Okay, this is a new segment I'm starting on the blog to keep being extremely transparent with everyone here. At the end of every month, I'm going to do a round-up of all of our income and all of our expenses to give you a monthly donation (p)update! The month is just ending for us. We launched and started tracking on the 9th of July 2020, so our month ends on the 9th every month. You can keep track of all of our monthly reports on our donations page here!
I can't believe we're already finishing up our second month doing this! The support we've received so far has been so overwhelming! So thank you to everyone that continues to support us!
This type of blog post may seem similar to you if you follow our friends over at Pinch of Yum and that's because it is. We loved their idea and how transparent they were on their blog so much and we wanted to have that transparency with all of you as well! Pinch of Yum has stopped doing theirs a little over three years ago now though.
A little lookback
We're finishing our second month but this is my first pupdate on the blog! I did a makeshift one on our Instagram but this is the very first official Monthly (p)Update.
In July we managed to bring in $75.84 between our 2 review streams of ad income and affiliate marketing. We've pledged 50% of the profits on the blog going to back to dog shelters so that left us with a total of $37.92 to donate for the month of July.
Now obviously this isn't earth-shattering and we're not clearing the shelters (yet!) but it's a start, and it's a start I'm proud of. The website was viewed over 21,000 times in the first month which is insane to me and is something I still can't quite comprehend!
In an effort to continue to raise funds for animals were always looking at different ways we can raise money. You'll notice different revenue streams month to month as we test and try out new ideas, sometimes they'll stick, and sometimes they won't but we'll do our best to explain each one if it's new or if we're moving away from it. All of the following will be totals earned. After the explanations and expenses section, I'll calculate how much we are actually able to donate.
Dollars and Cents:
- Fundraiser - $2385
- Google Adsense - $46.77
- Merch* - $28.89
- Amazon Affiliates - $3.12
- Share A Sale Affiliate Programs - $0.10
Fundraiser - If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook you know that we've been running a fundraiser the past month. We teamed up with a friend of ours for her birthday to raise funds for a local shelter in Winnipeg. We collected donations through e-transfer and a PayPal donation button. When we run fundraisers 100% of the proceeds go to animal shelters, we don't take a percentage of donations. As you can see this was the most lucrative thing we did this month. It was very well received and we have been absolutely blown away by the support we got from this. This is definitely something we're exploring further and how we can grow upon this idea more in the future! Any and all ideas are welcome!
Google Adsense - This one is pretty self-explanatory but we earn revenue from the ads on our blog. The more people that visit the more revenue we earn and can donate. Google Adsense basically accepts everybody (they don't have a minimum number of views) as long as you're not a spam website. That also means they also pay the least. As the blog continues to grow this is something we are looking at switching when we can, to maximize revenue.
Merch - Okay I need to start this by saying our merch line is NOT technically available yet. I teased it on twitter and as I was building out the merch shop a couple of you found it and ordered some items off of it (which is amazing!). But I was still testing some things out. At the time I was using a print-on-demand service that basically took care of everything for me. They sourced the products, they held the inventory, they printed on the products, packaged them, and shipped them to the customer for me. It sounded too good to be true, and well it was. The people that ordered got their products but going forward I won't be using a print on demand service. I want this merch line to align with our values of creating a better world for all, so I'm going to source all the products myself and make sure it's eco-friendly as to not contribute more to the current climate crisis. This is proving to be slightly more difficult than anticipated but this is a segment I'm really excited about and I hope you are too!
Amazon Affiliates - As you see at the top of all the blog posts there is a disclaimer disclosing that we may earn a slight commission if you click through links on our post at no extra cost to you. You actually have to buy something off of amazon for us to earn anything. This category I'm unsure of for a couple of reasons: 1. amazon is the worst, but everyone uses it (including us) so it makes it really difficult not to use them. I want to show you the products we use so you can check them out for yourselves. 2. you actually have to buy something from the clickthrough within 24 hours or we don't get credit. Because of this, it's not crazy lucrative. Adding the links doesn't require a lot of effort so we'll probably continue to use them but we're actively looking at branching out from amazon and into other affiliate programs.
Share A Sale - Like we just mentioned we're trying to branch out into other programs and move away from amazon so we tried out Share a Sale this month. The signup process was lengthy and so far we haven't really seen too many products we actually use on the site (aside from the ones we're already showing you). Not sure if this one will stick around or not.
The expensive stuff
Now the hard part, calculating how much we've spent on the blog this month. I think it's important to note that for the first couple of months I'll be absorbing these costs with my own personal income as to still be able to have money to donate, but this won't be a long term strategy.
We also have a lot of moving pieces in the expense section that will fluctuate month to month so we'll do our best to explain which ones are good expenses and which ones were trying to get rid of.
- Social Media/Website Consultation - $300
- Graphic Designer - $100
- Adobe Creative Suite - $45.73 monthly
- QuickBooks - $25
- Shopify - $37.89
- Tailwind - $9.99 monthly
- SiteGround Website Hosting - $13.06 monthly ($156.76 billed annually)
- Wp Recipe Maker Premium Plugin - $8.25 monthly ($99 billed annually)
- Social Sharing - $7.5 monthly ($90 billed annually)
- Groceries - $49.58
- Later - $7.5 monthly ($90 billed annually)
- Merch Samples - $842.43
- MailChimp - $0
Social Media consultant - Ryan is a good friend of mine that does social media and website consultations for some of the biggest brands in the world. Some people may not see this as a necessary expense but in the first month we did 21,000 views and I owe most of that to his guidance! Having someone that is an expert in the field of optimization helps the blog significantly gain traction and views. He has shown me things I would have never thought of doing!
Graphic Designer - I'm working with an extremely talented graphic designer in Winnipeg to make sure the merch designs we come out with are actually good. Let's face it I'm no artist with the computer and the majority of designs for dog merch on the internet right now are terrible. So I'm really excited for you all to see the designs he's creating!
Groceries - I bought significantly more groceries than this, this month. But I'm just accounting for the groceries about specifically for recipes and recipe testing. Since we didn't come out with as many recipes this month our expense wasn't as high.
Merch Samples - We're in the middle of selecting suppliers and different fabrics for our merch line. To make sure they're everything you want and more, we're sampling A LOT of them.
Plugins/apps - The rest of the expenses are basically plugins or apps that we use to keep the website or our social media going and streamlined. If y'all want me to break these down further I can, but you can also click on the link to figure out what the apps do.
Monthly Income/Expense Totals
All in for the month of August we were able to raise $2463.88.
At the same rate our expenses for the month of August were $1446.93.
Now I've already stated that I'm absorbing the expense cost initially from my personal income. The thought is that I will be able to utilize all of the resources at my disposal in order to help grow the blog at a faster rate and in return be able to help more dogs faster. I still think it's important that we track the expenses as I will eventually be passing them back to the business to absorb. I didn't want the blog to be hindered with worrying about expenses, I just wanted to give it the best possible start!
Minus out the 50% from the income streams (except the fundraiser money) and we're left with a total of $2424.44 that we're able to donate for the month of August!
Income Sources We'd Like To Explore...
... and expenses we'd like to cut back on.
Obviously the fundraiser was the big money maker this month, and definitely something we want to look explore further. I think developing a more consistent plan for how our fundraisers operate and offering something in return will help us raise even more funds. I'm also looking at taking a certificate on how to run fundraisers to further develop this.
We definitely want to upgrade from Google Adsense as soon as we can, we just need to hit a certain amount of monthly page views to be eligible. So this will be something we just have to monitor and wait.
Sampling merch has been our largest expense to date. I don't mind incurring this cost at the start to get it right. I don't want to come out with a half-assed influencer merch line to try and make a buck. We want to create something that is actually beneficial and that you'll love so you want to buy it and we can raise more money for the pups. So absorbing these costs at the start is fine but definitely don't want this to be ongoing unless we're coming out with something new.
All of this is because of YOU!
Give yourself a round of applause!
No seriously, everything we have accomplished so far is because of you! Without you there would be no Rescue Dog Kitchen, there would be no donations to shelters and there would be no helping out dogs in need.
Every single person that interacts with our content flips through the pages on our website, shares our recipe, comments on our Instagram, and somehow managed to find our unreleased merch line, is the reason we are able to do this.
Thank you to each one of you that helps us do this!
Here is a picture of Bailey and Bone on the first day I adopted them as a reminder of why we do this!
Hopefully we'll see you again before next months pupdate!
John, Bone & Bailey