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, let’s take a look at how September went!
The progress I made on my blog in September was really good! Summer is over and September I was back in action with high productivity.
On My Blog This Month:
- I published my regular blog posts on NatalieBacon.com every Monday morning (like usual), and I published my August Final Note post.
- Here are the popular blog posts from September:
- 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 so far, but it’s so hard! Video is just a whole new space that I’m still getting used to.
- In September, 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 went through all of my email sequences and revamped them. I learned a new email strategy for monetization that I’m working on (something I learned from Six Figure Blogger). So, that took a lot of time. As part of that, I created 5 Days To Make & Save More Money.
Continuing Blogger Education:
- In September, 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.
- 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).
- One really exciting thing that happened this month was that I hit the amount of money I made total last year in all 12 months (looking at gross numbers, which don’t include taxes or expenses). I officially have made more money this year blogging as of Sept 2017 than I did all last year. It was very exciting especially since I quit freelance writing this year.
- 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 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 but since I hit my blog goal of making more money than last year (and it’s only September), I was happy with my income.
- If you are interested in starting a blog, you can join my 5 Day Blogging Bootcamp below (it’s a free email course), and you can also download my checklist on how to launch a money making blog.
Money was okay in September.
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 about half my take home pay from my job to my student loan debt, which is $1,500. As soon as the payment to my retirement stops (next month), I’ll up this to at least $1,800.
I’m still going strong with my plant-based diet, except for I randomly ate a lot of candy this month, which had me feeling a bit more unhealthy than usually.
Have any of you tried Thrive Market? It’s something I may try given my new diet restrictions.
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 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 bad for 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.
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.
Last month, I said I was done reading for the month, and well, I failed at that! I listened to two books this month that were AMAZING.
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Growth by John Maxwell. Until this book, I didn’t understand what leadership was. I now understand how it differs from management and how to recognize leadership in myself and others. I even made a note in Evernote to reference with all 21 leadership traits.
Today Matters: 12 Daily Practices to Guarantee Tomorrow’s Success by John Maxwell. This book was so good I felt like it needed a better title afterwards that grabbed people’s attention and made them need to read it right now. And if you can’t tell, John Maxwell is a list guy (my kinda guy!). Maxwell gives a list of 12 things you should do every day (he calls it the “daily dozen”) to achieve success.
I listed to a few really amazing podcast episodes this month. I’m always looking for new podcasts, but I have a very specific type I like to listen to. I have to feel like I’m getting enormous value from the podcast and there can’t be too many ads. If the podcast is too conversational and I don’t get anything from it, it’s rare I’ll come back. That said, I’m addicted to a select few. 🙂
- I loved hearing Chris Guillebeau on The School of Greatness. He talked about all things side hustle related to promote his new book, Side Hustle, and I was so inspired I bought the book and am writing a post about it.
- Anthony Iannarino—Conquering the Close on Entreleadership was fantastic. This podcast is so good there’s rarely one I don’t like.
- 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 think it’s harder for me to focus both on personal development and blogging as they both take up so much time, so I’ve tried to prioritize blogging in the name of paying off my debt. 🙂
Faith was pretty horrible this month. I basically did nothing for faith except listen to a couple podcast episodes and go to church once. Yikes. I’ll be praying extra hard about this!!
Relationships were good in September. As you already know, last month (August) was rough, so I was happy to get back to normal this month.
The first weekend in September was Labor Day, and it was so nice to have time off work to get organized (I organized my closet! ha). I also had a really good balance of spending time with friends and blogging this weekend. The weather was perfect (70 and sunny), so getting outside was great.
The second weekend in September was fun to go out for because it was the first Ohio State home football game. I spent time with friends watching it on the weekend. I love football season and all things fall (so typical and I don’t care!).
The third weekend I went to Tyler’s farm, which was so fun! I got to ride four-wheelers and ride around in his 1970 mustang. Pretty awesome.
Here’s a pic!
The fourth weekend in September was Tyler’s birthday, so we spent time together celebrating by going out to a nice dinner Friday followed by going to The Ohio State football game on Saturday with his family. It was a lot of fun, despite being 95 degrees out!
Here’s a pic from the game!
The last weekend in September, I took pics around Columbus with another blogger, Miriam Ballesteros. Can I just tell you how fun and amazing it is to be around this girl?! She’s amazing! Here’s a pic from a random grandpa we saw who really wanted to take our photo, lol!
I also went apple picking and celebrated a friend’s birthday this same weekend. Apple picking was so much fun! 🙂 Here a pic.
That’s A Wrap!
Overall, September was pretty awesome! This is especially true after how rough August was.
My peak this month was that I made more money this year blogging as of Sept 2017 than I did all last year. This is looking at gross numbers. It was very exciting especially since I quit freelance writing this year.
My pit this month was that traffic was (and is still) down so much.
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!)