Natalie Bacon Income

I made just about $20k blogging in July 2018 – the most I’ve ever made from my business. I’m super excited to share the details in this post!

I don’t do regular income reports (but I share income updates on Instagram!).

Sometimes I do share milestones in blog posts, like these…

Because a few years ago I had no idea how to make money blogging (but had blind faith it would happen), I want to document this super fun point in my journey.

So many bloggers publish income reports and they’re always super inspiring. I used to read income reports all the time to get inspired that I could do it, too.

I knew nothing about blogging or business when I started my blog. I didn’t even read blogs.

I started my blog originally because of my student loan debt.

Over the first two years of blogging, I transitioned from lawyer to financial planner. Eventually, my blog income grew to the point where I had to choose whether to continue as a certified financial planner or go all in my career as an entrepreneur. I decided to quit financial planning, and now I run my business online full time.

Unlike a lot of entrepreneurs, I didn’t grow up thinking I was going to be an entrepreneur. I wasn’t the girl with the lemonade stand.

I always wanted to be a lawyer.

If you know any lawyers, I don’t have to tell you that lawyering isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s stressful and law firms own your soul.

Thankfully, I stumbled upon blogging, online business, and entrepreneurship.

So, with that, here’s how I made $20k blogging this month…

 

July 2018 Income Overview

First off, I did not hit $20k exactly. I made $19,874 – but it is soooo close I had to call it. Sometimes, I do this with income for recognizing milestones. My second year blogging, I made just under $30k (and still called it $30k) and I made over $45k my third year blogging, but I round down. I always round when it’s really close. Because $19,874 is pretty freaking close! 🙂

Here’s a look at where I made my money…

  • Display Advertising: $1,047
    • Ads on my site

Total: $19,874

These numbers are gross, which means that I had expenses to deduct, then taxes to pay. This is also income received (not earned). But in case you’re wondering, my income earned was about the same amount because so much of my income this month was course sales, which are paid out so quickly (my affiliate income is sometimes earned and paid out months apart, but it typically hovers around the same amount, with a few spikes here and there).

For July, my expenses were $1,114. 

My total net profit was $18,760.

  • For the record and for all fun disclaimer purposes, this is my best estimate of my income. If I screwed something up, I’ll have my accountant fix it! 🙂 

During July, I had about 177k pageviews (100k new users), and I had about 20k email subscribers (this fluctuates some because I clean my list and remove people who haven’t opened emails in a while).

One of my close friends asked me what I was going to do with all this money, and I’ll tell you what I told him…

I paid off a $14k student loan. 

His reply was, “gotta love student loans. Keeping our generation humble.”

LOL ain’t that the truth.

 

Total Income Overview

Just for fun, and because I don’t do regular income reports, here’s a look back at my business income so far…

My first year I made $8k.

My second year I made $30k.

My third year I made $45k.

As of the end of July 2018 (7 months into my fourth year), I’ve made just over $83k.

I was working full time this year until mid April. So, I’ve been blogging full time for 4 months now.

 

How I Make Money Blogging

One of my girlfriends saw my Insta story when I announced how much I made, and she replied, “how did you make that money? Advertisements?!”

I gave her the answer that I want to elaborate on here since so many people ask me how I make money online.

I remember hearing someone say the way you get to $1k per month is totally different than the way you get to $10k per month and so on.

I’ve found this to be 100% true for me in my business.

The strategies I used to make $100, $1,000, $10,000 and $20,000 per month have been completely different.

I’ve never been complacent at a particular income level. I’ve always had to learn and implement new strategies to get to the next level.

The evolution of making money blogging for me has looked something like this…

 

1. I started my blog

I decided to start a blog, completely clueless about the fact that I could make money blogging.

I started talking with other bloggers, reading their blogs, and stumbling upon income reports.

My mind was completely blown away that people were making a lot of money blogging. I decided I wanted to try to turn it into a business.

I wanted money pretty quickly, so I decided to start with ads and freelance writing.

 

2. I added display ads and started freelance writing

Putting ads on my site was pretty easy. The hard part was actually making money from them.

Without a ton of traffic, I wasn’t ever going to make a lot of money this way.

It was still nice to see some money coming in as proof I could actually make money online.

I used Google Ads for a while, then switched to a bunch of different platforms, including Ad Thrive, which is what I use now.

I also started freelance writing. I made thousands of dollars freelance writing, and pretty quickly, too.

It was a great way to make side income while working full time as an attorney.

 

3. I got people to read my blog (traffic)

The next phase of my blog income journey was getting people to actually read it. I knew if I wanted to scale my income, I needed to get people reading my blog.

I focused on getting people to read my blog from Pinterest because I had heard it was a great way for new bloggers to get readers for free (i.e.: not using paid advertising).

Turns out that was great advice because it worked.

I implemented the strategy that’s used in Pinterest Traffic Avalanche (a Pinterest course for bloggers) and to this day, I get most of my blog traffic from Pinterest.

I’m focusing on incorporating more YouTube and Google traffic (all three of these are great search engines), while I don’t focus on traffic from social media as much because it’s really not reliable or evergreen.

 

4. I grew my email list (email marketing)

After I focused on getting people to read my blog, I focused on building my email list.

I had heard from so many pro bloggers that “the money is in the list,” so I decided to really put effort into it.

I really believed (and it has turned out to be true) that the number of engaged people on your email list directly relates to your income.

I grew my email list to 10,000 subscribers pretty quickly.

A huge part of this was investing in ConvertKit.

As long as I was making more money than I was bringing in, I was okay investing in blog expenses. I know other businesses have such low profit margins, so I am super happy with online business where the profit margins are so high. I don’t mind the minimal expenses.

 

5. I ramped up affiliate marketing

Once I actually had people reading my blog (from my Pinterest strategy) and joining my email list (from my email marketing strategy), I decided it was time for a serious monetization strategy.

This is when I quit freelance writing. I knew that while working full time, I didn’t have time to also freelance write and try to grow my business.

So, I quit freelance writing and decided to go all in with affiliate marketing.

I was brand new to affiliate marketing, so I took Making Sense Of Affiliate Marketing, which is a course my an affiliate marketer who makes over $100k per month blogging. Michelle is a queen at affiliate marketing. This course gave me the foundation for starting to grow affiliate income on my blog by selling other people’s products (which is what affiliate marketing is).

 

6. I created and sold my own digital products

Once my income was up to $3k-$4k ish per month just from ads and affiliate marketing, I was ready for the next phase of growth.

I took Six Figure Blogger (a blogging course) which taught me how to create and sell my own digital products.

This course was a game changer.

I spent over a year creating digital products from what I learned in this course.

Creating products was really hard and reminded me of when I was in law school – constantly working and having to produce.

It’s nice to see the light at the end of the product-creation-tunnel. 🙂

One thing I know for sure is that if I buy a course and invest in myself, I’m always going to follow exactly what that teacher says and implement everything I learn before taking another course. It’s a lot of work but it always makes my investments worth it.

 

The Future Of My Biz…

At each phase of blogging, I’ve invested in myself through courses to get to the next level. I’m a firm believer in finding someone with the results you want and learning from them. 

I think it’s insane to take advice from people who don’t have the results you want. This has made it a lot easier for me when people give me advice. If they don’t have the results I want, I pretty much ignore their advice. If they do have the results I want, I take it.

I’ve done that successfully up to this point and it’s working really well.

I plan to continue to do this in the future, and I already have a good part of the next year planned.

First, I’m taking a coaching program next week, where I’m going to become a certified life coach. I’m beyond words excited.

I’m doing the training not so much because I want to have clients and do one on one coaching. I’m doing it because I want to have a career like Tony Robbins and Brendon Burchard. Meaning, a career where I focus on helping people through personal development. I have the training for finance, which is part of what I write about and teach. But I don’t have the training for personal development. I’m going to be learning from the very best – someone who has built a multi-seven-figure business online. So, again, I’m going to be learning from someone who has the results in her life that I want in mine.

Second, I’m spending a ton of time learning from the OG’s of direct response marketing and implementing marketing strategies in my business.

I need to get my funnels down. Right now, they’re good, but they’re not good enough for consistent income.

I plan on implementing a lot from Russell Brunson’s books:

  1. Dot Com Secrets
  2. Expert Secrets

I’m a huge proponent of direct response and not so much a fan of brand marketing, so I’m continuing to work on my offers and how to better serve my audience (as opposed to how to improve my brand).

Third, I’m starting the Design Your Dream Life Podcast in the next month or so. I’m seriously soooo excited for this I can hardly wait!

Fourth, I’m creating a physical product. It’s going to be a journal. I have the name and know exactly what I want it to look like, but I haven’t done much other than that (and listen to a few podcasts about how to create products with Alibaba lol). Should be easy, right? I really want to have this done by the end of the year, but we’ll see!

Finally, I plan to start using paid advertising next year once I have time to focus on tweaking my funnels specifically for paid advertising. It’s one thing to have your ads be really good (low cost per click, etc.) but it’s another thing to make them profitable.

 

A Final Note!

I’m so grateful to share $20k with you! I never would’ve thought this was fathomable a few years ago.

If you want to read more stories about my blogging adventure, here are a few to read…

And you can find all of my blogging posts here on my Online Business.