Hi! Welcome to my A Final Note series.
If you’re new here, in 2017 I’m sharing a monthly goal post that I’m calling “A Final Note”. I’m calling it A Final Note because that’s how I end a lot of my other blog posts, so it’s already a phrase I use!
I’m writing this post every month to review and reflect how the month went with my goals. You can read more about why I’m doing this in my January 2017 post here. I’m posting A Final Note on the first Friday of the following month.
The categories I break down are what I call the “main eight life categories” that I consider for life planning: health, relationships, finances, career, personal/spiritual development, recreation/fun, environment, and service. (If you’re interested in goal setting around the life categories, check out my Goal Setting Action Plan.)
I don’t follow these categories strictly in this post. Instead, I break up personal development and faith, and I keep my blog and my day-job separate. I just like to use the categories as a reference point.
I also list the “peak” and the “pit” of the month at the end of the post, too, just for fun! 🙂
So, let’s take a look at how July went!
The progress I made on my blog in August was good, considering it’s summer time and I love the pool.
On My Blog This Month:
- I published my regular blog posts on NatalieBacon.com every Monday morning in July (like usual) and I published my July Final Note post the first Friday in July.
- Here are the popular blog posts from August:
- I upgraded my site to have a special certificate that makes it https, which means it’s more secure now. This is big in the blogging world right now, so I’m glad it’s done.
- I started my YouTube channel in June, and I’m going strong with it in July! I’m posting a new video every Thursday. I’m loving it so far, but it’s so hard! Video is just a whole new space that I’m still getting used to.
- In August, I posted these 4 videos to my channel:
- Doing video was one of my goals for 2017, so I feel really good I’m finally doing it! It’s so much harder than it looks, which makes me appreciate the accomplishment that much more.
On Social Media:
- I continue to schedule enough posts on my blog to stay 2 months ahead (I write one new post every week and publish one new post every week).
- I stay about 1-2 weeks ahead on Facebook,Twitter, and Instagram. Insta has been a struggle lately. I’m more focused on monetizing my blog than becoming an influencer, so I haven’t made insta a priority lately.
- I’m active in my Facebook Group for bloggers called The Blogging Mastermind Community. Facebook groups are hidden gems for bloggers. I get so much information and also get to give help – it’s a great place to connect. I’m also active in my Facebook Group for young woman who want to learn about money and personal development!
- I have a Freebies Page where you can find all my free stuff.
- This month, I created a new freebie – How To Launch A Money Making Blog Checklist
Continuing Blogger Education:
- In July, I didn’t get back into Elite Blog Academy because I was so busy with other priorities. And oddly enough that came in the form of a new blogging course. It all started when I was listening to Create And Go on YouTube, which led me to their course, Six Figure Blogger. I’ve never taken a course with such a specific, detailed outline of how to make money blogging. I’m obsessed with it and cannot wait to implement the strategy. I’ve already done some things, but it takes time. I have a new plan in place, so I’m looking forward to implementing in the next phase of things.
- My biggest goal with my blog is to make money from it. I desperately need to repay my student loans. If I didn’t make money blogging, I would be -$1k in my budget every month because my student loan payment is at a minimum $1,500/month (and I refuse to go on an income-driven repayment plan).
- Since people always ask how I make money blogging, here’s a look at how I do it. First, I make money from advertisements on my blog. I have an ad agency that does the placements for me, so I don’t have to worry about the logistics (this is so nice!). I took one of the biggest ads off my site this month (the one that moved along the fold). It was so distracting to me, and I don’t want my readers to feel that way. Fingers crossed the ad income doesn’t drop dramatically from that.
- Second, I make money through affiliates. I learned how to do this through the online course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing– a course that teaches you how to make money online with affiliate marketing.
- A third way to make money blogging is freelance writing. I don’t do this anymore because I want to focus on my own blog instead of writing for other people’s blogs. Freelance writing is really good for making money on the side. If you’re interested, check out Earn More Writing.
- In the future I am focusing more on affiliate marketing and on creating my own digital products. Six Figure Blogger is teaching me how to do this, and I am super pumped about it.
Overall Blog Progress This Month:
- As far as stats go, my traffic was steady.
- Income was steady.
- I feel realllly good about having a specific strategy for monetization going forward. This is why investing in yourself as a blogger is so important. I wouldn’t have learned about this strategy without taking Six Figure Blogger. I’m really excited to see where my income is a year from now!
- If you are interested in starting a blog, you can join my 5 Day Blogging Bootcamp below (it’s a free email course). It’s everything you need to know to launch a blog. And you can also download my checklist on how to launch a money making blog.
Money was good in August!
I budget every month, and I use my budget templates from my blog for this. I don’t have a credit card, and I never have, so I can’t really go over budget unless I have an emergency and have to dip into my emergency fund. I love not using a credit card because I’m naturally a spender, so I like not having the temptation there.
Every month, I contribute 10% of my income to my company’s 401(k).This is more out of “because if feels good” than it is out of making sense financially. The money is probably better spent going toward my debt, but I feel better knowing I’m saving for retirement, so that’s what I do.
I also pay half my take home pay from my job to my student loan debt, which is $1,500. In addition to this amount, I put another $1,200 onto my loans ($2,700 total this month). The total debt I have is ~$102k. I’ll be breaking into the five-figure debt soon, and I’m so excited about it. Hopefully, I can continue to find ways to repay my debt asap.
I’m still going strong with my plant-based diet.
I call myself vegan for the sake of not having to explain it in more detail to people, but it’s really more of “not eating dairy or meat” lifestyle.
For example, I still eat honey or other types of things that vegans technically don’t eat. And I still eat sweets. If it looks like something you’d call dairy or meat, I’m not eating it.
The health benefits are crazy. I feel better, have more energy, and I know that I’m setting myself up for the best future health I can control.
I highly recommend watching Forks Over Knives and What The Health (on Netflix) if you want to learn about eating a plant-based diet and why eating animal products are so bad for your long-term health. It’s insane!
The hardest part is going out to eat. Most people in my life are eating dairy and meat, so it’s hard to be “that person” when you’re out and have to ask for special accommodations.
The great news is I’m down to 122lbs (from 130lbs)! I would love to get down to 120lbs, which is my final goal weight for 2017. I’m so close!!
Personal development is always fun for me. I focus on reading, listening to podcasts, and doing other things (like practicing gratitude and journaling) to keep growing.
I love learning so much, and I love growing. I believe in personal growth as a life practice and think that’s one of the main purposes of life. The thought of not growing over time is awful to me.
- I set a goal to read one book every month in 2017. So far, I’ve read 17 books in 2017. And honestly, I may slow down with my reading for the remained of the year. I’m having a hard time fitting it in with my personal relationships. Since I’ve already achieved my goal, I may just take it easy.
- In August, I read Unshakeable by Tony Robbins and You Are A Badass by Jen Sincere. Unshakeable is a must read if you know nothing about the financial industry. It breaks down the important points so you know how to not get ripped off when you hire a financial planner (e.g.: knowing the differences between hiring a fiduciary versus a broker). You Are A Badass was super fun and relatable. In a way I felt like I’ll write a book like this one day. 🙂
- I kept up with my gratitude jar this month. Every Sunday I write down something I’m thankful for from the prior week and put it into a mason jar. The idea is that you re-read these at the end of the year to remember and reflect on how much good came from your year. I’m excited to go through all these at the end of the year!
- I kept up with The Five Minute Journal and the Productivity Planner this month. I am obsessed with these! Here are free PDFs you can download for each of these if you want to see what they’re all about: The Five Minute Journal Quick Start PDF and Productivity Planner Quick Start PDF.
- I have a newfound love for planners and journals. You can read more about that here!
Personal development was okay this month. It was not as great as other months but still good.
I’m shifting my focus a bit from consuming so much to taking more action. I think this will help me focus.
I feel centered and more grounded. I feel happier and content, too.
Faith was okay this month. I made it to church but didn’t feel particularly connected to my faith this month.
I listened to Andy Stanley’s Your Move Podcast this month (like I normally do). The episodes this month were very random and not part of a series. For the first time I was a bit lost with the direction of the podcast; however, the actual episodes were really good.
Relationships were okay in August. The second weekend in August, I was in Nashville for a bachelorette party. It was SO fun. Definitely the highlight of my month.
The other weekends were very low key. I spent time with family and friends periodically, though, and that’s always nice. Not too much exciting here. Kind of a weird month!
THAT’S A WRAP!
Overall, August was just “okay”. I’m not sure why. I had a few personal things happen, like someone rear-ending me and having a rocky patch personally. It made focusing on work and productivity pretty difficult. I guess that’s why it’s a personal development plan that you have to revise and rework, right?
My peak this month was going to Nashville for a girls trip. I needed this.
My pit this month was going through a really difficult time personally (sorry for the vagueness here – while I’m super open, other people might not appreciate if I out business they’re involved in! 🙂 ).
Going forward for 2017 my biggest priority is still to increase my blog income to pay down my student loan debt. (Side note: the Productivity Planner made me realize how important it is to prioritize and focus my time. Super helpful!)