Yes, this is OCTOBER's Income and Expenses. Sorry for the delay! This is the closest we've ever been to breaking even, thanks to our merchandise sales this month. I hope you enjoy the October edition of Income & Expense Report!
Since these emails tend to get really long, I've included a table of contents below.
1. Income Report
2. Expense Report
Why Do We Send Out A Monthly Income Report?
This section is the same as last month - so this is for new people who are receiving the income report for the first time. If you read it last month, scroll down until 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, when we first started sending out these reports, we were barely making any money!
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.
About midway through the year we decided that we were really enjoying this full-time travel thing, and we were 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 had only saved up enough money to travel for a year, we needed to find a way to make money on the road so we could continue traveling. For the last four months we've been 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 getting close to the point where we're able to fund our travels through our YouTube channel! Traveling and sharing our adventures on YouTube is something Kara and I are both really passionate about. We feel super fortunate that we're (almost) able to make a full-time living doing something we enjoy so much!
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 October income report.
1. Income Report
Kara and Nate Merchandise - $1,505.16
We sold apparel and coffee cups for the first time during the month of October, and it went way better than expected. Over 130 items were purchased in just 10 days! We sold t-shirts, hoodies, long sleeved t-shirts, and coffee mugs. Each item had a different profit margin, but in the end it averaged out to about $11.50 of profit per item sold.
We used the TeeSpring platform to sell our merchandise. We had a great user experience! If you plan to sell custom apparel, I recommend using TeeChip.com. I had originally planned to use TeeSpring.com, but I found the user interface on the back end of TeeChip to be much more intuitive. Plus, TeeChip offers higher margins, which allowed Kara and I to offer our apparel at a lower price!
My only complaint about TeeChip is that their analytics - which is why there's no pretty graph at the bottom of this section.
YouTube Ad Revenue - $736.62
Change from last month - (October $736.62) - (September $725.79) = $10.83
Our ad revenue increased by over $200 in the month of September - mostly due to our capsule hotel getting a lot of views (randomly) bringing in a lot of new subscribers. While we didn't have any videos go semi viral during the month of October, I'm happy to see that our ad revenue stayed between $20 - $30 almost every day of the month!
Patreon - $345.17
Change from last month (October $345.17) - (September 280.09) = $158.95
Before we jump into the business side of things, we'd like to say a belated special THANK YOU to our new October patrons: Andrew, Jessica, Kris, and Beatrice!
Patreon is the easiest way to support our channel. If you'd like to help keep us on the road producing new content, click the link below.
Patreon is a platform that allows creators to receive reoccurring funding from fans. We're excited about Patreon because, like the YouTube ad revenue we receive, it allows us to focus completely on creating awesome YouTube content.
Below is a screen shot of our pledge growth since launching our Patreon page in August. The green bar represents new pledges and the blue bar stands for the cumulative amount, and the red bar stands for decreased pledges.
Amazon Affiliate Income - $96.92
Change from last month (October $96.92) - (September $109.35) = -$12.43
Our Amazon affiliate income slipped below $100 for the first time in two months, but $96 is pretty close :). Thank you so much to everyone who takes the time to make an extra couple of clicks in order to give us a small commission from your Amazon purchases!
We haven't added any new resources to our website in the last two months, so that's probably why our income dipped a little bit this month. However, the three resource pages below still drove over 2,000 visitors to Amazon! I love that we were able to make over $100 this month just from recommending products we already use and love.
1. Travel Essentials - This page lists all of the packing gear we're lugging around the world with us.
2. Vlogging Gear - This page lists all of the gear we use to create our vlogs on a daily basis.
3. Keep Us on the Road - This page explains all of the ways people can help financially support our travels.
Just so you know: We get paid for ANYTHING you buy off of Amazon within 24 hours of clicking our link! It doesn't have to be the product we recommended. If you click through to look at our camera, and then get distracted and buy toilet paper, we still receive a commission for the toilet paper!
Mistake Fare Manual Sales - $151.00
Change from last month (October 151.00) - (September $158.82) = -$7.82
I'm amazed at how consistently the Mistake Fare Manual sells without any promotion. The past three months, we've made 5 - 7 new sales each month. Although $150 isn't a ton of money, it's completely passive income!
Below is a graph that shows our sales of the Mistake Fare Manual since it was published in June. Spoiler Alert: It's already December so you can see our November sales as well.
The Mistake Fare Manual sells for $29. We use the Teachable platform to deliver the book. After they take out their fees, our profit is $26 per book.
Audible Partnership - $60
Change from last month (October $60) - (September $30) = $30.00
Last month, I was disappointed with the results from our Audible partnership, and I said:
"We're going to continue promoting the free trial for another month. If only a few people sign up this month, we'll reevaluate whether or not it's worth promoting."
We doubled our Audible Affiliate income this month, but it still wasn't near as much as I expected. You'll still be able to sign up for a free trail through our Keep Us On The Road page, but we won't be promoting at the end of our videos. That screen real estate is too valuable to waste on something that's only going to bring in $60.
I figured a graph with four bars on it was kind of pointless... So onto the next section!
Flight Deal Alerts - $13.96
Change from last month (October $13.96) - (September $8.97) = $4.99
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.
We have over 50 people receiving amazing flight deal notifications on a daily basis, but the majority of our subscribers have paid $1 for six months after purchasing the Mistake Fare Manual, which is why we don't make a ton from our flight deal alerts each month.
Other Affiliate Income - $31.40
Change from last month (October $31.40) - (September $5.98) = 25.42
Our additional affiliate income this month came from a course we promote called The Pitching Master Class. It's a course that teaches you how to partner with travel companies for free and have paid experiences like we've been doing for the last few months. We found their advice very helpful, so we always link the course in our "Vanity Metrics" section at the bottom of this monthly email.
The course retails for $157 and we make about a 20% commission, so the $31.40 we made this month came from one person clicking on our link and purchasing the course!
Hopefully we'll be able to find more affiliate links to work into our site and emails. However, we'll never force affiliate links. We only recommend sites and products we use and love, so the addition of new affiliates will have to be organic.
Total Income for October - $2,940.23
Change from last month (October $2,940.23) - (September $1,319.18) = $1,621.05
Below is a graph that shows the make up of our income by revenue source.
Wow! We got really close to hitting our goal of $3,000 in a month, which is awesome! Unfortunately, over half of our income came from our apparel sales which isn't a source of sustainable income that we can count on month to month.
We're grateful for the extra money we earned this month, but in the coming months we'll need to work on increasing revenue streams that can produce a consistent income for us each month.
2. Expense Report
Convert Kit - $49
Adobe Premiere Pro - $19.99
Teachable - $39
Traverse Mingle Tickets - $24.22
Total Business Expenses = $137.21
GeoBlue Health Insurance - $161
T-Mobile Phone Plan - $148.75
Kindle Unlimited - $10.94
Get a 30 Day Free Trial of Kindle Unlimited (Tons of Free Lonely Planet Guide Books!)
Total Fix Costs - $320.69
Dubrovnik, Croatia - $357 [Oct. 1 -5]
- Airbnb (4 Nights) - $176
- Other - $181.02
Kotor, Montenegro - $423.50 [Oct. 5 - 9]
- Airbnb (4 Nights) - $216
- Other - $207.50
North Cyprus - $257.41 [Oct. 9 - 18]
- Hotels - $0
- Other - $257.41
Athens, Greece - $481.34 [Oct. 18 - 22]
- Airbnb (4 Nights) - $187
- Other - $294.34
Santorini, Greece- $961 [Oct. 22 - 25]
- Airbnb (3 Nights) - $567
- Other - $394.10
Ziest, Netherlands - $164.89 [Oct. 25 - 31]
- Accommodations - $0
- Other - $164.89
Montenegro to North Cyprus - $0
North Cyprus to Athens, Greece - $0
Athens, Greece to the Netherlands - $352.40
Dubrovnik to Montenegro - $60
Total Spent on Transportation - $412.40
Total Expenses for October - $3,515.26
Change from last month (October $3,515.26) - (Sept. $3,027.62) = -487.64
Below is a graph that shows the break down of our expenses by category.
Total September Income
Mistake Fare Manual $151.00
Amazon Affiliate Income $96.92
Audible Partnership - $60
Flight Deal Notifications $13.96
Other Affiliate Income $31.40
Merchandise Sales - $1505.16
Total = $2,940.23
Total September Expenses
Business Expenses - $137.21
Fixed Expenses - $320.69
Travel Expenses - $3,057.36
Total = $3,515.26
Total Monthly Loss - $575.03
Change from last month (October $575.03) - (September $1,708.44) = 1,133.41
Before I sat down to write this income report, I was pretty confident that the month of October was going to be our first month to break even. Unfortunately, we didn't quite make it, but this is the least amount of money we've "lost" in a month while being on the road.
We would have been even closer to breaking even this month if it wasn't for a couple splurges in Santorini. We rented an amazing Airbnb that was way above our normal budget, and we paid to spend a day cruising around the island on catamaran. While we're disappointed we didn't break even for the first time this month, we don't regret our splurges. Santorini was an amazing experience that we got to share with two of our closest friends. Some things are worth the extra money, and Santorini was one of them!
4. Savings (Vanity Metrics)
This is how much money we saved this month thanks to partnerships, frequent flyer miles, and negotiating. This is just a fun vanity metric to calculate. If you love numbers like me, it's fun to look at how much money this month "should have" cost us.
Money Saved by Using Hotel Points & Frequent Flyer Miles!
This is the first month out of the entire year that we didn't use a single frequent flyer mile or hotel point! It's nice to keep those stashed away in the bank for times that we really need them!
Total Saved with Frequent Flyer Miles - $0
Now that our YouTube channel is getting over 500,000 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 to be transparent about content on our vlog being sponsored.
During the month of October, we had our biggest partnership ever! It was also the first time we had a been approached by a company instead of us reaching out to them.
RT Flights to North Cyprus - ~$400 (Our Cost Free)
8 Nights of Accommodations in North Cyprus - ~900 (Our Cost Free)
7 Day Rental Car in North Cyprus - ~$200 (Our Cost Free)
Athens Food Tour - $110 (Our Cost Free)
Total Partnership Savings - ~ $1,610
99% of the time we're the ones who initiate these partnerships. Rarely do brands reach out to us. 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 - $50
When we stay in an Airbnb for an extended period of time, I try to negotiate the price down by contacting the host directly. This month I was only able to negotiate one of our Airbnb stays for a savings of just over $50.
Total Savings for September - $1,660