Editor's Note: The content regarding eHow is no longer relevant. Please visit our Getting Started page, which we keep up to date with advice for getting started with earning money online. (Updated 10/2015)
Each month, I like to write a detailed report about where my online income comes from, as well as report on the things that I’ve been up to that may have had an impact on my earnings. I do this for two primary reasons: to help myself keep track of how my businesses and brands are progressing, and more importantly to help you learn what to do (and what not to do) during your online business or blogging adventures.
I hope you enjoy this month’s report.
Let's get right to it…
Important Going-Ons in August
As you know, I make a good chunk of change from iPhone apps that my business partner and I have developed. Actually, we don't develop them, we just come up with the ideas and outsource them. It's been a wild ride, but we're consistently seeing a few thousand dollars each month from our endeavors.
When iPhone 4 came out (and the new operating system to go along with it), we noticed that a lot of our free applications, which generated an income via advertisements, were no longer showing the advertisements on the new OS.
An update was required in order to change the code and get our ads working properly again. In August a few of our applications were fixed by our developer and upgraded in iTunes, and things are working smoothly again for those apps. This should account for the bump in the free app earnings you see in the breakdown below.
As far as new apps, we're holding off while we get all of our old ones fixed. It's a slow process, since our developer seems to be doing the same for a lot of his other clients too, but luckily we're not the ones doing the work.
The Smart Passive Income Blog
Every month, I'm more and more amazed at how rapidly this blog is growing. I'm now approaching 10,000 RSS Subscribers (which was my revamped goal for 2010, from a previous goal of 6000 which I met a few months ago), and my email list is growing at 40-60 subscribers a day.
I've been lucky enough to be featured on a number of different websites this month, both through interviews and just from pure kindness from the blog owner:
- Aja from AjaTrinadad.com [Editor's note: This site is no longer active.]
- Hector from HectorJCuevas.com [Editor's note: This site is no longer active.]
- Paul from NoMoreDollarsforHours.com [Editor's note: This site is no longer active.]
- Allan from BloggerBusinessPlan.com [Editor's note: This site is no longer active.]
- Mark from Masonworld.com (podcast interview) [Editor's note: This post is no longer available.]
- Yaro from Entrepreneurs-Journey.com
My branding plan to “be everywhere” is going very well.
I've noticed quite a bit of traffic coming in not only from the blogs mentioned above, but from other blogs where people have just said my name or mentioned my blog in the comment section. The same thing on various forums too. This is totally awesome, because like I've mentioned before, a recommendation from someone else is much more powerful than a recommendation that you can give for yourself.
The short lesson here is that if you go over-the-top to help people out, they will help you back. Not everyone will, obviously, but it only takes one person to make a huge difference and start a chain reaction that can take your blog or business upwards. Online karma does exist, so help out as much people as you can, and you will see the rewards eventually.
I've also been getting a lot of great feedback about The Smart Passive Income Podcast. It has already helped the SPI brand, as I thoroughly discuss (with graphs and charts) on Are YouTube Videos and Podcasting Worth the Effort?
A new session will be published on Wednesday, so look out for that.
Niche Site Duel with Tyrone Shum
As many of you know, Tyrone Shum challenged me to a Niche Site Duel in the beginning of August.
You can get updated links to all of the blogs participating in this battle on the Niche Site Duel Hub, but just to give you an update, we're all at the point where our sites are up and have a bit of content published. Now, it's just a matter of building backlinks and climbing the ranks of Google.
I have a post planned for Friday of this week where I will share my link building strategies (or should I say, experiments), and my overall content and authority site strategy. It's going to take a while, but I think I could really do well in the niche that I selected.
More on this to come, but it's definitely a lot of fun. It's never too late to join us if you're interested in participating too.
Okay, I think it's time for the breakdown!
Please note that these are figures from reports from each individual company for the previous month. It does not necessarily reflect the actual payment which, for some of the companies listed below, come 30 to 60 days later because of potential refunds.
Full Disclosure: Some of the items in the list below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase through that link, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
A great month!
The last time I broke $20,000.00 was in June of 2009, but a majority of that income was from my GreenExamAcademy.com product sales. This time, however, most is coming from my affiliate sales coming as a result of this blog.
The thing I hope you notice is that I don't really actively sell or promote anything on this blog, yet I'm still able to earn from it. It's all done in a non-aggressive manner, so don't think you have to choke people to death to get them to pay you.
Here's my secret (although it's not really a secret at all):
I recommend products that I'm using and trust. That's it! I go above and beyond to show how I use the products, and if people are interested in it, more than likely they will use my affiliate link to purchase that product too. I don't force it on people, and simply offer it as a recommendation. It's a win-win for everyone!
See 3 Types of Affiliate Marketing and the One I Profit From for more info.
What I Learned in August
August was a tough month for me. You might not think it was based on my earnings, but in the middle of the month, something drastic happened that really really sucked.
Here's the story:
I was recording the intro to one of my podcast sessions when I noticed clicking noises coming from the back of my iMac whenever it was processing. It was really loud—so loud that it could get picked up on my microphone, which wasn't good. So, I took it into the Genius Bar at my local Apple store.
They ran a diagnostics check and saw that the hard drive was about to fail. It was over 3 years old and it was about time to get that thing replaced anyways, so I said lets do it. The guy asked if I had backup, and I said yes. All of my files were backed up in a Time Capsule, so it would be really easy to setup the new drive and just use time machine to pick up right where I left off.
Two days later, I get the iMac back with a brand new hard drive (yay!). I go home, excited to get my old files back on there and get to work, and the backup wasn't working. My computer couldn't read the files, and I tried several different methods to try and get it to work (setup assistant, from a boot disc, migration assistant) and none of them worked. I could open the backup file on the Time Capsule, and I saw my encrypted files there, but it just wasn't working like it should.
I took it back to Apple the next day, and they said they should be able to get the files out for me. Actually, the guy said he was confident because he could see the data on the disc.
Three hours later, I get a call, and the “genius” tells me that I'm going to have to send it to some place in Kansas or something to get the data out, because it's totally corrupted. I asked if my old drive was still available, because I could easily recover the data from there…and of course, it was destroyed at the warehouse not an hour before I asked.
I got pretty upset and asked if there was anything Apple could do to compensate me because the product I purchased from that very same store didn't do what it was supposed to do. Of course he says no, and he even tells me I should have gotten a backup for my backup…
Really? So should I get a backup for the backup for my backup too?
Okay—so I call a company Apple recommended called DriveSavers, and they told me over the phone that they were confident they would be able to retrieve the data. (Hmm, where have I heard this before). I send the Time Capsule in, get a call 4 days later, and they said they'd be able to get the data out!!! Oh, but it would cost me about $4000. That's not a typo—four thousand dollars. At least they were right when they said they could get the data back, but WOW…
So I had a lot of thinking to do. Was it worth $4000 to get my data back. Luckily, I had all of my family photos backed up on another external we have for pictures only, but there were a lot of business files, photoshop files, recorded interviews and documents that I wasn't sure if I could live without. Plus all of the applications I had installed—it was going to be a nightmare to get it all back.
Well, I decided to just start from scratch and save the $4000. Luckily, nothing I had on there was absolutely necessary to keep my businesses running, and I was able (thanks to gmail's archive) to get many of the applications I had purchased over 2 years ago back.
Now, I'm running an online backup service that runs in the background of my computer, so it's on the cloud and I can access it from anywhere. Plus, I'm on my way to get another external hard drive that is NOT a time capsule. I've also upgraded my dropbox account to hold a number of important files too.
Sorry for the long story, but it's one of those things that you think could never happen, but it did—so it's better to be safe than sorry. Get multiple backups for your computer and your websites, especially if it's for your online businesses.
A lesson learned the hard way for me, but hopefully you can learn from my mistake and not let the same thing happen to you. Thanks to all of you who supported me and gave me words of encouragement on Facebook and on Twitter when that was all going down.
At least, despite one and a half weeks of not having a work related computer available, I was still able to have record earnings for the year 2010 in August.
As always, thanks for your support, and for those of you in the U.S.—I hope you're enjoying your Labor Day Holiday!