From $0 to $100K – April 2017 Update (Working Parent Side Hustle Challenge)

In case you missed it, last month we kicked off a challenge where we’re attempting to find a way to earn $100k+ per year (or $8,333/month) purely from side hustles.

It’s an ambitious goal, and it’s going to take us quite awhile to get there, but we’re going to document it all right here.

While the initial goal would just be to make some extra money on the side to fund our expenses and build savings at a faster rate, the ultimate goal will be for one of us to quit our day jobs.

Every month, starting with April, we’re going to provide an update about everything that’s going on.  How we’re doing on blog traffic, social media, and other side hustles to complement income from the blog.

Our primary goal with these updates is to hold ourselves accountable to making progress. However, we also hope that it inspires other people to follow along and do something similar.

Lofty goals like these always work better when you know you’re in it with other people. 🙂

Anyway, let’s see what happened in April.

What We Did in April

Overall, I would say we stuck to our initial strategy in April, which was doing the following:

  • Create one Instagram post every single day.  If you look at our Instagram, you will see that we primarily post funny memes around the subject of parenting.  It’s not easy coming up with something funny to post every single day, so we do a mix of creating original content and sharing others’ posts.  I would say it’s about 50/50 of each.
  • Two weeks on, one week off.  The basic goal here was to spend two weeks producing content, and one week to focus on promoting that content and building our social media accounts.
  • At least one hour a day. We both work full time jobs (along with raising our little girl), so I thought a good goal would be to spend, on average, an hour a day on side hustle-related efforts.

We ended up publishing 7 new blog posts in April, which was probably an all-time high for us so far.

It was a lot of work to make that happen, but having the “two weeks on, one week off” focus helped us stick to writing when we would normally be distracted by other things.

Starting this month, we’re going to set some other monthly goals to help keep us on track (which we’ll go through near the end of this post).  It’s good to know your overall goal, but as I’ve said before, you need to break it down into bite-sized pieces.

Traffic Update

Because this blog will be a key component for succeeding in this challenge, we’re going to provide a monthly update of traffic.  Generally traffic = $$, so we will be monitoring how our traffic improves, and how that translates into earnings.

Here’s what traffic looked like for April:

April traffic wasn’t too bad – mostly upward trending.  We averaged 75 page views per day.

I didn’t share this in the original post, but one of our goals for this year is to get to 1,000 pageviews in a day (30,000/month).  That’s the level where I believe you can really start monetizing traffic with display ads.

Social Media Update

As I mentioned in the original $100k challenge post, our primary focus is on Instagram and Pinterest.

Instagram is more of a standalone platform for us.  It’s not going to be a traffic source for this blog, but it will be a place to showcase our humor.  And eventually, if our following gets large enough, we’ll be able to monetize that following with sponsored posts.

Pinterest is all about traffic.  Although it’s considered a social media site, it’s really more of a visual search engine.  People go there to find and bookmark content.

We didn’t post any social media numbers in the initial post, so this will be the post to establish where we’re at, and then we can look at the change each month:

# of followers:

Our strategy for Instagram has been to not only post frequently (once per day) but to really stay engaged with people.  We regularly do the following:

  1. Follow people who follow similar Instagram accounts
  2. Like their photos (quick and easy, just scrolling through our feed after we’ve followed them)
  3. Comment when applicable – these aren’t spam comments; we actually take the time comment on their picture, depending on what it is.

This has resulted in a lot of people following back, so it’s working well so far.

Pinterest isn’t going quite as well.  We’re following a similar strategy – following the followers of similar profiles – but it hasn’t resulted in the same follow-back rate.

Our Twitter growth actually came unexpectedly.  We had no plans to focus any effort on Twitter, although we do commonly post there.  Many of the memes we post on Instagram originate from our tweets.

We stumbled across this online tool, Jooicer, which helps you automate the process of building a following on Twitter.  It was really quick to set up, and before we knew it, we already had a following of over 100+ people.

And these were real people too, replying and retweeting some of our tweets.  We’re definitely going to keep this going as it will allow us to build a Twitter following with very little effort.

You can go here to get a 5-day free trial and give it a shot.

And finally, as you can see, we are currently not putting any effort into building a Facebook following.  We’ll get to it eventually. 🙂

Earnings Update

Finally, the most important part of all – earnings.

Actually, I believe that early on in these types of endeavors, it’s a lot more important to focus on your activity and less on the results.  If you keep doing the right type of activity, the results will come.

Considering we just started trying to make money with all of this, we had a decent month.

Here are the income sources from this month:

  • Amazon – $72.59  – This is from Amazon affiliate links on various blog posts.
  • CashCrate – $21.11 – This is income from doing surveys and other things on CashCrate that pay money.
  • Total income: $93.70

I know, it’s not a lot of money, but it’s our first month tracking this so I’m considering it a good start.

Goals for Next Month

It’d be wrong of us to conclude this update without setting goals for May.

Here our goals for this month:

  • Get to 4,100 Instagram followers – If we’re going to hit 10,000 by the end of the year, we need to pick up around 28 followers a day.  Getting to 4,100 would keep us on pace with that goal.
  • Publish 8 blog posts – That would be 1 more than we published last month.
  • Break $100 in income – We were so close in April, so hopefully with increasing traffic we’ll be able to hit the $100 mark in May.
  • Average 100 page views per day –  This is an increase of 25/day over April, and should be fairly easy to achieve.

That’s all! Check back next month for the next update in the series.  And if you want to be notified about any future $100k challenge updates, get on the mailing list here:

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