Income Report: Q1 2017

Can you believe we’re already more than three months into 2017? It’s true, which means it’s time for another blogging income report!

Income report Q1 2017

If this is the first income report you’ve seen here, you might be wondering:

“Why is a style blogger writing about making money?”

It’s a good question. I publish these quarterly reports about the business side of The Modest Man for a few reasons:

  • I like being totally transparent.
  • Online business is fascinating (this book got me into it…).
  • Many people are curious about how bloggers earn a living.
  • To inspire others to start their own businesses.

If this is your first income report, read this first ↓

How Does The Modest Man Make Money? opens in a new window

What follows is a breakdown of revenue, expenses and profit for Q1 2017.

TMM Revenue (Quarterly)

Let’s start with the big picture – quarterly revenue for the past two years:

TMM quarterly revenue Q1 2017

As you can see, Q1 2017 was down a little bit from Q4 2016, but that’s pretty typical for this sort of business.

Q4 holidays always bring extra revenue, and February is usually the worst month for websites.

Speaking of revenue…

Revenue from this website can be broken down into three general categories:

  1. Advertising/sponsorships
  2. Affiliate commissions
  3. Selling products

Let’s see how each one did this quarter (note: some links below are affiliate links).

Advertising – $18,077 (down 2% from previous quarter)

  • Direct Ads – $2,350
  • AdThrive – $4,606
  • Sponsored – $10,635
  • Other – $486

Advertising revenue, which includes sponsored blog posts and videos, was pretty much flat.

I’m happy with this, considering the fact that advertisers typically spend way more money in Q4 than Q1.

Affiliate – $5,341 (down 32% from previous quarter)

Ouch. Down 32% from last quarter. I think is partly due to two things:

  1. I started using Skimlinks and have accrued a balance of around $850, but I haven’t been paid yet (because I forgot to set up my payment info, like a dummy).
  2. Modern Tailor is late on at least one payment.

With the kind of accounting I do, money is only counted when an invoice goes out or when a payment comes in.

So if an affiliate misses a payment, or if I simply haven’t been paid from a certain program yet (even though I’ve earned the money), it doesn’t go on the books.

In other words, I’m not too worried about it!

Products – $1,598 (up 20% from previous quarter)

The Modest Man Style Guide
The Modest Man Style Guide

My only product, a digital guide, isn’t a huge part of the business, but it is consistent each month.

In fact, this version (which is the second version) has generated about $15k to date.

But I’d love for it to be a bigger part of the business. To that end, I have two ideas:

  1. Use Facebook ads to generate leads and sell more copies (just started this with the help of my buddy Ryan Masters).
  2. Turn the book into a higher value course, full of videos, quizzes, downloadable lessons, etc. (haven’t started this one yet…).

Hopefully, the next quarterly report will show an increase in sales for TMMSG.

Total Revenue = $25,017 (down 10% from last quarter)

Keep in mind, this is quarterly revenue, not monthly. So it comes out to about $8,339 per month before taxes and expenses.

Speaking of which, let’s look at all of the recurring and one-time expenses for Q1.

Recurring Expenses (paid monthly, totaled for the quarter)

One-Time Expenses

Total Expenses = $6,455

Yeah, it was an expensive quarter. But the bulk of it was important, one-time charges. Plus, I had a great trip to StyleCon 2017, built a new and improved workstation and got a sweet new camera lens.


I finally got the design for the new TMM website! It’s being built right now and should be ready soon. In the meantime, here’s a quick preview of the homepage:

TMM new website preview
The first half of the new TMM homepage…

This is the kind of thing that’s worth investing in. Maybe not when you’re first getting started, but in my case it’s long overdue. Can’t wait to show you the finished product!

Profit = $18,562 (down 22% from previous quarter)

Setting aside about 30% for taxes, this comes out to about $4,331 cash in my pocket per month.

It’s funny…seeing the decrease in profit kind of hurts, but I know that it’s just a vanity metric for me right now.

Sure, I could increase profit by NOT buying a new desk and 4k monitor. I could save some cash by sticking with this same old website design for another year.

But I don’t think that’s the right mindset for a small, growing business, so (for now) I’ll continue to invest in The Modest Man as needed.

Thank YOU!

None of this is possible without you. Thank you for your readership and support!