Hey, Dustin here!
Last month I covered our bounce back from our biggest failure so far this year and for April I’ll cover our largest income month ever woohoo.
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. Basically, the idea is to give you an inside look into how to create a blog that also functions as a 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 …
April 2016 was a huge month for us. It was an awesome step towards getting over the $10k mark which was my goal for every month this year and moves us a lot closer to the 200k year mark which is my stretch goal for the 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). This was our first month with Lacey and Sean on payroll so that was another huge step. We also made enough to book our first conference tickets VidCon which we went to in June.
As you can see we lined up some contract work and sponsored posts so the revenue was much better.
All in all April was a our best month ever revenue wise plus there was some nice traffic numbers too you’ll see in a little bit.
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 April
Last month I mentioned that we launched the new Take Back Your Health Academy at a starter low monthly price and rolled our 30 Day Healthy program inside it.
For April we focused on holding one webinar to teach people how to quit sugar and focused on improving the course Lacey was teaching.
Overall it went really well and was the impetus for us to focus on improving MRR. You can see how the webinar helped with this and we had a peak of $916.
We are super amped to be working on this community and can’t wait to add a ton of content we have planned and steps to help people reach their health goals.
Learning How to Make Viral Food Videos
We have been spending a lot of time and energy learning how to make viral food videos. With a Facebook Page of around 130k followers we have now generated 5 videos with over 1 million views each, 2 over 3 million and a bunch in the hundreds of thousands of views. This has been really cool.
You can see that we have over 140k shares on this video. For Facebook we tend to focus on about 1 minute and sped up a bit with no talking and then link back to the full recipe video where Lacey shares the full recipe and talks through the process.
We have also started making custom Instagram cuts that you can see here. Both of these have really helped our social growth and traffic over the last few months. These are going to be key pieces to our future plans around video as well as food and health.
April 2016 Traffic Report
April was another good month for us traffic wise. Another month over 300k sessions and 400k pageviews so seeing a lot of growth this year which has been really good for our ad revenue.
When compared to last April which was 87k uniques, we saw 183% growth continually seeing over 100% growth every month so far this year so thats a really good sign. I know this probably won’t continue especially into the summer which usually slows down for us. Nonetheless it’s a good sign for traffic and growth in the fall.
I really want to see 1 million pageviews in December which seems to be possible but a really difficult goal for us. We have some ideas on how to jumpstart this later on in the year when we start seeing more traffic for the fall season.
Top Traffic Sources
For April, most of our traffic was from Google again which I think is going to be the case for a long time. Instead of worrying about this piece I’ve decided to focus on growing the other pieces as well so that they are over 100k sessions also. You can see how we topped 75k in Direct and 40k in social in April so I’m going to use those as benchmarks and see how to get them to over 100k here in the future months.
In April we have seen the squash recipe and banana ice cream start to get into the top 10 posts. Also our healthy beef and broccoli recipe is starting to show up in a lot of our best performing locations. Garlic pork chops also snuck into the top 10. It’s been good to see more posts get over 5k a month pageviews. Also having 7 of the top 10 over 10k pageviews is a good sign also. I would like to get the full top 10 over 10k.
We are going to do this in a few ways target topics that we know can perform that well and grow our social presence to generate large traffic for new posts/recipes.
April 2016 Income Report
Finally, onto the income report.
- 30 Day Healthy: $168.00
- Meal Planning Service: $370.05
- No-Fail Cookbook: $14.00 (we are moving away from this cookbook and hopefully coming out with a new one)
- Healthy Kid’s Lunch Makeover: $0.00
- Blogher: $285.50
- Gourmet Ads: $15.67
- AdThrive: $2,220.51
- Amazon Affiliate: $66.52 (this mostly comes from a post on the best kitchen tools Lacey recommends)
- Food Blogger Pro Affiliate: $36.25 (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) : $152.00
- Swoop :$189.14
- Sponsored Videos/Posts/Freelance Videos: $10,900 (these are all lumped together for contract reasons)
- Contributor: $403.85 (Lacey and I started contributing to other sites in our marketing push and some of them generate extra revenue)
- Clean Eating Course: $1,545.00
- Take Back Your Health Academy: $709.00
- Gross Total April 2016: $17,075.49
- Last Month March 2016: $10,470.77
- Difference: +$6,604.72
- Last Year April 2015: $2,003.71
- Difference: +$15,071.78
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. To see a month over 17k is awesome it’s by far our best month ever revenue wise and looks to stand as our high water mark for at least a few months.
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. Independent of that we are around 7k I definitely want to improve that number so we aren’t so reliant on these to be our revenue drivers.
April 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: $152.01 (I wrote a post on why we switched)
- 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: $351.67
- Kraken: $9.00
- Fb Ads Training: $97.00
- Crashplan (Backup Software): $14.78
- ClickFunnels: $97.00
- Samcart: $99.00
- Canva: $25.90
- SumoMe: $50.00
- Google Drive: $1.99
- Groceries: $633.30 (this has increased lately and goes with larger video deals we have made)
- Speechpad (transcriptions): $27 (I am trying to get all of our old videos transcripted)
- AWS: $39.89
- Kitchen Equipment: $107.65
- Business Lunches: $111.15 ( I try to get lunch once a week for the team when they are shooting videos)
- Production Day Supplies: $63.93
- Office Space: $1,973.34
- Vidcon Tickets: $1,500
- Total Expenses: $5,899.56
Net Total: $17,075.49 – $5,899.56 = $11,175.93
Lessons Learned From April
Continuing the growth from March to April was key. We pretty much need to break 10k to break even with salaries and expenses. So thats a good marker for us. When we are over that number then we are more than covering Sean and Lacey and the business expenses. Nice to add that revenue before we headed to Vidcon.
We want to make us a more balanced business so the bulk of our income isn’t reliant on deals with other companies. We are going to focus on generating more traffic through viral food videos and growing the academy. This is something I think a lot of business deal with. Especially when they are first really growing. They tend to be really focused on a few revenue streams and a few types of content. This works real well in the beginning because it allows you to really focus and do what they do best. However, as you grow larger it starts to make you nervous you don’t want to be in the position to have your business be in trouble if one major thing goes away or gets cut in half. Now that we are in that stage it makes sense to start diversifying a little bit more.
I think it’s pretty normal to jump from worry to worry as you grow your business. After you solve one problem you start to focus on the next one so it’s only natural that this would happen as your business grows. At least that’s what I tell myself lol.
Goals For May
For May we are really in prep mode for Vidcon and our vacation. We won’t really have time to do anything but shoot videos and prep content to go out while we are gone.
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) (This was an epic failure I timed this goal really poorly and have a post coming out to dive into why)
- 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 will get there easy)
- Hold 1-2 webinars every month on health related topics (behind we postponed this to refocus on automation and that didn’t work either more in a follow up post)
- 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)
The MRR goal was really poorly timed stay tuned for the pivot we made with this and how we learned from my mistakes. Taking on too much in the wrong times can really provide unneeded stress and set you up for failure.
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.