My blogging income reports

Join me on my blogging journey and follow my progress as a full-time blogger with my monthly progress and income reports. Many bloggers publish their income reports, so I decided to do my own (short) variation of that. Why? Well, I publish monthly progress reports for several reasons.

First of all, I believe in fully transparency. Transparency is one of the key factors for a bright future, besides encouraging personal talent development, fast technological development, tolerance and transcendence (doing what you do with a strong why). That’s why I want to be completely transparent with my blogging progress. And show how my blogging beginnings financially suck. ;)

The second reason is that I analyze a huge amount of data every month to see what works and what doesn’t. Therefore, it’s not a huge effort to publish a few key data on my blog as well. Besides a dashboard, I use a huge Excel template that is available for you to download, if you’re considering starting your own blog.

The next reason is the most important one. Showing progress to the public forces you to really focus on progress. It’s hard to show stats that suck. And when you’re a blogger, it’s so easy to do so many things that lead to a fake feeling of progress. So I want to be embarrassed by my metrics, in order to work harder and be more focused on the right things.

The last value of my progress reports is to show you that blogging isn’t easy. It takes months if not even years to start extracting value from the content you created. There are many people selling you get-rich-quickly blogging schemes that don’t work. You can definitely make money blogging, there are many people who do, but it doesn’t happen overnight.

Why I have no problem disclosing loss?

I’m probably the only blogger disclosing loss in income reports. If you ever wondered why I have no problem showing how much money I’m currently losing by blogging full time, it’s very simple.

You know when they say that if you want to be really successful in life, you have to find the type of work you enjoy so much that you’re even willing to pay to do it instead of getting paid (and it must be work, not a hobby and the work must have big potential of course, no stupid decisions or investments).

When that happens, you have zero problems with motivation, ideas, creative flows etc. It's one of the best things that can happen to you, besides falling in love. That's it. And income reports in red are hard solid proof of that. I’m willing to pay for what I currently do, at least while I can. And I was saving money hard for the past few years to do it.

Find the type of work you enjoy so much that you’re even willing to pay to do it instead of getting paid. But it must also be an investment with low risk and huge potential reward.

People like to spend money on travel, entertainment, cars etc. I love to write, create, share my ideas, play with technology, have deep talks about life, impact other people positively and invest into myself and knowledge.

I definitely want to make my blog profitable. I’m going to work hard to do it. But currently I see my planned blog loss as a pure investment. Into learning, creating and enjoying life. And a digital asset with huge potential. According to my plan, loss will go all the way up to 20,000€ until the end of the summer (with opportunity costs all the way up to 100.000€). Then I will focus on monetization strategies.

When I reach revenue phase in my blog development (empathy, stickiness, virality, revenue, scale), my focus will be on creating unique products that really bring value to people. But for now learning, experimenting and only sharing my ideas, different strategies and unique views and all the free downloads is more important.

Even if for some reason my blog doesn't turn big and doesn't become profitable (failing is not an option, but it can happen), I much more enjoy writing and learning and sharing than driving an expensive car. It's not always easy, but it's who I am, following my heart.

And one more thing. Finding a thing you love so much you’re willing to pay to do it (the so-called fit), doesn't mean all roses. Not only can you actually lose money in the beginning, it can also be very stressful, painful, hard and with many ups and downs. I’m writing this text at 4 in the morning because I can't sleep with so many ideas going through my head.

If you care, it's always going to be one hell of a roller-coaster ride. With all the highs and lows. But that's also what makes it so epic, that's why it makes you feel so alive. Talk is cheap. Getting things done is much better. But putting sweat and money where your mouth is shows real commitment. ;)

If you are interested more in my strategy, please read the following blog posts:

So here are my blogging progress reports:

Income reports

2014 Income reports

This was the year I decided to start my English blog after building one of the most successful business blogs in my native language. First, I wanted to blog about how I’m learning to code (hustler2hacker). Then I got an idea for how lean startup and agile management techniques could be used in personal life. That inspired me so much that I created this blog and published my first post in October 2014.

I started my blog purely as a hobby, alongside running my own consulting business. Without any expectations or goals, just to share my ideas and improve my English.

Posts Visitors Subscrib. Income Expen. Lifetime
Sep 9 10 0 0 906 € -906 €
Oct 20 75 0 0 850 € -1,756 €
Nov 26 85 0 0 1,053 € -2,809 €
Dec 34 71 0 0 446 € -3,255 €

Categories explained:

  • Posts = Number of all published posts and pages
  • Hours = Number of hours spent on the blog (all work included)
  • Visitors = Number of unique visitors on the blog (Google Analytics)
  • Subscribers = Number of email list subscribers
  • Income = Income from blogging
  • Expenses = Blogging expenses (without my living costs and opportunity costs)
  • Lifetime = Total profit/loss (without my living costs and opportunity costs)

 

2015 Income reports

The whole year of 2015, my blogging was still only a hobby (I was still running a demanding full-time consulting business). No products and nothing to sell. I didn’t even share a few of the blog posts on my social media (don’t ask me why, total newbie mistake). But I experimented a little bit with different tools and paid traffic and Google started sending traffic my way. I still considered my blog to be in the productivity niche.

In 2015, I also got more and more attracted to blogging. I started to write more and more. I did a redesign at the end of the year with a completely new WP theme. The more the end of the year was approaching, the more I felt like I have to devote more of my time to this blog.

Posts Visitors Subscrib. Income Expen. Lifetime
 Jan 43 1,536 (79%) 0 0 1,205 € -4,459 €
 Feb 51 1,533 (45%) 14 0 489 € -4,949 €
 Mar 61 2,603 (27%) 40 0 1,084 € -6,033 €
 Apr 70 1,517 52 0 678 € -6,711 €
 May 75 1,496 65 0 445 € -7,157 €
 Jun 77 1,652 83 74 € * 250 € -7,333 €
 Jul 81 2,468 92 0 296 € -7,629 €
 Aug 84 6,150 ** 119 0 1,209 € -8,838 €
 Sep 94 3,614 217 0 355 € -9,192 €
 Oct 102 3,660 257 0 272 € -9,464 €
 Nov 110 4,491 304 0 1,298 € -10,762 €
 Dec 124 4,760 358 0 774  € -11,536 €

Categories explained:

  • Posts = Number of all published posts and pages
  • Hours = Number of hours spent on the blog (all work included)
  • Visitors = Number of unique visitors on the blog (Google Analytics)
  • Visitors ** = A few of my articles were accepted on Reddit (conversions were low)
  • Visitors (%) = Percentage of paid traffic. Otherwise 0%.
  • Subscribers = Number of email list subscribers
  • Income = Income from blogging
  • Income * = Google Adsense (I decided not to monetize my blog with advertising yet)
  • Expenses = Blogging expenses (without my living costs and opportunity costs)
  • Lifetime = Total profit/loss (without my living costs and opportunity costs)

 

2016 Income reports

The decision was made. I decided to go full-time blogging. I sold my car, burned all the bridges and gone into monk mode. In 2016, I decided that my blog isn’t only a hobby anymore, but now I treat it as a business (or a startup, if you want).

I have to start making money blogging before I run out of savings. I plan to achieve the break-even point somewhere in the second half of the year. Somewhere after the summer. Currently, I’m focusing a lot on learning and outlining my first products.

It may sound crazy, but in the H1 2016 I don't want making money to distract me from my fast learning.

Here are some other general information. I figured out that productivity is too narrow of a niche for me and that I have many other ideas out of this scope that can help people. So I did a zoom-out pivot and changed my niche to personal development. Thus the main tagline of the blog is now Data-driven personal development.

At the beginning of the year, I invested some money in infrastructure (like CDN) and a few different tools and educational seminars, so the costs are getting quite high. Now my laser focus is on validated learning and driving quality traffic to my blog. As mentioned in the H2 2016 I plan to release the first products and will focus myself more on monetization strategies.

Posts Visitors Subscrib. Income Expen. Lifetime
 Jan 131 7,945* 576* 0 1,334 € -12,870 €
 Feb  151 7,818 660 0 1,384 €  -14,254 €
 Mar  161  7,968  731  5.64 €  939 €  -15,187 €
 Apr  171 8,503 824 0 964  €  -16,154 €
 May  181 9,500 930 0 631  €  -16,782 €
 Jun  191 10,375 1,041 0 839 €  -17,621€
 Jul  201  10,952 1,149 0 1,055€  -18,676€
 Aug  232 13,555** 1,256 0 1,021€  -19,697€
 Sep  240 16,530 1,387 0 1,125 € -20,822 €
 Oct  249 18,286 1,240*** 0 1,574 € -22.296  €
 Nov
 Dec

Categories explained:

  • Posts = Number of all published posts and pages
  • Hours = Number of hours spent on the blog (all work included)
  • Visitors = Number of unique visitors on the blog (Google Analytics)
  • Visitors (%) = Percentage of paid traffic. Otherwise 0%.
  • Visitors * = I sent an e-mail campaign to all of my personal contacts on social networks
  • Visitors** = I published one blog post per day as 30 Days Challenge
  • Subscribers = Number of email list subscribers
  • Subscribers * = I invited all my Facebook and Linkedin contacts to subscribe
  • Subscribers *** = I cleaned the non-active subscribers
  • Income = Income from blogging
  • Expenses = Blogging expenses (without my living costs and opportunity costs)
  • Lifetime = Total profit/loss (without my living costs and opportunity costs)

Other interesting metrics:

  • Lifetime hours spent on the blog (Sep 2014 – Aug 1016): 2,430
  • Approximate opportunity costs (not included in expenses): 110,500 €
  • Total number of published A4 pages: 1040

My OMTM is the number of subscribers and active readers of newsletter before I build my first products. Then of course my OMTM will be macro conversions. Infoproducts are planned to be the main source of my blogging income.

My main costs

My current monthly recurring costs are listed below.

“Disclosure: In 2016 I decided to experiment with affiliate links a little bit. Thus some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Nevertheless I strictly promote only the things and the services that I also regularly use and like.”

Infrastructure

Tools

Content production:

  • Proofreading/copyediting – the far biggest cost, since all the articles are copyedited
  • Fotolia – Stock photos
  • Kraken Image Optimizer – Image Optimize Service
  • Grammarly – Grammar check

Marketing

  • Facebook – minimal, sometimes I boost a post for a 10$
    • I plan to test retargeting in 2016 with a small budget
    • Still my paid traffic is minimal as you can see in the reports

Knowledge

Other costs

  • Accounting (included among costs from 2016 on)
  • Mobile phone (included among costs from 2016 on)

I will stop publishing my progress reports when I achieve the break-even point (including covering my living costs) and when my investments into my blog from previous years will be returned (all the costs related to blog, my living costs covered out of savings and my opportunity costs). In other words, when I’m able to pay my expenses with blogging and get back the money I invested into the blog. But don't worry, it will probably pass a few years until then. ;)

If you have any additional questions regarding my blogging progress, don’t hesitate to drop me an email.