vs November as holiday shopping dropped off last week)
Ads $4,604 (Monumetric). Down $606 vs November as pageviews dropped.
- SEO ebook (Easy Backlinks for SEO) $6,208
- Home Decor ebooks $12
Total Products $6,219
Buy me a Coffee $171…and yes, I have over 1,200 coffees that people bought for me
TOTAL REVENUE $17,700
Affiliate/Paypal expenses for SEO ebook $2,471. This means that the net profit for the ebook was only 3,747 (which is still outstanding)
All Other $626
- My other expenses are all lopped together here as I paid for some items for the year at once for discounts (and to reduce taxes for the following April). Expenses included hosting, VAs, other paypal fees and a few misc items. To see more detailed report on expenses, check my May 2019 income report.
TOTAL COSTS $3,097
This month, my expenses skyrocketed…and I’m glad as it was money well worth spending. The major difference was due to affiliate payouts (and paypal fees) for my new ebook, so those were good investments. As I sell more, my fees go up, and importantly so do my profits. My costs were 17.5% of net sales. (and that compares with around 2% for most of the year.
NET PROFIT: $14,603 (+`around $2,200 higher than November and a new record)
- Please note that the majority of my income is from Home Decor (not from blogging about blogging).
- Please note that this income is all from my blog. It does not include freelancing, design consultations, sponsored posts or any sort of active income or offline income.
- I’m in the process of compiling/filling in reports from Dec 2018 to-March 2019. For current reports, I will share my income reports with my email list.
ADDITIONAL INCOME REPORTS
Blogging resources to jump start your blog traffic and income
- Amazon – I love affiliate marketing on Amazon. For the last 2 months, I’ve been earning over $7,000/month just from Amazon. Here are 2 super helpful Amazon ebooks that allowed me to leap frog my previous results.
- Cracking the Code on Amazon – This is for beginners and really covers the types of articles you should be writing to drive Amazon commissions It’s for beginners.
- Niche Post Conversion Strategies – Seriously, I think this is the best ebook/course I’ve ever taken. I can not recommend this enough. You will not find these tips anywhere else. It skyrocketed my sales on Amazon.
- PINTERESTING STRATEGIES: – Pinterest is one of the easiest and most effective ways to drive massive traffic to your blog, especially if you are just starting out. I generally get 140,000 to 180,000 pageviews a month from Pinterest. If you want a jump start on how to use this amazing platform, check out Carly’s course. It is simply awesome. She is so down to earth and straightforward, and you’ll see that in her writing. I LOVE this course (it was formerly an ebook, but now it’s new and improved.
- SEO – As you know, I’m hugely into SEO and it has been the key to my success. I generally get 300,000+ SEO pageviews per month, and this traffic converts much better than Pinterest and other social media channels (especially when it comes to affiliate marketing, products and email sign ups. I estimate that every pageview from organic traffic is worth at least 3x as every pageview from Pinterest! Yes, 3 times as much! And, it’s much steadier, more sustainable and more passive. Check out my 2 SEO books.
- Affiliate marketing – I love affiliate marketing and have been earning over $7,000/month just from affiliate marketing. I highly recommend Carly’s affiliate marketing course. It’s amazing and half the price of some of the bigger bloggers’ programs…and I think it’s much better, too.
- Email marketing – Learn from the master, Jennifer Maker. She has over 100,000 subscribers in around 2 years. She’s an incredible teacher. Her ListLove course is amazing. Or get started with her FREE email course here.
- Sponsored Posts – Sponsored posts can be a great way to supplement your income, especially during the first few years. Many just don’t even know where to get started or how much to charge or how to create a media kit or where to find the best sources. Well learn from a master, Tracie Fobes. She’s been doing this for 10 years! And, she charges well over $2,500 + per post. Her course comes complete with a media calculator and templates to set you up for success. Check out Sponsored Success here. If you just need the sponsored post calculator, you can purchase it a la carte here.
- Getting started/setting up your blog – If you’re a very beginner and need help in just setting up your site and getting everything set up, check out Tracie Richmond Fobes’ FREE intro course. She goes over all that critical stuff at the beginning that no one seems to cover, but everyone needs to know such as site structure, how to set up google analytics correctly and google search console, which plugins to use (and which to avoid). She is a wealth of information. (and she has may other courses that are soooo good).
Related blogging articles:
How I earned over $14,000 from my blog – Income Report DecemBER 2018 (Passive income report)