Pin It

A Couple Travelers By The Numbers: June’13 Income – $9920

If you are interested in business, internet marketing, and making money online – please check out my blog, SelfMadeBusinessman!

Hello All – time to see how the blog(s) did in the month of June.

Traffic and Social Media: Winding Down

Traffic took quite a large hit this month as we dipped approximately 25% month over month, while social media saw very light gains.

What happened?

Well, the short answer is that Vicky and I just didn’t do as much on the blog this month. In fact, this month we probably did less on the blog than in any other month prior. And to be honest, I’m not sure we have many plans of ramping it up in the near future. If anything, I think we might wind it down – just a bit.

We’ve been traveling for 9.5 months and running this blog for over a year now and I think we’re getting to a point where we’re more interested in pursuing other ventures than investing ourselves more in the blog. We’ve seen the limitations of travel blogging and while we are still committed to running it for the entirety of our trip (and perhaps longer), we’re less in the mindset of trying to get that post up today instead of tomorrow (or the next day) or making sure we’re 100% on top of social media. Part of this has to do with the fact that we’ve just fallen behind so much and are now writing about things that happened nearly two months ago.

Above all though is that we’re just more interested in other things.

We never aspired to be professional travel bloggers and have always been on the lookout for our next venture, all the while running this blog as something fun to do while we were traveling. While I don’t think we’ve found our passion yet, I do think we’re getting closer and need to free up some time for ourselves to explore other options.

Something I learned a few years back is if you are interested in a certain job/career – look at what the people are doing who are years ahead of you and ask yourself “would I want to be doing what they’re doing now, because that’s the path I’m putting myself on”. When I worked at a credit card company I looked at the manager and director level positions and frankly, wasn’t that excited by them, so I got out. Now as I said we never aspired to be full time bloggers and part of the reason is that we looked at what the full timers are doing and  said that it’s not for us. Not to say you can’t take something in a different direction, but it’s a good guideline nonetheless.

Anyways, I did say last month that we were going to wind our interviews down but we did manage to do two of them on request.

Guest posts and interviews this month:

TripGoggles Update

After many months of tedious work we finally released our newest site: TripGoggles. You can read the full article here. Our first full month has gone well and we’re up to over 200 posts and nearly 100 subscribers. It’s hard to put ourselves back in the mentality of a new website and trying to get that off the ground. You want the traffic and results to come instantly but that’s just not how the internet works. It’s a slow process and we need to work on setting priorities to build a successful site from the ground up. The first thing is to continue with our commitment to building out the full functionality of the site, mainly, making it easier to upload posts by integrating an RSS feature. I think we’ve found a new programmer who can do the job, and he says it will only take a few days…fingers crossed!

We also finished up our contest this month, whereby we selected one submission to received $100. The more submissions there were, the better chance of winning. Overall there were 200+ submissions, but the winner was:

Faisal from Unfinished Man with his post on Hiking In Australia

Thanks Faisal for using our site!

Blogging Or Business?

Sometimes I worry that these income reports give the wrong impression. If you looked at this and saw we’ve made over 10k each month for the last two months, you’d probably walk away with the impression that there’s a lot of money in blogging and that you should probably start a blog. I’ve received a few emails from people over the last few months that have hinted at this as well.

It’s true that there are people who are blogging and earning money, just see this income report here. But in reality, if you’re looking to earn some extra income on the side, I probably wouldn’t recommend blogging, and that’s from someone who has been earning extra income on the side blogging.

Firstly, even a blog that has the potential to make money is probably not going to see any earning for the first six month as it takes time to build up credibility in terms of audience and SEO. Six months is a long time to invest in something that has no guarantee of a payoff. There are plenty of other freelance businesses that you could try and start and know within the first month whether it had any potential at all.

Secondly, while Vicky and I have been earning quite a bit from our blog, it is somewhat unique in that the majority of our income comes from our blogging partnership (which I’ll be discussing below). The other part is from selling posts, which is mainly for the travel blogging niche (not exclusively, but primarily), and is probably on its way out in the next 6 months or so anyways.

Anyways, I’m all for independent earnings, but if there is any take away from these income reports it shouldn’t be how much money there is in blogging but in how it is possible to earn money on the side through your own pursuits.

Thought Process For Earning More Money With Your Business

Month after month Vicky and I have been increasing our revenue by large amounts. Back in October it was around $2k, then in February it was around $4k, in May $10k, and now in June another record month. This is not natural. Actually, I’m surprised no one has called us liars and demanded to see our paypal statements in the comments…yet.

I’m going to share a technique I’ve been using for months now that is the sole reason for this increase. I suspect some people will write this off as trivial/obvious, but hopefully some people will see the value and apply it to their own business (blogging or not). I’ll admit though, this is going to be very confusing because it’s the type of thing that is best explained in person on a chalk board.

Firstly, here’s the two takeaways right up front.

  1. It’s easier to increase your income once it’s established than to establish it from nothing i.e the jump from $1k to $5k is probably easier than the jump from 0 to $1k.
  2. Having a good thought process is key.

So let me put this into practice exactly the way I’ve been doing for the last 8 months by showcasing my own thought process. The key is to plan it all out until you finally get down to only actionable steps with a list of pros and cons, and then decide what seems to be the most promising. Here’s a nice picture so that it all makes sense.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here’s my business – a blog. My “product” are posts.

How do I make more money from this?

Two ways – I increase the price or I increase the quantity.

Price:  How do I increase the price?

  • I improve the blog (SEO), which I can do through link building i.e guest posts, interviews, etc. What are the pros and cons of this (time, effort, quality?)

Quantity: How do I increase the quantity?

  • # of Blogs: How do I get more blogs? I can start one, buy one, or use another person’s. What are the pros and cons of each (usually going to be upfront cost, time, sharing commission, supply/availability, time, effort, control)
  • Get more contacts: How do I get more contacts? I can trade with people, or buy some for example. What are the pros and cons of each (whether or not you already have contacts to work with and how many? Who do you know you can buy or share? How much money will it take?)

Now look at each action, weigh the pros and cons, and decide what to do.

In Vicky’s and my case, we took the following course of action

Quantity: In February, Vicky and I tried to start another blog for the sole purpose of increasing our income (travelingthroughfood.com anyone?) but quickly lost steam – too much effort, took too long for metrics to increase, etc. So we decided to see if we could “use” other peoples’ blogs through the blogging partnership program and were willing to sacrifice profit sharing for immediate income as opposed to getting 100% of income 6 months down the line by having our own. Now, we will see if there are any blogs available to buy, which will require upfront money but will give us 100% of the income and immediate gratification. Since we have been working with so many blogs, we have a good handle on the expected return on our investments.

Price: In February we increased our page rank and then were able to demand more money, however, we also recognized the trade off between price and quantity and that when you’re selling a product that doesn’t have a cost, the best thing to do it to set it at whatever the other person is willing to pay if it’s worth your time (which in this case, is 0) assuming it is not going to lower anything else.

Conclusion: Starting your own blog to sell posts on is probably the worst option of the three. Buying a blog is probably the best, and working with others is a close second, in my opinion, of course. In terms of price, accept whatever you think is fair, but recognize a good deal when you see one ($80 for 10 minutes, in my opinion, is a good deal).

The point here is not about selling posts or not, it’s about thinking about your business, how you make money, and what levers can be done to increase that. Give me a business model and I’ll break it down for you. Take our blogging partnership for example…

Blogging Partnership

This month we posted record earnings from our blogging partnership and it has actually accounted for the majority of our income in June and most likely will be the case for July as well. In past income reports I’ve explained what this was but I’d like to go into a bit more detail and then reuse the above thought process to show how we’ve increased our profits from 1k to 2k to 4k to 8k on this mini business every month.

Back in February Vicky and I came to the realization that there was a lot of money in this advertising and that if we could get more blogs we could increase our earnings substantially. We had hundreds of contacts but every month 90%+ were sitting idle because we had already made deals with them in the past and they didn’t have any new clients for us to work with. At the same time we were receiving emails from people who had been reading the income reports asking us how we were doing it and where we got a hold of all these names. The solution was obvious, introduce these blogs to the people we had worked with and take a commission on the sale.

We found that it was win win for everyone. The advertiser was introduced to a new quality blog. We were able to benefit from our large list of advertisers. The blogger was able to make money on their blog.

We found a few blogs who were willing to give this a try with us, a few who had emailed us directly and a few we emailed directly and in total we started working with 4 or 5. It was a little bumpy at first but eventually we got a good system down and a reasonable pricing structure.

So here we are, four months later and our revenue from this project is 8 times it was when we started. How did we do it? Again, go back to the same thought process.

How do you make more money in this business?

  • Increase the number of blogs – So we did. Actually it was easy because as we started making more money on the partnership, more reached out, and as a result of this, we made more money – it’s a cycle. Now we work with 10.
  • Contact more advertisers – We used to just do the introductions on Monday, then we decided to do it on Monday and Thursday so that the blog was getting exposed to more people quicker and more deals were made.
  • Increase Prices – This is something we haven’t done as we’re happy with the current level of commission. Actually, this month our average commissions were lower than they’ve every been by around 7%. However, we did learn to ask for more money in each deal and then haggle to a happy medium and that has brought more in for everyone.

So that’s pretty much how it works. If you’re interested, send us an email. This month, across 10 blogs, the average blog made $1500 (after commissions). Overall, we brought in nearly $23k of advertising revenue (if you multiply that out over a year, and consider that we are still small fish in this pond, you realize that this is a multi million dollar industry – who knew). Imagine now if we weren’t profit sharing but actually owned all those blogs, and then you’ll understand why I think buying blogs is such a great option for the time being…

I’m not sure how much more room we have, but always happy to consider, and people go in and our all the time.

Time vs. Money

Pretty much everything I mentioned above requires more time. Working with more blogs, contacting more advertisers, etc. You might wonder how we have time to do anything else, y’know, like travel?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – outsourcing is your best friend.

This month we paid the highest amount to our assistants and are now up to four. This is what we do. We come up with an idea, test it out ourselves, and then teach someone else to do it, free up our time and repeat. Our costs go up, but revenue goes up more, and more people are employed, which is a nice thing to.

Business: Donation

Vicky and I have been very fortunate to be earning significant income on our blog and, after months of traveling through some of the world’s most underprivileged countries, we’ve decided it’s time to start giving back. While we’ve already spent time volunteering in China as English teachers and on an organic farm in Thailand, we want to incorporate direct financial donations into our monthly practices. Therefore, every month we’re going to donate approximately 1% of our earnings to a charitable organization of our choice.

This month we’re donating $110 to my sister’s Habitat For Humanity project in Guatemala. She has a few weeks to go and is looking to raise $500.

Hola! My name is Samantha. I am an English teacher who lives in Spain, but has a passion for travelling the world( Especially the Spanish-speaking world, I play favorites!!) As most of you know, in 2006, while working as a Spanish teacher, I decided to travel to Honduras to participate in Habitat for Humanity. Over a two week period (and a lot of sweat, it’s HOT there in August!!!!) our group constructed two houses for two deserving families. Habitat was a great experience, and i’m at it again, only this time with the organization Constru  Casa. Having been told how reputable and deserving this organization is (also from world traveller/friend/lovely person Luisa) I decided to sign up. I’m excited about getting back to Central America this summer, and hope you will help me in raising money (all of which goes to construcasa!). The money will be used to help build a house and any small donation will be appreciated!

You can also donate here:

Boring Accounting Stuff

I realized recently that these posts were labeled income reports but in reality I was posting our revenue, because when we first started I didn’t bother to include business costs, since we didn’t really have any. Now they’ve gone up, significantly, and I want to try to be better about representing our true income, even though it’s never going to be exact. I have been including miscellaneous costs for the month but really that was a bunch of, well, miscellaneous stuff that didn’t all relate to running the blog in the given month. So from now on the amount in the title is going to be our actual income, and it will be less the business costs that we incurred in the given month.

I’ll also mention that Vicky and I recently found out that since we are out of the US for more than 330 days this year I THINK we do not have to pay taxes on this earning (Google foreign exclusion tax). Sweet!

Website Statistics

act june page sources

act june page traffic

Google Page Rank: 3/10

Domain Authority: 41/100

Advertising

profit chart

Total Income ACT: $9920

Total Income AP: $903

Breakdown:

ACoupleTravelers – $11284

  • Direct Advertising: $3357
  • Vadovia: $337
  • Blogging Partnership: $7590

AvocadoPesto – $903

  • Direct Advertising: $815
  • Google Adsense: $48
  • BlogHer: $40

Total Business Costs: $1364

  • Virtual Assistants: $1214
  • Website Optimization: $150

Total Value Received: $188

  • French Cooking Class in Paris: $110
  • Fat Tire Bike Tour in Paris: $78

Find previous traffic updates:

Previous Income Updates (Food Blog)

If you enjoyed this article, join others and get free email updates!

43 Responses to A Couple Travelers By The Numbers: June’13 Income – $9920

  1. Shared this, I think lots of people can benefit from this insight into the travel blogging for money world. Can I ask where you find your virtual assistants?

    jmayel July 2, 2013 at 8:02 AM Reply
  2. Looks like another awesome month! Good job.

    Michelle July 2, 2013 at 10:22 AM Reply
  3. Have you considered selling your blog instead of starting to wind it down? Could be worth quite a large amount, which would free up your time to look for other projects. Winding it down could cost mean it earns much less, but still takes up your time.

    Just something to think about.

    Manfred July 2, 2013 at 11:00 AM Reply
    • Hey Manfred – we’re winding down the amount of work we put into social media and traffic building, yes, but we’re not winding down the monetization we’ve been rolling with the last few months – so there’s a lot of potential still left there and we’re going to need the blog for that one. Of course, year down the line, it’s a valid suggestion.

      Dave and Vicky July 2, 2013 at 1:48 PM Reply
  4. You guys are so inspiring! This is just madness! I love the way you do things – try them out and then outsource.. So clever! Have you read The 4-Hour Workweek? This reminds me of the book…
    Sweet Jesus, if we could make just 10% of what you’re making I’d be amazed! 😀

    Thanks for taking the time to explain what you’re doing! Love it!

    Celia July 2, 2013 at 5:42 PM Reply
    • Thanks Celia – one of my favs, if you liked that, check out the $100 start up (I can send you the copy if you want)

      Dave and Vicky July 2, 2013 at 5:46 PM Reply
      • I haven’t heard of that one – would love to read it! And I would really appreciate it if you’d send me a copy – thanks!!

        Celia July 2, 2013 at 5:48 PM Reply
  5. Good to know we’re on the right track!

    Bobby July 3, 2013 at 8:07 AM Reply
  6. What is the story with VadoVia? Are you making money with that site?

    Dan - This World Rocks July 3, 2013 at 8:45 AM Reply
    • Go to Vadovia.com – they are “hiring” bloggers to publish tours for them at $50 a tour (not as easy as it sounds, but doable). Let me know if you need a contact.

      Dave and Vicky July 3, 2013 at 9:33 AM Reply
      • I’d heard about them before but it’s nice to read someone’s actually using them.
        I’m interested!

        Sofie July 24, 2013 at 7:27 AM Reply
  7. This is really inspiring. 10k in a single month for a travel blog is just fantastic. You guys can probably start venturing the how to make money niches soon. 🙂

    Jane Lagdameo July 3, 2013 at 11:05 AM Reply
  8. You guys are doing a great job. This income report is motivating.
    Keep it coming.
    -Seun

    Oluwaseun Babajide July 3, 2013 at 1:14 PM Reply
  9. My earnings are just a speck of what you guys are doing.. i know who I’m gonna look up to when it comes to making money online.. ^_^ keep the inspiration going!

    grasya July 4, 2013 at 4:13 AM Reply
  10. We are happy to see how successful your little business is.

    As you describe it, the sky is the limit.
    So why not to take it to the sky? Why no to scale it up?

    Why not to work with 50,100,1000… blogs?

    beinginawe July 5, 2013 at 1:13 PM Reply
    • As there is a limited number of advertisers working with more blogs only provides somewhat of a boost in income. Usually what happens with more blogs is they on average earn a bit less (because there are limited advertisers) and we on average earn a bit more, so we have to balance that.

      Dave and Vicky July 6, 2013 at 8:35 AM Reply
  11. Wow! Really inspiring stuff again guys and some reasoned arguments there – especially about buying a website against starting one from scratch. Everyday I keep going over all this in my mind to see where I now want to take my blog. You guys have set a great standard and example for the rest of the travel bloggers. Safe travels! Jonny

    Jonny Blair July 5, 2013 at 3:03 PM Reply
  12. Hi acoupletravlers,

    Thanks for the great insight! Having taught english overseas, I will let you know that you are free from taxes only on your first 80,000 USD but that is for each of you if you are not married. If this was only a problem 🙂

    Happy travels!

    Denise

    Denise Doherty July 6, 2013 at 8:35 AM Reply
    • Nice, although we have some healthy blog earnings we are still well under that as there are two of us!

      Dave and Vicky July 6, 2013 at 8:41 AM Reply
    • Denise, you wouldn’t happen to know anything about Belgianyax laws and online income?:D
      Everything is still so vague over here:/

      Sofie July 24, 2013 at 7:30 AM Reply
  13. wonderful insight thanks

    miaa July 8, 2013 at 8:39 AM Reply
  14. I like it guys,
    Find out what works, outsource, repeat, expand.. Nice job

    Adam - Tropical Nomad July 8, 2013 at 9:59 AM Reply
    • It’s a great way to build things up but free yourself to take on new projects

      Dave and Vicky July 8, 2013 at 10:29 AM Reply
  15. Thanks for the mention 🙂

    Matthew Woodward July 15, 2013 at 5:19 AM Reply
  16. * What is blogging partnership? Is it ‘You pay me to promote your blog on my blog and vice-versa’?

    * I read your direct advertising FAQ in your March report but one thing that didn’t get asked is this question – How do you find other blogs to trade lists with? Is there like a trading forum or something like that?

    Thanks for any info!

    Jay July 20, 2013 at 10:38 PM Reply
    • Hey Jay – in the blogging partnership we pitch blogs to our extensive list of advertisers and share the profits.

      As for finding other blogs to trade with – we just asked other people, plain and simple

      Dave and Vicky July 21, 2013 at 1:56 PM Reply
      • I was wondering what the requirements are for other blogs to join a partnership with you guys, and if you are accepting more blogs?

        Sofie July 24, 2013 at 7:32 AM Reply
        • Travel blog, PR2, domain authority 30, English – send us an email!

          Dave and Vicky July 24, 2013 at 10:57 AM Reply
  17. Great stuff….thanks!

    Question: When you aggregate other blogs and take them to Advertisers…..do you act as the “broker” in some way? I mean….whats to keep the blogs from just going directly to the Advertisers (once they have been introduced?). Or is it more of a “co-op” biz model?
    Thanks

    William July 24, 2013 at 2:28 PM Reply
    • Hey William – we use a mutual email address so that everything is transparent on both ends and we broker the deal with the blogger’s consent

      Dave and Vicky July 24, 2013 at 2:51 PM Reply
  18. Hi guys! Hope all is well! Regarding income… I believe that since you are outside the US, you can make up to $80,000 USD as long as you reside outside the US for a year. As for each country, you are not residents but if concerned contact immigration.

    Cheers! Denise

    Denise July 25, 2013 at 7:39 PM Reply
  19. Wow what a great read. I do hope you guys continue with your blogging, Your posts are so well written and easy to read.
    Congratulations on being number 1 in Matthews competition.
    All the best
    Shelley

    shelley August 29, 2013 at 7:09 AM Reply
  20. Thank you for this very instructive blogpost. I just started with our blog and am learning! Taking lots of notes

    [email protected] Travels October 3, 2013 at 2:38 PM Reply
  21. Pingback: Get Inspired & Quit Your Job Today

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.