traffic report

How I Lost $108 Hosting A Spectacular Event

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Since we started the blog, we knew that we wanted to keep a monthly report a huge part of the process. Thrive Lounge is all about setting big goals and reaching towards them so from the first blog post we knew that we'd create monthly reports. It would be both  a great way to stay consistent with our goal-focused brand and also keep track of how we’re growing our blog over time.

In reading other blog reports, I am always excited about the different ways other people are able to make money with blogging and I always learn more from what others are doing. I hope this blog report helps others in the same way by showing  a detailed break down of the blog income, expenses and traffic. Where we can, we'll also let you know how much time (blood, sweat and tears) went into it all. :) 

So let's get started...

 

September 2017
(11 Months of Blogging)

 

At the end of this month, we hosted an event Visualize Your Victory in Washington, DC. (This is my hometown so I love connecting with my audience in person here.)

Every month we host an event is like drinking water from a fire hose. The entire month, I felt like I was drowning in social media marketing, strategy, coordinating with speakers, sponsors, food and endless emails to my event planner. My brain felt completely underwater and I could only hope that this event was going to be as amazing as it was in my head.

So, how did we do on our September goals?

 

THE RECAP - SEPTEMBER GOALS:

  • Make Visualize Your Victory a huge success!

 

MAKE VISUALIZE YOUR VICTORY A HUGE SUCCESS

The first step in  creating a huge success is to define what success will look like. That way you have a benchmark for whether or not you hit that goal. For this event, the goal was to have a full house of women impecably dressed like the person they want to become in 5 years, great speakers that would inspire women to reach for more in their personal and professional life and create an elite + supportive environment that owuld give women a VIP experience, but still allow them to feel comfortable sharing their stories.

On this measure, we definitely accomplished that goal. Women walked in wearing some of the most fab dresses and heels for days looking like they could give A-List celebs a run for their money. (Seriously, women were SLAYING the red carpet - check out the images here.) I learned so much about what people really wanted, whether it was to become an author, reach more women, gain a wider reach for their story, women are making a huge impact on the world around them and had big goals to do more. At the end of the event, we received great feedback in how people loved the intimate conversions and the keynote speaker. The event turned out better than I thought it would've in my head... and I couldn't have been more proud.

Expenses

  • Event Planner - $500
  • Venue Fees - $400
  • Drinks - $50
  • Team Gifts- $100
  • Marketing  - $35
  • Event Signage and Decor - $175

Total Expenses: $1,260

 

The Breakdown:

Event planner: I wanted to work with an event planner because this was my first solo large event and I wanted to make sure I had a professional on my side. In hindsight, I should’ve hired someone just for consultation when I am proving a concept. I had no idea whether this layout for the event was something people would pay for so I started off in a hole before I even got started.

Venue fees & Drinks: Well, you need a venue if you’re going to host an event. And you can’t have thirsty guests.

Team Gifts: I didn’t intend on spending this, but when a member of your team comes through, you should always show your appreciation. These are concrete #BossRules because #LeadersEatLast (period).

Marketing: I tried my hand at some Facebook marketing.

Event Signage & Decor: We really wanted to create an elegant experience for guests and the cost in this area was completely necessary. This covered the red carpet, stallions and the gorgeous sign that greeted people on their way in.
 

 

Income

  • Ticket Sales - $772
  • Sponsorships - $380

The Breakdown

Ticket Sales: This is self explanatory, but encompasses our super-early-bird, early bird pricing, a few email-only discounts and our regular priced tickets.

Sponsorships: We had several sponsors that helped to cover food costs or provide giveaways to attendees.
 

Total Income: $1,152

 

Total Event Net Revenue: -$108

 

Yes, you totally read that right. This month, I’m sharing how I worked over 100 hours to put an event together, created a banging marketing plan, got together amazing speakers and hosted a fab event - and paid money to do it.

My friends and I always talk about how down right annoying it is when you see a packed event or when you see someone with millions of followers they never talk about how they got there and definitely don't share the numbers behind it. I want to start the trend in being totally clear about my wins and fails.

 

Blog Traffic + Email List
 

PAGE VIEWS:

  • Last Month: 3,147
  • This Month: 2,979 (5% drop from last month)


 

EMAIL LIST:

  • Last Month: 748
  • This Month: 986 (32% gain from last month)

 

TOP TRAFFIC SOURCES:

64% SOCIAL MEDIA

  • 87% Pinterest
  • 7% Instagram
  • 6% Facebook
  • <1% Twitter

29% DIRECT LINK
6% ORGANIC SEARCH
1% CAME FROM RANDOM PLACES ON THE INTERWEBS


 

TOP PAGES VISITED THIS MONTH:

 

Now that we've been working on the site for almost a year (and tracking our progress the entire time), it's easy to see the clear winner in where our site traffic is coming from. Even though I have a Master's in Analytics, you don't really need it to see that Pinterest is straight dominating our other social media platforms! The best thing about it is that we don't have to invest a ton of time into marketing on Pinterest to get this traffic! A few months ago, we decided to stop working on our other social media accounts all together, only using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for connecting with people, but doing the majority of our social media activity on Pinterest.
 

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EMAIL LIST:

In April 2017, we made the switch from Mailchimp to ConvertKit for our email service and this completely skyrocketed our email list. Convertkit makes it incredibly easy to send freebies to your audience and create automations like the one I use for the 5-day vision challenge.

On top of that, the web forms are completely customizable so it matches the rest of my site. I place a popup form and another form at the bottom of the page to give away a freebie that is an add-on to the content. This makes it easy for people that enjoy my content to get an upgrade and it helps me easily keep in contact with them over time.

Here's a look into how our email collection has grown since switching over to ConvertKit:

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We expected our email list growth to slow a bit in September because we were focused on sending traffic to the ticket sales landing page instead of creating a lot of new blog content. 

Another huge contributor to our email list growth has been our two meetup groups, located in Washington, DC. We host two meetup groups that service content creators, My IG is LIT and District Content Creator Collective. These groups allow up to connect with our target audience on a personal level to understand what their goals are - this gives us the insider scoop to be able to product things and create content that best fits their needs.


 

SOCIAL MEDIA

We were originally tracking our Facebook following, but after blogging + social media sharing for the past few months, we've realized that our target audience (at least locally) is on Instagram. This is where we meet local people who are movers + shakers and that's where we've chosen to have our fun conversations with friends and connect. So, it's no surprise we've stopped tracking our Facebook following (a platform we don't really use to connect) and started tracking our Instagram following. :)

This month, we saw a nice bump in followers on Instagram because of the event. With all of the DC local influencers showing up and being highly engaged on social media, we had a large group of people follow us on the day of the event and afterwards as people started sharing their fab rooftop pics.

 

GOALS FOR NEXT MONTH:

  • Take personal time off. (After hosting that event, I moved to NY! I'm pooped! I'm planning on a little me-time.)

  • Write first book to launch on Nov 1st. (Update: The book is launched! Check it out here.)

 

WHAT I LEARNED:

Quite simply, I learned to follow my crazy ideas. While I didn’t break even on this event, I was able to build better relationships with some of the influencers in the city and connect one-on-one with some of the people that I only chat with online. This is invaluable in-person connection and learning. (Meeting with all of those people one on one for dinner would’ve cost me much more than 100 bucks!) I also created new fans and followers for the brand.

Most important for my growth, I learned that this type of event is something that people will pay for (aka. I validated the concept) and got some great feedback on how to create it differently in the future. You can only get these things when you venture to try something new.

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August Blog + Traffic Report: Doubling Our Traffic, Growing Our Email List & Making an Impact

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August Blog Progress Report

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Oh August! After our mid-year brunch last month, I felt incredibly inspired to get back to basics and create experiences that would allow women to come together to share ideas and goals. Every time I spend time with my #ThriveSquad, I leave feeling ready to create the next BIG THING. 

August was a sprinting kind of month where I spent my time really focusing on the launch of our latest women's empowerment and vision-focused event, Visualize Your Victory. Hosting in-person events is one of Thrive Lounge's primary monetization and community building strategies because we're able to meet our #ThriveSquad in person and learn what their goals are so we can better help them in the future. We also love when they meet each other and those meetings turn into partnerships, collaborations and lasting friendships. (No one networks like our ThriveSquad :) 

So, how did we do on our August goals? 

 THE RECAP - AUGUST GOALS:

  • Have A Successful Blogger Week Talk
  • Launch Visualize Your Victory to local community groups
  • Curate elite speaker list and activities to create a stunning event

 

Have a successful blogger week talk

Blogger Week is an annual conference held in Washington, DC that helps new and experienced bloggers learn how to create, market, grow and monetize their blogs. I was selected to give a talk at Blogger Week about how to create a Big, Hairy, Audacious Vision for your blog. The purpose of my session was to help bloggers thing bigger about the impact they would make with their blog. Rather than thinking of your blog as a fun little project, I encouraged people to think about their blog in terms of the impact they will have on people and how that tied to their personal mission and vision. I got really vulnerable with attendees, I told them my stories of failure, poverty and hunger (like no food on the table kinda hunger) and how that experience drives me to be there for others who may be suffering in that way. Because of my story, I feel pulled to help people work towards their vision. The talk was incredibly successful as I got attendees chatting with the people around them and sharing their story in small groups. At one moment, people started sharing their experiences with weight loss, homelessness and abuse - and how that empowers them to build something to help others. That was the moment I knew I accomplished my goal. 

 

MARKETING FOR VISUALIZE YOUR VICTORY

I had the idea for a fabulous rooftop event where attendees envisioned themselves 5 years from now having accomplished your 5-year goals. Attendees would be encouraged to introduce themselves as a NY Times Bestselling authors or successful millionaire entrepreneurs. This month, my goal was to get the marketing together for this event including social media images, quotes and digital flyers for all the speakers. If you follow us on Instagram, you'll know I crushed that goal! 

 

CURATE ELITE SPEAKER LIST AND ACTIVITIES FOR Visualize your Victory

Finding speakers for an upcoming event can be somewhat of a struggle if you don't plan on doing a call for speakers, especially since we all know the speakers can make or break an event. I am always nervous when I pitch speakers to be apart of an event because, like most people, I don't like rejection (However, I am noticing the more pitching I do, the less affected I am by rejection. It's slowly becoming this thing that just happens when you put yourself out there over and over again.) The speaker list and activities grew slowly as I researched and reached out to each speaker individually. However, by the end of the month, I was incredibly proud of the list of speakers, which included many women that I looked up to and hoped to collaborate with. 
 

traffic_report

PAGE VIEWS:

Last Month: 1,425
This Month: 3,147 (120% higher than last month)

 

EMAIL LIST:

Last Month: 506
This Month:  748 (47% higher than last month)

 

INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS:

Last month: 398
This month: 500 (25% increase over last month)

 

3,147 Page views, 500 Instagram Likes, 748 Email List

TOP TRAFFIC SOURCES:

72% SOCIAL MEDIA

  • 93% Pinterest
  • 3% Facebook
  • 3% Instagram
  • 1% Twitter

25% DIRECT LINK

3% ORGANIC SEARCH

<1% CAME FROM RANDOM PLACES ON THE INTERWEBS

 

TOP PAGES VISITED THIS MONTH:

Now that we've been working on the site for almost a year (and tracking our progress the entire time), it's easy to see the clear winner in where our site traffic is coming from. Even though I have a Master's in Analytics, you don't really need it to see that Pinterest is where the vast majority of our new traffic is coming from! This month, we decided to stop working on our other social media accounts all together, only using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for connecting with people, but doing the majority of our social media activity on Pinterest. 

 

EMAIL LIST:

In April 2017, we made the switch from Mailchimp to ConvertKit for our email service and this completely skyrocketed our email list. I love how Convertkit makes it incredibly each to send freebies to your audience and create automations like the one I use for the 5-day vision challenge and the web forms are completely customizable so it matches the rest of my site. Here's a look into how our email collection has grown since switching over to ConvertKit:

convertkit.PNG

Another huge contributor to our email list growth has been our two meetup groups, located in Washington, DC. We host two meetup groups that service content creators, My IG is LIT and District Content Creator Collective. These groups allow up to connect with our target audience on a personal level to understand what their goals are - this gives us the insider scoop to be able to product things and create content that best fits their needs.
 

SOCIAL MEDIA

We were originally tracking our Facebook following, but after blogging + social media sharing for the past few months, we've realized that our target audience (at least locally) is on Instagram. This is where we meet local people who are movers + shakers and that's where we've chosen to have our fun conversations with friends and connect. So, it's no surprise we've stopped tracking our Facebook following (a platform we don't really use to connect) and started tracking our Instagram following. :)

This month, we saw a nice bump in social media following from speaking at the Blogger Week conference. When you have a great talk and inspire others to follow their dreams, they are happy to follow you on social and keep up with you to see what else you have going on long after the event. 
 

Monthly Goals (2).png
  • Make Visualize Your Victory a huge success!

 

WHAT WE LEARNED:

Every tiny step you take contributes to your brand as a whole and each interaction you have with others is an opportunity to share your vision for your future and to help someone discover theirs. Speaking at Blogger Week was an unpaid opportunity, but it gave me an opportunity to take what I normally share in blog posts and bring it to life in person in front of a brand new audience. Many of those women joined my email list and followed me on social media others bought tickets to Visualize Your Victory and everyone (I hope) benefited from my talk - which was my biggest goal for this month. 

Overall, I learned one thing - Don't take your opportunities to make a difference lightly. Take it seriously, practice out loud, on paper and in the mirror, record yourself and listen to the recording over and over until you it's just right. For some, you'll only get one opportunity to make a life-changing difference. Make sure you do it right. 

Are You Unstoppable?

Subscribe to the newsletter to join our community of 2000+ UNSTOPPABLE women for exclusive access to our premium content, events & products to take your hustle to the next level. #winning

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February 2017 Blog + Income Report: How We Aligned Our Actions with Our Vision

Align Your Actions With Your Vision

February was.... an interesting month. Rather than spending a ton of time on the goals we set, we took a step back to reflect on our big vision for Thrive Lounge (making sure we practice what we preach).

We are quickly realizing how easy it is to get sucked into an endless stream of "best marketing practices" and "20-step processes to promote each blog post" and "must-haves grow your email list" ideas. Seriously, trying to be like the influencers was starting to suck the fun out of creating.... and, to be honest, we really wanted to get back to the FUN.

We spent a lot of time thinking about:

  1. How we could REALLY connect with our audience.
  2. How we can create something of value to them.
  3. How we can have fun doing it. 

During all of this internal reflection, we still tried to reach are the goals we set at at the end of January. We wanted to:

  • Make at least $385 through our events/workshops (This would be a 10% increase on what we made in January.)
  • 200 Email List Subscribers (10% increase from January)
  • Add a hello bar to our website (Totally crushed this goal! Check out our new Hello Bar at the top of the page.)
  • 1070 website page views 
Blog Monthly Traffic Report

Page Views: 

  • January 2017: 972
  • February Goal: 1070 page views
  • Actual: 862 (Missed the goal by 208)

Facebook Likes:

  • January 2017: 248 Facebook Page Likes
  • Goal: none set
  • January: 267

If you want to know how we got over 200 followers, take a look at our first blog post here.

Email List: 

  • January 2017: 181 Total Email List Subscribers
  • Goal: 200
  • February: 217 (#Success)

862 Page views, 267 Facebook Likes, 217 Email List

Despite our efforts to share our website on social media, our website page views have continued to drop. We are sharing our blog posts through our email list, Facebook (pages and groups), Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus (yes, we know there's no one there), and Pinterest but no luck in getting these numbers up.  (So if you have some tips on how to get your blog page views up, let us know! :)

Here's the breakdown of where our traffic came from:

Top Traffic Sources:

  • 50% came through direct link
  • 34% Facebook
  • 8.7% Instagram
  • 3.9% Twitter

Top Pages Visited:

Even though our website traffic is refusing to show us some love, we were able to grow our email list - and even surpass our goal! This was due to a few things: 

  1. Creating more freebies to add to the site.
  2. Adding the Hello Bar.
  3. Starting the meetup group catering to our target audience. (Did you know you get all of the emails for the members of your meetup group? #winning)
blog income report
  • January 2017: $350

  • Goal: $385

  • February: $199 (Missed by $186)

We launched a new event this month - C L A R I T Y Mastermind for the Ambitious Girlboss. Throughout February, we sold tickets at an early bird rate and also offered an email-only discount for Valentine's Day.  (Pro Tip: Join our #ThriveSquad to get access to all our email-only deals.)

With a new event, you never know what to expect. We had no idea whether people will like the new concept or if you just wasted your time building something that no one wants. We launched the event mid-February and sold 7 tickets by the end of the month. This is a huge success because these sales immediately validated the idea and we can feel comfortable creating more events like this. :)

 

What Else Happened This Month: 

  • Started a meetup group! (Just for fun)
  • Booked one nonprofit workshop for March (woot woot!)
  • Created a short to-do list to promote each weekly blog post.
  • Took Melyssa Griffin's Pinfinite Growth Course (which is AWESOME)
Monthly Goal Setting
  • Start planning for VisionCon 2017 (get a legit business plan)
  • 238 Email List Subscribes ( this would be a 10% increase from February)
  • 948 website page views (10% increase from February)

 

WHAT WE LEARNED:

After VisionCon, we were in a hurry to build our empire (because one successful event totally means you're empire-worthy). We were receptive to every idea from every influencer on how to build your email list, get more page views, win at social media, AND become a rockstar influencer (all at the same time, of course). This left us feeling very drained because we were no longer enjoying the process.

Taking a step back to reflect on what is best for BOTH us AND our audience was the best thing we could've done this month. It's very easy to get side-tracked from your vision because there are so many people online totally killing it in their niche giving advice on how you can do the same. It's tempting to try to follow all of the good advice and best practices. But, what good is building your own company when what you're creating is no longer in line with your vision?

Creating a new product was our opportunity to be innovative and bring something different to our audience. Starting a meetup group was a chance to connect with our audience, provide value and get back to the fun side of Thrive Lounge (because all work and no play was turning us into dull ladies)! The shorter to-do list for blog post promotion also gave us an opportunity to promote each blog post and get our marketing on without being exhausted by the end of the process. At the end of the day, we found a balance that works for us (#success)!

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Subscribe to the newsletter to join our community of 2000+ UNSTOPPABLE women for exclusive access to our premium content, events & products to take your hustle to the next level. #winning

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