Updated: November 14, 2018
Ok, I’m biting the bullet on this one. In the almost 8 years I’ve been a pet blogger, and the 3 or so that I’ve been a full-time pet blogger, this income report is probably one of the scariest blog posts I’ve written.
To be clear, the blog referenced in this income report is my dog blog – You Did What With Your Wiener? (YDWWYW), not this blog.
On a larger scale, this income report is about my business I have BECAUSE of my dog blog. Everything I do in my business is related to, or because of, it.
Below, I highlighted the income directly from my dog blog business in orange.
So why is writing this income report scary for me? Two reasons.
One: Impostor Syndrome is strong with me. My life story is pretty much obsessing over the things I didn’t do right while barely acknowledging my accomplishments.
I recognize though that being afraid, and keeping my accomplishments under wraps, is minimizing myself and everything I’ve worked very hard for.
The truth is, most people will never know what you’ve accomplished unless you tell them.
I want to thank a small group of friends (you know who you are) who pushed me to finally thisn income report for my pet blog.
By sharing this breakdown of my blog-related income, it might give other aspiring professional pet bloggers hope that it really can be done.
Two: Being vulnerable is hard.
Look, I’m going to be up-front right now, I don’t make a ton of money (yet) as a professional pet blogger. In some metropolitan cities, it’s barely enough to live on.
But I do make enough that I was able to pay my bills and turn my blog into a successful full-time business.
Sharing my income report makes me feel very vulnerable because it opens me up for scrutiny, real or imagined.
I worry that people will think I’m lying, that they will think I’m bragging or full of myself, that they will compare me to others bloggers that make more and say, “This is no big deal.” The list of fears goes on.
I know that my fears are more imagined than not and also know that I have to do me. I can’t please everyone.
So here it goes: My first (and maybe last) pet blogging income report.
A Little History
I started my blog in November of 2010. I had no idea what I was doing. I mean, NONE.
About a year and a half later, in spring of 2012, I attended my first BlogPaws Conference because it sounded fun. That was the first time I became aware that I could actually make money blogging.
I started learning as much as I could about writing and marketing a blog. I put in about 30 hours a week on my “part-time business” outside of my regular 40-hour-per-week job.
I think I received my first email to review a bag of dog treats about 6 months after the conference and I hit 500 pageviews a day in spring 2013.
Eventually, I started making a little cash too and realized that it was indeed possible for my blog to at least pay for itself.
My efforts, and my income, continued to grow. I realized that, not only could I make some money, but I could possibly turn my blog into a business that provided a full-time income.
I changed my mindset from blogging as a hobby to treating my blog like a business.
Around 2012 there was a sudden death in my family – someone that was like a mother to me – and family took priority over a stable career. The truth is, I was burned out and frustrated anyway so I wasn’t devastated.
I cashed out my modest retirement fund and, after I was done taking care of family business, I went back to school to earn a masters in Digital Communications.
Part way through my degree program, I launched my consulting business PetTalk Media.
Note: Going back to school was not integral to my success. I do think it helped me in a lot of ways. However, I know many bloggers that did not earn an advanced degree in basically, blogging, and they earn way more than I do through their blogs.
In 2017, I launched Pet Blog Biz, which morphed into what you see today – Niche Blog Biz.
Where I Am Today
The first year or so of making a living through blogging was really rocky.
I definitely don’t suggest quitting your day job like I did until you have a better idea if full-time blogging could be a viable business for you.
Luckily, I had a little nest egg to help keep me afloat.
Today, I make, on average, as much as I did from my cushy government job.
Like all of the pet bloggers out there I am aware of, I don’t make all of my income directly from my blog.
In the beginning, I offered my services to pet companies and other bloggers. I also became a dog sitter and dog walker.
I offer other services to bring in income but, except for the dog walking, they are all blog related and clients typically find me through my dog blog.
My different mix of income streams was enough to pay my bills.
Over the years, as the income I generated from my blog increased, I phased out some other revenue streams (like the dog walking).
In 2018, I started earning almost 100% of my income directly from my blog.
You will see, in 2019, I made almost exactly what I made in 2017 but I feel like there was still progress because my monthly income became more predictable.
In 2019, I focused less on my primary blog so that I could tend to other projects. Although I managed to publish 22 new blog posts – almost 2 per month average – the bulk of them were published between May and June.
In the second half of 2019, I launched a second blog – a niche site focused on quality content and SEO optimized articles. My goal is to be making $1,000 a month from this blog by June 2020 (stay tuned for updates).
I also spend a lot of time planning for the new phase of my business to launch in 2020.
My 3rd Quarter Income Reports
Why am I only including income for Q3?
I find compiling these income reports a bit tedious and find it hard to believe that anyone wants to tune into how I am doing every month.
I feel like checking in annually gives a good snapshot of how blog income can change without belaboring the point.
My first income report – 2017
Note: I mathed wrong and this one isn’t really Q3 – which runs from August to October
Mediavine Ad Network: $3,385.00
Blog Mentoring/Coaching: $385.00
YDWWYW Brand Sponsors: $2,086.00
Dog Sitting (Rover.com): $404.00
Consulting/Contract Work: $3,885.00
Amazon Associates (Affiliate): $801.00
GROSS TOTAL $10,946.00
Mediavine Ad Network: $2,660.90
Blog Mentoring/Coaching: $385.00
Dog Sitting (Rover.com): $214.37
Consulting/Contract Work: $1,691.00
Affiliate – Amazon $800.27
GROSS TOTAL $5,751.54
Mediavine Ad Network: $2,980.99
Blog Mentoring/Coaching: $0.00
YDWWYW Sponsor: $745.50
Dog Sitting (Rover.com): $173.15
Consulting/Contract Work: $2,543.27
Affiliate – Amazon: $805.79
GROSS TOTAL $6,981.70
2018 income report
Well, I missed this one.
I may go back and track the information at some point but I’ll probably just move forward.
2019 income report
Mediavine Ad Network: $6,206.70
Blog Mentoring/Coaching: $82.00
Sponsored Content: $0
Affiliate – Amazon: $1,506.96
GROSS TOTAL $7,795.66
Mediavine Ad Network: $6,010.94
Blog Mentoring/Coaching: $0
Sponsored Content: $0
Affiliate – Amazon: $1,832.35
GROSS TOTAL $7,843.29
Mediavine Ad Network: $5,082.43
Blog Mentoring/Coaching: $0
Sponsored Content: 1,125.00
Affiliate – Amazon: $1,513.01
GROSS TOTAL $7,720.44
The Fine Print
I want to make a few disclaimers to the above.
You are seeing merely a snapshot of my monthly income. Although the earnings are more predictable month-to-month, they can still vary by $1,000 or more.
June 2018 was my highest-earning month so far. What I made in 2019 is more the average.
Also, I’m married so I am not responsible for 100% of the household bills myself, although I do cover about 75% of them.
My hubby’s employer does provide our healthcare at a reasonable cost, which is crucial for us.
My ultimate goal is to make enough to cover all of our bills myself, and our healthcare, in 2020. The way the trend is going, I believe that is possible.
I will also note that we bought a house and moved in early 2019. While the move was more about quality of life, it did lower our household bills a bit.
My advice if you are self employed is learn quickly to live within your means – perhaps adopting a minimalist lifestyle but definitely cutting out things you don’t really need.
Pet Blog Business Taxes and Expenses
I don’t get to keep a lot of the money I bring in.
Taxes take a 30% cut of what what I make right off the top.
Then there are significant expenses related to my blog and consulting work.
- Blog hosting and website maintenance
- Sub-contractors and virtual assistants to help me with my consulting projects (I’m a project manager)
- Computer and photography equipment
- Subscriptions and dues
- General supplies and equipment
- Continuing educations like eBooks, courses, and conferences
- An accountant
These expenses run me $3,000 – $5,000 a month.
However, and luckily, fees for services and outsourcing primarily only reach the top of that range when my client load (and income) increases.
Let me know if you have any questions about this income report. I hope it’s helped you to see how you can turn your own blog into the business of your dreams.