Do you want to earn $10,000 passive income per month from your blog?
You’ll be able to afford traveling whatever countries in the world, quit your 9 to 5 job and forget about using an alarm clock again.
You may argue this is not possible. Your blog struggles for traffic and you’re yet to earn $100 from it. You can’t imagine you will ever earn 5 figures per month online. The blogs that have reached that target have so much content, influential authors, and a huge audience. Their achievements seem out of reach.
I’m a beginner blogger so I can’t speak from my own experience. That’s why I turned to those that earn five figures per month and who are generous enough to share how they got there. I found out their secret is quite simple.
Read along, as I will share with you how these famous bloggers earn crazy numbers passive income per month. All you need to do is copy their formula.
Revenue Confessions database got past 420 revenue stats. I made a search for the blogs that earn above $10,000 per month. I got 36 results. I decided to inspect them one by one and extract the formula to success.
I needed blogs, which had published monthly income reports regularly. I followed the reports all the way from the beginning to reaching $10,000 passive income. I read over 200 income reports in order to extract the magic recipe. It cost me time and efforts, but it was totally worth it. Now I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned.
It is important that by “passive income” I mean income that is received by not directly trading my time and skills for money. Freelancing, consulting and coaching come under this category. The moment you stop doing it, your income dries too. In order to make a fair comparison to the other bloggers who report pure blog income, I’ve subtracted freelancing, consulting and coaching income from the reported revenues where possible.
On the other hand, by using passive income term I don’t want to imply that this is a constant stream of profits coming every month without doing any work for them. On the contrary, as you’ll see below, growing and maintaining a blog requires lots of skills and hard work.
Before I begin, I need to clarify that not all of the 36 blogs have made it to the final research. Brendan Mace, Shoeaholic No More, and Untemplater have a big chunk of their income coming from freelancing or coaching. After subtraction of that income, they fall under my $10,000 target. I had to leave them out for now, but I’m looking forward to adding them to a future update of my research.
Some bloggers have started to publish income reports too late. Melyssa Griffin, A Little Slice of the Pie, Millennial Money Man report high earnings in their first income report. I could not trace how they got there and I had to exclude them from my research. I like those blogs and the income reports they publish and I would really appreciate if I could take a look at the financial side of their early stages.
Finally, I was left with 13 blogs which history could be traced back far enough to the times when they were earning $1000 per month or less. Most bloggers start to reveal their revenue after the first signs their creation is capable of bringing significant income. Congratulations to those that put their finances in public from the very beginning. It takes courage to do it.
Believe in a Budget is a blog that helps people make money online. It also offers courses on earning extra income and getting Pinterest traffic. Kristin, the author of the blog, publishes income reports since the beginning. She was not afraid to show her early income numbers – $40, $61, $35 – each of the first six months was under $100. Yet this is the youngest blog, launched in January 2015, that has joined our elite group of five figure income producers.
How Long Till $10,000
John Lee Dumas is the founder and host of EOFire (Entrepreneur on Fire) – a blog and a podcast about… entrepreneurs. His approach differs from that of the other bloggers as he treated his project more like a startup than a side hustle. He is working on it full time from the very beginning. He took few months in preparation for the launch. You can read about this in his first income report. This purposeful effort has paid back as he reached $10,000 in about 10 months.
I want to be clear that I don’t intend to make some sort of a top chart – this guy reached $10,000 fastest, that gal was second fastest. This is not a competition. It is more like climbing Mount Everest. Everyone trains for it at his/her own speed. It is a journey that needs to be fully enjoyed.
This is easier said than done. There are few reasons for joy when month after month nobody visits your blog. Why am I doing it if nobody will ever see it? The chances of getting rich from your blog seem slimmer than winning the lottery.
I put all monthly incomes for each of the 13 blogs in a spreadsheet table. I counted how many months it took from launch date to five figures for each blog, then I took the average number.
29 months. This is less than two years and a half. I noticed that 10 out of 13 blogs were within 18 – 36 months, and there were only 2 bloggers for which it took longer than 3 years. If I exclude them from the average calculation, and to be fair I exclude also the fastest one (10 months), then the average duration till reaching $10,000 becomes 24 months.
Let’s stop for a moment and reflect on that number. Two years to go from 0 to hero. This is the average time for not one or two genius marketers, but ten distinctive bloggers. If this is possible for them, it is possible for you and me too.
You may want to see it for yourself, so you can verify my calculations. I’m sharing my spreadsheet for free. I’ve put a neat table with all income reports for each of these 13 bloggers per row. You can copy it and sort, filter and analyze it further. Sign up with your email below and I’ll send you a link to my spreadsheet.
I already calculated the average duration till reaching $10,000. How about the actual monthly income along the way? I tried to make a chart with all of the income reports plotted on it. It turned out a bad idea – I got a line chart messed up like spaghetti. Then it came to my mind to calculate the average income for each month (see Table 3 in my spreadsheet).
This is the path to success – visualized. You can use it as a benchmark. Of course, each month’s income is not that important of its own, it’s approximative. However, the chart as a whole represents a good guidance to your journey.
The result is mind-blowing, at least for me. It takes a whole year to get to $2,000. In other words, getting to $2,000 is as hard as getting from $2,000 to $10,000. I should definitely make a post “How and When” about getting to $2,000.
Even $2,000 seems an impossible target when you stand at the beginning. You may have spent 8 months working hard on your blog and earning somewhere between $100 and $400 per month. It’s high time to earn more significant profits, you think. You feel lost. Yet the chart shows you are on the right track. You are on the path to success, with $2,000 waiting just around the corner.
Where Passive Income Comes From
Now that you know how long it would take, you may wonder how you are going to achieve it. Let’s see how these bloggers make money.
Ads are the most natural choice for all beginners. They are easy to place and earning an income from them is straightforward. Google AdSense is the obvious choice for beginners, but there are lots of other ad networks.
Most of our 13 champion blogs started with ads. As they grow and attract more and more readers, ads become less and less important for the final mix of profits.
Yet Rose Atwater has achieved earning 70% of her five-figure income solely from ads. They are placed at her blogs Rose Bakes and Rose Atwater. The first one is about making delicious cakes, as seen from its name, and the second one is about personal finance. It took her almost 5 years to get there. I told you this is not a race. She’s done it at her own pace while raising 6 kids. I applaud her achievement.
Affiliate links provide a substantial part of blog’s income. They work in a different way than the ads. You can place as many affiliate links as you want and still earn nothing from them. Your content should be really helpful, it should provide value to users. That’s when affiliate links pay off generously. The more influential a blog is, the more its affiliate income is.
Matthew Woodward is an experienced web marketer. His articles are easy to read and at the same time useful and comprehensive. That helps establish trust in him and his recommendations. Thanks also to his SEO skills he has reached $10,000 in 22 months relying mostly on affiliate income.
You don’t need to be an SEO and marketing expert from the beginning. You may learn them along the way. Look at Suzi Scheler, the author of beauty blog Cruelty-Free Kitty and Rosevibe where she shares invaluable tips for getting money from your blog. Her blogs also rely on affiliate links as the main income source. By the time Matthew was making above $2000 per month, she was earning $200. Yet her journey to $10,000 took 26 months – mere four months behind Matthew.
Sponsored posts are another income source for bloggers. Though many bloggers are doing them occasionally, this is not such a strong income source as the other ones. Furthermore publishing too many sponsored posts will drive your audience away. I wouldn’t count on sponsored posts alone to get me to $10,000.
The Shortcut to Success
This is the point when the blog turns from side hustle to online business. If there is something that is able to boost your income significantly, this is selling your own product. That may be either course or ebook or a service. As long as you have a big list of followers, your product is going to sell.
Gina Horkey has specialized in making guides and courses for freelancers and blog writers. She is a full-time freelancer herself. After subtracting her freelance income, she remains in the five figures. She managed to get there in 19 months with most of her income coming from her own courses. Check out her site Horkey Handbook.
Pat Flynn needs no introduction, but to our Martian visitors, I’ll say he is the marketing machine behind Smart Passive Income. This is the oldest site in our elite group, launched in October 2008. Pat has been publishing income reports ever since the very beginning. When he launched SPI, Pat already had another successful online project Green Exam Academy – a niche site targeted for architects. He was already earning above $5000 from it. In order to trace pure SPI income, I’ve subtracted all Green Exam Academy entries from the income reports.
Pat’s first product (not counting Green Exam Academy) were… mobile apps! Yes, he had many apps for iPhone, both free and paid. They helped him reach $10,000 in 20 months.
Nowadays the projects under Smart Passive Income umbrella are making totally well above $100,000 per month. He’s just released the 100th income report – unbelievable! Currently, SPI generates revenue from affiliate links, podcasts, and books, besides mobile apps. Pat Flynn provides inspiration for many.
The Hard Part
Speaking of shortcuts, there is one thing that cannot be bypassed. Looking at these successful examples it is easy to forget the hard work day after day behind them. Reading insightful and amusing posts is easy, but writing, editing and formatting them takes time and effort. Same with blog promotion, which is needed to drive more traffic. Same with staying on top of multiple social networks. Same with SEO. And these are only for starters. Throw into that mix writing newsletters and managing email campaigns, guest blogging and ultimately creating your own product.
All these activities are more than enough to keep you busy as if you’re on a full-time job. And some of the bloggers mentioned above are doing it full time straight from the beginning. Others grow their blog as a side gig, but when they start earning in the thousands, they quit their day job and devote their whole time to their own project.
Abby Lawson pretends to be just a girl, while she is the author of a popular blog where she writes about home decoration, productivity and the art of blogging. She is running the blog full time, and her husband Donnie helps her behind the scenes, also full time.
Lindsay runs the successful food blog Pinch of Yum. I’m not that much into food blogs, so you’d better see it for yourself. She started it in her spare time then decided to go full time with it. Her husband Bjork was helping her part time, but he also joined her full time later.
Show Me The Yummy is another popular food blog, run by Jennifer. She’s working full time on her blog and I bet you can’t guess who’s helping her full time… her husband Trevor of course.
By giving you the examples above, I don’t want to urge you to quit your day job, let alone marry an internet marketing guru. All I want is to be clear about the tough road ahead and the enormous amount of work that needs to be done.
The Secret Spice
I was asking myself, if working hard and studying the skills along the way is all that is needed, then why there aren’t many more people earning five figures from their blogs. Is it really so simple? As I said, I read more than 200 income reports and I found it. These 13 bloggers had self-determination. They were dedicated and persistent in helping others by writing fascinating articles, creating useful courses and ebooks or recording insightful podcasts. They had no guarantees they would succeed. Yet they kept on pushing day after day.
Michelle Schroeder runs the popular personal finance blog Making Sense of Cents. If I should give one example of self-determination, that would be her. She managed to grow her blog all the way from 0 to $10,000 in her spare time while working a full-time day job. Make no mistake, she’s done the hard work herself – she admits she’s been working 40+ hours on her side hustle each week on top of the 40 hours at her regular job. What an amazing achievement! Nowadays the blog is her main occupation, bringing almost $1 million revenue in 2016.
Now you know the recipe for success. Don’t quit your day job. At least not at once. You shouldn’t be scared by the mountain of hard work ahead. Nobody was born with all the skills needed to get on top of it. All you have to do is to make a little step towards it day by day, every day. The best time to start was 24 months ago – you would probably be earning $10,000 per month by now. The next best time is today.