I wanted to know how much it was possible to earn from my own blog. So the obvious thing was to see how much other bloggers actually make. And that’s exactly what I did. I went on a search for the bloggers who were kind enough to publish their blog income reports.
I found well over a hundred blogs which published their blog income, however I have excluded from the final list most of the blogs that have not published a fresh income report for a very long time. I have also excluded bloggers if their income was under $1,000 per month.
Some bloggers have not published any income reports in a year or two. This does not mean their blogs are not successful. Often quite the opposite. There would be a number of valid reasons why a blogger might have decided to stop publishing their income reports or at least not publish them regularly. In any case, their income reports should hopefully serve as both education and inspiration to the readers. Most of the bloggers publish their income out of the goodness of their hearts and to inspire others. However, they are under absolutely under no obligation to do so.
If you are skeptical, I will say this. Yes, some bloggers publish their income reports purely for marketing purposes, even if they publicly say otherwise. I totally get it. My view is, if I can learn something from them, or get inspired by them, I don’t really care what the blogger’s motivation was.
I think you will find this information as motivating and inspiring as I did. We have a cross section of all sorts of monthly incomes in this report, from just over $1,000 to well over $100,000 (yes, that’s per month). There are also some blogs out there that are making even far greater incomes, but are not publishing any numbers. They have not been included in this study.
We also have a cross section of niches, from personal finance, personal development, blogs about blogging, to cooking, organising, fitness, travel and even hobbies like crochet.
Before we continue, a few caveats:
First, some income reports publish the expenses and some don’t. Where the expenses were a significant part of the income, they are also mentioned here (if known). In general, the more money you make from your blog, the more expenses you will tend to have. However this will really depend on many other factors such as if you use paid content writers or any other assistance and if you use paid traffic, for example. The vast majority of blogs featured in this study are getting their traffic for free – from the search engines and in many cases also from social media.
The income for each blog will vary from month to month, sometimes significantly. However, I decided to only include the last income report for each blog (as at the time of writing this post). No cherry picking the best. So, please understand that this is just a snapshot.
Like with every other moneymaking venture, for every blogger that makes a regular income blogging, there will be probably hundreds if not thousands of those that do not. When you read these income reports, use them to get inspired rather than thinking “yeah, but…”. The bloggers that make regular income do so not because they are lucky, but because they work at it, work at it, and keep working at it. Consistency of effort seems to be the obvious key here.
Hot Tip: After reading this study I encourage you to go to each of those income reports and study them more. There are plenty of great tips in many of them, not just the raw numbers. Also, go back to some of their previous income reports as well and read them. They too contain valuable tips such as what worked, what not so much, what could have been done better, and plenty of other insights into the day-to-day operations of a personal blog.
So, without any further ado, let’s jump right into it.
Table of Contents
Bloggers earning $100,000+ per month
Bloggers earning $20,000+ per month
Bloggers earning $10,000+ per month
Bloggers earning $100,000 or more per month (in no particular order)
Melyssa Griffin – melyssagriffin.com
Melyssa booked an insane blog income in December of 2016 (the last one available at the time of writing this). How insane? Just $283,680, no less. Phew! Even if you take the expenses out, it’s still a net profit of $191,146. Note that this was significantly higher than her previous monthly income reports (however even those were in six figures).
The vast majority of the December income was from the sale of her own products (e-courses), however the affiliate income of $25,672 would still make most bloggers very happy on its own.
There were some large expenses as well in that report, notably over $50k spent on Facebook ads. The takeaway for me is that Melyssa certainly knows what she is doing and I fully intend to study here methods further.
Heather Delaney Reese and Pete Reese – itsalovelylife.com
It sure is a lovely life. My God! I was just about to wrap up this post when I thought, I really would like to do something special for my readers and have a list of at least 100 bloggers that publish their income reports. So I hit the web again and started researching some more and came across these blog income reports by the Reese Family.
How much did they report? For March 2018 they reported gross revenue of $208,558. Pete says: “March was the 2nd month that we topped $200,000 and we are very happy about it!” They are very happy, I have no doubt. So, how on earth did they do it?
The blog is a lifestyle and travel blog and this allow them to get directly sponsored by many brands over time. In fact according to their own account, they worked with over 1,000 of the world’s top brands. They write about products and services that, in their opinion, make life better and easier. They also travel a lot and write about their adventures.
According to Pete, the climate for lifestyle bloggers has never been better. Unlike few short years ago, today brands are very excited to work with bloggers so they can feature their products and services in the form of sponsored posts. This is a whole new are of revenue, so if you passion is lifestyle, travel, fashion, beauty, parenting or cooking (to name just a few), consider sponsored posts by some of the many well-known brands as a great source of revenue.
So, what about the revenue breakdown? Half of their revenue for March came from affiliate programs and sponsored posts. The other half came from sharing their expertise through a couple of their digital courses.
That does not even include some sponsored family holiday trips. The Reese family (according to Pete) travels about 150 or more days in a year. I love it.
Update: In April there was a repeat of almost exact revenue, followed by $167,435 in May, then over $208k in June.
Sarah Titus – sarahtitus.com
I remember reading Sarah’s post a while ago titled From Poverty to Wealth ($18k/year to $130k/year) and I made a note of that post thinking that she had a great story to tell he world: a single mum who decided to do something about her situation. In 2016 she made a total of $130,626 online, from various sources, which is $10,885 per month on average. This is before expenses though, which were $18,294 for the year. A huge chunk of that income was from the affiliate sales: $89,885 and also quite a bit from advertising: $21,124.
Now, I know what you are thinking: If Sarah averages $10k per month, how come I placed her between Melyssa and Pat? Well, believe you me, I didn’t, initially. Her story was to appear in the over $10k section. However, when I started searching for the latest income report, I nearly fell off the chair! Get this: Sarah made an income of $233,476 in January 2018 (before expenses). That $100k more than the whole of 2016, in just one month!
In that post Sarah begins with “Years ago, when my abusive ex-husband left me and my kids with nothing, I didn’t know what I was going to do to support my family.” You have to read the whole story. I’m pretty sure it will make your day.
Is that a typical month for Sarah? Maybe not (at least up to this point) but she did manage to make almost a million dollars (before expenses) in 2017.
Majority of Sarah’s income comes from her Shopify store these days. Having an ecommerce store can be a game changer for many people. The trick is though, she seems to be selling only her own products. In her own words:
“I opened my store (I go through Shopify) on June 1, 2017. My first month having the store, I made $52,060 (…) I was completely shocked. I didn’t realize the power of what having a store could do for my income. I stopped promoting affiliates as much and immediately started promoting my own products. When I did that, it was like the money gates opened up like crazy.”
And then she added: “My store produces six-figures a month, all on its own.” Phew!
Sarah consistently makes $130,000+ per month from the first Shopify store alone.
Pat Flynn – smartpassiveincome.com
In December 2017 Pat posted an income figure of $167,553. Even though this monthly blog income is more than annual income for most of us, it wasn’t his highest in 2017. How about $321,642 in July or $258,737 in March 2017?
In fact Pat’s total income in 2017 was a cool $2,171,652.
Pat’s biggest share of the income in the previous years used to be purely from affiliate sales, although this ratio is rapidly changing with the introduction of his own courses recently. Now up to half of his income comes from affiliate sales, the other half from his own courses. For his December income, $105,619 still came from affiliate sales.
Pat’s total expenses for December were $39,647, which still left him with insane monthly profit of about $127,906 before tax.
Pat is my original hero, one of the first guys I came across as I was searching for ways to make money blogging.
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner – makingsenseofcents.com
Michelle’s blog is in the personal finance space and she managed to build it to a very impressive income level. In December 2017 the reported blog income was $126,260, before expenses. The income was mostly a mixture of affiliate sales and sales of her own course.
Again, this level of success didn’t happen overnight. Michelle offers some great words of inspiration and advice:
“While my income levels are high, I do want everyone to remember that I started at $0 a month and have grown my income to where it’s at now through a lot of hard work.
Before you think that $100 or even $1,000 is out of your league, you should remember that it is not!
I, myself, used to think that it would be great to one day earn $1,000 online and through my blog. I looked up to many bloggers who were earning over $10,000 a month, and I thought it was impossible.
Now, I’m here to show everyone that it is possible! Through hard work and dedication, you never know where life may lead you.” [from the above income report]
And indeed Michelle’s online income has been growing massively from year to year:
$116,519 in 2013
$163,929 in 2014
$320,888 in 2015
$979,321 in 2016
and even more impressive $1,536,732 in 2017!
Steve Chou – mywifequitherjob.com
Steve and his wife Jennifer started an online store few years ago and never looked back. I believe they made over $100k in profit the first year of operation.
However, in addition to their e-commerce stores, Steve now makes a very nice income from his blog. His blogging income for 2017 was around $1,350,000 (I believe this is before expenses). This comes to a monthly average of about $112,000. Phew! And this does not even include their income from online stores that they still own and operate.
If you are even a little bit interested in making money selling physical goods via your own online store, independently of Amazon or eBay, then Steve’s blog is a must-read. Period.
Steve also sells a course on how to create and run a profitable online store. In the above post he states: “(…) today, 56% of my students make at least 4 figures per month and 9% make over 50K/month.”
This is huge. How many vendors of money-making courses can say something similar?
John Lee Dumas – Entrepreneurs On Fire (eofire.com)
In January 2018 John posted an impressive blog income of $205,842 gross (or $139,379 net profit). He’s been publishing his income reports since the inception of the blog in 2012. From the humble beginnings in the first year (with a net profit of $26,143 for the year – which mind you is still a decent side income by most people’s standards), to the total net profit of $9,281,159 to date.
John Lee Dumas himself is an entrepreneur on fire. Get this: since the blog started in 2012, he published over 1900 interviews with other entrepreneurs, including some famous ones like Tim Ferris and Tony Robbins.
On his about page John shares this great insight:
“Now that I’ve interviewed over 1900 successful Entrepreneurs, the #1 question I receive is ‘What do all of your guests have in common that make them a success?’
Each successful Entrepreneur I’ve interviewed is a master at ACCOMPLISHING goals.”
If you want to be inspired to reach your own goals, this blog should be considered a must-read.
Update: I just checked the site before going to publication and for May 2018 John posted gross income of $153,375 (net profit $113,520).
Jon Morrow – smartblogger.com
Jon Morrow’s blog regularly makes in excess of $100k per month. The above post is not just about the income. It’s full of insights and tips for other bloggers and aspiring bloggers. For example, one thing Jon recommends is do not sell advertising on your blog, but instead promote affiliate products. This is because the advertising revenue will be miniscule in comparison. Jon’s advice is certainly echoed by other successful online bloggers.
Jon brings a new meaning to the word persistence. He is a tough nut. By his own admission, it took him five years to figure out how to make his first dollar online. Since then, he now built three different sites to over $1 million per year (including his SmartBlogger blog). This is only half of the story. The other half is even more inspiring: Jon has a neuromuscular disorder called Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Amongst other things it means that, in Jon’s own words: “I have a fatal disease, I can’t move from the neck down, and yet I essentially get paid to help people. Let’s talk about that part next.”
So after I got over my initial shock of reading this and a profound feeling of admiration for Jon, my next thought was: “What’s my excuse?”
Alex Nerney and Lauren McManus – createandgo.co
CreateAndGo is essentially a blog about blogging. However, it’s not where it all started for Alex and Lauren. They started (and still run) a blog in health and wellness niche – avocadu.com. That blog, with lots of hard work, made them six figures in the first year. CreateAndGo was started later, once they have already achieved success with Avocadu.
In 2017 the combined blog income after expenses was a jaw dropping $492,000 (and some change). This averages to $41,000 per month.
If you aspire to make money blogging, this is not a blog you would want to miss. Sure, they sell some courses as well, but there is a ton of useful free information on the blog if you are just starting out.
I love reading the income reports on all these blogs. This is so inspirational. Just imagine earning $40,000 per month working from your laptop anywhere in the world. Having money freedom and location freedom, working when you want, where you want, taking time off when it suits you (not your boss).
Update: As I was about to wrap up this huge post, I went to their blog again and their May income report says they made $161,321 in May 2018 (from both blogs combined). In fact, so far this year they made a six figure income every month. A big jump even from their already high income in 2017.
So, with great pleasure, I have now moved Alex and Lauren’s income report to the $100k per month section.
Bloggers earning $20,000 or more per month (in no particular order)
Rosemarie Groner – busybudgeter.com
The last income report Rosemarie has published was for January 2017, as far as I can tell. She posted a healthy figure of $86,438 (before expenses). The lion share of this is from selling her own products ($58,794), however the affiliate income is a very respectable $19,300.
Rosemarie’s blog is all about budgeting tips. She says she started the blog on a whim in 2014. Just over a year later her blog was already bringing between $10,000 and $40,000 gross income and it just kept growing from there.
Jon Gillham – authoritywebsiteincome.com
Jon’s August 2017 income report was the most recent one I was able to find. The income comes from few different sources: the blog, some niche sites, some web-related services and some Amazon sales.
The net income in August was $63,138 and a monthly average net income equally impressive at $49,170.
However, the best part is that Jon shares a lot of information and great tips about his sources of income (money site creation, as well as the Amazon FBA business). This site is definitely worth researching further if you are interested in blogging, building money-making niche sites or selling physical products via Amazon.
Trevor and Jennifer – showmetheyummy.com
ShowMeTheYummy is largely about food and recipes as the name suggests. For December 2016 this blog has earned Trevor and Jennifer a net income of $44,181. This is just after two years since they started the blog.
What’s even more impressive is the fact that they also own other web properties, however that income has not been disclosed. As Trevor says, none of the income reports tell the full story on their own. If you are interested in blogging and making money from it, you should probably study most of these income reports (and that goes for every blog in this post as well).
The single biggest source of (passive) income on their food blog is AdThrive at over $14,000. To me this is just another proof that it’s possible to make money blogging with just advertising and/or affiliate sales.
They also posted over $19,000 in income from their food video workshop sales. However, this is not where they started and this is not where you or I would start either. It takes a lot of hard work to set up your own course or workshop, particularly if you are already busy with content creation for your blog. Making money from advertising and affiliate sales it’s a lot easier in the beginning. It’s also mostly passive income. I love passive income. Passive income equals time freedom.
Hint: If you were thinking about blogging in the food recipe niche, analyse the income breakdown of this and other food blogs on this list. Get inspired, then start your own food blog.
Abby Lawson – justagirlandherblog.com
Abby’s blog made her and her husband Donnie $41,700 in gross income in December 2016. This is not even their highest-grossing month. Again, a big chunk of that income was from affiliate sales: over $27,000. I think most of us would be quite happy to make this much in full time income.
Their net profit for the month was $35,360.
Abby’s story is also very inspiring. She started the blog on a whim (her words) in January 2013. Against her expectations the blog has become their full time income source.
In January 2015, just two years after starting the blog, Abby grossed $13,991 and that figure never went under $10,000 per month level since.
The chart above is a month-by-month visual of what can be achieved if you blog consistently and with passion, even if you don’t quite know what you are doing on day one.
Scott Alan Turner – scottalanturner.com
Scott’s blog is about personal finance. It’s quite unique in that Scott is not a financial planner or adviser, at least not yet (he is studying for Masters Degree in Personal Financial Planning). He is a self-confessed former money moron (his words!) who made his share of mistakes. Yet, once he started getting worried about his personal finances and doing something about it, he managed to turn it around in just a few years.
Scott published his last income report for January 2017. In that month his income was $37,639 after expenses. The vast majority of that income was from various affiliate sales, only just over $1,000 came from another source (book sales). Very impressive.
Apart from studying his income reports, you will probably want to stay on his blog for a while and read various articles, ranging from unusual ways to save money to legitimate ways to make money from home and anything in between.
Spencer Haws – nichepursuits.com
I have studied Spencer’s blog for a while now. The guy is very prolific. This blog is just one of his income producing properties on the web. He also runs numerous other sites and at least a couple of other online businesses.
The last published income report I was able to find was from July 2017. Spencer does not disclose his income from some of his businesses, however the income he disclosed came to $34,371 for the month. This includes revenue from his Niche Pursuits blog of $13,656 which is basically all affiliate income. The other $20k comes from several niche sites, either as an affiliate or selling his own products. The niche sites are all in different categories: home goods, fitness, music.
Niche Pursuits has plenty of case studies and tips that may be hard to find even in paid courses. If niche sites are your thing, this is definitely one of the places to learn from.
Jon Dykstra – fatstacksblog.com
Jon was a lawyer before he discovered his passion for creating and running profitable niche sites. He only has a handful of them, but combined they provide nicely for Jon.
Jon chose to provide income reports on only two such sites, one in a business-to-business space (B2B) and one in a business-to-consumer (B2C) space. No income from other niche sites, nor this blog, is reported.
The latest published report as of this writing is for March 2018. The net income after expenses – $24,381. All of the income comes from ad revenue and affiliate sales. Jon makes a point to say that this is in US dollars, which gives him a nice bump when converted to Canadian dollars (he lives in Canada). Which brings me to an excellent point. If you choose to travel, you could discover that in some countries even as little as a couple of thousand dollars per month would go a long way.
Update: Jon’s May net income from just these two sites was $25,675, followed by $26,047 in June.
Justin Weinger – SoOverThis.com
This is another blog in the personal finance sphere and with some interesting insights. Justin started blogging in mid 2013.
Justin’s latest income report is for November 2017 and his net income after expenses was “just” $10,715. I have included Justin in the over $20k category as this was by far his lowest earning month in the year. For example, in October his net income after expenses was an impressive $80,535. Even more impressive, in September his net income after expenses was $139,210. Justin was hoping to close a year with better than $1,000,000 net income! Has he? We will have to wait for the next income report to find out.
One caveat though: the income comes from various sites Justin now owns (mainly in the form of advertising fees) and managing advertising sales on his client sites.
This is obviously not how he started. In his own words, Justin claims to be technically challenged and he says his expertise and strength is to simply “grow a business online and not to get discouraged and stop”.
Justin advises to think of something you are passionate about and start a blog and keep at it. You only require two things: passion and patience. The money will follow, he says.
Justin is obviously a great case in point. If his example does not inspire and motivate you, I don’t know what will.
Grant Sabatier aka “The Millennial Millionaire” – millennialmoney.com
Grant became a millionaire in a few short years and is passionate about the subject. His goal is to help as many people as possible to do the same through his blog. For 2017 Grant posted revenue of $401,681 from the blog, which averages about $33,473 per month.
Grant had a seven figure offer on his blog recently and rejected it. He says he did it because “I’m still just getting started with my personal mission, which is to teach as many people as possible how to make more money and reach financial independence. My goal has never been to sell the blog for millions of dollars.”
Holly and Greg Johnson – ClubThrifty.com
The last income report I was able to find was for September 2016. Holly reported that they have made $25,943 that month before expenses, although the expenses were kept well in check at $820. This was a typical month in that period. Not as passive as for the other bloggers, as most of this came from content creation and freelancing. Still, this is inspiring as majority people online complain how hard it is to earn decent money freelancing. Freelancing is certainly a great way to start earning online for many people. The advantage is very low cost to start and (almost) immediate income. I’m planning to do a special post about freelancing in the near future.
In the same income report Holly said that she just started her own freelance writing course, so if she and Greg decided to stop publishing the income reports permanently, this may be why. With the sales of their course they should be able to at least double their income in a very short period of time and I would understand if they didn’t feel comfortable sharing their numbers any longer.
The only thing that some people may find disappointing is that the purchase of the course only give you online access to it for one year. It’s pretty much a standard these days to offer a lifetime access to online courses.
On the positive note, there are lots of interesting posts on the ClubTrifty blog. Largely about saving money on various things like gas, travel, and much more. If you love to travel and save money, you will probably find this blog very interesting. They also write about their trips to various famous places which makes the blog even more enjoyable to read.
Matthew Woodward – MatthewWoodward.co.uk
I have been a reader of Matthew’s blog for a while now and if making money online is what interests you then you could do much worse than reading his blog. Matthew covers subjects of blogging and blog traffic in depth, with many tutorials and case studies. He seems to be particularly passionate about SEO.
Matthew wrote the first post in February 2012 and started publishing his income reports since August of that year. Since early 2015 his been consistently making around $20,000 per month and more. His net income after expenses for December 2017 has been reported as $25,718. This is very impressive if you take into account that most of this income is affiliate income. Affiliate income equates to no product creation, no customer support, of course. Probably as close to passive income online as one would ever get to (without putting ads on your site). I, for one, am very impressed.
Matthew’s blog has also passed the $1,000,000 total earnings in June of 2017. Just over five years since the blog was created.
When you start reading his blog you will realise that Matthew has also other web properties, however that income is not included here.
Harsh Agrawal – ShoutMeLoud.com
The last income report published on ShoutMeLoud, that I was able to find anyway, was for December 2016. Harsh reported an income of $34,390. However he also incurred $12,943 which is a significant bite out of his earnings. The net total was still an impressive $21,447.
Harsh’s blog is predominantly about blogging and WordPress (the most popular blogging platform these days). You will also find some useful information on how to make money with affiliate marketing.
Kristin Larsen – BelieveInABudget.com
Kristin started her blog in January 2015. In March 2018 she reported gross income of $33,406. What is interesting is the year on year growth. In March 2017 the posted income was $19,752. That’s quite an increase and a sure sign that the blog is still in the momentum phase and growing.
Kristin’s blog is not just about budgeting and finances. You will also find posts on topics such as blogging and Pinterest traffic generation. In fact, traffic generated from Pinterest was responsible for her blog’s quick success.
Update: I just checked Kristin’s site before publishing this post and Her gross income for April 2018 was $109,878! Quite a jump. Kristin says this huge increase was mainly because of a launch of her new course (on how to become a Pinterest VA). This was also Her best month ever. What is also very interesting is the year on year earnings chart for the month of April. The April three years earlier looked very different with just $61 earned.
In the early days Kristin’s income came mostly from freelancing as a Pinterest VA and some advertising on the site. Today the mix is very different, with most of the revenue coming from affiliate sales and the sales of her own courses.
Paul Scrivens – billionaireblogclub.com
Paul runs several blogs in different niches and reports the combined income on this blog. For January 2018 he reported net profit of $29,903. The biggest share of the revenue comes from paid membership programs offered on a couple of blogs (this one and another one which is in fitness niche).
Couple of takeaways from Paul’s blogs: First, he seems to be doing very well with Pinterest traffic and this allows him to bring a new blog to a relatively high traffic level very quickly (typically in a matter of weeks). This is what many other top earning bloggers do as well. Paul says that every single niche he goes into does well on Pinterest and he uses Pinterest deliberately because he wants to see success quickly.
Secondly, Paul makes a vast majority of his income by teaching others through his membership sites. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s worth keeping in mind as a very profitable option.
Update: The latest income report at the time of publishing this was for for February 2018. Quite a nice increase – $76,139 profit.
Dom Wells – humanproofdesigns.com
Last income report published by Dominic is from June 2016. It was $29,684 before expenses. However the net income (after expenses) was “only” $11,142. The previous month has been a much better month for Dominic, with income after expenses of $20,426.
Dom’s revenue consists mostly of services, including website building and content creation, with some affiliate income as well. Dom specialises in building (and profiting from) niche sites for himself and for others (as a service). His blog is where he shares a lot of his expertise for free and also some interesting case studies.
Suzi Whitford – startamomblog.com
Suzi is a busy mom. She runs this blog whenever the time permits, with some help from her husband John. In September 2017 Suzi and John allowed themselves to take it slow as she was nine months pregnant and expecting a baby. Yet the blog still managed to make them an income of $24,754 before expenses, or 24,170 after expenses.
There are many great takeaways here.
First, they lined up some guest posts for September, so Suzi wouldn’t have to write all of the blog content herself. John says that accepting guest posts has worked great for them and it’s a no-brainer for bloggers. It benefits you, as you don’t have to create all of your content yourself, it benefits the guest post writer as they get access to your audience. And last but not least it benefits your readers by having access to more quality content.
The next obvious takeaway for me is that you don’t need to have high expenses in order to earn big money from blogging. $24,754 of total income for the month and only $584 in expenses. Very encouraging. Suzi and John only spend money where it’s essential to their income generation: autoresponder, web host, a platform from which they sell their courses, and a Pinterest scheduler. That’s about it.
Which brings us to another takeaway: anyone that uses a Pinterest scheduler most likely gets a substantial chunk of their blog traffic from Pinterest. Pinterest can really be a God-sent for blogs in many niches particularly in the early days before any Google traffic starts coming in.
Suzi says she started the blog in January 2016 and by that time next year she was making over $17,000 per month. A big chunk of that income (about half) was from the sales of her own products, with the rest coming from affiliate sales.
Another couple of important takeaways: they started working very early on building of their email list and on creation of their own products.
Yet, none of the above would matter if they didn’t focus on creating great, helpful content in the first place.
Bloggers earning $10,000 or more per month (in no particular order)
Gina Horkey – horkeyhandbook.com
Gina started her blog in 2014 in order to support her new career as a freelancer. The last income report she published was for December 2016 and it was $13,971 after expenses. A respectable amount, although not her highest earning month. Gina decided to stop publishing her monthly income reports as her blog and income kept growing.
In 2014 when she started, all of Gina’s income was from freelancing. Over time this has become a mixture of freelancing income, income from selling her own digital products and affiliate income.
Through her blog Gina offers a lot of free (and some paid) advice to anyone interested in becoming a virtual assistant or a freelance writer and some very interesting case studies. She has plenty of practical experience to share in this area.
Pauline Cabrera – twelveskip.com
Pauline published her only income report way back in 2015. I was a bit hesitant to include it here as it’s a bit dated. However I have decided to include it here for two reasons. One, this post contains some really interesting insights and two, because Pauline’s income comes from offering services as a freelancer, the numbers are as relevant at the time of writing this as they were in 2015.
Pauline’s income for the month was $13,446 after expenses. It’s good to see many freelancers online earning in the ten to twenty thousand dollars per month range. It just proves that it can be done if you are willing to put in the work. So, if you have been reading a lot of posts in the forums that just keep lamenting how hard it is earn money freelancing online, stop reading the forums and start following the blogs of successful freelancers like Gina, Pauline and others.
Sharon Gourlay – digitalnomadwannabe.com
Sharon is a self confessed digital nomad and between this blog and her other web properties she makes a very comfortable living.
The last published income report seems to be for January 2016. The gross income reported was $12,748. Vast majority of this income was passive – from affiliate sales and advertising. Sharon also runs another blog and some undisclosed niche sites but the income published appears to be from digitalnomadwannabe.com only. What is also impressive that the total income for the running twelve month from this blog has been $150,000. That’s pretty good considering Sharon travels a lot with her family and says she doesn’t work on her blog very hard.
“I don’t have a hugely well known blog. I get great traffic but I’ve never been in it for the fame. I feel uncomfortable marketing myself and you won’t see my blog name plastered everywhere. I don’t say these things to show off. I want to illustrate how possible a passive income is for any blog and why you should try not to get caught up in the wrong things if you want a financially successful blog.
I hope it causes you to question some of your assumptions about blogging, what you need to do and how much you need to work.
You don’t have to be known by everyone or considered the authority in your niche to make good money. It frustrates me when I hear other bloggers saying this…”
Very inspirational words. Read this whole post, not just the numbers. It will be worth your while.
Jessica Burgess – fantabulosity.com
The last income report I was able to find on Jessica’s blog was for December 2016. The income for that month was $11,605 before expenses. Most of the income is passive, from affiliate sales, sponsorship and advertising.
Jessica loves writing about fashion and beauty, food recipes, parties and anything home-related. All big niches and it just shows that there is always room for one more blog, particularly if you are passionate about the subject.
Rachel Lister – busymommymedia.com
The latest income report I was able to find on Rachel’s blog was from September 2016. She reported $19,722 before expenses. As Rachel says, “There are quite a few expenses that come along once you start blogging professionally. Fortunately, I’ve found they stay in line with your income so you don’t have to spend much in the beginning. ”
A large chunk of the income came from sponsorship – $8,260. This is another source of income to keep in mind and I don’t see many people talk about it.
Jeff Proctor and Ben Huber – breakingtheonepercent.com
Jeff and Ben have been only running their blogs for about two and half years, yet they seem to be doing quite well. For April 2018 they reported combined gross revenue of $17,640. Their other blog is dollarsprout.com which, as Jeff told me, is responsible for around 75% of their blog income.
Their highest revenue prior to this one was a bit over $12,000. Ben attributes this to a large increase from search engine traffic on one of the blogs. Their expenses for the month were around $3,500. Their next income goal for the blogs is $30,000 per month.
Their advice? Blogging is hard but can absolutely change your life for the better. In blogging you learn by doing. The sooner you jump in, the better.
Brendan Mace – brendanmace.com
I love Brendan’s email sign-up box right on the home page. The message is very simple and yet so compelling:
“Wanna Make Money Online? – Steal my simple 3-Part Blueprint – Earns me over $30,000/Month – Work From Your Couch – This Will Change Your Life”
Brendan reported income of $23,250 for January 2017 (before expenses). The expenses came to $12,638 for the month which is not typical for that level of income, unless you have advertising expenses or pay out affiliate commissions on the sales of your own products (which seems to be the case here). Still, a solid six figure income on yearly basis, not bad at all for a young guy still in his twenties.
Kayla Sloan – kaylasloan.com
Kayla reported an income of $9,782 for March 2018. This seems to be a typical month for Kayla, with other recent months ranging from $7,311 to $14,409.
Kayla’s blog started as shoeaholicnomore.com around the end of 2013. One of her goals was to get out of debt and un-clutter her life. Clutter is something a lot of us are good at (accumulating, that is) and deep down we all know that getting rid of it would simplify and enrich our life. But that’s a story for another day.
Anyways, Kayla saw the connection between clutter and debt and has been blogging about ways to budget and save money ever since. She also turned that passion into a full-time income.
Update for May 2018: $11,728. Very consistent.
Nathan Ello – nathanello.com
Nathan makes most of his money freelancing (or at least did until he became a digital nomad), with some affiliate income as well.
Nathan does not publish regular income reports, however he revealed his full year freelancing income for the period of twelve months until and including May 2017. His take-home earnings as a freelancer were a very respectable $161,588. That averages out to about $13,465 per month. If you are a freelancer or consider becoming one, you should probably read the whole post.
Nathan’s hourly rate was $90 per hour at the time and he worked around 30 hours per week on average. So much for the people that say you can’t charge more than about $20-$30 per hour as a freelancer. Of course you can. Even if you just browse freelancers on Upwork, you will see that some freelancers advertise themselves at $10 per hour or less, while others charge $150 per hour or more.
Logan and Caroline – moneydoneright.com
Logan and Caroline still hold their full-time jobs as accountants and blog in their spare time about personal finance. They are doing incredibly well in this crowded niche. After just over a year since they started blogging, their monthly income for March 2018 was $13,237 before expenses.
Majority of that revenue comes from various affiliate sales. There was some advertising revenue as well.
Interestingly, most of that income ($8,348) comes from promoting various survey companies. This just shows that survey programs are still a very popular choice amongst make-money-from-home seekers. It seems that not much has changed online in the last fifteen years: most people are still attracted to the “easy money” deals. But what’s new? It’s been always like that, long before the Internet.
If you ever consider promoting survey companies to your blog readers, make sure you only promote programs that you would also gladly recommend to your loved ones. Always put your reputation and honesty before money. My memory of the survey programs being promoted several years back is that many of the promoters promised much more than they were able to deliver.
Update: For June 2018 Logan and Caroline reported gross revenue of $28,649. That’s more than double of their March income and very impressive.
Alida – therealisticmama.com
Alida reported income of $12,366 (before expenses) for January 2018. According to Alida, she only worked about 20 hours per week that month. Nice. Most of that came from affiliate sales and advertising / sponsorship with some sales of their own digital products also.
Allan Liwanag – thepracticalsaver.com
The latest income report Allan has published to date if for September / October 2017. Mostly from affiliate sales and advertising, it came to a nice amount of $24,272 or $12,136 per month on average. On top of that, Allan had also a nice investment income of over $9,000 (over two months) and he says that saving and investing a lion’s share of his blogging income has directly contributed to the investment income. Allan does not just write about saving and investing money, his also walks the walk.
Deacon – wellkeptwallet.com
The last report so far is for August 2017 – $17,714. It comes from affiliate sales, advertising and sales of his own digital product. His income has been rising substantially in 2017 and Deacon attributes it to learning as much as he can from the people that are already successful bloggers. Great advice!
Nicky and Chris – kitchensanctuary.com and livingtheblog.com
Nicky and Chris posted their last income report for October 2017, so far. The income was $11,497 before expenses and the regular expenses were kept well in check at only $235. Another great example that you can have great income blogging with minimal expenses.
About half of the income came from freelance writing, the rest mainly from advertising and sponsorship.
Ron Stefanski – onehourprofessor.com
This is a very interesting case. Ron is a college professor as well as an online entrepreneur. I first came across Ron’s blog at the beginning of 2017, I made a note of his income report for January which was $3,440. I thought to myself: yes it’s a nice side income for a college professor for whom this blog is probably nothing more than a bit of a side hobby. Then, during writing this post I looked at his blog again, a year later, and get this: Ron’s online income reported for March 2018 was $14,959! Perhaps still just a side hobby? Don’t thinks so.
Update: I just checked Ron’s income for June 2018, it was $16,183.
Here’s what is possible with persistence:
Ron says: “It’s definitely not easy, and it takes a lot of time to figure everything out, but once you do figure it out this is by far the best industry/business to own and without it I would still be taking my (miserable) daily commute to work and feeling lost in the professional world.”
Okay, so perhaps Ron is an ex college professor now. I’m definitely paying attention now and will start devouring his blog.
I also predict that Ron will take his monthly income above the $50k per month level sometime in 2019, if not before. He makes his income from building niche sites and monetizing them passively with ads and affiliate products, so I think this is attainable.
Miranda Nahmias – mirandanahmias.com
Miranda is also one of those people that just keep at it and keep their income growing steadily. In February 2017 her net profit was about $3,300, yet in March 2018 it grew to $10,452. Actually the gross revenue was over $17,000 for the month, however Miranda now also has her own team of freelancers who help with work, hence the high expenses.
Miranda made her money as a virtual assistant in the early days of the blog and that is still the biggest part of her income to this day although we start seeing other sources of revenue such as coaching and sales of ready-made packages to the clients.
Miranda shares a lot of tip for aspiring virtual assistants on her blog, for example how to attract clients and how to succeed as a solopreneur (I’m still getting used to this word).
Tyler – iamthefutureme.com
Tyler posted a nice gross income of $12,376 for January 2018, which is almost double of his December income. This was partly to some December income not received until January. About half of that income came from freelancing and the other half from the Amazon FBA sales.
Tyler’s progress is fun to watch. When I first came across his blog in early 2017, he reported gross income of $1,378 for February of that year. Then in May he made more than $3,000 for the month and in November made more than $5,000 for the first time.
Brok – fulltimejobfromhome.com
Brok’s blog income has been hovering around $3,000 to $4,000 per month in the second half of 2016. He then stopped publishing income reports for a whole year. Fast forward to 2017 and his January 2018 income was $13,841. Brok says that he has been earning over $10,000 per month the past few months. January is his highest earning month so far. Majority of the earnings came from various affiliate programs, with advertising also playing a significant role (just over $2,000).
Cheryl Malik – 40aprons.com
Cheryl is passionate about healthy eating. Both Cheryl and her husband live on Paleo diet most of the time and swear by its benefits (eg. effortless weightloss). They have a very sensible approach which I like very much: “We eat well for great health most of the time… but sometimes we eat poorly for great mental health!” says Cheryl. I like that!
For February 2018 Cheryl posted a nice net income of $14,340. By far the biggest component of that was the Adthrive revenue (well over $8,000), but few other sources were nice too. If you are passionate about food and recipes, keep in mind that many if not most food blogs have advertising as a major component of their revenue. Some are monetised exclusively through the ads. This is pure passive income, as passive as it gets.
This concludes our section of bloggers earning over $10,000 per month. This is also a conclusion of part one of this large case study. In part two we will look at a long list of bloggers who are earning over $5,000 per month and then we will conclude with the up and coming blogs that publish their income reports.
Some Conclusions from part one
One thing you will notice that affiliate income is still a huge source of blog income, even for the most successful bloggers that have been doing this for a few years now. And most of them certainly did not start with their courses. They started with affiliate marketing, either through a blog or a niche site. So the potential for affiliate income is certainly huge. But this is not even the best part. The best thing about affiliate income is that, if done correctly, it’s mostly passive income. You may do a few promotions to your email list during the year and of course you have to keep writing great blog posts in order to get the traffic to your blog in the first place.
However, you do not have to create your own products, you do not have to worry about copywriting for the sales pages, you do not have to worry about taking orders, fulfillment, or handling customer queries (or even an occasional refund for that matter). This is all handled by the product vendor.
You can do incredibly well with promoting affiliate products alone. Pat Flynn did not introduce his own courses until he started earning six figures monthly. Michelle Schroeder-Gardner was earning over $50,000 per month from affiliate sales before introducing her own course to the mix. These are just a couple of examples.
On the flip side, many successful bloggers introduce their own teaching materials (ebooks, courses, membership sites) to the mix at some stage and some derive most of their income this way. Depending on your personality and your lifestyle goals this may or may not be something you want to consider.
Another takeaway is to understand that none of the big earning bloggers was an overnight success. They have been doing this, in most cases, for a few years now. You and I won’t get there in six months. But you might be surprised with the results after blogging consistently for a year or two.
I want to mention again Pinterest as a source of traffic. Many bloggers were able to bring a new blog to a relatively high traffic levels very quickly (often in a matter of weeks). Some bloggers went that route so they could get traffic to their blog much earlier than would be possible by relying on Google traffic alone. For many of them Pinterest remains a major source of traffic even when their blog is well established.
In part 2 we will look at bloggers earning $5,000 or more per month, as well as bloggers that broke the $1,000 per month barrier.
Until next time. Stay focused.