Welcome to my food blog income report for Q1 of 2019! In case you missed it, I posted my first income report in January showing you how much money I made from this blog in 2018. I promised to do quarterly income reports this year so here we are.
A little background on me (in case you’re new here – hi!)
Hi, I’m Jamie and I create recipes, photograph and manage all things around here on A Sassy Spoon. Welcome! My background is in digital marketing. Prior to that, I worked in health care, managing a team while climbing the corporate ladder. I went to art school for a bit after high school but then I eventually graduated with a ‘safe’ business degree many years later. Read more here.
Pinch of Yum’s Income Reports are a prime reason I am here today. They inspired me to give food blogging a fair shot after I quit my safe, secure, full-time job back in 2016 without a back up plan. So I wanted to pay it forward by sharing my own income reports too. I’d be lying if I wasn’t also posting this income report for my own accountability and to prove to other naysayers out there that food blogging can be a fulfilling, lucrative career. I’ve had to prove myself time and time again because I’m so often told that food blogging is not a “real” job. But guess what, I’ve made a full-time salary from my blogging biz and this is the proof.
Regardless of any promotion or raise I’ve ever received throughout my job trajectory, I was never truly as happy, accomplished, nor proud as I am at this very moment. I personally believe I’ve found my purpose. My hustling spirit and sheer determination is what has brought me to this, my dream career. I have you all to thank for that. Honestly, I wouldn’t be here without your constant support and loyalty to A Sassy Spoon. I appreciate you all so much! <3
Ok, enough mushiness, let’s talk numbers!
Traffic is/was averaging ~230,000 monthly page views. I was cruising with steady traffic numbers until mid-March when Google had one of their algorithm updates. Cue hard tears. My traffic at the end of March was 15% lower than it was in February. :(
But there was nothing I could’ve done. It is completely out of my control. And you can see the slight dip on the graph towards the end. I’m hoping it will be go back to normal soon. Nevertheless, my top traffic drivers continue to be Google and Pinterest.
My RPM (revenue per 1,000 page views) with AdThrive this quarter averaged about $20 for the quarter. Thank heavens for this because in spite of my page views going down, my RPMs helped me break even.
Ad Income: $14,351.00
Freelance Photography: $3,168.51
Sponsored Content: $6,290.50
Affiliate Marketing: $83.81
Blog Coaching: $298.00
Total Income: $24,191.82
Food Expenses: $900.00
Video Production: $1,850.00
Wpopt: $128.97 (hosting)
Adobe Creative Suite: $29.97 (Photoshop + Lightroom)
Google Storage: $29.97
Total Expenses: $3,443.79
Net Profit: $20,748.03
This net profit looks nice but remember from this I still have to pay taxes and my personal / household expenses.
No one ever talks about taxes in these reports or any blog post about working for yourself but let me tell you… taxes are a MAJOR expense when you’re self employed. It’s safe to say you will probably never get a tax refund again.
It’s a trade off for living life on your own terms (which is amazing) but it’s definitely something to keep in mind whenever you’re reading any of these types of business posts. Uncle Sam does not care about your aspirations, he just wants his money. *Alexa, play Money by Cardi B*
Q1 for food bloggers that are not in the health and wellness space is usually a little slow. Q4 is where my blog really shines but overall, January, February and March were pretty solid in comparison to past years. I have to say that I started this year with a lot more confidence and more umph that I ever have in years prior.
If you remember from my 2018 income report, I mentioned that my mental health was a mess during Summer 2018 but really, it was up and down most of last year. I felt a bit lost without a set schedule/structure. I was also struggling with finding a solid and profitable content strategy. But this year however, I feel a lot more secure and in control with myself, my health, my business and my content. Cheers to 2019! Let’s shares some Q1 highlights.
Got more content specific + added lifestyle content
- After a health scare in my family late last year, I started to slightly pivot my content this year in an effort to share more healthy comfort food recipes and healthy Latin recipes as I mentioned I was going to start doing in my 2018 income report. I can’t help but think of Ross saying “PIVOT!” (my favorite Friends episode, lol). As I mentioned before, it doesn’t mean I’m suddenly a health and wellness blog (far from it) but my blog content is now emulating my IRL life. I’ve also been sharing more lifestyle content (which I’m loving! hope you are too!) about blogging, business and life. Judging by immediate comments, likes, and feedback, you guys are really loving it all which makes me happy that I’m moving in a positive direction. More to come.
Focused on SEO
- I’ve made a giant list of older recipe posts that have potential and are just… not cute. To those posts, I’ve been updating them with new photos and retested, updated recipe cards. By the same token, I’ve also deleted several posts that were not aligned with my niche and had very low page views. Having content that doesn’t align with your niche dilutes your overall authority and confuses Google on how to rank you. So, this has pretty much kept me busy and is definitely going be an ongoing goal for the rest of the year.
Monetized with video
- Started monetizing with video in January! This was a first for me as I hadn’t really dabbled into the whole video thing yet. I’ve been working with my friend Isabel on video and it’s been wonderful. I also have a YouTube channel now! You can subscribe here as in pretty please subscribe here lol #shamelessplug.
Started business consulting/coaching
- Officially launched 1:1 blog coaching and I’m soooo happy about it. I’m not a millionaire nor do I guarantee overnight success but we can talk for 60-minutes about your goals. Whether it’s for clarity on how to monetize, SEO or increasing photography skills, my goal is for everyone to get their questions answered and more importantly, put a plan in place so they don’t feel like a crazy person with no direction. I’m really passionate about helping you reach your goals! Interested? Click here!
Refocused my revenue streams
- Lastly, I made the business decision to move away from contributor work (where you write for other sites) and freelance photography for bloggers (did my last one in January). If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 20 years as a working adult, it’s that when you’re ready to move on, move the F on. The more you linger in a job or wonder if it’s the “right time” to move on, the more you’ll resent your work and hate your job. And that’s just the worst feeling ever. Your career should be fulfilling and enjoyable, especially a career that you create from scratch. As soon as I was ready to move on and allocate these hours into other projects, I pulled the plug. No lingering, no resentment. We all have God given intuition, use it wisely.
The Biggest Takeaway
When I started my blog in 2016, I felt like I was late to the game. I felt like there was no way I would grow like the Pinch of Yum’s of the world because of the infamous “saturated market”. They came to the scene “early” and got a “head start”. My blog friends and I would commiserate over how these other OG bloggers had started 5, 6, 7+ years ago and have large followings and what we assumed were millions of page views and crazy exposure. Were we just wasting our time? Was there even a chance at us making any money from blogging at all?
“If only I had started my blog back in 2008, I would be more established now.”
“I’m definitely too old to start a business, let alone a food blog.”
“It’s too late to start a blog NOW, the market is too saturated!”
I’ve said all of these statements at one point.
In February, something happened that changed my mindset forever. An OG blogger reached out to ME, little ol’ me, and asked ME how I grew MY blog traffic, asked ME about SEO and shared their page view numbers.
I was floored.
This is a blogger I admire and love and respect and, have been following for years and honestly thought they had millions of page views since POY’s income reports were my only basis for comparison. Not to say that their numbers were bad either. They weren’t AT ALL. But naturally, you assume every OG blogger that started years ago is in the millions so you compare your success to theirs and wallow because you’re too late, too old, or too [insert dumb excuse here].
This is the perfect example of the comparison trap!
You never know what’s going on behind the scenes. Stop assuming you can’t reach a certain goal because of XYZ reason! This goes for any industry and any job. You only see what’s in front of you. Stop comparing yourself to other people’s success.
Needless to say, I was cured.
I stopped “wishing” I had started back in XYZ year, or that I was too late or too old, didn’t fit in, etc. Instead, I immediately became grateful that I was able to start at a time where there were so many resources readily available to me. Photography courses, SEO courses, coaches, Google, FB groups, Instagram connections, etc. Everything happens for a reason.
Moments like this put things in perspective, ya know?
It made me realize that I had to go through all I went through before getting to this point in my life. All the jobs I had helped me gain experience for this moment, all the ups and downs built my character for this moment in my life, all the stress, all the doubt, all of it… led me to this very moment where I can confidently run a business. Had I started back then, who knows if I would even still be here today!
If you feel like it’s too late, or you’re too old, or all of the above and anything in between, realize we have the Internet at our fingertips and it’s never been easier to follow your dreams. I know, I know. That sounds so damn cliche! I sound like Gary V now lol… but it’s true, my friends.
If your dream is to start your own business, answers are a google search away, hard work always pays off and information on building an online business has never been more accessible. It’s never too late to do what you love.
Goals for 2nd Quarter 2019
Continue to focus on SEO
- Ongoing goal for 2019. Updating old blog posts with new photos, copy, recipe cards and video.
Increase my overall social media engagement
- I’m tired of complaining about social media and their algorithm changes. So instead, I’m going to tackle them head on. My goal is to increase my overall engagement on Instagram, post more frequently on Facebook, and pin to more of my and others content to group boards on Pinterest. I’m hoping this beautiful trifecta of strategies will help not only drive more traffic to my site but also make these platforms shine. You never know who’s watching. I hired a VA to help me with this goal in Q2. Stay tuned for more updates!
Up my affiliate marketing game
- Really want to figure out a good strategy for affiliate marketing. I feel like I’m doing just ok with it. I want to figure out if this income stream is even a profitable one for my blog. Not all income streams are good for your audience and that’s ok. This is why testing strategies and figuring out what’s best for your business is so important.
Continue to tweak my email strategy
- I updated my email welcome series this quarter with a more personal approach, added more links, and began sending emails to my email list with more frequency and purpose. It looks like it’s working because my page views have increased by 128% from just email! Either way, I want to continue to tweak this strategy and that may mean changing email services altogether. Stay tuned.
Take on more blog coaching clients
- I quit my job in 2016 in search of freedom and flexibility. I didn’t want to continue jumping from job to job, or position to position, trying to figure out if this or that was the best fit. Because, tbh, entrepreneurship is what has ALWAYS been the best fit for me; I just didn’t know how to execute. Or I was scared. Or worst, I wanted to “play it safe”. So I took the plunge and quit my job. And then I learned and read A LOT. And I just FIGURED. IT. OUT. If I was able to grow A Sassy Spoon into a full-fledged business with a few strategies, basic SEO tactics, and bomb photography skills in less than 3 years, why not share the wealth? I want you to feel as happy, accomplished, and FREE as I do at this very moment. Interested? Click here!
Do you have any questions about this income report or blogging in general? Leave them in the comments below or email me at info[at]asassyspoon.com. I love hearing from you!