From $0 to $100K – July 2017 Traffic & Income Update (Working Parent Side Hustle Challenge)

This is a super late update (as we’re now into September), but we want to stay true to this challenge and keep up with the monthly progress reports.

We’re continuing to grow and improve in all areas, although we’re still very far from our end goal.

Let’s jump into July’s report…

Why We’re Doing This and Sharing it Here

For those who haven’t been following, we started this challenge to earn $100k+ per year (or $8,333/month) from side hustles.  A “side hustle” is really anything outside of our normal day jobs that earn some sort of income (however small it may be).

First of all, we know that getting to $100K/year of “side hustle” income isn’t going to be easy. It’s a very ambitious goal, and it may take awhile to get there.  The short-term goal for 2017 is to simply achieve $1,000/month.

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.

Or, perhaps neither of us will quit, but we’ll be able to afford an earlier retirement. I’d be happy with that outcome.

Every month, 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 for documenting 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. 🙂

What We Did in July

July was awful month in terms of writing new content.

In fact, the only thing we published was June’s traffic and income update.

However, this was completely expected as we took the month to plan out the future of this blog and set up a good structure for our content (including restructuring some of our categories).

In terms of content planning, we did plan out our next 20 blog posts so we have a clear road ahead for the next 2-3 months of content.  What we’ve tried to do is come up with a good mix of content that will do well on search engines (i.e. optimized for Google) and content that will do better on Pinterest (considering this is our largest traffic source).

We’re excited about the future, although we recognize how much work we have ahead of us. We’re both putting in more hours at our day jobs, which makes it incredibly challenging to find that extra time outside of work.

Right now our most productive time seems to be mornings during the week before our daughter wakes up in the morning. But depending on the day, this usually only allows for 30 minutes or so of work in the morning.  Weekends are hit or miss.

We’ll continue working on ways to better use our time, and if we come up with anything good, we’ll share it here. 🙂

Traffic Update

This blog is a key component for succeeding in this challenge, which is why we are providing a traffic update each month.  The simple idea is that, if we can increase traffic, the earnings will follow.

Here’s what traffic looked like for July:

We saw an increase over June, but growth definitely slowed down (compared to May-June).

The number of sessions went from 23,387 in June to 24,561 in July, an increase of only 5%. Pageviews were also up slightly as we saw an average of 884 per day (compared to 863 pageviews per day in June).

We’re still in good shape to hit our goal for 2017 of averaging 1,000 pageviews per day, although the slowing growth in July is concerning.

The primary way we’re going to grow traffic is to continue publishing new content, so that will remain a top priority.

E-mail List Update

Last month we started tracking our e-mail list subscribers, so we’ll continue to update it here.

We still don’t know what we’re going to do with this e-mail list yet, but it’s good to see continued growth.

# of e-mail subscribers at the end of July: 324 (+203 from June)

Social Media Update

While we’re actively focused on Instagram and Pinterest, we’re also tracking our Twitter and Facebook following.

Here’s an update on the change in followers during July:

# of followers:

  • Instagram – Current: 7,477 (Last month: 5,827 ), Change +1,650
  • Pinterest – Current: 463 (Last month: 433), Change +30
  • Twitter –  Current: 798 (Last month: 602), Change +196
  • Facebook –  Current: 35  (Last month: 31), Change +4

Instagram growth remains strong, and we should be able to easily hit our goal of 10,000 followers before the end of the year.

As we mention each month, we continue to put no effort into Twitter, but thanks to an online tool (Jooicer), we are able to automate the process of building a following on Twitter. It was really quick to set up and everything pretty much runs on autopilot.

If you’re interested, you can go here to get a 5-day free trial and give it a shot.  It’s only been a few months and and we’ve gone from nothing to nearly 800 real followers (who like and retweet our tweets on a regular basis).

We’ve still done nothing with Facebook (intentionally) but continue to see a little bit of growth trickle in.

Earnings Update

Our earnings saw a nice jump in July, thanks to continued traffic to our posts that contain Amazon affiliate links.  Still have a long way to go to hit our $1,000/month goal for the year, but we’re on the right track!

Here are the income sources from this month:

  • Amazon – $303.12  – This is from Amazon affiliate links on various blog posts.
  • CashCrate – $24.49 – This is income from doing surveys and other things on CashCrate that pay money.
  • Total income: $327.61 (+$125.22 from June)

Goals from July: How did we do?

Let’s take a look at the goals from last month and see how we did…

June Goals:

  • Get to 7,200 Instagram followers – SUCCESS
  • Publish 2 blog posts FAIL
    • We only published one post as we were focused on other things with our limited time.
  • Break $250 in income – SUCCESS
  • Average 900 page views per day –  FAIL
    • We got close, but still fell short of this goal.
  • Restructure our blog and come up with a blogging plan that involves planning the next 20 blog posts – SUCCESS
  • Get 1 guest post published on another blog – SUCCESS
    • We were able to get a guest post published on another parenting blog, but shortly after, it appears that blog was shut down by its owner.  So while we were successful with this goal, it may not benefit us anyway.

We hit 4 of our 6 goals, which isn’t great, but we’re happy with the progress.

Goals for September

Note, we are not setting goals for August.  Given that we are writing this July post in early September, it wouldn’t make sense to set goals for a month that has already ended (so we’d already know that we hit the goals).

Here are our goals for September:

  • Get to 10,000 Instagram followers – This is our goal for 2017, so we’re thrilled to be now setting this as a goal for the month of September.  (It’s worth noting that right now, as of the beginning of September, we’re at 9,000 followers on Instagram.)
  • Publish 6 blog posts – We’ve decided to shift our focus to writing fewer, but higher quality posts.  In the past, we’ve done a lot of recipe/food posts that were quick and easy to write, but don’t generate much income or traffic.
  • $350 in income – Because we’re in September, I can tell you that we only hit about $300 in August (which is about the same as what we hit in July), so we’ve seen a slowdown in revenue growth.  Right now, I’d be very happy to see $350 in September.
  • Average 900 page views per day –  This was our goal for July, but again, we’re finding that the slowdown in traffic growth actually makes this still a challenging goal to hit.

That’s all! I don’t think we’ll be writing an August update given that we are already in September, so check back next month to see the September update.  And if you want to be notified about any future $100k challenge updates, get on the mailing list here:

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