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  1. My 2014 Annual Income Report and Review: $946,256.23

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    Before sitting down to write this post, I was excited to dive into my income report archive to see what my 2013 results were like for inspiration and comparison. Unfortunately, I saw that I didn’t even publish a 2013 review.

    As much as I know I did very well this past year – it was a record breaking year on several levels – the fact that I didn’t publish a report last year is a small reflection of some overall bigger problems and let downs that occurred in 2014 that I will cover later in this post.

    This report, like every other monthly report shared here on the blog, serves many purposes:

    1. To reflect on what went well. The accomplishments. The wins. The gains.
    2. To look back on what could have been improved. The failures, mistakes and hard lessons learned.
    3. To educate and inspire you based on #1 and #2.
    4. To get an overall snapshot of where my businesses currently stand.
    5. To share my plans for the future. My goals, my ambitions, and the actions I need to take.

    Let’s get right into it.

    By The Numbers…

    It’s always fun to look at some numbers to quickly compare and track growth. I’ll get into a more traditional line-by-line breakdown of my income later in this post, but let’s start with some interesting 2014 highlights from the web properties and businesses that most of you have come to know over the years here on SPI:

    Smart Passive Income (Blog)

    • Traffic: 3.34 million unique visitors (+26.4% increase from previous year)
    • Pageviews: 7.62 million (+25.2%)
    • Average Time on Site: 3 min 18 sec
    • Number of New Published Posts: 39 (not including podcast related posts)
    • New Email Subscribers: 38,452 (out of 100,699 total)

    Smart Passive Income (Podcast)

    • Downloads: 5.7 million (+60% increase from previous year)
    • New Episodes: 51  (41 previous year)
    • Total Time Recorded: 2,504 minutes (41.74 hours)

    Ask Pat (Podcast) (launched in February of 2014)

    • Plays: 3.1 million
    • Total New Episodes: 247
    • Total Time Recorded: 2,470 minutes (41.16 hours)

    SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com

    • Traffic: 351,006 unique visitors (+4.1% from previous year)
    • Pageviews: 729,501 (-3.9%)
    • Average Time on Site: 2 min 01 sec
    • New Email Subscribers: 1,425 

    GreenExamAcademy.com

    • Traffic: 124,502 unique visitors (-3.6% from previous year)
    • Pageviews: 270,400  (-10.5%)
    • Average Time on Site: 1 min 55 sec
    • New Email Subscribers: 102

    FoodTruckr.com (launched in October 2013)

    • Traffic: 349,145 unique visitors
    • Pageviews: 665,810
    • Average Time on Site: 2 min 09 sec
    • New Email Subscribers: 2,803

    CreateaClickableMap.com

    • Traffic: 42,996 unique visitors (+13.5% from previous year)
    • Pageviews: 81,778 (+20.7%)
    • Average Time on Site: 1 min 51 sec (+12.5%)
    • New Maps Created/Sold: 695

    iPhone Apps

    • Number of Units Downloaded (2013): ~89.9k
      • Number of New Apps Created: 0
    • Number of Units Downloaded (2014): ~32.3k (-64.1%)
      • Number of New Apps Created: 0

    Smart Podcast Player (Launched in Beta in June of 2014)

    • Traffic: 14,752 unique visitors
    • Total units sold: 752

    SPI Mobile Application

    • Total new iOS Users: 9,472
    • Total new Android Users: 3,064
    • Total sessions by all users: 499,636

    Public Speaking Events

    • Number of Events: 7
      • Miles Traveled: 16,109 miles
      • International Trips: 2 (Philippines / Australia)

    Here’s What Went Extremely Well:

    As you might expect, the biggest wins came from the world of podcasting.

    The Smart Passive Income Podcast continues to expand its reach and increase download numbers, especially more recently as podcasting is going more mainstream. Here’s a graph showing the general growth of the show:

    SPI Podcast Growth 2014

    In addition to the SPI Podcast, which started in 2010 as a bi-weekly show and then accelerated into a weekly show in 2013, I released my second podcast in February of 2014 called AskPat, which is a 5-day per week show that became an instant hit.

    With 3.1 million downloads in less than a year, I couldn’t be happier with the results of AskPat and the impact it’s having on my brand.

    The direct feedback I’m getting from listeners is that they love the shorter “to-the-point” format of each episode, since each episode features a voicemail question from an audience member followed by my answer. They also love that they hear directly from an audience member as well, someone they can directly relate to.

    Some even tell me they prefer AskPat over The SPI Podcast, which is really interesting!

    I dedicated about the same amount of recording hours for each podcast, however producing AskPat has brought much more to me than just more time in front of my audience. It has also helped buy me more time, and earn me more money too – both directly AND indirectly.

    Why AskPat Was the Best Thing Ever

    The only way AskPat was going to happen was if I had some help to put it all together. I was already producing The SPI Podcast on my own, but I was willing to see what it was like to have another show fully edited and produced by someone else – something I was not willing to do with my existing podcast.

    With AskPat, I wanted to see if I could get to a point where all I had to do was record my parts, and then send it off to an assistant to splice, complete, upload and publish.

    Thanks to Mindy Holahan (who you may remember from SPI Podcast Session #138), this is exactly what has been happening. We worked really hard before the show came out to nail down the workflow and since the show came out, I’ve been able to spend an average of 1 hour each Sunday evening to publish an entire week’s worth of podcast episodes.

    That’s 4 hours per month for 30 days of content (minus the weekends).

    To put this in true perspective, since starting the show in February, that’s about a full work week (44 hours) to record all of the episodes of AskPat for the entire year. 

    When you take into account the number of downloads, the direct sponsorship income for AskPat (which totaled $46,170.57 in 2014 or about $1049 per hour) and the effect of the show on my brand, looking back, AskPat was definitely one of the smartest moves I made in 2014.

    And the benefits did not stop there.

    Experiencing the production of AskPat and having someone else on my team take a chunk of podcasting work off of my hands like this was extremely eye-opening for me. In October of 2014, after 4 years of solo production of The SPI Podcast (which includes recording, editing, mixing, tagging, uploading, show notes, publishing and graphic design work related to each episode), I finally decided to hand off everything but the recording of each session to a team member.

    Since then, I’ve been months ahead of schedule and it has freed up hours of my time each week to focus on other parts of my businesses, as well as dedicate a huge focus of my new time on my health and self-improvement.

    Beyond the podcast production, another cool byproduct of AskPat was a software product. Originally a custom-built player for AskPat, after a huge demand for something like it from other podcasters, I went into full production mode to turn this custom tool into something I could sell and distribute.

    And that’s when The Smart Podcast Player was born.

    Doing Software The Right Way

    I’ve experimented with software in the past and failed. Bigtime.

    In 2012, I paid over $10k for the development of two WordPress plugins that never went to market. They were complete failures for several reasons:

    1. I was chasing money.
    2. I rushed through the process and skipped a lot of steps.
    3. I wanted two built at the same time.
    4. I expected the developers I hired to think for me.
    5. And, I was chasing money.

    Lesson learned.

    Fast forward to 2014, The Smart Podcast Player was originally built for me and my own podcasting pains. I was scratching my own itch, and it just so happens that a lot of other people had the same itch too.

    That alone put me light-years ahead of where I was with software in 2012, but I was still just as inexperienced with software. I took it much slower this time to make sure I did it right.

    A lot of time was spent upfront on the research and development of the software to figure out what was most important so I could launch into a limited beta program with an MVP (minimum viable product). Instead of launching it with all of the bells and whistles and releasing a full version to the public, I launched a “light” version to a smaller group of people who became essential players in the growth and direction of the product.

    The product was then developed with the direct user feedback already in mind – not some guess as to what a potential customer might want.

    Last month, the product was released out of beta (after a long testing period after a number of features were added), and into the full version 1.0 public release. I’m extremely proud of this product – not just as another product to add to the passive income portfolio, but because the customers who have it already are truly loving it and seeing results. Increased downloads, more shares and time on site, and a cleaner experience on their blogs.

    Below you’ll see the full player in action, followed by an example of the track player for a single episode:

    Again, I’m so happy with what the team and I have put together here, and it’s only just the beginning. We have a lot more updates and features to add this year that are going to make The Smart Podcast Player even more amazing.

    Just for you for reading this post, you can use this link here or coupon code “tenforyou” to get $10 off the retail price of The Smart Podcast Player. 

    FoodTruckr Earns its First Income!

    FoodTruckr.com, a niche site in the food truck industry born out of my Niche Site Duel 2.0 experiment, has been doing very well. With 350k visitors to the site – most coming from Google – the site has slowly become the #1 resource for food truck owners and soon-to-be food truck owners who want to grow their business and learn more.

    On April 15th, I experimented with adding a few Adsense ads on strategic pages on the site, and immediately I saw some earnings come though. It was only about $100 per month, but you’ve got to start somewhere, and it was a great sign for what was to come.

    On August 18th, FoodTruckr released its first product – an eBook – that has since generated over $10,000. The product adopts the same three-tier pricing strategy outlined by Nathan Barry in SPI Podcast Session #75, where each higher-priced tier offers a bit more in the package. Interestingly enough, most of the customers have purchased the highest price package at $147.00.

    It was great to finally release a legit product for the work that was put into FoodTruckr. I knew that this site, more so than my other niche site at SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com, was going to be a more long-term strategy, but things are definitely coming together. I’ve been approached by companies to advertise and partner with, another product is already being created as we speak, and I’ve already been asked about selling the site twice by two different people.

    Onward and upwards!

    Speaking Gigs

    I spoke at about the same number of conferences in 2014 as I did in 2013, but besides New Media Expo (NMX), all of my gigs were at different events. And unlike the year before, a couple of those events were international, which was super cool.

    In March, I flew to the Philippines to speak at Tropical Think Tank, a destination event put on by my buddy Chris Ducker. It was his inaugural event, and it was such a pleasure to attend. I spoke twice at this conference, but more than that it was amazing to connect with the other speakers and attendees in such a beautiful part of the world. My mom is from the Philippines (and the last time I was there I was 6 years old), so it was even more special to me.

    In August, I took my family with me to the Gold Coast of Australia to hang out for a bit and then do the opening keynote at the Problogger Event.  I also did a presentation along side Chris Ducker about podcasting, which was so much fun.

    I wrote an entire recap post about it, complete with selfies with kangaroos.

    Two big wins came from my time on stage last year.

    First, it was my time at NMX. My presentation titled How to Turn Your Casual Readers into Raving Fans was a huge hit – so much that it helped to land me a keynote at NMX this year in April. I hope to see you there! (My speaking schedule is located at the bottom of this post.)

    Second, another big win (which was really just a realization) was the idea that I could perform the same presentation again at another event. This was huge for me, because in the past I didn’t know that I could do that. I used to create brand new, unique stage content for every event that I spoke at, until a professional speaker finally told me I was crazy! Because of the success of my ravings fans presentation, I was asked to speak at several other events and was given the okay to perform the same talk.

    And boy, it’s so much easier to do a talk you’ve already done!

    And because I did it so often, I was able to fine-tune and really get into the nitty-gritty details to make it completely polished. By the time I performed it on stage in Australia, it was guaranteed to be a winning presentation, and the feedback from the crowd definitely validated that.

    That same presentation was recorded at NMX in January of 2014, but because I knew I was going to be performing the same talk at several events later in the year, I decided to hold back on publishing the video content until later. Now that the year is over and I’m into a new set of presentations (although that’s not to say I won’t ever do this particular presentation again), I will be uploading that content for you very soon, complete with transcriptions and timestamps for easy and convenient viewing.

    Personal Highlights

    SPI isn’t all about business – it’s about life too. It’s about passive income and a flexible work schedule for the ability to have a life that you want. Because of that, I wanted to talk quickly about some of my personal highlights from 2014.

    Our First Home

    After closing escrow in December of 2013, my wife and I were the proud owners of a brand new home here in San Diego. As soon as the new year hit, we began to move in our stuff and get used to the new neighborhood.

    A lot of people like to move. I know a few people who seem to move into a new home every 3 or 4 years – and that’s cool, but it’s not really what my wife and I are looking to do. We wanted our permanent home – the home we were going to stay in until the kids move out.

    There are a lot of things to think about as a new homeowner. I’ve rented all of my life until now, so things like HOAs, Mello roos and property tax have been added to my vocabulary, unfortunately. But all of that aside, every time I come home from anywhere – even if I’m out for 20 minutes to the grocery store – I come home and open the door to the house and I’m just amazed at what I’ve been able to do. I literally shake my head and smile and think to myself, “This is my home.”, and a couple of times I’ve been caught by my wife giving a little fist pump to celebrate and appreciate it all.

    The neighborhood is great too. Every family near us seems to have kids right around the age of our own two kids. There’s a park in every corner and one of the top elementary schools in the city is just walking distance away.

    Inside our home, we’ve been able to customize it to our lifestyle and needs. I have my dream office, which you’ll see a tour of in an upcoming video on SPI TV (which comes out every Friday starting in February!), we have a combined library/music room for all of the books and music we want to play, we have a combo video production / dance studio in the garage, and the backyard has a space to play a little soccer and grill up some good food too.

    Our Son Started Pre-School

    This, more than anything, was the biggest change personally for me in 2014. Since the day my son was born, I’ve been so blessed to be able to be here at home with him all day, almost every day. I’ve witnessed all of his firsts and watched him grow inch by inch, and to see him off to school was extremely hard for me.

    first-day-preschool

    Look at him scarf down that chocolate ice cream to celebrate his first day. I love that kid.

    What’s interesting is that the school we moved next to isn’t even the one he’s attending, although that school was a major reason why we moved into this neighborhood in the first place. We found out a month after moving in that a brand new S.T.E.M school was opening up just a couple of minutes away. You can learn more about STEM here, but essentially it’s project based learning with an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. As a father entrepreneur, it’s exactly what I would hope school would be, and I’m so excited for what he’s already learning in school.

    You might think that with our son in school it would open up a lot of time during the day for my wife and I to get stuff done, but not really. We still have our 2 year old daughter at home with us, and although she’s not as much of a handful as our son was, it just seems like the pick-up time each days at pre-school creeps up on us super fast, and it’s always close to the time to go and get him.

    Now that he’s in school, I realize just how much our schedule is now totally based off of him and what’s going on with school, not to mention the extracurricular activities like soccer he’s about to participate in.

    The last thing I’d like to talk about related to this is that it’s interesting dropping off and picking up our son each day. My wife and I seem to be the only couple that gets to do this together at the same time each day, and a few of the other parents in the school have actually brought this up to us. Most ask us how we’re able to do this, and then eventually the discussion leads to my online businesses, passive income, and SPI.

    I’m so thankful for the ability to go with my wife to school each day to drop off and pick up my son. To me, stuff like this is the true benefit of building an online business and shaping your own lifestyle.

    I PR’d a Half Marathon

    I’ve been getting more and more into running, which is weird because I hated running when I was a kid. Unless there was a soccer ball involved, I almost refused to do it.

    My first ever half marathon was in 2013 and I clocked in at 2 hours and 12 minutes. My goal was to break 2 hours, but I didn’t make it.

    My second half marathon was the Rock and Rock half in June of 2014, and I was determined to break 2 hours, so I trained like a mad man.

    Pat Flynn RnR Half 2014

    Boom! I finished in 1 hours and 56 minutes!

    I ran another half through Disneyland in November for the inaugural Avenger’s race, and it was pretty cool because my son got to race a 200m as well, which was a lot of fun.

    I ran that half together with my wife, and because it was more for fun than anything, we didn’t push ourselves and we clocked in at about 2 hours and 20 minutes. Plus, I dressed up for the occasion.

    Our 5 Year Anniversary

    My wife and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary in 2014. I can’t believe it’s already been 5 years, but it’s been the happiest 5 years of my life. Without the support from my wife, I definitely wouldn’t be where I’m at today.

    When I was laid off in 2008, we were engaged. She supported my decision to go away from traditional work and start my own business, and she even agreed to move back in with her parents (while I moved back in with mine) while I figured things out.

    When we had kids, she was willing to stay home and raise them while I worked hard to grow my business. I was lucky to be at home too, but I was often in the office and once I started traveling for conferences, she was always happy to watch the kiddos and take on the extra stress.

    While I was out having fancy dinners and meeting new people, she was at home having left over bowls of mac and cheese and changing diapers 24/7.

    After 5 years, now that the kids are starting to become a little more independent, she’s able to finally do more of her own thing. She’s sacrificed so much to become the ultimate behind-the-scenes member of Team Flynn, and I love her for that.

    Here’s to another great 5 years and beyond honey!

    What Stayed the Same?

    Not everything was improved in my business, however. Here are a few things that didn’t really make any noteworthy difference in 2014, but nothing that fell flat on its face either. We’ll get to that in the next section…

    Green Exam Academy

    After 6 years, my very first business at GreenExamAcademy.com is still going, despite putting almost zero hours of work into it the entire year. The site still averages about $2k-$4k per month, which isn’t bad – but nothing like back in 2009 and 2010 when the industry was much hotter.

    The biggest change was that a new version of the exam came out, making all of the products on my site out of date. Instead of working to update the existing products, I’ve been able to partner with another company and become an affiliate for their (continually) updated products, earning essentially the same amount of money per sale.

    Also, it keeps the administrative work off my hands as well in terms of customer service. I know I’m losing an opportunity to keep people in the brand and potentially sell them more product, but I’ve found that for this particular industry, once people get the material they want, they’re essentially done.

    Once they pass the exam, there’s no more use for the site or material. If I were still in the industry, I would likely take this site much more seriously, but obviously I have a lot of other things to do and experiment with.

    Security Guard Training HQ

    Security Guard Training Headquarters, like GreenExamAcademy.com, wasn’t a huge focus for me in 2014. I did hook up with the crew from NoHat Digital who wanted to work with me to experiment and see else what could be done to potentially 3x the revenue (as described in this post here), however not much has happened in terms of additional revenue, yet.

    A lot of market research is being done to figure out a potential product or offering for this audience, and there’s a possibility to tap into the training companies (instead of the trainees) too.

    I wish I had more updates for SGTHQ.com, but I’m hoping that will come in 2015.

    The site earned over $33k in 2014 compared to $25k in 2013, but the increase isn’t super significant. Not bad for just a couple of hours of work per month though, but I’m hoping the income grows significantly this year, and it’s obvious it won’t happen without some bold actions taken.

    iPhone Apps

    The app company my friend and I built as a fun experiment in 2008, currently with 21 apps live in iTunes (mostly in the entertainment category) has just been sitting there for years, slowly earning less and less each month. Again, we both had way too much else going on in 2014 and it’s easy to see that this company is simply just there to capture any downloads and sales possible with what we have, and we’re not putting any more energy and effort into it.

    Even though it’s been 3 years since we last published an app, we’re still seeing passive income come through both with the paid applications we have, and the free apps running ads.

    The app market is much more difficult now than when we got in at the end of 2008, when less than 50,000 apps were available. Specifically, the kind of apps we were creating, which were silly, fun and ridiculous apps (inspired by the success of iFart – although we don’t have any farting applications ourselves) are much harder to succeed with now, and generally new apps that are in that realm get hidden and pushed aside after the first day on sale.

    App ideas that seem to do well now solve a specific problem in a particular niche. The app market is catching up with everything else we publish now, and niching down and providing quality app solutions for a specific niche are definitely the way to go.

    If you’d like more info about app development and succeeding by niching down, I recommend listening to SPI Podcast Session #39, where Mike Doonan and his wife generate over 5 figures a month selling a series of apps developed to help kids with speech therapy.

    What Needs Drastic Improvement

    What I love about SPI is that I run a lot of experiments, and I do them knowing that there’s definitely a possibility of failure.

    Why is this something I love?

    Because I know that even if I fail, I can use that experience as a moment of learning – not just for myself, but for you as well. There will always be that “bright side” to my failures, so long as I talk about them, and present them to you in a way that allows you to avoid making the same mistakes as me.

    I’ve made a ton of mistakes over the years, and in 2014, although nothing completely drastic happened, there are definitely parts of my business that I feel need drastic improvement. Here’s what they are…

    Video Production

    In 2009, I started my YouTube channel and my videos became the #1 way that people found out about my brand until my podcast was born in 2010.

    My videos have been viewed millions of times. I know I have a talent for producing helpful and engaging videos, especially when it comes to teaching stuff that may otherwise be boring or tough to get through.

    My popular Podcasting Tutorial comes to mind, as well as my Bluehost walkthrough video and keyword research videos which not only help my audience, but also generate affiliate commission as well.

    In 2014, I published 6 videos to my YouTube channel, and 5 out of the 6 were posted after October 1st as I tried to get back into it sooner than later.

    Just 6. Wow.

    With over 35,000 subscribers on YouTube and less than a few thousand views on my most recently uploaded videos, it became apparent to me that my lack of video production meant that my subscriber numbers were incredibly inflated. I lost my authority on YouTube, and that sucks.

    I had opportunities to create more videos in 2014 – lots of them – but I got lazy and felt more comfortable on the podcast, and every time I sat down to shoot a new video, I’d get distracted or make excuses.

    No more excuses.

    Starting this week, SPI TV is coming to you. This is my formal re-introduction of high quality videos to the brand. It’ll be consistent, it’ll be fun, and because I have a videographer (Caleb Wojcik) with specific dates for shoots, there are literally no more excuses.

    I hope to re-establish a relationship with my old YouTube subscribers, and I’ll be taking this show to iTunes as a video podcast as well. I have a lot of content ready to share, and I can’t wait to get behind the camera again for you.

    Every Friday, a new video will be published, and all of February is already recorded and in the queue. Here’s a preview video of what’s to come:

    To get notified of new episodes of SPI TV, make sure to subscribe to the channel on YouTube, or you can get them from iTunes too!

    Post Consistency

    Last year, I published a total of 39 blog posts. That’s less than one post per week (not including the posts related to each episode of the podcast).

    When the blog started back in October of 2008, my written posts were published 3 times per week and it was fairly easy to keep up. With the podcast now added into the mix, it was only natural that the written post frequency would decrease over time, but it’s getting close to unacceptable in my eyes.

    I’m proud of what was published in 2014 – all of those posts were high quality and extremely helpful – but I know I could be doing more of it. One blog post per week, at least.

    The multiple podcasts were only a small part of the reason why my written posts have been few and far between. The main reason was more psychological than anything.

    It’s because I wanted each and every post I published to be completely epic. As a result of that, a few things happened:

    1. I held back and scrapped a lot of content that I didn’t consider “epic enough”. I set my standard so high, that for a while nothing seemed to be good enough to me anymore.
    2. I believed that my audience expected only the best from me, and if I didn’t publish something amazing each time you’d let me know about it – and I was afraid of that.
    3. I gave myself the okay to wait longer in between posts to make the posts better, when really I was just afraid to hit publish because I was worried it wasn’t perfect.

    I fell into the “epic trap”, and I know a lot of you fall into this trap too. It’s a dangerous place to be in.

    It’s funny because paralyzing perfectionism like this shows up time and time again during the life of an entrepreneur – from the origin of our idea, to years down the road much later in the journey. It’s not anything you can avoid either, but it is something you can acknowledge when it happens and get away from as soon as you know it’s there.

    That’s where I’m at now. 2015, hopefully with the help of more a rigorous and consistent editorial calendar, I’ll be able to look back during next year’s annual report and know that I’ve completely moved on from this issue.

    Here’s what the planned posting schedule will be like starting today:

    • Monday: Blog post.
    • Wednesday: Podcast episode.
    • Friday: video for SPI TV.

    All of this in addition to an episode of AskPat each day Monday through Friday, and a new episode of The 1-Day Business Breakthrough Podcast each Tuesday.

    Thanks to those of you who let me know about how you feel regarding my recent decline in written posts. Now you know where I’m at and where I’m coming from, and from now on, I’m just going to write. Maybe it’ll be epic, maybe not – but I’m just going to write.

    More Reports

    Along the same lines, I failed to deliver as many reports as I wanted to last year too. By reports, I mean updates on case studies and experiments, like the Niche Site Duel and FoodTruckr.com.

    With FoodTruckr.com specifically, there were several occasions that I could have written a blog post update about something that happened – but I always felt like what happened wasn’t great enough.

    I didn’t want to waste your time, but I also have to remember that periodic updates and check-ins are necessary to share progress, and the fact that sometimes progress takes time.

    It got to a point where I would get emails from people from time to time thinking I ditched some of my projects, and I just didn’t want to post about them because I was embarrassed or because they failed.

    Nope – it’s not that, but I can totally see how my lack of updates could imply that. Again, it was me thinking like I just needed bigger and better things to happen. And when you think about it, that is actually a form of embarrassment.

    I’m the crash test dummy of online business! Crash test dummies are only useful when they are put into interesting situations and then report on what went right and what went wrong. Without that information, I might as well just be, well…a dummy.

    There will definitely be more updates and reports shared over time. My experiments are only as useful to you as how much I share about them.

    Also, there will be new experiments and case studies added to the mix this year as well. Starting in late Q2 or Q3, I’ll be getting involved in some of the e-commerce hype that’s been happening lately to put some of these tactics and strategies being shared on the web (and on the SPI podcast) to the test.

    It should be a lot of fun, and you totally have my permission to beat me up (figuratively speaking) about not posting enough about it when it begins.

    So, I have a lot of very important things to work on, but I couldn’t be more excited about the new direction and commitment to you and the posting schedule.

    Now, let’s get to the 2014 line-by-line income report:

    Income Report (2014)

    • GreenExamAcademy.com Product Sales:
      • Total: $39,411.24
        • December 2014: $1,419.10
    • SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com:
      • Adsense: $31,782.99
      • Job Board: $1,148.43
      • Affiliate Earnings: $731.09
      • Total: $33,662.51
        • December 2014: $2,848.54
    • FoodTruckr.com:
      • Adsense: $819.14
      • How to Start a Food Truck eBook: $10,045.60
      • Total: $10,864.74
        • December 2014: $1,804.47
    • CreateaClickableMap.com:
      • Total: $6,503.49
        • December 2014: $439.56
    • iPhone Applications:
      • Total: $13,866.04
        • December 2014: $888.19
    • eBook Sales for ‘Let Go‘:
      • Total: $7,551.60
        • December 2014: $280.10
    • Ask Pat Podcast Sponsorship:
      • Total: $46,170.57
        • December 2014: $5,630.60
    • SPI Podcast Sponsorship:
      • Total: $48,449.00
        • December 2014: $6,132.00
    • Speaking:
      • Total: $25,366.20
        • December 2014: $0.00
    • Gross Total in 2014: $946,265.23
      • December 2014: $77,764.69

    Holy! Just short of $1,000,000!

    My goal for 2014 was exactly a million dollars in gross revenue, and I’m very happy with the results obviously, but I could have done a better job overall at keeping track of where I was throughout the year to have a better chance of meeting my million dollar goal.

    A few things come quickly to mind:

    • Bluehost: obviously the #1 income generator on this report as an affiliate. I talk more about my relationship with Bluehost and how I’ve been able to get to this point here, but I know a lot of you might be thinking that it’s pretty scary to have a huge percentage of my income come from a single source like this. This is true, however what’s nice to know is that if Bluehost were to completely go away and this income was taken away from me tomorrow – yes it would be a huge hit, but I’d still be completely okay because of the diversity of my portfolio and my lifestyle.
    • SPI: on a similar note, SPI related income is a huge part of this portfolio, but I’m also comfortable knowing that my living expenses would still be covered many times over if the SPI Blog were to disappear overnight. I definitely don’t want that to happen, and I’m thankful for all that SPI has provided, but my total non-SPI related income is an income to be proud of, and I am.
    • The coolest part of all this is that the non-SPI related income did not require much time at all during the year! Most of my time is spent for SPI recording podcasts, communicating with the community (check out the new group on Facebook here!), and doing whatever I can to provide value to you.

    With a record year of earnings, I was also met with a record year of expenses. Here’s how that all breaks down:

    Expenses Breakdown (2014)

    Below is what was paid in 2014. Most are related to the Smart Passive Income Blog and new projects that are under still under development:

    • Dropbox: $99.00
    • Libsyn.com (podcast file hosting): $360.00
    • Hosting Payments and Domain Renewals: $3,201.02
    • Transcriptions: $4,453.00
    • E-Junkie Shopping Cart Fee: $60.00
    • Paypal Website Payments Pro: $260.00
    • Certified Public Accountant / Bookkeeping: $3,120.00
    • Skype $35.88
    • Legal / Attorney: $19,875.00
    • Developers and Assistants for upcoming projects: $169,551.58
    • Project management and team communication tools: $670.00
    • Aweber Fees (over 100,000 on list): $10,273.00
    • Travel Expenses: $2,214.15
    • Stock Photography: $600.00
    • Rough Expenses in 2014: $214,772.63

    Total Net Income in 2014: $731,492.60

    And Now, in 2015…

    You’ve already heard a lot about what’s coming this year. SPI TV, a consistent posting schedule, and some e-commerce experimentation. It’s exciting, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some of the other goodies you can look forward to from SPI this year.

    Brand Audit

    Already in progress, my designer has been tasked to help create a new look for the overall SPI brand. The primary purpose of this is to create a cohesive experience throughout all of the components of the brand.

    A lot has been added to SPI since the creation of the blog in 2008. Many design changes have occurred since that initial blog design, but just recently with the addition of AskPat, and now SPI TV, it’s important that each of these components compliment each other and create an overall seamless brand experience between the different platforms, including my profiles and artwork on various social media platforms too.

    Other things like lead magnets, email templates, pop-up boxes and general graphics on the blog are all “Frankensteined together” as well, and all of those things will be thought of when my designer considers this new direction.

    I’m excited for the change, which may include a logo update as well. A new logo is something I’ve been considering ever since one of the first redesigns back in 2009, but I’ve been scared to let go of the logo that helped shape the look of the brand from the beginning. Now, however, may be the right time to change it – but we’ll see.

    A Unique Live Event with Chris Ducker

    In addition to the new 1-Day Business Breakthrough podcast, Chris and I are excited to host another live event this year, except this time it will not be limited to just 20 people like it normally is.

    On April 24th, we’ll be putting together one of the most unique online business conferences you can experience. The 1-day event will take place in a loft in downtown San Diego and we will be hosting 50 people live in this building. At the same time, we’ll be professionally filming, recording and streaming the event live to anyone around the world who has an internet connection.

    The streaming part of this event is what excites me most because one of the major pieces of feedback I always hear when Chris and I do these live events is that people don’t have time to fly out to San Diego, and also that the event is always sold out.

    When we’ve limited it to 20 people, it has always sells out in less than 24 hours.

    Now, anyone can get involved, but more than that, this isn’t just some “sit at your computer and watch” type of event for those watching online. We wanted to bring the networking component of going to an event to the online version of the show, which is why we’ve teamed up with a top developer to create an experience that will make sure you’re able to get involved and participate in the day from the comfort of your own home. Not only that, you’ll be put into groups and be able to network, chat and connect with others who are also watching online with you at the same time.

    It’s definitely going to set the standard in online streaming events, and I hope you’ll be a part of it. Sign up using the link below:

    http://www.1daybb.com/live

    My Upcoming Trip to Ghana

    One of the highlights of 2014 was on my 32nd birthday (December 6th) when I launched a campaign with Pencils of Promise to raise money to help build schools in Ghana.

    Within a week, the SPI community was able to come together to raise over $25,000 to build one school, and my family and I decided to come over the top to match and add another $25k to build a second school.

    The campaign literally brought me to tears, and I can’t thank you enough for your generosity – especially in and around the holiday season.

    A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from my contact at Pencils of Promise who solidified plans for me to visit Ghana later this year to visit the schools that we built together and meet the children of the area who will attend those schools.

    I’m going to a lot of cool places this year, but this trip is the one I’m most looking forward to. My videographer is coming along for the trip and you can be sure you’ll get to see all of the footage in an episode of SPI TV later in the year.

    Thank you again, from the entire Flynn family, for your amazing hearts. To do this has been a life long goal of mine, and to do it at the age of 32 is such a blessing…and it’s only just the start for us.

    I’m already in talks with a few people and organizations for some philanthropic ideas for my birthday in December this year. It’ll likely be more local this time, but we’ll see. You’ll hear more about it on the blog, podcast and TV show later this year, I’m positive.

    My Speaking Schedule

    I know a lot of you are also interested in exactly when and where I’ll be speaking on stage this year. Here’s what I have locked in so far, although there are a lot of maybes I’m thinking about adding to this list too:

    You. Are. Awesome.

    Phew! What a post! I checked and this was not the longest post in the history of SPI, but it was close. I appreciate you reading up to this point (or maybe you skipped ahead), but either way, I look forward to doing what I can to help all of you this year.

    2014 was awesome.

    2015 will be EPIC.

    …But not too epic to scare me from posting, lol.

    Cheers, and here’s to our continued health and success!

  2. The ProBlogger Conference and the Flynn Family Trip to Australia!

    127 Comments

    Exactly one week ago, I got back from my trip to Australia and although I’m still suffering a bit from jet lag right now, I can easily say this was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on!

    About a year ago, Darren Rowse from ProBlogger asked me if I could fly to Australia to keynote this year’s ProBlogger Event. Darren and his blog were a huge inspiration to me when I first started blogging in 2007, and I was truly honored for the invite, however flying 7,202 miles and leaving the family behind isn’t a decision I could easily make on my own.

    After some discussion with my wife and a hard look at our future calendar, we decided to all go together and make a family trip out of it! Fast-forward to August 2014, and we’re at LAX airport about ready to board a Boeing 777 to the Gold Coast of Australia and what we hoped would become an awesome family memory.

    To me, that’s what life is all about!

    One memory we didn’t want to have, however, was a terrible plane ride. 14 hours on a plane with a one-year old and a crazy four-year old, we came prepared. We don’t usually let our kids play with iPad and iPhones, but they were perfect for keeping them occupied when they weren’t asleep. I had a mophie pack fully-charged as well, just in case.

    Virgin Australia, our airline, was extremely accommodating to the kids. We sat in the front of a section with the most leg room, and they even had a bassinet that connected to the wall in front of us for our 1-year old to sleep in.

    Thankfully, there were no tantrums and the kids stayed seated the whole time! Phew!

    getting-off-plane

    We arrived around noon at the Gold Coast, and after Tony picked us up and the kids got out all of their excitement, we decided to just chill and get situated the rest of the day before starting our 3-day family adventure. After that, April and the kids were going to stay with our Auntie and Uncle, while I do “daddy business stuff” at the ProBlogger conference.

    It was going to be interesting though, because it was gray and pouring outside.

    Our view from our hotel room:

    hotel-room-view-gray1

    At 7:30pm, the entire family was asleep.

    Family Day #1—DreamWorld

    When we woke up at 6:30am (almost 12 hours later!), we finally saw the gold in Gold Coast. The sky was clear and the weather was gorgeous!

    hotel-room-view-sunny

    Our hotel, Peppers Broadbeach, was perfect for our family. Our suite had a kitchen and living space, which is always good when you’re traveling with kids, and downstairs there were dozens of restaurants and take-out places, ranging from Mexican food to Sushi, and even a sit-down chocolate/dessert place called Max Brenner, which April and I were eyeing when we checked in.

    I picked up some breakfast and we got the kids ready for our big day at DreamWorld, which is an amusement park sort of like Six-Flags, known for its roller coasters (which we didn’t go on), but it had a lot of kid-friendly attractions along with Australian themed shows and exhibits that was perfect for a family like ours.

    It was truly a great way to start the trip. The kids had a blast, and a friend decided to have me for lunch…

    gator

    My son doesn’t look too amused.

    And now you know why I promote Bluehost over HostGator, hah!

    After a good 4 hours at the park, it was time to go back to the hotel. We found a mall with some cool shops and a grocery store called Woolworths where we picked up some breakfast items for the next day, milk and snacks for the kids, and a bottle of wine to go along with our pasta dinner.

    I was super stoked! Everyone was full, happy and excited for an amazing 2nd day. The kids went down super easy from running around all day, and my wife and I stayed up a bit longer to look through some photos, and then watch some Australian TV before heading to bed.

    Although we were both excited, we were a little anxious because our transport was picking us up at 5:30 in the morning, and all I knew is that we were going to visit some place called Lady Elliot Island.

    An island…hmm.

    Family Day #2—Lady Elliot Island

    The sun hadn’t come out yet, but we were all in a van and our driver was taking us to Coolangatta Airport where we were about to meet Peter Gash, the owner and manager of Lady Elliot Island, and our pilot for the day.

    When we arrived at the airport, I saw our plane:

    seaplane

    And here’s my reaction:

    Turbulence and Pat Flynn do not blend well together, and although it was sunny outside it was a bit windy too. Luckily, Peter was an amazing pilot and he actually put me up front in the cockpit with him so we could chat with each other during the 2 hour flight to the island. It was one of the coolest conversations I’ve ever had.

    pat-and-peter

    During our flight, I discovered how Peter came to buy the island and what he’s done with it. Back in the day, the small island at the southern tip of The Great Barrier Reef was mined and stripped of all vegetation and virtually all wildlife, but after Peter got a hold of it he’s transformed it into an amazing, lush and educational place.

    Almost all of the island runs off of solar power, and he speaks around the country telling other how he’s been able to do it. He’s leading a movement. Here’s a gorgeous view of the island from above:

    lady-elliot-from-sky

    On the island, Peter was our personal tour guide during the day, taking my family and I around the island and actually spending a lot of the time with the kids teaching them all about the coral and the sea-life and birds.

    keoni-and-peter

    What I admire most about Peter is that he’s been able to combine his passion for the island (which he once visited when he was younger), his entrepreneurial spirit and technical background (plus his love for airplanes) into one big dream come true.

    After a great day on the island, we flew back to the Gold Coast and said our goodbyes to Peter and his crew. My son even called him “Uncle Peter” on the way out and asked me when we would see him again.

    peter-and-the-family

    What an awesome adventure!

    As soon as we got home, the kids passed out and both April and I reflected on how much we had already done during the first two full days in Australia, and how awesome Peter was. He actually took the time later on during the trip to send a package to my hotel room with a little toy car that our son left in the plane, along with a book we talked about while we were in the air. Thanks Peter! You are an inspiration and I’m happy to call you my friend!

    We had one more fully planned day before it was time for the family to relax with our relatives in the Brisbane area, while I stay behind for a few days to attend the conference.

    Family Day #3: Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

    Being from San Diego, home of one of the best zoos in the world, whenever we have an opportunity to go to a zoo-like place, we usually pass. We were told, however, that the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary was going to be amazing, and yes—it was indeed!

    I won’t get into too many details (because there’s definitely hundreds of things to talk about, like the ginormous fake spider above a kids play-net area that nearly gave ma a heart attack), but here are a few pictures from the day to give you an idea of what it was like…

    Of course, you’ve gotta take selfies with kangaroos:

    selfies-with-kangaroos

    And the kids got involved too!

    kangaroo-kids

    The day was more than our daughter could handle, lol.

    currumbin

    Lots of laughs, lots memories made and a ton of questions from my son, which is always a good sign because it means that he’s interested.

    The first half of the trip, a major success and already worth the trip over from the U.S., but it was time for us to switch gears. The rest of the family was going to chill with some relatives for a few days, while I hangout at the Gold Coast with my mates and deliver what I hoped to be a very memorable keynote presentation for the ProBlogger Audience!

    Conference Day #0—The Day Before the Event

    I like to arrive at conferences early. Why?

    Not only do I get to scope out the room that I’ll be speaking in (which is a strategy I use to help me get over some nervousness before the event—I’ll often walk on stage and go through the first 10 minutes to an empty set of chairs), but I like to meet the team who is there setting up so I can thank them for all of their hard work, and also meet some of the attendees who are usually hanging out in and around the hotel.

    The room was expansive! There were about 550 chairs, and the stage looked amazing. This was definitely the largest crowd I would ever speak to, which made me a bit more nervous, but more excited than anything else.

    empty-seats

    The day before the conference was more than just scoping out the venue though—we got to work!

    And by “we”, I mean Chris Ducker (who was also speaking at the event) and me.

    Chris Ducker, as many of you know, is one of my best friends—both online, and off. Whenever Chris visits the U.S. from his home in the Philippines, he usually stops by San Diego to chill with my family. Also, we often put together a 1-Day event at a local co-working space to mastermind with other business owners, bloggers and entrepreneurs who fly or drive in to hang out for the day and talk business.

    Chris and I have great chemistry when we work together at those events. Many attendees (over 100 up to this point), make an effort to point this out to us, so we decided to do an Australian Edition of our 1-Day Business Breakthrough Event at the hotel the day before the ProBlogger event!

    20 amazing Australian entrepreneurs came by the QT hotel that morning and we worked until 5:30 in the evening. Doing these events is seriously one of the most fulling things I’ve ever done, and doing it in Australia was no different.

    The interesting difference, however, between the U.S. version of these events, and the Australian version (and Chris told me this would happen beforehand), is that in general, Australians are much more direct with their comments—whether positive, or negative.

    All of the event we’ve done in the past have been outstanding, but this one seemed to really get people moving on their businesses—and it was probably because people in Australia are more direct and willing to provide the kind of feedback that’s necessary for someone to realize what his or her next steps in their business should be.

    Not that there’s anything bad with the U.S. events we’ve done (it’s just an entirely different culture) but it was definitely interesting and noticeable.

    It almost felt like the group already knew each other very well, expressing very direct comments (but not rude, and without any offense taken), like one would see in a small mastermind group that’s been together for over a year.

    Next time Chris and I are in Australia at the same time, we’re definitely doing another one.

    Our next U.S. based 1-Day Business Breakthrough event is Monday, September 15th, and it’s already sold out and we can’t wait to meet this group too! The next one after that will not be until sometime in 2015, but you’ll hear about it on Facebook or Twitter before anywhere else if you’re interested.

    Here’s a group picture from the day!

    1-day-bb

    photo credit: Grace Hentley

    After the 1-Day event, Chris and I met up with some other speakers, including Yaro Starak and Darren Rowse of ProBlogger himself! Yaro and Darren were actually two of the first bloggers I started following online back in 2008, and they were a huge influence on my blogging career.

    chris-yaro-darren-pat

    Later that evening, Yaro, Chris and I walked around town catching up and we shared a nice little dinner together in Surfer’s Paradise. At around 9:00pm, I wanted to get back because I wanted to do one more run-through of my presentation before bed, but an ice cream shop said otherwise.

    So imagine this: three dudes walking around the beach and watching the waves break at the shore, at night, each eating a small cup of ice cream.

    Hah!

    After our ice creams, we headed back to the hotel and called it a night.

    There were a couple of pre-conference get-togethers happening at the hotel bar, but I had a big day tomorrow and the last thing I wanted to do was lose my voice trying to meet everyone before the biggest keynote of my life!

    One more quick run-through, and I was asleep.

    Conference Day #1—The Keynote

    On the schedule, my keynote was at 9:30am. I woke up at 7:00am and gave myself some time to ease out of bed, grab some breakfast and a cup of coffee, and potentially go over some key moments in my presentation once more before getting on stage.

    At 9:00am, Chris Ducker and I each ordered an Americano at the downstairs cafe and I was getting myself psyched up. Usually, now that I’ve done this a few times, I have a series of exercises I do before I go on stage. I don’t do jumping jacks or burpees (it’s not those kind of exercises), but I do run through some breathing exercises to get my voice and lungs ready for the performance.

    I mentioned “performance” to a few people who I was talking too before I went on, and it seemed to catch a few people off guard.

    “You mean your keynote presentation?”

    Yes, that’s exactly what I mean—my performance.

    You see, I see my time on stage as a performance. I have a certain job to do up there, not just to deliver content, but to do so in a fun, exciting and memorable way. It’s not just talking, but there’s choreography too—certain things that are supposed to happen at certain moments.

    Timing is crucial to me. When I watch other presentations (and comedians, who I pull a lot of inspiration from—not content wise, but for delivery), it’s the timing that I appreciate the most, and that’s what I want to incorporate into my own presentations too.

    It’s a performance, and because I think it’s a performance, I think that’s why I train so hard and why I practice so much. Plus, I still get really nervous and want to throw up before I go on stage (and it was the same this time around too), and I know the more I practice, the less of a chance I have of screwing up!

    9:22am—the coffee’s run through me, so I head to the bathroom. Of course, as soon as I get in there someone opens the door and says:

    “Are you Pat Flynn?”

    Me: Yes.

    My brain: I’m kind of busy here!

    Man: Darren’s looking for you. We gotta get you mic’d up! 

    Me: Ok, I’ll be right there.

    My brain: Oh snap! Here we go!

    Let’s do this. 

    The Keynote

    Mic’d in, ready to go. I have a minute to look around.

    550+ people in one room. Mobile phones and iPads in hand, laptops on laps, and all eyes on Darren at center-stage as he introduces me for the morning Keynote.

    During his introduction, I creep up the side of the room, stage-left. A few people spot me and wave hello. A few others give me a thumbs up.

    Before I knew it, everyone is clapping as my name is called out. I pass Darren on my way up the stage and give him a handshake and a silent thank you.

    Then, I place myself at center-stage and look across the expansive sea of people.

    pat-flynn-keynote

    photo credit: Nicole Matejic

    I begin by asking a simple question…and then I get into my talk about turning your casual audience into a devoted group of raving fans.

    Now…I do have a video of this presentation already, however because I’ll be presenting this same performance two more times this year. Out of respect to those who will be attending those events (and of course, those event organizers) I won’t be sharing it until the end of the year. I apologize!

    I can say, however, like every other presentation I’ve done in the past—including my first one way back in 2011at The Financial Blogger Conference (FINCON), while I’m up there on stage, it sort of feels like an out-of-body-experience. It just happens and goes along.

    All of that practice, the run-throughs and the do-overs are all doing their thing now, and at the end I sort of “snap” back into the present time and realize that it’s already over.

    I experience this every single time I talk on stage. It’s weird, but the only thing I can compare it to is when I was in the marching band (Yay! A marching band reference!), and I’d work for days during rehearsal to memorize a new song and remember where I was supposed to be on the field at certain points of the music, and then during the performance on the field in front of the crowd, I do what I need to do automatically without having to think anymore. And then, all of a sudden, it’s over and we’re talking about the performance on the sideline.

    I think this is why I’ve fallen in love with speaking. It’s my way of performing again, like I said before. It’s definitely not for a passive income, and for 3 years I’ve spoken on stage for free. Only recently have I been getting paid for it.

    Plus, when you think about it, one 45 minute performance means X number of days at the conference (I don’t want to be one of those guys who just flies in, speaks and leaves without getting to know more about the audience and making friends while there), plus travel time, and time to transition back into normal life, etc.

    It’s a lot of hard work and time to speak, but I love it, and that’s why I do it. I don’t have marching band or music anymore, and I think this is my outlet for those same experiences at this “stage” in my life.

    I will continue to work on my craft and get better. I want to be known as a top public speaker and deliver memorable presentations that get talked about and shared, and hopefully do a TED talk one of these days.

    I was really close a year ago, but my connection fell through.

    Thankfully, the audience seemed to love this keynote presentation! Afterwards, once I had a moment to check my phone, I saw that there were hundreds of tweets during the presentation, and they all made me smile and made the trip well worth it.

    Thanks to all of you who were there and supported me!

    My Afternoon Session with Chris Ducker

    Chris and I were stoked because not only did we have time to work together on our 1-Day Business Breakthrough Event the day before, but Darren and his team asked us to do a workshop together during the afternoon of Day 1 about podcasting.

    To say that we were excited is a HUGE understatement. We were talking about our workshop together for months!

    Finally, it was time, and at 2:00pm (after a quick run-though in our hotel room before lunch—you know me), here we were in front of about 200 people talking all about podcasting. Here’s our opening slide…

    Introduction to Podcasting by Pat and Chris

    Chris and I both have a lot of experience with podcasting. Both of us have 3 podcasts each under our belt, and a ton of stories to share about mistakes we made, things we wish we had done better, and things that went (or are going) very well.

    We took people from the beginning through the launch and the marketing of one’s podcast. If you’d like to get a more detailed rundown of what we talked about, I recommend you check out my free podcasting tutorial here.

    As always, with Chris and I, there were a lot of laughs and memorable moments during the presentation, but a lot of people came up to us after the entire event and said it was one of the most helpful sessions of the entire conference too, which is always a joy to hear.

    pat-chris-podcasting

    photo credit: Nicole Matejic

    At this point in the day, I was stoked. Done with my keynote, done with the workshop, and no more presentations or panels to do!

    With that said, like I hinted at before, I don’t like to speak and leave. I love to participate in the events that go on, from the other presentations (there’s always more to learn), and of course the networking events in the evening.

    Throughout the rest of the conference, I never had a moment to myself until I was in my hotel room. It was exhausting but everyone was super nice and had such amazing stories to share, and I always did what I could to shift the conversation from my stuff, to theirs and see if I could help in any way.

    I talked about my own stuff enough already on stage, and it’s always super interesting and inspiring to me to learn about what other’s have going on. Plus, I love to talk shop. :)

    That night ended at midnight, and I don’t think my voice could have taken much more. I was losing it, but hey—I didn’t need it anymore! 😉

    Conference Day #2—One of the Best

    Because I was done with my gigs, I could actually pay attention to all else that was going on. During day #2, it didn’t take long for me to realize that the ProBlogger Event was one of the most well-run ships I’ve ever sailed. Darren as captain, and his crew were all incredibly helpful and kept things sailing smooth the entire time.

    I sat in on a couple of presentations and got to watch Chris deliver his too, which is always a treat, and by the end of the day when it was all over, it seemed like time flew by faster than ever.

    Darren, as always, closed in a very memorable and eloquent way, and I can’t help but just be completely thankful for all that he’s done—not just related to this event and for inviting me to keynote, but for all the help through his blog when I started back in 2008, and for being a great example of someone who seriously cares about his readers and subscribers.

    problogger-event

    A huge thank you to Darren and the entire ProBlogger Event team for a job well done! It’s a conference that I definitely would not mind coming back to!

    After the event, I was transported back to Brisbane to meet up with the family and spend one more day together before we all head back home. Time to relax, enjoy and of course, pack!

    One More Family Day—Before We Depart

    Our final full-day in Australia was perfect. I had time to wind down after the event (and get my voice back), and the relatives we have in Australia threw my daughter a 2nd-year birthday party, which was awesome!

    Her birthday wasn’t for a couple of weeks after, but when you’re with a Filipino family, any excuse to have a party means there’s going to be a party.

    I’m half filipino, so I know this from experience!

    Great food, great company, great times.

    Before we knew it, the kids were asleep at night and April and I were packing for our flight the next morning.

    Farewell Australia! You’ve been perfect!

    Our Trip Back

    Our plane ride to Australia was decent in terms of the kids and their behavior. No major melt-downs. No crazy spills or nastiness. I was praying it would be the same coming back home.

    Again—iPads and iPhones charged the night before, everything was good to go, and after a few hours spent at the airport and going through customs, we were off.

    Luckily, the trip back wasn’t all that bad. I only got 1 hour of sleep during the 14-hour plane ride, but after we touched down in L.A., retrieved 100% of our luggage (and kids), and were in back in the minivan headed down the 405 to San Diego, I couldn’t help but smile the entire way home because we did it.

    We had a successful family and business trip to the other side of the world! I was so proud of the kids, and especially April too who took care of the kids when I was at the conference.

    After getting back, it was obvious our schedules were thrown off. The kids were asleep at 3:00pm, and I went to bed at 6:00pm for a few hours, and the kids were up at midnight. It’s been over a week back, and we’re just now finally getting back into our regularly scheduled program, but it’s been completely worth it.

    Thanks so much for reading this and following my family and I on our journey. It’s been fun to blog about, and this post has reignited my joy for writing again—just writing—and not worrying about always writing epic content or trying to come out with the next best thing all the time, which is a mindset roadblock that I’ve had for months which has led to a decrease in blog-post production from me, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.

    That, I am hoping to change.

    A huge thanks again to Darren and his team at ProBlogger, and also to Tourism and Events Queensland for the amazing experiences around the Gold Coast and Queensland.

    I’ll be back, for sure!

    Cheers!

  3. SPI 087: Why You Belong on Stage—Pat’s “Braindump” of Public Speaking and Presentation Tips

    68 Comments

    The Smart Passive Income Podcast Logo

    In this session of The Smart Passive Income Podcast, I give you everything I know—my “braindump”—about something that’s very fresh on my mind right now—public speaking.

    Within the past month, I’ve done my first two keynote presentations, which also happened to be my first two paid speaking gigs as well. To think that only two years ago I was deathly afraid of getting on stage in front of a crowd, and now I’m jumping on opportunities to speak and get paid for it to—it’s unbelievable.

    It’s pretty cool to get paid to speak, but that’s not what I wanted to talk about in this session.

    The best part about public speaking is that it helps for brand recognition and authority, it opens up incredible opportunities for you, and most importantly it allows you to be able to deliver a powerful message for people, and their lives can literally be different after listening to you speak.

    In this session, I give you everything I know about public speaking. I’m not a master of this craft (very very far from it), but I am working hard to improve my skills and I wanted to share what I’ve learned along the way—not because you’ll immediately become an expert at it after listening (you’ll only become an expert at it by doing), but because I want give you some direction, and some tips for when you do go down this path.

    It’s made an incredible difference in the growth of my brand and in my life too, and I know it can do the same for you as well.

    More specifically, in this session you’ll find out about:

    • 5 Reasons why you should be on stage speaking in front of a crowd, especially if you’re afraid of the idea.
    • Specific strategies to help you land public speaking gigs, even if you’re starting from scratch.
    • What your mind is going to tell you the moment you land your first presentation.
    • The one thing you should know about the audience that’s there to watch you speak.
    • How to develop your own style as a speaker.
    • The most important thing when it comes to approaching your next public speaking gig.
    • How to support your core message in a way that’s memorable and engaging during your talk.
    • What to do with your hands while you talk!
    • One tip that’s going to make you feel really comfortable while you’re speaking.
    • Tips for what to include (and what not to include) on your slides.
    • Plus a lot more!

    Resources and Links Mentioned in this Session Include:

    Right click here to download the mp3 file to your desktop.

    Liked this Session? Please share it!

    If you enjoyed this episode and have 3 seconds, please share it on Twitter by clicking on the link below. It’ll automatically let me know you liked it!

    Click here to let me know you enjoyed it on Twitter!

    Leave Me a Voicemail!

    Every once and a while, I’ll be recording podcast episodes that are completely driven and made up of questions asked by you, so if you have any questions that you’d like potentially answered on the show, simply record a voicemail over on my Speakpipe Page.

    Thanks!

    As always, I just wanted to say—I appreciate you! Especially those of you who took the time to vote for the SPI Podcast for Top Business Podcast Award!

    Voting is closed, and the winners will be announced at New media Expo in January. Crossing my fingers!

    Cheers!

    Transcript

    Click Here to Download the Transcript for Session 87 (PDF)

  4. SPI 064: Podcasting for More Exposure, Leads, and Money (My SMMW13 Presentation!)

    61 Comments

    The Smart Passive Income Podcast Logo

    In this session of The Smart Passive Income Podcast, I re-record the live presentation I recently did at Social Media Marketing World, a conference that took place here in my hometown of San Diego earlier this month.

    As many of you know, me and technology don’t get along very well during my public speaking appearances. Although there weren’t any technical issues that affected my presentation, someone apparently unplugged the recording device at the conference during my talk to charge their laptop or mobile device. So, my session was one of the only ones that was not recorded at the event.

    Of course, lol!

    On the bright side, this gave me the opportunity to re-record the session and tailor it just for those of you who listen to the podcast and read the blog. You’ll even get an insider view of some of the presentation techniques I used during my talk, since I did interact with the crowd and did some things during my session to further emphasize important points, which I can’t actually do during the podcast.

    In today’s episode, you’ll hear me talk all about podcasting, more specifically: (more…)

  5. SPI 034: My 3rd ANNUAL Passive Income Report

    179 Comments

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    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:

    1. To help myself track my progress and hold myself accountable for the work that I do.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.

    Income Breakdown

    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:

    Please subscribe to the podcast using the links below!

    Right click here to download the MP3

    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:

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    Thank you again, and here’s to you and an amazing 2012! We’re almost a quarter of the way through already!

    Transcript:

    Click Here to Download the PDF Transcript for Session 34 or click on the link below to expand the transcript here within the post:

    [spoiler]

    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.

    Public Speaking

    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.

    Coaching

    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.

    Always Improving

    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:

    http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/conversion-strategies/

    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.

    INCOME BREAKDOWN

    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..

    GreenExamAcademy.com

    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:

    $37,762.41

    SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com

    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:

    $14,497.86

    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 Applications

    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.

    Affiliate Marketing

    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:

    http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/resources/

    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:

    $272,371.19

    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.

    GROSS TOTAL

    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:

    $413,340.84

    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.

    EXPENSES

    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:

    http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/mjdemarco-millionaire-fastlane/

    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.

    Bye!

    [/spoiler]

  6. My September 2011 Monthly Income Report

    183 Comments

    passive incomeWelcome to my September 2011 monthly report!

    Every month I write a detailed report about my online businesses.

    I do this not only to help me keep track of my progress, but also to show you what’s working for me, and what’s not.

    In my monthly reports I always include an extremely detailed breakdown of the income I’ve earned online and I conclude with some of the more important things I’ve learned during the month.

    I do this to motivate and to be transparent. Plus, I personally feel that if a person is publishing information about making money online he or she should show all sides of the equation so that the readers can make honest decisions based on honest information and common sense, not on hype.

    As always, I don’t consider myself a “guru” and I use my own experiences, experiments and case studies as my teaching tools, and that’s usually what I write about.

    I hope you enjoy this month’s report :) (more…)

  7. My August 2011 Monthly Income Report

    130 Comments

    passive incomeWelcome to my August 2011 monthly report!

    Each month I write a detailed report about what’s been happening with my online businesses. I do this not only to help me keep track of my progress, but also to show you what’s working for me, and what isn’t.

    I also include a detailed breakdown of the income I’ve earned online and I conclude with some of the more important things I’ve learned during the previous month.

    I do all of this because I want to be transparent. I don’t consider myself a “guru” and I use my own experiences, experiments and case studies as my teaching tools.

    I hope you enjoy this month’s report :) (more…)

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