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)
All right! Time for another monthly income report!
As you probably already know, each month I write a blog post that details my income for the previous month. I do this not only to help me keep track of where my earnings come from and the health of my businesses, but more importantly to share with you what I've done that may have an effect on any increase or decrease in earnings, and what I've learned along the way, so hopefully you can learn what do to (and what NOT to do) too. I hope you enjoy this month's report.
Important Goings-On in February
Personally, a lot of great things have been happening.
Keoni, our newborn son, just turned 2 months old and he's already beginning to “coo” (baby talk), smile and even laugh. He's double his birth weight and just seems to be growing at an alarming rate. Although I can't wait for him to be able to walk around and hold actual conversations with us, I know that I must embrace these moments because they definitely won't last long.
Also, if you've read my last blog post, you'll see that we're finally settled into our new place, which means I now have my own office!
I have about 128 square feet of whiteboard space on the walls to work with for brainstorming, productivity and anything else you can think of that a whiteboard would be useful for. I'm sure once Keoni turns 2 or 3, he'll be all over the bottom portion of each of those dry erase boards.
Most of February was dedicated to moving in, and I did take a week off from work entirely just to paint and move, but I did do some business related items, which I'll talk about below.
Once again, I've been really energetic about iPhone apps lately. My iPhone app company, LOLer Apps, has seen a dramatic increase in sales the last two months, without even lifting a single finger or spending a single penny on advertising. Plus, with some rumors about the iPhone finally being opened up for Verizon, that's totally going to increase the number of iPhone users out there and the number of eyes searching for apps in the app store.
Because of this, we've been coming up with some new ideas for the LOLer Apps brand and we'll actually be submitting the framework for at least 4 new applications to a team of developers. That will double the number of apps we have in the app store already, and hopefully do more than just double our income.
Our primary market is tough (the entertainment category in iTunes), but if we can crack some of the top lists, we could potentially see upwards of thousands of dollars a day. This possibility has always been there, we're just waiting for that one “golden” app to get there for us. We have some golden ideas, so I guess we'll see what happens. Wish us luck!
My main business at greenexamacademy.com has actually done a lot better in February than I had anticipated. If you remember from my previous income report, I had mentioned that the company that administers the exam that I have an ebook and audio guide for has come out with their own study material as well.
Well, apparently that hasn't had much of an effect on my business, as you'll see in the numbers below.
Now that I'm in my new office, I would like to devote more time to testing different types of sales pages to try and optimize my conversion rates. I've seen a number of websites lately “mimic” the Amazon.com style sales page, even using the same buy now button that Amazon does, and it seems to be increasing sales in some niches.
The reasoning behind this is because a lot more people are comfortable buying on Amazon.com, so a sales page that mimics Amazon.com's sales page style will evoke a sense of comfort into potential buyers and possibly increase click-throughs and sales. I'll definitely keep you informed when I do perform these types of tests.
As far as what I did in February on the site—absolutely nothing beyond the hour or two I spend simply answering customer emails and responding to comments.
The Smart Passive Income Blog
I've slowed down a bit of the promotion for this blog, at least compared to last month which was filled with interviews and features all over the place (including an interview on Problogger.net!). However, I've still been receiving a lot of requests for interviews from other bloggers and I haven't been turning those down because I really enjoy doing them.
Probably the coolest thing that has happened as of late is related to my Free Ebook Guide and Newsletter. In just about two months, I've seen about 1800 downloads of my ebook, which means about 1800 people have subscribed to my newsletter, which seriously blows my mind.
My goal for the year (the entire year of 2010) was to have at least 1000 newsletter subscribers, so I already crushed that number. I really have you to thank for that, and I must say that I'm quite proud of the exclusive content that I provide in the newsletter itself. There are several weeks of killer, pre-written material already in the newsletter, and I keep adding to it on a weekly basis. Oh, and by the way, currently there are no affiliate links and I'm not selling anything in the newsletter.
If you have yet to sign up for the newsletter, you can do so by filling out your name and email address in the green box on the right-hand sidebar. You'll also get a free copy of my ebook, Ebooks the Smart Way.
I think it's time for some numbers:
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.
Note: Items with an empty difference percentage were not present on the previous month's income report.
Another fantastic, diversified, consistent month of sales. Although it was a bit less than last month, there were 3 less days of earnings in February since the 28th is the last day, so on a per day basis, I actually did better.
Again, for my GreenExamAcademy website, my eHow earnings, a portion of my affiliate earnings and the iPhone apps, those earnings are almost all totally passive, meaning I don't actively trade the hours that I work to earn that money. The work was already put in when I created those businesses or wrote all of the eHow articles that I've written.
I do put in a lot of hours of work each month, but it's mainly on writing content for you on this blog, and promoting SPI to the world. It's what I like to do, and I'm glad my other businesses allow me to do that.
Things I Learned in February
Here are some important, relevant things I've learned in the past month:
1. Always Over-Deliver
I've learned that you should always do whatever you can to over-deliver. If you over-deliver, you “over-impress,” and you'll see results that go beyond than what you'd normally expcect.
It's been in my nature to over-deliver on everything that I do, as you probably can tell, but it was only recently when I consciously over-delivered in my free ebook, Ebooks the Smart Way, and saw the amazing response to it that I realized that this is how I've become so successful, so fast.
With my LEED website, for example, I first over-delivered on both the free content and customer service that I provided to people hoping to pass the exam. After that, I over-delivered on the ebook that I wrote, and then later on the audio guide that I created. As a result, word spread, and my earnings just naturally grew.
With this blog, I think you would agree that I over-deliver quite a bit, and that's probably why you're still here with me today.
Just think, in any part of life, what consequences can come from putting in just a little bit more time, effort and care into something?
2. People Appreciate the Little Things
Along the same lines as “over-delivering”, I've noticed that online especially, people really appreciate the little things that you do.
Even with the recent growth of this blog, I've been trying my best to continue responding to almost every single comment, and I think people have been noticing that. You'd be amazed at how many emails I get from people just thanking me for replying to their comment on my blog.
And what if I grew even larger? What if I had 300 comments on each blog post? Yeah, it would be more difficult for me to respond to each because it would take more time, but because it would be harder for me to do so, I can imagine people being even more impressed if I actually did do it. It would definitely set me apart from the big guys, who are often non-existent in the comment sections of their blog.
So my point here is this: people notice everything and are thankful for all the things that you do, no matter how little or how big they are.
3. A Company's Best Friends
I've been in contact with my bookkeeper and CPA the last month making sure all of the books are square so we can be ready for a stress free, no-hassle tax season.
With all of the businesses that I have running, you can imagine it might be kind of confusing about how I keep track of my income and how all that stuff works. Well, I can honestly say that hiring a bookkeeper and a CPA to help me understand everything was the best decision that I've ever made.
Each month, I export my Paypal accounts, my business banking accounts and my online shopping cart numbers and send them over to my bookkeeper. She inputs it all into Quickbooks and categorizes and organizes everything for me. Awesome.
My CPA handles all of the tax stuff including filling out all of the forms, what to write-off, and properly submitting the forms to the IRS. I'll write a blog post about how I handle my business finances later in the month, but I just wanted to give them props because they are taking away a lot of what I know would be stressful for me to handle.
I do, however, ask a lot of questions about why things are the way they are so I can learn along the way. I don't want to just hand everything off to them and say that's it, because I do want to understand what's going on and check to make sure things are being done correctly.
Plans for the Future
Besides the new iPhone apps and the sales page optimization and testing that I'll be doing on my LEED website, I do have a new startup in mind that I'd love to get off the ground.
I don't want to talk much about it now because I'm still in the research phase to see if it's even viable and how profitable it could be, but if it does start to happen, you can be sure I'll take you though the process with me. I will, however, give you a small clue: the business I would like to create could possibly help you and your blog/online businesses as well.
I know…not much of a clue, but I'll keep you filled in on my progress.
I hope you've enjoyed this month's income report. Here's to a fantastic, profitable, healthy and happy March 2010. Wishing you all the best and nothing less than success.