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 post my A Final Note post 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. (I lay out those categories in my Goal Setting Action Plan.)
I don’t follow these categories strictly. 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! 🙂
Also, another update… I am stopping this series at the end of the year. There will only be one more of these posts, wrapping up December. I’m not sure what’s next, but I’ll keep you posted. I’d still like to update you on my life, but it may be in a different way. We’ll see!
Okay, now let’s take a look at how November went…
The progress I made on my blog in November was really good.
On The Blog:
- I published my regular blog posts on NatalieBacon.com every Monday morning (like usual), and I published my October Final Note
- Here are the blog posts from November:
- I am not being so strict with staying two months ahead like I was because I am so focused on writing an eBook right now. With my primary focus being monetizing, I have to prioritize what makes money for me, which means I can ease up a bit on how far ahead I am with posts so I have more time to write my eBook.
- I started using Lead Pages this month (finally!). I updated all of my lead-magnet pages to pages from Lead Pages, which I expect to increase my conversions on my email sequences. Since email marketing is the main way I monetize my blog, it’s really important to me that I invest in this side of my business. So far, I’m very happy with Lead Pages and how well it integrates with ConvertKit (my fav email marketing software).
- I started my YouTube channel in June, and I’m going strong with it. I’m posting a new video every Thursday. I’m loving it, although it is hard.
- I posted these videos to my YouTube channel this month.
- Doing video was one of my goals for 2017, so I’m glad I accomplished this. It’s harder than it looks, which makes me appreciate it even more.
Continuing Blogger Education:
- This is where I talk about what I’m doing to learn more about blogging and improve my blog. This month, I did a TON when it comes to learning more about blogging.
- I took three blogging courses this month! Kind of crazy, but I was able to listen to a lot of the content during my commute, so it wasn’t like I was sitting down at the computer the whole time.
- I took 1) Launch Your Blog, 2) Pinterest Traffic Avalanche, and 3) Make Money Blogging For Beginners. These three courses can be bought with Six Figure Blogger (which is the course that got me started on this crazy journey) in what’s called the Pro Blogger Bundle. So, you may be wondering why on earth I would do all this? Well, it’s because Lauren and Alex (the creators of these courses) started their health and wellness blog in 2015 and are making $20k+ per month from that blog. They make money from their blog about blogging, too, but it’s on top of that money from their health and wellness blog. Since they started blogging after me, I needed to know what I was missing because I don’t make that kind of money. The only way I left like I could do that was by going through all their blogging courses. And it was worth it. I’ve already changed a ton on my blog – mostly email marketing, affiliate marketing, and how I plan content for monetizing my blog in the future.
On Social Media:
- I’m being slightly less committed to social media right now. I’m focusing on “profitability > popularity” and really honing in on jquery search engines, instead of just social media. So, YouTube and Pinterest are a huge focus for me right now, but not so much Facebook,Twitter, and Instagram. I’m still posting on these sites but I’m not focusing on them like I was before.
- I’m active in my Facebook Group for bloggers called The Blogging Mastermind Community, as well as my Facebook Group for young woman who want to learn about money and personal development. I love these groups so much! 🙂
- My biggest goal with my blog is to make more money from it. I need to repay my student loans sooooo badly. If I didn’t make money blogging, I would be over -$1k in my budget every month because my student loan payment is at a minimum $1,500/month.
- 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.
- I am focusing more on creating my own digital products. Six Figure Blogger is teaching me how to do this, and I am super pumped about it. I finished my first eBook this month, which I will release in January. I am working on a second eBook now.
Overall Blog Progress:
- As far as stats go, traffic was still down a bit, which is frustrating. I expect it to go up in the next two months because it’s the highest traffic months for personal finance blogs.
- Income was really good! I attribute this to Six Figure Blogger. It was one of my highest earning income months on my blog.
- As I mentioned above, these are the courses I’ve taken for getting started with launching, growing, and monetizing a blog:
Start a Blog
Grow Your Blog
- Grow Your Blog With Pinterest – Pinterest Traffic Avalanche
- Grow Your Blog With Facebook Ads – Flourish With FB (take 20% off with code Natalie20)
- Grow Your Email List – ConvertKit
Make Money Blogging
- Make Money With Affiliate Marketing – Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
- Make Money Blogging For Beginners – Make Money Blogging For Beginners Course
- Make Money Blogging for Intermediate Bloggers – Six Figure Blogger
Money was really good in November. My income from my blog was up, and I received a bonus from my day job. I spent a bit more with travel, gifts for my immediate family, and a few fun things with friends. 🙂
I budget every month, using my budget templates. 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.
I paid $2,000 onto my student loan debt this month, which is great.
I’ve met my goal weight for 2017, which was to get down to 120lbs (from 130lbs).
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.
I made this eating style up. It’s basically “vegan light.” For example, I still eat honey or other types of things that vegans don’t eat. I still eat sweets. If the food looks like something you’d call dairy or meat, I do not eat 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 (both are on Netflix) if you want to learn about eating a plant-based diet and the health benefits.
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.
Something I’m thinking about trying is Thrive Market. It seems like a great way to get healthy food on a specific diet or lifestyle that’s not expensive.
I’m also considering the $5 Meal Plan. If you have tried this or know someone who has, let me know. I’d love to talk with them!
Personal development is something I love. Everything from reading to listening to podcasts to doing other things like practicing gratitude and journaling – I love it all.
I am busy with other things in life, but I work these things into my day when there is otherwise “dead time” – while I’m getting ready in the morning, commuting, or doing mindless things on the computer. I really don’t watch TV much, so this also helps.
I didn’t read much, and I didn’t listen to many podcasts this month. Honestly, I just focused on re-reading things that are helpful with going through a breakup. I’ve pretty much read and watched everything that helps.
- I kept up with my gratitude jar this month, which was super duper hard given my traumatic breakup last month. I don’t know how I’m going to go through the jar at the end of the year – I may not. But the practice of expressing my gratitude each week on paper is still really meaningful.
- I bought and started using new journals this month. I couldn’t stand the thought of having reminders in the old ones. The Five Minute Journal and the Productivity Planner are my favs. You can download free PDFs to check them out here:
I struggle a lot with the fact that I’m so intentional with my life, yet had such a wild, unexpected year. I’m still very heartbroken and clinging to anything that inspires me to get out of my funk. I’m certainly learning a lot about life and myself through the process. I truly believe that in time I’ll look back with so much gratitude for this time, even though it feels impossible right now.
Faith was okay this month. I went to church, which was really helpful given what I’m going through. I also listened to Andy Stanley’s Your Move podcast, and I prayed a lot. I love this time of year as a reminder of what’s most important in my life, and my faith is no exception to that.
As I wrote last month in my Final Note post, I’m unexpectedly single now, and still heartbroken. This month, I didn’t feel as much of the feeling of being in a state of chaos or withdrawal (like I did last month), but I still felt incredibly sad.
I’ve never gone through a total and complete loss like this in my adult life. So, everything is new and still really shocking right now. One day I thought I was getting engaged – the next I was single and never heard from him again. Crazy.
I’m seriously so lucky that I have a handful of people who have been my rock throughout this process. They are everything to me. I wouldn’t be okay without these people.
I’m definitely going through one of the hardest times of my life. BUT, I am learning a lot – a lot about myself, a lot about life, and a lot about relationships.
I’m focusing on spending time with friends and family, and it has been really nice considering how awful last month was.
In November, I had Thanksgiving in Cleveland with my family, and I saw a lot of friends on the trip, which was so nice. I also went to a work conference in Chicago, which was a really nice getaway.
Here are a couple of pics with my friends in CLE. 🙂
THAT’S A WRAP!
Overall, November was better than October, but definitely the second worst month of the year for me. I’m hoping that the start of 2018 brings a fresh perspective.
My peak this month was visiting Chicago. I love CHI town. 🙂
My pit this month was obviously still feeling heartbroken. They say it’s hard, but it’s really hard.
Going forward in 2017 (for the last month!) my biggest priority is to increase my blog income to pay down my student loan debt.