January 2017 Online Income Report – $26,288.57

Another online income report – I know what you’re thinking. Just last month, I decided that my December income report would be my last online income report for a while. The timing felt right. I was finishing up the year, I had a decent amount of income reports under my belt, and was ready to close that chapter on the blog.

Surprisingly, the amount of reaction emails I received after I made that announcement were really nice. So many people that I had no idea even read my blog sent me little notes telling me how much they liked my income reports.

There was definitely a common theme among every email I received. Everyone liked that I shared my reports from the beginning. Instead of choosing to publish an income report where I was an established blogger with a decent amount of income, I published my first income report proudly stating how I made $60.

This helped set me apart and really connect with new bloggers. Plus it helped my journey feel a little more authentic to readers so the could see how I really scraped by in the beginning, ha!

After receiving a ton of emails and messages online, I really agonized if I had made the right choice to shut down my income reports. First world problem, right? The main reasons for wanting to stop publishing my income reports were:

  • Not wanting real-life acquaintances or clients to see my income
  • Writing the online income reports made me extremely anxious and stressed out
  • I wasn’t sure if they were useful to other bloggers or online entrepreneurs
  • Even though my income had been steadily increasing, it didn’t make me happy to write about it. It made me feel self-conscious and I questioned if sharing my reports were helping or hurting me. Is that weird?

After a lot of going back and forth about it, I decided I would only publish a report if something major happened that reflected a significant change in my income, whether it was good or bad.

If I have a horrible month, I’m happy to let readers know what I did wrong and the lessons learned. If I have a great month where my income has jumped up, I’m also happy to share that information as well. After all, it can’t be sunshine and unicorns all the time right?

My January income exceeded every expectation and then some. It was a crazy month and a lot of great things happened. I worked hard and everything paid off!

Naturally, I thought to myself – Do I share this? Is it too soon after declaring I had written my last report? Would someone call me out on it? In the end, I decided to stick to my decision.

I had a major adjustment with my income and felt it was ok to share what worked for me so other online entrepreneurs and bloggers could hopefully gain something from deciding to share my month!

Here are some previous online income reports:

If you want to make money online from starting a blog, this online income report will motivate you! Learn how I side hustled with blogging and made it my full time job in less than a year!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure for more info.

Breakdown of my January online income report:

January was my fifteenth month I have been self employed. Starting this blog has changed my life and I can’t imagine doing anything else!

  • $985.25 Ad revenue (this amount has been down as I removed video ads from my site)
  • $450 Partnerships/Sponsorships
  • $10,443.76 Affiliate Income
  • $14,059.55 Courses + products
  • $350 Freelancing

If you want to keep track of your online income (which I highly recommend) check out Freshbooks! It’s what I’ve used to track business income, expenses, invoice clients, and more. Click here to learn more about Freshbooks.

GRAND TOTAL: $26,288.57

So that’s crazy right? Like, how is that even a real number? I more than doubled my income from December and was pretty much just like… holy shiiiiiit! πŸ˜‰ 

I feel great about my online income. At the start of 2016, most of my income was primarily from freelancing. I really wanted to work less and have more passive income, which I’ve worked hard at over the past several months. Funny thing is, I’m not really working less.

Don’t get me wrong, some weeks I work 20 hours and then some weeks I work 40 hours, so it balances out. Plus, when I had to take a 90 day time-out from blogging this past fall to handle personal matters, my passive income kept flowing in, which means this whole strategy is working!

Here’s some highlights from January:

  • I re-released Become a Pinterest VA TODAY! for four days only with my girl Gina from Horkey Handbook. This course is performing really well as it’s very niche specific and there isn’t anything else like it on the market. We make a great team and have worked really hard on making this course bursting with information at a really low price point. You can learn more about the course here.
  • January was a good time for people to focus on saving money as well as investing in products that will help them make money. Fortunately, I have some great affiliate products that help with both of these areas, which lead to a major increase in income. If you need help growing your affiliate income, this course can help you make more money.
  • I finally (!!) committed to focusing on Facebook. I’ve been anti-Facebook for the longest time and didn’t even create a Facebook page for Believe In A Budget until last year. Even though Pinterest continues to be my number one referral source for traffic, I realized it was time to appreciate the benefits Facebook could provide for my blog. I spent $200 on a Facebook ad in January and made over $4,000 in affiliate income. This was a total guessing game and it did well, so I’m going to spend a similar amount in February to see how things continue.
  • I’ve made an effort to do more in-person meet-ups, which has helped my energy level as well as develop new friendships. I was fortunate to get to hangout with a group of smart and talented personal finance women a couple of weeks ago, as well as have regular weekly meet-ups with fellow bloggers and online entrepreneurs. It’s become clear to me that I need regular interaction with my fellow peers to discuss goals, brainstorm ideas cheer each other on!

Monthly Expenses

These were my January expenses:

  • $96 VA work
  • $39 Teachable
  • $200 Facebook ad
  • $5,150 Affiliate/Joint Venture was shared with Become a Pinterest VA TODAY! and affiliate payouts for my other courses. I wasn’t quite sure how to report my income for this since part of this is joint venture shared income, so I reported the full amount as it was income earned and just used the deduction here.
  • $0 Tailwind. I pay for this annually. Tailwind is the scheduler I use when I do all my pinning on Pinterest. It’s my favorite scheduler I use for my clients and myself.


I still have to deduct around 30% of my income for taxes as well. I pretty much do everything myself, except for blog maintenance and small tasks. I like doing a lot of the work and am not sure what I would really source out.

Courses and products

I’m really happy with my courses and products. Creating something of my own has been huge in growing my own blog. I’ve helped hundreds of people as well as have been able to earn income from this. It’s a win-win!

Everything happens organically

There is no way I would be where I am today without busting my butt these past two years. I started at the bottom not knowing how to do anything, not having any friends in the blogging community and being pretty clueless πŸ™‚ But I really believed if I worked hard it would be impossible to fail! So I learned as much as possible, became friends with fellow bloggers and am still learning something new everyday.

If you’re a new blogger, want to be friends? Come join my Bright Bloggers + Business group on Facebook! It’s a private group where my co-host Allison and myself encourage new bloggers to ask questions in a friendly environment and celebrate successes! 

Blogging started as a side hustle. I have turned this side hustle into a full time job! Learn how I increased my income and make money blogging each month!There is no way I could have created any of my courses or products without actually experiencing everything first.

I had to start off as a Pinterest VA and work my way up to a Pinterest manager and help clients first before I ever could have created Pinterest Presence.

I leveraged my skills as a freelancer so I could create Become a Pinterest VA TODAY! and help other freelancers wanting to get in the Pinterest market.

I also appreciate that I was able to design a lot of Pinterest pins for my clients so I knew what style of pins to sell as part of my Pinterest pin templates.

Is this necessary for everyone who wants to create a product or course? Absolutely not! However, I needed this entire organic process to get where I am today.

To sum up my journey over the past two years it looks like this: 

  • Start a personal finance blog in January 2015
  • Write a random blog post about how Pinterest increased my page views in April 2015
  • Fellow bloggers hired me to help with Pinterest and designing Pinterest pins
  • Created a ‘Hire Me’ Page and got hired by businesses
  • Quit my day job to blog and freelance full time on October 2015
  • Got a little too busy; created Pinterest Presence so potential clients can purchase my DIY course in March 2016 instead of hiring me.
  • Created pre-made Pinterest templates for my audience in August 2016. This helps non-design savvy bloggers feel more design savvy and avoided the headache of wasting time to create a pin.
  • Partnered up and launched Become a Pinterest VA TODAY! in November 2016. I shared my Pinterest management experience for fellow freelancers and entrepreneurs who want to get started in this niche.
  • Coming up next…speaking at the Thrive conference in March 2017! I’ll be hosting an in-person Pinterest workshop and am literally so excited to help fellow entrepreneurs up their Pinterest skills.

What’s next

As I already mentioned, I only plan on sharing these online income reports when something major happens, whether it’s positive or negative. With that being said, I don’t anticipate anything changing too much over the next couple of months, so this will probably be the last one for a while. πŸ™‚

Overall, things are busy! In 2016, I focused on building my brand by creating products and courses. This year I don’t have any plans to create anything new (at least not really). I’m really happy with where I am on things. I’m focusing on updating what I already have and making the best possible courses and products available!

I’m also working on getting better at sharing my brand with others, whether it be with Facebook ads, planning more joint venture projects or saying yes to more interviews. I’m not huge on participating in tons of Facebook groups, so that’s one area I probably could improve upon.

Pinterest Presence is getting a makeover. I’m in the process of updating the course with new tips, features, etc. and will be released in the spring. I’m stoked about this!

I’m also releasing individual niche-specific Pinterest pin templates. My packs of 6 templates have done really well, but thanks to a lot of great feedback, I’m working on creating niche-specific pins. I’m really excited about these new pins and these should be available in early spring as well.

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  1. I’m super impressed with your blogging success and thank you for the level of detail you provided in your post. It’s both an inspiration and good advice for a new blogger. I hope to implement some of your tactics!

  2. I absolutely LOVE reading these reports. It gives me a great picture of what I need to do as a beginner blogger.

  3. great for you i never made money blogging and probably never will with all my efforts it is very sad, i have never even had any subscribers gave up on that a long time ago. i soend so much time on research and still nothing. great post but not for me

    1. Kristin Larsen says:

      Not everyone has to blog and try to make money from it! For me, blogging should be fun and if I can use it as a way to help others and earn income (at no expense to anyone else), then it’s a bonus! At the same time, I’ve also hustled for a while to make this blog my full time income πŸ™‚

  4. Just finished your PP course! Excited to increase the page views to try & make this kind of income. Congrats again and thanks for continuing to post the income reports. It’s a huge motivator others out there!

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Awesome! Let me know if you have questions, I’m always around to help πŸ™‚

  5. I have started to work on increasing the monetization of my blog (www.fromcentstoretirement.com/online-income/), and this is truly inspirational. I will stick around!!!

    Keep up!

    1. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Congrats on all your success, Kristin! I’m so glad you are training others to be Pinterest VAs. There is a huge shortage of them, and they need the skills that can drive traffic to blogs. I can’t say enough how important it is that the supply of Pinterest VAs increase! Nothing has been a bigger thorn in my side the past year than trying to find and pay a competent Pinterest manager.

    Also that is incredible restraint to spend just $200 when you brought in $4k from a facebook ad. I would have quickly edited that boosted post and poured $2k into it – at that point you had little to lose and if the economics work out you could have pulled in $100k! That’s with me not knowing the specifics of the $200 to $4k conversion, of course, but wow if I saw something convert at that margin….

    1. Kristin Larsen says:

      Ha, Facebook ads still make no sense to me! I’ve just been doing $200 now for Feb and March and getting the same results with the same ad – I have no idea when to end it or if I’m supposed to create a new one?! I think I get nervous spending a lot of money on them. It’s done really well, I think my relevancy score is a 9/10 and I’ve only been paying 14 cents per conversion? I know nothing, ha!! Maybe I’ll get brave and spend more in April πŸ™‚

  7. Wow! I’m loving your income reports and how they are going up so rapidly!

    1. Kristin Larsen says:

      Thanks Alexis! They don’t feel like they are increasing rapidly, each month seems like a lot of work, ha! I’ve actually been more stressed earning more per month because I’m worried it will all somehow stop or I will have to maintain it. I need to learn to get excited about it more πŸ™‚

  8. Heya Kristin!

    Great job!
    Earning over $20,000 with blogging is just amazing! Congrats for this wonderful achievement.
    You have really made good income with your courses & affiliate income.

    Keep it up! πŸ™‚

    Happy Blogging!

    – Nabankita

    1. Kristin Larsen says:

      Thanks so much. It’s really crazy, right?! I look at my paychecks and am like, wow is this real? Ha!

  9. This is amazing. Congrats, I can only dream of $20,000. It’s crazy to think that’s someones yearly salary.

    1. It is crazy, right?! Totally in shock about it!

    2. Kristin Larsen says:

      It is crazy! It doesn’t feel real at all. I think I’ve been so busy working and getting things done, I don’t even think about what a good month it was. Thanks!

  10. I’m so glad that you decided to continue doing these! They are so inspirational especially for newbie bloggers like me but hey I have made $5 so far, lol!

    Random non financial tangent, you mentioned previously that you were an introvert. However, you were talking about being around other people and how it energized you. Typically that is an indicative of an extrovert. Maybe throughout this blogging endeavor you have become more extroverted? Thoughts?

    Your favorite Myers Briggs Junkie,


    1. Great question! I’m an introvert that has worked really hard at becoming more extrovert! I realized that about 9ish months into being self-employed that I missed being around other people. I get together on a weekly basis with 2 other fellow bloggers to co-work at coffee shops πŸ™‚ I’ve also worked on participating more in blogger groups. It’s hard for me internally haha, but I know it’s best for me to grow! I’ve also realized the more I work with fellow bloggers, the better I can grow and contribute πŸ™‚

  11. Congrats! you just made it 2 times more than the last month, no even higher than that! Just amazing Kristin and I are glad that you didn’t decide to completely stop publishing your income report. I have read all your reports and it really motivated me. You even published it when you just earned $68. Thanks again for sharing!!

    Pallav πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks! I still remember what it to took to earn every single income report and that first $60 was the hardest πŸ™‚

  12. That’s awesome Kirsten! I too find it inspiring and motivating reading about your progress. As soon as I considered starting a blog I knew I had found my passion- and reading this kind of thing gives me the determination to persist. Your facebook group is also great. Go you!

    1. Thanks! I’m so excited for you to start blogging – you can do this!!

  13. MARIE WATSON says:

    Thank you for sharing your income. I find it inspiring.

  14. Woot-woot!!! HUGE congratulations!!! You are living proof that hard work pays off; and that there’s no magical formula to success – it’s putting in the hours and trying different things until you figure out what works for you and your brand!! Thanks for being such an inspiration!!!

    -Sarah http://www.thefrugalmillionaireblog.com

    1. Thanks girl πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to see what you do this year – you are doing so much now it’s crazy!

  15. Hi Kristin,I envy you about your income.Any way that is the reword of hard working.I have been follow you and your blog and I have gained a lot from you,thanks for sharing such amazing information, and your word of encouragement for young blogger.

    My question is that,do you have affiliate program for your product?I’m looking for affiliate products that I can promote on my blog that related to how to get traffic.


    1. Thanks Anthony! I do have an affiliate program for my courses. Go to http://courses.believeinabudget.com/ and sign up. Then email me and let me know, and I can add you as an affiliate to my courses πŸ™‚

  16. Congrats on the huuuuuge increase last month Kristin!! So proud of you and it’s been great following your journey πŸ™‚ I’m working on creating an email course right now and really considering doing some Facebook ads. Thank so much for the inspiration as always πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks girl! Time is flying by since we first got started!

  17. Whoo! Congratulations, Kristin. Your blog income reports really are inspiring.

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