Editor's Note: The content regarding eHow and Infobarrel 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)
Welcome to the first monthly income report of 2011!
Every month since October of 2008 I've been writing a detailed report about my online earnings. I do this for several reasons:
- To help me keep track of how I'm progressing.
- To push myself to see improvements month after month.
- To lead by example by sharing both my wins and failures.
- To inspire.
These reports are less about the numbers and more about what I've been up to and the lessons I've learned along the way.
I hope you enjoy this month's report!
Important Going-Ons in January
The most important thing that happened in January (and the thing I'm most proud of too) is the Niche Site Coaching course that Tyrone and I began. [Editor's Note, 2019: While the Niche Site Duel challenge was really formative for SPI, the strategies presented are no longer current, and so we made the decision to remove those posts. We don't want you to waste time pursing outdated strategies.]
After the success of the Niche Site Duel, we both received so many requests for one-on-one coaching that we decided to do a group coaching course together for a limited number of students.
I had always been opposed to doing private coaching in the past because it's definitely not a passive form of income. Plus, I figured that my blogging and podcasting was a better way to teach, reach and help a greater number of people all at the same time.
That said, I'm really glad we decided to do this because it made me realize some very cool things:
- I had only announced the coaching opportunity twice: once at the end of a podcast session and another in a blog post. From this soft announcement we had over 100 people apply, which may not sound like very many to you, but when you consider that this coaching course was being sold for $799.99, it sort of blew our minds. We eventually decided to keep the course limited to 20 students because we really wanted to focus on these students and help them succeed while not spreading the attention thin. This made me realize how in-demand a coaching program like this really was.
- I really enjoy coaching people! Yes—it's not at all passive and the actual one-on-one interactions can't really be re-purposed or reused for a passive income later, but the fulfillment factor far outweighs the disadvantages—at least in my eyes so far. To see our students get motivated and really start to take action because of what we helped them understand is a truly an amazing feeling. Now I know why a lot of teachers do what they do—even though they are severally underpaid.
- I'm considering doing consulting for those interested in working with me one-on-one in the near future—once my one-year old decides daddy can have some of his daddy time back.
All of our students are AWESOME and actually they're becoming more than just students now—but friends too.
January was a really good month for iPhone apps.
As many of you know, I'm a co-owner of LOLer Apps, an independent two-person iPhone app development team. We've had some good success, but because of the recent holiday season we are experiencing exceptional numbers, as you'll see in the income breakdown later in this post.
People who received an iPhone or iPod Touch as a gift in December are still busy downloading apps. In case you missed the news, the Apple App Store just hit 10 billion downloads.
And, there's other fantastic news for iPhone app developers to look forward to as well: on February 10th (this coming Thursday), Verizon will launch the iPhone. This is huge because there are a lot of people who specifically did not buy an iPhone because it was for AT&T only. Now that Verizon will be on board, it's going to open up a whole new market for the iPhone and its apps.
For those of you who interested in getting into the app market, or at least want to hear about my own experiences with it, I recommend you listen to The Smart Passive Income Podcast, Session 14.
Green Exam Academy
January sales for Green Exam Academy, my LEED exam website, had seen an uptick in sales too. Not because of the holidays though, but because the holidays are finally over.
People are getting back from vacation and back into work-mode so it makes perfect sense.
My security guard training niche site had seen an increase in traffic and adsense earnings too—probably for the exact same reasons.
WordPress Plugin Development
This is a topic that I know a lot of you are interested in, especially because it's a new potential income stream I'm experimenting with and you've already heard some success stories from other developers too.
About two months ago, I found two different developers to develop two different WordPress plugins.
One of them fell through because I've lost communication with the developer (that happens sometimes). The other plugin was just completed last week and I'm starting to create the site that it'll be sold on. I anticipate that I'll miss my February 15th goal, but knowing that the plugin is complete makes me very happy not only because it's ready to be sold, but because I really want to use it myself too.
I'll definitely keep you posted.
A Speaking Gig
I briefly announced in my latest podcast session that I've been invited to speak live, which I'm really stoked about. It's for an event by Sterling and Jay from Internet Business Mastery that'll be happening at the end of April up in Oregon. I'll get you more details later, but I've been itching to speak live in front of crowds again, which is something I did do almost daily back in college—since I was in a leadership position in the marching band at Cal.
I'll definitely do what I can to speak at Blog World Expo 2011 too—that would be fun!
Okay, it's time for 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.
All I can say is WOW! My highest grossing month ever!
This is definitely a great way to start the new year and although about $8k of January's income came from the split Tyrone and I received from the coaching program (which obviously won't happen every month), the difference is still significantly higher than last month.
Looking back into previous income reports, you'll see that a major player in my income as of late has become my affiliate income, which is about 90% directly related to this blog. I just wanted to take a moment to really thank you for all of your undying support. You're really making an impact on my life and the life of my family as well. Even if you've never clicked on any of my affiliate links, just the fact that you're here reading my content makes a difference and means the world to me.
Ready to learn about affiliate marketing?
The Epic Guide to Affiliate Marketing
Download this handy guide for easy reading offline. You'll learn:
- How affiliate marketing works and the simple five-step framework I've developed for creating an affiliate marketing program.
- My must-do list will give you specific action items for your promotions to help you stay on track.
- Learn the common mistakes that new marketers make (so that you can avoid them).
- I'll show you why sometimes smaller is better when it comes to finding partners.
Access SPI's free business toolkit library
Download the Epic Guide to Affiliate Marketing and learn everything you need to get started generating affiliate revenue. You'll also get access to the free resource library, packed with other cheat sheets, videos, and challenges to help you grow your business.
What I Learned in January
Lesson 1: Always try something new.
This goes along with the new niche site coaching program that Tyrone and I are hosting and how much fun I've been having with it, even though it was originally not an ideal business model for me. Because I tried something new, I've learned that I like to do private coaching and wouldn't mind trading my time to help people individually for maybe one day a week. This opens up another avenue of personal fulfillment and a potential income too—although like I said it'll probably have to wait because my family is always first priority.
Furthermore, the message to “always try something new” doesn't necessarily mean to experiment with an entirely new business model, but it could also mean to try something new within your existing one. Stepping out of the box and adding variety is a great way to make good things happen and see results. Take bold actions that you've never taken before and you'll reach places you've never been before either.
Lesson 2: Work on what matters.
During the middle of the month I was addicted to keyword research.
The first classroom meeting in our coaching program was all about finding a profitable niche, and after that class for some reason I just went crazy with Market Samurai to find some new keywords for potential niche sites.
Looking for new keywords is great and can lead to other income streams, but I should have been working on more important tasks that really mattered—things that have been looming and I needed to get done that can possibly open up bigger and better income streams.
Basically, I was using keyword research as way to make me feel like I was working on something important, when really all I was doing was procrastinating.
Like I've said before, there's a major difference between working on something, and working towards something.
Once I realized what I was doing, I shifted my focus and got a lot more done. It's okay to lose track sometimes, as long as you get back on as soon as you realize it.
Lesson 3: The more you give, the more you get back in return.
The numbers for this month are incredible. It's easy to forget, but I have to reiterate the basic philosophy that I've been following since the beginning of my online career: the more you give back, the more you get back in return.
Online karma does exist, so work hard now, make the internet a better place and you will be rewarded.
Again, thank you for all of your support and here's to a happy, healthy and profitable February.