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)
This is the third of a series of reports that I will post each and every month summarizing my progress. I'll first mention the major events that may have happened within the month that could have made a difference in my earnings. I will also break down the sources of my income so that I can keep track of how each one is doing. Lastly, I'll conclude with the most important things that I learned and what I have planned for the near future. I'd love to respond to any questions or comments that you may have. Thanks!
Important Going-Ons in December
- Optimized my ebook landing page with Google Optimizer
- Found a handy “buy it now” button that increased my sales. It only took 5 minutes to implement.
- Began production of my audio guide. I hired a voice talent to record most of the audio. She should be finished within a few days.
- Held a contest on 99Designs.com, one of my Online Passive Income Tools of the Trade, to get a logo designed for my audio guide. Check out the design contest page to see all of the cool designs.
- Began various methods of affiliate marketing, including adding affiliate links to my eHow articles and other links on my blogs as well. I also started to research and participate in PPC affiliate marketing campaigns using Adwords and Facebook as a means of reaching customers. I will go into more depth about this in a few of my January posts.
- I reached my December goal of 100 subscribers by January 1st, 2009. The numbers do fluctuate, but there is proof.
- I reached another one of my December goals by enrolling in a health insurance plan with Blue Shield! Yep, I am now officially covered. I saved over $300.00 a month by opting out of the Cobra option I almost used. Again, I'll tell you exactly what I did sometime in January.
Note: Items with an empty difference percentage were not present on the previous month's income report.
I honestly cannot believe the numbers. Another record month for which I owe to quite a few things. Besides the addition of affiliate marketing, and the successful growth of my eHow earnings (my next post is all about my eHow earnings for the month), I again owe most my success to my ebook.
- Higher Conversion Rates. I wasn't expecting to sell more books in December because of the holiday season, but my conversion rate (the number of sales per number of visitors) was much higher this month, and I believe it's because I've optimized my landing page. That magic button I spoke about earlier does indeed work wonders, at least compared to the old one I was using. I can't thank Ryan Deiss enough for this button.
- A Price Experiment. One other thing I did, was simply increase the price of the ebook by $5.00. This was suggested by a friend of mine from the Internet Business Mastery Academy, a group that I joined and have since learned so much from. I owe a lot of my success to my colleagues there. Anyways, he was wondering why I priced the book so low. I told him that I wasn't trying to rob anybody, and thought that the $24.99 price was enough for people to want to buy the book without breaking the bank. He then explained how pricing my guide 1/3 the price of other guides was ridiculous, and people would still be willing to pay a little more, especially if the content was good. So, I raised the price $5.00 and I actually sold more books in December than in any other month. After thinking about it, $5.00 isn't that much more money for one person to spend. But, over hundreds of sales, $5.00 definitely adds up. Thanks Sterling for your suggestion and advice. I owe you one.
Important Things I Learned in December
- Creating a Schedule Is Key. Because I'm working from home now, it's really easy for me to be distracted by any number of things, all of which can easily take away from any production and potential future “money making” that I could/should be doing. The number one thing I did in December to help me get through those urges was to create a schedule of what I wanted to finish each day. This helped me, big time. iCal on a Macintosh works great.
- You Can Always Do More to Improve. When doing housework, how do you know when you're finished? When creating a painting, how do artists know when they're done? To many, the answer is that there's no “finish line”, because there's always something else that could be done. The same holds true for our internet businesses. There's always something more you can do to improve sales, improve readership, improve anything. I thought my sales page was pretty good, but after running some split tests and implementing the magic button, I saw I was not even close to doing as much as I could. I'm still running split tests on my sales page as I type.
- The Most Important Asset to Any Business, Blog, Article: What I've learned, is that I could do all of the work I want—hundreds of websites, thousands of blog posts, tons of ebooks and courses but it would all be for nothing if it wasn't for . . . other people. Without people, like readers or customers, there is no success. Absolutely none. I've realized that it's really important to make sure that I understand that my customers and the readers of my blogs are my number one asset, because without them, I'd have nothing. If I cater to their needs, I will be rewarded. Think about that.
I can't believe 2009 is already upon us. I hope you and your family had a wonderful and safe holiday season and new year.
For January, I have just a few things I want to get done. I'm less than 2 months away from my wedding, so a lot of my focus will be on that—but I will still be doing more to improve my earnings for next month.
- My main goal is to launch my audio guide. I plan to offer my ebook and audio guide for sale separately, as well as a combined price that will save the customer a little bit of cash. I also plan to contact all of my previous customers about the audio guide, and offer them a discount since they've bought the book already. I'm hoping for $15,000 in sales next month total.
- I plan to begin monetizing The Smart Passive Income Blog. The cool thing is, you can watch it as it unfolds, and I'll describe exactly what I'm doing as it happens.
- Tax season is upon us. I've recently filed for my LLC, to protect my personal assets, and I'll talk about this in much more detail later. I know I'll be hit hard with taxes this year, because making money online is a lot different than earning a paycheck every 2 weeks and having taxes automatically deducted. I'm saving half of all of my earnings for a potential large check I have to write come April. I want to find an accountant in my area that I can work with to help me figure out all of the money-stuff that goes on with running a business. I'm kind of excited about it . . . kind of.
I'm putting my podcast on hold, as I'd like to focus on that after the wedding. Hey, maybe it will be about wedding stuff or marriage—just an idea.
As far as subscribers, I'll shoot for 150 by February 1.
Lastly, just know that my schedule of blog posts this month may be irregular because I have quite a few major things going on this month that will take me away from my computer. For instance . . . my BACHELOR PARTY! We're going to snowboard at Lake Tahoe for 4 days and take advantage of the nearby casinos in Reno. 11 dudes shredding down a mountain—legendary.
Have a wonderful New Year, and let's make 2009 the most profitable year for us ever!