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June 2015 Blogger Income Report (with Expenses)

Time for my monthly blogger income report. Are you ready?

A breakdown of what she made and the expenses in this blogger income report. Includes details about what she learned that can be great tips for any blogger who wants to make money blogging.

Hi there and happy July! Now that the smoke has cleared from our massive fireworks display that we put on with our neighbors and I have packed away the DIY waterpark I installed in my front yard, I decided it was time to share my June Blogger Income/Expense Report.

A video is embedded. Please visit our YouTube channel.

Blogger Income/Expense Report breakdown for June

INCOME

  • Product Sales through Inspired Bloggers University and Meet Penny $1,348.71
  • Product Sales through a third party (Teachers Pay Teachers) $24.98
  • Affiliate Sales (other bloggers and bundle sales) $750.83
  • Amazon Affiliates $176.53
  • Amazon Kindle Publishing $95.91
  • Advertising Networks (The Blogger Network, Adsense) $508.48
  • Affiliate Networks (Commission Junction, Linkshare, etc.) $104.07

TOTAL JUNE INCOME $3009.51

EXPENSES

  • Virtual Assistants and Contributors $465.00
  • Affiliate Commissions $9.20
  • Hosting and Domains $236.55
  • Social Media Advertising $120.89
  • Stock Photography $20.00
  • Email Server $150.00

TOTAL JUNE EXPENSE $1001.64

BOTTOM LINE: INCOME! $2007.87

What I learned this month from my blogging income/expense report

Knowing what you make and spend is important in any business because… hello? TAXES! But, you also need to pay attention to trends and learn from your reports.

PRODUCT SALES – Wow. I launched a new class for Periscope on June and saw decent sales from that but the majority of the income came from membership subscribers and other e-course sales. The fabulous thing about having your own products? You create them once and then they make passive income forever.

PRODUCT SALES through a 3rd party – I only have two or three printable packs uploaded to Teachers Pay Teachers. Can you imagine what I could do if I uploaded all 100 that I have getting dusty in the cloud?

AFFILIATE SALES – A huge chunk of that income was from bundle sales… but I am really tired of promoting bundle sales. So, I either need to come up with a new way to promote them without spamming people to death or get really picky about the ones I promote because the income is NICE.

AMAZON AFFILIATES – I was lazy about sharing my affiliate link in social media and it showed tremendously. I need to be posting at least one affiliate link to social media each day.

AMAZON KINDLE – Ebook sales are down, either because of the update to the Kindle Direct Publishing or because I have not uploaded a new ebook in a while. I have several I could add. Might be time to do that because when you have more than one ebook available, they all sell better.

AFFILIATE COMMISSIONS – I am not utilizing my affiliates. I need to come up with a way to empower them to make more money with my products.

What did you learn?

Did you notice something from the income/expense report that I didn’t see? Please leave a comment so we can all learn together.

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Investing Time and Money into Your Blogging Business

Today, I finished my taxes. My profit for 2014 from blogging was over $31,000. Looking back on the last three years, I cannot imagine what would have happened if I had all the information I needed to be a successful blogger from the start.

Why should you invest time and money into your blog by continuing your education? Expert bloggers share their opinions.

I have strong opinions about why you should invest in your blogging business by attending conferences and joining membership-based blogging sites:

  1. You should always be learning. If you are not learning, your business will grow stale.
  2. Technology is always changing. You should always be changing too.
  3. Investing means you are serious about what you do and willing to pay a little to learn a lot.
  4. Learning more means earning more. Want to make money at this blogging gig? Take an e-course.

But, there are other bloggers out there. Do they think investing time and money into your blog is a good idea? Let’s see…

Toni Anderson, The Happy Housewife

As someone who has made close to seven figures in my 7 years of blogging, you have to be willing to invest time and money if you want to make this a profitable business. You have to invest in the tools/ training/ time/ foundation in order to make it work. I’ve spent thousands of dollars in events, online training, and books to help grow my business. There were times when that was a very hard choice for me to make because it meant not getting something else. However, had I not invested in those things I would not be where I am today.

I say all this not to make anyone feel condemned about their choices, but rather because I’ve been there before. I’ve missed opportunities because I was afraid to invest in my business. Don’t be afraid to invest- if you are spending more than 20 hours a week building your business and are not seeing measurable growth/ success, you need to change something and my suggestion would be to sign up for Inspired Bloggers University. You can’t continue to lose time/money because while you can make up the money you can’t get back the time.

Join the Inspired Bloggers University before April 15th and save 15%.

Erin Chase, $5 Dinners

You have to be willing to get past your fear and your excuses if you really want to make change in your business and your life.

Alicia Myers, The Sensible Family

I make a larger income with my blog than I did as a CPA and more money than our farm earns. At this rate, for 2015, I’ll hit the 6 figure club before the end of the 2nd quarter, working 10 hours a week. After 10+ years, I should have hit that goal sooner, but I didn’t want to spend the money.

Once I learned that if I’d turn loose of a few bucks, I’d learn things much quicker than doing all of my own compiling of research, I started making the big bucks. I’m a bit of a wanderer.. I’d research one thing, print it, forget about it, repeat. I’d start reading one thing and look up hours later in something completely unrelated.

The other thing I learned was that I’d put MUCH more work into implementing something I paid for. If it were free- so what? I’d do it whenever. If I paid for it, I wanted my money back PRONTO. Sure, I learned a lot by trial and error, along with careful and documented testing, but by paying for and completing resources created by others, I was introduced to things that I never would have even thought to look for on my own.

Those theories should apply to anything you try to increase your earnings. Not every class, seminar, book, etc. will work for you, but when you find the one that does, things will take a quick turn for the better.

Sarah Eckert, Scissor Savings Sarah

I can tell those who lack the funds for the classes that setting aside the money to participate in Inspired Bloggers University is WELL worth it. I was in the same boat last August. Free blog platform, bills coming from every which way, looking high and low for free content with no funds to pay for more. I discussed my future business intentions with my family and expressed the value in what the courses had to offer.

I am not going to lie… it was an expense that we had to budget around, but now it is something that I wake up every day and am thankful for because I can do what I love! I gained the basic and advanced skills necessary to kick my blog up to the next level and monetized as SOON as I got the blogs up. I made the money back for my classes and continue to grow.

It is an investment, yes. Is it worth it if you are serious about your business and the future of your blog? Yes! I took the leap, rearranged funds and have only looked back on the month or two that it took to rearrange my budget as a blessing because I am ten times the blogger I once was before gaining the knowledge!

Join the Inspired Bloggers University before April 15th and save 15%.

Katie Hornor, Paradise Praises

Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and I daresay none of us start off a pro at anything. We all have to learn. Making the sacrifice of time and money to learn blogging and business is well worth it. It may seem like it doesn’t make sense to pay for a class when you’re not yet making money, but when you plug in what you’ve learned, you can make that cost back and much, much more. I’ve been where I didn’t have $12 extra in a month, but we got creative, moved stuff around in our budget, and figured out how to make it work b/c it was important to us that we keep learning in order to improve ourselves and our business, and it does pay off in the long run.

 

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What Does VAT Mean for US Bloggers?

Recently, there has been a lot of buzz in the blogosphere about VAT, or the European Union’s Value Added Tax. Many bloggers in the United States are confused, so I want to explain exactly what VAT means for US bloggers and how it will change the way you sell digital goods and services online.

What you need to know about the European VAT and how to avoid charging/paying that tax as a US business selling online.

Although VAT was enacted in 2003, the changes effective January 1, 2015 have brought attention to the impact on all non-European residents who sell digital goods and services to consumers within the European Union. So, if you have an online store on your blog and have customers in Europe, this means you… regardless of where you live. [SOURCE: GOV.UK]

As of January 1, 2015, there will be significant changes to the European VAT rules on sales of digital goods and services to retail consumers in Europe.  These changes increase the VAT compliance burdens on all sellers, wherever those sellers are located.

Rick Minor, Forbes

Please note that the Value Added Tax is not based on the seller’s location but the rate is designated by the consumer’s country of residence and may vary greatly from country to country, reaching as much as 27% of the product’s value.

Being VAT Compliant

If you sell digital goods and services to consumers in Europe, you must follow the instructions for submitting the Value Added Tax.

  1. You must register as a non-resident seller for VAT prior to any sales to European customers.
  2. Even if the tax equates to only $0.01 USD, you must still submit payment.
  3. The VAT rate must be included in your retail price and not listed separately as a US state sales tax would be.
  4. Payments are submitted quarterly. To avoid having to pay each country individually, you can choose a simpler system for reporting with VAT MOSS. [SOURCE: VAT Mini One Stop Shop, UK.GOV]
  5. Information regarding the transaction must be kept on file for 10 years.

Many eCommerce plugins and websites are updating to include VAT compliance.

  • Woothemes has announced a Woocommerce VAT extension that will collect and validate the consumer’s IP address and their country of residence.
  • Shopify will be supplying you with the customer’s billing address and IP address for you to pursue VAT compliance. [SOURCE: Shopify]
  • Easy Digital Downloads offers an extension to make VAT compliance possible.
  • Ejunkie is trying to explain how to be VAT compliant while using their services.

How the tax is enforced upon US businesses

Several bloggers have touted that the European Union has no basis to command United States business owners to pay VAT. They have said that VAT will be impossible to enforce. Perhaps, but many analysts anticipate that other countries will enact a Value Added Tax as Europe’s model is receiving high praise.

  • Canadian legislature is consider its own VAT. [SOURCE: The Globe and Mail]
  • India plans to solidify changes to their VAT in April 2016. [SOURCE: Indian Express]
  • Senate Finance Committee member, Benjamin L. Cardin, plans to introduce legislation for a United States VAT. [SOURCE: Lexis Nexis]

Sellers of digital goods need to settle into the idea and stop claiming ignorance as the European Union plans to tighten the enforcement of VAT using web bots to find eMerchants in violation. [SOURCE: Taxamo] The United States has already pledged to cooperate in several treaties and documents including the Economic and Technical Cooperation agreement between the US and Bulgaria in 1998.

What we [HMRC] and other EU tax authorities are doing is if we found that one of these businesses is non-compliant then through treaties arrangements that we have with the jurisdictions, through information exchange or debt recovery, we would then approach the authorities in those other states to take action to help us to get the debt paid.

Those arrangements are going to be reinforced, and strengthened, effectively in the coming months and years to make sure that there aren’t jurisdictions out there where someone could effectively hide and make those supplies without properly declaring.

Andrew Webb, Taxamo

Limitations to Europe’s VAT

What is included under the VAT changes? View a comprehensive listing of digital services and goods by Taxamo.

But what is NOT included?

A video is embedded above.

Here are a few important notes recorded by My News Desk during a Twitter Q&A with HM Revenue and Customs that was mentioned in the video above:

A2  What constitutes an e-service? #VATMOSS

An e-service is one that is fully automated and involves no or minimal human intervention. #VATMOSS

A4  Does #VATMOSS apply to web hosting, SAAS, cloud storage, analytics, online accounting, remote maintenance and web advertising? #VATMOSS

Yes if those services are automated and involve no, or minimal, intervention. #VATMOSS

A5  Does this mean I need to be VAT registered to sell ebooks? #VATMOSS

If you sell ebooks to consumers in other member states through own fully automated website this will be an e-service, so yes.  #VATMOSS

A6  If I run a paid live webinar (human interaction) and have a free pdf download with it, is that liable under #VATMOSS?

No, the live webinar is not an e-service and the pdf download, provided it is genuinely free, will not be affected by new rules. #VATMOSS

A7  Is delivering part live, part downloadable content to customers around the EU exempt from #VATMOSS?

Live content not an e-service, downloadable content is. Depends on which part of transaction was principal element for customer. #VATMOSS

A8  If I have paid membership for my website and people can then get free online courses, is that a digital services under #VATMOSS?

If course is fully automated it’s an e service. If there is “human intervention” eg online tutors, live Q&As etc, it’s not. #VATMOSS

A9  What about virtual classrooms combining live webinars, videos, pdfs & human intervention? #VATMOSS

A virtual classroom combining all these elements would not be an e-service because of the amount of human intervention involved. #VATMOSS

A10  What if an e-course contains recorded videos & PDFs but is opened at specific times only + has live interaction? #VATMOSS

The inclusion of live interaction means that this is not an e-service. #VATMOSS

A11  If I offer coaching (human intervention) with an online course, how do I handle that to comply with #VATMOSS?

The inclusion of live coaching means that this is not an e service. #VATMOSS

You should read the complete Twitter Q&A transcript as it includes details on the VAT implications for Paypal, Etsy, Kickstarter, and more.

Follow VAT MOSS on Twitter for updates.

How to avoid paying VAT

Your options for #VATMOSS... according to a cartoonist.

graphic published with permission of Dave Walker. SOURCE

If you have an online store and want to avoid paying VAT completely, you have one option: Block sales to consumers living in Europe. Most eCommerce plugins have a way to limit the countries allowed to purchase through your store.

You can also use a 3rd party eMarketplace such as Amazon, Etsy, etc. who assume responsibility for being VAT compliant for you.

Breathe.

Wow. I feel like I need to take a deep breath because this is quite a lot of important information, and I probably should have divided it into multiple posts. However, I remain determined to educate you for your protection and thought one thorough piece would keep you from plundering around Google looking for help in decoding this complex piece of legislation that will impact so many of us.

I truly hope you are ending with a clear understanding of VAT and what it means to US bloggers. Now, go make sure your blog is VAT compliant.

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How to Make Money Blogging

When I tell people that I make money blogging, they immediately want to know how. The more I say, the more intrigued they become and eventually the question becomes, “Can I build a blog that makes a profit too?”

Absolutely.

Step by step printable and instructions for how to make money blogging. Tons of links to places you can use to monetize a blog. But you must understand that blogging is not a “get rich quick” business. I cannot say that you should expect a certain income in (x number of) days.

Brand new? Thinking about blogging? Make sure to read How to Start a Blog.

The time that it takes to see an income varies greatly. However, I can give you a step-by-step guide that will have you making money with a blog as quickly as possible.

This video describes the foundational levels for a profitable blog.

Make Money Blogging Video Notes

[Read more about choosing your webhosting before investing in your blog host.]

Make Money with a Blog

If you are looking for ways to turn your hobby blog into a money-making blog, we want to share with you the ULTIMATE list of advertising networks and affiliate programs because monetizing your blog is easier when the product matches your audience.

>>READ: How much money do bloggers make?<<

1) Join Ad Networks.

Join these ad networks and post the offers that relate to your readers.Through these companies, you can find offers from major retailers like Target and Walmart and smaller companies like Answer in Genesis and Zulily.

Escalate Media

ShareASale

Linkshare

Commission Junction

Impact Radius

Avantlink

Glitter Network

2) Use Ad Space Networks.

In my opinion, these are the ultimate resources for passive income.

Essentially, you dedicate space on your blog to these companies, put in the necessary code to make the ads function (which is relatively easy), and then let it go. Sure, you can tweak what you place and where but there is nothing to repeatedly change.

Chitika

Google Adsense

Kontera

Media.net

3) Sign up for review networks.

Review networks have a list of clients they seek to match with bloggers for sponsored posts and social media campaigns. The application process can vary. Some networks are set up like a forum while others list their needs like a job board.

IZEA

Linqia

Savings.com

ShopHer Media

Sverve

TapInfluence

Clever Girls

Collective Bias

Massive Sway

5) Create your own products.

One of the most lucrative ways to make money blogging is by creating and selling your own products.

Sell digital products, like ebooks, podcasts, and webinars.

Offer a service, such as consulting or design.

Design logos to go on physical products.

Market ad space or sponsored content on your blog.

6) Sign up for Affiliate Programs.

Below is a list of companies with affiliate programs. To make the most of your affiliate relationships, talk about the product often and use your affiliate link from your posts. Do not depend on sidebar ads to generate sales.

If you have a product you love and want to represent the company, visit their website and look for an affiliate tab in the menu or footer.

The list of affiliate opportunities is truly endless. Proving such, if you have an affiliate program and are open to new affiliates, please link up!

Get started with your own blog

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How to Create a Blog Media Kit

Creating a media kit for your blog does not need to be a difficult task. You can easily put together a blog media kit with a few simple ingredients.

Creating a media kit for you blog might be easier than you think. If your goal is to make money blogging, a media kit is a necessity.

A media kit for your blog really only needs three things: about you/your blog, the blog’s numbers, and the type of advertising you have available. All of this can fit on one page.

If you want to add a little more glamour, top the page with your blog header.

Basic Needs for a Blog Media Kit

Consider this quick video…

A video is embeded.

If creating a blog media kit intimidates you, stop here and complete all of the above before proceeding.

What Goes in a Blog Media Kit?

Now, if you are comfortable taking your blog’s media kit to the next level, here are a few things you can do to make it really shine, page by page.

First, unless you are a multimedia person with a big business plan, you only need two pages. Max.

Then, make it pretty and use your blog’s background and header as a theme with matching colors and fonts throughout your media kit.

Page One – Introduction

A sample media kit - the basics and how to make it sparkle

Open your media kit with a paragraph about you and your blog. Keep it short. This is not the place for your bio as much as a quick history of your blog, your main topic, and your vision.

You can then add a block quote, popular picture linked to the post, a list of links to your popular posts/series, profile picture with your contact information, and/or your blog’s tagline.

Finally, end this page with your blog’s reach. You can use Alexa.com or a blog survey to gather basic demographic information like the location, age, and gender of your readers. Then, break down the numbers to include:

  • Monthly Unique Visitors
  • Monthly Pageviews
  • RSS Subscribers and/or Email Subscribers
  • Social Media Followers

If you are unsure about how to find the traffic information from your blog, I recommend using Google Analytics as it appears to be the most trusted indicator of blog popularity by most of the companies with which I have worked. Be aware that some companies require a screenshot of your analytics so be honest.

Page Two – About your advertising

A sample media kit - the basics and how to make it sparkle

 

 

On page two, your primary focus should be the types of advertising you have available and what you charge for those spaces and services. Include any guidelines for advertisers such as:

  • when payment is due and what types of payment are accepted (Paypal, check, money order).
  • what constitutes a violation of your agreement (redirected links or a landing page with questionable content).
  • whether or not the links will be NOFOLLOW.
  • any rights you reserve for cancelling the contract.

If space allows, brag on yourself. Mention any former advertising relationships, awards, media appearances, or blog networks to which you belong.

Then, before you proofread (and proofread again), insert your contact information. Having your contact information on both pages is critical. Just think of it this way… if someone prints your media kit to hand off to the decision-maker in the company and one of the pages is misplaced, you still want them to have the information they need to contact you.

What to charge for ad space

Not sure what to charge? Fees vary from blog to blog but to get started, you should consider your number of pageviews and the sizes/locations of the ads. Typically, you can multiply the number of pageviews by $0.0005 (or $0.50 per every 10,000 pageviews) to find a good starting rate for a small sidebar ad. For larger blogs, that equation can change to as much as $2 per 10,000 pageviews.

If you are offering larger ads or premium spaces (such as above your blog’s header), you can charge more for these areas but use your small sidebar ad (which tends to be the most popular seller) as a foundation for choosing your other fees.

Edited to add: 

A recent conversation in our Facebook group caused me to realize that bloggers with fewer pageviews need to recognize the value of the time it takes to negotiate, code, and maintain their sidebar. I personally recommend that small blogs do not sell their sidebar ad space for less than $10 a month.

How to deliver your media kit

My media kit is not available on my blog although many blogger do have a page dedicated to their advertising. My page is actually a synopsis of what is available and then I mention that prospective advertisers can request a copy of my media kit by contacting me. (Insert contact information here.)

Then, my media kit is saved as a PDF file so I can easily attach it to any email and it cannot be easily altered.

Any time I receive an email from someone inquiring about ad space, a product review, or guest post, I reply with “Thanks for reaching out. I’ve attached my media kit for your convenience.” If they are really interested in doing business with me, I hear from them again. If not, I have saved myself a ton of time.

 

Need help making a blog media kit?

If you want all of the equations for figuring out what to charge and the ease of a template made for you, purchase the DIY Blog Media Kit for only $14.99 from the Inspired Blogger University.

You can easily make a blog media kit with these templates and know exactly what to charge with these simple equations. Only $4.99!

 

The DIY Blog Media Kit includes templates, canned responses for potential advertisers, and more to help you make money blogging.

Now… what about your blog media kit?

What do you think is an essential ingredient for a blog’s media kit? Where do you store it?