My Monthly Report – December 2008

This is the third of a series of reports that I will post each and every month summarizing my progress. I’ll first mention the major events that may have happened within the month that could have made a difference in my earnings. I will also break down the sources of my income so that I can keep track of how each one is doing. Lastly, I’ll conclude with the most important things that I learned and what I have planned for the near future. I’d love to respond to any questions or comments that you may have. Thanks!

Important Going-Ons in December

  • Optimized my eBook landing page with Google Optimizer
  • Found a handy “buy it now” button that increased my sales. It only took 5 minutes to implement.
  • Began production of my audio guide. I hired a voice talent (voiceoversbytrish) to record most of the audio. She should be finished within a few days.
  • Held a contest on 99Designs.com, one of my Online Passive Income Tools of the Trade, to get a logo designed for my audio guide. Check out the design contest page to see all of the cool designs.
  • Began various methods of affiliate marketing, including adding affiliate links to my eHow articles and other links on my blogs as well. I also started to research and participate in PPC affiliate marketing campaigns using Adwords and Facebook as a means of reaching customers. I will go into more depth about this in a few of my January posts.
  • I reached my December goal of 100 subscribers by January 1st, 2009. The numbers do fluctuate, but there is proof.
  • I reached another one of my December goals by enrolling in a health insurance plan with Blue Shield! Yep, I am now officially covered. I saved over $300.00 a month by opting out of the Cobra option I almost used. Again, I’ll tell you exactly what I did sometime in January.

Income Sources

  • Ebook Sales: 379 Copies – $10,900.70
    • last month: $8,598.51
    • difference: + $2,302.19
  • Google Adsense: $854.41
    • last month: $702.03
    • difference: + $152.38
  • Private Advertising (pro-rated): $183.33
  • eHow Earnings: $96.87
    • last month: $20.02
    • difference: + $75.95
  • Affiliate Marketing (various methods): $163.16
  • Gross Total: $12,193.59 in December
    • last month: $9,787.77
    • difference: + $2,410.70

I honestly cannot believe the numbers. Another record month for which I owe to quite a few things. Besides the addition of affiliate marketing, and the successful growth of my eHow earnings (my next post is all about my eHow earnings for the month), I again owe most my success to my eBook.

  • Higher Conversion Rates. I wasn’t expecting to sell more books in December because of the holiday season, but my conversion rate (the number of sales per number of visitors) was much higher this month, and I believe it’s because I’ve optimized my landing page. That magic button I spoke about earlier does indeed work wonders, at least compared to the old one I was using. I can’t thank Ryan Deiss enough for this button.
  • A Price Experiment. One other thing I did, was simply increase the price of the eBook by $5.00. This was suggested by a friend of mine from the Internet Business Mastery Academy, a group that I joined and have since learned so much from. I owe a lot of my success to my colleagues there. Anyways, he was wondering why I priced the book so low. I told him that I wasn’t trying to rob anybody, and thought that the $24.99 price was enough for people to want to buy the book without breaking the bank. He then explained how pricing my guide 1/3rd the price of other guides was ridiculous, and people would still be willing to pay a little more, especially if the content was good. So, I raised the price $5.00 and I actually sold more books in December than in any other month. After thinking about it, $5.00 isn’t that much more money for one person to spend. But, over hundreds of sales, $5.00 definitely adds up. Thanks Sterling for your suggestion and advice. I owe you one.

Important Things I Learned in December

  • Creating a Schedule is Key. Because I’m working from home now, it’s really easy for me to be distracted by any number of things, all of which can easily take away from any production and potential future “money making” that I could/should be doing. The number one thing I did in December to help me get through those urges was to create a schedule of what I wanted to finish each day. This helped me, big time. iCal on a Macintosh works great.
  • You Can Always Do More to Improve. When doing housework, how do you know when you’re finished? When creating a painting, how do artists know when they’re done? To many, the answer is that there’s no “finish line”, because there’s always something else that could be done. The same holds true for our internet businesses. There’s always something more you can do to improve sales, improve readership, improve anything. I thought my sales page was pretty good, but after running some split tests and implementing the magic button, I saw I was not even close to doing as much as I could. I’m still running split tests on my sales page as I type.
  • The Most Important Asset to Any Business, Blog, Article: What I’ve learned, is that I could do all of the work I want – hundreds of websites, thousands of blog posts, tons of eBooks and courses – but it would all be for nothing if it wasn’t for…other people. Without people, like readers or customers, there is no success. Absolutely none. I’ve realized that it’s really important to make sure that I understand that my customers and the readers of my blogs are my number one asset, because without them, I’d have nothing. If I cater to their needs, I will be rewarded. Think about that.

What’s Next

I can’t believe 2009 is already upon us. I hope you and your family had a wonderful and safe holiday season and new year.

For January, I have just a few things I want to get done. I’m less than 2 months away from my wedding, so a lot of my focus will be on that – but I will still be doing more to improve my earnings for next month.

  1. My main goal is to launch my audio guide. I plan to offer my ebook and audio guide for sale separately, as well as a combined price that will save the customer a little bit of cash. I also plan to contact all of my previous customers about the audio guide, and offer them a discount since they’ve bought the book already. I’m hoping for $15,000 in sales next month total.
  2. I plan to begin monetizing The Smart Passive Income Blog. The cool thing is, you can watch it as it unfolds, and I’ll describe exactly what I’m doing as it happens.
  3. Tax season is upon us. I’ve recently filed for my LLC, to protect my personal assets, and I’ll talk about this in much more detail later. I know I’ll be hit hard with taxes this year, because making money online is a lot different than earning a paycheck every 2 weeks and having taxes automatically deducted. I’m saving half of all of my earnings for a potential large check I have to write come April. I want to find an accountant in my area that I can work with to help me figure out all of the money-stuff that goes on with running a business. I’m kind of excited about it…kind of.

I’m putting my podcast on hold, as I’d like to focus on that after the wedding. Hey, maybe it will be about wedding stuff or marriage – just an idea.

As far as subscribers, I’ll shoot for 150 by February 1st.

Lastly, just know that my schedule of blog posts this month may be irregular because I have quite a few major things going on this month that will take me away from my computer. For instance…my BACHELOR PARTY! We’re going to snowboard at Lake Tahoe for 4 days…and take advantage of the nearby casinos in Reno. 11 dudes shredding down a mountain – legendary.

Have a wonderful New Year, and let’s make 2009 the most profitable year for us ever!

  • http://www.littlemummy.com Erica

    Informative without being ‘showy’ with your success, excellent. Good luck in 2009.

    Erica´s last blog post..A Year in Pictures: 2008

    • Pat

      @Erica, Thank you so much. I don’t ever want to come across as being cocky or showy. I’m posting this information to be informative, as you said. Thanks again, and good luck to you in 2009 as well.

  • http://www.ehow.com/members/1960texan-articles.html Will

    Another inspiring post, Pat. I’m looking forward to learning the method you used to add affiliate marketing links to your eHow articles. Good stuff!

    • Pat

      @Will, Thanks! I really appreciate your kind words. I’ll go over this stuff soon…so keep posted! All the best…

  • http://lifestylesoftheorganized.com/ Sarah H.

    You can put affiliate links in eHow articles?

    Great numbers, Pat! And I’m very excited about all your upcoming goals for 2009 for this blog and your other income sources. Thanks again for being so informative and helpful for the rest of us trying to earn passive income!

    I couldn’t agree more about creating a schedule! Both my husband and I work from home and have definitely had our fair share of challenges with how we spend our time day to day. On one hand, being self employed is totally awesome because you can pick up and go somewhere pretty much whenever you want. But on the other hand, it’s easy to work too little or even work too much on any given day. Finding balance is tricky, but the benefits to this lifestyle are certainly worth the extra effort!

    Sarah H.´s last blog post..New Year’s Resolutions – The Key to Success

    • Pat

      @Sarah H., I definitely agree with you – it can be very tricky. It’s going to be even more tricky after my fiancee and I move in with each other, and she goes into her 9 to 5 type job. I think she’s a little sad that I get to stay home while she goes out. I’m hoping to make enough in the future so she can stay home with me while I work. :)

      Oh, and about affiliate links, yes you can put them into your eHow articles. I’ll go over this in a future post…thanks again for your wonderful comment!

  • http://www.thewebmasterresources.info Deca

    Great result for december! I has been inspiring watching your income grow. Best of luck for 2009!

    Deca´s last blog post..Using Social Networking Websites to Promote Your Blog

    • Pat

      @Deca, Thanks Deca! Good luck to you in 2009 as well!

  • http://www.thegreenninja.org Jen Brister

    That’s a huge percentage jump in your ehow earnings! Awesome! Here’s to a wonderful 2009!

    Jen Brister´s last blog post..Writing for Lifetips

    • Pat

      @Jen Brister, Thanks Jen! Look out for my next post about my eHow earnings. It was a great jump, without even writing any articles. (Ok, I wrote one, but still…)

  • http://www.cynvela.com Cyn

    Awesome month, Pat! And congrats on the upcoming wedding! Your fiancee is beautiful… even in an ugly Christmas sweater. ;)

  • http://www.cynvela.com Cyn

    Pat, forgot to mention… regarding your raising your eBook price: I
    don’t know if you watch The Big Idea with Donnie Deutsch on CNBC…. Frequently, he’ll have an inventor on the show, and the inventor will mention their price point, and Donnie will suggest that they raise their price. He says that consumers want to think/believe/feel that what they are getting is of extreme value, so if you price your item too low, they’ll think that your item is of questionable value. So that might be yet another explanation as to why your eBook sold more at a higher price.

    Cyn´s last blog post..Blogging: Free or Paid Hosting?

    • Pat

      @Cyn, Yes, that’s an excellent point there Cyn. Thank you. I wonder what would happen if I priced it at $99.99…just a thought. Oh, and I appreciate the comments about my fiancee…I think the Christmas sweater makes her look even more beautiful than she already is. Thanks =)

  • David

    Pretty flippin awesome post. I like yours much better than other PF bloggers since you are actually earning money from sources other than a regular job. I am def. looking forward to your update on eHow.

    • Pat

      @David, Thanks for your comment! If you’re the same David I’m thinking about from eHow, you’re flippin awesome as well. I’m actually in the middle of writing my eHow post right now, but I wish eHow made it easier to categorize and organize earnings…I can’t even see which of articles are my most profitable without going through each page…unless I’m missing something….

  • http://frugaldad.com Frugal Dad

    Wow! That is some impressive results, my friend! Congratulations on a great month. I’ve been kicking around an idea of selling a related product I’m working on at my website. I think I’ve found my mentor!

    Frugal Dad´s last blog post..Deals Of The Day at Dillyeo.com

    • Pat

      @Frugal Dad, Thank you! Congratulations to you on the success of your blog as well. I read your goals for next year, and it’s no doubt that you’ll be able to achieve each and every one of them. Happy New Year!

  • http://www.homesprosperity.blogspot.com Steve

    Pat, thanks for showing us that it is definitely possible, with ingenuity, hard work, smart work, to make a good living online. This is my plan for 2009, and it’s nice to have successful people along the way showing how it’s done. All the best to you!

    Steve´s last blog post..URGENT: Reignite Your Drive for 2009

    • Pat

      @Steve, Thanks! All the best to you too! Good luck in 2009.

  • Suze

    Totally impressive, Pat. Want to know why you are such an inspiration to me? I’ve read your blog pretty much from the beginning and you have remained your humble, cool, I’m-just-an-ordinary-guy self. You make it believable that we can all follow in footsteps similar to yours. Thank you.

    • Pat

      @Suze, Thank you for sticking with my blog since the beginning. I am just an ordinary guy, so it’s really possible for anyone to do the same as me.

  • http://www.ehow.com/members/01Bri-Guy-articles.html 01Bri-Guy

    Pat – Congratulations on your new numbers, and I hope you have lots of success in the new year!! I just wanted to say again, what an inspiration your blog is. It is basically the main thing that got me excited about passive income, and to start trying it. I seem to be having good luck on eHow and have been putting a lot of time into my articles, with content, SEO, etc. And it’s working out pretty well so far, I have about 18 articles, and joined them on Dec. 16th and am averaging about a dollar a day now, for the past 4-5 days. I’ve seen that figure creep up as I’ve added articles, so I think I’m doing well, but I’d like to earn 40-50 dollars per day eventually just from eHow, even if I have to write 1000+ articles like you had talked about in your earlier posts. I cant wait to get into some other areas, like selling an ebook and having my own blog.

    Anyways, my post is getting long enough! But keep up the good work, your blog is such an inspiration!

    -Brian

    • Pat

      @01Bri-Guy, I’m glad to hear you’re having some success with eHow. A dollar a day after 18 articles is a really good average! I would just recommend writing more so you can boost your earnings. I’m looking forward to the day you start your own blog and write a book, keep us posted! Good luck!

  • http://earlyriser-independentincome.blogspot.com/ Earlyriser

    Pat –
    Thanks so much for the encouragement that you lay down in doses with your blog. I am always encouraged to keep plugging away at passive income sources…But I do have a real problem with you and your style.

    Dude, seriously. That sweater does not belong on the planet. That thing is wrong in about twelve different ways. I have always felt like I am part of a community when I read your blog, but being a part of a community has it’s responsibilities. Therefore, I am calling you out. Call it an intervention, if you will. Man, banish the sweater before it affects your brain.

    Ha Ha! Seriously, thanks for all your work on this blog, I look for new posts every time I open my browser. All the best in the New Year.

    Andy

    Earlyriser´s last blog post..Passive Income- Writing for Ehow

    • Pat

      @Earlyriser, Haha…aren’t those sweaters hideous? My fiancee and I bought them from ebay, actually, for an ugly Christmas sweater party. We didn’t win, but it was fun to be a part of such an ugly occasion…hehe! I promise I don’t wear things like that too often. All the best to you!

  • http://getpaidtofart.blogspot.com 2ThePoint

    I’m really glad I’ve come across your blog. I’m inspired.

    Note to self: Book.Mark.This.Blog.

    Wishing you a super-duper ’09.

    2ThePoint´s last blog post..I Got a Surprise Payment from Constant-Content…

    • Pat

      @2ThePoint, Thanks a ton! I wish you a fantastic ’09 as well. All the best!

  • http://onlinedividends.blogspot.com Online Dividends

    Congrats on your success Pat!

    I am most impressed with Ehows jmp in earnings to almost $100/month.

    Online Dividends´s last blog post..Passive Income as of 11/30/2008

    • Pat

      @Online Dividends, Thanks! Look out for tomorrow’s post about my eHow earnings – I had a lot of fun writing it. Cheers!

  • http://www.ehow.com/members/rachellewms.html?view=3rd Rachelle Williams

    I found your blog through the eHow forums. Your success is most inspiring to me. I simply cannot wait for your audio book, keep up the good work!

  • http://myWAHM.blogspot.com WriterGig

    Pat, your ebook success is very inspiring! Way to go. Do you anticipate sales dropping off at any point, or should they continue along the same trajectory in the coming months and years?

    WriterGig´s last blog post..Maximize eHow Earnings with Affiliate Links

  • http://www.mylilgreendress.com Kathymcbain

    Pat, your success is inspiring. By the way, in regards to Cyn’s post about raising the price of your book – we just spent literally hundreds of dollars (over $500 total) for LEED AP study material and this isn’t the first time we’ve bought things. I would say you COULD safely raise your price and still sell plenty of books! :)

  • http://www.radcaptures.com/blog Ryan

    Hey Pat!

    I look forward to your monthly reports, because they are so inspiring! Great job, keep it up, and I know you’ll make all your goals for 2009. I think I need to stop READING and start DOING. I am losing money as we speak (reference to your previous post)…

    Ryan´s last blog post..Fresh new braids

  • http://www.brandingyp.com charles palma

    A good article that has been a part of my blog for several months now. Since i started my first list of income reports. You are one of those people that earns alot by selling their own products. Good job!!

    charles palma´s last blog post..Google.com.ph – Google in the Philippines

  • http://www.your-money-online.com Your Money Online

    WoooW, your income in just single month is so cool, especially the amount from your ebook sales. It is the first time I come to your blog and may I know what ebook do you sell? Thanks Pat.

    Your Money Online´s last blog post..What Do you Think About The New Template Of YMO?

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  • http://www.llamamoney.com/ Llama Money

    It seems my efforts have been wasted – I need to get to writing an ebook! J/K – congrats on your fantastic success so far. Can’t wait to see how 2009 starts off for you.

    Llama Money´s last blog post..Investing in a Down Economy

  • Terri

    Great post and great ideas. Congrats on your ongoing successes. I think you just acquired another subscriber ;0).

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  • http://www.queasystomach.com/ Tommy Hardin

    Only 5 minutes to set up a “Buy it Now” button was a great investment. It obviously paid off with another increase. Not only was it an increase but it was a few thousand. Insane!

  • http://www.amirrimer.com Amir Rimer

    I think that it is always important to create goals for yourself every month.

    One goal can be to earn a certain amount of money, another can be to finish a few tasks that you wanted to finish, and another goal can be to lose a few pounds.