About two years ago, I started this blog. A few months later, I launched graphic design services (to my blog readers). And a few months after that — about 1.5 years ago from today — I quit my day job to pursue blogging and design full time. The results have been nothing short of is this real life? I’m incredibly happy with the decision I made to start my own business, and today I want to start a discussion that few people talk about, but many wonder about: money. From what I’ve seen, money is one of the biggest factors holding people back from starting their own business, so I hope that with a little dialogue, you’ll feel better about what it’s like to make your own income.
I haven’t quite grown the cajones to share my income reports with you (though, I’m hoping to do so soon!), but I do have another idea that I think you’ll like: sharing where my money comes from as a blogger and designer. How I make it, who gives it to me, and what brings in the most.
With this post, I hope to do a few things:
- Show you some of the various income streams that exist for a blogger and web designer.
- Dispel the notion that it’s tough to make a good salary as a freelancer or blogger.
- Talk about my blogging vs. design income — which one brings in more and why they’re equally important to my business.
So let’s get down to it!
After going through my finances, it was clear to me that I have five income streams:
- Design. I earn money by creating blog designs, website designs, logos, and occasionally smaller things, like printables.
- Affiliate Marketing. This refers to times when I suggest products here on TNC and someone purchases the product through my link, giving me a small commission in return. (More info on affiliate marketing here).
- Brand Collaborations. I earn money by doing things like sponsored posts and giveaways to promote a brand.
- Ads. This refers to sidebar ads I sell, as well as other ad types I use, such as Google Adsense and BlogHer.
- Blog Consultations. I earn money by coaching other bloggers on how they can grow their following, refine their content, and earn money as a blogger.
(FYI: Much of that is covered in my post, How to Earn Money as a Blogger)
Now, let’s take a look at the actual numbers:
|Design – 85.5%||Design – 80.7%|
|Affiliate Marketing – 1%||Affiliate Marketing – 10.7%|
|Brand Collaborations – 11.5%||Brand Collaborations – 1%|
|Ads – 2%||Ads – 2%|
|Blog Consultations – 0%||Blog Consultations – 5.6%|
It’s obvious to see that design earns me much more than any category. But I would be remiss to say that my blog doesn’t play a large role in my business’s growth and success. That’s a post for another day, but despite the fact that blogging costs me a lot of time for a much smaller paycheck, I think it’s well worth it, as it both “silently” markets my business and gives me more credibility and trust with potential clients.
Even though the percentages vary in most categories, I made almost exactly the same amount of money each month. In fact, despite my many income streams and the fact that I’m a freelance designer, I make a very similar income every month. If anything, it grows, rather than declines. I think that’s important to mention because people can sometimes assume a freelancer’s income is unpredictable or erratic. In my experience, it’s not, and I don’t want that notion to hold you back if starting your own business is something you’d love to do.
Another piece to this income puzzle is related to receiving free products as a blogger. I didn’t count these freebies in my “brand collaborations” income, since it’s not technically money that I received, but it’s worth mentioning, since some of my work earns items rather than dollars. If we added those items in as cash, my “brand collabs” percentages would increase by about 5-15%, depending on the month.
I think that covers just about everything I can think of! I hope you find this helpful or, at the very least, interesting. I’m happy to answer any questions in the comments below. 🙂
p.s. I wrote a post just like this almost a year ago. You can read that one right here!