In 2018, I'm taking my small blog and creative business - I'm a freelance illustrator and Etsy seller - on a little journey towards passive income.
You can see my reasoning and my starting point in these two previous blog posts:
Now, it's time to look back at February and post my stats - as always collected in my bullet journal because that's just how I do things. If it's not written down, it doesn't count!
Even if you don't plan on earning an income from your blog yourself, I hope you can find ideas, inspiration, and motivation for your own blogging journey through my little recaps.
This post contains affiliate links which means that if you shop through one of the product links, I may receive a small commission. None of the products are sponsored. You can check out my full disclaimer here.
What I count as passive income via "blogging": All my online income that isn't freelance work of any sort and that's connected to my blog and traffic. That includes:
- Digital product sales (traffic to my Etsy shop comes via my blog & the associated Pinterest account)
- Affiliate Income (need to get the hang of that!)
- Adsense (blog and Youtube)
A note on "blogging courses": I've never purchased any blogging courses and don't plan on it. I'm taking it slow and teach myself by trial & failure and via larger platforms like Skillshare and good old Youtube, with most of my time still going into art, commissions, freelance work, and writing/drawing comics.
So this series of blog income reports isn't for you if you're looking to find quick hacks or the "best" way to monetize a blog.
This is a side project of mine and I love my other work way too much to want to completely replace it, in any case.
RESULTS: February 2018
Blog Pageviews: 20'804
I hit 20k! This makes me so happy, especially since hitting 10k was my goal to reach before mid-year 2018. So, you could say I'm ahead of that! :)
February Blog Posts Written: 7
You can see how I track my blog posts with cute little star graphs at the very top of this blog post.
While I think it's important to keep track of things like follower numbers and pageviews, those are a bit arbitrary. Some months, a viral pin might give me a "random" boost, or a fellow artist sharing my stuff on Instagram might give me more growth.
BUT: I also like to track stats that are completely under my control. Only my own productivity and time-management can be blamed for the actual writing I get done for this blog and I love giving myself a little pat on the shoulder when I worked hard.
Most Popular Posts in February:
My bullet journal and planning posts are what I call my "pillar posts". It's those that take the most work to get done - from taking pictures to writing down my thought process. So, I'm always happy to see that the work paid off!
This month, a travel blog post made it into the more popular blog posts, too, and I got affiliated with a travel platform that focuses on Korea and Thailand, which is a perfect fit and super motivational for future posts!
326$ of passive income (and some custom orders that of course don't count towards that number)
Last month, I earned 201$ of passive income via my printables - from stickers to planner pages - which already was a huge step up from any previous month! So of course I'm ecstatic and grateful for that jump. It takes me a bit closer to my passive income goal for 2018: 1000$ monthly. That still seems so unrealistic and far-fetched, but I hope to improve steadily. Baby steps!
Instead of accepting custom orders via Etsy, I've now set up a WORK WITH ME section here on the blog for my wedding portraits, blog banner art, and product illustrations.
By the way: While the income went up, the actual traffic towards my Etsy shop only did so marginally. I just didn't have the time to focus on promoting my products because I was so involved with creating new ones!
That was definitely the right decision though since I can now take a step back, take a breath, focus on freelance work that's piling up for March, and start promoting.
On that note:
Grab a free printable calendar page for March - it's in my password-protected library here!
Or get the full March printable bundle with hand-drawn illustrations on Etsy.
INCOME REPORT Blog:
Viglinks affiliate: 3.29$ (down from 4.50$ last month)
Amazon Associates: 3.25$ (down from 8.68$ - might be because I didn't post about products?)
Adsense (Blog & Youtube): 7.04$ + 0.82$ | While my blog's Adsense earnings went up, my Youtube's went down. There were quite a lot of changes to Youtube's earnings and also, I just didn't get around to posting new content, shame on me!
So: Not all that positive.
But I want to show my true blogging & income journey here, positive or negative.
I learned last year that earning money online in any form comes with a host of what-if's and changes that you can't influence. From online banking woes to changing social media algorithms - all those essential parts of online income streams are out of our hands!
There will be ups and downs, and all I can do is focus on those parts of the whole income puzzle that I CAN influence. Creating content, creating products, being creative, and having a positive attitude.
Already, my passive income each month covers groceries for two people and a cat and I'm immensely grateful for that!
The little camera sticker there is a symbol for my wishlist.
Visual reminders like this really help in focusing my intent!
My camera broke last year and I've been using my phone and borrowing my husband's work-only camera (he's a photographer and I don't like messing with his equipment!) so I've got this vague idea of all the ads and affiliate sales adding up to buy a new one. :)
A note on affiliate marketing for bloggers that don't live in the US:
It's a bit more complicated to work with affiliate marketing when you're not US-based (or anywhere outside of North America and Europe, actually) so here a quick note:
Not all affiliate networks accept international bloggers and payments can be a pain to set up. While I live in South Korea (and originally am from Switzerland, so English is my third or fourth language... Grammarly to the rescue!) most of my readers are from the United States, so I try to adjust for that - no point in linking Korean websites, for example.
Affiliate Programs that work globally:
Amazon, of course, is global - but most of my own shopping gets done on Korean online shops or via Korean brands' sites, so I only link to products I imported.
My Etsy affiliate marketing can't be done via Awin (their Etsy affiliate network only accept bloggers local to the US) so I'd recommend joining an overarching affiliate network like Viglinks that's open to international blogs and saves you the trouble of navigating the individual affiliate programs. Also, cashback programs like Ebates that are active globally (and include online shops based in Japan and Korea!) are easier to use. I use Ebates for my own shopping on Etsy and Amazon, too.
Instead of being an affiliate for physical products, I like promoting digital services and platforms that I can use myself on a daily basis, no matter where on the globe. For example, you can get a free month of premium Skillshare access via my referral link, anytime, anywhere!
Blogging & Passive Income February 2018:
Etsy's digital products and the little bits of blog monetization add up to 340.70$ of passive income.
That's quite a bit closer to my end goal of 1000$ per month compared to the 221$ last month!
Instagram: 3430 to 3550
Slow and steady on! Algorithm changes come and go, but I keep on posting. I just wish that my feed actually showed me the content I followed. <______<
You can find the Instagram sticker drawings here, too!
Twitter: 912 to 1001
I've had Twitter for a long time (ten years? Anyway, it's why my Twitter handle doesn't line up with any of my other social media...), but only used it as an artist and then for impressions from life in Korea.
For a while, Instagram was THE social media place for me to be (I'm a visual person! I like pretty pictures!) but with every. single. thing. now out of chronological order, I appreciate Twitter and its orderly timeline so much more.
Also, the blogging community on Twitter is amazing!
Pinterest: 1k to 1131 followers!
Pinterest is the gift that keeps on giving (traffic) ^___-
But I also just really enjoy using the platform both as a blogger and as an artist!
February Goals in Review:
- Hit 20'000 Pageviews! YES
- Write 6 blog posts YES! Wrote 7
- Create Valentine's Day stationery cards YES
- Prepare a complete set of printable Bullet Journal pages to use each month YUP
- Make a Media Kit (check out the wonderful tutorial by Stephanie here!) and add a Work With Me section DONE & DONE, though I've not yet uploaded the Media Kit since I wanted to use my February numbers on it :) Coming soon!
- 3600 followers on Instagram and hosting a giveaway when I hit 3.5k NOPE, and NOPE - I completely forgot about the whole giveaway after I deleted the pictures I took of it by accident. Oops, definitely something I need to catch up on!
- Related to No.5: Finish this class on digital marketing and media kits on Skillshare! DONE
- Write 6 blog posts
- Paint new sticker motives for bloggers & writers
- Post at least one Youtube video!
- Crack 10$ Adsense income because why not?
- Host that Instagram giveaway!
- Focus on creative projects like writing, comic illustrations, and daily doodles!
- Participate in the #MarchMeetTheMaker challenge