This income and expense report took me 7+ hours to put together. It will take you 10-15 mins to read. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy 🙂 If you don't have time to read it now, flag it so you can come back and give it a proper read later!
This email got really long. Like so long that it needs a table of contents. See below.
1. Income Report
2. Expense Report
Why Do We Send Out A Monthly Income Report?
This section is the same as last month - for new people who are receiving the income report for the first time. If you read it last month, scroll down till you read "Income Report" and start there!
Let me start by saying, the purpose of this income report is not to brag about how much money we’re making from our YouTube channel. Trust me, it’s nothing to brag about!
Kara and I began this crazy adventure of full-time travel on January 10, 2016. When we originally started, the plan was to take a year off to travel the world. We had saved up enough money (plus a lot of frequent flyer miles) to get us through the end of the year.
Now that we’ve been on the road for 6 months, we’ve decided that we’re really enjoying this full-time travel thing, and we’re both going to be really sad if this adventure has to end in December. Plus, we’ve developed an amazing community of people on YouTube who have become a part of the adventure. It’d be a shame if all the fun had to end so soon!
Since we only saved up enough money to travel for a year, we’re going to need to find a way to make money on the road so we can continue traveling. So we’re currently on a journey to see if we can turn our YouTube channel into a little business that supports our travel. The reason we’ve decided to publish these income reports is because we want you to be a part of the journey.
We’re no where close to being able to support ourselves through our YouTube channel, and it’s going to be a huge challenge to get there in the next 6 months. However, traveling and sharing our adventures on YouTube is something Kara and I are both really passionate about. It would be amazing to make a full-time living doing something we enjoy so much, so we’re going for it!
Our hope is that by transparently sharing our journey from the start, we might inspire you to go after one of your biggest dreams. So without further ado, here is the July income report.
1. Income Report
We're quickly learning that unless our channel goes viral, there's no way we were going to make enough money from YouTube ads in the next 6 months to support our travels. So we’re in the process of developing additional sources of income. Below are the four ways we made money from our YouTube channel in the month of July.
YouTube Ad Revenue - $486.67
Change from last month - (July $486.67) - (June $491.19) = $4.52
July was our second full month of running ads on our YouTube channel. Our revenue from ads grew a tiny bit in July, but not by much. The data is a little deceiving because at the end of June our Qatar Airways Business Class video was getting a lot of views, so that increased the ad revenue more than usual for the month of June. The ad revenue for July has been much more consistent. You can see a graph of our ad revenue over the last ninety days below. (Notice the spike at the end of June)
Mistake Fare Manual Sales - $104
Change from last month (July $104) - (June $238) = $-134
Last month I published my first ebook at the beginning of June in conjunction with the Paradise Pack. We did quite a bit of promotion with the Paradise Pack in the month of June, hence the higher sales in June. This month we haven't done any promotion. There are only three places you can find a link to this book. Here in the income report, in the description of our YouTube videos, and on our website under the "Score Cheap Flights" tab. Although four sales isn't very many, I'm excited that we still sold a few copies with very little promotion.
The Mistake Fare Manual sells for $29. We use the Teachable platform to deliver the book. After they take our their fees our profit is $26 per book. I just thought I'd explain the discrepancy between selling 4 books at $29 and only making $104. Below is a graph of our sales in July.
We're planning to do a big promotion for the book at some point in the
Flight Deal Alerts - $2
Change from last month (July $2) - (June $45) = $43
The flight deal alerts are an easy way to get the best flight deals from around the web sent directly to your phone. Having these alerts set up is key to finding and booking mistake fares. They are sold as a companion to the Mistake Fare Manual.
Normally, flight deal alerts cost $2.99 per month, but when you purchase the Mistake Fare Manual you can get 6 months of alerts for only $1. The $2 we made this month was from people who had purchased the book and taken advantage of the 6 months for only $1. Below is a screen shot of our sales in the month of June.
Again, we aren't doing any promotion for the flight deal notifications, and the sales page is TERRIBLE. Currently the only people purchasing the flight deal notifications are people who buy the Mistake Fare Manual. You don't have to read The Mistake Fare Manual in order for these flight deal notifications to be value. They can be used to find great short term flight deals. However, we don't convey that anywhere on the sales page.
In addition to properly launching the Mistake Fare Manual in the near future, I plan to completely redo the sales page for the Flight Deal Notifications.
In the meantime, if you want to find short term flight deals using my flight deal notifications, you can sign up HERE. They're only $2.99 per month, so you have very little lose if you try it and don't like it.
Don't forget the very important lesson we all learned from the Dr. Seuss Book Green Eggs and Ham. You never know if you'll like something until you try it.
And you may!
I like green eggs and ham!
I do! I like them, Sam-I-am!
Amazon Affiliate Income - $6.07
Change from last month (July $6.07) - (June $0) = $6.07
This is a new addition to the income report. We made our first few sales through the Amazon Affiliate Program this month. It's not much, but it's a start. In the coming months, one of my focuses will be building our affiliate income (in an ethical way) in by recommending products that we use and think could add value to other people's lives.
The Amazon Affiliate Program pays a maximum of 10% for each sale. We're currently in the 4% bracket. Due to the low commission structure, I don't think Amazon will ever be a big money maker for us. However, it's a huge e-commerce that a lot of people already trust so it was an easy place to start! Below is a graph of our sales in July.
Total Income for June - $603.26
Change from last month (July $603.26 ) - (June $2,444.17) = $1,840.91
While it's a little sad to see our income down over $1,800 this month, it's about what I expected. Last month was an anomaly. We earned over $1,700 by being an affiliate for the Paradise Pack. Since the Paradise Pack is only sold for one week each year, we knew the revenue number we posted last month wasn't sustainable.
Time to get to work promoting my own products, and figuring out how to make more income through affiliate marketing! My goal for August is to double our income from this month.
I heard somewhere that if you make your goals public you're more likely to achieve them, so there you go!
2. Expense Report
Convert Kit - $49
Adobe Premiere Pro - $19.99
Total Business Expenses = $73.99
GeoBlue Health Insurance - $161
T-Mobile Phone Plan - $122.48
Total Fix Costs - $283.48
Kenya - $150 [July 1 - 6]
The last several days we were in Kenya, we saved money by staying with friends who live in Kisumu, thanks Keith and Erin! Also, the last night we were in Kenya we saved over $100 by sleeping in the airport instead of paying for a hotel/taxi rides.
South Africa - $887.68 [July 6 - 16]
- Visas - $0
- Rental Car - $101
- Accommodations - $441.28
- Misc - $345.40
Zambia - $261.84 [July 16 - 17]
- Visas - $100
- Hostel (1 Night) - $45.99
- Victoria Falls Entrance Fee - $40
- Misc - $30
- Food - $25.85
- Driver - $20
Zimbabwe - $160 [July 17 - 20]
- Visas - $60
- Transportation - $40
- Victoria Falls Entrance Fee - $60
- Canceled Hostel Reservation - $3.83
Mauritius - $470.27 [July 21 - 31]
Since we stepped foot in Mauritius, I've been tracking all of our expenses in an awesome app called Trail Wallet. I'm going to try to keep track of all of our expenses in this app moving forward. Below is a screen shot from the app.
The total on the app is different from our total expenses above, because this trip spilled into August, and the additional expenses will appear on next month's report.
Want to really dig into our expenses? Click the link below to a spread sheet of every penny we spent in Mauritius.
Other - $26.70
JNB Airport Hostel - $26.70
Kisumu to Nairobi, Kenya - $240.13
Johannesburg to Cape Town, South Africa - $231.52
Cape Town, South Africa to Livingstone, Zambia - $400
Taxes & Fees on United "Round Trip" Ticket NBO > JNB > MRU > ZAR - $538.60
Taxes & Fees on British Airways Flight from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg - $88
Total Spent on Flights - $1,498.25
Frequent Flyer Miles
United MileagePlus Miles - 70,000
British Airways Avios - 8,000
Total Frequent Flyer Miles Spent - 78,000
Total Travel Expenses - $3,454.74 & 78,000 Frequent Flyer Miles Spent
Total July Income
YouTube - $491.19
Mistake Fare Manual - $104
Flight Deal Notifications - $2
Amazon Affiliate Program - $6.07
Total = $603.26
Total July Expenses
Business Expenses - $73.99
Fixed Expenses - $283.48
Travel Expenses - $3,454.74
Frequent Flyer Miles Spent - 78,000
Total = $3,812.21
Overall Monthly Gain/Loss = $3,208.95
The goal is to get the number above to turn green by the end of the year! As you can see, we still have a long way to go!
4. Savings (Vanity Metrics)
How much money we saved this month thanks to partnerships, frequent flyer miles, and negotiating. This is just a fun vanity metric to calculate. We probably would have taken a different route around Africa if we didn't have frequent flyer miles, and we definitely wouldn't have paid to go on all of the activities in Mauritius. However, if you love numbers like me, it's still fun to look at how much money this month "should have" cost us.
Money Saved with Frequent Flyer Miles
Flights from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg cost $175 each. We used 8,000 Avios and paid $88 in taxes and fees. We saved $262 using points, which gave us a per point value of 3.3 cents.
We used 70,000 United miles and paid $538.60 in taxes and fees to fly from NBO (Nairobi, Kenya ) to JNB (Johannesburg, South Africa) to MRU (Mauritius) to (DAR) Dar Es Shalaam, Tanzania. Flying in Africa is expensive. These numbers won't be exactly right because the time frame is different, but I just went to Momondo and priced out these flights. The total cost for two people would have been:
NBO > JNB = $543
JNB > MRU = $718
MRU > DAR = $1,273
Total Cost = $2,534
This gave us a per point value of 2.9 cents per mile.
Total Saved with Frequent Flyer Miles - $2,257.40
I became a travel hacking master after taking Trav's Frequent Flyer Boot Camp course. If you're ready to start traveling the world for pennies on the dollar, I highly recommend checking out Trav's course to fast track your travel hacking success.
Now that our YouTube channel is getting over 400,000 views per month, we're getting opportunities to partner with companies for free experiences/accommodations in return for featuring the company on the vlog. You'll always know if we've partnered with a company because at the end of the vlog we'll put a message that says either "Accommodations Provided By:" or "This Adventure Made Possible By:". This serves as an advertisement for the company that we partner with, but it also helps us be transparent about content on our vlog being sponsored.
July was HUGE month for us in terms of sponsorships! I reached out to the Mauritius Tourism Board before our trip, and they hooked us up with a ton of companies during our two week stay in Mauritius!
Shark Cage Diving with African Eco Charters - Cost $262 (Our Cost Free)
Chazal Eco Tourism Ziplining - $102
3 Nights Ocean Villas - $459
1 Night at Ocean Beauty - $123
Fun Adventures SeaKarts - $156
JP Henry Dolphin Swim - $100
Eureka Mansion Cooking Demonstration, Lunch, and Tour - $80? (totally guessing)
Total Partnership Savings - ~ $2,368
We were the ones who initiated all of these partnerships. We aren't to the point where brands are reaching out to us, yet 🙂 We learned how to pitch brands for partnerships from Tommo and Megsy at Travel Master Class.
If you have a travel platform and you're interested in learning how to partner with travel brands, we highly recommend checking out their course Pitching Master Class!
Negotiation - $208
When we stay in an Airbnb for an extended period of time, I try to negotiate the price down by contacting the host directly. During the month of July I was able to negotiate $208 off our Airbnb stays.
Total Savings for July - $4,833.40