Annual Side Hustle Income Report – 2017
Welcome to my 2nd Annual Side Hustle Income Report!
When I first started blogging in 2015, I never had any intention of generating income from it. Now I’ve completed my 2nd year of blogging, and while I can’t quit my day job just yet, my side hustle income has become a little more lucrative.
So without further ado, here is my annual side hustle income report for 2017 and we will also see how it compared to last year. The final tally is at the end.Blogging can be discouraging when you don't make $$. But this year I blogged less and actually made more! See how in my honest 2017 side hustle income report. Click To Tweet
Enjoy Freebies has not really been enjoying freebies lately…
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 had such a small following, I never thought I would make any money from blogging. But this year the freebies have been much fewer and Enjoy Freebies has had to take on a new direction as a blog.
Where have all the freebies gone?
Tomoson – They updated their website last year and I think I landed one sponsored post ($2) from them since then. It used to be a treasure trove of freebies for me, but for some reason, I just have not been selected to review anything from them. Not even for unpaid posts!
Influenster – I used to get Vox boxes from them several times a year. But now it seems like you have to jump through a lot of hoops in order to get a chance at a real Vox Box. This year they started doing what is called a “Virtual Vox” which means you have to share about products on social media that you personally pay for in order to get a badge.
Also now they want you to participate in twitter parties and comment on their YouTube videos. Granted, by doing these things, it increases your chance of getting a Vox Box, but I just don’t have the time for that.
BzzAgent – I have gotten maybe 2 campaigns for BzzAgent this year, and by the time I received the emails, the campaigns were already full. I have a feeling that since I am about to turn 44, I may have fallen out of their key demographics for who they are looking for. But that’s just a theory – still sucks though.
Amazon – Once Amazon changed their policy about reviewing products received complimentary or risk getting banned, much of the product reviewers like myself got scared. I still get approached daily by Amazon sellers wanting me to review their products in which they will reimburse you, but so much of it is junk and I’m just not interested.
However, I still look for unique products to review and share with my readers – even if I have to pay for them myself!
Less blogging = more income. WTF???
So with the products not coming in, I haven’t really had much to review. Plus I have kind of lost the motivation to blog regularly. I spend 60 hours a week at a computer for my job, so blogging on the weekends often feels like more work.
Amazingly, my most popular post this year was one below that I originally published last year. But when I saw how many hits it was getting, I decided to update it a little bit.
In 2017 I have found myself blogging twice a month and even that sometimes feels like a chore. But with fewer products to review, I found myself blogging more about topics that are much closer to my heart.
For example, I love doing Rants and Rambles, where I share my thoughts about things that drive me crazy. Also, I love finding ways to help people get more out of life on a budget and hacks to make life easier.
I honestly wish I could change the name and domain of my blog, but I have already built up the brand and change is scary. Plus I am afraid of screwing up the site and losing all my hard work.
For now, Enjoy Freebies is still around. And even with blogging once every other week, I have managed to double my side hustle income this year compared to 2016.
Here’s the breakdown…
Currently, I have a combined social following of about 10,000 combined from all of my social media channels including the blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. This is double from last year!
I have an average of 3500 unique monthly views on my site and around 300 actual subscribers – compared to less than 100 subscribers in 2016.
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.
2016 – 1 sponsored post = $50
2017 – 7 sponsored posts. This includes the 2 blog posts below at $50 each and 5 social media shares.
Total 2017 sponsored post income = $392 (the $2 comes from that one measly Tomoson review).
Being a blogger, there is ample opportunity for affiliate ads. Since so many of the products that I review 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?
2016 Amazon Affiliate income – $184.54
2017 Amazon Affiliate income – $418.64
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.
2016 Adsense income from blog- $60.61
2017 Adsense income from blog – $98.83
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!
2016 – 322 subscribers
2017 – 893 subscribers at the time of this post.
For example in 2016 even though I had only 322 subscribers, I had 121,419 collective views on my videos. Ironically, most of my views come from searches rather than my subscribers.
This year 557,126 ▲ collective views. That’s almost a 400% increase!
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
Total 2017 Adsense income from YouTube: $521.36
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!
However, during the middle of the year, Gen Video increased their minimum to $500. Since this increase I have not been able to nab any more campaigns.
I have also noticed that they have been getting less sponsors since this increase as well. I hope they will go back down to $250 min or else I don’t have much confidence that I land many more campaigns in the future. We shall see.
2016 Gen Video income – $350
2017 Gen Video Income – $1460.09
I was approached by someone who wanted me to put a link on an older post on my site that fits in with my content. It fit organically into the post and it was only one link. I earned $100 minus a few bucks in PayPal fees. But still, to me, this was a score!
2017 Ad Space income – $96.80
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 2017: $457.36
Final Tally for 2017
Adsense – $98.83
Gen Video – $1460.09
Amazon Affiliates – $418.64
Sponsored posts – $392
YouTube – $521.36
Grocery Apps – $457.36
Ad Space: $96.80
2017 – $3445.08
Compared to 2016 Side Hustle Income – $1,594.25. That’s roughly a 110% increase!
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.
My goal for this upcoming year is to continue to create more “Evergreen” posts that get better traffic. I also plan to do more rants and rambles and lifestyle hacks 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 2018.
Feel any better now? How did you fare in 2017? 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.**