Hey, Dustin here!
I am still trying to catch up on these here income reports. If it’s your first time seeing one of these let me walk you through real quick. Lacey & I run a healthy food blog called A Sweet Pea Chef. On and off I have created these income reports as a way to give insight into how to run an online business.
Recently we have moved them over to this sister site Married To Your Business where we walk you through how we created an online business in the healthy food niche.
Our goal is to inspire you to create your own online business or side hustle and provide you with insight into what we find is working and in some embarrassing cases not working lol.
So, with that said …
December 2015 was a great month for us income wise we barely beat out October for our best month yet. Most of our income was still tied to sponsored content and ads although December is always a huge ad month for us.
2015 was about really focusing on growth as compared to last year. Compared to December pf 2014 when we made $1,997.98 that’s a 478.56% increase year over year. Super amped on that growth.
While my goal isn’t to see the same growth financially this year it definitely shows how far we have come in one year’s time and I’m super proud of all our hard work and how much we have hustled the last year.
This year saw a lot of milestones for us:
- Consistent Content and Videos which was a major goal of our over the last 2 years.
- Launch and grow the YouTube channel. We hit 500,000 views on YT and over 8k subs.
- Traffic to ASPC has grown a bunch this year we where just under 1.5 million uniques up from 912k last year falling just shy of my traffic goal for the year. Overall very happy with this we put some traffic generation stuff on hold to launch our course in the summer.
- Started our healthy food and lifestyle pivot. This is probably the thing I am the most happy about. We have really enjoyed the creativity in cooking healthy meals and helping other people reach their healthy goals.
- We finally replaced Lacey’s income by the end of the year. We also had our first $10,000 dollar month and our second.
- Lacey had a goal to really grow her instagram account from almost nothing and now it’s over 8k
The reason I started doing these income reports in the past was to have a good way to keep track of all that was going on behind the scenes of ASPC. I like the idea of holding our team accountable as we grow this site into what we think it can be. Whether that’s adding video, improving content, or technical improvements, that might benefit everyone that comes here for Lacey’s great recipes.
We are moving these over to Married to Your Business. The content just seems to fit better over here although we will be adding more food blog specific stuff to ASPC.
If you want to check out the old reports, you can here.
FYI, we are an affiliate for some of the below links. All these suggestions are based on our experience and extensive research.
Important Things In December
December was really about traffic, ads and sponsored/freelance content. We had to launch and deliver a bunch of stuff for December to different brands and this took a ton of time. We also knew we were going to be relaunching 30 Day Healthy in January and closing the doors on the lifetime membership component so that took a ton of work to prep.
Launch Of Clean Eating Course
We broke out a small piece of 30 Day Healthy to create a better introductory offer into our large program. This was a silent launch in that we didn’t really email much about it or push it a lot. We just started offering it right when people signed up to our list and immediately we saw a ton of traction.
A Sale A Day
We barely had it turned on and we saw $130.00 dollars worth. That was 13 purchases in a week pretty much one a day. This was a huge milestone for us a sale every day wasn’t something we had seen before even with our success from the past months most of our income has been through ads and videos we create. We saw a %3.1 conversion rate which I was super happy with for our first test on this. You can see the tail end of december in this chart that has the product we created.
For January we were testing pricing which was super useful and we have landed on a $9 dollar price point right after signup. With the price going up after that. We tested out $7, $9, $10 and $19 dollars. $19 was too much and people didn’t purchase nearly as often our conversation rate plummeted down below .5%.
Then we tried $7 bucks which was recommended to us but we didn’t see any improvements over the $10 offer so it didn’t make sense to keep. Plus our upsell offer didn’t work at all in this sequence.
Next up was $9 bucks this worked really well even better than the $10 offer and the upsell still worked so we were really happy with this.
The next thing to test was the email sequence. Normally, we don’t sell anything in our auto responders which is really annoying. Next up we started testing out the email sequence and started to raise the price we tested $19, $29 and $39. $29 dollars wound up being the winner with an email sequence that starts by helping out with some common problems and then moves into a 2 day sale.
Adding A Bump
The final piece to this puzzle was the upsell so we created two bumps of healthy meal plan packs to include. One is $9 bucks that goes with the very first offer and one is $29 that goes with the sale offer in the email sequence. These both have worked really well and we see 70%-80% conversion rate on people who purchase.
December was our best traffic month ever. We crossed over the 200k uniques a month mark for the first time which was super cool.
When compared to last December which was 130k uniques, we saw 80% growth this is really how I gauge our success is year over year comparisons. The Food niche especially we tend to have very predictable ebbs and flows of traffic like I know that Feb will be lower in general. So I’m always excited to see how November and December grow and then how much of that growth we maintain as we head into the new year.
Also over 370k pageviews is very exciting. It was cool to see all the hard work we put in during the year really pay off in December with a bunch of traffic. the next step is really sticking to the plan and making sure to deliver good consistent healthy food value to our audience so we keep growing.
Top Traffic Sources
For december, most of our traffic was from Google as usual this is pretty much a given until we fix our pinterest strategy. Over the last few months we have really started to work on driving more traffic from email and facebook as well as improving our pinterest strategy. While we have seen a lot of traction there we hadn’t implemented much of this in December and I will save that for a later post 🙂
This won’t last lol. Despite how good eggnog is.
And it is good.
December 2015 Income Report
Finally, onto the income report.
- 30 Day Healthy: $384.00
- Meal Planning Service: $1,291.90
- No-Fail Cookbook: $0 (we are moving away from this cookbook and hopefully coming out with a new one)
- Healthy Kid’s Lunch Makeover: $0
- Blogher: $466.09
- Google Adsense: $.01
- Social Reality: $.01
- Gourmet Ads: $31.66
- Lijit: $.10
- AdThrive: $2,469.10
- Amazon Affiliate: $113.98 (this mostly comes from a post on the best kitchen tools Lacey recommends)
- Food Blogger Pro Affiliate: $94.00 (I did a post on Food Blogger Pro and how we used it to grow ASPC )
- Scribe Affiliate: $32.01 (I did a post on Food Blogging SEO and how we use it to grow ASPC )
- Market Samurai Affiliate: $0 (I did a post on Food Blogging SEO and how we use it to grow ASPC)
- Video Ads (AOL/Youtube) : $40.87
- Swoop :$364.84
- Sponsored Videos/Posts: $5,000
- Contributor: $571.98 (Lacey and I started contributing to other sites in our marketing push and some of them generate extra revenue)
- Clean Eating Course: $130.00
- Coaching Program: $472.00
- Custom Meal Plans :$97
- Gross Total December 2015: $11,559.55
- Last Month November 2015: $5,125.85
- Difference: +$6,433.70
- Last Year December 2014: $1,997.98
- Difference: +$9,561.57
Ad Revenue is up a bunch AdThrive has really helped a ton. It took care of my hassles with ads and also has generated more revenue for us. Also starting to launch or introductory clean eating course offer has been great.
Lacey started offering some one on one coaching for food and health as well as custom meal plans and we saw a little income come in from this. The other benefit of this is Lacey gets to help people one on one and solve a problem for them while learning what motivates them. This insight into our audience has been super helpful.
December 2015 Expense Report
I started including expenses in these income reports in an effort to show profitability and specifically to help answer people’s questions about what we use behind the scenes and how much it costs.
I don’t recommend getting all of these right away when you get started. Instead just get what you need and work your way up.
This month was definitely high for us expense wise. Usually our expenses are around $1,000.00 a month or so but with the added income we have from October through December we usually spend a little of it on extra stuff.
This month it was some things for a new video set and also tickets for Vidcon.
- Wistia: $25.00
- Convertkit: $119.00
- Food Blogger Pro: $29.00
- Adobe Creative Cloud: $10.81
- Podbean: $25.00
- WpEngine: $265.43
- Contextly: $24.00
- Market Samurai: $25.00
- Scribe: $47.00
- Github: $7.00
- Facebook Ads: $115.44
- Kraken: $9.00
- Fb Ads Training: $97.00
- Crashplan (Backup Software): $14.78
- ClickFunnels: $97.00
- Samcart: $99.00
- Webinar Chat Software: $11.20
- Canva: $12.95
- SumoMe: $20.00
- Groceries: $668.35 (this has increased lately and goes with larger video deals we have made)
- Speechpad (transcriptions): $121.50 (I am trying to get all of our old videos transcripted)
- AWS: $68.31
- Kitchen Equipment: $32.41
- Video Equipment: $1,048.50
- WebinarJam & EverWebinar: $694.00
- Total Expenses: $3,650.14
Net Total: $11,559.55 – $3,650.14 = $7,909.41
Lessons Learned From December
For December we saw record month and a lot of the work we put in earlier in the year really paid off. We feel like we can double down on this game plan this year and see the same kind of growth for 2016.
We have also started really focusing on profitability rather than just kind of winging it and trying to grow revenue. The idea being how can we grow revenue with the least amount of overhead both in dollars and in time spent.
We also saw how recurring revenue is really king. Our Meal Planning Service has a lot of recurring members reup in December and that really adds a bunch of revenue.
Lessons We Learned From 2015
2015 was a record year for us.
But it was also really stressful. We needed to find a way to bring Sean on board full time. Rather than just giving him a slice of the company for the work he was doing there was so much to do video and creative wise we knew we needed to commit to this expense.
We also had been running the company as more of a hobby in 2014 and 2015 was really a transition into a full fledged business.
These increased revenues are going to go back into the business in the form of small salaries to Lacey and Sean as we really ramp up and scale during 2016.
Goals For 2016
With the new year (yea I know this is late and it’s March already) there comes new goals.
My main goal for this year is to scale and grow revenue so we have our first 6 figure year and I can pay Sean and Lacey reasonable salaries for their work while still being profitable.
To do this I’ve created some goals that will help us get there.
- Grow MRR to $5k a month by the end of the year (stretch goal of $10k)
- Create 2 new introductory offers that lead into our membership site
- Create 100+ videos and/or new pieces of content that’s over 2 a week for the whole year.
- Hold 1-2 webinars every month on health related topics
- Launch the sister site Maried To Your Business (woohoo! one down already)
- Grow Traffic to over 400k visitors per month by the end of the year (about 40% growth here)
Overall I think these are very doable based off the research I have done and the steps we took last year. It’s mostly about being smart and focusing even more on what’s working and removing what isn’t. We may also need to bring on some part time help to take care of some of the marketing and promotional work that needs to be done.
Getting Started With Your Own Goals For 2016
In order to help move you along with your own business goals for 2016 I suggest you make a few easily attainable goals and work your way from there.
I created mine by setting a very attainable goal for March (since I was late doing my post mortem for the year).
Add $500 new MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) by the end of March then map out from there. If your just getting started maybe its your first $100 a month or your first sale.
Make that first relatively easy goal for one month out and then keep making new ones slightly further away.
You Can Do It!
Thanks So Much
Hopefully, all these numbers will help you to improve your own revenue streams on your blog or even start one yourself. We know this wouldn’t exist without everyone supporting A Sweet Pea Chef. Thanks so much for sharing, commenting, and supporting us and this blog. We really appreciate everyone.
Also feel free to ask any questions you want I will do my best to answer them for you 🙂 I want to encourage as many people as I can to get started generating at least a little side income it can really help with your mindset just to get started.