This thread is a bit of a look under the hood at my business - Wild Homesteading. If you have not visited my site yet please do.
One thing I really believe is that even as a business it is important to be transparent. Especially, when I'm relying so heavily on the awesome community here on permies to help promote my site. I also know that a number of you have expressed interest in blogging, making a passive income, starting your own business, etc.
I'm hoping that by sharing with you all what works and what does not for my business that it can help some of you develop your own business. I believe that there is more to gain by working together than being in competition with each other.
Wild Homesteading is an online business that is focused around a blog. Eventually I will have my own products (books, and online courses) to offer but at the moment I don't. My first book will hopefully come out in 2019 - more on that later!
The core goal of Wild Homesteading is to help people work with nature to grow their own food and build/start their homestead. I'm focusing on people who are fairly new to homesteading and/or gardening but who are interested in working with nature rather than against it. If you are an expert or very experienced in homesteading/permaculture the site will have some useful information for you but you are not the target audience
I plan to share with you all how my business has been going at the end of each month. I also plan to do a year in review post starting next year. Since I just launched at the end of November 2018 this first post will serve as both my first month in review post and my first year in review post. Future month and year in review posts will all be in this thread so watch this thread if you are interested in what I'm sharing.
I'm also happy to answer questions and give advice so please feel free to ask any questions you many have! Comments are of course welcomed too!
Month and Year in Review - 2018 (Nov 26th through Dec 31st)
Wild Homesteading launched on November 26th 2018. I made the "mistake" of launching during the slowest time of the year for most blogs - the holiday season! Some sites even recommend taking a break from posting at all during this time period!
But I had already delayed launching my business for months and I was tired of waiting. So I just launched anyways!
I launched with 5 initial posts and a 6th post waiting for the next week. This way I had some good initial content but I had already decided to stick with 1 post a week with the occasional bonus 2nd post.
It is very hard to get a site much traffic at the start - google just does not give much traffic to new sites at the start. This takes time to develop and based on my readings it generally takes around 18 months for a new site to start getting decent traffic from google. That is assuming the site puts out regular and good content!
That is a long time to post content and just hear crickets... I really did not want that to happen.
Luckily, I had already been very active here on permies and I enjoyed talking with you all on here. So I decided to embrace my connection with permies and work with permies to build my site. But this does not mean permies would just promote my site with nothing in return.
Each of my blog posts link back to permies through a "social media" button and sometimes in the text. I make a companion thread here on permies for each blog post that the post links to. I try to make sure these threads provide some real value to the permies community and are not just about promoting my blog. I hope you all feel that is working.
This is great for a couple reasons - it has given my site some good traffic and I love talking with you all here on permies. Each companion thread on permies has had a great conversation that is really helping me keep going with this new business.
It is stressful running a brand new business but I really enjoy talking with you all in the threads. Just make sure to stop at my site and leave a comment there too!
I have also been using social media and a couple "blog hops" where other homestead bloggers share their posts with each other. But permies has been the biggest source of traffic so far.
As far as income goes at this point I have just been linking to books and other products on Amazon that relate to the given blog post. These links are what are known as affiliate links which mean I get a small kickback if someone purchases the item or another item after following my link to Amazon. I try to be careful to only link to products that I think are related, that provide a real value, and that I trust. It does not cost the person making the purchase any more to buy through my affiliate link.
This is a small income but it is a good place to start and overtime should grow though it will never be my main income source.
I do have a couple affiliate links to products on permies digital market place but I have not done a lot to promote that yet.
What I'm Focusing On
Right now I'm focusing on building my email list (the most important part of an online business), and creating good high value content that is free for anyone to access (my blog posts). I'm also trying to build an engaged community. It really is awesome when someone leaves a comment on one of my blog posts. I have also gotten some emails from people reading my site.
All of this is the foundation to a healthy and sustainable online business.
I send out a weekly email to each person that signs up to my email list. I also send 2 intro emails at the start to introduce people to my site. But otherwise it is just a weekly email which seems to be working great.
I'm also using social media a bit with Facebook and Twitter being the 2 I'm currently using.
I'm about ready to launch my first product which will be available starting on January 7th 2019. This product is a companion guide to Paul's Rocket Oven DVD. It will be given for free to anyone who buys the DVD through my site (I'm an affiliate for it) and also available for $5 through permies digital market place. This will hopefully be my first real income source though likely still small. I should add that any permies user can signup to be an affiliate for products sold on the permies digital market place.
I will of course keep putting out weekly blog posts and work on building my email list. Each blog post has an opt-in and content upgrade (mostly unique) associated with it that serve as my main way to build my email list. I will continue this moving forward.
I'm also wanting to get my posts up on Pinterest but I'm not very familiar with the site so I'm not sure if I will start this in January 2019 or wait till February. It seems like Pinterest is used a lot by other homesteading blogs which makes me think it would be a good source of traffic.
Getting more traffic to my site and more people on my email list are my top goals at this point. Just having more posts up will help but I'm also wanting to start promoting Wild Homesteading on new sites like Pinterest but also Steemit (if they ever approve my account...).
By the Numbers
So how what did this all look like in terms of numbers? Well here are a few (data from Google Analytics, Amazon Affiliate Program, Permies Affiliate Program, and ConvertKit):
Site/Traffic - Number of Blog Posts: 11
- Number of Users: 1,008
- Number of Page Views: 5,318
- % of Users From Permies: 54.6%
Email List - Number of People on the Email List: 88
- Average Weekly Email Open Rate: 57.3%
- Average Weekly Email Click Rate: 19.4%
Income - Number of Income Sources: 2
- Amazon Affiliate Income: $12.79
- Permies Affiliate Income: $10
- Total Income During This Period: $22.79
Employees - Just my wife and I and we are co-owners not employees.
So all in all I think the first month and 5 days of having the business live has been going great! But the business is not paying for itself at this point. My hope is that by the time the business has been up and running for 6 months it will break even and that by the end of the first year I will actually make enough to start helping to supplement my family's income.
It takes a lot of time to put out good weekly content and manage all the various components of a business so ultimately it does need to bring in more than it costs to run it. But for now I'm just building the foundation for the business and time will tell if it turns out to be strong enough to keep going in the long run.
My ultimate goal is to be able to leave my current job and just make a living through Wild Homesteading but that is a ways off.
Hope you all found this interesting and please feel free to ask any questions!
Do you want to work with nature to grow your own food and build/start your homestead? Check out Wild Homesteading so you can gain the skills you need.
Thank you Daron for posting this and being so open about traffic and earnings. It definitely gives one new ideas on the establishment of a blog. Thank you. And yes, I've read your blog through links from the related permies posts.