Minafi Income & Expenses
This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.
Whenever I visit a blog, I’m always curious what their motivation is. Partially in the Vision & Mission sense, but also what their monetary motivation is. Advertising disclosures are nice (and required), but I always love diving into others monthly income reports. Getting to see a ledger of income and expenses hits the accounting sweet spot for me.
I’ve considered going down the route of sharing numbers every month here on Minafi. I’m split on the idea. For one, I love the transparency of it and have no problems with sharing things. On the other side, the subset of people interested in this doesn’t have as much overlap for minimalism and mindfulness as some of the other topics I enjoy writing about. It’s also time I’m not writing about them.
I do want to Let Transparency Shine and communicate where Minafi’s money is coming from. I see this as similar to a political candidate showing their donors and their tax returns. It helps highlight any conflict of interests and lets readers make up their mind when it comes to my motives.
As a compromise, I’ve decided to keep this page up to date each month with my cashflow – both incoming and outgoing.
Adam’s Personal Cashflow
If you’re looking for my personal expenses and investments, I document those quarterly. These income reports are massive. They include every fund I’m invested in, what I’ve spent (both at a quarterly and yearly level), where I am on my journey towards financial independence, savings rate and more. I love doing these quarterly – that feels like the right cadence where it doesn’t feel like homework, and I can still learn from them.
- Minafi 2018 Q1 Spring Investment Report
- Minafi 2017 Q4 Winter Investment Report
- Minafi 2017 Q3 Fall Investment Report
As I write more of these, this list will grow!
Minafi Ongoing Cashflow
Before getting into the month to month breakdown of Minafi’s expenses, I want to preempt the list with the ongoing services I’m using now. One thing that stands out is that running Minafi isn’t expensive. That can be done for $5/month (thanks Digital Ocean!). Growing and automating Minafi is where the real money goes. Learning new techniques, legal requirements, and finding services save me time all have a cost. When the cost is worth it, I want to continue using services that save me time.
Here are a few of the services I use every month here on Minafi.
Drip [$49 for up to 2,5000 email subscribers] I love Drip. I send out a lot of emails here on Minafi – The Minimal Investor Course, automatic emails when an article is released, a weekly Minafi Magazine and more. Drip makes all of this possible. Email accounts for about 10% of all visits to Minafi right now.
CoSchedule [$19/month for social media coordination]. CoSchedule is the best tool I’ve found for organizing my social media posts. They have a WordPress Plugin that allows you to schedule these straight from the same page you write your post. This means I never forget to schedule them out.
Teachable [$39/month for course hosting]. Handling credit card payments is a pain. In my time as a software developer, I remember spending weeks integrating with gateways and other services. Teachable handles all of that, as well as paying out affiliates. The dev in me does wish I could do this all myself, but at $39/month it’s just worth it to use a 3rd party. I’m excited to release the full Minimal Investor Course soon on this platform.
DigitalOcean [$5/month for web hosting]. I’ve tried many different web hosts over the years. One thing that always scared me was having straight server access and being responsible for the tweaking and IT side. In recent years, I realized this was a limiting belief, and have taken steps to get better at it. This has meant using a host like DigitalOcean, where you’re on the line for what happens on the server, is possible. Because of that, I can get much more CPU and memory for my buck than I could with a shared hosting provider (Bluehost, Dreamhost, etc).
The total amount of these 4 services? $112/month. That’s the baseline cost to run Minafi each month as of today, March 29, 2018.
Rounding that up to include expanding into other services, the amount is closer to $200/month, or $2,4000/year. Add on to that the occasional FinCon, and you’re already talking $3k/year or more. That means if I were to stop working today, I’d need roughly $75,000 to keep Minafi running (expenses * 25) if it didn’t bring in any income. The hope today is that it does become at least self-sufficient.
Monthly Income and Expenses Report
Note: This will be updated every month. I’d rather continue to keep this up to date rather than post new reports each month, due to the topic being unrelated from my overall vision for Minafi.
For March, Minafi had 3x the traffic and 3x the sessions of February! That’s a crazy uptick! For that traffic, Minafi relies entirely too much on referrals. SEO has been relatively slow to grow, with me not finding a great way to leverage it just yet. Right now, only about 12% of all visits to Minafi come through search, which is very low. More traffic comes from referrals, direct and social channels (Facebook and Twitter).
This was my first full month running ads, which resulted in about $1.45 CPM and almost $30 in earnings. This plus a Personal Capital click paid a large dent in expenses for the month, which was handy!
From a writing standpoint, I continued posting 2x week with 1 email newsletter as well. This was my first full month waking up every day and writing from 6am-7am. It’s been amazing, and I actually look forward to getting up to do it. I schedule out what I’ll be writing beforehand. When the morning arrives I can just sit down and write! If I get better at this, I’d love to improve to 3x a week, but only if it’s still something I wake up looking foward to.
Monthly Traffic: 20.6k pageviews, 14.7k sessions, 83.1% bounce rate, ~900 email subscribers, avg session 1:30. Rockstar Finance feature, thread on the Bogleheads forum about the Interactive Guide.
Social Media Management
|Personal Capital Affiliates||$20.00|
After a lot of consideration, I finally decided to try running ads here on Minafi this month. Minafi’s traffic isn’t anything extraordinary. In February, Minafi received 4.8k sessions, so Adsense won’t be paying me too much. Adsense is the easy first step to try here, as they allow sites with relatively low traffic in. I added ads towards the end of the month, so March will be the first full month to try this out.
I also tried switching up the cadence of writing. Every Monday and Thursday I published a new article. Every Wednesday I sent out a newsletter. This felt like the right amount of writing for me where it wasn’t a struggle to do it.
Monthly Traffic: 7.4k pageviews, 4.8k sessions, 79.8% bounce rate, ~770 email subscribers, avg session 1:31. No major links to the site this month. This is a good baseline for what traffic looks like when it’s completely organic.
Social Media Management
|Personal Capital Affiliates||$40.00|
I registered Minafi as an LLC! Between the move, the new tax bill and a not wanting to do it sooner, I waited until the new year and finally opened this up. In addition, I started working on a Teachable course version of my Minimal Investor Course. The last week and half of the month I was out of the country on our honeymoon to Vietnam, Laos and Thailand!
Monthly Traffic: 11.9k pageviews, 8k sessions, 80% bounce rate, ~700 email subscribers, avg session 1:39. Top traffic: Rockstar Finance feature and a Physician on Fire Sundays Best.
Social Media Management
December was a crazy month. We moved across-country – driving from Orlando to Salt Lake City. After the move, we were in temporary housing for a few weeks. Mrs. Minafi was also traveling much of the month, which meant double-duty on looking after our pup. In other words, I worked the least on Minafi this month.
Monthly Traffic: 11.9k pageviews, 8k sessions, 81% bounce rate, ~630 email subscribers, avg session 1:41. Top traffic: Rockstar Finance feature!
Social Media Management
|Perfect Pin Course||-$5.05
November was a busy month. I had barely returned from FinCon and I wanted to put everything I learned into practice. Time wasn’t on my side, and instead, November was spent fixing up and listing our house. In November we were able to list our house and get it under contract! This did mean very little time writing or working on Minafi.
Monthly Traffic: 7.3k pageviews, 5k sessions, 80% bounce rate, ~590 email subscribers, avg session 1:35. Top traffic: Rockstar Finance feature!
Interactive Post Database
|Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course||-$197.00
The major focus of this month was writing The Minimal Investor Course. I had setup Drip (my email provider) to email out a new article each week, and that meant I needed to write it! There were days this month when I woke up early and wrote 4,000 words that were then emailed out that morning to people without even reviewing the article. Although this was kind of crazy in retrospect, it was a great commitment device to write. It did pay off in the form of a ton more email subscribers this month.
Monthly Traffic: 14.3k pageviews, 10.2k sessions, 84% bounce rate, ~520 email subscribers, avg session 1:32. Top traffic: You Need a Budget Email List Feature!
- Expenses: -$614.00 for Drip, FinCon hotel, food & drinks
- Income: $1.68 from Amazon Affiliates
- Cashflow: -$639.32
This was a crazy month. I launched The Interactive Guide to Early Retirement and Financial Independence, a project created over 6-weeks with collaboration from many others in the community. It was a ton of fun to create, and I’m very proud of what was created.
I also launched The Minimal Investor Course this month. This is a 10-week course teaching people how to invest. I’ll be honest – when I launched it I hadn’t written the course. I just thought “If people sign up, I’ll write it!”. Well, people signed up in the HUNDREDS thanks to the easy call to action within the interactive guide. I spent the next month after this writing these emails.
The biggest gain from launching the guide wasn’t financial. I think it advanced the social side of having a blog by 2 years in name recognition just by having people know it and remember it. In addition to that, having the very nice bump to email subscribers was amazing.
Monthly Traffic: 41.4k pageviews, 33.2k sessions, 85.7% bounce rate, ~320 email subscribers, avg session 1:26. Top traffic: The Interactive Guide Launched this month. Top post on Reddit in /r/financialindependence, Rockstar Finance Feature, Tweeted by a bunch of people – all around an awesome month!
- Expenses: -$212.00 for Drip, business cards, trying out a bunch of services.
- Income: $3.02 from Amazon Affiliates
- Cashflow: -$208.98
This month was a game changer for Minafi. I after being featured on Rockstar Finance for the first time, traffic surged higher and stayed there for a while. The post that was featured, Use Savings Rate as a Lifestyle Inflation Canary, is super short, and part of my experiment to write short content.
Monthly Traffic: 4.1k pageviews, 3k sessions, 87% bounce rate, ~20 email subscribers, avg session 1:00. Top traffic: Rockstar Finance Feature (my first!). Traffic for the week before that feature? 11, 6, 7, 11, 3, 10 sessions a day. Day featured on Rockstar? 1,302. More traffic in one day than all previous days combined.
- Expenses: -$72.00 for a custom Minafi t-shirt and trying out CrowdFlare.
- Income: $0.00
- Cashflow: -$72.00
I moved from Medium to WordPress. This resulted in a bunch of issues, but it was worth it to struggle through and make things better. I started working on The Interactive Guide this month (which would launch in September).
Monthly Traffic: 1k pageviews, 600 sessions, 75% bounce rate, ~10 email subscribers, avg session 1:40.
- Expenses: -$10.00 for domain renewal at Namecheap
- Income: $1.30 from Amazon Affiliates
- Cashflow: -$8.70
This is the month I started writing. I didn’t think about what would happen, or what people thought, I just wrote. This turned out to be the right approach for me, and helped power through some of my fears about expressing my thoughts online.
Monthly Traffic: 900 pageviews, 350 sessions, 64% bounce rate, ~2 email subscribers, avg session 2:54.
- Expenses: -$200 for Medium SSL cert, Genesis WordPress theme.
- Income: None
- Cashflow: -$200
This post will continue to be updated monthly with my new stats as months end.