Well, well, well... things have really changed since my last update.
I mean, they have and they haven't.
What's the same is that my sites, or "portfolio", are chugging along making a very consistent $10,000 per month or so.
I've put in a lot of work the last 6 months or so, and while I haven't seen any insane growth, this is a really good place to be.
What's changed is my time. Whereas in my last update I talked about a huge content push (I tried to publish 50 total articles + YouTube vids in April), in this month I'll be talking about stepping back from the business temporarily, why I'm doing it, and how I plan to make it work.
I'll get into that in the Odds & Ends below, but first let's see the numbers for May 2021.
First, if you don't know about me and my publishing my business, here's the scoop:
I run a couple of niche blogs or websites where I publish (what I think is) really good content. Most of it is discovered by people searching on Google. I monetize that traffic primarily with ads, so the more traffic I get, the more money I make – although I also recommend products here and there and earn affiliate commissions for those sales.
(The split on most of my sites is somewhere around 60% ads and 40% affiliate, with the ad share growing over time.)
I started my first site in April of 2017 and went full-time running it in February of 2018 – way too soon! It was making a little money but not much. I hustled my ass off and picked up freelance work for a while until I could scale the business up.
Here's where it all stands in monthly revenue as of May 2021:
- Site 1 - $6,173.45
- Site 2 - $4,044.11
- Amazon Int'l (all sites combined) - $338.74
- Total - $10,556.30 (April $10,033.53, March 10,577.57, February $9,231.56)
Last May (2020) I made about $7300 — so this is awesome year over year growth, exactly what I want to see! If I can see a similar increase by next year I could be enjoying $15k months in 2022. But I don't want to get ahead of myself.
Note that not all of this is profit: So how much does it cost to run my blogging business every month? I won't bore you with a ton of line items, but basically (outside of what I pay myself):
- Recurring expenses (tools, hosting, etc) $500
- Content (articles & video) $2500
- Total - Around $3000
Here's a recap of what I'm working on, plus some wins and losses from this month.
Site 1 - Fitness & Health
Live articles - 437 (+15)
Total pageviews- 173,699(+5.33)
Total revenue - $6,173.45 (April $6,045.05, March $6,266.38, February $5,438.17)
YouTube Views - 33,599 (April 14,470, March 5,098, February 1,447, January 895) +112 subscribers
What happened & what I'm working on:
You can see I published a good bit less on this site (and Site 2, as well) than the previous month.
I assigned out a ton of content but right now I have a pretty big backlog of posts needing edits.
Part of that was intentional as I worked a lot less in May, and will be keeping up the same lighter schedule in June and July.
I do have an editor who helps get posts ready but I just can't bring myself to let posts go out without me seeing them first. I have a lot of firsthand knowledge about this niche so I really think the posts benefit from me doing some hands-on tinkering and editing to get them up to snuff. Having them formatted and ready to go in Wordpress does save some time, but for now, I remain a bottleneck.
YouTube is still growing like mad and hopefully I can monetize in the next 6 months or so.
Site 2 - Parenting & Family
Live articles - 264 (+8)
Total pageviews - 109,732 (-2%)
Total revenue - $4,044.11 (April $3,681.69, March $4033.52, February $3455.25)
What happened & what I'm working on:
Same deal here. There are a bunch of posts waiting for me to finish editing and publish, and I'm slowly chipping away.
Not much else to say on this front, so let's get into the more interesting part!
Odds & Ends
When I first went all-in on this business (around the time I read the fabled 4 Hour Work Week), I thought it all might look a little different.
I had visions of working in Thai coffee shops. Summering with my family in exotic countries and writing posts on shoddy WiFi. Taking frequent staycations to explore hobbies and lots of time to myself.
It hasn't worked out exactly like that.
I have 2 young kids. One is in elementary school — which usually ends at 2:30, except during the summer, when there is no school! She's not home most of the time, but of course there are camps, which need drop-off and early afternoon pick ups.
My other daughter is a baby and she goes to daycare, from morning until late afternoon/early evening. But even she has been home with school germs and ear infections. There are often sleepless nights. There are piles of dishes and laundry that need to be done and laws to be mowed and things to be fixed or tidied.
My wife has a demanding and lucrative career. As much as I would like to flip our roles, her salary and benefits are too valuable and my business isn't making enough. Yet.
So recently when it felt like our house was a complete disaster and we were always scrambling and running behind (with both of us trying to work while caring for 2 young kids) I decided to step back for the summer and try to get a handle on some things.
I decided to adopt a, more or less, 4 Hour Work Week — except instead of filling the extra hours with beaches and snorkeling and hiking it's camp pick up and getting the HVAC guy out to fix the air conditioning and forever mowing the lawn and doing dishes. (So, so many dishes).
It's what our family needs right now and, frankly, it's a huge benefit of this business that I can do that and still make it work.
So in short, I'm going into maintenance mode for the summer. I'm doing my best to use my working hours to get assignments out to writers. That means there's a growing backlog of posts to edit, and my goal is to chip away at a couple per week. But they aren't going anywhere and there doesn't have to be any hurry.
I have 6 month old articles on my sites that are just beginning to rank, so the urgency I've been forcing on myself is kind of laughable, when you really think about it.
The business is good, it's healthy, and I can get back to growing it aggressively in the fall. In the meantime, making $10k per month while I take care of the house and kids isn't such a bad place to be.
And on that note, I better get back to work — the HVAC guy is coming soon and then it's time to pick up my daughter from swim camp.
But before I go, a little tease for next month's report: Whatever Google algo dropped on June 6 has been HUGE for me. Stay tuned.