In this session of the Smart Passive Income Podcast I’m extremely excited to share my 3rd ANNUAL Passive Income Report!
I have a ton of information to share and because the SPI podcast had such a huge impact on my business in 2011, I thought it was quite appropriate to try something different and share my 2011 results on the show.
If you’re not into audio or maybe you don’t have access to a player right now, don’t worry – the transcript is already available for you at the bottom of this post.
Either way, I’m sure you’ll enjoy not only hearing (or reading) about how much each of my businesses have earned, but also the important lessons I’ve learned along the way.
As with any of my income reports, I publicly share this information for a number of different reasons:
- To help myself track my progress and hold myself accountable for the work that I do.
- To be transparent and authentic about what I do, which I feel is the only way to be if one is talking about making money online.
- To inspire.
It’s important to mention, however, that even though I know the numbers are pretty shocking (and even I was shocked after adding everything up from last year) – making money online is definitely not an overnight thing and it’s definitely not easy.
In order to succeed, you have to know that behind 99.99% of all successful online businesses, including my own, is a lot of time, hard work, dedication, failures, and most importantly a huge desire to help other people – and not just a few people, but as many people as possible.
The truth is, most people who attempt to make money online will fail.
But that’s the thing – you can’t be like most people in order to succeed. It’s ridiculously easy to get lost in the crowd, which usually happens by following it.
Don’t follow the crowd – lead it.
For convenience, I’ve included a quick breakdown of my income below so you don’t have to go and find it in the audio or transcript. I’ve used clicktale before to see how people view my income reports, so I know that most usually scroll down to the bottom and look at the numbers first before reading anything else.
- GreenExamAcademy.com: $37,762.41
- SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com: $14,497.86
- eHow.com: ~$1,300.00
- iPhone Applications: $52,484.12
- Coaching and Consultations: $31.401.30
- Affiliate Marketing (for various products): $272,371.19
- Other: $3,523.96
- GROSS TOTAL: ~$413,340.84
- EXPENSES: (~$70,000.00)
- NET TOTAL: $343,340.84
An incredible, incredible year! And if you haven’t listened to the show or read the transcript yet I highly recommend you do so. To me, the lessons learned are much more important than the numbers, and I do talk a lot about my affiliate income and what’s happening there.
Items / Links mentioned in this session:
- Being Everywhere – My Presentation at Blog World Expo 2011 in LA
- How to Stand Out of the Crowd – My Presentation at the Financial Bloggers Conference
- Stand and Deliver – Dale Carnegie
- Ted Presentations at Ted.com
- The Niche Site Duel
- Bluehost Domain and Hosting
- iPhone App Success Story with Benny Hsu
- Conversion Strategies with Derek Halpern
- Social Triggers
- Entrepreneurs Journey
- Lazy Man and Money
- Green Exam Academy
- My Resources Page on SPI
- Dedicated Hosting – Servint.net
- Virtual Staff Finder – where I found my Full-time VA
- SPI Session #18 with MJ DeMarco
Please subscribe to the podcast using the links below!
Thank you again for making 2011 an incredible, life-changing year. Your support – whether you’re a hardcore fan and you share every single piece of content I put out, or you’re just quiet and behind the scenes kind of person – it doesn’t matter – you’re important to me and in 2012 I will continue to give back to the community by providing as much quality information as possible to help you and your online business or blog get to the next level.
If you haven’t already subscribed to my newsletter – please do so by using the box below:
Thank you again, and here’s to you and an amazing 2012! We’re almost a quarter of the way through already!
Click Here to Download the PDF Transcript for Session 34 or click on the link below to expand the transcript here within the post:
Hey what’s up and welcome to the 34th session of the smart passive income podcast. This is a special episode, something a little different because today I’m doing an audio version of an income report, and a big one too – my 3rd annual passive income report.
Each month I post a detailed, written entry on the blog sharing exactly where my income came from, how much I’ve earned down to the penny and also the important lessons I’ve learned – wins, losses – all stuff to not only inspire you but also to help you in case you’re trying some of these things on your own.
These are some of the most popular and most requested posts on the blog, but today I just felt like trying something new and sharing my 2011 report on the podcast instead, so this should be lots of fun.
Before I get into that, I just wanted to give a shout out to an awesome SPI podcast listener. His name is Eric Pujols and the reason I mention Eric is because he sent me a very special email.
In his email, he mentioned that a few months ago, at the peak of his career, he came down with a condition that there is still no diagnosis for. This condition, which he’s currently undergoing treatment for, left him unable to see very well, unable to stay balanced and unable to stay focused. I won’t get into too much detail about it but he said, and I quote:
“Long story short, I was stuck in bed and I would listen to each of your podcasts from start to finish over and over and this really saved me. I know this sounds a bit cheesy, but in all honesty, I don’t know what I would have done without all those podcasts. It was the one thing I could do.. just listen. And they kept me going and motivated to get better because this stuff excited me like nothing else. “
That is totally awesome – thank you, Eric for listening and for saying such nice words. Really.
I told Eric in a response that I would pray for him to get healthy again and if you do that sort of thing feel free to shoot Eric a quick get well prayer as well, I’m sure he’d appreciate that.
Also, one more thing, I just wanted to give a quick shout out to all of you who left a review for me in iTunes – we’re up to 334 5-star reviews, which is just incredible – thank you so much and that right there just keeps me motivated to keep producing these shows for you.
All right…so 2011…
2011 was amazing…and life changing to say the least.
I’ll get to the numbers in a little bit, I’ll break down the exact figures and where it all came from soon but I want to highlight the most important things that happened in 2011 that had the greatest impact on my earnings and my business…
And quite appropriately, I’m going to start with this podcast…
The Smart Passive Income Podcast
Although I started the SPI podcast back in July of 2010, 2011 was the year that I really started to see the benefits and results of starting the podcast for my overall brand.
The biggest thing was the massive exposure to new eyes and new ears – people who probably would have never found out about me otherwise. This I know because I conducted a survey during the year that revealed the fact that the number one way people found out about me and my brand, more than Google, links from other blogs, any social media platform or YouTube – is the podcast.
This is backed up by the fact that each and every week I get a ton of emails from people who say they found me through iTunes, and if you’ve listened to session 31, you’ll remember that a Hollywood producer found me through iTunes and hired me to help with the web and social media campaign for a multi-million dollar movie that is coming out in just a couple months.
This is why my Blog World Presentation last year in LA was all about the idea of Being Everywhere, expanding your blog onto different multi-media platforms to get in front of new audiences who have a different preference for consuming content – so along with the podcast, there’s YouTube, and together – the podcast, YouTube and my blog – that sort of created this three-pronged, or tri-force of content behind my brand, which also helps me become more of an authority figure in my niche, and what’s cool is that after that presentation at Blog World Expo, several of my peers have since began their own podcasts and have started concentrating on YouTube, and they’re already seeing massive results as well.
And you wonder why these people are successful – it’s because they take action yo! They try new things and not only learn, but learn and implement and test and experiment – that’s what will help you grow and expand and get better results.
Now, a by-product of producing the Smart Passive Income Podcast was the growth and confidence in my ability to use my voice, and like I did when I started the podcast, I decided to purposely get uncomfortable and try Public Speaking because I knew it would help my business and my brand.
I had mentioned Blog World Expo in LA last year, but that actually wasn’t my first presentation – that was my second.
My first ever public speaking experience was at the Financial Bloggers Conference in Chicago in October of 2011, and that was am amazing, probably life-changing moment for me and my brand.
Public speaking was something I was always wanting to do, but something I also feared, like a lot of people in this world do. Speaking in front of a crowd is actually the #1 fear in the world, more so than death, which is pretty interesting – but I can see why, it’s scary to be on stage and have everyones eyes on you. It’s live, and there’s no delete button or do-overs, you can’t edit what people hear…but that’s why it’s so awesome too – my life has changed because of presentations I’ve seen before, and so I knew that if I could master presenting live in public I could help change other people’s lives as well.
So, I decided to go all out and learn as much as I could about the craft. I picked up a book called Stand and Deliver which is a Dale Carnegie book, and I read it twice because it really taught me what makes an amazing presentation, and the coolest thing I learned is that presenting can be learned – some people have a natural ability but if you don’t, you can learn it – there’s like, almost a formula for what makes an excellent presentation that if you know and you can follow, you can, again, really make an impact with your voice and your presence.
Part of the advice in that book was also to watch a ton of other presentations and pick up on things that I like and work for me, so I could develop my own style, so I sat down and watched about 50 http://www.ted.com presentations – which I recommend you do anyways even if you’re not into public speaking, because the information there is just, well, it’s just really interesting.
So I learned all that I could, mind mapped my first presentation for the personal finance blogging community, which was all about standing out of the crowd, and apparently I knocked it out of the park. I sort of had one of those out of body experiences where you do something, and then you sort of phase out and all of a sudden it’s over and you don’t even realize what happened – it was pretty cool because that reminded me of when I used to perform in marching band and in orchestras and wind ensembles – I was just, in the zone, I guess and apparently everything went really well and the presentation was very well received, and after that – man, I was just really excited to get back into it as soon as possible. I then presented at Blog World Expo in LA and I’m scheduled to speak again at Blog World Expo in New York in June – it’s going to be a lot of fun.
So, to kind of bring this back around, the confidence that I gained in public speaking has made me more confident on the blog and on the podcast an din videos that I’ve recently produced, so it just comes around full circle again, all working to make SPI as best as it can be in the quality of content and delivery – which again is all for you.
The Niche Site Duel and Affiliate Marketing
Another huge win for me in 2011 was the success of my security guard training niche site – an experimental niche site that you might remember I started in late 2010, totally based off of keyword research and finding an untapped niche, but it was in 2011 when I began to make some real good money with it, mostly from spending time optimizing the site for Adsense clicks – which means testing various locations of the ads as well as the different colors – and that’s when I started to make over $100 a day with it, which is great. Another win for the site is that I was offered 5-figures for the site, 3 times actually – I talked about the first time when I was offered $10k for the site, but that was early in the year, but later on I was offered 15k and even 30k for the site. I declined each offer though because the residual income for not doing much work on them, since I put all that work upfront already, is worth more to me – plus there’s still room for growth.
The thing is, as this site took off, and because I shared it publicly on the blog, as soon as I got to #1 and as soon as income started coming in, and people could check and go to Google and type in security guard training and see the site right there at #1, my affiliate income started to go through the roof, and for anyone out there doing business online, the huge lesson here is the proof.
Talk isn’t worth very much online, but results, and results with concrete proof – that’s worth a lot of weight and that’s how you motivate people. It doesn’t matter what kind of onlin business you have, whether you’re gather a following on a blog or you’re trying to sell something, whether it’s an information product or even a tangible produt – it doesn’t matter. Results speak for themselves and results get people to take action. That’s why my blog is very results driven.
So when things started to go well my Bluehost earnings skyrocketed – and even today I’m still making around 15-20k just on domain and hosting commissions alone, which is amazing. Other tools that I’ve shared that I used during the process started to pick up steam as well, even without me having to do much work – I had setup the niche site duel posts (which you can check out at http://www.nichesiteduel.com and included affiliate links to products I used, but never said that they were required or forced anything – I just have all that there as an option – so it was really cool a few months later, to get a number of emails from people saying that their own niche sites climbed to the top of Google and people started to make money online on their own sites – that’s really why I made everything public and free because you don’t need to pay for information like that – you really can Google most things online, it’s just the motivation that people need to get things done.
Still though, and this was very surprising to me, even though you can get that information for free about how I setup my site, how I configured it, from keyword research all the way to adsense placement and even setting up a job board on the site, people still wanted help – to be part of something that motivated them, held them accountable and got them to take action.
People were emailing me left and right for one-on-one coaching with their niche sites – a LOT of people, and at first I just referred them to the niche site duel posts but they all said they read those already, and they just wanted more – so that’s when I launched a Niche Site Coaching course – an 8 to 10 week sort of classroom style program where we meet once a week via webinar, the students would learn something, apply it and then come back the next week and we’d build on the previous lesson and at the end, they’d have a fully built, working niche site that would be ranking in Google and hopefully earning a little bit.
I did this together with Tyrone Shum who was sort of the co-coach, and the person who battled me in the niche site duel, we setup an application process and were totally blown away when over 150 people applied for a $799 8 to 10 week course, it was just incredible!
And we couldn’t possibly take in 150 students so we narrowed it down to 20, and working with those students for that period of time was probably one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done.
Definitely not scalable, since it took up a lot of time – not just the 3 hour webinar each week, but all the prep time and forum participation and checking on people, accountability and that sort of thing, but everyone who went through the course and finished and really did what we instructed saw results – one person ended up going full time and no longer worked his 9 to 5, others started new sites – it’s was awesome, but at the same time it taught me a lot about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to coaching and taking people through a long-term, sort of classroom style tutorial, and not everyone finished some people dropped off or didn’t complete their coursework and it made me wonder why and what I could do to motivate them more.
Of course, some of that stuff wasn’t under my control – family stuff and one person was even in Japan when the earthquakes hit which was scary but he was okay – but I became really interested in the stuff that I could control and what made people work and work harder and get results, and I’ve always kept that in mind and it has guided me in the consultation that I do, in the blog posts I write, the videos I shoot, the podcasts I record and it will guide me in any future sort of course work that may come our of The Smart Passive Income Blog as well.
So yeah – coaching, totally awesome – learned a ton about how to work directly with people as opposed to the mass communication I do on the blog or other platforms I’m on.
Another thing that I learned that had a big impact on my blog really started when Derek Halpern, my buddy from SocialTriggers.com, invited me to get on a video with him and do a little critique of one of my own sites. He’s a master at converting readers into subscribers, so he gave me the choice of selecting which of my sites I wanted a critique for, and I said – The Smart Passive Income Blog, knowing that whatever he had to say would be shared to all the SPI followers.
Here’s a link to the conversion strategies video he did:
At this point, the blog had about 22 or 23 thousand subscribers, maybe 10k email subscribers, and you know I thought I was doing things pretty well. The systems I had in place to collect emails and get new subscribers was working for me, at a rate of about 35 to 50 email subscribers a day.
Then we did this critique together, I shared it on the blog, gave it some time so people could watch it, see what I had and then later see what I did to improve – based on Derek’s recommendations, and man…
After I implemented those changes, I was getting about 60-90 subscribers a day, sometimes cracking 100, and THAT really was proof that – not only that Derek’s strategies work, and I won’t get into those here just check out the video if you want to see exactly what he said…but this was proof that there is always someone else you can learn something from to improve.
And that was the big waking moment for me – I mean, I always knew it was good to keep learning, but I was doing it almost in a reactionary sort of way, when something new came along or something needed to be learned, then I’d go learn it and try to master it – but this was like – WOW, there is so much more I have to learn, I have to go out there and learn it. Find that information, let is soak in and then implement it.
This lead me to start looking into more courses. Copywriting courses, which I love and I need to do more of. Copywriting is huge – you know if no one is interested in your headline nothing you said in your post or article matters, because they’re not going to read it!
Learning how to be more organized, especially because my son is growing like, super fast and is taking up even more of my time, which I love – but that just means I have to be more productive when I do work and cut all the distractions out – like, really, or else nothing gets done, ever.
Learning more about design and how design influences action – functional design, as they say in architecture, which totally applies online.
Learning more about search engine optimization, so on and so on…
The big lesson here is never just think that you know all there is to know, about anything really. There’s always someone out there better than you, you’ve heard that before, I’m sure. Well, that’s awesome – go learn from them! Go. To. Them. And. Get. Better.
I’ve still got a lot to learn, and I hope I can have more people constructively criticize my businesses, there’s nothing worth more because that can lead to growth and improvement.
Last sort of Lesson before I get into the numbers (which I’m sure has more lessons and thoughts in them), is that everyone should matter.
One of the most important things when it comes to developing your online business are the relationships that you create. Back in 2009 and 2010, it was really the new relationships that I had with other bloggers in this niche that skyrocketed my brand, really sort of put me on the map, if you will – like I remember when I was intereviewed by Yaro Starak over at Entrepreneur’s Journey, and also Darren Rowse from Problogger.net – huge blogs with big audiences, them directly promoting me and my blog on the site – traffic through the roof – massive exposure, of course. And I can’t forget and thank enough the author behind LazyManandMoney.com, a personal finance blogger who said some really nice words about me way back in the day, again another influencer who helped to put the Smart Passive Income Blog on the map.
But, in 2011 – you know I didn’t really have that – new relationships with bigger bloggers who sent a lot of new eyes to my brand, and I don’t know if that’s because I wasn’t trying, or maybe because I’ve sort of become a big brand myself – I don’t know, but the relationships that were built in 2011 that really skyrocketed my blog and took it to the next level, and even the level beyond that – were the relationships I built and created with my readers – every single one of them, I like to think – not just from a blog author to a reader perspective, although I try to create relationships that way too, but I’m talking more about the personal, one-on-one response to an email, or Tweet or Facebook message type of relationships, and you have no idea how many people just simply thank me, for responding, for being a real person – which is weird because everyone is real in the sense that they’re a person, right?
But online, really, I think it’s easy for that idea of a person behind a brand to go away, or at least the approachable person, I should say – and it’s the tribe, the readers and followers of the SPI brand who, more so than any of the other big bloggers out there, who are doing all the work to share myself and the brand, and although the individual reach is less – collectively – it’s much, much, much bigger.
And now with the ability to share things – that’s what really helped in 2011 – the ability to with one-click retweet something, or like something and share it with those people who know and follow you – that’s huge…
So the idea here is, and I guess the important lesson is that individual people matter – everybody should matter, because if you can show even just a little bit of care and attention, that goes a long way online and that’s how you create life-long fans who will share you and your content with anyone they know – even by word of mouth, and the thing is, you never REALLY know how many people a person knows, or how many people a person may eventually come to know.
This is why even though it’s a major time suck, and I can’t always respond to emails right away – sometimes weeks later, I always try to respond to every single email, and it’s funny because so often I get an email back after I respond saying they didn’t expect me to respond. I love that, because what do you think happened in those people’s heads when they don’t think I’m going to respond, but I do…
And some of those people have since created their own blogs and remember that, and share the heck out of me, which is pretty awesome, and something I’m very thankful for.
Again, just another version, or side to the whole the more you give away, the more you get back in return…I love it.
Ok, so this should be interesting, I think it’s much easier to share numbers and charts on a blog post as opposed to a voice driven podcast, but I’m going to try anyways (and for those of you who are reading the transcript, well – I guess this works out for you!)
Here’s the income breakdown from 2011. I’ll sort of categorize it – you might have seen my written reports where I break down each and every affiliate product or something like that – I won’t do that here since it’s the yearly report but you’ll get a good idea of what kind of money I’m making and where, and I will pull out some highlights..
So, first let’s start with GreenExamAcademy.com – this is a website I created back in 2007 actually, started monetizing in October of 2008 with an eBook, an audio guide, practice exams and also classes and continuing education credits – this is for a particular test in the architecture industry.
In 2011 it had about 100,000 unique visitors, which isn’t too much really when you consider that when I first started it, I was getting about 100,000 visitors a month – and the difference in income reflects that, which is primarily due to changes in the industry, more competitors, and it’s just not as hot of a market anymore (which is why I’m glad I diversified), but anyways in 2011 the site generated a total of:
As I mentioned before, this is the experimental niche site I created from scratch, publicly on the blog, which happened to generate more and more income each and every month in 2011, primarily from Adsense, although there’s some income coming from a job board on the site and some affiliate products, like for some great and equipment and that sort of thing.
In 2011, very similar to GreenExamAcademy.com, it received 105,000 unique visitors, which is interesting, and it earned:
And when I say the earnings kept growing, I really mean they did keep growing. In January of 2011, it had earned $450.80, and by the end of the year it earned $2,170.15 in a single month. That’s almost 400% growth – mostly coming from – not new traffic as a result of getting to #1 in Google, I was already in #1 in Google at the beginning of the year – but it was the fact that I wrote and published a ton of new content on the site – from 15 pieces of content to now 110 pieces of content, and long tail keyword after long tail keyword was being found – and just a quick look at my analytics tells me that in 2011, securityguardtraininghq.com was found in Google for 27,946 different keywords…
Seriously – the more you write, the more you will be found. It’s as plain and as simple as that.
Now, I did make a few hundred dollars a month from eHow.com when the writer’s compensation program was still running. It got cut off in April or May I think, but for about 2 and a half years, I was consistently making 150 to 300 a month, which was great, so in total there I had earned about $1,300.
iPhone apps – I have an iPhone app business that has done really well, but we got in early. It’s still possible to make money from it – our buddy Benny Hsu who had an app that was featured as App of the Week in iTunes which was earning well over $1000 a day for a good maount of time, and I haven’t checked in with him lately but I’m sure it’s still doing really well – but the market is just totally saturated and you have to have a really good idea, or implement an existing idea REALLY well and much better than anything that’s out there, which is what Benny did.
This is why we really haven’t created many new apps, and any ones that we were planning on creating were sort of put on the back burner for now – they just weren’t top priority for us anymore.
What we did do was, a couple of times, come out with updates for our most popular applications, like Baby Maker and Traffic Light Changer (and for those of you who don’t know, all of these apps are sort of entertainment apps that don’t necessarily improve people’s lives, per se, but more make them laugh or chuckle a little – which I guess is improving people’s lives a little bit) – but anyways the updates did help our income a bit.
In 2011, in total we grossed $52,484.12, which is awesome, and we are comtinuing to update our existing apps and hopefully we’ll see some bigger numbers in 2012 – so far so good, and maybe even another app or two, we’ll see. It’s hard because both my partner and I have other businesses that we’re working on at the moment, but yeah, this is motivating and I’m about to check in with him to see what’s up on our latest project.
Coaching and Consultation
As I mentioned before, I started to do some coaching, and I’ve been consulting with this Hollywood company for a bit. Not exactly passive, but they were opportunities that came about because of the blog so I feel they should be included in the report as well.
In 2011, the total for coaching and consultation was $31.401.30.
As far as the outlook for 2012 is concerned in this category, I’m honestly not too sure yet. Again, we’ll see.
So far, before I get into affiliate marketing income – commissions from recommending other products that are not my own – products that, at least for me, that I’ve used myself and have found to be helpful in one way or another, the total for 2011 is about $137,000…which is an amazing year in and of itself, but when we include the affiliate marketing income – things start to get really interesting.
And I have to be completely up front with you – MOST of this income comes as a result of the work I do on the smart passive income blog. I don’t sell anything, currently, and I never aggressively promote anything or say you NEED this or you NEED that or you should buy this or should by that. This is all non-aggressive, more like – this is what I used, here’s an affiliate link in case you want to use this tool type of thing. I’m upfront about the fact that they are affiliate links, and most of them are just mentions of a tool – for example my resource page – one of the most visited pages on my blog:
It’s also, one of the most profitable. Right at the top I disclose that some of the links on that page are affiliate links, I will get paid if one makes a purchase using my affiliate links, and like I said – one of the most popular pages on my site. I keep track and people click on those links, because they are helpful, they add value to what people are trying to achieve, and that’s the magic trick – promoting products that actually work or are helpful for people, depending on what they want to do…
So, to not make you wait any longer, the sum of income from affiliate marketing (again, most of it as a result of the blog, but not all of it – I have a few niche sites here and there that promote affiliate products as well) – the sum in 2011 is:
I can’t even believe that number when I hear it. Completely crazy stuff going on here – and I just can’t thank you enough if you’re one of those people who have ever clicked on any of my affiliate links – and even if you haven’t you still matter and have had an effect on me.
This is life changing stuff here, and I think it’s because of my approach – you know I’m just a dude who shares what is working and what isn’t work, and like I said over $100,000 came outside of this blog, but the more I give away the more I get back in return, and it returned to me bigtime in 2011, and I’m incredible grateful for that and I will not forget where I came from or what each and every one of you means to me – that’s something I will swear by.
I know I’m not a millionaire and I’m still far from it, I mean we haven’t even talked about taxes which is a HUGE chunk of this income, close to half really, and then expenses as well which I’ll get to in a second, but my point is I know this is a significant amount of money, but I will not let that change who I am or my lifestyle because I’m living exactly how I want to live right now, just a dad, husband living happy at home – for you, it might be different, and whatever your dream is whatever your goals are, I hope you can work backwards from there and know exactly what it’ll take, and through my blog and the podcast, I want to give you as much information as possible to help make that happen.
So in gross total, and this includes a few more small earnings here and there, like from YouTube, donations and other things like that, the gross total for 2011 is:
Now, please realize that these aren’t exact numbers – they are ROUGH numbers (even though they are down to the penny) because over time people ask for refunds, or sometimes I get credit later or a person upgrades their purchase and random things like that, so they are not 100% accurate because of that, but they are close. What I did was basically added up all the figures in each category in my month income reports, all of which have that same note.
Now let’s get to expenses. I like to talk about expenses in two forms – monetary expenses, and time expense.
As far as monetary expenses, and the big things are things like hosting. I pay $289.00 a month for a dedicated host – I had to upgrade from Bluehost because of all the traffic the Smart Passive Income Blog was having, which I guess is a good problem to have -
Oh and speaking of traffic, I forgot to mention that the SPI blog in 2011 had about 640,000 unique visitors and over 1.5 million pageviews, which is RIDICULOUS!
So yeah, new server much needed. So that’s a large expense.
Aweber for the email list – it’s up to about 28,000 people now, and they only show a payment plan for up to 25,000, so that should give you a rough idea of where I’m at there…
I also paid about $700/month for a virtual assistant, my programmer, Mike, who does a lot of the website stuff I need done – primarily on my niche sites and any client sites I work on, he’s been fantastic and I’m happy to pay him for his work…I also threw in a few bonuses as well for the good work that he’s done.
Then we have legal expenses with my lawyer to make sure everything is all good in the hood, travel expenses, necessary equipment to keep my business running, then of course the services like unique article wizard and other things with a monthly recurring fee that help with various parts of my business, then there’s money that was spent on learning new things – courses and other educational items – it’s a lot of stuff and it really does add up.
So in total, we’re talking roughly $70,000 in expenses – which alone sounds crazy – I mean I spent more money for my business this year than I ever earned in one single year (or even two years come to think of it) working in architecture – but of course when you’re growing and expanding it takes money to invest in that growth, so in net profit, for 2011, it comes down to about: $343,000.00 net, which is incredible, but again this is not including taxes, which I won’t get into now, and if you’ve noticed I’m not really comfortable getting into on the blog that much, and I’ve had a lot of requests for posts and podcasts about the tax side of things – and I have posts about how I setup my business structure and things like that, but to be honest I recommend finding a professional to help you if you’re looking for information about how to do it right and right from the start, for you.
And last thing about expenses, you know this sounds like a lot of money, and it is, but when I first started with GreenExamAcademy.com and it was making about $20,000 to $30,000 a month on it’s own, my only expenses were $6 bucks a month for domain and hosting, $5 a month for http://www.e-junkie.com to house and sell and deliver my eBook, and really, just time.
So time – let’s get into time.
Most of the work I do is for the Smart Passive Income Blog, which I have to say is the least passive of all my businesses.
GreenExamAcademy: 2 hours a month, at most, basically just answering customer emails and making sure all systems are still working correctly.
SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com: when I was setting it up, an hour a day for 73 days, on average. When it got to #1 in Google, about an hour a week, if that, mainly to add more content on the site and tweak and test conversions for advertisements.
iPhone Apps: In 2011, not much work at all. On average, an hour a month to swap emails, check stats and send updates to our developer, and then from our developer back in to the App Store.
This businesses, which make a significant amount of money – like I said, over $137,000 total in 2011, with literally just a few hours a month. Again, this is because the systems are setup on autopilot, and these are three completely different models – so choose your weapon – but don’t forget it takes a lot, and I mean a LOT of hard work up front to get these in place, and it’s not going to work all of the time. I just want to be upfront and straight with you – but that’s part of the fun, seeing what will work, and what doesn’t and taking what you learned and applying it to the next thing.
For some, it’ll come soon, for others, and for most people, it comes way later.
But I hope this shows you that with some hard work, with educating yourself and then applying those lessons, and always pushing forward, you can really make some awesome things happen – and to tie this into the biggest lesson I learned in 2011, and I have to credit MJ DeMarco, an author I interviewed in session #18 about a year ago:
To really become successful, you must affect many.
Affect many – that is what should drive your decisions, how you write, what platforms you’re on (all of them), who you make your product for and what it does, what you write in your emails, how you put yourself out there, and why you do what you do.
The more people you can affect, the more of an effect it will have on your own business, and life.
Cheers everyone – thanks for listening to my 2011 annual income report, and here’s to an awesome, healthy, profitable and safe 2012.