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

With another month in the books, I can’t believe it’s already time to write the second update in this series.

May was a very solid month in my opinion.

I think we accomplished many of our goals, and we saw a nice uptick in traffic and income. Still nothing mind blowing, but it was enough to help us see that we’re on the right track.

It’s worth noting that, in the last week of May, we both took a week off from work (both our real jobs and our side hustles), so the fact that we were able to (mostly) stick with our goals for the month was nice to see.

Anyway, let’s get to the May update.

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 May

As I mentioned in the opening of this post, we took a week off from work at the end of the month. While we didn’t travel anywhere, it was really nice to spend some quality time with our daughter and enjoy what turned out to be a week of amazing weather.

It was our first real break since the Christmas/New Years holidays, so I think I speak for both of us when I say that it was much needed (and earned!).

While taking off from our regular jobs was no big deal (considering we both get a certain number of paid vacation days), it’s always tough to take time off from your side hustles.  After all, every day you aren’t working at it, it’s a day where you don’t advance.  It’s an extra day of work needed to meet your goal, in theory.

I don’t like to view it that way though.

It’s important to recharge your batteries so that you can work hard the rest of the year. Without that balance, the whole thing tips and your goals are probably even more at risk.

And following that week off, I can honestly say that we’re more ready than ever to work toward this goal.

And, as I’ve mentioned already (and will get into more detail below), we still hit most of our goals for the month. 🙂

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 May:

We are extremely pleased with the traffic growth in May.  The number of sessions went from 2,033 in April to 5,899 in May, an increase of 190%.   Pageviews saw a similar increase as well, as we averaged 209 pageviews per day.

You probably noticed the big spike at the end of the month.  Although our traffic has been gradually increasing across various different blog posts, this spike was due to one of our posts going semi-viral on Pinterest:

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

For whatever reason, it’s getting a lot of re-pins and leading to a bunch of traffic.

It always feels a little bittersweet when something like this happens.  On the one hand, it’s great to see more traffic – who doesn’t want more traffic??

On the other hand, it’s all coming from one post, and that post won’t go viral forever.  All this means is, we need to keep writing posts and hope that more go viral before this one dies down, if we don’t want to see a big dip in traffic.

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 May:

# of followers:

  • Instagram – Current: 3,865 (Last month: 3,268), Change +597
  • Pinterest – Current: 410 (Last month: 345), Change +65
  • Twitter –  Current: 370 (Last month: 170), Change +200
  • Facebook –  Current: 11  (Last month: 10), Change +1

As I mentioned last month, 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.

Although we gained nearly 600 new followers in May, it was still slightly below where we wanted to be (more on that in the goals section below).

Pinterest follower growth has been a lot slower, but it’s still been a great source of traffic.

We basically put no effort into Twitter, but thanks to an online tool (Jooicer), we were 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.

We’ve still done nothing with Facebook, but that’s intentional – we’re going to wait to focus on that.

Earnings Update

It’s only our second month tracking earnings, and we feel like we’re off to a great start with a nice improvement over last month.

No, we’re not anywhere near our goal, but if we keep improving each month, we’ll eventually get there.

Here are the income sources from this month:

  • Amazon – $139.92  – This is from Amazon affiliate links on various blog posts.
  • CashCrate – $45.59 – This is income from doing surveys and other things on CashCrate that pay money.
  • Total income: $185.51 (+$91.81 from April)

We basically doubled our total from April, which was great.  Hopefully in June we’ll crack $200!

Goals from May: How did we do?

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

May Goals:

  • Get to 4,100 Instagram followers – FAIL 
    • I hate to start this section off with a fail, but we missed this mark by about 250 followers.
  • Publish 8 blog posts – SUCCESS
    • We were able to do exactly 8, so that’s a win.
  • Break $100 in income – SUCCESS
    • We beat this goal easily… time to set some more ambitious goals.
  • Average 100 page views per day –  SUCCESS
    • We doubled this amount with over 200 page views per day.

Goals for Next Month

We hit 3 of our 4 goals for last month – time to set some more ambitious goals!

Here are our goals for June:

  • Get to 4,600 Instagram followers – This doesn’t keep us on our pace for the 10,000 goal by the end of the year, but it would be an improvement over last month’s growth.
  • Publish 8 blog posts – Same as last month, mainly because that’s really our limit right now with everything else going on.
  • Break $200 in income – This should be easy based on May’s total, but I think it’s still a good mark to shoot for.  I’m not convinced we can sustain the the CashCrate income in the short term, and I think our Amazon income will be somewhere in the range of $150-170 (total guess).
  • Average 400 page views per day –  Given that we only averaged 200 per day in May, this is a pretty ambitious goal.

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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