Welcome to our October 2016 Traffic and Income Report!
Last month I covered our September revenue and traffic numbers plus how I recently quit. Still super excited about that.
This is the first month in a long time where I am doing the report in a realistic timeframe. It makes covering everything that is going on a whole lot easier since the months don’t really blend together as much. I also even had time to update an old post on Convertkit last week and bring it over here from ASPC.
If it’s your first time seeing one of these let me walk you through real quick. Lacey and I run a healthy food blog called A Sweet Pea Chef. It use to be more of a hobby and we almost walked away twice before making a pivot a few years ago. Now, over the last 3 years we have converted it into a business. It fully employs both Lacey and my brother Sean :).
Basically, the idea is to give you an inside look into how to create a blog that also functions as a business. Income Reports helped show us that it was possible and guided us in the areas that were a little trickier to figure out.
The point of these posts is to dive into the lessons we learned while growing ASPC and turned it from a hobby side project into a business that supports our family. My hope is that you will learn from our trials and tribulations and be able to figure out something that works for you too.
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 …
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 October
October was almost all the 21-Day Breakfast Challenge. We spent the first week prepping and preparing and then the rest of the month creating every one of the weeks meal plans, grocery lists email and engaging in the group as much as possible.
Towards the end of the month once we had all of the breakfast challenge pieces put together we started working on 30-day Healthy. We wanted to relaunch this at the end of the breakfast challenge when everyone was motivated to keep their progress going. Not only would this maximize revenue but it would put our audience in the best possible position to be successful.
Our First Challenge and How It Went
We have been talking about doing a challenge forever. We really liked the idea of doing one in January but decided we wanted to test it out sooner than that. So we quickly put one together for October. I have to say it was a big success.
I initially set a goal of an extra 2,000 subscribers to our email list as a rough marker for success or not. I also wanted to see an increase in engagement in the Facebook group and on Instagram. Overall the launch went real well.
The even better part was everyones response. People where excited to have their breakfasts planned for them. They loved something new everyday and getting to try out different recipes than the would have normally.
Overall, everyone seemed to be very excited so we decided to put together a 30-Day Program covering all meals.
Launching 30-Day Healthy Revamped and Cheaper
One of our goals for a long time was to update 30-Day Healthy make it better and also be able to lower the price to get more people to come in an join. After the 21-Day Breakfast Challenge was completed we started promoting our 30-Day Healthy program. The Breakfast Challenge was a natural lead into a more in depth 30 day program where every meal was planned out.
We started this launch the last day of October and ran it through early November. More to come on this next month 🙂 But it was our best launch ever both signups and revenue wise.
Super good start.
How to Make a Viral Food Video
We also launched our Viral Food Video Workshop in the month of October although just to people on our workshop list. There a few seats left and one thing we learned about launching something like this is doing two launches at a time is super difficult. There is a big juggle to whats time slots are available to promote different things. We were constantly in a battler with pushing 30-Day Healthy which is obviously the better fit for our wider audience with our workshop.
We are super excited to do these and Lacey and Sean even did a smaller one in November to a group of local food bloggers.
With the increased AdThrive revenue we decided to make some more changes. We updated our sidebar video widget to include 16×9 top down videos now instead of our normal show. Our hope is these will perform slightly better and get people excited to watch the show as more of a teaser. Plus, since they move a little faster we might see more views as well. Hopefully, we will see the video player revenue pick up a bit.
We also swapped out our Swoop ad for an adThrive ad. Since our AdThrive ads always perform better out hope is to generate more revenue here just by swapping ads.
October 2016 Traffic Report
When compared to last October which was 222k visitors, we saw 65% growth. Pretty good growth year over year. Next year will be interesting to see if we can keep growing at a similar rate.
Top Traffic Sources
It’s crazy now that squash isn’t as in season the traffic has died down a lot for Baked Squash and Zucchini. Roast beef is picking up a bunch and we are seeing a little drop in the bottom half of the top 10 posts.
Finally, onto the income report.
- Meal Planning Service: $221.20
- 30 Day Healthy: $49.00
- AdThrive: $4615.44
- Amazon Affiliate: $82.66 (this mostly comes from a post on the best kitchen tools Lacey recommends)
- Genesis Theme: $45.48
- Food Blogger Pro Affiliate: $43.50 (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) : $43.13
- Swoop :$35.01 (We moved off swoop this month)
- Sponsored Videos/Posts/Freelance Videos: $5,600 (these are all lumped together for contract reasons)
- Clean Eating Course: $1,164.00
- Recipe Card Kit: $153.00
- Take Back Your Health Academy: $737.00
- How to Make A Viral Food Video Workshop: $998.00
- Gross Total October 2016: $13,787.42
- Last Month September 2016: $16,158.38
- Difference: -$2,370.96
- Last Year October 2015: $11,336.75
- Difference: +$2,450.67
October 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.
- Convertkit: $313.10 (I updated the post on why we switched)
- Food Blogger Pro: $0 (Lacey went to one of their workshops which came with a free year)
- Adobe Creative Cloud: $10.81
- Baremetrics: $25.00
- WpEngine: $265.43
- Scribe: $47.00
- Github: $7.00
- Facebook Ads: $399.99
- Kraken: $9.00
- Crashplan (Backup Software): $14.78
- ClickFunnels: $97.00
- Canva: $12.95
- Gusto: $41.00 (payroll software)
- Slack: $24.00
- SumoMe: $50.00
- Google Drive: $1.99
- Groceries: $681.97
- Speechpad (transcriptions): $25.00
- AWS: $41.18
- Kitchen Equipment: $40.51
- Business Lunches: $165.88
- Production Day Supplies: $42.93
- Pinterest Help: $375.00
- VA service: $565.13
- Domains: $75.00
- Research/Books/Courses: $30.00
- Parking: $39.00
- Business Coaching: $1,024.50
- Total Expenses: $4,764.03
Net Total: $13,787.42 – $4,764.03 = $9023.39
Lessons Learned From October
We wanted to create a great challenge experience and probably bit off more than we could chew in such a short period of time. we made it a little too long for the first one which wound up pushing 30-Day Healthy into Thanksgiving. Next year when we run it in October we will start it earlier so 30-Day Healthy doesn’t bleed into the holidays.
We also learned that there are a lot of moving pieces even in a free challenge and we should approach it like a normal product launch rather than an opt-in.
This type of thing takes a lot of time from Lacey and it takes a lot of energy to get all the recipes, photos etc together. It definitely is more daunting than a challenge that just has a daily email going out.
Goals For November
November is going to be all about 30-Day Healthy and our video workshop How To Make Viral Food Video. 30-Day Healthy is at the beginning of the month and the viral food video workshop takes place December 1st and 2nd so there will be a lot of work going on for it at the end of the month.
We are designing and creating a new set of meal plans for 30 days, a few other bonus pieces and additional Holiday Survival Guide we will offer as a bump to the initial purchase.
My original goal for 30-Day Healthy is to see 25-40 people decide to take the next challenge that would be a 1-2% conversion rate for people in the free challenge and a good starting point towards using this process to iterate on.
I will also be working more on building a game plan for my side of the business. What are the business/marketing/technical things we have been neglecting since I used to juggle a lot of things with work. Now that I’m free of my 9-5 I can start crossing some of this stuff off.
Last month I mentioned that our reach goal for Q4 was an extra $15k in Q4. Right now we are on track for an extra $6k so we are about 1/3 of the way there. We are working on some ways to ramp that up even more in the last 2 months of the quarter. At this point I think we will miss our goal but I’m hoping to still come close.
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.