Whenever I look into creating a passive or low effort income for myself, I see many different suggestions. Participation in online surveys is one way which can benefit those who have some time to spare and answer some marketing related questions. Investment is another method that has been recommended quite a lot, though I hear managing stock can get complicated. The people recommending it often use something like thexanlam broker to automate stock trading or create an online course that provides a qualification. The list goes on, but one thing I always see is that you can start a blog to build a passive income. And I don’t think people realize how much time and expenses go into building a blog that will provide a profit. So, because of this and the fact that I’ve been seeing quite a few blog income reports for a while now – I wanted to go through my income report. At first, I thought I didn’t really need to jump on the band wagon and share what I’d made, except that I found so many of them useful in learning new ways to make money and keep track of it all, that I thought maybe it’d help my blogging readers as well if I shared. I learned how to increase income, cut costs by using sites like 28msec.com to find cheaper hosting plans, better ways to go about sponsorships – it’s been very helpful. I am in no way one of those “here’s how I made six figures last year” bloggers. I really wish I was, but at this point my blog is just one of those “I make pretty good money for a side hustle” blogs. Yes, I want to make it more, but it’s up significantly from what I claimed last year on my taxes, so one can only hope it’s up from here, right?
So today, as I sit down to start my taxes, I’d like to go over my blog income and expenses so you can see exactly where I made money and and how much I spent. This is also helpful for my records, as I haven’t been keeping exact track of everything previously so I can’t give you an exact idea of where the differences are from the years prior.
2015 Blog Income – $2,887.14
Blog Sponsorship Program – $1116.69
I’ve been running my sponsorship program for a few years, but none have been quite so successful and lucrative as 2015 was. I fine-tuned this program a lot over the last year, and while my prices didn’t increase too much on what they were before, I was able to offer my sponsors more because I narrowed it down to only a few big and beautiful sizes. If you’re interested in sponsoring me, check out some testimonials and my current statistics, and then snag yourself an ad.
Sponsored Posts from Other Sources -$1770.45
SheKnows/Momentum – $1100.00
I signed up for the SheKnows/Momentum Social Media sponsored social media posts back when it was just BlogHer, but it’s been wonderful and I was so shocked when I got the 1099 in the mail telling me how much I made from them last year. Basically I just post things to Facebook, Twitter, and occasionally an Instagram for them.
Various Sponsors – $597.05
These are the sponsors I just worked with who contacted me directly via email. They typically ask you to post something, some are one time partners, and some contact me regularly to post.
Linquia – $73.40
Linquia is one I wish I’d done more with, though they seem to be a little more difficult to make straight-up money thorugh since you only get paid per click. But, I did have a few really fun campaigns where I tried great new products with them.
2015 Blog Expenses – $1603.37
Hosting & Domain Expenses
Godaddy – $227.41
I use GoDaddy for all my hosting. I think there are cheaper options, but I just don’t have it in me to go through a switch right now.
Blogging Tools Expenses – $285.86
PassionFruit Ads – $50.00
I have the grandfathered account with Passionfruit ads, so it only costs me $50 a year to run my sponsorship program through PF. I kind of wish I could find a better option, because the creator has gone completely AWOL and getting a refund now requires hassling them through Paypal until Paypal just pays us back, but I have yet to find a real competitor.
InLinkz – $19.99
Used for hosting linkies, it’s a once a year charge that happens in January for me.
Photobucket – $29.99
I pay a yearly fee for hosting photos in Photobucket which I use on the blog or when doing design for clients.
CoSchedule – $90
I know this is a steep price, but man I cannot live without CoSchedule. It’s so wonderfully glorious when it comes to planning out my calendar, scheduling, auto-publishing, and even sharing to social media without a hitch. I don’t know what I’d do without it, it’s completely revolutionized blogging for me.
Rafflecopter – $95.88
Rafflecopter is another one I’m super lucky to have gotten in on and ended up with a grandfathered price. This is what I use to host giveaways and it makes my life so much easier.
Design Expenses – $341.00
WordPress Plugins – $10.00
I paid $10 to get a key for the Use Any Font plugin.
Blogger Template – $48.00
Before I switched to WordPress I invested in the White Space Template for Blogger from Envye.
WordPress Themes – $97.00
When I first switched over to WordPress I made sure of all the important features like selecting a host before all else. Then it was time to pick the themes. I bought the same design as I’d had with Blogger, I just got the White Space Theme for WordPress from Envye instead. I then picked up a couple other themes before settling on the one I’m currently using.
Fonts – $178.97
Last year I purchased hundreds of fonts to use for design work here on the blog and for potential printables and clients.
Stock Images – $41.00
I do occasionally use stock images on the blog, mostly via Canva, and paid this amount for it.
Advertising Expenses – $844.98
Ads on Other Blogs – $277.80
In addition to allowing advertisers on my blog, I put forth the expense to advertise on other blogs to increase my traffic and reader reach.
Promoted Posts on Facebook – $117.87
Really, the only way to get many eyes on a Facebook post these days is to pay to promote it. I do this occasionally with posts I really want attention on.
Giveaway Prizes – $449.31
This is just a total of prizes I paid for myself straight up (non-group giveaways) and prizes I contributed to on other sites/blogs/loops. The reason I do these is that it’s great publicity to have your information in a giveaway that really takes off.
Income vs. Expenses – How Much I Actually Made
So our formula is INCOME – EXPENSES = TOTAL MADE. Which comes to $2887.14 – $1603.37 = $1283.77. Not bad, but next year I plan to totally up my game and make WAY more than that. 2016, here I come! I also plan to have less expenses, since I wont have to make the switch to wordpress again next year.
Where I Could Have Been Making Money in 2015
Unfortunately there were quite a few missed opportunities for me financially in 2015. Luckily, I’ve learned my lesson and 2016 will be a better year for it!
I swear, I tried so hard to make money via Amazon and other affiliates and had ZERO luck. It wasn’t until I read Kimi’s post The Big Secret to Making Money on Your Blog Using Affiliates that I kicked up my game and joined Affiliate Window. Seriously, they are the BEST to work with-and my favorite has been their Etsy program. But I didn’t start utilizing them until December, so I started seeing income from that in January, so next year I’ll have more to report on this.
Better Sponsorship Sites
Seriously, there are so many great sites out there. I mentioned a bunch in my post Everything You Need to Know About Accepting Sponsored Posts and there are a few there that I belong to and haven’t yet used. Social Fabric is one I really want to get in on, because they pay really well, but I have to actually sit my butt down and take their huge course and I haven’t done it yet. This weekend I should get my butt in gear and do it.
Other Services I Plan to Add in 2016
I’m going to be opening up design work again for bloggers on Blogger and WordPress, or who need logos, Etsy banners, etc. I always loved doing it, so I’ll be doing it again very soon.
I want to help you make your blog the best it can be-and so I’ll be doing one on one blog consultations (at varying levels) for bloggers who want a little help upping their blogging and design game to start being more legitimate. If you’re interested in being one my first (at a discounted rate) please reach out to me!
Printables & Adult Coloring Books
I’ll be sending free printables out every month to my Newsletter sponsors (sign up below the post) but I’ll also be offering ones for sale too. 🙂
Note: This post does contain a few affiliate links, that’s another way I’m upping my game in 2016 to help make my dream of supporting myself via my blog a reality. I may receive compensation in the form of money or reduced costs (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase via my links. Thank you SO much for your support!