Hey, Dustin here!
It’s been a struggle to catch up on these income reports. So instead of spacing them out as much as I normally do I think I’m going to do a few in a row here. 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. I want to start having the month review be closer to the actual month that way it’s easier to remember what went on in that month plus you get more of a real time example.
Recently we have moved all of these posts over to Married To Your Business where we walk you through how we created an online business (with specific examples 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 …
It’s been hard not to look at February 2016 as a disappointment. In reality it was really good we generated almost $4k in the month which still covered all our expenses including Lacey’s payroll. However with how awesome Q4 2015 was and with how January did it still seemed like a let down.
The loss of income comes from a few places. Less days in the month of February so ad revenue is down, plus it’s still the new year so spending hasn’t picked back up. We still didn’t have our recurring revenue lined up as well as I would like it to be so we didn’t really see any stability there yet. In my ideal scenario the recurring revenue would really be our bread and butter and then our deals for influencer projects and video would be extra. We had no contracts in this month for video sponsored or otherwise. You can see how big a deal that is in our revenue model.
This is why I was actually pretty nervous especially once January came along and we had nothing lined up. February will definitely be our worst month of the year.
With the new goal I have to generate $5k a month in MRR we wouldn’t see months like this look so bad.
All in all February went about like I expected which is not good but really still a massive step forward from last year. If our worst month this year is right below $4k then we will have a really good year so we should be happy :).
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 February
We finally got the new introductory offer really going in full swing in January so February was about setting up more of the sales funnel. When we started this new model it was something we learned from our business coach Jason Van Orden and then tweaked to emulate the Screw the Nine to Five model.
Basically, once you get someone into your list and offer them a low priced offer and really over deliver while solving their problem they are way more likely to buy the next solution you offer. Enter the Take Back Your Health Academy this is our core offer.
The Academy is a place where our goal is to provide a great community with tons of useful information and help people take back all facets of their health through food. While the intro offer was a course on clean eating the academy has other courses as well as weekly content, fitness routines etc…
This is going to be a huge focus for us this year and will hopefully be a 3rd piece to our revenue puzzle.
February 2016 Traffic Report
February was a solid month of traffic for us, especially when you consider it has less days and usually performs poorly. We crossed over the 200k uniques again barely making it the 3rd time we have done this. Last month I thought we would see the numbers dive back down under this but so far we have seen really steady growth and things are looking real good this year.
When compared to last February which was 98k uniques, we saw 106% growth if you have read these reports before you know this is really how I gauge our success is year over year comparisons.
Our pivot last year continues to look like a good idea. Super happy with how everything has worked out with that move.
We are making progress towards the 400k pageviews mark which is pretty cool. Big plans this year and getting pageviews to cross the 1 million mark in a one month is on the list :).
Top Traffic Sources
For February, most of our traffic was from Google. 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 (more on both of these in later income reports). We have grown Facebook a ton a lot over the last few months and are now seeing the same kind of growth on Instagram. You can check out our fb page here and our insta one here.
Ideally this year I would like to really increase the number of posts that get over 10k pageviews a month we are almost to half way there which is awesome when the year started we only had two that were consistently over 10k.
Another goal I have is to generate over 5k pageviews on any new post we do. we are getting closer as you can see with the burrito bowls being released at the end of January but none of the other February posts made it.
February 2016 Income Report
Finally, onto the income report.
- 30 Day Healthy: $552.00
- Meal Planning Service: $347.50
- No-Fail Cookbook: $14 (we are moving away from this cookbook and hopefully coming out with a new one)
- Healthy Kid’s Lunch Makeover: $0
- Blogher: $233.11
- Gourmet Ads: $44.41
- AdThrive: $1,391.68
- Amazon Affiliate: $48.62 (this mostly comes from a post on the best kitchen tools Lacey recommends)
- Food Blogger Pro Affiliate: $343 (I did a post on Food Blogger Pro and how we used it to grow ASPC )
- Scribe Affiliate: $48.01 (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) : $49.49
- Swoop :$95.73
- Sponsored Videos/Posts/Freelance Videos: $0(these are all lumped together for contract reasons)
- Contributor: $479.44 (Lacey and I started contributing to other sites in our marketing push and some of them generate extra revenue)
- Clean Eating Course: $313.00
- Take Back Your Health Academy: $29.00
- Gross Total February 2016: $3,988.99
- Last Month January 2016: $8,953.28
- Difference: -$4,964.29
- Last Year February 2015: $498.07
- Difference: +$3,490.92
Ad Revenue is looking good especially for February, AdThrive has made a big difference and in May we switched all the way over to them so this has only gotten better from here.
The big negative we had this month was the lack of contracts or sponsored posts. This really made our revenue drop way down. The MRR piece I mentioned will help offset months like this in the future.
February 2016 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.
As the business has grown we have seen this grow for sure. Usually our expenses were around $1,000.00 a month (not including salaries for Lacey and Sean). However, lately with fb ads and groceries growing we have seen that number creep up a bit. Plus, we bought a lot of studio equipment so this month we went over $3k again.
- Wistia: $25.00
- Convertkit: $81.49
- Food Blogger Pro: $29.00
- Adobe Creative Cloud: $10.81
- Podbean: $25.00
- Baremetrics: $25.00
- WpEngine: $265.43
- Market Samurai: $25.00
- Scribe: $47.00
- Github: $7.00
- Facebook Ads: $449.07
- 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: $25.90
- SumoMe: $40.00
- Groceries: $408.61 (this has increased lately and goes with larger video deals we have made)
- Speechpad (transcriptions): $168 (I am trying to get all of our old videos transcripted)
- AWS: $92.89
- Go Daddy: $30.34 (don’t really use this anymore but haven’t taken the time to transfer the domains)
- Kitchen Equipment: $9.88
- Business Lunches: $72.14 ( I try to get lunch once a week for the team when they are shooting videos)
- Post Office: $13.19
- IPS forum software: $30
- Legal Zoom: $181.65
- Total Expenses: $2,480.37
Net Total: $3,988.99 – $2,480.37 = $1,508.62
Lessons Learned From February
The main issue for this month was just not lining up enough contracts and sponsorships. Since we don’t have our full funnel working yet and don’t have a lot of MMR happening it makes the revenue smaller and in turn profits less.
Luckily we were still profitable and Sean and Lacey hadn’t been ramped up yet on payroll. This would be a much worse situation without having a big buffer in the bank and having a larger payroll.
I missed out on my $5k goal for February which was annoying but still not too bad.
Goals For March
For March my main goal is to launch the Academy fully in it’s new MRR form. This is going to be a large piece of what ASPC is and how we move forward so we need to really figure that out.
Let’s check in real quick on the Yearly goals:
- Grow MRR to $5k a month by the end of the year (stretch goal of $10k) (I decided to fast track this goal here instead of this year I wanted to do it in 3 months and we are way behind)
- Create 2 new introductory offers that lead into our membership site (Way behind although we have an idea we are working on for one of them)
- Create 100+ videos and/or new pieces of content that’s over 2 a week for the whole year. (On Track)
- Hold 1-2 webinars every month on health related topics (behind we postponed this to refocus on automation)
- 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 stretch goal of one month with 1 million pageviews) (On Track)
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.
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.