April was a whirlwind! It has seriously come and gone before I even knew what was happening. 2018 is officially one third of the way over. I wish I felt like I was 33% of the way to reaching our goals for One Big Happy Life. We are making great progress, but there are still a lot of moving pieces that we are trying to get a handle on. A mile-long to-do list has this way of dwarfing the real progress that we've made.
One big change that happened in April that I’m very excited about is that I joined a small mastermind group! These ladies are serious about growing their online business. We have bi-weekly meetings with agendas and everything. I’m so excited to have a group of people to brainstorm with instead of feeling like we are on a blogging island.
And if you want to read all about the journey from the beginning, you can check out all of our income reports to date.
Now let’s take a look at how our April went.
Back in March we presold and launched our first course, YouTube Made Simple Foundations. April was all about creating the course and providing as much value to our students as we possibly could. Let me tell you, course creation is a beast!
Before tackling our own course, we had no idea just how much would be involved: planning out the syllabus, creating all of the lectures, designing the printables, moderating the Facebook group. It is a lot of work!
I’m a huge fan of self-improvement and taking online courses. Having taken my fair share of mediocre courses, I knew that I wanted YouTube Made Simple Foundations to be the kind of signature course that I would be proud to recommend to anyone. I am happy to say that we have done exactly that, but it took a lot of time to make that happen.
We easily spent or more 30 hours creating each module. Because we work full time, that meant that almost all of our time outside of work was devoted to YTMSF. That translates to a pretty messy house, extra money spent on babysitters for Reeves and very few blog posts written. It also meant that we fell out of our normal YouTube publish rhythm which may impact our May numbers.
Blog Ad Revenue: $70
Affiliate Income: $400
Sponsored Posts: $1100
Products & Courses: $0
Our income numbers include revenue earned in the month of April even if we don’t actually get paid until some time in the future. Since the whole point of these income reports is to assess our progress from month to month, it makes sense to track the actual income we earned in the month rather than income receive from work done in prior months.
As predicted, we saw a bit of a drop in our income from YouTube. We expect that trend to continue for the next few months as the semi-viral videos we had in January continue to die down. The major cause of the income dip from last month was our lack of course sales. Which makes perfect sense because our course currently closed to new enrollments. We will probably open the course for enrollment again in July and so will most likely see a healthy bump there.
Total Income: $3,392
Adobe CC: $30
Epidemic Sound: $15
Our expenses include any costs we incur in that month. Some of our expenses are paid for yearly, like our blog hosting that we paid in January.
We downgraded our Teachable plan this month since we are no longer in launch mode for the course. The $99 plan that we had before allowed us to process payments without an additional fee from Teachable. We discovered that in order for the higher cost plan to make sense, we’d have to enroll 30 new students each month. Because our course isn’t open for continual enrollment, that didn’t make much sense to us, so we downgraded.
Total Expenses: $160
Net Profit: $3,230
ONLINE INCOME ANALYSIS
We are thrilled with our income numbers this month. Any month where our YouTube revenue is over $1,500 is a good month, considering we projected that we’d be at less than a $1,000 a month at this point this year.
Now we are just waiting to see if it will hold. If we are still above $1,500 a month in three months then it’s pretty safe to consider that as our new baseline earnings for YouTube.
Sponsored posts gave us a healthy boost this month, which is exciting. We did two sponsored posts in April, one for Chromebooks and one for Kings Dominion. The Kings Dominion one is particularly exciting because it is exactly the kind of sponsored post we were hoping to be able to do when we first started thinking about monetizing our channel and website.
Basically, our family got paid to spend a day at an amusement park, which is kind of awesome. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was still work.
Capturing footage and images on location is tough. The sponsorship included creating content (social media posts) while at the park and several afterwards. It also included a blog post with several images and a 60 second video.
I think we’ve reached a tipping point for our YouTube channel where landing sponsored posts is now becoming easier. We already have two lined up for May. Since our goal is to do no more than 2-3 sponsored posts a month, we ended up turning one down. We also now charge a minimum of $500 for a sponsored video. So if we are able to hit our goal of two sponsored posts a month, that means we can expect an extra $1,000 a month in revenue per month.
BLOG TRAFFIC REPORT
Page Views: 11,387
Unique Visitors: 3,871
New Visitors: 96%
Acquisition: 50% Social, 30% Organic
We launched our blog at the end of October 2017, so this is only our sixth full month of blogging. We seriously neglected the website last month and only published one new blog post. When I said that the course took over our lives in April, I really mean it. Sometimes business-building is unbalanced like that.
We set a goal of reaching 100,000 page views a month this year. I’m not sure how realistic that is now, but we are going to continue to work at it. With the course complete and a launch strategy under our belt, we can refocus on the website for the rest of the year. I’m thinking of setting a 30 day challenge in June where I write a blog post a day every day of the month. I’m sure I’ll have more details about that in our May income report.
I’ve added a new stat to the traffic report: acquisition. This shows where our traffic is coming from. Ideally, we want most of our traffic to come from search and not from social. Surprisingly, we’ve actually made some good progress in this area. (I say surprisingly because we haven’t been really focusing on that yet.) Our organic search traffic has gone up 6% this year, which is awesome.
EMAIL & SOCIAL MEDIA STATISTICS
Total email subscribers: 2,096 (+154)
YouTube: 37,470 (+3,100)
Instagram: 3900 (+600)
Twitter: 760 (+90)
Our main lead magnet–a free excel budget–is still down. We just haven’t had the time to create a new sign up pages and landing form. And if I’m being honest, it’s not at the top of the to-do list for May either. May is going to be all about finishing up YTMS and getting some more quality content on our website. Also having fun and getting our house back in order after slacking off for a whole month.
YouTube is chugging along nicely. We published 17 new videos in April. Many of them were vlogs which tend to have lower views than our personal finance and life management videos. We’re hoping our vlog-style video audience will grow more this year. Because we’ve been doing so well, we decided to bumped our subscriber goal for this year up to 65,000.
Ideally, we will get better at creating blog posts that incorporate our YouTube videos more. As our blog traffic increases, that should give our channel some extra views, which then will hopefully cause YouTube to recommend our videos more. We will also be focused on creating more travel, home, and lifestyle content to round out our content mix.
That’s it for this month’s income and traffic report! How was your month?