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 though. 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, here’s a look at how October went…
The progress I made on my blog in October was okay. I went through an enormously difficult personal time this month, so the fact that I kept up with my blog at all was a win for me.
On The Blog:
- I published my regular blog posts on NatalieBacon.com every Monday morning (like usual), and I published my September Final Note post.
- Here are the blog posts from October:
- 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. This month, I only posted 3 videos (I missed one week due to how hard of a month it was personally).
- I posted these videos to my YouTube channel:
- 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.
- 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.
- I’m active in my Facebook Group for bloggers called The Blogging Mastermind Community.
- I’m active in my Facebook Group for young woman who want to learn about money and personal development. I love this group so much! 🙂
Continuing Blogger Education:
- In October, I continued to implement strategies from Six Figure Blogger. I’ve never taken a course with such a specific, detailed outline of how to make money blogging. It’s a long road ahead, but now I have a much better strategy and plan in place, so I’m looking forward to implementing more things from the course over the next year. I hope to have three digital products up in the next few months. Specifically, I’m working on eBooks right now. My plan is to have three done in the next three months.
- My biggest goal with my blog is to make more money from it. I need to repay my student loans asap. 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.
- 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:
- As far as stats go, traffic was down. I think a lot of bloggers experienced this, which stinks. Hoping it goes back up sooner rather than later.
- My email subscribers are up since I have redone some of my email marketing strategies.
- Income was steady. Nothing in particular to note.
People have been asking me what resources I use and recommend, so here they are:
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 With Digital Products – Six Figure Blogger
Money was okay in October.
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 finally stopped contributing to my 401(k) this month. I know this is the right move because I need to put the extra money on my student loan debt, but I really had a hard time doing it because I like the feeling of saving for retirement. Unfortunately, until my debt is repaid, that’s not in the cards for me.
I paid $1,800 onto my student loan debt this month.
I’m down to 120lbs (from 130lbs in January)! My goal for 2017 was to get back down to 120lbs, so I’m super excited to report I achieved this goal (without much exercise at all, lol).
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. I focus on reading, listening to podcasts, and doing other things like practicing gratitude and journaling to keep growing.
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.
Last month, I said I was done reading for the month, and well, I failed at that! Because October was quite possibly the hardest month of my life personally, I dove into two books that were recommended to me and they were phenomenal.
Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller. This book was amazing. It unexpectedly gave me closure that I needed. I highly recommend this to anyone who is somewhat anxious in life, struggling in a relationship, or is single.
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times by Pema Chodron. This is a book on grieving and moving forward as a stronger, happier you. This book was very different than anything I’ve ever read, so I was really appreciative of reading a new perspective.
Because I read the books above and continued rereading them, I didn’t listen to many podcasts this month like I normally do.
- I kept up with my gratitude jar this month, which was super duper hard given the circumstances.
- I threw away The Five Minute Journal and the Productivity Planner and plan on getting new ones for a fresh start. I am obsessed with these, but didn’t want evidence lying around of a life I once knew that was now changed. 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.
Personal development was good this month. I think I’ll see the benefits of the books from the invaluable lessons I learned for the rest of my life.
Faith was good this month. I went to church, listened to Andy Stanley’s Your Move podcast, and prayed a lot.
I have been dreading writing this, but really wanted to do it since I’ve been writing about my relationship status all year.
I don’t know where to start. And I don’t want to share details because it’s too painful.
I thought I would be writing about getting engaged this month. I thought I would be sharing all the details about a new chapter and a life of marriage to come.
But, to my complete surprise, I’m single now.
The pain is unreal. And the shock is still a daily struggle.
That’s all I want to say for now.
I’m so thankful to have so many good friends and family who have helped me this month and continue to help me every day.
Although this was terrible, I did have other things happen in October that were great. I went to FinCon this month, and I got to see so many of my finance friends in the blogging and media world. I also got to meet and hang out with the founders of Create & Go. I’m so grateful for this time.
Here are a few photos from FinCon…
THAT’S A WRAP!
Overall, October was painfully difficult.
My peak this month was going to FinCon.
My pit this month was my relationship ending.
Going forward for 2017 my biggest priority is to increase my blog income to pay down my student loan debt.