May 2015 Income Report

May 2015 Income Report

Some articles on Desk to Dirtbag (and just what is a dirtbag, anyway?) contain affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase through these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Thank you for reading!


It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these income reports… Sorry about that! I know they are of big interest to those of you looking to imitate my successes (and not my failures!).

Just because I haven’t been doing the reports, doesn’t mean things have stopped. But since returning to the States in December I’ve kind of fallen out of the groove.

I’ve set the goal of earning $600 per month exclusively from my website in the coming months.

These monthly income reports are meant to hold me accountable to both myself and my readers. They offer a glimpse into the nature of making money through a blog and other online endeavors, as well as my efforts to cover my expenses while living overseas in the pursuit of becoming location independent.

On to this month’s report…

May 2015 Income Report

Each month I report on what I did well as well as what I could stand to improve on from a financial perspective, as well as blogging strategy perspective.

What Did NOT Go Well

1. Blogging – As mentioned, I’ve kind of fallen off the wagon when it comes to blogging and working on this website since I returned to the States following Colombia. In fact, I did not post a single new article in April or May. That’s pretty bad.

Part of it may just be due to blogger burnout–I was working pretty hard on various projects while in Colombia. Part of it was returning back to a different rhythm in the United States. And the other part was just being busy showing Andrea around Washington and beyond.

2. Other Sources of Income – Leaving Colombia resulted in losing my source of Airbnb income (a great way to live rent free), obviously, but that impacts my income statements. I’ve also had my other Medellin related sources of freelancing come to an end with the move.

So I’ve got all my income eggs in one basket, so to speak with this website. Not the best situation to be in, by any means. It is obviously preferable to have a diversified income street should any of them be impacted negatively.

Got any freelance work for me? Shoot me an email! 🙂 ryan@desktodirtbag.com

What Went Well

1. Amazon Affiliate Sales – Despite the fact that I didn’t post any new articles or do anything new and amazing with the D2D website in two months, the beauty of a website like this is it keeps bringing in people to read my articles, sign up for my email list, make affiliate sales, etc.

I can be away camping, hiking, sleeping, traveling, whatever. But as long as the site isn’t down, people are usually here, at all hours of the day.

After taking an (inexplicable) dip for awhile, Amazon.com affiliate sales were back in force for the month of May with a new single month sales record for my site.

2. Instagram Growth – I don’t know why I never really jumped on the Instagram train. It’s a cool platform that suits my interests well and probably is the easiest way to showcase my travels… with beautiful photos!

A year of traveling across the American West, and a year of traveling and living in Colombia and I had only posted like one photo every few weeks, tops. I only had 275 followers or so at the beginning of this year.

I didn’t really know how to best utilize Instagram and thus put no effort into it.

But I’ve been getting into much more lately, and it’s been paying off (not in a financial sense). I really enjoy photography and being able to use it as a micro blogging platform for daily updates has been cool.

If you aren’t following me yet, please do!

It’s the best way to get regular updates. It isn’t like Twitter where everything gets lost in a stream of tweets, nor Facebook where hardly any of my followers can see my updates because Facebook wants me to pay for that (indeed it’s amazing if 50 people like a photo of mine on Facebook, a paltry 3% of my audience).

By interacting more frequently, using recognized hashtags, and emulating those who are much more successful with Instagram than me, I’ve been able to dramatically increase my followers up to over 1,300 now (though not all happened in May, of course).

Please, follow me on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/desktodirtbag

3. Site Traffic – Like I mentioned, I’ve been a pretty absent ‘father’ for this website. No blogs posts, not checking in on site statistics or anything…

* Wish you could travel more and more affordably? Click here to grab my free course and resources that will show you exactly how I've been able to travel for more than four years.


Indeed, I didn’t even realize it until some time later, but in early May I received a new single day record of visitors to the website with 1,457 visits. Pretty awesome!

For those that have been following these income reports, you may even recall that for the longest time I was stuck at around the 10,000 visitors per month mark, but I’m happy to report that I’ve finally broken through that ceiling. May saw nearly 15,000 visitors, a new monthly record as well!

4. Traveling – If you aren’t following me on my social media channels, like Instagram, you probably don’t even know that I’m on the road again.

At the beginning of May, Andrea and I set out on a longer trip (previously I was just showing her around the beautiful PNW–my home and favorite part) to the American SW.

We hit up the Overland Expo in Flagstaff, Arizona to meet up with other like minded travelers, both old acquaintances like Anthony from Overland Nomads as well as new ones like 2 Chefs, 1 Moto — a Mexican couple driving north to Alaska (we had a great long conversation totally in Spanish among the four of us).

We’ve driven through Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. We spent some $750 on gas alone in May.

We’ve seen some incredible things, including some new sights for me, like Horseshoe Bend.

It’s been a blast, and it’s great to get back to what started this whole website more than two years ago.

Full Financial Report

$332.53 – Affiliate sales and advertising from D2D
-$302.39 – Amazon Affiliate sales
-$30.01 – YouTube Videos
-$0.13 – Adsense ads.

TOTAL = $332.53
GOAL = $600 per month
55% of the way there.

Considering that I have neglected the website over the Spring, I am quite pleased that things continue to go well on that front.

Indeed, seeing that things are progressing renews my energy and inspires me to keep trucking along.

It is disappointing that I haven’t been making more sales through my D2D store via REI, Backcountry.com, and other gear stores, nor have I made any recent referrals for the incredible resources such as Unconventional Guides.

I know a handful of you just picked up the Paradise Pack, and I know you’re gonna be blown away by all the content. If you missed that sale, I’m so sorry!

There are some cool things in the works, including finally launching my first real D2D product, an awesome GO OUTSIDE t-shirt brought to you by Adayak.com. You’ve got to check it out, and you’ll certainly be hearing more about it soon…

I’m also thinking about revamping my AWeber autoresponder series, which hasn’t seen any change since I launched it last year.

I finally (re)downloaded Scrivener on this new computer, so I can get back to work on the long promised book…

Odds and Ends

As mentioned, we are on the road, currently in Las Vegas, actually. The fame of Las Vegas knows no limits, so naturally I had to bring Andrea here to show her this crazy town.

We’ll be taking off in a day or two and heading into California. Death Valley, the High Sierras, Yosemite, and beyond. I’m pretty familiar with all the main attractions, but if you’ve got some off the beaten path recommendations, I’d love to hear them.

If you’re gonna be in the area, let us know, and maybe we can meet up! It’s always great to meet up with followers and fellow travelers.

That’s all I got for you this month.

If you found this post interesting or insightful please don’t forget to Like it, Tweet it, or otherwise spread the word among your social networks. Cheers!

As always questions, comments, and feedback are extremely welcome.

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May 2015 Income Report

Ryan

Author, Writer, and Head Honcho at Desk to Dirtbag
Ryan is an author, adventurer, perpetual wanderer, and self-proclaimed dirtbag (but that might not mean what you think). Originally from Seattle, he headed to Washington D.C. where he spent five years working for Congress before heeding the call of the wild. He set out living in his pickup truck to road trip across the American West. Since then he backpacked through Colombia, drove across all of Central America, and also wrote a best selling book: Big Travel, Small Budget. He just finished driving his old truck across all of South America -- support the adventures by visiting the D2D Shop. Follow the adventures on social media or read more about me.

Comments 4

  1. Hi Ryan,

    I love what you’re doing. You’re definitely an inspiration for a great many people. It’s clear from all the research that a great many people don’t like their jobs but continue to do the same thing for years. Congratulations on taking that first step and heading out. The experiences, adventures, and good friends you’ll make are worth everything.

    Happy travels!

    Ward Luthi
    Walking The World

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      Author
  2. Hey Ryan
    My buddy just connected me to your blog. It’s a good read! Myself and a friend are starting a national park road trip in August. Our website currently sucks but will improve. I like your layout and enjoy your page. Are you using WordPress? If you’re around the Bay Area in the next few months give me a shout and I’ll get you a beer.

    All the best
    Bryce

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      Author

      What’s up Bryce! Thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment. I’m excited to hear about your upcoming National Parks adventure. I’m sure it will be a blast. Bouncing around from park to park myself, and periodically watching the Ken Burns series (again). They truly are one of America’s greatest treasures.

      For the blog, yes, I use a self hosted WordPress blog. WordPress rocks. And hey, just starting the website is a big deal, the best part is they can continue to evolve and improve over time. You don’t have to launch with a finished product, thankfully! If you’re serious about the blog and thinking more long-term, I would highly, highly recommend you go self-hosted right off the bat instead of waiting until later to maybe make the switch. It is a pain in the butt, as I’ve helped others make the transition. WordPress.com websites are hampered and disabled in so many ways.

      We may make it to the Bay Area in a few weeks… Not sure yet. Definitely to Yosemite, and then south toward LA, just not sure the route.

      Anyways, if I can be of any help as you launch your site, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’ve got some blogging resources posted on my resources page as well, if that’s helpful.

      Cheers

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