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Yes, it’s true – we are no longer doing income reports (except for this last, semi-incomplete one).
I realize this probably comes as a big shock to some of you. For a year and a half we have been publishing these reports faithfully at the beginning of each month. If I might say, we have even developed a bit of a brand for ourselves as “those travel bloggers that write income reports an make money”. I suspect that there are some people who tune in only once a month to check out this one report.
But after some cold, hard decision making I’ve decided to call the quits and I think it is for the best.
They’re no longer relevant
We started this little experiment a year and a half ago as a way to not only hold ourselves accountable and keep track of our own progress but also to share the in’s and out’s of our travel blog with our readers. It wasn’t just about income, in fact, for many months income played a small role. It was about traffic, social media, and different things we were doing to grow them.
Nowadays, we no longer do any of that. Not only does it take a lot of time but the truth is we aren’t really trying to grow the blog anymore and we haven’t been for months. We’re more focused on other projects we think will bring us more value and while I could go on and on about those in these reports they’re even less relevant to what goes on here than the current income reports. This is a personal travel blog, always has been and always will be. If I want to talk about those things (and I just might) it will be on my new entrepreneurship blog that I am starting in March.
Our business has grown and we’ve expanded into new websites, niches, and projects. I’ve always reported the income from EVERYTHING we’re involved in, which is quite rare in income reports mind you.
I follow several other bloggers who publish income reports and I know for a fact that what they publish on their blog is only a fraction of what they are actually making online. Part of that is because people naturally want to protect their business. I can’t say I blame them for that. The other part, is that income reports, in essence, are meant to reflect what one person can achieve with their blog (through adsense, affiliate sales, direct clients, etc). For us, this has not been the case for almost a year now, as we have expanded into so many other things, Acoupletravelers is merely a fraction of what we report, and I don’t see the point of reporting on just what acoupletravelers earns.
There’s more to lose than to gain
In fact, a lot more. Over the last year and a half the income reports have been great for us and not all in an altruistic sense. They’ve brought us a lot of attention and clients for our bloggingpartnership program and online course. I actually enjoyed writing them for the most part.
But as we’ve started to phase those out, it’s mostly just unnecessary exposure. Yes, not all news is good news and I worry about some of the eyes on our blog as we’re linked to from a variety of sources and not everyone on the internet is so nice. While the income reports do bring a nice spike in traffic every month, particularly from matthew woodward’s income round up, inevitably none of it really sticks because this blog is meant for an entirely different audience. It’s not about internet marketing, making money online, or any of that stuff.
It’s a lot of work
Some people may have noticed that I rarely write for acoupletravelers anymore safe for these income reports, again, because we’ve just gotten so busy with everything else. The income reports take a fair amount of work to do each month as there is a lot of accounting and what not, and if I was to do them the way I should do them (traffic, social shares, etc) they would take even more. I wouldn’t mind a few hours back every month.
The quality has declined
We may make a lot more money now but if you look objectively at the income reports of the past, the current ones aren’t the same quality. Honestly, it’s not for lack of things to say. There’s more to say now than ever. Unfortunately I find myself dragging my feet because
1) I don’t want to put in the necessary work with everything else going on to make them really solid.
2) Even more, I just don’t feel like I can be 100% honest about things for competition reasons.
For example, I hardly break down our expenses like I use to, or even break out our different income streams. It just leaves things open to copy cats, or worse, for people who don’t know what they’re doing trying to mimic us. This may sound crazy, but sometimes I think the income reports do more harm than good. We’ve learned a lot of things in the last year and I think it was important that it happened gradually the way it did. It’s what kept us from making any big falls and losing a lot of money at once, and mind you, we have lost money in a wide variety of ways but always relative to what we make so it’s OK. The income reports can potentially provide false encouragement for people who are trying to skip those necessary steps.
At the end of the day when I thought about reasons why we should keep them around I could only come up with the following
One is a poor reason to do anything, and two and three are less and less powerful on account of declining relevancy and quality. When I weighted that against all of the above, it just didn’t seem like enough anymore – so that’s that.
I haven’t decided yet about whether or not I will reintroduce income reports on my new blog. If I do, it will hold true to what I make from that blog and projects related to that blog.
However, so as to not leave you completely with a cliffhanger, especially after last month’s drop off – January was by and large our best month ever and we cleared $20k, which was my goal for the year.