If you're looking to start blogging, you might be wondering exactly how much money you can make with a blog. Well, in July 2020 I made $10,356 with A Modern Homestead!
In this income report, I'll show you where my 5-figure monthly income comes from, as well as some background on how I got to this point!
If you're new here, you may be surprised to find out the origins of how I started blogging for profit.
In 2016 when my husband came home to say he had lost his job, I turned to my baby blog as a source of income. It was a few months old at the time, had about 15 posts, and was making about $5 a month from Amazon affiliate links.
By all accounts it was a bleak prospect for making us any real money.
But I dove in and learned everything I could about blogging as quickly as I could.
Fast forward 4 months and I was able to fully cover my husband's previous income. Another 4 months and I had doubled it!
In 2018 (only 2 years after starting my blog) we made right at $100,000. And in 2019 we saw a 15% increase for a total of $110,000 in earnings!
Even in July of 2020, I made $10,356 on A Modern Homestead with almost zero effort!
I say it was almost zero effort because I had systems in place to run things while spending a lot of my time and attention on other businesses that I own and run.
- Only 3 new posts went out (written by a guest writer)
- 3 emails a week went out, on autopilot
- Pins continued to schedule out to Pinterest, without my help
- Sales came in strong with funnels in place to take people from the newsletter to purchase
All in all, I spent about 3 hours total in the month of July working on this blog - and it brought in over $10,000!
So, where exactly did this money come from and how much of it went back into the care and maintenance of the site? Let's get into the numbers!
Making $10,000 a Month Blogging
They say it's a good idea not to have all your eggs in one basket. Because of that idea, I have worked hard to diversify my income!
This month wasn't as evenly weighted as other months, but the most one income stream brought in was 55% of the total amount. And considering the world climate right now, I'm happy with that!
Right at 55% of my income came from the ads served on this site.
I use the ad network AdThrive and really enjoy that they serve fewer ads while still paying out the same or higher rates than other ad networks.
I've been with Mediavine and really enjoyed the community and support, but decided to try AdThrive a few years ago. My income went up 67% with the switch AND AdThrive also has great community and support... win/win!
All of those products (not including the blogging book) brought in 34% of my income this month.
Between Amazon, and a few high-dollar affiliate items (like this freeze dryer), as well as a few smaller dollar items, like this freezer cookbook I made less than normal, but still brought in 11% of my income!
Right now, many affiliate programs (notably Amazon) have slashed their affiliate rates, so clicks and sales are still strong, but earnings are less.
Getting to $10,000 a Month Blogging
It's all well and good to say that I'm making $10,000 a month on A Modern Homestead, but how did I get here?
I want to take a look at the historical growth of my blog so you can see that it didn't happen overnight, and there were (frustratingly) long plateaus where my growth stagnated... but it IS possible!
Starting out in 2014
In September 2014 I published my first post, wrote about another 10 and then stopped completely for over a year.
I knew that I wanted to make blogging a career, but we had a baby in April of 2015 and I just couldn't juggle everything. I was making about $5 a month on average during this time from Amazon sales (which would be much less now, since the affiliate rates were higher then).
Earnings in 2015
I did nothing on my site in 2015. It sat there and did NOTHING - averaging about 400 page views a month.
Earnings in 2016
In the spring of 2016 I went to a blogging conference in Houston and my mind exploded with possibilities! It wasn't anything in particular from the conference that flipped the switch, but just being around other bloggers who were DOING IT opened my mind to all sorts of ideas - and I couldn't stop brainstorming!
I added AdSense to my blog (I don't recommend that now, but that's another story) and I started making about $50 a month.
Then I added products and affiliate links - and I started making about $300-600 a month.
Then I started reaching out to companies for sponsored work and I was suddenly making $1100-1500 a month!
By December of 2016 I was making $2,500 a month! This covered our bills completely and meant my husband didn't have to enter back into the rat race!
As you can see, it didn't happen all at once, but rather I worked on one thing at a time - getting that one income stream working for me - then I added another.
That's still the way I grow my income.
Get one thing working REALLY well by testing and tweaking pages, link placement, images, and so on... then once that's on autopilot, add the next thing.
Earnings in 2017
After spending a lot of time getting systems in place, I ended up making an average of $3800 a month in 2017.
While we were living well on that much money, it was also frustrating because I had seen such huge growth in 2016, that I expected that in 2017 as well!
But in reality, I went from zero to $45,000 a year in about 18 months! That's not terrible!
So, just keep in mind as you're growing, that it's not going to be a huge increase EVERY month - sometimes there are plateaus.
Earnings in 2018
Fortunately, the plateau didn't last forever, and I doubled my income in 2018. The year-end total was $96,000 which was a 213% income increase!
I didn't do anything drastic here, just worked hard to learn my business.
Earnings in 2019
I have written extensively about my income AND expenses for the 2019 year - but to briefly cover it, I earned $110,000 which was a 15% growth over 2018!
I outsourced many things, which I have mostly canceled due to the current economic climate as it is now. I did keep 1 VA and 2 steady guest post writers. This was WELL worth the money for me versus the time I would spend to do it myself.
I did end up canceling my Pinterest pinning service and am just doing it myself again. Really, it's only an hour or two a month, and I just couldn't keep the expense on the books right now.
Here Are My Tips for YOU As You Grow
1. Pick ONE thing to learn and learn it well.
Don't overwhelm yourself by deciding that you're going to start a YouTube channel, put out 5 products, learn how to take amazing photos, and also publish 4 posts per week!
Oh and you're going to start a second blog!
Listen, you're building a business. This isn't a sprint, you're building something for the long-haul!
I know when you need cash fast it can seem like a sprint, and sometimes it is, but focus your speed on the areas that will build up income the fastest... don't just throw mud at the wall to see what sticks.
Focus on what works.
Write great content, learn about your audience, serve them well.
The rest will fall into place and you will be able to see the areas that need work as you go.
Serving your audience might mean products, or a Facebook group, or maybe a YouTube channel yes... but it might not.
Don't set your mind on something without knowing it's the best thing for your people. Talk to them and listen! Then you'll be able to make the best choices for yourself and for them.
2. Pay attention to your expenses.
It's VERY easy these days with blogging to rack up expenses in the blink of an eye.
So as you're going through this next year, make very conscious decisions as you make purchases.
Here's where I'd recommend spending:
- Education. If you stop learning, you ultimately waste time and fall behind in growth. Pick courses that line up with what information you need to serve your audience and dive in!
- Outsourcing. Be careful with this one, but if you can reasonably outsource a process and spend your time growing other areas, then do it!
- Email. Since email is really the only audience you can control (unlike social media or SEO) it's important to build this up. Invest in a strong email provider and then really learn how to grow and monetize your list! This is where education comes in!
That's a Wrap!
When you're ready, here are three ways I can help you grow your business in less time...
1. Sick of spending hours on design work? Join my FREE Crystal Clear Canva course. Want to know the exact steps I use to create click-worthy pins in minutes, or how I crank out printables with ease? -- Click here
2. Looking for a step-by-step guide to help you create and execute your traffic and income growth plan this year? Join my Q4 Profit Plan course today!
3. Want to be awesome at getting organic traffic (even if you're completely lost right now?) -- Click here!
No matter what you choose to do in the blogging world, I'm glad you are here!