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Happy new year! I have to say, this time of year is my favorite normally!
I love goal setting and looking back on the progress I made the year before.
But this year feels a little different.
I started out taking a break in January because I was feeling lost about my content. And I’m sure every blogger can relate to that at one time or another.
But now, I am back and loving getting into content creation slowly again!
This means however that I am behind for the yearly blog audit I wanted to do!
So in this blog post, I’ll be going over how the year went and talking about the income I made in 2021!
I also want to reflect back on 2020, which is the first year I really started making consistent income from this blog!
I’ve grown a lot, and I hope my story will be able to inspire you to keep going. And maybe you’ll learn something along the way as well!
My thoughts on the year
I wanted to first give an overview of how I thought the year went. I did a more in-depth post at my look back on the year here if you’re interested.
2021 had a lot of ups and downs for me. It was the year my YouTube channel really started to take off, but it got out of hand.
My channel started to grow, but the topic I was talking about made me unhappy. In the end, I started to fall out of love with content creation as a result.
I felt forced to continue talking about what was popular, instead of what made me actually happy.
Moving forward into 2022, I am not going to be doing that.
I want to focus on what I love first, and what’s popular second.
I think this will allow me to fall in love with content creation again and I’ll be happier about the direction of my channel.
After all, what are good numbers if you’re unhappy?
2021 was also the year I took a bit of a break from my blog.
I wasn’t seeing great results, despite the money being there, so I decided to take a few months to focus on my YouTube channel.
And while that helped my channel grow, my blog then obviously suffered.
I only put out a measly 28 blog posts last year, most of which didn’t even reach my top ten most popular posts.
Which leads to more discouragement, and eventually burnout.
I tell you all of this so you can get a glimpse into a life that is not so perfect.
Social media tends to give up the best version of someone.
You never hear about how someone made $0 a month blogging. You don’t hear much about the struggles we face as bloggers.
So, this is my reality.
I spent a lot of time discouraged and lost when it came to my content.
And that’s okay.
Because in the end, I picked myself back up, found my way back to my content, and still made money in the process.
I know you probably came here for the income report, but I hope that if you did read this you didn’t get discouraged, but you are in fact encouraged to keep going and fighting for your dreams.
Even when you don’t want to.
Now let’s get to a more positive note, the income!
How much I made in 2021
Let’s talk about the different income sources that I had.
I was able to expand into a few within the last year and that was able to drastically increase my income from 2020 into 2021.
Affiliate Income: $221.23
This income source has always been something difficult for me to get off the ground.
All the bloggers will tell you it’s the easiest place to start and even beginners can do it. I wish I knew their secrets.
Because for me, affiliate marketing is by no means easy and doesn’t seem to work very well for me.
However, this year ended up being better than last year. So I’ll take that as a win.
Affiliate marketing is still a great way to get started making money with your blog, even if it can be harder than many people will tell you.
My advice is to take a course on the topic so you can get better at it quicker.
I didn’t do this in the beginning and was left spinning my wheels.
I signed up for the course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing to finally get the hang of selling!
At the end of the day, affiliate marketing is not going to be an overnight growth, and it is going to take time.
So just actively keep working on it and you start to see results in time!
Blog Ads: $14.42
This is my smallest source of income, but that’s just because it comes with a small price tag!
I offered blog advertising where I will link to a few of your blog posts and promote them on social media and to my email list.
I didn’t get a huge amount of advertisers this year, but I did start this late into the year and I don’t promote it very much so it’s a bit of my fault!
I hope to see the income source grow in the future and actually make a good chunk of money!
Digital Products- $216.19
Digital products are the next income source that did well for me.
I had a shop on both Gumroad and Etsy. I have taken down my shop from Etsy due to the number of fees you get from them, and am going to just be moving forward with Gumroad.
At the beginning of the year, I was getting a payout each week with Etsy when one of my listings was ranking.
It lasted until it stopped ranking and then sales fell off a bit from there. Which is to be expected!
If you are looking for a good way to start making money blogging, digital products are the way to go.
My favorite thing is waking up to a notification on my phone that I sold something while I was sleeping!
I love the ease of it. You create the product once, create the listing once, and then people buy it!
No shipping hassles and no returns are needed. You just have to promote and then sit back and watch. It’s amazing.
I am currently going through all of my listings and updating them a lot. I am hoping that will bring in more sales this year and increase this income source!
2023 UPDATE: I have since moved my shop over to my own website! I’m now using WooCommerce and I love the convenience of having my shop right on my own site!
This is the income source I am most excited to talk about because, as you can see, it was my biggest income source for the year! This is a bit complicated though.
I have quite a love-hate relationship with my freelancing job.
If you don’t know, I was a Pinterest manager. I created pins for people and managed their accounts. I also have other services like Pinterest Account Audits.
And while I love the clients I work with and helping them grow their accounts, this simply isn’t where my passion lies.
So, even though the money is clearly there, doing this over the year has left me unhappy for some months.
There is a lot of work that goes into Pinterest and I find it to be a harder and harder platform to grow on.
Sadly, it is taking longer to see traction. And in the beginning, Pinterest seems to not be worth it.
I know that in the long run with a lot of hard work and the right topics, you can grow on Pinterest because I’ve seen it myself.
But clients not seeing results, in the beginning, makes it tough to stick with, especially when you are paying someone to run your account.
I know it sucks to not see results because I deal with a lot of the same problems myself.
So, even though this is a great income source for me, I hope to faze it out sooner rather than later.
2023 UPDATE: I have stopped Pinterest Management (for the most part) and it was definitely a hard choice to make since it was such a good income source for me, but being happy is more important in my eyes. Since then, I’ve kept other services like Pinterest Audits and added blog coaching to my freelancing as well!
Now let’s check out some stats for each month and I can break my income down even further!
This will give you a good look into what it’s actually like as a full-time blogger.
I want to show you my income month in and month out so you can see how much it really fluctuates!
- January: $104.70
- February: $75.89
- March: $12.56
- April: $128.29
- May: $124.50
- June: $332.33
- July: $204.21
- August: $133.40
- September: $526.33
- October: $327.85
- November: $611.46
- December: $54.09
Isn’t it crazy how much income can fluctuate over the months?!
One month I had my best income ever and the next… less than $100 was made! I can’t believe it even though I lived it.
This is why it is so important to diversify your income streams.
That way if one source fails you, you’ll have others to back it up.
Obviously, $54 isn’t enough to pay my bills for the month, so I have other income streams outside of blogging to help me when some months just suck income-wise.
The Final Total
Now for the exciting part. The final total of how much money I made last year!
The total amount of income I made for 2021 is $2,518.43!
This doesn’t include the money I saved for taxes though or any expenses I had. That is an entirely different story.
I need to save a good portion of that money for taxes because obviously when you work for yourself, taxes don’t get taken out of what you earn.
Even so, I am blown away by how much I was able to make in a year!
As someone who has had this dream for a long time, this is amazing to see it finally taking off!
To also give you some perspective on how much can change in a year, in 2020 my income was only $184.55! For the whole year!
I am so pumped to see such a growth change in income and I can’t wait to see what 2022 will bring for me in my business!
I hope this blog post was not only helpful but also inspiring to you as well.
And if you’d like to see a breakdown of some of these months, check out some of the income reports I have done over the last year!