I’ve always been inspired by income reports but shied away from doing them myself because they can be seen as bragging. Well, let me put your fears to rest and let you know this isn’t a 6 figure income report, more like a 5 figure one. I see myself as an example of what you can achieve as a busy parent – you can earn around £1500 a month (income can vary) and stay at home with your family. I have three children aged 9, 8 and 4, I started when they were 4, 3 and 6 months. It takes work, and sometimes you feel like you’re never off the treadmill, but since day one I’ve loved it, and stayed completely immersed in the blogosphere and social media world.

I’m breaking down my income into exactly how it was earned, and I’ll be offering practical and applicable tips on how you can achieve the same results, so scroll down if that’s what you’re after. Any comments greatly appreciated. So here we go with my January to December income report for 2018. This is for my blog Midwife and Life, I also have Mama Foodie and this one, but my main earner at the moment is Midwife and Life which is the original and oldest one. For tax purposes I measure my income from April to  April, so I’m actually as interested as you are for the final figures. My income streams come from the following:

  • Sponsored brand campaigns (brands pay me to review or write about their product/service)
  • Paid guest posts (SEO agencies pay me to guest post and host a link on my site)
  • Link insertion (I get paid to insert a link into an existing post)
  • Affiliate sales
  • Google adsense
  • E-book sales
  • Editorial Calendar sales (I designed a digital editorial calendar to sell)
  • Course sales (My blogging secrets e-course)
  • Banner ad sales
  • Being a film/tv extra
  • Social media adviser

January

Sponsored posts £538.56

Paid guest posts  £150.47

Affiliate sales £8.77

Editorial Calendar sales £5.40

Sub-Total £703.20

Expenses £67.09

Total                                                £636.11

February

Paid guest posts £350.43

Sponsored posts £338.98

Affiliate sales £48.61

Banner ad £32.27

Sub-total £770.29

Expenses £59.22

Total                                                £711.07

March

Sponsored posts £475

Affiliate Sales £84.28

Course sales £152.58

Paid guest posts £544.07

Link insertion £95.40

Paid review £55

E-book sales £1.35

Editorial calendar sales £3

Sub-total £1485

Expenses £75.22

Total                                             £1410.46

April

Sponsored posts £755.77

Paid guest posts £195.14

E-book sales £1.17

Paid video collaboration £174

Sub-total £1126.08

Expenses £85.62

Total                                          £1040.46

May

Travel expenses rebate £26.40

Paid guest posts £775.19

Link insertions £160.06

Google adsense payout £62.82

Film and Tv extra £145

Sub-total £1169.47

Expenses £59.22

Total                                       £1110.25

June

Sponsored posts £910

Paid guest posts £375.16

Link insertions £48.37

Paid review £20

Sub-total £1353.53

Expenses £64.97

Total                                    £1288.56

July

Paid guest posts £208.23

Link insertions £48.37

Sponsored posts £336.95

Sub-total £593.55

Expenses £47.92

Total                                   £545.63

August

Paid guest posts £405.85

Link insertion £123.14

Affiliate sales £22.36

E-book sales £1.08

Sub-total £552.43

Total                                £496.30

September

Link insertion £95.25

Sponsored posts £550

Paid guest posts £331.22

Paid reviews £60

Affiliate sales £103.72

Google adsense £69.59

Film and tv extra £148.71

Sub-total £1358.49

Expenses £58.37

Total                              £1300.12

October

Paid guest posts £1056

Sponsored posts £599.70

Link insertions £70

Paid reviews £20

Editorial calendar £2.67

E-book sales £2.75

Sub-total £1913.38

Expenses £70.35

Total       £1843.03

November

Paid guest posts £455.20

Sponsored posts £250

Affiliate sales £41.85

Paid surveys £6.77

Film and tv extra £147.60

E-book sales £3.56

Sub-total £982.06

Expenses £102.57

Total         £879.49

December

Link insertions £198.64

Paid guest posts £734.77

Sponsored posts £72.25

Banner ads £144.70

Freelance blog £100

Affiliate sales £48.72

E-book sales £2.71

Sub-total £1301.79

Expenses £132.13

Total         £1169.66

2018 year gross total £12431.14

This is before tax is calculated remember so the final figure will be less. It works out as a monthly average of £1035.92 which I’m pleased about, because that amount covers my family expenses with enough left over for extras. Of course my aim is to increase it for the coming year. I have increased my turnover by £2500 on the previous year. My 2017/2018 tax bill came to £289. Next year I will owe more tax as I have a part time job too.

Expenses breakdown

My expenses come from the following:

Linkdeli (affiliate marketing tool)

Microsoft 365

Hosting

Tailwind 

Paypal fees

Siteguarding 

Canva for work

Convertkit 

Teachable 

Domain renewals

I plan on trying to decrease them by thinking about stopping linkdeli – it doesn’t bring in many clicks or sales and I don’t get the return on the investment – but it would mean updating quite a few blog posts and it is difficult to see the return on investment; changing from convertkit to mailerlite to a cheaper plan; and keeping an eye out for an alternative to canva, perhaps something with a one off fee. I was gutted when I missed out on the appsumo deal for lifetime access to a very similar service for $49, meaning after that my monthly expense would go down. I could use the free version but I like being able to resize my designs easily and using my brand colours and fonts. You also get a lot of stock photos to use included. I still need siteguarding for protection and cleanup against hackers, and I use microsoft office 365 all the time. I was on the Teachable free plan for my blog course, but I’m experimenting with affiliates, which I had to upgrade for. At the moment I haven’t sold any courses through the affiliate scheme but I only have 20 and it’s early days in the process. Want to become an affiliate for blogging secrets? Get in touch!

In my opinion, Tailwind is a must for gaining traffic. Pinterest is my top referrer alongside search traffic. I upgraded to unlimited smart loop posts too which has skyrocketed my Pinterest views to 630k monthly unique viewers. Note that does not translate to blog views but I do get a high percentage of click throughs. It is difficult to measure investment return, but if I didn’t have that traffic, I wouldn’t get chosen for some of the PR campaigns that I do. You can see here how my re-pins increase every month:

Related post: Actionable Traffic tips you can do today

I do accept follow links for payment, both inserting links and guest posting. As you can see from the report, there were some months that they were my only income, so if I maintained that I only took PR campaigns and no-follow links, I would be a lot worse off. It depends wholly on why you blog. If it’s all about connecting with your audience, writing for yourself and any money is a bonus, then it’s totally up to you. Since I started my blogs it was always about making it into a business and giving me more of a choice about how and when I work. It’s taken 3 and a half years to get to this point where I earn a decent amount regularly, so blogging definitely isn’t a get rich quick scheme. With a little dedication and work, however, anyone can do it.

Tips for getting paid work and increasing your income

Firstly, reply to all emails offering a guest post, ones that want you to insert a link, etc. Yes, more than half of them will expect a link back for free or offer you $20, but occasionally you get a decent offer. A lot of my contacts then come back and offer repeat work. By replying and working with SEOs and PRs mean you get on blogger lists and more people will contact you. When you start off, take on some reviews and do them well, have a review or lifestyle category so if contacts are looking at your blog they can see what they can expect. The same goes for guest posts – take some on either for free or low rate and put a disclosure in that it is a guest post. You can take them from other bloggers too.

Next, keep a record of your contacts once you’ve been paid and everything has run smoothly. A simple spreadsheet or table will do with their name, email and SEO or PR. If you find yourself in a dry spell, you can contact them all to see if they have any work.

Look seriously at your affiliate marketing strategy – are you just putting in Amazon links in and hoping for the best? You need to work out what your audience wants and give it to them. They also need to trust you – The ‘Know-Like-Trust’ factor. Make a list of your top ten affiliate programmes, ones you believe in and can promote naturally, and with proof.

Network – with other bloggers, in real life, wherever you can. Join blogging Facebook groups, get to know other bloggers in similar niches and form friendships. Most established bloggers have friends they swap contacts with.

Niche down – really think about who you want to reach. It’s OK having a general parenting blog, but are you really good at baking, kids crafts, home education, breastfeeding for example? As I’m a Midwife originally, my expertise is pregnancy, early parenthood and breastfeeding, but I also like to blog about other topics too. People come to me with pregnancy related topics a lot because of my niche.

Be consistent with your content, try to write regularly on a schedule that works for you, and write high quality, shareable content. If people are checking your site out with a view to paying you, they want to see a clean website, no spelling or grammar issues and easy to navigate. It doesn’t have to be a fancy expensive theme or layout.

Related posts: Where to find sponsored posts | How to bag that sponsored post A blogging schedule you can stick to (free printable)

Lastly, you might want to diversify your income. You can see I make a little from my courses and digital products, although I don’t know if I will do the editorial calendar again next year because it takes a lot of work and I don’t sell many (I need to work on my sales technique and get over being pushy). You can offer Ebooks, email courses, printables, offer your freelance blogging services, VA services, logo making etc. I also from time to time make money as a TV and film extra, which I enjoy so much.

If you’d like a more in depth analysis on how to start and grow a blog to make money, including mastering Pinterest and Tailwind, I recommend enrolling in my blog course, Blogging Secrets. Any questions I’m happy to answer.