Income Report

May Online Hustle Report

June 6, 2016
This post may contain affiliate links. See disclosure policy here.



I cannot believe another month has just slid on through like that. Seriously. Have you ever thought about how time seemed to drag when you were a kid? You were so ready for summer vacation and it seemed like one school year covered a span of five years. Now that I have kids of my own it seems to be over in like ten seconds!

My daughter’s last day of school was a few weeks ago and I have a rising first grader. I don’t  know whether I should be excited my baby girl is growing up or go hide in a corner and cry. Anywho, May was a blur and I’m seriously just trying to wrap my head around the fact that we are already 6 months into the year. You know what that means? It means this month I will have to do some hardcore reflecting on some of my goals so I can make sure I’m still on track to achieve what I set out to do.

I won’t prolong this more than necessary, but I will say that May was a busy month, but I’m not satisfied with my income this month. To scale up and meet my income goals I’ve had to outsource a few tasks and I’m hoping it will provide me with some extra time for writing. In addition to that, I really have to get on the ball and start marketing my skills and services better than what I’m doing.

Okay, enough of that, let’s get into this thing But first, let me say what’s up to my new readers!


New to LAAB

First, I would like to welcome you to Life and a Budget. If you’re here, you’re probably wondering why in the heck is this chick on the internet talking about how much money she makes. Is she asking for trolls, nosy family members, and plain ole haters to come for her?

Well to answer that, no I’m not. I’m not here for any foolishness, I’m here because this is actually how I got my first taste of inspiration to get on here and hustle away my debt. I remember the very first income report I read and how this person who wrote the report paid off her debt in 7 freakin’ months!  I sat there like, oh em gee. I had a moment.

This young lady made income on her website through affiliate ads, freelance writing, blog management, and other offline side hustles. She paid off $40,000 in student loans in only 7 months. Here I was, 31 years old, 10 years out of college and I had a growing balance of $80,000ish in student loans. I was not only inspired; I was fed up and decided it was time to get rid of those darn things.

So if you’re new here and you’re fed up, let me be the one to tell you that I can relate!

Get inspired and join the rest of us. I’m not the only one who is doing it and I can promise you I won’t be the last. Now you can sit on the sidelines with your skepticism, but hopefully, by me publishing my income reports will inspire you to create a plan to get out of your own debt. Heck, you might not even be in debt and just want to reach financial independence. You can do that too.

My online hustle update is where I divulge the income earned during the last month. All income I report is money that has actually made it to my checking account.  I’ll include expenses paid out of these earnings. These reports will not include taxes I owe.  I set aside 30 percent to cover taxes owed each month in addition to taxes taken out of my full-time paycheck (You can’t be too careful when it comes to the IRS people).  If you missed my last two reports, check out February and April here.  

Now let’s get into this month’s update!

Related post on how to make extra money:


Join the FREE 5-Day E-course on How to Start a Blog. You’ll learn everything you need to know to get your own blog up and running, some tips and tricks that have helped me start earning an income, and more. Sign up for the How to Start a Blog E-Course today!

May 2016 Online Income


Etsy: $18.00

User Testing: $0.00

Freelance Writing: $300.00

Blog Comment Managing Service: $54.00

Blog Management: $125.00

Pinecone Research: $9.00 (If you sign up with Pinecone Research, they pay a whopping $3! They are the best paying and fastest paying survey site!)

Ebates Earnings: $51.00

Total: $557.00


Etsy Fees: $2.00

Client Connection Fees: $52.00

Pinterest/Boardbooster: $19.00

VA: $60.00

Facebook: $9.51

Facebook Ebook, Strategies Worth Sharing: $20.00

Total Expenses =  $162.00

Net Income: $395


Thoughts on Decrease from April

Bummer. However, I had a lot of client work March and the money didn’t hit my account until April so this is a reason those numbers are so inflated. I don’t count it as income until I’m actually paid.

Do I have any outstanding payments for the month of May? Actually, yes. I submitted work I completed on May 31st and I won’t be paid until June. So I actually earned $200 more than the numbers presented above; however, I just haven’t been paid yet.

I need to continue working to build clientele and I want to focus on recurring work as well. We’ll see how next month goes now that I do actually have one recurring gig. I have another one in negotiations so we’ll see how that works out. I’m still encouraged though because I know that if I keep moving forward things will continue to look up.


Thoughts on Ebates

If you’re interested in earning money through Ebates, there are two ways you can do this. First, you can earn cashback on purchases that you may normally make. When you sign up, there is a $10 bonus you can receive via gift card.

Please note:  I do not advocate going out and spending money online just so you can earn a cashback rebate. That’s just plum fool. I am advocating making money if you are using it wisely on purchases you would have otherwise made. The second way to make money is through their affiliate program. If you’re a blogger or website owner, you might want to look into it and see if it would be a good fit for your monetization strategy.


Thoughts on Boardbooster

Boardbooster is my new BFF when it comes to my online traffic. Pinterest was going nowhere for me as of a month and a half ago. However, since I’ve started using Boardbooster, my followers have increased over 25% each month. Pinterest has become one of my top referrals for blog traffic as well!

My numbers are up across the board since I’ve done the following: hired Kristen to get me started on creating images for older content, switching to a business account, signing up for Rich Pins, and joining Boardbooster. If your traffic is sluggish, I recommend all of these things I’ve just mentioned. I’m excited to see how my traffic continues to grow the rest of the year. Sign up for Boardbooster and give your traffic a boost. (Update 6/6/2016- I started using TailWind a few days ago and OMG…I’ll be giving a update in next month’s report).


Thoughts on hiring a VA

I won’t lie. I didn’t want to spend my hard earned hustle money to hire help. I’m hustling to pay off my student loans after all. But, I just can’t do it anymore. I only have so much time in the day. I have kids. I have a full-time job. I’m getting more work and there are some things I need to hire out to get more income to put towards my debt.

The only way to grow is to have someone handle things that are not an efficient use of my time. My next goal is to earn enough to hire a copyeditor. I spend way too much time proofing and editing my posts. If I can cut down the length of that process, I’ll be able to provide more content. If you know of any good copyeditors, go ahead and name drop. I’ll be sure to consider them when the search is on.


Thoughts on Facebook Ads

Let me tell you, I hate Facebook business pages simply because I don’t know what I’m doing. The only reason I brought the ad was because one post did particularly well and Facebook suggested a boost. They were even giving me a $10 coupon if I spent $10. I was like cool. Let’s try it.

Of course, I submitted the ad and it went live (temporarily). Then Facebook conveniently sends it back as a denial because it didn’t meet their guidelines. By the time they did this I had already spent $9.51! There I am feeling like a dummy because I only had a few more cents to reach the $10.00 coupon they were offering. Needless to say, I didn’t try to resubmit it for approval.


Thoughts on Strategies Worth Sharing (Facebook E-book)

I’ll tell you what, I learned that I was doing mostly everything wrong. I’ve used Facebook personally ever since it first came out way back in 2005. I thought it was my friend. However, all of that friendliness was not translating well over on my Life and a Budget Facebook Page. Let’s just say, things were not popping. However, one week after purchasing this book and having someone help me with scheduling, I’ve seen an uptick in page likes and interaction!  So seriously, if you think your Facebook page sucks, Strategies Worth Sharing might help you out.


Oh yeah, come on over and like Life and a Budget on Facebook!

Goal Update

Goals for May were as follows:

  1. Finish LAAB’s content for June.
  2. Possibly hire a VA to help with social media, particularly Pinterest.
  3. Read one personal finance book.
  4. Rework our household budget.
  5. Determine one blogging goal to focus on for 3 months.


How did I do?

  1. I am all squared away for June. I put LAAB first and try my best to consistently stay on top of my posts. I’ve even planned my content through September! Any additional writing that’s not on the calendar will just be a sweet bonus.
  2. I’ve hired a VA and actually I’ve decided not to use the VA to manage my Pinterest account for now. See I found out about a couple things about Boardbooster and their sourcing capabilities so I’ve cut my pinning time in half by paying 1 cent per pin that is sourced to be pinned to one specific group board. If all goes well, I’m going to do it for a few other boards as well to see how it continues to do. So that means my VA is handling Twitter and FB scheduling, but don’t be alarmed. I’m on social media every day!  I just spend too much time sourcing content of others and my own and I like having someone else do that for me so I can spend more time on client work.
  3. Read. I haven’t had time to read as much and it’s frustrating as heck, but I’ve been working. For now, I’m going to discontinue the goal of reading one personal finance book per month. I will make an effort to always have a PF book in rotation and actively read something, but I can’t put any more pressure on myself to do more than I can reasonably do. Therefore, if you see a decrease in book reviews it’s because of that.
  4. Reworking the budget. Complete! I had to rework some numbers and shift things around because my student loans are coming out of economic hardship deferment. (I was out of work for 12 weeks last year due to the birth of my little cookie monster.)  About those student loans: I will be including a payoff section in my reports each month moving forward after June. I will be making my regular minimum payment and a second larger payment after the minimum payment has cleared. More details on that in the future.
  5. Blogging goal...the blogging goal I’ve decided on is to increase community and blog outreach. I LOVE going to other’s blogs and interacting with the blogging community. This is actually the most rewarding part of this journey, not the money. It’s the most rewarding because it’s interesting and awesome to read other’s journeys and cheer on each other. Therefore, I’m going to beef up a blog service I’m offering. More on that in a minute…


Next Month’s Goals

  1. Work through July’s content and incorporate more posts my newsletter subscribers want to hear about. If you’re not a subscriber (come on, join the fun) and want a say on the content you receive more of here at LAAB, feel free to head over and take this survey.
  2. Network with other bloggers and my readers. I plan to achieve this by boosting my interaction on other sites and by creating better content for newsletter subscribers. If you’re not subscribed, get on the list!
  3. Piss Navient off with a super large principal payment on my smallest student loan.
  4. Focus on growing my Pinterest Presence. (More info to come next month).


Hustle Progress

I’ve mentioned before that I provide Blog Commenting Services for other bloggers who want to expand their outreach, but don’t have that much time on their hands. Some just aren’t good with interacting and that’s okay too. The reason isn’t important. You just want to be visible on other platforms and you don’t want to be want genuine interaction. If you can’t do it, I can! I’m looking to expand this service in the future with one additional client.

Here’s how it works: I comment on other sites using your site information. Simple as that. Here’s the thing, though, you won’t see any comments like this, “Great article!” Oh no ma’am and no sir’ will get quality, thought provoking comments like the one I left below for my current client:

“Thank you for the tip about paying extra on your loan immediately after your regular payment is due. I have been in deferment and my loan payments pick back up in June, which is when I will use my extra hustle income to make extra payments. Now that I know I need to be strategic about this, I can come up with a better plan than just simply throwing extra money at the loan provider as if they are going to do the ethical thing with it.” – Latoya @ Your Site Name

I don’t pretend to be you or anything. I comment as myself with your interest at heart. I don’t comment on negative issues or anything that will directly or indirectly affect you. My intent is to provide a service to you and help bring readers to your site.

I’ve created a package for this service that’s super affordable. If you’re interested, visit my Hire Me page for more details.

Also, if you’re in need of a personal finance writer, let’s talk. Visit my Hire Me page or email me for details!

So that’s a wrap for this month!


How was your hustle in May? Share below and if you have links to your latest income report, feel free to share as well!

Also, if you’re a blogger, come on over and join our Hustle to Freedom Group Board on Pinterest. Feel free to pin all of your hustle, online income reports, debt repayment journey articles, etc!



Do you really think it's impossible to earn an income online? Well, it's not. Check out my online hustle report for May and learn some of my strategies for dealing with disappointing results. Every month might not be the best month, but when you're hustling, all money is good money! Don't miss this read, click over to see how you can earn an income online.


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Latoya Scott
CFEI/Social Entrepreneur
Latoya Scott is a Certified Financial Education Instructor and personal finance writer with a mission to help millennials learn how to stop living paycheck to paycheck so they can become financially carefree.

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  • DC @ Young Adult Money June 6, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Very thorough overview! I use TailWind instead of BoardBooster but have heard good things about BB. I might have to check it out one of these days.
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  • Amanda @centsiblyrich June 6, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Thanks for sharing your progress and goals, Latoya! It’s great to see other new(ish) bloggers making an income. Though I haven’t focused much on monetization yet, I plan to in a couple of months.

    Enjoy the summer with your daughter – it’ll fly by faster than you think!
    Amanda @centsiblyrich recently posted…How the idea of early financial independence inspired us to get out of debtMy Profile

    • Latoya S. June 6, 2016 at 12:44 pm

      It’s really exciting and quite effortless. All you do is come up with the content and market, market, market. I’ve earned some affiliate income from this blog, but I’m just waiting on pay out. I’m interested in seeing where it goes, but I doubt it will do well throughout the summer, but who knows?

      And yes, the summers do go by fast. Luckily, her baby brother has been keeping her entertained this year. The prior years when she was out for the summer in Day School, the poor kid was bored out of her mind while mommy was working:)
      Latoya S. recently posted…May Online Hustle ReportMy Profile

  • Sarah @ Couple of Sense June 6, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Thanks for being so transparent with your results. I’m relatively new to your website and the personal finances blogging world in general and this information is helpful. Thanks for sharing your feedback on Facebook. I don’t have a personal or business Facebook account and I’m not sure where to begin so I’m glad that there are vetted resources should I want to go down that path. I’m glad you hired someone to help you; I think it’s important to focus on what you are good at and get help on the rest. Like you said, you can’t do it all.
    Sarah @ Couple of Sense recently posted…How We Took 6 Years Off Our Mortgage in 4 StepsMy Profile

    • Latoya Scott June 6, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      Thank you, Sarah! I’m really glad this information is helpful and let me know if I can ever be of more help:)

  • Shirria June 6, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Way to go Latoya! You’ll be making big bucks real soon!
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  • Chonce June 6, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Congrats on the income! If you don’t mind me asking, what types of things do you sell on Etsy? I might have to check out the Facebook E-book because I am pretty stumped in this area as well!
    Chonce recently posted…Side Hustles Explored: Tutor Your Way Out Of DebtMy Profile

    • Latoya Scott June 6, 2016 at 5:51 pm

      Yes, that Facebook e-book has been helpful. You really don’t realize how to start digging in and determining what’s working unless someone points it out. I was doing a lot of things wrong.

      I started a scripture art printable shop back in 2012. I designed most of them about 4 or 5 years ago and they are still selling!
      Latoya Scott recently posted…May Online Hustle ReportMy Profile

  • Tia @ FinanciallyFit&Fab June 7, 2016 at 11:09 am

    Awesome work Latoya! I have def seen you hustling around the internet. I have considered hiring a VA but I feel like I need to maximize my time before I do that. How’d you find your VA? What does the VA help you with?

    • Latoya Scott June 7, 2016 at 3:40 pm

      Hey, Tia! Yes, I definitely understand that. I wanted to make sure I was at a place where I would get a return on the investment and ever since hiring a VA to help out with my social media tasks I’ve had more time to dedicate towards writing. She helps me procure content that I share on social media and schedules it using Hootesuite. It saves me so much time because I’m addicted to social media and I could seriously be on there ALL DAY LONG. This way if I’m not out there looking for it I can devote time to things that are making me money. I actually found her through Upwork and went with her because she was the only one willing to do my interview homework:) If not for that, I would probably still be looking.

  • Aliyyah @RichAndHappyBlog June 7, 2016 at 11:45 am

    I totally understand what you mean by not wanting to use your hard-earned side hustle money to hire help. I’m still in the “do everything yourself” phase of my online income journey. I think the upside to this is that I learn a lot of different skills. As I get more busy, I might consider hiring a VA for a few hours here and there though.
    Aliyyah @RichAndHappyBlog recently posted…May 2016 Online Income ReportMy Profile

    • Latoya Scott June 7, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      Yes, I have diy syndrome myself, but as a wife and mom of two kids (one who’s just started walking), I was going crazy! I needed to find time to write, still get woke up in the middle of the night by crying kids, and I work a full-time job on top of that. I realized if I wanted to grow my income, I would have to get rid of tasks that take up too much time. There are a few things I’m unwilling to outsource like my own blog commenting, but finding valuable content to share and being active on all social media is a time killer. As I continue to grow, I may hire more help on the blog front, but right now I’ll have to manage until my blog starts generating consistent income.

  • Emily @ JohnJaneDoe June 7, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Thanks for summing up how your efforts are paying off, what’s working and what’s still in need. I need to focus more on Pinterest than i do, so good to see some feedback on what services I might try.
    Emily @ JohnJaneDoe recently posted…The Ethics of Purchase Returns: What’s Not OkayMy Profile

    • Latoya Scott June 7, 2016 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks Emily, I’m glad it helped. Check back in next month because I’m having some amazing results using tailwind. I’ve gained around 50 to 60 new followers on Pinterest in just two or three days. My stats are ridiculously high, so I have to sift through them to determine the progress being made.

  • Terri June 7, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Loved reading this post. I’ve been on board booster for two months and it’s been amazing for traffic. The amount of repind I got is ridiculous. I can’t believe I never tried before. I’d love to hear your thoughts on tailwind. Since my baby is due next month, I’m thinking of hiring a virtual assistant as well to help out. I’d love to know about how your va has helped you.
    Terri recently posted…15 More Reasons You’re Not as Broke as You Think You AreMy Profile

    • Latoya Scott June 7, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      Hi Terri,

      I will definitely be sure to delve into my experiences with a VA and with Tailwind. There is more of a learning curve with Tailwind, but I think I’m actually going to utilize both services for different reasons. I’ll be sure to keep y’all updated;)
      Latoya Scott recently posted…May Online Hustle ReportMy Profile

  • Catherine Alford June 7, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    You should do a comparison post specifically about BB vs. Tailwind since you’ve used them both. I’d love a post about that.
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    • Latoya Scott June 7, 2016 at 10:14 pm

      Yes! That is a good idea. I’m definitely taking notes and I’ll be glad to share!

  • Colin Ashby June 8, 2016 at 9:31 am

    Good job on a great month! Once I start booking more writing jobs, I will begin income reports. It’s great to see these income reports for bloggers in the start of their journey. I took an e-course on using Pinterest for blog growth and it opened my eyes to the power of Pinterest. Definitely using BoardBooster!
    Colin Ashby recently posted…The Rocky History of an Emergency FundMy Profile

    • Latoya S. June 8, 2016 at 10:08 am

      Thank you, Colin! I can’t wait to see you begin your income reports. I agree, it’s definitely different seeing those building their way up. It’s very encouraging and I hope to be more of an encouragement to others!
      Latoya S. recently posted…May Online Hustle ReportMy Profile

  • Holly@ClubThrifty June 8, 2016 at 10:17 am

    Great job on your goals for May. I did real well in May, but the next few months might be rocky because I have some huge business expenses coming up. Oh well, you have to spend money to make money, right?
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  • Alexander @ Cash Flow Diaries June 8, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Congrats on the income! The most I have made so far in one month from blogging is about $500 which was pretty good to me. My dream of course is to be making thousands some day per month. 🙂
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    • Latoya S June 8, 2016 at 10:59 pm

      Hey, that is pretty good! At this point in my journey, I would be happy with any amount. Any amount earned is better than none and it’s something more that I can throw towards debt. But yes, aspiring to be in the thousands would definitely make that debt payoff quicker:)

  • Dividendsdownunder June 9, 2016 at 4:04 am

    Hey Latoya, Congrats on another month where you’ve earned income online. We are about to change our blog over to self-hosted, so quite a few of the things you’ve said here will really help as we do it – thanks! I’d be very interested to hear more about tailwind and boardbooster

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    • Latoya Scott June 9, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      Hey, Tristan! Thanks! I’m going to work on a write up about the two and compare the differences for you all:)

  • June 9, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Congrats on the income! I just found your site and am really enjoying reading through your posts.

    Do you find the surveys for money worthwhile? I don’t mind hustling and nothing is below me but I feel like I am not getting any traction for the time spent doing them.

    • Latoya Scott June 9, 2016 at 10:33 pm

      Hi, Lisa! Welcome, I’m so happy you’re liking things around here:)

      Surveys…I really do them when I have down time. If I’m lying around trying to rest or simply bored out of my mind. Sometimes even when I’m at an appointment waiting I can get some done. I don’t plan or schedule them because I can plan my hours around things that are really going to bring in some money, but survey taking is more of a hobby for me and I use the income to supplement some expenses. For instance, one year I took surveys solely so I could get Amazon gift cards and purchase my daughter’s birthday gifts. Other times I’ll get gift cards for Target or a drugstore and use them to maximize my savings and get stuff for free.

  • Josh June 23, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    First time visiting LAAB. As others have said, you are very detailed about your progress & goals.
    Also congrats on making some money from Etsy. My wife tried that a few months ago with some baby quilts she had sewn, but nothing sold. She didn’t relist them because it seems like an Etsy shop is about like trying to achieve blog SEO (as fellow members with Etsy shops told us), it takes a lot of work.
    Being we have a 1-year old, that is our main priority between the two choices.
    Josh recently posted…Amish Money HacksMy Profile

    • Latoya Scott June 23, 2016 at 5:00 pm

      Hey, Josh! Thanks for coming on over to visit. I hope you will join us more often here at LAAB:)

      Thanks, yes, Etsy is a tough cookie to crack and that’s why I just leave it alone. I earn passive income on products I created years ago!