Income report #1 | Starting with 0

As a newbie freelance writer and niche blogger, I don’t earn much. To be a bit more specific: my income is near to 0. I’ve read the income reports of successful writers and bloggers (take a look here and here, for example) and am awed by their income. Is it really in the stars for me as well? Am I going to look back at this first income report in a couple of years and think ah I was so cute back then, or will I be a big failure? We’ll see about that in a couple of years 😉

In the meantime, I want to tell you all about my journey to becoming a freelance writer and niche blogger. A journey with lots of hope, motivation, and discipline, but probably also one with insecurity, setbacks, and despair. If you are a new freelance writer and niche blogger too, I hope you learn from my mistakes (see for example my 3 biggest mistakes as a newbie freelance writer) and stay motivated in the process. You are not alone out there in the big scary world of freelance writing and niche blogging!

Setting targets

When I started as a freelance writer, I collected lots of tips and guides on how to become a successful freelance writer. The first step is setting a goal. So, that’s what I did. My 1 and 2-year targets are:

  • In April 2017 (six months from now), I want to earn at least € 1000 per month with freelance writing.
  • In April 2018, I want to earn € 2200 per month with freelance writing and my websites (with a minimum of € 500 per month with my websites).

For more details, see my blog post about my freelance writing and niche blogging goals.

Some background information

Since this is my first income report, I need to give some more details about last year instead of only the last month or quarter. In September 2015, we left with our caravan to travel Europe (read more about our digital nomad family life). By coincidence (!), I landed my first gig in January 2016. Before the start of 2016, I did nothing serious to set up my freelance career. I only told a few friends about my freelancing plans and was not really serious about it yet. So I was really lucky to find this client! That same client gave me several assignments these last several months. Although not enough to live off, it was a good start. I made some big mistakes after that (

Before the start of 2016, I did nothing serious to set up my freelance career. I only told a few friends about my freelancing plans and was not really earnest about it yet. So I was really lucky to find this client! That same client gave me several assignments the past months. Although not enough to live off, it was a good start.

I’ve made some big mistakes after that (read about it here), though, so I’m basically still where I was last year.

Freelance writing since January 2016

Expenses

I didn’t have any costs related to freelance writing.

Income

In total, I did 6 projects and earned € 1331. This is VAT included and no taxes deducted yet, but since I earn so little, I expect that I don’t have to pay any this year.

Time spent

The projects varied in size. Two were relatively big while the rest were small. In total, I spend 48,5 hours on freelance writing jobs this year.

Besides these hours, I’ve spent 17 hours on finding new potential clients. Not much right 😉

I track my hours with Toggle, by the way.

working in the caravan: starting as a freelance writer and niche blogger

Working in the caravan with my head in the laundry. The baby is asleep in the back (out of sight). No filter, this is how the life of a digital nomad family truly looks like!

Niche blogging

I have 4 websites (more details about these in my blog post with my freelance writing and niche blogging goals).

Expenses

Although the year is not yet finished, I don’t expect to make any more costs the upcoming months. I had the following costs this year for my 4 websites:

  • Domain name registration and hosting for 1 year € 205
  • Premium theme (with a lot of discount!) € 17
  • Subscription LongTail Platinum € 219
  • Movavi video editing software € 30
  • Subscription SBI for WP € 90
  • Travel expenses and entrance events € 93
  • Office supplies € 95

Total costs: € 749

Income and time spent

Huisoppas Europa

We started working on this website in November 2015, but we launched it in March 2016. I wrote the content and my husband did the technical part since this website is not made in WordPress. I’ve spent a total of 78,5 hours on this website. My husband way more! We haven’t earned any money with it, though, and we expect to start earning in 2017 or 2018, so we need to have patience.

We did some major growing in the Google search results (we ranked on the first page on important keywords after only a few weeks), but due to a big mistake, we needed to change the URL extension. This was such a bummer, but nothing we can do about anymore.

Huisoppas Europa is not my priority at the moment, but I do have plans to pick it up again in a few months.

  • Hours spend in October 2016: 0
  • Page views October 2016: 92
  • Income: € 0

I haven’t been doing any activity on social media, so nothing to mention there.

Europe Family Camping

I started writing the content for this website in December 2015 and launched it in May 2016. I’ve spent a total of 161,5 hours on this website since December 2015. Europe Family Camping is not my priority at the moment, but once we leave again with our caravan (hopefully in 6 months) I’ll put a lot more energy in this website.

  • Hours spend in Oktober 2016: 0
  • Page views Oktober 2016: 127
  • Income: € 0

I haven’t been doing any activity on social media, so nothing to mention there.

Samen de Wereld Ontdekken

This is my personal blog in Dutch. I started blogging on a different domain name a few years ago. The website is therefore not as new as my other websites and I already have a small but loyal group of visitors. In the early years, the intention was just to write about topics I’m interested in. Nothing more. Since we started traveling in September 2015 I’ve been changing the goal of this website. I switched to a different domain name and want to become a family travel blogger. I’ve spent a total of 656 hours on Samen de Wereld Ontdekken since September 2015 and I intend to spend at least 25 to 50 hours per month on this website in the next months (even though I know this will be difficult when the baby arrives somewhere in the next two weeks).

Begin September 2016 I put some affiliate links on this website. I am not very active in writing content focused on earning money with affiliate links. I should be doing this a lot more though and I intend to do this in the near future.

  • Hours spend in October 2016: 53
  • Page views October 2016: 2967 (in September this was 4202, major drop)
  • Income: € 20
  • Followers on social media (2 Nov ’16)
    • Twitter: 171
    • Pinterest: 29
    • Facebook: 396

Digital Nomad with Kids

This website is brand new! I started writing content in July 2016 and launched in the last week of August 2016. Like I said, brand new! I’ve put a total of 185 hours in Digital Nomad with Kids and the timer is still ticking. I have a monetizing plan but first I need to grow my visitors and engagement. Just as for Samen de Wereld Ontdekken, I hope to spend at least 25 to 50 hours per month on this website in the next months.

  • Hours spend in October 2016: 56
  • Page views October 2016: 761
  • Income: € 0
  • Followers on social media (2 Nov ’16)
    • Twitter: 536 (In three weeks, I had more than 500 followers whoop whoop)
    • Pinterest: 51
    • Facebook: 14

Future plans: recover and travel

As you can see, I am really a beginner. I did spend a fair amount of time and energy on my personal blog and it took me quite some time to set up the other websites, but it is nothing really serious. But that’s about to change. I want to become more professional, especially in setting up my freelance writing career. And although I am not very commercial by nature, I do want to learn more about making money with blogging.

The intentions I have for my freelance writing and niche blogging career (more about picking my freelance writing niche in a next blog post) are dependent mostly on our travel plans. We are currently in the Netherlands, awaiting the arrival of our second baby (I’m due in four days!). We have plans to leave again with our caravan in six months. There is only one major uncertainty… I am experiencing severe pelvic instability. I can barely walk at the moment and the doctors don’t know how fast I will recover after giving birth. We hope I will be good to go in six months, but there is a chance my recovery takes more time. Then, my plans will need to change 🙁 But since being pessimistic leads to nothing, I have hope I will be back on my feet in no time!

Next income report

I intend to write a second income report at the end of this year to round up all the numbers. Writing more income reports is useless. Because of my semi-maternity leave, I expect no big changes in page views and income the next few months. If I recover smoothly and if the baby is doing fine, I intend to start working more and more on my websites and freelance writing in January 2017. Hopefully, by then there will be more interesting numbers to discuss in a monthly income report.

Are you a new freelance writer or niche blogger? Do you keep track of your hours, expenses, and income in the same way as I do?

 

 


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Comments 2

  1. Sofie November 22, 2016
    • Nanouk December 7, 2016

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