Hello and welcome to the January 2016 online income report.
I am pleased to report that January 2016 has been a stark contrast to December 2015 and we have both been feeling much happier. I wasn't expecting to make much money in January, for a few reasons. In February we are going away to Disneyworld for two weeks to celebrate my birthday so it meant we needed to get things prepared for going away – passive income sources in place, blog posts written and YouTube videos uploaded and scheduled. Another reason that we were apprehensive is that not many people have spare money in January, meaning our affiliate earnings and eBay might suffer. I am pleased to say that January was actually better than we anticipated.
In January we also celebrated Tony leaving his job. Learning to manage not only my time, but also manage Tony has been challenging. It sounds like fun but it is harder than you think! The problem is that from the moment I was self employed, he was working alongside me. I never had the chance to sit and reflect, to work out my own system and time management. Working together is a blast, but it also takes a lot of patience from us both and because the world of earning money online is somewhat new to Tony, he needs a lot of support – which interrupts my flow. We are working on this every day and I feel as though we are really close to fine tuning a system that works well for us! Once we come back from our holiday then I am confident that we will have a great system in place.
Another great thing that happened in January is that I have taken on two more long term freelance clients and had a handful of other one off jobs come in through my website or people following me on Twitter. I don't advertise my freelance services on Twitter at all, so I am thrilled that people trust me enough to come to me directly. Another thing I want to do when we are back from our holiday is to re-do my hourlies at People Per Hour and create some short and sweet gigs on Fiverr – these can both sit in the background and hopefully bring in a little bit of extra income from time to time.
January kept being the month that gave back – we had banked enough to pay ourselves by the 21st of the month! As you may know, some of the money we earn might not appear for 90 days or so, meaning that whilst we might make enough money on paper every month to pay ourselves, having the money in the bank is another matter. That's before you add in chasing invoices! Because of this, we have two amounts in mind. The first amount is the “keep our heads above water” amount – the amount we need in our bank to pay for our rent, food, cars and other bills without having to dip into our savings, and the second amount is the awesome amount – the amount that means we can save for annual expenses (car related costs, Christmas and birthdays as well as other annual spends like Amazon Prime) and put a nice chunk of money into savings. We managed to hit our awesome amount by the 21st, meaning that we have already made headway on February's pay! In fact, as I am writing this, we are almost half way towards our awesome amount banked for February's pay. This is such a blessing and it means that we can go on holiday without worrying about the impact it will have on our income.
Why I publish our income
Publishing our income holds us accountable to you, my readers. We want to achieve, we want to earn and quite frankly, we want you to congratulate us! We am able to look back at previous months when we need some more motivation or ideas to continue. Most importantly, we want to tell you how you can be making money! You might just want to make enough to cover your holiday spending money or you might want to quit your job all together. Whatever your financial needs are, you can earn extra.
Matched Betting – £777.82
I will be the first to admit that matched betting has been s l o w in January! It wasn't until the final week that reload offers really started to pick up. I used this time to go back and complete offers I hadn't managed to complete and kept things ticking over. I had a goal to make £1,000, and whilst I didn't quite meet it, I am still thrilled with how much money I made. My matched betting earnings now stand at over £8,000 since July 2015 – completely tax free and risk free.
If you are still on the fence about matched betting then why not consider giving matched betting a free trial? You can make anything from £40 – £60 and see if it is for you – you have nothing to lose.
In January we tried out two different matched betting sites, and we definitely prefer to use Profit Accumulator as a tool. You can see all my previous matched betting income reports:
- Month 1 earnings
- Month 2 earnings
- Month 3 earnings (including a Q&A)
- October 2015 earnings (including matched betting)
- November 2015 earnings (including matched betting)
- December 2015 earnings (including matched betting)
Remember that month 3 also overlaps into October – from now on I will be reporting the matched betting income per calendar month.
Affiliate earnings – £889.96
Wow wow and wow! January has been fantastic for affiliate earnings, which I wasn't expecting at all! As usual, one program outperforms the others by far, but we have still seen a steady stream from various affiliate websites. We are so close to hitting the £1,000 mark and I am sure that we will smash it before the middle of 2016. In October this amount was just £581.59, so this increase is fantastic.
One thing that I had been wanting to do for over a year was to create a video and blog post about how to make your own website so that you can earn money. I finally pulled my finger out in January and filmed this, and I am hoping it will turn into a great source of passive income.
Website earnings – £271.26
Between us we currently have five websites, all earning us an income from various sources. These earnings are for non-affiliate earnings – so sponsored posts and advertising (through Google's Adsense). January has been slow on the sponsored post front and my adsense earnings are down. I had made it a goal in December to increase these earnings, but considering how much our affiliate income has increased, I'm not disappointed in these figures.
I have been tinkering around with From Aldi To Harrods, changing advertising programs and trying to decide whether to give up Adsense altogether in favour of my own affiliate banner adverts.
Another thing that I have been trying our is posting every week day. This has definitely helped traffic to grow! I also finally sorted out rich pins on Pinterest, which has seen my Pinterest referral traffic grow. I have lots of plans, but before I can think about them I absolutely must decide what I am going to do with Make Money Without a Job…and actually do it! I have even considered paying staff writers ever since Nicola from The Frugal Cottage suggested it, but I still haven't decided where to take it.
Another thing that we are going to do next month is so start working on a new website. This website will be completely unrelated to earning money online and we have spent months planning it out. It will need a bit of investment (hundreds rather than thousands) which makes me very apprehensive, but I am confident that it will be a winner. Other similar websites are bringing in at least £1,500 a month in passive income, so it could be a huge boost if it takes off.
Gift vouchers – £16
Some of the things I do, such as Instagc and Swagbucks and even some sponsored posts here pay out in gift vouchers. Whilst this isn't cash in our hands, we still like to count it. In January I earned £16 in Amazon gift vouchers. This amount is NOT included in my income total for this month.
Online surveys – £53.08
The amount of money that I make from online surveys seems to be hovering around the £50-£60 mark every month and I think this is a fair reflection of how much time and effort I put into completing them – not much at all. Prolific Academic continues to be my favourite survey site by far, with another month of over £40 coming from Prolific Academic. It was followed by two payments from MintVine.
I don't have a plan to improve my survey earnings, I am happy sticking with Prolific Academic and MintVine, although Tony has signed up for a few other websites. I keep dipping my toe into other websites, but being regularly screened out of surveys is frustrating and I prefer to spend my time elsewhere.
Everything else – £1,399.45
“Everything else” comprises of just that, everything else!
I have been shocked to have a really good month on eBay. I listed a few items as Buy It Now, with the prices inflated and offers accepted, and I found myself packaging something up almost every day in January! Rebecca has a great post about selling on eBay that really encouraged me to list more and more items throughout January. eBay did offer me free listing for the whole month and a discount on my final value fees for items listed over a particular weekend, which was just the push I needed. I took my own advice and listed some smelly shoes on eBay and I was also offered money to take photographs of my feet, which caused quite the controversy on Twitter! However, I have earned over £450 on eBay in January after fees and postage. I also held an Instagram sale which helped to boost my earnings.
As I mentioned, I took on two new clients in January as well as handful of one off jobs like Blogger to WordPress migration which helped me to earn over £500.
My other earnings consist of
- Rent profit
- My book sales
- eBay sales
- Smart phone apps
- Tengi cash prize
- Website testing with WhatUsersDo
Total before expenses £3,391.57
Remember that this amount doesn't include tax, national insurance contributions, holiday pay and sick pay – for which we are putting aside 20-30% of our monthly income (excluding matched betting earnings as they are tax free).
Expenses – £503.40
January has been so expensive, and I know that our earnings would have been so much higher without them. However, they were all necessary and I hope that they help to improve our earnings throughout the year.
- Paypal fees (when I have received payment)
- eBay fees
- Landlord costs (mortgage, nothing else this month)
- Buffer to schedule my social media posts – I opted to pay for the entire year of Buffer at once, saving me £12 per year.
- Board Booster – I have been using the free Board Booster program for a few months now to help me manage my Pinterest account, but I have now upgraded to a paid account which has really helped to increase my Pinterest referral traffic.
- Postage for eBay sales and competition prizes – this was over £100 in January.
- Buying a new website for a friend so that I could create my video guide for building a website.
- Buying a new domain name.
- Staffing costs. That's right, I have my first member of staff. It is a very small, commission based role.
Total for January 2016 (after expenses) – £2,888.17
5 popular posts in January
I have seen other bloggers include their most popular posts from the previous month, so I am excited to share mine with you. These are a mixture of posts that were published in January as well as previous posts that have been popular in January.
- Free Amazon products to test (this has been extremely popular, and we've had almost £400 worth of free items to test this month)
- What's awesome in Poundland in January 2016
- Sell your car with Flog My Wheels (and earn up to £250 cash)
- 10 Weird Things That Sold on eBay in January 2016
- Ten ways to BOOST your bank balance in January
I really can't believe it! Although we wanted to crack £3,000 in January, we made it so close, and if it wasn't for the expenses, we would have done it. Thankfully the expenses will be a lot lower moving forward!
I am really impressed by the passive income that we made in January – it totalled a massive £1,339.87. A minimum wage full time job (based on 37.5 hours a week) would earn £1,088.75 before tax and National Insurance, so I am absolutely blown away by this amount.
That is money made whilst we were sleeping, at the cinema or out shopping. I am absolutely blown away by this amount and so grateful for it. The passive income comes from my book sales, affiliate marketing and my rental property. Taking the time to grow our passive income in the winter months means that I am really looking forward to having more time off in summer – time to go to the beach, go on day trips and just enjoy being outside.
My plans for the next month and beyond
With being away for two weeks in February, I haven't set us any ambitious targets. Hitting £2,500 would be great, but we promised ourselves that we woulnd't work ourselves into the ground either before heading to Florida or when we come back. Whatever we earn in February is great!
I have been watching a lot of YouTube videos about the idea of manifesting money, and they have given me a lot of ideas for the future. We want to hit £5,000 per month by the end of 2016, which means that my next step is to set some serious goals and an action plan for how we will get there. Here's my plan for the rest of the year's earnings:
- February – £2,500 would be nice…but whatever happens happens.
- March – £2,750
- April – £3,000
- May – £3,250
- June – £3,500
- July – £3,750
- August – £4,000
- September – £4,250
- October – £4,500
- November £4,750
- December £5,000
Do you like this income report? Would you like to see more of them in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments – we would love to hear from you.