Hey, Dustin here!
It’s been a struggle to catch up on these income reports but I’m almost there. Last month I covered our big failure so far this year and for march I’ll cover how we rebounded. 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 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 …
March 2016 was a real nice bounce back once again getting over the $10k mark which was my goal for every month this year.
In order to pay Sean and Lacey the salaries they need to replace their 9-5 and cover our expenses we need to generate $10k per month. So, this is really our benchmark for success (and nervousness lol). Although at this point Lacey was only on salary and Sean hadn’t started yet.
As you can see we lined up some contract work and sponsored posts so the revenue was much better.
All in all March was a real nice bounce back and some of the contracts we lined up will work well for a few months and keep us moving along nicely.
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 March
We launched the new Take Back Your Health Academy at a starter low monthly price and rolled our 30 Day Healthy program inside it. This has made a lot of things way easier and in some ways caused more stress.
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…
In order to accomplish this we have to create new content more often but the trade off is not having to launch all the time or have as much stress over a launch window. This was a little hectic when we were doing it before and not really what we enjoyed.
So, for the month of March we offered the $29/month deal and then raised the price to $39/month once the initial month was over.
Our goal going forward will be to really create a cool community for accomplishing healthy life goals. We are both really excited about this strategy both from a personal enjoyment perspective and from a business perspective.
Launch of Take Back Your Health Academy
We officially launched the academy in March and it started real well.
We did two webinars one on clean eating and one on healthy snacking. Both led to people signing up when the dust settled 14 new people had joined the academy. That combined with everyone from 30 day healthy and we have a nice little community building.
The goal for April will be to add another 10+ members and try to keep churn down.
Banana Ice Cream Video Goes Crazy
In March we had a Banana Ice Cream Video go crazy on facebook and get over 1 million views it was our first 1 million video. We have since had a few more get there like Cilantro Lime Chicken and Baked Parmesan Zucchini Spears which has almost 4 million views.
This explosion of growth on Facebook has been super helpful in our revenue growth and I’ll dive into it in more detail in the next income post. The main take away is find out what people like in your niche and keep testing and tweaking to make it better.
March 2016 Traffic Report
March was a great month for us traffic wise. Third highest ever which is always good normally March is a little weak for us so getting a bump here would be really good for long term traffic growth.
When compared to last March which was 95k uniques, we saw 122% growth continually seeing over 100% growth every month so far this year so thats a really good sign.
We have gotten our ad revenue to creep across 2k a month which is good news. Ideally, we wouldn’t have to reply on ad revenue but for now it’s an important piece of our business model. We keep moving towards the 400k pageview marker which is good news also. My stretch goal of 1 million pageviews in December still seems within reach.
Top Traffic Sources
For March, most of our traffic was from Google again lol. I feel like a little bit of a broken record, but we really want to increase the other traffic sources so that we aren’t so dependant on Google. We really started to focus on our Facebook and Pinterest strategy in April so I will dive into that in the next income report.
For March we saw the occasional new recipe jump into the top ten. I mentioned last income report how we are working on growing the top to in an effort to increase traffic. We are doing this by specifically targeting keywords that might be able to generate this kind of traffic and then making videos for them that will hopefully do well on our social platforms.
March 2016 Income Report
Finally, onto the income report.
- 30 Day Healthy: $237.00
- Meal Planning Service: $263.80
- No-Fail Cookbook: $28.00 (we are moving away from this cookbook and hopefully coming out with a new one)
- Healthy Kid’s Lunch Makeover: $9.00
- Blogher: $283.68
- Gourmet Ads: $35.77
- AdThrive: $1,953.74
- Amazon Affiliate: $93.54 (this mostly comes from a post on the best kitchen tools Lacey recommends)
- Food Blogger Pro Affiliate: $58.00 (I did a post on Food Blogger Pro and how we used 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) : $62.03
- Swoop :$162.89
- Sponsored Videos/Posts/Freelance Videos: $6100 (these are all lumped together for contract reasons)
- Contributor: $395.32 (Lacey and I started contributing to other sites in our marketing push and some of them generate extra revenue)
- Clean Eating Course: $353.00
- Take Back Your Health Academy: $435.00
- Gross Total March 2016: $10,470.77
- Last Month February 2016: $3,988.99
- Difference: +$6,481.78
- Last Year March 2015: $562.11
- Difference: +$9,908.66
AdThrive continues to impress me with how much better it performs than our other ad revenue sources. Comparing this month to the same month last year just amazes me with how far we have come. Its pretty crazy to think we have found a way to grow from $500 a month to over $10k in a month in less than a year. very exciting stuff.
The main thing that made this month so successful compared to last month was the sponsored posts and video contracts we locked down. Overall that will make the rest of the year very successful.
March 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. I highly recommend reading a book like profit first before adding in expenses. Make sure you “need” something or can afford it we have been done the path of thinking this new thing will make the difference and it usually just doesn’t matter.
- Wistia: $25.00
- Convertkit: $0 (we had a free month for writing this post)
- 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: $445.47
- 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: $30.00
- Groceries: $672.49 (this has increased lately and goes with larger video deals we have made)
- Speechpad (transcriptions): $18 (I am trying to get all of our old videos transcripted)
- AWS: $58.40
- Go Daddy: $15.17 (don’t really use this anymore but haven’t taken the time to transfer the domains)
- Kitchen Equipment: $209.36
- Business Lunches: $42.24 ( I try to get lunch once a week for the team when they are shooting videos)
- Production Day Supplies: $98.73
- Post Office: $16.50
- IPS forum software: $30
- Legal Zoom: $181.65
- WordPress Plugins: $79.00
- Total Expenses: $2696.92
Net Total: $10,470.77 – $2,696.92 = $7,773.85
Lessons Learned From March
We fully launched the Academy which was a great feeling and while there were some hiccups overall we are really happy with how it is going and can’t wait to grow it even further. Lots of great plans here for the rest of the year.
We got back over the $10k goal we really need to be at to sustain long term profit and salaries which is good and we are looking good there for the rest of the year which is a real good thing.
Overall March was a real good month that finishes off the quarter strong and puts us in a good spot for the future.
Goals For April
For April we are going to run a few webinars and really focus on growing the academy. I also work on the Facebook and Pinterest Strategy a lot in April to get started growing our social traffic a little more aggressively.
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.