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

June was a great month, with improvements across the board in traffic, earnings, and social media following.

While there’s still a lot of work to be done, we’re starting to feel good about our chances of hitting our overall goals for this year.  It seems like, the more we improve, the easier it is to have incremental growth.

As you’ll see below, we’re planning for July to be much different than the previous months (somewhat due to spending part of the month on vacation).

Let’s get into the June update and we’ll explain.

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.

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 June

June was a busy month with the blog as we worked hard to make progress on our goals.

We’re finally at a point where we feel like we’re starting to hit our stride and make some significant improvements.  As you’ll see below, both traffic and social media made some great gains during the month (and we’ll explain exactly why, don’t worry).

We’re also in the middle of a preparing an actual study to share on this blog – it’s going to be packed with data that most parents will find interesting, on various hot parenting topics.  More to come on that.

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 June:

We’re blown away by the increase in traffic in June.  The number of sessions went from 5,899 in May to 23,387 in June, an increase of 296%.   Pageviews were also way up as we saw an average of 863 per day (compared to 209 pageviews per day in May).

Considering one of our original goals for 2017 was to average 1,000 pageviews per day (or 30,000 per month), we’re extremely pleased to nearly be there with 6 months remaining in the year.

We mentioned in last month’s report that our traffic began to spike due to a post of ours going somewhat viral on Pinterest:

32 Fun Activities for 1-Year Olds (You’ll Never Run Out of Things to Do)

Well, that post continued bringing us a ton of traffic in June, an accounted for approximately 70-75% of our traffic on a daily basis.

While it doesn’t feel great to have all your eggs in one basket, we’re still making progress in other areas.  Here’s what our traffic from search engines looks like over the past few months (i.e. traffic that doesn’t include all the traffic this one post is getting from Pinterest):

Although it’s a smaller portion of our traffic, it’s still steady growth, and we’ve gotten this portion of our traffic up to 100+ pageviews a day.

E-mail List Update

This is a new section to our monthly report.  Another thing we’re now focused on is building an e-mail list.

One thing you always hear when it comes to blogging, and making money online in general, is that it’s a smart idea to cultivate an e-mail list so that you have direct access to your readers/followers.

Sure, you have social media, but not everyone sees everything that pops up on Facebook or in their Twitter feed.  E-mail is much more intimate.  

Of course, we have nothing to sell, so this isn’t some kind of plan to spam people.  It’s just another way to stay in touch, whether it’s providing fresh content or letting them know about a new blog post we just published.

More to come on this as we work out a strategy to not only build our e-mail list, but figure out what to do with it. 🙂

# of e-mail subscribers at the end of June: 121

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 June:

# of followers:

  • Instagram – Current: 5,827 (Last month: 3,865), Change +1,962
  • Pinterest – Current: 433 (Last month: 410), Change +23
  • Twitter –  Current: 602 (Last month: 370), Change +232
  • Facebook –  Current: 31  (Last month: 11), Change +20

In June, we completely shattered our goals for Instagram growth.  While this was a result of sticking with the same strategy we’ve been using this entire time, we received a nice boost when another parenting Instagram account with over 300K followers re-posted one of our pictures and called us hilarious. 🙂

That resulted in a few hundred new followers within a matter of a couple days.  And we’ve also continued our efforts to post often and engage with others on Instagram.

So, we’re back on track with our goal to get to 10,000 followers by the end of the year.

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 over 600 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 didn’t grow quite as much as we wanted in June (especially when you consider how much our traffic grew) but that’s because our post that’s bringing in a ton of the traffic isn’t really set up to bring in much revenue.

Here are the income sources from this month:

  • Amazon – $182.02  – This is from Amazon affiliate links on various blog posts.
  • CashCrate – $20.37 – This is income from doing surveys and other things on CashCrate that pay money.
  • Total income: $202.39 (+$16.88 from May)

While it’s nice to crack $200, it still seems like we should have gained more in June.  Hopefully July will be better!

Goals from June: How did we do?

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

June Goals:

  • Get to 4,600 Instagram followers – SUCCESS
    • We blew right past this, as mentioned above, getting to 5,827 subscribers in June.
  • Publish 8 blog posts – SUCCESS
    • Like last month, we did exactly 8.
  • Break $200 in income – SUCCESS
    • We barely hit this goal, but it’s still a win, so we’ll take it.
  • Average 400 page views per day –  SUCCESS
    • We more than doubled this amount by averaging over 800 views per day.

4 for 4 – feels good to beat all of your goals, but it also means we probably need to set more challenging goals in the future.

Goals for Next Month

Time to set some more ambitious goals!

Here are our goals for July:

  • Get to 7,200 Instagram followers – This would require us to get around 45 followers per day during July.  It’s doable but not a slam dunk.
  • Publish 2 blog posts – Why so low? In addition to a week of vacation in July, we are planning on doing some extra work on blog planning (more on this below).
  • Break $250 in income – It’s about $50 more than June, so I think it’s a decent goal.  In order to accomplish this, we need to start getting traffic to other blog posts and work on other sources of income.
  • Average 900 page views per day –  We averaged over 800 per day in June, but I actually think 900/day for July could be a challenge. We’re already seeing traffic to that one post mentioned above die down, so we’ll have to see if we can somehow replace it with other traffic.
  • Restructure our blog and come up with a blogging plan that involves planning the next 20 blog posts – There are two parts to this goal: First, we need to organize our site with more logical categories.  Right now it’s pretty scattered.  Second, we need a plan to build out each of those categories – for now, that means planning out the next 20 blog posts (i.e. coming up with the titles and where they fit in the overall site plan).
  • Get 1 guest post published on another blog – We want to start networking with other bloggers, and guest posting is a great way to do that.

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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