Annual Side Hustle Income Report (2016)
Welcome to my first Annual Side Hustle Income Report!
When I first started blogging, I never had any intention of generating income from it. I was just discovering all kinds of ways to get free stuff and free cash with very little effort and wanted to share this information with the world! And while it was fun getting lots of free products, I was not making any money from it.
But this past year, I started discovering some ways on how to make some actual cash with my blog along with other side hustles. So I’m going to start an annual income report and show you how much extra “free” cash I made in 2016. (Final tally at the end of this post)
As a product review blogger, I have found that it is quite difficult to generate lots of views and even harder to get subscribers. And because I have such a small following, I never thought I would make any money from blogging.
I enviously read about other bloggers making 6 figures a year blogging full time and I always wondered exactly how they do it.
I’ve clicked on the many of the links and Pinterest posts that say “How I make 10k a month blogging” only to find that you have to sign up for a paid course in order to discover the tricks.
Really?! Well, I guess that explains why they make so much money.
I’m a frugal chick with a mission for making free side hustle income, so I’m not in a position to shell out money on a course, no matter how helpful or amazing it is. I have to do this on my own.
So I’m going to show you exactly how much side hustle income I have made in 2016 and how I did it. Seriously, don’t feel bad.
Currently I have a combined social following of about 5000 through all of my social media channels including my blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.
I have around an average about 2-3000 unique monthly views on my site and just under 100 actual subscribers.
Since my social media following is not astonishing compared to other established bloggers, I have had a hard time landing sponsored posts – which is where most bloggers earn their income.
So far, I have actually gotten only one paid sponsored blog post for Groupon (below) which I’m very grateful for. I earned $50 for this sponsored post.
After all of the opportunities I have been turned down for, this one post has increased my confidence a little bit. Am I discouraged? A little. But it’s a start, I guess.
So since sponsored posts are not fruitful for me right now, I have discovered some other ways to make passive side hustle income. And that is through affiliate marketing.
Being a product reviewer, there is ample opportunity for affiliate ads. Since so many of the products that I receive are from Amazon, I figured why not sign up to be an Amazon Affiliate and actually try to make a little money from my site.
What is an Amazon Affiliate?
From Amazon: “When website owners and bloggers who are Associates create links and customers click through those links and buy products from Amazon, they earn up to 10% referral fees.”
Basically I add links to the products I review where if a user clicks on it and purchases, I make a tiny commission from that sale. Below is an example of Amazon Affiliate Ads…
But the nice thing about it is that even if a user does not buy the actual product that they clicked on, you can still earn a commission from other products that they purchased during that session. Once you reach a minimum threshold of $10, you can get paid. Best of all, it’s free to become an affiliate!
I wasn’t very hopeful that I would start earning money from Amazon Affiliates. But when I saw that I earned around $8 my first month using it, I was very encouraged. Now I try to add relevant Amazon affiliate links to almost all my posts because, why not?
Total made in 2016 from my Amazon Affiliates side hustle income: $184.54
I also participate in the Google Adsense program. In order to be eligible for Google Adsense, you must have an active site for at least 6 months.
What is Adsense?
From Google: AdSense (Google AdSense) is an advertising placement service by Google. The program is designed for website publishers who want to display targeted text, video or image advertisements on website pages and earn money when site visitors view or click the ads.
When I first started blogging I did not qualify since my site did not meet the technical criteria. It took me about 3 tries to finally be approved for the program. But now I make passive side hustle income from Adsense on both my blog and YouTube channel.
Total 2016 Adsense income from my blog: $60.61
As part of my product review repertoire I also create YouTube videos. In my videos I typically show tips on how to use a particular product I am reviewing.
I’m not a professional by any means (as can be apparent from my videos) but I think I’m starting to get better at it.
But little did I know how what a hidden gem YouTube is for earning income! In fact, it has become my biggest income generator so far.
You don’t even need a huge number of subscribers although this certainly helps. But the income is generated not only from clicking on ads on your videos but also through views!
For example I currently have 322 subscribers, but I have 121,419 collective views on my videos. Ironically, most of my views come from searches rather than my subscribers.
The ones that have generated the most views were those of trending products. My most viewed and most profitable video was my first Wunderbrow how to and review (below), which at the time of this posting has almost 60,000 views.
Another nice thing about YouTube is that your videos can keep generating income over time – even if someone watches it 2 years from now!
Total 2016 Adsense income from YouTube: $181.25
Gen Video (YouTube Affiliate Program)
In addition to earning Adsense income from YouTube, you can also earn affiliate income as well! This past year I discovered a site called Gen Video where you can sync up your videos with Amazon affiliate links.
So you are basically earning income two ways!
But Gen Video also provides sponsored video opportunities. Basically you can apply to campaigns on Gen Video and if you get accepted, they pay you to publish your video to YouTube.
You can join for free on the site and select your payment requirement. Being the n00b that I am, I ambitiously asked for $50 for the video. I never thought I would be accepted for a campaign, much less get $50 for it.
But fortunately, I was accepted into a 2 part campaign for Depend Underwear in which I had to make 2 videos for them at $50 each. The brand really liked working with me so they gave me 2 more campaigns to do and increased my rate to $250 each!
I only hope I get chosen for other campaigns in the future. I don’t want to be forever known as “The Depends Girl” (as my hubby calls me). Pffftt!
Total income earned from Gen Video in 2016: $350 (with another $250 coming in 2017)
Other Side Hustle Income Anyone Can Do…
Did you know you can get paid to write content for other people? You don’t even need a blog! I found out about this site called Textbroker.com and signed up for free.
You have to first take a graded writing test and depending on your score, you get assigned a level from 2-5. I was assigned level 4 after my test.
Once you are accepted in the program, they show you a range of topics and the price per word the sponsor is paying. It’s often anywhere from 0.03 to 0.11 cents per word. The original content you create is used on the sponsors’ websites.
But in order to make any real money from this type of site, you need to write posts frequently. And many of the sponsors provide very little information for you to go on. Often times you have to do a lot of research on your own before you can even write about the topic you select.
For me, it was a lot of work for very little reward. I did 4 posts for them and cashed out at $23.80. I may still try them in the future if they have topics that spark my interest and don’t require too much effort.
You guys know I love my grocery apps. They are my favorite way to make free money for barely any effort just by snapping photos of your receipts. My grocery app side hustle paid for all my Christmas presents last year!
My all time favorite app is Ibotta, where I earned the most cash back for my purchases. You can check out all of the grocery apps I use by clicking on the photo above.
Total made from my Grocery Apps in 2016: $244.05
This year I was fortunate enough to participate in 2 clinical trials. I love clinical trials because you are helping others while also making free money!
If you are open to trying out medical treatments, they are always looking for new guinea pigs. Free to sign up!
Total 2016 Clinical Trial income: $500
Final Tally for 2016
Adsense – $241.86
Gen Video – $350.00
Amazon Affiliates – $184.54
Sponsored post – $50
Textbroker – $23.80
Grocery Apps – $244.05
Clinical Trials – $500.00
Total 2016 Side Hustle Income – $1,594.25
As you can see, I’m still pretty much small potatoes. While I’m certainly not at the point where I’m ready to quit my day job, the extra money I have made from my side hustle income has at least paid for the blog hosting, a few bills, and some gifts for the family.
Plus I had the chance to try out so many amazing new products which is always awesome!
My goal for this upcoming year is to create more “Evergreen” posts that get better traffic. I also plan to venture outside of product reviews and do more rants and rambles which are so much fun and get a lot more engagement.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I look forward to seeing you guys in 2017.
Feel any better now? How did you fare in 2016? Got any words of encouragement? Leave me a comment and let me know!
And don’t forget, if you would like more information on how to get free cash with very little effort, please make sure you check out How to Get Free Cash to learn more.
Disclosure: I was not compensated for writing this post, but it does contains affiliate links which means I may be compensated a small amount if you click through and purchase. Full disclosure policy here.**