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!






19 responses to “Income Report: Q1 2017”

  1. Dave Avatar

    I really enjoy reading these types of posts. Nice to see your progression. Keep up the great work Brock!

    1. Brock Avatar

      Thanks, Dave!

  2. Ben Avatar

    This is a really interesting behind the scenes look. I think the best and fairest comparison would be to the same quarter of the prior year. And if you do that, the growth from Q1 2016 to Q1 2017 is huge. Great job.

    1. Brock Avatar

      Thanks! Yeah, makes sense to look at year over year comparisons. So important to do that. Otherwise, it’s easy to feel like progress is too small/slow.

    2. David Rachford Avatar

      Yes, best to compare same Q’s year over year… that will take into consideration Q4’s bigness, which in fashion / apparel will be biggest with Black Friday and Holiday buying. As Ben said; great growth year over year!

  3. Jason marìn Avatar
    Jason marìn

    Great job! Clear, consciousness and acccessible.

    1. Brock Avatar

      Thank you!

  4. Akshay Dhiman Avatar

    That’s great. Ups and downs are always there, but you’re doing better annually, that is what matters.
    Looking forward to check out the new homepage design. The preview looks great!

  5. The Quintessential Man Avatar

    Man, seriously you are doing an incredible job. Can I ask you a couple of questions?
    1. Is your primary traffic source google?
    2. Direct ads are google ads or the ones on your sidebar?

    1. Brock Avatar

      Adrian, thanks man! Yes, almost all of the traffic is organic from Google. The side bar has both types of ads. The top leaderboard is a direct ad (paid for directly by a sponsor, not through an ad network).

  6. Mark Walker Avatar
    Mark Walker

    Congratulations, Brock! I’ve gotten a lot of great tips and info from your posts. Keep it up. Cheers!

    1. Brock Avatar

      Thanks, Mark!

  7. Nate Avatar

    Brock, you’re killing it. Keep it up! Love seeing your progress mate. Also, how about a post for dudes that suffer from asian flat ass and chicken legs. ahaha. No….seriously. 🙂

    1. Brock Avatar

      Haha might need a guest writer for that one…know anyone??

  8. Vincent Avatar


    Your transparency is refreshing. With the 32% decrease in amazon, it’s tough to say when you have a loss like that. Good for you to be honest even in a circumstance as such.

    Amazon recently changed their affiliate policy(as they always do) I took a hit myself.

    1. Brock Avatar

      Yeah, it’s tough relying on other companies for your income. They can just change overnight and have a huge impact on your bottom line. I’m sure lots of people are losing a ton of money because of that Amazon change. Just goes to show how important it is to diversify income streams!

  9. curtisswu Avatar

    Hi Brock, thanks for being so transparent about something many would consider personal. Not only does it make an actually very interesting read, but is a breath of fresh air considering the majority of the web.

  10. AglLifestyles Avatar

    This is really interesting. I’m just starting up a blog right now too, and it’s great to see that you’re so transparent about your business. Great progress, keep it up!

  11. Thomas Avatar

    I came by your YouTube channel through a suggested video watching Real Men Real Style. I’m happy to learn & explore the nuances of being a modest stature (5’7″) so thank you for committing to this.

    As others have said, your transparency & pulling back the curtain is admirable & inspiring. Adding a partner stacked column for each quarter for the expenses on the revenue chart I think would further demonstrate the small margins in the beginning as well as realities of starting & running a business.

    I wish you success in making this endeavor profitable and lucrative as you provide a valuable service to us. ??

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