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Yes—it’s that time of the month again! My monthly report for February 2011 is due!
I love writing these reports because not only is it a great way for me to look back and see what I've accomplished over the past month, but it's also a way for me to see exactly what I could have done better.
Beyond the actual numbers, this report is actually meant to give you an over-the-shoulder look into my online businesses and the lessons I've learned within each. Hopefully you can avoid my mistakes and use my success to inspire you to crush it online too.
I hope you enjoy this month's report.
Important Going-Ons in February
February was all about goal getting.
Not goal setting.
To help with that, I hired my first full-time virtual assistant, Mike—a web developer & programmer from the Philippines. I found him through Virtual Staff Finder and I couldn't be happier with the work he's done for me so far.
I do have some experience with outsourcing already—using sites such as oDesk and elance to hire for one-off projects like redesigning my blog or programming iPhone applications, but this is my first time hiring someone full-time and the experience is much different.
With a one-off project, it's easy:
- Post a job.
- Hire a provider.
- Done & goodbye.
Of course, it's a little more complicated than that (back and forth discussion, testing, etc.), but you get the basic idea.
With a full-time VA, I have to make sure he's continuously got stuff to do, and this is what I'm struggling with at the moment.
It's totally awesome though, because before I go to bed I can give him tasks to do, and when I wake up they're finished. The “problem” is that he's really fast, which is good because what I need done gets done, but not good because I'm definitely not maximizing our potential together.
One thing I may do is give Mike a “default task”—an ongoing job that he performs when his other jobs are completed. Examples of a default task are things like building backlinks, writing articles, or even doing keyword research to find potential niches. Of course, I would need to train him how to do these tasks, but it could definitely be worth it.
I've been dropping hints of a WordPress plugin I've had in development over the last few months, and in February it was finally finished.
Now I'm at the crucial part of the process where I figure out how it's going to be delivered.
A few things to consider here from my experience with this project so far:
- I found a developer to build this plugin without ever really thinking about how it was going to be delivered. This is similar to when I wrote my first eBook—I didn't know how it was going to be delivered, I just wrote it knowing that no matter what it had to be finished. Finishing it forced me to really figure it all out.
- With the eBook mentioned above, I didn't really have time to figure out distribution methods because I was in the process of writing it. Unfortunately with this WordPress plugin, I could have spent some time thinking about how it was all going to work while the plugin was being developed, but I didn't. Now, I feel like time is being wasted.
- As far as exactly how to deliver the plugin, I'm looking at other premium plugins for inspiration to see what works the best. I have the option of creating an entirely new website and using a membership type system to give customers access to a download page after logging in. I could also host the plugin here on SPI which could potentially drive more traffic to my blog.
I'm still weighing the pros and cons, but it is nice to finally have a completed plugin.
More details about this coming soon.
Security Guard Training HQ
My security guard training niche site, which was born out of the niche site duel, is doing really well.
Despite Google's algorithm update, which affected a large number of sites around the web, I've been able to maintain my #1 position for my primary keyword, security guard training. In fact, my traffic went up after the change and I've been seeing some really good Adsense numbers as a result:
If you remember, I've integrated a job board from indeed.com and I actually get paid every time a visitor contacts an employer through my job board. What's cool is that it's actually becoming one of the most viewed pages on the site.
In January, I earned $1.38 from the job board. In February, I earned $9.77.
This income doesn't even compare to the earnings I see from Adsense, however the fact that people are using my job board to find real security guard jobs is very fulfilling. It means that my site is actually useful, which every niche site should be.
I've also talked about private advertising as well. I've had 4 companies contact me to place a banner on my site, however none of them have followed through. I gave each of them the details and terms for advertising and I must have scared them away or something.
I was asking for $175 per month for a 125 x 125 pixel advertisement that would be placed in the sidebar, which is definitely a reasonable price because the average CPC (cost-per-click) for this keyword in Google Adwords is about $2.83.
$175 / $2.83 = 62 clicks
That's about 2 clicks per day for a month, and I'm more than positive an advertisement in the sidebar would generate more than 2 clicks per day. However, even after explaining this logic and a few followup emails later—no one agreed.
I'll keep the advertisement page on the site just in case, but for right now I'm trying something totally brand new for the site: a company directory.
I hired a web programmer (this was before I hired my full-time VA) to create a system on the site that will allow companies to input their company information (name, address, phone number, website, description and a logo) which then puts them onto a site-wide company directory. Their company will be listed on a page that has all of the companies and also on all of the pages and posts about their respective states.
I'll write a blog post soon that goes into detail about how all of this is setup, but I've heard a lot of success stories from people who created similar directories for different niches, which is why I'm giving this a shot.
Even if I were to get only 1 company from every single state (and there are hundreds of companies within each), that's 50 companies right there. Even at a small price of $10 per month, that's already $500 in residual income per month.
We'll see how it goes. I might need to get creative with how I go about finding companies to sign up. Maybe some direct marketing campaigns are in store, which would be very interested to experiment with.
As always, I'll keep you posted on my progress.
I think it's time to get into the numbers.
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.
A fantastic month once again, although it looks like I took a huge loss when you compare the numbers to January. The reality is, January 2011 includes an $8000.00 payment from the Niche Site Coaching program that I'm co-running, and also January is typically a really good month for iPhone applications (thanks to Christmas).
What I Learned in February
One thing I learned in February is that changes will always happen.
Also, Google made recent changes to their algorithm to improve their search results, which had a dramatic effect on several websites and businesses around the world.
Changes will always happen, and we just have to expect it. Expecting it will keep us sane when these changes do occur, and although you can't always predict what those changes will be, just know that once they happen, that's the way it is and you have to roll with the punches.
When it comes to our websites, as long as you have high-quality, unique content, you'll have much less to worry about—no matter what changes occur around it. Just keep that in mind.
Another thing I learned, which deals directly with this blog, is that I don't have a clear starting point for new visitors.
This is a huge mistake.
I received about 10 emails within the span of 2 weeks from people explaining that they enjoy my content, however they have no idea where to start, what post to read first or even what to do when they get here.
Not good, especially because I always preach about taking visitors through a clear and defined path on your site.
I will be creating a defined starting point and hopefully you'll see that on the blog sometime within the month of March. I'm current recording a podcast series that goes along with it that will help everyone new to this business understand where to begin. You can listen to Part 1 here, and Part 2 is coming very soon.
Thanks to those of you who emailed me for the kick in the butt.
I needed it.
Thank you all for your undying support, and here's to taking bold actions and working smart in March.