Summer is officially over, which means most of us menswear enthusiasts are very excited. We can wear pants without overheating and, even better, multiple layers.
The end of summer also marks the end of the third quarter of this year, which means it’s time for another blogging income report.
If you’re new to these posts, you might be confused right now. Why are you reading an income report on a style blog?
It’s a good question. Here’s the deal:
Every quarter, I pull back the curtain to show you exactly how The Modest Man makes money. I do this for a few reasons:
- I like being totally transparent.
- Online business is fascinating.
- Many people are curious about how bloggers earn a living.
- To inspire others to start their own businesses.
If you’ve never read an income report, I recommend starting with this post:
How Does The Modest Man Make Money? (opens in new tab)
What follows is a breakdown of revenue, expenses and profit for Q3 2016.
TMM Revenue for Q2 2016
Let’s start with the big picture – quarterly revenue for the pasts seven quarters:
Revenue from this website can be broken down into three general categories:
- Affiliate commissions
- Selling products
Let’s see how each one did this quarter (note: some links below are affiliate links).
Advertising – $14,372 (up 11% from previous quarter)
- Direct Ads – $2,400
- Google AdSense – $449
- AdThrive – $2,307
- Sponsored – $9,216
Advertising, which includes sponsorships, is still the biggest source of revenue for TMM. I expect it to grow even more in Q4 due to the holiday season.
Revenue from sponsorships continues to grow for a couple of reasons:
- TMM continues to get more traffic and subscribers each month.
- Sponsors are increasingly interested in video (in addition to blog posts).
Most of the traffic to this site is organic (i.e., from people using search engines). The great thing about organic traffic is that it tends to increase, assuming you’re producing high quality content on a regular basis.
Even though The Modest Man YouTube channel is still in its infancy, many sponsors ask for a video to go along with their blog post. Since producing a video takes a lot of work, I charge a little more for this package.
Affiliate – $8,114 (up 81% from previous quarter)
- RewardStyle – $1,266
- Amazon – $5,161
- Modern Tailor – $888
- Huckberry – $248
- Other – $408 (mostly Warby Parker and Saddleback)
The big increase here was Amazon. Revenue from Amazon Associates (their affiliate program) more than doubled this quarter.
Amazon’s inventory continues to expand, especially when it comes to men’s fashion. So, naturally, I end up linking to them more and more.
I think this is why revenue from their affiliate program continues to increase.
Products – $1,368 (down 64% from previous quarter)
- The Modest Man Style Guide – $1,368
Revenue from products dropped in Q3 mostly because I only had one product to sell. The TMM button up shirts sold out, so that project is over for the time being.
Style Guide sales were slow, especially in July (no idea why…), so I’ll have to figure out how to improve these numbers.
I think it’s a great product, and I could probably do a better job promoting it. If you have any ideas or suggestions, let me know in the comments!
Total Revenue = $24,075 (up 11% from previous quarter)
Keep in mind, this is quarterly revenue, not monthly. So it comes out to about $8,025 per month before taxes and expenses.
Speaking of which, let’s look at all of the recurring and one-time expenses for Q3.
Recurring Expenses (paid monthly, totaled for the quarter)
- Assistant – $720
- ConvertKit – $447
- Phone – $330
- LeadPages – $201
- Edgar – $147
- Internet – $120
- Adobe CC – $63
- Bluehost – $60
- Canva – $39
- Travel – $566
- New mic – $399
- PayPal Fees – $120
- Misc. supplies – $105
- Postage – $12
Total Expenses = $3,329
No huge or unexpected expenses in Q3, just the normal stuff – software, email, supplies, etc.
I did buy one new piece of gear: the RodeLink Wireless Filmmaker System. It’s a wireless lav mic that’s easy to use and sounds much better than my old mic.
I’m still tweaking the sound and trying to get rid of the echo in the room, but it’s getting there.
Profit = $20,746 (up 19% over previous quarter)
This comes out to around $6,915 per month profit (before taxes). It’s enough for me to pay my living expenses, pay taxes and put some cash back into the business.
The cool thing about this kind of business is that there’s really no limit to how much you can grow or what you can do.
Want to create a product? Go for it! Start another website? Why not?
The hard part is choosing what to focus on and delegating tasks so you actually have time to focus – something I’m not very good at.
None of this is possible without you. Thank you for your readership and support!
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Coming here from Reddit! I saw you wrote that you didn’t focus on blogging as much as you could have the first year or two. Did you start off paying for your own domain name, web hosting, Genesis theme, etc. right off the bat? Or did you kind of test the waters first with a free WordPress site?
Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge!
I started off with my own hosting and domain name. I’d skip the free site step if you’re at all serious. Switching to a hosted site is kind of a pain.
I just stumbled upon your blog while doing research for another project I’m going to start (dad blog) and was surprised to see you pull back the curtain like this. Thanks for sharing! Is this your full-time gig? How many hours do you put into it per week?
Yup, full time. Probably 30-40 hours a week but I don’t really keep track.
It seemed like it was likely full-time given the volume of information. Thanks for the response.
Thanks for sharing, Brock. Showing your income can be somewhat tricky, but it’s also inspiring. Thanks again!
The Fundamental Man
Thank you for sharing this, I found it very helpful. Cheers to an even greater 2017!
Young Earner says
Wow Brock, amazing quarter! Super jealous of the growth of your blog – but I understand it took hard work to get there. Hope to see a bigger 2017!
Brian Lowell says
I enjoyed reading the report and appreciate the products. Thanks