Monday, 7 January 2019

What I Earned From Blogging In 2018



6 years ago, at the beginning of January, I decided on a whim to start this blog.

And slowly but surely over time, it went from being a hobby to becoming my full time job - earning me a far better living than I had ever known before in my minimum wage nursery worker jobs.

I never went to university. I've never had a "career". And I never saw myself earning anything over the standard minimum wage. So to have somehow managed, as a mum of 3 young children, to make this into a business that pays me well is beyond my wildest dreams in all honesty - it's been an incredible blessing as it's given me the opportunity to be at home with my children whilst financially supporting our family.

And for that reason - I'm passionate about sharing my experiences with making a living from blogging, in the hopes that I might be able to help another parent out there to be able to do the same.

And so now, every January - I write a post sharing my blog income from the previous year alongside some tips for other bloggers on how I did it, and how to increase your own earning potential as a blogger.

I don't share these posts to brag and I really fear them coming across that way - believe me when I say that my earnings are not anywhere in the same league as many of the larger influencers I follow who easily earn 6 figures! I am very much a "Middle of the road" blogger in terms of earnings and follower numbers.

But as I've said before, as a working class woman the amount of money I am earning now is far more than I have ever been able to earn previously - and if I can help another struggling mother to find a  way to earn money from home too, then I want to do that.

So today I'm going to be sharing exactly what I earned last year and how, along with some tips for increasing your own earnings as a blogger.

I hope you find it useful.

So What Did I Earn in 2018?

My final income figure for the year stands at £33,150.00

This is only slightly above my 2017 earnings which were £32,230.00

I'll be totally honest - at first I was a bit disappointed to find that my earnings had balanced out this year rather than continuing to grow as they did for my first few years as a blogger (I earned £7,000 in my first year, £14,000 in my second year and £18,000 in my third year so my jump to £32,000 in my fourth year was a big one and I  - perhaps naively - had hoped that this upward climb in earnings would continue year after year!)

But in reality, it's quite standard in any business to see income level out in this way over time and I should really be thankful that it didn't dip! Which I am really.

Another thing to take into consideration is that I significantly increased my rates last year - so although my earnings for 2018 were very similar to 2017, I did do substantially LESS work for it!

Perhaps if I had continued on with my lower fees my earnings spike would have continued, but I had to place more value on my time and mental health - I feel I achieved a far better work/life balance in 2018, maintained the quality of my work better and still managed to break even on earnings - so really, it worked out very well!

How Did I Earn This Amount?

The amount I earned breaks down as follows:

Blog and freelance articles - £25,400

Instagram content - £5,960

Other social media content - £1,180

Video content - £610

The above stats are quite surprising, even to me, as Instagram is considered in the business to be where its at right now for earning potential with many people questioning whether blogs are dead when it comes to earning potential - I have to admit even I thought that the Instagram total would have accounted for a higher percentage of earnings than it did, but from breaking it down it shows that my blog is responsible for the biggest chunk of my earnings by far! Long live the humble blog!

My best month for earnings was September when I earned over £4,000 and my lowest month for earnings was December when I earned £1000 exactly. This was a HUGE change from previous years where December was always a big earner and shows that marketing strategies change!

I asked on a Facebook group for some input on what sort of earning information readers would find valuable and one person said she'd like to know how much pitching I do and what the success rate of that is...so I thought I'd share that info here.

I pitch to brands/PR people between 20-30 times per month on average, and I'd say between 5-10 of those occasions lead to paid work.

Out of my 2018 earnings, £6040 was earned through work that I pitched for myself, £7565 came from new work from previous PR contacts, and the remaining £19,545 was from work that came directly to my inbox without me initiating contact.

The Downsides Of Working As A Blogger

I always think its important when writing these sorts of posts to point out that it isn't all a bed of roses.

It's easy to look at a figure like this one in the post and think that this kind of work could be the answer to all of your problems but I would hate to make anyone think that without making them fully aware of all that this kind of work entails.

The downsides of this work will be different depending on who you ask of course, but from a personal point of view I struggle with the fact that more often than not - brands will want my children to be involved in advertising campaigns.

I never used to worry much about this when they were younger, but now that they're starting to get older I have reservations about them being involved in advertising products when they can't fully understand what they're doing and I also feel uneasy with profiting from their involvement - even though the money I earn goes toward keeping a roof over their heads and food in their mouths rather than buying me diamond sandals and Caribbean holidays!  

My way of dealing with this now is to always ask if they WANT to be involved in something before agreeing to it, and paying them a fee for their time - money that they get to use as they wish to buy themselves something or save. This way I feel that they're at least learning about money and business, and they are getting a say in whether or not they're involved (They have said no to certain work offers which I have then turned down.)

Another major downside is that invoices are VERY rarely paid on time. I'd say around 80% of the work I do involves me having to chase my payments, which is both stressful and time consuming. And also makes life very difficult when budgeting, as this is our families whole income so we rely on the money I make to pay the rent and bills. Not easy when companies are so reluctant to pay on time!

Other downsides include large workloads and long hours in order to meet all deadlines and complete all tasks (you are doing the work of a writer, photographer, reviewer, website manager, social media co-ordinator, accountant, and contract negotiator all at once - whilst still working around life as a mother! I work until 4 am most nights in order to get everything done and I still always feel as though I'm chasing my tail!), companies and brands undervaluing what you do and trying to pay you unfairly or not at all, and the negative mental health impact that doing a job which places importance on social media followers undoubtedly has.


My Tips On How To Increase Your Earnings

 *Be proactive - Think about companies that you feel would be a good fit for you and your blog and send them a pitch. You can usually find the right person to pitch a collaboration idea to by simply googling "Company Name Press Contact" or finding a recent press release for the company which will usually have a press contact listed on it. Otherwise you can tweet the company to ask for their press contact details.
If you have an established list of past PR contacts, be sure to email them again every 6 months or so - send them an updated media pack, and remind them that you're always happy to collaborate on relevant opportunities. This often leads to new work - never expect PR contacts to remember and come to you, some will but most of them work with hundreds of bloggers every year and so its in your best interest to remind them that you're there!

*When writing your pitch, be sure to state WHY you think a collaboration between yourself and the brand would work well as well as highlighting your selling points - for example if you don't have a great number of Instagram followers but you have more Facebook fans, then avoid mentioning Instagram at all and focus purely on what's great about your Facebook reach.
 Upsell your strong points and don't choose to talk about anything else unless asked.

*Reply to EVERY email and always ask for budget - The worst that a company can say is No, and you haven't lost anything in asking for payment. So many times in the past I've almost deleted an email that seemed like a mass-forwarded one with no hope of any work coming from it, only to reply with my fees on a whim and have it turn into a job. It is ALWAYS worth the minute it takes to send a reply on the off chance. IF the company turn out not to have budget and you want the product to try out anyway - you can still say you're willing to work for product only on this occasion, they aren't likely to turn you down but it's always better to seek payment first. Which leads me to my next point...

*Should you ever work for Product only or for free? Well...a lot of bloggers would say no and on the whole I have to agree that it's bad for the industry when bloggers are willing to work for free as it makes it harder for us all to ask for fair payments when companies can just go to other bloggers and get something for nothing. BUT on the other hand, I do understand that everyone's personal circumstances are different and there are many people who just can't afford to turn down a "Free" product when it's offered - I have certainly worked for product on occasion. My advice here would be to think of the monetary value of what's being offered and then consider the time it will take you to do the work, and what you think the exposure to your audience is worth - and decide for yourself from there. If you think the product is worth it, then fine (but always ASK for payment first, just incase!).
 But I don't think that ANY blogger should ever promote or publish ANYTHING with no compensation at all - you will often have companies ask you to do this when NO payment OR product is being offered. They will try to tell you that they will share your content which gives you exposure or experience - I would advise against this as it is VERY rarely going to be worth your time.

*Make use of apps and companies that pair bloggers with brands - The only ones that I currently use which I feel pay fairly and are reliable are:
*Buzzoole
*Influencer.co
*Zine.co
*The Blogger Network

But I have heard other bloggers have success with apps such as Revfluence, Indahash & Tribe. There is also a company called Blogfoster who may be worth a look, although I personally find their fees too low at the moment. I would also recommend signing up to Britmums and Mumsnet blogger networks if you're a parenting blogger (Netmums tend not to pay bloggers for work in my experience so I would avoid them personally.)

As for blog ranking charts, I personally don't think that they are a good thing to be a part of - you can read more about why here.

Further Reading

I've also shared tips on my previous annual earnings posts and written lots of other blogging tips posts which might be of use to you if you're hoping to increase your blog earnings this year or you just want to get started as a brand new blogger, which I'll link below.

How To Create A Media Pack

Interview With A PR Professional On Working With Bloggers

So You Want To Be A Pro Blogger?

Working With Brands Without Underselling Yourself

What I Earned In 2017 And How

How To Top The Tots100 Chart And What Happened When I Did

How To Become Part Of The Blogging Community

How I Earn Over £1000 Per Month As A Blogger

Why I No Longer Use Blog Charts, And Why You Shouldn't Either

How I Tripled My Blog Traffic In One Easy Step

How Blogging Helped Me To Achieve My Dream

Dear PR, Here's Why I Won't Promote Your Brand For Free

How I Earned Over £18k From Blogging In A Year

5 Ways To Be A Nicer Blogger

I hope you found this post helpful, if there is anything you'd like to know about earning money as a blogger just leave me a question in the comments below and I'll be more than happy to address it in a future post.




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5 comments

  1. Very interesting post Hayley. In March I will be blogging 5 years. However last year was my first year I concentrated more on the earning side of things. Before that it was more reviewing products. Hopefully one day I will be at a stage like this.

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  2. Thank you for sharing Hayley, your authenticity is inspiring as always. Wishing you all the best with your work for the year ahead.

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  3. Hayley, as a blogger who is currently trying to increase income to go full time freelance I can’t tell you how helpful this post is! Thank you for sharing!

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  4. Wow, this is amazing! I'm a book blogger so I don't make anything from it and in the book blog world opportunities to monetise that wouldn't get you shunned are few. It's amusing really as I'm a tiny book blog and my DA is 25. Some of the others are up in 40s & 50s and probably could turn it into a business.

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  5. Great article! Well done to you for putting real value to your time and skills x

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