Here's the blogging income report for the third quarter of 2017.
Couple of quick notes before we get into it…
First off, yes, this income report is WAY late, as it's almost the end of Q4 at this point. Better late than never, right?
Second, if you're wondering why you're reading and “income report” on a style blog, or you have no idea what an income report even is, that's okay.
Basically, I write up a little report every three months about the business side of The Modest Man to show anyone who's interested how I make a living running this operation.
Why do this? For a few reasons:
- I like being totally transparent.
- Online business is fascinating (this book got me into it…).
- Many people are curious about how bloggers/YouTubers earn a living.
- To inspire others to start their own businesses.
If this is your first income report, read this first ↓
What follows is a breakdown of revenue, expenses and profit for Q3 2017.
TMM Revenue (Quarterly)
Let's start with the big picture – quarterly revenue for the past 21 months:
Q3 soared past the $30k line to just over $35k (that's for July, August and September, combined). I'm pretty psyched about this record quarter and a record month in September at just over $12k.
Let's break things down to see what's behind the growth…
Show Me the Money
Revenue from this website can be broken down into three general categories:
- Affiliate commissions
- Selling products
Let's look at each category for Q3 2017 (note: some of the links below are affiliate links).
Advertising – $24,179 (up 37% from previous quarter)
- Direct Ads – $2,350
- AdThrive – $5,530
- Sponsored – $14,671
- Other – $1,629
Every type of ad revenue was up from Q2, especially sponsorships. I thought summer was going to be slow, but that wasn't the case at all.
Google doesn't like when people report exact earnings from AdSense, but I can say that growing the YouTube channel has helped generate more revenue from AdSense.
It's also reinforced the fact that you need LOTS of views to actually make substantial money from YouTube ads. I think most YouTubers rely heavily on sponsorships or their own products to make money – not Google AdSense.
Affiliate – $10,019 (up 18% from previous quarter)
- RewardStyle – $1,333
- Amazon – $7,068
- ShareASale – $268 (mostly Warby Parker)
- Skimlinks – $933
- Other – $417
It takes a while for affiliate commissions to accumulate when you join a new network, but Skimlinks revenue is starting to grow a little bit.
This is good because Amazon changed their commission structure, which means revenue from that program will drop by 30-40% over the next few months.
I feel for any content creators who rely heavily on Amazon Associates – they're taking a big hit right now.
But it goes to show that you shouldn't rely on once revenue stream, especially one that you can't control.
I'll be migrating away from Amazon Associates when possible, in favor of RewardStyle, Skimlinks, ShareASale, etc. Most brands are on all of these networks, so there's not much incentive to favor Amazon anymore.
Products – $1,099 (down 43% from previous quarter)
The Style Guide has become an increasingly small part of the business. I've stopped promoting it, but sales still trickle in.
Actually, one just trickled in a second ago, as I'm writing this. Crazy timing!
Don't get me wrong – I still think it's a great “crash course” for shorter men who want to start dressing well. But there's so much great free advice out there, which makes it hard to sell this kind of product.
I've continued to sell some of my nicer used clothing on Grailed. This isn't (and never will be) a big money maker. I just kind of like selling this stuff to people who actually want it (at a great price), rather than taking it to the thrift shop.
Total Revenue = $35,298 (up 26% from last quarter)
Keep in mind, this is quarterly revenue, not monthly. So it comes out to about $11,766 top line revenue per month (before taxes and expenses).
Speaking of which, let's look at all of the expenses for Q3.
Recurring Expenses (paid monthly, totaled for the quarter)
- Rent (Studio) – $2,000
- Assistant – $1,204
- WP Engine – $747
- Phone – $330
- ConvertKit – $202
- LeadPages – $201
- Internet – $120
- Adobe CC – $63
- SmarterQueue – $60
- Bluehost – $60
- Canva – $39
- Web Developer – $1,750
- Travel – $1,025
- Wide angle lens – $304
- Fluid head tripod – $153
- Office supplies – $131
- Postage – $90
- Bank service charges – $32
Total Expenses = $8,511
There were some pricey one-time expenses this quarter, including the web developer who brought the new website to life.
I also bought a sweet wide angle lens and a heavy duty, fluid head tripod. In my opinion, these are all worthwhile investments!
Profit = $26,787 (up 16% from previous quarter)
Setting aside about 30% for taxes, this comes out to about $6,250 cash in my pocket per month (about $864 more per month than the last quarter).
Of course, as a self-employed person, I have to pay for health insurance, retirement savings, etc.
But still, it's enough to live comfortably and invest in the business, which is all I need right now.
None of this is possible without you. Thank you for your readership and support!