As 2018 is quickly careening to a close, I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting on the past year and the changes it has brought to our lives. It’s been a huge year for One Big Happy Life in terms of growth and the amazing opportunities that we’ve been able to take part in.
November was a month of milestones for us. We hit 100,000 subscribers on YouTube, which was incredible. It was also the first time I went on a FAM trip. FAM is short for familiarization. It’s basically a trip for the media and bloggers to learn all about a destination so they can share it with their readers. Family travel is a huge part of what we do here at One Big Happy Life so I of course jumped at the chance to go to Gallup, New Mexico with the TMS Family Travel Conference.
We have some even bigger personal and business goals in mind for 2019. And there will be plenty of posts about that upcoming here on the blog. But for now, let’s take a look at how our November went.
YouTube Ad Revenue: $4,300
Blog Ad Revenue: $100
Affiliate Income: $175
Sponsored Posts (Our Platforms): $1,500
Sponsored Posts (Their Platforms): $5,000
Our income numbers include all revenue that we earned in November 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 have earned in the month rather than income received from work done in prior months.
So like I said, November was a big revenue month for us. One thing that I did differently this month is that I changed the title of the last category from from “Freelance”to “Sponsored Posts” and that I split sponsored posts into two subcategories: their platform and our platform. I felt like this was a more accurate representation of those income sources.
Yes, technically creating content for people/brands for their website or social media accounts is freelance work. But the reality is that the reason why the brands have chose to work with us is not because we are Joseph and Tasha Awesome Writers, it’s because we are Joseph and Tasha from One Big Happy Life. In other words, they want to work with us because of our platform (blog, YouTube, other social, etc.) and not just because we happen to be good writers.
The other thing is that even though the content isn’t going on our website, it doesn’t change the fact that it is our content, with our style and voice. So to me it made more sense to frame the categories in this new way to show the relationship between all sponsored content.
Our blog revenue is up this month even though our page view are down (way down) because we switched from Google Adsense to a new ad management company, Bloomly. They’ve fully taken over the ad placement on the blog using some sort of AI algorithm learning thing. I don’t know how it works. I’m just glad that I don’t have to deal with placing the ads any more.
If you’ve read any of our prior income reports, then you know that figuring out this ad business had been the bane of my existence. Joseph worked with Bloomly to transition everything over. It was a seamless transition and we’re both happy about the extra income boost.
Total Revenue: $10,900
Adobe CC: $60
Epidemic Sound: $60
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 full in January. Our expenses typically stay constant from month to month unless we happen to have some really large outlays. Our Adobe CC membership did go up because Alexis now has her own channel and needed to get her own license so that she can start editing her videos herself.
Total Expenses: $265
SOCIAL MEDIA STATS & TRAFFIC
YouTube Subscribers: 106,388
Email Subscribers: 4,572
As you can see, our page views are way, way down this month. It’s sitting at about a third of what we’d been used to so far. The past six months have been so busy for us that we have not been able to put the same kind of time and attention into the blog as we would like. Our Pinterest traffic has fallen significantly because I stopped pinning for months. This is something that continues to be a point of frustration for me because the blog has always been my baby. And it’s something that we’re both committed to working on in 2019.
WHAT WORKED IN NOVEMBER
November is a perfect example of why we recommend the throwing spaghetti at the wall content method. Our house was a complete disaster and we were so swamped that we were on the verge of getting a housekeeper. Instead, I decided to clean the house myself, showcasing all of the before awfulness on a video. That video surprised both of us by taking off and generating quite a bit of revenue for us.
So while we intend to be even more strategic about our videos going forward in 2019, we recognize the value in trying new things too because you never know what you might end up stumbling across.
As we are getting bigger and bigger, it’s becoming easier and easier to work with brands on sponsored posts. We haven’t affirmatively started pitching beyond the influencer marketplace websites, but it’s something we we are hoping to do more of in 2019. Once our Instagram account crossed 10,000, many more opportunities opened up to us.
Also, more brands are reaching out to us directly, which is great. But it also means that I have way more emails to respond to, which then means less time for doing other things like writing blog posts.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK IN NOVEMBER
November is when we realized that we weren’t well balanced. We had too many things to do and not enough time so things either didn’t get done at all or didn’t get done exactly the way that we would have preferred. For the first time ever, we had to bow out of a campaign because we just weren’t able to meet the deadlines given the amount of time we had to work with.
That made us finally start to admit a few things. One, that our current pace isn’t sustainable. Not if we want to actually have balanced lives where we work out, eat healthy (did I mention that I gained 15 pounds over the past four months), spend time together as a family and without the kids as a couple, plus manage all of the aspects of OBHL including the blog and our other social accounts. It’s quite a lot.
We realized that we’re either going to have to scale back on our expectations of ourselves and let OBHL grow at a slower pace or we’re going to have to start bringing people on to help us with things so that we can have more time to focus on our other priorities. That could mean hiring a VA to help us with emails and project management or it could be having a meal delivery service or housekeeper. We haven’t quite figured what we want to hand off just yet.
The other think that we realized is that if we are so swamped with work that we’re having to turn things down, then that lets us know that it is time to raise our rates. Raising our rates means that we will miss out on more opportunities, but it hopefully also means that we will be able to do the same amount or less work for more money, which will allow us the time and mental space to create the kind of thoughtful, high quality content that love to make. Rather than scrambling to get things done like we did in November.
So that’s it for our November! Let us know your thoughts, questions, comments on starting a blog, starting a YouTube channel, blogging and YouTube, or any combination of all of those things down in the comments below!
And if you are looking for more income reports, you an read them all here: OBHL Online Income Reports