2017 was the year we started monetizing our blog and it’s already been a rollercoaster of emotions.
I never thought I’d be running a blog in a million years, but somehow through the ups-and-downs of long distance, the progress of Robin’s photography skills, and the hundreds of crazy adventures we’ve been on, it seemed like a really good idea to consolidate our lives on one platform. Something we could call ours. So Elite Jetsetter was born – yay!
We didn’t have any intention of making money from this new venture, but with the enormous help of social media, our following exploded and, inevitably, paid offers came rolling into my inbox.
While this is more of an “experiment” than anything, I think that keeping track of the growth is a good way to see how far I’ve come and also give new bloggers an insight into how to monetize properly, and how many different streams and possibilities exist. We had so many questions on this subject when we started out, so we wanted to create an honest resource that others could find helpful and inspiring.
Over the coming months and years, we’re going to do our best to keep this experiment going and publish as much as we can.. So keep checking back for updates!
Disclaimer: At this point, I would say I’m technically more of an “influencer with a blog” as opposed to a straight up blogger. My social following on Facebook and Instagram is sitting at about 80k. We only get about 10k hits on the blog per month.
Everything I’ve learned in business school and from my father (a serial entrepreneur) has taught me that you should always diversify. Never have all your eggs in one basket.
It’s extremely easy to do that with blogging because there are just so many options! Really your imagination is the limit.
For now, I’m just going to focus on the streams that have worked for me:
-Sponsored blog + social posts
-Content creation for brands
-Sponsored blog + social posts: $2125
-Content creation for brands: $2530
-Licensing photos: $300
-Affiliate links: $65
Total March earnings: $5020
I am still kind of in shock that people want to pay me to try their products and endorse them, but as you can see from the numbers there are definitely companies out there who see the value in social media advertising. While I’m still a bit reluctant every time I have to post an “ad” on my feed, I have discovered and worked with some amazing companies that I really, really like. I’ve decided that from here on out I won’t be posting about products or brands that I wouldn’t personally spend my own money on.
While this decision won’t make any impact on the amount of “fake” advertising that’s on Instagram, it will definitely help me sleep better at night. I’ve definitely taken on campaigns that I’m not that proud of, but I guess the whole point of life is to learn from your mistakes. I’m just making my mistakes a bit more publicly 😉
This is what I love doing the most because you’re given (almost) complete freedom to create content that a brand can use on their social media or other advertising.
This month I’ve created content for:
It’s still surprising and really nice to hear companies say they’ve appreciated our work. It’s even more surprising to see our photos pop up on their social feeds – hooray, you actually liked what we made!
This is definitely an area that we’d love to continue producing for, but as our blog grows we’d love to focus more on the passive strategies that will free up more time for our own personal content creation. Content creation for others is great but we’ve found it can also be very time consuming at times.
This month we had a big tourism board approach us to license one of our photos and we got super excited because I guess we expecting a big payout… well, the photo was taken in low light so it wasn’t the best quality and it turns out we were probably way too optimistic about how much they were willing to pay…Definitely a good lesson in managing expectations.
Regardless, it’s still really great to receive a cheque in the mail, and exciting to think where we’ll see our photo next! A billboard along the TransCanada perhaps? 😉
Although it’s pretty exciting to have our photos licensed, I think it’s realistic to expect this income stream to have a fairly small part to play in our overall earnings going forward. Instances like that are just a nice little bonus!
Affiliate links: $65
This is the bread and butter for most bloggers that we know. Not only is it super simple to set up, it’s entirely passive income. Meaning you can make money while you sleep… isn’t that the dream?
All we had to do was insert a link into our most popular blog post and, if I’m being honest, completely forget about it. Logging into the affiliate platform after a long hiatus and seeing that there was money in the account was like finding a $20 bill in your pocket, only better – this money basically appeared out of “nowhere”!
I’m really hoping to learn more about affiliate marketing next month and see what happens.
At this point we are reinvesting pretty much all our earnings back into the business.
Things I’ve paid for recently:
-Facebook ads – $250+
–Canon 5D Mark III DSLR Camera (we needed an upgrade to a camera that was capable of shooting commercial images)- $2795
-A trip to Vancouver for a job interview and to get content – $1200
-An upgrade to Siteground hosting (we switched from Bluehost and it was the BEST. DECISION. EVER. Not only did our site become significantly faster, the support team at Siteground is unreal. Highly highly highly recommend.) – $87
Going forward, I do want to upgrade our camera equipment, buy new lenses and spend more on advertising/SEO to improve traffic to our website.
If you’re starting to monetize your blog or just starting a blog in general, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the experience! If you have questions then feel free to get in touch and we’ll do our best to answer them honestly.
And if you’re looking for similar resources to this, we recently came across TravelBloggersGuide.com which has a great monthly round up of other articles in this genre!
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