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This Month’s Blog/Business Income Report (August)

Learn how to earn money as a blogger!

 

Thinking of Starting a Blog? Over the years, I’ve received many requests from folks for help on how to start a blog and how to make money blogging.

That’s why I put together this comprehensive guide on How to Make Money Blogging with updated information and links. It includes step-by-step help on how to set up your blog, get started, and make money from blogging. Go here to learn how to make money blogging and get started today!

In 2005, I discovered this thing called “blogging” and decided to try it out. I was a brand-new mom at the time, had recently quit working as a nanny, and was hopeful I could make enough on the side through online ventures to be able to replace my income and be able to stay home.

My husband was in law school and we were living on a beans and rice budget, trying to stay out of debt.

We never, ever dreamed that this would grow into what it has become. In all honesty, when I started December212012.info, I remember telling people that I planned to update the blog three times per week and hoped to make a side income from it.

I never could have imagined that by the end of 2008, I’d be making full-time income from blogging! And in all my wildest and craziest dreaming, I never would have envisioned that this blog would allow my husband to come home full-time, would provide the means for us to support ministries we love dearly (in the US, in the Dominican Republic, and in South Africa), and would enable us to provide incomes for our small (but amazing!) team.

Learn how to earn money as a blogger!Over the years, I’ve heard the question again and again and again: How do you actually MAKE money blogging?? People seem intrigued by the idea that our family actually makes a really good income from this blog and other related online ventures.

For a few months now, I’ve been kicking around the idea of doing a comprehensive post on our different income streams and expense streams to give you a better idea of what’s working, what’s not working, and how I actually make money blogging.

I always find these posts fascinating and inspiring. It helps me to learn the real nitty-gritty details of what is and isn’t working, how bloggers are diversifying their income, and what they are experimenting with.

Some bloggers share these types of posts and include specific numbers of exactly how much they make every month. I’ve opted not to do that because I feel like sometimes people can get hung up on numbers and miss the bigger picture. Instead, I want share detailed percentages of our income and expenses — not only will this give you a very accurate picture of our earnings, but it will be something that is relatable, no matter the size of your blog or the income you make.

My hope is that these detailed reports not only help give you a better picture of how I make money blogging, but I hope they inspire you with new ideas on how you can increase your income or improve as a blogger or online entrepreneur.

Ready for the numbers? Here’s our income and expenses report for the month of August 2016:

August Income

Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links. All of the products listed below are products and services we’ve used before. If you have any questions about any of the income or expenses, you can leave a comment and we’ll do our best to reply.

How I Make a Full-Time Income Blogging

All Revenue Streams

  • Affiliate advertising (See a detailed breakdown of all affiliates we earned income from below.) — 48.2%
  • Digital products (Sales of , , and ) — 23.45%
  • Underwritten posts (We work individually with companies, as well as with & .) — 12.75%
  • Banner ads (We mostly work with  for this. .) — 11.85%
  • Speaking income — 3.68%

Interested in signing up with companies that will pay you to write underwritten or sponsored posts? for a long list of companies that will pay you to write posts.

How I Make a Full-Time Income Online

Affiliate Revenue Streams Detailed Breakdown

Want to know more how affiliate programs work? Be sure to check out my post on How to Make Money Blogging

  •  — 21.98%
  • — 21.62%
  •  — 14.87%
  • — 9.19%
  • — 5.34%
  • — 3.83%
  • — 3.31%
  • — 3.15%
  •  () — 3%
  • — 2.77%
  • — 2.21%
  • Misc. (, , , , , , , , a few other random payments from small one-time affiliate deals) — 8.73%

How I Make a Full-Time Income BloggingAugust Expenses

  • Charitable contributions — 24.61%
  • Payroll expenses — 22.58%
  • Subcontracted services — 8.27%
  • Travel expenses — 7.59%
  • Web-based tools (*, , , , , etc.) — 7.43%
  • Facebook ads & other promotion-related expenses — 7.04%
  • Computer, hosting, Internet expenses — 6.17%
  • Partner & affiliate payments (.) — 4%
  • Health insurance — 3.6%
  • Professional fees (for our CPA, payroll management, etc.) — 2.54%
  • Misc. expenses (PayPal fees, shipping/postage, merchant account fees, bank service charges, utilities, etc.) — 6.19%

*We use & for our email newsletters. If I had to do it over again, I would go with as I have heard so many good things about this program from friends who use it… and it’s much less expensive and user-friendly!

How I Make a Full-Time Income Blogging

Percentage of Income Versus Expenses

I try to shoot for a 60/40 difference in income versus expense. We don’t always hit that, but that’s my goal! As you can see, we were pretty close to that range — which I was happy with!

Recent Experiments

Facebook Live Videos — I started on an almost-daily basis in the last 3 months and we’ve seen incredible results from it. Not only is it a great way to increase the engagement on our and build a more personal relationship with people, but it allows me to personally talk about the current deals and promotions and link to them right there in the comments on the Facebook Live post.

People love being able to click right through and go check out the deal or post I was talking about. Plus, it makes the deals more interesting than just a blog post. We’ve found that it has made a big difference in our affiliate sale conversions and gives a much more personal feel to my Facebook page. It also allows people to connect with me personally — which I love! 

— I also recently . This service costs $10 per month and allows me to link pictures directly to affiliate links or posts on my blog.

We’ve found that this is not only something very helpful to readers as they can click through and find the direct links for multiple pictures, but it’s been a lot more effective in our affiliate marketing. We rarely use Instagram to promote something, but when we do, we’ve noticed a big uptick in affiliate sales and a more long-tail affect. 

Highly Recommended Blogging Resources

  • by Ruth Soukup
  • by Abby Lawson
  • by Beth Anne Swamberger

Want to Start Your Own Blog?

I’m here to help! Check out my comprehensive guide on How to Make Money Blogging with updated information and links. It includes step-by-step help on how to set up your blog, best practices for blogging, and all the details on how to make money from blogging.

Also, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign up for my FREE 5-day course on How I Make a Full-Time Income From Home. This video course will give you an inside peek into my blogging and business journey, will share lots of inspiration and hard lessons I’ve learned in the process, and will encourage you with ideas on how you can make a part-time or full-time income from home, too.

More Posts on Blogging

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68 Comments

  • says:

    So helpful! Thanks for linking to my post! I want to try out ConvertKit soon!

    • says:

      Hi Erin, I subscribe to a couple of blogs that use Convert Kit as their email service and from the readers perspective I have to say it’s been a great experience! I feel like the bloggers using it have been able to use it to send me very targeted emails based on what I’m interested in and as a result I’ve become way more invested in them and their blog! Just wanted to throw in my two cents about it from the reader perspective of Convert Kit. I have no affiliation whatsoever with them besides being a happy reader of a couple blogs that use it, and I noticed my engagement with those blogs increased as a result of what the service has enabled them to do with their email lists 😊

      • says:

        Oh that’s so awesome to know!! Thanks for the feedback!

        • Jo says:

          As a result of putting this post together, we’re actually re-considering our email service and may be switching. Stay tuned for update on a future post!

          • says:

            Oh, definitely keep us posted. You’re considering moving from Infusionsoft to Convertkit? I will say Convertkit is definitely not perfect, but nothing is, and it’s by far the best I’ve seen in terms of ease of use and being able to track a lot of different things. Would you move your courses and everything off Infusionsoft or just e-mail?

            • Jo says:

              We’re very close to actually biting the bullet and moving everything off of InfusionSoft. I’ll let you all know next month what we decide! 🙂

              • says:

                I love ConvertKit! It was a major sanity-saver and so effective during my course launch! It’s a little intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it it’s amazing what you can do.

          • says:

            I am really happy with ConvertKit! I thought Infusionsoft was the next one to aspire to… Maybe you’re looking for more flexible course software to pair with e-mail & landing pages though? It will be fun to glean from you as you experiment!

            • Jo says:

              InfusionSoft has just been sort of a beast to figure out and it has felt too advanced for what we’re wanting to do. We are 99% sure we’re moving over to ConvertKit for our email lists and for our digital download delivery. We’re currently looking at pairing it with SamCart, but haven’t made the final decision on that. I’ll keep you posted!

    • says:

      ConvertKit is SO worth it! By far the easiest and most streamlined email service I’ve ever used. Love it!

    • says:

      Exciting! Although I do love Mad Mimi too, but if you have ton of products and are tracking a bunch of links the number of lists can get out of control. I think I had about 40 lists when I switched! Convertkit is definitely not perfect, but it’s definitely my fave.

    • says:

      Erin, it was the BEST decision I ever made! I love ConvertKit and once I started using it (as in immediately), I saw my open and click rates more than double. I was using MailChimp so I have no experience with Infusionsoft but CK has been incredible! 🙂

  • HokieKate says:

    Very interesting. Do your “payroll expenses” include a salary for yourself, or is that coming off the difference between income and expenses?

    • Jo says:

      We don’t pay ourselves a salary; we take a draw based upon income from the previous month… which means that some months it’s significantly higher than others.

      • Chris says:

        Thank you for posting this. Where do taxes come in at? both personal and business? Thank you.

        • Jo says:

          This is only our business income, so it doesn’t include personal taxes — we pay those out of our personal income. We pay quarterly taxes, so we only include them as a monthly expense 4 times per year.

  • says:

    Inspiring post and you keep reminding me how important it is to give back to the community.

    My blog is relatively new and small. I have not started making any money from it yet. However, my goal is to create good quality content that are useful for my readers.

    Hopefully in the future I can make some part time income.

  • says:

    Thanks for the encouragement Crystal! God gave me one word when I began my blog, “authenticity.” My goal is to create authentic, true to life content that points people back to God. Life can be beautiful, life can be wonderful, but life can be hard, painful and difficult as well. God has lead me to spread the word…. that He desires for us to “give our pain purpose, not power!” I pray I am able to generate an income one day, I place my trust in God that if He wills it, I will see it!!!! BLESSINGS TO ALL BLOGGERS!!!!

  • says:

    This was really informative, Crystal! The percentages along with the charts were VERY helpful in creating a visual of how the different streams come together to create your blog’s income. Thank you so much for putting this together and for this peek into more of the inner workings of making money blogging!

    • Jo says:

      I’m SO glad you found it helpful! Brian on my team spent a long time putting the graphs/charts together and I’m so grateful for him being willing to do that for me… I’d rather poke my eyeballs out than try to make a pie chart! 😉

  • says:

    WOW! Great information. Thank you SO much for sharing. This is an amazing help. I’m up and blogging and have added Amazon as an affiliate but it’s great to see all the other opportunities!

    Come visit my new blog at 🙂 That’s where I need help next…increasing my audience.

    Thank you, Crystal…for being REAL and always willing to help others. I think that’s one of the main reasons why I’ve been a follower for many years. You are genuine and kind and so helpful–always willing to share your knowledge with others.

  • says:

    Very informative and inspiring! I realize you are a much larger than average blogger, but it gives so many of us hope that we can make an income blogging. You have wisdom to offer us newbies and I very much appreciate it!! My favorite line item on your expense chart was health insurance… 3.6%!!!!! What a dream! My husband is a ceramic tile contractor and we purchase our own health insurance at the cost of 20% of our income. Ugh!! What a dream it would be to be able for my blog to cover our insurance!! 🙂 that would give my husband (family) a nice raise!!

    • Jo says:

      Ugh!! That has to be SO frustrating! Our health insurance recently went up and we’re now offering it to our two full-time employees, too, but we were able to get a rate that we still felt really good about and was a significant drop in price for what our employees had been paying.

  • says:

    I love this post! I am a new ConvertKit user and it has made a huge difference for my blog. I highly recommend them. Thank you for being so open with the specifics of income vs expenses. This is a new part of blogging that I am starting to learn. This post came at a wonderful time.

    • Jo says:

      I’m so glad you found it helpful!

      And as a result of putting this post together, we’re actually re-considering our email service and may be switching. Stay tuned for update on a future post!

      • says:

        I would love to hear how your switching goes! My site is new, so I started out with madmimi.com, which is free. But, I recently have convertkit for free for the next month, with an option to continue at $29/month…. I am not certain if it is good to bite the bullet and spend the $$, or just stay small for now…

        Thank you for being real, and an inspiration! 😉

  • says:

    Good report, i love income reports — I’ve done my own for a while. I really like how diversified your income is. Reminds me to do that myself. 🙂

  • says:

    This post was so timely for me! I literally just started a blog five days ago! After following you for YEARS! Thanks for all you do!

  • says:

    All I have to say is….YES!!!!!!!! And thank you! ☺

  • Antonella says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. It’s really useful and well detailed. Just a quick question: Are taxes are included in the expenses or calculated outside them in a different category altogether?

    Thank you again

  • says:

    Thanks for sharing your specific affiliates. That is super helpful to smaller bloggers. 🙂

    • Jo says:

      You’re so welcome! And it will change some each month as we rotate out working with different affiliates depending upon what deals/sales they are running.

  • says:

    Thanks for sharing! I really like your pie charts and seeing how the precentages relate to each other. Very insightful. Even though I’ve been blogging for years, I joined Amazon affiliates only yesterday. You have to start somewhere, right?

  • lyss says:

    Ha ha I thought from the title of this post that you were going to post actual numbers. That would be a bit personal, I suppose! (Although I have seen some bloggers who do that.)
    I’ve wondered how on earth bloggers can make so much money. Is it really just ads? Sure enough, it looks like it. More affiliates than banner ads for you, which makes sense, since you don’t have all that many ads on your page. Thank you for that. It is SO annoying to have banner ads all throughout an article!

    • Jo says:

      I’ve fought so hard to not have many ads… and I lose thousands of dollars every month for doing. My poor ad company keeps having to have me say, “No on that. No on that. No on that.”

      I feel like all I do is say no to their offers of new ways to monetize my blog! 🙂 But I just find lots of ads and pop-ups incredibly annoying, so I’ve decided it’s worth the $$ loss to provide a less cluttered user experience here.

  • says:

    Hi Crystal!
    I have wanted to start a blog for years. A few months ago I was ready to do it then I kept seeing a lot of posts about building e-mail lists so you could sell your products. I don’t have any products that I produce myself to sell of any kind, so I got fearful and delayed starting the blog again. I am a stay at home mom, and I do want to suppliment my family’s income, especially to save for college and for giving. Can a blog make money without its own products to sell?
    Also thanks for years of inspiration!
    Diane

  • Leigh Anne says:

    I really like your link in profile website!! Makes it so helpful to go back to things!

  • says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU!! This is amazing and I am so glad you shared! I love seeing your percentages instead of numbers. Reading income reports with numbers can be discouraging when you haven’t made income from the blog yet, so I appreciate a different approach! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Laurie says:

    Crystal I have read your blog for years. I have so badly wanted to start a blog,but I would not know the first thing to do. I am going to take the plunge and use all of your knowledge to help me start out. Being a single mom with growing girls does stretch by budget. May I ask how you found affordable health insurance? I am paying on 3 different policies with 3 different deductibles. Thank you so much
    Laurie

  • Rachel says:

    I love that you shared this. It reminds me of back in the days when you included your monthly financial reports — which I always found helpful.

  • says:

    Thanks for that detailed post. It helps on one hand but is a bit overwhelming to me on the other; in the sense that I see how much can be done vs how much I’ve been able to do so far.
    I have a question: Did you just wade your way through all of this monetizing your blog stuff in your beginning days of blogging, or were there books and courses/ecourses you took that took you from not making any money, to making money? I know the main point isn’t to make money, at least it isn’t mine, but I would like to be able to figure that out as part of the whole reason I’m blogging.

  • says:

    Great post Crystal! I’m interested in knowing what platform you use/recommend for hosting your online courses! And I was actually surprised you weren’t on board with RewardStyle! Thank you!

    • Jo says:

      We currently use CustomerHub, but we’re looking into switching into something else — possibly SamCart.

      I do have an account with RewardStyle, but I’ve not used it yet!

  • says:

    I love this fascinating insight, Crystal!! Great charts and interesting breakdowns. <3 Thanks!

  • Stephanie says:

    What software system do you use to get these graphs/pie charts?

  • says:

    I have been following you for a few years and learned a lot. I have always wanted to blog, but it wasn’t the right time for it. My husband was diagnosed with leukemia November 2015(and still fighting) Outlook on life has been completely changed for us. My goal for my blog

    is to inspire others on intentional living and be prepared for when life happens. I am so glad that you did a post on this topic this has helped a lot !!!
    Thank you!!!

  • says:

    Crystal,

    Can you give us an idea of the hours per week that you and your husband work. Are you both working full time hours? Do your employees work full or part time? This will give us an idea of the amount of effort put in to achieve that level of success. Thanks so much. Holly

    • Jo says:

      I think you definitely need to put in at least part-time hours to make a part-time income and part-time to full-time hours to make a full-time income. That’s what it’s been for me and for most bloggers that I know. I hope that helps!

  • says:

    Thank you so much for posting this Crystal! As a new blogger, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in hard numbers, as well as compare where you are (and are not), but this post is a breath of fresh air. It really helps to stress the importance of not leaving all our eggs in a single basket, and making it work for us, not trying to force what’s working for someone else. Thank you again!

  • says:

    There’s a lot to love about this post, but do you know what I love the most? About 25% of your expenses is charitable contributions. Go you!!!

  • says:

    Thank you for sharing this! So many moms are benefiting from you sharing your gifts, knowledge and faith. You are the real deal. It has been a blessing to watch your business and you grow from the first Relevant Conference.

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