October 2015 Income and Blog Update: $17,070 for 12 days of Work

October 2015 Income and Blog Update - picture of hands on keyboard

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About a year ago, I quit sharing our monthly income statements due to some negative feedback I received from some butt-hurt peeps.

Apparently, you’re not allowed to be frugal if you’re a relatively high-earner these days, folks. And – gasp – you shouldn’t complain about how expensive something is if you are make more than the median household income for wherever. {Example: When I complained about Obamacare and said I refuse to participate}

Since then, I’ve had a change of heart. I miss sharing my income with all of my online peeps who hope to one day make a living blogging, writing, and basically being awesome. And I’m pretty sure I no longer care if people think a healthy income disqualifies me from writing about frugality or saving money.

Meanwhile, I also want to keep ongoing tabs on my income in order to track our progress. And since I have this here ol’ blog, it seems like the right thing to do.

With that being said, behold our online income for the month of October 2015:


This total includes all of the money that I made from our various income streams – some passive, some not:

  • Credit Card Sales from Free Travel Advice (kinda passive)
  • Consulting (not passive)
  • Freelance Writing (not passive at all)
  • Affiliate Advertising (passive)
  • Ghost Writing (not passive)

Meanwhile, our expenses were pretty weak last month. Aside from a little bit of advertising, we spent very little to keep our online business running. Here they are:

  • Internet: $51
  • Writing Services: $260
  • Blog Hosting: $15

Total: $326

And don’t forget, I also pay a whole butt-load of taxes every quarter. Since my last quarterly tax payment was due September 15th, I didn’t pay any this October. Still, I did save around 30% of my income to send to the man come January 15th.

Online Income: What We Did Right

To be honest, I’m pretty amazed I made much of anything during the month of October. Not only did I go on a press trip to Jamaica, but I also spent a 4-day weekend at my in-laws and went to Italy for eight days. By the end of the month, I really only worked 12 full work days – and my husband worked around 15. Considering the fact that we took so much time off, pulling in 17K is pretty sweet!

With that being said, I’m not sure it’s a real representation of how much I “earned” last month. As a freelance writer, the easiest way to take a vacation is to “get ahead” on my work so I don’t have to do anything while I travel. In other words, part of the work I invoiced for during October was actually completed in early September. Unfortunately, that’s one of the many downsides of self-employment. When you work for yourself, there are no paid vacations – that is, unless you give yourself one somehow.

Online Income: Where We Fell Short

Although we made a nice income during October, there were areas where we fell short. For the most part, our biggest weakness is that most of our income is earned through our labor and not passive at all. As the months roll by, we hope to boost our passive income sources so that we can work less for the same amount of money. Our plan is to do that through strategic affiliate placements, my free travel advice service, and direct advertising with big clients.

Another goal of ours is to finish writing a book. Unfortunately, this goal seems almost impossible at this point. With all the writing I do on a daily basis, my brain fries easily. Sometimes it takes everything I have to get my assignments done! With that being said, I do have a plan; I just need to execute it. In the meantime, Greg is really working on our affiliate stuff so I can hopefully work less in the coming months and turn my attention to some of our other goals.

Remember, It All Started With a Blog

If you’re on the fence about starting a blog as a side hustle, consider this: Just five years ago, my husband and I were both stuck in uninspiring jobs that sucked out our collective life force. Just five years later, we’re completely self-employed, earning a very nice income, and basically doing whatever the hell we want.

Even though I could have earned a nice income writing on the side at any time, our blog is what helped us take our efforts to the next level. It was scary and difficult at first, but most things worth doing are. If you’re considering it, read our post on the topic and feel free to email us with any questions!

Have you thought about starting a blog? If not, what is your side hustle?

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  1. Nice! Congratulations. Pretty awesome for twelve days, even though there was a lot of prep work. It’s awesome that you are able to do what you love, and get to travel as well. Butt hurt peeps..love that! 🙂 . It’s safe to say you are always going to offend someone, so you might as well do what you like.

  2. YAY!!! I am so happy to see that these are BACK! Way to go guys!!! I can’t wait until I’m sharing a similar post one day – but in the meantime, I’m living vicariously through you! 🙂

  3. Yay, I’m so glad you’re bringing income reports back! That’s amazing that you were still able to make that amount of income in only 12 days of work, you’ve definitely built up your business to that point where you should be able to enjoy the flexibility that being self-employed can present and it sounds like you guys are doing just that! 🙂 Congrats on an awesome October!!

  4. As i bow down on my knees with hands over my head chanting.. ” We r not worthy! We r not worthy!!!” 🙂 Let the haters hate… Keep up the good work.. I am aspiring to maybe one day I i could quit my job as well!

  5. So glad these are back! You guys are a big inspiration to other bloggers. Critics hate everything including themselves- let ’em hate. They’re just jealous 🙂

  6. Nice, Holly! I’m glad you’ve brought back the income reporting. And it’s totally inspiring for those of us who are working full-time with a blog / side hustle. Congrats on an amazing month!

  7. I can’t even think about my blog as anything other than a hobby right now, but I do really enjoy these posts. You hustle so effectively for your money. It’s so impressive to read these breakdowns.

  8. Obamacare is too expensive! I like the fact that you pointed out that the majority of your income is not passive and you worked ahead so that you could go on vacation. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Impressive income! Has 30% typically been enough withholding at your income level? I know that both sides of Social Security is 12%, and a good chunk of your income will be taxed at the 25-30% level. Inquiring minds want to know I guess. I suppose I could do the math and figure it out myself.

    1. Hi Hannah.

      We’re an LLC but we’re taxed as an S-corp. Therefore, I pay myself a “salary” and don’t have to pay self-employment taxes on my entire income. With that being said, it’s always somewhat of a guessing game. I usually end up overpaying and get a refund.

  10. I really like when you post your online income. It gives me the motivation to keep going! I barely take in one tenth of your October income and 90% of that is from my award booking service so it gives me hope that keeping at it can pay off. Congrats to you!

  11. Nice work Holly and glad to see them back. 🙂 I hear you on the book and other goals. I’m in a similar boat and really working on building up my affiliate more so as to free up more time in the long run. Those taxes suck, but I’ll take it any day as opposed to working in a 9-5 job!

  12. People will complain if you make, work, or spend too much or too little. The only ones you need to please are yourselves, but it does suck when you’re so proud of an accomplishment and someone tries to bring you down. Glad you can rise above.

  13. Good for you, Holly, for ignoring the trolls and sharing your income. I need to get to that place. We’ve not shared any debt payoff details for a VERY long time due to some nasty troll comments I received last summer. Gotta get over it.

    1. I can relate! I still have a guy who emails me and tells me I suck all the time! I’ve made my peace with it.

  14. The timing of this article might of just saved my preverbal life. The extra blog stuff to rid myself of an unsatisfying career is not taking off as planned. With so many lateral ideas to jump start traffic, income, website attention its hard to know which efforts produce an ROI. Please continue to follow-up as its motivation to others that are trying to turn the corner. I make no mistake that its not hard work. Its super valuable that you earmark as passive/non-passive.

  15. Congrats! I’m so happy to hear that you want to start sharing your income again. I think it’s amazing that you’re able to make that kind of money and it’s so inspiring. If people get butt-hurt, that is their own problem. You want to surround yourself with people who are happy for your success!

  16. That is some awesome results for October!

    I know you will turn the active into more passive income streams as you continue your journey. Your rental property is a great example of the ability to diversify away from your blogging and writing activities.

  17. I think that’s one difficult thing with online income. It seems “easy” (I don’t think that’s the right word at all, but hopefully you get what I’m saying here) to make money online in a non-passive way, but to truly get those passive streams of income set up is tough. That’s for good reason, because if passive income was easy everyone would be doing it and eventually profits would sink to near-zero. I think you guys have a lot going for you and I’m excited to see the affiliate income roll in over the next couple of years. It’s something I’m slowly trying to focus on, but there is much easier money short-term in the “not-so-passive” areas.

    1. Our affiliate income is going pretty well – just not at the 17-20K level. I would like to earn that much on my website and write a lot less in the future.

  18. Thank you for sharing the numbers Holly.

    I’m hoping that one day I’ll have reason to start publishing my blog’s income reports. But… It wont be this month… or next month… 🙂

    My blog is still very much a work in progress so it’s great to have some shining lights by which to navigate (and keep motivated). Thanks!

  19. I like that you post and keep us up to date on your income. It’s an interesting read to me. I think most people who get upset don’t understand it’s two self employed people working harder than the average person for the most part. Also, being self employed kind of demands a premium pay to hold over for inevitable dry periods. Plus why else would you jump to self employed if you’re always just barely passing what you made before, and you have to pay the employer side tax of social security and you pay for your own benefits. If people don’t understand that, maybe giving an approximate “adjusted” income per person if negative comments does end up bothering you again.

    1. Thanks Kyle! I do think self-employment demands a premium. With the extra taxes and the fact we have to do all of our own admin work, we need to make more $ to make it worth it.

  20. Congratulations Holly and Greg! Those are impressive numbers and I know you both worked hard to get to this point. And good for you for not giving into the internet trolls.

  21. Yay! I’m so glad you are posting income reports again. I missed yours 🙂

  22. Haters are gonna hate Holly, so I’m glad you decided to say forget them and start posting your income again. Congrats on an awesome month! Starting a blog takes work and commitment, but there are SO many rewards to it. All of my businesses have benefited from the traffic and attention my blog brings to them. Not to mention the fact that some of my best friends now are bloggers. I am SO thankful that I started mine over two years ago.

    1. Yep, I agree 100%. You don’t know what kind of opportunities might come from it, but something will!

  23. catherine says:

    You guys are amazing. I remember when you announced you were quitting your job and how nervous you were about making what, like 5k per month?! Congrats on everything and ignore the assholes.

  24. Holly, I’m glad you are sharing your income with us again. Your story has truly touched my heart. I used to work minimum wage in retail and then I worked at a call center in telemarketing. Now I’m at uni. When I read your story about how you used to work in food service and now you’re writing and blogging, well it inspires me.

    When you post your income it helps inspire me that anything is possible. I feel like “if Holly did it then so can I!” Don’t let negative people get to you. You can make a high income and totally live within your means (I read the millionaire next door). I hope you keep sharing, I love blogs that share their hard work. =)

  25. $17k – is that all 😉

    That’s what I’d call quite a result. If I might make a suggestion, I’d love to see a more detailed breakdown in future updates – perhaps breaking down the total into freelance writing, affiliate income etc. It would make the report even more fascinating IMHO.

    Let’s hope for a great November for you too!

  26. I love seeing these posts. They let me know that I have a shot at hitting these numbers too. I’m sure your blog was a lot smaller when you started!

  27. My favorite part about an online business like a blog is that you can go on vacation and still make money. 🙂

  28. Nice work! Your success story is my favorite!

  29. Congrats on a great October. I checked out some of your scopes from Italy. Looks like y’all had a good time.

  30. Yay , glad you’ll be posting income reports again!! That’s amazing for only 12 days of work. Congrats on the great month! Keep killing it.

  31. Congrats on your successful month! I know it has to be nice to be able to earn a nice income and work less. That’s the goal for all of us and thank you for sharing it with the rest of us because you keep us inspired!

  32. Personally, I really love income posts because it gives me a gage of what people are earning AND it pushes me to work harder. Thank you for sharing and continue kicking a@@!!

  33. Nice job! I started my blog a few months ago and I am still trying to figure out the best way to monetize and make money. I have other side hustles that help make money (a renter, product testing, etc), but nothing that is high earning yet.

  34. This is truly inspirational. I, myself, started a blog about a month ago. I’m loving it so far. I can write what I love doing. If people don’t like it well they don’t have to. And if they do then that’s great! Knowing that it took you both about 5 years to get to this point is definitely a great way to get me and other bloggers to visualize the time to get to the goals. Thank you for this post. Keep it up???.

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