We Made $818,105.12 Last Year Blogging – Most Important Lessons
Last year we lived in 7 different cities, 5 different countries, had some MASSIVE failures that cost us thousands of dollars, had some great successes that made us thousands of dollars back, and learned some incredible lessons about blogging along the way.
It feels like things are moving quickly because it seems like it was just yesterday that we quit our jobs when it was actually two years ago. We’ve also learned a TON of lessons in that time.
I think this has come from the insane pace Lauren and I move at.
With the speed in which we move, we have learned many lessons in a span of months that it probably takes the average blogger 5+ years to learn.
And that’s why this post is going to be awesome for you.
As your guides to making a full-time income blogging, there are some incredible lessons we have learned and are excited to share with you that will help make your journey easier.
But before we do that, let’s look at the numbers and some proof. Now, if you’re new around here, let me explain a little bit about us and what this income is comprised of.
Our first successful blog, Avocadu.com, is in the health and wellness niche. We took this blog to earning over $10,000/month within the first few months, and it was only after we had achieved that success that we started this blog, Create and Go, to teach people how to start a blog and earn a full-time income from it.
The income below is from these two blogs.
Create and Go + Avocadu’s Revenues = $818,105.12
Create and Go + Avocadu’s Expenses = $325,839.97
Net Income from Blogging in 2017 = $492,265.16
Proof of Income:
The photos below are screenshots of some of our accounts. We receive our payouts from several different sources, many of which don’t have pretty graphs like PayPal below, so we just included a few to give you a little proof.
Stripe and PayPal are where we receive funds from the sale of our blogging courses. We also receive funds straight into our bank account from a lot of affiliate marketing companies, including Amazon’s affiliate program.
We earned $103,457.98 in our first year of blogging, so I’d say we made some progress! 😉 Now, let’s talk about WHY there was such an improvement with some of the most important lessons we learned over our last year of blogging.
For all of you preferred video learners out there, here is a video of this topic (plus some extra tips!) from our Youtube Channel below.
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The Insane Importance of DEEP FOCUS
At the end of 2016, our blogging attention span was about as focused as a squirrel high on Red Bull.
We had been traveling and moving all over the place and had been paying wayyyyyy too little attention to Avocadu in an effort to grow Create and Go.
At the beginning of the year, Lauren and I decided to get an apartment in Austin, Texas and really focus back in on Avocadu.
I believe the keys to having great focus are to…
- Be in an environment where all your needs are easily met,
- Be VERY conscientious about your time,
- And recognize your limitations and act accordingly.
By moving to Austin, TX and spending way too much money on an apartment, we had every need almost immediately met.
- We could walk to the grocery store.
- Our gym inside our complex was awesome.
- It was right next to Lady Bird Lake and we could walk there anytime we wanted for a break from the grind.
- Our apartment had fiber optic internet (faster internet speed = ability to get more sh-stuff done).
- Our amenities center was PERFECT for getting work done and getting some space from one another.
Getting that apartment put ourselves in a great position to succeed because nothing that we needed was out of reach!
This was night and day compared to our place in Nicaragua where getting groceries was a 3-hour journey and the internet was painfully slow.
One really huge factor in learning how to focus is to become very conscientious about your time.
For instance, did you know that the average American adult watches 5 hours of TV per day?
FIVE. BLEEPING. HOURS.
Obviously, people who do this are trying to fill up their time and don’t actually NEED to watch TV that often because TV just ain’t that good.
It’s not just TV either…
As humans, we suck at time management.
- Spending $200 and 3 hours on a haircut when you could cut it yourself for free, in your home, in 5 minutes.
- Calling your dad for the 10th time this week because you “have” to chat every day and he’ll make you feel guilty when you don’t call.
- Letting your girlfriend cry on your shoulder because she broke up with her boyfriend for the umpteenth time
These are all ways we are trying to escape from tasks we KNOW are more important.
We often overestimate the importance of something (being the crying shoulder – AGAIN) to avoid the pain of something actually important (fixing your blogs internal links).
These are avoidant behaviors and they’re why most people never reach their goals.
If you want to be successful, you will have to become SUPER conscientious about how you spend your time.
To get out of that soul-sucking job and make it as a blogger, you’re going to be analyzing every minute of every day to see where you can squeeze out a few extra hours to blog.
When we still worked full-time jobs, I would wake up at 4:30 am and walk my ass in the freezing cold to a local Starbucks, drown myself in coffee, and try to get some work done BEFORE I started training clients 6:30 am.
The morning hours were my most productive hours and the only time I had was the time that I MADE. That’s what I mean by squeezing out hours.
Now, let’s be real here:
OF COURSE, we indulge.
OF COURSE, we waste time doing shit that does not matter.
AND OF COURSE, we still binged watched every episode of Stranger Things.
We just try to recognize when this is happening and limit it to ONLY the things we think will truly matter.
Watching re-runs of The Bachelor is not on that list.
Here’s another truth.
You must recognize your limitations as a person and the fact that we are only given 24 hours in a day, a good portion of which are spent sleeping .
You can’t be or do ALL of these things at once:
- The world’s greatest girlfriend
- Have six-pack abs
- Watch every episode of the Bachelor
- Have the most perfect, comfortable and beautiful home
- Make six figures a month blogging
- Have the best relationship with your family and friends
- Travel the world
- Party with celebs
- Take care of a dog
If you’re goals for 2018 look something like the above, just STOP.
If you are lucky, you can accomplish a couple of those things in your lifetime.
The sooner you accept this as a fact and prioritize what you want in life, the faster you will get to where you want to be and the happier you will be as well.
You’ve got to ask the question:
Do you really want to be a six-figure blogger in 2018?
Great, because it’s going to require an obnoxious amount of focus and effort. A lot of which is going to be frustrating, not-fun work. You may have to give up being the perfect girlfriend or some of your favorite shows for awhile.
You can shift priorities over time once you escape the “hamster wheel” of trading hours for money and have your blog making income for you while you sleep.
Diversify Your Income
I was taught this a long time ago by a network marketing guru.
He told me, “Alex, making money is like running a garden hose into a pool and trying to fill it up. Using one hose is like having a job and is how most people try to fill up their pools, but that route moves very slowly. Oftentimes that hose gets cut from a lawnmower or a mischievous squirrel (aka losing your job). The real way to get rich is having multiple hoses all filling up the same pool. That way the pool fills up a lot faster and if one gets cut, you still have 3-4 more filling it up!”
He was right.
In November 2015, Lauren and I earned $0 blogging. 🙁
In November 2016, Lauren and I earned $12,129.25 blogging.
In November 2017, Lauren and I earned $90,705.35 blogging.
The biggest difference this year came from the diversity of products and income streams we had. Not only did we focus on expanding a second blog in an entirely unrelated niche (Create and Go), we added more products and income streams to Avocadu as well.
It’s not perfectly linear, but we’ve noticed a direct correlation between the number of products we offer and our total income made.
And we expanded a lot in 2017.
- We created 10+ new products and courses (if we count Amazon’s new listings).
- We branched out a lot more into affiliate marketing and are making $20,000/month on products we recommend.
- We made $45,120.63 on ads from Avocadu that we were not making in 2016.
It was this diversity of income that led to the massive increase in revenues and cash flow.
Plus, it’s also helped to buffer the seasonality of blogging (especially in the fitness niche where everything goes to poop in November/December).
Multiple hoses, same pool.
Just Because It’s Popular, Doesn’t Mean It’s Profitable
This lesson feels like a swift kick to the groin for me personally, but I need to share it. This point represents my biggest failures in 2017 and a lot of personal struggle and anguish.
You may or may not know it, but I was the original creator of the YouTube channel, The Health Nerd. I brought Lauren’s brother, Dale, on after a few months and we took the channel to over 280,000 YouTube subscribers.
But here’s the thing…
Despite the CRAZY popularity and the fact that we could have easily grown it to a million subscribers, it was not a profitable enough venture for us to keep running.
You’d think we were raking in ad revenue living in la-la land with that number of subscribers.
We were barely scraping by at $3,000/month combining ad revenue WITH digital products we were selling.
Dale was spending all week editing the videos and I’d burn a lot of my time creating the scripts and voiceovers.
That’s only enough money to keep one person sort-of employed and, sadly, not worth my time at this point.
I wanted to keep it alive so we tried to outsource it, but the quality of the content was terrible. I decided I’d rather watch the Health Nerd sail into the distance gracefully than pump out crap content that I didn’t believe in.
Now, the same #[email protected]!* thing is happening to WANDR. If you’re new to Create and Go, WANDR is the side project I started with Lauren’s brother, Dale. Here is one of our videos from our trip to Seattle in 2017:
WANDR has a super popular Facebook page with over 37,000 ORGANIC Facebook Followers.
In fact, over 6 MILLION people have watched our videos, but the truth is that it’s just not going anywhere.
We can’t find a good way to monetize it without ruining the fun we had creating the content. As soon as money enters the equation, we lose the spontaneous vibes of the videos we LOVED to create.
For that reason, we will only be able to produce WANDR style videos a couple times a year and keep it purely as a passion project for Dale and me.
Sad but true, just because something is popular doesn’t mean it can or will be profitable OR worth your time.
This is also a good segway to point #4…
Failure is Part of the Journey
At this point of our article, I would like to go over all the failures our team has had over the past year…
- We created a product that didn’t live up to our expectations and was ultimately a waste of our time. Total bomb as far as expectations and time investment go.
- We also made a couple of other major updates to our products that ultimately didn’t raise our profits at all.
- The Health Nerd – I just talked about it, but it has been put on an indefinite PAUSE.
- WANDR – After tons of time burned and utter confusion on how to monetize it without sacrificing what we love about it, it has also been put on PAUSE because Dale needs a serious income stream of his own.
- Deleted a Facebook Page for Create and Go we would, later on, go to use
- Bought 3 different $1,000 programs we ended up not using (yes, we still buy expensive courses too!)
- Tried traveling for 4 straight months despite knowing how that would probably go. It was rough. Three months in and we were dying to come back home.
- Went to Traffic and Conversion Summit and learned pretty much everything I already knew (still a great conference, I just know quite a bit about internet marketing at this point)
- Probably many more I have blocked from my memory to protect my ego…
We still fail, we fail hard, and it’s always a humbling experience.
I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon because we are going to continue to push the boundaries on what’s possible and will continue to have our asses handed to us at least once a month.
Figure Out Your Purpose as You Go
I honestly think that the best way to find your blog’s mission or purpose is to take action and follow your feelings as well as what people respond to.
We talked a lot about travel and adding other content to Create and Go for a while in an attempt to expand our audience; however, it never felt right.
It always felt a little forced.
After lots of conversations over copious amounts of alcohol (our personal truth serum), we’ve settled on it:
We are going to be the #1 most honest, reliable, and authentic source of information for normal people who want to make a full-time income blogging.
I feel very called to this message and I believe Lauren does as well.
There’s just so much BS online and it’s awesome to know that the #1 comment we get on our YouTube channel is how authentic we are.
I want us to be the source people can trust.
The one that’s going to tell you the truth even when it’s hard and ugly and not so fun.
I want us to be the two crazies you can count on at the end of the day when you’re questioning wtf you’re doing.
Being a Successful Blogger is About More Than Just Blogging
Our final lesson is going to be about something we have learned and somewhere we will be expanding our blog in 2018.
True and lasting success as a blogger requires a LOT more than just pumping out relevant content.
It took us awhile to realize this.
On the one hand, we just want to talk about blogging and keep everything focused. On the other, we realize succeeding in blogging has more facets than just technical skills.
- How to Manage Your Money
- Personal Development
- Time Management
- Productivity Tools and Hacks
- Tools and Reviews of the Products We Use (both physical and software related)
All of these things COMBINED led us to our fast success as bloggers.
What we have learned more than just technical knowledge and this is what we need to teach to truly give our followers a chance at succeeding.
So look out for that content coming at you very soon!
Let’s wrap up with a quick summary of the most important blogging lessons we learned in 2017.
- The Insane Importance of Focus
- Diversify Your Income
- Just because somethings popular, doesn’t mean it’s worth your time
- Failure is just part of the journey
- Figure out your purpose as you go
- Being a successful blogger is about more than just blogging
Much love bloggers,
Co-Founder, Create and Go
P.S. Have you launched your blog yet? If not, make sure you sign up for our FREE 7-Day eCourse on Starting Your Blog from scratch! Check it out and join the THOUSANDS who are already talking about it.